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PLUM BUN 



JESSIE 




University of California Berkeley 






PLUM BUN 



PLUM BUN 



JESSIE REDMON FAUSET 

(Author of " THERE is CONFUSION ") 



" To Market, to Market 

To buy a Plum Bun; 
Home again, Home again, 
Market is done." 



NEW YORK 
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS 



MADE AND PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY PURNELL AND SONS 

PAULTON (SOMERSET) AND LONDON 



To 
MY FATHER AND MOTHER 

REDMON AND ANNA FAUSET 



PLUM BUN 
A NOVEL WITHOUT A MORAL 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

HOME . 9 

MARKET ........ 85 

PLUM BUN 175 

HOME AGAIN .... . 239 

MARKET is DONE . .... 331 



HOME 



CHAPTER I 

OPAL STREET, as streets go, is no jewel of the first 
water. It is merely an imitation, and none too 
good at that. Narrow, unsparkling, uninviting, it 
stretches meekly off from dull Jefferson Street to the 
dingy, drab market which forms the north side of 
Oxford Street. It has no mystery, no allure, either 
of exclusiveness or of downright depravity ; its usages 
are plainly significant, an unpretentious little street 
lined with unpretentious little houses, inhabited for 
the most part by unpretentious little people. 

The dwellings are three stories high, and contain 
six boxes called by courtesy, rooms a "parlour", 
a midget of a dining-room, a larger kitchen and, 
above, a front bedroom seemingly large only because 
it extends for the full width of the house, a mere 
shadow of a bathroom, and another back bedroom 
with windows whose possibilities are spoiled by their 
outlook on sad and diminutive back-yards. And 
above these two, still two others built in similar wise. 

In one of these houses dwelt a father, a mother 
and two daughters. Here, as often happens in a 
home sheltering two generations, opposite, un 
evenly matched emotions faced each other. In 
the houses of the rich the satisfied ambition of the 
older generation is faced by the overwhelming am 
bition of the younger. Or the elders may find 
themselves brought in opposition to the blank 

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BUNHHHHHHHHHf~H* 



indifference and ennui of youth engendered by the 
realization that there remain no more worlds to 
conquer; their fathers having already taken all, 
In houses on Opal Street these niceties of distinction 
are hardly to be found; there is a more direct 
and concrete contrast. The satisfied ambition of 
maturity is a foil for the restless despair of youth, 
Affairs in the Murray household were advancing 
towards this stage; yet not a soul in that family 
of four could have foretold its coming. To Junius 
and Mattie Murray, who had known poverty and 
homelessness, the little house on Opal Street repre 
sented the ne plus ultra of ambition; to their 
daughter Angela it seemed the dingiest, drabbest 
chrysalis that had ever fettered the wings of a 
brilliant butterfly. The stories which Junius and 
Mattie told of difficulties overcome, of the arduous 
learning of trades, of the pitiful scraping together 
of infinitesimal savings, would have made a latter- 
day Iliad, but to Angela they were merely a 
description of a life which she at any cost would 
avoid living. Somewhere in the world were paths 
which lead to broad thoroughfares, large, bright 
houses, delicate niceties of existence. Those paths 
Angela meant to find and frequent. At a very 
early age she had observed that the good things of 
life are unevenly distributed; merit is not always 
rewarded; hard labour does not necessarily entail 
adequate recompense. Certain fortuitous endow 
ments, great physical beauty, unusual strength, 
a certain unswerving singleness of mind, gifts 
bestowed quite blindly and disproportionately by 
the forces which control life, these were the quali 
ties which contributed toward a glowing and 
pleasant existence. 

12 



Angela had no high purpose in life; unlike her 
sister Virginia, who meant some day to invent a 
marvellous method for teaching the pianoforte, 
Angela felt no impulse to discover, or to 
perfect. True she thought she might become 
eventually a distinguished painter, but that was 
because she felt within herself an ability to depict 
which as far as it went was correct and promising. 
Her eye for line and for expression was already good 
and she had a nice feeling for colour. Moreover 
she possessed the instinct for self-appraisal which 
taught her that she had much to learn. And she 
was sure that the knowledge once gained would 
flower in her case to perfection. But her gift was 
not for her the end of existence ; rather it was an 
adjunct to a life which was to know light, pleasure, 
gaiety and freedom. 

Freedom! That was the note which Angela 
heard oftenest in the melody of living which was 
to be hers. With a wildness that fell just short of 
unreasonableness she hated restraint. Her father's 
earlier days as coachman in a private family, his 
later successful, independent years as boss car 
penter, her mother's youth spent as maid to a 
famous actress, all this was to Angela a manifesta 
tion of the sort of thing which happens to those 
enchained it might be by duty, by poverty, by 
weakness or by colour. 

Colour or rather the lack of it seemed to the child 
the one absolute prerequisite to the life of which 
she was always dreaming. One might break loose 
from a too hampering sense of duty; poverty 
could be overcome; physicians conquered weak 
ness; but colour, the mere possession of a black 
or a white skin, that was clearly one of those 

w 



BUN-?' * * * * -HHHHS* 



fortuitous endowments of the gods. Gratitude was 
no strong ingredient in this girl's nature, yet very 
often early she began thanking Fate for the chance 
which in that household of four had bestowed on 
her the heritage of her mother's fair skin. She 
might so easily have been, like her father, black, 
or have received the melange which had resulted 
in Virginia's rosy bronzeness and her deeply 
waving black hair. But Angela had received not 
only her mother's creamy complexion and her 
soft cloudy, chestnut hair, but she had taken 
from Junius the aquiline nose, the gift of some 
remote Indian ancestor which gave to his face 
and his eldest daughter's that touch of chiselled 
immobility. 



It was from her mother that Angela learned the 
possibilities for joy and freedom which seemed to 
her inherent in mere whiteness. No one would 
have been more amazed than that same mother 
if she could have guessed how her daughter inter 
preted her actions. Certainly Mrs. Murray did 
not attribute what she considered her happy, busy, 
sheltered life on tiny Opal Street to the accident of 
her colour; she attributed it to her black husband 
whom she had been glad and proud to marry. It 
is equally certain that that white skin of hers had 
not saved her from occasional contumely and insult. 
The famous actress for whom she had worked was 
aware of Mattie's mixed blood and, boasting tem 
perament rather than refinement, had often dubbed 
her " white nigger ". 

Angela's mother employed her colour very much 
as she practised certain winning usages of smile 

14 



HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH? 

and voice to obtain indulgences which meant much 
to her and which took nothing from anyone else. 
Then, too, she was possessed of a keener sense of 
humour than her daughter; it amused her when 
by herself to take lunch at an exclusive restaurant 
whose patrons would have been panic-stricken if 
they had divined the presence of a " coloured " 
woman no matter how little her appearance differed 
from theirs. It was with no idea of disclaiming her 
own that she sat in orchestra seats which Phila 
delphia denied to coloured patrons. But when 
Junius or indeed any other dark friend accom 
panied her she was the first to announce that she 
liked to sit in the balcony or gallery, as indeed she 
did; her infrequent occupation of orchestr^ seats 
was due merely to a mischievous determination to 
flout a silly and unjust law. 

Her years with the actress had left their mark, 
a perfectly harmless and rather charming one. 
At least so it seemed to Junius, whose weakness 
was for the qualities known as " essentially fem 
inine ". Mrs. Murray loved pretty clothes, she 
liked shops devoted to the service of women; she 
enjoyed being even on the fringe of a fashionable 
gathering. A satisfaction that was almost ecstatic 
seized her when she drank tea in the midst of 
modishly gowned women in a stylish tea-room. It 
pleased her to stand in the foyer of a great hotel 
or of the Academy of Music and to be part of the 
whirling, humming, palpitating gaiety. She had no 
desire to be of these people, but she liked to look 
on; it amused and thrilled and kept alive some un 
quenchable instinct for life which thrived within 
her. To walk through Wanamaker's on Saturday, 
to stroll from Fifteenth to Ninth Street on Chestnut, 



*HHHHHHHh***PLUM BUNHHHHHMHHHH** 

to have her tea in the Bellevue Stratford, to stand 
in the lobby of the St. James 5 fitting on immaculate 
gloves; all innocent, childish pleasures pursued 
without malice or envy contrived to cast a glamour 
over Monday's washing and Tuesday's ironing, the 
scrubbing of kitchen and bathroom and the 
fashioning of children's clothes. She was endowed 
with a humorous and pungent method of presenta 
tion ; Junius, who had had the wit not to interfere 
with these little excursions and the sympathy to 
take them at their face value, preferred one of his 
wife's sparkling accounts of a Saturday's adventure 
in " passing " to all the tall stories told by cronies 
at his lodge. 

Much of this pleasure, harmless and charming 
though it was, would have been impossible with a 
dark skin. 

In these first years of marriage, Mattie, busied 
with the house and the two babies had given up 
those excursions. Later, when the children had 
grown and Junius had reached the stage where he 
could afford to give himself a half-holiday on 
Saturdays, the two parents inaugurated a plan of 
action which eventually became a fixed programme. 
Each took a child, and Junius went off to a beloved 
but long since suspended pastime of exploring old 
Philadelphia, whereas Mattie embarked once more 
on her social adventures. It is true that Mattie 
accompanied by brown Virginia could not move 
quite as freely as when with Angela. But her 
maternal instincts were sound; her children, their 
feelings and their faith in her meant much more 
than the pleasure which she would have been first 
to call unnecessary and silly. As it happened the 
children themselves quite unconsciously solved the 

16 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH5- 



dilemma; Virginia found shopping tiring and 
stupid, Angela returned from her father's adventur 
ing worn and bored. Gradually the rule was 
formed that Angela accompanied her mother and 
Virginia her father. 



On such fortuities does life depend. Little 
Angela Murray, hurrying through Saturday morn 
ing's scrubbing of steps in order that she might have 
her bath at one and be with her mother on Chestnut 
Street at two, never realized that her mother took 
her pleasure among all these pale people because 
it was there that she happened to find it. It never 
occurred to her that the delight which her mother 
obviously showed in meeting friends on Sunday 
morning when the whole united Murray family 
came out of church was the same as she showed 
on Chestnut Street the previous Saturday, because 
she was finding the qualities which her heart craved, 
bustle, excitement and fashion. The daughter 
could not guess that if the economic status or the 
racial genius of coloured people had permitted 
them to run modish hotels or vast and popular 
department stores her mother would have been 
there. She drew for herself certain clearly formed 
conclusions which her subconscious mind thus 
codified : 

First, that the great rewards of life riches, 
glamour, pleasure, are for white-skinned people 
only. Secondly, that Junius and Virginia were 
denied these privileges because they were dark; 
here her reasoning bore at least an element of 
verisimilitude but she missed the essential fact 
that her father and sister did not care for this 



4HHHHKHHHHHf-PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHMH5* 

type of pleasure. The effect of her fallaciousness 
was to cause her to feel a faint pity for her unfor 
tunate relatives and also to feel that coloured people 
were to be considered fortunate only in the propor 
tion in which they measured up to the physical 
standards of white people. 

One Saturday excursion left a far-reaching 
impression. Mrs. Murray and Angela had spent 
a successful and interesting afternoon. They had 
browsed among the contents of the small exclusive 
shops in Walnut Street; they had had soda at 
Adams' on Broad Street and they were standing 
finally in the portico of the Walton Hotel deciding 
with fashionable and idle elegance what they 
should do next. A thin stream of people con 
stantly passing threw an occasional glance at 
the quietly modish pair, the well-dressed, assured 
woman and the refined and no less assured 
daughter. The door-man knew them; it was one 
of Mrs. Murray's pleasures to proffer him a small 
tip, much appreciated since it was uncalled for. 
This was the atmosphere which she loved. Angela 
had put on her gloves and was waiting for her 
mother, who was drawing on her own with great 
care, when she glimpsed in the laughing, hurrying 
Saturday throng the figures of her father and of 
Virginia. They were close enough for her mother, 
who saw them too, to touch them by merely des 
cending a few steps and stretching out her arm. 
In a second the pair had vanished. Angela saw 
her mother's face change with trepidation she 
thought. She remarked: " It's a good thing Papa 
didn't see us, you'd have had to speak to him, 
wouldn't you? " But her mother, giving her a 
distracted glance, made no reply. 

18 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH5* 



That night, after the girls were in bed, Mattie, 
perched on the arm of her husband's chair, told 
him about it. "I was at my old game of play 
acting again to-day, June, passing you know, and 
darling, you and Virginia went by within arm's 
reach and we never spoke to you. I'm so 
ashamed." 

But Junius consoled her. Long before their 
marriage he had known of his Mattie's weakness 
and its essential harmlessness. " My dear girl, I 
told you long ago that where no principle was 
involved, your passing means nothing to me. It's 
just a little joke ; I don't think you'd be ashamed 
to acknowledge your old husband anywhere if 
it were necessary." 

" I'd do that if people were mistaking me for a 
queen," she assured him fondly. But she was 
silent, not quite satisfied. " After all," she said 
with her charming frankness, " it isn't you, dear, 
who make me feel guilty. I really am ashamed 
to think that I let Virginia pass by without a word. 
I think I should feel very badly if she were to know 
it. I don't believe I'll ever let myself be quite as 
silly as that again." 

But of this determination Angela, dreaming 
excitedly of Saturdays spent in turning her small 
olive face firmly away from peering black counten 
ances was, unhappily, unaware. 



CHAPTER II 

SATURDAY came to be the day of the week for 
Angela, but her sister Virginia preferred Sundays. 
She loved the atmosphere of golden sanctity which 
seemed to hover with a sweet glory about the 
stodgy, shabby little dwelling. Usually she came 
downstairs first so as to enjoy by herself the blessed 
" Sunday feeling " which, she used to declare, 
would have made it possible for her to recognize 
the day if she had awakened to it even in China. 
She was only twelve at this time, yet she had already 
developed a singular aptitude and liking for the 
care of the home, and this her mother gratefully 
fostered. Gradually the custom was formed of 
turning over to her small hands all the duties of 
Sunday morning; they were to her a ritual. First 
the kettle must be started boiling, then the pave 
ment swept. Her father's paper must be carried 
up and left outside his door. Virginia found a 
nameless and sweet satisfaction in performing 
these services. 

She prepared the Sunday breakfast which was 
always the same, bacon and eggs, strong coffee 
with good cream for Junius, chocolate for the other 
three and muffins. After the kettle had boiled and 
the muffins were mixed it took exactly half an hour 
to complete preparations. Virginia always went 
about these matters in the same way. She set the 

20 



^HHHHHHHHHhPLUM 



muffins in the oven, pursing her lips and frowning 
a little just as she had seen her mother do; then she 
went to the foot of the narrow, enclosed staircase 
and called " hoo-hoo " with a soft rising inflection, 

" last call to dinner," her father termed it. And 
finally, just for those last few minutes before the 
family descended she went into the box of a parlour 
and played hymns, old-fashioned and stately tunes, 

" How firm a foundation ", " The spacious 
firmament on high ", " Am I a soldier of the 
Cross ". Her father's inflexible bass, booming 
down the stairs, her mother's faint alto in thirds 
mingled with her own sweet treble; a shaft of 
sunlight, faint and watery in winter, strong and 
golden in summer, shimmering through the room 
in the morning dusk completed for the little girl 
a sensation of happiness which lay perilously 
near tears. 



After breakfast came the bustle of preparing for 
church. Junius of course had come down in 
complete readiness; but the others must change 
their dresses; Virginia had mislaid her Sunday 
hair-ribbon again; Angela had discovered a rip 
in her best gloves and could not be induced to go 
down until it had been mended. " Wait for me 
just a minute, Jinny dear, I can't go out looking 
like this, can I? " She did not like going to church, 
at least not to their church, but she did care about 
her appearance and she liked the luxuriousness of 
being " dressed up " on two successive days. 
At last the little procession filed out, Mattie hoping 
that they would not be late, she did hate it so; 
Angela thinking that this was a stupid way to spend 

21 



HHHH^HHHHHKPLUM BUN-HHHHHHHHHH* 

Sunday and wondering at just what period of 
one's life existence began to shape itself as you 
wanted it. Her father's thoughts were inchoate; 
expressed they would have revealed a patriarchal 
aspect almost biblical. He had been a poor boy, 
homeless, a nobody, yet somehow he had contrived 
in his mid-forties to attain to the status of a respect 
able citizen, house-owner, a good provider. He 
possessed a charming wife and two fine daughters, 
and as was befitting he was accompanying them to 
the house of the Lord. As for Virginia, no one 
to see her in her little red hat and her mother's 
cut-over blue coat could have divined how near 
she was to bursting with happiness. Father, 
mother and children, well-dressed, well-fed, united, 
going to church on a beautiful Sunday morning; 
there was an immense cosmic rightness about all 
this which she sensed rather than realized. She 
envied no one the incident of finer clothes or a 
larger home; this unity was the core of happiness, 
all other satisfactions must radiate from this one; 
greater happiness could be only a matter of degree 
but never of essence. When she grew up she 
meant to live the same kind of life; she would 
marry a man exactly like her father and she would 
conduct her home exactly as did her mother. 
Only she would pray very hard every day for five 
children, two boys and two girls and then a last 
little one, it was hard for her to decide whether 
this should be a boy or a girl, which should stay 
small for a long, long time. And on Sundays they 
would all go to church. 

Intent on her dreaming she rarely heard the 
sermon. It was different with the hymns, for they 
constituted the main part of the service for her 

22 



HHHHHHHHHH-PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 

father, and she meant to play them again for 
him later in the happy, golden afternoon or the 
grey dusk of early evening. But first there were 
acquaintances to greet, friends of her parents who 
called them by their first names and who, in speak 
ing of Virginia and Angela still said: " And these 
are the babies; my, how they grow! It doesn't 
seem as though it could be you, Mattie Ford, grown 
up and with children ! " 

On Communion Sundays the service was very 
late, and Angela would grow restless and twist about 
in her seat, but the younger girl loved the sudden, 
mystic hush which seemed to descend on the congre 
gation. Her mother's sweetly merry face took on a 
certain childish solemnity, her father's stern profile 
softened into beatific expectancy. In the exquisite 
diction of the sacramental service there were certain 
words, certain phrases that almost made the child 
faint; the minister had a faint burr in his voice and 
somehow this lent a peculiar underlying resonance 
to his intonation ; he half spoke, half chanted and 
when, picking up the wafer he began " For in the 
night " and then broke it, Virginia could have 
cried out with the ecstasy which filled her. She 
felt that those who partook of the bread and wine 
were somehow transfigured; her mother and father 
wore an expression of ineffable content as they 
returned to their seats and there was one woman, 
a middle-aged, mischief-making person, who re 
turned from taking the sacrament, walking down 
the aisle, her hands clasped loosely in front of 
her and her face so absolutely uplifted that 
Virginia used to hasten to get within earshot 
of her after the church was dismissed, sure that 
her first words must savour of something mystic 

23 



BUN***** fr 



and holy. But her assumption proved always to 
be ill-founded. 



The afternoon and the evening repeated the 
morning's charm but in a different key. Usually 
a few acquaintances dropped in; the parlour and 
dining-room were full for an hour or more of 
pleasant, harmless chatter. Mr. Henson, the 
policeman, a tall, yellow man with freckles on his 
nose and red " bad hair " would clap Mr. Murray 
on the back and exclaim " I tell you what, June," 
which always seemed to Virginia a remarkably 
daring way in which to address her tall, dignified 
father. Matthew Henson, a boy of sixteen, would 
inevitably be hovering about Angela who found 
him insufferably boresome and made no effort 
to hide her ennui. Mrs. Murray passed around 
rather hard cookies and delicious currant wine, 
talking stitches and patterns meanwhile with two 
or three friends of her youth with a frequent injec 
tion of " Mame, do you remember ! " 

Presently the house, emptied of all but the 
family, grew still again, dusk and the lamp light 
across the street alternately panelling the walls. 
Mrs. Murray murmured something about fixing 
a bite to eat, " I'll leave it in the kitchen if any 
body wants it ". Angela reflected aloud that she 
had still to get her Algebra or History or French 
as the case might be, but nobody moved. What 
they were really waiting for was for Virginia to 
start to play and finally she would cross the narrow 
absurdity of a room and stretching out her slim, 
brown hands would begin her version, a glorified 
one, of the hymns which they had sung in church 

24 



that morning, and then the old favourites which 
she had played before breakfast. Even Angela, 
somewhat remote and difficult at first, fell into this 
evening mood and asked for a special tune or a 
repetition: " I like the way you play that, 
Jinny ". For an hour or more they were as close 
and united as it is possible for a family to be. 

At eight o'clock or thereabouts Junius said exactly 
as though it had not been in his thoughts all even 
ing: "Play the 'Dying Christian', daughter". 
And Virginia, her treble sounding very childish 
and shrill against her father's deep, unyielding 
bass, began Pope's masterpiece on the death of a 
true believer. The magnificently solemn words: 
" Vital spark of heavenly flame ", the strangely 
appropriate minor music filled the little house 
with an awesome beauty which was almost palp 
able. It affected Angela so that in sheer self- 
defence she would go out in the kitchen and eat 
her share of the cold supper set by her mother. 
But Mattie, although she never sang this piece, 
remained while her husband and daughter sang on. 
Death triumphant and mighty had no fears for 
her. It was inevitable, she knew, but she would 
never have to face it alone. When her husband 
died, she would die too, she was sure of it; and 
if death came to her first it would be only a little 
while before Junius would be there stretching out 
his hand and guiding her through all the rough, 
strange places just as years ago, when he had been 
a coachman to the actress for whom she worked, 
he had stretched out his good, honest hand and 
had saved her from a dangerous and equivocal 
position. She wiped away happy and grateful 
tears. 

25 



*'M !< -8 $* PLUM 



' The world recedes, it disappears," sang 
Virginia. But it made no difference how far it 
drifted away as long as the four of them were 
together; and they would always be together, her 
father and mother and she and Angela. With her 
visual mind she saw them proceeding endlessly 
through space; there were her parents, arm in 
arm, and she and but to-night and other nights 
she could not see Angela; it grieved her to lose sight 
thus of her sister, she knew she must be there, but 
grope as she might she could not find her. And 
then quite suddenly Angela was there again, but 
a different Angela, not quite the same as in the 
beginning of the picture. 

And suddenly she realized that she was doing four 
things at once and each of them with all the intent- 
ness which she could muster; she was singing, she 
was playing, she was searching for Angela and she 
was grieving because Angela as she knew her 
was lost forever. 

" Oh Death, oh Death, where is thy sting! " the 
hymn ended triumphantly, she and the piano as 
usual came out a little ahead of Junius which was 
always funny. She said, " Where's Angela? " 
and knew what the answer would be. " I'm tired, 
mummy! I guess I'll go to bed." 

c You ought to, you got up so early and you've 
been going all day." 

Kissing her parents good-night she mounted the 
stairs languidly, her whole being pervaded with the 
fervid yet delicate rapture of the day. 



26 



CHAPTER III 

MONDAY morning brought the return of the busy, 
happy week. It meant wash-day for Mattie, for 
she and Junius had never been able to raise their 
menage to the status either of a maid or of putting 
out the wash. But this lack meant nothing to 
her, she had been married fifteen years and still 
had the ability to enjoy the satisfaction of having 
a home in which she had full sway instead of 
being at the beck and call of others. She was old 
enough to remember a day when poverty for a 
coloured girl connoted one of three things : going 
out to service, working as ladies' maid, or taking 
a genteel but poorly paid position as seamstress 
with one of the families of the rich and great on 
Rittenhouse Square, out West Walnut Street or 
in one of the numerous impeccable, aristocratic 
suburbs of Philadelphia. 

She had tried her hand at all three of these 
possibilities, had known what it meant to rise at 
five o'clock, start the laundry work for a patronizing 
indifferent family of people who spoke of her in 
her hearing as " the girl " or remarked of her 
in a slightly lower but still audible tone as being 
rather better than the usual run of niggers, " She 
never steals, I'd trust her with anything and she 
isn't what you'd call lazy either." For this family 
she had prepared breakfast, gone back to her 

27 



HHHh^-HHHHhPLUM BUN*HHHHHHHHf~K* 

washing, served lunch, had taken down the clothes, 
sprinkled and folded them, had gone upstairs and 
made three beds, not including her own and then 
had returned to the kitchen to prepare dinner. 
At night she nodded over the dishes and finally 
stumbling up to the third floor fell into her unmade 
bed, sometimes not even fully undressed. And 
Tuesday morning she would begin on the long 
and tedious strain of ironing. For this she received 
four dollars a week with the privilege of every other 
Sunday and every Thursday off. But she could 
have no callers. 

As a seamstress, life had been a little more en 
durable but more precarious. The wages were 
better while they lasted, she had a small but 
comfortable room; her meals were brought up 
to her on a tray and the young girls of the house 
holds in which she was employed treated her 
with a careless kindness which while it still had 
its element of patronage was not offensive. But 
such families had a disconcerting habit of closing 
their households and departing for months at a 
time, and there was Mattie stranded and peril 
ously trying to make ends meet by taking in sewing. 
But her clientele was composed of girls as poor 
as she, who either did their own dressmaking or 
could afford to pay only the merest trifle for her 
really exquisite and meticulous work. 



The situation with the actress had really been 
the best in many, in almost all, respects. But 
it presented its pitfalls. Mattie was young, pretty 
and innocent; the actress was young, beautiful 
and sophisticated. She had been married twice 

28 



HHHHHHHHHHKPLUM BUN-HHHHHHHH*** 

and had been the heroine of many affairs; 
maidenly modesty, virtue for its own sake, were 
qualities long since forgotten; high ideals and 
personal self-respect were too abstract for her 
slightly coarsened mind to visualize, and at any 
rate they were incomprehensible and even absurd 
in a servant, and in a coloured servant to boot. 
She knew that in spite of Mattie's white skin 
there was black blood in her veins; in fact she 
would not have taken the girl on had she not 
been coloured; all her servants must be coloured, 
for hers was a carelessly conducted household, 
and she felt dimly that all coloured people are 
thickly streaked with immorality. They were 
naturally loose, she reasoned, when she thought 
about it at all. " Look at the number of mixed 
bloods among them; look at Mattie herself for 
that matter, a perfectly white nigger if ever there 
was one. I'll bet her mother wasn't any better 
than she should be." 

When the girl had come to her with tears in 
her eyes and begged her not to send her as mes 
senger to the house of a certain Haynes Brokinaw, 
politician and well-known man about town, 
Madame had laughed out loud. " How ridicu 
lous ! He'll treat you all right. I should like to 
know what a girl like you expects. And anyway, 
if I don't care, why should you? Now run along 
with the note and don't bother me about this 
again. I hire you to do what I want, not to 
do as you want." She was not even jealous, 
of a coloured working girl! And anyway, 
constancy was no virtue in her eyes; she did 
not possess it herself and she valued it little in 
others, 

"9 



BUN-fr-H*-HHHHHH* 



Mattie was in despair. She was receiving 
twenty-five dollars a month, her board, and a 
comfortable, pleasant room. She was seeing 
something of the world and learning of its amen 
ities. It was during this period that she learned 
how very pleasant indeed life could be for a 
person possessing only a very little extra money 
and a white skin. But the special attraction 
which her present position held for her was that 
every day she had a certain amount of time to 
call her own, for she was Madame's personal 
servant; in no wise was she connected with 
the routine of keeping the house. If Madame 
elected to spend the whole day away from home, 
Mattie, once she had arranged for the evening 
toilette, was free to act and to go where she 
pleased. 

And now here was this impasse looming up 
with Brokinaw. More than once Mattie had felt 
his covetous eyes on her; she had dreaded going 
to his rooms from the very beginning. She had 
even told his butler, " I'll be back in half an hour 
for the answer"; and she would not wait in the 
great square hall as he had indicated for there 
she was sure that danger lurked. But the third 
time Brokinaw was standing in the hall. "Just 
come into my study," he told her, " while I read 
this and write the answer." And he had looked 
at her with his cold, green eyes and had asked her 
why she was so out of breath. " There's no need 
to rush so, child; stay here and rest. I'm in no 
hurry, I assure you. Are you really coloured? 
You know, I've seen lots of white girls not as 
pretty as you. Sit here and tell me all about 
your mother, and your father. Do do you 

30 



* * * *HHHHHHPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHHK 

remember him? " His whole bearing reeked with 
intention. 

Within a week Madame was sending her again 
and she had suggested fearfully the new coach 
man. " No," said Madame. " It's Wednesday, 
his night off, and I wouldn't send him anyway; 
coachmen are too hard to keep nowadays ; you're 
all getting so independent." Mattie had come 
down from her room and walked slowly, slowly 
to the corner where the new coachman, tall and 
black and grave, was just hailing a car. She ran 
to him and jerked down the arm which he had 
just lifted to seize the railing. " Oh, Mr. Murray," 
she stammered. He had been so astonished and 
so kind. Her halting explanation done, he took 
the note in silence and delivered it, and the next 
night and for many nights thereafter they walked 
through the silent, beautiful square, and Junius 
had told her haltingly and with fear that he loved 
her. She threw her arms about his neck: " And 
I love you too." 

' You don't mind my being so dark then? 
Lots of coloured girls I know wouldn't look at a 
black man." 

But it was partly on account of his colour that 
she loved him; in her eyes his colour meant 
safety. " Why should I mind? " she asked with 
one of her rare outbursts of bitterness, " my own 
colour has never brought me anything but insult 
and trouble." 

The other servants, it appeared, had told him 
that sometimes she he hesitated " passed ". 

' Yes, yes, of course I do," she explained it 
eagerly, " but never to them. And anyway when 
I am alone what can I do? I can't label myself, 

3 1 



And if Fm hungry or tired and I'm near a place 
where they don't want coloured people, why should 
I observe their silly old rules, rules that are un 
natural and unjust, because the world was made 
for everybody, wasn't it, Junius? " 

She had told him then how hard and joyless 
her girlhood life had been, she had known such 
dreadful poverty and she had been hard put to it 
to keep herself together. But since she had come 
to live with Madame Sylvio she had glimpsed, 
thanks to her mistress's careless kindness, some 
thing of the life of comparative ease and beauty 
and refinement which one could easily taste if he 
possessed just a modicum of extra money and the 
prerequisite of a white skin. 

" I've only done it for fun but I won't do it any 
more if it displeases you. I'd much rather live 
in the smallest house in the world with you, 
Junius, than be wandering around as I have so 
often, lonely and unknown in hotels and restaur 
ants." Her sweetness disarmed him. There was 
no reason in the world why she should give up 
her harmless pleasure unless, he added rather 
sternly, some genuine principle were involved. 

It was the happiest moment of her life when 
Junius had gone to Madame and told her that 
both he and Mattie were leaving. " We are going 
to be married," he announced proudly. The 
actress had been sorry to lose her, and wanted to 
give her a hundred dollars, but the tall, black 
coachman would not let his wife accept it. " She 
is to have only what she earned," he said in 
stern refusal. He hated Madame Sylvio for 
having thrown the girl in the way of Haynes 
Brokinaw, 



4HHHHHHHWHHKPLUM BUNfrfrfrfr-fr-fr-fr -fr-fr* 

They had married and gone straight into the 
little house on Opal Street which later was to 
become their own. Mattie her husband considered 
a perfect woman, sweet, industrious, affectionate 
and illogical. But to her he was God. 

When Angela and Virginia were little children 
and their mother used to read them fairy tales she 
would add to the ending, " And so they lived 
happily ever after, just like your father and me." 

All this was passing happily through her mind on 
this Monday morning. Junius was working some 
where in the neighbourhood; his shop was down 
on Bainbridge Street, but he tried to devote 
Mondays and Tuesdays to work up town so that 
he could run in and help \Mattie on these trying 
days. Before the advent of the washing machine 
he used to dart in and out two or three times in 
the course of a morning to lend a hand to the 
heavy sheets and the bed-spreads. Now those 
articles were taken care of in the laundry, but 
Junius still kept up the pleasant fiction. 

Virginia attended school just around the corner, 
and presently she would come in too, not so much 
to get her own lunch as to prepare it for her 
mother. She possessed her father's attitude toward 
Mattie as someone who must be helped, indulged 
and protected. Moreover she had an unusually 
keen sense of gratitude toward her father and mother 
for their kindness and their unselfish ambitions 
for their children. Jinny never tired of hearing 
of the difficult childhood of her parents. She knew 
of no story quite so thrilling as the account of 
their early trials and difficulties. She thought 
it wonderfully sweet of them to plan, as? they 
constantly did, better things for their daughters. 

c 33 



HHHHHK- > * > * PLUM 



" My girls shall never come through my experi 
ences," Mattie would say fimly. They were both 
to be school-teachers and independent. 

It is true that neither of them felt any special 
leaning toward this calling. Angela frankly 
despised it, but she supposed she must make her 
living some way. The salary was fairly good 
in fact, very good for a poor girl and there would 
be the long summer vacation. At fourteen she 
knew already how much money she would save 
during those first two or three years and how she 
would spend those summer vacations. But although 
she proffered this much information to her family she 
kept her plans to herself. Mattie often pondered 
on this lack of openness in her older daughter. 
Virginia was absolutely transparent. She did not 
think she would care for teaching either, that is, 
not for teaching in the ordinary sense. But she 
realized that for the present that was the best 
profession which her parents could have chosen 
for them. She would spend her summers learning 
all she could about methods of teaching music. 

" And a lot of good it will do you," Angela 
scoffed. " You know perfectly well that there are 
no coloured teachers of music in the public schools 
here in Philadelphia." But Jinny thought it 
possible that there might be. " When Mamma 
was coming along there were very few coloured 
teachers at all, and now it looks as though there'd 
be plenty of chance for us. And anyway you 
never know your luck." 

By four o'clock the day's work was over and 
Mattie free to do as she pleased. This was her 
idle hour. The girls would get dinner, a Monday 
version of whatever the main course had been the 

34 



HHHHHHHHHMhPLUM BUNHHHHHHH!~HHH^ 

day before. Their mother was on no account to 
be disturbed or importuned. To-day as usual she 
sat in the Morris chair in the dining-room, dividing 
her time between the Sunday paper and the girls' 
chatter. It was one of her most cherished ex 
periences, this sense of a day's hard labour far 
behind her, the happy voices of her girls, her 
joyous expectation of her husband's home-coming. 
Usually the children made a game of their pre 
parations, recalling some nonsense of their early 
childhood days when it had been their delight to 
dress up as ladies. Virginia would approach 
Angela: " Pardon me, is this Mrs. Henrietta 
Jones? " And Angela, drawing herself up haughtily 
would reply: " Er, really you have the advantage 
of me." Then Virginia : "Oh pardon! I thought 
you were Mrs. Jones and I had heard my friend 
Mrs, Smith speak of you so often and since you 
were in the neighbourhood and passing, I was 
going to ask you in to have some ice-cream ". 
The game of course being that Angela should 
immediately drop her haughtiness and proceed 
for the sake of the goodies to ingratiate herself 
into her neighbour's esteem. It was a poor joke, 
long since worn thin, but the two girls still 
used the greeting and for some reason it had 
become part of the Monday ritual of preparing 
the supper. 

But to-night Angela's response lacked spon 
taneity. She was absorbed and reserved, even a 
little sulky. Deftly and swiftly she moved about 
her work, however, and no one who had not 
attended regularly on those Monday evening prep 
arations could have guessed that there was anything 
on her mind other than complete absorption in the 

35 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf* 



problem of cutting the bread or garnishing the 
warmed over roast beef. But Mattie was aware 
of the quality of brooding in her intense con 
centration. She had seen it before in her daughter 
but to-night, though to her practised eye it was 
more apparent than ever, she could not put her 
hand on it. Angela's response, if asked what was 
the matter, would be " Oh, nothing ". It came 
to her suddenly that her older daughter was 
growing up; in a couple of months she would 
be fifteen. Children were often absorbed and 
moody when they were in their teens, too engaged 
in finding themselves to care about their e fleet 
on others. She must see to it that the girl had 
plenty of rest; perhaps school had been too 
strenuous for her to-day; she thought the high 
school programme very badly arranged, five hours 
one right after the other were much too long. 
" Angela, child, I think you'd better not be long 
out of bed to-night; you look very tired to me." 
Angela nodded. But her father came in then 
and in the little hubbub that arose about his 
home-coming and the final preparations for supper 
her listlessness went without further remark. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE third storey front was Angela's bed-room. 
She was glad of its loneliness and security to-night, 
even if her mother had not suggested her going 
to bed early she would have sought its shelter 
immediately after supper. Study for its own sake 
held no attractions for her; she did not care for 
any of her subjects really except Drawing and 
French. And when she was drawing she did not 
consider that she was studying, it was too natur 
ally a means of self-expression. As for French, 
she did have to study that with great care, for 
languages did not come to her with any great 
readiness, but there was an element of fine lady-ism 
about the beautiful, logical tongue that made her 
in accordance with some secret subconscious 
ambition resolve to make it her own. 

The other subjects, History, English, and Physi 
cal Geography, were not drudgery, for she had 
a fair enough mind; but then they were not 
attractive either, and she was lacking in Virginia's 
dogged resignation to unwelcome duties. Even 
when Jinny was a little girl she had been known to 
say manfully in the face of an uncongenial task: 
" Well I dotta det it done ". Angela was not like 
that. But to-night she was concentrating with all 
her power on her work. During the day she had 
been badly hurt; she had received a wound 

37 



BUNHHHHHHf-HHHHH- 



whose depth and violence she would not reveal 
even to her parents, because, and this only in 
creased the pain, young as she was she knew that 
there was nothing they could do about it. There 
was nothing to be done but to get over it. Only 
she was not developed enough to state this stoicism 
to herself. She was like a little pet cat that had 
once formed part of their household; its leg had 
been badly torn by a passing dog and the poor 
thing had dragged itself into the house and lain 
on its cushion patiently, waiting stolidly for 
this unfamiliar agony to subside. So Angela 
waited for the hurt in her mind to cease. 

But across the history dates on the printed 
page and through the stately lines of Lycidas she 
kept seeing Mary Hastings' accusing face, hearing 
Mary Hastings' accusing voice: 

" Coloured ! Angela, you never told me that 
you were coloured ! " 

And then her own voice in tragic but proud be 
wilderment. " Tell you that I was coloured ! 
Why of course I never told you that I was coloured. 
Why should I?" 



She had been so proud of Mary Hastings' friend 
ship. In the dark and tortured spaces of her 
difficult life it had been a lovely, hidden refuge. It 
had been an experience so rarely sweet that she 
had hardly spoken of it even to Virginia. The 
other girls in her classes had meant nothing to her. 
At least she had schooled herself to have them 
mean nothing. Some of them she had known 
since early childhood; they had lived in her neigh- 

38 



* * PLUM 



bourhood and had gone to the graded schools with 
her. They had known that she was coloured, for 
they had seen her with Virginia, and sometimes 
her tall, black father had come to fetch her home 
on a rainy day. There had been pleasant enough 
contacts and intimacies; in the quiet of Jefferson 
Street they had played " The Farmer in the Dell ", 
and "Here come three jolly, jolly sailor-boys"; 
dark retreats of the old market had afforded endless 
satisfaction for " Hide and Go Seek ". She and 
those other children had gone shopping arm in 
arm for school supplies, threading their way in and 
out of the bustle and confusion that were Columbia 
Avenue. 

As she grew older many of these intimacies 
lessened, in some cases ceased altogether. But 
she was never conscious of being left completely 
alone; there was always some one with whom to 
eat lunch or who was going her way after school. 
It was not until she reached the high school that 
she began to realize how solitary her life was 
becoming. There were no other coloured girls 
in her class but there had been only two or three 
during her school-life, and if there had been any 
she would not necessarily have confined herself 
to them; that this might be a good thing to do in 
sheer self-defence would hardly have occurred to 
her. But this problem did not confront her; 
what did confront her was that the very girls 
with whom she had grown up were evading 
her; when she went to the Assembly none of 
them sat next to her unless no other seat were 
vacant; little groups toward which she drifted 
during lunch, inexplicably dissolved to re-form 
in another portion of the room. Sometimes a 

39 



PLUM 



girl in this new group threw her a backward 
glance charged either with a mean amusement or 
with annoyance. 

Angela was proud; she did not need such a hint 
more than once, but she was bewildered and hurt. 
She took stories to school to read at recess, or wan 
dered into the drawing laboratory and touched up 
her designs. Miss Barrington thought her an 
unusually industrious student. 

And then in the middle of the term Mary Hast 
ings had come, a slender, well-bred girl of fifteen. 
She was rather stupid in her work, in fact she 
shone in nothing but French and good manners. 
Undeniably she had an air, and her accent was 
remarkable. The other pupils, giggling, produced 
certain uncouth and unheard of sounds, but Mary 
said in French: " No, I have lent my knife to the 
brother-in-law of the gardener but here is my cane," 
quite as though the idiotic phrase were part of an 
imaginary conversation which she was conducting 
and appreciating. " She really knows what she's 
talking about," little Esther Bayliss commented, and 
added that Mary's family had lost some money 
and they had had to send her to public school. 
But it was some time before this knowledge, dis 
pensed by Esther with mysterious yet absolute 
authenticity, became generally known. Mean 
while Mary was left to her own devices while the 
class with complete but tacit unanimity " tried her 
out ". Mary, unaware of this, looked with her 
near-sighted, slightly supercilious gaze about the 
room at recess and seeing only one girl, and that 
girl Angela, who approached in dress, manner and 
deportment her own rather set ideas, had taken 
her lunch over to the other pupil's desk and said : 

40 



BUNHHHHHHHH^HH^HH- 

" Come on, let's eat together while you tell me who 
everybody is." 

Angela took the invitation as simply as the other 
had offered. " That little girl in the purplish 
dress is Esther Bayliss and the tall one in the thick 
glasses " 

Mary, sitting with her back to the feeding groups, 
never troubled to look around. " I don't mean the 
girls. I expect I'll know them soon enough when I 
get around to it. I mean the teachers. Do you 
have to dig for them? " She liked Angela and she 
showed it plainly and directly. Her home was 
in some remote fastness of West Philadelphia 
which she could reach with comparative swiftness 
by taking the car at Spring Garden Street. Instead 
she walked half way home with her new friend, up 
Seventeenth Street as far as Girard Avenue where, 
after a final exchange of school matters and fare 
wells, she took the car, leaving Angela to her happy, 
satisfied thoughts. And presently she began to 
know more than happiness and satisfaction, she 
was knowing the extreme gratification of being 
the chosen companion of a popular and important 
girl, for Mary, although not quick at her studies, 
was a power in everything else. She dressed well, 
she had plenty of pocket money, she could play 
the latest marches in the gymnasium, she received 
a certain indefinable but flattering attention from 
the teachers, and she could make things " go ". 
The school paper was moribund and Mary knew 
how to resuscitate it; she brought in advertisements 
from her father's business friends; she made her 
married sisters obtain subscriptions. Without 
being obtrusive or over-bearing, without conde 
scension and without toadying she was the leader 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHE** 



of her class. And with it all she stuck to Angela. 
She accepted popularity because it was thrust 
upon her, but she was friendly with Angela because 
the latter suited her. 

Angela was happy. She had a friend and the 
friendship brought her unexpected advantages. 
She was no longer left out of groups because there 
could be no class plans without Mary and Mary 
would remain nowhere for any length of time with 
out Angela. So to save time and argument, and 
also to avoid offending the regent, Angela was 
always included. Not that she cared much about 
this, but she did like Mary; as is the way of a " fidus 
Achates ", she gave her friendship whole-heartedly. 
And it was gratifying to be in the midst of things. 



In April the school magazine announced a new 
departure. Henceforth the editorial staff was to 
be composed of two representatives from each 
class ; of these one was to be the chief representative 
chosen by vote of the class, the other was to be 
assistant, selected by the chief. The chief represen 
tative, said the announcement pompously, would 
sit in at executive meetings and have a voice in 
the policy of the paper. The assistant would 
solicit and collect subscriptions, collect fees, re 
ceive and report complaints and in brief, said 
Esther Bayliss, " do all the dirty work ". But she 
coveted the position and title for all that. 

Angela's class held a brief meeting after school 
and elected Mary Hastings as representative with 
out a dissenting vote. " No," said Angela holding 
up a last rather grimy bit of paper. " Here is 

42 



BUNHH?" * * * * fr frHHS 



one for Esther Bayliss." Two or three of the 
girls giggled; everyone knew that she must have 
voted for herself; indeed it had been she who had 
insisted on taking a ballot rather than a vote by 
acclaim. Mary was already on her feet. She 
had been sure of the result of the election, would 
have been astonished indeed had it turned out 
any other way. " Well, girls," she began in her 
rather high, refined voice, " I wish to thank you 
for the er confidence you have bestowed, that 
is, placed in me and I'm sure you all know I'll do 
my best to keep the old paper going. And while 
I'm about it I might just as well announce that 
I'm choosing Angela Murray for my assistant." 

There was a moment's silence. The girls who 
had thought about it at all had known that if 
Mary were elected, as assuredly she would be, 
this meant also the election of Angela. And 
those who had taken no thought saw no reason 
to object to her appointment. And anyway there 
was nothing to be done. But Esther Bayliss pushed 
forward: " I don't know how it is with the rest 
of you, but I should have to think twice before I'd 
trust my subscription money to a coloured girl." 

Mary said in utter astonishment: " Coloured, 
why what are you talking about? Who's col 
oured? " 

" Angela, Angela Murray, that's who's coloured. 
At least she used to be when we all went to school 
at Eighteenth and Oxford." 

Mary said again: "Coloured!" And then, 
" Angela, you never told me you were coloured ! " 

Angela's voice was as amazed as her own: " Tell 
you that I was coloured ! Why of course I never 
told you that I was coloured! Why should I? " 

43 



HHHHHHH-HH-PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH5- 

;c There," said Esther, " see she never told Mary 
that she was coloured. What wouldn't she have 
done with our money ! " 



Angela had picked up her books and strolled 
out the door. But she flew down the north stair 
case and out the Brandywine Street entrance and 
so to Sixteenth Street where she would meet no 
one she knew, especially at this belated hour. At 
home there would be work to do, her lessons to 
get and the long, long hours of the night must 
pass before she would have to face again the hurt 
and humiliation of the classroom; before she 
would have to steel her heart and her nerves to 
drop Mary Hastings before Mary Hastings could 
drop her. No one, no one, Mary least of all, 
should guess how completely she had been 
wounded. Mary and her shrinking bewilder 
ment! Mary and her exclamation: " Coloured! " 
This was a curious business, this colour. It was 
the one god apparently to whom you could sacri 
fice everything. On account of it her mother had 
neglected to greet her own husband on the street. 
Mary Hastings could let it come between her and 
her friend. 

In the morning she was at school early; the 
girls should all see her there and their individual 
attitude should be her attitude. She would remem 
ber each one's greetings, would store it away for 
future guidance. Some of the girls were especially 
careful to speak to her, one or two gave her a 
meaning smile, or so she took it, and turned away. 
Some did not speak at all. When Mary Hastings 

44 



HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM RUNHHHHHHHHHHH^ 

came in Angela rose and sauntered unseeing and 
unheeding deliberately past her through the 
doorway, across the hall to Miss Barrington's 
laboratory. As she returned she passed Mary's 
desk, and the girl lifted troubled but not un 
friendly eyes to meet her own; Angela met the 
glance fully but without recognition. She thought 
to herself: " Coloured ! If they had said to me 
Mary Hastings is a voodoo, I'd have answered, 
' What of.it? She's my friend.' " 



Before June Mary Hastings came up to her and 
asked her to wait after school. Angela who had 
been neither avoiding nor seeking her gave a 
cool nod. They walked out of the French class 
room together. When they reached the corner 
Mary spoke: 

" Oh, Angela, let's be friends again. It doesn't 
really make any difference. See, I don't care any 
more." 

" But that's what I don't understand. Why 
should it have made any difference in the first 
place? I'm just the same as I was before you 
knew I was coloured and just the same afterwards. 
Why should it ever have made any difference at 
all? " 

" I don't know, I'm sure. I was just surprised. 
It was all so unexpected." 

" What was unexpected? " 

" Oh, I don't know. I can't explain it. But 
let's be friends." 

" Well," said Angela slowly, " I'm willing, but 
I don't think it will ever be the same again." 

45 



PLUM BUNf HK fr fr HHHHHS* 



It wasn't. Some element, spontaneity, trustful 
ness was lacking. Mary, who had never thought 
of speaking of colour, was suddenly conscious 
that here was a subject which she must not dis 
cuss. She was less frank, at times even restrained. 
Angela, too young to define her thoughts, yet felt 
vaguely: " She failed me once, I was her friend, 
yet she failed me for something with which I 
had nothing to do. She's just as likely to do it 
again. It's in her." 

Definitely she said to herself, " Mary with 
drew herself not because I was coloured but 
because she didn't know I was coloured. There 
fore if she had never known I was coloured she 
would always have been my friend. We would 
have kept on having our good times together." 
And she began to wonder which was the more 
important, a patent insistence on the fact of colour 
or an acceptance of the good things of life which 
could come to you in America if either you were 
not coloured or the fact of your racial connections 
was not made known. 

During the summer Mary Hastings' family, 
it appeared, recovered their fallen fortunes. At 
any rate she did not return to school in the fall 
and Angela never saw her again. 



CHAPTER V 

VIRGINIA came rushing in. " Angela, where's 
Mummy? " 

" Out. What's all the excitement? " 
" I've been appointed. Isn't it great? Won't 
Mother and Dad be delighted! Right at the 
beginning of the year too, so I won't have to wait. 
The official notice isn't out yet but I know it's 
all right. Miss Herren wants me to report to 
morrow. Isn't it perfectly marvellous! Here I 
graduate from the Normal in June and in the 
second week of school in September I've got my 
perfectly good job. Darling child, it's very much 
better, as you may have heard me observe before, 
to be born lucky than rich. But I am lucky and 
I'll be rich too. Think of that salary for my very 
own ! With both of us working, Mummy won't have 
to want for a thing, nor Father either. Mummy 
won't have to do a lick of work if she doesn't 
want to. Well, what have you got to say about it, 
old Rain-in-the-Face? Or perhaps this isn't Mrs. 
Henrietta Jones whom I'm addressing of?" 

Angela giggled, then raised an imaginary 
lorgnette. " Er, really I think you have the 
advantage of me. Well, I was thinking how 
fortunate you were to get your appointment right 
off the bat and how you'll hate it now that 
you have got it." 

47 



*HHHHHHHH~HhPLUM BUN^HHHHHHHHHHf* 

She herself, appointed two years previously, had 
had no such luck. Strictly speaking there are no 
coloured schools as such in Philadelphia. Yet, by 
an unwritten law, although coloured children may 
be taught by white teachers, white children must 
never receive knowledge at the hands of coloured 
instructors. As the number of coloured Normal 
School graduates is steadily increasing, the city 
gets around this difficulty by manning a school in 
a district thickly populated by Negroes, with a 
coloured principal and a coloured teaching force. 
Coloured children living in that district must 
thereupon attend that school. But no attention 
is paid to the white children who leave this same 
district for the next nearest white or " mixed " 
school. 

Angela had been sixth on the list of coloured 
graduates. Five had been appointed, but there 
was no vacancy for her, and for several months 
she was idle with here and there a day, perhaps a 
week of substituting. She could not be appointed 
in any but a coloured school, and she was not 
supposed to substitute in any but this kind of 
classroom. Then her father discovered that a young 
white woman was teaching in a coloured school. 
He made some searching inquiries and was met 
with the complacent rejoinder that as soon as a 
vacancy occurred in a white school, Miss Mc- 
Sweeney would be transferred there and his 
daughter could have her place. 

Just as she had anticipated, Angela did not want 
the job after she received it. She had expected 
to loathe teaching little children and her expecta 
tion, it turned out, was perfectly well grounded. 
Perhaps she might like to teach drawing to grown- 



* * * * -3- * * * '3- * PLUM BUN frfrfr frfrH-M-H> 

ups; she would certainly like to have a try at it. 
Meanwhile it was nice to be independent, to be 
holding a lady-like, respectable position so different 
from her mother's early days, to be able to have 
pretty clothes and to help with the house, in brief 
to be drawing an appreciably adequate and steady 
salary. For one thing it made it possible for her 
to take up work at the Philadelphia Academy of 
Fine Arts at Broad and Cherry. 



Jinny was in excellent spirits at dinner. " Now, 
Mummy darling, you really shall walk in silk 
attire and siller hae to spare." Angela's appoint 
ment had done away with the drudgery of 
washday. " We'll get Hettie Daniels to come in 
Saturdays and clean up. I won't have to scrub 
the front steps any more and everything will be 
feasting and fun." Pushing aside her plate she 
rushed over to her father, climbed on his knee and 
flung her lovely bronze arms around his neck. 
She still adored him, still thought him the finest 
man in the world; she still wanted her husband 
to be just exactly like him; he would not be so tall 
nor would he be quite as dark. Matthew Henson 
was of only medium height and was a sort of reddish 
yellow and he distinctly was not as handsome 
as her father. Indeed Virginia thought, with a 
pang of shame at her disloyalty, that it would 
have been a fine thing if he could exchange his 
lighter skin for her father's colour if in so doing 
it he might have gained her father's thick, 
coarsely grained but beautifully curling, open 
black hair. Matthew had inherited his father's 

D 49 



HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHH5~H* 

thick, tight, " bad " hair. Only, thank heaven, it 
was darker. 

Junius tucked his slender daughter back in the 
hollow of his arm. 

' Well, baby, you want something off my plate? " 
As a child Virginia had been a notorious beggar. 

" Darling ! I was thinking that now you could 
buy Mr. Hallowell's car. He's got his eye on a 
Cadillac, Kate says, and he'd be willing to let 
Henry Ford go for a song." 

Junius was pleased, but he thought he ought 
to protest. " Do I look as old as all that? I might 
be able to buy the actual car, now that my girls 
are getting so monied, but the upkeep, I under 
stand, is pretty steep." 

" Oh, nonsense," said Mattie. " Go on and 
get it, June. Think how nice it will be riding out 
North Broad Street in the evenings." 

And Angela added kindly: " I think you owe 
it to yourself to get it, Dad. Jinny and I'll carry 
the house till you get it paid for." 

" Well, there's no reason of course why I " 

he corrected himself, " why we shouldn't have a 
car if we want it." He saw himself spending 
happy moments digging in the little car's inmost 
mysteries. He would buy new parts, change the 
engine perhaps, paint it and overhaul her gener 
ally. And he might just as well indulge himself. 
The little house was long since paid for; he was 
well insured, and his two daughters were grown 
up and taking care of themselves. He slid Jinny 
off his knee. 

" I believe I'll run over to the Hallowells now 
and see what Tom'll take for that car. Catch 
him before he goes down town in it." 

50 



Virginia called after him. " Just think ! May 
be this time next week you'll be going down town 



n t." 



She was very happy. Life was turning out 
just right. She was young, she was twenty, she 
was about to earn her own living, " to be about 
to live " she said, happily quoting a Latin con 
struction which had always intrigued her. Her 
mother would never have to work again; her 
father would have a Henry Ford ; she herself would 
get a new, good music teacher and would also 
take up the study of methods at the University 
of Pennsylvania. 

Angela could hear her downstairs talking to 
Matthew Henson whose ring she had just answered. 
" Only think, Matt, I've been appointed." 

" Great ! " said Matthew. " Is Angela in? Do 
you think she'd like to go to the movies with me 
to-night? She was too tired last time. Run up 
and ask her, there's a good girl." 

Angela sighed. She didn't want to go out with 
Matthew; he wearied her so. And besides people 
always looked at her so strangely. She wished he 
would take it into his head to come and see Jinny. 



Sunday was still a happy day. Already an air 
of prosperity, of having arrived beyond the striv 
ing point, had settled over the family. Mr. 
Murray's negotiations with Tom Hallowell had 
been most successful. The Ford, a little four 
seater coupe, compact and sturdy, had changed 



-HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUN-HHHHHHHHHH5* 

hands. Its former owner came around on Sunday 
to give Junius a lesson. The entire household piled 
in, for both girls were possessed of the modern 
slenderness. They rode out Jefferson Street and 
far, far out Ridge Avenue to the Wissahickon and 
on to Chestnut Hill. From time to time, when the 
traffic was thin, Junius took the wheel, anticipating 
Tom's instructions with the readiness of the born 
mechanic. They came back laughing and happy 
and pardonably proud. The dense, tender glow of 
the late afternoon September sun flooded the little 
parlour, the dining-room was dusky and the kitchen 
was redolent of scents of ginger bread and spiced 
preserves. After supper there were no lessons 
to get. " It'll be years before I forget all that 
stuff I learned in practice school," said Jinny 
gaily. 

Later on some boys came in; Matthew Henson 
inevitably, peering dissatisfied through the autumn 
gloom for Angela and immediately content when 
he saw her; Arthur Sawyer, who had just entered 
the School of Pedagogy and was a little ashamed 
of it, for he considered teaching work fit only for 
women. " But I've got to make a living somehow, 
ain't I? And I won't go into that post-office! " 

" What's the matter with the post-office? " 
Henson asked indignantly. He had just been 
appointed. In reality he did not fancy the work 
himself, but he did not want it decried before 
Angela. 

" Tell me what better or surer job is there for 
a 'coloured man in Philadelphia? " 

" Nothing," said Sawyer promptly, " not a thing 
in the world except school teaching. But that's 
just what I object to. I'm sick of planning my 

52 



W-H-H-HHHH-PLUM BUN^HHMHMMHHHf** 

life with regard to being coloured. I'm not a 
bit ashamed of my race. I don't mind in the least 
that once we were slaves. Every race in the world 
has at some time occupied a servile position. But 
I do mind having to take it into consideration 
every time I want to eat outside of my home, 
every time I enter a theatre, every time I think of 
a profession. 

" But you do have to take it into consideration," 
said Jinny softly. " At present it's one of the facts 
of our living, just as lameness or near-sightedness 
might be for a white man." 

The inevitable race discussion was on. 

" Ah, but there you're all off, Miss Virginia." 
A tall, lanky, rather supercilious youth spoke up 
from the corner. He had been known to them all 
their lives as Franky Porter, but he had taken 
lately to publishing poems in the Philadelphia 
Tribunal which he signed F. Seymour Porter. 
" Really you're all off, for you speak as though 
colour itself were a deformity. Whereas, as Miss 
Angela being an artist knows, colour may really 
be a very beautiful thing, mayn't it? " 

" Oh don't drag me into your old discussion," 
Angela answered crossly. "I'm sick of this whole 
race business if you ask me. And don't call me 
Miss Angela. Call me Angela as you've all done 
all our lives or else call me Miss Murray. No, I 
don't think being coloured in America is a beautiful 
thing. I think it's nothing short of a curse." 

" Well," said Porter slowly, " I think its being 
or not being a curse rests with you. You've got 
to decide whether or not you're going to let it 
interfere with personal development and to that 
extent it may be harmful or it may be an incentive, 

53 



BUN******HHHHH5 



I take it that Sawyer here, who even when we were 
all kids always wanted to be an engineer, will 
transmute his colour either into a bane or a blessing 
according to whether he lets it make him hide his 
natural tendencies under the bushel of school- 
teaching or become an inspiration toward making 
him the very best kind of engineer that there ever 
was so that people will just have to take him for 
what he is and overlook the fact of colour." 

" That's it," said Jinny. " You know, being 
coloured often does spur you on." 

" And that's what I object to," Angela answered 
perversely. "I'm sick of this business of always 
being below or above a certain norm. Doesn't 
anyone think that we have a right to be happy 
simply, naturally? " 



Gradually they drifted into music. Virginia 
played a few popular songs and presently the old 
beautiful airs of all time, " Drink to me only with 
thine eyes " and " Sweet and Low ". Arthur 
Sawyer had a soft, melting tenor and Angela a 
rather good alto; Virginia and the other boys 
carried the air while Junius boomed his deep, 
unyielding bass. The lovely melodies and the 
peace of the happy, tranquil household crept over 
them, and presently they exchanged farewells and 
the young men passed wearied and contented out 
into the dark confines of Opal Street. Angela and 
Mattie went upstairs, but Viginia and her father 
stayed below and sang very softly so as not to 
disturb the sleeping street; a few hymns and finally 
the majestic strains of " The Dying Christian " 

54 



^HHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUN*********** 

floated up. Mrs. Murray had complained of 
feeling [tired. " I think I'll just lie a moment 
on your bed, Angela, until your father comes 
up." But her daughter noticed that she had not 
relaxed, instead she was straining forward a 
little and Angela realized that she was trying to 
catch every note of her husband's virile, hearty 
voice. 

She said, " You heard what we were all talking 
about before the boys left. You and father don't 
ever bother to discuss such matters, do you? " 

Her mother seemed to strain past the sound of 
her voice. " Not any more; oh, of course we used 
to talk about such things, but you get so taken up 
with the problem of living, just life itself you know, 
that by and by being coloured or not is just one 
thing more or less that you have to contend with. 
But of course there have been times when colour 
was the starting point of our discussions. I remem 
ber how when you and Jinny were little things 
and she was always running to the piano and you 
were scribbling all over the walls, many's the time 
I've slapped your little fingers for that, Angela, 
we used to spend half the night talking about you, 
your father and I. I wanted you to be great 
artists but Junius said: ' No, we'll give them a 
good, plain education and set them in the way 
of earning a sure and honest living; then if they've 
got it in them to travel over all the rocks that'll 
be in their way as coloured girls, they'll manage, 
never you fear.' And he was right." The music 
downstairs ceased and she lay back, relaxed and 
drowsy. " Your father's always right." 

Much of this was news to Angela, and she 
would have liked to learn more about those early 

55 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH5* 



nocturnal discussions. But she only said, smiling, 
" You're still crazy about father, aren't you, 
darling? " 

Her mother was wide awake in an instant. 
"Crazy! I'd give my life for him!" 



The Saturday excursions were long since a thing 
of the past; Henry Ford had changed that. Also 
the extra work which the girls had taken upon 
themselves in addition to their teaching, Angela 
at the Academy, Virginia at the University, made 
Saturday afternoon a too sorely needed period of 
relaxation to be spent in the old familiar fashion. 
Still there were times when Angela in search of 
a new frock or intent on the exploration of a picture 
gallery asked her mother to accompany her. And 
at such times the two indulged in their former 
custom of having tea and a comfortable hour's 
chat in the luxurious comfort of some exclusive tea 
room or hotel. Mattie, older and not quite so 
lightly stepping in these days of comparative ease 
as in those other times when a week's arduous 
duties lay behind her, still responded joyously to 
the call of fashion and grooming, the air of " good 
living " which pervaded these places. Moreover 
she herself was able to contribute to this atmos 
phere. Her daughters insisted on presenting her 
with the graceful and dainty clothes which she 
loved, and they were equally insistent on her 
wearing them. " No use hanging them in a 
closet," said Jinny blithely. All her prophecies 
had come true her mother had the services of 
a maid whenever she needed them, she went clad 

56 



BUNHHHHHH^-HMHH* 



for the most part " in silk attire ", and she had 
" siller to spare " and to spend. 

She was down town spending it now. The 
Ladies' Auxiliary of her church was to give a recep 
tion after Lent, and Mattie meant to hold her 
own with the best of them. " We're getting to 
be old ladies," she said a bit wistfully, " but we'll 
make you young ones look at us once or twice just 
the same." Angela replied that she was sure of 
that. " And I know one or two little secrets for 
the complexion that will make it impossible for 
you to call yourself old." 

But those her mother knew already. However 
she expressed a willingness to accept Angela's 
offer. She loved to be fussed over, and of late 
Angela had shown a tendency to rival even Jinny 
in this particular. The older girl was beginning 
to lose some of her restlessness. Life was pretty 
hum-drum, but it was comfortable and pleasant; 
her family life was ideal and her time at the art 
school delightful. The instructor was interested 
in her progress, and one or two of the girls had 
shown a desire for real intimacy. These intima 
tions she had not followed up very closely, but she 
was seeing enough of a larger, freer world to make 
her chafe less at the restrictions which somehow 
seemed to bind in her own group. As a result of 
even this slight satisfaction of her cravings, she 
was indulging less and less in brooding and intro 
spection, although at no time was she able to adapt 
herself to living with the complete spontaneity so 
characteristic of Jinny. 

But she was young, and life would somehow 
twist and shape itself to her subsconscious yearnings, 
just as it had done for her mother, she thought, 

57 



HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUN*********** 

following Mattie in and out of shops, delivering 
opinions and lending herself to all the exigencies 
which shopping imposed. It was not an occupation 
which she particularly enjoyed, but, like her 
mother, she adored the atmosphere and its accom 
paniment of well-dressed and luxuriously stationed 
women. No one could tell, no one would have 
thought for a moment that she and her mother 
had come from tiny Opal Street; no one could 
have dreamed of their racial connections. " And 
if Jinny were here," she thought, slowly selecting 
another cake, " she really would be just as capable 
of fitting into all this as mother and I ; but they 
wouldn't let her light." And again she let herself 
dwell on the fallaciousness of a social system which 
stretched appearance so far beyond being. 

From the tea-room they emerged into the 
damp grey ness of the March afternoon. The 
streets were slushy and slimy; the sky above 
sodden and dull. Mattie shivered and thought of 
the Morris chair in the minute but cosy dining-room 
of her home. She wanted to go to the " Y " on 
Catherine Street and there were two calls to make 
far down Fifteenth. But at last all this was accom 
plished. " Now we'll get the next car and before 
you know it you'll be home." 

c You look tired, Mother," said Angela. 

" I am tired," she acknowledged, and, suddenly 
sagging against her daughter, lost consciousness. 
About them a small crowd formed, and a man 
passing in an automobile kindly drove the two 
women to a hospital in Broad Street two blocks 
away. It was a hospital to which no coloured 
woman would ever have been admitted except to 
char, but there was no such question to be raised 

58 



BUNHHHMHHHHHHH' 



in the case of this patient. " She'll be all right 
presently," the interne announced, "just a little 
fainting spell brought on by over-exertion. Was 
that your car you came in? It would be nice if 
you could have one to get her home in." 

" Oh, but I can," and in a moment Angela had 
rushed to the telephone forgetting everything 
except that her father was in his shop to-day and 
therefore almost within reach and so was the car. 

Not long after he came striding into the hospital, 
tall and black and rather shabby in his working 
clothes. He was greeted by the clerk with a rather 
hostile, " Yes, and what do you want? " 

Angela, hastening across the lobby to him, 
halted at the intonation. 

Junius was equal to the moment's demands. 
" I'm Mrs. Murray's chauffeur," he announced, 
hating the deception, but he would not have his 
wife bundled out too soon. " Is she very badly 
off, Miss Angela? " 

His daughter hastened to reassure him. " No, 
she'll be down in a few minutes now." 

" And meanwhile you can wait outside," said 
the attendant icily. She did not believe that black 
people were exactly human; there was no place 
for them in the scheme of life so far as she could 
see. 

Junius withdrew, and in a half hour's time the 
young interne and the nurse came out supporting 
his wan wife. He sprang to the pavement: "Lean 
on me, Mrs. Murray." 

But sobbing, she threw her arms about his 
neck. " Oh Junius, Junius ! " 

He lifted her then, drew back for Angela and 
mounting himself, drove away. The interne 

59 



**HHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHH5--HHH!* 

stepped back into the hospital raging about these 
damn white women and their nigger servants. 
Such women ought to be placed in a psycho-pathic 
ward and the niggers burned. 



The girls got Mrs. Murray into the Morris 
chair and ran upstairs for pillows and wraps. 
When they returned Junius was in the chair and 
Mrs. Murray in his arms. " Oh, June, dear June, 
such a service of love." 

" Do you suppose she's going to die? " whispered 
Jinny, stricken. What, she wondered, would 
become of her father. 

But in a few days Mattie was fully recovered 
and more happy than ever in the reflorescence of 
love and tenderness which had sprung up between 
herself and Junius. Only Junius was not so well. 
He had had a slight touch of grippe during the 
winter and the half hour's loitering in the treach 
erous March weather, before the hospital, had not 
served to improve it. He was hoarse and feverish, 
though this he did not immediately admit. But a 
tearing pain in his chest compelled him one morning 
to suggest the doctor. In a panic Mattie sent for 
him. Junius really ill ! She had never seen him 
in anything but the pink of condition. The doctor 
reluctantly admitted pneumonia " a severe case 
but I think we can pull him through." 

He suffered terribly Mattie suffered with him, 
never leaving his bedside. On the fifth day he 
was delirious. His wife thought, " Surely God 
isn't going to let him die without speaking to me 
again." 

60 



-HHHHHhPLUM 



Toward evening he opened his eyes and saw her 
tender, stricken face. He smiled. " Dear Mattie," 
and then, "Jinny, I'd like to hear some music, 
'Vital spark '- 

So his daughter went down to the little parlour 
and played and sang " The Dying Christian ". 

Angela thought, " Oh, isn't this terrible ! Oh 
how can she? " Presently she called softly, 
"Jinny, Jinny come up." 

Junius' hand was groping for Mattie's. She 
placed it in his. " Dear Mattie," he said, " Heaven 
opens on my eyes, -- " 



The house was still with the awful stillness 
that follows a funeral. All the bustle and hurry 
were over; the end, the fulfilment toward which 
the family had been striving for the last three 
days was accomplished. The baked funeral meats 
had been removed; Virginia had seen to that. 
Angela was up in her room, staring dry-eyed before 
her; she loved her father, but not even for him 
could she endure this aching, formless pain of 
bereavement. She kept saying to herself fiercely : 
" I must get over this, I can't stand this. I'll go 
away." 

Mrs. Murray sat in the old Morris chair in the 
dining-room. She stroked its arms with her 
plump, worn fingers; she laid her face again and 
again on its shabby back. One knew that she was 
remembering a dark, loved cheek. Jinny said, 
" Come upstairs and let me put you to bed, darling. 
You're going to sleep with me, you know. You're 
going to comfort your little girl, aren't you, 

61 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHMK 



Mummy? " Then as there was no response, 
" Darling, you'll make yourself ill." 

Her mother sat up suddenly. " Yes, that's 
what I want to do. Oh, Jinny, do you think I 
can make myself ill enough to follow him soon? 
My daughter, try to forgive me, but I must go to 
him. I can't live without him. I don't deserve 
a daughter like you, but, don't let them hold me 
back. I want to die, I must die. Say you for 
give me, -- " 

" Darling," and it was as though her husband 
rather than her daughter spoke, " whatever you 
want is what I want." By a supreme effort she 
held back her tears, but it was years before 
she forgot the picture of her mother sitting back in 
the old Morris chair, composing herself for death. 



62 



CHAPTER VI 

AT the Academy matters progressed smoothly 
without the flawing of a ripple. Angela looked 
forward to the hours which she spent there and 
honestly regretted their passage. Her fellow students 
and the instructors were more than cordial, there 
was an actual sense of camaraderie among them. 
She had not mentioned the fact of her Negro 
strain, indeed she had no occasion to, but she did 
not believe that this fact if known would cause any 
change in attitude. Artists were noted for their 
broad-mindedness. They were the first persons 
in the world to judge a person for his worth rather 
than by any hall-mark. It is true that Miss 
Henderson, a young lady of undeniable colour, 
was not received with the same cordiality and 
attention which Angela was receiving, and this, 
too, despite the fact that the former's work 
showed undeniable talent, even originality. 
Angela thought that something in the young 
lady's personality precluded an approach to 
friendship; she seemed to be wary, almost offen 
sively stand-offish. Certainly she never spoke 
unless spoken to; she had been known to spend 
a whole session without even glancing at a [fellow 
student. 

Angela herself had not arrived at any genuine 
intimacies. Two of the girls had asked her to their 

63 



*HHHHHHh**HHhPLUM 



homes but she had always refused; such invitations 
would have to be returned with similar ones and 
the presence of Jinny would entail explanations. 
The invitation of Mr. Shields, the instructor, to 
have tea at his wife's at home was another matter 
and of this she gladly availed herself. She could 
not tell to just what end she was striving. She did 
not like teaching and longed to give it up. On the 
other hand she must make her living. Mr. Shields 
had suggested that she might be able to increase 
both her earning capacity and her enjoyments 
through a more practical application of her art. 
There were directorships of drawing in the public 
schools, positions in art schools and colleges, or, 
since Angela frankly acknowledged her unwill 
ingness to instruct, there was such a thing as 
being buyer for the art section of a department 
store. 

" And anyway," said Mrs. Shields, " you never 
know what may be in store for you if you just 
have preparation." She and her husband were 
both attracted to the pleasant-spoken, talented 
girl. Angela possessed an undeniable air, and she 
dressed well, even superlatively. Her parents' 
death had meant the possession of half the house 
and half of three thousand dollars' worth of insur 
ance. Her salary was adequate, her expenses 
light. Indeed even her present mode of living 
gave her little cause for complaint except that her 
racial affiliations narrowed her confines. But she 
was restlessly conscious of a desire for broader 
horizons. She confided something like this to her 
new friends. 

" Perfectly natural," they agreed. " There's no 
telling where your tastes and talents will lead you, 

64 



'HHHMHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH5* 

to Europe perhaps and surely to the formation of 
new and interesting friendships. You'll find artistic 
folk the broadest, most liberal people in the 
world." 

" There are possibilities of scholarships, too," 
Mr. Shields concluded more practically. The 
Academy offered a few in competition. But there 
were others more liberally endowed and practically 
without restriction. 



Sundays on Opal Street bore still their aspect of 
something different and special. Jinny sometimes 
went to church, sometimes packed the car with a 
group of laughing girls of her age and played 
at her father's old game of exploring. Angela 
preferred to stay in the house. She liked to 
sleep late, get up for a leisurely bath and a 
meticulous toilet. Afterwards she would turn 
over her wardrobe, sorting and discarding; 
read the week's forecast of theatres, concerts 
and exhibits. And finally she would begin 
sketching, usually ending up with a new view 
of Hetty Daniels' head. 

Hetty, who lived with them now in the triple 
capacity, as she saw it, of housekeeper, companion, 
and chaperone, loved to pose. It satisfied some 
unquenchable vanity in her unloved, empty exist 
ence. She could not conceive of being sketched 
because she was, in the artist's jargon, " interest 
ing", "paintable", or "difficult". Models, as 
she understood it, were chosen for their beauty. 
Square and upright she sat, regaling Angela with 
tales of the romantic adventures of some remote 



HHHHHHHHHHKPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 

period which was her youth. She could not be 
very old, the young girl thought; indeed, from 
some of her dates she must have been at least twelve 
years younger than her mother. Yet Mrs. Murray 
had carried with her to the end some irrefragable 
quality of girlishness which would keep her memory 
forever young. 

Miss Daniels' great fetish was sex morality. 
" Them young fellers was always 'round me 
thick ez bees; wasn't any night they wasn't more 
fellows in my kitchen then you an' Jinny ever 
has in yore parlour. But I never listened to 
none of the' talk, jist held out agin 'em and 
kept my pearl of great price untarnished. I 
aimed then and I'm continual to aim to be a 
verjous woman." 

Her unslaked yearnings gleamed suddenly out of 
her eyes, transforming her usually rather expres 
sionless face into something wild and avid. The 
dark brown immobile mask of her skin made an 
excellent foil for the vividness of an emotion which 
was so apparent, so palpable that it seemed like 
something superimposed upon the background of 
her countenance. 

" If I could just get that look for Mr. Shields," 
Angela said half aloud to herself, " I bet I could 
get any of their old scholarships. ... So 
you had lots more beaux than we have, Hetty? 
Well you wouldn't have to go far to outdo us 
there." 

The same half dozen young men still visited the 
Murray household on Sundays. None of them 
except Matthew Henson came as a suitor; the 
others looked in partly from habit, partly, Jinny 
used to say, for the sake of Hetty Daniels' good 

66 



ginger bread, but more than for any other reason 
for the sake of having a comfortable place in which 
to argue and someone with whom to conduct the 
argument. 

"They certainly do argue;" Angela grumbled a 
little, but she didn't care. Matthew was usually 
the leader in their illimitable discussions, but she 
much preferred him at this than at his clumsy 
and distasteful love-making. Of course she could 
go out, but there was no place for her to visit and 
no companions for her to visit with. If she made 
calls there would be merely a replica of what she 
was finding in her own household. It was true 
that in the ultra-modern set Sunday dancing was 
being taken up. But she and Virginia did not 
fit in here any too well. Her fancy envisaged a 
comfortable drawing-room (there were folks who 
used that term), peopled with distinguished men 
and women who did things, wrote and painted and 
acted, people with a broad, cultural background 
behind them, or, lacking that, with the originality 
of thought and speech which comes from failing, 
deliberately failing, to conform to the pattern. 
Somewhere, she supposed, there must be coloured 
people like that. But she didn't know any of them. 
She knew there were people right in Philadelphia 
who had left far, far behind them the economic 
class to which her father and mother had belonged. 
But their thoughts, their actions were still cramped 
and confined; they were sitting in their new, even 
luxurious quarters, still mental parvenus, still dis 
cussing the eternal race question even as these 
boys here. 

To-night they were hard at it again with/a new 
phase which Angela, who usually sat only half 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHK' 



attentive in their midst, did not remember ever 
having heard touched before. Seymour Porter 
had started the ball by forcing their attention to 
one of his poems. It was not a bad poem; as 
modern verse goes it possessed a touch distinctly 
above the mediocre. 

" Why don't you stop that stuff and get 
down to brass tacks, Porter? " Matthew snarled. 
" You'll be of much more service to your race 
as a good dentist than as a half-baked poet." 
Henson happened to know that the amount of 
study which the young poet did at the Univer 
sity kept him just barely registered in the 
dental college. 

Porter ran his hand over his beautifully groomed 
hair. He had worn a stocking cap in his room 
all the early part of the day to enable him to 
perform this gesture without disaster. " There you 
go, Henson, service to the race and all the rest 
of it. Doesn't it ever occur to you that the race 
is made up of individuals and you can't conserve 
the good of the whole unless you establish that of 
each part? Is it better for me to be a first rate 
dentist and be a cabined and confined personality 
or a half-baked poet, as you'd call it, and be 
myself? " 

Henson reasoned that a coloured American 
must take into account that he is usually 
living in a hostile community. " If you're only 
a half-baked poet they'll think that you're a 
representative of your race and that we're all 
equally no account. But if you're a fine dentist, 
they won't think, it's true, that we're all as 
skilled as you, but they will respect you and 
concede that probably there're a few more like 

68 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH?* 



you. Inconsistent, but that's the way they 
argue." 

Arthur Sawyer objected to this constant yield 
ing to an invisible censorship. " If you're coloured 
you've just got to straddle a bit; you've got to 
consider both racial and individual integrity. 
I've got to be sure of a living right now. So 
in order not to bring the charge of vagrancy 
against my family I'm going to teach until I've 
saved enough money to study engineering in 
comfort." 

" And when you get through? " Matthew asked 
politely. 

" When I get through, if this city has come to 
its senses, I'll get a big job with Baldwin. If not 
I'll go to South America and take out naturaliza 
tion papers." 

" But you can't do that," cried Jinny, " we'd 
need you more than ever if you had all that train 
ing. You know what I think? We've all of us 
got to make up our minds to the sacrifice of some 
thing. I mean something more than just the ordin 
ary sacrifices in life, not so much for the sake of 
the next generation as for the sake of some prin 
ciple, for the sake of some immaterial quality like 
pride or intense self-respect or even a saving com 
placency; a spiritual tonic which the race needs 
perhaps just as much as the body might need iron 
or whatever it does need to give the proper kind 
of resistance. There are some things which an 
individual might want, but which he'd just have 
to give up forever for the sake of the more im 
portant whole." 

" It beats me," said Sawyer indulgently, " how 
a little thing like you can catch hold of such a 

69 



BUNHHHHHHHHHi'-H* 



big thought. I don't know about a man's giving 
up his heart's desire forever, though, just because 
he's coloured. That seems to me a pretty large 
order." 

" Large order or not," Henson caught him up, 
" she comes mighty near being right. What do 
you think, Angela? " 

"Just the same as I've always thought. I 
don't see any sense in living unless you're going 
to be happy." 



Angela took the sketch of Hetty Daniels to 
school. " What an interesting type ! " said Ger 
trude Quale, the girl next to her. " Such cosmic 
and tragic unhappiness in that face. What is she, 
not an American? " 

" Oh yes she is. She's an old coloured woman 
who's worked in our family for years and she was 
born right here in Philadelphia." 

" Oh coloured ! Well, of course I suppose 
you would call her an American though I 
never think of darkies as Americans. Coloured, 
yes that would account for that unhappi 
ness in her face. I suppose they all mind it 
awfully." 

It was the afternoon for the life class. The 
model came in, a short, rather slender young 
woman with a faintly pretty, shrewish face full 
of a certain dark, mean character. Angela glanced 
at her thoughtfully, full of pleasant anticipation. 
She liked to work for character, preferred it even to 
beauty. The model caught her eye, looked away 
and again turned her full gaze upon her with 

70 



BUN-HHHHHHHHHH?- 



an insistent, slightly incredulous stare. It was 
Esther Bayliss who had once been in the High 
School with Angela. She had left not long 
after Mary Hastings' return .to her boarding 
school. 

Angela saw no reason why she should speak 
to her and presently, engrossed in the portrayal 
of the round, yet pointed little face, forgot the 
girl's identity. But Esther kept her eyes fixed 
on her former school-mate with a sort of intense, 
angry brooding so absorbing that she forgot her 
pose and Mr. Shield spoke to her two or three 
times. On the third occasion he said not un 
kindly, " You'll have to hold your pose better 
than this, Miss Bayliss, or we won't be able to 
keep you on." 

" I don't want you to keep me on." She spoke 
with an amazing vindictiveness. " I haven't got 
to the point yet where I'm going to lower myself 
to pose for a coloured girl." 

He looked around the room in amazement; 
no, Miss Henderson wasn't there, she never came 
to this class he remembered. " Well after that 
we couldn't keep you anyway. We're not taking 
orders from our models. But there's no coloured 
girl here." 

" Oh yes there is, unless she's changed her 
name." She laughed spitefully. " Isn't that An 
gela Murray over there next to that Jew girl? " 
In spite of himself, Shields nodded. " Well, she's 
coloured though she wouldn't let you know. But 
I know. I went to school with her in North 
Philadelphia. And I tell you I wouldn't stay 
to pose for her not if you were to pay me ten 
times what I'm getting. Sitting there drawing 

71 



from me just as though she were as good as a 
white girl ! " 

Astonished and disconcerted, he told his wife 
about it. " But I can't think she's really coloured, 
Mabel. Why she looks and acts just like a white 
girl. She dresses in better taste than anybody in 
the room. But that little wretch of a model 
insisted that she was coloured." 

" Well she just can't be. Do you suppose I 
don't know a coloured woman when I see one? 
I can tell 'em a mile off." 

It seemed to him a vital and yet such a dis 
graceful matter. " If she is coloured she should 
have told me. I'd certainly like to know, but 
hang it all, I can't ask her, for suppose she should 
be white in spite of what that little beast of a model 
said? " He found her address in the registry and 
overcome one afternoon with shamed curiosity 
drove up to Opal Street and slowly past her house. 
Jinny was coming in from school and Hetty 
Daniels on her way to market greeted her on the 
lower step. Then Virginia put the key in the lock 
and passed inside. " She is coloured," he told his 
wife, " for no white girl in her senses would be 
rooming with coloured people." 

" I should say not ! Coloured, is she? Well, she 
shan't come here again, Henry." 

Angela approached him after class on Satur 
day. " How is Mrs. Shields? I can't get out 
to see her this week but I'll be sure to run in 
next." 

He blurted out miserably, " But, Miss Murray, 
you never told me that you were coloured." 

She felt as though she were rehearsing a 
well-known part in a play. " Coloured ! Of 

72 



BUN-HHHHMMHHHHS* 



course I never told you that I was coloured. 
Why should I?" 



But apparently there was some reason why she 
should tell it; she sat in her room in utter dejection 
trying to reason it out. Just as in the old days 
she had not discussed the matter with Jinny, for 
what could the latter do? She wondered if 
her mother had ever met with any such experi 
ences. Was there something inherently wrong in 
"passing"? 

Her mother had never seemed to consider it as 
anything but a lark. And on the one occasion, 
that terrible day in the hospital when passing or 
not passing might have meant the difference 
between good will and unpleasantness, her mother 
had deliberately given the whole show away. But 
her mother, she had long since begun to realize, 
had not considered this business of colour or 
the lack of it as pertaining intimately to her 
personal happiness. She was perfectly satisfied, 
absolutely content whether she was part of that 
white world with Angela or up on little Opal 
Street with her dark family and friends. Where 
as it seemed to Angela that all the things which 
she most wanted were wrapped up with white 
people. All the good things were theirs. Not, 
some coldly reasoning instinct within was say 
ing, because they were white. But because for 
the present they had power and the badge of 
that power was whiteness, very like the colours 
on the escutcheon of a powerful house. She 
possessed the badge, and unless there was 

73 



BUN^HHHHHHHHHH* 



someone to tell she could possess the power for 
which it stood. 

Hetty Daniels shrilled up: " Mr. Henson's 
down here to see you." 

Tiresome though his presence was, she almost 
welcomed him to-night, and even accepted his 
eager invitation to go to see a picture. " It's in a 
little gem of a theatre, Angela. You'll like the 
surroundings almost as much as the picture, and 
that's very good. Sawyer and I saw it about two 
weeks ago. I thought then that I'd like to take 
you." 

She knew that this was his indirect method of 
telling her that they would meet with no difficulty 
in the matter of admission ; a comforting assurance, 
for Philadelphia theatres, as Angela knew, could 
be very unpleasant to would-be coloured patrons. 
Henson offered to telephone for a taxi while she 
was getting on her street clothes, and she permitted 
the unnecessary extravagance, for she hated the 
conjectures on the faces of passengers in the street 
cars; conjectures, she felt in her sensitiveness, which 
she could only set right by being unusually kind 
and friendly in her manner to Henson. And this 
produced undesirable effects on him. She had 
gone out with him more often in the Ford, which 
permitted a modicum of privacy. But Jinny was 
off in the little car to-night. 

At Broad and Ridge Avenue the taxi was held up ; 
it was twenty-five minutes after eight when they 
reached the theatre. Matthew gave Angela a bill. 
" Do you mind getting the tickets while I settle 
for the cab? " he asked nervously. He did not 
want her to miss even the advertisements. This, 
he almost prayed, would be a perfect night. 

74 



H-H-HHHHHW-PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHH^ 

Cramming the change into his pocket, he 
rushed into the lobby and joined Angela who, 
almost as excited as he, for she liked a good picture, 
handed the tickets to the attendant. He returned 
the stubs. " All right, good seats there to your 
left." The theatre was only one storey. He 
glanced at Matthew. 

" Here, here, where do you think you're 
going? " 

Matthew answered unsuspecting: " It's all 
right. The young lady gave you the 
tickets." 

" Yes, but not for you; she can go in, but you 
can't." He handed him the torn ticket, turned 
and took one of the stubs from Angela, and thrust 
that in the young man's unwilling hand. " Go 
over there and get your refund." 

" But," said Matthew and Angela could feel his 
very manhood sickening under the silly humiliation 
of the moment, " there must be some mistake; 
I sat in this same theatre less than three weeks 
ago." 

' Well, you won't sit in there to-night; the 
management's changed hands since then, and 
we're not selling tickets to coloured people." He 
glanced at Angela a little uncertainly. " The 
young lady can come in " 

Angela threw her ticket on the floor. " Oh, 
come Matthew, come." 

Outside he said stiffly, " I'll get a taxi, we'll go 
somewhere else." 

" No, no ! We wouldn't enjoy it. Let's 
go home and we don't need a taxi. We 
can get the Sixteenth Street car right at the 



75 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf* 



She was very kind to him in the car; she was so 
sorry for him, suddenly conscious of the pain which 
must be his at being stripped before the girl he 
loved of his masculine right to protect, to appear 
the hero. 

She let him open the two doors for her but 
stopped him in the box of a hall. " I think I'll 
say good-night now, Matthew; I'm more tired 
than I realized. But, but it was an adventure, 
wasn't it? " 

His eyes adored her, his hand caught hers: 
" Angela, I'd have given all I hope to possess to 
have been able to prevent it; you know I never 
dreamed of letting you in for such humiliation. 
Oh how are we ever going to get this thing 
straight? " 

' Well, it wasn't your fault." Unexpectedly she 
lifted her delicate face to his, so stricken and 
freckled and woebegone, and kissed him; lifted her 
hand and actually stroked his reddish, stiff, " bad " 
hair. 

Like a man in a dream he walked down the street 
wondering how long it would be before they 
married. 



Angela, waking in the middle of the night 
and reviewing to herself the events of the day, 
said aloud: "This is the end," and fell asleep 
again. 

The little back room was still Jinny's, but 
Angela, in order to give the third storey front 
to Hetty Daniels, had moved into the room which 
had once been her mother's. She and Virginia 



BUNHHH?*HHHHHHHH5' 



had placed the respective head-boards of their 
narrow, virginal beds against the dividing 
wall so that they could lie in bed and talk 
to each other through the communicating 
door-way, their voices making a circuit from 
speaker to listener in what Jinny called a hair 
pin curve. 

Angela called in as soon as she heard her sister 
moving, "Jinny, listen. I'm going away." 

Her sister, still half asleep, lay intensely quiet 
for another second, trying to pick up the con 
tinuity of this dream. Then her senses came to 
her. 

" What'd you say, Angela? " 

" I said I was going away. I'm going to leave 
Philadelphia, give up school teaching, break away 
from our loving friends and acquaintances, and 
bust up the whole shooting match." 

" Haven't gone crazy, have you? " 

" No, I think I'm just beginning to come to my 
senses. I'm sick, sick, sick of seeing what I want 
dangled right before my eyes and then of having 
it snatched away from me and all of it through 
no fault of my own." 

" Darling, you know I haven't the faintest idea 
of what you're driving at." 

" Well, I'll tell you." Out came the whole 
story, an accumulation of the slights, real and 
fancied, which her colour had engendered through 
out her lifetime; though even then she did not 
tell of that first hurt through Mary Hastings. 
That would always linger in some remote, impene 
trable fastness of her mind, for wounded trust was 
there as well as wounded pride and love. " And 
these two last happenings with Matthew and Mr. 

77 



Shields are just too much; besides they've shown 
me the way." 

" Shown you what way? " 

Virginia had arisen and thrown an old rose 
kimono around her. She had inherited her 
father's thick and rather coarsely waving black 
hair, enhanced by her mother's softness. She 
was slender, yet rounded; her cheeks were flushed 
with sleep and excitement. Her eyes shone. As 
she sat in the brilliant wrap, cross-legged at the 
foot of her sister's narrow bed, she made the 
latter think of a strikingly dainty, colourful robin. 

" Well you see as long as the Shields thought I 
was white they were willing to help me to all the 
glories of the promised land. And the doorman 
last night, he couldn't tell what I was, but he 
could tell about Matthew, so he put him out; 
just as the Shields are getting ready in another way 
to put me out. But as long as they didn't know 
it didn't matter. Which means it isn't being 
coloured that makes the difference, it's letting it 
be known. Do you see? 

" So I've thought and thought. I guess really 
I've had it in my mind for a long time, but last 
night it seemed to stand right out in my con 
sciousness. Why should I shut myself off from 
all the things I want most, clever people, people 
who do things, Art, " her voice spelt it with a 
capital, " travel and a lot of things which are 
in the world for everybody really but which only 
white people, as far as I can see, get their hands 
on. I mean scholarships and special funds, 
patronage. Oh Jinny, you don't know, I don't 
think you can understand the things I want to 
see and know. You're not like me ". 

78 



H^HHHH-HHHhPLUM BUNHHH^HHHHHHHHl' 

" I don't know why I'm not," said Jinny 
looking more like a robin than ever. Her bright 
eyes dwelt on her sister. " After all, the same 
blood flows in my veins and in the same propor 
tion. Sure you're not laying too much stress on 
something only temporarily inconvenient? " 

" But it isn't temporarily inconvenient; it's 
happening to me every day. And it isn't as though 
it were something that I could help. Look how 
Mr. Shields stressed the fact that I hadn't told 
him I was coloured. And see how it changed 
his attitude toward me; you can't think how 
different his manner was. Yet as long as he 
didn't know, there was nothing he wasn't willing 
and glad, glad to do for me. Now he might be 
willing but he'll not be glad though I need his 
assistance more than some white girl who will 
find a dozen people to help her just because 
she is white." Some faint disapproval in 
her sister's face halted her for a moment. 
" What's the matter? You certainly don't think 
I ought to say first thing: ' I'm Angela 
Murray. I know I look white but I'm coloured 
and expect to be treated accordingly ! ' Now 
do you? " 

" No," said Jinny, " of course that's absurd. 
Only I don't think you ought to mind quite so 
hard when they do find out the facts. It seems 
sort of an insult to yourself. And then, too, it 
makes you lose a good chance to do something 
for for all of us who can't look like you but 
who really have the same combination of blood 
that you have." 

" Oh that's some more of your and Matthew 
Henson's philosophy. Now be practical, Jinny; 

79 



BUN-HHHHHHHHf*** 



after all I am both white and Negro and look 
white. Why shouldn't I declare for the one that 
will bring me the greatest happiness, prosperity 
and respect? " 

" No reason in the world except that since in 
this country public opinion is against any infusion 
of black blood it would seem an awfully decent 
thing to put yourself, even in the face of appear 
ances, on the side of black blood and say: " Look 
here, this is what a mixture of black and white 
really means ! " 

Angela was silent and Virginia, feeling suddenly 
very young, almost childish in the presence of 
this issue, took a turn about the room. She halted 
beside her sister. 

"Just what is it you want to do, Angela? 
Evidently you have some plan." 

She had. Her idea was to sell the house 
and to divide the proceeds. With her share 
of this and her half of the insurance she 
would go to New York or to Chicago, certainly 
to some place where she could by no chance 
be known, and launch out " into a freer, fuller 
life ". 

" And leave me ! " said Jinny astonished. Some 
how it had not dawned on her that the two would 
actually separate. She did not know what she 
had thought, but certainly not that. The tears 
ran down her cheeks. 

Angela, unable to endure either her own pain 
or the sight of it in others, had all of a man's 
dislike for tears. 

" Don't be absurd, Jinny ! How could I live 
the way I want to if you're with me. We'd keep 
on loving each other and seeing one another from 

80 



HHHHHHHHHH-PLUM 



time to time, but we might just as well face the 
facts. Some of those girls in the art school used 
to ask me to their homes; it would have meant 
opportunity, a broader outlook, but I never dared 
accept because I knew I couldn't return the 
invitation." 

Under that Jinny winced a little, but she spoke 
with spirit. " After that, Angela dear, I'm 
beginning to think that you have more white 
blood in your veins than I, and it was that extra 
amount which made it possible for you to make 
that remark." She trailed back to her room and 
when Hetty Daniels announced breakfast she 
found that a bad headache required a longer 
stay in bed. 



For many years the memory of those next few 
weeks lingered in Virginia's mind beside that 
other tragic memory of her mother's deliberate 
submission to death. But Angela was almost 
tremulous with happiness and anticipation. Al 
most as though by magic her affairs were arranging 
themselves. She was to have the three thousand 
dollars and Jinny was to be the sole possessor of 
the house. Junius had paid far less than this 
sum for it, but it had undoubtedly increased in 
value. " It's a fair enough investment for you, 
Miss Virginia," Mr. Hallowell remarked gruffly. 
He had disapproved heartily of this summary 
division, would have disapproved more thoroughly 
and openly if he had had any idea of the reasons 
behind it. But the girls had told no one, not 
even him, of their plans. " Some sisters' quarrel ? 



I suppose," he commented to his wife. " I've 
never seen any coloured people yet, relatives that 
is, who could stand the joint possession of a little 
money." 

A late Easter was casting its charm over the 
city when Angela trim, even elegant, in her con 
ventional tailored suit, stood in the dining-room 
of the little house waiting for her taxi. She had 
burned her bridges behind her, had resigned from 
school, severed her connection with the Academy, 
and had permitted an impression to spread that 
she was going West to visit indefinitely a distant 
cousin of her mother's. In reality she was going 
to New York. She had covered her tracks very 
well, she thought ; none of her friends was to see 
her off; indeed, none of them knew the exact 
hour of her departure. She was even leaving from 
the North Philadelphia station so that none of the 
porters of the main depot, friends perhaps of the 
boys who came to her house, and, through some 
far flung communal instinct familiar to coloured 
people, acquainted with her by sight, would be 
able to tell of her going. Jinny, until she heard of 
this, had meant to accompany her to the station, 
but Angela's precaution palpably scotched this 
idea; she made no comment when Virginia 
announced that it would be impossible for her to 
see her sister off. An indefinable steeliness was 
creeping upon them. 

Yet when the taxi stood rumbling and snorting 
outside, Angela, her heart suddenly mounting to 
her throat, her eyes smarting, put her arm tightly 
about her sister who clung to her frankly crying. 
But she only said: " Now, Jinny, there's nothing 
to cry about. You'll be coming to New York 

88 



BUN-HHH-HHHHHHf- 



soon. First thing I know you'll be walking up to 
me: 'Pardon me! Isn't this Mrs. Henrietta 
Jones? ' " 

Virginia tried to laugh, " And you'll be saying : 
( Really you have the advantage of me.' Oh, 
Angela, don't leave me ! " 

The cabby was honking impatiently. " I must, 
darling. Good-bye, Virginia. You'll hear from 
me right away." 

She ran down the steps, glanced happily back. 
But her sister had already closed the door. 



MARKET 



CHAPTER I 

FIFTH AVENUE is a canyon; its towering buildings 
dwarf the importance of the people hurrying 
through its narrow confines. But Fourteenth 
Street is a river, impersonally flowing, broad- 
bosomed, with strange and devious craft covering 
its expanse. To Angela the famous avenue seemed 
but one manifestation of living, but Fourteenth 
Street was the rendezvous of life itself. Here for 
those first few weeks after her arrival in New York 
she wandered, almost prowled, intent upon the 
jostling shops, the hurrying, pushing people, above 
all intent upon the faces of those people with their 
showings of grief, pride, gaiety, greed, joy, am 
bition, content. There was little enough of this 
last. These men and women were living at a 
sharper pitch of intensity than those she had ob 
served in Philadelphia. The few coloured people 
whom she saw were different too; they possessed 
an independence of carriage, a purposefulness, an 
assurance in their manner that pleased her. But 
she could not see that any of these people, black 
or white, were any happier than those whom she 
had observed all her life. 

But she was happier; she was living on the crest 
of a wave of excitement and satisfaction which 
would never wane, never break, never be spent. She 
was seeing the world, she was getting acquainted 

87 



HHHHHHh-HHHhPLUM BUNHHHMHMHHHHH^ 

with life in her own way without restrictions or 
restraint; she was young, she was temporarily 
independent, she was intelligent, she was white. 
She remembered an expression " free, white and 
twenty-one ", this was what it meant then, this 
sense of owning the world, this realization that 
other things being equal, all things were possible. 
" If I were a man," she said, " I could be presi 
dent ", and laughed at herself for the "if" itself 
proclaimed a limitation. But that inconsistency 
bothered her little; she did not want to be a 
man. Power, greatness, authority, these were 
fitting and proper for men ; but there were sweeter, 
more beautiful gifts for women, and power of a 
certain kind too. Such a power she would like to 
exert in this glittering new world, so full of mys 
teries and promise. If she could aiford it she 
would have a salon, a drawing-room where men 
and women, not necessarily great, but real, alive, 
free and untrammelled in manner and thought, 
should come and pour themselves out to her sym 
pathy and magnetism. To accomplish this she 
must have money and influence; indeed since she 
was so young she would need even protection; 
perhaps it would be better to marry ... a white 
man. The thought came to her suddenly out of 
the void; she had never thought of this possi 
bility before. If she were to do this, do it suitably, 
then all that richness, all that fullness of life which 
she so ardently craved would be doubly hers. She 
knew that men had a better time of it than women, 
coloured men than coloured women, white men 
than white women. Not that she envied them. 
Only it would be fun, great fun to capture power 
and protection in addition to the freedom and 

88 



BUNHHHHHHHMHMH' 



independence which she had so long coveted and 
which now lay in her hand. 

But, she smiled to herself, she had no way of 
approaching these ends. She knew no one in 
New York; she could conceive of no manner in 
which she was likely to form desirable acquaint 
ances; at present her home consisted of the four 
walls of the smallest room in Union Square Hotel 
She had gone there the second day after her 
arrival, having spent an expensive twenty-four 
hours at the Astor. Later she came to realize that 
there were infinitely cheaper habitations to be 
had, but she could not tear herself away from 
Fourteenth Street. It was Spring, and the Square 
was full of rusty specimens of mankind who sat on 
the benches, as did Angela herself, for hours at 
a stretch, as though they thought the invigorat 
ing air and the mellow sun would work some 
magical burgeoning on their garments such as 
was worked on the trees. But though these latter 
changed, the garments changed not nor did their 
owners. They remained the same, drooping, 
discouraged down and outers. " I am seeing 
life," thought Angela, " this is the way people 
live," and never realized that some of these people 
looking curiously, speculatively at her wondered 
what had been her portion to bring her thus early 
to this unsavoury company. 

"A great picture!" she thought. "I'll make 
a great picture of these people some day and call 
them * Fourteenth Street types '." And suddenly 
a vast sadness invaded her; she wondered if 
there were people more alive, more sentient to 
the jy> the adventure of living, even than she, 
to whom she would also be a " type ". But she 

89 



*HHHHhHHHHHhPLUM BUN-HHHHHHHMHHS* 

could not believe this. She was at once almost 
irreconcilably too concentrated and too objective. 
Her living during these days was so intense, so 
almost solidified, as though her desire to live as 
she did and she herself were so one and the same 
thing that it would have been practically im 
possible for another onlooker like herself to insert 
the point of his discrimination into her firm 
panoply of satisfaction. So she continued to 
browse along her chosen thoroughfare, stopping 
most often in the Square or before a piano 
store on the same street. There was in this shop 
a player-piano which was usually in action, and 
as the front glass had been removed the increased 
clearness of the strains brought a steady, patient, 
apparently insatiable group of listeners to a stand 
still. They were mostly men, and as they were 
far less given, Angela observed, to concealing their 
feelings than women, it was easy to follow 
their emotional gamut. Jazz made them smile 
but with a certain wistfulness if only they had 
time for dancing now, just now when the mood 
was on them ! The young woman looking at the 
gathering of shabby pedestrians, worn business 
men and ruminative errand boys felt for them a 
pity not untinged with satisfaction. She had taken 
what she wanted while the mood was on her. 
Love songs, particularly those of the sorrowful 
ballad variety brought to these unmindful faces 
a strained regret. But there was one expression 
which Angela could only half interpret. It drifted 
on to those listening countenances usually at 
the playing of old Irish and Scottish tunes. She 
noticed then an acuter attitude of attention, the 
eyes took on a look of inwardness of utter remote- 

90 



HHHHHHHHHHHPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHM^ 

ness. A passer-by engrossed in thought caught 
a strain and at once his gait and expression fell 
under the spell. The listeners might be as varied 
as fifteen people may be, yet for the moment they 
would be caught in a common, almost cosmic 
nostalgia. If the next piece were jazz that 
particular crowd would disperse, its members 
going on their meditative ways, blessed or cursed 
with heaven knew what memories which must 
not be disturbed by the strident jangling of the 
latest popular song. 

" Homesick," Angela used to say to herself. 
And she would feel so, too, though she hardly 
knew for what, certainly not for Philadelphia 
and that other life which now seemed so 
removed as to have been impossible. And 
she made notes in her sketch book to enable 
her some day to make a great picture of these 
" types " too. 



Of course she was being unconscionably idle; 
but as her days were filled to overflowing with 
the impact of new impressions, this signified 
nothing. She could not guess what life would 
bring her. For the moment it seemed to her both 
wise and amusing to sit with idle hands and see 
what would happen. By a not inexplicable turn 
of mind she took to going very frequently to the 
cinema where most things did happen. She 
found herself studying the screen with a strained 
and ardent intensity, losing the slight patronizing 
scepticism which had once been hers with regard 
to the adventures of these shadowy heroes and 

9' 



**HHHHHHHHH-PLUM BUNHHHHHMHHHS*** 

heroines; so utterly unforeseen a turn had her own 
experiences taken. This time last year she had 
never dreamed of, had^hardly dared to long for 
a life as free and as full as hers was now and^was 
promising to be. Yet here she was on the thresh- 
hold of a career totally different from anything 
that a scenario writer could envisage. Oh yes, 
she knew that hundreds, indeed thousands of 
white coloured people " went over to the other 
side ", but that was just the point, she knew the 
fact without knowing hitherto any of the possi 
bilities of the adventure. Already Philadelphia 
and her trials were receding into the distance. 
Would these people, she wondered, glancing 
about her in the soft gloom of the beautiful theatre, 
begrudge her, if they knew, her cherished freedom 
and sense of unrestraint? If she were to say to 
this next woman for instance, "I'm coloured," 
would she show the occasional dog-in-the-manger 
attitude of certain white Americans and refuse to sit 
by her or make a complaint to the usher? But 
she had no intention of making such an announce 
ment. So she spent many happy, irresponsible, 
amused hours in the marvellous houses on Broad 
way or in the dark commonplaceness of her 
beloved Fourteenth Street. There was a theatre, 
too, on Seventh Avenue just at the edge of the 
Village, which she came to frequent, not so much 
for the sake of the plays, which were the same as 
elsewhere, as for the sake of the audience, a 
curiously intimate sort of audience made of 
numerous still more intimate groups. Their 
members seemed both purposeful and leisurely, 
When she came here her loneliness palled on 
her, however. All unaware her lace took 

92 



on the wistfulness of the men gazing in the 
music store. She wished she knew some of these 
pleasant people. 



It came to her that she was neglecting her Art. 
" And it was for that that I broke away from every 
thing and came to New York. I must hunt up 
some classes." This she felt was not quite true, 
then the real cause rushed up to the surface 
of her mind : " And perhaps I'll meet some 
people.'* 

She enrolled in one of the art classes in Cooper 
Union. This, after all, she felt would be the real 
beginning of her adventure. For here she must 
make acquaintances and one of them, perhaps 
several, must produce some effect on her life, per 
haps alter its whole tenor. And for the first time 
she would be seen, would be met against her 
new background or rather, against no background. 
No boyish stowaway on a ship had a greater 
exuberance in going forth to meet the unknown than 
had Angela as she entered her class that first after 
noon. In the room were five people, working 
steadily and chatting in an extremely desultory 
way. The instructor, one of the five, motioned 
her to a seat whose position made her one of the 
group. He set up her easel and as she arranged her 
material she glanced shyly but keenly about her. 
For the first time she realized how lonely she had 
been. She thought with a joy which surprised her 
self: " Within a week I'll be chatting with them 
too; perhaps going to lunch or to tea with one of 
them," She arranged herself for a better view, 

93 



HH~HHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf- 

The young woman nearest her, the possessor of a 
great mop of tawny hair and smiling clear, slate- 
grey eyes glanced up at her and nodded, " Am I 
in your way? " Except for her hair and eyes she 
was nondescript. A little beyond sat a coloured 
girl of medium height and build, very dark, very 
clean, very reserved. Angela, studying her with 
inner secret knowledge, could feel her constantly 
withdrawn from her companions. Her refinement 
was conspicuous but her reserve more so; when 
asked she passed and received erasers and other 
articles but she herself did no borrowing nor did 
she initiate any conversation. Her squarish head 
capped with a mass of unnaturally straight and 
unnaturally burnished hair possessed a kind of 
ugly beauty. Angela could not tell whether her 
features were good but blurred and blunted by 
the soft night of her skin or really ugly with an 
ugliness lost and plunged in that skin's deep con 
cealment. Two students were still slightly behind 
her. She wondered how she could best contrive 
to see them. 

Someone said: "Hi, there! Miss New One, 
havejyow got a decent eraser? all mine are on the 
blink." Not so sure whether or not the term 
applied to herself she turned to meet the singularly 
intent gaze of a slender girl with blue eyes, light 
chestnut hair and cheeks fairly blazing with some 
unguessed excitement. Angela smiled and offered 
her eraser. 

" It ought to be decent, it's new." 

c Yes, it's a very good one; many thanks. I'll 
try not to trouble you again. My name's Paulette 
Lister, what's yours? " 

" Angele Mory." She had changed it thus 

94 



*H"HHHHHHHHhPLUM 



slightly when she came to New York. Some 
troubling sense of loyalty to her father and mother 
had made it impossible for her to do away with it 
altogether. 

" Mory," said a young man who had been 
working just beyond Paulette; " that's Spanish. 
Are you by any chance? " 

" I don't think so." 

" He is," said Paulette. " His name is 
Anthony Cruz isn't that a lovely name? But 
he changed it to Cross because no American would 
ever pronounce the z right, and he didn't want to 
be taken for a widow's cruse." 

" That's a shameful joke," said Cross, " but since 
I made it up, I think you might give me a chance 
to spring it, Miss Lister. A poor thing but mine 
own. You might have a heart." 

" Get even with her, why don't you, by intro 
ducing her as Miss Blister? " asked Angela, highly 
diverted by the foolish talk. 

Several people came in then, and she discovered 
that she had been half an hour too early, the class 
was just beginning. She glanced about at the 
newcomers, a beautiful Jewess with a pearly skin 
and a head positively foaming with curls, a tall 
Scandinavian, an obvious German, several more 
Americans. Not one of them made the photograph 
on her mind equal to those made by the coloured 
girl whose name, she learned, was Rachel Powell, 
the slate-eyed Martha Burden, Paulette Lister and 
Anthony Cross. Her prediction came true. With 
in a week she was on jestingly intimate terms with 
every one of them except Miss Powell, who lent 
her belongings, borrowed nothing, and spoke only 
when she was spoken to. At the end of ten days 

95 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf* 



Miss Burden asked Angela to come and have lunch 
" at the same place where I go ". 



On an exquisite afternoon she went to Harlem. 
At One Hundred and Thirty-fifth Street she left 
the 'bus and walked through from Seventh Avenue 
to Lenox, then up to One Hundred and Forty- 
seventh Street and back down Seventh Avenue to 
One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Street, through 
this to Eighth Avenue and then weaving back and 
forth between the two Avenues through Thirty- 
eighth, Thirty-seventh down to One Hundred and 
Thirty-fifth Street to Eighth Avenue where she took 
the Elevated and went back to the New York 
which she knew. 

But she was amazed and impressed at this bust 
ling, frolicking, busy, laughing great city within 
a greater one. She had never seen coloured life 
so thick, so varied, so complete. Moreover, just as 
this city reproduced in microcosm all the important 
features of any metropolis, so undoubtedly life up 
here was just the same, she thought dimly, as life 
anywhere else. Not all these people, she realized, 
glancing keenly at the throngs of black and brown, 
yellow and white faces about her were servants 
or underlings or end men. She saw a beautiful 
woman all brown and red dressed as exquisitely 
as anyone she had seen on Fifth Avenue. A man's 
sharp, high-bred face etched itself on her memory, 
the face of a professional man perhaps, it 
might be an artist. She doubted that; he might of 
course be a musician, but it was unlikely that he 
would be her kind of an artist, for how could he 

96 



HHHHh* * * '>*HIPLUM BUNHH^HHHHHHHHf** 

exist? Ah, there lay the great difference. In 
all material, even in all practical things these two 
worlds were alike, but in the production, the foster 
ing of those ultimate manifestations, this world 
was lacking, for its people were without the means 
or the leisure to support them and enjoy. And 
these were the manifestations which she craved, 
together with the freedom to enjoy them. No, she 
was not sorry that she had chosen as she had, even 
though she could now realize that life viewed from 
the angle of Opal and Jefferson Streets in Phila 
delphia and that same life viewed from One 
Hundred and Thirty-fifth Street and Seventh 
Avenue in New York might present bewilderingly 
different facets. 

Unquestionably there was something very fascin 
ating, even terrible, about this stream of life, it 
seemed to her to run thicker, more turgidly than 
that safe, sublimated existence in which her new 
friends had their being. It was deeper, more 
mightily moving even than the torrent of Four 
teenth Street. Undoubtedly just as these people, 
for she already saw them objectively, doubly so, 
once with her natural remoteness and once with 
the remoteness of her new estate, just as these 
people could suffer more than others, just so they 
could enjoy themselves more. She watched the 
moiling groups on Lenox Avenue; the amazingly 
well-dressed and good-looking throngs of young 
men on Seventh Avenue at One Hundred and 
Thirty-seventh and Thirty-fifth Streets. They 
were gossiping, laughing, dickering, chaffing, com 
bining the customs of the small town with the 
astonishing cosmopolitanism of their clothes and 
manners. Nowhere down town did she see life 

G 97 



-HHHh-iHHh**HH-PLUM BUN-fr********** 

like this. Oh, all this was fuller, richer, not finer 
but richer with the difference in quality that there 
is between velvet and silk. Harlem was a great 
city, but after all it was a city within a city, and 
she was glad, as she strained for last glimpses out 
of the lurching " L " train, that she had cast in 
her lot with the dwellers outside its dark and 
serried tents. 



CHAPTER II 

" WHERE do you live? " asked Paulette, " when 
you're not here at school? " 

Angela blushed as she told her. 

" In a hotel? In Union Square? Child, are 
you a millionaire? Where did you come from? 
Don't you care anything about the delights of 
home? Mr. Cross, come closer. Here is this 
poor child living benightedly in a hotel when she 
might have two rooms at least in the Village for 
almost the same price." 

Mr. Cross came closer but without saying any 
thing. He was really, Angela thought, a very 
serious, almost sad young man. He had never 
continued long the bantering line with which he 
had first made her acquaintance. 

She explained that she had not known where 
to go. " Often I've thought of moving, and of 
course I'm spending too much money for what 
I get out of it, I've the littlest room." 

Paulette opened her eyes very wide which gave 
an onlooker the e fleet of seeing suddenly the blue 
sky very close at hand. Her cheeks took on a 
flaming tint. She was really a beautiful, even 
fascinating girl or woman, Angela never learned 
which, for she never knew her age. But her fascina 
tion did not rest on her looks, or at least it did not 
arise from that source; it was more the result of 

99 



her manner. She was so alive, so intense, so inter 
ested, if she were interested, that all her nerves, 
her emotions even were enlisted to accomplish the 
end which she might have in view. And withal 
she possessed the simplicity of a child. There was 
an unsuspected strength about her also that was 
oddly at variance with the rather striking fragility 
of her appearance, the trustingness of her gaze, 
the limpid unaflectedness of her manner. Mr. 
Gross, Angela thought negligently, must be in love 
with her; he was usually at her side when they 
sketched. But later she came to see that there was 
nothing at all between these two except a certain 
friendly appreciation tempered by a wary kind 
ness on the part of Mr. Gross and a negligent 
generosity on the part of Paulette. 

She displayed no negligence of generosity in her 
desire and eagerness to find Angela a suitable 
apartment. She did hold out, however, with 
amazing frankness for one " not too near me 
but also not too far away ". But this pleased 
the girl, for she had been afraid that Paulette 
would insist on offering to share her own apart 
ment and she would not have known how to 
refuse. She had the complete egoist's desire for 
solitude. 

Paulette lived on Bank Street; she found for 
her new friend " a duck, just a duck, no other 
word will describe it, of an apartment " on 
Jayne Street, two rooms, bath and kitchenette. 
There was also a tiny balcony giving on a 
mews. It was more than Angela should have 
afforded, but the ease with which her affairs 
were working out gave her an assurance, almost 
an arrogance of confidence. Besides she planned 

100 



to save by getting her own meals. The place 
was already furnished, its former occupant was 
preparing to go to London for two or more 
years. 

" Two years," Angela said gaily, " everything 
in the world can happen to me in that time. 
Oh I wonder what will have happened; what 
I will be like ! " And she prepared to move in her 
slender store of possessions. Anthony, prompted, 
she suspected by Paulette, offered rather shyly 
to help her. It was a rainy day, there were 
several boxes after all, and taxis were scarce, 
though finally he captured one for her and came 
riding back in triumph with the driver. After 
wards a few books had to be arranged, pictures 
must be hung. She had an inspiration. 

" You tend to all this and I'll get you the best 
dinner you ever tasted in your life." Memories 
of Monday night dinners on Opal Street flooded 
her memory. She served homely, filling dishes, 
" fit for a drayman," she teased him. There were 
corn-beef hash, roasted sweet potatoes, corn 
pudding, and, regardless of the hour, muffins. 
After supper she refused to let him help her with 
the dishes but had him rest in the big chair 
in the living-room while she laughed and talked 
with him from the kitchenette at a distance 
of two yards. Gradually, as he sat there 
smoking, the sadness and strain faded out of 
his thin, dark face, he laughed and jested like 
any other normal young man. When he bade 
her good-bye he let his slow dark gaze rest in 
hers for a long silent moment. She closed the 
door and stood laughing, arranging her hair 
before the mirror. 

101 



BUNHHHHHHHHHH^ 



" Of course he's loads better looking, but some 
thing about him makes me think of Matthew 
Henson. But nothing doing, young-fellow-me-lad. 
Spanish and I suppose terribly proud. I wonder 
what he'd say if he really knew? " 



She was to go to Paulette's to dinner. "Just 
we two," stipulated Miss Lister. " Of course, 
I could have a gang of men, but I think it will 
be fun for us to get acquainted." Angela was 
pleased; she was very fond of Paulette, she liked 
her for her generous, capable self. And she was 
not quite ready for meeting men. She must know 
something more about these people with whom 
she was spending her life. Anthony Cross had been 
affable enough, but she was not sure that he, with 
his curious sadness, his half-proud, half-sensitive 
tendency to withdrawal, were a fair enough type. 
However, in spite of Paulette's protestations, there 
were three young men standing in her large, 
dark living-room when Angela arrived. 

" But you've got to go at once," said Paulette, 
laughing but firm; " here is my friend, isn't 
she beautiful? We've too many things to discuss 
without being bothered by you." 

" Paulette has these fits of cruelty," said one 
of the three, a short, stocky fellow with an ugly, 
sensitive face. " She'd have made a good Nero. 
But anyway I'm glad I stayed long enough to see 
you. Don't let her hide you from us altogether." 
Another man made a civil remark; the third one 
standing back in the gloomy room said nothing, 
but the girl caught the impression of tallness 

102 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHS' 



and blondness and of a pair of blue eyes which 
stared at her intently. She felt awkward and 
showed it. 

" See, you've made her shy," said Paulette 
accusingly. " I won't bother introducing them, 
Angele, you'll meet them all too soon." Laugh 
ing, protesting, the men filed out, and their un 
willing hostess closed the door on them with 
sincere lack of regret. " Men," she mused can 
didly. " Of course we can't get along without 
them any more than they can without us, but I get 
tired of them, they're nearly all animals. I'd 
rather have a good woman friend any day." 
She sighed with genuine sincerity. " Yet my 
place is always full of men. Would you rather 
have your chops rare or well done? I like mine 
cooked to a cinder." Angela preferred hers well 
done. " Stay here and look around; see if I 
have anything to amuse you." Catching up an 
apron she vanished into some smaller and darker 
retreat which she called her kitchen. 

The apartment consisted of the whole floor 
of a house on Bank Street, dark and constantly 
within the sound of the opening front door and 
the noises of the street. " But you don't have 
the damned stairs when you come in late at 
night," Paulette explained. The front room was, 
Angela supposed, the bedroom, though the only 
reason for this supposition was the appearance 
of a dressing-table and a wide, flat divan about 
one foot and a half from the floor, covered with 
black or purple velvet. The dressing table was 
a good piece of mahogany, but the chairs were 
indifferently of the kitchen variety and of the sort 
which, magazines affirm, may be made out of 

103 



BUNHHHHMHHHHMS'* 



a large packing box. In the living room, where 
the little table was set, the same anomaly pre 
vailed; the china was fine, even dainty, but the 
glasses were thick and the plating had begun to 
wear off the silver ware. On the other hand the 
pictures were unusual, none of the stereotyped 
things; instead Angela remarked a good copy 
of Breughel's " Peasant Wedding ", the head of 
Bernini and two etchings whose authors she did 
not know. The bookcase held two paper bound 
volumes of the poems of Beranger and Villon and 
a little black worn copy of Heine. But the other 
books were high-brow to the point of austerity: 
Ely, Shaw and Strindberg. 

" Perhaps you'd like to wash your hands? " 
called Paulette. " There's a bathroom down the 
corridor there, you can't miss it. You may have 
some of my favourite lotion if you want it up 
there on the shelf." Angela washed her hands 
and looked up for the lotion. Her eyes opened 
wide in amazement. Beside the bottle stood a 
man's shaving mug and brush and a case of razors. 

The meal, " for you can't call it a dinner," the 
cook remarked candidly, was a success. The 
chops were tender though smoky; there were 
spinach, potatoes, tomato and lettuce salad, rolls, 
coffee and cheese. Its rugged quality surprised 
Angela not a little; it was more a meal for a work 
ing man than for a woman, above all, a woman 
of the faery quality of Paulette. " I get so 
tired," she said, lifting a huge mouthful, " if I 
don't eat heartily; besides it ruins my temper to go 
hungry." Her whole attitude toward the meal 
was so masculine and her appearance so daintily 

104 



feminine that Angela burst out laughing, ex 
plaining with much amusement the cause of 
her merriment. " I hope you don't mind," 
she ended, " for of course you are conspicuously 
feminine. There's nothing of the man about 
you." 

To her surprise Paulette resented this last 
statement. " There is a great deal of the man 
about me. I've learned that a woman is a 
fool who lets her femininity stand in the way 
of what she wants. I've made a philosophy of 
it. I see what I want; I use my wiles as a 
woman to get it, and I employ the qualities of 
men, tenacity and ruthlessness, to keep it. And 
when I'm through with it, I throw it away 
just as they do. Consequently I have no regrets 
and no encumbrances." 

A packet of cigarettes lay open on the table and 
she motioned to her friend to have one. Angela 
refused, and sat watching her inhale in deep 
respirations; she had never seen a woman more 
completely at ease, more assuredly mistress of 
herself and of her fate. When they had begun 
eating Paulette had poured out two cocktails, 
tossing hers off immediately and finishing Angela's, 
too, when the latter, finding it too much like 
machine oil for her taste, had set it down scarcely 
diminished. " You'll get used to them if you go 
about with these men. You'll be drinking along 
with the rest of us." 

She had practically no curiosity and on the other 
hand no reticences. And she had met with every 
conceivable experience, had visited France, Ger 
many and Sweden; she was now contemplating a 
trip to Italy and might go to Russia; she would 

105 



go now, in fact, if it were not that a friend of 
hers, Jack Hudson, was about to go there, too, 
and as she was on the verge of having an affair 
with him she thought she'd better wait. She 
didn't relish the prospect of such an event in a 
foreign land, it put you too much at the man's 
mercy. An affair, if you were going to have 
one, was much better conducted on your own 
pied a terre. 

" An affair? " gasped Angela. 

" Yes, why, haven't you ever had a lover? " 

" A lover? " 

" Goodness me, are you a poll parrot? Why 
yes, a lover. I've had " she hesitated before the 
other's complete amazement, " I've had more 
than one, I can tell you." 

" And you've no intention of marrying? " 

" Oh I don't say that; but what's the use of 
tying yourself up now while you're young? And 
then, too, this way you don't always have them 
around your feet; you can always leave them or 
they'll leave you. But it's better for you to leave 
them first. It insures your pride." With her 
babyish face and her sweet, high voice she was like 
a child babbling precociously. Yet she seemed 
bathed in intensity. But later she began to talk 
of her books and of her pictures, of her work and 
on all these subjects she spoke with the same sub 
dued excitement; her eye\ flashed, her cheeks 
grew scarlet, all experience meant life to her in 
various manifestations. She had been on a news 
paper, one of the New York dailies; she had done 
press-agenting. At present she was illustrating 
for a fashion magazine. There was no end to 
her versatilities. 

106 



BUN^HHHHHHHf^HHi* 

Angela said she must go. 

" But you'll come again soon, won't you, 
Angele? " 

A wistfulness crept into her voice. "I do so 
want a woman friend. When a woman really is 
your friend she's so dependable and she's not 
expecting anything in return." She saw her guest 
to the door. " We could have some wonderful 
times. Good-night, Angele." Like a child she 
lifted her face to be kissed. 

Angela's first thought as she walked down the 
dark street was for the unfamiliar name by which 
Paulette had called her. For though she had 
signed herself very often as Angele, no one as yet 
used it. Her old familiar formula came to her: 
" I wonder what she would think if she knew." 
But of one thing she was sure : if Paulette had been 
in her place she would have acted in exactly the 
same way. " She would have seen what she 
wanted and would have taken it," she murmured 
and fell to thinking of the various confidences 
which Paulette had bestowed upon her, though 
so frank and unreserved were her remarks that 
" confidences " was hardly the name to apply to 
them. Certainly, Angela thought, she was in a 
new world and with new people. Beyond question 
some of the coloured people of her acquaintance 
must have lived in a manner which would not 
bear inspection, but she could not think of one 
who would thus have discussed it calmly with 
either friend or stranger. Wondering what it 
would be like to conduct oneself absolutely accord 
ing to one's own laws, she turned into the dark 
little vestibule on Jayne Street. As usual the Jewish 
girl who lived above her was standing blurred in the 

107 



thick blackness of the hall, and as usual Angela 
did not realize this until, touching the button and 
turning on the light, she caught sight of Miss Salting 
straining her face upwards to receive her lover's 
kiss. 



108 



CHAPTER III 

FROM the pinnacle of her satisfaction in her studies, 
in her new friends and in the joke which she was 
having upon custom and tradition she looked 
across the class-room at Miss Powell who pre 
served her attitude of dignified reserve. Angela 
thought she would try to break it down; on Wed 
nesday she asked the coloured girl to have lunch 
with her and was pleased to have the invitation 
accepted. She had no intention of taking the 
girl up as a matter either of patronage or of loyalty. 
But she thought it would be nice to offer her the 
ordinary amenities which their common student 
life made natural and possible. Miss Powell it 
appeared ate generally in an Automat or in a 
cafeteria, but Angela knew of a nice tea-room. 
"It's rather arty, but they do serve a good meal 
and it's cheap." Unfortunately on Wednesday 
she had to leave before noon; she told Miss 
Powell to meet her at the little restaurant. " Go 
in and get a table and wait for me, but I'm sure 
I'll be there as soon as you will." After all she 
was late, but, what was worse, she found to 
her dismay that Miss Powell, instead of entering 
the tea-room, had been awaiting her across the 
street. There were no tables and the two had 
to wait almost fifteen minutes before being 
served, 



!'}'$-}* -3 4-8 *"MPLUM BUNS- 



"Why cm earth didn't you go in?" asked 
Angela a trifle impatiently, "you could have 
held the table." Miss Powell answered imper- 
turbably: "Because I didn't know how they 
would receive me if I went in by myself." Angela 
could not pretend to misunderstand her. " Oh, 
I think they would have been all right," she 
murmured, blushing at her stupidity. How 
quickly she had forgotten those fears and uncer 
tainties. She had never experienced this sort of 
difficulty herselfj but she certainly knew of them 
from Virginia and others. 

The lunch was not a particularly pleasant one. 
Either Miss Powell was actually dull or she had 
made a resolve never to let herself go in the 
presence of white people; perhaps she feared 
being misunderstood, perhaps she saw in such 
encounters a lurking attempt at sociological in 
vestigations; she would lend herself to no such 
procedure, that much was plain. Angela could feel 
her effort to charm, to invite confidence, glance 
upon and fall back from this impenetrable armour. 
She had been amazed to find both Paulette and 
Martha Burden already gaining their living by their 
sketches. Miss Burden indeed was a caricaturist 
of no mean local reputation; Anthony Cross was 
frankly a commercial artist, though he hoped 
some day to be a recognised painter of portraits. 
She was curious to learn of Miss Powell's pros 
pects. Inquiry revealed that the young lady had 
one secret aspiration; to win or earn enough 
money to go to France and then after that, she 
said with sudden ardour, " anything could 
happen ". To this end she had worked, saved, 
scraped, gone without pleasures and clothes. Her 

no 



> *} -Ml '3 -3 ?** PLUM BUNHK***HHHHHH 

work was creditable, indeed above the average, 
but not sufficiently imbued, Angela thought, with 
the divine promise to warrant this sublimation of 
normal desires. 

Miss Powell seemed to read her thought. " And 
then it gives me a chance to show America that 
one of us can stick ; that we have some idea above 
the ordinary humdrum of existence." 

She made no attempt to return the luncheon 
but she sent Angela one day a bunch of beautiful 
jonquils, and made no further attempt at friend 
ship. To one versed in the psychology of this 
proud, sensitive people the reason was perfectly 
plain. " You've been awfully nice to me and I 
appreciate it but don't think Pm going to thrust 
myself upon you. Your ways and mine lie along 
different paths." 



Such contacts, such interpretations and inves 
tigations were making up her life, a life that for 
her was interesting and absorbing, but which had 
its perils and uncertainties. She had no purpose, 
for it was absurd for her, even with her ability, to 
consider Art an end. She was using it now deliber 
ately, as she had always used it vaguely, to get in 
touch with interesting people and with a more 
attractive atmosphere. And she was spending 
money too fast; she had been in New York eight 
months, and she had already spent a thousand 
dollars. At this rate her little fortune which had 
seemed at first inexhaustible would last her less 
than two years; at best, eighteen months more. 
Then she must face, what? Teaching again? 

in 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf* 



Never, she'd had enough of that. Perhaps she 
could earn her living with her brush, doing menu 
cards, Christmas and birthday greetings, flowers, 
Pierrots and Pierrettes on satin pillow tops. She 
did not relish that. True there were the specialities 
of Paulette and of Martha Burden, but she lacked 
the deft sureness of the one and the slightly mordant 
philosophy underlying the work of the other. Her 
own speciality she felt sure lay along the line of 
reproducing, of interpreting on a face the emotion 
which lay back of that expression. She thought 
of her Fourteenth Street " types ", that would 
be the sort of work which she would really 
enjoy, that and the depicting of the countenance 
of a purse-proud but lonely man, of the silken 
inanity of a society girl, of the smiling despair 
of a harlot. Even in her own mind she hesi 
tated before the use of that terrible word, but 
association was teaching her to call a spade a 
spade. 

Yes, she might do worse than follow the example 
of Mr. Cross and become a portrait painter. But 
somehow she did not want to have to do this; 
necessity would, she was sure, spoil her touch; 
besides, she hated the idea of the position in which 
she would be placed, fearfully placating and flatter 
ing possible patrons, hurrying through with an 
order because she needed the cheque, accepting 
patronage and condescension. No, she hoped to 
be sought after, to have the circumstances which 
would permit her to pick and choose, to refuse if 
the whim pleased her. It should mean something 
to be painted by " Mory ". People would say, 
"I'm going to have my portrait done by ' Mory ' ". 
But all this would call for position, power, wealth, 



BUNHHHHHHHHHH-f 



And again she said to herself . . . " I might 
marry a white man. Marriage is the easiest 
way for a woman to get those things, and white 
men have them." But she knew only one white 
man, Anthony Gross, and he would never have 
those qualities, at least not by his deliberate 
seeking. They might come eventually but only 
after long years. Long, long years of struggle 
with realities. There was a simple, genuine stead 
fastness in him that made her realize that he would 
seek for the expression of truth and of himself even 
at the cost of the trimmings of life. And she was 
ashamed, for she knew that for the vanities and 
gewgaws of a leisurely and irresponsible existence 
she would sacrifice her own talent, the integrity of 
her ability to interpret life, to write down a history 
with her brush. 



Martha Burden was as strong and as pronounced 
a personage as Paulette; even stronger perhaps 
because she had the great gift of silence. Paulette, 
as Angela soon realized, lived in a state of con 
stant defiance. " I don't care what people think," 
was her slogan; men and women appealed to her 
in proportion to the opposition which they, too, 
proclaimed for the established thing. Angela was 
surprised that she clung as persistently as she did 
to a friendship with a person as conventional and 
reactionary as herself. But Martha Burden was 
not like that. One could not tell whether or not 
she was thinking about other people's opinions. 
It was probable that the other people and their 
attitude never entered her mind. She was cool 

H 113 



and slightly aloof, with the coolness and aloofness 
of her slaty eyes and her thick, tawny hair. Neither 
the slatiness nor the tawniness proclaimed warmth 
only depth, depth and again depth. It was 
impossible to realize what she would be like if im 
passioned or deeply stirred to anger. There would 
probably be something implacable, god-like about 
her; she would be capable of a long, slow, steady 
burning of passion. Few men would love Martha 
though many might admire her. But a man once 
enchanted might easily die for her. 

Angela liked her house with its simple elegance, 
its fine, soft curtains and steady, shaded glow of 
light that stood somehow for home. She liked her 
husband, Ladislas Starr, whom Martha produced 
without a shade of consciousness that this was the 
first intimation she had given of being married. 
They were strong individualists, molten and 
blended in a design which failed to obscure their 
emphatic personalities. Their apartment in the 
Village was large and neat and sunny; it bore no 
trace of palpable wealth, yet nothing conducing 
to comfort was lacking. Book-cases in the dining- 
room and living-room spilled over; the Nation, the 
Mercury, the Crisis, a magazine of the darker races, 
left on the broad arm of an easy chair, mutely 
invited; it was late autumn, almost winter, but 
there were jars of fresh flowers. The bedroom 
where Angela went to remove her wrap was dainty 
and restful. 

The little gathering to which Martha had in 
vited her was made up of members as strongly 
individual as the host and hostess. They were all 
specialists in their way, and specialists for the most 
part in some offshoot of a calling or movement 



HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHMHH^ 

which was itself already highly specialized. Martha 
presented a psychiatrist, a war correspondent, 
" I'm that only when there is a war of course," he 
explained to Angela's openly respectful gaze, 
a dramatist, a corporation lawyer, a white-faced, 
conspicuously beautiful poet with a long evasive 
Russian name, two press agents, a theatrical 
manager, an actress who played only Shakespeare 
roles, a teacher of defective children and a medical 
student who had been a conscientious objector and 
had served a long time at Leavenworth. He lapsed 
constantly into a rapt self-communing from whch 
he only roused himself to utter fiery tirades against 
the evils of society. 

In spite of their highly specialised interests 
they were all possessed of a common ground of 
knowledge in which such subjects as Russia, 
Consumers' Leagues, and the coming presidential 
election figured most largely. There was much 
laughter and chaffing but no airiness, no per 
siflage. One of the press agents, Mrs. Cecil, 
entered upon a long discussion with the corpora 
tion lawyer on a Bill pending before Congress; 
she knew as much as he about the matter and 
held her own in a long and almost bitter argu 
ment which only the coming of refreshments 
broke up. 

Just before the close of the argument two other 
young men had come in, but Angela never learned 
their vocation. Furthermore she was interested 
in observing the young teacher of defective children. 
She was coloured; small and well-built, exquisitely 
dressed, and of a beautiful tint, all bronze and soft 
red, " like Jinny " thought Angela, a little aston 
ished to observe how the warmth of her appearance 



^HHHHHHHHhPLUM 



overshadowed or rather overshone everyone else 
in the room. The tawniness even of Miss Burden's 
hair went dead beside her. The only thing to 
cope with her richness was the classical beauty of 
the Russian poet's features. He seemed unable 
to keep his eyes away from her; was punctiliously 
attentive to her wants and leaned forward several 
times during the long political discussion to whisper 
low spoken and apparently amusing comments. 
The young woman, perfectly at ease in her deep 
chair, received his attentions with a slightly 
detached, amused objectivity; an objectivity which 
she had for everyone in the room including Angela 
at whom she had glanced once rather sharply. 
But the detachment of her manner was totally 
different from Miss Powell's sensitive dignity. 
Totally without self-consciousness she let her warm 
dark eyes travel from one face to another. She 
might have been saying: " How far you are away 
from the things that really matter, birth and death 
and hard, hard work ! " The Russian poet must 
have realized this, for once Angela heard him say, 
leaning forward, " Tou think all this is futile, don't 
you? " 



Martha motioned for her to wait a moment until 
most of the other guests had gone, then she came 
forward with one of the two young men who had 
come in without introduction. " This is Roger 
Fielding, he'll see you home." 

He was tall and blond with deeply blue eyes 
which smiled on her as he said: " Would you like 
to walk or ride? It's raining a little." 

Angela said she preferred to walk. 
116 



" All right then. Here, Starr, come across with 
that umbrella I lent you." 

They went out into the thin, tingling rain of 
late Autumn. " I was surprised," said Roger, 
" to see you there with the high-brows. I didn't 
think you looked that way when I met you at 
Paulette's." 

" We've met before? I'm I'm sorry, but I 
don't seem to remember you." 

" No I don't suppose you would. Well, we 
didn't exactly meet; I saw you one day at Paul 
ette's. That's why I came this evening, because 
I heard you'd be here and I'd get a chance to 
see you again; but I was surprised because you 
didn't seem like that mouthy bunch. They 
make me tired taking life so plaguey seriously. 
Martha and her old high-brows ! " he ended 
ungratefully. 

Angela, a little taken back with the frankness of 
his desire to meet her, said she hadn't thought 
they were serious. 

"Not think them serious? Great Scott! what 
kind of talk are you used to? You look as though 
you'd just come out of a Sunday-school ! Do you 
prefer bible texts? " 

But she could not explain to him the picture 
which she saw in her mind of men and women 
at her father's home in Opal Street, the men 
talking painfully of rents, of lynchings, of building 
and loan associations; the women of child-bearing 
and the sacrifices which must be made to put 
Gertie through school, to educate Howard. " I 
don't mean for any of my children to go through 
what I did." And in later years in her own first 
maturity, young Henson and Sawyer and the 

117 



BUNHMMHHHHHHHf-* 



others in the tiny parlour talking of ideals and in 
evitable sacrifices for the race; the burnt-offering 
of individualism for some dimly glimpsed racial 
whole. This was seriousness, even sombreness, 
with a great sickening vital upthrust of reality. But 
these other topics, peaks of civilization superimposed 
upon peaks, she found, even though interesting, 
utterly futile. 

They had reached the little hall now. " We 
must talk loud," she whispered. 

" Why? " he asked, speaking obediently very 
loud indeed. 

" Wait a minute; no, she's not there. The girl 
above me meets her young man here at night and 
just as sure as I forget her and come in quietly 
there they are in the midst of a kiss. I suspect 
she hates me." 

In his young male sophistication he thought at 
first that this was a lead, but her air was so gay 
and so childishly guileless that he changed his 
opinion. " Though no girl in this day and time 
could be as simple and innocent as she looks." 

But aloud he said, " Of course she doesn't 
hate you, nobody could do that. I assure you 
I don't." 

She thought his gallantries very amusing. " Well, 
it relieves me to hear you say so; that'll keep 
me from worrying for one night at least." And 
withdrawing her hand from his retaining grasp, 
she ran upstairs. 



A letter from Virginia lay inside the door, 
Getting ready for bed she read it in bits. 

118 



*HHHH~HHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHMMHHHMM^ 

" Angela darling, wouldn't it be fun if I were to 
come to New York too? Of course you'd keep 
on living in your Village and I'd live in famous 
Harlem, but we'd both be in the same city, which 
is where two only sisters ought to be, dumb I 
calls it to live apart the way we do. The man out 
at the U. of P. is crazy to have me take an exam, in 
music; it would be easy enough and much better 
pay than I get here. So there are two perfectly 
good reasons why I should come. He thinks I'll 
do him credit and I want to get away from this 
town." 

Then between the lines the real reason betrayed 
itself : 

" I do have such awful luck. Edna Brown had 
a party out in Merion not long ago and Matthew 
took me. And you know what riding in a train 
can do for me, well that night of all nights I had 
to become car-sick. Matthew had been so nice. 
He came to see me the next morning, but, child, 
he's never been near me from that day to this. 
I suppose a man can't get over a girl's being such 
a sight as I was that night. Can't things be too 
hateful ! " 

Angela couldn't help murmuring: " Imagine 
anyone wanting old Matthew so badly that she's 
willing to break up her home to get over him. 
Now why couldn't he have liked her instead of 
me?" 

And pondering on such mysteries she crept into 
bed. But she fell to thinking again about the 
evening she had spent with Martha and the people 
whom she had met. And again it seemed to her 
that they represented an almost alarmingly un 
necessary class. If any great social cataclysm were 



to happen they would surely be the first to be 
swept out of the running. Only the real people 
could survive. Even Paulette's mode of living, 
it seemed to her, had something more forthright 
and vital. 



120 



CHAPTER IV 

IN the morning she was awakened by the ringing 
of the telephone. The instrument was an extrava 
gance, for, save for Anthony's, she received few 
calls and made practically none. But the woman 
from whom she had taken the apartment had per 
suaded her into keeping it. Still, as she had never 
indicted the change in ownership, its value was 
small. She lay there for a moment blinking 
drowsily in the thin but intensely gold sunshine 
of December thinking that her ears were deceiving 
her. 

Finally she reached out a rosy arm, curled it 
about the edge of the door jamb and, reaching 
the little table that stood in the other room just 
on the other side of the door, set the instrument 
up in her bed. The apartment was so small that 
almost everything was within arm's reach. 

" Hello," she murmured sleepily. 

" Oh, I thought you must be there; I said to 
myself: ' She couldn't have left home this early '. 
What time do you go to that famous drawing class 
of yours anyway? J> 

" I beg your pardon ! Who is this speaking, 
please? " 

" Why, Roger, of course, Roger Fielding. 
Don't say you've forgotten me already. This is 
Angele, isn't it? " 

121 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHi' 



" Yes this is Angele Mory speaking, Mr. Field 
ing." 

" Did I o fiend your Highness, Miss Mory? 
Will you have lunch with me to-day and let me 
tell you how sorry I am? " 

But she was lunching with Anthony. " I have 
an engagement." 

" Of course you have. Well, will you have 
tea, dinner, supper to-day, breakfast and all the 
other meals to-morrow and so on for a week? 
You might just as well say ' yes ' because I'll pester 
you till you do." 

"I'm engaged for tea, too, but I'm not really as 
popular as I sound. That's my last engagement 
for this week; I'll be glad to have dinner with 
you." 

" Right-oh ! Now don't go back and finish 
up that beauty sleep, for if you're any more charm 
ing than you were last night I won't answer for 
myself. I'll be there at eight." 

Inexperienced as she was, she was still able 
to recognize his method as a bit florid; she 
preferred, on the whole, Anthony's manner at 
lunch when he leaned forward and touching 
her hand very lightly said: "Isn't it great 
for us to be here! I'm so content, Angele. 
Promise me you'll have lunch with me every day 
this week. I've had a streak of luck with my 
drawings." 

She promised him, a little thrilled herself with 
his evident sincerity and with the niceness of the 
smile which so transfigured his dark, thin face, 
robbing it of its tenseness and strain. 

Still something, some vanity, some vague pre 
monition of adventure, led her to linger over her 

122 



BUN^HHHHHHHHHH^ 



dressing for the dinner with Roger. There was 
never very much colour in her cheeks, but her 
skin was warm and white; there was vitality 
beneath her pallor; her hair was warm, too, long 
and thick and yet so fine that it gave her little head 
the e fleet of being surrounded by a nimbus of 
light; rather wayward, glancing, shifting light for 
there were little tendrils and wisps and curls in 
front and about the temples which no amount of 
coaxing could subdue. She touched up her mouth 
a little, not so much to redden it as to give a hint 
of the mondaine to her appearance. Her dress 
was flame-colour Paulette had induced her to 
buy it, of a plain, rather heavy beautiful glowing 
silk. The neck was high in back and girlishly 
modest in front. She had a string of good arti 
ficial pearls and two heavy silver bracelets. Thus 
she gave the e fleet of a flame herself; intense and 
opaque at the heart where her dress gleamed and 
shone, transparent and fragile where her white 
warm neck and face rose into the tenuous 
shadow of her hair. Her appearance excited 
herself. 

Roger found her delightful. As to women he 
considered himself a connoisseur. This girl pleased 
him in many respects. She was young; she was, 
when lighted from within by some indescribable 
mechanism, even beautiful; she had charm and, 
what was for him even more important, she was 
puzzling. In repose, he noticed, studying her 
closely, her quiet look took on the resemblance 
of an arrested movement, a composure on tip-toe 
so to speak, as though she had been stopped in 
the swift transition from one mood to another. 
And back of that momentary cessation of action 

123 



HHf^HHHHHHhPLUM 



one could see a mind darting, quick, restless, 
indefatigable, observing, tabulating perhaps even 
mocking. She had for him the quality of the 
foreigner, but she gave this quality an objectivity 
as though he were the stranger and she the well- 
known established personage taking note of his 
peculiarities and apparently boundlessly diverted 
by them. 

But of all this Angela was absolutely unaware. 
No wonder she was puzzling to Roger, for, in 
addition to the excitement which she a young 
woman in the high tide of her youth, her health, 
and her beauty would be feeling at receiving 
in the proper setting the devotion and attention 
which all women crave, she was swimming in 
the flood of excitement created by her unique 
position. Stolen waters are the sweetest. And 
Angela never forgot that they were stolen. 
She thought: " Here I am having everything 
that a girl ought to have just because I had sense 
enough to suit my actions to my appearance." 
The realization, the secret fun bubbling back in 
some hidden recess of her heart, brought colour 
to her cheeks, a certain temerity to her manner. 
Roger pondered on this quality. If she were 
reckless ! 

The dinner was perfect; it was served with 
elegance and beauty. Indeed she was surprised 
at the surroundings, the grandeur even of the 
hotel to which he had brought her. She had no 
idea of his means, but had supposed that his 
circumstances were about those of her other new 
friends; probably he was better off than Anthony, 
whose poverty she instinctively sensed, and she 
judged that his income, whatever it might be, 

124 



BUN* 



was not so perilous as Paulette's. But she would 
have put him on the same footing as the Starrs. 
This sort of expenditure, however, meant money, 
" unless he really does like me and is splurging 
this time just for me ". The idea appealed 
to her vanity and gave her a sense of power; 
she looked at Roger with a warm smile. At 
once his intent, considering gaze filmed; he was 
already leaning toward her but he bent even 
farther across the perfect little table and asked 
in a low, eager tone: " Shall we stay here and 
dance or go to your house and talk and smoke 
a bit? " 

" Oh we'll stay and dance; it would be so late 
by the time we get home that we'd only have a 
few minutes." 

Presently the golden evening was over and 
they were in the vestibule at Jayne Street. Roger 
said very loudly: " Where's that push button? " 
Then lower: " Well, your young lovers aren't 
here to-night either. I'm beginning to think you 
made that story up, Angele." 

She assured him, laughing, that she had told 
the truth. " You come here some time and you'll 
see them for yourself." But she wished she could 
think of something more ordinary to say. His 
hands held hers very tightly; they were very 
strong and for the first time she noticed that the 
veins stood up on them like cords. She tried to 
pull her own away and he released them and, 
taking her key, turned the lock in the inner door, 
then stood looking down at her. 

" Well I'm glad they're not here to-night to 
take their revenge." And as he handed her back 
the key he kissed her on the lips. His knowledge 

125 



of women based on many, many such experiences, 
told him that her swift retreat was absolutely 
unfeigned. 

As on a former occasion she stood, after she 
had gained her room, considering herself in the 
glass. She had been kissed only once before, by 
Matthew Henson, and that kiss had been neither 
as casual nor as disturbing as this. She was 
thrilled, excited, and vaguely displeased. " He 
is fresh, I'll say that for him." And subsiding 
into the easy chair she thought for a long 
time of Anthony Cross and his deep respectful 
ardour. 

In the morning there were flowers. 



From the class-room she went with Paulette 
to deliver the latter's sketches. " Have tea 
to-day with me; we'll blow ourselves at the 
Ritz. This is the only time in the month 
that I have any money, so we'll make the best 
of it." 

Angela looked about the warm, luxurious room 
at the serene, luxurious women, the super-groomed, 
super-deferential, tremendously confident men. 
She sighed. " I love all this, love it." 

Paulette, busy blowing smoke-rings, nodded. 
" I blew sixteen that time. Watch me do it again. 
There's nothing really to this kind of life, you 
know." 

" Oh don't blow smoke-rings ! It's the 
only thing in the world that can spoil your 
looks. What do you mean there's nothing to 
it?" 

126 



" Well for a day-in-and-day-out existence, it 
just doesn't do. It's too boring. It's fun for 
you and me to drift in here twice a year when 
we've just had a nice, fat cheque which we've 
got to spend. But there's nothing to it for every 
day; it's too much like reaching the harbour 
where you would be. The tumult and the shout 
ing are all over. I'd rather live just above the 
danger line down on little old Bank Street, and 
think up a way to make five hundred dollars so 
I could go to the French Riviera second class 
and bum around those little towns, Villefranche, 
Beaulieu, Cagnes, you must see them, Angele 
and have a spanking affair with a real man with 
honest to God blood in his veins than to sit here and 
drink tea and listen to the nothings of all these 
tame tigers, trying you out, seeing how much it 
will take to buy you." 

Angela was bewildered by this outburst. " I 
thought you said you didn't like affairs unless 
you could conduct them on your own pied d 
terre." 

" Did I? Well that was another time not 
to-day. By the way, what would you say if I were 
to tell you that I'm going to Russia? " 

She glanced at her friend with the bright shame- 
lessness of a child, for she knew that Angela had 
heard of Jack Hudson's acceptance as newspaper 
correspondent in Moscow. 

" I wouldn't say anything except that I'd much 
rather be here in the warmth and cleanliness of 
the Ritz than be in Moscow where I'm sure it 
will be cold and dirty." 

c That's because you've never wanted anyone." 
Her face for a moment was all desire. Beautiful 

127 



but terrible too. " She actually looks like Hetty 
Daniels," thought Angela in astonishment. Only, 
alas, there was no longer any beauty in Hetty's 
face. 

" When you've set your heart on anybody or 
on anything there'll be no telling what you'll 
do, Angele. For all your innocence you're as 
deep, you'll be as desperate as Martha Burden once 
you're started. I know your kind. Well, if you 
must play around in the Ritz, etcet., etcet., I'll tell 
Roger Fielding. He's a good squire and he can 
afford it." 

" Why? Is he so rich? " 

" Rich ! If all the wealth that he no, not he, 
but his father if all the wealth that old man Field 
ing possesses were to be converted into silver 
dollars there wouldn't be space enough in this room, 
big as it is, to hold it." 

Angela tried to envisage it. " And Roger, what 
does he do? " 

" Spend it. What is there for him to do? 
Nothing except have a good time and keep 
in his father's good graces. His father's some 
kind of a personage and all that, you know, 
crazy about his name and his posterity. Roger 
doesn't dare get drunk and lie in the gutter 
and he mustn't make a misalliance. Outside 
of that the world's his oyster and he eats it 
every day. There's a boy who gets everything 
he wants." 

" What do you mean by a misalliance? He's 
not royalty." 

" Spoken like a good American. No, he's not. 
But he mustn't marry outside certain limits. No 
chorus girl romances for his father. The old man 



BUN** ********** 



wouldn't care a rap about money but he would 
insist on blue blood and the Mayflower. The 
funny thing is that Roger, for all his appearing 
so democratic, is that way too. But of course 
he's been so run after the marvel is that he's 
as unspoiled as he is. But it's the one thing 
I can't stick in him. I don't mind a man's not 
marrying me; but I can't forgive him if he 
thinks I'm not good enough to marry him. 
Any woman is better than the best of men." 
Her face took on its intense, burning expression; 
one would have said she was consumed with 
excitement. 

Angela nodded, only half-listening. Roger a 
multi-millionaire ! Roger who only two nights 
ago had kissed and mumbled her fingers, his eyes 
avid and yet so humble and beseeching! 

" One thing, if you do start playing around 
with Roger be careful. He's a good bit of a 
rotter, and he doesn't care what he says or spends 
to gain his ends." She laughed at the inquiry in 
her friend's eyes. " No, I've never given Roger 
five minutes' thought. But I know his kind. 
They're dangerous. It's wrong for men to have 
both money and power; they're bound to make 
some woman suffer. Come on up the Avenue 
with me and I'll buy a hat. I can't wear this 
whang any longer. It's too small, looks like a 
peanut on a barrel." 



Angela was visual minded. She saw the days 
of the week, the months of the year in little narrow 
divisions of space. She saw the past years of her 

129 



HHHHHHHh**HhPLUM BUN-HHHHHHHHHK* 

life falling into separate, uneven compartments 
whose ensemble made up her existence. Whenever 
she looked back on this period from Christmas to 
Easter she saw a bluish haze beginning in a white 
mist and flaming into something red and terrible; 
and across the bluish haze stretched the name: 
Roger. 

Roger! She had never seen anyone like him: 
so gay, so beautiful, like a blond, glorious god, so 
overwhelming, so persistent. She had not liked 
him so much at first except as one likes the sun 
or the sky or a singing bird, anything jolly and 
free. There had been no touching points for their 
minds. He knew nothing of life except what was 
pleasurable; it is true his idea of the pleasurable 
did not always coincide with hers. He had no 
fears, no restraints, no worries. Yes, he had one; 
he did not want to offend his father. He wanted 
ardently and unswervingly his father's money, 
he did not begrudge his senior a day, an hour, a 
moment of life; about this he had a queer, unselfish 
sincerity. The old financial war horse had made 
his fortune by hard labour and pitiless fighting. 
He had given Roger his being, the entree into a 
wonderful existence. Already he bestowed upon 
him an annual sum which would have kept several 
families in comfort. If Roger had cared to save 
for two years he need never have asked his father 
for another cent. With any kind of luck he 
could have built up for himself a second colossal 
fortune. But he did not care to do this. He did 
not wish his father one instant's loss of life or of 
its enjoyment. But he did want final possession 
of those millions. 

Angela liked him best when he talked about 
130 



" my dad " ; he never mentioned the vastness 
of his wealth, but by now she could not have 
helped guessing even without Paulette's aid that 
he was a wealthy man. She would not take 
jewellery from him, but there was a steady 
stream of flowers, fruit, candy, books, fine copies 
of the old masters. She was afraid and ashamed 
to express a longing in his presence. And with 
all this his steady, constant attendance. And an 
odd watchfulness which she felt but could not 
explain. 

" He must love me," she said to herself, think 
ing of his caresses. She had been unable to keep 
him from kissing her. Her uneasiness had amused 
and charmed him: he laughed at her Puritanism, 
succeeded in shaming her out of it. " Child, 
where have you lived? Why there's nothing in a 
kiss. If I didn't kiss you I couldn't come to see 
you. And I have to see you, Angele ! " His 
voice grew deep; the expression in his eyes made 
her own falter. 

Yet he did not ask her to marry him. " But 
I suppose it's because he can see I don't love 
him yet." And she wondered what it would 
be like to love. Even Jinny knew more about 
this than she, for she had felt, perhaps still 
did feel, a strong affection for Matthew Henson. 
Well, anyway, if they married she would pro 
bably come to love him; most women learned 
to love their husbands. At first after her con 
versation with Paulette about Roger she had 
rather expected a diminution at any time of 
his attentions, for after all she was unknown ; from 
Roger's angle she would be more than outside 
the pale. But she was sure now that he loved and 



HHHHHHHHHHKPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH' 

would want to marry her, for it never occurred 
to her that men bestowed attentions such as these 
on a passing fancy. She saw her life rounding 
out like a fairy tale. Poor, coloured coloured in 
America; unknown, a nobody! And here at her 
hand was the forward thrust shadow of love 
and of great wealth. She would do lots of good 
among coloured people; she would see that Miss 
Powell, for instance, had her scholarship. Oh 
she would hunt out girls and men like Seymour 
Porter, she had almost forgotten his name, 
or was it Arthur Sawyer? and give them a taste of 
life in its fullness and beauty such as they had 
never dreamed of. 

To-night she was to go out with Roger. She 
wore her flame-coloured dress again ; a pretty green 
one was also hanging up in her closet, but she wore 
the flame one because it lighted her up from within 
lighted not only her lovely, fine body but her 
mind too. Her satisfaction with her appearance 
let loose some inexplicable spring of gaiety and 
merriment and simplicity so that she seemed 
almost daring. 

Roger, sitting opposite, tried to probe her mood, 
tried to gauge the invitation of her manner and its 
possibilities. She touched him once or twice, 
familiarly; he thought almost possessively. She 
seemed to be within reach now if along with that 
accessibility she had recklessness. It was this 
attribute which for the first time to-night he 
thought to divine within her. If in addition to 
her insatiable interest in life for she was always 
asking him about people and places, she possessed 
this recklessness, then indeed he might put to her a 
proposal which had been hanging on his lips for 

132 



weeks and months. Something innocent, pathetic 
ally untouched about her had hitherto kept him 
back. But if she had the requisite daring ! They 
were dining in East Tenth Street in a small cafe 
small contrasted with the Park Avenue Hotel 
to which he had first taken her. But about them 
stretched the glitter and perfection of crystal and 
silver, of marvellous napery and of obsequious 
service. Everything, Angela thought, looking 
about her, was translated. The slight odour of 
food was, she told Fielding, really an aroma: 
the mineral water which he was drinking be 
cause he could not help it and she because 
she could not learn to like wine, was nectar; the 
bread, the fish, the courses were ambrosia. 
The food, too, in general was to be spoken of 
as viands. 

" Vittles, translated," she said laughing. 

" And you, you, too, are translated. Angele, 
you are wonderful, you are charming," his lips 
answered but his senses beat and hammered. 
Intoxicated with the magic of the moment and the 
surroundings, she turned her smiling countenance 
a little nearer, and saw his face change, darken. 
A cloud over the sun. 

" Excuse me," he said and walked hastily across 
the room back of her. In astonishment she 
turned and looked after him. At a table behind 
her three coloured people (under the direction of a 
puzzled and troubled waiter,) were about to take 
a table. Roger went up and spoke to the head- 
waiter authoritatively, even angrily. The latter 
glanced about the room, nodded obsequiously 
and crossing, addressed the little group. There 
was a hasty, slightly acrid discussion. Then the 

133 



three filled out, past Angela's table this time, their 
heads high. 

She turned back to her plate, her heart sick. 
For her the evening was ended. Roger came back, 
his face flushed, triumphant, " Well I put a spoke 
in the wheel of those ' coons ' ! They forget 
themselves so quickly, coming in here spoiling 
white people's appetites. I told the manager if 
they brought one of their damned suits I'd be 
responsible. I wasn't going to have them here 
with you, Angele. I could tell that night at 
Martha Burden's by the way you looked at that 
girl that you had no time for darkies. I'll bet 
you'd never been that near to one before in your 
life, had you? Wonder where Martha picked 
that one up." 

She was silent, lifeless. He went on recounting 
instances of how effectively he had " spoked the 
wheel " of various coloured people. He had black 
balled Negroes in Harvard, aspirants for small 
literary or honour societies. " I'd send 'em all 
back to Africa if I could. There's been a darkey 
up in Harlem's got the right idea, I understand; 
though he must be a low brute to cave in on his 
race that way; of course it's merely a matter of 
money with him. He'd betray them all for a few 
thousands. Gosh, if he could really pull it through 
I don't know but what I'd be willing to finance 
it." 

To this tirade there were economic reasons to 
oppose, tenets of justice, high ideals of humanity. 
But she could think of none of them. Speechless, 
she listened to him, her appetite fled. 

' What's the matter, Angele? Did it make you 
sick to see them? " 

134 



BUNHHHMMHHMHHHS* 



" No, no not that. I I don't mind them; 
you're mistaken about me and that girl at Martha 
Burden's. It's you, you're so violent. I didn't 
know you were that way ! " 

" And I've made you afraid of me? Oh, I don't 
want to do that." But he was flattered to think 
that he had affected her. " See here, let's get 
some air. I'll take you for a spin around the Park 
and then run you home." 

But she did not want to go to the Park; she 
wanted to go home immediately. His little blue 
car was outside; in fifteen minutes they were at 
Jayne Street. She would not permit him to come 
inside, not even in the vestibule; she barely gave 
him her hand. 

" But Angele, you can't leave me like this; 
why what have I done? Did it frighten you be 
cause I swore a little? But I'd never swear at you. 
Don't go like this." 

She was gone, leaving him staring and non 
plussed on the sidewalk. Lighting a cigarette, he 
climbed back in her car. " Now what the devil ! " 
He shifted his gears. " But she likes me. I'd 
have sworn she liked me to-night. Those damn 
niggers ! I bet she's thinking about me this 



He would have lost his bet. She was thinking 
about the coloured people. 

She could visualize them all so plainly; she 
could interpret their changing expressions as com 
pletely as though those changes lay before her in 
a book. There were a girl and two men, one 

135 



young, the other the father perhaps of either of the 
other two. The fatherly-looking person, for so 
her mind docketed him, bore an expression of 
readiness for any outcome whatever. She knew 
and understood the type. His experiences of 
surprises engendered by this thing called prejudice 
had been too vast for them to appear to him as 
surprises. If they were served this was a lucky 
day; if not he would refuse to let the incident 
shake his stout spirit. 

It was to the young man and the girl that her 
interest went winging. In the mirror behind 
Roger she had seen them entering the room and 
she had thought: " Oh, here are some of them 
fighting it out again. O God ! please let them be 
served, please don't let their evening be spoiled." 
She was so happy herself and she knew that the 
reception of fifty other maitres d'hotel could not 
atone for a rebuff at the beginning of the game. 
The young fellow was nervous, his face tense, 
thus might he have looked going to meet the 
enemy's charge in the recent Great War; but 
there the odds were even; here the cards were 
already stacked against him. Presently his ex 
pression would change for one of grimness, 
determination and despair. Talk of a lawsuit 
would follow; apparently did follow; still a law 
suit at best is a poor substitute for an evening's 
fun. 

But the girl, the girl in whose shoes she herself 
might so easily have been ! She was so clearly a 
nice girl, with all that the phrase implies. To 
Angela watching her intently and yet with the in 
difference of safety she recalled Virginia, so 
slender, so appealing she was and so brave. So 

136 



very brave! Ah, that courage! It affected at 
first a gay hardihood: " Oh I know it isn't cus 
tomary for people like us to come into this cafe, 
but everything is going to be all right." It met 
Angela's gaze with a steadiness before which 
her own quailed, for she thought: " Oh, poor 
thing! perhaps she thinks that I don't want her 
either." And when the blow had fallen the 
courage had had to be translated anew into a 
comforting assurance. " Don't worry about me, 
Jimmy," the watching guest could just hear her. 
" Indeed, indeed it won't spoil the evening, I 
should say not; there're plenty of places where 
they'd be all right. We just happened to pick a 
lemon." 

The three had filed out, their heads high, their 
gaze poised and level. But the net result of the 
evening's adventure would be an increased cyni 
cism in the elderly man, a growing bitterness for 
the young fellow, and a new timidity in the girl, 
who, even after they had passed into the street, 
could not relieve her feelings, for she must comfort 
her baffled and goaded escort. 

Angela wondered if she had been half as con 
soling to Matthew Henson, was it just a short 
year ago? And suddenly, sitting immobile in her 
arm-chair, her evening cloak slipping unnoticed 
to the floor, triumph began to mount in her. Life 
could never cheat her as it had cheated that 
coloured girl this evening, as it had once cheated 
her in Philadephia with Matthew. She was free, 
free to taste life in all its fullness and sweetness, in 
all its minutest details. By exercising sufficient 
courage to employ the unique weapon which an 
accident of heredity had placed in her grasp she 

137 



HHhHHMHhHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHMMHHh* 

was able to master life. How she blessed her 
mother for showing her the way ! In a country 
where colour or the lack of it meant the difference 
between freedom and fetters how lucky she was ! 
But, she told herself, she was through with Roger 
Fielding. 



138 



CHAPTER V 

Now it was Spring, Spring in New York. Wash 
ington Square was a riot of greens that showed up 
bravely against the great red brick houses on its 
north side. The Arch viewed from Fifth Avenue 
seemed a gateway to Paradise. The long deep 
streets running the length of the city invited an 
exploration to the ends where pots of gold doubt 
less gleamed. On the short crosswise streets the 
April sun streamed in splendid banners of deep 
golden light. 

In two weeks Angela had seen Roger only once. 
He telephoned every day, pleading, beseeching, 
entreating. On the one occasion when she did 
permit him to call there were almost tears in his 
eyes. " But, darling, what did I do? If you'd 
only tell me that. Perhaps I could explain away 
whatever it is that's come between us." But there 
was nothing to explain she told him gravely, it was 
just that he was harder, more cruel than she had 
expected; no, it wasn't the coloured people, she 
lied and felt her soul blushing, it was that now 
she knew him when he was angry or displeased, 
and she could see how ruthless, how determined he 
was to have things his way. His willingness to 
pay the costs of the possible lawsuit had filled her 
with a sharp fear. What could one do against 
a man, against a group of men such as he and his 

139 



BUN* * 



kind represented who would spend time and money 
to maintain a prejudice based on a silly, time-worn 
tradition? 

Yet she found she did not want to lose sight of 
him completely. The care, the attention, the 
flattery with which he had surrounded her were 
beginning to produce their effect. In the beautiful 
but slightly wearying balminess of the Spring she 
missed the blue car which had been constantly 
at her call; eating a good but homely meal in 
her little living room with the cooking odours 
fairly overwhelming her from the kitchenette, she 
found herself longing unconsciously for the dainty 
food, the fresh Spring delicacies which she knew 
he would be only too glad to procure for her. 
Shamefacedly she had to acknowledge that the 
separation which she was so rigidly enforcing 
meant a difference in her tiny exchequer, for it had 
now been many months since she had regularly 
taken her main meal by herself and at her own 
expense. 

To-day she was especially conscious of her 
dependence upon him, for she was to spend the 
afternoon in Van Cortlandt Park with Anthony. 
There had been talk of subways and the Elevated. 
Roger would have had the blue car at the door 
and she would have driven out of Jayne Street in 
state. Now it transpired that Anthony was to 
deliver some drawings to a man, a tricky customer, 
whom it was best to waylay if possible on Saturday 
afternoon. Much as he regretted it he would 
probably be a little late. Angela, therefore, to 
save time must meet him at Seventy-second Street. 
Roger would never have made a request like that; 
he would have brought his lawyer or his business 

140 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH^ 



man along in the car with him and, dismissing him 
with a curt " Well I'll see if I can finish this 
to-morrow," would have hastened to her with his 
best Walter Raleigh manner, and would have pro 
duced the cloak, too, if she would but say so. Per 
haps she'd have to take him back. Doubtless later 
on she could manage his prejudices if only he would 
speak. But how was she to accomplish that? 

Still it was lovely being here with Anthony in 
the park, so green and fresh, so new with the 
recurring newness of Spring. Anthony touched 
her hand and said as he had once before, " I'm so 
content to be with you, Angel. I may call you 
Angel, mayn't I? You are that to me, you know. 
Oh if you only knew how happy it makes me to 
be content, to be satisfied like this. I could get 
down on my knees and thank God for it like a little 
boy." He looked like a little boy as he said it. 
" Happiness is a hard thing to find and harder 
still to keep." 

She asked him idly, " Haven't you always been 
happy? " 

His face underwent a startling change. Not 
only did the old sadness and strain come back on 
it, but a great bitterness such as she had never 
before seen. 

" No," he said slowly as though thinking through 
long years of his life. " I haven't been happy for 
years, not since I was a little boy. Never once 
have I been happy nor even at ease until I met 
you." 

But she did not want him to find his happiness 
in her. That way would only lead to greater un- 
happiness for him. So she said, to change the 
subject: " Could you tell me about it? " 

141 



BUN-HHHHHHHHH-* 



But there was nothing to tell, he assured her, 
his face growing darker, grimmer. " Only my 
father was killed when I was a little boy, killed 
by his enemies. I've hated them ever since; I 
never stopped hating them until I met you." But 
this was just as dangerous a road as the other plus 
the possibilities of re-opening old wounds. So 
she only shivered and said vaguely, " Oh, that 
was terrible ! Too terrible to talk about. I'm 
sorry, Anthony ! " And then as a last desperate 
topic: "Are you ever going back to Brazil?" 
For she knew that he had come to the United 
States from Rio de Janeiro. He had spent Christ 
mas at her house, and had shown her pictures of 
the great, beautiful city and of his mother, a 
slender, dark-eyed woman with a perpetual sad 
ness in her eyes. 

The conversation languished. She thought: " It 
must be terrible to be a man and to have these 
secret hates and horrors back of one." Some 
Spanish feud, a matter of hot blood and ready 
knives, a sudden stroke, and then this deadly 
memory for him. 

" No," he said after a long pause. "I'm never 
going back to Brazil. I couldn't." He turned to 
her suddenly. " Tell me, Angel, what kind of 
girl are you, what do you think worth while? 
Could you, for the sake of love, for the sake of 
being loyal to the purposes and vows of someone 
you loved, bring yourself to endure privation and 
hardship and misunderstanding, hardship that 
would be none the less hard because it really could 
be avoided? " 

She thought of her mother who had loved her 
father so dearly, and of the wash-days which she 

142 



BUNHHHH^HHHHHHHf- 



had endured for him, the long years of household 
routine before she and Jinny had been old enough 
to help her first with their hands and then with 
their earnings. She thought of the little, dark, 
shabby house, of the made-over dresses and turned 
coats. And then she saw Roger and his wealth 
and his golden recklessness, his golden keys which 
could open the doors to beauty and ease and 
decency ! Oh, it wasn't decent for women to have 
to scrub and work and slave and bear children 
and sacrifice their looks and their pretty hands, 
she saw her mother's hands as they had always 
looked on wash day, they had a white, boiled 
appearance. No, she would not fool herself nor 
Anthony. She was no sentimentalist. It was not 
likely that she, a girl who had left her little sister 
and her home to go out to seek life and happiness 
would throw it over for poverty, hardship. If 
a man loved a woman how could he ask her 
that? 

So she told him gently: " No, Anthony, I 
couldn't," and watched the blood drain from his 
face and the old look of unhappiness drift into 
his eyes. 

He answered inadequately. " No, of course you 
couldn't." And turning over, he had been sitting 
on the grass at her feet he lay face downward on 
the scented turf. Presently he sat up and giving 
her a singularly sweet but wistful smile, said: " I 
almost touched happiness, Angele. Did you by 
any chance ever happen to read Browning's ( Two 
in the Roman Campagna '? " 

But she had read very little poetry except what 
had been required in her High School work, and 
certainly not Browning. 



\ 

BUN-HH5* 



He began to interpret the fragile, difficult 
beauty of the poem with its light but sure touch on 
evanescent, indefinable feeling. He quoted: 

" How is it under our control 
To love or not to love? " 

And again: 

" Infinite yearning and the pang 
Of finite hearts that yearn." 

They were silent for a long time. And again 
she wondered how it would feel to love. He 
watched the sun drop suddenly below some tree 
tops and rose to his feet shivering a little as though 
its disappearance had made him immediately 
cold. 

" ' So the good moment goes.' Come, Angel, 
we'll have to hasten. It's getting dark and it's 
a long walk to the subway." 



The memory of the afternoon stayed by her, 
shrouding her thoughts, clinging to them like a 
tenuous, adhering mantle. But she said to herself: 
" There's no use thinking about that. I'm not 
going to live that kind of life." And she knew 
she wanted Roger and what he could give her and 
the light and gladness which he always radiated. 
She wanted none of Anthony's poverty and priva 
tion and secret vows, he meant, she supposed, 
some promise to devote himself to REAL ART, 
her visual mind saw it in capitals. Well, she was 
sick of tragedy, she belonged to a tragic race. 

144 



" God knows it's time for one member of it to be 
having a little fun." 

" Yes," she thought all through her class, paint 
ing furiously for she had taken up her work in 
earnest since Christmas " yes, I'll just make up 
my mind to it. I'll take Roger back and get mar 
ried and settle down to a pleasant, safe, beautiful 
life." And useful. It should be very useful. 
Perhaps she'd win Roger around to helping 
coloured people. She'd look up all sorts of down- 
and-outers and give them a hand. And she'd help 
Anthony, at least she'd offer to help him; she 
didn't believe he would permit her. 

Coming out of the building a thought occurred 
to her: "Take Roger back, but back to what? 
To his old status of admiring, familiar, generous 
friend? Just that and no more? " Here was her 
old problem again. She stopped short to con 
sider it. 

Martha Burden overtook her. " Planning the 
great masterpiece of the ages, Angele? Better come 
along and work it out by my fireside. I can give 
you some tea. Are you coming? " 

" Yes," said Angela, still absorbed. 

" Well," said Martha after they had reached 
the house. " I've never seen any study as 
deep as that. Come out of it Angele, you'll 
drown. You're not by any chance in love, are 
you? " 

" No," she replied, " at least I don't know. 
But tell me, Martha, suppose suppose I were in 
love with one of them, what do you do about it, 
how do you get them to propose? " 

Martha lay back and laughed. " Such candour 
have I not met, no, not in all Flapperdom. Angele^ 

K 145 



if I could answer that I'd be turning women away 
from my door and handing out my knowledge 
to the ones I did admit at a hundred dollars a 
throw." 

" But there must be some way. Oh, of course, 
I know lots of them propose, but how do you get a 
proposal from the ones you want, the, the 
interesting ones? " 

" You really want to know? The only answer 
I can give you is Humpty Dumpty's dictum to 
Alice about verbs and adjectives: ' It depends on 
which is the stronger.' ' She interpreted for her 
young guest was clearly mystified. " It depends 
on (A) whether you are strong enough to make 
him like you more than you like him; (B) whether 
if you really do like him more than he does you 
you can conceal it. In other words, so far as 
liking is concerned you must always be ahead of 
the game, you must always like or appear to like 
him a little less than he does you. And you must 
make him want you. But you mustn't give. Oh 
yes, I know that men are always wanting women 
to give, but they don't want the women to want 
to give. They want to take, or at any rate to 
compel the giving." 

" It sounds very complicated, like some subtle 
game." 

A deep febrile light came into Martha's eyes. 
" It is a game, and the hardest game in the world 
for a woman, but the most fascinating; the hardest 
in which to strike a happy medium. You see, 
you have to be careful not to withhold too much 
and yet to give very little. If we don't give enough 
we lose them. If we give too much we lose our 
selves. Oh, Angele, God doesn't like women." 



BUNHHHHHHHS-HHf~H* 



" But," said Angela thinking of her own mother, 
" there are some women who give all and men 
like them the better for it." 

" Oh, yes, that's true. Those are the blessed 
among women. They ought to get down on their 
knees every 'day and thank God for permitting 
them to be their normal selves and not having 
to play a game." For a moment her still, proud 
face broke into deeps of pain. " Oh, Angele, 
think of loving and never, never being able to 
show it until you're asked for it; think of living 
a game every hour of your life ! " Her face 
quivered back to its normal immobility. 

Angela walked home through the purple twi 
light musing no longer on her own case but on 
this unexpected revelation. " Well," she said, 
"I certainly shouldn't like to love like that." 
She thought of Anthony : " A woman could be her 
true self with him." But she had given him up. 



If the thing to do were to play a game she would 
play one. Indeed she rather enjoyed the prospect. 
She was playing a game now, a game against 
public tradition on the one hand and family 
instinct on the other; the stakes were happiness 
and excitement, and almost anyone looking at 
the tricks which she had already taken would 
prophesy that she would be the winner. She 
decided to follow all the rules as laid down by 
Martha Burden and to add any workable ideas 
of her own. When Roger called again she was 
still unable to see him, but her voice was a shade 
less curt over the telephone; she did not cut him 

147 



H-* * * > * *HHHhPLUM BUNHHHH--HMMHHH5* 

off so abruptly. " I must not withhold too much," 
she reminded herself. He was quick to note the 
subtle change in intonation. " But you're going 
to let me come to see you soon, Angele," he 
pleaded. " You wouldn't hold out this way 
against me forever. Say when I may come." 

" Oh, one of these days; I must go now, Roger. 
Good-bye." 

After the third call she let him come to spend 
Friday evening. She heard the blue car rumbling 
in the street and a few minutes later he came 
literally staggering into the living-room so laden 
was he with packages. Flowers, heaps of spring 
posies had come earlier in the day, lilacs, jonquils, 
narcissi. Now this evening there were books and 
candy, handkerchiefs, " they were so dainty and 
they looked just like you," he said fearfully, for 
she had never taken an article of dress from him, 
two pictures, a palette and some fine brushes 
and last a hamper of all sorts of delicacies. 
" I thought if you didn't mind we'd have 
supper here; it would be fun with just us 
two." 

How much he pleased her he could not divine; 
it was the first time he had ever given a hint of 
any desire for sheer domesticity. Anthony had 
sought nothing better than to sit and smoke and 
watch her flitting about in her absurd red or 
violet apron. Matthew Henson had been speech 
less with ecstasy when on a winter night she had 
allowed him to come into the kitchen while she 
prepared for him a cup of cocoa. But Roger's 
palate had been so flattered by the concoctions 
of chefs famous in London, Paris and New York 
that he had set no store by her simple cooking. 

148 



Indeed his inevitable comment had been: " Here, 
what do you want to get yourself all tired out 
for? Let's go to a restaurant. It's heaps less 
bother." 

But to-night he, too, watched her with humble, 
delighted eyes. She realized that he was con 
scious of her every movement; once he tried 
to embrace her, but she whirled out of his reach 
without reproach but with decision. He subsided, 
too thankful to be once more in her presence 
to take any risks. And when he left he had kissed 
her hand. 

She began going about with him again, but with 
condescension, with kindness. And with the new 
vision gained from her talk with Martha she could 
see his passion mounting. " Make him want you," 
that was the second rule. It was clear that he 
did, no man could be as persevering as this other 
wise. Still he did not speak. They were to meet 
that afternoon in front of the school to go " any 
where you want, dear, Pm yours to command ". 
It was the first time that he had called for her 
at the building, and she came out a litttle early, 
for she did not want any of the three, Martha, 
Paulette, nor Anthony, to see whom she was 
meeting. It would be better to walk to the corner, 
she thought, they'd be just that much less likely 
to recognize him. She heard footsteps hurrying 
behind her, heard her name and turned to see 
Miss Powell, pleased and excited. She laid her 
hand on Angela's arm but the latter shook her off. 
Roger must not see her on familiar terms like this 
with a coloured girl for she felt that the afternoon 
portended something and she wanted no side 
issues. The coloured girl gave her a penetrating 



BUNHMHHHMHMHHHi* 



glance; then her habitual reserve settled down 
blotting out the eagerness, leaving her face blurred 
and heavy. " I beg your pardon, Miss Mory, 
I'm sure," she murmured and stepped out into the 
tempestuous traffic of Fourth Avenue. Angela 
was sorry; she would make it up to-morrow, she 
thought, but she had not dismissed her a moment 
too soon for Roger came rushing up, his car 
resplendent and resplendent himself in a grey suit, 
soft grey hat and blue tie. Angela looked at him 
approvingly. " You look just like the men in the 
advertising pages of the Saturday Evening Post," 
she said, and the fact that he did not wince under 
the compliment proved the depth of his devotion, 
for every one of his outer garments, hat, shoes, and 
suit, had been made to measure. 

They went to Coney Island. " The ocean 
will be there, but very few people and only a 
very few amusements," said Roger. They had 
a delightful time; they were like school children, 
easily and frankly amused; they entered all the 
booths that were open, ate pop-corn and hot dogs 
and other local dainties. And presently they 
were flying home under the double line of trees 
on Ocean Parkway and entering the bosky loveli 
ness of Prospect Park. Roger slowed down a 
little. 

"Oh," said Angela. "I love this car." 

He bent toward her instantly. " Does it please 
you? Did you miss it when you made me stay 
away from you? " 

She was afraid she had made a mistake: " Yes, 
but that's not why I let you come back." 

" I know that. But you do like it, don't you, 
comfort and beauty and dainty surroundings? " 

150 



BUN* 



" Yes," she said solemnly, " I love them all." 

He was silent then for a long, long time, his face 
a little set, a worried line on his forehead. 

" Well now what's he thinking about? " she 
asked herself, watching his hands and their clever 
manipulation of the steering wheel though his 
thoughts, she knew, were not on that. 

He turned to her with an air of having made up 
his mind. " Angele, I want you to promise to 
spend a day out riding with me pretty soon. I 
I have something I want to say to you." He 
was a worldly young man about town but he was 
actually mopping his brow. " I've got to go south 
for a week for my father, he owns some timber 
down there with which he used to supply saw 
mills but since the damned niggers have started 
running north it's been something of a weight on 
his hands. He wants me to go down and see 
whether it's worth his while to hold on to it any 
longer. It's so rarely that he asks anything of me 
along a business line that I'd hate to refuse him. 
But I'll be back the morning of the twenty-sixth. 
I'll have to spend the afternoon and evening with 
him out on Long Island but on the twenty-seventh 
could you go out with me? " 

She said as though all this preamble portended 
nothing: " I couldn't give you the whole day, but 
I'd go in the afternoon." 

" Oh," his face fell a little. " Well, the after 
noon then. Only of course we won't be able to 
go far out. Perhaps you'd like me to arrange a 
lunch and we'd go to one of the Parks, Central or 
the Bronx, or Van Cortlandt, - " 

" No, not Van Cortlandt," she told him. That 
park was sacred to Anthony Cross. 



M-H-W-H-HHKPLUM BUNHHHHHHMMHHf-* 

" Well, wherever you say. We can settle it 
even that day. The main thing is that you'll 

go." 

She said to herself. "Aren't men funny! He 
could have asked me five times over while he was 
making all these arrangements." But she was 
immensely relieved, even happy. She felt very 
kindly toward him; perhaps she was in love after 
all, only she was not the demonstrative kind. It 
was too late for him to come in, but they sat in the 
car in the dark security of Jayne Street and she 
let him take her in his arms and kiss her again 
again. For the first time she returned his 
kisses. 



Weary but triumphant she mounted the stairs 
almost stumbling from a sudden, overwhelming 
fatigue. She had been under a strain ! But it 
was all over now; she had conquered, she had been 
the stronger. She had secured not only him but 
an assured future, wealth, protection, influence, 
even power. She herself was power, like the 
women one reads about, like Cleopatra, Cleo 
patra's African origin intrigued her, it was a fitting 
comparison. Smiling, she took the last steep stairs 
lightly, springily, suddenly rein vigor ated. 

As she opened the door a little heap of letters 
struck her foot. Switching on the light she sat 
in the easy chair and incuriously turned them over. 
They were bills for the most part, she had had to 
dress to keep herself dainty and desirable for 
Roger. At the bottom of the heap was a letter from 
Virginia. When she became Mrs. Roger Fielding 



she would never have to worry about a bill again; 
how she would laugh when she remembered the 
small amounts for which these called! Never 
again would she feel the slight quake of dismay 
which always overtook her when she saw she words : 
" Miss Angele Mory in account with, " Out 
side of the regular monthly statement for gas she 
had never seen a bill in her father's house. Well, 
she'd have no difficulty in getting over her 
squeamish training. 

Finally she opened Jinny's letter. Her sister 
had written: 

" Angela I'm coming up for an exam, on the 
twenty-eighth. I'll arrive on the twenty-sixth or I 
could come the day before. You'll meet me, won't 
you? I know where I'm going to stay," she 
gave an address on isgth Street " but I don't 
know how to get there; I don't know your school 
hours, write and tell me so I can arrive when 
you're free. There's no reason why I should put 
you out." 

So Virginia was really coming to try her luck 
in New York. It would be nice to have her so 
near. " Though I don't suppose we'll be seeing 
so much of each other," she thought, absently 
reaching for her schedule. " Less than ever now, 
for I suppose Roger and I will live in Long 
Island; yes, that would be much wiser. I'll wear 
a veil when I go to meet her, for those coloured 
porters stare at you so and they never forget 
you." 

The twenty-seventh came on Thursday; she had 
classes in the morning ; well, Jinny would be coming 
in the afternoon anyway, and after twelve she had, 
Oh heavens that was the day, the day she was to 

153 



go out with Roger, the day that he would put the 
great question. And she wrote to Virginia: 

" Come the twenty-sixth. Honey, any time after 
four. I couldn't possibly meet you on the twenty- 
seventh. But the twenty-sixth is all right. Let 
me know when your train comes in and I'll be 
there. And welcome to our city." 



154 



CHAPTER VI 

THE week was one of tumult, almost of agony. 
After all, matters were not completely settled, you 
never could tell. She would be glad when the 
twenty-seventh had come and gone, for then, then 
she would be rooted, fixed. She and Roger would 
marry immediately. But now he was so far away, 
in Georgia ; she missed him and evidently he missed 
her for the first two days brought her long tele 
grams almost letters. " I can think of nothing but 
next Thursday, are you thinking of it too? " The 
third day brought a letter which said practically 
the same thing, adding, " Oh, Angele, I wonder 
what you will say ! " 

" But he could ask me and find out," she said 
to herself and suddenly felt assured and triumphant. 
Every day thereafter brought her a letter reiterat 
ing this strain. " And I know how he hates to 
write ! " 

The letter on Wednesday read, " Darling, when 
you get this I'll actually be in New York; if I can 
I'll call you up but I'll have to rush like mad so 
as to be free for Thursday, so perhaps I can't 
manage." 

She made up her mind not to answer the tele 
phone even if it did ring, she would strike one last 
note of indifference though only she herself would 
be aware of it. 

155 



BUNHHMHHHMHHHM5* 



It was the day on which Jinny was to arrive. 
It would be fun to see her, talk to her, hear all the 
news about the queer, staid people whom she had 
left so far behind. Farther now than ever. 
Matthew Henson was still in the post-office, she 
knew. Arthur Sawyer was teaching at Sixteenth 
and Fitzwater; she could imagine the sick distaste 
that mantled his face every time he looked at 
the hideous, discoloured building. Porter had 
taken his degree in dentistry but he was not prac 
tising, on the contrary he was editing a small weekly, 
getting deeper, more and more hopelessly into 
debt she was sure. ... It would be fun some 
day to send him a whopping cheque; after all, 
he had taken a chance just as she had; she 
recognized his revolt as akin to her own, only he 
had not had her luck. She must ask Jinny about 
all this. 

It was too bad that she had to meet her sister, 
but she must. Just as likely as not she'd be car 
sick and then New York was terrifying for the 
first time to the stranger, she had known an 
instant's sick dread herself that first day when 
she had stood alone and ignorant in the great 
rotunda of the station. But she was different 
from Jinny; nothing about life ever made her 
really afraid; she might hurt herself, suffer, meet 
disappointment, but life could not alarm her; 
she loved to come to grips with it, to force it to 
a standstill, to yield up its treasures. But Jinny 
although brave, had secret fears, she was really 
only a baby. Her little sister ! For the first time 
in months she thought of her with a great surge 
of sisterly tenderness. 

It was time to go. She wore her most un- 

156 



BUN^HHHHHHHHHH^ 

obtrusive clothes, a dark blue suit, a plain white 
silk shirt, a dark blue, bell-shaped hat a cloche 
small and fitting down close over her eyes. 
She pulled it down even farther and settled her 
modish veil well over the tip of her nose. It 
was one thing to walk about the Village with Miss 
Powell. There were practically no coloured 
people there. But this was different. Those 
curious porters should never be able to recognize 
her. Seymour Porter had worked among them 
one summer at Broad Street station in Philadel 
phia. He used to say : " They aren't really 
curious, you know, but their job makes them sick; 
so they're always hunting for the romance, for the 
adventure which for a day at least will take the 
curse off the monotonous obsequiousness of their 
lives." 

She was sorry for them, but she could not 
permit them to remedy their existence at her 
expense. 



In her last letter she had explained to Jinny 
about those two troublesome staircases which lead 
from the train level of the New York Pennsyl 
vania Railroad ^station to] the street level. 
;< There's no use my trying to tell you which one 
to take in order to bring you up to the right hand 
or to the left hand side of the elevator because 
I never know myself. So all I can say, dear, is 
when you do get up to the elevator just stick to 
it and eventually I'll see you or you'll see me as 
I revolve around it. Don't you move, for it 
might turn out that we were both going in the 
same direction." 



BUNHHHHHHH--HMH' 



True to her own instructions, she was stationed 
between the two staircases, jerking her neck now 
toward one staircase, now toward the other, 
stopping short to look at the elevator itself. She 
thrust up her veil to see better. 

A man sprinted by in desperate haste, brush 
ing so closely by her that the corner of his 
suit-case struck sharply on the thin inner curve 
of her knee. 

" My goodness ! " she exclaimed involuntarily. 

For all his haste he was a gentleman, for he pulled 
off his hat, threw her a quick backward glance 
and began: "I beg your why darling, darling, 
you don't mean to say you came to meet me ! " 

" Meet you ! I thought you came in this 
morning." It was Roger, Roger and the sight 
of him made her stupid with fear. 

He stooped and kissed her, tenderly, possess 
ively. " I did, oh Angela you are a beauty ! 
Only a beauty can wear plain things like that. 
I did come in this morning but I'm trying to 
catch Kirby, my father's lawyer, he ought to be 
coming in from Newark just now and I thought 
I'd take him down to Long Island with me for 
the night. I've got a lot of documents for him 
here in this suitcase that Georgia business was 
most complicated that way I won't have to 
hunt him up in the morning and I'll have more 
time to to arrange for our trip in the afternoon. 
What are you doing here? " 

What was she doing there? Waiting for her 
sister Jinny who was coloured and who showed 
it. And Roger hated Negroes. She was lost, 
ruined, unless she could get rid of him. She told 
the first lie that came into her mind, 

158 



*HHH~HHHH"H-PLUM BUN* * * * -HHHHHS* 

" I'm waiting for Paulette." All this could be 
fixed up with Paulette later. Miss Lister would 
think as little of deceiving a man, any man, as 
she would of squashing a mosquito. They were 
fair game and she would ask no questions. 

His face clouded. " Can't say I'm so wild 
about your waiting for Paulette. Well we can 
wait together is she coming up from Philadelphia? 
That train's bringing my man too from Newark." 
He had the male's terrible clarity of under 
standing for train connections. 

' What time does your train go to Long Island? 
I thought you wanted to get the next one." 

" Well, I'd like to but they're only half an 
hour apart. I can wait. Better the loss of an 
hour to-day than all of to-morrow morning. We 
can wait together; see the people are beginning 
to come up. I wish I could take you home but 
the minute he shows up I'll have to sprint with 
him." 

" Now God be on my side," she prayed. 
Sometimes these trains were very long. If Mr. 
Kirby were in the first car and Jinny toward 
the end that would make all of ten minutes' 
difference. If only she hadn't given those explicit 
directions ! 

There was Jinny, her head suddenly emerging 
into view above the stairs. She saw Angela, 
waved her hand. In another moment she would 
be flinging her arms about her sister's neck; she 
would be kissing her and saying, " Oh, Angela, 
Angela darling ! " 

And Roger, who was no fool, would notice 
the name Angela Angele; he would know no 
Coloured girl would make a mistake like this. 

159 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 



She closed her eyes in a momentary faintness, 
opened them again. 

" What's the matter? " said Roger sharply, 
" are you sick? " 

Jinny was beside her. Now, now the bolt would 
fall. She heard the gay, childish voice saying 
laughingly, assuredly: 

" I beg your pardon, but isn't this Mrs. Hen 
rietta Jones? " 

Oh, God was good ! Here was one chance if 
only Jinny would understand ! In his astonish 
ment Roger had turned from her to face the 
speaker. Angela, her eyes beseeching her sister's 
from under her close hat brim, could only stammer 
the old formula: " Really you have the advantage 
of me. No, I'm not Mrs. Jones." 

Roger said rudely, " Of course she isn't Mrs. 
Jones. Come, Angle." Putting his arm through 
hers he stooped for the suitcase. 

But Jinny, after a second's bewildered but 
incredulous stare, was quicker even than they. 
Her slight figure, her head high, preceded them; 
vanished into a telephone booth. 
^fRoger glared after her. " Well of all the 
damned cheek ! " 



For the first time in the pursuit of her chosen 
ends she began to waver. Surely no ambition, no 
pinnacle of safety was supposed to call fpr the 
sacrifice of a sister. She might be selfish, oh, 
undoubtedly she had been selfish all these months 
to leave Jinny completely to herself but she had 
never meant to be cruel. She tried to picture the 

1 60 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH^ 



tumult of emotions in her sister's mind, there must 
have been amazement, oh she had seen it all 
on her face, the utter bewilderment, the incredu 
lity and then the settling down on that face of a 
veil of dignity and pride like a baby trying to 
harden its mobile features. She was in her apart 
ment again now, pacing the floor, wondering what 
to do. Already she had called up the house in 
1 39th Street, it had taken her a half-hour to get 
the number for she did not know the householder's 
name and " Information " had been coy, but 
Miss Murray had not arrived yet. Were they 
expecting her? Yes, Miss Murray had written to 
say that she would be there between six and seven ; 
it was seven-thirty now and she had not appeared. 
Was there any message? " No, no! " Angela ex 
plained she would call again. 

But where was Jinny? She couldn't be lost, 
after all she was grown-up and no fool, she could 
ask directions. Perhaps she had taken a cab and 
in the evening traffic had been delayed, or had 
met with an accident. This thought sent Angela 
to the telephone again. There was no Miss 
Murray as yet. In her wanderings back and 
forth across the room she caught sight of herself 
in the mirror. Her face was flushed, her eyes 
shining with remorse and anxiety. Her vanity 
reminded her: " If Roger could just see me now ". 
Roger and to-morrow ! He would have to speak 
words of gold to atone for this breach which 
for his sake she had made in her sister's 
trust and aflecton. 

At the end of an hour she called again. Yes, 
Miss Murray had come in. So great was her 
relief that her knees sagged under her. Yes of 
L 161 



HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 

course they would ask her to come to the telephone. 
After a long silence the voice rang again over the 
wire. " I didn't see her go out but she must have 
for she's not in her room." 

" Oh all right," said Angela, " the main thing 
was to know that she was there." But she was 
astonished. Jinny's first night in New York and 
she was out already ! She could not go to see her 
Thursday because of the engagement with Roger, 
but she'd make good the next day; she'd be there 
the first thing, Friday morning. Snatching up a 
sheet of note-paper she began a long letter full 
of apologies and excuses. " And I can't come 
to-morrow, darling, because as I told you I have 
a very important engagement, an engagement 
that means very much to me. Oh you'll under 
stand when I tell you about it." She put a special 
delivery stamp on the letter. 

Her relief at learning that Jinny was safe did 
not ease her guilty conscience. In a calmer mood 
she tried now to find excuses for herself, extenuat 
ing circumstances. As soon as Jinny understood 
all that was involved she would overlook it. After 
all, Jinny would want her to be happy. " And 
anyway," she thought to herself sulkily j " Mamma 
didn't speak to Papa that day that we were stand 
ing on the steps of the Hotel Walton." But she 
knew that the cases were not analogous; no prin 
ciple was involved, her mother's silence had 
not exposed her husband to insult or con 
tumely, whereas Roger's attitude to Virginia had 
been distinctly offensive. " And moreover," her 
thoughts continued with merciless clarity, " when 
a principle was at stake your mother never hesi 
tated a moment to let those hospital attendants 

162 



**HHHKHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf* 

know of the true status of affairs. In fact she 
was not aware that she was taking any particular 
stand. Her husband was her husband and she 
was glad to acknowledge that relationship." 

A sick distaste for her action, for her daily decep 
tion, for Roger and his prejudices arose within her. 
But with it came a dark anger against a country 
and a society which could create such an issue. 
And she thought: " If I had spoken to Jinny, 
had acknowledged her, what good would it have 
done me or her either? After it was all over she 
would have been exactly where she was before and 
I would have lost everything. And I do so want 
to be happy, to have a good time. At this very 
hour to-morrow I'll probably be one of the most 
envied girls in New York. And afterwards I can 
atone for it all. I'll be good to all sorts of people; 
I'll really help humanity, lots of coloured folks will 
be much better off on account of me. And if I 
had spoken to Jinny I could never have helped 
them at all." Once she murmured: "I'll help 
Jinny too, the darling ! She shall have everything 
in the world she wants." But in her heart she 
knew already that Jinny would want nothing. 



163 



CHAPTER VII 

THURSDAY came and Thursday sped as Thursdays 
will. For a long time Angela saw it as a little 
separate entity of time shut away in some hidden 
compartment of her mind, a compartment whose 
door she dreaded to open. 

On Friday she called up her sister early in 
the morning. " Is that you, Jinny? Did you 
get my letter? Is it all right for me to come 
up?" 

" Yes," said Jinny noncomittally, to all questions, 
then laconically: "But you'd better come right 
away if you want to catch me. I take the exam 
ination to-day and haven't much time." 

Something in the matter-of-factness of her reply 
disconcerted Angela. Yet there certainly was no 
reason why her sister should show any enthusiasm 
over seeing her. Only she did want to see her, 
to talk to some one of her very own to-day. 
She would like to burrow her head in 
Virginia's shoulder and cry! But a mood 
such as Jinny's voice indicated did not invite 
confidences. 

A stout brown-skinned bustling woman suggest 
ing immense assurance and ability opened the door. 
" Miss Murray told me that she was expecting some 
one. You're to go right on up. Her's is the room 
right next to the third storey front." 

164 



" She was expecting someone." Evidently 
Virginia had been discreet. This unexpected, 
unsought for carefulness carried a sting with it. 

" Hello/' said Jinny, casually thrusting a dishev 
elled but picturesque head out of the door. " Can 
you find your way in? This room's larger than 
any two we ever had at home, yet already it looks 
like a ship at sea." She glanced about the dis 
ordered place. " I wonder if this is what they 
mean by s shipshape '. Here I'll hang up this 
suit, then you can sit down. Isn't it a sweetie? 
Got it at Snellenburg's." 

She had neither kissed nor offered to shake 
hands with her sister, yet her manner was friendly 
enough, even cordial. " See I've bobbed my 
hair," she went on. " Like it? I'm wild about 
it even if it does take me forever to fix it." Stand 
ing before a mirror she began shaping the ends 
under with a curling iron. 

Angela thought she had never seen any one so 
pretty and so colourful. Jinny had always shown 
a preference for high colours; to-day she was 
revelling in them; her slippers were high heeled 
small red mules; a deep green dressing-gown hung 
gracefully from her slim shoulders and from its 
open collar flamed the rose and gold of her smooth 
skin. Her eyes were bright and dancing. Her 
hair, black, alive and curling, ended in a thick 
velvety straightness like cut plush. 

Angela said stiffly, " I hope I didn't get you up, 
telephoning so early." 

Virginia smiled, flushing a little more deeply 
under the dark gold of her skin. " Oh dear no ! 
I'd already had an earlier call than that this morn- 
ing." 

165 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHS* 



" You had ! " exclaimed Angela, astonished. 
" I didn't know you knew anyone in New York." 
She remembered her sister's mysterious disap 
pearance the first night of her arrival. " And see 
here, Jinny, Pm awfully sorry about what hap 
pened the other night. I wouldn't have had it 
happen for a great deal. I wish I could explain 
to you about it." How confidently she had 
counted on having marvellous news to tell Vir 
ginia and now how could she drag to the light 
yesterday's sorry memory? "But I called you 
up again and again and you hadn't arrived and 
then when they finally did tell me that you had 
come, it appeared that you had gone out. Where 
on earth did you go? " 

Jinny began to laugh, to giggle in fact. For a 
moment she was the Virginia of her school days, 
rejoicing in some innocent mischief, full of it. "I 
wasn't out. There's a wash-room down the hall 
and I went there to wash my face, -- " it clouded 
a moment. " And when I came back I walked as 
I thought into my room. Instead of that I had 
walked into the room of another lodger. And 
there he sat -- " 

" Oh," said Angela inattentively. " I'm glad 
you weren't out. I was quite worried. Listen, 
Virginia," she began desperately, " I know you 
think that what I did in the station the other day 
was unspeakable; it seems almost impossible for 
me to explain it to you. But that man with me 
was a very special friend, -- " 

" He must have been indeed," Jinny inter 
rupted drily, " to make you cut your own sister." 
She was still apparently fooling with her hair, her 
head perched on one side, her eyes glued to the 

1 66 



HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHMMHHHHHHHH^ 

mirror. But she was not making much progress 
and her lips were trembling. 

Angela proceeded unheeding, afraid to stop. 
" A special friend, and we had come to a very 
crucial point in our relationship. It was with him 
that I had the engagement yesterday.'* 

" Well, what about it? Were you expecting 
him to ask you to marry him? Did he? " 

" No," said Angela very low, " that's just what 
he didn't do though he, he asked everything 
else." 

Virginia, dropping the hair-brush, swung 
about sharply. " And you let him talk like 
that? " 

" I couldn't help it once he had begun, I was 
so taken by surprise, and, besides, I think that his 
ultimate intentions are all right." 

" His ultimate intentions ! Why, Angela what 
are you talking about? You know perfectly well 
what his ultimate intentions are. Isn't he a white 
man? Well, what kind of intentions would he 
have toward a coloured woman? " 

" Simple ! He doesn't know I'm coloured. And 
besides some of them are decent. You must 
remember that I know something about these 
people and you don't, you couldn't, living that 
humdrum little life of yours at home." 

" I know enough about them and about men in 
general to recognize an insult when I hear one. 
Some men bear their character stamped right on 
their faces. Now this man into whose room t 
walked last night by mistake, " 

" I don't see how you can do very much talking 
walking into strange men's rooms at ten o'clock 
at night." 

167 



BUNHMHHHHHHHHMf- 



The triviality of the retort left Jinny dumb. 
It was their first quarrel. 



They sat in silence for a few minutes, for several 
minutes. Virginia, apparently completely com 
posed, was letting the tendrils of her mind reach 
far, far out to the ultimate possibilities of this 
impasse in relationship between herself and her 
sister. She thought: " I really have lost her, 
she's really gone out of my ken just as I used to 
lose her years ago when father and I would be 
singing 'The Dying Christian '. I'm twenty-three 
years old and I'm really all alone in the world." 
Up to this time she had always felt she had Angela's 
greater age and supposedly greater wisdom to 
fall back on, but she banished this conjecture 
forever. " Because if she could cut me when she 
hadn't seen me for a year for the sake of a man 
who she must have known meant to insult her, she 
certainly has no intention of openly acknowledging 
me again. And I don't believe I want to be a 
sister in secret. I hate this hole and corner busi 
ness." 

She saw again the scene in the station, herself 
at first so serene, so self-assured, Angela's confused 
coldness, Roger's insolence. Something hardened, 
grew cold within her. Even his arrogance had 
failed to bring Angela to her senses, and suddenly 
she remembered that it had been possible in slavery 
times for white men and women to mistreat their 
mulatto relations, their own flesh and blood, selling 
them into deeper slavery in the far South or stand 
ing by watching them beaten, almost, if not com- 

168 



pletely, to death. Perhaps there was something 
fundamentally different between white and coloured 
blood after all. Aloud she said : " You know 
before you went away that Sunday morning you 
said that you and I were different. Perhaps 
you're right, Angela; perhaps there is an extra 
infusion of white blood in your veins which lets 
you see life at another angle. If that's the case 
I have no right to judge you. You must forgive 
my ignorant comments." 

She began slipping into a ratine dress of old blue 
trimmed with narrow collars and cuffs and a tiny 
belt of old rose. Above the soft shades the bronze 
and black of her head etched themselves sharply; 
she might have been a dainty bird of Paradise cast 
in a new arrangement of colours but her tender 
face was set in strange and implacable lines. 

Angela looked at her miserably. She had not 
known just what, in her wounded pride and 
humiliation, she had expected to gain from her 
sister, but certainly she had hoped for some balm. 
And in any event not this cool aloofness. She had 
forgotten that her sister might be suffering from a 
wound as poignant as her own. The year had 
made a greater breach than she had anticipated; 
she had never been as outspoken, as frank with 
Virginia as the latter had been with her, but there 
had always been a common ground between them, 
a meeting place. In the household Jinny had had 
something of a reputation for her willingness to 
hear all sides of a story, to find an excuse or make 
one. 

An old aphorism of Hetty Daniels returned to 
her. " He who would have friends must show 
himself friendly." And she had done anything 

169 



BUN-HHHH^-HHHHH^ 



but that; she had neglected Jinny, had failed to 
answer her letters, had even planned, was it 
only day before yesterday ! to see very little of her 
in what she had dreamed would be her new sur 
roundings. Oh she had been shameful ! But she 
would make it up to Jinny now and then she 
could come to her at this, this crisis in her life 
which so frightened and attracted her. She was 
the more frightened because she felt that attraction. 
She would make her sister understand the desires 
and longings which had come to her in this strange, 
dear, free world, and then together they would 
map out a plan of action. Jinny might be a baby 
but she had strength. So much strength, said 
something within her, that just as likely as not she 
would say: " Let the whole thing go, Angela, 
Angela! You don't want to be even on the out 
skirts of a thing like this." 

Before she could begin her overtures Jinny was 
speaking. " Listen, Angela, I've got to be going. 
I don't know when we'll be seeing each other again, 
and after what happened Wednesday you can 
hardly expect me to be looking you up, and as 
you doubtless are very busy you'd hardly be coming 
'way up here. But there are one or two things I 
want to talk to you about. First about the 
house." 

" About the house? Why it's yours. I've 
nothing more to do with it." 

" I know, but I'm thinking of selling it. 
There is such a shortage of houses in Philadel 
phia just now; Mr. Hallowell says I can get at 
least twice as much as father paid for it. And in 
that case you've some more money coming to 
you." 

170 



If only she had known of this, when? twenty- 
four hours earlier, how differently she might have 
received Roger's proposition. If she had met Vir 
ginia Wednesday and had had the talk for which 
she had planned! 

" Well of course it would be awfully nice to have 
some more money. But what I don't understand 
is how are you going to live? What are you going 
to do? " 

" If I pass this examination I'm coming over 
here, my appointment would be only a matter 
of a few months. I'm sure of that. This is May 
and I'd only have to wait until September. Well, 
I wouldn't be working this summer anyway. And 
there's no way in the world which I could fail to 
pass. In fact I'm really thinking of taking a 
chance and coming over here to substitute. Mr. 
Holloster, the University of Pennsylvania man, has 
been investigating and he says there's plenty of 
work. And I guess I'm due to have a change; 
New York rather appeals to me. And there cer 
tainly is something about Harlem ! " In spite of 
her careless manner Angela knew she was thinking 
about Matthew Henson. She stretched out her 
hand, pulled Jinny's head down on her shoulder. 
" Oh darling, don't worry about him. Matthew 
really wasn't the man for you." 

" Well," said Virginia, " as long as I think he 
was, the fact that he wasn't doesn't make any real 
difference, does it? At least not at first. But I 
certainly shan't worry about it." 

" No don't, I, " It was on the tip of her 

tongue to say " I know two or three nice young 
men whom you can play around with. I'll intro 
duce you to them." But could she? Jinny 

171 



understood her silence; smiled and nodded. " It's 
all right, honey, you can't do anything; you 
would if you could. We've just got to face the 
fact that you and I are two separate people and 
we've got to live our lives apart, not like the Siamese 
twins. And each of us will have to go her chosen 
way. After all each of us is seeking to get all she 
can out of life ! and if you can get more out of it 
by being white, as you undoubtedly can, why, 
why shouldn't you? Only it seems to me that 
there are certain things in living that are more 
fundamental even than colour, but I don't know. 
I'm all mixed up. But evidently you don't feel 
that way, and you're just as likely to be right as 



me." 



"Jinny!" 

" My dear, I'm not trying to reproach you. 
I'm trying to look at things without sentiment. 
After all, in a negative way, merely by saying 
nothing, you're disclaiming your black blood in a 
country where it is an inconvenience, oh ! there's 
not a doubt about that. You may be proud of it, 
you may be perfectly satisfied with it I am but 
it certainly can shut you out of things. So why 
shouldn't you disclaim a living manifestation of 
that blood? " 

Before this cool logic Angela was silent. Virginia 
looked at her sister, a maternal look oddly apparent 
on her young face. When she was middle-aged she 
would be the embodiment of motherhood. How 
her children would love her ! 

" Angela, you'll be careful ! " 

" Yes, darling. Oh if only I could make you 
understand what it's all about." 

' Yes, well, perhaps another time. I've got to 

172 



BUNHH^HHHHHHHHH- 



fly now." She hesitated, took Angela by the arms 
and gazed into her eyes. " About this grand 
white party that you were in the station with. Are 
you awfully in love with him? " 

" Fm not in love with him at all." 

" Oh, pshaw ! " said innocent Virginia, " you've 
got nothing to worry about! Why, what's all the 
shooting for? " 



173 



PLUM BUN 



CHAPTER I 

ANGELA wanted to ride downtown with her sister. 
" Perhaps I might bring you luck." But on this 
theme Jinny was adamant. " You'd be much 
more likely to bring yourself bad luck. No, 
there's no sense in taking a chance. I'll take the 
elevated; my landlady said it would drop me 
very near the school where I'm taking the exam 
ination. You go some other way." Down in 
the hall Mrs. Gloucester was busy dusting, her 
short bustling figure alive with housewifely ardour. 
Virginia paused near her and held out her hand 
to Angela. " Good-bye, Miss Mory," she said 
wickedly, " it was very kind of you to give me so 
much time. If you can ever tear yourself away 
from your beloved Village, come up and I'll try 
to show you Harlem. I don't think it's going to 
take me long to learn it." 

Obediently Angela let her go her way and walk 
ing over to Seventh Avenue mounted the 'bus, 
smarting a little under Jinny's generous pre 
cautions. But presently she began to realize their 
value, for at One Hundred and Fourteenth Street 
Anthony Cross entered. He sat down beside her. 
" I never expected to see you in my neighbour 
hood." 

" Oh is this where you live? I've often won 
dered." 



^*HHHHHHHH-PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH5* 

" As it happens I've just come here, but I've 
lived practically all over New York." He was 
thin, restless, unhappy. His eyes dwelt cease 
lessly on her face. She said a little nervously: 

" It seems to me I hardly ever see you any more. 
What do you do with yourself? " 

" Nothing that you would be interested in." 

She did not dare make the obvious reply and 
after all, though she did like him very much, 
she was not interested in his actions. For a long 
moment she sought for some phrase which would 
express just the right combination of friendliness 
and indifference. 

" It's been a long time since we've had lunch 
together; come and have it to-day with me. You 
be my guest." She thought of Jinny and the 
possible sale of the house. " I've just found out 
that I'm going to get a rather decent amount of 
money, certainly enough to stand us for lunch." 

" Thank you, I have an engagement; besides I 
don't want to lunch with you in public." 

This was dangerous ground. Flurried, she 
replied unwisely: " All right, come in some time 
for tea; every once in a while I make a batch 
of cookies ; I made some a week ago. Next time 
I feel the mood coming on me I'll send you a 
card and you can come and eat them, hot and 
hot." 

" You know you've no intention of doing any 
such thing. Besides you don't know my address." 

" An inconvenience which can certainly be 
rectified," she laughed at him. 

But he was in no laughing mood. " I've no 
cards with me, but they wouldn't have the address 
anyway." He tore a piece of paper out of his 



BUN-HHHHHHHHH-* 



notebook, scribbled on it. " Here it is. I have to 
get off now." He gave her a last despairing look. 
" Oh, Angel, you know you're never going to send 
for me ! " 

The bit of paper clutched firmly in one hand, 
she arrived finally at her little apartment. Natur 
ally of an orderlv turn of mind she looked about 
for her address book in which to write the street 
and number. But some unexplained impulse led 
her to smooth the paper out and place it in a 
corner of her desk. That done she took off her 
hat and gloves, sat down in the comfortable chair 
and prepared to face her thoughts. 



Yesterday ! Even now at a distance of twenty- 
four hours she had not recovered her equilibrium. 
She was still stunned, still unable to realize the 
happening of the day. Only she knew that she 
had reached a milestone in her life; a possible 
turning point. If she did not withdraw from her 
acquaintanceship with Roger now, even though 
she committed no overt act she would never be 
the same ; she could never again face herself with 
the old, unshaken pride and self-confidence. She 
would never be the same to herself. If she with 
drew, then indeed, indeed she would be the same 
old Angela Murray, the same girl save for a little 
sophistication that she had been before she left 
Philadelphia, only she would have started on an 
adventure and would not have seen it to its finish, 
she would have come to grips with life and would 
have laid down her arms at the first onslaught. 
Would she be a coward or a wise, wise woman? 

179 



^HHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHHS' 

She thought of two poems that she had read in 
" Hart's Glass-Book ", an old, old book of her 
father's, one of them ran: 

'He either fears his fate too much 

Or his deserts are small, 
Who dares not put it to the touch 
For fear of losing all.' 

The other was an odd mixture of shrewdness 
and cowardice: 

'He who fights and runs away 

Shall live to fight another day 
But he who is in battle slain 
Has fallen ne'er to rise again.' 

Were her deserts small or should she run away 
and come back to fight another day when she was 
older, more experienced? More experienced! 
How was she to get that experience? Already she 
was infinitely wiser, she would, if occasion required 
it, exercise infinitely more wariness than she had 
yesterday with Roger. Yet it was precisely be 
cause of that experience that she would know how 
to meet, would even know when to expect similar 
conditions. 

She thought that she knew which verse she 
would follow if she were Jinny, but, back once 
more in the assurance of her own rooms, she knew 
that she did not want to be Jinny, that she and 
Jinny were two vastly different persons. " But," 
she said to herself, " if Jinny were as fair as I and 
yet herself and placed in the same conditions as 
those in which I am placed her colour would save 

1 80 



BUNHHHMMHHMHHH' 



her. It's a safeguard for Jinny; it's always been 
a curse for me." 



Roger had come for her in the blue car. There 
were a hamper and two folding chairs and a rug 
stored away in it. It was a gorgeous day. " If 
we can," he said, " we'll picnic." He was ex 
tremely handsome and extremely nervous. Angela 
was nervous too, though she did not show it except 
in the loss of her colour. She was rather plain 
to-day; to be so near the completion of her goal 
and yet to have to wait these last few agonizing 
moments, perhaps hours, was deadly. They were 
rather silent for a while, Roger intent on his driv 
ing. Traffic in New York is a desperate strain 
at all hours, at eleven in the morning it is deadly; 
the huge leviathan of a city is breaking into the 
last of its stride. For a few hours it will proceed 
at a measured though never leisurely pace and 
then burst again into the mad rush of the home 
ward bound. 

But at last they were out of the city limits and 
could talk. For the first time since she had known 
him he began to speak of his possessions. " Any 
thing, anything that money can buy, Angele, I 
can get and I can give." His voice was charged 
with intention. They were going in the direction 
of Forest Hills ; he had a cottage out there, perhaps 
she would like to see it. And there was a grove 
not far away. " We'll picnic there," he said, 
" and and talk." He certainly was nervous, 
Angela thought, and liked him the better for 
it. 

181 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH 



The cottage or rather the house in Forest Hills 
was beautiful, absolutely a gem. And it was 
completely furnished with taste and marked dainti 
ness. " What do you keep it furnished for? " 
asked Angela wondering. Roger murmured that 
it had been empty for a long time but he had seen 
this equipment and it had struck him that it 
was just the thing for this house so he had bought 
it; thereby insensibly reminding his com 
panion again that he could afford to gratify any 
whim. They drove away from the exquisite little 
place in silence. Angela was inclined to be 
amused; surely no one could have asked for a 
better opening than that afforded by the house. 
What would make him talk, she wondered, and 
what, oh what would he say? Something far, far 
more romantic than poor Matthew Henson could 
ever have dreamed of, yes and far, far less 
romantic, something subconscious prompted her, 
than Anthony Gross had said. Anthony with his 
poverty and honour and desperate vows ! 

They had reached the grove, they had spread 
the rug and a tablecloth; Roger had covered it 
with dainties. He would not let her lift a finger, 
she was the guest and he her humble servant. She 
looked at him smiling, still forming vague con 
trasts with him and Matthew and Anthony. 

Roger dropped his sandwich, came and sat 
behind her. He put his arm around her and 
shifted his shoulder so that her head lay against 
it. 

" Don't look at me that way Angele, Angele ! 
I can't stand it." 

So it was actually coming. " How do you want 
me to look at you? " 

182 



* *} * * * * * * * * * PLUM BUNHHHMHMHHHHHf* 

He bent his head down to hers and kissed her. 
" Like this, like this ! Oh Angele, did you like 
the house? " 

" Like it? I loved it." 

" Darling, I had it done for you, you know. I 
thought you'd like it. 35 

It seemed a strange thing to have done without 
consulting her, and anyway she did not want to 
live in a suburb. Opal Street had been suburb 
enough for her. She wanted, required, the noise 
and tumult of cities. 

" I don't care for suburbs, Roger." How 
strange for him to talk about a place to live in 
and never a word of love ! 

" My dear girl, you don't have to live in a 
suburb if you don't want to. I've got a place, an 
apartment in Seventy-second Street, seven rooms; 
that would be enough for you and your maid, 
wouldn't it? I could have this furniture moved 
over there, or if you think it too cottagey, you could 
have new stuff altogether." 

Seven rooms for three people ! Why she wanted 
a drawing-room and a studio and where would he 
put his things? This sudden stinginess was quite 
inexplicable. 

" But Roger, seven rooms wouldn't be big 
enough." 

He laughed indulgently, his face radiant with 
relief and triumph. " So she wants a palace, 
does she? Well, she shall have it. A whole 
menage if you want it, a place on Riverside Drive, 
servants and a car. Only somehow I hadn't 
thought of you as caring about that kind of thing. 
After that little hole in the wall you've been living 
in on Jayne Street I'd have expected you to find 

183 



BUN-HHHHHMHHHMf' 



the place in Seventy-second Street as large as 
you'd care for." 

A little hurt, she replied: "But I was think 
ing of you too. There wouldn't be room for your 
things. And I thought you'd want to go on living 
in the style you'd been used to." A sudden wel 
come explanation dawned on her rising fear. 
" Are you keeping this a secret from your father? 
Is that what's the trouble? " 

Under his thin, bright skin he flushed. " Keep 
ing what a secret from my father? What are you 
talking about, Angele? " 

She countered with his own question. " What 
are you talking about, Roger? " 

He tightened his arms about her, his voice stam 
mered, his eyes were bright and watchful. " I'm 
asking you to live in my house, to live for me; 
to be my girl ; to keep a love-nest where I and only 
I may come." He smiled shamefacedly over the 
cheap current phrase. 

She pushed him away from her; her jaw fallen 
and slack but her figure taut. Yet under her 
stunned bewilderment her mind was racing. So 
this was her castle, her fortress of protection, her 
refuge. And what answer should she make? 
Should she strike him across his eager, half-shamed 
face, should she get up and walk away, forbidding 
him to follow? Or should she stay and hear it out? 
Stay and find out what this man was really like; 
what depths were in him and, she supposed, in 
other men. But especially in this man with his boy 
ish, gallant air and his face as guileless and as inno 
cent apparently as her own. 



184 



That was what she hated in herself, she told that 
self fiercely , shut up with her own thoughts the next 
afternoon in her room. She hated herself for stay 
ing and listening. It had given him courage to 
talk and talk. But what she most hated had been 
the shrewdness, the practicality which lay beneath 
that resolve to hear it out. She had thought of 
those bills ; she had thought of her poverty, of her 
helplessness, and she had thought too of Martha 
Burden's dictum: "You must make him want 
you." Well here was a way to make him want 
her and to turn that wanting to account. " Don't," 
Martha said, " withhold too much. Give a little." 
Suppose she gave him just the encouragement of 
listening to him, of showing him that she did like 
him a little; while he meanwhile went on wanting, 
wanting men paid a big price for their desires. 
Her price would be marriage. It was a game, she 
knew, which women played all over the world 
although it had never occurred to her to play it; 
a dangerous game at which some women burned 
their fingers. " Don't give too much," said 
Martha, " for then you lose yourself." Well, 
she would give nothing and she would not burn 
her fingers. Oh, it would be a great game. 

Another element entered too. He had wounded 
her pride and he should salve it. And the only 
unguent possible would be a proposal of marriage. 
Oh if only she could be a girl in a book and when 
he finally did ask her for her hand, she would be 
able to tell him that she was going to marry some 
one else, someone twice as eligible, twice as hand 
some, twice as wealthy. 



185 



Through all these racing thoughts penetrated the 
sound of Roger's voice, pleading, persuasive, 
seductive. She was amazed to find a certain 
shamefaced timidity creeping over her;, yet it 
was he who should have shown the shame. And 
she could not understand either why she was unable 
to say plainly: " You say you care for me, long 
for me so much, why don't you ask me to come to 
you in the ordinary way? " But some pride either 
unusually false or unusually fierce prevented her 
from doing this. Undoubtedly Roger with his 
wealth, his looks and his family connections had 
already been much sought after. He knew he was 
an " eligible ". Poor, unknown, stigmatized, if 
he but knew it, as a member of the country's 
least recognized group she could not bring her 
self to belong even in appearance to that band of 
young women who so obviously seek a " good 
match ". 

When he had paused a moment for breath she 
told him sadly: " But, Roger, people don't do 
that kind of thing, not decent people." 

" Angele, you are such a child ! This is exactly 
the kind of thing people do do. And why not? 
Why must the world be let in on the relationships 
of men and women? Some of the sweetest unions 
in history have been of this kind." 

" For others perhaps, but not for me. Relation 
ships of the kind you describe don't exist among the 
people I know." She was thinking of her parents, 
of the Hallowells, of the Hensons whose lives were 
indeed like open books. 

He looked at her curiously, " The people you 
know! Don't tell me you haven't guessed about 
Paulette!" 

1 86 



BUNHMHHHHHHHH^ 



She had forgotten about Paulette ! " Yes I 
know about her. She told me herself. I like her, 
she's been a mighty fine friend, but, Roger, you 
surely don't want me to be like her." 

" Of course I don't. It was precisely because 
you weren't like her that I became interested. You 
were such a babe in the woods. Anyone could 
see you'd had no experience with men." 

This obvious lack of logic was too bewildering. 
She looked at him like the child which, in these 
matters, she really was. " But, but Roger, 
mightn't that be a beginning of a life like Paul- 
ette's? What would become of me after we, you 
and I, had separated? Very often these things 
last only for a short time, don't they? " 

" Not necessarily; certainly not between you and 
me. And I'd always take care of you, you'd be 
provided for." He could feel her gathering 
resentment. In desperation he played a cunning 
last card: "And besides who knows, something 
permanent may grow out of this. I'm not entirely 
my own master, Angele." 

Undoubtedly he was referring to his father whom 
he could not afford to offend. It never occurred 
to her that he might be lying, for why should he? 



To all his arguments, all his half-promises and 
implications she returned a steady negative. As 
twilight came on she expressed a desire to go home ; 
with the sunset her strength failed her; she felt 
beaten and weary. Her unsettled future, her hurt 
pride, her sudden set-to with the realities of the 
society in which she had been moving, bewildered 



and frightened her. Resentful, puzzled, intro 
spective, she had no further words for Roger; 
it was impossible for him to persuade her to agree 
or to disagree with his arguments. During the long 
ride home she was resolutely mute. 

Yet on the instant of entering Jayne Street she 
felt she could not endure spending the long even 
ing hours by herself and she did not want to be 
alone with Roger. She communicated this distaste 
to him. While not dishevelled they were not 
presentable enough to invade the hotels farther 
uptown. But, anxious to please her, he told her 
they could go easily enough to one of the small 
cabarets in the Village. A few turns and windings 
and they were before a house in a dark side street 
knocking on its absurdly barred door, entering its 
black, myterious portals. In a room with a highly 
polished floor, a few tables and chairs, some rather 
bizarre curtains, five or six couples were sitting, 
among them Paulette, Jack Hudson, a tall, rather 
big, extremely blonde girl whose name Angela 
learned was Garlotta Parks, and a slender, black- 
avised man whose name she failed to catch. Paul 
ette hailed him uproariously; the blonde girl rose 
and precipitately threw her arms about Fielding's 
neck. 

"Roger!" 

" Don't," he said rather crossly. " Hello, Jack." 
He nodded to the dark man whom he seemed to 
know indifferently well. " What have they got to 
eat here, you fellows? Miss Mory and I are tired 
and hungry. We've been following the pike all 
day." Miss Parks turned and gave Angela a long, 
considering look. 

" Sit here," said Paulette, " there's plenty of 

1 88 



**HHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUN-HHHHHHHHHH5' 

room. Jack, you order for them, the same things 
we've been having. You get good cooking here." 
She was radiant with happiness and content. 
Under the influence of the good, stimulating food 
Angela began to recover, to look around her. 

Jack Hudson, a powerfully built bronze figure 
of a man, beamed on Paulette, saying nothing and 
in his silence saying everything. The dark man 
kept his eyes on Carlotta, who was oblivious to 
everyone but Roger, clearly her friend of long 
standing. She sat clasping one of his hands, her 
head almost upon his shoulder. " Roger it's so 
good to see you again ! I've thought of you so 
often ! I've been meaning to write to you ; we're 
having a big house party this summer. You must 
come ! Dad's asking up half of Washington ; 
attaches, ( Prinzessen, Counte?sen and serene Eng 
lish Altessen'; he'll come up for week-ends." 

A member of the haut monde, evidently she was 
well-connected, powerful, even rich. A girl of 
Roger's own set amusing herself in this curious 
company. Angela felt her heart contract with a 
sort of helpless jealousy. 

The dark man, despairing of recapturing Car 
lo tta's attention, suddenly asked Angele if she would 
care to dance. He was a superb partner and for 
a moment or two, reinvigorated by the food and the 
snappy musk, she became absorbed in the smooth, 
gliding motion and in her partner's pleasant con 
versation. Glancing over her shoulder she noted 
Carlotta still talking to Roger. The latter, how 
ever, was plainly paying the girl no attention. His 
eyes fixed on Angela, he was moodily following her 
every motion, almost straining, she thought, to 
catch her words. His eyes met hers and a long, 

189 



HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH?* 

long look passed between them so fraught, it 
seemed to her, with a secret understanding and 
sympathy, that her heart shook with a moment's 
secret wavering. 

Her partner escorted her back to the table. 
Paulette, flushed and radiant, with the mien of a 
dishevelled baby, was holding forth while Hudson 
listened delightedly. As a raconteuse she had a 
faint, delicious malice which usually made any 
recital of her adventures absolutely irresistible. 
" Her name," she was saying loudly, regardless of 
possible listeners, " was Antoinette Spewer, and 
it seems she had it in for me from the very first. 
She told Sloane Corby she wanted to meet me and 
he invited both of us to lunch. When we got to 
the restaurant she was waiting for me in the lobby ; 
Sloane introduced us and she pulled a lorgnette 
on me, a lorgnette on me \ " She said it very 
much as a Westerner might speak of someone " pull 
ing " a revolver. " But I fixed that. There were 
three or four people passing near us. I drew back 
until they were well within hearing range, and 
then I said to her: ' I beg pardon but what did 
you say your last name was? ' Well, when a 
person's named Spewer she can't shout it across a 
hotel lobby ! Oh, she came climbing down off 
her high horse; she respects me to this day, I tell 
you." 

Roger rose. " We must be going; I can't let 
Miss Mory get too tired." He was all attention and 
courtesy. Miss Parks looked at her again, nar 
rowing her eyes. 

In the car Roger put his arm about her. " An- 
gele, when you were dancing with that fellow 
I couldn't stand it ! And then you looked at me, 

190 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf- 



oh such a look! You were thinking about me, I 
felt it, I knew it." 

Some treacherous barrier gave way within her. 
" Yes, and I could tell you were thinking about 
me." 

" Of course you could ! And without a word ! 
Oh, darling, darling, can't you see that's the way 
it would be? If you'd only take happiness with 
me there we would be with a secret bond, an 
invisible bond, existing for us alone and no one 
else in the world the wiser. But we should know 
and it would be all the sweeter for that secrecy." 

Unwittingly he struck a responsive chord within 
her, stolen waters were the sweetest, she of all 
people knew that. 

Aloud she said: " Here we are, Roger. Some 
of the day has been wonderful; thank you for 
that." 

" You can't go like this ! You're going to let 
me see you again? " 

She knew she should have refused him, but again 
some treacherous impulse made her assent. He 
drove away, and, turning, she climbed the long, 
steep flights of stairs, bemused, thrilled, frightened, 
curious, the sense of adventure strong upon her. 
To-morrow she would see Jinny, her own sister, her 
own flesh and blood, one of her own people. To 
gether they would thresh this thing out. 



19* 



CHAPTER II 

A CURIOUS period of duelling ensued. Roger was 
young, rich and idle. Nearly every wish he had 
ever known had been born within him only to be 
satisfied. He could not believe that he would fail 
in the pursuit of this baffling creature who had 
awakened within him an ardour and sincerity of 
feeling which surprised himself. The thought 
occurred to him more than once that it would have 
been a fine thing if this girl had been endowed 
with the name and standing and comparative 
wealth of say Carlotta Parks, but it never 
occurred to him to thwart in this matter the wishes 
of his father who would, he knew, insist immediately 
on a certified account of the pedigree, training and 
general fitness of any strange aspirant for his son's 
hand. Angela had had the good sense to be frank ; 
she did not want to become immeshed in a tissue 
of lies whose relationship, whose sequence and inter 
dependence she would be likely to forget. To 
Roger's few questions she had said quite truly that 
she was the daughter of " poor but proud parents " ; 
they had laughed at the hackneyed phrase, that 
her father had been a boss carpenter and that she 
had been educated in the ordinary public schools 
and for a time had been a school teacher. No one 
would ever try to substantiate these statements, for 
clearly the person to whom they applied would not 

192 



BUN*********** 



be falsifying such a simple account. There would 
be no point in so doing. Her little deceits had all 
been negative, she had merely neglected to say 
that she had a brown sister and that her father had 
been black. 

Roger found her unfathomable. His was the 

careless, unreasoned cynicism of the modern, 

worldly young man. He had truly, as he acknow 

ledged, been attracted to Angela because of a 

certain incurious innocence of hers apparent in her 

observations and in her manner. He saw no 

reason why he should cherish that innocence. If 

questioned he would have answered : " She's got 

to learn about the world in which she lives some 

time; she might just as well learn of it through me. 

And I'd always look out for her." In the back 

of his mind, for all his unassuming even simple 

attitude toward his wealth and power, lurked the 

conviction that that same wealth and power could 

heal any wound, atone for any loss. Still there were 

times when even he experienced a faint, inner 

qualm, when Angela would ask him: " But after 

wards, what would become of me, Roger? " It 

was the only question he could not meet. Out of all 

his hosts of precedents from historical Antony and 

Cleopatra down to notorious affinities discovered 

through blatant newspaper " stories " he could 

find for this only a stammered " There's no need 

to worry about an afterwards, Angele, for you and 

I would always be friends." 

Their frequent meetings now were little more 
than a trial of strength. Young will and deter 
mination were pitted against young will and 
determination. On both the excitement of the 
chase was strong, but each was pursuing a different 

N 193 



HHHHHH-HHH-PLUM 



quarry. To all his protestations, arguments and 
demands, Angela returned an insistent: " What 
you are asking is impossible." Yet she either 
could not or would not drive him away, and 
gradually, though she had no intention of yielding 
to his wishes, her first attitude of shocked horror 
began to change. 

For three months the conflict persisted. Roger 
interposed the discussion into every talk, on every 
occasion. Gradually it came to be the raison 
d'etre of their constant comradeship. His argu 
ments were varied and specious. " My dearest 
girl, think of a friendship in which two people 
would have every claim in the world upon each 
other and yet no claim. Think of giving all, not 
because you say to a minister ' I will ', but from 
the generosity of a powerful affection. That is 
the very essence of free love. I give you my word 
that the happiest couples in the world are those who 
love without visible bonds. Such people are bound 
by the most durable ties. Theirs is a state of the 
closest because the freest, most elastic union in the 
world." 

A singularly sweet and curious intimacy was 
growing up between them. Roger told Angela 
many anecdotes about his father and about his 
dead mother, whom he still loved, and for whom 
he even grieved in a pathetically boyish way. 
" She was so sweet to me, she loved me so. I'll 
never forget her. It's for her sake that I try to 
please my father, though Dad's some pumpkins 
on his own account." In turn she was falling into 
the habit of relating to him the little happenings 
of her every-day life, a life which she was beginning 
to realize must, in his eyes, mean the last word in 

194 



^HHHHHHHHHhPLUM 



the humdrum and the monotonous. And yet how 
full of adventure, of promise, even of mystery did 
it seem compared with Jinny's ! 

Roger had much intimate knowledge of people 
and told her many and dangerous secrets. " See 
how I trust you, Angele; you might trust me a 
little ! " 

If his stories were true, certainly she might just 
as well trust him a great deal, for all her little 
world, judging it by the standards by which she 
was used to measuring people, was tumbling in 
ruins at her feet. If this were the way people 
lived then what availed any ideals? The world 
was made to take pleasure in; one gained nothing 
by exercising simple virtue, it was after all an 
extension of the old formula which she had thought 
out for herself many years ago. Roger spent most 
of his time with her, it seemed. Anything which 
she undertook to do delighted him. She would 
accept no money, no valuable presents. " And 
I can't keep going out with you to dinners and 
luncheons forever, Roger. It would be different 
if, if we really meant anything to each other." 
He deliberately misunderstood her. " But nothing 
would give me more pleasure than for us to mean 
the world to one another." He sent her large 
hampers of fruit and even the more ordinary 
edibles; then he would tease her about being 
selfish. In order to get rid of the food she had 
asked him to lunch, to dinner, since nothing 
that she could say would make him desist from 
sending it. 

Nothing gave her greater joy really than this 
playful housekeeping. She was very lonely; 
Jinny had her own happy interests; Anthony 



H-H-HHHHH-m-UM BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf* 

never came near her nor did she invite him to 
come; Martha Burden seemed engrossed in her 
own affairs, she was undergoing some secret strain 
that made her appear more remote, more strongly 
self-sufficient, more mysterious than ever. Paulette, 
making overt preparations to go to Russia with 
Hudson, was impossibly, hurtingly happy. Miss 
Powell, but she could not get near her; the 
young coloured girl showed her the finest kind of 
courtesy, but it had about it a remote and frozen 
quality, unbreakable. However, Angela for the 
moment did not desire to break it; she must run 
no more risks with Roger, still she put Miss Powell 
on the list of those people whom she would some 
day aid, when everything had turned out all 
right. 

The result of this feeling of loneliness was, of 
course, to turn her more closely to Roger. He 
paid her the subtle compliment of appearing abso 
lutely at home in her little apartment; he grew 
to like her plain, good cooking and the experi 
ments which sometimes she made frankly for him. 
And afterwards as the fall closed in there were 
long, pleasant evenings before an open fire, or two 
or three last hours after a brisk spin in the park 
in the blue car. And gradually she had grown to 
accept and even inwardly to welcome his caresses. 
She perched with an air of great unconsciousness 
on the arm of the big chair in which he was sitting 
but the transition became constantly easier from 
the arm of the chair to his knee, to the steely 
embrace of his arm, to the sound of the hard beat 
ing of his heart, to his murmured: " This is where 
you belong, Angele, Angele." He seemed an 
anchor for her frail, insecure bark of life. 

196 



HHHHHHHHH^PLUM BUN-Hf'-HMMHHHMHS' 

It was at moments like these that he told her 
amazing things about their few common acquaint 
ances. There was not much to say about Paulette. 
" I think," said Roger judicially, " that tempera 
mentally she is a romantic adventurer. Something 
in her is constantly seeking a change but she 
will never be satisfied. She's a good sport, she 
takes as she gives, asking nothing permanent 
and promising nothing permanent." Angela 
thought it rather sad. But Roger dismissed the 
theme with the rather airy comment that there 
were women as there were men " like that ". She 
wondered if he might not be a trifle callous. 

More than once they had spoken of Martha 
Burden; Angela confessed herself tremendously 
intrigued by the latter, by that tense, brooding 
personality. She learned that Martha, made of 
the stuff which dies for causes, was constantly 
being torn between theory and practice. 

" She's full," said Roger, " of the most high- 
falutin, advanced ideas. Oh I've known old 
Martha all my life, we were brought up together, 
it's through her really that I began to know the 
people in this part of town. She's always been a 
sort of sister. More than once I've had to yank 
her by the shoulders out of difficulties which she 
herself created. I made her marry Starr." 

" Made her marry him, didn't she want 
him? " 

" Yes, she wanted him all right, but she doesn't 
believe in marriage. She's got the courage of 
her convictions, that girl. Why actually she 
lived with Starr two years while I was away 
doing Europe. When I came back and found 
out what had happened I told Starr I'd beat 

197 



HHHHHH-H-H-PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHK-HH' 

him into pulp if he didn't turn around and make 
good." 

" But why the violence? Didn't he want to? " 

" Yes, only," he remembered suddenly his own 
hopes, " not every man is capable of appreciating 
a woman who breaks through the conventions 
for him. Some men mistake it for cheapness but 
others see it for what it is and love more deeply 
and gratefully." Softly, lingeringly he touched 
the soft hair shadowing her averted cheek. " I'm 
one of those others, Angele." 

She wanted to say: "But why shouldn't we 
marry? Why not make me safe as well as 
Martha? " But again her pride intervened. 
Instead she remarked that Martha did not seem 
always happy. 

" No, well that's because she's got this fool 
idea of hers that now that they are bound the 
spontaneity is lacking. She wants to give without 
being obliged to give; to take because she chooses 
and not because she's supposed to. Oh she's as 
true as steel and the best fighter in a cause, but I've 
no doubt but that she leads old Starr a life with 
her temperament." 

Angela thought that there were probably two 
sides to this possibility. A little breathlessly she 
asked Roger if he knew Anthony Cross. 

"Cross, Cross! A sallow, rather thin fellow? 
I think I saw him once or twice at Paulette's. 
No, I don't really know him. A sullen, brooding 
sort of chap I should say. Frightfully self- 
absorbed and all that." 

For some reason a little resentment sprang up 
in her. Anthony might brood, but his life had 
been lived on dark, troublesome lines that in- 

198 



BUN*********** 



vited brooding; he had never known the broad, 
golden highway of Roger's existence. And any 
way she did not believe, if Martha Burden had 
been Anthony's lifelong friend, almost his sister, 
that he would have told his sweetheart or his wife 
either of those difficult passages in her life. Well, 
she would have to teach Roger many things. 
Aloud she spoke of Garlotta Parks. 

" She's an interesting type. Tell me about 
her." 

But Roger said rather shortly that there was 
nothing to tell. "Just a good-hearted, high- 
spirited kid, that's all, who lets the whole world 
know her feelings." 



According to Paulette there was more than|this 
to be told about Miss Parks. " i don't 'know her 
myself, not being a member of that crowd. But 
I've always heard that she and Roger were child 
hood sweethearts, only they've just not pulled it 
off. Carlotta's family is as old as his. Her people 
have always been statesmen, her father's in the 
Senate. I don't think they have much money now. 
But the main thing is she pleases old man Fielding. 
Nothing would give him more pleasure than to see 
Garlotta Roger's wife. I may be mistaken, but I 
think nothing would give Carlotta more pleasure 
either." 

" Doesn't he care for her? " Queer how her 
heart tightened, listening for the answer. 

;< Yes, but she likes him too much and shows it. 
So he thinks he doesn't want her. Roger will 
never want any woman who comes at his first 

199 



BUN-f-HHHHHHHM** 



call. Don't you hate that sort of man? They are 
really the easiest to catch; all you've got to do 
provided they're attracted at all, is to give one 
inviting glance and then keep steadily retreating. 
And they'll come like Bo Peep's sheep. But I 
don't want a man like that; he'd cramp my 
style. His impudence, expecting a woman to re 
press or evoke her emotions just as he wants them ! 
Hasn't a woman as much right to feel as a man 
and to feel first? Never mind, some woman is 
going to ' get ' Roger yet. He doesn't think it 
possible because he has wealth and position. He'll 
be glad to come running to Carlo tta then. I 
don't care very much for her, she's a little too 
loud for me," objected the demure and conserva 
tive Miss Lister, " but I do think she likes Roger 
for himself and not for what he can give her ! " 



Undoubtedly this bit of knowledge lent a new 
aspect; the adventure began to take on fresh 
interest. Everything seemed to be playing into 
her hands. Roger's interest and longing were 
certainly undiminished. Martha Burden's advice, 
confirmed by Paulette's disclosure, was bound to 
bring results. She had only to " keep retreating ". 

But there was one enemy with whom she had 
never thought to reckon, she had never counted 
on the treachery of the forces of nature ; she had 
never dreamed of the unaccountable weakening of 
those forces within. Her weapons were those fur 
nished by the conventions but her fight was against 
conditions; impulses, yearnings which antedated 
both those weapons and the conventions, which 

200 



BUNHHHMHHHHHf~H* 

furnished them. Insensibly she began to see in 
Roger something more than a golden way out of 
her material difficulties; he was becoming more 
than a means through which she should be ad 
mitted to the elect of the world for whom all 
things are made. Before her eyes he was chang 
ing to the one individual who was kindest, 
most thoughtful of her, the one whose presence 
brought warmth and assurance. Furthermore, his 
constant attention, flatteries and caresses were pro 
ducing their inevitable e fleet. She was naturally 
cold; unlike Paulette, she was a woman who 
would experience the grand passion only once, 
perhaps twice, in her life and she would always 
have to be kindled from without; in the last 
analysis her purity was a matter not of morals, 
nor of religion, nor of racial pride ; it was a matter 
of fastidiousness. Bit by bit Roger had forced 
his way closer and closer into the affairs of her 
life, and his proximity had not offended that 
fastidiousness. Gradually his demands seemed to 
her to represent a very natural and beautiful im 
pulse; his arguments and illustrations began to 
bear fruit; the conventions instead of showing in 
her eyes as the codified wisdom based on the 
experiences of countless generations of men and 
women, seemed to her prudish and unnecessary. 
Finally her attitude reduced itself to this: she 
would have none of the relationship which 
Roger urged so insistently, not because according 
to all the training which she had ever received, 
it was unlawful, but because viewed in the 
light of the great battle which she was wag 
ing for pleasure, protection and power, it was 
inexpedient. 

201 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH^ 



The summer and the early fall had passed. A 
cold, rainy autumn was closing in; the disagree 
able weather made motoring almost impossible, 
There were always the theatres and the cabarets, 
but Roger professed himself as happy nowhere 
else but at her fireside. And she loved to have 
him there, tall and strong and beautiful, some 
times radiant with hope, at others sulking with 
the assurance of defeat. He came in one day 
ostensibly to have tea with her; he had an im 
portant engagement for the evening but he could 
not let the day pass without seeing her. Angela 
was tired and a little dispirited. Jinny had 
sold the house and had sent her twelve hundred 
dollars as her share, but the original three thousand 
was almost dissipated. She must not touch this 
new gift from heaven; her goal was no nearer; 
the unwelcome possibility of teaching, on the con 
trary, was constantly before her. Moreover, she 
was at last realising the danger of this constant 
proximity, she was appalled by her thoughts and 
longings. Upon her a great fear was creeping not 
only of Roger but of herself. 

Always watchful, he quickly divined her dis 
trait mood, resolved to try its possibilities for 
himself. In a tense silence they drank their tea 
and sat gazing at the leaping, golden flames. 
The sullen night closed in. Angela reminded him 
presently that he must go but on he sat and on. 
At eight o'clock she reminded him again; he 
took out his watch and looked at it indifferently. 
" It's too late for me to keep it now, besides I 
don't want to go. Angele be kind, don't send 
me away." 

" But you've had no dinner." 

202 



" Nor you either. I'm like the beasts of the 
field keeping you like this. Shall we go out some 
where? " But she was languid; she did not 
want to stir from the warm hearth out into the 
chilly night. 

" No, I don't want to go. But you go, Roger. 
I can find something here in the house for myself, 
but there's not a thing for you. I hate to be so 
inhospitable." 

" Tell you what, suppose I go around to one of 
these delicatessens and get something. Too tired 
to fix up a picnic lunch? " 

In half an hour he returned, soaked. " It's 
raining in torrents! Why I never saw such a 
night!" He shook himself, spattering rain-drops 
all over the tiny apartment. 

" Roger ! You'll have to take off your coat ! " 

He sat in his shirt-sleeves before the fire, his hair 
curling and damp, his head on his hand. He 
looked so like a little boy that her heart shook 
within her. Turning he caught the expression in 
her eyes, sprang towards her. " Angele you know, 
you know you like me a little ! " 

" I like you a very great deal." He put his arm 
about her, kissed her; her very bones turned to 
water. She freed herself, finding an excuse to go 
into the kitchenette. But he came and stood 
towering over her in the doorway, his eyes on her 
every motion. They ate the meal, a good one, 
almost as silently as they had drunk the tea; a 
terrible awareness of each other's presence was 
upon them, the air was charged with passion. 
Outside the rain and wind beat and screamed. 

" It's a terrible night," she said, but he made no 
reply. She said again, " Roger, it's getting late ? 

203 



HHHHHHHhHH-PLUM 

you must go home." Very reluctantly then, his 
eyes still on hers, he rose to his feet, got into his 
overcoat and, hat in hand, stooped to kiss her 
good-night. His arm stole about her, holding her 
close against him. She could feel him trembling, 
she was trembling herself. Another second and the 
door had closed behind him. 

Alone, she sat looking at the fire and thinking: 
" This is awful. I don't believe anything is going 
to come of this. I believe I'll send him a note 
to-morrow and tell him not to come any more." 

Someone tapped on the door; astonished that 
a caller should appear at such an hour, but not 
afraid, she opened it. It was Roger. He came 
striding into the room, flinging off his wet coat, 
and yet almost simultaneously catching her up in 
his arms. " It's such a terrible night, Angele; you 
can't send me out in it. Why should I go when the 
fire is here and you, so warm and soft and 
sweet ! " 

All her strength left her; she could not even 
struggle, could not speak. He swept her up in his 
arms, cradling her in them like a baby with her 
face beneath his own. " You know that we were 
meant for each other, that we belong to each 
other!" 

A terrible lassitude enveloped her out of which 
she heard herself panting: " Roger, Roger let me 
go! Oh, Roger, must it be like this? Can't it be 
any other way? " 

And from a great distance she heard his voice 
breaking, pleading, promising: " Everything will 
be all right, darling, darling. I swear it. Only 
trust me, trust me ! " 



204 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf* 



Life rushed by on a great, surging tide. She 
could not tell whether she was utterly happy or 
utterly miserable. All that she could do was to feel ; 
feel that she was Roger's totally. Her whole 
being turned toward him as a flower to the sun. 
Without him life meant nothing; with him it was 
everything. For the time being she was nothing 
but emotion ; he was amazed himself at the depth 
of feeling which he had aroused in her. 

Now for the first time she felt possessive; she 
found herself deeply interested in Roger's welfare 
because, she thought, he was hers and she could 
not endure having a possession whose qualities 
were unknown. She was not curious about his 
money nor his business affairs but she thirsted to 
know how his time away from her was spent, 
whom he saw, what other places he frequented. 
Not that she begrudged him a moment away 
from her side, but she must be able to account 
for that moment. 

Yet if she felt possessive of him her feeling also 
recognized his complete absorption of her, so com 
pletely, so exhaustively did his life seem to envelop 
hers. For a while his wishes, his pleasure were 
the end and aim of her existence ; she told herself 
with a slight tendency toward self-mockery that this 
was the explanation of being, of her being; that 
men had other aims, other uses but that the sole 
excuse for being a woman was to be just that, a 
woman. Forgotten were her ideals about her 
Art; her ambition to hold a salon; her desire to 
help other people ; even her intention of marrying 
in order to secure her future. Only something 
quite outside herself, something watchful, proud, 
remote from the passion and rapture which flamed 

205 



within her, kept her free and independent. She 
would not accept money, she would not move to 
the apartment on Seventy-second Street; she still 
refused gifts so ornate that they were practically 
bribes. She made no explanations to Roger, but 
he knew and she knew too that her surrender 
was made out of the lavish fullness and generosity 
of her heart; there was no calculation back of it; 
if this were free love the freedom was the quality to 
be stressed rather than the emotion. 

Sometimes, in her inchoate, wordless intensity 
of feeling which she took for happiness, she paused 
to take stock of that other life, those other lives 
which once she had known; that life which had 
been hers when she had first come to New York 
before she had gone to Cooper Union, in those days 
when she had patrolled Fourteenth Street and had 
sauntered through Union Square. And that other 
life which she knew in Opal Street, aeons ago, 
almost in another existence. She passed easily 
over those first few months in New York because 
even then she had been approaching a threshold, 
getting ready to enter on a new, undreamed of 
phase of being. But sometimes at night she lay 
for hours thinking over her restless, yearning child 
hood, her fruitless days at the Academy, the abor 
tive wooing of Matthew Henson. The Hensons, 
the Hallowells, Hetty Daniels, Jinny ! How far 
now she was beyond their pale! Before her rose 
the eager, starved face of Hetty Daniels ; now she 
herself was cognizant of phases of life for which 
Hetty longed but so contemned. Angela could 
imagine the envy back of the tone in which Hetty, 
had she but known it, would have expressed her 
disapproval of her former charge's manner of 

206 



^HHKHHHHHHhPLUM 



living. " Mattie Murray's girl, Angela, has gone 
straight to the bad ; she's living a life of sin with 
some man in New York." And then the final, 
blasting indictment. " He's a white man, too. 
Can you beat that? " 



207 



CHAPTER III 

ROGER'S father, it appeared, had been greatly 
pleased with his son's management of the saw-mills 
in Georgia; as a result he was making more and 
more demands on his time. And the younger 
man half through pride, half through that steady 
determination never to offend his father, was always 
ready to do his bidding. Angela liked and 
appreciated her lover's filial attitude, but even 
in the period of her warmest interest she resented, 
secretly despised, this tendency to dependence. 
He was young, superbly trained; he had the gift 
of forming friendships whose strength rested on 
his own personality, yet he distrusted too much his 
own powers or else he was lazy Angela could 
never determine which. During this phase of 
their acquaintanceship she was never sure that she 
loved him, but she was positive that if at this time 
he had been willing to fling aside his obsequious 
deference to his father's money and had said to 
her: " Angele, if you'll help me, we'll build up a 
life, a fortune of our own," she would have adored 
him. 

Her strong, independent nature, buffeted and 
sickened and strengthened by the constant attri 
tion of colour prejudice, was unable to visualise 
or to pardon the frame of mind which kept Roger 
from joining battle with life when the odds were 

208 



HHHh*HHHHHh*PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 

already so overwhelmingly in his favour. Alone, 
possessed of a handicap which if guessed at would 
have been as disabling as a game leg or an atro 
phied body, she had dared enter the lists. And 
she was well on the way to winning a victory. It 
was to cost her, she was beginning to realize, more 
than she had anticipated. But having entered 
she was not one to draw back, unless indeed she 
changed her goal. Hers was a curious mixture of 
materialism and hedonism, and at this moment the 
latter quality was uppermost in her life. But she 
supposed that in some vague future she and Roger 
would marry. His ardour rendered her com 
placent. 

But she was not conscious of any of these inner 
conflicts and criticisms; she was too happy. Now 
she was adopting a curious detachment toward life 
tempered by a faint cynicism, a detachment 
which enabled her to say to herself: " Rules are 
for ordinary people but not for me." She remem 
bered a verse from a poet, a coloured woman about 
whom she had often wondered. The lines ran: 

"The strong demand, contend, prevail. 
The beggar is a fool!" 

She would never be a beggar. She would ask 
no further counsel nor advice of anyone. She had 
been lucky thus far in seeking advice only from 
Paulette and Martha Burden, two people of 
markedly independent methods of thought and 
action. They had never held her back. Now she 
would no longer consult even them. She would 
live her life as an individualist, to suit herself 
without regard for the conventions and established 
o 209 



BUN-HHHHHHHHHH5* 



ways of life. Her native fastidiousness, she was 
sure, would keep her from becoming an offence in 
her own eyes. 

In spite of her increasing self-confidence and 
self-sufficiency Roger's frequent absences left her 
lonely. Almost then, without any conscious plan 
ning on her part, she began to work at her 
art with growing vigour and interest. She was 
gaining in assurance; her technique showed an 
increased mastery; above all she had gained in 
the power to compose, a certain sympathy, a 
breadth of comprehension, the manifestation of 
that ability to interpret which she had long sus 
pected lay within her, lent themselves to her hand. 
Mr. Paget, the instructor, spoke of her paintings 
with increased respect; the attention of visitors 
was directed thereto. Martha Burden and even 
Paulette, in the intervals of her ecstatic prepara 
tions, admitted her to the freemasonry of their 
own assured standing. Anthony Cross reminded 
her of the possibilities for American students at 
Fontainebleau. But she only smiled wisely; she 
would have no need of such study, but she hoped 
with all her heart that Miss Powell would be the 
recipient of a prize which would enable her to 
attend there. 

" If she isn't," she promised herself, " I'll make 
Roger give her her expenses. I'd be willing to 
take the money from him for that." 

To her great surprise her other interest besides 
her painting lay in visiting Jinny. If anyone had 
asked her if she were satisfied with her own life, 
her reply would have been an instant affirmative. 
But she did not want such a life for her sister. For 
Virginia there must be no risks, no secrets, no 

210 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH- 



irregularities. Her efforts to find out how her 
sister spent her free hours amazed herself; their 
fruitlessness filled her with a constant irritation 
which Virginia showed no inclination to allay. The 
younger girl had passed her examination and had 
been appointed; she was a successful and enthu 
siastic teacher; this much Angela knew, but 
beyond this nothing. She gathered that Virginia 
spent a good deal of time with a happy, intelligent, 
rather independent group of young coloured men 
and women; there was talk occasionally of the 
theatre, of a dance, of small clubs, of hikes, of 
classes at Columbia or at New York City College. 
Angela even met a gay, laughing party, consisting 
of Virginia and her friends en route to Brooklyn, 
she had been later informed briefly. The girls were 
bright birds of paradise, the men, her artist's eye 
noted, were gay, vital fauns. In the subway 
beside the laughing, happy groups, white faces 
showed pale and bloodless, other coloured faces 
loomed dull and hopeless. Angela began tardily 
to recognize that her sister had made her way into 
that curious, limited, yet shifting class of the 
"best" coloured people; the old Philadelphia 
phrase came drifting back to her, " people that 
you know." She was amazed at some of the 
names which Virginia let drop from her lips in her 
infrequent and laconic descriptions of certain 
evenings which she had spent in the home of Van 
Meier, a great coloured American, a litterateur, 
a fearless and dauntless apostle of the rights of man ; 
his name was known, Martha Burden had assured 
her, on both sides of the water. 

Such information she picked up as best she 
might for Virginia vouchsafed nothing; nor did 

211 



HHHHHHHHHH-PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHS** 

she, on the infrequent occasions on which she ran 
across her sister, even appear to know her. This, 
Angela pointed out, was silly. " You might just 
as well speak," she told Jinny petulantly, remem 
bering uncomfortably the occasion when she her 
self had cut her sister, an absolute stranger in 
New York. " Plenty of white and coloured people 
are getting to know each other and they always 
acknowledge the acquaintanceship. Why shouldn't 
we? No harm could come of it." But in Virginia's 
cool opinion no good could come of it either. 
Usually the younger girl preserved a discreet 
silence; whatever resolves she might have made 
with regard to the rupture between herself and 
her sister, she was certainly able to keep her own 
counsel. It was impossible to glean from her per 
fect, slightly distrait manner any glimpse of her 
inner life and her intentions. Frequently she 
showed an intense preoccupation from which she 
awakened to let fall a remark which revealed to 
Angela a young girl's normal reactions to the life 
about her, pleasant, uneventful and tinged with a 
cool, serene happiness totally different from the 
hot, heady, turgid rapture which at present was 
Angela's life. 



The Jewish girl, Rachel Salting, who lived on 
the floor above, took to calling on Angela. " We're 
young and here by ourselves," she said smiling, 
" it's stupid for us not to get acquainted, don't 
you think so? " Hers was a charming smile and 
a charming manner. Indeed she was a very 
pretty girl, Angela thought critically. Her skin 

212 



H-HHHHHHHHhPLUM BUN4HHHHHHHMHHS* 

was very, very pale, almost pearly, her hair jet 
black and curling, her eyes large and almond- 
shaped. Her figure was straight and slender but 
bore none the less some faint hint of an exotic 
voluptuousness. Her interests, she informed her 
new friend, were all with the stage, her ideal being 
Raquel Meller. 

Angela welcomed her friendliness. A strange 
apathy, an unusual experience for her, had in 
vaded her being; her painting claimed, it is true, 
a great deal of time and concentration; her hours 
with Virginia, while not always satisfactory, were 
at least absorbing; but for the first time in her 
knowledge, her whole life was hanging on the 
words, the moods, the actions of some one else 
Roger. Without him she was quite lost; not only 
was she unable to order her days without him in 
mind, she was even unable to go in quest of new 
adventures in living as was once her wont. Con 
sequently she received with outstretched arms 
anything beyond the ordinary which might break 
the threatening monotony of her life. 

Rachel Salting was like a fresh breeze, a curious 
mixture of Jewish conservatism and modernity. 
Hers was a keen, clear mind, well trained in the 
New York schools and colleges with many branch 
ing interests. She spoke of psychiatry, housing 
problems, Zionism, child welfare, with a know 
ledge and zest which astounded Angela, whose 
training had been rather superficial and who had 
begun to adopt Paulette's cleverness and Martha 
Burden's slightly professional, didactic attitude 
toward things in general as norms for herself. 
Rachel, except when dwelling on the Jewish 
problem, seemed to have no particular views to 

213 



set forth. Her discussions, based on her wide 
reading, were purely academic, she had no desire 
to proselyte, she was no reformer. She was merely 
a " nice ", rather jolly, healthy young woman, 
an onlooker at life which she had to get through 
with and which she was finding for the moment at 
any rate, extremely pleasant. 

She was very happy; happy like Virginia with 
a happiness vastly different from what Angela was 
calling by that name; a breathless, constant, 
smiling happiness, palpable, transparent, for all 
the world to see. Within a few weeks after their 
acquaintanceship had started, Rachel with smiles 
and blushes revealed her great secret. She was 
going to be married. 

" To the very best man in the world, Angele." 

"Yes, I'm sure of it." 

" He's very good-looking, tall, " 

" As though I didn't know that." 

" How could you know? " 

" Darling child, haven't I seen him, at least 
the outline of him, often enough in the hall when 
I'd come in and turn on that wretched light ? 
I didn't think you'd ever forgive me for it. It 
did seem as though I were doing it on purpose." 

" Oh, I knew you weren't. Then you have seen 
him? " 

" Yes, he's tall and blond. Quite a nice foil 
for your darkness. See, I'm always the artist." 

"Yes," Rachel said slowly, "he is blond." 

Angela thought she detected a faint undertone 
of worry in her hitherto triumphant voice but 
decided that that was unlikely. 

But Rachel confirmed this impression by her next 
words: " If only everything will turn out all right." 

214 



frfrfrfrfr.frfr.fr.fr.fr.fr PLUM BUNHHHHHHHMMHHS' 

Angel's rather material mind prompted her to 
ask: " What's the matter, is he very poor? " 

Rachel stared. " Poor? As though that mat 
tered. Yes, he's poor, but I don't care about 
that." 

" Well, if you don't care about that, what's the 
trouble then ? He's free, white and twenty-one, 
isn't he? " 

" Yes, yes, it's only oh you wouldn't under 
stand, you lucky girl ! It's nothing you'd ever have 
to bother about. You see we've got to get our 
parents' consent first. We haven't spoken of it 
yet. When we do, I'm afraid there'll be a row." 

Some ritual inherent in her racial connections, 
Angela decided, and asked no further questions. 
Indeed, she had small chance, for Rachel, once 
launched, had begun to expound her gospel of 
marriage. It was an old, old story. Angela 
could have closed her eyes and imagined her own 
mother rhapsodizing over her future with Junius. 
They would be poor, very poor at first but only at 
first, and they would not mind poverty a bit. It 
would be fun together. There were little frame 
houses in the Bronx that rented comparatively 
cheap. Perhaps Angela knew of them. 

Angela shuddering inwardly, acknowledged that 
she had seen them, dull brown, high-shouldered 
affairs, perched perilously on stoops. The rooms 
would be small, square, ugly, 

Rachel would help her John in every way. They 
would economize. " I won't wash and iron, for 
that is heart-breaking work, and I want to keep 
myself dainty and pretty for him, so that when we 
do become better off he won't have to be ashamed 
of me. And all the time even in our hardest days 

215 



I'll be trying my luck at play- writing." She spoke 
with the unquenchable ambition which was her 
racial dowry. "I'll be attending lectures and 
sitting up in the galleries of theatres where they 
have the most successful plays. And some day 
I'll land." Her fanciful imagination carried her 
years ahead. " On our First Night, Angela, you 
must be in our box and I'll have an ermine coat. 
Won't it be wonderful? But nothing will be more 
wonderful than those first few years when we'll 
be absolutely dependent on each other; I on what 
he makes, he on the way I run the home. That 
will be heaven." 

Confidences such as these left Angela unmoved 
but considerably shaken. There must be some 
thing in the life of sacrifice, even drudgery which 
Rachel had depicted. Else why should so many 
otherwise sensible girls take the risk? But there, 
it was silly for her to dwell on such pictures and 
scenes. Such a life would never come to her. It 
was impossible to conceive of such a life with 
Roger. Yet there were times in her lonely room 
when she pondered long and deeply, drawing 
pictures. The time would be summer; she would 
be wearing a white dress, would be standing in 
the doorway of a house in the suburbs very, very 
near New York. There'd be the best possible 
dinner on the table. She did love to cook. And a 
tall, strong figure would be hurrying up the walk: 
" I had the best luck to-day, Angele, and I brought 
you a present." And presently after dinner she 
would take him upstairs to her little work-room 
and she'd draw aside the curtain and show him a 
portrait of a well-known society woman. " She's 
so pleased with it; and she's going to get me lots 

216 



*HHHHHHHHHh*PLUM BUNHHHHMHMHHMH^ 

of orders, " Somehow she was absolutely sure 

that the fanciful figure was not Roger. 



Her lover, back from a three weeks' trip to 
Chicago, dissipated that sureness. He was glad, 
overwhelmingly glad to be back and to see Angele. 
He came to her apartment directly from the train, 
not stopping even to report to his father. " I 
can see him to-morrow. To-night is absolutely 
yours. What shall we do, Angele? We can 
go out to dinner and the theatre or run out to 
the Country Club or stay here. What do you 
say? " 

" We'll have to stay here, Roger; I'll fix up a 
gorgeous dinner, better than anything you've had 
to eat in any of your old hotels. But directly after, 
I'll have to cut and run because I promised Martha 
Burden faithfully to go to a lecture with her to 
night." 

" I never knew you to be interested in a lecture 
before." 

She was worried and showed it. " But this is a 
different sort of lecture. You know how crazy 
Martha is about race and social movements. Well, 
Van Meier is to speak to-night and Martha is 
determined that a lot of her friends shall hear him. 
I'm to go with her and Ladislas." 

" What's to keep me from going? " 

" Nothing, only he's coloured, you know." 

" Well, I suppose it won't rub off. I've heard 
of him. They say he really has brains. I've 
never seen a nigger with any yet; so this bids fair 
to be interesting. And, anyway, you don't think 
I'm going to let my girl run off from me the 

217 



^HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUN-HMHHHHHHHHt 

very moment I come home, do you? Suppose 
I have Reynolds bring the big car here and we'll 
take Martha and Ladislas along and anyone else 
she chooses to brins." 

The lecture was held in Harlem in East One 
Hundred and Thirty-fifth Street. The hall was 
packed, teeming with suppressed excitement and 
a certain surcharged atmosphere. Angela radiant, 
calmed with the nearness and devotion of Roger, 
looked about her with keen, observing eyes. And 
again she sensed that fullness, richness, even thick 
ness of life which she had felt on her first visit to 
Harlem. The stream of living ran almost molten ; 
little waves of feeling played out from groups within 
the audience and beat against her consciousness 
and against that of her friends, only the latter were 
without her secret powers of interpretation. The 
occasion was clearly one of moment. "I'd come 
any distance to hear Van Meier speak," said a 
thin-faced dark young man behind them. " He 
always has something to say and he doesn't talk 
down to you. To hear him is like reading a classic, 
clear and beautiful and true." 

Angela, revelling in types and marshalling bits 
of information which she had got from Virginia, 
was able to divide the groups. There sat the most 
advanced coloured Americans, beautifully dressed, 
beautifully trained, whimsical, humorous, bitter, 
impatiently responsible, yet still responsible. In 
one section loomed the dark, eager faces of West 
Indians, the formation of their features so markedly 
different from that of the ordinary American as 
to give them a wild, slightly feral aspect. These 
had come not because they were disciples of Van 
Meier but because they were earnest seekers after 

218 



BUN4HMHHHHHHHH* 



truth. But unfortunately their earnestness was 
slightly married by a stubbornness and an un 
willingness to admit conviction. Three or four 
coloured Americans, tall, dark, sleek young men 
sat within earshot, speaking with a curious didactic 
precision. " They're quoting all the sociologists 
in the world," Ladislas Starr told his little group 
in astonishment. 

Martha, with her usual thoroughness, knew all 
about them. They were the editors of a small 
magazine whose chief bid to fame lay in the articles 
which they directed monthly against Van Meier; 
articles written occasionally in a spirit of mean 
jealousy but usually in an effort to gain a sort of 
inverted glory by carrying that great name on its 
pages. 

Here and there a sprinkling of white faces 
showed up plainly, startlingly distinct patterns 
against a back-ground of patient, softly stolid 
black faces; faces beaten and fashioned by life 
into a mold of steady, rock-like endurance, of 
unshakable, unconquered faith. Angela had 
seen such faces before in the churches in 
Philadelphia; they brought back old pictures to 
her mind. 

" There he is ! " exclaimed Martha triumphantly. 
" That's Van Meier ! Isn't he wonderful? " Angela 
saw a man, bronze, not very tall but built with a 
beautiful symmetrical completeness, cross the plat 
form and sit in the tall, deep chair next to the table 
of the presiding officer. He sat with a curious 
immobility, gazing straight before him like a 
statue of an East Indian idol. And indeed there 
was about him some strange quality which made 
one think of the East; a completeness, a superb lack 

219 



of self-consciousness, an odd, arresting beauty 
wrought by the perfection of his fine, straight nose 
and his broad, scholarly forehead. One look, 
however casual, gave the beholder the assurance 
that here indeed was a man, fearless, dauntless, the 
captain of his fate. 

He began to speak on a clear, deep, bell-like note. 
Angela thought she had never heard its equal for 
beauty, for resonance, for culture. And ar- the 
young man had said, he did not talk down. His 
English was the carefully sifted language of the 
savant, his periods polished, almost poetical. He 
was noted on two continents for his sociological 
and economic contributions, but his subject was 
racial sacrifice. He urged the deliberate intro 
duction of beauty and pleasure into the difficult 
life of the American Negro. These objects should 
be theirs both as racial heritage and as compensa 
tion. Yet for a time, for a long time, there would 
have to be sacrifices, many sacrifices made for the 
good of the whole. " Our case is unique," the 
beautiful, cultured voice intoned; " those of us 
who have forged forward, who have gained the 
front ranks in money and training, will not, are 
not able as yet to go our separate ways apart 
from the unwashed, untutored herd. We must 
still look back and render service to our less fortu 
nate, weaker brethren. And the first step toward 
making this a workable attitude is the acquisition 
not so much of a racial love as a racial pride. A 
pride that enables us to find our own beautiful 
and praiseworthy, an intense chauvinism that is 
content with its own types, that finds completeness 
within its own group; that loves its own as the 
French love their country, because it is their own. 

220 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf- 



Such a pride can accomplish the impossible." 
He quoted: 

" It is not courage, no, nor hate 
That lets us do the things we do; 
It's pride that bids the heart be great, " 

He sat down to a surge of applause that shook 
the building. Dark, drooping faces took on an 
expression of ecstatic uplift, it was as though they 
suddenly saw themselves, transformed by racial 
pride as princes in a strange land in temporary 
serfdom, princes whose children would know 
freedom. 

Martha Burden and Ladislas went up to speak 
to him ; they were old friends. Angela, with Roger, 
visibly impressed, stood on one side and waited. 
Paulette and Hudson came pushing through the 
crowd, the former flushed and excited. Little 
groups of coloured people stood about, some deeply 
content with a sort of vicarious pride, some arguing; 
Angela caught sight of Virginia standing with three 
young men and two girls. They were for the 
most part gesticulating, lost in a great excitement. 
But Jinny seemed listless and aloof; her childish 
face looked thin and more forlornly young than 
ever. Anthony Cross and a tall man of undeniably 
Spanish type passed the little party and spoke to 
one of the men, received introductions. Presently 
Cross, swinging about, caught sight of Angela and 
Roger. He bowed hastily, flushing; caught his 
companion's arm and walked hurriedly from the 
hall, his head very straight, his slender figure always 
so upright, so lance y more erect than ever. 

Presently Martha's party was all out on the side 
walk; Roger in fine spirits invited Paulette and 

221 



HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNfrfr 



Hudson to ride down town in his car. Paulette 
was bubbling over with excited admiration of 
Van Meier. " He isn't a man, he's a god," she 
proclaimed. " Did you ever see such a superb 
personality? He's not a magnificent coloured 
man, he's not ' just as good as a white man ' ; he 
is a man, just that; colour, race, conditions in his 
case are pure accidents, he over-rides them all 
with his ego. Made me feel like a worm too; I 
gave him my prettiest smile, grand white lady 
making up to an ' exceptional Negro ' and he 
simply didn't see me; took my hand, I did my 
best to make my grasp a clinging one and he 
passed me right along disengaging himself as cool 
as a cucumber and making room for a lady of 
colour." She finished reflectively, " I wonder 
what he would be like alone." 

" None of your nonsense, Paulette," said Roger 
frowning. 

Hudson smiled. " Paulette's a mighty attrac 
tive little piece, I'll admit, but I'd back Van 
Meier against her every time; she'd present no 
temptation to him; the man's not only a prophet 
and the son of a prophet; he's pride incarnate." 

Roger said meditatively, " I wonder what 
proportion of white blood he has in his veins. 
Of course that's where he gets his ability." 

" You make me tired," said Martha. " Of 
course he doesn't get it from his white blood; he 
gets it from all his bloods. It's the mixture that 
makes him what he is. Otherwise all white people 
would be gods. It's the mixture and the endur 
ance which he has learned from being coloured in 
America and the determination to see life without 
bitterness, -- " 

222 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf* 



" Oh help, help," exclaimed Roger. " No more 
lectures to-night. Look, you're boring Angele to 
death." 

" Nothing of the kind," said Angela, " on the 
contrary I never was more interested in my life." 
And reaching back she gave Martha's hand a 
hearty squeeze. 



Sometimes as on that first day at the art class, 
the five of them, Miss Powell, Paulette, Gross, 
Martha and Angela met before hours. Miss Powell 
as always was silent she came solely for her 
work but the others enjoyed a little preliminary 
chat. A week or so after the Van Meier lecture 
all but Paulette were gathered thus on an afternoon 
when she too came rushing in, starry eyed, flushed, 
consumed with laughter. 

" I've played the biggest joke on myself," she 
announced, " I've been to see Van Meier." 

Martha was instant attention. " A joke on Van 
Meier? " 

" No, on myself, I tell you." 

It appeared that she had got Miss Powell to 
introduce her to one of the clerks in the great 
leader's office. Paulettte then with deliberate inten 
tion had asked the girl to lunch and afterwards had 
returned with her to the office expressing a desire 
to meet her employer. Van Meier had received 
her cordially enough but with the warning that he 
was very busy. 

" So I told him that I wouldn't sit down, think 
ing of course he'd urge me to. But he just raised 
his eyebrows in the most quizzical way and said, 
'Well'?" 

223 



BUN4HHMHHHHHHHf 



" Of course I couldn't let matters rest like that 
so I sat down and began talking to him, nothing 
much you know, just telling him how wonderful 
he was and letting him see that I'd be glad to 
know him better. You should have seen him 
looking at me and not saying a word. Presently 
he reached out his hand and touched a bell and 
Miss Thing-um-bob came in, your friend, you 
know, Miss Powell. He looked at her and nodding 
toward me said: * Take her away '. I never felt 
such small potatoes in my life. I tell you he's a 
personage. Wasn't it great? " 

Martha replied crossly that the whole thing 
seemed to her in dreadfully poor taste, while Miss 
Powell, after one incredulous stare at the first 
speaker, applied herself more sedulously to her 
work. Even Anthony, shocked out of his habitual 
moroseness pronounced the proceedings " a bit 
thick, Miss Lister ". Angela conscious of a swell 
ing pride, stowed the incident away as a tit-bit 
for Virginia. 



224 



CHAPTER IV 

LIFE had somehow come to a standstill ; gone was 
its quality of high adventure and yet with the sense 
of tameness came no compensating note of assur 
ance, of permanence. Angela pondered much 
about this; with her usual instinct for clarity, for 
a complete understanding of her own emotional 
life, she took to probing her inner consciousness. 
The fault, she decided, was bound up in her 
relationship with Roger. At present in a certain 
sense she might be said to be living for him; at 
least his was the figure about which her life resolved, 
revolved. Yet she no longer had the old, heady 
desire to feel herself completely his, to claim him 
as completely hers, neither for his wealth nor for 
the sense of security which he could afford nor for 
himself. For some reason he had lost his charm 
for her, much, she suspected, in the same way in 
which girls in the position which was hers, often 
lost their charm for their lovers. 

And this realization instead of bringing to her 
a sense of relief, brought a certain real if some 
what fantastic shame. If there was to be no 
permanence in the relationship, if laying aside the 
question of marriage, it was to lack the dignity, the 
graciousness of an affair of long standing, of sym 
pathy, of mutual need, then indeed according to 
the code of her childhood, according to every 
p 225 



BUN^HHHMHHHH^-K* 



code of every phase of her development, she had 
allowed herself to drift into an inexcusably vulgar 
predicament. Even when her material safety and 
security were at stake and she had dreamed vaguely 
of yielding to Roger's entreaties to ensure that 
safety and security, there might have been some 
excuse. Life, she considered, came before creed 
or code or convention. Or if she had loved and 
there had been no other way she might have 
argued for this as the supreme experience of her 
life. But she was no longer conscious of striving 
for marriage with Roger; and as for love she 
had known a feeling of gratitude, intense interest, 
even intense possessiveness for him but she did not 
believe she had ever known love. 

But because of this mingling of shame and re 
proach she found herself consciously striving to 
keep their relations on the highest plane possible 
in the circumstances. She wished now not so 
much that she had never left Jinny and the security 
of their common home-life, as that the necessity 
for it had never arisen. Now suddenly she found 
herself lonely, she had been in New York nearly 
three years but not even yet had she struck down 
deep into the lode of genuine friendship. Paulette 
was kind and generous; she desired, she said, a 
close woman friend but Paulette was still the 
adventuress. She was as likely to change her voca 
tion and her place of dwelling as she was to change 
her lover. Martha Burden, at once more stable 
and more comprehending in the conduct of a 
friendship once she had elected for it, was, on 
the other hand, much more conservative in the 
expenditure of that friendliness; besides she was 
by her very nature as reserved as Paulette was 

226 



expansive, and her native intenseness made it 
difficult for her to dwell very long on the needs of 
anyone whose problems did not centre around her 
own extremely fixed ideas and principles. 

As for Anthony Cross, by some curious, utterly 
inexplicable revulsion of feeling, Angela could not 
bring herself to dwell long on the possibilities of 
a friendship with him. Somehow it seemed to 
her sacrilegious in her present condition to bring 
the memory of that far-off day in Van Gortlandt 
Park back to mind. As soon as his image arose 
she dismissed it, though there were moments 
when it was impossible for his vision to come before 
her without its instantly bringing to mind Rachel 
Salting's notions of love and self-sacrifice. Well, 
such dreams were not for her, she told herself im 
patiently. For her own soul's integrity she must 
make the most of this state in which she now found 
herself. Either she must effect through it a mar 
riage whose excuse should be that of safety, 
assurance and a resulting usefulness; or she must 
resolve it by patience, steadfastness and affection 
into a very apotheosis of " free love." Of all 
possible affaires du coeur this must in semblance at 
any rate, be the ultimate desideratum, the finest 
flower of chivalry and devotion. 



To this end she began then devoting herself 
again to the renewal of that sense of possessiveness 
in Roger and his affairs which had once been so 
spontaneous within her. But to this Roger pre 
sented unexpected barriers; he grew restive under 
such manifestations; he who had once fought so 

227 



BUN*********** 



bitterly against her indifference resented with 
equal bitterness any showing of possessive interest. 
He wanted no claims upon him, he acknowledged 
none. Gradually his absences, which at first were 
due to the business interests of his father, occurred 
for other reasons or for none at all. Angela could 
not grasp this all at once; it was impossible for her 
to conceive that kindness should create indiffer 
ence; in spite of confirmatory stories which she 
had heard, of books which she had read, she 
could not make herself believe that devotion 
might sometimes beget ingratitude, loss of appre 
ciation. For if that were so then a successful 
relationship between the sexes must depend wholly 
on the marriage tie without reference to com 
patibility of taste, training or ideals. This she 
could scarcely credit. In some way she must be 
at fault. 

No young wife in the first ardour of marriage 
could have striven more than she to please Roger. 
She sought by reading and outside questions to 
inform herself along the lines of Roger's training 
he was a mining engineer. His fondness for his 
father prompted her to numerous inquiries about 
the interest and pursuits of the older Fielding; 
she made suggestions for Roger's leisure hours. 
But no matter how disinterested her attitude and 
tone his response to all this was an increased sullen- 
ness, remoteness, wariness. Roger was experienced 
in the wiles of women; such interest could mean 
only one thing, marriage. Well, Angela might 
just as well learn that he had no thought, had 
never had any thought, of marrying her or any 
other woman so far removed from his father's 
ideas and requirements. 

228 



Still Angela, intent on her ideals, could not 
comprehend. Things were not going well between 
them; affairs of this kind were often short-lived, 
that had been one of her first objections to the 
arrangement, but she had not dreamed that one 
withdrew when the other had committed no overt 
offence. She was as charming, as attractive, as 
pretty as she had ever been and far, far more kind 
and thoughtful. She had not changed, how could 
it be possible that he should be different? 

A week had gone by and he had not dropped 
in to see her. Loneliness settled over her like a 
pall, frightening her seriously because she was 
realizing that this time she was not missing Roger 
so much as that a person for whom she had let 
slip the ideals engendered by her mother's early 
teaching, a man for whom she had betrayed and 
estranged her sister, was passing out of her ken. 
She had rarely called him on the telephone but 
suddenly she started to do so. For three days 
the suave voice of his man, Reynolds, told her that 
Mr. Fielding was " out, m'm." 

" But did you give him my message? Did you 
ask him to call me as soon as he came in? " 

" Yes, m'm." 

" And did he? " 

" That I couldn't tell you, m'm." 

She could not carry on such a conversation with 
a servant. 

On the fifth day Roger appeared. She sprang 
toward him. " Oh Roger, I'm so glad to see you. 
Did Reynolds tell you I called? Why have you 
been so long coming? " 

" I'd have been still longer if you hadn't stopped 
'phoning. Now see here, Angele, this has got to 

229 



stop. I can't have women calling me up all hours 
of the day, making me ridiculous in the eyes of 
my servants. I don't like it, it's got to stop. Do 
you understand me? " 

Surprised, bewildered, she could only stammer: 
" But you call me whenever you feel like it." 

" Of course I do, that's different. I'm a 
man." He added a cruel afterword. " Perhaps 
you notice that I don't call you up as often as 
I used." 



Her pride was in arms. More than once she 
thought of writing him a brief note telling him 
that so far as she was concerned their " affair " 
was ended. But a great stubbornness possessed 
her; she was curious to see how this sort of thing 
could terminate ; she was eager to learn if all the 
advice which older women pour into the ears of grow 
ing girls could be as true as it was trite. Was it a 
fact that the conventions were more important than 
the fundamental impulses of life, than generosity, 
kindness, unselfishness? For whatever her original 
motives, her actual relationship with Fielding had 
called out the most unselfish qualities in her. And 
she began to see the conventions, the rules that 
govern life, in a new light; she realized suddenly 
that for all their granite-like coldness and precision 
they also represented fundamental facts; a sort 
of concentrated compendium of the art of living 
and therefore as much to be observed and re 
spected as warm, vital impulses. 

Towards Roger she felt no rancour, only an apathy 
incapable of being dispersed. The conversation 

230 



HHHHHHE- * * *H-PLUM 



about the telephone left an effect all out of pro 
portion to its actual importance; it represented 
for her the apparently unbridgeable difference 
between the sexes; everything was for men, but 
even the slightest privilege was to be denied to a 
woman unless the man chose to grant it. At least 
there were men who felt like that; not all men, 
she felt sure, could tolerate such an obviously 
unjust status. Without intent to punish, with no 
set purpose in her mind, simply because she was 
no longer interested, she began to neglect Roger. 
She no longer let other engagements go for him; 
she made no attempt to be punctual in keeping 
such engagements as they had already made; in 
his presence she was often absorbed, absent- 
minded, lost in thought. She ceased asking him 
questions about his affairs. 

Long before their quarrel they had accepted an 
invitation from Martha Burden to a small party. 
Angela was surprised that Roger should remember 
the occasion, but clearly he did; he was on hand 
at the correct date and hour and the two of them 
fared forth. During the brief journey he was 
courteous, even politely cordial, but the differ 
ence between his attitude and that of former days 
was very apparent. The party was of a more 
frivolous type than Martha usually sponsored, 
she was giving it for a young, fun-loving cousin 
of Ladislas; there was no general conversation, 
some singing, much dancing, much pairing off in 
couples. Carlotta Parks was present with Ralph 
Ashley, the slender, dark man who had appeared 
with Carlotta when Angela first met her. As 
soon as Roger appeared Carlotta came rushing 
toward him. 

231 



BUN*********** 



" I've been waiting for you ! " She dragged 
at his hand and not unwillingly he suffered himself 
to be led to a small sofa. They chatted a few 
minutes; then danced; Roger simply must look 
at Martha's new etchings. The pair was insepar 
able for the evening. Try as she might Angela 
could discover no feeling of jealousy but her 
dignity was hurt. She could not have received 
less attention from her former lover if they had 
never met. At first she thought she would make 
up to Ashley but something malicious in Car- 
lotta's glance deterred her. No, she was sick of 
men and their babyish, faithless ways; she did 
not care enough about Roger to play a game for 
him. So she sat quietly in a deep chair, smoking, 
dipping into the scattered piles of books which 
lent the apartment its air of cheerful disorder. 
Occasionally she chatted; Ladislas Starr perched 
on the arm of her chair and beguiled her 
with gay tales of his university days in pre-war 
Vienna. 

But she would never endure such an indignity 
again. On the way home she was silent. Roger 
glanced at her curiously, raised his eyebrows when 
she asked him to come in. She began quietly: 
" Roger I'll never endure again the treatment -- " 

But he was ready, even eager for a quarrel. 
" It looks to me as though you were willing to 
endure anything. No woman with an ounce of 
pride would have stood for what you've been 
standing lately." 

She said evenly: "You mean this is the end? 
We're through? 55 

" Well, what do you think about it? You cer 
tainly didn't expect it to last for ever." 

232 



-HHHHHHHHHHHPLUM BUNHH^-HHHHHHHHf* 

His tone was unbelievably insulting. Eyeing 
him speculatively she replied : " No, of course I 
didn't expect it to last for ever, but I didn't think 
it would end like this. I don't see yet why it 
should." 

The knowledge of his unpardonable manner 
lay heavy upon him, drove him to fresh indignity. 
" I suppose you thought some day I'd kiss your 
hand and say e You've been very nice to me ; I'll 
always remember you with affection and grati 
tude. Good-bye.' " 

" Well, why shouldn't you have said that? Cer 
tainly I'd expected that much sooner than a scene 
of this sort. I never dreamed of letting myself in 
for this kind of thing." 

Some ugly devil held him in its grasp. " You 
knew perfectly well what you were letting yourself 
in for. Any woman would know it." 

She could only stare at him, his words echoing 
in her ears: "You knew perfectly well what you 
were letting yourself in for." 

The phrase had the quality of a cosmic echo; 
perhaps men had been saying it to women since 
the beginning of time. Doubtless their biblical 
equivalent were the last words uttered by Abra 
ham to Hagar before she fared forth into the 
wilderness. 



233 



CHAPTER V 

LONG after Roger had left her she sat staring into 
the dark shadows of the room. For a long time 
the end, she knew, had been imminent; she had 
been curious to see how it would arrive, but the 
thought had never crossed her mind that it would 
come with harsh words and with vulgarity. The 
departure of Roger himself she shut her hand 
and opened it meant nothing; she had never 
loved, never felt for him one-tenth of the devotion 
which her mother had known for her father, of 
the spontaneous affection which Virginia had 
offered Matthew Henson. Even in these latter 
weeks when she had consciously striven to show 
him every possible kindness and attention she had 
done so for the selfish preservation of her ideals. 
Now she looked back on those first days of delight 
when his emotions and her own had met at full 
tide; when she dreamed that she alone of all 
people in the world was exempt from ordinary 
law. How, she wondered futilely, could she ever 
have suffered herself to be persuaded to tamper 
with the sacred mysteries of life? If she had held 
in her hand the golden key, love! But to throw 
aside the fundamental laws of civilization for 
passion, for the hot-headed wilfulness of youth 
and to have it end like this, drably, vulgarly, 
almost in a brawl! How could she endure her- 

234 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH' 



self ? And Roger and his promises of esteem and 
golden memories! 

For a moment she hated him for his fine words 
and phrases, hated him for tricking her. No 
matter what she had said, how she had acted, he 
should have let her go. Better a wound to her 
passion than later this terrible gash in her proud 
assurance, this hurt in the core of herself " God ! " 
she said, raging in her tiny apartment as a tiger 
in a menagerie rages in its inadequate cage, 
" God, isn't there any place where man's re 
sponsibility to woman begins ? " 



But she had grown too much into the habit of 
deliberately ordering her life, of hewing her own 
path, of removing the difficulties that beset that 
path, to let herself be sickened, utterly prostrated 
by what had befallen her. Roger, her com 
panion, had gone; she had been caught up in an 
inexcusably needless affair without the pretext 
of love. Thank God she had taken nothing from 
Roger; she had not sold herself, only bestowed 
that self foolishly, unworthily. However upset 
and harassed her mind might be it could not 
dwell too long on this loss of a lover. There were 
other problems to consider; for Roger's passing 
meant the vanishing of the last hope of the suc 
cessful marriage which once she had so greatly 
craved. And even though she had not actively 
considered this for some time, yet as a remote 
possibility it had afforded a sense of security. Now 
that mirage was dispelled; she was brought with 
a sudden shock back to reality. No longer was it 

235 



HHHH-H-H-HhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf* 

enough for her to plan how she could win to a 
pleasant and happy means of existence, she must 
be on the gui vive for the maintenance of that very 
existence itself. New York had literally swallowed 
her original three thousand dollars; part of Vir 
ginia's gift was also dissipated. Less than a thou 
sand dollars stood between her and absolute 
penury. She could not envisage turning to 
Jinny; life which had seemed so promising, so 
golden, had failed to supply her with a single 
friend to whom she could turn in an hour of 
extremity. 

Such thoughts as these left her panic-stricken, 
cold with ' fear. The spectre of possible want 
rilled her dreams, haunted her waking hours, 
thrust aside the devastating shame of her affair 
with Roger to replace it with dread and 
apprehension. In her despair she turned more 
ardently than ever to her painting; already she 
was capable of ^doing outstanding work in 
portraiture, but she lacked cachet; she was 
absolutely unknown. 

This condition of her mind affected her appear 
ance; she began to husband her clothes, sadly 
conscious that she could not tell where others 
would come from. Her face lost its roundness, 
the white warmness of her skin remained but 
there were violet shadows under her eyes; her 
forehead showed faint lines; she was slightly 
shabby. Gradually the triumphant vividness so 
characteristic of Angele Mory left her, she was 
like any one of a thousand other pitiful, frightened 
girls thronging New York. Miss Powell glanced 
at her and thought: "she looks unhappy, but 
how can she be when she has a chance at 

236 



HHHHHHHHHHM>LUM 



everything in the world just because she's 
white? " 

Anthony marked her fading brightness; he would 
have liked to question her, comfort her, but where 
this girl was concerned the role of comforter was 
not for him. Only the instructor, Mr. Paget 
guessed at her extremity. He had seen too many 
students not to recognize the signs of poverty, 
of disaster in love, of despair at the tardy flowering 
of dexterity that had been mistaken for talent. 
Once after class he stopped Angela and asked her 
if she knew of anyone willing to furnish designs 
for a well-known journal of fashion. 

" Not very stimulating work, but the pay is 
good and the firm reliable. Their last artist was 
with them eight years. If you know of any 
one, -- " 

She interrupted: " I know of myself. Do you 
think they'd take me on? " 

" I could recommend you. They applied to me, 
you see. Doubtless they'd take my suggestions 
into account." 

He was very kind; made all the necessary 
arrangements. The firm received Angela gladly, 
offering her a fair salary for work that was a trifle 
narrow, a bit stultifying. But it opened up possi 
bilities; there were new people to be met; perhaps 
she would make new friends, form ties which might 
be lasting. 

"Oh/ 5 she said hopefully to herself, "life is 
wonderful! It's giving me a new deal and I'll 
begin all over again. I'm young and now I'm 
sophisticated; the world is wide, somewhere there's 
happiness and peace and a place for me. I'll find 
it." 

237 



BUN-HHMHHMHHMM* 



But her hope, her sanguineness, were a little 
forced, her superb self-confidence perceptibly 
diminished. The radiance which once had so 
bathed every moment of her existence was fading 
gently, inexorably into the " light of common 
day ". 



238 



HOME AGAIN 



CHAPTER I 

NEW YORK, it appeared, had two visages. It could 
offer an aspect radiant with promise or a counten 
ance lowering and forbidding. With its flattering 
possibilities it could elevate to the seventh heaven, 
or lower to the depths of hell with its crushing nega 
tions. And loneliness ! Loneliness such as that 
offered by the great, noisy city could never be 
imagined. To realize it one would have to 
experience it. Coming home from work Angela 
used to study the people on the trains, trying to 
divine what cause had engraved a given expression 
on their faces, particularly on the faces of young 
women. She picked out for hersejf four types, the 
happy, the indifferent, the preoccupied, the lonely. 
Doubtless her classification was imperfect, but she 
never failed, she thought, to recognize the signs 
of loneliness, a vacancy of expression, a listlessness, 
a faintly pervading despair. She remembered the 
people in Union Square on whom she had spied 
so blithely when she had first come to New York. 
Then she had thought of them as being " down and 
out ", mere idlers, good for nothing. It had not 
occurred to her that their chief disaster might be 
loneliness. Her office was on Twenty-third Street 
and often at the noon-hour she walked down to the 
dingy Square and looked again on the sprawling, 
half-recumbent, dejected figures. And between 

Q 241 



HHHHHHHHHHf^PLUM BUNHMHHMHHHHf*** 

them and herself she was able to detect a 
terrifying relationship. She still carried her note 
book, made sketches, sitting watching them and 
jotting down a line now and then when their 
vacant, staring eyes were not fixed upon her. 
Once she would not have cared if they had caught 
her; she would have said with a shrug: " Oh they 
wouldn't mind, they're too far gone for that." 
But since then her sympathy and knowledge had 
waxed. How fiercely she would have rebelled 
had anyone from a superior social plane taken 
her for copy ! 

In the evenings she worked at the idea of a pic 
ture which she intended for a masterpiece. It 
was summer and the classes at Cooper Union 
had been suspended. But she meant to return in 
the fall, perhaps she would enter the scholarship 
contest and if successful, go abroad. But the urge 
to wander was no longer in the ascendant. The 
prospect of Europe did not seem as alluring now 
as the prospect of New York had appeared when 
she lived in Philadelphia. It would be nice to 
stay put, rooted; to have friends, experiences, 
memories. 



Paulette, triumphant to the last, had left with 
Hudson for Russia. Martha and Ladislas were 
spending the summer with Martha's people on 
Long Island. Roger had dropped into the void, 
but she could not make herself miss him; to her he 
was the symbol of all that was most futile in her 
existence, she could forgive neither him nor herself 
for their year of madness. If the experience, she 

242 



BUN-HH^-HHHHHH?-* 



told herself, had ended so-beit everything ends. 
If it had faded into a golden glow with a wealth 
of memories, the promise of a friendship, she would 
have had no qualms; but as matters had turned 
out it was an offence in her nostrils, a great blot 
on the escutcheon of her fastidiousness. 

She wished that Martha had asked her to spend 
week-ends with her but the idea had apparently 
never crossed the latter's mind. " Good-bye until 
fall," she had said gaily, " do you know, I'm 
awfully glad to go home this time. I always have 
my old room; it's like begining life all over again. 
Of course I wouldn't give up New York but life 
seems so much more real and durable down there. 
After all it's where my roots are." 

Her roots! Angela echoed the expression to 
herself on a note that was wholly envious. How 
marvellous to go back to parents, relatives, friends 
with whom one had never lost touch ! The peace, 
the security, the companionableness of it! This 
was a relationship which she had forfeited with 
everyone, even with Jinny. And as for her other 
acquaintances in Philadelphia, Henson, Butler, 
Kate and Agnes Hallowell, so completely, so casu 
ally, without even a ripple had she dropped out 
of their lives that it would have been impossible 
for her to re-establish their old, easy footing even 
had she so desired. 

Virginia, without making an effort, seemed over 
whelmed, almost swamped by friendships, pleasant 
intimacies, a thousand charming interests. She 
and Sara Penton, another teacher, had taken an 
apartment together, a three room affair on the 
top floor of a house on i3Qth Street, in " Striver's 
Row ", explained Jinny . Whether or not the nick- 

243 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH!* 



name was deserved, it seemed to Angela well worth 
an effort to live in this beautiful block with its 
tree-bordered pavements, its spacious houses, its 
gracious neighbourliness. A doctor and his wife 
occupied the first two floors; they were elderly, 
rather lonely people, for their two children had 
married and gone to other cities. They had prac 
tically adopted Virginia and Sara; nursing them 
when they had colds, indulgently advising them 
as to their callers. Mrs. Bradley, the doctor's wife, 
occasionally pressed a dress for them; on stormy 
days the doctor drove them in his car around to 
" Public School 89 " where they both taught. 
Already the two girls were as full of intimacies, 
joyous reminiscences, common plans as though 
they had lived together for years. Secrets, nick 
names, allusions, filled the atmosphere. Angela 
grew sick of the phrases: " Of course you don't 
understand that; just some nonsense and it would 
take too long to explain it. Besides you wouldn't 
know any of the people." Even so, unwelcome as 
the expression was, she did not hear it very often, 
for Jinny did not encourage her visits to the apart 
ment even as much as to the boarding house. 
" Sara will think it strange if you come too often." 
" We might tell her," Angela rejoined, " and ask 
her to keep it a secret." 

But Jinny opined coolly that that would never 
do; it was bad to entrust people with one's secrets. 
" If you can't keep them yourself, why should 
they? " she asked sagely. Her attitude showed no 
malice, only the complete acceptance of the stand 
which her sister had adopted years ago. 



244 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH- 



In her sequestered rooms in the Village lying in 
the summer heat unkempt and shorn of its glamour 
Angela pondered long and often on her present 
mode of living. Her life, she was pretty sure, 
could not go on indefinitely as it did now. Even 
if she herself made no effort it was unlikely that the 
loneliness could persist. Jinny, she shrewdly sus 
pected, had known something of this horrible 
condition when she, the older sister had left her 
so ruthlessly to go off and play at adventure. This 
loneliness and her unfortunate affair with Henson 
had doubtless proved too much for her, and she 
had deliberately sought change and distraction 
elsewhere. There were depths upon depths of 
strength in Jinny and as much purpose and resource 
as one might require. Now here she was estab 
lished in New York with friends, occupation, 
security, leading an utterly open life, no secrets, 
no subterfuges, no goals to be reached by devious 
ways. 

Jinny had changed her life and been successful. 
Angela had changed hers and had found pain and 
unhappiness. Where did the fault lie? Not, cer 
tainly, in her determination to pass from one race 
to another. Her native good sense assured her 
that it would have been silly for her to keep on 
living as she had in Philadelphia, constantly, 
through no fault of her own, being placed in 
impossible positions, eternally being accused and 
hounded because she had failed to placard herself, 
forfeiting old friendships, driven fearfully to the 
establishing of new ones. No, the fault was not 
there. Perhaps it lay in her attitude toward her 
friends. Had she been too coldly deliberate in her 
use of them? Certainly she had planned to utilize 

245 



her connection with Roger, but on this point she 
had no qualms; he had been paid in full for any 
advantages which she had meant to gain. She 
had not always been kind to Miss Powell, " but," 
she murmured to herself, " I was always as kind to 
her as I dared be in the circumstances and far, 
far more attentive than any of the others." As 
for Anthony, Paulette, and Martha, her slate was 
clear on their score. She was struck at this point 
to realize that during her stay of nearly three years 
these five were the only people to whom she could 
apply the term friends. Of these Roger had 
dropped out; Miss Powell was negative; Paulette 
had gone to Russia. There remained only Martha 
and Anthony. Martha was too intensely interested 
in the conduct of her own life in connection with 
Ladislas to make a friend, a satisfying, comfortable, 
intimate friend such as Sara Penton seemed to 
be with Virginia. There remained then only 
Anthony yes, and her new acquaintance, Rachel 
Salting. 



She began then in her loneliness to approach 
Rachel seeking for nothing other than those almost 
sisterly intimacies which spring up between solitary 
women cut off in big cities from their homes and 
from all the natural resources which add so much 
to the beauty and graciousness of young woman 
hood. " If anything comes out of this friendship 
to advance me in any way," she told herself sol 
emnly, " it will happen just because it happens but 
I shall go into this with clean hands and a pure 
heart merely because I like Rachel." 

246 



HHHHHf^HHHhPLUM BUN4HHHHHHHHH-* 

After the fever and fret of her acquaintanceship 
with Roger, the slight unwholesomeness attendant 
on Paulette, the didactic quality lurking in Martha's 
household, it was charming, even delicious to enter 
on a friendship with this simple, intelligent, enthusi 
astic girl. Rachel, for all her native endowment, 
her wide reading and her broad scholastic contacts, 
had the straightforward utter sincerity and sim 
plicity of a child ; at times Angela felt quite sophisti 
cated, even blase beside her. But in reality they 
were two children together; Angela's brief episode 
with Roger had left no trace on her moral nature; 
she was ashamed now of the affair with a healthy 
shame at its unworthiness ; but beyond that she 
suffered from no morbidness. Her sum total of 
the knowledge of life had been increased ; she saw 
men with a different eye, was able to differentiate 
between the attitudes underlying the pleasantries of 
the half dozen young men in her office ; listening, 
laughing, weighing all their attentions, accepting 
none. In truth she had lost to a degree her taste 
for the current type of flirtations. She might 
marry some day but all that was still in the dim 
future. Meanwhile the present beckoned; materi 
ally she was once more secure, her itching ambition 
was temporarily lulled; she had a friend. It was 
just as well to let time slide by for a while. 

The two girls spent their evenings together. 
Rachel's fiance, John Adams, was a travelling sales 
man and nearly always out of town. When he was 
home Angela was careful to have an engagement, 
though Rachel assured her, laughing and sparkling, 
that the two were already so used to each other that 
a third person need not feel de trop. Occasionally 
the three of them went during the hot summer 

247 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH^ 



nights to Coney Island or Far Rockaway. But this 
jaunt took on the proportions more of an ordeal 
than a pleasure trip; so packed were the cars \vith 
helpless humanity, so crowded the beaches, so night 
marish the trip home. Fortunately Angela came 
face to face one day with Ralph Ashley, Carlotta's 
former friend. Low-spirited, lonely, distrait, he 
asked Angela eagerly to allow him to call occa 
sionally. He seemed a rather bookish, serious 
young man who had failed to discover the possi 
bilities of his inner resources. Without an 
acquaintance or a book he was helpless. Angela's 
self-reliance and cleverness seemed to offer a tem 
porary harbour. Apparently with Carlotta out 
of town, he was at loose ends. By some tacit 
understanding he was taken into the little group 
and as he possessed a car which he was willing and 
eager to share the arrangement was a very happy 
one. 



These were pleasant days. Long afterwards, 
Angela, looking back recalled them as among the 
happiest she had known in New York. In particu 
lar she liked the hours when she and Rachel were 
together busied with domestic, homely affairs. 
They advised each other on the subject of dress; 
Angela tried out new recipes. In the late even 
ings she worked on the sketches, recalling them 
from her note-book while Rachel, sitting sidewise 
in the big chair, her legs dangling comfortably 
over its arm, offered comments and suggestions. 
She had had " courses in art ", and on a trip to 
France and Italy at the age of eighteen had visited 
the Louvre, the Pitti and Uffizi Galleries. All this 

248 



BUN*-HHHHHHHHH* 



lent a certain pithiness and authority to the criti 
cisms which she poured forth for her friend's edifica 
tion; her remarks rarely produced any effect on 
Angela, but both girls felt that Rachel's knowledge 
gave a certain effect of " atmosphere ". 

Usually Rachel's talk was on John and their 
approaching marriage, their unparalleled court 
ship. Many years later Angela could have related 
all the details of that simple, almost sylvan wooing, 
the growing awareness of the two lovers, their 
mutual fears and hopes, their questionings, assur 
ances and their blissful engagement. She knew to 
a penny what John made each week, how much he 
put by, the amount which thrifty Rachel felt must 
be in hand before they could marry. Once this 
recital, so unvarying, so persistent, would have 
bored her, but she was more sympathetic in these 
days; sometimes she found herself making sug 
gestions, saving the house-wifely clippings culled 
from newspapers, proposing decorations for the 
interior of one of the ugly little houses on which 
Rachel had so inexplicably set her heart. She was 
a little older than her friend, she had had experi 
ence in keeping house and in shopping with her 
mother in those far-off days; she ventured occa 
sionally to advise Rachel in her rare purchases very 
much as though the latter were her own sister 
instead of a chance acquaintance whom she had 
known less than a year. 

It was a placid, almost ideal existence. Only 
one thread of worry ran through its fabric, the 
thought that Rachel and John would soon be 
marrying and again Angela would be left on the 
search for a new friend. With one of them in the 
Bronx and the other in Greenwich Village, frequent 

249 



communication would be physically impossible. 
But, curiously enough, whenever Angela lamented 
over this to her friend, a deep sombreness would 
descend on the latter; she would remark gloomily: 
" Time enough to worry about that; after all we 
might not get married. You never can tell." 
This was too enigmatic for Angela and finally she 
grew to look on it as a jest, a rather poor one but 
still a jest. 



250 



CHAPTER II 

INTO the midst of this serenity came a bolt from the 
blue. Rachel, a librarian, was offered the position of 
head librarian in a far suburb of Brooklyn. Further 
more a wealthy woman from Butte, Montana, 
desiring to stay in New York for a few months and 
taking a fancy to the dinginess of Jayne Street and 
to the inconveniences of Rachel's apartment found 
she must live there and not otherwhere. No other 
location in the whole great city would do; she was 
willing to sublet at any figure. Unwillingly Rachel 
named a price which she secretly considered in the 
nature of highway robbery, but none of this mat 
tered to Mrs. Denver, who was used to paying for 
what she wanted. And Rachel could not refuse, 
for both offers meant a substantial increase in the 
nest-egg which was to furnish the little brown 
house in the Bronx. In reality it meant to 
her extraordinary, unhoped for luck whose only 
flaw consisted in the enforced separation from 
her new friend. But to Angela it brought the 
awfulness of a catastrophe, though not for one 
moment would she let her deep dismay be 
suspected. After her first involuntary exclamation 
of consternation she never faltered in her com 
plete acquiesence in the plan. But at heart she 
was sick. 

251 



The sudden flitting entailed much work and 
bustle. Rachel was as untidy as Angela was neat; 
everything she possessed had to be collected separ 
ately; there were no stacks of carefully folded 
clothing to be lifted wholesale and placed in gaping 
trunks. To begin with the trunks themselves were 
filled with dubious odds and ends which required 
to be sorted, given or even thrown away. There 
was no question of abandoning the debris, for 
the apartment must be left habitable for Mrs. 
Denver. 

A nightmare then of feverish packing ensued; 
hasty meals, general house-cleaning. In order to 
assuage the sinking of her heart Angela plunged into 
it with great ardour. But at night, weary as she 
would be from the extra activity of the day, she 
could not fight off the sick dismay which over 
flowed her in great, submerging waves. It seemed 
to her she could not again endure loneliness; she 
could never summon the strength to seek out new 
friends, to establish fresh intimacies. She was 
twenty-six years old and the fact that after having 
lived all those years she was still solitary appalled 
her. Perhaps some curse such as one reads of in 
mediaeval legends had fallen upon her. " Perhaps 
I'm not meant to have friends," she told herself lying 
face downwards in her pillows on the sweltering 
June nights. And a great nostalgia for some 
thing real and permanent swept upon her; she 
wished she were either very, very young, safe 
and contented once more in the protection 
of her father's household or failing that, very, 
very old. 



252 



*HHHHHHHh*-HhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHH?** 

A nature as strong, as self-reliant as hers could 
not remain long submerged ; she had seen too many 
bad beginnings convert themselves into good 
endings. One of her most valuable native en 
dowments lay in her ability to set herself and her 
difficulties objectively before her own eyes; in this 
way she had solved more than one problem. On 
the long ride in the subway back from Brooklyn 
whither she had accompanied Rachel on the night 
of the latter's departure she resolved to pursue this 
course that very night. Mercifully the terrible 
heat had abated, a little breeze came sifting in 
her open windows, moving the white sash curtains, 
even agitating some papers on the table. Soberly 
she set about the business of getting supper. Once 
she thought of running up to Rachel's former 
apartment and proffering some hospitality to Mrs. 
Denver. Even if the rich new tenant should not 
accept she'd be pleased doubtless; sooner or later 
she would be offering a return of courtesies, a new 
friendship would spring up. Again there would 
be possibilities. But something in her rebelled 
against such a procedure; these intimacies based 
on the sliding foundation of chance sickened her; 
she would not lend herself to them not ever again. 
From this day on she'd devote herself to the 
establishing of permanencies. 

Supper over, the dishes cleared away, she sat 
down and prepared to think. Callers were un 
likely; indeed there was no one to call, since 
Ashley was out of town for the week-end, but the 
pathos of this fact left her untouched. To-night 
she courted loneliness. 

An oft heard remark of her mother's kept running 
through her mind : " You get so taken up with the 

253 



BUNHHHHHHHHHH** 



problem of living, with just life itself, that by and 
by being coloured or not is just one thing more or 
less that you have to contend with." It had been 
a long time since she had thought about colour; 
at one time it had seemed to complicate her life 
immensely, now it seemed to her that it might be 
of very little importance. But her thoughts skirted 
the subject warily for she knew how immensely 
difficult living could be made by this matter of race. 
But that should take a secondary place; at present 
life, a method of living was the main thing, she must 
get that problem adjusted and first she must see 
what she wanted. Companionship was her chief 
demand. No more loneliness, not even if that 
were the road that led to the fulfilment of vast 
ambition, to the realization of the loftiest hopes. 
And for this she was willing to make sacrifices, 
let go if need be of her cherished independence, 
lead a double life, move among two sets of acquaint 
ances. 

For deep in her heart she realized the longing to 
cast in her lot once more with Virginia, her little 
sister whom she should never have left. Virginia, 
it is true, showed no particular longing for her; 
indeed she seemed hardly cognizant of her exist 
ence; but this attitude might be a forced one. 
She thought, " I didn't want her, the darling, and 
so she just made herself put me out of her life." 
Angela was well aware of the pluck, the indomit- 
ableness that lay beneath Jinny's babyish exterior, 
but there was a still deeper stratum of tenderness 
and love and loyalty which was the real Virginia. 
To this Angela would make her appeal; she would 
acknowledge her foolishness, her selfishness; she 
would bare her heart and crave her sister's forgive- 

254 



BUN-HHHHHHHHHHf* 



ness. And then they would live together, Jinny 
and she and Sara Penton if need be ; what a joke 
it would all be on Sara ! And once again she would 
know the bliss and happiness of a home and the 
stabilities of friendships culled from a certain 
definite class of people, not friendships resulting 
from mere chance. There would be blessed Sun 
day mornings and breakfasts, long walks; lovely 
evenings in the autumn to be filled with reminis 
cences drawn from these days of separation. How 
Virginia would open her eyes at her tales of 
Paulette and Martha! She would never mention 
Roger. And as for colour; when it seemed best 
to be coloured she would be coloured; when it 
was best to be white she would be that. The main 
thing was, she would know once more the joys of 
ordinary living, home, companionship, loyalty, 
security, the bliss of possessing and being possessed. 
And to think it was all possible and waiting for 
her; it was only a matter of a few hours, a few 
miles. 

A great sense of peace, of exaltation descended 
upon her. Almost she could have said: " I will 
arise and go unto my father ". 



On Sunday accordingly she betook herself to 
her sister's apartment in isgth Street. Miss Penton, 
she thought, would be out; she had gathered from 
the girls' conversation many pointed references 
to Sara's great fondness, of late, for church, 
exceeded only by her interest in the choir. This 
interest in the choir was ardently encouraged by 
a member of that body who occasionally walked 

255 



HHHHHHhHHK-PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 

home with Sara in order more fully to discuss the 
art of music. Virginia no longer went to church; 
Sunday had become her " pick-up day ", the one 
period in the week which she devoted to her cor 
respondence, her clothes and to such mysterious 
rites of beautifying and revitalizing as lay back 
of her healthy, blooming exquisiteness. This 
would be the first time in many months that 
the sisters would have been alone together and it 
was with high hopes that Angela, mounting the 
brown stone steps and ringing the bell, asked 
for Virginia. 

Her sister was in, but so was Sara, so was a third 
girl, a Miss Louise Andrews. The room was full of 
the atmosphere of the lightness, of the badinage, 
of the laughter which belong to the condition 
either of youth or of extreme happiness. In the 
middle of the room stood a large trunk from whose 
yawning interior Jinny lifted a glowing, smiling 
face. Angela was almost startled at the bright 
ecstasy which radiated from it. Sara Penton 
was engaged rather negligently in folding clothes; 
Miss Andrews perched in magnificent ease on the 
daybed, struck an occasional tune from a ukelele 
and issued commands which nobody heeded. 

" Hello," said Virginia carelessly. " Can you 
get in? I was thinking of writing to you." 

" Oh," Angela's hopes fluttered, felt, perished. 
" You're not going away? " Her heart echoed 
Jinny's old cry: "And leave me when I'm all 
ready to come back to you, when I need you so 
terribly ! " 

But of all this Virginia was, of course, unaware. 
"Nothing different," she said briskly. "I'm 
going away this very afternoon to Philadelphia, 

256 



HHHN-* * * * **PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 

Merion, points south and west, going to stay with 
Eda Brown." 

Angela was aghast. " I wanted to see you about 
something rather important, Virginia at least," 
she added humbly, " important to me." Rather 
impatiently she glanced at the two girls hoping they 
would take the hint and leave them, but they had 
not even heard her, so engrossed were they in dis 
cussing the relative merits of one- and two-piece 
sports clothes. 

Her sister was kind but not curious. " Unless 
it's got something to do with your soul's salvation 
I'm afraid it'll have to wait a bit," she said gaily. 
" I'm getting a two o'clock train and I must finish 
this trunk Sara's such a poor packer or I'd leave 
it for her. As it is she's going to send it after me. 
Aren't you, darling? " Already Angela's request 
was forgotten. " After I finish this," the gay voice 
went on, " I've got some 'phoning to do and oh 
a million things." 

" Let me help you," said Angela suddenly 
inspired, " then we'll call a taxi and we can go 
down to the station together and we'll have a long 
talk so I can explain things." 

Virginia was only half-attentive. " Miss Mory 
wants to go to the station with me," she said throw 
ing a droll look at her friends. " Shall I take 
her along? " She vanished into the bedroom, 
Louise Andrews at her heels, both of them over 
whelmed with laughter bubbling from some secret 
spring. 

Cut and humiliated, Angela stood silent. Sara 
Penton who had been looking after the vanishing 
figures turned and caught her expression. " Don't 
mind her craziness. She's not responsible to-day." 

257 



She came closer. " For heaven's sake don't let 
on I told you; she's engaged." 

This was news. "Engaged? To whom?" 

" Oh somebody she's always been crazy about." 
The inevitable phrase followed: "You wouldn't 
know who he was." 

Not know who he was, not know Matthew! 
She began to say " Why I knew him before 
Virginia," but remembering her role, a stupid 
and silly one now, caught herself, stood expect 
antly. 

" So you see," Sara went on mysteriously, one 
eye on the bedroom, " you mustn't insist on going 
to the station with her; he's going to take her 
down." 

" Why, is he here? " 

" Came yesterday. We've been threatening all 
morning to butt in. That's the reason she spoke 
as she did about your going down. She expressed 
herself to us, you bet, but she probably wouldn't 
feel like doing that to you." 

" Probably not," said Angela, her heart cold. 
Her little sister was engaged and she was 
learning of it from strangers. It was all she 
could do to hold back the tears. " But you've 
only yourself to blame," she reminded herself 
valiantly. 

The two girls came back; Virginia still laugh 
ing but underneath the merriment Angela was 
able to detect a flurry of nervousness. After all, 
Jinny was just a child. And she was so happy, it 
would never do to mar that happiness by the 
introduction of the slightest gloom or discom 
fort. Her caller rose to her feet. " I guess^Fll 
be going." 

258 



*-HHHHHHHH-*PLUM BUNHHHHHHHMHHH* 

Virginia made no effort to detain her, but the 
glance which she turned on her sister was sud 
denly very sweet and friendly. " Here, I'll run 
down to the door with you. Sara, be a darling 
and pick out the best of those stockings for me, 
put in lots. You know how hard I am on 
them." 

Out in the hall she flung an impulsive arm 
about her sister. " Oh, Angela, I'm so happy, so 
happy. I'm going to write you about it right 
away, you'll be so surprised." Astonishingly she 
gave the older girl a great hug, kissed her again 
and again. 

" Oh," said Angela, the tears welling from her 
eyes, " Oh Jinny, you do forgive me, you do, 
you do? I'm so sorry about it all. I've been 
wretched for a long time. I thought I had lost 
you, Virginia." 

" I know," said Jinny, " I'm a hard-hearted 
little wretch." She giggled through her own tears, 
wiped them away with the back of her childish 
bronze hand. " I was just putting you through; 
I knew you'd get sick of Miss Anne's folks and 
come back to me. Oh Angela, I've wanted you 
so. But it's all right now. I won't be back 
for ten weeks, but then we will talk! I've 
got the most marvellous plans for both of us 
for all of us." She looked like a wise baby. 
" You'll get a letter from me in a few days telling 
you all about it. Angela, I'm so happy, but I 
must fly. Good-bye, darling." 

They clung for a moment in the cool, dim 
depths of the wide hall. 



259 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 



Angela could have danced in the street. As 
it was she walked gaily down Seventh Avenue to 
noth Street and into the bosky reaches of the 
park. Jinny had forgiven her. Jinny longed 
for her, needed her; she had known all along 
that Angela was suffering, had deliberately pun 
ished her. Well, she was right, everything 
was right this glorious memorable day. She 
was to have a sister again, some one of her 
own, she would know the joy of sharing her 
little triumphs, her petty woes. Wise Jinny, 
wonderful Jinny ! 

And beautiful Jinny, too, she thought. How 
lovely, how dainty, how fresh and innocent her 
little sister seemed. This brought her mind to 
Matthew and his great good fortune. " I'd like 
to see him again," she mused, smiling mischiev 
ously. " Doubtless he's forgotten me. It would 
be great fun to make him remember." Only, of 
course, now he was Jinny's and she would never 
get in the way of that darling. " Not even if he 
were some one I really wanted with all my heart 
and soul. But I'd never want Matthew." It 
would be fun, she thought, to see him again. He 
would make a nice brother, so sturdy and kind 
and reliable. She must be careful never to pre 
sume on that old youthful admiration of his. 
Smiling and happy she reached her house, actually 
skipped up the steps to her rooms. Her apartment 
no longer seemed lonely; it was not beautiful and 
bright like Jinny's but it was snug and dainty. It 
would be fun to have Virginia and Sara down; 
yes, and that new girl, that Miss Andrews, too. 
She didn't care what the other people in the house 
thought. And the girls themselves, how aston- 

260 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH6* 



ished they would be to learn the true state of 
affairs ! Suddenly remembering Mrs. Denver, she 
ran up to see her; that lady, in spite of her wealth 
and means for self-indulgence, was palpably lonely. 
Angela cheered her up with mirthful accounts of 
her own first days in New York; she'd been 
lonely too, she assured her despondent hostess, 
sparkling and fascinating. 

" I don't see how anybody with a disposition 
like yours could ever be lonely," said Mrs. Denver 
enviously. She'd been perilously near tears all 
day. 

Gone, gone was all the awful melancholy, the 
blueness that had hung about her like a palpable 
cloud. She was young, fascinating; she was going 
to be happy, again. Again! She caught her 
breath at that. Oh, God was good ! This feeling 
of lightness, of exaltation had been unknown to 
her so long; not since the days when she had 
first begun to go about with Roger had she felt so 
free, bird-like. In the evening Ralph Ashley 
came with his car and drove her halfway across 
Long Island, or so it seemed. They stopped at a 
gorgeous hotel and had a marvellous supper. 
Ashley was swept off his feet by her gay vitalness. 
In the doorway of the Jayne Street house she gave 
him her hand and a bewitching smile. ' You 
can't imagine how much I've enjoyed myself. I'll 
always remember it." And she spoke sincerely, 
for soon this sort of thing would be far behind 
her. 

" You're a witch," said Ashley, his voice 
shaking a little. " You can have this sort of 
thing whenever you want it and you know it. 
Be kind to me, Angele. I'm not a bad fellow." 

261 



*HHHHHHHHHHHPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 

Frightened, she pushed him away, ran in and 
slammed the door. No, no, no, her heart 
pounded. Roger had taught her an unforgettable 
lesson. Soon she'd be with Jinny and Matthew, 
safe, sheltered. 



262 



CHAPTER III 

IN the middle of the night she found herself sitting 
up in bed. A moment before she had been asleep, 
but a sudden thought had pierced her conscious 
ness so sharply that the effect was that of an icy 
hand laid suddenly on her shoulder. Jinny and 
Matthew marry why, that meant why, of course 
it meant that they would have to live in Phila 
delphia. How stupid she had been! And she 
couldn't go back there never, never. Not be 
cause of the difficulties which she had experienced 
as a child; she was perfectly willing to cast in her 
lot again with coloured people in New York. But 
that was different; there were signal injustices 
here, too oh, many, many of them but there 
were also signal opportunities. But Philadelphia 
with its traditions of liberty and its actual economic 
and social slavery, its iniquitous school system, its 
prejudiced theatres, its limited offering of occu 
pation! A great, searing hatred arose in her 
for the huge, slumbering leviathan of a city which 
had hardly moved a muscle in the last fifty years. 
So hide-bound were its habits that deliberate 
insult could be offered to coloured people without 
causing the smallest ripple of condemnation or 
even consternation in the complacent common 
wealth. Virginia in one of her expansive moments 
had told her of a letter received from Agnes 

263 



? '3 >*> -M*-M -3 PLUM BUNfr********** 

Hallowell, now a graduate of the Women's Medi 
cal College. Agnes was as fair as Angela, but 
she had talked frankly, even with pride, of her 
racial connections. " I had nothing to be ashamed 
of," Angela could imagine her saying, her cheeks 
flushing, her black eyes snapping. On her gradua 
tion she had applied for an interneship at a great 
hospital for the insane; a position greatly craved 
by ardent medical graduates because of the un 
usually large turnover of pathological cases. But 
the man in charge of such appointments, looking 
Agnes hard in the eye told her suavely that such 
a position would never be given to her " not if 
you passed ahead of a thousand white candidates." 
As for Angela, here was the old problem of 
possible loneliness back on her hands. Virginia, 
it was true, would hardly marry at once, perhaps 
they would have a few happy months together. 
But afterwards. . . . She lay there, wide awake 
now, very still, very straight in her narrow bed, 
watching the thick blackness grow thinner, less 
opaque. And suddenly as on a former occasion, 
she thought of marriage. Well, why not? She 
had thought of it once before as a source of relief 
from poverty, as a final barrier between herself 
and the wolves of prejudice; why not now as a 
means of avoiding loneliness? " I must look 
around me," her thoughts sped on, and she blushed 
and smiled in the darkness at the cold-bloodedness 
of such an idea. But, after all, that was what men 
said and did. How often had she heard the 
expression " he's ready to settle down, so he's 
looking around for a wife ". If that were the 
procedure of men it should certainly be much more 
so the procedure of women since their fate was so 

264 



much more deeply involved. The room was 
growing lighter; she could see the pictures a 
deeper blur against the faint blur of the walL 
Her passing shame suddenly spent itself, for, after 
all, she knew practically no men. There was 
Ashley but she was through with men of his 
type. The men in her office were nearly all impos 
sible, but there were three, she told herself, coldly, 
unenthusiastic, who were not such terrible pills. 

" But no," she said out loud. " I'd rather stay 
single and lonely, too, all my life than worry along 
with one of them. There must be someone else." 
And at once she thought of Anthony Cross. Of 
course there was Anthony. " I believe I've always 
had him in the back of my mind," she spoke again 
to the glimmering greyness. And turning on her 
pillow she fell, smiling, asleep. 



Monday was a busy day; copy must be pre 
pared for the engraver; proofs of the current 
edition of the magazine had to be checked up; 
some important French fashion plates for which 
she was responsible had temporarily disappeared 
and must be unearthed. At four- thirty she was 
free to take tea with Mrs. Denver, who imme 
diately thereafter bore her off to a " movie " and 
dinner. Not until nine o'clock was she able to 
pursue her new train of thought. And even when 
she was at liberty to indulge in her habit of intro 
spection she found herself experiencing a certain 
reluctance, an unexpected shyness. Time was 
needed to brood on this secret with its promise of 
happiness; this means of salvation from the 

265 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHK 



problems of loneliness and weakness which beset 
her. For since the departure of Roger she fre 
quently felt herself less assured; it would be a 
relief to have some one on whom to lean; some 
one who would be glad to shield and advise her, 
and love her ! This last thought seemed to her 
marvellous. She said to herself again and again : 
" Anthony loves me, I know it. Think of it, he 
loves me ! " Her face and neck were covered with 
blushes; she was like a young girl on the eve of 
falling in love, and indeed she herself was entering 
on that experience for the first time. From the 
very beginning she had liked Anthony, liked him 
as she had never liked Roger for himself, for his 
sincerity, for his fierce pride, for his poverty, for 
his honest, frantic love. " And now," she said 
solemnly, " I believe I'm going to love him; I 
believe I love him already." 

There were many things to be considered. His 
poverty, but she no longer cared about that; in 
sensibly her association with Rachel Salting, her 
knowledge of Rachel's plans and her high flouting 
of poverty had worked their influence. It would 
be fun, fun to begin at the beginning, to save and 
scrape and mend. Like Rachel she would do no 
washing and ironing, she would keep herself 
dainty and unworn, but everything else, every 
thing else she would do. Cook and she could 
cook; she had her blessed mother to thank for 
that. For a moment she was home again on 
Opal Street, getting Monday dinner, laughing 
with Virginia about Mrs. Henrietta Jones. There 
they were at the table, her pretty mother, her 
father with his fine, black face his black face, 
she had forgotten that. 

266 



Colour, here the old problem came up again. 
Restlessly she paced the room, a smouldering cigar 
ette in her fingers. She rarely smoked but some 
times the insensate little cylinder gave her a sense 
of companionship. Colour, colour, she had for 
gotten it. Now what should she do, tell Anthony? 
He was Spanish, she remembered, or no, since he 
came from Brazil he was probably Portuguese, a 
member of a race devoid, notoriously devoid of 
prejudice against black blood. But Anthony had 
lived in America long enough to become inocu 
lated; had he ever spoken about coloured people, 
had the subject ever come up? Wait a minute, 
there was Miss Powell; she remembered now 
that his conduct towards the young coloured 
woman had always been conspicuously correct; 
he had placed chairs for her, opened doors, set 
up easels; once the three of them had walked 
out of Cooper Union together and Anthony had 
carefully helped Miss Powell on a car, removing 
his hat with that slightly foreign gesture which she 
admired so much. And so far as she knew he had 
never used any of Roger's cruelly slighting ex 
pressions; the terms "coon", "nigger", "darky" 
had never crossed his lips. Clearly he had no 
conscious feeling against her people " my people " 
she repeated, smiling, and wondered herself which 
people she meant, for she belonged to two races, 
and to one far more conspicuously than the 
other. Why, Anthony had even attended the Van 
Meier lecture. And she wondered what Van Meier 
would say if she presented her problem to him. 
He had no brief, she knew, against intermarriage, 
though, because of the high social forfeit levied, 
he did not advocate its practice in America. 

267 



For a moment she considered going to him and 
asking his advice. But she was afraid that he 
would speak to her about racial pride and she did 
not want to think of that. Life, life was what she 
was struggling for, the right to live and be happy. 
And once more her mother's dictum flashed into 
her mind. " Life is more important than colour." 
This, she told herself, was an omen, her mother 
was watching over her, guiding her. And, burying 
her face in her hands, she fell on her knees and 
wept and prayed. 



Virginia sent a gay missive: " As soon as you 
left that wretch of a Sara told me that she had 
let you in on the great news. I wish I'd known it, 
I'd have spoken to you about it there in the hall; 
only there was so much to explain. But now you 
know the main facts, and I can wait until I see 
you to tell you the rest. But isn't it all wonderful? 
Angela, I do believe I'm almost the happiest girl 
alive ! 

" It's too lovely here. Edna is very kind and 
you know I always did like Pennsylvania country. 
Matthew is out almost every day. He tells me it 
renews his youth to come and talk about old times, 
anyone to hear us reminiscing, starting every 

other sentence with ' do you remember ? ' 

would think that we averaged at least ninety 
years apiece. It won't pique your vanity, will it, 
if I tell you that he seems to have recovered 
entirely from his old crush on you? Maybe 
he was just in love with the family and didn't 
know it. 

268 



BUN*** ******** 

" We go into Philadelphia every day or two. 
The city has changed amazingly. But after the 
hit or miss method of New York society there is 
something very restful and safe about this tight 
organization of * old Philadelphians '. In the short 
time I've been here I've met loads of first families, 
people whose names we only knew when we were 
children. But they all seem to remember father 
and mother; they all begin: ' My dear, I remem 
ber when Junius Murray ' I meet all these 

people, old and young, through Matthew, who 
seems to have become quite the beau here and 
goes everywhere. He really is different. Even 
his hair in some mysterious way is changed. Not 
that I ever minded; only he's so awfully nice that 
I just would like all the nice things of the world 
added unto him. We were talking the other day 
about the wedding, and I was thinking what a 
really distinguished appearance he would make. 
Dear old Matt, I'm glad I put off marriage until 
he could cut a fine figure. Write me, darling, if 
you feel like it, but don't expect to hear much 
from me. I'm so happy I can't keep still long 
enough to write. The minute I get back to 
New York though we'll have such a talk as never 



Mrs. Denver was growing happier; New York 
was redeeming itself and revealing all the riches 
which she had suspected lay hidden in its ware 
houses. Through one letter of introduction forced 
into her unwilling hands by an officious acquaint 
ance on her departure from Butte she had 
gained an entree into that kindest and happiest of 



HHHH- * * * **HhPLUM BUNH* 



New York's varied groups, the band of writers, 
columnists, publishers and critics. The lady from 
the middle West had no literary pretensions her 
self, but she liked people who had them and lived 
up to them; she kept abreast of literary gossip, 
read Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and Mercury. 
As she was fairly young, dainty, wealthy and 
generous and no grinder of axes, she was caught 
up and whirled right along into the glaxy of 
teas, luncheons, theatre parties and " barbecues " 
which formed the relaxations of this joyous crowd. 
Soon she was overwhelmed, with more invitations 
than she could accept; to those which she did 
consider she always couched her acceptance in 
the same terms. " Yes I'll come if I may bring 
my young friend, Angele Mory, along with me. 
She's a painter whom you'll all be glad to know 
some day." Angela's chance kindness to her in 
her days of loneliness and boredom had not fallen 
on barren ground. 

Now indeed Angela was far removed from the 
atmosphere which she had known in Greenwich 
Village; the slight bohemianism which she had 
there encountered was here replaced by a somewhat 
bourgeois but satisfying sophistication. These 
people saw the " Village " for what it was, a 
network of badly laid off streets with, for the most 
part, uncomfortable, not to say inconvenient 
dwellings inhabited by a handful of artists in the 
midst of a thousand poseurs. Her new friends were 
frankly interested in the goods of this world. They 
found money an imperative, the pre-eminent, 
concomitant of life; once obtained, they spent it 
on fine apartments, beautiful raiment, delicate 
viands, and trips to Paris and Vienna. Conver- 

270 



> * * ***^-HHHPLUM BUNHHW ******** 

sation with them was something more than an 
exchange of words; "quips and jests" passed 
among them, and, though flavoured with allusions 
to stage and book, so that Angela was at times 
hard put to it to follow the trend of the talk, she 
half suspected that she was in this company assist 
ing more nearly at the restoration of a lost art than 
in any other circles in the world save in the corres 
ponding society of London. 

Once again her free hours could be rilled to 
overflowing with attention, with gaiety, with intel 
lectual excitement; it came to her one day that this 
was the atmosphere of which she once had dreamed. 
But she was not quite happy, her economic condi 
tion interfered here. Constantly she was receiving 
every conceivable manifestation of an uncalculat- 
ing generosity at the hands not only of Mrs. Denver 
but of her new acquaintances. And she could 
make no adequate return ; her little apartment had 
turned too shabby for her to have guests of this 
calibre, even in to tea. Her rich friend, making 
short shrift of such furniture as Rachel Salting had 
left behind, had transformed her dwelling into a 
marvel of luxury and elegance; tiny but beautiful. 
Mrs. Denver was the soul of real and delicate 
kindness but Angela could not accept favours 
indefinitely; besides she was afraid to become too 
used to this constant tide from a horn of plenty 
on which she had absolutely no claim. If there 
were any one thing which the harsh experiences 
of these last three years had taught her it was the 
impermanence of relationships ; she must, she felt, 
lay down and follow a method of living for herself 
which could never betray her when the attention 
of the rich and great should be withdrawn. Gradu- 

271 



* * * * HHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH5* 

ally she ceased accepting Mrs. Denver's invitations; 
she pleaded the necessity of outside work along the 
lines of her employment ; she was busy, too, on the 
portrait of her mother, stimulating her vivid 
memory with an old faded photograph. Her inten 
tion was to have it as a surprise for Virginia upon 
the latter's return. 

But before withdrawing completely she made the 
acquaintance of a young married woman and her 
husband, a couple so gifted, so genuine and sincere 
that she was unable to keep to the letter her spartan 
promise of cutting herself entirely adrift from this 
fascinating cross-section of New York society. 
The husband, Walter Sandburg, was a playwright; 
his name was a household word ; the title of one or 
another of his dramas glittered on Broadway every 
night. His wife, Elizabeth, reviewed books for 
one of the great New York weeklies. Their charm 
ing apartment in Fifty-fifth Street was the centre 
for many clever and captivating people. Between 
these two and Angela something of a real friendship 
awakened; she was not ashamed to have them see 
the shabbiness of her apartment. The luncheons 
to which she treated Elizabeth in the Village tea 
rooms and in apartment stores brought as great 
satisfaction as the more elaborate meals at the 
Algonquin, the favourite rendezvous of many of 
these busy, happy, contented workers. 

Ashley, too, had returned to a town still devoid 
of Carlotta, and in his loneliness was again con 
stantly seeking Angela. His attitude was perfect; 
never by word or look did he revive the unpleasant 
impression which he had once made; indeed, in a 
sober, disillusioned sort of way, she was growing 
to like him very much. He was shy, sensitive, 

272 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH 



sympathetic and miserably lonely. It was not 
likely that his possessions were as fabulously great 
as Roger's but it was certain that he belonged to 
Roger's social group with all that such a ranking 
implies. But in spite of this he was curiously 
diffident; lacking in pep, the girls in his " set " 
coldly classified him, and let him alone. Outside 
his group ambitious Amazons daubed him " easy " 
and made a mad rush for him and his fabled 
millions. The two verdicts left him ashamed and 
frightened; annually he withdrew farther and 
farther into his shell, emerging only in response 
to Carlotta's careless and occasional beckoning or 
to Angela's genuine and pre-occupied indifference. 
But this was not her world; for years she had 
craved such a milieu, only to find herself, when once 
launched into it, outwardly perfectly at ease, 
inwardly perturbed and dismayed. Although she 
rarely thought of colour still she was conscious of 
living in an atmosphere of falseness, of tangled 
implications. She spoke often of Martha Burden 
and her husband; Walter Sandburg the play 
wright, knew Ladislas Starr; Elizabeth had met 
Paulette Lister in some field of newspaper activity, 
and Ashley of course had seen Roger in Angela's 
company. Behind these three or four names and 
the background which familiarity with them 
implied, she did not dare venture and in her gayest 
moments she was aware of the constant stirring 
within of a longing for someone real and per 
manent with whom she could share her life. She 
would, of course make up with Jinny, but Jinny 
was going to live in Philadelphia, where she herself 
would never sojourn again. That aftermath was 
the real consideration. 

s 273 



* * * HHHHHH-PLUM BUNHHMHHHHHHHH 

Her thoughts went constantly winging to 
Anthony; her determination became static. Sav 
ing only this invisible mixture of dark blood in 
her veins they, too, could meet on a par. They 
were both young, both gifted, ambitious, blessedly 
poor. Together they would climb to happier, 
sunnier heights. To be poor with Anthony; to 
struggle with him; to help him keep his secret 
vow; to win his surprised and generous approba 
tion ; finally to reach the point where she, too, could 
open her home to poor, unknown, struggling 
geniuses, life could hold nothing more pleasing 
than these possibilities. And how kind she would 
be to these strangers ! How much she hoped that 
among them there would be some girl struggling 
past the limitations of her heritage even as she her 
self had done. Through some secret, subtle bond 
of sympathy she would, she was sure, be able 
to recognize such a girl; and how she would help 
her and spur her on ! To her communings she 
said humbly, " I am sure that this course will work 
out all right for me for see, I am planning chiefly for 
Anthony and for helpless, harassed people; hardly 
anything for myself but protection and love. I 
am willing to work for success and happiness." 
And even as she spoke she knew that the summit 
of her bliss would be reached in the days while she 
and Anthony were still poor and struggling and 
when she would be giving of her best to make 
things so. 

Elizabeth Sandburg reminiscing about the early 
married days of herself and Walter gave a fillip to 
her thought. Said Elizabeth: " Walt and I were 
just as poor as we could be, we only made twenty 
dollars a week, and half of that went for a room in 

274 



BUNHHHHHHHHHMM5- 



a cheap hotel. Meals even at the punkest places 
were awfully expensive, and half the time I used 
to cook things over the gas-jet. I didn't know 
much about cooking, and I imagine the stuff was 
atrocious, but we didn't mind. There were we 
with no one to interfere with us ; we had each other 
and we didn't give a damn." 

Smiling, glowing, she gave Angela a com 
mission to paint hers and her Walter's portraits. 
" We'll leave the price to you and if you really put 
the job over I'll get you a lot of other sitters. No, 
don't thank me. What are friends for? That's 
what I always say." 



275 



CHAPTER IV 

SOMETIMES this thought confronted her: " Per 
haps Anthony no longer needs me; has forgotten 
me." And at the bare idea her heart would con 
tract with an actual, palpable movement. For by 
now he was representing not only surcease from 
loneliness but peace and security ; a place not merely 
in society but in the world at large. Marriage 
appeared, too, in a different light. Until she had 
met Roger she had not thought much about the 
institution except as an adventure in romance or 
as a means to an end; in her case the method of 
achieving the kind of existence which once had 
been her ideal. But now she saw it as an end in 
itself; for women certainly; the only, the most 
desirable and natural end. From this state a gifted, 
an ambitious woman might reach forth and acquit 
herself well in any activity. But marriage must 
be there first, the foundation, the substratum. Of 
course there were undoubtedly women who, like 
men, took love and marriage as the sauce of exist 
ence and their intellectual interests as the main 
dish. Witness for instance, Paulette. Now that 
she came to think of it, Paulette might vary her 
lovers but she never varied in the manifestation of 
her restless, clever mental energy. At no time did 
she allow her " love-life ", as the psycho-analyst 
termed it, to interfere with her mental interests, 

276 



Indeed she made no scruple of furthering these 
same interests by her unusual and pervasive sex 
charm. But this was Paulette, a remarkable per 
sonage, a woman apart. But for most women 
there must be the safety, the assurance of relation 
ship that marriage affords. Indeed, most women 
must be able to say as did men, " You are mine," 
not merely, " I am yours." 

A certain scorching humility thrust itself upon 
her. In all her manifestations of human relation 
ships, how selfish she had been ! She had left 
Virginia, she had taken up with Roger to further 
her own interests. For a brief interval she had 
perhaps loved Roger with the tumultuous, heady 
passion of hot, untried youth. But again when, 
this subsiding, she had tried to introduce a note 
of idealism, it had been with the thought of saving 
her own soul. She thought of her day in the park 
with Anthony, his uncomplaining acceptance of 
her verdict; his wistfully grateful: "I almost 
touched happiness ". How easily she might have 
made him happy if she had turned her thoughts to 
his needs. But she had never thought of that; 
she had been too intent always on happiness for 
herself. Her father, her mother and Jinny had 
always given and she had always taken. Why was 
that? Jinny had sighed: "Perhaps you have 
more white blood than Negro in your veins." 
Perhaps this selfishness was what the possession 
of white blood meant; the ultimate definition 
of Nordic Supremacy. 

Then she remembered that Anthony was white and, 
bewildered ; she ceased trying to cogitate, to unravel, 
decipher, evaluate. She was lonely, she loved. She 
meant to find a companion ; she meant to be beloved. 

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She must act. 

None of her new friends was acquainted with 
Anthony. Ralph Ashley in response to a tentative 
question could not recall ever having seen him. 
The time was August, consequently he could not 
be at the school. Telephone books revealed 
nothing. " Lost in a great city ! " she told herself 
and smiled at the cheap novel flavour of the 
phrase. She sent her thoughts fluttering back 
to the last time she had really seen Anthony, to their 
last intimate conversation. They had met that 
day after she had cut Jinny; she remembered, 
smiling now in her superior knowledge, the slight 
panic which she had experienced at his finding her 
in a 'bus in Harlem. There had been some chaffing 
about tea and he had given her his address and she 
had put it, where? It was not in her address 
book. A feverish search through her little desk 
revealed it in the pages of her prayer book, the one 
which she had used as a child. This she considered 
a good omen. The bit of paper was crinkled and 
blurred but she was able to make out an address on 
One Hundred and Fourteenth Street. Suppose 
he were no longer there ! She could not brook the 
thought of another night of uncertainty; it was 
ten o'clock but she mounted a 'bus, rode up to One 
Hundred and Fourteenth and Seventh Avenue. 
Her heart beat so loudly as she turned the corner, 
it seemed as though the inhabitants of the rather 
shabby block hearing that human dynamo would 
throng their windows. The street, like many 
others in New York, possessed the pseudo elegance 
and impressiveness which comes from an equip 
ment of brown stone houses with their massive 
fronts, their ostentatious regularity and simplicity, 

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HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHS**-H 

but a second glance revealed its down-at-heel 
condition; gaping windows disclosed the pitiful 
smallness of the rooms that crouched behind the 
pretentious outsides. There was something faintly 
humorous, ironical, about being cooped up in 
these deceptive palaces; according to one's tem 
perament one might laugh or weep at the thought 
of how these structures, the product of human 
energy could yet cramp, imprison, even ruin the 
very activity which had created them. 

Angela found her number, mounted the steps, 
sought in the dim, square hall feverishly among 
the names in the bells. Sullivan, Brown, Hend- 
rickson, Sanchez, and underneath the name of 
Sanchez on the same card, five small, neat char 
acters in Anthony's inimitably clear printing 
Cross. She almost fainted with the relief of it. 
Her fingers stole to the bell, perhaps her one 
time fellow-student was up in his room now, 
how strange that this bit of gutta percha and its 
attendant wires should bridge all the extent of 
time and space that had so long lain between 
them! But she could not push it; Anthony, she 
was sure, was real enough, close enough to the heart 
of living to refuse to be shocked by any mere breach 
of the conventionalities. Even so, however, to 
seek at eleven o'clock at night and without pre 
liminary warning admission to the rooms of a man 
whom one has not noticed for a year, was, as he 
himself would have put it, " a bit thick ". 

The little note which she sent was a model of 
demureness and propriety. " Dear Anthony," it 
read, " Do you remember my promising to ask 
you in for tea the next time I made a batch of 

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BUN^HHHHHHHHHH* 



cookies? Well, to-morrow at 5.30 will be the next 
time. Do come ! " 

He had changed ; her interested, searching eyes 
descried it in a moment. Always grave, always 
austere, always responsible, there was now in his 
manner an imponderable yet perceptible increment 
of each quality. But this was not all; his old 
familiar tortured look had left him; a peace, a 
quality of poise hovered about him, the composure 
which is achieved either by the attainment or by 
the relinquishment of the heart's desire. There is 
really very little difference, since each implies the 
cessation of effort. 

All this passed rapidly through Angela's mind. 
Aloud she said : " How do, Anthony? you're really 
looking awfully well. It's nice to see you again." 

" It's nice to see you," he replied. Certainly 
there was nothing remarkable about their con 
versation. After the bantering, the jests and 
allusions which she had been used to hearing at 
the Sandburgs, compared with the snappy jargon 
of Mrs. Denver's "crowd" this was trivial, not 
to say banal. She burst out laughing. Anthony 
raised his eyebrows. 

" What's so funny? Is it a secret joke? " 

" No, only I've been thinking hard about you 
for a long time." She made a daring stroke. 
" Presumably you've thought occasionally about 
me. Yet when we meet we sit up like a dandy 
and a dowager with white kid gloves on and 
exchange comments on our appearances. I sup 
pose the next step in order would be to talk about 
the weather. Have you had much rain up 
in One Hundred and Fourteenth Street, Mr 
Gross? " 

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BUNHHMHHHMHS'-HMS' 



Some of his poise forsook him. The pervasive 
peacefulness that sat so palpably upon him deserted 
him like a rended veil. " You've been thinking 
about me for a long time? Just how long? " 

" I couldn't tell you when it began." She ven 
tured another bold stroke. " But you've been 
in the back of my mind, oh for ages, ages." 

The poise, the composure, the peace were all 
fled now. Hastily, recklessly he set down his glass 
of tea, came and towered over her. She bit her 
lips to hide their trembling. Oh he was dear, 
dearer than she had ever imagined, so transparent, 
so honest. Who was she to deserve him? 

His face quivered. He should never have come 
near this girl ! As suddenly as he had left his 
chair he returned to it, settled himself com 
fortably and picked up his glass. " I've been 
away from you so long I had forgotten." 

" Forgotten what? " 

" Forgotten how dangerous you are. For 
gotten how a woman like you plays with poor 
fools like me. Why did you send for me? To 
set me dancing once more to your tune? " 

His bitterness surprised and frightened her. 
" Anthony, Anthony don't talk like that ! I sent 
for you because I wanted to see you, wanted to 
talk to my old friend." 

Appeased, he lounged back in the famous and 
unique easy chair, lit a cigarette. She brought out 
some of her sketches, displayed her note-book. 
He was especially interested in the " Fourteenth 
Street Types ", was pleased with the portrait of 
her mother. " She doesn't look like you, though 
I can see you probably have her hair and that 
pearly tint of her skin. But you must have got 

281 



your nose from your father. You know all the 
rest of your face," he dwelt on her features dreamily, 
" your lips, your eyes, your curly lashes are so 
deliciously feminine. But that straight nose of 
yours betokens strength." The faded, yet striking 
photograph lay within reach. He picked it up, 
studying it thoughtfully. " What a beautiful 
woman; all woman I should say. Did she have 
much effect on your life? " 

" N-no, I can't say she did." She remembered 
those Saturday excursions and their adventures 
in " passing ", so harmless, yet so far-reaching. 
" Oh yes, in one respect she influenced me greatly, 
changed my whole life." 

He nodded, gazing moodily at the picture. 
" My mother certainly affected me." 

Angela started to say glibly; " She made 
you what you are to-day"; but a glance at his 
brooding countenance made her think better 
of it. 

" What's this? " He had turned again to the 
sketch book and was poring upon a mass of lightly 
indicated figures passing apparently in review 
before the tall, cloaked form of a woman, thin to 
emaciation, her hands on her bony hips, slightly 
bent forward, laughing uproariously yet with a 
certain chilling malevolence. " I can't make it 
out." 

With something shamefaced in her manner she 
took it from him. "I'm not sure yet whether I'll 
develop it. I, it's an idea that has slowly taken 
possession of me since I've been in New York. 
The tall woman is Life and the idea is that she 
laughs at us; laughs at the poor people who fall 
into the traps which she sets for us." 

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BUNHHHHHHHHHH-* 



Sorrow set its seal on his face as perceptibly as 
though it had been stamped there. He came 
closer. " You've found that out too? If I could 
have managed it you would never have known 
it. I wanted so to keep it from you." His manner 
suddenly changed. " I must go. This afternoon 
has been perfect; I can't thank you enough, but 
I'm not coming again." 

" Not coming again ! What nonsense ! Why, 
why ever not? Now, Anthony, don't begin that 
vow business. To-day has been perfect, marvel 
lous. You don't suppose I'm going to let my friend 
go when I'm really just discovering him ! " 

Weakly he murmured that it was foolish for 
them to take up each other's time; he was going 
away. 

" All the more reason, then, why we should be 
seeing each other." 

His glance fell on the formless sketch. " If I 
could only get one laugh on life. . . . When are 
you going to let me see you again? I'm my own 
man just now; my time is at your disposal." 

The next afternoon they met outside her office 
building and dined together. On Friday they 
sailed to the Atlantic Highlands. Saturday, Sun 
day, Monday, Tuesday flashed by, meaning nothing 
to either except for the few hours which they spent 
in each other's company. Thursday was a slack 
day; she arranged her work so as to be free for the 
afternoon, and they passed the hurrying, glamorous 
hours in Van Cortlandt Park, laughing, jesting, 
relating old dreams, relapsing into silences more 
intimate than talk, blissfully aware of each other's 
presence, still more throbbingly aware of a con 
versation held in this very Park years ago Back 

283 



HHMMHHHHHHKPLUM 



again in the little hall on Jayne Street he took her 
in his arms and kissed her slowly, with rapture, with 
adoration and she returned his kisses. For a long 
time he held her close against his pounding heart; 
she opened her languid eyes to meet his burning 
gaze which she could feel rather than see. Slowly 
he took her arms from his neck, let them drop. 

" Angel, Angel, I shall love you always. Life 
cannot rob me of that. Good-bye, my sweetest." 

He was lost in the shadowy night. 

The next day passed and the next. A week 
sped. Absolute silence. No sign of him by either 
word or line. 



At the end of ten days, on a never to be forgotten 
Sunday afternoon, she went to see him. Without 
conscious volition on her part she was one moment 
in her apartment on Jayne Street; and at the end 
of an hour she was pressing a button above the 
name Cross in a hall on One Hundred and Four 
teenth Street, hearing the door click, mounting 
the black well of a stair-way, tapping on a door 
bearing the legend " Studio ". 

A listless voice said " Come in." 

Presently the rather tall, slender young man 
sitting in his shirt sleeves, his back toward her, 
staring dejectedly but earnestly at a picture on 
the table before him asked: " What can I do for 
you? " 

The long and narrow room boasted a rather 
good parquet floor and a clean plain wall paper 
covered with unframed pictures and sketches. In 
one corner stood an easel; the furniture for the 

284 



BUNHMHHH^HHHHH' 



most part was plain but serviceable and com 
fortable, with the exception of an old-fashioned 
horse-hair sofa which Angela thought she had 
never seen equalled for its black shininess and its 
promise of stark discomfort. 

On entering the apartment she had felt per 
turbed, but as soon as she saw Anthony and 
realized that the picture at which he was gazing 
was an unfinished sketch of herself, her worry 
fled. He had asked his question without turning, 
so she addressed his back: 

" You can tell me where you found that terrible 
sofa; I had no idea there were any in existence. 
Thought they had died out with the Dodo." 

The sound of her voice brought him to her side. 
" Angele, tell me what are you doing here? " 

She tried to keep the light touch: "Not until 
you have told me about the sofa." But his dark, 
tormented face and the strain under *which she 
had been suffering for the past week broke down 
her defence. Swaying, she caught at his hand. 
" Anthony, Anthony, how could you?" 

He put his arm about her and led her to the 
despised sofa; looked at her moodily. " Why did 
you come to see me, Angele? " 

Ordinarily she would have fenced, indulged in 
some fancy skirmishing; but this was no ordinary 
occasion; indeed in ordinary circumstances she 
would not have been here. She spoke gravely and 
proudly. 

" Because I love you. Because I think you love 
me." A sudden terrible fear assailed her. " Oh, 
Anthony, don't tell me you were only playing ! " 

" With you? So little was I playing that the 
moment I began to suspect you cared, and I 

285 



*HHHHHHHHhH>LUM BUNHHH^HHHHHHHK* 

never dreamed of it until that last day in the park, 
I ran away from you. I knew you had so many 
resources; men will always adore you, want you, 
that I thought you'd soon forget; turn to someone 
else just as you had turned for a sudden whim to 
me from God knows how many admirers." 

She shook her head, but she was frightened; 
some nameless fear knocking at her heart. " I 
turned to you from no one, Anthony. I've had 
only one ' admirer ' as you call it in New York 
and I had long, long since ceased thinking of 
him. No, Anthony, I came to you because I 
needed you ; you of all men in New York. I think 
in the world. And I thought you needed me." 

They sat in silence on the terrible sofa. He 
seized her hand and covered it with kisses; started 
to take her in his arms, then let them fall in a hope 
less gesture. 

" It's no good, Angel; there's no use trying 
to buck fate. Life has caught us again. What 
you're talking about is absolutely impossible." 

" What do you mean, impossible? " The little 
mute fear that had lain within her for a long time 
as a result of an earlier confidence of his bestirred 
itself, spoke. 

" Anthony, those men, those enemies that killed 
your father, did you kill one of them? " She had 
her arms about him. " You know it's nothing to 
me. Don't even tell me about it. Your past 
belongs to you; it's your future I'm interested in, 
that I want." 

He pushed her from him, finally, even roughly. 
" No, I've never killed a man. Though I've 
wanted to. But I was a little boy when it all 
happened and afterwards I wouldn't go back 

286 



BUNHHH-* * * -HHHH5* 



because of my mother." He went over to a drawer 
and took out a revolver, " I've half a mind to 
kill myself now, now before I go mad thinking 
how I've broken my promise, broken it after all 
these years." He looked at her wistfully, yet 
implacably. " I wish that I had died long before 
it was given to me to see that beautiful, loving look 
on your face change into one of hatred and dread 
and anger." 

She thought he must be raving; she tried to 
sooth him. " Never mind, Anthony; I don't care 
a rap about what you've done. Only tell me 
why do you say everything's impossible for us? 
Why can't we mean everything to each other, 
be married -- " 

" Because I'm coloured." In her bewildered 
relief she fell away from him. 

" Yes, that's right, you damned American ! I'm 
not fit for you to touch now, am I? It was all 
right as long as you thought I was a murderer, a 
card sharp, a criminal, but the black blood in 
me is a bit too much, isn't it?" Beside himself he 
rushed to the windows, looked on the placid 
Sunday groups festooning the front steps of the 
brown stone houses. " What are you going to do, 
alarm the neighbourhood? Well, let me tell you, 
my girl, before they can get up here I'll be dead." 
His glance strayed to the revolver. " They'll 
never catch me as they did my father." 

It was on the point of her tongue to tell him her 
great secret. Her heart within her bubbled with 
laughter to think how quickly she could put an 
end to this hysteria, how she could calm this 
black madness which so seethed within him, 
poisoning the very spring of his life. But his last 

287 



? > * * * ***HHHhPLUM BUNH5--HHHHHHHHH* 

words turned her thoughts to something else, to 
another need. How he must have suffered, loving 
a girl who he felt sure would betray him ; yet scorn 
ing to keep up the subterfuge. 

She said to him gently: "Anthony, did you 
think I would do that? " 

His answer revealed the unspeakable depths 
of his acquaintance with prejudice; his incurable 
cynicism. " You're a white American. I know 
there's nothing too dastardly for them to attempt 
where colour is involved." 

A fantastic notion seized her. Of course she 
would tell him that she was coloured, that she 
was willing to live with coloured people. And if 
he needed assurance of her love, how much more 
fully would he believe in her when he realized 
that not even for the sake of the conveniences to 
be had by passing would she keep her association 
with white people secret from him. But first she 
must try to restore his faith in human good 
ness. She said to him gently: " Tell me about it, 
Anthony." 

And sitting there in the ugly, tidy room in the 
sunshot duskiness of the early summer evening, 
the half-subdued noises of the street mounting up 
to them, he told her his story. An old story it 
was, but in its new setting, coupled with the fact 
that Angela for years had closed her mind to the 
penalty which men sometimes pay for being 
" different ", it sounded like some unbelievable 
tale from the Inquisition. 

His father, John Hall, of Georgia, had been a 
sailor and rover, but John's father was a well- 
known and capable farmer who had stayed in 
his little town and slowly amassed what seemed a 

288 



BUN^HHHHHHHHHH^ 



fortune to the poor and mostly ignorant whites 
by whom he was surrounded. In the course of 
John's wanderings he had landed at Rio de 
Janeiro and he had met Maria Cruz, a Brazilian 
with the blood of many races in her veins. She 
herself was apparently white, but she looked with 
favour on the brown, stalwart sailor, thinking 
nothing of his colour, which was very much the 
same as that of her own father. The two married 
and went to many countries. But finally John, 
wearying of his aimless life, returned to his father, 
arriving a month before it was time to receive the 
old man's blessing and his property. Thence all 
his troubles. Certain white men in the neighbour 
hood had had their eyes turned greedily on old 
Anthony Hall's possessions. His son had been a 
wanderer for many years; doubtless he was dead. 
Certainly it was not expected that he would return 
after all these years to his native soil; most niggers 
leaving the South left for ever. They knew better 
than to return with their uppity ways. 

Added to the signal injustice of John Hall's 
return and the disappointment caused thereby, 
was the iniquity of his marriage to a beautiful and 
apparently white wife. Little Anthony could 
remember his father's constant admonition to her 
never to leave the house; the latter had, in his 
sudden zeal for home, forgotten what a sojourn in 
Georgia could mean. But his memory was soon 
refreshed and he was already making every effort 
to dispose of his new possessions without total loss. 
This required time and patience, but he hoped 
that only a few months need elapse before they 
might shake off the dust of this cursed hole for 
ever. 

T 289 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHK 



"Just a little patience, Maria," he told his lovely 
wife. 

But she could not understand. True, she never 
ventured into the town, but an infrequent visit to 
the little store was imperative and she did not 
mind an occasional admiring glance. Indeed she 
attributed her husband's admonitions to his not 
unwelcome jealousy. Anthony, always a grave 
child, constituted himself her constant guardian; 
his father, he knew, had to be away in neigh 
bouring townships where he was trying to put 
through his deal, so the little boy accompanied 
his silly trusting mother everywhere. When they 
passed a group of staring, mouthing men he con 
trived to hurt his finger or stub his toe so as to 
divert his mother's attention. In spite of his 
childish subterfuges, indeed because of them, his 
mother attracted the notice of Tom Haley, son of 
the magistrate. Anthony apparently had injured 
his hand and his beautiful mother, bending over 
it with great solicitude, made a picture too charm 
ing, too challenging to be overlooked. Haley 
stepped forward, actually touched his cap. " Can 
I do anything to help you, ma'am? " She looked 
at him with her lovely, melting eyes, spoke in her 
foreign liquid voice. He was sure he had made 
a conquest. Afterwards, chagrined by the gibes 
of the bystanders who jeered at him for his courtesy 
to a nigger wench " for that's all she is, John Hall's 
wife ", he ground his heel in the red dust; he 
would show her a thing or two. 

In the hot afternoon, awakened from her 
siesta by a sudden knock, she came to the door, 
greeted her admirer of the early morning. She 
was not quite pleased with the look in his eyes, but 

290 



HHh^HHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHH5~H* 

she could not suspect evil. Haley, who had done 
some wandering on his own account and had 
picked up a few words of Spanish, let fall an 
insulting phrase or two. Amazed and angry she 
struck him across his face. The boy, Anthony, 
uneasily watching, screamed; there was a sudden 
tumult of voices and Haley fled, forgetting for 
the moment that these were Negro voices and so 
need not be dreaded. An old coloured man, 
mumbling and groaning " Gawd forgive you, 
Honey; we'se done fer now " guided the child 
and the panic-stricken mother into the swamp 
And lying there hidden at night they could see 
the sparks and flames rising from the house and 
buildings, which represented the labour of 
Anthony Hall's sixty years. In a sudden lull 
they caught the sounds of the pistol shots which 
riddled John Hall's body. 

" Someone warned my father," said Anthony 
Cross wearily, " but he would go home. Besides, 
once back in town he would have been taken 
anyway, perhaps mobbed and burned in the 
public square. They let him get into his house; 
he washed and dressed himself for death. Before 
nightfall the mob came to teach this man their 
opinion of a nigger who hadn't taught his wife 
her duty toward white men. First they set fire 
to the house, then called him to the window. He 
stepped out on a little veranda; Haley opened fire. 
The body fell over the railing, dead before it could 
touch the ground, murdered by the bullets from 
twenty pistols. Souvenir hunters cut off fingers, 
toes, his ears, a friend of my grandfather found 
the body at night and buried it. They said it 
was unlike anything they had ever seen before, 

291 



BUNHHHHHHHHHH-* 



totally dehumanized. After I heard that story I 
was unable to sleep for nights on end. As for my 
mother, -- '" 

Angela pressed his head close against her 
shoulder. There were no words for a thing like 
this, only warm human contact. 

He went on wanly. " As for my mother, she 
was like a madwoman. She has gone all the rest 
of her life haunted by a terrible fear." 

" Of white people," Angela supplemented softly. 
" Yes, I can see how she would." 

He glanced at her sombrely. " No, of coloured 
people. She believes that we, particularly the 
dark ones, are cursed, otherwise why should we 
be so abused, so hounded. Two years after my 
father's death she married a white man, not an 
American that was spared me, but a German 
who, I believe, treats her very kindly. I was still 
a little boy but I begged and pleaded with her 
to leave the whole race alone; I told her she owed 
it to the memory of my father. But she only said 
women were poor, weak creatures; they must 
take protection where they could get it." 

Horrified, mute with the tragedy of it all, she 
could only stare at him white-lipped. 

" Don't ask me how I came up. Angele, for a 
time I was nothing, worthless,, only I have never 
denied my colour; I have always taken up with 
coloured causes. When I've had a special point 
to make I've allowed the world to think of me as it 
would but always before severing my connections 
I told of the black blood that was in my veins. 
And then it came to me that for my father's sake 
I would try to make something of myself. So I 
sloughed off my evil ways, they had been assumed 

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HHHHHHHHH^PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHH5-* 

only in bravado, and came to New York where 
I've been living quietly, I hope usefully, keeping 
my bitterness within myself where it could harm 
no one but me. 

" I made one vow and kept it, never by any 
chance to allow myself to become entangled with 
white people; never to listen to their blandish 
ments; always to hate them with a perfect hate. 
Then I met you and loved you and somehow 
healing began. I thought, if she loves me she'll 
be willing to hear me through. And if after she 
hears me she is willing to take me, black blood 
and all, but mind," he interrupted himself 
fiercely, " I'm not ashamed of my blood. Some 
times I think it's the leaven that will purify this 
Nordic people of their cruelty and their savage 
lust of power." 

She ignored this. " So you were always going 
to tell me." 

" Tell you? Of course I would have told you. 
Oh, I'm a man, Angel, with a man's record. When 
I was a sailor, there' re some pages in my life I 
couldn't let your fingers touch. But that I'd have 
told you, it was too vital, too important. Not that 
I think it really means anything, this mixture of 
blood, as life goes, as God meant the world to go. 
But here in America it could make or mar life. Of 
course I'd have told you." 

Here was honour, here was a man ! So would 
her father have been. Having found this com 
parison her mind sought no further. 

A deep silence descended upon them; in his 
case the silence of exhaustion. But Angela was 
thinking of his tragic life and of how completely, 
how surprisingly she could change it. Smiling, 

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*HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHH?~&* 

she spoke to him of happiness, of the glorious 
future. " I've something amazing to tell you, 
but I won't spring it on you all at once. Can't 
we go out to Van Cortlandt Park to-morrow 
evening? " 

He caught her hand. " No matter what in the 
goodness of your heart you may be planning, 
there is no future, none, none, Angel, for you and 
me. Don't deceive yourself, nor me. When I'm 
with you I forget sometimes. But this afternoon 
has brought it all back to me. I'll never forget 
myself and my vow again." 

A bell shrilled three, four times. 

He looked about frowning. "That's Sanchez; 
he's forgotten his key again. My dear girl, my 
Angel, you must go, and you must not, must 
not come back. Hurry, hurry ! I don't want him 
to see you here." He guided her towards the door, 
stemming her protestations. " I'll write you at 
once, but you must go. God bless and keep you." 

In another moment she was out in the dim hall, 
passing a dark, hurrying figure on the stairs. The 
heavy door swung silently behind her, thrusting her 
inexorably out into the engulfing summer night; 
the shabby pretentious house was again between 
her and Anthony with his tragic, searing past. 



294 



CHAPTER V 

ALL the next day and the next she dwelt on 
Anthony's story; she tried to put herself in his 
place, to force herself into a dim realization of the 
dark chamber of torture in which his mind and 
thoughts had dwelt for so many years. And she 
had added her modicum of pain, had been so 
unsympathetic, so unyielding; in the midst of the 
dull suffering, the sickness of life to which perhaps his 
nerves had become accustomed she had managed 
to inject an extra pinprick of poignancy. Oh, 
she would reward him for that; she would brim 
his loveless, cheated existence with joy and sweet 
ness; she would cajole him into forgetting that 
terrible past. Some day he should say to her: 
" You have brought me not merely new life, but 
life itself." Those former years should mean no 
more to him than its pre-natal existence means to 
a baby. 

Her fancy dwelt on, toyed with all the sweet 
offices of love; the delicate bondage that could 
knit together two persons absolutely en rapport. 
At the cost of every ambition which she had ever 
known she would make him happy. After the 
manner of most men his work would probably be 
the greatest thing in the world to him. And he 
should be the greatest thing in the world to her. 
He should be her task, her "job ", the fulfilment 

295 



BUNHHHMHHMH^*** 



of her ambition. A phrase from the writings of 
Anatole France came drifting into her mind. 
" There is a technique of love." She would dis 
cover it, employ it, not go drifting haphazardly, 
carelessly into this relationship. And suddenly she 
saw her affair with Roger in a new light; she could 
forgive him, she could forgive herself for that 
hitherto unpardonable union if through it she 
had come one iota nearer to the understanding 
and the need of Anthony. 

His silence for although the middle of the week 
had passed she had received no letter, worried 
her not one whit. In the course of time he would 
come to her, remembering her perfect sympathy 
of the Sunday before and thinking that this woman 
was the atonement for what he considered her 
race. And then she would surprise him, she 
would tell him the truth, she would make herself 
inexpressibly dearer and nearer to him when he 
came to know that her sympathy and her tender 
ness were real, fixed and lasting, because they 
were based and rooted in the same blood, the 
same experiences, the same comprehension of 
this far-reaching, stupid, terrible race problem. 
How inexpressibly happy, relieved and over 
whelmed he would be ! She would live with him 
in Harlem, in Africa, anywhere, any place. She 
would label herself, if he asked it; she would tell 
every member of her little coterie of white friends 
about her mixed blood; she would help him keep 
his vow and would glory in that keeping. No 
sacrifice of the comforts which came to her from 
" passing ", of the assurance, even of the safety 
which the mere physical fact of whiteness in 
America brings, would be too great for her. She 

296 



*HHHHHhH~HhPLUM BUNHHHHHMH^-HHHS* 

would withdraw where he withdrew, hate where 
he hated. 



His letter which came on Thursday interrupted 
her thoughts, her fine dreams of self-immolation 
which women so adore. It was brief and stern, 
and read: 

" Angele, don't think for one moment that I 
do not thank you for Sunday. . . . My heart 
is at your feet for what you revealed to me 
then. But you and I have nothing in common, 
have never had, and now can never have. More 
than race divides us. I think I shall go away. 
Meanwhile you are to forget me; amuse your 
self, beautiful, charming, magnetic Angel with 
the men of your own race and leave me to my 
own. 

" ANTHONY." 

It was such a strange letter; its coldness and 
finality struck a chill to her heart. She looked 
at the lonely signature, " Anthony ", just that, 
no word of love or affection. And the phrase: 
" More than race divides us." Its hidden signifi 
cance held a menace. 

The letter was awaiting her on her return from 
work. She had come in all glowing with the 
promise of the future as she conceived it. And 
then here were these cold words killing her high 
hopes as an icy blast kills the too trusting blossoms 
of early spring. . . . Holding the letter she let 
her supper go untasted, unregarded, while she 
evolved some plan whereby she could see Anthony, 

297 



talk to him. The tone of his letter did not sound 
as though he would yield to ordinary persuasion. 
And again in the midst of her bewilderment and 
suffering she was struck afresh with the difficulties 
inherent in womanhood in conducting the most 
ordinary and most vital affairs of life. She was 
still a little bruised in spirit that she had taken it 
upon herself to go to Anthony's rooms Sunday; 
it was a step she felt conventionally, whose justi 
fication lay only in its success. As long as she had 
considered it successful, she had been able to 
relegate it to the uttermost limbo of her self- 
consciousness. But now that it seemed to avail 
nothing it loomed up before her in all its social 
significance. She was that creature whom men, 
in their selfish fear, have contrived to paint as the 
least attractive of human kind, " a girl who runs 
after men." It seemed to her that she could not 
stand the application of the phrase, no matter 
how unjustly, how inaptly used in her own case. 
Looking for a word of encouragement she re-read 
the note. The expression " My heart is at your 
feet" brought some reassurance; she remem 
bered, too, his very real emotion of Sunday, only 
a few days before. Men, real men, men like 
Anthony, do not change. No, she could not let 
him go without one last effort. She would go to 
Harlem once more to his house, she would see 
him, reassure him, allay his fears, quench his 
silly apprehensions of non-compatability. As soon 
as he knew that they were both coloured, he'd 
succumb. Now he was overwrought. It had 
never occurred to her before that she might be 
glad to be coloured. . . . She put on her hat, 
walked slowly out the door, said to herself with 

298 



a strange foreboding: " When I see this room 
again, I'll either be very happy, or very, very 
sad. ..." Her courage rose, braced her, but 
she was sick of being courageous, she wanted to 
be a beloved woman, dependent, fragile, sought 
for, feminine; after this last ordeal she would be 
" womanly " to the point of ineptitude. . . . 

During the long ride her spirits rose a little. 
After all, his attitude was almost inevitable. He 
thought she belonged to a race which to him 
stood for treachery and cruelty; he had seen 
her with Roger, Roger, the rich, the gay; he 
saw her as caring only for wealth and pleasure. 
Of course in his eyes she was separated from him 
by race and by more than race. 

For long years she was unable to reconstruct that 
scene; her mind was always too tired, too sore to 
re-enact it. 

As in a dream she saw Anthony's set, stern 
face, heard his firm, stern voice: "Angel-girl, 
Angele I told you not to come back. I told you 
it was all impossible." 

She found herself clutching at his arm, blurt 
ing out the truth, forgetting all her elaborate 
plans, her carefully pre-concerted drama. " But, 
Anthony, Anthony, listen, everything's all right. 
I'm coloured; I've suffered too; nothing has 
to come between us." 

For a moment off his guard he wavered. " An 
gele, I didn't think you'd lie to me." 

She was in tears, desperate. " I'm not lying, 
Anthony. It's perfectly true." 

" I saw that picture of your mother, a white 
woman if I ever saw one, " 

299 



4HHHHHHHHHHfPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHf-* 

" Yes, but a white coloured woman. My father 
was black, perfectly black and I have a sister, she's 
brown. My mother and I used to ' pass ' some 
times just for the fun of it; she didn't mind being 
coloured. But I minded it terribly, until very 
recently. So I left my home, in Philadelphia, 
and came here to live, oh, going for white makes 
life so much easier. You know it, Anthony." 
His face wan and terrible frightened her. " It 
doesn't make you angry, does it ? You've passed 
yourself, you told me you had. Oh Anthony, 
Anthony, don't look at me like that! What is 
it?" 

She caught at his hand, following him as he 
withdrew to the shiny couch where they both sat 
breathless for a moment. " God ! " he said sud 
denly; he raised his arms, beating the void like a 
madman. " You in your foolishness, I in my 
carelessness, c passing, passing ' and life sitting back 
laughing, splitting her sides at the joke of it. Oh, 
it was all right for you, but I didn't care whether 
people thought I was white or coloured, if we'd 
only known, " 

" What on earth are you talking about? It's 
all right now." 

" It isn't all right; it's worse than ever." He 
caught her wrist. " Angel, you're sure you're not 
fooling me? " 

" Of course I'm not. I have proof, I've a sister 
right here in New York; she's away just now. But 
when she comes back, I'll have you meet her. 
She is brown and lovely, you'll want to paint 
her . . . don't you believe me, Anthony? " 

" Oh yes, I believe you," he raised his arms again 
in a beautiful, fluid gesture, let them fall. " Oh, 

300 



BUNHHHHHHHHH-HH^ 



damn life, damn it, I say . . . isn't there any 
end to pain ! " 

Frightened, she got on her knees beside him. 
" Anthony, what's the matter? Everything's going 
to be all right; we're going to be happy." 

" You may be. I'll never be happy. You were 
the woman I wanted, I thought you were white. 
For my father's sake I couldn't marry a white girl. 
So I gave you up." 

" And I wouldn't stay given up. See, here I 
am back again. You'll never be able to send me 
away." Laughing but shamefaced, she tried to 
thrust herself into his arms. 

" No, Angel, no ! You don't understand 
There's, there's somebody else -- " 

She couldn't take it in. " Somebody else. 
You mean, you're married? Oh Anthony, you 
don't mean you're married ! " 

" No, of course not, of course not ! But I'm 
engaged." 

" Engaged, engaged and not to me, to another 
girl? And you kissed me, went around with me? 
I knew other men did that, but I never thought 
that of you ! I thought you were like my father ! " 
And she began to cry like a little girl. 

Shame-faced, he looked on, jamming his hands 
tightly into his pockets. " I never meant to harm 
you; I never thought until that day in the park 
that you would care. And I cared so terribly! 
Think, I had given you up, Angele, I suppose 
that isn't your name really, is it? and all of a 
sudden, you came walking back into my life and 
I said, ' I'll have the laugh on this damned mess 
after all. I'll spend a few days with her, love her 
a little, just a little. She'll never know, and I'll 

301 



BUNHHHHHMHHHHH5' 



have a golden memory! Oh, I had it coming to 
me, Angel! But the minute I saw you were 
beginning to care I broke off short." 

A line from an old text was running through 
her head, rendering her speechless, inattentive. 
She was a little girl back in the church again in 
Philadelphia; the minister was intoning " All we 
like sheep have gone astray". He used to put 
the emphasis on the first word and Jinny and she 
would look at each other and exchange meaning 
smiles; he was a West Indian and West Indians 
had a way of misplacing the emphasis. The line 
sounded so funny: " All we like sheep, -- " but 
perhaps it wasn't so funny after all; perhaps he 
had read it like that not because he was a West 
Indian but because he knew life and human nature. 
Certainly she had gone astray, with Roger. And 
now here was Anthony, Anthony who had always 
loved her so well. Yet in his background there 
was a girl and he was engaged. 

This brought her to a consideration of the un 
known fiancee, her rival. Deliberately she chose 
the word, for she was not through yet. This 
unknown, unguessed at woman who had stolen in 
like a thief in the night. . . . 

" Have you known her long? " she asked him 
sharply. 

" Who? Oh my, my friend. No, not as long 
as I've known you." 

A newcomer, an upstart. Well at least she, 
Angela, had the advantage of precedence. 

" She's coloured, of course? " 

"Of course." 

They sat in a weary silence. Suddenly he caught 
her in his arms and buried his head in her neck. 

302 



HHHHHHHKHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHHK 

A quick pang penetrated to the very core of her 
being. He must have been an adorable baby. 
. . . Anthony and babies ! 

" Now God, Life, whatever it is that has power, 
this time you must help me ! " cried her heart. 
She spoke to him gently. 

" Anthony, you know I love you. Do you still 
love me? " 

" Always, always, Angel." 

" Do you Oh, Anthony, I don't deserve it, 
but do you by any chance worship me? " 

" Yes, that's it, that's just it, I worship you. I 
adore you. You are God to me. Oh, Angele, 
if you'd only let me know. But it's too late 
now." 

" No, no don't say that, perhaps it isn't too late. 
It all depends on this. Do you worship her, 
Anthony? " He lifted his haggard face. 

"No but she worships me. I'm God to her 
do you see? If I fail her she won't say anything, 
she'll just fall back like a little weak kitten, like a 
lost sheep, like a baby. She'll die." He said as 
though unaware of his listener. " She's such a 
little thing. And sweet." 

Angela said gently: "Tell me about her. 
Isn't it all very sudden? You said you hadn't 
known her long." 

He began obediently. " It was not long after 
I I lost you. She came to me out of nowhere, 
came walking to me into my room by mistake; 
she didn't see me. And she put her head down 
on her hands and began to cry terribly. I had 
been crying too in my heart, you understand, 
and for a moment I thought she might be the 
echo of that cry, might be the cry itself. You see, 

303 



BUN-HHHHHHHHHH5* 



I'd been drinking a little, you were so far removed, 
white and all that sort of thing. I couldn't marry 
a white woman, you know, not a white American. 
I owed that to my father. 

" But at last I saw it was a girl, a real girl and I 
went over to her and put my hand on her shoulder 
and said: { Little girl, what's the matter? ' 

" And she lifted her head, still hidden in the crook 
of her arm, you know the way a child does and said : 
' I've lost my sister '. At first I thought she meant 
lost in the street and I said ' Well, come with me 
to the police station, I'll go with you, we'll give 
them a description and you'll find her again. 
People don't stay lost in this day and time '. I 
got her head on my shoulder, I almost took her on 
my knee, Angele, she was so simple and forlorn. 
And presently she said : ' No, I don't mean lost 
that way; I mean she's left me, she doesn't want 
me any more. She wants other people '. And 
I've never been able to get anything else out of 
her. The next morning I called her up and some 
how I got to seeing her, for her sake, you know. 
But afterwards when she grew happier, she was 
so blithe, so lovely, so healing and blessed like the 
sun or a flower, then I saw she was getting fond 
of me and I stayed away. 

" Well, I ran across you and that Fielding fellow 
that night at the Van Meier lecture. And you 
were so happy and radiant, and Fielding so pos 
sessive, damn him ! damn him ! he you didn't 
let him hurt you, Angele? " 

As though anything that had ever happened in 
her life could hurt her like this! She had never 
known what pain was before. White-lipped, she 
shook her head. " No, he didn't hurt me." 

304 



BUNHHHMHHMHHHH* 



" Well, I went to see her the next day. She 
came into the room like a shadow, I realized she 
was getting thin. She was kind and sweet and 
far-off; impalpable, tenuous and yet there. I could 
see she was dying for me. And all of a sudden it 
came to me how wonderful it would be to have 
someone care like that. I went to her; I took her 
in my arms and I said: 'Child, child, I'm not 
bringing you a whole heart but could you love 
me? ' You see I couldn't let her go after that." 

" No," Angela's voice was dull, lifeless. " You 
couldn't. She'd die." 

" Yes, that's it; that's just it. And I know you 
won't die, Angel." 

" No, you're quite right. I won't die." 

An icy hand was on her heart. At his first 
words: * e She came walking into my room, -- " 
an icy echo stirred a memory deep, deep within 
her inner consciousness. She heard Jinny saying : 
" I went walking into his room, -- " 

Something stricken, mortally stricken in her 
face fixed his attention. " Don't look like that, 
my girl, my dear Angel. . . . There are three 
of us in this terrible plight, if I had only known. 
... I don't deserve the love of either of you but 
if one of you two must suffer it might as well be she 
as you. Come, we'll go away; even unhappiness, 
even remorse will mean something to us as long as 
we're together." 

She shook her head. " No, that's impossible, 
if it were someone else, I don't know, perhaps 
I'm so sick of unhappiness, maybe I'd take a 
chance. But in her case it's impossible." 

He looked at her curiously. " What do you 
mean 'in her case'?" 

u 305 



H~HHHh*HHHHhPLUM BUN-HHHHHHHHHH5* 

:< Isn't her name Virginia Murray? " 

" Yes, yes ! How did you guess it? Do you 
know her? " 

" She's my sister. Angele Mory, Angela Mur 
ray, don't you see. It's the same name. And it's 
all my fault. I pushed her, sent her deliberately 
into your arms." 

He could only stare. 

" I'm the unkind sister who didn't want her. 
Oh, can't you understand? That night she came 
walking into your room by mistake it was because 
I had gone to the station to meet her and Roger 
Fielding came along. I didn't want him to know 
that I was coloured and I, I didn't acknowledge 
her, I cut her." 

" Oh," he said surprised and inadequate. " I 
don't see how you could have done that to a little 
girl like Virginia. Did she know New York? " 

" No." She drooped visibly. Even the loss of 
him was nothing compared to this rebuke. There 
seemed nothing further to be said. 

Presently he put his arm about her. " Poor 
Angele. As though you could foresee ! It's what 
life does to us, leads us into pitfalls apparently so 
shallow, so harmless and when we turn around 
there we are, caught, fettered, " 

Her miserable eyes sought his. " I was sorry 
right away, Anthony. I tried my best to get in 
touch with her that very evening. But I couldn't 
find her, already you see, life was getting even 
with me, she had strayed into your room." 

He nodded. " Yes, I remember it all so plainly. 
I was getting ready to go out, was all prepared as 
a matter of fact. Indeed I moved that very night. 
But I loitered on and on, thinking of you. 

306 



" The worst of it is I'll always be thinking of you. 
Oh Angele, what does it matter, what does any 
thing matter if we just have each other? This 
damned business of colour, is it going to ruin all 
chances of happiness? I've known trouble, pain, 
terrible devastating pain all my life. You've 
suffered too. Together perhaps we could find 
peace. We'd go to your sister and explain. She 
is kind and sweet; surely she'd understand." 

He put his arms about her and the two clung 
to each other, solemnly, desperately, like children. 

" I'm sick of pain, too, Anthony, sick of longing 
and loneliness. You can't imagine how I've 
suffered from loneliness." 

" Yes, yes I can. I guessed it. I used to watch 
you. I thought you were probably lonely inside, 
you were so different from Miss Lister and Mrs. 
Starr. Come away with me and we'll share our 
loneliness together, somewhere where we'll for- 
get, " 

" And Virginia? You said yourself she'd 
die, " 

" She's so young, she she could get over it." 
But his tone was doubtful, wavering. 

She tore herself from him. " No, I took her 
sister away from her; I won't take her lover. Kiss 
me good-bye, Anthony." 

They sat on the hard sofa. " To think we should 
find one another only to lose each other ! To think 
that everything, every single thing was all right 
for us but that we were kept apart by the stupidity 
of fate. I'd almost rather we'd never learned the 
truth. Put your dear arms^ about me closer, 
Angel, Angel. I want the warmth, the sweetness 
of you to penetrate into my heart. I want to 

307 



keep it there forever. Darling, how can I let 
you go? " 

She clung to him weeping, weeping with the 
heart-broken abandonment of a child. 

A bell shrilled four times. 

He jumped up. " It's Sanchez, he's forgotten 
his key; thank God he did forget it. My darling, 
you must go. But wait for me. I'll meet you, 
we'll go to your house, we'll find a way. We can't 
part like this ! " His breath was coming in short 
gasps; she could see little white lines deepening 
about his mouth, his nostrils. Fearfully she caught 
at her hat. 

" God bless you; good-bye Anthony. I won't 
see you again." 

Halfway down the black staircase she met the 
heedless Sanchez, tall, sallow, thin, glancing at her 
curiously with a slightly amused smile. Politely 
he stood aside to let her pass, one hand resting 
lightly against his hip. Something in his attitude 
made her think of her unfinished sketch of Life. 
Hysterical, beside herself, she rushed down the 
remaining steps afraid to look around lest she 
should see the thin dark figure in pursuit, lest her 
ears should catch the expansion of that faint 
meaning smile into a guffaw, uproarious, menacing. 



308 



CHAPTER VI 

ONCE long ago in the old days in the house on Opal 
Street she had been taken mysteriously ill. As a 
matter of fact she had been coming down with that 
inglorious disease, the mumps. The expense of 
having a doctor was a consideration, and so for 
twenty-four hours she was the object of anxious 
solicitude for the whole house. Her mother had 
watched over her all night; her father came home 
twice in the day to see how she felt; Jinny had with 
some reluctance bestowed on her an oft-coveted, 
oft-refused doll. In the midst of all her childish 
pain and suffering she had realized that at least 
her agony was shared, that her tribulation was 
understood. But now she was ill with a sickness of 
the soul and there was no one with whom she 
could share her anguish. 

For two days she lay in her little room; Mrs. 
Denver, happening in, showered upon her every 
attention. There was nothing, nothing that Angela 
could suggest, the little fluttering lady said sin 
cerely, which she might not have. Angela wished 
that she would go away and leave her alone, but 
her experiences had rendered her highly sensitive 
to the needs of others; Mrs. Denver, for all her 
money, her lack of responsibility, her almost 
childish appetite for pleasure, was lonely too; 
waiting on the younger, less fortunate woman gave 

309 



her a sense of being needed ; she was pathetically 
glad when the girl expressed a desire for anything 
no matter how expensive or how trivial. Angela 
could not deprive her entirely of those doubtful 
pleasures. Still there were moments, of course, 
when even Mrs. Denver for all her kindly officious- 
ness had to betake herself elsewhere and leave her 
willing patient to herself and her thoughts. 

Minutely, bit by bit, in the long forty-eight 
hours she went over her life; was there anything, 
any over tact, any crime which she had committed 
and for which she might atone? She had been 
selfish, yes; but, said her reasoning and unwearied 
mind, " Everybody who survives at all is selfish, it is 
one of the pre-requisites of survival." In " pass 
ing " from one race to the other she had done no 
harm to anyone. Indeed she had been forced 
to take this action. But she should not have 
forsaken Virginia. Here at this point her brain, 
so clear and active along all other lines, invariably 
failed her. She could not tell what stand to take; 
so far as leaving Philadelphia was concerned she 
had left it to seek her fortune under more agreeable 
circumstances ; if she had been a boy and had left 
home no one would have had a word of blame, it 
would have been the proper thing, to be expected 
and condoned. There remained then only the 
particular incident of her cutting Jinny on that 
memorable night in the station. That was the 
one really cruel and unjust action of her whole life. 

" Granted," said something within her rooted 
either in extreme hard common sense or else in a 
vast sophistry, " granted, but does that carry with 
it as penalty the shattering of a whole life, or even 
the suffering of years? Certainly the punishment 

310 



^HHHHHHHH-PLUM BUN*********** 

is far in excess of the crime." And it was then that 
she would lie back exhausted, hopeless, bewildered, 
unable to cope further with the myterious and 
apparently meaningless ferocity of life. For if 
this were a just penalty for one serious misde 
meanour, what compensation should there not be 
for the years in which she had been a dutiful 
daughter, a loving sister? And suddenly she found 
herself envying people possessed of a blind religious 
faith, of the people who could bow the head sub 
missively and whisper: "Thy will be done." 
For herself she could see how beaten and harried, 
one might subside into a sort of blind passivity, 
an acceptance of things as they are, but she would 
never be able to understand a force which gave one 
the imagination to paint a great desire, the tenacity 
to cling to it, the emotionalism to spend on its 
possible realization but which would then with a 
careless sweep of the hand wipe out the picture 
which the creature of its own endowment had 
created. 

More than once the thought came to her of 
dying. But she hated to give up; something 
innate, something of the spirit stronger than her 
bodily will, set up a dogged fight, and she was 
too bruised and sore to combat it. " All right," 
she said to herself wearily, " I'll keep on living." 
She thought then of black people, of the race of 
her parents and of all the odds against living which 
a cruel, relentless fate had called on them to 
endure. And she saw them as a people powerfully, 
almost overwhelmingly endowed with the essence 
of life. They had to persist, had to survive because 
they did not know how to die. 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH^ 



Not because she felt like it, but because some day 
she must begin once more to take up the motions 
of life, she moved on the third day from her bed 
to the easy chair, sat there listless and motionless. 
To-morrow she would return to work, to work 
and the sick agony of forcing her mind back from 
its dolorous, painful, vital thoughts to some con 
sideration of the dull, uninteresting task in hand. 
God, how she hated that! She remembered 
studying her lessons as a girl; the intense absorption 
with which she used to concentrate. Sometimes 
she used to wonder: " Oh what will it be like 
when I am grown up; when I won't be studying 
lessons . . . 3 Well, this was what it was like. 
Or no, she was still studying with the same old 
absorption, an absorption terribly, painfully con 
centrated, the lessons set down by life. It was 
useless to revolve in her head the causes for her 
suffering, they were so trivial, so silly. She said 
to herself, " There is no sorrow in the world like 
my sorrow ", and knew even as she said it that 
some one else, perhaps only in the next block, in 
the next house, was saying the same thing. 

Mrs. Denver tapped lightly, opened the door, 
came in closing it mysteriously behind her. 

" I've a great surprise for you." She went on 
with an old childish formula: "Will you have it 
now, or wait till you get it? " 

Angela's features twisted into a wan smile. " I 
believe I'd better have it now. I'm beginning to 
think I don't care for surprises." 

" You'll like this one." She went to the door 
and ushered in Rachel Salting. 

" I know you two want to talk," Mrs. Denver 
called over her shoulder. " Cheer her up, Rachel, 

312 



HHH~HHHHHHhPLUM 



and I'll bring you both a fine spread in an hour or 
so." She closed the door carefully behind her. 

Angela said, " What's the matter, Rachel? " 
She almost added, " I hardly knew you." For her 
friend's face was white and wan with grief and 
hopelessness; gone was all her dainty freshness, her 
pretty colour; indeed her eyes, dark, sunken, set in 
great pools of blackness, were the only note, a 
terrible note, of relief against that awful white 
ness. 

Angela felt her strength leaving her ; she rose 
and tottered back to the grateful security of her 
bed, lay down with an overwhelming sense of 
thankfulness for the asylum afforded her sudden 
faintness. In a moment, partly recovered, she 
motioned to Rachel to sit beside her.' 

" Oh," said Rachel, " you've been ill, Mrs. 
Denver told me. I ought not to come bothering 
you with my worries. Oh, Angele, I'm so 
wretched! Whatever shall I do? " 

Her friend, watching her, was very gentle. 
" There're lots of awful things that can happen. 
I know that, Rachel. Maybe your trouble isn't 
so bad that it can't be helped. Have you told 
John about it? " But even as she spoke she 
sensed that the difficulty in some way concerned 
John. Her heart contracted at the thought of the 
pain and suffering to be endured. 

" Yes, John knows, it's about him. Angele, 
we can't marry." 

" Can't marry. Why, is he, it can't be that 
he's involved with some one else ! " 

A momentary indignation flashed into Rachel's 
face bringing back life and colour. For a small 
space she was the Rachel Salting of the old happy 

313 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH?' 



days. " Involved with some one else ! " The 
indignation was replaced by utter despair. " How 
I wish he were ! That at least could be arranged. 
But this can never be altered. He, I, our parents 
are dead set against it. Hadn't you ever noticed, 
Angele? He's a Gentile and I'm a Jew." 

"But lots of Jews and Gentiles marry." 

"Yes, I know. Only he's a Catholic. But 
my parents are orthodox they will never consent 
to my marriage. My father says he'd rather see 
me dead and my mother just sits and moans. I 
kept it from her as long as I could, I used to pray 
about it, I thought God must let it turn out all 
right, John and I love each other so. But I went 
up to Utica the other day, John went with me, and 
we told them. My father drove him out of the 
house; he said if I married him he'd curse me. I 
am afraid of that curse. I can't go against them. 
Oh, Angele, I wish I'd never been born." 

It was a delicate situation; Angela had to feel 
her way; she could think of nothing but the trite 
and obvious. " After all, Rachel, your parents 
have lived their lives; they have no business 
trying to live yours. Personally I think all 
this pother about race and creed and colour, 
tommyrot. In your place I should certainly 
follow my own wishes; John seems to be the 
man for you." 

But Rachel weeping, imbued with the spirit 
of filial piety, thought it would be selfish. 

" Certainly no more selfish than their attempt 
to regulate your life for you." 

" But I'm afraid," said Rachel shivering, " of 
my father's curse." It was difficult for Angela 
to sympathize with an attitude so archaic; she 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHK 



was surprised to find it lurking at the bottom of 
her friend's well-trained intelligence. 

" Love/' she said musing to herself rather than 
to her friend, " is supposed to be the greatest thing 
in the world but look how we smother and confine 
it. Jews mustn't marry Catholics; white people 
mustn't marry coloured -- " 

" Oh well, of course not," Rachel interrupted in 
innocent surprise. " I wouldn't marry a nigger 
in any circumstances. Why, would you? " 

But Angela's only answer was to turn and, 
burying her head in her pillow, to burst into 
unrestrained and bitter laughter. Rachel went 
flying to call Mrs. Denver. 

" Oh come quick, come quick ! Angele's in 
hyterics. I haven't the ghost of an idea what to 
do for her!" 



Once more the period of readjustment. Once 
more the determination to take life as she found it; 
bitter dose after sweet, bitter after sweet. But it 
seemed to her now that both sweetness and bitter 
ness together with her high spirit for adventure 
lay behind her. How now was she to pass through 
the tepid, tasteless days of her future? She was 
not quite twenty-seven, and she found herself 
wondering what life would be like in ten, five, even 
one years' time. Changes did flow in upon one, 
she knew, but in her own case she had been so 
used herself to give the impetus to these changes. 
Now she could not envisage herself as making a 
move in any direction. With the new sullenness 
which seemed to be creeping upon her daily, she 

315 



said " Whatever move I make is always wrong. 
Let life take care of itself." And she saw life, even 
her own life, as an entity quite outside her own 
ken and her own directing. She did not care 
greatly what happened; she would not, it was true, 
take her own life, but she would not care if she 
should die. Once if her mind had harboured such 
thoughts she would have felt an instant self-pity. 
" What a shame that I so young, so gifted, with 
spirits so high should meet with death ! " But 
now her senses were blunting; so much pain and 
confusion had brought about their inevitable 
attrition. " I might just as well be unhappy, 
or meet death as anyone else," she told herself still 
with that mounting sullenness. 

Mrs. Denver, the Sandburgs and Ashley were 
the only people who saw her. It did seem to 
Mrs. Denver that the girl's ready, merry manner 
was a little dimmed ; if her own happy, sunny, 
vocabulary had known the term she would have 
daubed her cynical. The quasi-intellectual atmos 
phere at the Sandburgs suited her to perfection; 
the faint bitterness which so constantly marred her 
speech was taken for sophistication, her frequent 
silences for profoundness; in a small way, aided by 
her extraordinary good looks and the slight mys 
tery which always hung about her, she became 
quite a personage in their entourage; the Sand 
burgs considered her a splendid find and plumed 
themselves on having " brought her out ". 



The long golden summer, so beautiful with its 
promise of happiness, so sickening with its actuality 

316 



HHHHHHHHHH-PLUM 



of pain ripened into early, exquisite September. 
Virginia was home again; slightly more golden, 
very, very faintly plumper, like a ripening fruit 
perfected; brimming with happiness, excitement 
and the most complete content, Angela thought, 
that she had ever seen in her life. 

Jinny sent for the older girl and the two sat on a 
Sunday morning, away from Sara Pen ton and the 
other too insistent friends, over on Riverside Drive 
looking out at the river winding purple and allur 
ing in the soft autumn haze. 

" Weren't you surprised? " asked Jinny. Lacon 
ically, Angela admitted to no slight amazement. 
She still loved her sister but more humbly, less 
achingly than before. Their lives, she thought now 
would never, could never touch and she was quite 
reconciled. Moreover, in some of Virginia's re 
marks there was the hint of the acceptance of 
such a condition. Something had brought an 
irrevocable separation. They would always view 
each other from the two sides of an abyss, narrow 
but deep, deep. 

The younger girl prattled on. " I don't know 
whether Sara told you his name, Anthony Cross? 
Isn't it a dear name? " 

e Yes, it's a nice name, a beautiful name," said 
Angela heartily ; when she had learned it was of no 
consequence. She added without enthusiasm that 
she knew him already; he had been a member 
of her class at Cooper Union. 

" You don't talk as though you were very much 
taken with him," said Jinny, making a face. " But 
never mind, he suits me, no matter whom he doesn't 
suit." There was that in her countenance which 
made Angela realize and marvel again at the 

317 



resoluteness of that firm young mind. No curse of 
parents could have kept Virginia from Anthony's 
arms. As long as Anthony loved her, was satisfied 
to have her love, no one could come between them. 
Only if he should fail her would she shrivel up and 
die. 

On the heels of this thought Virginia made an 
astounding remark : " You know it's just perfect 
that I met Anthony; he's really been a rock in a 
weary land. Next to Matthew Henson he will, 
I'm sure, make me happier than any man in the 
world." Dreamily she added an afterthought: 
" And I'll make him happy too, but, oh, Angela, 
Angela, I always wanted to marry Matthew ! " 



The irony of that sent Angela home. Virginia 
wanting Matthew and marrying Anthony ; Anthony 
wanting "Angela and marrying Virginia. Her 
self wanting Anthony and marrying, wanting, no 
other; unable to think of, even to dream of another 
lover. The irony of it was so palpable, so ridicu 
lously palpable that it put her in a better mood; 
life was bitter but it was amusingly bitter; if she 
could laugh at it she might be able to outwit it 
yet. The thought brought Anthony to mind: 
" If I could only get a laugh on life, Angele ! " 

Sobered, she walked from the 'bus stop to Jayne 
Street. Halfway up ""the narrow, tortuous stair 
case she caught sight of a man climbing, climbing. 
He stopped outside her door. " Anthony? " she 
said to herself while her heart twisted with pain. 

" If it is Anthony, " she breathed, and stopped. 

But something within her, vital, cruel, persistent, 

318 



HHh**HHHHh*H-PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHHK 

completed her thought. " If it is Anthony, 
after what Virginia said this morning, if he knew 
that he was not the first, that even as there had 
been one other there might still be others; that 
Virginia in her bright, hard, shallow youthfulness 
would not die any more than she had died over 
Matthew, would console herself for the loss of 
Anthony even as she had consoled herself for the 
loss of Matthew ! " But no, what Jinny had told 
her was in confidence, a confidence from sister 
to sister. She would never break faith with Jinny 
again; nor with herself, 

" But Anthony," she said to herself in the few 
remaining seconds left on the staircase, " you were 
my first love and I think I was yours." 

However, the man at the door was not Anthony ; 
on the contrary he was, she thought, a complete 
stranger. But as he turned at her footsteps, she 
found herself looking into the blue eyes of Roger. 
Completely astounded, she greeted him, " You 
don't mean it's you, Roger? " 

" Yes," he said humbly, shamefacedly, " aren't 
you going to let me in, Angele? " 

" Oh yes, of course, of course " ; she found 
herself hoping that he would not stay long. She 
wanted to think and she would like to paint; 
that idea must have been in the back of her 
head ever since she had left Jinny. Hard on 
this thought came another. " Here's Roger. I 
never expected to see him in these rooms again; 
perhaps some day Anthony will come back. Oh, 
God, be kind!" 

But she must tear her thoughts away from 
Anthony. She looked at Roger curiously, search- 
ingly; in books the man who had treated his 

319 



HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHHf* 

sweetheart unkindly often returned beaten, de 
jected, even poverty-stricken, but Roger, except for 
a slight hesitation in his manner, seemed as jaunty, 
as fortunate, as handsome as ever. He was even 
a trifle stouter. 

Contrasting him with Anthony's hard-bitten 
leanness, she addressed him half absently. " I 
believe you're actually getting fat ! " 

His quick high flush revealed his instant sensi 
tiveness to her criticism. But he was humble. 
:f That's all right, Angele. I deserve anything 
you choose to say if you'll just say it." 

She was impervious to his mood, utterly indiffer 
ent, so indifferent that she was herself unaware of 
her manner. " Heavens, I've sort of forgotten, 
but I don't remember your ever having been so 
eager for criticism heretofore ! " 

He caught at one phrase. " Forgotten ! You 
don't mean to say you've forgotten the past and 
all that was once so dear to us? " 

Impatience overwhelmed her. She wished he 
would go and leave her to her thoughts and 
to her picture; such a splendid idea had come 
to her; it was the first time for weeks that 
she had felt like working. Aware of the blessed 
narcotic value of interesting occupation, she 
looked forward to his departure with a sense 
of relief; even hoped with her next words to pre 
cipitate it. 

" Roger, you don't mean to say that you called 
on me on a hot September Sunday just to talk 
to me in that theatrical manner? I don't mind 
telling you I've a million things to do this after 
noon; let's get down to bed rock so we can both 
be up and doinff." 

320 



She had been sitting, almost lolling at ease 
in the big chair, not regarding him, absently 
twisting a scarf in her fingers. Now she glanced 
up and something in the hot blueness of his eyes 
brought her to an upright position, alert, attentive. 

" Angele, you've got to take me back." 

" Back ! I don't know what you're talking 
about. Between you and me there is no past, so 
don't mention it. If you've nothing better to say 
than that, you might as well get out." 

He tried to possess himself of her hands but 
she shook him off, impatiently, angrily, with no 
pretence at feeling. " Go away, Roger. I don't 
want to be bothered with you ! " This pinchbeck 
emotionalism after the reality of her feeling for 
Anthony, the sincerity of his feeling for her ! "I 
won't have this sort of thing; if you won't go 
I will." She started for the door but he barred 
her way, suddenly straight and serious. 

" No listen, Angele, you must listen. I'm in 
earnest this time. You must forgive me for the 
past, for the things I said. Oh, I was unspeakable ! 
But I had it in my head, you don't know the 
things a man has borne in on him about designing 

women, if he's got anything, family, money, " 

she could see him striving to hide his knowledge of 
his vast eligibility. " I thought you were trying 
to ' get ' me, it made me suspicious, angry. I knew 
you were poor, " 

" And nobody ! Oh say it, say it ! " 

" Well, I will say it. According to my father's 
standards, nobody. And when you began to 
take an interest in me, in my affairs, " 

' You thought I was trying to marry you. Well, 
at first I was. I was poor, I was nobody ! I 

x 321 



BUNHHHHHf-HHHHH^ 



wanted to be rich, to be able to see the world, to 
help people. And then when you and I came so 
near to each other I didn't care about marriage at 
all -just about living ! Oh, I suppose my attitude 
was perfectly pagan. I hadn't meant to drift into 
such a life, all my training was against it, you can't 
imagine how completely my training was against 
it. And then for a time I was happy. I'm afraid I 
didn't love you really, Roger, indeed I know now 
that in a sense I didn't love you, but somehow life 
seemed to focus into an absolute perfection. Then 
you became petulant, ugly, suspicious, afraid of 
my interest, of my tenderness. And I thought, c I 
can't let this all end in a flame of ugliness; it must 
be possible for people to have been lovers and yet 
remain friends.' I tried so hard to keep things so 
that it would at least remain a pleasant memory. 
But you resented my efforts. What I can't under 
stand is why shouldn't I, if I wanted to, either 
try to marry you or to make an ideal thing of our 
relationship? Why is it that men like you resent 
an eflort on our part to make our commerce decent? 
Wei], it's all over now. . . . Theoretically ' free 
love ' or whatever you choose to call it, is all right. 
Actually, it's all wrong. I don't want any such 
relationship with you or with any other man in 
this world. Marriage was good enough for my 
mother, it's good enough for me." 

" There's nothing good enough for you, Angele; 
but marriage is the best thing that I have to offer 
and I'm offering you just that. And it's precisely 
because you were honest and frank and decent 
and tried to keep our former relationship 
from deteriorating into sordidness that I am 
back." 

322 



HHHHHHHHH-^PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 

Clearly she was staggered. Marriage with 
Roger meant protection, position, untold wealth, 
unlimited opportunities for doing good. Once 
how she would have leapt to such an offer ! 

" What's become of Garlotta? " she asked 
bluntly. 

" She's on the eve of marrying Tom Estes, a 
fellow who was in college with me. He has heaps 
more money than I. Carlotta thought she'd 
better take him on*" 

" I see." She looked at him thoughtfully, then 
the remembrance of her great secret came to her, a 
secret which she could never share with Roger. 
No ! No more complications and their conse 
quent disaster ! " No, no, we won't talk about it 
any more. What you want is impossible; you 
can't guess how completely impossible." 

He strode toward her, seized her hands. " I'm 
in earnest, Angele; you've no idea how tired I 
am of loneliness and uncertainty and, and of 
seeking women; I want someone whom I can love 
and trust, whom I can teach to love me, we could 
get married to-morrow. There's not an obstacle 
in our way." 

His sincerity left her unmoved. " What would 
your father say? " 

" Oh, we wouldn't be able to tell him yet; he'd 
never consent! Of course we'd have to keep 
things quiet, just ourselves and one or two friends, 
Martha and Ladislas perhaps, would be in the 
know." 

More secrets ! She pulled her hands away from 
him. " Oh Roger, Roger ! I wouldn't consider it. 
No, when I marry I want a man, a man, a real 
one, someone not afraid to go on his own ! " She 

323 



actually pushed him toward the door. " Some 
people might revive dead ashes, but not you and 
I. ... I'd never be able to trust you again and 
I'm sick of secrets and playing games with human 
relationships. I'm going to take my friendships 
straight hereafter. Please go. I've had a hard 
summer and I'm very tired. Besides I want to 
work." 

Baffled, he looked at her, surprise and indigna 
tion struggling in his face. " Angele, are you 
sure you know what you're doing? I've no 
intention of coming back, so you'd better take 
me now." 

" Of course you're not coming back ! I'm sure 
I wouldn't want you to; my decision is final." 
Not unsympathetically she laughed up into his 
doleful face, actually touched his cheek. " If you 
only knew how much you look like a cross baby ! " 



Her newly developed sympathy and understand 
ing made her think of Ashley. Doubtless Carlotta's 
defection would hit him very hard. Her con 
jecture was correct although the effect of the blow 
was different from what she had anticipated. Ashley 
was not so perturbed over the actual loss of the 
girl as confirmed in his opinion that he was never 
going to be able to form and keep a lasting friend 
ship. In spite of his wealth, his native timidity 
had always made him distrustful of himself 
with women of his own class; a veritable Tony 
Hardcastle, he spent a great deal of time with 
women whom he did not actually admire, whom 
indeed he disliked, because, he said to Angela 

324 



BUNHHHHHHHH>*** 



wistfully, they were the only ones who took him 
seriously. 

" No one but you and Carlo tta have ever given 
me any consideration, have ever liked me for myself, 
Angele." 

They were seeing a great deal of each other; 
in a quiet, unemotional way they were developing 
a real friendship. Angela had taken up her paint 
ing again. She had re-entered the classes at 
Cooper Union and was working with great zest 
and absorption on a subject which she meant to 
enter in the competition for scholarships at the 
school at Fontainebleau. Ashley, who wrote some 
good verse in the recondite, falsely free style of the 
present day, fell into the habit of bringing his work 
down to her little living room, and in the long 
tender autumn evenings the two worked seriously, 
with concentration. Ashley had travelled widely 
and had seen a great deal of life, though usually 
from the side-lines; Angela for all her lack of 
wandering, " had lived deeply ", he used to tell 
her, pondering on some bit of philosophy which 
she let fall based on the experiences of her diffi 
cult life. 

" You know, in your way you're quite a wonder, 
Angele; there's a mystery hanging about you; 
for all your good spirits, your sense of humour, 
you're like the Duse, you seem to move in an 
aura of suffering, of the pain which comes from 
too great sensitivity. And yet how can that be 
so? You're not old enough, you've had too few 
contacts to know how unspeakable life can be, 
how damnably she can get you in wrong, -- " 

An enigmatic smile settled on her face. " I 
don't know about life, Ralph? How do you think 

325 



I got the idea for this masterpiece of mine? " She 
pointed to the painting on which she was then 
engaged. 

;< That's true, that's true. I've wondered often 
about that composition; lots of times I've meant 
to ask you how you came to evolve it. But 
keep your mystery to yourself, child; it adds to 
your charm." 

About this she had her own ideas. Mystery 
might add to the charm of personality but it cer 
tainly could not be said to add to the charm of 
living. Once she thought that stolen waters were 
sweetest, but now it was the unwinding road and 
the open book that most intrigued. 

Ashley, she found, for all his shyness, possessed 
very definite ideas and convictions of his own, was 
absolutely unfettered in his mode of thought, and 
quite unmoved by social traditions and standards. 
An aristocrat if ever there were one, he believed 
none the less in the essential quality of man and 
deplored the economic conditions which so often 
tended to set up superficial and unreal barriers 
which make as well as separate the classes. 

With some trepidation Angela got him on the 
subject of colour. He considered prejudice the 
greatest blot on America's shield. " We're wrong, 
all wrong about those people; after all they did 
to make America habitable! Some day we're 
going to wake up to our shame. I hope it won't 
be too late." 

" But you wouldn't want your sister to marry a 
nigger ! "' 

" I'm amazed, Angele, at your using such a word 
as an exclusive term. I've known some fine 
coloured people. There're hardly any of unmixed 

326 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHhfr 

blood in the United States, so the term Negro is 
usually a misnomer. I haven't a sister; if I had 
I'd advise her against marriage with an American 
coloured man because the social pressure here 
would probably be too great, but that would be 
absolutely the only ground on which I'd object 
to it. And I can tell you this; I wouldn't care to 
marry a woman from the Congo but if I met a 
coloured woman of my own nationality, well-bred, 
beautiful, sympathetic, I wouldn't let the fact of 
her mixed blood stand in my way, I can tell you." 



A sort of secondary interest in living was creeping 
into her perspective. The high lights, the high 
peaks had faded from her sight. She would 
never, she suspected, know such spontaneity of 
feeling and attitude again as she had felt toward 
both Roger and Anthony. Nor would she again 
approach the experiences of existence with the 
same naive expectation, the same desire to see how 
things would turn out. Young as she was she 
felt like a battle-scarred veteran who, worn out 
from his own strenuous activities, was quite con 
tent to sit on the side-lines gazing at all phases of 
warfare with an equal eye. 

Although she no longer intended to cast in her 
lot with Virginia, she made no further effort to set 
up barriers between herself and coloured people. 
Let the world take her as it would. If she were in 
Harlem, in company with Virginia and Sara Penton 
she went out to dinner, to the noisy, crowded, 
friendly "Y" dining-room, to " Gert's " tea 
room, to the clean, inviting drug-store for rich 

327 



"sundaes". Often, too, she went shopping with 
her sister and to the theatre; she had her meet 
Ashley and Martha. But she was careful in this 
company to avoid contact with people whose 
attitude on the race question was unknown, or 
definitely antagonistic. 

Harlem intrigued her; it was a wonderful city; 
it represented, she felt, the last word in racial pride, 
integrity and even self-sacrifice. Here were people 
of a very high intellectual type, exponents of the 
realest and most essential refinement living cheek 
by jowl with coarse or ill-bred or even criminal, 
certainly indifferent, members of their race. Of 
course some of this propinquity was due to outer 
pressure, but there was present, too, a hidden 
consciousness of race-duty, a something which if 
translated said: " Perhaps you do pull me down 
a little from the height to which I have climbed. 
But on the other hand, perhaps, I'm helping you 
to rise." 

There was a hair-dresser's establishment on I36th 
Street where Virginia used to have her beautiful 
hair treated; where Sara Pen ton, whose locks were 
of the same variety as Matthew's, used to repair to 
have their unruliness " pressed ". Here on Satur 
days Angela would accompany the girls and sit 
through the long process just to overhear the 
conversations, grave and gallant and gay, of these 
people whose blood she shared but whose disabil 
ities by a lucky fluke she had been able to avoid. 
For, while she had been willing for the sake 
of Anthony to re-enlist in the struggles of this 
life, she had never closed her eyes to its disad 
vantages; to its limitedness ! What a wealth of 
courage it took for these people to live ! What 

328 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHf'* 



high degree of humour, determination, steadfast 
ness, undauntedness were not needed, and poured 
forth! Maude, the proprietress of the business, 
for whom the establishment was laconically called 
" Maude's ", was a slight, sweet-faced woman 
with a velvety seal-brown skin, a charming voice 
and an air of real refinement. She was from Texas, 
but had come to New York to seek her fortune, had 
travelled as ladies' maid in London and Paris, and 
was as thoroughly conversant with the arts of her 
calling as any hairdresser in the vicinity of the Rue 
de la Paix or on Fifth Avenue. A rare quality of 
hospitality emanated from her presence; her little 
shop was always full not only of patrons but of 
callers, visitors from " down home ", actresses from 
the current coloured " show ", flitting in like radiant 
birds of paradise with their rich brown skins, 
their exotic eyes and the gaily coloured clothing 
which an unconscious style had evolved just for 
them. 

In this atmosphere, while there was no coarse 
ness, there was no restriction; life in busy Harlem 
stopped here and yawned for a delicious moment 
before going on with its pressure and problems. 
A girl from Texas, visiting " the big town " for a 
few weeks took one last glance at her shapely, 
marvellously " treated " head, poised for a second 
before the glass and said simply, " Well, good-bye, 
Maude; I'm off for the backwoods, but I'll never 
forget Harlem." She passed out with the sinuous 
elegant carriage acquired in her few week's sojourn 
on Seventh Avenue. 

A dark girl, immaculate in white from head to 
foot, asked: " What's she going back South for? 
Ain't she had enough of Texas yet ? " 

329 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH*' 

Maude replied that she had gone back there 
because of her property. " Her daddy owns most 
of the little town where they live." 

" Child, ain't you learned that you don't never 
own no property in Texas as long as those white 
folks are down there too? Just let those Ku 
Kluxers get it into their heads that you've got 
something they want. She might just as well 
leave there first as last; she's bound to have to 
some day. I know it's more'n a notion to pull up 
stakes and start all over again in a strange town 
and a strange climate, but it's the difference 
between life and death. I know I done it and I 
don't expect ever to go back." 

She was a frail woman, daintily dressed and 
shod. Her voice was soft and drawling. But 
Angela saw her sharply as the epitome of the 
iron and blood in a race which did not know how 
to let go of life. 



330 



MARKET IS DONE 



CHAPTER I 

THE eternal routine of life went on, meals, 
slumber, talk, work and all of it meaning nothing; 
a void starting nowhere and leading nowhither; a 
" getting through " with the days. Gradually 
however two points fixed themselves in her horizon, 
and about these her life revolved. One was her 
work, her art. Every week found her spending 
three or four of its nights at her easel. She was 
feverishly anxious to win one of the prizes in the 
contest which would be held in May ; if successful 
she would send in her application for registration 
in the Fountainebleau School of Fine Arts which was 
financed by Americans and established, so read 
the circular, " as a summer school for American 
architects, painters and sculptors ". If she were suc 
cessful in winning this, she would leave the United 
States for a year or two, thus assuring herself 
beyond question of a new deal of the cards. The 
tenacity with which she held to this plan frightened 
her a little until she found out that there were also 
possible funds from which she could, with the 
proper recommendation, borrow enough money to 
enable her to go abroad with the understanding 
that the refund was to be made by slow and easy 
payments. Ashley discovered this saving informa 
tion, thus relieving her of the almost paralyzing 
fear which beset her from time to time. It both 

333 



BUNHHHHHHHMMHH5 



amused and saddened her to realize that her talent 
which she had once used as a blind to shield her 
real motives for breaking loose and coming to New 
York had now become the greatest, most real 
force in her life. 

Miss Powell, with whom Angela in her new 
mood had arranged a successful truce, knew of 
her ambition, indeed shared it. If she herself 
should win a prize, that money, combined with 
some small savings of her own and used in connec 
tion with the special terms offered by the American 
Committee, would mean the fruition of her dearest 
dreams. All this she confided to Angela on two 
Sunday mornings which the latter spent with her 
in her rather compressed quarters up in I34th 
Street. A dwelling house nearby had been con 
verted into a place of worship for one of the special 
divisions of religious creed so dear to coloured 
people's hearts. Most of the service seemed to 
consist of singing, and so the several hours spent 
by the two girls in earnest talk were punctuated by 
the outbursts of song issuing from the brazen- 
coated throats of the faithful. 

The other point about which her thoughts 
centred was her anomalous position. Yet that 
clear mind of hers warned her again and again 
that there was nothing inherently wrong or mean 
or shameful in the stand which she had taken. The 
method thereof might come in perhaps for a little 
censure. But otherwise her harshest critics, if 
unbiased, could only say that instead of sharing the 
burdens of her own group she had elected to stray 
along a path where she personally could find the 
greatest ease, comfort and expansion. She had 
long since given up the search for happiness. 

334 



** * * * *HHHHhPLUM BUNHHMHHf'-HHHHHS' 

But there were moments when a chance discussion 
about coloured people couched in the peculiarly 
brutal terms which white America a fleets in the 
discussion of this problem made her blood boil, 
and she longed to confound her vis-d-vis and his 
tacit assumption that she, being presumbably a 
white woman, would hold the same views as he, 
with the remark: " I'm one of them, do you 
find me worthless or dishonest or offensive in any 
way? " Such a denouement would have, she felt, 
been a fine gesture. But life she knew had a way 
of allowing grand gestures to go unremarked and 
unrewarded. Would it be worth while to throw 
away the benefits of casual whiteness in America 
when no great issue was at stake? Would it 
indeed be worth while to forfeit them when a great 
issue was involved? Remembering the material 
age in which she lived and the material nation of 
which she was a member, she was doubtful. Her 
mother's old dictum recurred: " Life is more 
important than colour." 



The years slipped by. Virginia seemed in no 
haste to marry. Anthony whom Angela saw 
occasionally at the Art School shared apparently 
in this cool deliberateness. Yet there was nothing 
in his action or manner to make her feel that he 
was anticipating a change. Rather, if she judged 
him correctly he, like herself, tired of the snarl into 
which the three of them had been drawn, had 
settled down to a resigned acceptance of fate. 
If conceivable, he was quieter, more reserved than 
ever, yet radiating a strange restfulness and the 
peace which comes from surrender. 

335 



BUN*********** 



In May the prizes for the contest were announced. 
Angela received the John T. Stewart Prize for her 
"Fourteenth Street Types"; her extreme satis 
faction was doubled by the knowledge that the 
Nehemiah Sloan Prize, of equal value, had been 
awarded Miss Powell for her picture entitled " A 
Street in Harlem ". The coloured girl was still 
difficult and reserved, but under Angela's persistent 
efforts at friendship her frank and sympathetic 
interest and comprehension of her class-mate's 
difficulties, the latter had finally begun to thaw 
a little. They were not planning to live together 
in France, their tastes were not sufficiently common 
for that closeness, but both were looking forward 
to a year of pleasure, of inspiring work, to a life 
that would be " different ". Angela was relieved, 
but Miss Powell was triumphant; not unpleasantly, 
she gave the impression of having justified not only 
her calling but herself and, in a lesser degree, her 
race. The self-consciousness of colour, racial 
responsibility, lay, Angela had discovered, deep 
upon her. 

The passage money to France was paid. 
Through the terms offered by the committee of the 
School for Americans at Fontainebleau, an appreci 
able saving had been effected. The girls were 
to sail in June. As the time drew nearer Angela 
felt herself becoming more and more enthusiastic. 
She had at first looked upon her sojourn abroad 
as a heaven-sent break in the montony and diffi 
culties of her own personal problems, but lately, 
with the involuntary reaction of youth, she was 
beginning to recover her sense of embarking 
on a great adventure. Her spirits mounted 
steadily. 

33 6 



RUNHHHHHHHHHHH^ 



One evening she went around to Martha Bur 
den's to discuss the trip; she wanted information 
about money, clothes, possible tips. 

" Everything you can think of, Martha," she 
said with something of her former vital manner. 
" This is an old story to you, you've been abroad 
so many times you ought to write an encyclo 
paedia on ' What to take to Europe } . I mean to 
follow your advice blindly and the next time I see 
Miss Powell I'll pass it along to her." 

" No need to," said Martha laconically and 
sombrely. " She isn't going." 

" Not going ! Why she was going two weeks 
ago." 

c Yes, but she's not going this week nor any 
other week I'm afraid ; at least not through the good 
offices of the American Committee for the Fon- 
tainebleau School of Fine Arts. They've returned 
her passage money. Didn't you know it? I 
thought everybody had heard of it." 

Angela fought against a momentary nausea. 
" No, I didn't know it. I haven't seen her for 
ages. I'm so busy getting myself together. Martha, 
what's it all about? Is it because she's coloured? 
You don't mean it's because she's coloured? " 

" Well, it is. They said they themselves were 
without prejudice, but that they were sure the 
enforced contact on the boat would be unpleasant 
to many of the students, garnered as they would 
be from all parts of the United States. Further 
more they couldn't help but think that such con 
tact would be embarrassing to Miss Powell too. 
Oh, there's no end to the ridiculous piffle which 
they've written and said. I've had a little com 
mittee of students and instructors going about, 

r 337 



trying to stir up public sentiment. Mr. Cross has 
been helping and Paget too. I wish Paulette 
were here; she'd get. some yellow journal publicity. 
Van Meier has come out with some biting editorials ; 
he's shown up a lot of their silly old letters. I 
shouldn't be surprised but what if we kept at it 
long enough we'd get somewhere." 

She reflected a moment. " Funny thing is 
we're having such a hard time in making Miss 
Powell show any fight. I don't understand that 
girl." 

Angela murmured that perhaps she had no hope 
of making an impression on prejudice. " It's so 
unreasonable and far-reaching. Maybe she doesn't 
want to sacrifice her peace of mind for what she 
considers a futile struggle." 

" That's what Mr. Cross said. He's been 
wonderful to her and an indefatigable worker. 
Of course you'll be leaving soon since none of this 
touches you, but come into a committee meeting 
or two, won't you? We're meeting here. I'll give 
you a ring." 

" Well," said Angela to herself that night after 
she had regained her room. " I wonder what I 
ought to do now? " Even yet she was receiving 
an occasional reporter; the pleasant little stir 
of publicity attendant on her prize had not yet 
died away. Suppose she sent for one of them and 
announced her unwillingness to accept the terms 
of the American Committee inasmuch as they had 
withdrawn their aid from Miss Powell. Suppose 
she should finish calmly: " I, too, am a Negro ". 
What would happen? The withdrawal of the 
assistance without which her trip abroad, its 
hoped for healing, its broadening horizons woulcj 

338 



H-HhHHHHHH-PLUM BUNHHHHHHS~HHHHf* 

be impossible. Evidently, there was no end to 
the problems into which this matter of colour 
could involve one, some of them merely superficial, 
as in this instance, some of them gravely physical. 
Her head ached with the futility of trying to find a 
solution to these interminable puzzles. 

As a child she and Jinny had been forbidden 
to read the five and ten cent literature of their day. 
But somehow a copy of a mystery story entitled 
" Who killed Dr. Cronlin? " found its way into their 
hands, a gruesome story all full of bearded men, 
hands preserved in alcohol, shadows on window 
curtains. Shivering with fascination, they had 
devoured it after midnight or early in the morning 
while their trusting parents still slumbered. Every 
page they hoped would disclose the mystery. But 
their patience went unrewarded for the last sen 
tence of the last page still read: " Who killed Dr. 
Cronlin? " 

Angela thought of it now, and smiled and sighed. 
"Just what is or is not ethical in this matter of 
colour? " she asked herself. And indeed it was a 
nice question. Study at Fontainebleau would have 
undoubtedly changed Miss Powell's attitude toward 
life forever. If she had received the just reward 
for her painstaking study, she would have reasoned 
that right does triumph in essentials. Moreover 
the inspiration might have brought out latent 
talent, new possibilities. Furthermore, granted that 
Miss Powell had lost out by a stroke of ill-fortune, 
did that necessarily call for Angela's loss? If so, 
to what end? 

Unable to answer she fell asleep. 

Absorbed in preparations she allowed two 
weeks to pass by, then, remembering Martha's 

339 



invitation, she went again to the Starr household 
on an evening when the self-appointed committee 
was expected to meet. She found Anthony, Mr. 
Paget, Ladislas and Martha present. The last was 
more perturbed than ever. Indeed an air of 
sombre discouragement lay over the whole com 
pany. 

" Well," asked the newcomer, determined to 
appear at ease in spite of Anthony's propinquity, 
" how are things progressing? " 

"Not at all," replied Mr. Paget. "Indeed 
we're about to give up the whole fight." 

Ladislas with a sort of provoked amusement 
explained then that Miss Powell herself had 
thrown up the sponge. " She's not only with 
drawn but she sends us word to-night that while 
she appreciates the fight we're making she'd rather 
we'd leave her name out of it." 

" Did you ever hear anything to equal that? " 
snapped Martha crossly. " I wonder if coloured 
people aren't natural born quitters. Sometimes 
I think I'll never raise another finger for 
them." 

" You don't know what you're talking about," 
said Anthony hotly. " If you knew the ceaseless 
warfare which most coloured people wage, you'd 
understand that sometimes they have to stop 
their fight for the trimmings of life in order to 
hang on to the essentials which they've got to 
have and for which they must contend too every 
day just as hard as they did the first day. No, 
they're not quitters, they've merely learned to let 
go so they can conserve their strength for another 
bad day. I'm coloured and I know." 

There was a moment's tense silence while the 

340 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHf-* 



three white people stared speechless \\ith sur 
prise. Then Martha said in a still shocked voice: 
" Coloured ! Why, I can't believe it. Why, you 
never told us you were coloured." 

" Which is precisely why I'm telling you 
now," said Anthony, coldly rude. " So you won't 
be making off-hand judgments about us." He 
started toward the door. " Since the object for 
which this meeting has been called has become 
null and void I take it that we are automatically 
dismissed. Good-night." 

Martha hastened after him. " Oh, Mr. Cross, 
don't go like that. As though it made any differ 
ence ! Why should this affect our very real regard 
for each other? " 

"Why should it indeed?" he asked a trifle 
enigmatically. " I'm sure I hope it won't. But I 
must go." He left the room, Paget and Ladislas 
both hastening on his heels. 

Martha stared helplessly after him. " I suppose 
I haven't said the right thing. But what could I 
do? I was so surprised ! " She turned to Angela: 
" And I really can't get over his being coloured, 
can you? " 

"No," said Angela solemnly, "I can't . . ." 
and surprised herself and Martha by bursting into 
a flood of tears. 



For some reason the incident steadied her deter 
mination. Perhaps Anthony was the vicarious 
sacrifice, she told herself and knew even as she said 
it that the supposition was pure bunk. Anthony 
did not consider that he was making a sacrifice; 

341 



HHHHHHPLUM BUNHHH* 



his confession or rather his statement with regard 
to his blood had the significance of the action of 
a person who clears his room of rubbish. Anthony 
did not want his mental chamber strewn with the 
chaff of deception and confusion. He did not 
label himself, but on the other hand he indulged 
every now and then in a general house-cleaning 
because he would not have the actions of his life 
bemused and befuddled. 

As for Angela she asked for nothing better than 
to put all the problems of colour and their attend 
ant difficulties behind her. She could not meet 
those problems in their present form in Europe; 
literally in every sense she would begin life all 
over. In France or Italy she would speak of her 
strain of Negro blood and abide by whatever con 
sequences such exposition would entail. But the 
consequences could not engender the pain and 
difficulties attendant upon them here. 

Somewhat diffidently she began to consider the 
idea of going to see Miss Powell. The horns of her 
dilemma resolved themselves into an unwillingness 
to parade her own good fortune before her dis 
appointed classmate and an equal unwillingness 
to depart for France, leaving behind only the cold 
sympathy of words on paper. And, too, some 
thing stronger, more insistent than the mere 
consideration of courtesy urged her on. After all, 
this girl was one of her own. A whim of fate had 
set their paths far apart but just the same they 
were more than " sisters under the skin." They 
were really closely connected in blood, in racial 
condition, in common suffering. Once again she 
thought of herself as she had years ago when 
she had seen the coloured girl refused service in 

342 



HhHhHHHHHHl-PLUM BUNHHHHHHMHH--H* 

the restaurant: " It might so easily have been 
Virginia." 

Without announcement then she betook herself 
up town to Harlem and found herself asking at 
the door of the girl's apartment if she might see 
Miss Powell. The mother whom Angela had 
last seen so proud and happy received her with a 
note of sullen bafflement which to the white girl's 
consciousness connoted: " Easy enough for you, all 
safe and sound, high and dry, to come and sym 
pathize with my poor child." There was no trace 
of gratitude or of appreciation of the spirit which 
had inspired Angela to pay the visit. 

To her inquiry Mrs. Powell rejoined: "Yes, I 
guess you c'n see her. There're three or four 
other people in there now pesterin' her to death. 
I guess one mo' won't make no diffunce." 

Down a long narrow hall she led her, past two 
rooms whose dark interiors seemed Stygian in 
contrast with the bright sunlight which the visitor 
had just left. But the end of the hall opened into 
a rather large, light, plain but comfortable dining- 
room where Miss Powell sat entertaining, to 
Angela's astonishment, three or four people, all 
of them white. Her astonishment, however, 
lessened when she perceived among them John 
Banky, one of the reporters who had come rather 
often to interview herself and her plans for France. 
All of them, she judged angrily, were of his pro 
fession, hoping to wring their half column out of 
Miss Powell's disappointment and embarrass 
ment. 

Angela thought she had never seen the girl one 
half so attractive and exotic. She was wearing a 
thin silk dress, plainly made but of a flaming red 

343 



from which the satin blackness of her neck rose, 
a straight column topped by her squarish, some 
what massive head. Her thin, rather flat dark 
lips brought into sharp contrast the dazzling per 
fection of her teeth; her high cheek bones showed 
a touch of red. To anyone whose ideals of beauty 
were not already set and sharply limited, she must 
have made a breathtaking appeal. As long as 
she sat quiescent in her rather sulky reticence she 
made a marvellous figure of repose ; focussing all 
the attention of the little assemblage even as her 
dark skin and hair drew into themselves and re 
tained the brightness which the sun, streaming 
through three windows, showered upon her. 

As soon as she spoke she lost, however, a little of 
this perfection. For though a quiet dignity per 
sisted, there were pain and bewilderment in her 
voice and the flat sombreness of utter despair. 
Clearly she did not know how to get rid of the 
intruders, but she managed to maintain a poise 
and aloofness which kept them at their distance. 
Surely, Angela thought, listening to the stupid, 
almost impertinent questions put, these things can 
mean nothing to them. But they kept on with their 
baiting rather as a small boy keeps on tormenting 
a lonely and dispirited animal at the Zoo. 

' We were having something of an academic 
discussion with Miss Powell here," said Banky, 
turning to Angela. " This," he informed his 
co-workers, " is Miss Mory, one of the prize 
winners of the Art Exhibit and a classmate of 
Miss Powell. I believe Miss Powell was to cross 
with you, as er your room-mate did you say? " 

" No," said Angela, flushing a little for Miss 
Powell, for she thought she understood the double 

344 



BUNHHHf-HHHHHHM* 



meaning of the question, " we weren't intending 
to be room-mates. Though so far as I am con 
cerned," she heard herself, to her great surprise, 
saying: " I'd have been very glad to share Miss 
Powell's state-room if she had been willing." She 
wanted to get away from this aspect. " What's 
this about an academic discussion? " 

Miss Powell's husky, rather mutinous voice 
interrupted: "There isn't any discussion, Miss 
Mory, academic or otherwise. It seems Mr. Paget 
told these gentlemen and Miss Tilden here, that 
I had withdrawn definitely from the fight to induce 
the Committee for the American Art School 
abroad to allow me to take advantage of their 
arrangements. So they came up here to get me 
to make a statement and I said I had none to 
make other than that I was sick and tired of the 
whole business and I'd be glad to let it drop." 

" And I," said Miss Tilden, a rangy young lady 
wearing an unbecoming grey dress and a pecu 
liarly straight and hideous bob, " asked her if she 
weren't really giving up the matter because in her 
heart she knew she hadn't a leg to stand on." 

Angela felt herself growing hot. Something 
within her urged caution, but she answered 
defiantly: " What do you mean she hasn't a leg 
to stand on? ' 

" Well, of course, this is awfully plain speaking 
and I hope Miss Powell won't be offended," 
resumed Miss Tilden, showing only too plainly 
that she didn't care whether Miss Powell were 
offended or not, " but after all we do know that 
a great many people find the er Negroes 
objectionable and so of course no self-respecting 
one of them would go where she wasn't wanted." 

345 



BUNHHHHHHHHHf-H* 



Miss Powell's mother hovering indefinitely in 
the background, addressing no one in particular, 
opined that she did not know that " that there 
committee owned the boat. If her daughter could 
only afford it she'd show them how quickly she'd 
go where she wanted and not ask no one no favours 
either." 

" Ah, but," said Miss Tilden judicially, " there's 
the fallacy. Something else is involved here. 
There's a social side to this matter, inherent if 
not expressed. And that is the question." She 
shook a thin bloodless finger at Miss Powell. 
" Back of most of the efforts which you people 
make to get into schools and clubs and restaurants 
and so on, isn't there really this desire for social 
equality? Come now, Miss Powell, be frank and 
tell me." 

With such sharpness as to draw the attention of 
everyone in the room Angela said: " Come, Miss 
Tilden, that's unpardonable and you know it. 
Miss Powell hadn't a thought in mind about 
social equality. All she wanted was to get to 
France and to get there as cheaply as possible." 

Banky, talking in a rather affected drawl, con 
firmed the last speaker. " I think, too, that's a 
bit too much, Miss Tilden. We've no right to 
interpret Miss Powell's ideas for her." 

A short, red-faced young man intervened: 
" But just the same isn't that the question involved? 
Doesn't the whole matter resolve itself into this: 
Has Miss Powell or any other young coloured 
woman knowing conditions in America the right 
to thrust her company on a group of people with 
whom she could have nothing in common except 
her art? If she stops to think she must realize 

34 6 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 



that not one of the prospective group of students 
who would be accompanying her on that ship 
would really welcome her presence. Here's Miss 
Mory, for instance, a fellow student. What more 
natural under other circumstances than that she 
should have made arrangements to travel with 
Miss Powell? She knows she has to share her 
cabin with some one. But no; such a thought 
apparently never entered her head. Why? The 
answer is obvious. Very well then. If she, know 
ing Miss Powell, feels this way, how much more 
would it be the feeling of total strangers? " 

A sort of shocked silence fell upon the room. It 
was an impossible situation. How, thought Angela 
desperately, knowing the two sides, could she 
ever explain to these smug, complacent people 
Miss Powell's ambition, her chilly pride, the 
remoteness with which she had treated her fellow- 
students, her only too obvious endeavour to share 
their training and not their friendship? Hastily, 
almost crudely, she tried to get something of this 
over, ashamed for herself ashamed for Miss Powell 
whose anguished gaze begged for her silence. 

At last the coloured girl spoke. " It's wonderful 
of you to take my part in this way, Miss Mory. I 
had no idea you understood so perfectly. But don't 
you see there's no use in trying to explain it? It's 
a thing which one either does see or doesn't 
see." She left her soft, full, dark gaze rest for a 
second on her auditors. " I'm afraid it is not 
in the power of these persons to grasp what you 
mean." 

The stocky young man grew a little redder. " I 
think we do understand, Miss Powell. All that 
Miss Mory says simply confirms my first idea. For 

347 



otherwise, understanding and sympathizing with 
you as she does, why has she, for instance, never 
made any very noticeable attempt to become your 
friend? Why shouldn't she have asked you to be 
her side-partner on this trip which I understand 
you're taking together? There would have been 
an unanswerable refutation for the committee's 
arguments. But no, she does nothing even though 
it means the thwarting for you of a life-time's 
ambition. Mind, I'm not blaming you, Miss Mory. 
You are acting in accordance with a natural law. 
I'm just trying to show Miss Powell here how 
inevitable the workings of such a law are." 

It was foolish reasoning and fallacious, yet con 
taining enough truth to make it sting. Some icy 
crust which had formed over Angela's heart 
shifted, wavered, broke and melted. Suddenly it 
seemed as though nothing in the world were so 
important as to allay the poignancy of Miss Powell's 
situation; for this, she determined quixotically, no 
price would be too dear. She said icily in tones 
which she had never heard herself use before: 
" It's true I've never taken any stand hitherto for 
Miss Powell for I never thought she needed it. 
But now that the question has come up I want to 
say that I'd be perfectly willing to share my state 
room with her and to give her as much of my 
company as she could stand. However, that's all 
out of the question now because Miss Powell isn't 
going to France on the American Committee Fund 
and I'm not going either." She stopped a second 
and added quietly: "And for the same reason." 

Someone said in bewilderment: " What do 
you mean when you say you're not going? And 
for the same reason? " 

348 



BUNHHHHHHMHHHH- 

" I mean that if Miss Powell isn't wanted, 
I'm not wanted either. You imply that she's 
not wanted because she's coloured. Well, I'm 
coloured too." 

One of the men said under his breath, " God, 
what a scoop ! " and reached for his hat. But 
Banky, his face set and white, held him back. 

" I don't believe you know what you're saying, 
Miss Mory. But anyway, whether it's true or 
untrue, for God's sake take it back ! " 

His tone of horror added the last touch. Angela 
laughed in his face. " Take it back ! " She could 
hardly contain herself. " Do you really think 
that being coloured is as awful as all that? Can't 
you see that to my way of thinking it's a great 
deal better to be coloured and to miss oh 
scholarships and honours and preferments, than to 
be the contemptible things which you've all shown 
yourselves to be this morning? Coming here bait 
ing this poor girl and her mother, thrusting 
your self-assurance down their throats, branding 
yourselves literally dogs in the manger? " She 
turned to the coloured girl's mother. " Mrs. 
Powell, you surely don't want these people here any 
longer. Have I your permission to show them 
out? " Crossing the room superbly she opened 
the door. " This way, please, and don't come back 
any more. You can rest assured we'll find a way 
to keep you out." 

Silently the little line filed out. Only Miss 
Tilden, laying her hand on Angela's arm paused to 
say avidly: "You'll let me come to see you, 
surely? I can give you some fine publicity, only 
I must have more data. How about an exclusive 
interview? " 

349 



HH-HHHH-HMHPLUM RUNHHHHHHHHHHH^ 

Angela said stonily: " Mrs. Powell will show 
you the front door." Then she and her former 
class-mate stood regarding each other. The dark 
girl crossed the room and caught her hands and 
kissed them. " Oh," she said, " it was magnificent 
I never guessed it, but you shouldn't have done 
it. It's all so unjust, so silly and so tiresome. 
You, of course, only get it when you bring it upon 
youreslf. But I'm black and I've had it all my life. 
You don't know the prizes within my grasp that 
have been snatched away from me again because 
of colour." She turned as her mother entered the 
room. " Mother, wasn't she magnificent? " 

" She was a fool," Mrs. Powell replied shortly. 

Her words brought the exalted Angela back to 
earth. " Yes," she said, smiling whimsically, " I 
am just that, a fool. I don't know what possessed 
me. I'm poor, I was in distress; I wanted a new 
deal. Now I don't know which way to turn for 
it. That story will be all over New York by 
to-morrow morning." She burst out laughing. 
" Think of my choosing four reporters before whom 
to make my great confession ! " Her hand sought 
Miss Powell's. " Good-bye, both of you. Don't 
worry about me. I never dreamed that anything 
like this could happen, but the mere fact that 
is has shows that the truth was likely to come out 
any day. So don't blame yourselves for it. Good 
bye." 



Banky was waiting for her in the vestibule down 
stairs. " I'm so sorry about the whole damned 
business, Miss Mory," he said decently. " It's 

35 



BUNHHHHHHHHHH** 



a damned shame. If there's anything I can 
do -- " 

Rather shortly she said there was nothing. 
" And you don't need to worry. As I told you 
upstairs, being coloured isn't as awful as all that. 
I'll get along." Ignoring his hand she passed by 
him into the street. It was Saturday afternoon 
so there was a chance of her finding Jinny at 
home. 

" And if she isn't there I can wait," she told 
herself, and thanked God in her heart for the 
stability implied in sisterhood. 

Jinny was home, mulling happily over the small 
affairs which kept her a little girl. Her sister, 
looking at the serene loveliness of her face, said 
irrelevantly: "You make me feel like an old 
woman." 

" Well," replied Jinny, " you certainly have the 
art of concealing time's ravages, for you not only 
look young but you have the manner of someone 
who's just found a million dollars. Come in and 
tell me about it." 

" Found a million dollars ! H'm, lost it I 
should say ! " But a sudden wave of relief and 
contentment broke over her. " Oh, Jinny, tell 
me, have I been an utter fool ! I've thrown away 
every chance I've ever had in the world, just 
for a whim." Suddenly close in the full tide of 
sisterliness, they sat facing each other on the com 
fortable couch while Angela told her story. " I 
hadn't the faintest idea in the world of telling it. 
I was thinking only the other day how lucky I was 
compared to Miss Powell, and the first thing I 
knew there it all came tripping off my tongue. 
But I had to do it. If you could just have seen 

351 



BUNHHHHHMHHMHHI* 



those pigs of reporters and Miss Powell's face 
under their relentless probing. And old Mrs. 
Powell, helpless and grunting and sweating and 
thinking me a fool; she told me so, you know. 
. . . Why, Jinny, darling, you're not ever cry 
ing ! Darling, there's nothing to cry about; 
what's the matter, Honey ! " 

" It's because you are a fool that I am crying," 
said Jinny sobbing and sniffling, her fingers in her 
eyes. " You're a fool and the darlingest girl that 
ever lived, and my own precious, lovely, wonder 
ful sister back again. Oh, Angela, I'm so happy. 
Tell them to send you your passage money back; 
say you don't want anything from them that they 
don't want to give; let them go, let them all go 
except the ones who like you for yourself. And 
dearest, if you don't mind having to skimp a bit for 
a year or two and not spreading yourself as you 
planned, we'll get you off to Europe after all. 
You know I've got all my money from the house. 
I've never touched it. You can have as much of 
that as you want and pay me back later or not 
at all." 

Laughing and crying, Angela told her that she 
couldn't think of it. " Keep your money for your 
marriage, Jinny. It'll be some time before 
Anthony will make any real money, I imagine. 
But I will take your advice and go to Europe after 
all. All this stuff will be in the paper to-morrow, 
I suppose, so I'll write the American Committee 
people to-night. As for the prize money, if they 
want that back they can have it. But I don't 
think they will; nothing was said about Miss 
Powell's. That's a thousand dollars. I'll take 
that and go to Paris and live as long as I can. If 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 



I can't have the thousand I'll use the few hundreds 
that I have left and go anyway. And when I come 
back I'll go back to my old job or go into the 
schools. But all that's a long way off and we 
don't know what might turn up." 

There were one or two matters for immediate 
consideration. The encounter with the reporters 
had left Angela a little more shaken than was at 
first apparent. " I don't want to run into them 
again," she said ruefully. Her lease on the little 
apartment in Jayne Street had still a month to run. 
She would go down this very evening, get together 
her things, and return to Jinny, with whom she 
would live quietly until it was time for her to sail. 
Her mail she could leave with the janitor to be 
called for. Fortunately the furniture was not hers ; 
there were only a few pictures to be removed. 
After all, she had very few friends to consider, 
just the Sandburgs, Martha Burden, Mrs. Denver, 
Ralph Ashley and Rachel Salting. 

" And I don't know what to do about them," 
she said, pondering. " After all, you can't write 
to people and say: c Dear friend: You've always 
thought I was white. But I'm not really. I'm 
coloured and I'm going back to my own folks to 
live.' Now can you? Oh, Jinny, Jinny, isn't it 
a great old world? " 

In the end, after the story appeared, as it 
assuredly did, in the next morning's paper, she cut 
out and sent to each of her former friends copies 
of Miss Tilden's story whose headlines read: 
" Socially Ambitious Negress Confesses to Long 
Hoax." 



353 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH 



With the exception of Banky's all the accounts 
took the unkindest attitude possible. The young 
Hungarian played up the element of self-sacrifice 
and the theory that blood after all was thicker 
than water. Angela guessed rightly that if he 
could have he would have preferred omitting it, 
and that he had only written it up to offset as far 
as possible the other accounts. Of the three other 
meanly insinuating stories Miss Tilden's was 
the silliest and most dangerous. She spoke of 
mixed blood as the curse of the country, a curse 
whose " insidiously concealed influence constantly 
threatens the wells of national race purity. Such 
incidents as these make one halt before he con 
demns the efforts of the Ku Klux Klan and its 
unceasing fight for 100 per cent. Americanism." 

The immediate effect of this publicity was one 
which neither of the sisters had foreseen. When 
Angela reported for work on the following Monday 
morning she found a note on her desk asking her 
immediate appearance in the office. The president 
returning her good-morning with scant courtesy, 
showed her a clipping and asked if she were the 
Miss Mory of the story. Upon her assurance that 
she was none other, he handed her a month's 
salary in lieu of notice and asked her to con 
sider her connection with the firm at an end. 

" We have no place for deceit in an institution 
such as this," he said augustly. 

The incident shook both girls to a degree. Vir 
ginia particularly was rendered breathless by its 
cruel immediacy. Never before had she come so 
close to the special variation of prejudice mani 
fested to people in Angela's position. That the 
president of the concern should attribute the 

354 



BUNHHHHHHH^-HHHf* 



girl's reticence on this subject to deceit seemed 
to her the last ounce of injustice. Angela herself 
was far less perturbed. 

" I've seen too much of this sort of thing to feel 
it as you do, Virginia. Of course, as you see, 
there are all kinds of absurdities involved. In 
your case, showing colour as you do, you'd have 
been refused the job at the very outset. Perhaps 
they would have said that they had found coloured 
people incompetent or that other girls had a strong 
natural aversion toward working beside one of us. 
Now here I land the position, hold it long enough 
to prove ability and the girls work beside me and 
remain untainted. So evidently there's no blind 
inherent disgust to be overcome. Looking just the 
same as I've ever looked I let the fact of my Negro 
ancestry be known. Mind, I haven't changed 
the least bit, but immediately there's all this hold 
ing up of hands and the cry of deceit is raised. 
Some logic, that! It really would be awfully 
funny, you see, Jinny, if it couldn't be fraught 
with such disastrous consequences for people like, 
say, Miss Powell." 

" Don't mention her," said Jinnv vehemently. 
" If it hadn't been for her you wouldn't have been 
in all this trouble." 

Angela smiled. " If it hadn't been for her, you 
and I probably never would have really found 
each other again. But you mustn't blame her. 
Sooner or later I'd have been admitting, * con 
fessing ', as the papers say, my black blood. Not 
that I myself think it of such tremendous import 
ance; in spite of my efforts to break away I really 
don't, Virginia. But because this country of ours 
makes it so important, against my own conviction 

355 



BUNHHHHH^HHHHHHK 



I was beginning to feel as though I were laden 
down with a great secret. Yet when I begin to 
delve into it, the matter of blood seems nothing 
compared with individuality, character, living. 
The truth of the matter is, the whole business was 
just making me fagged to death." 

She sat lost intently in thought. " All of the 
complications of these last few years, and you 
can't guess what complications there have been, 
darling child, have been based on this business 
of ' passing '. I understand why Miss Powell gave 
up the uneven fight about her passage. Of course, 
in a way it would have been a fine thing if she 
could have held on, but she was perfectly justified 
in letting go so she could avoid still greater bitter 
ness and disappointment and so she could have 
something left in her to devote to her art. You 
can't fight and create at the same time. And I 
understand, too, why your Anthony bestirs him 
self every little while and makes his confession; 
simply so he won't have to be bothered with the 
trappings of pretence and watchfulness. I sup 
pose he told you about that night down at Martha 
Burden's? " 

" Yes," said Jinny, sighing, " he has terrible 
ideals. There's something awfully lofty about 
Anthony. I wish he were more like Matthew, 
comfortable and homey. Matt's got some ideals, 
too, but he doesn't work them overtime. Anthony's 
a darling, two darlings, but he's awfully, awfully 
what-do-you-call-it, ascetic. I shouldn't be at all 
surprised but what he had a secret canker eating 
at his heart." 

Angela said rather sternly, " Look here, Jinny, 
I don't believe you love him after all, do you? " 

356 



" Well now, when I get right down to it some 
times I think I do. Sometimes I think I don't. Of 
course the truth of the matter is, I'd hardly have 
thought about Anthony or marriage either just 
now, if I hadn't been so darn lonely. You know 
I'm not like you, Angela. When we were children 
I was the one who was going to have a career, 
and you were always going to have a good time. 
Actually it's the other way round; you're the 
one who's bound to have a career. You just 
gravitate to adventure. There's something so 
forceful and so strong about you that you can't 
keep out of the battle. But, Angela, I want a 
home, with you if you could just stand still long 
enough, or failing that, a home with husband and 
children and all that goes with it. Of course I 
don't mind admitting that at any time I'd have 
given up even you for Matthew. But next to being 
his wife I'd rather live with you, and next to that 
I'd like to marry Anthony. I don't like to be 
alone; for though I can fend for myself I don't 
want to." 

Angela felt herself paling with the necessity of 
hiding her emotion. " So poor Anthony's only 
third in your life? " 

" Yes, I'm afraid he is . . . Darling, what do 
you say to scallops for dinner? I feel like cooking 
to-day. Guess I'll hie me to market." 

She left the room, and her sister turned to the large 
photograph of Cross which Virginia kept on the 
mantel. She put her fingers on the slight youthful 
hollows of his pictured cheeks, touched his pictured 
brow. " Oh Anthony, Anthony, is Life cheating 
you again? You'll always be first in my life, 
dearest." 

357 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH* 



Perhaps Virginia's diagnosis of her character 
was correct. At any rate she welcomed the present 
combination of difficulties through which she was 
now passing. Otherwise this last confession of 
Jinny's would have plunged her into fresh un- 
happiness. But she had many adjustments to 
make and to face. First of all there was her new 
status in the tiny circle in which she had moved. 
When at the end of two weeks she went down to 
her old apartment in Jayne Street to ask for her 
mail, she was, in spite of herself amazed and hurt 
to discover a chilled bewilderment, an aloofness, 
in the manner of Mrs. Denver, with whom she had 
a brief encounter. On the other hand there were 
a note and a calling card from Martha Burden, 
and some half dozen letters from Elizabeth and 
Walter Sandburg. 

Martha's note ran: " Undoubtedly you and 
Mr. Cross are very fine people. But I don't believe 
I could stand another such shock very soon. Of 
course it was magnificent of you to act as you did. 
But oh, my dear, how quixotic. And after all 
a quoi bon? Will you come to see me as soon as 
you get this, or send me word how I may see you? 
And Angele, if you let all this nonsense interfere 
with your going to Europe I'll never forgive you. 
Ladislas and I have several thousand dollars 
stored away just begging to be put out at interest." 

Elizabeth Sandburg said nothing about the 
matter, but Angela was able to read her know 
ledge between the lines. The kind-hearted couple 
could not sufficiently urge upon her their un 
changing regard and friendship. " Why on earth 
don't you come and see us? " Elizabeth queried 
in her immense, wandering chirography, five words 

358 



to a page. " You can't imagine how we miss you. 
Walter's actually getting off his feed. Do take a 
moment from whatever masterpiece you're com 
posing and give us a week-end." 

But from Rachel Salting and from Ashley not 
one single word ! 



359 



CHAPTER II 

MORE than ever her determination to sail became 
fixed. " Some people," she said to Jinny, " might 
think it the thing to stay here and fight things out. 
Martha, for instance, is keenly disappointed 
because I won't let the committee which had been 
working for Miss Powell take up my case. I sus 
pect she thinks we're all quitters. But I know 
when I've had enough. I told her I wanted to 
spend my life doing something besides fighting. 
Moreover, the Committee, like myself, is pretty 
sick of the whole afiair, though not for the same 
reason, and I think there'd be even less chance 
for a readjustment in my case than there was in 
Miss Powell's." 

An interview with Clarke Otter, Chairman of 
the Advisory Board of the American Committee, 
had given her this impression. Mr. Otter's 
attitude betokened a curious admixture of re 
sentment at what he seemed to consider her 
deceit in " passing " and exasperation at her 
having been quixotic enough to give the show 
away. " We think you are quite right in express 
ing your determination not to take advantage 
of the Committee's arrangements. It evidences 
a delicacy of feeling quite unusual in the circum 
stances." Angela was boiling with anger when 
she left. 

360 



BUNH6*** 



A letter to the donor of the prize brought back 
the laconic answer that the writer was interested 
" not in Ethnology but in Art." 

" I'd like to see that party," said Angela, revert 
ing to the jargon of her youth. " I'll bet he's 
nowhere near as stodgy as he sounds. I shouldn't 
wonder but what he was just bubbling over with 
mirth at the silliness of it all." 

Certainly she herself was bubbling over with 
mirth or with what served for that quality. 
Virginia could not remember ever having 
seen her in such high spirits, not since the days 
when they used to serve Monday's dinner 
for their mother and play at the roles in 
which Mrs. Henrietta Jones had figured so 
largely. But Angela herself knew the shallowness 
of that mirth whose reality, Anthony, unable 
to remain for any length of time in her presence 
and yet somehow unable to stay away, some 
times suspected. 

Her savings, alas ! including the prize money, 
amounted roughly to 1,400 dollars. Anthony had 
urged her to make the passage second class on one 
of the large, comfortable boats. Then, if she 
proved herself a good sailor, she might come back 
third class. 

" And anyway don't put by any more than 
enough for that," said Jinny maternally, " and 
if you need any extra money write to me and I'll 
send you all you want." 

From stories told by former foreign students who 
had sometimes visited the Union it seemed as 
though she might stretch her remaining hundreds 
over a period of eight or nine months. " And by 
that time I'll have learned enough to know whether 

361 



I'm to be an honest-to-God artist or a plain draw 
ing teacher." 

" I almost hope it will be the latter," said Jinny 
with a touching selfishness, " so you'll have to 
come back and live with us. Don't you hope so, 
Anthony? " 

Angela could see him wince under the strain 
of her sister's artlessness. " Eight or nine months 
abroad ought to make a great difference in her 
life," he said with no particular relevance. " In 
deed in the lives of all of us." Both he and Angela 
had only one thought these days, that the time for 
departure would have to arrive. Neither of them 
had envisaged the awfulness of this pull on their 
self-control. 



Now there were only five days before her 
departure on Monday. She divided them among 
the Sandburgs, Anthony and Jinny who was 
coming down with a summer cold. On Saturday 
the thought came to her that she would like to 
see Philadelphia again; it was a thought so per 
sistent that by nine o'clock she was in the train 
and by 11.15 sne was preparing for bed in a 
small side-room in the Hotel Walton in the city 
of her birth. Smiling, she fell asleep vaguely 
soothed by the thought of being so close to all 
that had been once the scene of her steady, un 
checked life. 

The propinquity was to shake her more than she 
could dream. 

In the morning she breakfasted in her room, 
then coming downstairs stood in the portico of 

362 



BUN4HHHHHHHHHM?* 

the hotel drawing on her gloves as she had done so 
many years before when she had been a girl 
shopping with her mother. A flood of memories 
rushed over her, among them the memory of that 
day when her father and Virginia had passed them 
on the street and they had not spoken. How 
trivial the reason for not speaking seemed now! 
In later years she had cut Jinny for a reason 
equally trivial. 

She walked up toward Sixteenth Street. It 
was Sunday and the beautiful melancholy of the 
day was settling on the quiet city. There was a 
freshness and a solemnity in the air as though even 
the atmosphere had been rarified and soothed. 
A sense of loneliness invaded her; this was the city 
of her birth, of her childhood and of most of her 
life. Yet there was no one, she felt, to whom she 
could turn this beautiful day for a welcome; old 
acquaintances might be mildly pleased, faintly 
curious at seeing her, but none of them would show 
any heart-warming gladness. She had left them 
so abruptly, so completely. Weil, she must not 
think on these things. After all, in New York 
she had been lonely too. 

The Sixteenth Street car set her down at Jefler- 
son Street and slowly she traversed the three long 
blocks. Always quiet, always respectable, they 
were doubly so in the sanctity of Sunday morning. 
What a terrible day Sunday could be without 
friends, ties, home, family. Only five years ago, 
less than five years, she had had all the simple, 
stable fixtures of family life, the appetizing break 
fast, the music, the church with its interesting, 
paintable types, long afternoons and evenings 
with visitors and discussions beating in the void. 

363 



******HHHHhPLUM BUN***** * * *** * 



And Matthew Henson, would he, she wondered, 
give her welcome? But she thought that still she 
did not want to see him. She was not happy, 
but she was not through adventuring, through 
tasting life. And she knew that a life spent with 
Matthew Henson would mean a cessation of that. 
After all, was he, with his steadiness, his upright 
ness, his gift for responsibility any happier than she? 
She doubted it. 

Oh, she hoped Sundays in Paris would be 
gay! 

Opal Street came into her vision, a line, a mere 
shadow of a street falling upon the steadfastness 
of Jefferson. Her heart quickened, tears came 
into her eyes as she turned that corner which she 
had turned so often, that corner which she had 
once left behind her forever in order to taste and 
know life. In the hot July sun the street lay 
almost deserted. A young coloured man, im 
maculate in white shirt sleeves, slim and straight, 
bending in his doorway to pick up the bulky 
Sunday paper, straightened up to watch her 
advancing toward him. Just this side of him stood 
her former home, how tiny it was and yet how 
full of secrets, of knowledge of joy, despair, suffer 
ing, futility in brief Life! She stood a few 
moments in front of it, just gazing, but presently 
she went up and put her hand on the red brick, 
wondering blindly if in some way the insensate thing 
might not communicate with her through touch. 
A coloured woman sitting in the window watching 
her rather sharply, came out then and asked her 
suspiciously what she wanted. 

" Nothing," Angela replied dully. " I just 
wanted to look at the house." 

364 



H-HHMhHHhHKPLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHH-* 

" It isn't for sale, you know." 

" No, no, of course not. I just wanted to look 
at it again. I used to live here, you see. I 

wondered " Even if she did get permission 

to go inside, could she endure it? If she could 
just stand once in that little back room and cry 
and cry perhaps her tears would flood away all 
that mass of regret and confusion and futile mem 
ories, and she could begin life all over with a blank 
page. Thank God she was young! Suddenly it 
seemed to her that entering the house once more, 
standing in that room would be a complete panacea. 
Raising her eyes expectantly to the woman's face 
she began: " Would you be so kind ? " 

But the woman, throwing her a last suspicious 
look and muttering that she was " nothing with 
poor white trash," turned and, slamming the 
door behind her, entered the little square parlour 
and pulled down the blinds. 



The slim young man came running down the 
street toward her. Closer inspection revealed 
his ownership of a pleasant brown freckled face 
topped by thick, soft, rather closely cropped 
dark-red hair. 

" Angela," he said timidly, and then with more 
assurance: " It is Angela Murray." 

She turned her stricken face toward him. " She 
wouldn't let me in, Matthew. I'm going to France 
to-morrow and I thought I'd like to see the old 
house. But she wouldn't let me look at it. She 
called me," her voice broke with the injustice 
of it, " poor white trash." 

365 



-HHHHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHHHHH>*** 

"I know," he nodded gravely. "She'd do 
that kind of thing; she doesn't understand, you 
see." He was leading her gently toward his house. 
" I think you'd better come inside and rest a 
moment. My father and mother have gone off 
for their annual trip to Bridgeton; mother was 
born there, you know. But you won't mind com 
ing into the house of an old and tried friend." 

" No," she said, conscious of an overwhelming 
fatigue and general sense of let-downness, " I 
should say I wouldn't." As they crossed the thresh 
old she tried faintly to smile but the effort was 
too much for her and she burst into a flood of 
choking, strangling, noisy tears. 

Matthew removed her hat and fanned her; 
brought her ice-water and a large soft handkerchief 
to replace her own sodden wisp. Through her 
tears she smiled at him, understanding as she did 
so, the reason for Virginia's insistence on his general 
niceness. He was still Matthew Henson, still 
freckled and brown, still capped with that thatch 
of thick bad hair. But care and hair-dressings and 
improved toilet methods and above all the emana 
tion of a fine and generous spirit had metamor 
phosed him into someone still the old Matthew 
Henson and yet someone somehow translated into 
a quintessence of kindliness and gravity and 
comprehending. 

She drank the water gratefully, took out her 
powder puff. 

" I don't need to ask you how you are," he said, 
uttering a prayer of thanks for averted hysterics. 
" When a lady begins to powder her nose, she's 
bucking up all right. Want to tell me all about 
it?" 

366 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHHi* 



" There's nothing to tell. Only I wanted to see 
the house and suddenly found myself unexpectedly 
homesick, lonely, misunderstood. And when that 
woman refused me so cruelly, it was just too much." 
Her gaze wavered, her eyes filled again. 

" Oh," he said in terror, " for God's sake don't 
cry again! I'll go over and give her a piece of 
my mind; I'll make her turn the whole house 
over to you. I'll bring you her head on a 
charger. Only * dry those tears'." He took her 
handkerchief and dried them himself very, very 
gently. 

She caught his hand. " Matthew, you're a 
dear." 

He shrugged negligently, " You haven't always 
thought that." 

This turn of affairs would never do. " What 
were you planning to do when I barged in? 
Getting ready to read your paper and be all homey 
and comfortable? " 

" Yes, but I don't want to do that now. Tell 
you what, Angela, Let's have a lark. Suppose 
we have dinner here? you get it- Remember how 
it used to make me happy as a king in the old days 
if you'd just hand me a glass of water? You said 
you were sailing to-morrow; you must be all packed. 
What time do you have to be back? I'll put you 
on the train." 

The idea enchanted her. " I'd love it ! 
Matthew, what fun ! " They found an apron of 
his mother's, and in the ice-box, cold roast beef, 
lettuce which Philadelphians call salad, beets and 
corn. " I'll make muffins," said Angela joyously, 
" and you take a dish after dinner and go out and 
get some ice-cream. Oh, Matthew, how it's all 



coming back to me! Do you still shop up here 
in the market? " 

They ate the meal in the little dark cool 
dining-room, the counterpart of the dining- 
room in Junius Murray's one-time house across 
the way. But somehow its smallness was no 
longer irksome; rather it seemed a tiny island 
of protection reared out of and against an en 
croaching sea of troubles. In fancy she saw her 
father and mother almost a quarter of a century 
ago coming proudly to such a home, their little 
redoubt of refuge against the world. How beau 
tiful such a life could be, shared with some 
one beloved, with Anthony! Involuntarily she 
sighed. 

Matthew studying her thoughtfully said: 
" You're dreaming, Angela. Tell me what it's 
all about." 

" I was thinking what a little haven a house like 
this could be; what it must have meant to my 
mother. Funny how I almost pounded down the 
walls once upon a time trying to get away. Now 
I can't think of anything more marvellous than 
having such a place as this, here, there, anywhere, 
to return to." 

Startled, he told her of his surprise at hearing 
such words from her. " If Virginia had said them 
I should think it perfectly natural; but I hadn't 
thought of you as being interested in home. How, 
by the way, is Virginia? " 

" Perfect." 

With a wistfulness which barely registered with 
her absorption, he queried: "I suppose she's tre 
mendously happy? " 

" Happy enough." 

368 



"A great girl, little Virginia." In his turn 
he fell to musing, roused himself. " You haven't 
told me of your adventures and your flight into 
the great world." 

" There's not much to tell, Matthew. All I've 
seen and experienced has been the common fate 
of most people, a little sharpened, perhaps, a 
little vivified. Briefly, I've had a lot of fun and a 
measure of trouble. I've been stimulated by 
adventure; I've known suffering and love and 
pain." 

" You're still surprising me. I didn't suppose a 
girl like you could know the meaning of pain." 
He gave her a twisted smile. ;4 Though you cer 
tainly know how to cause it. Even yet I can get 
a pang which no other thought produces if I let 
my mind go back to those first few desperate 
days after you left me. Heavens, can't you suffer 
when you're young ! " 

She nodded, laid her hand on his. ;c Ter 
ribly. Remember, I was suffering too, Matthew, 
though for different causes. I was so pushed, so 
goaded . . . well, we won't talk about that any 
more. ... I hope you've got over all that 
feeling. Indeed, indeed I wasn't worth it. Do 
tell me you haven't let it harass you all these 
years." 

His hand clasped hers lightly, then withdrew. 
" No I haven't. . . . The suddenness, the in- 
evitableness of your departure checked me, pulled 
me up short. I suffered, oh damnably, but it was 
suffering with my eyes open. I knew then you 
weren't for me; that fundamentally we were too 
far apart. And eventually I got over it. Those 
days ! " He smiled again wryly, recalling a 

A A 369 



memory. " But I went on suffering just the 
same, only in another way. I fell in love with 
Jinny." 

Her heart in her breast stopped beating. " Mat 
thew, you didn't ! Why on earth didn't you ever 
say so? " 

" I couldn't. She was such a child, you see; 
she made it so plain all the time that she looked on 
me as her sister's beau and therefore a kind of 
dependable brother. After you went I used to 
go to see her, take her about. Why she'd swing 
on my arm and hold up her face for a good-night 
kiss ! Once, I remember, we had been out and 
she became car-sick, poor little weak thing ! 
She was so ashamed ! Like a baby, you know, 
playing at being grown-up and then ashamed 
for reverting to babyhood. I went to see her 
the next day and she was so little and frail 
and confiding ! I stayed away then for a long 
time and the next thing I knew she was 
going to New York. I misjudged you awfully 
then, Angela. You must forgive me. I thought 
you had pulled her away. I learned later that 
I was wrong, that you and she rarely saw each 
other in New York. Do you know why she 
left? " 

There was her sister's pride to shield but her 
own need to succour; who could have dreamed 
of such a dilemma? " I can't betray Jinny," she 
said to herself and told him that while she per 
sonally had not influenced her sister the latter 
had had a very good reason for leaving Phila 
delphia. 

" I suppose so. Certainly she left. But she'd 
write me ? occasionally, letters just like her dear 

370 



BUN^HHHHHHHHHf- 



self, so frank and girlish and ingenuous and making 
it so damnably plain that any demonstration of 
love on my part was out of the question. I said 
to myself: 'I'm not going to wreck my whole life 
over those Murray girls '. And I let our friend 
ship drift off into a nothingness. . . . Then she 
came to visit Edna Brown this summer. I fairly 
leaped out to Merion to see her. The moment I 
laid eyes on her I realized that she had developed, 
had become a woman. She was as always, kind 
and sweet, prettier, more alluring than ever. I 
thought I'd try my luck .... and Edna told 
me she was engaged. What's the fellow like, 
Angela? " 

" Very nice, very fine." 

" Wild about her, I suppose?" 

Desperately she looked at him. "He's a rather 
undemonstrative sort. I suppose he's wild enough. 
Only, well they talk as though they had no 
intention of marrying for years and years and they 
both seem perfectly content with that arrange 
ment." 

He frowned incredulously. " What ! If I 
thought they weren't in earnest ! " 

Impulsively she broke out: " Oh, Matthew, 
don't you know, there's so much pain, such 
suffering in the world, a man should never leave 
any stone unturned to achieve his ultimate happi 
ness. Why don't you write to Jinny, go to New 
York to see her? " 

Under his freckles his brown skin paled. e You 
think there's a chance? " 

" My dear, I wouldn't dare say. I know she 
likes you very, very much. And I don't think she 
regards you as a brother." 

37' 



BUNHHHHHHHHHH* 



" Angela, you wouldn't fool me? " 

" Why should I do that? And remember after 
all I'm giving you no assurance. I'm merely 
saying it's worth taking a chance. Now let's 
see, we'll straighten up this place and then we 
must fly." 

At the station she kissed him good-bye. 
" Anyway you're always a brother to me. 
Think of what I've told you, Matthew; act 
on it." 

" I shall. Oh, Angela, suppose it should be that 
God sent you down here to-day? " 

" Perhaps He did." They parted solemnly. 

Three hours later found her entering her sister's 
apartment. Jinny, her cold raging, her eyes in 
flamed and weeping, greeted her plaintively. 
" Look at me, Angela. And you leaving to 
morrow! I'll never be able to make that boat!" 
The telephone rang. " It's been ringing steadily 
for the last hour, somebody calling for you. Do 
answer it." 

The message was from Ashley. He had been 
away in New Orleans. " And I came back and 
found that clipping. I knew you sent it. Girl, the 
way I've pursued you this day ! Finally I caught 
up with Martha Burden, she told me where you 
were staying. May I come up? Be there in half 
an hour." 

" Not to-night, Ralph. Would you like to come 
to the boat to-morrow? " 

"So you're going anyhow? Bully! But not 
before I've seen you ! Suppose I take you to the 
boat? " 

" Awfully nice of you, but I'm going with my 
sister." 

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BUNHHHHHHHMHHHS* 



Here Jinny in a voice full of misplaced con 
sonants told her she was going to do nothing of 
the sort. " With this cold ! " 

Angela spoke into the receiver again. " My 
sister says she isn't going, so I will fall back on 
you if I may." She hung up. 

Virginia wanted to hear of the trip. The two 
sisters sat talking far into the night, but Angela 
said no word about Matthew. 



Monday was a day of surprises. Martha and 
Ladislas Starr, unable to be on hand for the sailing 
of the boat, came up to the house to drive down 
town with the departing traveller. Secretly Angela 
was delighted with this arrangement, but it brought 
a scowl to Ashley's face. 

Virginia, miserable with the wretchedness attend 
ant on a summer cold, bore up bravely. " I don't 
mind letting you go like this from the house; but 
I couldn't stand the ship ! Angela, you're not 
to worry about me one bit. Only come back 
to me, happy. I know you will. Oh how 
different this is from that parting years ago in 
Philadelphia ! " 

" Yes," said Angela soberly. " Then I was to 
be physically ninety miles away from you, but we 
were really seas apart. Now darling, three 
thousand miles are nothing when there is love and 
trust and understanding. And Jinny, listen ! Life 
is full of surprises. If a chance for real happiness 
comes your way don't be afraid to grasp at it." 

" Cryptic," wheezed Jinny, laughing. " I don't 
know what you're talking about, but I'll do my 

373 



BUNHHH^HHHHHHHH* 



best to land any happiness that comes drifting 
toward me." They kissed each other gravely, 
almost coldly, without tears. But neither could 
trust herself to say the actual good-bye. 

Angela was silent almost all the way down to 
the dock, answering her friends only in mono 
syllables. There, another surprise awaited her in 
the shape of Mrs. Denver, who remained, how 
ever, only for a few moments. " I couldn't stand 
having you go," she said pitifully, " without 
seeing you for one last time." And, folding the 
girl in a close embrace, she broke down and 
murmured sadly of a lost daughter who 
would have been " perhaps like you, dear, had 
she lived." 

Elizabeth Sandburg, the gay, the complacent, 
the beloved of life, clung to her, weeping, " I can't 
bear to lose you, Angele." Walter put his arm 
about her. " Kiss me, old girl. And mind, if you 
need anything, anything, you're to call on us. If 
you get sick we'll come over after you, am I 
right, Lizzie? " 

" Yes, of course, of course . . . and don't 
call me Lizzie. . . . Come away, can't you, and 
leave them a moment together. Don't you see 
Ashley glaring at you? " 

They withdrew to a good point of vantage on 
the dock. 

Angela, surprised and weeping, remembering 
both Mrs. Denver's words and the manifestations 
of kindness in her stateroom said: "They really 
did love me after all, didn't they? " 

" Yes," said Ashley earnestly, " we all love 
you. I'm coming over to see you by and by, 
Angele, may I? You know we've a lot of things 

374 



^.HHHHHHHHhPLUM BUNHHHHMHMHHHH5* 

to talk about, some things which you perhaps 
think mean a great deal to me but which in 
reality mean nothing. Then on the other hand 
there are some matters which actually do mean 
something to me but whose value to you I'm not 
sure of." 

" Oh," she said, wiping her eyes and remem 
bering her former secret. " You aren't coming 
over to ask me to marry you, are you? You don't 
have to do that. And anyway ' it is not now as it 
hath been before '. There's no longer a mystery 
about me, you know. So the real attraction's 
gone. Remember, I'm not expecting a thing of 
you, so please, please don't ask it. Ralph, I can't 
placard myself, and I suppose there will be lots of 
times when in spite of myself I'll be passing '. 
But I want you to know that from now on, so far as 
sides are concerned, I am on the coloured side. 
And I don't want you to come over on that side." 
She shook her head finally. " Too many compli 
cations even for you." 

For though she knew he believed in his brave 
words, she was too sadly experienced to ask an 
American to put them to the test. 

" All right," he said, smiling at her naive 
assumptions. " I won't ask you to marry me, 
at least not yet. But I'm coming over just the 
same. I don't suppose you've got a lien on 
Paris." 

" Of course I haven't," she giggled a little. 
" You know perfectly well I want you to come." 
Her face suddenly became grave. " But if you 
do come you won't come to make love without 
meaning anything either, will you? I'd hate that 
between you and me." 

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*HHHHHH-H~H-PLUM BUNHHHHHHHHHH-* 

" No," he said gently, instantly comprehending. 
" I won't do that either." 

" You'll come as a friend? " 

"Yes, as a friend." 

A deck hand came up then and said civilly that 
in a few minutes they would be casting off and all 
visitors must go ashore. 



CHAPTER III 

AMONG her steamer-letters was a brief note from 
Anthony : 

" Angela, my angel, my dear girl, good-bye. 
These last few weeks have been heaven and hell. 
I couldn't bear to see you go, so I've taken my 
self off for a few hours . . . don't think I'll 
neglect Jinny. I'll never do that. Am I right in 
supposing that you still care a little? Oh Angela, 
try to forget me, but don't do it! I shall never 
forget you ! " 

There were letters and flowers from the Burdens, 
gifts of all sorts from Ashley and Mrs. Denver, a 
set of notes for each day out from Virginia. She 
read letters, examined her gifts and laid them 
aside. But all day long Anthony's note reposed 
on her heart; it lay at night beneath her head. 



Paris at first charmed and wooed her. For a 
while it seemed to her that her old sense of joy 
in living for living's sake had returned to her. It 
was like those first few days which she had spent 
in exploring New York. She rode delightedly in 
the motor-buses on and on to the unknown, un 
predictable terminus; she followed the winding 
Seine; crossing and re-crossing the bridges each 

377 



BUN-HHHHHHHHHH^ 



with its distinctive characteristics. Back of the 
Pantheon, near the church of St. Genevieve she 
discovered a Russian restaurant where strange, 
exotic dishes were served by tall blond waiters in 
white, stiff Russian blouses. One day, wandering 
up the Boulevard du Mont Parnasse, she found 
at its juncture with the Boulevard Raspail the 
Cafe Dome, a student restaurant of which many 
returned students had spoken in the Art School 
in New York. On entering she was recognized 
almost immediately by Edith Martin, a girl who 
had studied with her in Philadelphia. 

Miss Martin had lived in Paris two years; knew 
all the gossip and the characters of the Quarter; 
could give Angela points on pensions, cafes, tips 
and the Gallic disposition. On all these topics she 
poured out perpetually a flood of information, 
presented her friends, summoned the new comer 
constantly to her studio or camped uninvited in 
the other girl's tiny quarters at the Pension 
Franciana. There was no chance for actual 
physical loneliness, yet Angela thought after a 
few weeks of persistent comradeship that she had 
never felt so lonely in her life. For the first time 
in her adventuresome existence she was caught up 
in a tide of homesickness. 

Then this passed too with the summer, and she 
found herself by the end of September engrossed 
in her work. She went to the Academy twice a 
day, immersed herself in the atmosphere of the 
Louvre and the gallery of the Luxembourg. It 
was hard work, but gradually she schooled herself 
to remember that this was her life, and that her 
aim, her one ambition, was to become an acknow 
ledged, a significant painter of portraits. The 

378 



instructor, renowned son of a still more renowned 
father, almost invariably praised her efforts. 

With the coming of the fall the sense of adven 
ture left her. Paris, so beautiful in the summer, 
so gay with its thronging thousands, its hosts bent 
on pleasure, took on another garb in the sullen 
greyness of late autumn. The tourists disappeared 
and the hard steady grind of labour, the intent 
application to the business of living, so noticeable 
in the French, took the place of a transient, careless 
freedom. Angela felt herself falling into line; 
but it was good discipline as she herself realized. 
Once or twice, in periods of utter loneliness or 
boredom, she let her mind dwell on her curiously 
thwarted and twisted life. But the ability for self- 
pity had vanished. She had known too many 
others whose lives lay equally remote from goals 
which had at first seemed so certain. For a period 
she had watched feverishly for the incoming of 
foreign mail, sure that some word must come from 
Virginia about Matthew, but the months crept 
sullenly by and Jinny's letters remained the same 
artless missives prattling of school-work, Anthony, 
Sara Penton, the Movies and visits to Maude the 
inimitable. 

" Of course not everything can come right," 
she told herself. Matthew evidently had, on 
second thought, deemed it wisest to consult the 
evidence of his own senses rather than be guided 
by the hints which in the nature of things she could 
offer only vaguely. 

Within those six months she lost forever the 
blind optimism of youth. She did not write 
Anthony nor did she hear from him. 



379 



BUN-HHH^HHHHHH** 



Christmas Eve day dawned or rather drifted 
greyly into the beholder's perception out of the 
black mistiness of the murky night. In spite of her 
self her spirits sank steadily. Virginia had promised 
her a present, " I've looked all over this whole 
town," she wrote, " to find you something good 
enough, something absolutely perfect. Anthony's 
been helping me. And at last I've found it. We've 
taken every possible precaution against the inter 
ference of wind or rain or weather, and unless 
something absolutely unpredictable intervenes, it 
will be there for you Christmas Eve or possibly 
the day before. But remember, don't open it 
until Christmas." 

But it was now six o'clock on Christmas Eve 
and no present had come, no letter, no remem 
brance of any kind. " Oh," she said to herself, 
" what a fool I was to come so far away from 
home ! " For a moment she envisaged the possi 
bility of throwing herself on the bed and sobbing 
her heart out. Instead she remembered Edith 
Martin's invitation to make a night of it over at her 
place, a night which was to include dancing and 
chaffing, a trip just before midnight to hear Mass 
at St. Sulpice, and a return to the studio for doubt 
less more dancing and jesting and laughter, and 
possibly drunkenness on the part of the American 
male. 

At ten o'clock as she stood in her tiny room 
rather sullenly putting the last touches to her 
costume, the maid, Heloise, brought her a cable. 
It was a long message from Ashley wishing her 
health, happiness and offering to come over at 
a week's notice. Somehow the bit of blue 
paper cheered her, easing her taut nerves. 

380 



BUNHHHHHHHHHHH5- 



" Of course they're thinking about me. I'll hear 
from Jinny any moment; it's not her fault 
that the delivery is late. I wonder what she 
sent me." 

Returning at three o'clock Christmas morning 
from the party she put her hand cautiously in 
the door to switch on the light for fear that a 
package lay near the threshold, but there was no 
package there. " Well, even if it were there I 
couldn't open it," she murmured, " for I'm too 
sleepy." And indeed she had drugged herself 
with dancing and gaiety into an overwhelming 
drowsiness. Barely able to toss aside her pretty 
dress, she tumbled luxuriously into bed, grateful 
in the midst of her somnolence for the fatigue which 
would make her forget. ... In what seemed to 
her less than an hour, she heard a tremendous 
knocking at the door. 

" Entrez" she called sleepily and relapsed 
immediately into slumber. The door, as it hap 
pened, was unlocked; she had been too fatigued 
to think of it the night before. Heloise stuck in a 
tousled head. " My God," she told the cook 
afterwards, " such a time as I had to wake her! 
There she was asleep on both ears and the gentle 
man downstairs waiting ! " 

Angela finally opened bewildered eyes. " A 
gentleman," reiterated Heloise in her staccato 
tongue. " He awaits you below. He says he has 
a present which he must put into your own hands. 
Will Mademoiselle then descend or shall I tell him 
to come back? " 

;{ Tell him to come back," she murmured, then 
opened her heavy eyes. "Is it really Christmas, 
Heloise? Where is the gentleman? " 



" As though I had him there in my pocket," 
said Heloise later in her faithful report to the 
cook. 

But finally the message penetrated. Grasping 
a robe and slippers, she half leaped, half fell down 
the little staircase and plunged into the five foot 
square drawing-room. Anthony sitting on the 
tremendously disproportionate tan and maroon 
sofa rose to meet her. 

His eyes on her astonished countenance, he 
began searching about in his pockets, slapping his 
vest, pulling out keys and handkerchiefs. " There 
ought to be a tag on me somewhere," he remarked 
apologetically, " but anyhow Virginia and Matthew 
sent me with their love." 



THE END