The Lion and the Unicorn
Richard Harding Davis
PRENTISS had a long lease on the houseandbecause it stood in Jermyn Street the upper floors wereas a matter of courseturned into lodgings for single gentlemen; and because Prentiss was a Florist tothe Queenhe placed a lion and unicorn over his flower-shopjust in front ofthe middle window on the first floor. By stretching a littleeach of them couldsee into the window just beyond himand could hear all that was said inside;and such things as they saw and heard during the reign of Captain Carringtonwho moved in at the same time they did! By day the table in the centre of theroom was covered with mapsand the Captain sat with a box of pinswithdifferent-colored flags wrapped around themand amused himself by sticking themin the maps and measuring the
spaces in betweenswearing meanwhile to himself. It was a selfish amusementbut it appeared to be the Captain's only intellectual pursuitfor at nightthemaps were rolled upand a green cloth was spread across the tableand therewas much company and popping of soda-bottlesand little heaps of gold andsilver were moved this way and that across the cloth. The smoke drifted out ofthe open windowsand the laughter of the Captain's guests rang out loudly inthe empty streetso that the policeman halted and raised his eyes reprovinglyto the lighted windowsand cabmen drew up beneath them and lay in waitdozingon their folded armsfor the Captain's guests to depart. The Lion and theUnicorn were rather ashamed of the scandal of itand they were glad whenonedaythe Captain went away with his tin boxes and gun-cases piled high on afour-wheeler.
Prentiss stood on the sidewalk and said:"I wish you good lucksir." And the Captain said: "I'm comingback a MajorPrentiss." But he never came back. And one day -- the Lionremembered the day
very wellfor on that same day the newsboys ran up and down Jermyn Streetshouting out the news of "a 'orrible disaster" to the British arms. Itwas then that a young lady came to the door in a hansomand Prentiss went outto meet her and led her upstairs. They heard him unlock the Captain's door andsay"This is his roommiss" and after he had gone they watched herstanding quite still by the centre table. She stood there for a very long timelooking slowly about herand then she took a photograph of the Captain from theframe on the mantel and slipped it into her pocketand when she went out againher veil was downand she was crying. She must have given Prentiss as much as asovereignfor he called her "Your ladyship" which he never did undera sovereign.
And she drove offand they never saw heragain eithernor could they hear the address she gave the cabman. But it wassomewhere up St. John's Wood way.
After that the rooms were empty for somemonthsand the Lion and the Unicorn were forced to amuse themselves with thebeautiful ladies and smart-looking men who came to
Prentiss to buy flowers and "buttonholes" and the little roundbaskets of strawberriesand even the peaches at three shillings eachwhichlooked so tempting as they lay in the windowwrapped up in cotton-woollikejewels of great price.
Then Philip Carrollthe American gentlemancameand they heard Prentiss telling him that those rooms had always let forfive guineas a weekwhich they knew was not true; but they also knew that inthe economy of nations there must always be a higher price for the richAmericanor else why was he given that strange accentexcept to betray himinto the hands of the London shopkeeperand the London cabby?
The American walked to the window toward thewestwhich was the window nearest the Lionand looked out into the graveyardof St. James's Churchthat stretched between their street and Piccadilly.
"You're lucky in having a bit of green tolook out on" he said to Prentiss. "I'll take these rooms -- at fiveguineas. That's more than they're worthyou knowbut as I know ittooyourconscience needn't trouble you."
Then his eyes fell on the Lionand he noddedto him gravely. "How do you do?" he said. "I'm coming to livewith you for a little time. I have read about you and your friends over there.It is a hazard of new fortunes with meyour Majestyso be kind to meand if IwinI will put a new coat of paint on your shield and gild you all over again."
Prentiss smiled obsequiously at the American'spleasantrybut the new lodger only stared at him.
"He seemed a social gentleman" saidthe Unicornthat nightwhen the Lion and he were talking it over. "Nowthe Captainthe whole time he was herenever gave us so much as a look. Thisone says he has read of us."
"And why not?" growled the Lion."I hope Prentiss heard what he said of our needing a new layer of gilt.It's disgraceful. You can see that Lion over Scarlett'sthe butcheras far asRegent Streetand Scarlett is only one of Salisbury's creations. He receivedhis Letters-Patent only two years back. We date from Palmerston."
The lodger came up the street just at that
momentand stopped and looked up at the Lion and the Unicorn from the sidewalkbefore he opened the door with his night-key. They heard him enter the room andfeel on the mantel for his pipeand a moment later he appeared at the Lion'swindow and leaned on the silllooking down into the street below and blowingwhiffs of smoke up into the warm night-air.
It was a night in Juneand the pavements weredry under foot and the streets were filled with well-dressed peoplegoing homefrom the playand with groups of men in black and whitemaking their way tosupper at the clubs. Hansoms of inky-blackwith shining lamps inside and outdashed noiselessly past on mysterious errandschasing close on each other'sheels on a mad raceeach to its separate goal. From the cross streets rose thenoises of early nightthe rumble of the 'busesthe creaking of their brakesas they unlockedthe cries of the "extras" and the merging ofthousands of human voices in a dull murmur. The great world of London wasclosing its shutters for the nightand putting out the lights; and the newlodger from
across the sea listened to it with his heart beating quicklyand laughed tostifle the touch of fear and homesickness that rose in him.
"I have seen a great play to-night"he said to the Lion"nobly played by great players. What will they carefor my poor wares? I see that I have been over-bold. But we cannot go back now-- not yet."
He knocked the ashes out of his pipeandnodded "good-night" to the great world beyond his window. "Whatfortunes lie with yeye lights of London town?" he quotedsmiling. Andthey heard him close the door of his bedroomand lock it for the night.
The next morning he bought many geraniums fromPrentiss and placed them along the broad cornice that stretched across the frontof the house over the shop window. The flowers made a band of scarlet on eitherside of the Lion as brilliant as a Tommy's jacket.
"I am trying to propitiate the BritishLion by placing flowers before his altar" the American said that morningto a visitor.
"The British public you mean" saidthe visitor; "they are each likely to tear you to pieces."
"YesI have heard that the pit on thefirst night of a bad play is something awful" hazarded the American.
"Wait and see" said the visitor.
"Thank you" said the Americanmeekly.
Every one who came to the first floor fronttalked about a play. It seemed to be something of great moment to the American.It was only a bundle of leaves printed in red and black inks and bound in brownpaper covers. There were two of themand the American called them by differentnames: one was his comedy and one was his tragedy.
"They are both likely to be tragedies"the Lion heard one of the visitors say to anotheras they drove away together."Our young friend takes it too seriously."
The American spent most of his time by hisdesk at the window writing on little blue pads and tearing up what he wroteorin reading over one of the plays to himself in a loud voice. In time the numberof his visitors increasedand to some of these he would
read his play; and after they had left him he was either depressed and silent orexcited and jubilant. The Lion could always tell when he was happy because thenhe would go to the side table and pour himself out a drink and say"Here'sto me" but when he was depressed he would stand holding the glass in hishandand finally pour the liquor back into the bottle again and say"What'sthe use of that?"
After he had been in London a month he wroteless and was more frequently abroadsallying forth in beautiful raimentandcoming home by daylight.
And he gave suppers toobut they were lessnoisy than the Captain's had beenand the women who came to them were much morebeautifuland their voices when they spoke were sweet and low. Sometimes one ofthe women sangand the men sat in silence while the people in the street belowstopped to listenand would say"Whythat is So-and-So singing"and the Lion and the Unicorn wondered how they could know who it was when theycould not see her.
The lodger's visitors came to see him at all
Consumed tea and thin slices ofbread.
hours. They seemed to regard his rooms as a clubwhere they could always comefor a bite to eat or to write notes; and others treated it like a lawyer'soffice and asked advice on all manner of strange subjects. Sometimes the visitorwanted to know whether the American thought she ought to take £10 a week and goon touror stay in town and try to live on £8; or whether she should paintlandscapes that would not sellor racehorses that would; or whether Reggiereally loved her and whether she really loved Reggie; or whether the new part inthe piece at the Court was better than the old part at Terry'sand wasn't shegetting too old to play "ingenues" anyway.
The lodger seemed to be a general adviserandsmoked and listened with grave considerationand the Unicorn thought hisjudgment was most sympathetic and sensible.
Of all the beautiful ladies who came to callon the lodger the one the Unicorn liked the best was the one who wanted to knowwhether she loved Reggie and whether Reggie loved her. She discussed this sointerestingly while she consumed tea and thin
slices of bread that the Unicorn almost lost his balance in leaning forward tolisten. Her name was Marion Cavendish and it was written over many photographswhich stood in silver frames in the lodger's rooms. She used to make the teaherselfwhile the lodger sat and smoked; and she had a fascinating way ofdoubling the thin slices of bread into long strips and nibbling at them like amouse at a piece of cheese. She had wonderful little teeth and Cupid's-bow lipsand she had a fashion of lifting her veil only high enough for one to see thetwo Cupid-bow lips. When she did that the American used to laughat nothingapparentlyand say"OhI guess Reggie loves you well enough."
"But do I love Reggie?" she wouldask sadlywith her tea-cup held poised in air.
" I am sure I hope not" the lodgerwould replyand she would put down the veil quicklyas one would drop acurtain over a beautiful pictureand rise with great dignity and say"ifyou talk like that I shall not come again."
She was sure that if she could only get somework to do her head would be filled
with more important matters than whether Reggie loved her or not.
"But the managers seem inclined to cuttheir cavendish very fine just at present" she said. "If I don't geta part soon" she announced"I shall ask Mitchell to put me down onthe list for recitations at evening parties."
"That seems a desperate revenge"said the American; "and besidesI don't want you to get a partbecausesome one might be idiotic enough to take my comedyand if he shouldyou mustplay Nancy."
"I would not ask for any salary if Icould play Nancy" Miss Cavendish answered.
They spoke of a great many thingsbut theirtalk always ended by her saying that there must be some one with sufficientsense to see that his play was a great playand by his saying that none but shemust play Nancy.
The Lion preferred the tall girl with massesand folds of brown hairwho came from America to paint miniatures of theBritish aristocracy. Her name was Helen Cabotand he liked her because she wasso brave and fearlessand so determined to be independent
of every oneeven of the lodger -- especially of the lodgerwho it appearedhad known her very well at home. The lodgerthey gathereddid not wish her tobe independent of him and the two Americans had many arguments and disputesabout itbut she always said"It does no goodPhilip; it only hurts usboth when you talk so. I care for nothingand for no one but my artandpooras it isit means everything to meand you do notandof coursethe man Iam to marrymust." Then Carroll would talkwalking up and downandlooking very fierce and determinedand telling her how he loved her in such away that it made her look even more proud and beautiful. And she would say moregently"It is very fine to think that any one can care for like thatandvery helpful. But unless I cared in the same way it would be wicked of me tomarry youand besides -- " She would add very quickly to prevent hisspeaking again -- " I don't want to marry you or anybodyand I never shall.I want to be free and to succeed in my workjust as you want to succeed in yourwork. So please never speak of this again."
When she went away the lodger used to sit smoking in the big arm-chair and beatthe arms with his handsand he would pace up and down the room while his workwould lie untouched and his engagements pass forgotten.
Summer came and London was deserteddullanddustybut the lodger stayed on in Jermyn Street. Helen Cabot had departed on around of visits to country houses in Scotlandwhereas she wrote himshe waspainting miniatures of her hosts and studying the game of golf. Miss Cavendishdivided her days between the river and one of the West End theatres. She wasplaying a small part in a farce-comedy.
One day she came up from Cookham earlier thanusuallooking very beautiful in a white boating frock and a straw hat with aLeander ribbon. Her hands and arms were hard with dragging a punting pole andshe was sunburnt and happyand hungry for tea.
"Why don't you come down to Cookham andget out of this heat?" Miss Cavendish asked. "You need it; you lookill."
"I'd like tobut I can't" saidCarroll. "The fact isI paid in advance for these roomsand if I livedanywhere else I'd be losing five guineas a week on them."
Miss Cavendish regarded him severely. She hadnever quite mastered his American humor.
"But five guineas -- why that's nothingto you" she said. Something in the lodger's face made her pause. "Youdon't mean -- -- "
"YesI do" said the lodgersmiling. "You seeI started in to lay siege to London without sufficientammunition. London is a large townand it didn't fall as quickly as I thoughtit would. So I am economizing. Mr. Lockhart's Coffee Rooms and I are no longerstrangers."
Miss Cavendish put down her cup of teauntasted and leaned toward him
"Are you in earnest?" she asked."For how long?"
"Ohfor the last month" repliedthe lodger; "they are not at all bad -- clean and wholesome and all that."
"But the suppers you gave usand this"she criedsuddenlywaving her hands over
the pretty tea-things"and the cake and muffins?"
"My friendsat least" said Carroll"need not go to Lockhart's."
"And the Savoy?" asked MissCavendishmournfully shaking her head.
"A dream of the past" said Carrollwaving his pipe through the smoke. "Gatti's? Yeson special occasions; butfor necessitythe Chancellor'swhere one gets a piece of the prime roast beefof Old Englandfrom Chicagoand potatoes for ninepence -- a pot of bittertwopence-halfpennyand a penny for the waiter. It's most amusing on the whole.I am learning a little about Londonand some things about myself. They are bothmost interesting subjects."
"WellI don't like it" MissCavendish declared helplessly. "When I think of those suppers and theflowersI feel -- I feel like a robber."
"Don't" begged Carroll. "I amreally the most happy of men -- that isas the chap says in the playI wouldbe if I wasn't so damned miserable. But I owe no man a penny and I have assets-- I have £80 to last
me through the winter and two marvellous plays; and I lovenext to yourselfthe most wonderful woman God ever made. That's enough."
"But I thought you made such a lot ofmoney by writing?" asked Miss Cavendish.
"I do -- that isI could" answeredCarroll"if I wrote the things that sell; but I keep on writing plays thatwon't."
"And such plays!" exclaimed Marionwarmly; "and to think that they are going begging." She continuedindignantly"I can't imagine what the managers do want."
"I know what they don't want" saidthe American. Miss Cavendish drummed impatiently on the tea-tray.
"I wish you wouldn't be so abject aboutit" she said. "If I were a man I'd make them take those plays."
"How?" asked the American; "witha gun?"
"WellI'd keep at it until they readthem" declared Marion. "I'd sit on their front steps all night andI'd follow them in cabsand I'd lie in wait for them at the stage-door. I'djust make them take them."
Carroll sighed and stared at the ceiling."I guess I'll give up and go home" he said.
"Ohyesdorun away before you arebeaten" said Miss Cavendishscornfully. "Whyyou can't go now.Everybody will be back in town soonand there are a lot of new plays coming onand some of them are sure to be failuresand that's our chance. You rush inwith your piece and somebody may take it sooner than close the theatre."
"I'm thinking of closing the theatremyself" said Carroll. "What's the use of my hanging on here?" heexclaimed. "It distresses Helen to know I am in Londonfeeling about heras I do -- and the Lord only knows how it distresses me. Andmaybeif I wentaway" he saidconsciously"she might miss me. She might see thedifference."
Miss Cavendish held herself erect and pressedher lips together with a severe smile. "If Helen Cabot doesn't see thedifference between you and the other men she knows now" she said"Idoubt if she ever will. Besides -- " she continuedand then hesitated."Wellgo on" urged Carroll.
"WellI was only going to say" sheexplained"that leaving the girl alone never did the man any good unlesshe left her alone willingly. If she's sure he still caresit's just the same toher where he is. He might as well stay on in London as go to South Africa. Itwon't help him any. The difference comes when she finds he has stopped caring.Whylook at Reggie. He tried that. He went away for ever so longbut he keptwriting me from wherever he wentso that he was perfectly miserable -- and Iwent on enjoying myself. Then when he came backhe tried going about with hisold friends again. He used to come to the theatre with them -- ohwith suchnice girls -- but he always stood in the back of the box and yawned and scowled-- so I knew. Andanywayhe'd always spoil it all by leaving them and waitingat the stage entrance for me. But one day he got tired of the way I treated himand went off on a bicycle tour with Lady Hacksher's girls and some men from hisregimentand he was gone three weeks and never sent me even a line; and I gotso scared; I couldn't sleepand I
stood it for three days moreand then I wired him to come back or I'd jump offLondon Bridge; and he came back that very night from Edinburgh on the expressand I was so glad to see him that I got confusedand in the general excitementI promised to marry himso that's how it was with us."
"Yes" said the Americanwithoutenthusiasm; "but then I still careand Helen knows I care."
"Doesn't she ever fancy that you mightcare for some one else? You have a lot of friendsyou know."
"Yesbut she knows they are just that --friends" said the American.
Miss Cavendish stood up to goand arrangedher veil before the mirror above the fireplace.
"I come here very often to tea" shesaid.
"It's very kind of you" saidCarroll. He was at the open windowlooking down into the street for a cab.
"Wellno one knows I am engaged toReggie" continued Miss Cavendish"except you and Reggieand heisn't so sure. She doesn't know it."
"Well?" said Carroll.
Miss Cavendish smiled a mischievous kindlysmile at him from the mirror.
"Well?" she repeatedmockingly.Carroll stared at her and laughed. After a pause he said: "It's like a plotin a comedy. But I'm afraid I'm too serious for play-acting."
"Yesit is serious" said MissCavendish. She seated herself again and regarded the American thoughtfully."You are too good a man to be treated the way that girl is treating youand no one knows it better than she does. She'll change in timebut just nowshe thinks she wants to be independent. She's in love with this picture-paintingideaand with the people she meets. It's all new to her -- the fuss they makeover her and the titlesand the way she is asked about. We know she can'tpaint. We know they only give her commissions because she's so young and prettyand American. She amuses themthat's all. Wellthat cannot last; she'll findit out. She's too clever a girland she is too fine a girl to be content withthat long. Then -- then she'll come back to you. She feels now that she has bothyou and the others
and she's making you wait: so wait and be cheerful. She's worth waiting for;she's youngthat's all. She'll see the difference in time. Butin themeanwhileit would hurry matters a bit if she thought she had to choose betweenthe new friends and you."
"She could still keep her friendsandmarry me" said Carroll; "I have told her that a hundred times. Shecould still paint miniatures and marry me. But she won't marry me."
"She won't marry you because she knowsshe can whenever she wants to;" cried Marion. "Can't you see that? Butif she thought you were going to marry some one else now?"
"She would be the first to congratulateme" said Carroll. He rose and walked to the fireplacewhere he leanedwith his arm on the mantel. There was a photograph of Helen Cabot near his handand he turned this toward him and stood for some time staring at it. "Mydear Marion" he said at last"I've known Helen ever since she was asyoung as that. Every year I've loved her moreand found new things in her to
care for; now I love her more than any other man ever loved any otherwoman."
Miss Cavendish shook her head sympathetically.
"YesI know" she said;"that's the way Reggie loves metoo."
Carroll went on as though he had not heardher.
"There's a bench in St. James'sPark" he said"where we used to sit when she first came herewhenshe didn't know so many people. We used to go there in the morning and throwpenny buns to the ducks. That's been my amusement this summer since you've allbeen away -- sitting on that benchfeeding penny buns to the silly ducks --especially the black onethe one she used to like best. And I make pilgrimagesto all the other places we ever visited togetherand try to pretend she is withme. And I support the crossing sweeper at Lansdowne Passage because she oncesaid she felt sorry for him. I do all the other absurd things that a man in lovetortures himself by doing. But to what end? She knows how I careand yet shewon't see why
we can't go on being friends as we once were. What's the use of it all? "
"She is youngI tell you" repeatedMiss Cavendish"and she's too sure of you. You've told her you care; nowtry making her think you don't care."
Carroll shook his head impatiently.
"I will not stoop to such tricks andpretenceMarion" he cried impatiently. "All I have is my love forher; if I have to cheat and to trap her into caringthe whole thing would bedegraded."
Miss Cavendish shrugged her shoulders andwalked to the door. "Such amateurs!" she exclaimedand banged thedoor after her.
Carroll never quite knew how he had come tomake a confidante of Miss Cavendish. Helen and he had met her when they firstarrived in Londonand as she had acted for a season in the United Statessheadopted the two Americans -- and told Helen where to go for boots and hatsandadvised Carroll about placing his plays. Helen soon made other friendsanddeserted the artistswith whom her work had first thrown her. She seemed toprefer the society of the people
who bought her paintingsand who admired and made much of the painter. As shewas very beautiful and at an age when she enjoyed everything in life keenly andeagerlyto give her pleasure was in itself a distinct pleasure; and the worldlytired people she met were considering their own entertainment quite as much ashers when they asked her to their dinners and dancesor to spend a week withthem in the country. In her wayshe was as independent as was Carroll in hisand as she was not in loveas he washer life was not narrowed down to but oneideal. But she was not so young as to consider herself infallibleand she hadone excellent friend on whom she was dependent for advice and to whosedirections she submitted implicitly. This was Lady Gowerthe only person towhom Helen had spoken of Carroll and of his great feeling for her. Lady Gowerimmediately after her marriagehad been a conspicuous and brilliant figure inthat set in London which works eighteen hours a day to keep itself amusedbutafter the death of her husband she had disappeared into the country ascompletely as though she had entered
a conventand after several years had then re-entered the world as aprofessional philanthropist. Her name was now associated entirely with Women'sLeagueswith committees that presented petitions to Parliamentand with publicmeetingsat which she spoke with marvellous ease and effect. Her old friendssaid she had taken up this new pose as an outlet for her nervous energiesandas an effort to forget the man who alone had made life serious to her. Othersknew her as an earnest womanacting honestly for what she thought was right.Her successall admittedwas due to her knowledge of the world and to hersense of humorwhich taught her with whom to use her wealth and positionandwhen to demand what she wanted solely on the ground that the cause was just.
She had taken more than a fancy for Helenandthe position of the beautifulmotherless girl had appealed to her as one filledwith dangers. When she grew to know Helen bettershe recognized that thesefears were quite unnecessaryand as she saw more of her she learned to care forher deeply. Helen had told her much of Carroll and of his
double purpose in coming to London; of his brilliant work and his lack ofsuccess in having it recognized; and of his great and loyal devotion to herandof his lack of successnot in having that recognizedbut in her own inabilityto return it. Helen was proud that she had been able to make Carroll care forher as he didand that there was anything about her which could inspire a manwhom she admired so muchto believe in her so absolutely and for so long atime. But what convinced her that the outcome for which he hoped was impossiblewas the very fact that she could admire himand see how fine and unselfish hislove for her wasand yet remain untouched by it.
She had been telling Lady Gower one day of thecare he had taken of her ever since she was fourteen years of ageand hadquoted some of the friendly and loverlike acts he had performed in her serviceuntil one day they had both found out that his attitude of the elder brother wasno longer possibleand that he loved her in the old and only way. Lady Gowerlooked at her rather doubtfully and smiled.
"I wish you would bring him to see meHelen" she said; "I think I should like your friend very much. Fromwhat you tell me of him I doubt if you will find many such men waiting for youin this country. Our men marry for reasons of propertyor they love blindlyand are exacting and selfish before and after they are married. I knowbecauseso many women came to me when my husband was alive to ask how it was that Icontinued so happy in my married life."
"But I don't want to marry any one"Helen remonstrated gently. "American girls are not always thinking only ofgetting married."
"What I meant was this" said LadyGower"thatin my experienceI have heard of but few men who care in theway this young man seems to care for you. You say you do not love him; but if hehad wanted to gain my interesthe could not have pleaded his cause better thanyou have done. He seems to see your faults and yet love you stillin spite ofthem -- or on account of them. And I like the things he does for you. I likefor
instancehis sending you the book of the moment every week for two years. Thatshows a most unswerving spirit of devotion. And the story of the broken bridgein the woods is a wonderful story. If I were a young girlI could love a manfor that alone. It was a beautiful thing to do."
Helen sat with her chin on her handsdeeplyconsidering this new point of view.
"I thought it very foolish of him"she confessed questioningly"to take such a risk for such a littlething."
Lady Gower smiled down at her from the heightof her many years.
"Wait" she said dryly"youare very young now -- and very rich; every one is crowding to give you pleasureto show his admiration. You are a very fortunate girl. But laterthese thingswhich some man has done because he loved youand which you call foolishwillgrow large in your lifeand shine out stronglyand when you are discouragedand aloneyou will take them outand the memory of them will make you proudand happy. They are the honors which women wear in secret."
Helen came back to town in Septemberand forthe first few days was so occupied in refurnishing her studio and in visitingthe shops that she neglected to send Carroll word of her return. When she foundthat a whole week had passed without her having made any effort to see himandappreciated how the fact would hurt her friendshe was filled with remorseanddrove at once in great haste to Jermyn Streetto announce her return in person.On the way she decided that she would soften the blow of her week of neglect byasking him to take her out to luncheon. This privilege she had once or twiceaccorded himand she felt that the pleasure these excursions gave Carroll wereworth the consternation they caused to Lady Gower.
The servant was uncertain whether Mr. Carrollwas at home or notbut Helen was too intent upon making restitution to wait forthe fact to be determinedandrunning up the stairsknocked sharply at thedoor of his study.
A voice bade her come inand she enteredradiant and smiling her welcome. But
Carroll was not there to receive itand insteadMarion Cavendish looked up ather from his desk where she was busily writing. Helen paused with a surprisedlaughbut Marion sprang up and hailed her gladly. They met half way across theroom and kissed each other with the most friendly feeling.
Philip was outMarion saidand she had juststepped in for a moment to write him a note. If Helen would excuse hershewould finish itas she was late for rehearsal.
But she asked over her shoulderwith greatinterestif Helen had passed a pleasant summer. She thought she had never seenher looking so well. Helen thought Miss Cavendish herself was looking very wellalsobut Marion said no; that she was too sunburntshe would not be able towear a dinner-dress for a month. There was a pause while Marion's quillscratched violently across Carroll's note-paper. Helen felt that in some way shewas being treated as an intruder; or worseas a guest. She did not sit downitseemed impossible to do sobut she moved uncertainly about the room. She
noted that there were many changesit seemed more bare and empty; her picturewas still on the writing-deskbut there were at least six new photographs ofMarion. Marion herself had brought them to the room that morningand hadcarefully arranged them in conspicuous places. But Helen could not know that.She thought there was an unnecessary amount of writing scribbled over the faceof each.
Marion addressed her letter and wrote"Immediate" across the envelopeand placed it before the clock on themantelshelf. "You will find Philip looking very badly" she saidasshe pulled on her gloves. "He has been in town all summerworking veryhard -- he has had no holiday at all. I don't think he's well. I have been agreat deal worried about him" she added. Her face was bent over thebuttons of her gloveand when she raised her blue eyes to Helen they werefilled with serious concern.
"Really" Helen stammered"I-- I didn't know -- in his letters he seemed very cheerful."
Marion shook her head and turned and
stood looking thoughtfully out of the window. "He's in a very hardplace" she began abruptlyand then stopped as though she had thoughtbetter of what she intended to say. Helen tried to ask her to go onbut couldnot bring herself to do so. She wanted to get away.
"I tell him he ought to leaveLondon" Marion began again; "he needs a change and a rest."
"I should think he might" Helenagreed"after three months of this heat. He wrote me he intended going toHerne Bay or over to Ostend."
"Yeshe had meant to go" Marionanswered. She spoke with the air of one who possessed the most intimateknowledge of Carroll's movements and plansand change of plans. "But hecouldn't" she added. "He couldn't afford it. Helen" she saidturning to the other girldramatically"do you know -- I believe thatPhilip is very poor."
Miss Cabot exclaimed incredulously"Poor!" She laughed. "Whywhat do you mean?"
"I mean that he has no money"Marion answeredsharply. "These rooms represent nothing. He only keepsthem on because he paid for them in advance. He's been living on three shillingsa day. That's poor for him. He takes his meals at cabmen's shelters and atLockhart'sand he's been doing so for a month."
Helen recalled with a guilty thrill thereceipt of certain boxes of La France roses -- cut longin the American fashion-- which had arrived within the last month at various country houses. She feltindignant at herselfand miserable. Her indignation was largely due to therecollection that she had given these flowers to her hostess to decorate thedinner-table.
She hated to ask this girl of things which sheshould have known better than any one else. But she forced herself to do it. Shefelt she must know certainly and at once.
"How do you know this?" she asked."Are you sure there is no mistake?"
"He told me himself" said Marion"when he talked of letting the plays go and returning
to America. He said he must go back; that his money was gone."
"He is gone to America!" Helen saidblankly.
"Nohe wanted to gobut I wouldn't lethim" Marion went on. "I told him that some one might take his playany day. And this third one he has writtenthe one he finished this summer intownis the best of allI think. It's a love-story. It's quitebeautiful." She turned and arranged her veil at the glassand as she didsoher eyes fell on the photographs of herself scattered over the mantelpieceand she smiled slightly. But Helen did not see her -- she was sitting down nowpulling at the books on the table. She was confused and disturbed by emotionswhich were quite strange to herand when Marion bade her good-by she hardlynoticed her departure. What impressed her most of all in what Marion had toldherwasshe was surprised to findthat Philip was going away. That sheherself had frequently urged him to do sofor his own peace of mindseemed nowof no consequence. Now that he seriously contemplated itshe recognized that
his absence meant to her a change in everything. She felt for the first time thepeculiar place he held in her life. Even if she had seen him but seldomthefact that he was within call had been more of a comfort and a necessity to herthan she understood.
That he was poorconcerned her chieflybecause she knew thatalthough this condition could only be but temporaryitwould distress him not to have his friends around himand to entertain them ashe had been used to do. She wondered eagerly if she might offer to help himbuta second thought assured her thatfor a manthat sort of help from a woman wasimpossible.
She resented the fact that Marion was deep inhis confidence; that it was Marion who had told her of his changed condition andof his plans. It annoyed her so acutely that she could not remain in the roomwhere she had seen her so complacently in possession. And after leaving a briefnote for Philipshe went away. She stopped a hansom at the doorand told theman to drive along the Embankment -- she wanted to be quite aloneand she feltshe could see no one until she
had thought it all outand had analyzed the new feelings.
So for several hours she drove slowly up anddownsunk far back in the cushions of the caband staring with unseeing eyesat the white enamelled tariff and the black dash-board.
She assured herself that she was not jealousof Marionbecausein order to be jealousshe first would have to care forPhilip in the very way she could not bring herself to do.
She decided that his interest in Marion hurtherbecause it showed that Philip was not capable of remaining true to the oneideal of his life. She was sure that this explained her feelings -- she wasdisappointed that he had not kept up to his own standard; that he was weakenough to turn aside from it for the first pretty pair of eyes. But she was toohonest and too just to accept that diagnosis of her feelings as final -- sheknew there had been many pairs of eyes in America and in Londonand that thoughPhilip had seen themhe had not answered them when they spoke. Nosheconfessed frankly
she was hurt with herself for neglecting her old friend so selfishly and for solong a time; his love gave him claims on her considerationat leastand shehad forgotten that and himand had run after strange gods and allowed others tocome in and take her placeand to give him the sympathy and help which sheshould have been the first to offerand which would have counted more whencoming from her than from any one else. She determined to make amends at oncefor her thoughtlessness and selfishnessand her brain was pleasantly occupiedwith plans and acts of kindness. It was a new entertainmentand she found shedelighted in it. She directed the cabman to go to Solomons'sand from theresent Philip a bunch of flowers and a line saying that on the following day shewas coming to take tea with him. She had a guilty feeling that he might considerher friendly advances more seriously than she meant thembut it was herpleasure to be reckless: her feelings were running riotouslyand the sensationwas so new that she refused to be circumspect or to consider consequences. Whocould tellshe
asked herself with a quickfrightened gaspbut thatafter allit might bethat she was learning to care? From Solomons's she bade the man drive to theshop in Cranbourne Street where she was accustomed to purchase the materials sheused in paintingand Fatewhich uses strange agents to work out its endssodirected it that the cabman stopped a few doors below this shopand oppositeone where jewelry and other personal effects were bought and sold. At any othertimeor had she been in any other moodwhat followed might not have occurredbut Fatein the person of the cabmanarranged it so that the hour and theopportunity came together.
There were some old mezzotints in the windowof the loan shopa string of coins and medalsa row of new French posters; andfar down to the front a tray filled with gold and silver cigarette-cases andwatches and rings. It occurred to Helenwho was still bent on makingrestitution for her neglectthat a cigarette-case would be more appropriate fora man than flowersand more lasting. And she scanned the contents of the
window with the eye of one who now saw in everything only something which mightgive Philip pleasure. The two objects of value in the tray upon which her eyesfirst fell were the gold seal-ring with which Philip had sealed his letters toherandlying next to ithis gold watch! There was something almost human inthe way the ring and watch spoke to her from the past -- in the way theyappealed to her to rescue them from the surroundings to which they had beenabandoned. She did not know what she meant to do with them nor how she couldreturn them to Philip; but there was no question of doubt in her manner as sheswept with a rush into the shop. There was no attempteitherat bargaining inthe way in which she pointed out to the young woman behind the counter theparticular ring and watch she wanted. They had not been left as collateraltheyoung woman said; they had been sold outright.
"Then any one can buy them?" Helenasked eagerly. "They are for sale to the public -- to any one?"
The young woman made note of the cus
tomer's eagernessbut with an unmoved countenance.
"Yesmissthey are for sale. The ringis four pounds and the watch twenty-five."
"Twenty-nine pounds!" Helen gasped.
That was more money than she had in the worldbut the fact did not distress herfor she had a true artistic disregard forready moneyand the absence of it had never disturbed her. But now it assumed asudden and alarming value. She had ten pounds in her purse and ten pounds at herstudio -- these were just enough to pay for a quarter's rent and the ratesandthere was a hat and cloak in Bond Street which she certainly must have. Her onlyassets consisted of the possibility that some one might soon order a miniatureand to her mind that was sufficient. Some one always had ordered a miniatureand there was no reasonable doubt but that some one would do it again. For amoment she questioned if it would not be sufficient if she bought the ring andallowed the watch to remain. But she recognized that the ring meant more to herthan the watchwhile the latteras an old heirloom which had been
passed down to him from a great-grandfathermeant more to Philip. It was forPhilip she was doing thisshe reminded herself. She stood holding hispossessionsone in each handand looking at the young woman blankly. She hadno doubt in her mind that at least part of the money he had received for themhad paid for the flowers he had sent to her in Scotland. The certainty of thisleft her no choice. She laid the ring and watch down and pulled the only ringshe possessed from her own finger. It was a gift from Lady Gower. She had nodoubt that it was of great value.
"Can you lend me some money onthat?" she asked. It was the first time she had conducted a businesstransaction of this natureand she felt as though she were engaging in aburglary.
"We don't lend moneymiss" thegirl said"we buy outright. I can give you twenty-eight shillings forthis" she added.
"Twenty-eight shillings" Helengasped; "whyit is worth -- ohever so much more than that!"
"That is all it is worth to us" thegirl answered. She regarded the ring indifferently and laid it away from her onthe counter. The action was final.
Helen's hands rose slowly to her breastwherea pretty watch dangled from a bowknot of crushed diamonds. It was her onlypossessionand she was very fond of it. It also was the gift of one of theseveral great ladies who had adopted her since her residence in London. Helenhad painted a miniature of this particular great lady which had looked sobeautiful that the pleasure which the original of the portrait derived from thethought that she still really looked as she did in the miniature was worth moreto her than many diamonds.
But it was different with Helenand no onecould count what it cost her to tear away her one proud possession.
"What will you give me for this?"she asked defiantly.
The girl's eyes showed greater interest."I can give you twenty pounds for that" she said.
"Take itplease" Helen beggedasthough
she feared if she kept it a moment longer she might not be able to make thesacrifice.
"That will be enough now" she wentontaking out her ten-pound note. She put Lady Gower's ring back upon herfinger and picked up Philip's ring and watch with the pleasure of one who hascome into a great fortune. She turned back at the door.
"Oh" she stammered"in caseany one should inquireyou are not to say who bought these."
"Nomisscertainly not" said thewoman. Helen gave the direction to the cabman andclosing the doors of thehansomsat looking down at the watch and the ringas they lay in her lap. Thethought that they had been his most valued possessionswhich he had abandonedforeverand that they were now entirely hersto do with as she likedfilledher with most intense delight and pleasure. She took up the heavy gold ring andplaced it on the little finger of her left hand; it was much too largeand sheremoved it and balanced it for a moment doubtfully in the palm of her righthand. She was smiling
and her face was lit with shy and tender thoughts. She cast a quick glance tothe left and right as though fearful that people passing in the street wouldobserve herand then slipped the ring over the fourth finger of her left hand.She gazed at it with a guilty smile and thencovering it hastily with her otherhandleaned backclasping it closelyand sat frowning far out before her withpuzzled eyes.
To Carroll all roads led past Helen's studioand during the summerwhile she had been absent in Scotland it was one of hissad pleasures to make a pilgrimage to her street and to pause opposite the houseand look up at the empty windows of her rooms. It was during this daily exercisethat he learnedthrough the arrival of her luggageof her return to Londonand when day followed day without her having shown any desire to see him or totell him of her return he denounced himself most bitterly as a fatuous fool.
At the end of the week he sat down andconsidered his case quite calmly. For three years he had loved this girldeeplyand
tenderly. He had been loverbrotherfriendand guardian. During that timeeven though she had accepted him in every capacity except as that of theprospective husbandshe had never given him any real affectionnor sympathynor help; all she had done for him had been done without her knowledge orintent. To know herto love herand to scheme to give her pleasure had beenits own rewardand the only one. For the last few months he had been livinglike a crossing-sweeper in order to be able to stay in London until she cameback to itand that he might still send her the gifts he had always laid on heraltar. He had not seen her in three months. Three months that had been to him ablankexcept for his work -- which like all else that he didwas inspired andcarried on for her. Now at last she had returned and had shown thateven as afriendhe was of so little account in her thoughtsof so little consequence inher lifethat after this long absence she had no desire to learn of his welfareor to see him -- she did not even give him the chance to see her. And soplacing these facts before him for
the first time since he had loved herhe considered what was due to himself."Was it good enough?" he asked. "Was it just that he shouldcontinue to wear out his soul and body for this girl who did not want what hehad to givewho treated him less considerately than a man whom she met for thefirst time at dinner? He felt he had reached the breaking-point; that the timehad come when he must consider what he owed to himself. There could never be anyother woman save Helenbut as it was not to be Helenhe could no longerwithself-respectcontinue to proffer his love only to see it slighted andneglected. He was humble enough concerning himselfbut of his love he was veryproud. Other men could give her more in wealth or positionbut no one couldever love her as he did. "He that hath more let him give" he hadoften quoted to her defiantlyas though he were challenging the worldand nowhe felt he must evolve a make-shift world of his own -- a world in which she wasnot his only spring of acts; he must begin all over again and keep his lovesecret and sacred until she
understood it and wanted it. And if she should never want it he would at leasthave saved it from many rebuffs and insults.
With this determination strong in himthenote Helen had left for him after her talk with Marionand the flowersand thenote with themsaying she was coming to take tea on the morrowfailed to movehim except to make him more bitter. He saw in them only a tardy recognition ofher neglect -- an effort to make up to him for thoughtlessness whichfrom herhurt him worse than studied slight.
A new regime had begunand he was determinedto establish it firmly and to make it impossible for himself to retreat from it;and in the note in which he thanked Helen for the flowers and welcomed her toteahe declared his ultimatum.
"You know how terribly I feel" hewrote; "I don't have to tell you thatbut I cannot always go on draggingout my love and holding it up to excite your pity as beggars show their sores. Icannot always go on praying before your altarcutting myself with knives andcalling upon you to listen to me.
You know that there is no one else but youand that there never can be any onebut youand that nothing is changed except that after this I am not going tourge and torment you. I shall wait as I have always waited -- only now I shallwait in silence. You know just how littlein one wayI have to offer youandyou know just how much I have in love to offer you. It is now for you to speak-- some dayor never. But you will have to speak first. You will never hear aword of love from me again. Why should you? You know it is always waiting foryou. But if you should ever want ityou must come to meand take off your hatand put it on my table and say`PhilipI have come to stay.' Whether you canever do that or not can make no difference in my love for you. I shall love youalwaysas no man has ever loved a woman in this worldbut it is you who mustspeak first; for methe rest is silence."
The following morning as Helen was leaving thehouse she found this letter lying on the hall-tableand ran back with it to herrooms. A week before she would have let
it lie on the table and read it on her return. She was conscious that this waswhat she would have doneand it pleased her to find that what concerned Philipwas now to her the thing of greatest interest. She was pleased with her owneagerness -- her own happiness was a welcome signand she was proud and gladthat she was learning to care.
She read the letter with an anxious pride andpleasure in each word that was entirely new. Philip's recriminations did nothurt herthey were the sign that he cared; nor did his determination not tospeak of his love to her hurt herfor she believed him when he said that hewould always care. She read the letter twiceand then sat for some timeconsidering the kind of letter Philip would have written had he known her secret-- had he known that the ring he had abandoned was now upon her finger.
She rose andcrossing to a deskplaced theletter in a drawerand then took it out again and re-read the last page. Whenshe had finished it she was smiling. For a moment she stood irresoluteandthenmoving slowly toward the centre-tablecast a guilty
look about her andraising her handslifted her veil and half withdrew thepins that fastened her hat.
"Philip" she began in a frightenedwhisper"I have -- I have come to -- "
The sentence ended in a cry of protestandshe rushed across the room as though she were running from herself. She wasblushing violently.
"Never!" she criedas she pulledopen the door; "I could never do it -- never!"
The following afternoonwhen Helen was tocome to teaCarroll decided that he would receive her with all the oldfriendlinessbut that he must be careful to subdue all emotion.
He was really deeply hurt at her treatmentand had it not been that she came on her own invitation he would not of his ownaccord have sought to see her. In consequencehe rather welcomed than otherwisethe arrival of Marion Cavendishwho came a half-hour before Helen was expectedand who followed a hasty knock with a precipitate entrance.
"Sit down" she commandedbreathlessly; "and listen. I've been at rehearsal all
dayor I'd have been here before you were awake." She seated herselfnervously and nodded her head at Carroll in an excited and mysterious manner.
"What is it?" he asked. "Haveyou and Reggie -- "
"Listen" Marion repeated"ourfortunes are made; that is what's the matter -- and I've made them. If you tookhalf the interest in your work I doyou'd have made yours long ago. Lastnight" she began impressively"I went to a large supper at theSavoyand I sat next to Charley Wimpole. He came in lateafter everybody hadfinishedand I attacked him while he was eating his supper. He said he had beenrehearsing `Caste' after the performance; that they've put it on as a stop-gapon account of the failure of the `Triflers' and that he knew revivals were ofno use; that he would give any sum for a good modern comedy. That was my cueand I told him I knew of a better comedy than any he had produced at his theatrein five yearsand that it was going begging. He laughedand asked where was heto find this wonderful comedyand I said
`It's been in your safe for the last two months and you haven't read it.' Hesaid`Indeedhow do you know that?' and I said`Because if you'd read ititwouldn't be in your safebut on your stage.' So he asked me what the play wasaboutand I told him the plot and what sort of a part his wasand some of hisscenesand he began to take notice. He forgot his supperand very soon he grewso interested that he turned his chair round and kept eying my supper-card tofind out who I wasand at last remembered seeing me in `The New Boy' -- and arotten part it wastoo -- but he remembered itand he told me to go on andtell him more about your play. So I recited itbit by bitand he laughed inall the right places and got very much excitedand said finally that he wouldread it the first thing this morning." Marion pausedbreathlessly."Ohyesand he wrote your address on his cuff" she addedwith theair of delivering a complete and convincing climax.
Carroll stared at her and pulled excitedly onhis pipe.
"OhMarion!" he gasped"suppose he
should? He won't though" he addedbut eying her eagerly and invitingcontradiction.
"He will" she answeredstoutly"if he reads it."
"The other managers read it"Carroll suggesteddoubtfully.
"Yesbut what do they know?" Marionreturnedloftily. "He knows. Charles Wimpole is the only intelligentactor-manager in London."
There was a sharp knock at the doorwhichMarion in her excitement had left ajarand Prentiss threw it wide open with animpressive sweepas though he were announcing royalty: "Mr. CharlesWimpole" he said.
The actor-manager stopped in the doorwaybowing gracefullyhis hat held before him and his hand on his stick as thoughit were resting on a foil. He had the face and carriage of a gallant of the daysof Congreveand he wore his modern frock-coat with as much distinction as if itwere of silk and lace. He was evidently amused. "I couldn't helpoverhearing the last line" he saidsmiling. "It gives me a goodentrance."
Marion gazed at him blankly: "Oh"she gasped"we -- we -- were just talking about you."
"If you hadn't mentioned my name"the actor said"I should never have guessed it. And this is Mr. CarrollIhope."
The great man was rather pleased with thesituation. As he read itit struck him as possessing strong dramaticpossibilities: Carroll was the struggling author on the verge of starvation:Marionhis sweetheartflying to him gave him hope; and he was the good fairyarriving in the nick of time to set everything right and to make the youngpeople happy and prosperous. He rather fancied himself in the part of the goodfairyand as he seated himself he bowed to them both in a manner which wascharmingly inclusive and confidential.
"Miss CavendishI imaginehas alreadywarned you that you might expect a visit from me" he said tentatively.Carroll nodded. He was too much concerned to interrupt.
"Then I need only tell you" Wimpolecontinued"that I got up at an absurd hour
this morning to read your play; that I did read it; that I like it immensely --and that if we can come to terms I shall produce it I shall produce it at oncewithin a fortnight or three weeks."
Carroll was staring at him intently andcontinued doing so after Wimpole had finished speaking. The actor felt he hadsomehow missed his pointor that Carroll could not have understood himandrepeated"I say I shall put it in rehearsal at once."
Carroll rose abruptlyand pushed back hischair. "I should be very glad" he murmuredand strode over to thewindowwhere he stood with his back turned to his guests. Wimpole looked afterhim with a kindly smile and nodded his head appreciatively. He had produced evena greater effect than his lines seemed to warrant. When he spoke againit wasquite simplyand sincerelyand though he spoke for Carroll's benefitheaddressed himself to Marion.
"You were quite right last night"he said"it is a most charming piece of work. I am really extremelygrateful to you for bringing it to my notice." He roseand going to
Carrollput his hand on his shoulder. "My boy" he said"Icongratulate you. I should like to be your ageand to have written that play.Come to my theatre to-morrow and we will talk terms. Talk it over first withyour friendsso that I sha'n't rob you. Do you think you would prefer a lumpsum nowand so be done with it altogetheror trust that the royalties may --"
"Royalties" prompted Marionin aneager aside.
The men laughed. "Quite right"Wimpole assentedgood-humoredly; "it's a poor sportsman who doesn't backhis own horse. Wellthenuntil to-morrow."
"But" Carroll began"onemoment please. I haven't thanked you."
"My dear boy" cried Wimpolewavinghim away with his stick"it is I who have to thank you."
"And -- and there is a condition"Carroll said"which goes with the play. It is that Miss Cavendish is tohave the part of Nancy."
Wimpole looked serious and considered for amoment.
"Nancy" he said"the girl whointerferes -- a very good part. I have cast Miss Maddox for it in my mindbutof courseif the author insists -- "
Marionwith her elbows on the tableclaspedher hands appealingly before her.
"OhMr. Wimpole!" she cried"you owe me thatat least."
Carroll leaned over and took both of Marion'shands in one of his.
"It's all right" he said; "theauthor insists."
Wimpole waved his stick again as though itwere the magic wand of the good fairy.
"You shall have it" he said."I recall your performance in `The New Boy' with pleasure. I take the playand Miss Cavendish shall be cast for Nancy. We shall begin rehearsals at once. Ihope you are a quick study."
"I'm letter-perfect now" laughedMarion.
Wimpole turned at the door and nodded to them.They were both so youngso eagerand so jubilant that he felt strangely oldand out of it. "Good-bythen" he said.
"Good-bysir" they both chorussed.
And Marion cried after him"And thank you a thousand times."
He turned again and looked back at thembutin their rejoicing they had already forgotten him. "Bless youmychildren" he saidsmiling. As he was about to close the door a young girlcame down the passage toward itand as she was apparently going to Carroll'sroomsthe actor left the door open behind him.
Neither Marion nor Carroll had noticed hisfinal exit. They were both gazing at each other as thoughcould they findspeechthey would ask if it were true.
"It's come at lastMarion" Philipsaidwith an uncertain voice.
"I could weep" cried Marion. "Philip" she exclaimed"I would rather see that play succeed than anyplay ever writtenand I would rather play that part in it than -- OhPhilip" she ended. "I'm so proud of you!" and risingshe threwher arms about his neck and sobbed on his shoulder.
Carroll raised one of her hands and kissed thetips of her fingers gently. "I owe it to youMarion" he said --"all to you."
This was the tableau that was presentedthrough the open door to Miss Helen Cabothurrying on her errand of restitutionand good-willand with Philip's ring and watch clasped in her hand. They hadnot heard hernor did they see her at the doorso she drew back quickly andran along the passage and down the stairs into the street.
She did not need now to analyze her feelings.They were only too evident. For she could translate what she had just seen asmeaning only one thing -- that she had considered Philip's love so lightly thatshe had not felt it passing away from her until her neglect had killed it --until it was too late. And now that it was too late she felt that without it herlife could not go on. She tried to assure herself that only the fact that shehad lost it made it seem invaluablebut this thought did not comfort her -- shewas not deceived by itshe knew that at last she cared for him deeply andentirely. In her distress she blamed herself bitterlybut she also blamedPhilip no less bitterly for having failed to wait for her. "He might haveknown that I must love him in time" she repeated
to herself again and again. She was so unhappy that her letter congratulatingPhilip on his good fortune in having his comedy accepted seemed to him cold andunfeelingand as his success meant for him only what it meant to herhe washurt and grievously disappointed.
He accordingly turned the more readily toMarionwhose interests and enthusiasm at the rehearsals of the piece seemed incontrast most friendly and unselfish. He could not help but compare the attitudeof the two girls at this timewhen the failure or success of his best work wasstill undecided. He felt that as Helen took so little interest in his success hecould not dare to trouble her with his anxieties concerning itand sheattributed his silence to his preoccupation and interest in Marion. So the twogrew aparteach misunderstanding the other and each troubled in spirit at theother's indifference.
The first night of the play justified all thatMarion and Wimpole had claimed for itand was a great personal triumph for thenew playwright. The audience was the typical
first-night audience of the class which Charles Wimpole always commanded. It wasbrilliantintelligentand smartand it came prepared to be pleased.
From one of the upper stage-boxes Helen andLady Gower watched the successful progress of the play with an anxiety almost askeen as that of the author. To Helen it seemed as though the giving of theselines to the public -- these lines which he had so often read to herandaltered to her liking -- was a desecration. It seemed as though she were losinghim indeed -- as though he now belonged to these strange peopleall of whomwere laughing and applauding his wordsfrom the German Princess in the Royalbox to the straight-backed Tommy in the pit. Instead of the painted scene beforehershe saw the birch-trees by the river at homewhere he had first read herthe speech to which they were now listening so intensely -- the speech in whichthe hero tells the girl he loves her. She remembered that at the time she hadthought how wonderful it would be if some day some one made such a speech to her-- not Philip -- but a man she loved.
And now? If Philip would only make that speech to her now!
He came out at lastwith Wimpole leading himand bowed across a glaring barrier of lights at a misty but vociferous audiencethat was shouting the generous English bravo! and standing up to applaud. Heraised his eyes to the box where Helen satand saw her staring down at thetumultwith her hands clasped under her chin. Her face was colorlessbut litwith the excitement of the moment; and he saw that she was crying.
Lady Gowerfrom behind herwas clapping herhands delightedly.
"Butmy dear Helen" sheremonstrated breathlessly"you never told me he was so good-looking."
"Yes" said Helenrising abruptly"he is -- very good-looking."
She crossed the box to where her cloak washangingbut instead of taking it down buried her face in its folds.
"My dear child!" cried Lady Gowerin dismay. "What is it? The excitement has been too much for you."
Saw her staring down at thetumult.
"NoI am justhappy" sobbed Helen. "I am just happy for him."
"We will go and tell him so then"said Lady Gower. "I am sure he would like to hear it from youto-night."
Philip was standing in the centre of thestagesurrounded by many pretty ladies and elderly men. Wimpole was hoveringover him as though he had claims upon him by the right of discovery.
But when Philip saw Helenhe pushed his waytoward her eagerly and took her hand in both of his.
"I am so gladPhil" she said. Shefelt it all so deeply that she was afraid to say morebut that meant so much toher that she was sure he would understand.
He had planned it very differently. For a yearhe had dreamed thaton the first night of his playthere would be a supperand that he would rise and drink her healthand tell his friends and the worldthat she was the woman he lovedand that she had agreed to marry himand thatat last he was ablethrough the success of his playto make her his wife.
And now they met in a crowd to shake handsand she went her way with one of her grand ladiesand he was left among a groupof chattering strangers. The great English playwright took him by the hand andin the hearing of allpraised him gracefully and kindly. It did not matter toPhilip whether the older playwright believed what he said or not; he knew it wasgenerously meant.
"I envy you this" the great man wassaying. "Don't lose any of itstay and listen to all they have to say. Youwill never live through the first night of your first play but once."
"YesI hear them" said Philipnervously; "they are all too kind. But I don't hear the voice I have beenlistening for" he added in a whisper. The older man pressed his hand againquickly. "My dear boy" he said"I am sorry."
"Thank you" Philip answered.
Within a week he had forgotten the great man'sfine words of praisebut the clasp of his hand he cherished always.
Helen met Marion as she was leaving the stagedoor and stopped to congratulate her
on her success in the new part. Marion was radiant. To Helen she seemedobstreperously happy and jubilant.
"AndMarion" Helen began bravely"I also want to congratulate you on something else. You -- you -- neitherof you have told me yet" she stammered"but I am such an old friendof both that I will not be kept out of the secret." At these words Marion'sair of triumphant gayety vanished; she regarded Helen's troubled eyes closelyand kindly.
"What secretHelen?" she asked.
"I came to the door of Philip's room theother day when you did not know I was there" Helen answered; "and Icould not help seeing how matters were. And I do congratulate you both -- andwish you -- ohsuch happiness!" Without a word Marion dragged her backdown the passage to her dressing-roomand closed the door.
"Now tell me what you mean" shesaid.
"I am sorry if I discovered anything youdidn't want known yet" said Helen"but the door was open. Mr.Wimpole had just left you and had not shut itand I could not helpseeing."
Marion interrupted her with an eagerexclamation of enlightenment.
"Ohyou were therethen" shecried. "And you?" she asked eagerly -- "you thought Phil caredfor me -- that we are engagedand it hurt you; you are sorry? Tell me"she demanded"are you sorry?"
Helen drew back and stretched out her handtoward the door.
"How can you! she exclaimedindignantly."You have no right."
Marion stood between her and the door.
"I have every right" she said"to help my friendsand I want to help you and Philip. And indeed I dohope you are sorry. I hope you are miserable. And I'm glad you saw mekiss him. That was the first and the last timeand I did it because I was happyand glad for him; and because I love him toobut not in the least in the way heloves you. No one ever loved any one as he loves you. And it's time you found itout. And if I have helped to make you find it out I'm gladand I don't care howmuch I hurt you."
"Marion!" exclaimed Helen"what does
it mean? Do you mean that you are not engaged; that -- "
"Certainly not" Marion answered."I am going to marry Reggie. It is you that Philip lovesand I am verysorry for you that you don't love him."
Helen clasped Marion's hands in both of hers.
"ButMarion!" she cried"IdoohI do!"
There was a thick yellow fog the next morningand with it rain and a stickydepressing dampness which crept through thewindow-panesand which neither a fire nor blazing gas-jets could overcome.
Philip stood in front of the fireplace withthe morning papers piled high on the centre-table and scattered over the roomabout him.
He had read them alland he knew now what itwas to wake up famousbut he could not taste it. Now that it had come it meantnothingand that it was so complete a triumph only made it the harder. In hismost optimistic dreams he had never imagined success so satisfying as thereality had proved
to be; but in his dreams Helen had always held the chief partand without hersuccess seemed only to mock him.
He wanted to lay it all before herto say"If you are pleasedI am happy. If you are satisfiedthen I am content.It was done for youand I am wholly yoursand all that I do is yours."Andas though in answer to his thoughtsthere was an instant knock at thedoorand Helen entered the room and stood smiling at him across the table.
Her eyes were lit with excitementand spokewith many emotionsand her cheeks were brilliant with color. He had never seenher look more beautiful.
"WhyHelen!" he exclaimed"how good of you to come. Is there anything wrong? Is anything thematter?"
She tried to speakbut falteredand smiledat him appealingly.
"What is it?" he asked in greatconcern.
Helen drew in her breath quicklyand at thesame moment motioned him away -- and he stepped back and stood watching her inmuch perplexity.
With her eyes fixed on his she raised her
hands to her headand her fingers fumbled with the knot of her veil. She pulledit looseand thenwith a sudden couragelifted her hat proudlyas though itwere a coronetand placed it between them on his table.
"Philip" she stammeredwith thetears in her voice and eyes"if you will let me -- I have come tostay."
The table was no longer between them. Hecaught her in his arms and kissed her face and her uncovered head again andagain. From outside the rain beat drearily and the fog rolled through thestreetbut inside before the fire the two young people sat close togetherasking eager questions or sitting in silencestaring at the flames withwonderinghappy eyes.
The Lion and the Unicorn saw them only onceagain. It was a month later when they stopped in front of the shop in afour-wheelerwith their baggage mixed on top of itand steamer-labels pastedover every trunk.
"AndohPrentiss!" Carroll calledfrom the cab-window. "I came near forgetting.
I promised to gild the Lion and the Unicorn if I won out in London. So have itdonepleaseand send the bill to me. For I've won out all right." Andthen he shut the door of the caband they drove away forever.
"Nice galthat" growled the Lion."I always liked her. I am glad they've settled it at last."
The Unicorn sighedsentimentally. "Theother one's worth two of her" he said.
On the Fever Ship
THERE were four rails aroundthe ship's sidesthe three lower ones of iron and the one on top of woodandas he looked between them from the canvas cot he recognized them as theprison-bars which held him in. Outside his prison lay a stretch of blinding bluewater which ended in a line of breakers and a yellow coast with ragged palms.Beyond that again rose a range of mountain -- peaksandstuck upon theloftiest peak of alla tiny block-house. It rested on the brow of the mountainagainst the naked sky as impudently as a cracker-box set upon the dome of agreat cathedral.
As the transport rode on her anchor-chainsthe iron bars around her sides rose and sank and divided the landscape withparallel lines. From his cot the officer followed this phenomenon with severepainstaking interest. Sometimes the wooden rail swept up to the
very block-house itselfand for a second of time blotted it from sight. Andagain it sank to the level of the line of breakersand wiped them out of thepicture as though they were a line of chalk.
The soldier on the cot promised himself thatthe next swell of the sea would send the lowest rail climbing to the very top ofthe palm-trees oreven higherto the base of the mountains; and when it failedto reach even the palm-trees he felt a distinct sense of ill useof having beenwronged by some one. There was no other reason for submitting to this existencesave these tricks upon the wearisomeglaring landscape; andnowwhoever itwas who was working them did not seem to be making this effort to entertain himwith any heartiness.
It was most cruel. Indeedhe decided hotlyit was not to be endured; he would bear it no longerhe would make his escape.But he knew that this movewhich could be conceived in a moment's desperationcould only be carried to success with great strategysecrecyand carefulcunning. So he fell back upon his pillow and closed his eyesas
though he were asleepand then opening them againturned cautiouslyand spiedupon his keeper. As usualhis keeper sat at the foot of the cot turning thepages of a huge paper filled with pictures of the war printed in daubs of tawdrycolors. His keeper was a hard-faced boy without human pity or considerationavery devil of obstinacy and fiendish cruelty. To make it worsethe fiend was aperson without a collarin a suit of soiled khakiwith a curious red crossbound by a safety-pin to his left arm. He was intent upon the paper in hishands; he was holding it between his eyes and his prisoner. His vigilance hadrelaxedand the moment seemed propitious. With a sudden plunge of arms andlegsthe prisoner swept the bed sheet from himand sprang at the wooden railand grasped the iron stanchion beside it. He had his knee pressed against thetop bar and his bare toes on the iron rail beneath it. Below him the blue waterwaited for him. It was cool and dark and gentle and deep. It would certainly putout the fire in his boneshe thought; it might even shut out the glare of thesun which scorched his eyeballs
But as he balanced for the leapa swiftweakness and nausea swept over hima weight seized upon his body and limbs. Hecould not lift the lower foot from the iron railand he swayed dizzily andtrembled. He trembled. He who had raced his men and beaten them up the hot hillto the trenches of San Juan. But now he was a baby in the hands of a giantwhocaught him by the wrist and with an iron arm clasped him around his waist andpulled him downand shoutedbrutally"Helpsome of you'sequick; he'sat it again. I can't hold him."
More giants grasped him by the arms and by thelegs. One of them took the hand that clung to the stanchion in both of hisandpulled back the fingers one by onesaying"Easy nowLieutenant --easy."
The ragged palms and the sea and block-housewere swallowed up in a black fogand his body touched the canvas cot again witha sense of home-coming and relief and rest. He wondered how he could have caredto escape from it. He found it so good to be back again that for a long time hewept quite happilyuntil the fiery pillow was moist and cool.
The world outside of the iron bars was like ascene in a theatre set for some great eventbut the actors were never ready. Heremembered confusedly a play he had once witnessed before that same scene.Indeedhe believed he had played some small part in it; but he remembered itdimlyand all trace of the men who had appeared with him in it was gone. He hadreasoned it out that they were up there behind the range of mountainsbecausegreat heavy wagons and ambulances and cannon were emptied from the ships at thewharf above and were drawn away in long lines behind the ragged palmsmovingalways toward the passes between the peaks. At times he was disturbed by thethought that he should be up and after themthat some tradition of duty madehis presence with them imperative. There was much to be done back of themountains. Some event of momentous import was being carried forward thereinwhich he held a part; but the doubt soon passed from himand he was content tolie and watch the iron bars rising and falling between the block-house and thewhite surf.
If they had been only humanely kindhis lotwould have been bearablebut they starved him and held him down when he wishedto rise; and they would not put out the fire in the pillowwhich they mighteasily have done by the simple expedient of throwing it over the ship's sideinto the sea. He himself had done this twicebut the keeper had immediatelybrought a fresh pillow already heated for the torture and forced it under hishead.
His pleasures were very simpleand so fewthat he could not understand why they robbed him of them so jealously. One wasto watch a green cluster of bananas that hung above him from the awning twirlingon a string. He could count as many of them as five before the bunch turned andswung lazily back againwhen he could count as high as twelve; sometimes whenthe ship rolled heavily he could count to twenty. It was a most fascinatinggameand contented him for many hours. But when they found this out they sentfor the cook to come and cut them downand the cook carried them away to hisgalley.
Thenone daya man came out from the shoreswimming through the blue water with great splashes. He was a most charming manwho spluttered and dove and twisted and lay on his back and kicked his legs inan excess of content and delight. It was a real pleasure to watch him; not fordays had anything so amusing appeared on the other side of the prison-bars. Butas soon as the keeper saw that the man in the water was amusing his prisonerheleaned over the ship's side and shouted"Sa-ayyoudon't you knowthere's sharks in there?"
And the swimming man said"The h -- llthere is!" and raced back to the shore like a porpoise with great lashingof the waterand ran up the beach half-way to the palms before he was satisfiedto stop. Then the prisoner wept again. It was so disappointing. Life was robbedof everything now. He remembered that in a previous existence soldiers who criedwere laughed at and mocked. But that was so far away and it was such an absurdsuperstition that he had no patience with it. For what could be more comfortingto a man when he is treated
cruelly than to cry. It was so obvious an exerciseand when one is so feeblethat one cannot vault a four-railed barrier it is something to feel that atleast one is strong enough to cry.
He escaped occasionallytraversing space withmarvellous rapidity and to great distancesbut never to any successful purpose;and his flight inevitably ended in ignominious recapture and a sudden awakeningin bed. At these moments the familiar and hated palmsthe peaks and theblock-house were more hideous in their reality than the most terrifying of hisnightmares.
These excursions afield were always predatory;he went forth always to seek food. With all the beautiful world from which toelect and choosehe sought out only those places where eating was studied andelevated to an art. These visits were much more vivid in their detail than anyhe had ever before made to these same resorts. They invariably began in acarriagewhich carried him swiftly over smooth asphalt. One route brought himacross a great and beautiful squareradiating with rows and rows of
flickering lights; two fountains splashed in the centre of the squareand sixwomen of stone guarded its approaches. One of the women was hung with wreaths ofmourning. Ahead of him the late twilight darkened behind a great archwhichseemed to rise on the horizon of the worlda great window into the heavensbeyond. At either side strings of white and colored globes hung among the treesand the sound of music came joyfully from theatres in the open air. He knew therestaurant under the trees to which he was now hasteningand the fountainbeside itand the very sparrows balancing on the fountain's edge; he knew everywaiter at each of the tableshe felt again the gravel crunching under his feethe saw the maitre d'hotel coming forward smiling to receive his commandand thewaiter in the green apron bowing at his elbowdeferential and importantpresenting the list of wines. But his adventure never passed that pointfor hewas captured again and once more bound to his cot with a close burning sheet.
Or elsehe drove more sedately through
the London streets in the late evening twilightleaning expectantly across thedoors of the hansom and pulling carefully at his white gloves. Other hansomsflashed past himthe occupant of each with his mind fixed on one idea --dinner. He was one of a million of people who were about to dineor who haddinedor who were deep in dining. He was so famishedso weak for food of anyqualitythat the galloping horse in the hansom seemed to crawl. The lights ofthe Embankment passed like the lamps of a railroad station as seen from thewindow of an express; and while his mind was still torn between the choice of athin or thick soup or an immediate attack upon cold beefhe was at the doorand the chasseur touched his capand the little chasseur put the wicker guardover the hansom's wheel. As he jumped out he said"Give himhalf-a-crown" and the driver called after him"Thank yousir."
It was a beautiful worldthis world outsideof the iron bars. Every one in it contributed to his pleasure and to hiscomfort. In this world he was not starved nor man
handled. He thought of this joyfully as he leaped up the stairswhere young menwith grave faces and with their hands held negligently behind their backs bowedto him in polite surprise at his speed. But they had not been starved oncondensed milk. He threw his coat and hat at one of themand came down the hallfearfully and quite weak with dread lest it should not be real. His voice wasshaking when he asked Ellis if he had reserved a table. The place was all sorealit must be true this time. The way Ellis turned and ran his finger downthe list showed it was realbecause Ellis always did thateven when he knewthere would not be an empty table for an hour. The room was crowded withbeautiful women; under the light of the red shades they looked kind andapproachableand there was food on every tableand iced drinks in silverbuckets. It was with the joy of great relief that he heard Ellis say to hisunderling"Numero cinqsur la terraceun couvert." It was real atlast. Outsidethe Thames lay a great gray shadow. The lights of the Embankmentflashed and twinkled across itthe tower of
the House of Commons rose against the skyand hereinsidethe waiter washurrying toward him carrying a smoking plate of rich soup with a pungentintoxicating odor.
And then the ragged palmsthe glaring sunthe immovable peaksand the white surf stood again before him. The iron railsswept up and sank againthe fever sucked at his bonesand the pillow scorchedhis cheek.
One morning for a brief moment he came back toreal life again and lay quite stillseeing everything about him with clear eyesand for the first timeas though he had but just that instant been lifted overthe ship's side. His keeperglancing upfound the prisoner's eyes consideringhim curiouslyand recognized the change. The instinct of discipline brought himto his feet with his fingers at his sides.
"Is the Lieutenant feeling better?"
The Lieutenant surveyed him gravely.
"You are one of our hospitalstewards."
"Why ar'n't you with the regiment?"
"I was woundedtoosir. I got it sametime you didLieutenant."
"Am I wounded? Of courseI remember. Isthis a hospital ship?"
The steward shrugged his shoulders."She's one of the transports. They have turned her over to the fevercases."
The Lieutenant opened his lips to ask anotherquestion; but his own body answered that oneand for a moment he lay silent.
"Do they know up North that I -- that I'mall right?"
"Ohyesthe papers had it in -- therewas pictures of the Lieutenant in some of them."
"Then I've been ill some time?"
"Ohabout eight days."
The soldier moved uneasilyand the nurse inhim became uppermost.
"I guess the Lieutenant hadn't bettertalk any more" he said. It was his voice now which held authority.
The Lieutenant looked out at the palms and thesilent gloomy mountains and the empty coast-linewhere the same wave was risingand falling with weary persistence.
"Eight days" he said. His eyes shutquicklyas though with a sudden touch of
pain. He turned his head and sought for the figure at the foot of the cot.Already the figure had grown faint and was receding and swaying.
"Has any one written or cabled?" theLieutenant spokehurriedly. He was fearful lest the figure should disappearaltogether before he could obtain his answer. "Has any one come?"
"Whythey couldn't get hereLieutenantnot yet."
The voice came very faintly. "You go tosleep nowand I'll run and fetch some letters and telegrams. When you wake upmay be I'll have a lot for you."
But the Lieutenant caught the nurse by thewristand crushed his hand in his own thin fingers. They were hotand left thesteward's skin wet with perspiration. The Lieutenant laughed gayly.
"You seeDoctor" he saidbriskly"that you can't kill me. I can't die. I've got to liveyou understand.Becausesirshe said she would come. She said if I was woundedor if I wasillshe would come to me. She didn't care what people thought. She would
come any way and nurse me -- wellshe will come.
"SoDoctor -- old man -- " Heplucked at the steward's sleeveand stroked his hand eagerly"old man --" he began againbeseechingly"you'll not let me die until shecomeswill you? What? NoI know I won't die. Nothing made by man can kill me.Nonot until she comes. Thenafter that -- eight daysshe'll be here soonany moment? What? You think sotoo? Don't you? Surelyyesany moment. YesI'll go to sleep nowand when you see her rowing out from shore you wake me.You'll know her; you can't make a mistake. She is like -- nothere is no onelike her -- but you can't make a mistake."
That day strange figures began to mount thesides of the shipand to occupy its every turn and angle of space. Some of themfell on their knees and slapped the bare deck with their handsand laughed andcried out"Thank GodI'll see God's country again!" Some of themwere regularsbound in bandages; some were volunteersdirty and hollow-eyedwith long beards on boys' faces.
Some came on crutches; others with their arms around the shoulders of theircomradesstaring ahead of them with a fixed smiletheir lips drawn back andtheir teeth protruding. At every second step they stumbledand the face of eachwas swept by swift ripples of pain.
They lay on cots so close together that thenurses could not walk between them. They lay on the wet decksin the scuppersand along the transoms and hatches. They were like shipwrecked mariners clingingto a raftand they asked nothing more than that the ship's bow be turned towardhome. Once satisfied as to thatthey relaxed into a state of self-pity andmiserable oblivion to their environmentfrom which hunger nor nausea nor achingbones could shake them.
The hospital steward touched the Lieutenantlightly on the shoulder.
"We are going Northsir" he said."The transport's ordered North to New Yorkwith these volunteers and thesick and wounded. Do you hear mesir?"
The Lieutenant opened his eyes. "Has shecome?" he asked.
"Gee!" exclaimed the hospitalsteward. He glanced impatiently at the blue mountains and the yellow coastfromwhich the transport was drawing rapidly away.
"WellI can't see her coming justnow" he said. "But she will" he added.
"You let me know at once when shecomes."
"Whycert'nlyof course" said thesteward.
Three trained nurses came over the side justbefore the transport started North. One was a largemotherly-looking womanwith a German accent. She had been a trained nursefirst in Berlinand laterin the London Hospital in Whitechapeland at Bellevue. The nurse was dressed inwhiteand wore a little silver medal at her throat; and she was strong enoughto lift a volunteer out of his cot and hold him easily in her armswhile one ofthe convalescents pulled his cot out of the rain. Some of the men called her"nurse;" otherswho wore scapulars around their neckscalled her"Sister;" and the officers of the medical staff addressed her as MissBergen.
Miss Bergen halted beside the cot of the
Lieutenant and asked"Is this the fever case you spoke aboutDoctor --the one you want moved to the officers' ward?" She slipped her hand upunder his sleeve and felt his wrist.
"His pulse is very high" she saidto the steward. "When did you take his temperature?" She drew a littlemorocco case from her pocket and from that took a clinical thermometerwhichshe shook up and downeying the patient meanwhile with a calmimpersonalscrutiny. The Lieutenant raised his head and stared up at the white figurebeside his cot. His eyes opened and then shut quicklywith a startled lookinwhich doubt struggled with wonderful happiness. His hand stole out fearfully andwarily until it touched her apronand thenfinding it was realhe clutched itdesperatelyand twisting his face and body toward herpulled her downclasping her hands in both of hisand pressing them close to his face and eyesand lips. He put them from him for an instantand looked at her through histears.
"Sweetheart" he whispered"sweetheartI knew you'd come."
As the nurse knelt on the deck beside him
"Listen" he said.
her thermometer slipped from her fingers and brokeand she gave an exclamationof annoyance. The young Doctor picked up the pieces and tossed them overboard.Neither of them spokebut they smiled appreciatively. The Lieutenant waslooking at the nurse with the wonder and hope and hunger of soul in his eyeswith which a dying man looks at the cross the priest holds up before him. Whathe saw where the German nurse was kneeling was a tallfair girl with greatbands and masses of hairwith a head rising like a lily from a firmwhitethroatset on broad shoulders above a straight back and sloping breast -- atallbeautiful creaturehalf-girlhalf-womanwho looked back at him shylybut steadily.
"Listen" he said.
The voice of the sick man was so sure and sosane that the young Doctor startedand moved nearer to the head of the cot."Listendearest" the Lieutenant whispered. "I wanted to tellyou before I came South. But I did not dare; and then I was afraid somethingmight happen to meand I could never tell youand you would never know. So I
wrote it to you in the will I made at Baiquirithe night before the landing. Ifyou hadn't come nowyou would have learned it in that way. You would have readthere that there never was any one but you; the rest were all dream peoplefoolishsilly -- mad. There is no one else in the world but you; you have beenthe only thing in life that has counted. I thought I might do something downhere that would make you care. But I got shot going up a hilland after that Iwasn't able to do anything. It was very hotand the hills were on fire; andthey took me prisonerand kept me tied down hereburning on these coals. Ican't live much longerbut now that I have told you I can have peace. Theytried to kill me before you came; but they didn't know I loved youthey didn'tknow that men who love you can't die. They tried to starve my love for youtoburn it out of me; they tried to reach it with their knives. But my love for youis my souland they can't kill a man's soul. Dear heartI have lived becauseyou lived. Now that you know -- now that you understand -- what does itmatter?"
Miss Bergen shook her head with great vigor."Nonsense" she saidcheerfully. "You are not going to die. Assoon as we move you out of this rainand some food cook -- "
"Good God!" cried the young Doctorsavagely. "Do you want to kill him?"
When she spoke the patient had thrown his armsheavily across his faceand had fallen backlying rigid on the pillow.
The Doctor led the way across the prostratebodiesapologizing as he went. "I am sorry I spoke so quickly" hesaid"but he thought you were real. I mean he thought you were some one hereally knew -- "
"He was just delirious" said theGerman nursecalmly.
The Doctor mixed himself a Scotch and soda anddrank it with a single gesture.
"Ugh!" he said to the ward-room."I feel as though I'd been opening another man's letters."
The transport drove through the empty seaswith heavyclumsy upheavalsrolling like a buoy. Having been originally in
92> tended for the freight-carrying tradeshe had no sympathy with heartsthat beat for a sight of their native landor for lives that counted theirremaining minutes by the throbbing of her engines. Occasionallywithoutapparent reasonshe was thrown violently from her course: but it was invariablythe case that when her stern went to starboardsomething splashed in the wateron her port side and drifted past heruntilwhen it had cleared the blades ofher propellera voice cried outand she was swung back on her home-bound trackagain.
The Lieutenant missed the familiar palms andthe tiny block-house; and seeing nothing beyond the iron rails but great wastesof gray waterhe decided he was on board a prison-shipor that he had beenstrapped to a raft and cast adrift. People came for hours at a time and stood atthe foot of his cotand talked with him and he to them -- people he had lovedand people he had long forgottensome of whom he had thought were dead. One ofthem he could have sworn he had seen buried in a deep trenchand covered withbranches of palmetto. He
had heard the buglerwith tears choking himsound "taps;" and withhis own hand he had placed the dead man's campaign hat on the mound of freshearth above the grave. Yet here he was still aliveand he came with other menof his troop to speak to him; but when he reached out to them they were gone --the real and the unrealthe dead and the living -- and even She disappearedwhenever he tried to take her handand sometimes the hospital steward drove heraway.
"Did that young lady say when she wascoming back again?" he asked the steward.
"The young lady! What young lady?"asked the stewardwearily.
"The one who has been sittingthere" he answered. He pointed with his gaunt hand at the man in the nextcot.
"Ohthat young lady. Yesshe's comingback. She's just gone below to fetch you some hard-tack."
The young volunteer in the next cot whinedgrievously.
"That crazy man gives me thecreeps" he groaned. "He's always waking me up
and looking at me as though he was going to eat me."
"Shut your head" said the steward."He's a better man crazy than you'll ever be with the little sense you'vegot. And he has two Mauser holes in him. Crazyeh? It's a damned good thing foryou that there was about four thousand of us regulars just as crazy as himoryou'd never seen the top of the hill."
One morning there was a great commotion ondeckand all the convalescents balanced themselves on the railshivering intheir pajamasand pointed one way. The transport was moving swiftly andsmoothly through water as flat as a lakeand making a great noise with hersteam-whistle. The noise was echoed by many more steam-whistles; and the ghostsof out-bound ships and tugs and excursion steamers ran past her out of the mistand disappearedsaluting joyously. All of the excursion steamers had a heavylist to the side nearest the transportand the ghosts on them crowded to thatrail and waved handkerchiefs and cheered. The fog lifted suddenlyand betweenthe iron
rails the Lieutenant saw high green hills on either side of a great harbor.Houses and trees and thousands of masts swept past like a panorama; and beyondwas a mirage of three citieswith curling smoke-wreaths and sky-reachingbuildingsand a great swinging bridgeand a giant statue of a woman waving awelcome home.
The Lieutenant surveyed the spectacle withcynical disbelief. He was far too wise and far too cunning to be bewitched byit. In his heart he pitied the men about himwho laughed wildlyand shoutedand climbed recklessly to the rails and ratlines. He had been deceived too oftennot to know that it was not real. He knew from cruel experience that in a fewmoments the tall buildings would crumble awaythe thousands of columns of whitesmoke that flashed like snow in the sunthe busyshrieking tug-boatsand thegreat statue would vanish into the sealeaving it gray and bare. He closed hiseyes and shut the vision out. It was so beautiful that it tempted him; but hewould not be mockedand he buried his face in his hands. They were carrying thefarce too farhe
thought. It was really too absurd; for now they were at a wharf which was soreal thathad he not known by previous sufferinghe would have been utterlydeceived by it. And there were great crowds of smilingcheering peopleand awaiting guard of honor in fresh uniformsand rows of police pushing the peoplethis way and that; and these men about him were taking it all quite seriouslyand making ready to disembarkcarrying their blanket-rolls and rifles withthem.
A band was playing joyouslyand the man inthe next cotwho was being lifted to a stretchersaid"There's theGovernor and his staff; that's him in the high hat." It was really verywell done. The Custom-house and the Elevated Railroad and Castle Garden were aslike to life as a photographand the crowd was as well handled as a mob in aplay. His heart ached for it so that he could not bear the painand he turnedhis back on it. It was cruel to keep it up so long. His keeper lifted him in hisarmsand pulled him into a dirty uniform which had belongedapparentlyto amuch larger man -- a man who had been killed probablyfor there were
dark-brown marks of blood on the tunic and breeches. When he tried to stand onhis feetCastle Garden and the Battery disappeared in a black cloud of nightjust as he knew they would; but when he opened his eyes from the stretchertheyhad returned again. It was a most remarkably vivid vision. They kept it up sowell. Now the young Doctor and the hospital steward were pretending to carry himdown a gang-plank and into an open space; and he saw quite close to him a longline of policemenand behind them thousands of facessome of them women'sfaces -- women who pointed at him and then shook their heads and criedandpressed their hands to their cheeksstill looking at him. He wondered why theycried. He did not know themnor did they know him. No one knew him; thesepeople were only ghosts.
There was a quick parting in the crowd. A manhe had once known shoved two of the policemen to one sideand he heard a girl'svoice speaking his namelike a sob; and She came running out across the openspace and fell on her knees beside the
stretcherand bent down over himand he was clasped in two youngfirm arms.
"Of course it is not realof course itis not She" he assured himself. "Because She would not do such athing. Before all these people She would not do it."
But he trembled and his heart throbbed socruelly that he could not bear the pain.
She was pretending to cry.
"They wired us you had started for Tampaon the hospital ship" She was saying"and Aunt and I went all theway there before we heard you had been sent North. We have been on the cars aweek. That is why I missed you. Do you understand? It was not my fault. I triedto come. IndeedI tried to come."
She turned her head and looked up fearfully atthe young Doctor.
"Tell mewhy does he look at me likethat?" she asked. "He doesn't know me. Is he very ill? Tell me thetruth." She drew in her breath quickly. "Of course you will tell methe truth."
When she asked the question he felt her armsdraw tight about his shoulders. It was
as though she was holding him to herselfand from some one who had reached outfor him. In his trouble he turned to his old friend and keeper. His voice washoarse and very low.
"Is this the same young lady who was onthe transport -- the one you used to drive away?"
In his embarrassmentthe hospital stewardblushed under his tanand stammered.
"Of course it's the same younglady" the Doctor answered briskly. "And I won't let them drive heraway." He turned to hersmiling gravely. "I think his condition hasceased to be dangerousmadam" he said.
People who in a former existence had been hisfriendsand Her brothergathered about his stretcher and bore him through thecrowd and lifted him into a carriage filled with cushionsamong which he sanklower and lower. Then She sat beside himand he heard Her brother say to thecoachman"Homeand drive slowly and keep on the asphalt."
The carriage moved forwardand She put herarm about him and his head fell on her
shoulderand neither of them spoke. The vision had lasted so long now that hewas torn with the joy that after all it might be real. But he could not bear theawakening if it were notso he raised his head fearfully and looked up into thebeautiful eyes above him. His brows were knitand he struggled with a greatdoubt and an awful joy.
"Dearest" he said"is itreal?"
"Is it real?" she repeated.
Even as a dreamit was so wonderfullybeautiful that he was satisfied if it could only continue soif but for alittle while.
"Do you think" he begged againtrembling"that it is going to last much longer?"
She smiledandbending her head slowlykissed him.
"It is going to last -- always" shesaid.
The Man with One Talent
THE mass-meeting in the MadisonSquare Garden which was to help set Cuba free was finishedand the people werepushing their way out of the overheated building into the snow and sleet of thestreets. They had been greatly stirred and the spell of the last speaker stillhung so heavily upon them that as they pressed down the long corridor they werestill speaking loudly in his praise.
A young man moved eagerly amongst themandpushed his way to wherever a voice was raised above the rest. He strainedforwardlistening openlyas though he tried to judge the effect of the meetingby the verdict of those about him.
But the words he overheard seemed to clashwith what he wished them to beand the eager look on his face changed to one of
doubt and of grave disappointment. When he had reached the sidewalk he stoppedand stood looking back alternately into the lighted hall and at the hurryingcrowds which were dispersing rapidly. He made a movement as though he wouldrecall themas though he felt they were still unconvincedas though there wasmuch still left unsaid.
A fat stranger halted at his elbow to lighthis cigarand glancing up nodded his head approvingly.
"Fine speakerSenator Stantonain'the?" he said.
The young man answered eagerly."Yes" he assented"he is a great oratorbut how could he helpbut speak well with such a subject?"
"Ohyou ought to have heard him lastNovember at Tammany Hall" the fat stranger answered. "He wasn't quiteup to himself to-night. He wasn't so interested. Those Cubans are foreignersyou seebut you ought to heard him last St. Patrick's day on Home Rule forIreland. Then he was talking! That speech made him a United States senatorIguess. I don't just see how
he expects to win out on this Cuba game. The Cubans haven't got no votes."
The young man opened his eyes in somebewilderment.
"He speaks for the good of Cubafor thesake of humanity" he ventured.
"What?" inquired the fat stranger."Ohyesof course. WellI must be getting on. Good-nightsir."
The stranger moved on his waybut the youngman still lingered uncertainly in the snow-swept corridor shivering violentlywith the cold and stamping his feet for greater comfort. His face was burned toa deep redwhich seemed to have come from some long exposure to a tropical sunbut which held no sign of health. His cheeks were hollow and his eyes werelighted with the fire of fever and from time to time he was shaken by violentbursts of coughing which caused him to reach toward one of the pillars forsupport.
As the last of the lights went out in theGardenthe speaker of the evening and three of his friends came laughing andtalking down the long corridor. Senator Stanton
was a conspicuous figure at any timeand even in those places where hisportraits had not penetrated he was at once recognized as a personage. Somethingin his erect carriage and an unusual grace of movementand the power andsuccess in his facemade men turn to look at him. He had been told that heresembled the early portraits of Henry Clayand he had never quite forgottenthe coincidence.
The senator was wrapping the collar of his furcoat around his throat and puffing contentedly at a fresh cigarand as hepassedthe night watchman and the ushers bowed to the great man and stoodlooking after him with the half-humoroushalf-envious deference that theAmerican voter pays to the successful politician. At the sidewalkthe policemenhurried to open the door of his carriage and in their eagerness made a doublelinethrough which he passed nodding to them gravely. The young man who hadstood so long in waiting pushed his way through the line to his side.
"Senator Stanton" he began timidly"might I speak to you a moment? My
name is Arkwright; I am just back from Cubaand I want to thank you for yourspeech. I am an Americanand I thank God that I am since you are toosir. Noone has said anything since the war began that compares with what you saidtonight. You put it noblyand I knowfor I've been there for three yearsonlyI can't make other people understand itand I am thankful that some one can.You'll forgive my stopping yousirbut I wanted to thank you. I feel it verymuch."
Senator Stanton's friends had already seatedthemselves in his carriage and were looking out of the door and smiling withmock patience. But the senator made no move to follow them. Though they were hisadmirers they were sometimes skepticaland he was not sorry that they shouldhear this uninvited tribute. So he made a pretence of buttoning his long coatabout himand nodded encouragingly to Arkwright to continue. "I'm glad youliked itsir" he said with the pleasantgracious smile that had won hima friend wherever it had won him a vote. "It is very satisfactory to knowfrom
one who is well informed on the subject that what I have said is correct. Thesituation there is truly terrible. You have just returnedyou say? Where wereyou -- in Havana?"
"Noin the other provincessir"Arkwright answered. "I have been all over the islandI am a civilengineer. The truth has not been half told about CubaI assure yousir. It ismassacre therenot war. It is partly so through ignorancebut nevertheless itis massacre. And what makes it worse isthat it is the massacre of theinnocents. That is what I liked best of what you said in that great speechthepart about the women and children."
He reached out his hands detaininglyand thendrew back as though in apology for having already kept the great man so longwaiting in the cold. "I wish I could tell you some of the terrible things Ihave seen" he began againeagerly as Stanton made no movement to depart."They are much worse than those you instanced to-nightand you could makeso much better use of them than any one else. I have seen starving
women nursing dead babiesand sometimes starving babies sucking their deadmother's breasts; I have seen men cut down in the open roads and while diggingin the fields -- and two hundred women imprisoned in one room without food andeaten with small-poxand huts burned while the people in them slept -- "
The young man had been speaking impetuouslybut he stopped as suddenlyfor the senator was not listening to him. He hadlowered his eyes and was looking with a glance of mingled fascination anddisgust at Arkwright's hands. In his earnestness the young man had stretchedthem outand as they showed behind the line of his ragged sleeves the otherscould seeeven in the blurred light and falling snowthat the wrists of eachhand were gashed and cut in dark-brown lines like the skin of a mulattoand inplaces were a raw redwhere the fresh skin had but just closed over. The youngman paused and stood shiveringstill holding his hands out rigidly before him.
The senator raised his eyes slowly and drewaway.
"What is that?" he said in a lowvoicepointing with a gloved finger at the black lines on the wrists.
A sergeant in the group of policemen who hadclosed around the speakers answered him promptly from his profound fund ofprofessional knowledge.
"That's handcuffssenator" he saidimportantlyand glanced at Stanton as though to signify that at a word from himhe would take this suspicious character into custody. The young man pulled thefrayed cuffs of his shirt over his wrists and tucked his handswhich the coldhad frozen into an ashy blueunder his armpits to warm them.
"Nothey don't use handcuffs in thefield" he said in the same loweager tone; "they use ropes andleather thongs; they fastened me behind a horse and when he stumbled going downthe trail it jerked me forward and the cords would tighten and tear the flesh.But they have had a long time to heal now. I have been eight months inprison."
The young men at the carriage window hadceased smiling and were listening intently. One of them stepped out and stoodbeside
the carriage door looking down at the shivering figure before him with a closeand curious scrutiny.
"Eight months in prison!" echoed thepolice sergeant with a note of triumph; "what did I tell you?"
"Hold your tongue!" said the youngman at the carriage door. There was silence for a momentwhile the men lookedat the senatoras though waiting for him to speak.
"Where were you in prisonMr.Arkwright?" he asked.
"First in the calaboose at Santa Clarafor two monthsand then in Cabanas. The Cubans who were taken when I waswereshot by the fusillade on different days during this last month. Two of themtheEzetaswere father and sonand the Volunteer band played all the time theexecution was going onso that the other prisoners might not hear them cry`Cuba Libre' when the order came to fire. But we heard them."
The senator shivered slightly and pulled hisfur collar up farther around his face. "I'd like to talk with you" hesaid"if you have nothing to do to-morrow. I'd like to
go into this thing thoroughly. Congress must be made to take some action."
The young man clasped his hands eagerly."AhMr. Stantonif you would" he cried"if you would onlygive me an hour! I could tell you so much that you could use. And you canbelieve what I saysir -- it is not necessary to lie -- God knows the truth isbad enough. I can give you names and dates for everything I say. Or I can dobetter than thatsir. I can take you there yourself -- in three months I canshow you all you need to seewithout danger to you in any way. And they wouldnot know menow that I have grown a beardand I am a skeleton to what I was. Ican speak the language welland I know just what you should seeand then youcould come back as one speaking with authority and not have to say`I haveread' or `have been told' but you can say`These are the things I have seen'-- and you could free Cuba."
The senator coughed and put the question asidefor the moment with a wave of the hand that held his cigar. "We will talkof that to-morrow also. Come to lunch with me at
one. My apartments are in the Berkeley on Fifth Avenue. But aren't you afraid togo back there?" he asked curiously. "I should think you'd had enoughof it. And you've got a touch of feverhaven't you?" He leaned forward andpeered into the other's eyes.
"It is only the prison fever" theyoung man answered; "food and this cold will drive that out of me. And Imust go back. There is so much to do there" he added. "Ahif I couldtell themas you can tell themwhat I feel here." He struck his chestsharply with his handand on the instant fell into a fit of coughing so violentthat the young man at the carriage door caught him around the waistand one ofthe policemen supported him from the other side.
"You need a doctor" said thesenator kindly. "I'll ask mine to have a look at you. Don't forgetthenat one o'clock to -- morrow. We will go into this thing thoroughly." Heshook Arkwright warmly by the hand and stooping stepped into the carriage. Theyoung man who had stood at the door followed him and crowded back
luxuriously against the cushions. The footman swung himself up beside thedriverand said "Uptown Delmonico's" as he wrapped the fur rugaround his legsand with a salute from the policemen and a scraping of hoofs onthe slippery asphalt the great man was gone.
"That poor fellow needs a doctor"he said as the carriage rolled up the avenue"and he needs an overcoatand he needs food. He needs about almost everythingby the looks of him."
But the voice of the young man in the cornerof the carriage objected drowsily --
"On the contrary" he said"itseemed to me that he had the one thing needful."
By one o'clock of the day followingSenatorStantonhaving read the reports of his speech in the morning paperspunctuatedwith "Cheers" "Tremendous enthusiasm" and more"Cheers" was still in a willing frame of mind toward Cuba and herself -- appointed envoyyoung Mr. Arkwright.
Over night he had had doubts but that theyoung man's enthusiasm would bore him on the morrowbut Mr. Arkwrightwhen he
appeareddevelopedon the contrarya practical turn of mind which renderedhis suggestions both flattering and feasible. He was still terribly in earnestbut he was clever enough or serious enough to see that the motives whichappealed to him might not have sufficient force to move a successful statesmaninto action. So he placed before the senator only those arguments and reasonswhich he guessed were the best adapted to secure his interest and his help. Hisproposal as he set it forth was simplicity itself.
"Here is a map of the island" hesaid; "on it I have marked the places you can visit in safetyand whereyou will meet the people you ought to see. If you leave New York at midnight youcan reach Tampa on the second day. From Tampa we cross in another day to Havana.There you can visit the Americans imprisoned in Morro and Cabanasand in thestreets you can see the starving pacificos. From Havana I shall take you by railto JucaroMatanzasSanta Clara and Cienfuegos. You will not be able to see theinsurgents in the fields -- it is not necessary that you should -- but you can
visit one of the sugar plantations and some of the insurgent chiefs will run theforts by night and come in to talk with you. I will show you burning fields andhousesand starving men and women by the thousandsand men and women dying offevers. You can see Cuban prisoners shot by a firing squad and you can note howthese rebels meet death. You can see all this in three weeks and be back in NewYork in a monthas any one can see it who wishes to learn the truth. WhyEnglish members of Parliament go all the way to India and British Columbia toinform themselves about those countriesthey travel thousands of milesbutonly one member of either of our houses of Congress has taken the trouble tocross these eighty miles of water that lie between us and Cuba. You can eithergo quietly and incognitoas it wereor you can advertise the fact of yourgoingwhich would be better. And from the moment you start the interest in yourvisit will grow and increase until there will be no topic discussed in any ofour papers except yourselfand what you are doing and what you mean to do.
"By the time you return the people willbe waitingready and eager to hear whatever you may have to say. Your word willbe the last word for them. It is not as though you were some demagogue seekingnotorietyor a hotel piazza correspondent at Key West or Jacksonville. You arethe only statesman we havethe only orator Americans will listen toand I tellyou that when you come before them and bring home to them as only you can thehorrors of this waryou will be the only man in this country. You will be thePatrick Henry of Cuba; you can go down to history as the man who added the mostbeautiful island in the seas to the territory of the United Stateswho savedthousands of innocent children and womenand who dared to do what no otherpolitician has dared to do -- to go and see for himself and to come back andspeak the truth. It only means a month out of your lifea month's trouble anddiscomfortbut with no risk. What is a month out of a lifetimewhen that monthmeans immortality to you and life to thousands? In a month you would make a halfdozen after-dinner speeches and cause your
friends to laugh and applaud. Why not wring their hearts insteadand hold thisthing up before them as it isand shake it in their faces? Show it to them inall its horror -- bleedingdiseased and nakedan offence to our humanityandto our prated love of libertyand to our God."
The young man threw himself eagerly forwardand beat the map with his open palm. But the senator sat apparently unmovedgazing thoughtfully into the open fireand shook his head.
While the luncheon was in progress the younggentleman who the night before had left the carriage and stood at Arkwright'ssidehad entered the room and was listening intently. He had invited himself tosome fresh coffeeand had then relapsed into an attentive silencefollowingwhat the others said with an amused and interested countenance. Stanton hadintroduced him as Mr. Livingstoneand appeared to take it for granted thatArkwright would know who he was. He seemed to regard him with a certaindeference which Arkwright judged was due to some fixed position the young
man heldeither of social or of political value.
"I do not know" said Stanton withconsideration"that I am prepared to advocate the annexation of theisland. It is a serious problem."
"I am not urging that" Arkwrightinterrupted anxiously; "the Cubans themselves do not agree as to thatandin any event it is an afterthought. Our object now should be to prevent furtherbloodshed. If you see a man beating a boy to deathyou first save the boy'slife and decide afterward where he is to go to school. If there were any oneelsesenator" Arkwright continued earnestly"I would not troubleyou. But we all know your strength in this country. You are independent andfearlessand men of both parties listen to you. SurelyGod has given you thisgreat gift of oratoryif you will forgive my speaking soto use only in agreat cause. A grand organ in a cathedral is placed there to lift men's thoughtsto high resolves and purposesnot to make people dance. A street organ can dothat. Nowhere is a cause worthy of your great talents
worthy of a Daniel Websterof a Henry Clay."
The senator frowned at the fire and shook hishead doubtfully.
"If they knew what I was down therefor" he asked"wouldn't they put me in prison too?"
Arkwright laughed incredulously.
"Certainly not" he said; "youwould go there as a private citizenas a tourist to look on and observe. Spainis not seeking complications of that sort. She has troubles enough withoutimprisoning United States senators."
"Yes; but these fevers now"persisted Stanton"they're no respecter of personsI imagine. A UnitedStates senator is not above smallpox or cholera."
Arkwright shook his head impatiently andsighed.
"It is difficult to make it clear to onewho has not been there" he said. "These people and soldiers are dyingof fever because they are forced to live like pigsand they are already sickwith starvation. A healthy man like yourself would be in no more
danger than you would be in walking through the wards of a New Yorkhospital."
Senator Stanton turned in his armchairandheld up his hand impressively.
"If I were to tell them the things youhave told me" he said warningly"if I were to say I have seen suchthings -- American property in flamesAmerican interests ruinedand that fivetimes as many women and children have died of fever and starvation in threemonths in Cuba as the Sultan has massacred in Armenia in three years -- it wouldmean war with Spain."
"Well?" said Arkwright.
Stanton shrugged his shoulders and sank backagain in his chair.
"It would either mean war"Arkwright went on"or it might mean the sending of the Red Cross army toCuba. It went to Constantinoplefive thousand miles awayto help the ArmenianChristians -- why has it waited three years to go eighty miles to feed andclothe the Cuban women and children? It is like sending help to a hungry peasantin Russia while a man dies on your doorstep."
"Well" said the senatorrising"I will let you know to-morrow. If it is the right thing to doand if Ican do itof course it must be done. We start from Tampayou say? I know thepresidents of all of those roads and they'll probably give me a private car forthe trip down. Shall we take any newspaper men with usor shall I wait until Iget back and be interviewed? What do you think?"
"I would wait until my return"Arkwright answeredhis eyes glowing with the hope the senator's words hadinspired"and then speak to a mass-meeting here and in Boston and inChicago. Three speeches will be enough. Before you have finished your last onethe American warships will be in the harbor of Havana."
"Ahyouthyouth!" said thesenatorsmiling gravely"it is no light responsibility to urge a countryinto war."
"It is no light responsibility"Arkwright answered"to know you have the chance to save the lives ofthousands of little children and helpless women and to let the chancepass."
"Quite sothat is quite true" saidthe senator. "Wellgood-morning. I shall let you know to-morrow."
Young Livingstone went down in the elevatorwith Arkwrightand when they had reached the sidewalk stood regarding him for amoment in silence.
"You mustn't count too much on Stantonyou know" he said kindly; "he has a way of disappointingpeople."
"Ahhe can never disappoint me"Arkwright answered confidently"no matter how much I expected. BesidesIhave already heard him speak."
"I don't mean thatI don't mean he isdisappointing as a speaker. Stanton is a great oratorI think. Most of thoseSoutherners areand he's the only real orator I ever heard. But what I mean isthat he doesn't go into things impulsively; he first considers himselfand thenhe considers every other side of the question before he commits himself to it.Before he launches out on a popular wave he tries to find out where it is goingto land him. He likes the sort of popular wave that carries him along with itwhere
every one can see him; he doesn't fancy being hurled up on the beach with hismouth full of sand."
"You are saying that he is selfishself-seeking?" Arkwright demanded with a challenge in his voice. "Ithought you were his friend."
"Yeshe is selfishand yesI am hisfriend" the young man answeredsmiling; "at leasthe seems willingto be mine. I am saying nothing against him that I have not said to him. Ifyou'll come back with me up the elevator I'll tell him he's a self-seeker andselfishand with no thought above his own interests. He won't mind. He'd say Icannot comprehend his motives. Whyyou've only to look at his record. When theVenezuelan message came out he attacked the President and declared he was tryingto make political capital and to drag us into warand that what we wanted wasarbitration; but when the President brought out the Arbitration Treaty heattacked that too in the Senate and destroyed it. Why? Not because he hadconvictionsbut because the President had refused a foreign appointment
to a friend of his in the South. He has been a free silver man for the last tenyearshe comes from a free silver stateand the members of the legislaturethat elected him were all for silverbut this last election his Wall Streetfriends got hold of him and worked on his feelingsand he repudiated his partyhis stateand his constituents and came out for gold."
"Wellbut surely" Arkwrightobjected"that took courage? To own that for ten years you had been wrongand to come out for the right at the last."
Livingstone stared and shrugged his shoulders."It's all a question of motives" he said indifferently. "I don'twant to shatter your idol; I only want to save you from counting too much onhim."
When Arkwright called on the morrow SenatorStanton was not at homeand the day following he was busyand could give himonly a brief interview. There were previous engagements and other difficultiesin the way of his going which he had not foreseenhe saidand he feared heshould have to postpone his visit to Cuba indefinitely. He asked if Mr.
Arkwright would be so kind as to call again within a week; he would then bebetter able to give him a definite answer.
Arkwright left the apartment with a sensationof such keen disappointment that it turned him ill and dizzy. He felt that thegreat purpose of his life was being played with and put aside. But he had notselfish resentment on his own account; he was only the more determined topersevere. He considered new arguments and framed new appeals; and one momentblamed himself bitterly for having foolishly discouraged the statesman by toovivid pictures of the horrors he might encounterand the nextquestioned if hehad not been too practical and so failed because he had not made the terribleneed of immediate help his sole argument. Every hour wasted in delay meantashe knewthe sacrifice of many livesand there were othermore sordid and morepracticalreasons for speedy action. For his supply of money was running lowand there was now barely enough remaining to carry him through the month oftravel he had planned to take at Stanton's side. What would happen to him whenthat
momentous trip was over was of no consequence. He would have done the work asfar as his small share in it layhe would have set in motion a great power thatwas to move Congress and the people of the United States to action. If he couldbut do thatwhat became of him counted for nothing.
But at the end of the week his fears andmisgivings were scattered gloriously and a single line from the senator set hisheart leaping and brought him to his knees in gratitude and thanksgiving. Onreturning one afternoon to the mean lodging into which he had moved to save hismoneyhe found a telegram from Stanton and he tore it open trembling betweenhope and fear.
"Have arranged to leave for Tampa withyou Mondayat midnight" it read. "Call for me at ten o'clock sameevening. -- STANTON."
Arkwright read the message three times. Therewas a heavysuffocating pressure at his heart as though it had ceased beating.He sank back limply upon the edge of his bed and clutching the piece of paper inhis two hands spoke the words aloud triumphantly as though to assure himselfthat they
were true. Then a flood of unspeakable reliefof happiness and gratitudesweptover himand he turned and slipped to the floorburying his face in thepillowand wept out his thanks upon his knees.
A man so deeply immersed in public affairs aswas Stanton and with such a multiplicity of personal interestscould notprepare to absent himself for a month without his intention becoming knownandon the day when he was to start for Tampa the morning newspapers proclaimed thefact that he was about to visit Cuba. They gave to his mission all theimportance and display that Arkwright had foretold. Some of the newspapersstated that he was going as a special commissioner of the President to study andreport; others that he was acting in behalf of the Cuban legation in Washingtonand had plenipotentiary powers. Opposition organs suggested that he was actingin the interests of the sugar trustand his own particular organ declared thatit was his intention to free Cuba at the risk of his own freedomsafetyandeven life.
The Spanish minister in Washington sent
a cable for publication to Madridstating that a distinguished Americanstatesman was about to visit Cubato investigateandlaterto deny the truthof the disgraceful libels published concerning the Spanish officials on theisland by the papers of the United States. At the same time he cabled in cipherto the captain-general in Havana to see that the distinguished statesman wasclosely spied upon from the moment of his arrival until his departureand toplace on the "suspect" list all Americans and Cubans who ventured togive him any information.
The afternoon papers enlarged on theimportance of the visit and on the good that would surely come of it. They toldthat Senator Stanton had refused to be interviewed or to disclose the object ofhis journey. But it was enoughthey saidthat some one in authority was atlast to seek out the truthand added that no one would be listened to withgreater respect than would the Southern senator. On this all the editorialwriters were agreed. The day passed drearily for Arkwright. Early in the morninghe packed his valise and paid his landlordand for the
remainder of the day walked the streets or sat in the hotel corridor waitingimpatiently for each fresh edition of the papers. In them he read the signs ofthe great upheaval of popular feeling that was to restore peace and health andplenty to the island for which he had given his last three years of energy andlife.
He was trembling with excitementas well aswith the coldwhen at ten o'clock precisely he stood at Senator Stanton's door.He had forgotten to eat his dinnerand the warmth of the dimly lit hall and theodor of rich food which was wafted from an inner room touched his senses withtantalizing comfort.
"The senator says you are to come thiswaysir" the servant directed. He took Arkwright's valise from his handand parted the heavy curtains that hid the dining-roomand Arkwright stepped inbetween them and then stopped in some embarrassment. He found himself in thepresence of a number of gentlemen seated at a long dinner-tablewho turnedtheir heads as he entered and peered at him through the smoke that floated
in light layers above the white cloth. The dinner had been servedbut thesenator's guests still sat with their chairs pushed back from a table lighted bycandles under yellow shadesand covered with beautiful flowers and with bottlesof varied sizes in stands of quaint and intricate design. Senator Stanton's tallfigure showed dimly through the smokeand his deep voice hailed Arkwrightcheerily from the farther end of the room. "This wayMr. Arkwright"he said. "I have a chair waiting for you here." He grasped Arkwright'shand warmly and pulled him into the vacant place at his side. An elderlygentleman on Arkwright's other side moved to make more room for him and shoved aliqueur glass toward him with a friendly nod and pointed at an open box ofcigars. He was a fine-looking manand Arkwright noticed that he was regardinghim with a glance of the keenest interest. All of those at the table were men oftwice Arkwright's ageexcept Livingstonewhom he recognized and who nodded tohim pleasantly and at the same time gave an order to a servantpointing atArkwright as he did
so. Some of the gentlemen wore their business suitsand one opposite Arkwrightwas still in his overcoatand held his hat in his hand. These latter seemed tohave arrived after the dinner had begunfor they formed a second line back ofthose who had places at the table; they all seemed to know one another and weretalking with much vivacity and interest.
Stanton did not attempt to introduce Arkwrightto his guests individuallybut said: "Gentlementhis is Mr. Arkwrightofwhom I have been telling youthe young gentleman who has done such magnificentwork for the cause of Cuba." Those who caught Arkwright's eye nodded tohimand others raised their glasses at himbut with a smile that he could notunderstand. It was as though they all knew something concerning him of which hewas ignorant. He noted that the faces of some were strangely familiarand hedecided that he must have seen their portraits in the public prints. After hehad introduced Arkwrightthe senator drew his chair slightly away from him andturned in what seemed embarrassment to the man on
his other side. The elderly gentleman next to Arkwright filled his glassaservant placed a small cup of coffee at his elbowand he lit a cigar and lookedabout him.
"You must find this weather very tryingafter the tropics" his neighbor said.
Arkwright assented cordially. The brandy wasflowing through his veins and warming him; he forgot that he was hungryand thekindinterested glances of those about him set him at his ease. It was apropitious starthe thoughta pleasant leave-taking for the senator andhimselffull of good will and good wishes.
He turned toward Stanton and waited until hehad ceased speaking.
"The papers have begun wellhaven'tthey?" he askedeagerly.
He had spoken in a low voicealmost in awhisperbut those about the table seemed to have heard himfor there wassilence instantly and when he glanced up he saw the eyes of all turned upon himand he noticed on their faces the same smile he had seen there when he entered.
"Yes" Stanton answeredconstrainedly.
"YesI -- " he lowered his voicebut the silence still continued.Stanton had his eyes fixed on the tablebut now he frowned and half rose fromhis chair.
"I want to speak with youArkwright" he said. "Suppose we go into the next room. I'll be backin a moment" he addednodding to the others.
But the man on his right removed his cigarfrom his lips and said in an undertone"Nosit downstay where youare;" and the elderly gentleman at Arkwright's side laid his handdetainingly on his arm. "Ohyou won't take Mr. Arkwright away from usStanton?" he askedsmiling.
Stanton shrugged his shoulders and sat downagainand there was a moment's pause. It was broken by the man in the overcoatwho laughed.
"He's paying you a complimentMr.Arkwright" he said. He pointed with his cigar to the gentleman atArkwright's side.
"I don't understand" Arkwrightanswered doubtfully.
"It's a compliment to your eloquence --he's afraid to leave you alone with the
senator. Livingstone's been telling us that you are a better talker thanStanton." Arkwright turned a troubled countenance toward the men about thetableand then toward Livingstonebut that young man had his eyes fixedgravely on the glasses before him and did not raise them.
Arkwright felt a suddenunreasonable fear ofthe circle of strong-featuredserene and confident men about him. They seemedto be making him the subject of a jestto be enjoying something amongthemselves of which he was in ignorancebut which concerned him closely. Heturned a white face toward Stanton.
"You don't mean" he beganpiteously"that -- that you are not going? Is that it -- tell me -- isthat what you wanted to say?"
Stanton shifted in his chair and muttered somewords between his lipsthen turned toward Arkwright and spoke quite clearly anddistinctly.
"I am very sorryMr. Arkwright" hesaid"but I am afraid I'll have to disappoint you. Reasons I cannot nowexplain have arisen which make my going impossible --
quite impossible" he added firmly -- "not only nowbut later"he went on quicklyas Arkwright was about to interrupt him.
Arkwright made no second attempt to speak. Hefelt the muscles of his face working and the tears coming to his eyesand tohide his weakness he twisted in his chair and sat staring ahead of him with hisback turned to the table. He heard Livingstone's voice break the silence withsome hurried questionand immediately his embarrassment was hidden in a murmurof answers and the moving of glasses as the men shifted in their chairs and thelaughter and talk went on as briskly as before. Arkwright saw a sideboard beforehim and a servant arranging some silver on one of the shelves. He watched theman do this with a concentrated interest as though the dullnumbed feeling inhis brain caught at the trifle in order to put offas long as possibletheconsideration of the truth.
And then beyond the sideboard and the tapestryon the wall above ithe saw the sun shining down upon the island of Cubahesaw the royal palms waving and bending
the dusty columns of Spanish infantry crawling along the white roads and leavingblazing huts and smoking cane-fields in their wake; he saw skeletons of men andwomen seeking for food among the refuse of the street; he heard the order givento the firing squadthe splash of the bullets as they scattered the plaster onthe prison walland he saw a kneeling figure pitch forward on its facewith auseless bandage tied across its sightless eyes.
Senator Stanton brought him back with a sharpshake of the shoulder. He had also turned his back on the othersand wasleaning forward with his elbows on his knees. He spoke rapidlyand in a voiceonly slightly raised above a whisper.
"I am more than sorryArkwright"he said earnestly. "You mustn't blame me altogether. I have had a hard timeof it this afternoon. I wanted to go. I really wanted to go. The thing appealedto meit touched meit seemed as if I owed it to myself to do it. But theywere too many for me" he added with a backward toss of his head toward themen around his table.
"If the papers had not told on me I couldhave got well away" he went on in an eager tone"but as soon as theyread of itthey came here straight from their offices. You know who they aredon't you?" he askedand even in his earnestness there was an added touchof importance in his tone as he spoke the name of his party's leaderof men whostood prominently in Wall Street and who were at the head of great trusts.
"You see how it is" he said with ashrug of his shoulders. "They have enormous interests at stake. They said Iwould drag them into warthat I would disturb valuesthat the businessinterests of the country would suffer. I'm under obligations to most of themthey have advised me in financial mattersand they threatened -- theythreatened to make it unpleasant for me." His voice hardened and he drew inhis breath quicklyand laughed. "You wouldn't understand if I were to tellyou. It's rather involved. And after allthey may be rightagitation may bebad for the country. And your party leader after all is your party leaderisn'theand if he says `no' what are
you to do? My sympathies are just as keen for these poor women and children aseverbut as these men say`charity begins at home' and we mustn't do anythingto bring on war prices againor to send stocks tumbling about our headsmustwe?" He leaned back in his chair again and sighed. "Sympathy is anexpensive luxuryI find" he added.
Arkwright rose stiffly and pushed Stanton awayfrom him with his hand. He moved like a man coming out of a dream.
"Don't talk to me like that" hesaid in a low voice. The noise about the table ended on the instantbutArkwright did not notice that it had ceased. "You know I don't understandthat" he went on; "what does it matter to me!" He put his handup to the side of his face and held it therelooking down at Stanton. He hadthe dullheavy look in his eyes of a man who has just come through an operationunder some heavy drug. "`Wall Street' `trusts' `party leaders'" herepeated"what are they to me? The words don't reach methey have losttheir meaningit is a language I have
forgottenthank God!" he added. He turned and moved his eyes around thetablescanning the faces of the men before him.
"Yesyou are twelve to one" hesaid at laststill speaking dully and in a low voiceas though he were talkingto himself. "You have won a noble victorygentlemen. I congratulate you.But I do not blame youwe are all selfish and self-seeking. I thought I wasworking only for Cubabut I was working for myselfjust as you are. I wantedto feel that it was I who had helped to bring relief to that plague-spotthatit was through my efforts the help had come. Yesif he had done as I askedIsuppose I would have taken the credit."
He swayed slightlyand to steady himselfcaught at the back of his chair. But at the same moment his eyes glowed fiercelyand he held himself erect again. He pointed with his finger at the circle ofgreat men who sat looking up at him in curious silence.
"You are like a ring of gamblers around agaming table" he cried wildly"who see nothing but the green clothand the wheel and the piles of money before themwho
You are like a ring of gamblersaround a gaming table.
forget in watching the money rise and fallthat outside the sun is shiningthat human beings are sick and sufferingthat men are giving their lives for anideafor a sentimentfor a flag. You are the money-changers in the temple ofthis great republic and the day will comeI pray to Godwhen you will bescourged and driven out with whips. Do you think you can form combines and dealsthat will cheat you into heaven? Can your `trusts' save your souls -- is `WallStreet' the strait and narrow road to salvation?"
The men about the table leaned back and staredat Arkwright in as great amazement as though he had violently attempted anassault upon their pocketsor had suddenly gone mad in their presence. Some ofthem frownedand others appeared not to have heardand others smiled grimlyand waited for him to continue as though they were spectators at a play.
The political leader broke the silence with alow aside to Stanton. "Does the gentleman belong to the SalvationArmy?" he asked.
Arkwright whirled about and turned upon himfiercely.
"Old gods give way to new gods" hecried. "Here is your brother. I am speaking for him. Do you ever think ofhim? How dare you sneer at me?" he cried. "You can crack your whipover that man's head and turn him from what in his heart and conscience he knowsis right; you can crack your whip over the men who call themselves free-bornAmerican citizens and who have made you their boss -- sneer at them if you likebut you have no collar on my neck. If you are a leaderwhy don't you lead yourpeople to what is good and noble? Why do you stop this man in the work God senthim here to do? You would make a party hack of hima political prostitutesomething lower than the woman who walks the streets. She sells her body -- thisman is selling his soul."
He turnedtrembling and quiveringand shookhis finger above the upturned face of the senator.
"What have you done with your talentsStanton?" he cried. "What have you done with your talents?"
The man in the overcoat struck the table
before him with his fist so that the glasses rang.
"By God" he laughed"I callhim a better speaker than Stanton! Livingstone's righthe is better thanStanton -- but he lacks Stanton's knack of making himself popular" headded. He looked around the table inviting approbation with a smilebut no onenoticed himnor spoke to break the silence.
Arkwright heard the words dully and felt thathe was being mocked. He covered his face with his hands and stood breathingbrokenly; his body was still trembling with an excitement he could not master.
Stanton rose from his chair and shook him bythe shoulder. "Are you madArkwright?" he cried. "You have noright to insult my guests or me. Be calm -- control yourself."
"What does it matter what I say?"Arkwright went on desperately. "I am mad. Yesthat is itI am mad. Theyhave won and I have lostand it drove me beside myself. I counted on you. Iknew that no one else could let my people go. But I'll not
trouble you again. I wish you good-nightsirand good-bye. If I have beenunjustyou must forget it."
He turned sharplybut Stanton placed adetaining hand on his shoulder. "Wait" he commanded querulously;"where are you going? Will youstill -- ?"
Arkwright bowed his head. "Yes" heanswered. "I have but just time now to catch our train -- my trainImean."
He looked up at Stanton and taking his hand inboth of hisdrew the man toward him. All the wildness and intolerance in hismanner had passedand as he raised his eyes they were full of a firm resolve.
"Come" he said simply; "thereis yet time. Leave these people behind you. What can you answer when they askwhat have you done with your talents?"
"Good GodArkwright" the senatorexclaimed angrilypulling his hand away; "don't talk like a hymn-bookanddon't make another scene. What you ask is impossible. Tell me what I can do tohelp you in any other wayand -- "
"Come" repeated the young manfirmly.
"The world may judge you by what you doto-night."
Stanton looked at the boy for a brief momentwith a strained and eager scrutinyand then turned away abruptly and shook hishead in silenceand Arkwright passed around the table and on out of the room.
A month lateras the Southern senator waspassing through the reading-room of the Union ClubLivingstone beckoned to himand handing him an afternoon paper pointed at a paragraph in silence. Theparagraph was dated Sagua la Grandeand read:
"The body of Henry Arkwrightan Americancivil engineerwas brought into Sagua to-day by a Spanish column. It was foundlying in a road three miles beyond the line of forts. Arkwright was surprised bya guerilla force while attempting to make his way to the insurgent campand onresisting was shot. The body has been handed over to the American consul forinterment. It is badly mutilated."
Stanton lowered the paper and stood staringout of the window at the falling snow and
the cheery lights and bustling energy of the avenue.
"Poor fellow" he said"hewanted so much to help them. And he didn't accomplish anythingdid he?"
Livingstone stared at the older man andlaughed shortly.
"WellI don't know" he said."He died. Some of us only live."
HIS Excellency Sir CharlesGrevilleK. C M. G.Governor of the Windless Islandsstood upon the verandaof Government House surveying the new day with critical and searching eyes. SirCharles had been so long absolute monarch of the Windless Isles that he hadassumed unconsciously a mental attitude of suzerainty over even the glitteringwaters of the Caribbean Seaand the coral reefs under the watersand therainbow skies that floated above them. But on this particular morning not eventhe critical eye of the Governor could distinguish a single flaw in the tropicallandscape before him.
The lawn at his feet ran down to meet thedazzling waters of the baythe blue waters of the bay ran to meet a greatstretch of absinthe greenthe green joined a fairy sky of pink
and gold and saffron. Islands of coral floated on the sea of absintheandderelict clouds of mother-of-pearl swung low above themstarting from nowhereand going nowherebut drifting beautifullylike giant soap-bubbles of lightand color. Where the lawn touched the waters of the bay the cocoanut-palmsreached their crooked lengths far up into the sunshineand as the sea-breezestirred their fronds they filled the hot air with whispers and murmurs like thefluttering of many fans. Nature smiled boldly upon the Governorconfident inher bountiful beautyas though she said"Surely you cannot but be pleasedwith me to-day." Andas though in answerthe critical and searchingglance of Sir Charles relaxed.
The crunching of the gravel and the rattle ofthe sentry's musket at salute recalled him to his high office and to the dutiesof the morning. He waved his handandas though it were a wandthe sentrymoved againmaking his way to the kitchen-gardenand so around GovernmentHouse and back to the lawn-tennis courtmaintaining in his solitary pilgrimagethe dignity of her Majesty's
representativeas well as her Majesty's power over the Windless Isles.
The Governor smiled slightlywith the ease ofmind of one who finds all things good. Supreme authoritysurroundings ofendless beautythe respectfuleven humbledeference of his inferiorsandnever even an occasional visit from a superiorhad in four years lowered himinto a bed of ease and self -- satisfaction. He was cut off from the worldandyet of it. Each month there camevia Jamaicathe three weeks' old copy of TheWeekly Times; he subscribed to Mudie's Colonial Library; and from the States hehad imported an American lawn-mowerthe mechanism of which no one as yetunderstood. Within his own borders he had created a healthyorderly seaport outof what had been a sink of fever and a refuge for all the ne'er-do-wells andfugitive revolutionists of Central America.
He knewas he sat each evening on hisverandalooking across the baythat in the world beyond the pink and goldsunset men were still pantingstrugglingand starving; crises were rising andpassing; strikes and
panicswars and the rumors of warsswept from continent to continent; a plaguecrept through India; a filibuster with five hundred men at his back crossed animaginary line and stirred the world from Cape Town to London; Emperors werecrowned; the good Queen celebrated the longest reign; and a captain of artilleryimprisoned in a swampy island in the South Atlantic caused two hemispheres toclamor for his rescueand lit a race war that stretched from Algiers to theboulevards.
And yetat the Windless Islesall thesehappenings seemed to Sir Charles like the morning's memory of a dream. For thesethings never crossed the ring of the coral reefs; he saw them only as picturesin an illustrated paper a month old. And he was pleased to find that this wasso. He was sufficient to himselfwith his own responsibilities and socialduties and public works. He was a man in authoritywho said to others"Come!" and "Go!" Under him were commissionersand underthe commissioners district inspectors and boards of education and of highways.For the better
health of the colony he had planted trees that sucked the malaria from the air;for its better morals he had substituted as a Sunday amusement cricket-matchesfor cock-fights; and to keep it at peace he had created a local constabulary ofnative negroesand had dressed them in the cast-off uniforms of Londonpolicemen. His handiwork was everywhereand his interest was all sunk in hishandiwork. The days passed gorgeous with sunshinethe nights breathed withbeauty. It was an existence of leisurely occupationand one that promised nochangeand he was content.
As it was Thursdaythe Council met thatmorningand some questions of moment to the colony were to be brought up forconsideration. The question of the dog-tax was one which perplexed Sir Charlesmost particularly. The two Councillors elected by the people and the threeappointed by the crown had disagreed as to this tax. Of the five hundred Britishsubjects at the seaportall but ten were owners of dogsand it had occurred toSassoonthe chemistthat a tax of half-a-crown a year on each of these dogs
would meet the expense of extending the oyster-shell road to the newcricket-grounds. To this Snellgrovewho held the contract for the narrow-gaugerailroadagreed; but the three crown Councillors opposed the tax vigorouslyonthe ground that as scavengers alone the dogs were a boon to the colony andshould be encouraged. The fact that each of these gentlemen owned not only onebut several dogs of high pedigree made their position one of great delicacy.
There was no way by which the Governor couldtest the popular will in the matterexcept through his secretaryMr. Clargeswhoat the cricket-match between the local eleven and the officers and crew ofH. M. S. Partridgehad been informed by the other owners of severalfox-terriers thatin their opinionthe tax was a piece of "condemnedtommy-rot." From this the Governor judged that it would not prove a popularmeasure. As he paced the verandadrawing deliberately on his cigarandconsidering to which party he should give the weight of his final supporthisthoughts were disturbed by the approach of a strangerwho advanced along thegravel
walkguarded on either side by one of the local constabulary. The stranger wasyoung and of poor appearance. His bare feet were bound in a pair of the ropesandals worn by the nativeshis clothing was of torn and soiled drilland hefanned his face nonchalantly with a sombrero of battered and shapeless felt.
Sir Charles halted in his walkand holdinghis cigar behind his backaddressed himself to the sergeant.
"A vagrant?" he asked.
The words seemed to bear some amusingsignificance to the strangerfor his face lit instantly with a sweet andcharming smileand while he turned to hear the sergeant's replyhe regardedhim with a kindly and affectionate interest.
The Governor turned to the prisoner.
"Do you know the law of this colonyregarding vagrants?"
"I do not" the young man answered.His tone was politely curiousand suggested that he would like to be furtherinformed as to the local peculiarities of a foreign country.
"After two weeks' residence" theGovernor recitedimpressively"all able-bodied persons who will not workare put to work or deported. Have you made any effort to find work?"
Again the young man smiled charmingly. Heshook his head and laughed. "Oh dear no" he said.
The laugh struck the Governor as impertinent.
"Then you must leave by the nextmail-steamerif you have any money to pay your passageorif you have nomoneyyou must go to work on the roads. Have you any money?"
"If I hadI wouldn't -- be avagrant" the young man answered. His voice was low and singularly sweet.It seemed to suit the indolence of his attitude and the lazyinconsequentsmile. "I called on our consular agent here" he continuedleisurely"to write a letter home for moneybut he was disgracefully drunkso Iused his official note-paper to write to the State Department about himinstead."
The Governor's deepest interest was aroused.
The American consular agent was one of the severest trials he was forced toendure.
"You are not a British subjectthen? AhI see -- and -- er -- your representative was unable to assist you?"
"He was drunk" the young manrepeatedplacidly. "He has been drunk ever since I have been hereparticularly in the mornings." He haltedas though the subject had lostinterest for himand gazed pleasantly at the sunny bay and up at the movingpalms.
"Then" said the Governoras thoughhe had not been interrupted"as you have no means of supportyou willhelp support the colony until you can earn money to leave it. That will dosergeant."
The young man placed his hat upon his head andturned to move awaybut at the first step he swayed suddenly and caught at thenegro's shoulderclasping his other hand across his eyes. The sergeant held himby the waistand looked up at the Governor with some embarrassment.
"The young gentleman has not been wellSir Charles" he saidapologetically.
The stranger straightened himself up and
smiled vaguely. "I'm all right" he murmured. "Sun's toohot."
"Sit down" said the Governor.
He observed the stranger more closely. Henoticed now that beneath the tan his face was delicate and finely cutand thathis yellow hair clung closely to a well-formed head.
"He seems faint. Has he had anything toeat?" asked the Governor.
The sergeant grinned guiltily. "YesSirCharles; we've been feeding him at the barracks. It's feversir."
Sir Charles was not unacquainted with fallengentlemen"beach-combers" "remittance men" and vagrantswho had known better daysand there had been something winning in thisvagrant's smileandmoreoverhe had reported that thorn in his fleshtheconsular agentto the proper authorities.
He conceived an interest in a young man whothough with naked feetdid not hesitate to correspond with his Minister ofForeign Affairs.
"How long have you been ill?" heasked.
The young man looked up from where he had sunkon the stepsand roused himself
with a shrug. "It doesn't matter" he said. "I've had a touch ofChagres ever since I was on the Isthmus. I was at work there on therailroad."
"Did you come here from Colon?"
"No; I worked up the Pacific side. I wasclerking with Rossner Brothers at Amapala for a whilebecause I speak a littleGermanand then I footed it over to Puerto Cortez and got a job with thelottery people. They gave me twenty dollars a month gold for rolling theticketsand I put it all in the drawingand won as much as ten." Helaughedand sitting erectdrew from his pocket a roll of thin green papers."These are for the next drawing" he said. "Have some?" headded. He held them towards the negro sergeantwhounder the eye of theGovernorresistedand then spread the tickets on his knee like a hand atcards. "I stand to win a lot with these" he saidwith a cheerfulsigh. "You seeuntil the list's published I'm prospectively worth twentythousand dollars. And" he added"I break stones in the sun." Herose unsteadilyand saluted the Governor with a
nod. "Good-morningsir" he said"and thank you."
"Wait" Sir Charles commanded. A newform of punishment had suggested itselfin which justice was tempered withmercy. "Can you work one of your American lawn-mowers?" he asked.
The young man laughed delightedly. "Inever tried" he said"but I've seen it done."
"If you've been illit would be murderto put you on the shell road." The Governor's dignity relaxed into a smile."I don't desire international complications" he said. "Sergeanttake this -- him -- to the kitchenand tell Corporal Mallon to give him thatAmerican lawn-mowing machine. Possibly he may understand its mechanism. Mallononly cuts holes in the turf with it." And he waved his hand in dismissaland as the three men moved away he buried himself again in the perplexities ofthe dog-tax.
Ten minutes later the deliberations of theCouncil were disturbed by a loud and persistent rattlelike the whir of a Maximgunwhich provedon investigationto arise from the American lawn-mower. Thevagrant was
propelling it triumphantly across the lawnand gazing down at it with the samefond pride with which a nursemaid leans over the perambulator to observe herlusty and gurgling charge.
The Councillors had departedSir Charles wasthinking of breakfastthe Maxim-like lawn-mower still irritated the silent hushof middaywhen from the waters of the inner harbor there came suddenly thesharp report of a saluting gun and the rush of falling anchor-chains. There wasstill a week to pass before the mail-steamer should arriveand H. M. S.Partridge had departed for Nassau. Besides these shipsno other vessel hadskirted the buoys of the bay in eight long smiling months. Mr. Clargesthesecretarywith an effort to appear calmand the orderlysuffocated with thenewsentered through separate doors at the same instant.
The secretary filed his report first. "Ayacht's just anchored in the baySir Charles" he said.
The orderly's face fell. He looked aggrieved."An American yacht" he corrected.
"And much larger than thePartridge" continued the secretary.
The orderly took a hasty glance back over hisshoulder. "She has her launch lowered alreadysir" he said.
Outside the whir of the lawn-mower continuedundisturbed. Sir Charles reached for his marine-glassand the three men hurriedto the veranda.
"It looks like a man-of-war" saidSir Charles. "No" he addedadjusting the binocular; "she's ayacht. She flies the New York Yacht Club pennant -- now she's showing theowner's absent pennant. He must have left in the launch. He's coming ashorenow."
"He seems in a bit of a hurry"growled Mr. Clarges.
"Those Americans always -- "murmured Sir Charles from behind the binocular. He did not quite know that heenjoyed this sudden onslaught upon the privacy of his harbor and port.
It was in itself annoyingand he was furtherannoyed to find that it could in the least degree disturb his poise.
The launch was growing instantly largerlikean express train approaching a station at full speed; her flags flew out as flatas pieces of painted tin; her bits of brass-work flashed like fire. Already theends of the wharves were white with groups of natives.
"You might think he was going to ram thetown" suggested the secretary.
"OhI say" he exclaimedinremonstrance"he's making in for your private wharf."
The Governor was rearranging the focus of theglass with nervous fingers. "I believe" he said"no -- yes --upon my wordthere are -- there are ladies in that launch!"
"Ladiessir!" The secretary threw ahasty glance at the binocularbut it was in immediate use.
The clatter of the lawn-mower ceased suddenlyand the relief of its silence caused the Governor to lower his eyes. He saw thelawn-mower lying prostrate on the grass. The vagrant had vanished.
There was a sharp tinkle of bellsand thelaunch slipped up to the wharf and halted as softly as a bicycle. A man in ayachting-suit jumped from herand making some
laughing speech to the two women in the sternwalked briskly across the lawntaking a letter from his pocket as he came. Sir Charles awaited him gravely; theoccupants of the launch had seen himand it was too late to retreat.
"Sir Charles GrevilleI believe"said the yachtsman. He bowedand ran lightly up the steps. "I am Mr.Robert Collierfrom New York" he said. "I have a letter to you fromyour ambassador at Washington. If you'll pardon meI'll present it in person. Ihad meant to leave itbut seeing you -- " He pausedand gave the letterin his hand to Sir Charleswho waved him towards his library.
Sir Charles scowled at the letter through hismonocleand then shook hands with his visitor. "I am very glad to see youMr. Collier" he said. "He says here you are preparing a book on ourcolonies in the West Indies." He tapped the letter with his monocle."I am sure I shall be most happy to assist you with any information in mypower."
"WellI am writing a book -- yes"Mr.
Collier observeddoubtfully"but it's a logbook. This trip I am onpleasure bentand I also wish to consult with you on a personal matter.Howeverthat can wait." He glanced out of the windows to where the launchlay in the sun. "My wife came ashore with meSir Charles" he said"so that in case there was a Lady GrevilleMrs. Collier could call on herand we could ask if you would waive etiquette and do us the honor to dine withus to-night on the yacht -- that isif you are not engaged."
Sir Charles smiled. "There is no LadyGreville" he said"and I personally do not think I am engagedelsewhere." He paused in thoughtas though to make quite sure he was not."No" he added"I have no other engagement. I will come withpleasure."
Sir Charles rose and clapped his hands for theorderly. "Possibly the ladies will come up to the veranda?" he asked."I cannot allow them to remain at the end of my wharf." He turnedandgave directions to the orderly to bring limes and bottles of soda and iceandled the way across the lawn.
Mrs. Collier and her friend had not exploredthe grounds of Government House for over ten minutes before Sir Charles feltthat many years ago he had personally arranged their visitthat he had knownthem for even a longer timeand thatnow that they had finally arrivedtheymust never depart.
To them there was apparently nothing on hisdomain which did not thrill with delightful interest. They were as eager as twochildren at a pantomimeand as unconscious. As a ruleSir Charles had found itrather difficult to meet the women of his colony on a path which they werecapable of treading intelligently. In fairness to themhe had always sought outsome topic in which they could take an equal part -- something connected withthe conduct of childrenor the better ventilation of the new school-house andchapel. But these new-comers did not require him to select topics ofconversation; they did not even wait for him to finish those which he himselfintroduced. They flitted from one end of the garden to the other with theeagerness of two midshipmen on shore leaveand they found something to enjoy
in what seemed to the Governor the most commonplace of things. The Zouaveuniform of the sentrythe old Spanish cannon converted into peacefulgate-poststhe aviary with its screaming paroquetsthe botanical stationandeven the ice-machine were all objects of delight.
On the other handthe interior of the famouspalacewhich had been sent out complete from Londonand which was wont to fillthe wives of the colonials with awe or to reduce them to whispersfor somereason failed of its effect. But they said they "loved" the large goldV. R.'s on the back of the Councillors' chairsand they exclaimed aloud overthe red leather despatch-boxes and the great seal of the colonyand themysterious envelopes marked "On her Majesty's service."
"Isn't it too excitingFlorence?"demanded Mrs. Collier. "This is the table where Sir Charles sits and writesletters' on her Majesty's service' and presses these buttonsand war-shipsspring up in perfect shoals. OhRobert" she sighed"I do wish youhad been a Governor!"
The young lady called Florence stood lookingdown into the great arm-chair in front of the Governor's table.
"May I?" she asked. She slidfearlessly in between the oak arms of the chair and smiled about her. AfterwardsSir Charles remembered her as she appeared at that moment with the red leatherof the chair behind herwith her gloved hands resting on the carved oakandher head on one sidesmiling up at him. She gazed with large eyes at the bluelinen envelopesthe stiff documents in red tapethe tray of black sandandthe goose-quill pens.
"I am now the Countess Zika" sheannounced; "noI am Diana of the Crosswaysand I mean to discover a statesecret and sell it to the Daily Telegraph. Sir Charles" she demanded"if I press this electric button is war declared anywhereor whathappens?"
"That second button" said SirCharlesafter deliberate scrutiny"is the one which communicates with thepantry."
The Governor would not consider theirreturning to the yacht for luncheon.
"You might decide to steam away assuddenly as you came" he saidgallantly"and I cannot take thatchance. This is Bachelor's Hallso you must pardon my people if things do notgo very smoothly." He himself led them to the great guest-chamberwherethere had not been a guest for many yearsand he noticedas though for thefirst timethat the halls through which they passed were bareand that thefloor was littered with unpacked boxes and gun-cases. He also observed for thefirst time that maps of the colonywith the coffee-plantations and mahoganybelt marked in different inkswere not perhaps so decorative as pictures andmirrors and family portraits. And he could have wished that the native servantshad not stared so admiringly at the guestsnor directed each other in suchaggressive whispers. On those other occasionswhen the wives of the Councillorscame to the semi-annual dinnersthe native servants had seemed adequate to allthat was required of them. He recollected with a flush that in the town thesesemi-annual dinners were described as banquets. He
wondered if to these visitors from the outside world it was all equallyprovincial.
But their enjoyment was apparently unfeignedand generous. It was evident that they had known each other for many yearsyetthey received every remark that any of them made as though it had beenpronounced by a new and interesting acquaintance. Sir Charles found it ratherdifficult to keep up with the talk across the tablethey changed the subject sorapidlyand they half spoke of so many things without waiting to explain. Hecould not at once grasp the fact that people who had no other position in theworld save that of observers were speaking so authoritatively of public men andpublic measures. He foundto his delightthat for the first time in severalyears he was not presiding at his own tableand that his guests seemed to feelno awe of him.
"What's the use of a yachtnowadays?" Collier was saying -- " what's the use of a yachtwhen youcan go to sleep in a wagon -- lit at the Gare du Nordand wake up atVladivostok? And look at the time it saves; eleven days to Gibsix to PortSaidand
fifteen to Colombo -- there you areonly half-way aroundand you're alreadysixteen days behind the man in the wagon-lit."
"But nobody wants to go toVladivostok" said Miss Cameron"or anywhere else in a wagon-lit. Butwith a yacht you can explore out-of-the-way placesand you meet new andinteresting people. We wouldn't have met Sir Charles if we had waited for awagon-lit." She bowed her head to the Governorand he smiled withgratitude. He had lost Mr. Collier somewhere in the Indian Oceanand he wasglad she had brought them back to the Windless Isles once more.
"And again I repeat that the answer tothat is`Why not? said the March Hare'" remarked Mr. Collierdeterminedly.
The answeras an answerdid not strike SirCharles as a very good one. But the ladies seemed to comprehendfor MissCameron said: "Did I tell you about meeting him at Oxford just a few monthsbefore his death -- at a children's tea-party? He was so sweet and understandingwith them! Two women tried to lionize himand he ran away and played with the
children. I was more glad to meet him than any one I can think of. Not as apersonageyou knowbut because I felt grateful to him."
"Yesthat waydistinctly" saidMrs. Collier. "I should have felt that way towards Mrs. Ewing more than anyone else."
"I know`Jackanapes'" remarkedColliershortly; "a brutal assault upon the feelingsI say."
"Some one else said it before youRobert" Mrs. Collier commentedcalmly. "Perhaps Sir Charles met himat Apia." They all turned and looked at him. He wished he could say he hadmet him at Apia. He did not quite see how they had made their way from achildren's tea party at Oxford to the South Pacific islandsbut he was anxiousto join in somewhere with a clever observation. But they never seemed to settlein one place sufficiently long for him to recollect what he knew of it. He hopedthey would get around to the west coast of Africa in time. He had been Governorof Sierra Leone for five years.
His success that night at dinner on the yachtwas far better. The others seemed a little tired after the hours of sight-seeingto which he had treated themand they were content to listen. In the absence ofMr. Clargeswho knew them word by wordhe felt free to tell his three storiesof life at Sierra Leone. He took his time in the tellingand could congratulatehimself that his efforts had never been more keenly appreciated. He felt that hewas holding his own.
The night was still and warmand while themen lingered below at the tablethe two women mounted to the deck and watchedthe lights of the town as they vanished one by one and left the moon inunchallenged possession of the harbor. For a long time Miss Cameron stoodsilentlooking out across the bay at the shore and the hills beyond. A fishsplashed near themand the sound of oars rose from the mist that floated abovethe wateruntil they were muffled in the distance. The palms along the shoreglistened like silverand overhead the Southern Cross shone white against a skyof
purple. The silence deepened and continued for so long a time that Mrs. Collierfelt its significanceand waited for the girl to end it.
Miss Cameron raised her eyes to the stars andfrowned. "I am not surprised that he is content to stay here" shesaid. "Are you? It is so beautifulso wonderfully beautiful."
For a moment Mrs. Collier made no answer."Two years is a long timeFlorence" she said; "and he is all Ihave; he is not only my only brotherhe is the only living soul who is relatedto me. That makes it harder."
The girl seemed to find some implied reproachin the speechfor she turned and looked at her friend closely. "Do youfeel it is my faultAlice?" she asked.
The older woman shook her head. "Howcould it be your fault?" she answered. "If you couldn't love himenough to marry himyou couldn'tthat's all. But that is no reason why heshould have hidden himself from all of us. Even if he could not stand being nearyoucaring as he didhe need
not have treated me so. We have done all we can doand Robert has been morethan fine about it. He and his agents have written to every consul and businesshouse in Central Americaand I don't believe there is a city that he hasn'tvisited. He has sent him money and letters to every bank and to everypost-office -- "
The girl raised her head quickly.
" -- but he never calls for either"Mrs. Collier continued"for I know that if he had read my letters he wouldhave come home."
The girl lifted her head as though she wereabout to speakand then turned and walked slowly away. After a few moments shereturnedand stoodwith her hands resting on the raillooking down into thewater. "I wrote him two letters" she said. In the silence of thenight her voice was unusually clear and distinct. "I -- you make me wonder-- if they ever reached him."
Mrs. Collierwith her eyes fixed upon thegirlrose slowly from her chair and came towards her. She reached out her handand touched Miss Cameron on the arm.
"Florence" she saidin a whisper"have you -- "
The girl raised her head slowlyand loweredit again. "Yes" she answered; "I told him to come back -- tocome back to me. Alice" she cried"I -- I begged him to comeback!" She tossed her hands apart and again walked rapidly awayleavingthe older woman standing motionless.
A moment laterwhen Sir Charles and Mr.Collier stepped out upon the deckthey discovered the two women standing closetogethertwo whiteghostly figures in the moonlightand as they advancedtowards them they saw Mrs. Collier take the girl for an instant in her arms.
Sir Charles was asking Miss Cameron how longshe thought an immigrant should be made to work for his freehold allotmentwhenMr. Collier and his wife rose at the same moment and departed on separateerrands. They met most mysteriously in the shadow of the wheel-house.
"What is it? Is anything wrong withFlorence?" Collier askedanxiously. "Not homesickis she?"
Mrs. Collier put her hands on her husband'sshoulders and shook her head.
"Wrong? Nothank Heaven! it's as rightas right can be!" she cried. "She's written to him to come backbuthe's never answeredand so -- and now it's all right."
Mr. Collier gazed blankly at his wife'supturned face. "WellI don't see that" he remonstrated. "What'sthe use of her being in love with him now when he can't be found? What? Whydidn't she love him two years ago when he was where you could get at him -- ather housefor instance. He was there most of his time. She would have saved alot of trouble. However" he addedenergetically"this makes itabsolutely necessary to find that young man and bring him to his senses. We'llsearch this place for the next few daysand then we'll try the mainland again.I think I'll offer a reward for himand have it printed in Spanishand pasteit up in all the plazas. We might add a line in English`She has changed hermind.' That would bring him homewouldn't it?"
"Don't be unfeelingRobert" saidMrs. Collier.
Her husband raised his eyes appealinglyandaddressed himself to the moon. "I ask you now" he complained"is that fair to a man who has spent six months on muleback trying to roundup a prodigal brother-in-law?"
That same eveningafter the ladies had gonebelowMr. Collier asked Sir Charles to assist him in his search for his wife'sbrotherand Sir Charles heartily promised his most active co-operation. Therewere several Americans at work in the interiorhe saidas overseers on thecoffee-plantations. It was possible that the runaway might be among them. It wasonly that morningSir Charles rememberedthat an American had been at work"repairing his lawn-mower" as he considerately expressed it. He wouldsend for him on the morrow.
But on the morrow the slave of the lawn-mowerwas reported on the list of prisoners as "missing" and CorporalMallon was grievedbut refused to consider himself responsible. Sir Charleshimself had allowed the vagrant unusual freedomand the vagrant
had taken advantage of itand probably escaped to the hillsor up the river tothe logwood camp.
"Telegraph a description of him toInspector Garrett" Sir Charles directed"and to the heads of all upstations. And when he returnsbring him to me."
So great was his zeal that Sir Charles furtheroffered to join Mr. Collier in his search among the outlying plantations; butMr. Collier preferred to work alone. He accordingly set out at oncearmed withletters to the different district inspectorsand in his absence delegated toSir Charles the pleasant duty of caring for the wants of Miss Cameron and hiswife. Sir Charles regarded the latter as deserving of all sympathyfor Mr.Collierin his efforts to conceal the fact from the Governor that FlorenceCameron was responsibleor in any way concernedin the disappearance of themissing manhad been too mysterious. Sir Charles was convinced that thefugitive had swindled his brother-in-law and stolen his sister's jewels.
The days which followed were to the Governordays and nights of strange discoveries.
He recognized that the missionaries from the great outside world had invaded hisshores and disturbed his gods and temples. Their religion of progress andactivity filled him with doubt and unrest.
"In this century" Mr. Collier haddeclared"nothing can stand still. It's the same with a corporationor acountryor a man. We must either march ahead or fall out. We can't mark time.What?"
"Exactly -- certainly not" SirCharles had answered. But in his heart he knew that he himself had been markingtime under these soft tropical skies while the world was pushing forward. Thethought had not disturbed him before. Now he felt guilty. He conceived a suddenintoleranceif not contemptfor the little village of whitewashed housesforthe rafts of mahogany and of logwood that bumped against the pier-headsfor thesacks of coffee piled high like barricades under the corrugated zinc sheds alongthe wharf. Each season it had been his pride to note the increase in theseexports. The development of the resources of his colony had been a work in whichhe had felt that
the Colonial Secretary took an immediate interest. He had believed that he wasone of the important wheels of the machinery which moved the British Empire: andnowin a dayhe was undeceived. It was forced upon him that to the eyes of theoutside world he was only a greengrocer operating on a large scale; he providedthe British public with coffee for its breakfastwith drugs for its stomachand with strange woods for its dining-room furniture and walking-sticks. Hecombated this ignominious characterization of his position indignantly. The newarrivals certainly gave him no hint that they considered him so lightly. Thisthought greatly comforted himfor he felt that in some way he was summoning tohis aid all of his assets and resources to meet an expert and final valuation.As he ranged them before him he was disturbed and happy to find that the valuehe placed upon them was the value they would have in the eyes of a young girl --not a girl of the shymother-obeyingman-worshipping English typebut a girlsuch as Miss Cameron seemed to bea girl who could understand
what you were trying to say before you said itwho could take an interest inrates of exchange and preside at a dinner tablewho was charmingly feminine andcleverand who was respectful of herself and of others. In facthe decidedwith a flushthat Miss Cameron herself was the young girl he had in his mind.
"Why not?" he asked.
The question came to him in his roomthesixth night of their visitand he strode over to the long pier-glass and stoodstudying himself critically for the first time in years. He was still afine-lookingwell-kept man. His hair was thinbut that fact did not show; andhis waist was lostbut riding and tennis would set that right. He had meansoutside of his official salaryand there was the titlesuch as it was. LadyGreville the wife of the birthday knight sounded as well as Lady Greville themarchioness. And Americans cared for these things. He doubted whether thisparticular American would do sobut he was adding up all he had to offerandthat was one of the assets. He was sure she would not be
content to remain mistress of the Windless Isles. Norindeeddid he longercare to be master therenow that he had inhaled this quickstirring breathfrom the outer world. He would resignand return and mix with the world again.He would enter Parliament; a man so well acquainted as himself with the GoldCoast of Africa and with the trade of the West Indies must always be of value inthe Lower House. This value would be recognizedno doubtand he would becomeat first an Under-Secretary for the Coloniesand thenin timeColonialSecretary and a cabinet minister. She would like thathe thought. And afterthat place had been reachedall things were possible. For years he had notdreamed such dreams -- not since he had been a clerk in the Foreign Office. Theyseemed just as possible now as they had seemed real thenand just as near. Hefelt it was all absolutely in his own hands.
He descended to the dining-room with the airof a man who already felt the cares of high responsibility upon his shoulders.His head was erect and his chest thrown forward.
He was ten years younger; his manner was alertassuredand gracious. As hepassed through the halls he was impatient of the familiar settings of GovernmentHouse; they seemed to him like the furnishings of a hotel where he had paid hisbilland where his luggage was lying strapped for departure in the hallway.
In his library he saw on his table a number ofpapers lying open waiting for his signaturethe dog-tax among the others. Hesmiled to remember how important it had seemed to him in the past -- in thatpast of indolence and easy content. Now he was on fire to put this rekindledambition to workto tell the woman who had lighted it that it was all from herand for herthat without her he had existedthat now he had begun to live.
They had never found him so
Note: delighful as he appeared that night. He was like a man on the eve of aholiday. He made a jest of his past efforts; he made them seeas he now saw itfor the first timethat side of the life of the Windless Isles which was narrowand pettyeven ridiculous. He talked of big men in a big way; he criticised
and expoundedand advanced his own theories of government and the propercontrol of an empire.
Collierwho had returned from hisunsuccessful search of the plantationsshook his head.
"It's a pity you are not in Londonnow" he saidsincerely. "They need some one there who has been onthe spot. They can't direct the colonies from what they know of them inWhitehall."
Sir Charles fingered the dinner clothnervouslyand when he spokefixed his eyes anxiously upon Miss Cameron.
"Do you know" he said"I havebeen thinking of doing that very thingof resigning my post here and goingbackentering Parliamentand all the rest of it."
His declaration met with a unanimous chorus ofdelight. Miss Cameron nodded her head with eager approval.
"Yesif I were a manthat is where Ishould wish to be" she said"at the heart of it. Whywhatever yousay in the House of Commons is heard all over the world the next morning."
Sir Charles felt the blood tingle in hispulses. He had not been so stirred in years. Her words ran to his head likewine.
Mr. Collier raised his glass.
"Here's to our next meeting" hesaid"on the terrace of the House of Commons."
But Miss Cameron interrupted. "No; to theColonial Secretary" she amended.
"Oh yes" they assentedrisingandso drank his healthsmiling down upon him with kindfriendly glances andgood-will.
"To the Colonial Secretary" theysaid. Sir Charles clasped the arms of his chair tightly with his hands; his eyeswere half closedand his lips pressed into a grimconfident smile. He feltthat a single word from her would make all that they suggested possible. If shecared for such thingsthey were hers; he had them to give; they were readylying at her feet. He knew that the power had always been with himlyingdormant in his heart and brain. It had only waited for the touch of the Princessto wake it into life.
The American visitors were to sail for themainland the next daybut he had come to
know them so well in the brief period of their visit that he felt he dared speakto her that same night. At least he could give her some word that would keep himin her mind until they met again in Londonor until she had considered heranswer. He could not expect her to answer at once. She could take much time.What else had he to do now but to wait for her answer? It was now all that madelife.
Collier and his wife had left the veranda andhad crossed the lawn towards the water's edge. The moonlight fell full upon themwith all the splendor of the tropicsand lit the night with a brilliantdazzling radiance. From where Miss Cameron sat on the veranda in the shadowSirCharles could see only the white outline of her figure and the indolent movementof her fan. Collier had left his wife and was returning slowly towards the step.Sir Charles felt that if he meant to speak he must speak nowand quickly. Herose and placed himself beside her in the shadowand the girl turned her headinquiringly and looked up at him.
But on the instant the hush of the night
was broken by a sharp challengeand the sound of men's voices raised in anger;there was the noise of a struggle on the graveland from the corner of thehouse the two sentries came runningdragging between them a slight figure thatfought and wrestled to be free.
Sir Charles exclaimed with indignantimpatienceand turningstrode quickly to the head of the steps.
"What does this mean?" he demanded."What are you doing with that man? Why did you bring him here?"
As the soldiers straightened to attentiontheir prisoner ceased to struggleand stood with his head bent on his chest.His sombrero was pulled down low across his forehead.
"He was crawling through the bushesSirCharles" the soldier panted"watching that gentlemansir" --he nodded over his shoulder towards Collier. "I challengedand he jumpedto runand we collared him. He resistedSir Charles."
The mind of the Governor was concerned withother matters than trespassers.
"Welltake him to the barracksthen" he
said. "Report to me in the morning. That will do."
The prisoner wheeled eagerlywithout furthershow of resistanceand the soldiers closed in on him on either side. But as thethree men moved away togethertheir faceswhich had been in shadowwere nowturned towards Mr. Collierwho was advancing leisurelyand with silentfootstepsacross the grass. He met them face to faceand as he did so theprisoner sprang back and threw out his arms in front of himwith the gesture ofa man who entreats silence. Mr. Collier halted as though struck to stoneandthe two men confronted each other without moving.
"Good God!" Mr. Collier whispered.
He turned stiffly and slowlyas though in atranceand beckoned to his wifewho had followed him.
"Alice!" he called. He steppedbackwards towards herand taking her hand in one of hisdrew her towards theprisoner. "Here he is!" he said.
They heard her cry "Henry!" with thefierceness of a call for helpand saw her rush forward and stumble into thearms of the
prisonerand their two heads were bent close together.
Collier ran up the steps and explainedbreathlessly.
"And now" he gaspedin conclusion"what's to be done? What's he arrested for? Is it bailable? What?"
"Good heavens!" exclaimed SirCharlesmiserably. "It is my fault entirely. I assure you I had no idea.How could I? But I should have knownI should have guessed it." Hedismissed the sentries with a gesture. "That will do" he said."Return to your posts."
Mr. Collier laughed with relief.
"Then it is not serious?" he asked.
"He -- he had no moneythat wasall" exclaimed Sir Charles. "Serious? Certainly not. Upon my wordI'm sorry -- "
The young man had released himself from hissister's embraceand was coming towards them; and Sir Charleseager to redeemhimselfadvanced hurriedly to greet him. But the young man did not see him; hewas looking past him up the steps to where Miss Cameron stood in the shadow.
The young man stood staring upat the white figure ofthe girl.
Sir Charles hesitated and drewback. The young man stopped at the foot of the stepsand stood with his headraisedstaring up at the white figure of the girlwho came slowly forward.
It was forced upon Sir Charles that in spiteof the fact that the young man before them had but just then been rescued fromarrestthat in spite of his mean garments and ragged sandalssomething abouthim -- the glamour that surrounds the prodigalor possibly the moonlight --gave him an air of great dignity and distinction.
As Miss Cameron descended the stairsSirCharles recognized for the first time that the young man was remarkablyhandsomeand he resented it. It hurt himas did also the prodigal's youth andhis assured bearing. He felt a sudden sinking feara weakening of all his vitalforcesand he drew in his breath slowly and deeply. But no one noticed him;they were looking at the tall figure of the prodigalstanding with his hat athis hip and his head thrown backholding the girl with his eyes.
Collier touched Sir Charles on the arm
and nodded his head towards the library. "Come" he whispered"let us old people leave them together. They've a good deal to say."Sir Charles obeyed in silenceand crossing the library to the great oak chairseated himself and leaned wearily on the table before him. He picked up one ofthe goose quills and began separating it into little pieces. Mr. Collier waspacing up and downbiting excitedly on the end of his cigar. "Wellthishas certainly been a great night" he said. "And it is all due to youSir Charles -- all due to you. Yesthey have you to thank for it."
"They? " said Sir Charles. He knewthat it had to come. He wanted the man to strike quickly.
"They? Yes -- Florence Cameron andHenry" Mr. Collier answered. "Henry went away because she wouldn'tmarry him. She didn't care for him thenbut afterwards she cared. Now they'rereunited-- and so they're happy; and my wife is more than happyand I won'thave to bother any more; and it's all rightand all through you."
"I am glad" said Sir Charles. Therewas a long pausewhich the meneach deep in his own thoughtsdid not notice.
"You will be leaving nowIsuppose?" Sir Charles asked. He was looking downexamining the broken penin his hand.
Mr. Collier stopped in his walk andconsidered. "YesI suppose they will want to get back" he said."I shall be sorry myself. And you? What will you do?"
Sir Charles started slightly. He had not yetthought what he would do. His eyes wandered over the neglected workwhich hadaccumulated on the desk before him. Only an hour before he had thought of it aspetty and littleas something unworthy of his energy. Since that time whatchange had taken place in him?
For him everything had changedhe answeredbut in him there had been no change; and if this thing which the girl hadbrought into his life had meant the best in lifeit must always mean that. Shehad been an inspiration; she must remain his spring of action. Was he a slavehe asked himselfthat he should rebel? Was he a boythat
he could turn his love to aught but the best account? He must remember her notas the woman who had crushed his spiritbut as she who had helped himwho hadlifted him up to something better and finer. He would make sacrifice in hername; it would be in her name that he would rise to high places and accomplishmuch good.
She would not know thisbut he would know.
He rose and brushed the papers away from himwith an impatient sweep of the hand.
"I shall follow out the plan of which Ispoke at dinner" he answered. "I shall resign hereand return homeand enter Parliament."
Mr. Collier laughed admiringly. "I lovethe way you English take your share of public life" he said"the wayyou spend yourselves for your countryand give your brainsyour liveseverything you have -- all for the empire."
Through the open window Sir Charles saw MissCameron half hidden by the vines of
the veranda. The moonlight falling about her transformed her into a figure whichwas idealmysteriousand elusivelike a woman in a dream. He shook his headwearily. "For the empire?" he asked.
The Last Ride Together
A SKETCH CONTAINING THREE POINTS OF VIEW
What the Poet Laureate wrote.
"THERE are girls in the Gold Reef City
There are mothers and children too!
And they cry `Hurry up for pity!'
So what can a brave man do?
"I suppose we were wrongwere mad men
Still I think at the Judgment Day
When God sifts the good from the bad men
There'll be something more to say."
What more the Lord Chief Justice found to say.
"In this case we know the immediateconsequence of your crime. It has been the loss
of human lifeit has been the disturbance of public peaceit has been thecreation of a certain sense of distrust of public professions and of publicfaith. . . . The sentence of this Court therefore is thatas to youLeanderStarr Jamesonyou be confined for a period of fifteen months without hardlabor; that youSir John Willoughbyhave ten months' imprisonment; and thatyouetc.etc."
London TimesJuly 29th.
What the Hon. "Reggie" Blake thought about it. HOLLOWAY PRISON"July 28th.
"I am going to keep a diary while I am inprisonthat isif they will let me. I never kept one before because I hadn'tthe time; when I was home on leave there was too much going on to bother aboutitand when I was up country I always came back after a day's riding so tiredthat I was too sleepy to write anything. And now that I have the timeI won'thave anything to write about. I fancy that more things happened to me to
day than are likely to happen again for the next eight monthsso I will makethis day take up as much room in the diary as it can. I am writing this on theback of the paper the Warder uses for his official reportswhile he is huntingup cells to put us in. We came down on him rather unexpectedly and he isnervous.
"Of courseI had prepared myself forthis after a fashionbut now I see that somehow I never really did think Iwould be in hereand all my friends outsideand everything going on just thesame as though I wasn't alive somewhere. It's like telling yourself that yourhorse can't possibly pull off a raceso that you won't mind so much if hedoesn'tbut you always feel just as bad when he comes in a loser. A man can'tfool himself into thinking one way when he is hoping the other.
"But I am glad it is overand settled.It was a great bore not knowing your luck and having the thing hanging over yourhead every morning when you woke up. Indeed it was quite a relief when thecounsel got all through arguing over those proclamations
and the Chief Justice summed upbut I nearly went to sleep when I found he wasgoing all over it again to the jury. I didn't understand about thoseproclamations myself and I'll lay a fiver the jury didn't either. The Colonelsaid he didn't. I couldn't keep my mind on what Russell was explaining aboutand I got to thinking how much old Justice Hawkins looked like the counsel in`Alice in Wonderland' when they tried the knave of spades for stealing thetarts. He had just the same sort of a beak and the same sort of a wigand Iwondered why he had his wig powdered and the others didn't. Pollock's wig had ahole in the top; you could see it when he bent over to take notes. He was alwaystaking notes. I don't believe he understood about those proclamations either; henever seemed to listenanyway.
"The Chief Justice certainly didn't loveus very muchthat's sure; and he wasn't going to let anybody else love useither. I felt quite the Christian Martyr when Sir Edward was speaking indefence. He made it sound as though we were all a lot of Adelphi heroes andought to be promoted
and have medalsbut when Lord Russell started in to read the Riot Act at us Ibegan to believe that hanging was too good for me. I'm sure I never knew I wasdisturbing the peace of nations; it seems like such a large order for asubaltern.
"But the worst was when they made usstand up before all those people to be sentenced. I must say I felt shaky aboutthe knees thennot because I was afraid of what was comingbut because it wasthe first time I had ever been pointed out before peopleand made to feelashamed. And having those girls theretoolooking at one. That wasn't justfair to us. It made me feel about ten years oldand I remembered how the HeadMaster used to call me to his desk and say`Blake Seniortwo pages of Horaceand keep in bounds for a week.' And then I heard our names and the monthsandmy name and `eight months' imprisonment' and there was a bustle and murmur andthe tipstaves cried`Order in the Court' and the Judges stood up and shook outtheir big red skirts as though they were shaking off the contamination of ourpresence and
rustled awayand I sat downwondering how long eight months wasand wishingthey'd given me as much as they gave Jameson.
"They put us in a room together thenandour counsel said how sorry they wereand shook handsand went off to dinnerand left us. I thought they might have waited with us and been a little late fordinner just that once; but no one waited except a lot of costers outside whom wedid not know. It was eight o'clock and still quite light when we came outandthere was a line of four-wheelers and a hansom ready for us. I'd been hopingthey would take us out by the Strand entrancejust because I'd like to haveseen it againbut they marched us instead through the main quadrangle -- abeastlygloomy courtyard that echoedand outinto Carey Street -- such adirtygloomy street. The costers and clerks set up a sort of a cheer when wecame outand one of them cried`God bless yousir' to the doctorbut I wassorry they cheered. It seemed like kicking against the umpire's decision. TheColonel and I got into a
hansom together and we trotted off into Chancery Lane and turned into Holborn.Most of the shops were closedand the streets looked emptybut there was alighted clock-face over Mooney's public-houseand the hands stood at a quarterpast eight. I didn't know where Holloway wasand was hoping they would have totake us through some decent streets to reach it; but we didn't see a part of thecity that meant anything to meor that I would choose to travel through again.
"Neither of us talkedand I imaginedthat the people in the streets knew we were going to prisonand I kept my eyeson the enamel card on the back of the apron. I suppose I read`Two-wheeledhackney carriage: if hired and discharged within the four-mile limitIs.' atleast a hundred times. I got more sensible after a bitand when we had turnedinto Gray's Inn Road I looked up and saw a tram in front of us with `HollowayRoad and King's X' painted on the stepsand the Colonel saw it about the sametime I fancyfor we each looked at the otherand the Colonel raised hiseyebrows.
It showed us that at least the cabman knew where we were going.
"`They might have taken us for a turnthrough the West End firstI think' the Colonel said. `I'd like to have had alook aroundwouldn't you? This isn't a cheerful neighborhoodis it?'
"There were a lot of children playing inSt. Andrew's Gardensand a crowd of them ran out just as we passedshriekingand laughing over nothingthe way kiddies doand that was about the onlypleasant sight in the ride. I had quite a turn when we came to the New Hospitaljust beyondfor I thought it was Hollowayand it came over me what eightmonths in such a place meant. I believe if I hadn't pulled myself up sharpI'dhave jumped out into the street and run away. It didn't last more than a fewsecondsbut I don't want any more like them. I was afraidafraid -- there's nouse pretending it was anything else. I was in a dumbsilly funkand I turnedsick inside and shookas I have seen a horse shake when he shies at nothing andsweats and trembles down his sides.
"During those few seconds it seemed to bemore than I could stand; I felt sure that I couldn't do it -- that I'd go mad ifthey tried to force me. The idea was so terrible -- of not being master overyour own legs and armsto have your flesh and blood and what brains God gaveyou buried alive in stone walls as though they were in a safe with a time-lockon the door set for eight months ahead. There's nothing to be afraid of in astone wall reallybut it's the idea of the thing -- of not being free to moveaboutespecially to a chap that has always lived in the open as I haveand hashad men under him. It was no wonder I was in a funk for a minute. I'll bet afiver the others weretooif they'll only own up to it. I don't mean for longbut just when the idea first laid hold of them. Anywayit was a good lesson tomeand if I catch myself thinking of it again I'll whistleor talk to myselfout loud and think of something cheerful. And I don't mean to be one of thosechaps who spends his time in jail counting the stones in his cellor trainingspidersor measuring how many of his steps make a
milefor madness lies that way. I mean to sit tight and think of all the goodtimes I've hadand go over them in my mind very slowlyso as to make them lastlonger and remember who was there and what we saidand the jokes and all that;I'll go over house-parties I have been onand the times I've had in theRivieraand scouting parties Dr. Jim led up country when we were takingMatabele Land.
"They say that if you're good here theygive you things to read after a month or twoand then I can read up all thoseinstructive books that a fellow never does read until he's laid up in bed.
"But that's crowding ahead a bit; I mustkeep to what happened to-day. We struck York Road at the back of the GreatWestern Terminusand I half hoped we might see some chap we knew coming orgoing away: I would like to have waved my hand to him. It would have been fun tohave seen his surprise the next morning when he read in the paper that he hadbeen bowing to jail-birdsand then I would like to have cheated the tipstavesout of just one more friendly good
by. I wanted to say good-by to somebodybut I really couldn't feel sorry to seethe last of any one of those we passed in the streets -- they were such a dirtyunhappy-looking lotand the railroad wall ran on forever apparentlyand wemight have been in a foreign country for all we knew of it. There were justsooty gray brick tenements and gas-works on one sideand the railroad cuttingon the otherand semaphores and telegraph wires overheadand smoke and grimeeverywhereit looked exactly like the sort of street that should lead to aprisonand it seemed a pity to take a smart hansom and a good cob into it.
"It was just a bit different from ourlast ride together -- when we rode through the night from Krugers-Dorp withhundreds of horses' hoofs pounding on the soft veldt behind usand the carbinesclanking against the stirrups as they swung on the sling belts. We were beinghunted thenharassed on either sidescurrying for our lives like the Derby Dogin a race-track when every one hoots him and no man steps out to help -- we weresick for sleepsick for foodlashed
by the rainand we knew that we were beaten; but we were free stilland underopen skies with the derricks of the Rand rising like gallows on our leftandJohannesburg only fifteen miles away."