Thursday, November 8, 2007



Pauline Gardiner joined us on the day that we, the Second Reader
class, moved from the basement to the top story of the old
Central Public School. Her mother brought her and, leaving,
looked round at us, meeting for an instant each pair of curious
eyes with friendly appeal.
We knew well the enchanted house where she lived--stately,
retreated far into large grounds in Jefferson Street; a high
brick wall all round, and on top of the wall broken glass set in
cement. Behind that impassable barrier which so teased our young
audacity were flower-beds and "shrub" bushes, whose blossoms
were wonderfully sweet if held a while in the closed hand; grape
arbors and shade and fruit trees, haunted by bees; winding walks
strewn fresh each spring with tan-bark that has such a clean,
strong odor, especially just after a rain, and that is at once
firm and soft beneath the feet. And in the midst stood the only
apricot tree in Saint X. As few of us had tasted apricots, and
as those few pronounced them better far than oranges or even
bananas, that tree was the climax of tantalization.
The place had belonged to a childless old couple who hated
children--or did they bar them out and drive them away because
the sight and sound of them quickened the ache of empty old age
into a pain too keen to bear? The husband died, the widow went
away to her old maid sister at Madison; and the Gardiners, coming
from Cincinnati to live in the town where Colonel Gardiner was
born and had spent his youth, bought the place. On our way to
and from school in the first weeks of that term, pausing as
always to gaze in through the iron gates of the drive, we had
each day seen Pauline walking alone among the flowers. And she
would stop and smile at us; but she was apparently too shy to
come to the gates; and we, with the memory of the cross old
couple awing us, dared not attempt to make friends with her.
She was eight years old, tall for her age, slender but strong,
naturally graceful. Her hazel eyes were always dancing
mischievously. She liked boys' games better than girls'. In her
second week she induced several of the more daring girls to go
with her to the pond below town and there engage in a raft-race
with the boys. And when John Dumont, seeing that the girls' raft
was about to win, thrust the one he was piloting into it and
upset it, she was the only girl who did not scream at the shock
of the sudden tumble into the water or rise in tears from the
shallow, muddy bottom.
She tried going barefooted; she was always getting bruised or cut
in attempts--usually successful-- at boys' recklessness; yet her
voice was sweet and her manner toward others, gentle. She hid
her face when Miss Stone whipped any one-- more fearful far than
the rise and fall of Miss Stone's ferule was the soaring and
sinking of her broad, bristling eyebrows.
From the outset John Dumont took especial delight in teasing
her--John Dumont, the roughest boy in the school. He was seven
years older than she, but was only in the Fourth Reader--a
laggard in his studies because his mind was incurious about books
and the like, was absorbed in games, in playing soldier and
robber, in swimming and sledding, in orchard-looting and
fighting. He was impudent and domineering, a bully but not a
coward, good-natured when deferred to, the feared leader of a
boisterous, imitative clique. Until Pauline came he had rarely
noticed a girl--never except to play her some prank more or less
After the adventure of the raft he watched Pauline afar off,
revolving plans for approaching her without impairing his
barbaric dignity, for subduing her without subduing himself to
her. But he knew only one way of making friends, the only kind
of friends he had or could conceive--loyal subjects, ruled
through their weaknesses and fears. And as that way was to give
the desired addition to his court a sound thrashing, he felt it
must be modified somewhat to help him in his present conquest.
He tied her hair to the back of her desk; he snowballed her and
his sister Gladys home from school. He raided her playhouse and
broke her dishes and--she giving desperate battle--fled with only
the parents of her doll family. With Gladys shrieking for their
mother, he shook her out of a tree in their yard, and it sprained
her ankle so severely that she had to stay away from school for a
month. The net result of a year's arduous efforts was that she
had singled him out for detestation--this when her conquest of
him was complete because she had never told on him, had never in
her worst encounters with him shown the white feather.
But he had acted more wisely than he knew, for she had at least
singled him out from the crowd of boys. And there was a certain
frank good-nature about him, a fearlessness--and she could not
help admiring his strength and leadership. Presently she
discovered his secret--that his persecutions were not through
hatred of her but through anger at her resistance, anger at his
own weakness in being fascinated by her. This discovery came
while she was shut in the house with her sprained ankle. As she
sat at her corner bay-window she saw him hovering in the
neighborhood, now in the alley at the side of the house, now
hurrying past, whistling loudly as if bent upon some gay and
remote errand, now skulking along as if he had stolen something,
again seated on the curbstone at the farthest crossing from which
he could see her window out of the corner of his eye. She
understood--and forthwith forgave the past. She was immensely
flattered that this big, audacious creature, so arrogant with the
boys, so contemptuous toward the girls, should be her captive.
When she was in her first year at the High School and he in his
last he walked home with her every day; and they regarded
themselves as engaged. Her once golden hair had darkened now to
a beautiful brown with red flashing from its waves; and her skin
was a clear olive pallid but healthy. And she had shot up into a
tall, slender young woman; her mother yielded to her pleadings,
let her put her hair into a long knot at the back of her neck and
wear skirts ALMOST to the ground.
When he came from Ann Arbor for his first Christmas holidays each
found the other grown into a new person. She thought him a
marvel of wisdom and worldly experience. He thought her a marvel
of ideal womanhood--gay, lively; not a bit "narrow" in judging
him, yet narrow to primness in her ideas of what she herself
could do, and withal charming physically. He would not have
cared to explain how he came by the capacity for such
sophisticated judgment of a young woman. They were to be married
as soon as he had his degree; and he was immediately to be
admitted to partnership in his father's woolen mills--the largest
in the state of Indiana.
He had been home three weeks of the long vacation between his
sophomore and junior years. There appeared on the town's big and
busy stream of gossip, stories of his life at Ann Arbor--of
drinking and gambling and wild "tears" in Detroit. And it was
noted that the fast young men of Saint X--so every one called
Saint Christopher--were going a more rapid gait. Those turbulent
fretters against the dam of dullness and stern repression of even
normal and harmless gaiety had long caused scandal. But never
before had they been so daring, so defiant.
One night after leaving Pauline he went to play poker in Charley
Braddock's rooms. Braddock, only son of the richest banker in
Saint X, had furnished the loft of his father's stable as
bachelor quarters and entertained his friends there without fear
that the noise would break the sleep and rouse the suspicions of
his father. That night, besides Braddock and Dumont, there were
Jim Cauldwell and his brother Will. As they played they drank;
and Dumont, winning steadily, became offensive in his raillery.
There was a quarrel, a fight; Will Cauldwell, accidently toppled
down a steep stairway by Dumont, was picked up with a broken arm
and leg.
By noon the next day the town was boiling with this outbreak of
deviltry in the leading young men, the sons and prospective
successors of the "bulwarks of religion and morality." The
Episcopalian and Methodist ministers preached against Dumont,
that "importer of Satan's ways into our peaceful midst," and
against Charley Braddock with his "ante-room to Sheol"--the
Reverend Sweetser had just learned the distinction between Sheol
and Hades. The Presbyterian preacher wrestled spiritually with
Will Cauldwell and so wrought upon his depression that he gave
out a solemn statement of confession, remorse and reform. In
painting himself in dark colors he painted Jack Dumont jet black.
Pauline had known that Dumont was "lively"--he was far too
proud of his wild oats wholly to conceal them from her. And she
had all the tolerance and fascinated admiration of feminine youth
for the friskiness of masculine freedom. Thus, though she did
not precisely approve what he and his friends had done, she took
no such serious view of it as did her parents and his. The most
she could do with her father was to persuade him to suspend
sentence pending the conclusion of an investigation into Jack's
doings at the University of Michigan and in Detroit. Colonel
Gardiner was not so narrow or so severe as Jack said or as
Pauline thought. He loved his daughter; so he inquired
thoroughly. He knew that his daughter loved Dumont; so he judged
liberally. When he had done he ordered the engagement broken and
forbade Dumont the house.
"He is not wild merely; he is--worse than you can imagine,"
said the colonel to his wife, in concluding his account of his
discoveries and of Dumont's evasive and reluctant admissions--an
account so carefully expurgated that it completely misled her.
"Tell Pauline as much as you can--enough to convince her."
This, when Mrs. Gardiner was not herself convinced. She regarded
the colonel as too high-minded to be a fit judge of human
frailty; and his over-caution in explanation had given her the
feeling that he had a standard for a husband for their daughter
which only another such rare man as himself could live up to.
Further, she had always been extremely reserved in
mother-and-daughter talk with Pauline, and thus could not now
give her a clear idea of what little she had been able to gather
from Colonel Gardiner's half-truths. This typical enacting of a
familiar domestic comedy-tragedy had the usual result: the girl
was confirmed in her original opinion and stand.
"Jack's been a little too lively," was her unexpressed
conclusion from her mother's dilution of her father's dilution of
the ugly truth. "He's sorry and won't do it again, and--well,
I'd hate a milksop. Father has forgotten that he was young
himself once."
Dumont's father and mother charged against Ann Arbor that which
they might have charged against their own alternations of tyranny
and license, had they not been humanly lenient in self-excuse.
"No more college!" said his father.
"The place for you, young man, is my office, where I can keep an
eye or two on you."
"That suits me," replied the son, indifferently--he made small
pretense of repentance at home.
"I never wanted to go to college."
"Yes, it was your mother's doing," said old Dumont. "Now
we'll try MY way of educating a boy."
So Jack entered the service of his father's god-of-the-six-days,
and immediately showed astonishing talent and
twelve-to-fourteen-hour assiduity. He did not try to talk with
Pauline. He went nowhere but to business; he avoided the young
"It's a bad idea to let your home town know too much about
you," he reflected, and he resolved that his future gambols out
of bounds should be in the security of distant and large
cities--and they were. Seven months after he went to work he
amazed and delighted his father by informing him that he had
bought five hundred shares of stock in the mills--he had made the
money, fifty-odd thousand dollars, by a speculation in wool. He
was completely reestablished with his father and with all Saint X
except Colonel Gardiner.
"That young Jack Dumont's a wonder," said everybody. "He'll
make the biggest kind of a fortune or the biggest kind of a smash
before he gets through."
He felt that he was fully entitled to the rights of the
regenerate; he went to Colonel Gardiner's law office boldly to
claim them.
At sight of him the colonel's face hardened into an expression as
near to hate as its habit of kindliness would concede. "Well,
sir!" said he, sharply, eying the young man over the tops of his
Dumont stiffened his strong, rather stocky figure and said, his
face a study of youthful frankness: "You know what I've come
for, sir. I want you to give me a trial."
"No!" Colonel Gardiner shut his lips firmly.
"Good morning, sir!" And he was writing again.
"You are very hard," said Dumont, bitterly.
"You are driving me to ruin."
"How DARE you!" The old man rose and went up to him, eyes
blazing scorn. "You deceive others, but not me with my
daughter's welfare as my first duty. It is an insult to her that
you presume to lift your eyes to her."
Dumont colored and haughtily raised his head. He met the
colonel's fiery gaze without flinching.
"I was no worse than other young men--"
"It's a slander upon young men for you to say that they--that
any of them with a spark of decency--would do as you have done,
as you DO! Leave my office at once, sir!"
"I've not only repented--I've shown that I was ashamed of--of
that," said Dumont. "Yet you refuse me a chance!"
The colonel was shaking with anger.
"You left here for New York last Thursday night," he said.
"Where and how did you spend Saturday night and Sunday and
Dumont's eyes shifted and sank.
"It's false," he muttered. "It's lies."
"I expected this call from you," continued Colonel Gardiner,
"and I prepared for it so that I could do what was right. I'd
rather see my daughter in her shroud than in a wedding-dress for
Dumont left without speaking or looking up.
"The old fox!" he said to himself. "Spying on me--what an
idiot I was not to look out for that. The narrow old fool! He
doesn't know what `man of the world' means. But I'll marry her
in spite of him. I'll let nobody cheat me out of what I want,
what belongs to me."
A few nights afterward he went to a dance at Braddock's, hunted
out Pauline and seated himself beside her. In a year he had not
been so near her, though they had seen each other every few days
and he had written her many letters which she had read, had
treasured, but had been held from answering by her sense of
honor, unless her looks whenever their eyes met could be called
"You mustn't, Jack," she said, her breath coming fast, her eyes
fever-bright. "Father has forbidden me--and it'll only make him
the harder."
"You, too, Polly? Well, then, I don't care what becomes of
He looked so desperate that she was frightened.
"It isn't that, Jack--you KNOW it isn't that."
"I've been to see your father. And he told me he'd never
consent--never! I don't deserve that--and I can't stand it to
lose you. No matter what I've done, God knows I love you,
Pauline's face was pale. Her hands, in her lap, were gripping
her little handkerchief.
"You don't say that, too--you don't say `never'?"
She raised her eyes to his and their look thrilled through and
through him. "Yes, John, I say `never'--I'll NEVER give you
All the decent instincts in his nature showed in his handsome
face, in which time had not as yet had the chance clearly to
write character. "No wonder I love you--there never was anybody
so brave and so true as you. But you must help me. I must see
you and talk to you--once in a while, anyhow."
Pauline flushed painfully.
"Not till--they--let me--or I'm older, John. They've always
trusted me and left me free. And I can't deceive them."
He liked this--it was another proof that she was, through and
through, the sort of woman who was worthy to be his wife.
"Well--we'll wait," he said. "And if they won't be fair to
us, why, we'll have a right to do the best we can." He gave her
a tragic look.
"I've set my heart on you, Polly, and I never can stand it not
to get what I've set my heart on. If I lost you, I'd go straight
to ruin."
She might have been a great deal older and wiser and still not
have seen in this a confirmation of her father's judgment of her
lover. And her parents had unconsciously driven her into a
mental state in which, if he had committed a crime, it would have
seemed to her their fault rather than his. The next day she
opened the subject with her mother--the subject that was never
out of their minds.
"I can't forget him, mother. I CAN'T give him up." With the
splendid confidence of youth, "I can save him--he'll do anything
for my sake." With the touching ignorance of youth, "He's done
nothing so very dreadful, I'm sure--I'd believe him against the
whole world."
And in the evening her mother approached her father. She was in
sympathy with Pauline, though her loyalty to her husband made her
careful not to show it. She had small confidence in a man's
judgments of men on their woman-side, great confidence in the
power of women to change and uplift men.
"Father," said she, when they were alone on the side porch
after supper, "have you noticed how hard Polly is taking IT?"
His eyes and the sudden deepening of the lines in his face
answered her.
"Don't you think maybe we've been a little--too--severe?"
"I've tried to think so, but--" He shook his head. "Maggie,
he's hopeless, hopeless."
"I don't know much about those things." This was a mere form
of speech. She thought she knew all there was to be known; and
as she was an intelligent woman who had lived a long time and had
a normal human curiosity she did know a great deal. But, after
the fashion of many of the women of the older generation, she had
left undisturbed his delusion that her goodness was the result
not of intelligence but of ignorance. "But I can't help fearing
it isn't right to condemn a young man forever because he was led
away as a boy."
"I can't discuss it with you, Maggie--it's a degradation even to
speak of him before a good woman. You must rely upon my
judgment. Polly must put him out of her head."
"But what am I to tell her? You can't make a woman like our
Pauline put a man out of her life when she loves him unless you
give her a reason that satisfies her. And if you don't give ME a
reason that satisfies me how can I give HER a reason that will
satisfy her?"
"I'll talk to her," said the colonel, after a long pause.
"She must--she shall give him up, mother."
"I've tried to persuade her to go to visit Olivia," continued
Mrs. Gardiner. "But she won't. And she doesn't want me to ask
Olivia here."
"I'll ask Olivia before I speak to her."
Mrs. Gardiner went up to her daughter's room--it had been her
play-room, then her study, and was now graduated into her
sitting-room. She was dreaming over a book--Tennyson's poems.
She looked up, eyes full of hope.
"He has some good reason, dear," began her mother.
"What is it?" demanded Pauline.
"I can't tell you any more than I've told you already," replied
her mother, trying not to show her feelings in her face.
"Why does he treat me--treat you--like two naughty little
children?" said Pauline, impatiently tossing the book on the
"Pauline!" Her mother's voice was sharp in reproof. "How can
you place any one before your father!"
Pauline was silent--she had dropped the veil over herself.
"I--I--where did you place father--when--when--" Her eyes were
laughing again.
"You know he'd never oppose your happiness, Polly." Mrs.
Gardiner was smoothing her daughter's turbulent red-brown hair.
"You'll only have to wait under a little more trying
circumstances. And if he's right, the truth will come out. And
if he's mistaken and John's all you think him, then that will
come out."
Pauline knew her father was not opposing her through tyranny or
pride of opinion or sheer prejudice; but she felt that this was
another case of age's lack of sympathy with youth, felt it with
all the intensity of infatuated seventeen made doubly determined
by opposition and concealment. The next evening he and she were
walking together in the garden. He suddenly put his arm round
her and drew her close to him and kissed her.
"You know I shouldn't if I didn't think it the only
course--don't you, Pauline?" he said in a broken voice that went
straight to her heart.
"Yes, father." Then, after a silence: "But--we--we've been
sweethearts since we were children. And--I--father, I MUST stand
by him."
"Won't you trust me, child? Won't you believe ME rather than
Pauline's only answer was a sigh. They loved each the other; he
adored her, she reverenced him. But between them, thick and
high, rose the barrier of custom and training. Comradeship,
confidence were impossible.
With the first glance into Olivia's dark gray eyes Pauline ceased
to resent her as an intruder. And soon she was feeling that some
sort of dawn was assailing her night.
Olivia was the older by three years. She seemed--and for her
years, was--serious and wise because, as the eldest of a large
family, she was lieutenant-general to her mother. Further, she
had always had her own way--when it was the right way and did not
conflict with justice to her brothers and sisters. And often her
parents let her have her own way when it was the wrong way, nor
did they spoil the lesson by mitigating disagreeable
"Do as you please," her mother used to say, when doing as she
pleased would involve less of mischief than of valuable
experience, "and perhaps you'll learn to please to do
sensibly." Again. her father would restrain her mother from
interference--"Oh, let the girl alone. She's got to teach
herself how to behave, and she can't begin a minute too young."
This training had produced a self-reliant and self-governing
She wondered at the change in Pauline--Pauline, the
light-hearted, the effervescent of laughter and life, now silent
and almost somber. It was two weeks before she, not easily won
to the confiding mood for all her frankness, let Olivia into her
secret. Of course, it was at night; of course, they were in the
same bed. And when Olivia had heard she came nearer to the truth
about Dumont than had Pauline's mother. But, while she felt sure
there was a way to cure Pauline, she knew that way was not the
one which had been pursued. "They've only made her obstinate,"
she thought, as she, lying with hands clasped behind her head,
watched Pauline, propped upon an elbow, staring with dreamful
determination into the moonlight.
"It'll come out all right," she said; her voice always
suggested that she knew what she was talking about. "Your
father'll give in sooner or later--if YOU don't change."
"But he's so bitter against Jack," replied Pauline. "He won't
listen to his side--to our side--of it."
"Anyhow, what's the use of anticipating trouble? You wouldn't
get married yet. And if he's worthwhile he'll wait."
Pauline had been even gentler than her own judgment in painting
her lover for her cousin's inspection. So, she could not explain
to her why there was necessity for haste, could not confess her
conviction that every month he lived away from her was a month of
peril to him.
"We want it settled," she said evasively.
"I haven't seen him around anywhere," went on Olivia. "Is he
here now?"
"He's in Chicago--in charge of his father's office there. He
may stay all winter."
"No, there's no hurry," went on Olivia. "Besides, you ought
to meet other men. It isn't a good idea for a girl to marry the
man she's been brought up with before she's had a chance to get
acquainted with other men." Olivia drew this maxim from
experience--she had been engaged to a school-days lover when she
went away to Battle Field to college; she broke it off when,
going home on vacation, she saw him again from the point of wider
But Pauline scorned this theory; if Olivia had confessed the
broken engagement she would have thought her shallow and
untrustworthy. She was confident, with inexperience's sublime
incapacity for self-doubt, that in all the wide world there was
only one man whom she could have loved or could love.
"Oh, I shan't change," she said in a tone that warned her
cousin against discussion.
"At any rate," replied Olivia, "a little experience would do
you no harm." She suddenly sat up in bed. "A splendid idea!"
she exclaimed. "Why not come to Battle Field with me?"
"I'd like it," said Pauline, always eager for self-improvement
and roused by Olivia's stories of her college experiences. "But
father'd never let me go to Battle Field College."
"Battle Field UNIVERSITY," corrected Olivia. "It has
classical courses and scientific courses and a preparatory
school--and a military department for men and a music department
for women. And it's going to have lots and lots of real
university schools--when it gets the money. And there's a
healthy, middle-aged wagon-maker who's said to be thinking of
leaving it a million or so--if he should ever die and if they
should change its name to his."
"But it's coeducation, isn't it? Father would never consent.
It was all mother could do to persuade him to let me go to public
"But maybe he'd let you go with me, where he wouldn't let you go
all alone."
And so it turned out. Colonel Gardiner, anxious to get his
daughter away from Saint X and into new scenes where Dumont might
grow dim, consented as soon as Olivia explained her plan.
Instead of entering "senior prep", Pauline was able to make
freshman with only three conditions. In the first week she was
initiated into Olivia's fraternity, the Kappa Alpha Kappa, joined
the woman's literary and debating society, and was fascinated and
absorbed by crowding new events, associations, occupations,
thoughts. In spite of herself her old-time high spirits came
flooding back. She caught herself humming--and checked herself
reproachfully. She caught herself singing--and lowered it to
humming. She caught herself whistling--and decided that she
might as well be cheerful while she waited for fate to befriend
her and Jack. And she found that she thought about him none the
less steadfastly for thinking hopefully.
Battle Field put no more restraint upon its young women than it
put upon its young men--and it put no restraint upon the young
men. In theory and practice it was democratic, American,
western--an outgrowth of that pioneer life in which the men and
the women had fought and toiled and enjoyed, side by side, in
absolute equality, with absolute freedom of association. It
recognized that its students had been brought up in the free,
simple, frank way, that all came from a region where
individualism was a religion, with self-reliance as the cardinal
principle of faith and self-development as the goal.
There were no dormitories at Battle Field then. Olivia and
Pauline lived in one of the hundred or more boarding-houses--a
big, square, white "frame," kept by a Mrs. Trent, the widow of
a "hero of two wars."
Her hero had won her with his uniform when he returned from the
Mexican War. His conduct was so irregular and his income so
uncertain that it had been a relief to her when he departed for
his second war. From it he had brought home a broken
constitution, a maimed body and confirmed habits of shiftlessness
and drunkenness. His country took his character and his health
and paid him in exchange a pension which just about kept him in
whisky and tobacco. So long as he was alive Mrs. Trent hated him
as vigorously as her Christianity permitted. When he was safely
in his grave she canonized him; she put his picture and his
sword, belt and epaulets in the conspicuous place in the parlor;
she used his record for gallantry to get herself social position
and a place of honor at public gatherings.
Her house stood back from the highway in a grove of elms and
walnuts. Its angularity was relieved by a porch with a flat roof
that had a railing about it and served as a balcony for the
second-story lodgers. There were broad halls through the middle
of the house down-stairs and up. Olivia and Pauline had the
three large rooms in the second story on the south side. They
used the front room as a study and Pauline's bedroom was next to
Late one afternoon she was seated at the study window watching a
cherry-red sun drop through the purple haze of the autumn. She
became conscious that some one was on the balcony before the
window of the front room across the hall. She leaned so that she
could see without being seen. Sharp against the darkening sky
was the profile of a young man. Olivia joined her and followed
her glance. The profile remained fixed and the two girls watched
it, fascinated. It certainly was a powerful outline, proud and
stern, but with a mouth that was sweet in its kindliness and
"I wonder what he's thinking about," said Olivia, in an
undertone; he was not fifteen feet from them. "I suppose, some
scheme for conquering the world."
Most of Battle Field's youth came from the farms of that western
country, the young men with bodies and brains that were strong
but awkward. Almost all were working their way through--as were
not a few of the women. They felt that life was a large, serious
business impatiently waiting for them to come and attend to it in
a large, serious way better than it had ever been attended to
before. They studied hard; they practised oratory and debating.
Their talk was of history and philosophy, religion and politics.
They slept little; they thought--or tried to think--even more
than they talked.
At a glance this man was one of them, a fine type.
"He's handsome, isn't he?" said Pauline.
"But--" She did not finish; indeed it was not clear to her
what the rest of her protest was. He reminded her of
Dumont--there was the same look of superiority, of the "born to
lead." But his face seemed to, have some quality which Dumont's
lacked--or was it only the idealizing effect of the open sky and
the evening light?
When the bell rang for supper he apparently did not hear it. The
two girls went down and had talked to the others a few minutes
and all had seated themselves before he entered. An inch or so
above six feet, powerful in the chest and shoulders, he moved
with a large grace until he became self-conscious or approached
the, by comparison, frail pieces of furniture. He had
penetrating, candid eyes that looked dark in the gaslight but
were steel-blue. His face now wore the typical western-American
expression--shrewd, easy-going good humor. Mrs. Trent,
intrenched in state behind a huge, silver-plated coffee-urn with
ivory-trimmed faucet, introduced him--Mr. Scarborough--to Olivia,
to Pauline, to Sadie McIntosh, to Pierson and Howe and Thiebaud
(pronounced Cay-bo). Scarborough sat directly opposite Olivia.
But whenever he lifted his eyes from his plate he looked at
Pauline, who was next to her. When she caught him he blushed and
stirred in his chair so uneasily that it creaked and crackled;
and his normal difficulties with his large hands and the small
knife and fork were distressingly increased.
Pauline was disappointed in him--his clothes were ill-fitting and
gave him the appearance of being in danger of bursting from them;
his hair was too long, suggesting a shaggy, tawny mane; though
his hands were well-shaped they had the recent scars of hard
manual labor. Thus, when Olivia spoke enthusiastically of him
after supper, she made no reply. She would have been ashamed to
acknowledge the reasons for her lack of admiration, even had she
been conscious of them.
But the next morning at breakfast she revised her opinion
somewhat. He talked, and he had a remarkable voice--clear,
musical, with a quality which made it seem to penetrate through
all the nerves instead of through the auditory nerve only.
Further, he talked straight to Pauline, without embarrassment and
with a quaint, satiric humor. She was forgetting for the moment
his almost uncouth hair and dress when, in making a sweeping
gesture, he upset a glass of water and sent a plate of hot bread
flying from the waitress' hand.
"He'd do well in the open air," thought she, "but he's out of
place in a house."
Still, she found him interesting and original. And he
persistently sought her--his persistence was little short of
heroism in view of the never-wholly-concealed sufferings which
the contrast between her grace and style and his lack of both
caused him.
"He looks like a king who had been kidnapped as a child and
brought up in the wilds," said Olivia. "I wonder who he is."
"I'll ask him," replied Pauline. And Olivia was slyly amused
by her cousin's unconscious pride in her power with this large,
untamed person.
His name was Hampden Scarborough and he came from a farm about
twenty miles east of Saint X. He was descended from men who had
learned to hate kings in Holland in the sixteenth century, had
learned to despise them in England in the seventeenth century,
had learned to laugh at them in America in the eighteenth
century, had learned to exalt themselves into kings--the kings of
the new democracy--in the free West in the nineteenth century.
When any one asked his father, Bladen Scarborough, who the family
ancestors were, Bladen usually did not answer at all. It was his
habit thus to treat a question he did not fancy, and, if the
question was repeated, to supplement silence with a piercing look
from under his aggressive eyebrows. But sometimes he would
answer it. Once, for example, he looked coldly at the man who,
with a covert sneer, had asked it, said, "You're impudent, sir.
You insinuate I'm not enough by myself to command your
consideration," and struck him a staggering blow across the
mouth. Again--he was in a playful mood that day and the
questioner was a woman--he replied, "I'm descended from
murderers, ma'am--murderers."
And in a sense it was the truth.
In 1568 the Scarboroughs were seated obscurely in an east county
of England. They were tenant farmers on the estates of the Earl
of Ashford and had been strongly infected with "leveling" ideas
by the refugees then fleeing to England to escape the fury of
continental prince and priest. John Scarborough was trudging
along the highway with his sister Kate. On horseback came Aubrey
Walton, youngest son of the Earl of Ashford. He admired the
rosy, pretty face of Kate Scarborough. He dismounted and,
without so much as a glance at her brother, put his arm round
her. John snatched her free. Young Walton, all amazement and
wrath at the hind who did not appreciate the favor he was
condescending to bestow upon a humble maiden, ripped out an
insult and drew his sword. John wrenched it from him and ran it
through his body.
That night, with four gold pieces in his pocket, John Scarborough
left England in a smuggler and was presently fighting Philip of
Spain in the army of the Dutch people.
In 1653 Zachariah Scarborough, great grandson of the preceding,
was a soldier in Cromwell's army. On the night of April
twentieth he was in an ale-house off Fleet Street with three
brother officers. That day Cromwell had driven out Parliament
and had dissolved the Council of State. Three of the officers
were of Cromwell's party; the fourth, Captain Zachariah
Scarborough, was a "leveler"--a hater of kings, a Dutch-bred
pioneer of Dutch-bred democracy. The discussion began hot--and
they poured ale on it.
"He's a tyrant!" shouted Zachariah Scarborough, bringing his
huge fist down on the table and upsetting a mug. "He has set up
for king. Down with all kings, say I! His head must come off!"
At this knives were drawn, and when Zachariah Scarborough
staggered into the darkness of filthy Fleet Street with a cut
down his cheek from temple to jaw-bone, his knife was dripping
the life of a cousin of Ireton's.
He fled to the Virginia plantations and drifted thence to North
His great-grandson, Gaston Scarborough, was one of Marion's men
in his boyhood--a fierce spirit made arrogant by isolated
freedom, where every man of character owned his land and could
conceive of no superior between him and Almighty God. One autumn
day in 1794 Gaston was out shooting with his youngest brother,
John, their father's favorite. Gaston's gun was caught by a
creeper, was torn from him; and his hand, reaching for it,
exploded the charge into his brother's neck. His brother fell
backward into the swamp and disappeared.
Gaston plunged into the wilderness--to Tennessee, to Kentucky, to
"And it's my turn," said Hampden Scarborough as he ended a
brief recital of the ancestral murders which Pauline had drawn
from him--they were out for a walk together.
"Your turn?" she inquired.
"Yes--I'm the great-grandson--the only one. It's always a
"You DO look dangerous," said Pauline, and the smile and the
glance she sent with the words might have been misunderstood by a
young man entertaining the ideas which were then filling that
young man's brain.
Again, he told her how he had been sent to college--she was
always leading him to talk of himself, and her imagination more
than supplied that which his unaffected modesty, sometimes
deliberately, more often unconsciously, kept out of his stories.
Ever since he could remember, his strongest passion had been for
books, for reading. Before he was born the wilderness was
subdued and the cruel toil of his parents' early life was
mitigated by the growth of towns, the spread of civilization.
There was a chance for some leisure, for the higher gratification
of the intense American passion for education. A small library
had sprung up in one corner of the general room of the old
farm-house--from the seeds of a Bible, an almanac, Milton's
Paradise Lost, Baxter's Saint's Rest and a Government report on
cattle. But the art collection had stood still for years--a
facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, another of the
Emancipation Proclamation, pictures of Washington, Lincoln and
Napoleon, the last held in that household second only to
Washington in all history as a "leveler."
The only daughter, Arabella, had been sent to boarding-school in
Cincinnati. She married a rich man, lived in the city and, under
the inspiration of English novels and the tutelage of a woman
friend who visited in New York and often went abroad, was
developing ideas of family and class and rank. She talked
feelingly of the "lower classes" and of the duty of the "upper
class" toward them. Her "goings-on" created an acid prejudice
against higher education in her father's mind. As she was
unfolding to him a plan for sending Hampden to Harvard he
interrupted with, "No MORE idiots in my family at my expense,"
and started out to feed the pigs. The best terms Hampden's
mother could make were that he should not be disinherited and
cast off if he went to Battle Field and paid his own way.
He did not tell Pauline all of this, nor did he repeat to her the
conversation between himself and his father a few days before he
left home.
"Is 'Bella going to pay your way through?" asked his father,
looking at him severely--but he looked severely at every one
except Hampden's gentle-voiced mother.
"No, sir." The son's voice was clear.
"Is your mother?"
"No, sir."
"Have you got money put by?"
"Four hundred dollars."
"Is that enough?"
"It'll give me time for a long look around."
The old man drew a big, rusty pocketbook from the inside pocket
of the old-fashioned, flowered-velvet waistcoat he wore even when
he fed the pigs. He counted out upon his knee ten
one-hundred-dollar bills. He held them toward his son.
"That'll have to do you," he said. "That's all you'll get."
"No, thank you," replied Hampden. "I wish no favors from
"You've earned it over and above your keep," retorted his
father. "It belongs to you."
"If I need it I'll send for it," said Hampden, that being the
easiest way quickly to end the matter.
But he did tell Pauline that he purposed to pay his own way
through college.
"My father has a notion," said he, "that the things one works
for and earns are the only things worth having. And I think one
can't begin to act on that notion too early. If one is trying to
get an education, why not an all-round education, instead of only
lessons out of books?"
From that moment Pauline ceased to regard dress or any other
external feature as a factor in her estimate of Hampden
"But your plan might make a man too late in getting a
start--some men, at least," she suggested.
"A start--for what?" he asked.
"For fame or fortune or success of any kind."
Scarborough's eyes, fixed on the distance, had a curious look in
them--he was again exactly like that first view she had had of
"But suppose one isn't after any of those things," he said.
"Suppose he thinks of life as simply an opportunity for
self-development. He starts at it when he's born, and the more
of it he does the more he has to do. And--he can't possibly
fail, and every moment is a triumph--and----" He came back from
his excursion and smiled apologetically at her.
But she was evidently interested.
"Don't you think a man ought to have ambition?" she asked. She
was thinking of her lover and his audacious schemes for making
himself powerful.
"Oh--a man is what he is. Ambition means so many different
"But shouldn't you like to be rich and famous and--all that?"
"It depends----" Scarborough felt that if he said what was in
his mind it might sound like cant. So he changed the subject.
"Just now my ambition is to get off that zoology condition."
But in the first week of her second month Pauline's interest in
her surroundings vanished. She was corresponding with Jennie
Atwater and Jennie began to write of Dumont--he had returned to
Saint X; Caroline Sylvester, of Cleveland, was visiting his
mother; it was all but certain that Jack and Caroline would
marry. "Her people want it," Jennie went on--she pretended to
believe that Jack and Pauline had given each the other up--"and
Jack's father is determined on it. They're together morning,
noon and evening. She's really very swell, though _I_ don't
think she's such a raving beauty." Following this came the
Saint X News-Bulletin with a broad hint that the engagement was
about to be announced.
"It's ridiculously false," said Pauline to herself; but she
tossed for hours each night, trying to soothe the sick pain in
her heart. And while she scouted the possibility of losing him,
she was for the first time entertaining it--a cloud in the great
horizon of her faith in the future; a small cloud, but black and
bold against the blue. And she had no suspicion that he had
returned from Chicago deliberately to raise that cloud.
A few days later another letter from Jennie, full of gossip about
Jack and Caroline, a News-Bulletin with a long article about
Caroline, ending with an even broader hint of her approaching
marriage--and Dumont sent Pauline a note from the hotel in
Villeneuve, five miles from Battle Field: "I must see you. Do
not deny me. It means everything to both of us--what I want to
say to you." And he asked her to meet him in the little park in
Battle Field on the bank of the river where no one but the
factory hands and their families ever went, and they only in the
evenings. The hour he fixed was ten the next morning, and she
"cut" ancient history and was there. As he advanced to meet
her she thought she had never before appreciated how handsome he
was, how distinguished-looking--perfectly her ideal of what a man
should be, especially in that important, and at Battle Field
neglected, matter, dress.
She was without practice in indirection, but she successfully hid
her jealousy and her fears, though his manner was making their
taunts and threats desperately real. He seemed depressed and
gloomy; he would not look at her; he shook hands with her almost
coldly, though they had not seen each other for weeks, had not
talked together for months. She felt faint, and her thoughts
were like flocks of circling, croaking crows.
"Polly," he began, when they were in the secluded corner of the
park, "father wants me to get married. He's in a rage at your
father for treating me so harshly. He wants me to marry a girl
who's visiting us. He's always at me about it, making all sorts
of promises and threats. Her father's in the same business that
we are, and----"
He glanced at her to note the effect of his words. She had drawn
her tall figure to its full height, and her cheeks were flushed
and her eyes curiously bright. He had stabbed straight and deep
into the heart of her weakness, but also into the heart of her
The only effect of his thrust that was visible to him put him in
a panic. "Don't--PLEASE don't look that way, Polly," he went
on hastily. "You don't see what I'm driving at yet. I didn't
mean that I'd marry her, or think of it. There isn't anybody but
you. There couldn't be, you know that."
"Why did you tell me, then?" she asked haughtily.
"Because--I had to begin somewhere. Polly, I'm going away,
going abroad. And I'm not to see you for--for I don't know how
long--and--we must be married!"
She looked at him in a daze.
"We can cross on the ferry at half-past ten," he went on.
"You see that house--the white one?" He pointed to the other
bank of the river where a white cottage shrank among the trees
not far from a little church. "Mr. Barker lives there--you must
have heard of him. He's married scores and hundreds of couples
from this side. And we can be back here at half-past
eleven--twelve at the latest."
She shook her head expressed, not determination, only doubt.
"I can't, Jack," she said. "They----"
"Then you aren't certain you're ever going to marry me," he
interrupted bitterly. "You don't mean what you promised me.
You care more for them than you do for me. You don't really care
for me at all."
"You don't believe that," she protested, her eyes and her mind
on the little white cottage. "You couldn't--you know me too
"Then there's no reason why we shouldn't get married. Don't we
belong to each other now? Why should we refuse to stand up and
say so?"
That seemed unanswerable--a perfect excuse for doing what she
wished to do. For the little white cottage fascinated her--how
she did long to be sure of him! And she felt so free, so
absolutely her own mistress in these new surroundings, where no
one attempted to exercise authority over another.
"I must feel sure of you, Pauline. Sometimes everything seems
to be against me, and I even doubt you. And--that's when the
temptations pull hardest. If we were married it'd all be
Yes, it would be different. And he would be securely hers, with
her mind at rest instead of harassed as it would be if she let
him go so far away, free. And where was the harm in merely
repeating before a preacher the promise that now bound them both?
She looked at him and he at her.
"You don't put any others before me, do you, dear?" he asked.
"No, Jack--no one. I belong to you."
"Come!" he pleaded, and they went down to the boat. She seemed
to herself to be in a dream--in a trance.
As she walked beside him along the country road on the other
shore a voice was ringing in her ears: "Don't! Don't! Ask
Olivia's advice first!" But she walked on, her will suspended,
substituted for it his will and her jealousy and her fears of his
yielding to the urgings of his father and the blandishments of
"that Cleveland girl." He said little but kept close to her,
watching her narrowly, touching her tenderly now and then.
The Reverend Josiah Barker was waiting for them--an oily smirk on
a face smooth save where a thin fringe of white whiskers dangled
from his jaw-bone, ear to ear; fat, damp hands rubbing in
anticipation of the large fee that was to repay him for
celebrating the marriage and for keeping quiet about it
afterward. At the proper place in the brief ceremony Dumont,
with a sly smile at Pauline which she faintly returned, produced
the ring--he had bought it at Saint X a week before and so had
started a rumor that he and Caroline Sylvester were to be married
in haste. He held Pauline's hand firmly as he put the ring on
her finger--he was significantly cool and calm for his age and
for the circumstances. She was trembling violently, was pale and
wan. The ring burned into her flesh.
"Whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder," ended
Barker, with pompous solemnity.
Dumont kissed her--her cheek was cold and at the touch of his
lips she shuddered.
"Don't be afraid," he said in a low voice that was perfectly
They went out and along the sunny road in silence. "Whom God
hath joined," the voice was now dinning into her ears. And she
was saying to herself, "Has GOD joined us? If so, why do I feel
as if I had committed a crime?" She looked guiltily at him--she
felt no thrill of pride or love at the thought that he was her
husband, she his wife. And into her mind poured all her father's
condemnations of him, with a vague menacing fear riding the crest
of the flood.
"You're sorry you've done it?" he said sullenly.
She did not answer.
"Well, it's done," he went on, "and it can't be undone. And
I've got you, Polly, in spite of them. They might have known
better than to try to keep me from getting what I wanted. I
always did, and I always shall!"
She looked at him startled, then hastily looked away. Even more
than his words and his tone, she disliked his eyes--gloating,
triumphant. But not until she was years more experienced did she
study that never-forgotten expression, study it as a
whole--words, tone, look. Then, and not until then, did she know
that she had instinctively shrunk because he had laid bare his
base and all but loveless motive in marrying her.
"And," he added, "I'll force father to give me a big interest
in the business very soon. Then--we'll announce it."
Announce IT? Announce WHAT? "Why, I'm a married woman," she
thought, and she stumbled and almost fell. The way danced before
her eyes, all spotted with black. She was just able to walk
aboard the boat and drop into a seat.
He sat beside her, took her hand and bent over it; as he kissed
it a tear fell on it. He looked at her and she saw that his eyes
were swimming. A sob surged into her throat, but she choked it
back. "Jack!" she murmured, and hid her face in her
When they looked each at the other both smiled--her foreboding
had retreated to the background. She began to turn the ring
round and round upon her finger.
"Mrs. John Dumont," she said. "Doesn't it sound queer?" And
she gazed dreamily away toward the ranges of hills between which
the river danced and sparkled as it journeyed westward. When she
again became conscious of her immediate surroundings--other than
Dumont--she saw a deck-hand looking at her with a friendly grin.
Instantly she covered the ring with her hand and handkerchief.
"But I mustn't wear it," she said to Dumont.
"No--not on your finger." He laughed and drew from his pocket
a slender gold chain. "But you might wear it on this, round
your neck. It'll help to remind you that you don't belong to
yourself any more, but to me."
She took the chain--she was coloring in a most becoming way--and
hid it and the ring in her bosom. Then she drew off a narrow
hoop of gold with a small setting and pushed it on his big little
"And THAT, sir," she said, with a bewitching look, "may help
you not to forget that YOU belong to me."
She left the ferry in advance of him and faced Olivia just in
time for them to go down together to the half-past twelve o'clock
As Mrs. Trent's was the best board in Battle Field there were
more applicants than she could make places for at her one table.
In the second week of the term she put a small table in the
alcove of the dining-room and gave it to her "star"
boarders--Pierson, Olivia and Pauline. They invited Scarborough
to take the fourth place. Not only did Pierson sit opposite
Olivia and Scarborough opposite Pauline three times a day in
circumstances which make for intimacy, but also Olivia and
Pierson studied together in his sitting-room and Pauline and
Scarborough in her sitting-room for several hours three or four
times a week. Olivia and Pierson were sophomores. Pauline and
Scarborough were freshmen; also, they happened to have the same
three "senior prep" conditions to "work off"--Latin, zoology
and mathematics.
Such intimacies as these were the matter-of-course at Battle
Field. They were usually brief and strenuous. A young man and a
young woman would be seen together constantly, would fall in
love, would come to know each the other thoroughly. Then, with
the mind and character and looks and moods of each fully revealed
to the other, they would drift or fly in opposite directions,
wholly disillusioned. Occasionally they found that they were
really congenial, and either love remained or a cordial
friendship sprang up. The modes of thought, inconceivable to
Europeans or Europeanized Americans, made catastrophe all but
It was through the girls that Scarborough got his invitation to
the alcove table. There he came to know Pierson and to like him.
One evening he went into Pierson's rooms--the suite under Olivia
and Pauline's. He had never seen--but had dreamed of--such a
luxurious bachelor interior. Pierson's father had insisted that
his son must go to the college where forty years before he had
split wood and lighted fires and swept corridors to earn two
years of higher education. Pierson's mother, defeated in her
wish that her son should go East to college, had tried to
mitigate the rigors of Battle Field's primitive simplicity by
herself fitting up his quarters. And she made them the
show-rooms of the college.
"Now let's see what can be done for you," said Pierson, with
the superiority of a whole year's experience where Scarborough
was a beginner. "I'll put you in the Sigma Alpha fraternity for
one thing. It's the best here."
"I don't know anything about fraternities," Scarborough said.
"What are they for?"
"Oh, everybody that is anybody belongs to a fraternity. There
are about a dozen of them here, and among them they get all the
men with any claim to recognition. Just now, we lean rather
toward taking in the fellows who've been well brought up."
"Does everybody belong to a fraternity?"
"Lord, no! Two-thirds don't belong. The fellows outside are
called `barbs'--that is, barbarians; we on the inside are Greeks.
Though, I must say, very few of us are Athenians and most of us
are the rankest Macedonians. But the worst Greeks are better
than the best barbs. They're the rummest lot of scrubs you ever
saw--stupid drudges who live round in all sorts of holes and
don't amount to anything. The brush of the backwoods."
"Oh, yes--mm--I see." Scarborough was looking uncomfortable.
"The Sigma Alphas'll take you in next Saturday," said Pierson.
"They do as I say, between ourselves."
"I'm ever so much obliged, but----" Scarborough was red and
began to stammer. "You see--I--it----"
"What's the matter? Expense? Don't let that bother you. The
cost's nothing at all, and the membership is absolutely necessary
to your position."
"Yes--a matter of expense." Scarborough was in control of
himself now. "But not precisely the kind of expense you mean.
No--I can't join I'd rather not explain. I'm ever so much
obliged, but really I can't."
"As you please." Pierson was offended. "But I warn you,
you've got to belong to one or the other of these fraternities or
you'll be cut off from everything. And you oughtn't to miss the
chance to join the best."
"I see I've offended you." Scarborough spoke regretfully.
"Please don't think I'm not appreciating your kindness.
But--I've made a sort of agreement with myself never to join
anything that isn't organized for a general purpose and that
won't admit anybody who has that purpose, too."
Pierson thought on this for a moment. "Pardon me for saying so,
but that's nonsense. You can't afford to stand alone. It'll
make everything harder for you--many things impossible. You've
got to yield to the prejudices of people in these matters. Why,
even the barbs have no use for each other and look up to us.
When we have an election in the Literary Society I can control
more barb votes than any one else in college. And the reason
is--well, you can imagine." (Mr. Pierson was only twenty years
old when he made that speech.)
"It doesn't disturb me to think of myself as alone." The
strong lines in Scarborough's face were in evidence. "But it
would disturb me if I were propped up and weren't sure I could
stand alone. I'm afraid to lean on any one or anything--my prop
might give way. And I don't want any friends or any associates
who value me for any other reason than what I myself am. I
purpose never to `belong' to anything or anybody."
Pierson laughed. "Do as you please," he said. "I'd like to
myself if it wasn't such an awful lot of trouble!"
"Not in the end," replied Scarborough.
"Oh, bother the end. To-day's good enough for me."
"You'd better not let Miss Shrewsbury hear you say that," said
Scarborough, his eyes mocking.
Pierson grew serious at once. "Splendid girl, isn't she?" She
happened to be the first he had known at all well who hadn't
agreed with him in everything he said, hadn't shown the greatest
anxiety to please him and hadn't practically thrown herself at
his head. His combination of riches, good looks, an easy-going
disposition and cleverness had so agitated those who had
interested him theretofore that they had overreached themselves.
Besides, his mother had been subtly watchful.
"Indeed, yes," assented Scarborough, heartily but not with
enthusiasm--he always thought of Olivia as Pauline's cousin.
The four had arranged to go together to Indian Rock on the
following Sunday. When the day came Olivia was not well; Pierson
went to a poker game at his fraternity house; Pauline and
Scarborough walked alone. As she went through the woods beside
him she was thinking so intensely that she could not talk. But
he was not disturbed by her silence--was it not enough to be near
her, alone with her, free to look at her, so graceful and
beautiful, so tasteful in dress, in every outward way what he
thought a woman ought to be? Presently she roused herself and
began a remark that was obviously mere politeness.
He interrupted her. "Don't mind me. Go on with your
thinking--unless it's something you can say."
She gave him a quizzical, baffling smile. "How it would startle
you if I did!" she said. "But--I shan't. And"--she frowned
impatiently--"there's no use in thinking about it. It's all in
the future."
"And one can't control the future."
"Yes, indeed--one can," she protested.
"I wish you'd tell me how. Are you sure you don't mean you
could so arrange matters that the future would control you?
Anybody can SURRENDER to the future and give it hostages. But
that's not controlling, is it?"
"Certainly it is--if you give the hostages in exchange for what
you want." And she looked triumphant.
"But how do you know what you'll want in the future? The most I
can say is that I know a few things I shan't want."
"I shouldn't like to be of that disposition," she said.
"But I'm afraid you are, whether you like it or not."
Scarborough was half-serious, half in jest.
"Are you the same person you were a month ago?"
Pauline glanced away. "What do you mean?" she asked.
"I mean in thought--in feeling."
"Yes--and no," she replied presently, when she had recovered
from the shock of his chance knock at the very door of her
secret. "My coming here has made a sort of revolution in me
already. I believe I've a more--more grown-up way of looking at
things. And I've been getting into the habit of
thinking--and--and acting--for myself."
"That's a dangerous habit to form--in a hurry," said
Scarborough. "One oughtn't to try to swim a wide river just
after he's had his first lesson in swimming."
Pauline, for no apparent reason, flushed crimson and gave him a
nervous look--it almost seemed a look of fright.
"But," he went on, "we were talking of the change in you. If
you've changed so much in, thirty days, or, say, in sixty-seven
days--you've been here that long, I believe--think of your whole
life. The broader your mind and your life become, the less
certain you'll be what sort of person to-morrow will find you.
It seems to me--I know that, for myself, I'm determined to keep
the future clear. I'll never tie myself to the past."
"But there are some things one MUST anchor fast to." Pauline
was looking as if Scarborough were trying to turn her adrift in
an open boat on a lonely sea. "There are--friends. You
wouldn't desert your friends, would you?"
"I couldn't help it if they insisted on deserting me. I'd keep
them if their way was mine. If it wasn't--they'd give me up."
"But if you were--were--married?"
Scarborough became intensely self-conscious.
"Well--I don't know--that is----" He paused, went on: "I
shouldn't marry until I was sure--her way and mine were the
"The right sort of woman makes her husband's way hers," said
"Does she? I don't know much about women. But it has always
seemed to me that the kind of woman I'd admire would be one who
had her own ideals and ideas of life--and that--if--if she liked
me, it would be because we suited each other. You wouldn't want
to be--like those princesses that are brought up without any
beliefs of any sort so that they can accept the beliefs of the
kingdom of the man they happen to marry?"
Pauline laughed. "I couldn't, even if I wished," she said.
"I should say not!" he echoed, as if the idea in connection
with such an indelibly distinct young woman were preposterous.
"But you have such a queer way of expressing yourself. At first
I thought you were talking of upsetting everything."
"I? Mercy, no. I've no idea of upsetting anything. I'm only
hoping I can help straighten a few things that have been tumbled
over or turned upside down."
Gradually, as they walked and talked, her own affairs--Dumont's
and hers--retreated to the background and she gave Scarborough
her whole attention. Even in those days--he was then
twenty-three--his personality usually dominated whomever he was
with. It was not his size or appearance of strength; it was not
any compulsion of manner; it was not even what he said or the way
he said it. All of these--and his voice contributed; but the
real secret of his power was that subtile magnetic something
which we try to fix--and fail--when we say "charm."
He attracted Pauline chiefly because he had a way of noting the
little things--matters of dress, the flowers, colors in the sky
or the landscape, the uncommon, especially the amusing, details
of personality--and of connecting these trifles in unexpected
ways with the large aspects of things. He saw the mystery of the
universe in the contour of a leaf; he saw the secret of a
professor's character in the way he had built out his whiskers to
hide an absolute lack of chin and to give the impression that a
formidable chin was there. He told her stories of life on his
father's farm that made her laugh, other stories that made her
feel like crying. And--he brought out the best there was in her.
She was presently talking of the things about which she had
always been reticent--the real thoughts of her mind, those she
had suppressed because she had had no sympathetic listener, those
she looked forward to talking over with Dumont in that happy time
when they would be together and would renew the intimacy
interrupted since their High School days.
When she burst in upon Olivia her eyes were sparkling and her
cheeks glowing. "The air was glorious," she said, "and Mr.
Scarborough; is SO interesting."
And Olivia said to herself: "In spite of his tight clothes he
may cure her of that worthless Dumont."
Scarborough soon lifted himself high above the throng, and was
marked by faculty and students as a man worth watching. The
manner of this achievement was one of those forecasts of the
future with which youth bristles for those who take the trouble
to watch it.
Although Pierson was only a sophomore he was the political as
well as the social leader of his fraternity. Envy said that the
Sigma Alphas truckled to his wealth; perhaps the exacter truth
was that his wealth forced an earlier recognition of his real
capacity. His position as leader made him manager of the Sigma
Alpha combination of fraternities and barbs which for six years
had dominated the Washington and Jefferson Literary Society. The
barbs had always voted humbly with the aristocratic Sigma Alphas;
so Pierson's political leadership apparently had no onerous
duties attached to it--and he was not the man to make work for
As the annual election approached he heard rumors of barb
disaffection, of threatened barb revolt. Vance, his barb
lieutenant, reassured him.
"Always a few kickers," said Vance, "and they make a lot of
noise. But they won't draw off twenty votes." Pierson made
himself easy--there was no danger of one of those hard-fought
contests which in past years had developed at Battle Field many
of Indiana's adroit political leaders.
On election night he felt important and powerful as he sat in the
front row among the arrogant Sigma Alphas, at the head of his
forces massed in the left side of the hall. He had insisted on
Scarborough's occupying a seat just behind him. He tilted back
in his arm-chair and said, in an undertone: "You're voting with
Scarborough shook his head. "Can't do it. I'm pledged to
Pierson looked amused. "Who's he? And who's putting him up?"
"I'm nominating him," replied Scarborough, "as the barb
"Take my advice don't do it, old man," said Pierson in a
friendly, somewhat patronizing tone.
"You'll only get our fellows down on you--them and all the
fraternity men. And--well, your candidate'll have a dozen votes
or so, at most--and there'll be a laugh."
"Yes--I suppose there will be a laugh," said Scarborough, his
eyes twinkling.
"Don't do it," urged Pierson. "Be practical."
"No--I leave that to your people."
Just then nominations for president were called for and the
candidates of the two factions were proposed and seconded. "The
nominations for president are----" began the chairman, but
before he could utter the word "closed" Scarborough was on his
feet--was saying, "Mr. Chairman!"
Pierson dropped his eyes and grew red with embarrassment for his
friend who was thus "rushing on to make a fool of himself."
Scarborough's glance traveled slowly from row to row of expectant
young men.
"Mr. Chairman and fellow-members of the Washington and Jefferson
Society," he said in a conversational tone. "I have the honor
of placing in nomination Frank Adee, of Terre Haute. In addition
to other qualifications of which it would be superfluous for me
to speak in this presence, he represents the masses of the
membership of this society which has been too long dominated by
and for its classes. It is time to compel the fraternities to
take faction and caste and political wire-pulling away from this
hall, and to keep them away. It is time to rededicate our
society to equality, to freedom of thought and speech, to the
democratic ideas of the plain yet proud builders of this college
of ours."
Scarborough made no attempt at oratory, made not a single
gesture. It was as though he were talking privately and
earnestly with each one there. He sat amid silence; when a few
barbs nervously applauded, the fraternity men of both factions,
recovering themselves, raised a succession of ironical cheers. A
shabby, frightened barb stood awkwardly, and in a trembling, weak
voice seconded the nomination. There was an outburst of barb
applause--strong, defiant. Pierson was anxiously studying the
faces of his barbs.
"By Jove," he muttered, "Vance has been caught napping. I
believe Scarborough has put up a job on us. If I can't gain time
we're beat." And he sprang to his feet, his face white. In a
voice which he struggled in vain to keep to his wonted affected
indifferent drawl, he said: "Mr. Chairman, I move you, sir,
that we adjourn." As he was bending to sit his ready lieutenant
seconded the motion.
"Mr. Chairman!" It was an excited voice from the rear of the
hall--the voice of a tall, lank, sallow man of perhaps
thirty-five. "What right," he shouted shrilly, "has this Mr.
Pierson to come here and make that there motion? He ain't never
seen here except on election nights. He----"
The chairman rapped sharply.
"Motion to adjourn not debatable," he said, and then mumbled
rapidly: "The question's the motion to adjourn. All in favor
say Aye--all opposed, No--the ayes seem to have it--the ayes
"Mr. Chairman; I call for a count of the ayes and noes!" It
was Scarborough, standing, completely self-possessed. His voice
was not raised but it vibrated through that room, vibrated
through those three hundred intensely excited young men.
The chairman--Waller, a Zeta Rho, of the Sigma Alpha
combination--knew that Pierson was scowling a command to him to
override the rules and adjourn the meeting; but he could not take
his eyes from Scarborough's, dared not disobey Scarborough's
imperious look. "A count of the ayes and noes is called for,"
he said. "The secretary will call the roll."
Pierson's motion was lost--one hundred and thirty-two to one
hundred and seventy-nine. For the first time in his life he was
beaten; and it was an overwhelming, a public defeat that made his
leadership ridiculous. His vanity was cut savagely; it was
impossible for him to control himself to stay and witness the
inevitable rout. He lounged down the wide aisle, his face masked
in a supercilious smile, his glance contemptuously upon the
jubilant barbs. They were thick about the doors, and as he
passed among them he said, addressing no one in particular: "A
revolt of the Helots." A barb raised a threatening fist;
Pierson sneered, and the fist unclenched and dropped before his
fearless eyes.
An hour later Scarborough, his ticket elected and the society
adjourned, reached Mrs. Trent's porch. In its darkness he saw
the glowing end of a cigarette. "That you, Pierson?" he asked
in the tone of one who knows what the answer will be.
"Sit down for a few minutes," came the reply, in a strained
He could not see even the outline of Pierson's face, but with
those acute sensibilities which made life alternately a keen
pleasure and a pain to him, he felt that his friend was
struggling for self-control. He waited in silence.
At last Pierson began: "I owe you an apology. I've been
thinking all sorts of things about you. I know they're unjust
and--mean, which is worse. But, damn it, Scarborough, I HATE
being beaten. And it doesn't make defeat any the easier because
YOU did it."
He paused; but Scarborough did not speak.
"I'm going to be frank," Pierson went on with an effort. "I
know you had a perfect right to do as you pleased, but--hang it
all, old man--you might have warned me."
"But I didn't do as I pleased," said Scarborough. "And as for
telling you--" He paused before he interrupted himself with:
"But first I want to say that I don't like to give an account of
myself to my friends. What does friendship mean if it forbids
freedom? I didn't approve or condemn you because you belonged to
a fraternity, and because you headed a clique that was destroying
the Literary Society by making it a place for petty fraternity
politics instead of a place to develop speakers, writers and
debaters. Yet now you're bringing me to account because I didn't
slavishly accept your ideas as my own. Do you think that's a
sound basis for a friendship, Pierson?"
When Scarborough began Pierson was full of a grievance which he
thought real and deep. He was proposing to forgive Scarborough,
forgive him generously, but not without making him realize that
it was an act of generosity. As Scarborough talked he was first
irritated, then, and suddenly, convinced that he was himself in
the wrong--in the wrong throughout.
"Don't say another word, Scarborough," he replied, impulsively
laying his hand on the arm of his friend--how powerful it felt
through the sleeve! "I've been spoiled by always having my own
way and by people letting me rule them. You gave me my first
lesson in defeat. And--I needed it badly. As for your not
telling me, you'd have ruined your scheme if you had. Besides,
looking back, I see that you did warn me. I know now what you
meant by always jumping on the fraternities and the
"Thank you," said Scarborough, simply. "When I saw you
leaving the society hall I feared I'd lost a friend. Instead,
I've found what a friend I have." Then after a brief silence
he continued: "This little incident up there to-night--this
little revolution I took part in--has meant a good deal to me.
It was the first chance I'd had to carry out the ideas I've
thought over and thought over down there on the farm while I was
working in the fields or lying in the hay, staring up at the sky.
And I don't suppose in all the future I'll ever have a greater
temptation to be false to myself than I had in the dread that's
been haunting me--the dread of losing your friendship--and the
friendship of--of--some others who might see it as I was afraid
you would. There may be lessons in this incident for you, Fred.
But the greatest lesson of all is the one you've taught me--NEVER
to be afraid to go forward when the Finger points."
Pierson and Olivia walked to chapel together the next morning,
and he told her the story of the defeat, putting himself in a
worse light than he deserved. But Olivia, who never lost a
chance to attack him for his shortcomings, now, to his amazement,
burst out against Scarborough.
"It was contemptible," she said hotly. "It was treachery! It
was a piece of cold-blooded ambition. He'd sacrifice anything,
any one, to ambition. I shall never like him again."
Pierson was puzzled--being in love with her, he had been deceived
by her pretense that she had a poor opinion of him; and he did
not appreciate that her sense of justice was now clouded by
resentment for his sake. At dinner, when the four were together,
she attacked Scarborough. Though she did not confess it, he
forced her to see that at least his motives were not those she
had been attributing to him. When he and Pauline were
alone--Olivia and Pierson had to hurry away to a lecture he said:
"What do YOU think, Miss Gardiner? You--did you--do you--agree
with your cousin?
"I?" Pauline dropped her eyes. "Oh, I----"
She hesitated so long that he said: "Go on--tell me just what
you think. I'd rather know than suspect."
"I think you did right. But--I don't see how you had the
courage to do it."
"That is, you think I did right--but the sort of right that's
worse than wrong."
"No--no!" she protested, putting a good deal of feeling into
her voice in the effort to reassure him. "I'd have been ashamed
of you if you hadn't done it. And--oh, I despise weakness in a
man most of all! And I like to think that if everybody in
college had denounced you, you'd have gone straight on. And--you
Within a week after this they were calling each the other by
their first names.
For the Christmas holidays she went with her mother from Battle
Field direct to Chicago, to her father's sisters Mrs.
Hayden--Colonel Gardiner had been called south on business. When
she came back she and Scarborough took up their friendship where
they had left it. They read the same books, had similar tastes,
disagreed sympathetically, agreed with enthusiasm. She saw a
great deal of several other men in her class, enough not to make
her preference for him significant to the college--or to herself.
They went for moonlight straw-rides, on moonlight and starlight
skating and ice-boat parties, for long walks over the hills--all
invariably with others, but they were often practically alone.
He rapidly dropped his rural manners and mannerisms--Fred
Pierson's tailor in Indianapolis made the most radical of the
surface changes in him.
Late in February his cousin, the superintendent of the farm,
telegraphed him to come home. He found his mother ill--plainly
dying. And his father--Bladen Scarborough's boast had been that
he never took a "dose of drugs" in his life, and for at least
seventy of his seventy-nine years he had been "on the jump"
daily from long before dawn until long after sundown. Now he was
content to sit in his arm-chair and, with no more vigorous
protest than a frown and a growl, to swallow the despised drugs.
Each day he made them carry him in his great chair into HER
bedroom. And there he sat all day long, his shaggy brows down,
his gaze rarely wandering from the little ridge her small body
made in the high white bed; and in his stern eyes there was a
look of stoic anguish. Each night, as they were carrying him to
his own room, they took him near the bed; and he leaned forward,
and the voice that in all their years had never been anything but
gentle for her said: "Good night, Sallie." And the small form
would move slightly, there would be a feeble turning of the head,
a wan smile on the little old face, a soft "Good night,
It was on Hampden's ninth day at home that the old man said
"Good night, Sallie," and there was no answer--not even a stir.
They did not offer to carry him in the next morning; nor did he
turn his face from the wall. She died that day; he three days
later--he had refused food and medicine; he had not shed a tear
or made a sound.
Thus the journey side by side for fifty-one years was a journey
no longer. They were asleep side by side on the hillside for
Hampden stayed at home only one day after the funeral. He came
back to Battle Field apparently unchanged. He was not in black,
for Bladen Scarborough abhorred mourning as he abhorred all
outward symbols of the things of the heart. But after a week he
told Pauline about it; and as he talked she sobbed, though his
voice did not break nor his eyes dim.
"He's like his father," she thought.
When Olivia believed that Dumont was safely forgotten she teased
her--"Your adoring and adored Scarborough."
Pauline was amused by this. With his unfailing instinct,
Scarborough had felt--and had never permitted himself to
forget--that there was some sort of wall round her for him. It
was in perfect good faith that she answered Olivia: "You don't
understand him. He's a queer man--sometimes I wonder myself that
he doesn't get just a little sentimental. I suppose I'd find him
exasperating--if I weren't otherwise engaged."
Olivia tried not to show irritation at this reference to Dumont.
"I think you're mistaken about which of you is queer," she
said. "You are the one--not he."
"I?" Pauline laughed--she was thinking of her charm against
any love but one man's, the wedding ring she always wore at her
neck. "Why, I COULDN'T fall in love with HIM."
"The woman who gets him will do mighty well for herself--in
every way," said Olivia.
"Indeed she will. But--I'd as soon think of falling in love
with a tree or a mountain."
She liked her phrase; it seemed to her exactly to define her
feeling for Scarborough. She liked it so well that she repeated
it to herself reassuringly many times in the next few weeks.
In the last week of March came a succession of warm rains. The
leaves burst from their impatient hiding just within the cracks
in the gray bark. And on Monday the unclouded sun was
irradiating a pale green world from a pale blue sky. The four
windows of Pauline and Olivia's sitting-room were up; a warm,
scented wind was blowing this way and that the strays of
Pauline's red-brown hair as she sat at the table, her eyes on a
book, her thoughts on a letter--Dumont's first letter on landing
in America. A knock, and she frowned slightly.
"Come!" she cried, her expression slowly veering toward
The door swung back and in came Scarborough. Not the awkward
youth of last October, but still unable wholly to conceal how
much at a disadvantage he felt before the woman he particularly
wished to please.
"Yes--I'm ten minutes early," he said, apology in his tone for
his instinct told him that he was interrupting, and he had too
little vanity to see that the interruption was agreeable. "But
I thought you'd be only reading a novel."
For answer she held up the book which lay before her--a solemn
volume in light brown calf.
"Analytical geometry," he said; "and on the first day of the
finest spring the world ever saw!" He was at the window,
looking out longingly--sunshine, and soft air washed clean by the
rains; the new-born leaves and buds; the pioneer birds and
flowers. "Let's go for a walk. We can do the Vergil
"YOU--talking of neglecting WORK!" Her smile seemed to him to
sparkle as much in the waves of her hair as in her even white
teeth and gold-brown eyes. "So you're human, just like the rest
of us."
"Human!" He glanced at her and instantly glanced away.
"Do leave that window," she begged. "We must get the Vergil
now. I'm reading an essay at the society to-night--they've fined
me twice for neglecting it. But if you stand there reminding me
of what's going on outside I'll not be able to resist."
"How this would look from Indian Rock!"
She flung open a Vergil text-book with a relentless shake of the
head. "I've got the place. Book three, line two forty-five--
"`Una in praecelsa consedit rupe Celaeno----' "
"It doesn't matter what that hideous old Harpy howled at the
pious Aeneas," he grumbled. "Let's go out and watch the Great
God Pan dedicate his brand-new temple."
"Do sit there!" She pointed a slim white forefinger at the
chair at the opposite side of the table--the side nearer him.
"I'll be generous and work the dictionary to-day." And she
opened a fat, black, dull-looking book beside the Vergil.
"Where's the Johnnie?" he asked, reluctantly dropping into the
She laid Dryden's translation of the Aeneid on his side of the
table. They always read the poetical version before they began
to translate for the class-room--Dryden was near enough to the
original to give them its spirit, far enough to quiet their
consciences. "Find the place yourself," said she. "I'm not
going to do everything."
He opened the Dryden and languidly turned the pages. "`At
length rebuff'd, they leave their mangled----' " he began.
"No--two or three lines farther down," she interrupted. "That
was in the last lesson."
He pushed back the rebellious lock that insisted on falling down
the middle of his forehead, plunged his elbows fiercely upon the
table, put his fists against his temples, and began again:
"`High on a craggy cliff Celaeno sate
And thus her dismal errand did relate--'
Have you got the place in the Latin?" he interrupted himself.
Fortunately he did not look up, for she was watching the waving
boughs. "Yes," she replied, hastily returning to the book.
"You do your part and I'll do mine."
He read a few lines in an absent-minded sing-song, then
interrupted himself once more: "Did you ever smell anything
like that breeze?"
"Never. `Bellum etiam pro caede bovum'--go on--I'm
listening--or trying to."
He read:
"`But know that ere your promised walls you build,
My curse shall severely be fulfilled.
Fierce famine is your lot--for this misdeed,
Reduced to grind the plates on which you feed.' "
He glanced at her. She was leaning on her elbow, obviously
weaving day-dreams round those boughs as they trembled with the
ecstasy of spring.
"You are happy to-day?" he said.
"Yes--happier than I have been for a year." She smiled
mysteriously. "I've had good news." She turned abruptly,
looked him in the eyes with that frank, clear expression--his
favorite among his memory-pictures of her had it. "There's one
thing that worries me--it's never off my mind longer than a few
minutes. And when I'm blue, as I usually am on rainy days, it
makes me--horribly uncomfortable. I've often almost asked your
advice about it."
"If you'd be sorry afterward that you told me," said he, "I
hope you won't. But if I can help you, you know how glad I'd
"It's no use to tell Olivia," Pauline went on. "She's
bitterly prejudiced. But ever since the first month I knew you,
I felt that I could trust you, that you were a real friend. And
you're so fair in judging people and things."
His eyes twinkled.
"I'm afraid I'd tilt the scales--just a little--where you were
"Oh, I want you to do that," she answered with a smile. "Last
fall I did something--well, it was foolish, though I wouldn't
admit that to any one else. I was carried away by an impulse.
Not that I regret. In the only really important way, I wouldn't
undo it if I could--I think." Those last two words came
absently, as if she were debating the matter with herself.
"If it's done and can't be undone," he said cheerfully, "I
don't see that advice is needed."
"But--you don't understand." She seemed to be casting about
for words. "As I said, it was last fall--here. In Saint X
there was a man--and he and I--we'd cared for each other ever
since we were children. And then he went away to college. He
did several things father didn't like. You know how older people
are--they don't make allowances. And though father's the
gentlest, best--at any rate, he turned against Jack, and--"
Scarborough abruptly went to the window and stood with his back
to her.
After a pause Pauline said, in a rush, "And he came here last
fall and we got married."
There was a long silence.
"It was DREADFUL, wasn't it?" she said in the tone of one who
has just made a shocking discovery.
Scarborough did not answer.
"I never realized till this minute," she went on after a while.
"Not that I'm sorry or that I don't--don't CARE--just as I
always did. But somehow, telling it out loud to some one else
has made me see it in a different light. It didn't seem like
treachery to them--to father and mother--then. It hasn't seemed
like a--a marriage REALLY marriage--until now."
Another long silence. Then she burst out appealingly: "Oh, I
don't see how I'm ever going to tell them!"
Scarborough came back to his chair and seated himself. His face
was curiously white. It was in an unnatural voice that he said:
"How old is he?"
"Twenty-five," she replied, then instantly flared up, as if he
had attacked Dumont: "But it wasn't his fault--not in the
least. I knew what I was doing--and I wanted to do it. You
mustn't get a false impression of him, Hampden. You'd admire and
respect him. You--any one--would have done as he did in the same
circumstances." She blushed slightly. "You and he are ever so
much alike--even in looks. It was that that made me tell you,
that made me like you as I have--and trust you."
Scarborough winced. Presently he began: "Yet you regret----"
"No--no!" she protested--too vehemently. "I do NOT regret
marrying him. That was certain to be sooner or later. All I
regret is that I did something that seems underhanded. Perhaps
I'm really only sorry I didn't tell them as soon as I'd done
She waited until she saw he was not going to speak. "And now,"
she said, "I don't know HOW to tell them." Again she waited,
but he did not speak, continued to look steadily out into the
sky. "What do you think?" she asked nervously. "But I can
see without your saying. Only I--wish you'd SAY it."
"No, I don't condemn you," he said slowly. "I know you. YOU
couldn't possibly do anything underhanded. If you'd been where
you'd have had to conceal it directly, face to face, from some
one who had the right to know--you'd never have done it." He
rested his arms on the table and looked straight at her. "I
feel I must tell you what I think. And I feel, too, it wouldn't
be fair and honest if I didn't let you see why you might not want
to take my advice."
She returned his gaze inquiringly.
"I love you," he went on calmly. "I've known it ever since I
missed you so at the Christmas holidays. I love you for what you
are, and for what you're as certain to be as--as a rosebud is
certain to be a full-blown rose. I love you as my father loved
my mother. I shall love you always." His manner was calm,
matter-of-fact; but there was in his musical, magical voice a
certain quality which set her nerves and her blood suddenly to
vibrating. She felt as if she were struggling in a great
sea--the sea of his love for her--struggling to reach the safety
of the shore.
"Oh--I WISH you hadn't told me!" she exclaimed.
"Suppose I hadn't; suppose you had taken my advice? No"--he
shook his head slowly--"I couldn't do that, Pauline--not even to
win you."
"I'm sorry I said anything to you about it."
"You needn't be. You haven't harmed yourself. And maybe I can
help you."
"No--we won't talk of it," she said--she was pressing her hand
on her bosom where she could feel her wedding ring. "It
wouldn't be right, now. I don't wish your advice."
"But I must give it. I'm years and years older than you--many,
many years more than the six between us. And----"
"I don't wish to hear."
"For his sake, for your own sake, Pauline, tell them! And
they'll surely help you to wait till you're older before you do
"But I care for him," she said--angrily, though it could not
have been what he was saying so gently that angered her. "You
forget that I care for him. It IS irrevocable now. And I'm glad
it is!"
"You LIKE him. You don't LOVE him. And--he's not worthy of
your love. I'm sure it isn't prejudice that makes me say it. If
he were, he'd have waited----"
She was on her feet, her eyes blazing.
"I asked for advice, not a lecture. I DESPISE you! Attacking
the man I love and behind his back! I wish to be alone."
He rose but met her look without flinching.
"You can send ME away," he said gently, "but you can't send
away my words. And if they're true you'll feel them when you get
over your anger. You'll do what you think right. But--be SURE,
Pauline. Be SURE!" In his eyes there was a look--the secret
altar with the never-to-be-extinguished flame upon it. "Be
SURE!, Pauline. Be SURE."
Her anger fell; she sank, forlorn, into a chair. For both, the
day had shriveled and shadowed. And as he turned and left the
room the warmth and joy died from air and sky and earth; both of
them felt the latent chill--it seemed not a reminiscence of
winter past but the icy foreboding of winter closing in.
When Olivia came back that evening from shopping in Indianapolis
she found her cousin packing.
"Is it something from home?" she asked, alarmed.
Pauline did not look up as she answered:
"No--but I'm going home--to stay--going in the morning. I've
telegraphed them."
"To stay!"
"Yes--I was married to Jack--here--last fall."
"You--married! To JOHN DUMONT--you, only seventeen--oh,
Pauline--" And Olivia gave way to tears for the first time
since she was a baby.
Scarborough was neither at supper nor at breakfast--Pauline left
without seeing him again.
When the sign-board on a station platform said "5.2 miles to St.
X," Pauline sank back in her chair in the parlor-car with
blanched face. And almost immediately, so it seemed to her,
Saint X came into view--home! She fancied she could see the very
house as she looked down on the mass of green in which the town
was embowered. The train slid into the station, slowed
down--there were people waiting on the platform--her father! He
was glancing from window to window, trying to catch a glimpse of
her; and his expression of almost agonized eagerness made her
heartsick. She had been away from him for nearly seven
months--long enough to break the habit which makes it impossible
for members of a family to know how they really look to each
other. How gray and thin his beard seemed! What was the meaning
of that gaunt look about his shoulders? What was the strange,
terrifying shadow over him? "Why, he's OLD!" The tears welled
into her eyes--"He's gliding away from me!" She remembered
what she had to tell him and her knees almost refused to support
He was at the step as she sprang down. She flew into his arms.
He held her away from him and scanned her face with anxious eyes.
"Is my little girl ill?" he asked. "The telegram made me
"Oh, no!" she said with a reassuring hug. "Where's mother?"
"She--she's got a--a--surprise for you. We must hurry--she'll
be impatient, though she's seen you since I have."
At the curbstone stood the familiar surrey, with Mordecai humped
upon the front seat. "I don't see how the colonel ever knowed
you," said he, as she shook hands with him. "I never seen the
like for growin'."
"But YOU look just the same, Mordecai--you and the surrey and
the horses. And how's Amanda?"
"Poorly," replied Mordecai--his invariable answer to inquiries
about his wife. She patterned after the old school, which held
that for a woman to confess to good health was for her to confess
to lack of refinement, if not of delicacy.
"You think I've changed, father?" asked Pauline, when the
horses were whirling them home. She was so busily greeting the
familiar streets and houses and trees and faces that she hardly
heard his reply.
"`I never seen the like for growin',' " he quoted, his eyes
shining with pride in her. He was a reticent man by nature as
well as by training; he could not have SAID how beautiful, how
wonderful he thought her, or how intensely he loved her. The
most he could do to express himself to her was, a little shyly,
to pat her hand--and to LOOK it into Mordecai's back.
She was about to snuggle up to him as a wave of delight at being
home again swept over her; but her secret rushed from the
background of her mind. "How could I have done it? How can I
tell them?" Then, the serene and beautiful kindness of her
father's face reassured her.
Her mother was waiting in the open front door as the surrey came
up the drive--still the same dear old-young mother, with the same
sweet dignity and gentleness.
"Oh, mother, mother!" exclaimed Pauline, leaping from the
carriage into her arms. And as they closed about her she felt
that sorrow and evil could not touch her; felt just as when she,
a little girl, fleeing from some frightful phantom of her own
imagining, had rushed there for safety. She choked, she sobbed,
she led her mother to the big sofa opposite the stairway; and,
sitting there, they held each the other tightly, Pauline kissing
her, smoothing her hair, she caressing Pauline and crying softly.
"We've got a surprise for you, Polly," said she, when they were
"I don't want anything but you and father," replied Pauline.
Her father turned away--and so she did not see the shadow deepen
in his face. Her mother shook her head, mischief in her eyes
that were young as a girl's--younger far than her daughter's at
that moment. "Go into the sitting-room and see," she said.
Pauline opened the sitting-room door. John Dumont caught her in
his arms. "Polly!" he exclaimed. "It's all right. They've
come round and--and--here I am!"
Pauline pushed him away from her and sank to the floor in a
When she came to herself she was lying on the divan in the
sitting-room. Her mother was kneeling beside her, bathing her
temples with cold water; her father and her husband were
standing, helplessly looking at her. "Send him away," she
murmured, closing her eyes.
Only her mother heard. She motioned to the two men to leave the
room. When the door closed Pauline sat up.
"He said it was all right," she began feverishly. "What did
he mean, mother?" She was hoping she was to be spared the worst
part of her ordeal.
But her mother's reply dashed her hopes, made her settle back
among the cushions and hide her face. "It IS all right, Polly.
You're to have your own way, and it's your father's way. John
has convinced him that he really has changed. We knew--that is,
I suspected why you were coming, and we thought we'd give you a
surprise--give you what your heart was set on, before you had to
ask for it. I'm so sorry, dear, that the shock was--"
Pauline lay perfectly still, her face hidden. After a pause:
"I don't feel well enough to see him now. I want this day with
you and father. To-morrow--to-morrow, we'll--to-day I want to be
as I was when I was--just you and father, and the house and the
Her mother left her for a moment and, when she came back, said:
"He's gone."
Pauline gave a quick sigh of relief. Soon she rose. "I'm going
for father, and we'll walk in the garden and forget there's
anybody else in the world but just us three."
At half-past eight they had family prayers in the sitting-room;
Pauline kneeling near her mother, her father kneeling beside his
arm-chair and in a tremulous voice pouring out his gratitude to
God for keeping them all "safe from the snares and temptations
of the world," for leading them thus far on the journey.
"And, God, our Father, we pray Thee, have this daughter of ours,
this handmaiden of Thine, ever in Thy keeping. And these things
we ask in the name of Thy Son--Amen." The serene quiet, the
beloved old room, the evening scene familiar to her from her
earliest childhood, her father's reverent, earnest voice, halting
and almost breaking after every word of the petition for her; her
mother's soft echo of his "Amen"--Pauline's eyes were swimming
as she rose from her knees.
Her mother went with her to her bedroom, hovered about her as she
undressed, helped her now and then with fingers that trembled
with happiness, and, when she was in bed, put out the light and
"tucked her in" and kissed her--as in the old days. "Good
night--God bless my little daughter--my HAPPY little daughter."
Pauline waited until she knew that they were sleeping. Then she
put on a dressing-gown and went to the open window--how many
springtimes had she sat there in the moonlight to watch, as now,
the tulips and the hyacinths standing like fairies and bombarding
the stars with the most delicious perfumes.
She sat hour after hour, giving no outward sign of battle within.
In every lull came Scarborough's "Be SURE, Pauline!" to start
the tumult afresh. When the stars began to pale in the dawn she
rose--she WAS sure. Far from sure that she was doing the best
for herself; but sure, sure without a doubt, that she was doing
her duty to her parents.
"I must not punish THEM for MY sin," she said.
Late the next morning she went to the farthest corner of the
garden, to the small summer-house where she had played with her
dolls and her dishes, where she had worked with slate and
spelling-book, where she had read her favorite school-girl
romances, where she had dreamed her own school-girl romance. She
was waiting under the friendly old canopy of bark--the posts
supporting it were bark-clad, too; up and around and between them
clambered the morning-glories in whose gorgeous, velvet-soft
trumpets the sun-jewels glittered.
And presently he came down the path, his keen face and insolent
eyes triumphant. He was too absorbed in his own emotion
especially to note hers. Besides, she had always been receptive
rather than demonstrative with him.
"We'll be married again, and do the gossips out of a
sensation," he said. Though she was not looking at him, his
eyes shifted from her face as he added in a voice which at
another time she might have thought strained: "Then, too, your
father and mother and mine are so strait-laced--it'd give 'em a
terrible jar to find out. You're a good deal like them,
Polly--only in a modern sort of way."
Pauline flushed scarlet and compressed her lips. She said
presently: "You're sure you wish it?"
"Wish what?"
"To marry me. Sometimes I've thought we're both too young, that
we might wait----"
He put his arm round her with an air of proud possession.
"What'd be the sense in that?" he demanded gaily. "Aren't you
And again she flushed and lowered her eyes and compressed her
lips. Then she astonished him by flinging her arms round his
neck and kissing him hysterically. "But I DO love you!" she
exclaimed. "I do! I DO!"
It was midday six weeks later, and Pauline and Dumont were
landing at Liverpool, when Scarborough read in the college-news
column of the Battle Field Banner that she had "married the only
son of Henry Dumont, of Saint Christopher, one of the richest men
in our state, and has departed for an extended foreign tour."
Olivia--and Pierson naturally--had known, but neither had had the
courage to tell him.
Scarborough was in Pierson's room. He lowered the paper from in
front of his face after a few minutes.
"I see Pauline has married and gone abroad," he said.
"Yes, so I heard from Olivia," replied Pierson, avoiding
Scarborough's eyes.
"Why didn't you tell me?" continued Scarborough, tranquil so
far as Pierson could judge. "I'd have liked to send her a
Pierson was silent.
"I thought it would cut him horribly," he was thinking. "And
he's taking it as if he had only a friendly interest."
Scarborough's face was again behind the newspaper. When he had
finished it he sauntered toward the door. He paused there to
glance idly at the titles of the top row in the book-case.
Pierson was watching him. "No--it's all right," he concluded.
Scarborough was too straight and calm just to have received such
a blow as that news would have been had HE cared for Pauline.
Pierson liked his look better than ever before--the tall,
powerful figure; the fair hair growing above his wide and lofty
brow, with the one defiant lock; and in his aquiline nose and
blue-gray eyes and almost perfect mouth and chin the stamp of one
who would move forward irresistibly, moving others to his will.
"How old are you, Scarborough?" he asked.
"Twenty-three-nearly twenty-four. I ought to be ashamed to be
only a freshman, oughtn't I?" He shrugged his shoulders. "I'm
tired of it all." And he strolled out.
He avoided Pierson and Olivia and all his friends for several
days, went much into the woods alone, took long walks at night.
Olivia would have it that he had been hard hit, and almost
convinced Pierson.
"He's the sort of person that suffers the most," she said.
"I've a brother like him--won't have sympathy, keeps a wound
covered up so that it can't heal."
"But what shall I do for him?" asked Pierson.
"Don't do anything--he'd hate you if you did."
After a week or ten days he called on Pierson and, seating
himself at the table, began to shuffle a pack of cards. He
looked tired.
"I never saw cards until I was fifteen," he said.
"At home they thought them one of the devil's worst devices--we
had a real devil in our house."
"So did we," said Pierson.
"But not a rip-snorter like ours--they don't have him in cities,
or even in towns, any more. I've seen ours lots of times after
the lights were out--saw him long after I'd convinced myself in
daylight that he didn't exist. But I never saw him so close as
the night of the day I learned to play casino."
"Did you learn in the stable?" asked Pierson.
"That's where I learned, and mother slipped up behind me--I
didn't know what was coming till I saw the look in the other
boy's face. Then--" Pierson left the rest to imagination.
"I learned in the hay-loft--my sister and my cousin Ed and I.
One of the farm-hands taught us. The cards were so stained we
could hardly see the faces. That made them look the more
devilish. And a thunder-storm came up and the lightning struck a
tree a few rods from the barn."
"Horrible!" exclaimed Pierson. "I'll bet you fell to
"Not I. I'd just finished Tom Paine's Age of Reason--a
preacher's son down the pike stole it from a locked closet in his
father's library and loaned it to me. But I'll admit the
thunderbolt staggered me. I said to them--pretty shakily, I
guess: `Come on, let's begin again.' But the farm-hand said:
`I reckon I'll get on the safe side,' and began to pray--how he
roared! And I laughed--how wicked and reckless and brave that
laugh did sound to me. 'Bella and Ed didn't know which to be
more afraid of--my ridicule or the lightning. They
compromised--they didn't pray and they didn't play."
"And so you've never touched a card since."
"We played again the next afternoon--let's have a game of poker.
I'm bored to death today."
This was Scarborough's first move toward the fast set of which
Pierson was leader. It was a small fast set--there were not many
spoiled sons at Battle Field. But its pace was rapid; for every
member of it had a constitution that was a huge reservoir of
animal spirits and western energy. They "cribbed" their way
through recitations and examinations--as the faculty did not put
the students on honor but watched them, they reasoned that
cribbing was not dishonorable provided one did barely enough of
it to pull him through. They drank a great deal--usually whisky,
which they disliked but poured down raw, because it was the
"manly" drink and to take it undiluted was the "manly" way.
They made brief excursions to Indianapolis and Chicago for the
sort of carousals that appeal to the strong appetites and
undiscriminating tastes of robust and curious youth.
Scarborough at once began to reap the reward of his advantages--a
naturally bold spirit, an unnaturally reckless mood. In two
weeks he won three hundred dollars, half of it from Pierson. He
went to Chicago and in three nights' play increased this to
twenty-nine hundred. The noise of the unprecedented achievement
echoed through the college. In its constellation of bad examples
a new star had blazed out, a star of the first magnitude.
Bladen Scarborough had used his surplus to improve and extend his
original farm. But farms were now practically unsalable, and
Hampden and Arabella were glad to let their cousin Ed--Ed
Warfield--stay on, rent free, because with him there they were
certain that the place would be well kept up. Hampden, poor in
cash, had intended to spend the summer as a book agent. Instead,
he put by a thousand dollars of his winnings to insure next
year's expenses and visited Pierson at his family's cottage in
the summer colony at Mackinac. He won at poker there and went on
East, taking Pierson. He lost all he had with him, all Pierson
could lend him, telegraphed to Battle Field for half his thousand
dollars, won back all he had lost and two thousand besides.
When he reappeared at Battle Field in September he was dazzling
to behold. His clothes were many and had been imported for him
by the Chicago agent of a London tailor. His shirts and ties
were in patterns and styles that startled Battle Field. He had
taken on manners and personal habits befitting a "man of the
world"--but he had not lost that simplicity and directness which
were as unchangeably a part of him as the outlines of his face or
the force which forbade him to be idle for a moment. He and
Pierson--Pierson was pupil, now--took a suite of rooms over a
shop in the town and furnished them luxuriously. They had
brought from New York to look after them and their belongings the
first English manservant Battle Field had seen.
Scarborough kept up his college work; he continued regularly to
attend the Literary Society and to be its most promising orator
and debater; he committed no overt act--others might break the
college rules, might be publicly intoxicated and noisy, but he
was always master of himself and of the situation. Some of the
fanatical among the religious students believed and said that he
had sold himself to the devil. He would have been expelled
summarily but for Pierson--Pierson's father was one of the two
large contributors to the support of the college, and it was
expected that he would will it a generous endowment. To entrap
Scarborough was to entrap Pierson. To entrap Pierson-- The
faculty strove to hear and see as little as possible of their
In the college Y.M.C.A. prayers were offered for Scarborough--his
name was not spoken, but every one understood. A delegation of
the religious among his faithful fellow barbs called upon him to
pray and to exhort. They came away more charmed than ever with
their champion, and convinced that he was the victim of slander
and envy. Not that he had deliberately deceived them, for he
hadn't; he was simply courteous and respectful of their
"The fraternities are in this somewhere," the barbs decided.
"They're trying to destroy him by lying about him." And they
liked it that their leader was the brilliant, the talked-about,
the sought-after person in the college. When he stood up to
speak in the assembly hall or the Literary Society they always
greeted him with several rounds of applause.
To the chagrin of the faculty and the irritation of the
fraternities a jury of alumni selected him to represent Battle
Field at the oratorical contest among the colleges of the state.
And he not only won there but also at the interstate contest--a
victory over the orators of the colleges of seven western states
in which public speaking was, and is, an essential part of higher
education. His oratory lacked style, they thought at Battle
Field. It was the same then, essentially, as it was a few years
later when the whole western country was discussing it. He
seemed to depend entirely upon the inherent carrying power of his
ably constructed sentences--like so many arrows, some flying
gracefully, others straight and swift, all reaching the mark at
which they were aimed. In those days, as afterward, he stood
upon the platform almost motionless; his voice was clear and
sweet, never noisy, but subtly penetrating and, when the sense
demanded it, full of that mysterious quality which makes the
blood run more swiftly and the nerves tingle. "Merely a talker,
not an orator," declared the professor of elocution, and few of
those who saw him every day appreciated his genius then. It was
on the subject-matter of his oration, not on his "delivery,"
that the judges decided for him--so they said and thought.
In February of this resplendent sophomore year there came in his
mail a letter postmarked Battle Field and addressed in printed
handwriting. The envelope contained only a newspaper
cutting--from the St. Christopher Republic:
At four o'clock yesterday afternoon a boy was born to Mr. and
Mrs. John Dumont. It is their first child, the first grandchild
of the Dumont and Gardiner families. Mother and son are reported
as doing well.
Scarborough spent little time in the futile effort to guess what
coward enemy had sped this anonymous shaft on the chance of its
hitting him. His only enemies that interested him were those
within himself. He destroyed envelope and clipping, then said to
Pierson: "I neglected to celebrate an important event not long
ago." He paused to laugh--so queerly that Pierson looked at him
uneasily. "We must go to Chicago to celebrate it."
"Very good," said Fred. "We'll get Chalmers to go with us
"No-to-day--the four-o'clock train--we've got an hour and a
half. And we'll have four clear days."
"But there's the ball to-night and I'm down for several
"We'll dance them in Chicago. I've never been really free to
dance before." He poured out a huge drink. "I'm impatient for
the ball to begin." He lifted his glass. "To our ancestors,"
he said, "who repressed themselves, denied themselves, who
hoarded health and strength and capacity for joy, and transmitted
them in great oceans to us--to drown our sorrows in!"
He won six hundred dollars at faro in a club not far from the
Auditorium, Pierson won two hundred at roulette, Chalmers lost
seventy--they had about fourteen hundred dollars for their four
days' "dance." When they took the train for Battle Field they
had spent all they had with them--had flung it away for dinners,
for drives, for theaters, for suppers, for champagne. All the
return journey Scarborough stared moodily out of the car window.
And at every movement that disturbed his clothing there rose to
nauseate him, to fill him with self-loathing, the odors of
strong, sickening-sweet perfumes.
The next day but one, as he was in the woods near Indian Rock, he
saw Olivia coming toward him. They had hardly spoken for several
months. He turned to avoid her but she came on after him.
"I wish to talk with you a few minutes, Mr. Scarborough," she
said coldly, storm in her brave eyes.
"At your service," he answered with strained courtesy. And he
walked beside her.
"I happen to know," she began, "that they're going to expel
you and Fred Pierson the next time you leave here without
"Indeed! You are very kind to warn me of my awful danger." He
looked down at her with a quizzical smile.
"And I wish to say I think it's a disgrace that they didn't do
it long ago," she went on, her anger rising to the bait of his
"Your opinions are always interesting," he replied. "If you
have nothing further I'll ask your permission to relieve you
"No," she interrupted. "I've not said what I wished to say.
You're making it hard for me. I can't get accustomed to the
change in you since last year. There used to be a good side to
you, a side one could appeal to. And I want to talk about--Fred.
You're RUINING him."
"You flatter me." He bowed mockingly. "But I doubt if HE'D
feel flattered."
"I've told him the same thing, but you're too strong for me."
Her voice trembled; she steadied it with a frown. "I can't
influence him any longer."
"Really, Miss Shrewsbury----"
"Please!" she said. "Fred and I were engaged. I broke it
last night. I broke it because--you know why."
Scarborough flushed crimson.
"Oh," he said. "I didn't know he was engaged."
"I know you, Hampden Scarborough," Olivia continued. "I've
understood why you've been degrading yourself. And I haven't
blamed you--though I've wondered at your lack of manhood."
"You are imposing on my courtesy," he said haughtily.
"I can't help it. You and I must talk this thing to the end.
You're robbing me of the man I love. Worse than that, you're
destroying him, dragging him down to a level at which HE may
stay, while YOU are sure to rise again. You've got your living
to make--I don't agree with those who think you'll become a
professional gambler. But he his father's rich and indulgent,
and--God only knows how low he'll sink if you keep on pushing
"You are excited, hysterical. You misjudge him, believe me,"
said Scarborough, gently.
"No--I know he's not depraved--yet. Do you think _I_ could care
for him if he were?"
"I hope so. That's when he'd need it most."
Olivia grew red. "Well, perhaps I should. I'm a fool, like all
women. But I ask you to let him alone, to give his better self a
"Why not ask him to let ME alone--to give MY better nature a
"You--laughing at me in these circumstances! You who pretended
to be a man, pretended to love Pauline Gardiner----"
He started and his eyes blazed, as if she had cut him across the
face with a whip. Then he drew himself up with an expression of
insolent fury. His lips, his sharp white teeth, were cruel.
She bore his look without flinching.
"Yes," she went on, "you think you love her. Yet you act as
if her love were a degrading influence in your life, as if she
were a bad woman instead of one who ought to inspire a man to do
and be his best. How ashamed she'd be of you, of your love, if
she could see you as you are now--the tempter of all the bad
impulses in this college."
He could not trust himself to reply. He was suffocating with
rage and shame. He lifted his hat, walked rapidly away from her
and went home. Pierson had never seen him in an ugly mood
before. And he, too, was in an ugly mood--disgusted with his own
conduct, angry at Scarborough, whom he held responsible for the
unprecedented excesses of this last trip to Chicago and for their
"What's happened?" he asked sourly. "What's the matter with
"Your Olivia," replied Scarborough, with a vicious sneer, "has
been insulting me for your sins. She is a shrew! I don't wonder
you dropped her."
Pierson rose slowly and faced him.
"You astonish me," he said. "I shouldn't have believed you
capable of a speech which no gentleman could possibly utter."
"YOU, sitting as a court of honor to decide what's becoming a
gentleman!" Scarborough looked amused contempt. "My dear
Pierson, you're worse than offensive--you are ridiculous."
"No man shall say such things to me especially a man who
notoriously lives by his wits."
Scarborough caught him up as if he had been a child and pinned
him against the wall. "Take that back," he said, "or I'll
kill you." His tone was as colorless as his face.
"Kill and be damned," replied Pierson, cool and disdainful.
"You're a coward."
Scarborough's fingers closed on Pierson's throat. Then flashed
into his mind that warning which demands and gets a hearing in
the wildest tempest of passion before an irrevocable act can be
done. It came to him in the form of a reminder of his laughing
remark to Pauline when he told her of the traditions of murder in
his family. He released Pierson and fled from the apartment.
Half an hour later Pierson was reading a note from him:
"I've invited some friends this evening. I trust it will be
convenient for you to absent yourself. They'll be out by eleven,
and then, if you return, we can decide which is to stay in the
apartment and which to leave."
Pierson went away to his fraternity house and at half-past eight
Scarborough, Chalmers, Jack Wilton and Brigham sat down to a game
of poker. They had played about an hour, the cards steadily
against Chalmers and Brigham--the cards were usually against
Brigham. He was a mere boy, with passionate aspirations to be
considered a sport. He had been going a rapid gait for a year.
He had lost to Scarborough alone as much as he had expected to
spend on the year's education.
Toward ten o'clock there was a jack-pot with forty-three dollars
in it and Brigham was betting wildly, his hands and his voice
trembling, his lips shriveled. With a sudden gesture Chalmers
caught the ends of the table and jerked it back. There--in
Brigham's lap--were two cards.
"I thought so!" exclaimed Chalmers. "You dirty little cheat!
I've been watching you."
The boy looked piteously at Chalmers' sneering face, at the faces
of the others. The tears rolled down his cheeks. "For God's
sake, boys," he moaned, "don't be hard on me. I was desperate.
I've lost everything, and my father can't give me any more. He's
a poor man, and he and mother have been economizing and
sacrificing to send me here. And when I saw I was ruined--God
knows, I didn't think what I was doing." He buried his face in
his hands. "Don't be hard on me," he sobbed. "Any one of you
might have done the same if he was in my fix."
"You sniveling cur," said Chalmers, high and virtuous, "how
dare you say such a thing! You forget you're among
"None of that, Chalmers," interrupted Scarborough. "The boy's
telling the truth. And nobody knows it better than YOU." This
with a significant look into Chalmers' eyes. They shifted and he
"I agree with Scarborough," said Wilton. "We oughtn't to have
let the boy into our games. We must never mention what has
happened here this evening."
"But we can't allow a card sharp to masquerade as a gentleman,"
objected Chalmers. "I confess, Scarborough, I don't understand
how you can be so easy-going in a matter of honor."
"You think I must have a fellow-feeling for dishonor, eh?"
Scarborough smiled satirically. "I suppose because I was
sympathetic enough with you to overlook the fact that you were
shy on your share of our Chicago trip."
"What do you mean?"
"The three hundred you borrowed of Pierson when you thought he
was too far gone to know what he was doing. My back was
turned--but there was the mirror."
Chalmers' sullen, red face confirmed Scarborough's charge.
"No," continued Scarborough, "we GENTLEMEN ought to be
charitable toward one another's DISCOVERED lapses." He seated
himself at his desk and wrote rapidly:
We, the undersigned, exonerate Edwin Brigham of cheating in the
poker game in Hampden Scarborough's rooms on Saturday evening,
February 20, 18--. And we pledge ourselves never to speak of the
matter either to each other or to any one else.
"I've signed first," said Scarborough, rising and holding the
pen toward Chalmers. "Now, you fellows sign. Chalmers!"
Chalmers signed, and then Wilton.
"Take Chalmers away with you," said Scarborough to Wilton in an
undertone. "I've something to say to Brigham."
When they were gone he again seated himself at his desk and,
taking his check-book, wrote a check and tore it out.
"Now, listen to me, Brig," he said friendlily to Brigham, who
seemed to be in a stupor. "I've won about six hundred dollars
from you, first and last--more, rather than less. Will that
amount put you in the way of getting straight?"
"Yes," said Brigham, dully.
"Then here's a check for it. And here's the paper exonerating
you. And--I guess you won't play again soon."
The boy choked back his sobs.
"I don't know how I ever came to do it, Scarborough. Oh, I'm a
dog, a dog! When I started to come here my mother took me up to
her bedroom and opened the drawer of her bureau and took out a
savings-bank book--it had a credit of twelve hundred dollars.
`Do you see that?' she said. `When you were born I began to put
by as soon as I was able--every cent I could from the butter and
the eggs--to educate my boy. And now it's all coming true,' she
said, Scarborough, and we cried together. And----" Brigham
burst into a storm of tears and sobs. "Oh, how could I do it!"
he said. "How COULD I!"
"You've done wrong," said Scarborough, shakily, "but I've done
much worse, Eddie. And it's over now, and everything'll be all
"But I can't take your money, Scarborough. I must pay for what
I've done."
"You mean, make your mother pay. No, you must take it back,
Brigham. I owe it to you--I owe it to your mother. This, is the
butter and egg money that I--I stole from her."
He put the papers into the boy's pocket. "You and I are going
to be friends," he went on.
"Come round and see me to-morrow--no, I'll look you up." He
put out his hand and held Brigham's hand in a courage-giving
grasp. "And--I hope I'll have the honor of meeting your mother
some day."
Brigham could only look his feelings. Soon after he left Pierson
came. His anger had evaporated and his chief emotion was dread
lest Scarborough might still be angry. "I want to take
back----" he began eagerly, as soon as his head was inside the
"I know you do, but you shan't," replied Scarborough. "What
you said was true, what Olivia said was true. I've been acting
like a blackguard."
"No," said Pierson, "what I said was a disgraceful lie. Will
you try to forget it, Scarborough?"
"FORGET it?" Scarborough looked at his friend with brilliant
eyes. "Never! So help me God, never! It's one of three things
that have occurred to-day that I must never forget."
"Then we can go on as before. You'll still be my friend?"
"Not STILL, Fred, but for the first time."
He looked round the luxurious study with a laugh and a sigh.
"It'll be a ghastly job, getting used to the sort of
surroundings I can earn for myself. But I've got to grin and
bear it. We'll stay on here together to the end of the term--my
share's paid, and besides, I'm not going to do anything
sensational. Next year--we'll see."
While Pierson was having his final cigarette before going to bed
he looked up from his book to see before him Scarborough, even
more tremendous and handsome in his gaudy pajamas.
"I wish to register a solemn vow," said he, with mock solemnity
that did not hide the seriousness beneath. "Hear me, ye
immortal gods! Never again, never again, will I engage in any
game with a friend where there is a stake. I don't wish to
tempt. I don't wish to be tempted."
"What nonsense!" said Pierson. "You're simply cutting
yourself off from a lot of fun."
"I have spoken," said Scarborough, and he withdrew to his
bedroom. When the door was closed and the light out he paused at
the edge of the bed and said: "And never again, so long as he
wishes to retain his title to the name man, will Hampden
Scarborough take from anybody anything which he hasn't honestly
And when he was in bed he muttered: "I shall be alone, and I
may stay poor and obscure, but I'll get back my self-respect--and
keep it--Pauline!"
And Pauline?--She was now looking back upon the first year of her
married life.
She had been so brought up that at seventeen, within a few weeks
of eighteen, she had only the vaguest notion of the meaning of
the step she was about to take in "really marrying" John
Dumont. Also, it had never occurred to her as possible for a
properly constituted woman not to love her husband. It was
clearly her duty to marry Jack; therefore, the doubting thoughts
and the ache at the heart which would not ease were merely more
outcroppings of the same evil part of her nature that had tempted
her into deceiving her parents, and into entangling herself and
Scarborough. She knew that, if she were absolutely free, she
would not marry Jack. But she felt that she had bartered away
her birthright of freedom; and now, being herself, the daughter
of HER father and HER mother, she would honorably keep her
bargain, would love where she ought to love--at seventeen "I
will" means "I shall." And so--they were "really married."
But the days passed, and there was no sign of the miracle she had
confidently expected. The magic of the marriage vow failed to
transform her; Pauline Dumont was still Pauline Gardiner in mind
and in heart. There was, however, a miracle, undreamed of,
mysterious, overwhelming--John Dumont, the lover, became John
Dumont, the husband. Beside this transformation, the revelation
that the world she loved and lived in did not exist for him, or
his world for her, seemed of slight importance. She had not then
experience enough to enable her to see that transformation and
revelation were as intimately related as a lock and its key.
"It's all my fault," she told herself. "It must be my
fault." And Dumont, unanalytic and self-absorbed, was amused
whenever Pauline's gentleness reminded him of his mother's
half-believed warnings that his wife had "a will of her own, and
a mighty strong one."
They were back at Saint X in August and lived at the Frobisher
place in Indiana Street--almost as pretentious as the Dumont
homestead and in better taste. Old Mrs. Dumont had gone to
Chicago alone for the furnishings for her own house; when she
went for the furnishings for her son's house, she got Mrs.
Gardiner to go along--and Pauline's mother gave another of her
many charming illustrations of the valuable truth that tact can
always have its own way. Saint X was too keen-eyed and too
interested in the new Mrs. Dumont to fail to note a change in
her. It was satisfied with the surface explanation that Europe
in general and Paris in particular were responsible. And it did
not note that, while she had always been full of life and fond of
company, she was now feverish in her restlessness, incessantly
seeking distraction, never alone when she could either go
somewhere or induce some one to come to her.
"You MUST be careful, my dear," said her mother-in-law, as soon
as she learned that she had a grandmotherly interest in her
daughter-in-law's health. "You'll wear yourself out with all
this running about."
Pauline laughed carelessly, recklessly.
"Oh, I'm disgustingly healthy. Nothing hurts me. Besides, if I
were quiet, I think I should--EXPLODE!"
Late in September Dumont had to go to New York. He asked her to
go with him, assuming that she would decline, as she had visitors
coming. But she was only too glad of the chance to give her
increasing restlessness wider range. They went to the
Waldorf--Scarborough and Pierson had been stopping there not a
week before, making ready for that sensational descent upon
Battle Field which has already been recorded. The first evening
Dumont took her to the play. The next morning he left her early
for a busy day down-town--"and I may not be able to return for
dinner. I warned you before we left Saint X," he said, as he
rose from breakfast in their sitting-room.
"I understand," she answered. "You needn't bother to send
word even, if you don't wish. I'll be tired from shopping and
shan't care to go out this evening, anyhow."
In the afternoon she drove with Mrs. Fanshaw, wife of one of
Jack's business acquaintances--they had dined at the Fanshaws'
when they paused in New York on the way home from Europe.
Pauline was at the hotel again at five; while she and Mrs.
Fanshaw were having tea together in the palm garden a telegram
was handed to her. She read it, then said to Mrs. Fanshaw: "I
was going to ask you and your husband to dine with us. Jack
sends word he can't be here, but--why shouldn't you come just the
"No you must go with us," Mrs. Fanshaw replied. "We've got a
box at Weber and Fields', and two men asked, and we need another
woman. I'd have asked you before, but there wouldn't be room for
any more men."
Mrs. Fanshaw had to insist until she had proved that the
invitation was sincere; then, Pauline accepted--a distraction was
always agreeable, never so agreeable as when it offered itself
unannounced. It was toward the end of the dinner that Mrs.
Fanshaw happened to say: "I see your husband's like all of
them. I don't believe there ever was a woman an American man
wouldn't desert for business."
"Oh, I don't in the least mind," replied Pauline. "I like him
to show that he feels free. Why, when we were in Paris on the
return trip and had been married only two months, he got tangled
up in business and used to leave me for a day--for two days,
At Pauline's right sat a carefully dressed young man whose name
she had not caught--she learned afterward that he was Mowbray
Langdon. He was now giving her a stare of amused
mock-admiration. When he saw that he had her attention, he said:
"Really, Mrs. Dumont, I can't decide which to admire most--YOUR
trust or your husband's."
Pauline laughed--it struck her as ridiculous that either she or
Jack should distrust the other. Indeed, she only hazily knew
what distrust meant, and hadn't any real belief that "such
things" actually existed.
Half an hour later the party was driving up to Weber and Fields'.
Pauline, glancing across the thronged sidewalk and along the
empty, brilliantly lighted passage leading into the theater, saw
a striking, peculiar-looking woman standing at the box-office
while her escort parleyed with the clerk within. "How much that
man looks like Jack," she said to herself--and then she saw that
it was indeed Jack. Not the Jack she thought she knew, but quite
another person, the one he tried to hide from her--too
carelessly, because he made the common mistake of underestimating
the sagacity of simplicity. A glance at the woman, a second
glance at Dumont, his flushed, insolent face now turned full
front--and she KNEW this unfamiliar and hitherto-only-hinted
The omnibus was caught in a jam of cars and carriages; there were
several moments of confusion and excitement. When the Fanshaw
party was finally able to descend, she saw that Jack and his
companion were gone--the danger of a scene was over for the
moment. She lingered and made the others linger, wishing to give
him time to get to his seats. When they entered the theater it
was dark and the curtain was up. But her eyes, searching the few
boxes visible from the rear aisle, found the woman, or, at least,
enough of her for recognition--the huge black hat with its vast
pale blue feather. Pauline drew a long breath of relief when the
Fanshaws' box proved to be almost directly beneath, the box.
If she had been a few years older, she would have given its
proper significance to the curious fact that this sudden
revelation of the truth about her husband did not start a tempest
of anger or jealousy, but set her instantly to sacrificing at the
shrine of the great god Appearances. It is notorious that of all
the household gods he alone erects his altar only upon the hearth
where the ashes are cold.
As she sat there through the two acts, she seemed to be watching
the stage and taking part in the conversation of the Fanshaws and
their friends; yet afterward she could not recall a single thing
that had occurred, a single word that had been said. At the end
of the last act she again made them linger so that they were the
last to emerge into the passage. In the outside doorway, she saw
the woman--just a glimpse of a pretty, empty, laughing face with
a mouth made to utter impertinences and eyes that invited them.
Mrs. Fanshaw was speaking--"You're very tired, aren't you?"
"Very," replied Pauline, with a struggle to smile.
"What a child you look! It seems absurd that you are a married
woman. Why, you haven't your full growth yet." And on an
impulse of intuitive sympathy Mrs. Fanshaw pressed her arm, and
Pauline was suddenly filled with gratitude, and liked her from
that moment.
Alone in her sitting-room at the hotel, she went up to the mirror
over the mantel, and, staring absently at herself, put her hands
up mechanically to take out her hat-pins. "No, I'll keep my,
hat on," she thought, without knowing why. And she sat, hat and
wrap on, and looked at a book. Half an hour, and she took off
her hat and wrap, put them in a chair near where she was sitting.
The watched hands of the clock crawled wearily round to half-past
one, to two, to half-past two, to three--each half-hour an
interminable stage. She wandered to the window and looked down
into empty Fifth Avenue. When she felt that at least an hour had
passed, she turned to look at the clock again--twenty-five
minutes to four. Her eyes were heavy.
"He is not coming," she said aloud, and, leaving the lights on
in the sitting-room, locked herself in the bedroom.
At five o'clock she started up and seized the dressing-gown on
the chair near the head of the bed. She listened--heard him
muttering in the sitting-room. She knew now that a crash of some
kind had roused her. Several minutes of profound silence, then
through the door came a steady, heavy snore.
The dressing-gown dropped from her hand. She slid from the bed,
slowly crossed the room, softly opened the door, looked into the
sitting-room. A table and a chair lay upset in the middle of the
floor. He was on a sofa, sprawling, disheveled, snoring.
Slowly she advanced toward him--she was barefooted, and the white
nightgown clinging to her slender figure and the long braid down
her back made her look as young as her soul--the soul that gazed
from her fixed, fascinated eyes, the soul of a girl of eighteen,
full as much child as woman still. She sat down before him in a
low chair, her elbows on her knees, her chin supported by her
hands, her eyes never leaving his swollen, dark red, brutish
face--a cigar stump, much chewed, lay upon his cheek near his
open mouth. He was as absurd and as repulsive as a gorged pig
asleep in a wallow.
The dawn burst into broad day, but she sat on motionless until
the clock struck the half-hour after six. Then she returned to
the bedroom and locked herself in again.
Toward noon she dressed and went into the sitting-room. He was
gone and it had been put to rights. When he came, at twenty
minutes to one, she was standing at the window, but she did not
"Did you get my note?" he asked, in a carefully careless tone.
He went on to answer himself: "No, there it is on the floor
just where I put it, under the bedroom door. No matter--it was
only to say I had to go out but would be back to lunch. Sorry I
was kept so late last night. Glad you didn't wait up for me--but
you might have left the bedroom door open--it'd have been
perfectly safe." He laughed good-naturedly. "As it was, I was
so kind-hearted that I didn't disturb you, but slept on the
As he advanced toward her with the obvious intention of kissing
her, she slowly turned and faced him. Their eyes met and he
stopped short--her look was like the eternal ice that guards the
"I saw you at the theater last night," she said evenly. "And
this morning, I sat and watched you as you lay on the sofa over
He was taken completely off his guard. With a gasp that was a
kind of groan he dropped into a chair, the surface of his mind
strewn with the wreckage of the lying excuses he had got ready.
"Please don't try to explain," she went on in the same even
tone. "I understand now about--about Paris and--everything. I
know that--father was right."
He gave her a terrified glance--no tears, no trace of excitement,
only calmness and all the strength he knew was in her nature and,
in addition, a strength he had not dreamed was there.
"What do you intend to do?" he asked after a long silence.
She did not answer immediately. When she did, she was not
looking at him.
"When I married you--across the river from Battle Field," she
said, "I committed a crime against my father and mother. This
is--my punishment--the beginning of it. And now--there'll be
the--the--baby--" A pause, then: "I must bear the
consequences--if I can. But I shall not be your
wife--never--never again. If you wish me to stay on that
condition, I'll try. If not--"
"You MUST stay, Pauline," he interrupted. "I don't care what
terms you make, you must stay. It's no use for me to try to
defend myself when you're in this mood. You wouldn't listen.
But you're right about not going. If you did, it'd break your
father's and mother's hearts. I admit I did drink too much last
night, and made a fool of myself. But if you were more
experienced, you'd--"
He thought he had worked his courage up to the point where he
could meet her eyes. He tried it. Her look froze his flow of
words. "I KNOW that you were false from the beginning," she
"The man I thought you were never existed--and I know it. We
won't speak of this--ever--after now. Surely you can't wish me
to stay?" And into her voice surged all her longing to go, all
her hope that he would reject the only terms on which
self-respect would let her stay.
"Wish you to stay?" he repeated. And he faced her, looking at
her, his chest heaving under the tempest of hate and passion that
was raging in him--hate because she was defying and dictating to
him, passion because she was so beautiful as she stood there,
like a delicate, fine hot-house rose poised on a long, graceful
stem. "No wonder I LOVE you!" he exclaimed between his
clenched teeth.
A bright spot burned in each of her cheeks and her look made him
redden and lower his eyes.
"Now that I understand these last five months," she said,
"that from you is an insult."
His veins and muscles swelled with the fury he dared not show;
for he saw and felt how dangerous her mood was.
"I'll agree to whatever you like, Pauline," he said humbly.
"Only, we mustn't have a flare-up and a scandal. I'll never
speak to you again about--about anything you don't want to
She went into her bedroom. When, after half an hour, she
reappeared, she was ready to go down to lunch. In the elevator
he stole a glance at her--there was no color in her face, not
even in her lips. His rage had subsided; he was ashamed of
himself--before her. But he felt triumphant too.
"I thought she'd go, sure, in spite of her fear of hurting her
father and mother," he said to himself. "A mighty close
squeak. I was stepping round in a powder magazine, with every
word a lit match."
In January she sank into a profound lassitude. Nothing
interested her, everything wearied her. As the time drew near,
her mother came to stay with her; and day after day the two women
sat silent, Mrs. Gardiner knitting, Pauline motionless, hands
idle in her lap, mind vacant. If she had any emotion, it was a
hope that she would die and take her child with her.
"That would settle everything, settle it right," she reflected,
with youth's morbid fondness for finalities.
When it was all over and she came out from under the opiate, she
lay for a while, open-eyed but unseeing, too inert to grope for
the lost thread of memory. She felt a stirring in the bed beside
her, the movement of some living thing. She looked and there,
squeezed into the edge of the pillow was a miniature head of a
little old man--wrinkled, copperish. Yet the face was
fat--ludicrously fat. A painfully homely face with tears running
from the closed eyes, with an open mouth that driveled and
"What is it?" she thought, looking with faint curiosity. "And
why is it here?"
Two small fists now rose aimlessly in the air above the face and
flapped about; and a very tempest of noise issued from the
sagging mouth.
"A baby," she reflected. Then memory came--"MY baby!"
She put her finger in the way of the wandering fists. First one
of them, then the other, awkwardly unclosed and as awkwardly
closed upon it. She smiled. The grip tightened and tightened
and tightened until she wondered how hands so small and new could
cling so close and hard. Then that electric clasp suddenly
tightened about her heart. She burst into tears and drew the
child against her breast. The pulse of its current of life was
beating against her own--and she felt it. She sobbed, laughed
softly, sobbed again.
Her mother was bending anxiously over her.
"What's the matter, dearest?" she asked. "What do you wish?"
"Nothing!" Pauline was smiling through her tears. "Oh,
mother, I am SO happy!" she murmured.
And her happiness lasted with not a break, with hardly a pause,
all that spring and all that summer--or, so long as her baby's
helplessness absorbed the whole of her time and thought.
When Pierson, laggard as usual, returned to Battle Field a week
after the end of the long vacation, he found Scarborough just
establishing himself. He had taken two small and severely plain
rooms in a quaint old frame cottage, one story high, but perched
importantly upon a bank at the intersection of two much-traveled
"What luck?" asked Pierson, lounging in on him.
"A hundred days' campaign; a thousand dollars net," replied the
book agent. "And I'm hard as oak from tramping those roads, and
I've learned--you ought to have been along, Pierson. I know
people as I never could have come to know them by any other
means--what they think, what they want, how they can be
There was still much of the boy in Pierson's face. But
Scarborough looked the man, developed, ready.
Pierson wandered into the bedroom to complete his survey. "I
see you're going to live by the clock," he called out presently.
He had found, pasted to the wall, Scarborough's schedule of the
daily division of his time; just above it, upon a shelf, was a
new alarm clock, the bell so big that it overhung like a canopy.
"You don't mean you're going to get up at four?"
"Every morning--all winter," replied Scarborough, without
stopping his unpacking. "You see, I'm going to finish this
year--take the two years in one. Then I've registered in a law
office--Judge Holcombe's. And there's my speaking--I must
practise that every day."
Pierson came back to the sitting-room and collapsed into a chair.
"I see you allow yourself five hours for sleep," he said.
"It's too much, old man. You're self-indulgent."
"That's a mistake," replied Scarborough. "Since making out the
schedule I've decided to cut sleep down to four hours and a
"That's more like it!"
"We all sleep too much," he continued. "And as I shan't
smoke, or drink, or worry, I'll need even less than the average
man. I'm going to do nothing but work. A man doesn't need much
rest from mere work."
"What! No play?"
"Play all the time. I've simply changed my playthings."
Pierson seated himself at the table and stared gloomily at his
"Look here, old man. For heaven's sake, don't let Olivia find
out about this program."
But Olivia did hear of it, and Pierson was compelled to leave his
luxury in the main street and to take the two remaining available
rooms at Scarborough's place. His bed was against the wall of
Scarborough's bedroom--the wall where the alarm clock was. At
four o'clock on his first morning he started from a profound
"My bed must be moved into my sitting-room to-day," he said to
himself as soon as the clamor of Scarborough's gong died away and
he could collect his thoughts. But at four o'clock the next
morning the gong penetrated the two walls as if they had not been
there. "I see my finish," he groaned, sitting up and tearing
at his hair.
He tried to sleep again, but the joint pressure of Olivia's
memory-mirrored gray eyes and of disordered nerves from the
racking gong forced him to make an effort to bestir himself.
Groaning and muttering, he rose and in the starlight looked from
his window. Scarborough was going up the deserted street on his
way to the woods for his morning exercise. His head was thrown
back and his chest extended, and his long legs were covering four
feet at a stride. "You old devil!" said Pierson, his tone
suggesting admiration and affection rather than anger. "But
I'll outwit you."
By a subterfuge in which a sympathetic doctor was the main
factor, he had himself permanently excused from chapel. Then he
said to Scarborough: "You get up too late, old man. My
grandfather used to say that only a drone lies abed after two in
the morning, wasting the best part of the day. You ought to turn
in, say, at half-past nine and rise in time to get your hardest
work out of the way before the college day begins."
"That sounds reasonable," replied Scarborough, after a moment's
consideration. "I'll try it."
And so it came to pass that Pierson went to bed at the sound of
Scarborough's two-o'clock rising gong and pieced out his sleep
with an occasional nap in recitations and lectures and for an
hour or two late in the afternoon. He was able once more to play
poker as late as he liked, and often had time for reading before
the gong sounded. And Scarborough was equally delighted with the
new plan. "I gain at least one hour a day, perhaps two," he
said. "Your grandfather was a wise man."
Toward spring, Mills, western manager of the publishing house for
which Scarborough had sold Peaks of Progress through Michigan,
came to Battle Field to see him.
"You were far and away the best man we had out last year," said
he. "You're a born book agent."
"Thank you," said Scarborough, sincerely. He appreciated that
a man can pay no higher compliment than to say that another is
master of his own trade.
"We got about fifty orders from people who thought it over after
you'd tried to land them and failed--that shows the impression
you made. And you sold as many books as our best agent in our
best field."
"I'll never go as agent again," said Scarborough. "The
experience was invaluable--but sufficient."
"We don't want you to go as agent. Our proposition is for much
easier and more dignified work."
At the word dignified, Scarborough could not restrain a smile.
"I've practically made my plans for the summer," he said.
"I think we've got something worth your while, Mr. Scarborough.
Our idea is for you to select about a hundred of the young
fellows who're working their way through here, and train them in
your methods of approaching people. Then you'll take them to
Wisconsin and Minnesota and send them out, each man to a district
you select for him. In that way you'll help a hundred young men
to earn a year at college and you'll make a good sum for
yourself--two or three times what you made last summer."
Scarborough had intended to get admitted to the bar in June, to
spend the summer at an apprenticeship in a law office and to set
up for himself in the fall. But this plan was most
attractive--it would give him a new kind of experience and would
put him in funds for the wait for clients. The next day he
signed an advantageous contract--his expenses for the summer and
a guaranty of not less than three thousand dollars clear.
He selected a hundred young men and twelve young women, the most
intelligent of the five hundred self-supporting students at
Battle Field. Pierson, having promised to behave himself, was
permitted to attend the first lesson. The scholars at the
Scarborough, School for Book Agents filled his quarters and
overflowed in swarms without the windows and the door. The
weather was still cool; but all must hear, and the rooms would
hold barely half the brigade.
"I assume that you've read the book," began Scarborough. He
was standing at the table with the paraphernalia of a book agent
spread upon it. "But you must read it again and again, until
you know what's on every page, until you have by heart the
passages I'll point out to you." He looked at Drexel--a
freshman of twenty-two, with earnest, sleepless eyes and a lofty
forehead; in the past winter he had become acquainted with hunger
and with that cold which creeps into the room, crawls through the
thin covers and closes in, icy as death, about the heart. "What
do you think of the book, Drexel?"
The young man--he is high in the national administration
to-day--flushed and looked uneasy.
"Speak frankly. I want your candid opinion."
"Well, I must say, Mr. Scarborough, I think it's pretty bad."
"Thank you," said Scarborough; and he glanced round. "Does
anybody disagree with Mr. Drexel?"
There was not a murmur. Pierson covered his face to hide his
smile at this "jolt" for his friend. In the group round one of
the windows a laugh started and spread everywhere except to seven
of the twelve young women and to those near Scarborough--THEY
looked frightened.
"I expected Mr. Drexel's answer," began Scarborough. "Before
you can sell Peaks of Progress each of you must be convinced that
it's a book he himself would buy. And I see you've not even read
it. You've at most glanced at it with unfriendly eyes. This
book is not literature, gentlemen. It is a storehouse of facts.
It is an educational work so simply written and so brilliantly
illustrated that the very children will hang over its pages with
delight. If you attend to your training in our coming three
months of preliminary work you'll find during the summer that the
book's power to attract the children is its strongest point. I
made nearly half my sales last summer by turning from the parents
to the children and stirring their interest."
Pierson was now no more inclined to smile than were the pupils.
"When I started out," continued Scarborough, "I, too, had just
glanced at the book and had learned a few facts from the
prospectus. And I failed to sell, except to an occasional fool
whom I was able to overpower. Every one instinctively felt the
estimate I myself placed upon my goods. But as I went on the
book gradually forced itself upon me. And, long before the
summer was over, I felt that I was an ambassador of education to
those eager people. And I'm proud that I sold as many books as I
did. Each book, I know, is a radiating center of pleasure, of
thought, of aspiration to higher things. No, ladies and
gentlemen, you must first learn that these eight hundred pages
crowded with facts of history, these six hundred illustrations
taken from the best sources and flooding the text with light,
together constitute a work that should be in all humble
Scarborough had his audience with him now.
"Never sneer," he said in conclusion. "Sneering will
accomplish nothing. Learn your business. Put yourself, your
BEST self, into it. And then you may hope to succeed at it."
He divided his pupils into six classes of about twenty each and
dismissed them, asking the first class to come at three the next
afternoon. The young men and young women went thoughtfully away;
they were revolving their initial lesson in the cardinal
principle of success--enthusiasm. When the two friends were
alone Pierson said: "Do you know, I'm beginning to get a
glimpse of you. And I see there isn't anything beyond your
reach. You'll get whatever you want."
Scarborough's reply was a sudden look of dejection, an impatient
shrug. Then he straightened himself, lifted his head with a
lion-like toss that shook back the obstinate lock of hair from
his forehead. He laid his hand on his friend's shoulder.
"Yes," he said, "because I'm determined to want whatever I
get. Good fortune and bad--everything shall be grist for THIS
Pierson attended next day's class and afterward went to Olivia
with an account of it.
"You ought to have seen him put those fellows through, one at a
time. I tell you, he'll teach them more in the next three months
than they'll learn of the whole faculty. And this summer he'll
get every man and woman of them enough to pay their way through
college next year."
"What did he do to-day?" asked Olivia. Of the many qualities
she loved in Pierson, the one she loved most was his unbounded,
unselfish admiration for his friend.
"He took each man separately, the others watching and listening.
First he'd play the part of book agent with his pupil as a
reluctant customer. Then he'd reverse, and the pupil as agent
would try to sell him the book, he pretending to be an ignorant,
obstinate, ill-natured, close-fisted farmer or farmer's wife. It
was a liberal education in the art of persuasion. If his pupils
had his brains and his personality, Peaks of Progress would be on
the center-table in half the farm parlors of Wisconsin and
Minnesota by September."
"IF they had his personality, and IF they had his brains," said
"Well, as it is, he'll make the dumbest ass in the lot bray to
some purpose."
In September, when Scarborough closed his headquarters at
Milwaukee and set out for Indianapolis, he found that the average
earnings of his agents were two hundred and seventy-five dollars,
and that he himself had made forty-three hundred. Mills came and
offered him a place in the publishing house at ten thousand a
year and a commission. He instantly rejected it. He had already
arranged to spend a year with one of the best law firms in
Indianapolis before opening an office in Saint X, the largest
town in the congressional district in which his farm lay.
"But there's no hurry about deciding," said Mills. "Remember
we'll make you rich in a few years."
"My road happens not to lie in that direction," replied
Scarborough, carelessly. "I've no desire to be rich. It's too
easy, if one will consent to give money-making his exclusive
Mills looked amused--had he not known Scarborough's ability, he
would have felt derisive.
"Money's power," said he. "And there are only two ambitions
for a wide-awake man--money and power."
"Money can't buy the kind of power I'd care for," answered
Scarborough. "If I were to seek power, it'd be the power that
comes through ability to persuade."
"Money talks," said Mills, laughing.
"Money bellows," retorted Scarborough,, "and bribes and
browbeats, bully and coward that it is. But it never
"I'll admit it's a coward." `
`And I hope I can always frighten enough of it into my service to
satisfy my needs. But I'm not spending my life in its
service--no, thank you!"
While Scarborough was serving his clerkship at Indianapolis,
Dumont was engaging in ever larger and more daring speculations
with New York as his base. Thus it came about that when
Scarborough established himself at Saint X, Dumont and Pauline
were living in New York, in a big house in East Sixty-first
And Pauline had welcomed the change. In Saint X she was
constantly on guard, always afraid her father and mother would
see below that smiling surface of her domestic life which made
them happy. In New York she was free from the crushing sense of
peril and restraint, as their delusions about her were secure.
There, after she and he found their living basis of "let
alone," they got on smoothly, rarely meeting except in the
presence of servants or guests, never inquiring either into the
other's life, carrying on all negotiations about money and other
household matters through their secretaries. He thought her cold
by nature--therefore absolutely to be trusted. And what other man
with the pomp and circumstance of a great and growing fortune to
maintain had so admirable an instrument? "An ideal wife," he
often said to himself. And he was not the man to speculate as to
what was going on in her head. He had no interest in what others
thought; how they were filling the places he had assigned
them--that was his only concern.
In one of those days of pause which come now and then in the
busiest lives she chanced upon his letters from Europe in her
winter at Battle Field. She took one of them from its envelope
and began to read--carelessly, with a languid curiosity to
measure thus exactly the change in herself. But soon she was
absorbed, her mind groping through letter after letter for the
clue to a mystery. The Dumont she now knew stood out so plainly
in those letters that she could not understand how she,
inexperienced and infatuated though she then was, had failed to
see the perfect full-length portrait. How had she read romance
and high-mindedness and intellect into the personality so frankly
flaunting itself in all its narrow sordidness, in all its poverty
of real thought and real feeling?
And there was Hampden Scarborough to contrast him with. With this
thought the truth suddenly stared at her, made her drop the
letter and visibly shrink. It was just because Scarborough was
there that she had been tricked. The slight surface resemblance
between the two men, hardly more than the "favor" found in all
men of the family of strong and tenacious will, had led her on to
deck the absent Dumont with the manhood of the present
Scarborough. She had read Scarborough into Dumont's letters.
Yes, and--the answers she addressed and mailed to Dumont had
really been written to Scarborough.
She tossed the letters back into the box from which they had
reappeared after four long years. She seated herself on the
white bear-skin before the open fire; and with hands clasped
round her knees she rocked herself slowly to and fro like one
trying to ease an intolerable pain.
Until custom dulled the edge of that pain, the days and the
nights were the cruelest in her apprenticeship up to that time.
When her boy, Gardiner, was five years old, she got her father
and mother to keep him at Saint X with them.
"New York's no place, I think, to bring up and educate a boy in
the right way," she explained. And it was the truth, though not
the whole truth. The concealed part was that she would have made
an open break with her husband had there been no other way of
safeguarding their all-seeing, all-noting boy from his example.
Before Gardiner went to live with his grandparents she stayed in
the East, making six or eight brief visits "home" each year.
When he went she resolved to divide her year between her pleasure
as a mother and her obligation to her son's father, to her
parents' son-in-law--her devotions at the shrine of Appearances.
It was in the fall of the year she was twenty-five--eight years
and a half after she left Battle Field--that Hampden Scarborough
reappeared upon the surface of her life.
On a September afternoon in that year Olivia, descending from the
train at Saint X, was almost as much embarrassed as pleased by
her changed young cousin rushing at her with great
energy--"Dear, dear Olivia! And hardly any different--how's the
baby? No--not Fred, but Fred Junior, I mean. In some ways you
positively look younger. You know, you were SO serious at
"But you--I don't quite understand how any one can be so
changed, yet--recognizable. I guess it's the plumage. You're in
a new edition--an edition deluxe."
Pauline's dressmakers were bringing out the full value of her
height and slender, graceful strength. Her eyes, full of the
same old frankness and courage, now had experience in them, too.
She was wearing her hair so that it fell from her brow in two
sweeping curves reflecting the light in sparkles and flashes.
Her manner was still simple and genuine--the simplicity and
genuineness of knowledge now, not of innocence. Extremes
meet--but they remain extremes. Her "plumage" was a
fashionable dress of pale blue cloth, a big beplumed hat to
match, a chiffon parasol like an azure cloud, at her throat a
sapphire pendant, about her neck and swinging far below her waist
a chain of sapphires.
"And the plumage just suits her," thought Olivia. For it
seemed to her that her cousin had more than ever the quality she
most admired--the quality of individuality, of distinction. Even
in her way of looking clean and fresh she was different, as if
those prime feminine essentials were in her not matters of
frequent reacquirement but inherent and inalienable, like her
brilliance of eyes and smoothness of skin.
Olivia felt a slight tugging at the bag she was carrying. She
looked--an English groom in spotless summer livery was touching
his hat in respectful appeal to her to let go. "Give Albert
your checks, too," said Pauline, putting her arm around her
cousin's waist to escort her down the platform. At the entrance,
with a group of station loungers gaping at it, was a
phaeton-victoria lined with some cream-colored stuff like silk,
the horses and liveried coachman rigid. "She's giving Saint X a
good deal to talk about," thought Olivia.
"Home, please, by the long road," said Pauline to the groom,
and he sprang to the box beside the coachman, and they were
instantly in rapid motion. "That'll let us have twenty minutes
more together," she went on to Olivia. "There are several
people stopping at the house."
The way led through Munroe Avenue, the main street of Saint X.
Olivia was astonished at the changes--the town of nine years
before spread and remade into an energetic city of twenty-five
"Fred told me I'd hardly recognize it," said she, "but I
didn't expect this. It's another proof how far-sighted Hampden
Scarborough is. Everybody advised him against coming here, but
he would come. And the town has grown, and at the same time he's
had a clear field to make a big reputation as a lawyer in a few
years, not to speak of the power he's got in politics."
"But wouldn't he have won no matter where he was?" suggested
"Sooner or later--but not so soon," replied Olivia.
"No--a tree doesn't have to grow so tall among a lot of bushes
before it's noticed as it does in a forest."
"And you've never seen him since Battle Field?" As Olivia put
this question she watched her cousin narrowly without seeming to
do so.
"But," replied Pauline--and Olivia thought that both her face
and her tone were a shade off the easy and the natural--"since
he came I've been living in New York and haven't stayed here
longer than a few days until this summer. And he's been in
Europe since April. No," she went on, "I've not seen a soul
from Battle Field. It's been like a painting, finished and
hanging on the wall one looks toward oftenest, and influencing
one's life every day."
They talked on of Battle Field, of the boys and girls they had
known--how Thiebaud was dead and Mollie Crittenden had married
the man who was governor of California; what Howe was not doing,
the novels Chamberlayne was writing; the big women's college in
Kansas that Grace Wharton was vice-president of. Then of
Pierson--in the state senate and in a fair way to get to Congress
the next year. Then Scarborough again--how he had distanced all
the others; how he might have the largest practice in the state
if he would take the sort of clients most lawyers courted
assiduously; how strong he was in politics in spite of the
opposition of the professionals--strong because he had a genius
for organization and also had the ear and the confidence of the
people and the enthusiastic personal devotion of the young men
throughout the state. Olivia, more of a politician than Fred
even, knew the whole story; and Pauline listened appreciatively.
Few indeed are the homes in strenuously political Indiana where
politics is not the chief subject of conversation, and Pauline
had known about parties and campaigns as early as she had known
about dolls and dresses.
"But you must have heard most of this," said Olivia, "from
people here in Saint X."
"Some of it--from father and mother," Pauline answered.
"They're the only people I've seen really to talk to on my
little visits. They know him very well indeed. I think mother
admires him almost as much as you do. Here's our place," she
added, the warmth fading from her face as from a spring landscape
when the shadow of the dusk begins to creep over it.
They were in the grounds of the Eyrie--the elder Dumont was just
completing it when he died early in the previous spring. His
widow went abroad to live with her daughter and her sister in
Paris; so her son and his wife had taken it. It was a great
rambling stone house that hung upon and in a lofty bluff. From
its windows and verandas and balconies could be seen the panorama
of Saint Christopher. To the left lay the town, its ugly
part--its factories and railway yards--hidden by the jut of a
hill. Beneath and beyond to the right, the shining river wound
among fields brown where the harvests had been gathered, green
and white where myriads of graceful tassels waved above acres on
acres of Indian corn. And the broad leaves sent up through the
murmur of the river a rhythmic rustling like a sigh of content.
Once in a while a passing steamboat made the sonorous cry of its
whistle and the melodious beat of its paddles echo from hill to
hill. Between the house and the hilltop, highway lay several
hundred acres of lawn and garden and wood.
The rooms of the Eyrie and its well-screened verandas were in a
cool twilight, though the September sun was hot.
"They're all out, or asleep," said Pauline, as she and Olivia
entered the wide reception hall. "Let's have tea on the east
veranda. Its view isn't so good, but we'll be cooler. You'd
like to go to your room first?"
Olivia said she was comfortable as she was and needed the tea.
So they went on through the splendidly-furnished drawing-room and
were going through the library when Olivia paused before a
portrait--"Your husband, isn't it?"
"Yes," replied Pauline, standing behind her cousin. "We each
had one done in Paris."
"What a masterful face!" said Olivia. "I've never seen a
better forehead." And she thought,
"He's of the same type as Scarborough, except--what is it I
dislike in his expression?"
"Do you notice a resemblance to any one you know?" asked
"Ye-e-s," replied Olivia, coloring. "I think----"
"Scarborough, isn't it?"
"Yes," admitted Olivia.
After a pause Pauline said ambiguously: "The resemblance is
stronger there than in life."
Olivia glanced at her and was made vaguely uneasy by the look she
was directing at the face of the portrait. But though Pauline
must have seen that she was observed, she did not change
expression. They went out upon the east veranda and Olivia stood
at the railing. She hardly noted the view in the press of
thoughts roused by the hints of what was behind the richly
embroidered curtain of her cousin's life.
All along the bluff, some exposed, some half hid by dense
foliage, were the pretentious houses of the thirty or forty
families who had grown rich through the industries developed
within the past ten years. Two foreign-looking servants in
foreign-looking house-liveries were bringing a table on which was
an enormous silver tray with a tea-service of antique silver and
artistic china. As Olivia turned to seat herself a young man and
a woman of perhaps forty, obviously from the East, came through
the doors at the far end of the long porch. Both were in white,
carefully dressed and groomed; both suggested a mode of life
whose leisure had never been interrupted.
"Who are coming?" asked Olivia. She wished she had gone to her
room before tea. These people made her feel dowdy and mussy.
Pauline glanced round, smiled and nodded, turned back to her
"Mrs. Herron and Mr. Langdon. She's the wife of a New York
lawyer, and she takes Mr. Langdon everywhere with her to amuse
her, and he goes to amuse himself. He's a socialist, or
something like that. He thinks up and says things to shock
conservative, conventional people. He's rich and never has
worked--couldn't if he would, probably. But he denounces leisure
classes and large fortunes and advocates manual labor every day
for everybody. He's clever in a queer, cynical way."
A Mrs. Fanshaw, also of New York, came from the library in a
tea-gown of chiffon and real lace. All were made acquainted and
Pauline poured the tea. As Olivia felt shy and was hungry, she
ate the little sandwiches and looked and listened and
thought--looked and thought rather than listened. These were
certainly well-bred people, yet she did not like them.
"They're in earnest about trifles," she said to herself, "and
trifle about earnest things." Yet it irritated her to feel
that, though they would care not at all for her low opinion of
them, she did care a great deal because they would fail to
appreciate her.
"They ought to be jailed," Langdon was drawling with
considerable emphasis.
"Who, Mr. Langdon?" inquired Mrs. Fanshaw--she had been as
abstracted as Olivia. "You've been filling the jails rapidly
to-day, and hanging not a few."
Mrs. Herron laughed. "He says your husband and Mrs. Dumont's
and mine should be locked up as conspirators."
"Precisely," said Langdon, tranquilly. "They'll sign a few
papers, and when they're done, what'll have happened? Not one
more sheep'll be raised. Not one more pound of wool will be
shorn. Not one more laborer'll be employed. Not a single
improvement in any process of manufacture. But, on the other
hand, the farmer'll have to sell his wool cheaper, the
consumer'll have to pay a bigger price for blankets and all kinds
of clothes, for carpets--for everything wool goes into. And
these few men will have trebled their fortunes and at least
trebled their incomes. Does anybody deny that such a performance
is a crime? Why, in comparison, a burglar is honorable and
courageous. HE risks liberty and life."
"Dreadful! Dreadful!" exclaimed Mrs. Fanshaw, in mock horror.
"You must go at once, Mowbray, and lead the police in a raid on
Jack's office."
"Thanks--it's more comfortable here." Langdon took a piece of
a curious-looking kind of hot bread. "Extraordinary good stuff
this is," he interjected; then went on: "And I've done my duty
when I've stated the facts. Also, I'm taking a little stock in
the new trust. But I don't pose as a `captain of industry' or
`promoter of civilization.' I admit I'm a robber. My point is
the rotten hypocrisy of my fellow bandits--no, pickpockets, by
Olivia looked at him with disapproving interest. It was the
first time she had been present at a game of battledore and
shuttlecock with what she regarded as fundamental morals.
Langdon noted her expression and said to Pauline in a tone of
contrition that did not conceal his amusement: "I've shocked
your cousin, Mrs. Dumont."
"I hope so," replied Pauline. "I'm sure we all ought to be
shocked--and should be, if it weren't you who are trying to do
the shocking. She'll soon get used to you."
"Then it was a jest?" said Olivia to Langdon.
"A jest?" He looked serious. "Not at all, my dear Mrs.
Pierson. Every word I said was true, and worse. They----"
"Stop your nonsense, Mowbray," interrupted Mrs. Herron, who
appreciated that Olivia was an "outsider." "Certainly he was
jesting, Mrs. Pierson. Mr. Langdon pretends to have eccentric
ideas--one of them is that everybody with brains should be put
under the feet of the numskulls; another is that anybody who has
anything should be locked up and his property given to those who
have nothing."
"Splendid!" exclaimed Langdon. And he took out a gold
cigarette case and lighted a large, expensive-looking cigarette
with a match from a gold safe. "Go on, dear lady! Herron
should get you to write our prospectus when we're ready to unload
on the public. The dear public! How it does yearn for a share
in any piratical enterprise that flies the snowy flag of
respectability." He rose. "Who'll play English billiards?"
"All right," said Mrs. Herron, rising.
"And I, too," said Mrs. Fanshaw.
"Give me one of your cigarettes, Mowbray," said Mrs. Herron.
"I left my case in my room."
Pauline, answering Olivia's expression, said as soon as the three
had disappeared:
"Why not? Is it any worse for a woman than for a man?"
"I don't know why not," replied Olivia. "There must be
another reason than because I don't do it, and didn't think
ladies did. But that's the only reason I can give just now."
"What do you think of Langdon?" asked Pauline.
"I guess my sense of humor's defective. I don't like the sort
of jest he seems to excel in."
"I fancy it wasn't altogether a jest," said Pauline. "I don't
inquire into those matters any more. I used to, but--the more I
saw, the worse it was. Tricks and traps and squeezes and--oh,
business is all vulgar and low. It's necessary, I suppose, but
it's repulsive to me." She paused, then added carelessly, yet
with a certain deliberateness, "I never meddle with Mr. Dumont,
nor he with me."
Olivia wished to protest against Pauline's view of business.
But--how could she without seeming to attack, indeed, without
attacking, her cousin's husband?
Dumont brought Fanshaw up in his automobile, Herron remaining at
the offices for half an hour to give the newspapers a carefully
considered account of the much-discussed "merger" of the
manufacturers of low-grade woolens. Herron had objected to any
statement. "It's our private business," he said. "Let them
howl. The fewer facts they have, the sooner they'll stop
howling." But Dumont held firm for publicity. "There's no
such thing as a private business nowadays," he replied.
"Besides, don't we want the public to take part of our stock?
What's the use of acting shady--you've avoided the legal
obstacles, haven't you? Let's tell the public frankly all we
want it to know, and it'll think it knows all there is to know."
The whole party met in the drawing-room at a quarter-past eight,
Langdon the last to come down--Olivia was uncertain whether or
not she was unjust to him when she suspected design in his late
entrance, the handsomest and the best-dressed man of the company.
He looked cynically at Dumont. "Well, fellow pirate: how go our
plans for a merry winter for the poor?"
"Ass!" muttered Herron to Olivia, who happened to, be nearest
him. "He fancies impudence is wit. He's devoid of moral sense
or even of decency. He's a traitor to his class and shouldn't be
tolerated in it."
Dumont was laughingly answering Langdon in his own vein.
"Splendidly," he replied, "thanks to our worthy chaplain,
Herron, who secures us the blessing and protection of the law."
"That gives me an appetite!" exclaimed Langdon. "I feared
something might miscarry in these last hours of our months of
plotting. Heaven be praised, the people won't have so much to
waste hereafter. I'm proud to be in one of the many noble bands
that are struggling to save them from themselves."
But Dumont had turned away from him; so he dropped into Mrs.
Herron's discussion with Mrs. Fanshaw on their proposed trip to
the Mediterranean. Dinner was announced and he was put between
Mrs. Herron and Olivia, with Dumont on her right. It was a round
table and Olivia's eyes lingered upon its details--the
embroidered cloth with real lace in the center, the graceful
antique silver candlesticks, the tall vases filled with enormous
roses--everything exquisitely simple and tasteful.
Langdon talked with her until Mrs. Herron, impatient at his
neglect, caught his eye and compelled his attention. Dumont,
seeing that Olivia was free, drew her into his conversation with
Mrs. Fanshaw; and then Mrs. Fanshaw began to talk with Mr.
Herron, who was eating furiously because he had just overheard
Langdon say: "That was a great day for pirates when they
thought of taking aboard the lawyers as chaplains."
All the men were in high spirits; Dumont was boyish in his
exuberance. When he left home that morning he was four times a
millionaire; now he was at least twelve times a millionaire,
through the magic of the "merger." True, eight of the twelve
millions were on paper; but it was paper that would certainly pay
dividends, paper that would presently sell at or near its face
value. And this success had come when he was only thirty-four.
His mind was already projecting greater triumphs in this modern
necromancy by which millionaires evoke and materialize millions
from the empty air--apparently. He was bubbling over with
happiness--in the victory won, in victories to be won.
Olivia tried him on several subjects, but the conversation
dragged. Of Pauline he would not talk; of Europe, he was
interested only in the comfort of hotels and railway trains, in
the comparative merits of the cooking and the wines in London and
Paris. But his face--alert, shrewd, aggressive--and his mode of
expression made her feel that he was uninteresting because he was
thinking of something which he did not care to expose to her and
could not take his mind from. And this was the truth. It was
not until she adventured upon his business that he became
talkative. And soon she had him telling her about his
"combine"--frankly, boastfully, his face more and more flushed,
for as he talked he drank.
"But," he said presently, "this little matter to-day is only a
fair beginning. It seemed big until it was about accomplished.
Then I saw it was only a suggestion for a scheme that'd be really
worth, while." And he went on to unfold one of those projects
of to-day's commerce and finance that were regarded as fantastic,
delirious a few years ago. He would reach out and out for
hundreds of millions of capital; with his woolens "combine" as
a basis he would build an enormous corporation to control the
sheep industry of the world--to buy millions of acres of
sheep-ranges; to raise scores of millions of sheep; to acquire
and to construct hundreds of plants for utilizing every part of
the raw product of the ranges; to sell wherever the human race
had or could have a market.
Olivia was ambitious herself, usually was delighted by ambition
in others. But his exhibit of imagination and energy repelled
her, even while it fascinated. Partly through youth, more
through that contempt for concealment which characterizes the
courageous type of large man, he showed himself to her just as he
was. And she saw him not as an ambition but as an appetite, or
rather a bundle of appetites.
"He has no ideals," she thought. "He's like a man who wants
food merely for itself, not for the strength and the intellect it
will build up. And he likes or dislikes human beings only as one
likes or dislikes different things to eat."
"It'll take you years and years," she said to him, because she
must say something.
"Not at all." He waved his hand--Olivia thought it looked as
much like a claw as like a hand. "It's a sky-scraper, but we
build sky-scrapers overnight. Time and space used to be the big
elements. WE practically disregard them." He followed this
with a self-satisfied laugh and an emptying of his champagne
glass at a gulp.
The women were rising to withdraw. After half an hour Langdon
and Herron joined them. Dumont and Fanshaw did not come until
eleven o'clock. Then Dumont was so abrupt and surly that every
one was grateful to Mrs. Fanshaw for taking him away to the west
veranda. At midnight all went to their rooms, Pauline going with
Olivia, "to make sure you haven't been neglected."
She lingered until after one, and when they kissed each the other
good night, she said: "It's done me a world of good to see you,
'Livia--more even than I hoped. I knew you'd be sympathetic with
me where you understood. Now, I feel that you're sympathetic
where you don't understand, too. And it's there that one really
needs sympathy."
"That's what friendship means--and--love," said Olivia.
The following afternoon Dumont took the Herrons, the Fanshaws and
Langdon back to New York in his private car, and for three days
Olivia and Pauline had the Eyrie to themselves. Olivia was about
to write to Scarborough, asking him to call, when she saw in the
News-Bulletin that he had gone to Denver to speak. A week after
she left, Dumont returned, bringing his sister Gladys, just
arrived from Europe, and Langdon. He stayed four days, took
Langdon away with him and left Gladys.
Thus it came about that Scarborough, riding into Colonel
Gardiner's grounds one hot afternoon in mid September, saw a
phaeton-victoria with two women in it coming toward him on its
way out. He drew his horse aside to make room. He was conscious
that there were two women; he saw only one--she who was all in
white except the scarlet poppies against the brim of her big
white hat.
As he bowed the carriage stopped and Pauline said cordially:
"Why, how d'ye do?"
He drew his horse close to the carriage and they shook hands.
She introduced the other woman--"My sister-in-law, Gladys
Dumont"--then went on: "We've been lunching and spending the
afternoon with father and mother. They told us you returned this
"I supposed you were in the East," said Scarborough--the first
words he had spoken.
"Oh--I'm living here now--Gladys and I. Father says you never
go anywhere, but I hope you'll make an exception for us."
"Thank you--I'll be glad to call."
"Why not dine with us--day after to-morrow night?"
"I'd like that--certainly, I'll come."
"We dine at half-past eight--at least we're supposed to."
Scarborough lifted his hat.
The carriage drove on.
"Why, he's not a bit as I expected," Gladys began at once.
"He's much younger. ISN'T he handsome! That's the way a MAN
ought to look. He's not married?"
"No," replied Pauline.
"Why did you look so queer when you first caught sight of him?"
"Did I?" Pauline replied tranquilly. "Probably it was because
he very suddenly and vividly brought Battle Field back to
me--that was the happiest time of my life. But I was too young
or too foolish, or both, to know it till long afterward. At
seventeen one takes happiness for granted."
"Did he look then as he does now?"
"No--and yes," said Pauline. "He was just from the farm and
dressed badly and was awkward at times. But--really he was the
same person. I guess it was the little change in him that
startled me." And she became absorbed in her thoughts.
"I hope you'll send him in to dinner with me," said Gladys,
"What did you say?" asked Pauline, absently.
"I was talking of Mr. Scarborough. I asked if you wouldn't send
him in to dinner with me--unless you want to discuss old times
with him."
"Yes--certainly--if you wish."
And Pauline gave Scarborough to Gladys and did her duty as
hostess by taking in the dullest man in the party--Newnham.
While Newnham droned and prosed, she watched Gladys lay herself
out to please the distinguished Mr. Scarborough, successful as a
lawyer, famous as an orator, deferred to because of his influence
with the rank and file of his party in the middle West.
Gladys had blue-black hair which she wore pulled out into a sort
of halo about her small, delicate face. There were points of
light in her dark irises, giving them the look of black quartz in
the sunshine. She was not tall, but her figure was perfect, and
she had her dresses fitted immediately to it. Her appeal was
frankly to the senses, the edge taken from its audacity by its
artistic effectiveness and by her ingenuous, almost innocent,
Seeing Pauline looking at her, she tilted her head to a graceful
angle and sent a radiant glance between two blossom-laden
branches of the green and white bush that towered and spread in
the center of the table. "Mr. Scarborough says," she called
out, "character isn't a development, it's a disclosure. He
thinks one is born a certain kind of person and that one's life
simply either gives it a chance to show or fails to give it a
chance. He says the boy isn't father to the man, but the
miniature of the man. What do you think, Pauline?"
"I haven't thought of it," replied Pauline. "But I'm certain
it's true. I used to dispute Mr. Scarborough's ideas sometimes,
but I learned better."
As she realized the implications of her careless remark, their
eyes met squarely for the first time since Battle Field. Both
hastily glanced away, and neither looked at the other again.
When the men came up to the drawing-room to join the women,
Gladys adroitly intercepted him. When he went to Pauline to take
leave, their manner each toward the other was formal, strained
and even distant.
Dumont came again just after the November election. It had been
an unexpected victory for the party which Scarborough advocated,
and everywhere the talk was that he had been the chief
factor--his skill in defining issues, his eloquence in presenting
them, the public confidence in his party through the dominance of
a man so obviously free from self-seeking or political trickery
of any kind. Dumont, to whom control in both party machines and
in the state government was a business necessity, told his
political agent, Merriweather, that they had "let Scarborough go
about far enough," unless he could be brought into their camp.
"I can't make out what he's looking for," said Merriweather.
"One thing's certain--he'll do US no good. There's no way we
can get our hooks in him. He don't give a damn for money. And
as for power--he can get more of that by fighting us than by
falling in line. We ain't exactly popular."
This seemed to Dumont rank ingratitude. Had he not just divided
a million dollars among charities and educational institutions in
the districts where opposition to his "merger" was strongest?
"Well, we'll see," he said. "If he isn't careful we'll have
to kill him off in convention and make the committees stop his
"The trouble is he's been building up a following of his
own--the sort of following that can't be honeyfugled," replied
Merriweather. "The committees are afraid of him."
Merriweather always took the gloomy view of everything, because
he thus discounted his failures in advance and doubled the effect
of his successes.
"I'll see--I'll see," said Dumont, impatiently. And he thought
he was beginning to "see" when Gladys expanded to him upon the
subject of Scarborough--his good looks, his wit, his
Scarborough came to dinner a few evenings later and Dumont was
particularly cordial to him; and Gladys made the most of the
opportunity which Pauline again gave her. That night, when the
others had left or had gone to bed, Gladys followed her brother
into the smoke-room adjoining the library. They sat in silence
drinking a "night-cap." In the dreaminess of her eyes, in the
absent smile drifting round the corners of her full red lips,
Gladys showed that her thoughts were pleasant and sentimental.
"What do you think of Scarborough?" her brother asked suddenly.
She started but did not flush--in her long European experience
she had gained control of that signal of surprise. "How do you
mean?" she asked. She rarely answered a question immediately,
no matter how simple it was, but usually put another question in
reply. Thus she insured herself time to think if time should be
"I mean, do you like him?"
"Why, certainly. But I've seen him only a few times."
"He's an uncommon man," continued her brother. "He'd make a
mighty satisfactory husband for an ambitious woman, especially
one with the money to push him fast."
Gladys slowly lifted and slowly lowered her smooth, slender
"That sort of thing doesn't interest a woman in a man, unless
she's married to him and has got over thinking more about him
than about herself."
"It ought to," replied her brother. "A clever woman can
always slosh round in sentimental slop with her head above it and
cool. If I were a girl I'd make a dead set for that chap."
"If you were a girl," said Gladys, "you'd do nothing of the
sort. You'd compel him to make a dead set for you." And as she
put down her glass she gave his hair an affectionate pull--which
was her way of thanking him for saying what she most wished to
hear on the subject she most wished to hear about.
Gladys was now twenty-four and was even more anxious to marry
than is the average unmarried person. She had been eleven years
a wanderer; she was tired of it. She had no home; and she wanted
a home.
Her aunt--her mother's widowed sister--had taken her abroad when
she was thirteen. John was able to defy or to deceive their
mother. But she could and did enforce upon Gladys the rigid
rules which her fanatical nature had evolved--a minute and
crushing tyranny. Therefore Gladys preferred any place to her
home. For ten years she had been roaming western Europe,
nominally watched by her lazy, selfish, and physically and
mentally near-sighted aunt. Actually her only guardian had been
her own precocious, curiously prudent, curiously reckless self.
She had been free to do as she pleased; and she had pleased to do
very free indeed. She had learned all that her intense and
catholic curiosity craved to know, had learned it of masters of
her own selecting--the men and women who would naturally attract
a lively young person, eager to rejoice in an escape from
slavery. Her eyes had peered far into the human heart, farthest
into the corrupted human heart; yet, with her innocence she had
not lost her honesty or her preference for the things she had
been brought up to think clean.
But she had at last wearied of a novelty which lay only in
changes of scene and of names, without any important change in
characters or plot. She began to be bored with the game of
baffling the hopes inspired by her beauty and encouraged by her
seeming simplicity. And when her mother came--as she said to
Pauline, "The only bearable view of mother is a distant view. I
had forgot there were such people left on earth--I had thought
they'd all gone to their own kind of heaven." So she fled to
America, to her brother and his wife.
Dumont stayed eight days at the Eyrie on that trip, then went
back to his congenial life in New York--to his business and his
dissipation. He tempered his indulgence in both nowadays with
some exercise--his stomach, his heart, his nerves and his doctor
had together given him a bad fright. The evening before he left
he saw Pauline and Gladys sitting apart and joined them.
"Why not invite Scarborough to spend a week up here?" he asked,
just glancing at his wife. He never ventured to look at her when
there was any danger of their eyes meeting.
Her lips tightened and the color swiftly left her cheeks and
swiftly returned.
"Wouldn't you like it, Gladys?" he went on.
"Oh, DO ask him, Pauline," said Gladys, with enthusiasm. Like
her brother, she always went straight to the point--she was in
the habit of deciding for herself, of thinking what she did was
above criticism, and of not especially caring if it was
criticised. "Please do!"
Pauline waited long--it seemed to her long enough for time to
wrinkle her heart--before answering: "We'll need another man.
I'll ask him--if you wish."
Gladys pressed her hand gratefully--she was fond of Pauline, and
Pauline was liking her again as she had when they were children
and playmates and partners in the woes of John Dumont's raids
upon their games. Just then Langdon's sister, Mrs. Barrow,
called Gladys to the other end of the drawing-room. Dumont's
glance followed her.
"I think it'd be a good match," he said reflectively.
Pauline's heart missed a beat and a suffocating choke contracted
her throat.
"What?" she succeeded in saying.
"Gladys and Scarborough," replied Dumont. "She ought to
marry--she's got no place to go. And it'd be good business for
her--and for him, too, for that matter, if she could land him.
Don't you think she's attractive to men?"
"Very," said Pauline, lifelessly.
"Don't you think it would be a good match?" he went on.
"Very," she said, looking round wildly, as her breath came more
and more quickly.
Langdon strolled up.
"Am I interrupting a family council?" he asked.
"Oh, no," Dumont replied, rising. "Take my chair." And he
was gone.
"This room is too warm," said Pauline. "No, don't open the
window. Excuse me a moment." She went into the hall, threw a
golf cape round her shoulders and stepped out on the veranda,
closing the door-window behind her. It was a moonless, winter
night--stars thronging the blue-black sky; the steady lamp of a
planet set in the southern horizon.
When she had been walking there for a quarter of an hour the
door-window opened and Langdon looked out. "Oh--there you
are!" he said.
"Won't you join me?" Her tone assured him that he would not be
intruding. He got a hat and overcoat and they walked up and down
"Those stars irritate me," he said after a while. "They make
me appreciate that this world's a tiny grain of sand adrift in
infinity, and that I'm----there's nothing little enough to
express the human atom where the earth's only a grain. And then
they go on to taunt me with how short-lived I am and how it'll
soon be all over for me--for ever. A futile little insect,
buzzing about, waiting to be crushed under the heel of the Great
"Sometimes I feel that," answered Pauline. "But again--often,
as a child--and since, when everything has looked dark and ugly
for me, I've gone where I could see them. And they seemed to
draw all the fever and the fear out of me, and to put there
instead a sort of--not happiness, not even content,
They were near the rail now, she gazing into the southern sky, he
studying her face. It seemed to him that he had not seen any one
so beautiful. She was all in black with a diamond star
glittering in her hair high above her forehead. She looked like
a splendid plume dropped from the starry wing of night.
"The stars make you feel that way," he said, in the light tone
that disguises a compliment as a bit of raillery, "because
you're of their family. And I feel as I do because I'm a
blood-relation of the earthworms."
Her face changed. "Oh, but so am I!" she exclaimed, with a
passion he had never seen or suspected in her before. She drew a
long breath, closed her eyes and opened them very wide.
"You don't know, you can't imagine, how I long to LIVE! And
KNOW what `to live' means."
"Then why don't you?" he asked--he liked to catch people in
their confidential moods and to peer into the hidden places in
their hearts, not impudently but with a sort of scientific
"Because I'm a daughter--that's anchor number one. Because I'm
a mother--that's anchor number two. Because I'm a wife--that's
anchor number three. And anchor number four--because I'm under
the spell of inherited instincts that rule me though I don't in
the least believe in them. Tied, hands and feet!"
"Inherited instinct." He shook his head sadly. "That's the
skeleton at life's banquet. It takes away my appetite."
She laughed without mirth, then sighed with some self-mockery.
"It frightens ME away from the table."
But Scarborough declined her invitation. However, he did come to
dinner ten days later; and Gladys, who had no lack of confidence
in her power to charm when and whom she chose, was elated by his
friendliness then and when she met him at other houses.
"He's not a bit sentimental," she told Pauline, whose silence
whenever she tried to discuss him did not discourage her. "But
if he ever does care for a woman he'll care in the same
tremendous way that he sweeps things before him in his career.
Don't you think so?"
"Yes," said Pauline.
She had now lingered at Saint X two months beyond the time she
originally set. She told herself she had reached the limit of
endurance, that she must fly from the spectacle of Gladys'
growing intimacy with Scarborough; she told Gladys it was
impossible for her longer to neglect the new house in Fifth
Avenue. With an effort she added: "You'd rather stay on here,
wouldn't you?"
"I detest New York," replied Gladys. "And I've never enjoyed
myself in my whole life as I'm enjoying it here."
So she went East alone, went direct to Dawn Hill, their country
place at Manhasset, Long Island, which Dumont never visited. She
invited Leonora Fanshaw down to stand between her thoughts and
herself. Only the society of a human being, one who was
light-hearted and amusing, could tide her back to any sort of
peace in the old life--her books and her dogs, her horseback and
her drawing and her gardening. A life so full of events, so
empty of event. It left her hardly time for proper sleep, yet it
had not a single one of those vivid threads of intense and
continuous interest--and one of them is enough to make bright the
dullest pattern that issues from the Loom.
In her "splendor" her nearest approach to an intimacy had been
with Leonora.
She had no illusions about the company she was keeping in the
East. To her these "friends" seemed in no proper sense either
her friends or one another's. Drawn together from all parts of
America, indeed of the world, by the magnetism of millions, they
had known one another not at all or only slightly in the period
of life when thorough friendships are made; even where they had
been associates as children, the association had rarely been of
the kind that creates friendship's democratic intimacy. They had
no common traditions, no real class-feeling, no common
enthusiasms--unless the passion for keeping rich, for getting
richer, for enjoying and displaying riches, could be called
enthusiasm. They were mere intimate acquaintances, making small
pretense of friendship, having small conception of it or desire
for it beyond that surface politeness which enables people whose
selfish interests lie in the same direction to get on comfortably
She divided them into two classes. There were those who, like
herself, kept up great establishments and entertained lavishly
and engaged in the courteous but fierce rivalry of fashionable
ostentation. Then there were those who hung about the courts of
the rich, invited because they filled in the large backgrounds
and contributed conversation or ideas for new amusements,
accepting because they loved the atmosphere of luxury which they
could not afford to create for themselves.
Leonora was undeniably in the latter class. But she was
associated in Pauline's mind with the period before her splendor.
She had been friendly when Dumont was unknown beyond Saint X.
The others sought her--well, for the same reasons of desire for
distraction and dread of boredom which made her welcome them.
But Leonora, she more than half believed, liked her to a certain
extent for herself--"likes me better than I like her." And at
times she was self-reproachful for being thus exceeded in
self-giving. Leonora, for example, told her her most intimate
secrets, some of them far from creditable to her. Pauline told
nothing in return. She sometimes longed for a confidant, or,
rather, for some person who would understand without being told,
some one like Olivia; but her imagination refused to picture
Leonora as that kind of friend. Even more pronounced than her
frankness, and she was frank to her own hurt, was her biting
cynicism--it was undeniably amusing; it did not exactly inspire
distrust, but it put Pauline vaguely on guard. Also, she was
candidly mercenary, and, in some moods, rapaciously envious.
"But no worse," thought Pauline, "than so many of the others
here, once one gets below their surface. Besides, it's in a
good-natured, good-hearted way."
She wished Fanshaw were as rich as Leonora longed for him to be.
She was glad Dumont seemed to be putting him in the way of making
a fortune. He was distasteful to her, because she saw that he
was an ill-tempered sycophant under a pretense of manliness thick
enough to shield him from the unobservant eyes of a world of men
and women greedy of flattery and busy each with himself or
herself. But for Leonora's sake she invited him. And Leonora
was appreciative, was witty, never monotonous or commonplace,
most helpful in getting up entertainments, and good to look
at--always beautifully dressed and as fresh as if just from a
bath; sparkling green eyes, usually with good-humored mockery in
them; hard, smooth, glistening shoulders and arms; lips a crimson
line, at once cold and sensuous.
On a Friday in December Pauline came up from Dawn Hill and, after
two hours at the new house, went to the jeweler's to buy a
wedding present for Aurora Galloway. As she was passing the
counter where the superintendent had his office, his assistant
said: "Beg pardon, Mrs. Dumont. The necklace came in this
morning. Would you like to look at it?"
She paused, not clearly hearing him. He took a box from the safe
behind him and lifted from it a magnificent necklace of graduated
pearls with a huge solitaire diamond clasp. "It's one of the
finest we ever got together," he went on. "But you can see for
yourself." He was flushing in the excitement of his eagerness
to ingratiate himself with such a distinguished customer.
"Beautiful!" said Pauline, taking the necklace as he held it
out to her. "May I ask whom it's for?"
The clerk looked puzzled, then frightened, as the implications of
her obvious ignorance dawned upon him.
"Oh--I--I----" He almost snatched it from her, dropped it into
the box, put on the lid. And he stood with mouth ajar and
forehead beaded.
"Please give it to me again," said Pauline, coldly. "I had
not finished looking at it."
His uneasy eyes spied the superintendent approaching. He grew
scarlet, then white, and in an agony of terror blurted out:
"Here comes the superintendent. I beg you, Mrs. Dumont, don't
tell him I showed it to you. I've made some sort of a mistake.
You'll ruin me if you speak of it to any one. I never thought it
might be intended as a surprise to you. Indeed, I wasn't
supposed to know anything about it. Maybe I was mistaken----"
His look and voice were so pitiful that Pauline replied
reassuringly: "I understand--I'll say nothing. Please show me
those," and she pointed to a tray of unset rubies in the
And when the superintendent, bowing obsequiously, came up himself
to take charge of this important customer, she was deep in the
rubies which the assistant was showing her with hands that shook
and fingers that blundered.
She did not permit her feelings to appear until she was in her
carriage again and secure from observation. The clerk's theory
she could not entertain for an instant, contradicted as it was by
the facts of eight years. She knew she had surprised Dumont.
She had learned nothing new; but it forced her to stare straight
into the face of that which she had been ignoring, that which she
must continue to ignore if she was to meet the ever heavier and
crueler exactions of the debt she had incurred when she betrayed
her father and mother and herself. At a time when her mind was
filled with bitter contrasts between what was and what might have
been, it brought bluntly to her the precise kind of life she was
leading, the precise kind of surroundings she was tolerating.
"Whom can he be giving such a gift?" she wondered. And she had
an impulse to confide in Leonora to the extent of encouraging her
to hint who it was. "She would certainly know. No doubt
everybody knows, except me."
She called for her, as she had promised, and took her to lunch at
Sherry's. But the impulse to confide died as Leonora talked--of
money, of ways of spending money; of people who had money, and
those who hadn't money; of people who were spending too much
money, of those who weren't spending enough money; of what she
would do if she had money, of what many did to get money. Money,
money, money--it was all of the web and most of the woof of her
talk. Now it ran boldly on the surface of the pattern; now it
was half hid under something about art or books or plays or
schemes for patronizing the poor and undermining their
self-respect--but it was always there.
For the first time Leonora jarred upon her fiercely--unendurably.
She listened until the sound grew indistinct, became mingled with
the chatter of that money-flaunting throng. And presently the
chatter seemed to her to be a maddening repetition of one word,
money--the central idea in all the thought and all the action of
these people. "I must get away," she thought, "or I shall cry
out." And she left abruptly, alleging that she must hurry to
catch her train.
Money-mad! her thoughts ran on. The only test of honor--money,
and ability and willingness to spend it. They must have money or
they're nobodies. And if they have money, who cares where it
came from? No one asks where the men get it--why should any one
ask where the women get it?
A few days afterward--it was a Wednesday--Pauline came up to town
early in the afternoon, as she had an appointment with the
dressmaker and was going to the opera in the evening. At the
dressmaker's, while she waited for a fitter to return from the
workroom, she glanced at a newspaper spread upon the table so
that its entire front page was in view. It was filled with an
account of how the Woolens Monopoly had, in that bitter winter,
advanced prices twenty to thirty-five per cent. all along the
line. From the center of the page stared a picture of John
Dumont--its expression peculiarly arrogant and sinister.
She read the head-lines only, then turned from the table. But on
the drive up-town she stopped the carriage at the Savoy and sent
the footman to the news-stand to get the paper. She read the
article through--parts of it several times.
She had Langdon and Honoria Longview at dinner that night; by
indirect questioning she drew him on to confirm the article, to
describe how the Woolens Monopoly was "giving the country an
old-fashioned winter." On the way to the opera she was ashamed
of her ermine wrap enfolding her from the slightest sense of the
icy air. She did not hear the singers, was hardly conscious of
her surroundings. As they left the Metropolitan she threw back
her wrap and sat with her neck bared to the intense cold.
"I say, don't do that!" protested Langdon.
She reluctantly drew the fur about her. But when she had dropped
him and then Honoria and was driving on up the avenue alone, she
bared her shoulders and arms again--"like a silly child," she
said. But it gave her a certain satisfaction, for she felt like
one who has a secret store of food in time of famine and feasts
upon it. And she sat unprotected.
"Is Mr. Dumont in?" she asked the butler as he closed the door
of their palace behind her.
"I think he is, ma'am."
"Please tell him I'd like to see him--in the library."
She had to wait only three or four minutes before he came--in
smoking jacket and slippers. It was long since she had looked at
him so carefully as she did then; and she noted how much grosser
he was, the puffs under his eyes, the lines of cruelty that were
coming out strongly with autocratic power and the custom of
receiving meek obedience. And her heart sank. "Useless," she
said to herself. "Utterly useless!" And the incident of the
necklace and its reminders of all she had suffered from him and
through him came trooping into her mind; and it seemed to her
that she could not speak, could not even remain in the room with
He dropped into a chair before the open fire. "Horribly cold,
isn't it?"
She moved uneasily. He slowly lighted a cigar and began to smoke
it, his attitude one of waiting.
"I've been thinking," she began at last--she was looking
reflectively into the fire--"about your great talent for
business and finance. You formed your big combination, and
because you understand everything about wool you employ more men,
you pay higher wages, and you make the goods better than ever,
and at less cost."
"Between a third and a half cheaper," he said. "We employ
thirty thousand more men, and since we settled the last
strike"--a grim smile that would have meant a great deal to her
had she known the history of that strike and how hard he had
fought before he gave in--"we've paid thirty per cent. higher
wages. Yet the profits are--well, you can imagine."
"And you've made millions for yourself and for those in with
"I haven't developed my ideas for nothing."
She paused again. It was several minutes before she went on:
"When a doctor or a man of science or a philosopher makes a
discovery that'll be a benefit to the world"--she looked at him
suddenly, earnest, appealing--"he gives it freely. And he gets
honor and fame. Why shouldn't you do that, John?" She had
forgotten herself in her subject.
He smiled into the fire--hardly a day passed that he did not have
presented to him some scheme for relieving him of the burden of
his riches; here was another, and from such an unexpected
"You could be rich, too. We spend twenty, fifty times as much
as we can possibly enjoy; and you have more than we could
possibly spend. Why shouldn't a man with financial genius be
like men with other kinds of genius? Why should he be the only
one to stay down on the level with dull, money-grubbing, sordid
kinds of people? Why shouldn't he have ideals?"
He made no reply. Indeed, so earnest was she that she did not
give him time, but immediately went on:
"Just think, John! Instead of giving out in these charities and
philanthropies--I never did believe in them--they're bound to be
more or less degrading to the people that take, and when it's so
hard to help a friend with money without harming him, how much
harder it must be to help strangers. Instead of those things,
why not be really great? Just think, John, how the world would
honor you and how you would feel, if you used your genius to make
the necessaries cheap for all these fellow-beings of ours who
have such a hard time getting on. That would be real
superiority--and our life now is so vain, so empty. It's brutal,
"What do you propose?" he asked, curious as always when a new
idea was presented to him. And this was certainly
new--apparently, philanthropy without expense.
"You are master. You can do as you please. Why not put your
great combine on such a basis that it would bring an honest, just
return to you and the others, and would pay the highest possible
wages, and would give the people the benefit of what your genius
for manufacturing and for finance has made possible? I think we
who are so comfortable and never have to think of the necessaries
of life forget how much a few cents here and there mean to most
people. And the things you control mean all the difference
between warmth and cold, between life and death, John!"
As she talked he settled back into his chair, and his face
hardened into its unyielding expression. A preposterous project!
Just like a good, sentimental woman. Not philanthropy without
expense, but philanthropy at the expense both, of his fortune and
of his position as a master. To use his brain and his life for
those ungrateful people who derided his benefactions as either
contributions to "the conscience fund" or as indirect attempts
at public bribery! He could not conceal his impatience--though
he did not venture to put it into words.
"If we--if you and I, John," she hurried on, leaning toward him
in her earnestness, "had something like that to live for, it
might come to be very different with us--and--I'm thinking of
Gardiner most of all. This'll ruin him some day. No one, NO
ONE, can lead this kind of life without being dragged down,
without becoming selfish and sordid and cruel."
"You don't understand," he said curtly, without looking at her.
"I never heard of such--such sentimentalism."
She winced and was silent, sat watching his bold, strong profile.
Presently she said in a changed, strange, strained voice: "What
I asked to see you for was--John, won't you put the prices--at
least where they were at the beginning of this dreadful winter?"
"Oh--I see!" he exclaimed. "You've been listening to the lies
about me."
"READING," she said, her eyes flashing at the insult in the
accusation that she had let people attack him to her.
"Well, reading then," he went on, wondering what he had said
that angered her. And he made an elaborate explanation--about
"the necessity of meeting fixed charges" which he himself had
fixed, about "fair share of prosperity," "everything more
expensive," "the country better able to pay," "every one
doing as we are," and so on.
She listened closely; she had not come ignorant of the subject,
and she penetrated his sophistries. When he saw her expression,
saw he had failed to convince her, into, his eyes came the look
she understood well--the look that told her she would only
infuriate him and bruise herself by flinging herself against the
iron of his resolve.
"You must let me attend to my own business," he ended, his tone
good-natured, his eyes hard.
She sat staring into the fire for several minutes--from her eyes
looked a will as strong as his. Then she rose and, her voice
lower than before but vibrating, said: "All round us--here in
New York--all over this country--away off in Europe--I can see
them--I can feel them--SUFFERING! As you yourself said, it's
HORRIBLY cold!" She drew herself up and faced him, a light in
her eyes before which he visibly shrank. "Yes, it's YOUR
business. But it shan't be mine or MY boy's!"
And she left the room. In the morning she returned to Dawn Hill
and arranged her affairs so that she would be free to go. Not
since the spring day, nearly nine years before, when she began
that Vergil lesson which ended in a lesson in the pitilessness of
consequences that was not yet finished, had her heart been so
light, so hopeful. In vain she reminded herself that the doing
of this larger duty, so imperative, nevertheless endangered her
father and mother. "They will be proud that I'm doing it," she
assured herself.
"For Gardiner's sake, as well as for mine, they'll be glad I
separated him and myself from this debased life. They will--they
MUST, since it is right!" And already she felt the easing of
the bonds that had never failed to cut deeper into the living
flesh whenever she had ventured to hope that she was at last
growing used to them.
"Free!" she said to herself exultantly. She dared to exult,
but she did not dare to express to herself the hopes, the wild,
incredible hopes, which the very thought of freedom set to
quivering deep down in her, as the first warmth makes the life
toss in its slumber in the planted seed.
On Friday she came up to New York late in the afternoon, and in
the evening went to the opera--for a last look round. As the
lights were lowering for the rise of the curtain on the second
act, Leonora and her husband entered the box. She had forgotten
inviting them. She gave Leonora the chair in front and took the
one behind--Millicent Rowland, whom she herself brought, had the
other front seat. As her chair was midway between the two, she
was seeing across Leonora's shoulders. Presently Dumont came in
and took the chair behind Leonora's and leaned forward, his chin
almost touching the slope of her neck as he talked to her in an
undertone, she greatly amused or pretending to be.
The light from the stage fell across Leonora's bosom, fell upon a
magnificent string of graduated pearls clasped with a huge
solitaire beyond question the string the jeweler's clerk had
blunderingly shown her. And there was Dumont's heavy, coarse
profile outlined against Leonora's cheek and throat, her cynical,
sensuous profile showing just beyond.
Open sprang a hundred doors of memory; into Pauline's mind was
discharged avalanche after avalanche of dreadful thoughts. "No!
No!" she protested. "How infamous to think such things of my
best friend!" But she tried in vain to thrust suspicions,
accusations, proofs, back into the closets. Instead, she sank
under the flood of them--sick and certain.
When the lights went up she said: "I'm feeling badly all at
once. I'm afraid I'll have to take you home, Milly."
"Are you ill, dear?" asked Leonora.
"Oh, no--just faint," she replied, in a voice which she
succeeded in making fairly natural.
"Please don't move. Stay on--you really must."
The other man--Shenstone--helped her and Millicent with their
wraps and accompanied them to their carriage. When she had set
Millicent down she drew a long breath of relief. For the first
time in seven years her course lay straight before her. "I must
be free!" she said. "I must be ENTIRELY free--free before the
whole world--I and my boy."
The next morning, in the midst of her preparations to take the
ten-o'clock limited for the West, her maid brought a note to
her--a copy of a National Woolens Company circular to the trade,
setting forth that "owing to a gratifying easing in the prices
for raw wool, the Company are able to announce and take great
pleasure in announcing a ten per cent. reduction." On the
margin Dumont had scrawled "To go out to-morrow and to be
followed in ten days by fifteen per cent. more. Couldn't resist
your appeal." Thus by the sheer luck that had so often
supplemented his skill and mitigated his mistakes, he had yielded
to her plea just in time to confuse the issue between her and
She read the circular and the scrawl with a sinking heart.
"Nevertheless, I shall go!" she tried to protest. "True, he
won't send out this circular if I do. But what does it matter,
one infamy more or less in him? Besides, he will accomplish his
purpose in some other way of which I shall not know." But this
was only the beginning of the battle. Punishment on punishment
for an act which seemed right at the time had made her morbid,
distrustful of herself. And she could not conquer the dread lest
her longing to be free was blinding her, was luring her on to
fresh calamities, involving all whom she cared for, all who cared
for her. Whichever way she looked she could see only a choice
between wrongs. To stay under the same roof with him or at Dawn
Hill--self-respect put that out of the question. To free
herself--how could she, when it meant sacrificing her parents and
also the thousands shivering under the extortions of his
In the end she chose the course that seemed to combine the least
evil with the most good. She would go to the Eyrie, and the
world and her father and mother would think she was absenting
herself from her husband to attend to the bringing up of her boy.
She would see even less of Scarborough than she saw when she was
last at Saint X.
That afternoon she wrote to Dumont:
Since we had our talk I have found out about Leonora. It is
impossible for me to stay here. I shall go West to-morrow. But
I shall not go to my father's; because of your circular I shall
go to the Eyrie, instead--at least for the present.
Two weeks after she was again settled at the Eyrie, Langdon
appeared in Saint X, alleging business at the National Woolens'
factories there. He accepted her invitation to stay with her,
and devoted himself to Gladys, who took up her flirtation with
him precisely where she had dropped it when they bade each the
other a mock-mournful good-by five months before. They were so
realistic that Pauline came to the satisfying conclusion that her
sister-in-law was either in earnest with Langdon or not in
earnest with anybody. If she had not been avoiding Scarborough,
she would probably have seen Gladys' real game--to use Langdon as
a stalking horse for him.
"No doubt Scarborough, like all men, imagines he's above
jealousy," Gladys had said to herself, casting her keen eyes
over the situation. "But there never was a man who didn't race
better with a pace-maker than on an empty track."
Toward the end of Langdon's first week Pauline's suspicions as to
one of the objects of his winter trip West were confirmed by his
saying quite casually: "Dumont's dropped Fanshaw, and Leonora's
talking of the stage. In fact, she's gone abroad to study."
When he was leaving, after nearly three weeks, he asked her when
she was coming back East.
"Never--I hope," she said, her fingers playing with the
close-cropped curls of her boy standing beside her.
"I fancied so--I fancied so," replied Langdon, his eyes showing
that he understood her and that he knew she understood for whom
he had asked.
"You are going to stay on--at the Eyrie?"
"I think so, unless something--disquieting--occurs. I've not
made up my mind. Fate plays such queer tricks that I've stopped
guessing at to-morrow."
"What was it Miss Dumont's friend, Scarborough, quoted from
Spinoza at Atwater's the other night? `If a stone, on its way
from the sling through the air, could speak, it would say, "How
free I am!'" Is that the way you feel?"
There came into Pauline's eyes a look of pain so intense that he
glanced away.
"We choose a path blindfold," she said, her tone as light as
her look was dark, "and we must go where it goes--there's no
other ever afterward."
"But if it leads down?"
"All the PATHS lead up," she replied with a sad smile. "It's
the precipices that lead down."
Gladys joined them and Langdon said to her:
"Well, good-by, Miss Dumont--don't get married till you see
me." He patted the boy on the shoulder. "Good-by,
Gardiner--remember, we men must always be brave, and gentle with
the ladies. Good-by, Mrs. Dumont--keep away from the precipices.
And if you should want to come back to us you'll have no trouble
in finding us. We're a lot of slow old rotters, and we'll be
just where you left us--yawning, and shying at new people and at
all new ideas except about clothes, and gossiping about each
other." And he was in the auto and off for the station.
Scarborough often rode with Gladys and Pauline, sometimes with
Gladys alone. One afternoon in August he came expecting to go
out with both. But Gladys was not well that day. She had
examined her pale face and deeply circled eyes in her glass; she
had counseled with her maid--a discreetly and soothingly frank
French woman. Too late to telephone him, she had overruled her
longing to see him and had decided that at what she hoped was his
"critical stage" it would be wiser not to show herself to him
thus even in her most becoming tea-gown, which compelled the eyes
of the beholder to a fascinating game of hide and seek with her
neck and arms and the lines of her figure.
"And Mrs. Dumont?" inquired Scarborough of the servant who
brought Gladys' message and note.
"She's out walking, sir."
Scarborough rode away, taking the long drive through the grounds
of the Eyrie, as it would save him a mile of dusty and not
well-shaded highway. A few hundred yards and he was passing the
sloping meadows that lay golden bronze in the sun, beyond the
narrow fringe of wood skirting and shielding the drive. The
grass and clover had been cut. Part of it was spread where it
had fallen, part had been raked into little hillocks ready for
the wagons. At the edge of one of these hillocks far down the
slope he saw the tail of a pale blue skirt, a white parasol cast
upon the stubble beside it. He reined in his horse, hesitated,
dismounted, tied his bridle round a sapling. He strode across
the field toward the hillock that had betrayed its secret to him.
"Do I interrupt?" he called when he was still far enough away
not to be taking her by surprise.
There was no answer. He paused, debating whether to call again
or to turn back.
But soon she was rising--the lower part of her tall narrow figure
hid by the hillock, the upper part revealing to him the strong
stamp of that vivid individuality of hers which separated her at
once from no matter what company. She had on a big garden hat,
trimmed just a little with summer flowers, a blouse of some soft
white material, with even softer lace on the shoulders and in the
long, loose sleeves. She gave a friendly nod and glance in his
direction, and said: "Oh, no--not at all. I'm glad to have
help in enjoying this."
She was looking out toward the mists of the horizon hills. The
heat of the day had passed; the woods, the hillocks of hay were
casting long shadows on the pale-bronze fields. A breeze had
sprung up and was lifting from the dried and drying grass and
clover a keen, sweet, intoxicating perfume--like the odor which
classic zephyrs used to shake from the flowing hair of woodland
He stood beside her without speaking, looking intently at her.
It was the first time he had been alone with her since the
afternoon at Battle Field when she confessed her marriage and he
his love.
"Bandit was lame," she said when it seemed necessary to say
She rode a thoroughbred, Bandit, who would let no one else mount
him; whenever she got a new saddle she herself had to help put it
on, so alert was he for schemes to entrap him to some other's
service. He obeyed her in the haughty, nervous way
characteristic of thoroughbreds--obeyed because he felt that she
was without fear, and because she had the firm but gentle hand
that does not fret a horse yet does not let him think for an
instant that he is or can be free. Then, too, he had his share
of the universal, fundamental vanity we should probably find
swelling the oyster did we but know how to interpret it; and he
must have appreciated what an altogether harmonious spectacle it
was when he swept along with his mistress upon his back as light
and free as a Valkyr.
"I was sorry to miss the ride," Pauline went on after another
pause--to her, riding was the keenest of the many physical
delights that are for those who have vigorous and courageous
bodies and sensitive nerves. Whenever it was possible she fought
out her battles with herself on horseback, usually finding
herself able there to drown mental distress in the surge of
physical exultation.
As he still did not speak she looked at him--and could not look
away. She had not seen that expression since their final hour
together at Battle Field, though in these few last months she had
been remembering it so exactly, had been wondering, doubting
whether she could not bring it to his face again, had been
forbidding herself to long to see it. And there it was,
unchanged like all the inflexible purposes that made his
character and his career. And back to her came, as it had come
many and many a time in those years, the story he had told her of
his father and mother, of his father's love for his mother--how
it had enfolded her from the harshness and peril of pioneer life,
had enfolded her in age no less than in youth, had gone down into
and through the Valley of the Shadow with her, had not left her
even at the gates of Death, but had taken him on with her into
the Beyond. And Pauline trembled, an enormous joy thrilling
through and through her.
"Don't!" she said uncertainly. "Don't look at me like that,
"You were crying," he said abruptly. He stood before her,
obviously one who had conquered the respect of the world in fair,
open battle, and has the courage that is for those only who have
tested their strength and know it will not fail them. And the
sight of him, the look of him, filled her not with the mere
belief, but with the absolute conviction that no malign power in
all the world or in the mystery round the world could come past
him to her to harass or harm her. The doubts, the sense of
desolation that had so agitated her a few minutes before now
seemed trivial, weak, unworthy.
She lowered her eyes--she had thought he would not observe the
slight traces of the tears she had carefully wiped away. She
clasped her hands meekly and looked--and felt--like a guilty
child. The coldness, the haughtiness were gone from her face.
"Yes," she said shyly. "Yes--I--I--" She lifted her
eyes--her tears had made them as soft and luminous as the eyes of
a child just awake from a long, untroubled sleep. "But--you
must not ask me. It's nothing that can be helped. Besides, it
seems nothing--now." She forced a faint smile. "If you knew
what a comfort it is to cry you'd try it."
"I have," he replied. Then after a pause he added: "Once."
Something in his tone--she did not venture to look at him
again--made her catch her breath. She instantly and
instinctively knew when that "once" was. "I don't care to try
it again, thank you," he went on. "But it made me able to
understand what sort of comfort you were getting. For--YOU don't
cry easily."
The katydids were clamoring drowsily in the tops of the
sycamores. From out of sight beyond the orchard came the
monotonous, musical whir of a reaper. A quail whistled his pert,
hopeful, careless "Bob White!" from the rail fence edging the
wheat field. A bumblebee grumbled among a cluster of swaying
clover blossoms which the mower had spared. And the breeze
tossed up and rolled over the meadow, over the senses of the
young man and the young woman, great billows of that perfume
which is the combined essence of all nature's love philters.
Pauline sank on the hay, and Scarborough stretched himself on the
ground at her feet. "For a long time it's been getting darker
and darker for me," she began, in the tone of one who is talking
of some past sorrow which casts a retreating shadow over present
joy to make it the brighter by contrast. "To-day--this
afternoon it seemed as if the light were just about to go
out--for good and all. And I came here. I found myself lying on
the ground--on the bosom of this old cruel--kind mother of ours.
And--" She did not finish--he would know the rest. Besides,
what did it matter--now?
He said: "If only there were some way in which I could help."
"It isn't the people who appear at the crises of one's life,
like the hero on the stage, that really help. I'm afraid the
crises, the real crises of real life, must always be met alone."
"Alone," he said in an undertone. The sky was blue
now--cloudless blue; but in that word alone he could hear the
rumble of storms below the horizon, storms past, storms to come.
"The real helpers," she went on, "are those who strengthen us
day by day, hour by hour. And when no physical presence would do
any good, when no outside aid is possible--they--it's like
finding a wall at one's back when one's in dread of being
surrounded. I suppose you don't realize how much it means to--to
how many people--to watch a man who goes straight and strong on
his way--without blustering, without trampling anybody, without
taking any mean advantage. You don't mind my saying these
She felt the look which she did not venture to face as he
answered: "I needed to hear them to-day. For it seemed to me
that I, too, had got to the limit of my strength."
"But you hadn't." She said this confidently.
"No--I suppose not. I've thought so before; but somehow I've
always managed to gather myself together. This time it was the
work of years apparently undone--hopelessly undone. They"--she
understood that "they" meant the leaders of the two corrupt
rings whose rule of the state his power with the people
menaced--"they have bought away some of my best men--bought them
with those `favors' that are so much more disreputable than money
because they're respectable. Then they came to me"--he laughed
unpleasantly--"and took me up into a high mountain and showed me
all the kingdoms of the earth, as it were. I could be governor,
senator, they said, could probably have the nomination for
president even,--not if I would fall down and worship them, but
if I would let them alone. I could accomplish nearly all that
I've worked so long to accomplish if I would only concede a few
things to them. I could be almost free. ALMOST--that is, not
free at all."
She said: "And they knew you no better than that!"
"Now," he continued, "it looks as if I'll have to build all
over again."
"I think not," she replied. "If they weren't still afraid of
you they'd never have come to you. But what does it matter? YOU
don't fight for victory, you fight for the fight's sake. And
so"--she looked at him proudly--"you can't lose."
"Thank you. Thank you," he said in a low voice.
She sighed. "How I envy you! You LIVE. I can simply be alive.
Sometimes I feel as if I were sitting in a railway station
waiting to begin my journey--waiting for a train that's
late--nobody knows how late. Simply alive--that's all."
"That's a great deal," he said. He was looking round at the
sky, at the horizon, at the fields far and near, at her. "A
great deal," he repeated.
"You feel that, too?" She smiled. "I suppose I should live on
through anything and everything, because, away down under the
surface, where even the worst storms can't reach, there's always
a sort of tremendous joy--the sense of being alive--just alive."
She drew a long breath. "Often when I've been--anything but
happy--a little while ago, for instance--I suddenly have a
feeling of ecstasy. I say to myself: Yes, I'm unhappy, but--I'm
He made a sudden impulsive movement toward her, then restrained
himself, pressed his lips together and fell back on his elbow.
"I suppose I ought to be ashamed of myself,' she added.
"You mustn't say that." He was sitting up, was speaking with
all his energy. "All that you were telling me a while ago to
encourage me applies to you, too--and more--more. You DO live.
You ARE what you long to be. That ideal you're always trying to
grasp--don't you know why you can't grasp it, Pauline? Because
it's your own self, your own image reflected as in a mirror."
He broke off abruptly, acutely conscious that he was leaning far
over the barrier between them. There was a distant shout, from
vigorous, boyish lungs. Gardiner, mad with the joy of healthy
seven, came running and jumping across the field to land with a
leap astride the hillock, scattering wisps of hay over his mother
and Scarborough. Pauline turned without getting up, caught her
boy by the arms and with mock violence shook and thrust him deep
down into the damaged hillock. She seemed to be making an outlet
for some happiness too great to be contained. He laughed and
shouted and struggled, pushed and pulled her. Her hat fell off,
her hair loosened and the sun showered gold of many shades upon
it. She released him and stood up, straightening and smoothing
her hair and breathing quickly, the color high in her cheeks.
Scarborough was already standing, watching her with an expression
of great cheerfulness.
"Good-by," he now said. "The caravan"--his tone was
half-jesting, half-serious--"has been spending the heat and dust
of the day on the oasis. It makes night journeys only. It must
push on."
"Night journeys only," repeated Pauline. "That sounds
"But there are the stars--and the moon."
She laughed. "And other oases ahead. Good-by--and thank you!"
The boy, close to his mother and facing Scarborough, was looking
from her to him and back again--curiously, it almost seemed
suspiciously. Both noticed it; both flushed slightly.
Scarborough shook hands with her, bowed to the little boy with a
formality and constraint that might have seemed ludicrous to an
onlooker. He went toward his horse; Gardiner and his mother took
the course at right angles across the field in the direction in
which the towers of the Eyrie could be seen above the tree-tops.
Suddenly the boy said, as if it were the conclusion of a long
internal argument: "I like Mr. Scarborough."
"Why not?" asked his mother, amused.
"I--I don't know," replied the boy. "Anyhow, I like him. I
wish he'd come and stay with us and Aunt Gladys."
Gladys! The reminder made her uncomfortable, made her feel that
she ought to be remorseful. But she hastened on to defend
herself. What reason had she to believe that Gladys cared for
him, except as she always cared for difficult conquest? Hadn't
Gladys again and again gone out of her way to explain that she
wasn't in love with him? Hadn't she said, only two days before:
"I don't believe I could fall in love with any man. Certainly I
couldn't unless he had made it very clear to me that he was in
love with me."
Pauline had latterly been suspecting that these elaborations of
superfluous protestation were Gladys' efforts to curtain herself.
Now she dwelt upon them with eager pleasure, and assured and
reassured herself that she had been supersensitive and that
Gladys had really been frank and truthful with her.
On his way down the bluffs to town Scarborough felt as calm and
peaceful as that tranquil evening. He had a sense of the end of
a long strain of which he had until then been unconscious. "NOW
I can go away and rest," he said to himself. And at sundown he
set out for his farm.
He arrived at ten o'clock, by moonlight, amid a baying of dogs so
energetic that it roused every living thing in the barnyard to
protest in a peevish chorus of clucking and grunting and quacking
and squealing.
"What on airth!" exclaimed Mrs. Gabbard, his farmer's wife,
standing at the back door, in calico skirt and big shawl. When
she saw who it was, her irritated voice changed to welcome.
"Why, howdy, Mr. Scarborough! I thought it was old John Lovel
among the chickens or at the granary. I might 'a' knowed he
wouldn't come in the full of the moon and no clouds."
"Go straight back to bed, Mrs. Gabbard, and don't mind me,"
said Scarborough. "I looked after my horse and don't want
anything to eat. Where's Eph?"
"Can't you hear?" asked Mrs. Gabbard, dryly. And in the pause
a lusty snore penetrated. "When anything out of the way
happens, I get up and nose around to see whether it's worth while
to wake him."
Scarborough laughed. "I've come for a few days--to get some
exercise," he said. "But don't wake me with the others
to-morrow morning. I'm away behind on sleep and dead tired."
He went to bed--the rooms up-stairs in front were reserved for
him and were always ready. His brain was apparently as busy and
as determined not to rest as on the worst of his many bad nights
during the past four months. But the thoughts were vastly
different; and soon those millions of monotonous murmurings from
brook and field and forest were soothing his senses. He slept
soundly, with that complete relaxing of every nerve and muscle
which does not come until the mind wholly yields up its despotic
control and itself plunges into slumber unfathomable.
The change of the air with dawn slowly wakened him. It was only
a little after five, but he felt refreshed. He got himself into
farm working clothes and went down to the summer dining-room--a
shed against the back of the house with three of its walls
latticed. In the adjoining kitchen Mrs. Gabbard and her
daughters, Sally and Bertha, were washing the breakfast
dishes--Gabbard and his two sons and the three "hands" had just
started for the meadows with the hay wagons.
"Good morning," said Scarborough, looking in on the three
They stopped work and smiled at him, and the girls dried their
hands and shook hands with him--all with an absolute absence of
embarrassment that, to one familiar with the awkward shyness of
country people, would have told almost the whole story of
Scarborough's character. "I'll get you some breakfast in the
dining-room," said Mrs. Gabbard.
"No--just a little--on the corner of the table out here,"
replied Scarborough.
Mrs. Gabbard and Sally bustled about while he stood in the
doorway of the shed, looking out into the yard and watching the
hens make their careful early morning tour of the inclosure to
glean whatever might be there before scattering for the day's
excursions and depredations. He had not long to wait and he did
not linger over what was served.
"You've et in a manner nothing," complained Mrs. Gabbard.
"I haven't earned an appetite yet," he replied. "Just wait
till this evening."
As soon as he was out of view he gave a great shout and started
to run. "What folly to bother with, a foolish, trouble-breeding
thinking apparatus in a world like this!" he thought, as the
tremendous currents of vitality surged through him. And he
vaulted a six-rail fence and ran on. Down the hollow drenched
with dew, across the brook which was really wide enough to be
called a creek, up the steep slope of the opposite hill at a
slower pace, and he was at the edge of the meadows. The sun was
clear of the horizon now, and the two wagons, piled high with hay
and "poled down" to keep the loads steady, were about to move
off to the barn.
"Bring back a fork for me, Bill!" he called to the driver of
the nearer wagon--Bill was standing on the lofty top of his load,
which projected forward and rear so far that, forward, the horses
were half canopied. Against Bill's return he borrowed Gabbard's
fork and helped complete the other wagon, the sweat streaming
from his face as his broad shoulders swung down with the empty
fork and up with a great mat of hay.
They worked alternately in the fields and at the barns until
half-past eleven. Then they went into the shade at the edge of
the meadow and had their dinner.
"My old woman," said Gabbard, "says that two set-down meals a
day in harvest time's as many as she'll stand for. So we have
dinner out here in good weather, and to the barn when it rains."
The talk was of weather prospects, of probable tonnage to the
acre, of the outlook for the corn, of the health and family
expectations of the mares and the cows and the pigs. It died
away gradually as one man after another stretched out upon his
back with a bunch of hay for an odorous pillow and his
broad-brimmed straw hat for a light-shade. Scarborough was the
fourth man to yield; as he dozed off his hat was hiding that
smile of boundless content which comes only to him who stretches
his well body upon grass or soft stubble and feels the vigor of
the earth steal up and through him. "Why don't I do this
oftener?" Scarborough was saying to himself. "I must--and I
shall, now that my mind's more at ease."
A long afternoon of the toil that tires and vexes not, and at
sundown he was glad to ride home on top of the last wagon instead
of walking as he had intended. The supper-table was ready--was
spread in the dining-shed. They washed their hands and sunburnt
arms and soused their heads in cold water from the well, and sat,
Scarborough at one end, Gabbard at the other, the strapping sons
and the "hands" down either side. The whole meal was before
them--huge platters of fried chicken, great dishes full of beans
and corn and potatoes; plates piled high with hot corn bread,
other plates of "salt-rising"; Mrs. Gabbard's miraculous apple
pies, and honey for which the plundered flowers might still be
mourning. Yesterday it would have seemed to Scarborough dinner
enough for a regiment. To-day--he thought he could probably eat
it all, and wished that he might try. To drink, there were
coffee and cider and two kinds of milk. He tried the buttermilk
and kept on with it.
"You must 'a' had a busy summer," said Gabbard. "This is the
first time you've been with us."
"Yes," Scarborough replied. "I did hope to get here for the
threshing, but I couldn't."
The threshing set them all off--it had been a record year;
thirty-eight bushels to the acre on the average, twenty-seven on
the hillsides which Gabbard had hesitated whether to "put in"
or not. An hour after supper Scarborough could no longer hold
his eyes open. "Wake me with the others," he said to Mrs.
Gabbard, who was making up the "salt-rising" yeast for the
morrow's baking. "I'll have breakfast when they do."
"I reckon you've earned it," said Mrs. Gabbard. "Eph says you
laid it over 'em all to-day."
"Well, I guess I at least earned my supper," replied
Scarborough. "And I guess I ate it."
"You didn't do so bad, considerin'," Mrs. Gabbard admitted.
"Nothin' like livin' in town to take appetite away."
"That isn't all it takes away," said Scarborough, going on to
his own part of the house without explaining his remark. When
his head touched the pillow his brain instantly stopped the
machinery. He needed no croonings or dronings from the fields to
soothe him. "Not an idea in my head all day," he said to
himself with drowsy delight.
Four days of this, and on the fifth came the outside world in the
form of Burdick, chairman of the county committee of his party in
the county in which his farm lay. They sat on the fence under
the big maple, out of earshot of the others.
"Larkin's come out for John Frankfort for the nomination for
governor," said Burdick.
Scarborough smiled. "Even Larkin couldn't get it for
Frankfort--he's too notorious."
"He don't want to get it for him," replied Burdick. "His real
man's Judge Graney."
Scarborough stopped fanning himself with his wide-brimmed straw.
Judge Graney was the most adroit and dangerous of John Dumont's
tools. He had given invaluable aid from the bench at several of
the National Woolens Company's most critical moments. Yet he had
retained and increased his popularity and his reputation by
deciding against his secret master with a brave show of virtue
when he knew the higher courts must reverse him. For several
years Scarborough had been looking forward to the inevitable open
conflict between the forces of honesty in his party and the
forces of the machine as ruled by the half-dozen big corporations
who also ruled the machine of the opposition party. He had known
that the contest must come, and that he must take part in it; and
he had been getting ready. But he had not wished to give battle
until he was strong enough to give a battle which, even if he
lost it, would not strengthen the hold of the corruptionists.
After he rejected Larkin's dazzling offers, conditioned upon his
aloofness rather than frank subservience, he had thought the
whole situation over, and, as he hinted to Pauline, had realized
how apparently hopeless a fight against the machine would be just
then, with the people prosperous and therefore quiescent. And he
had decided to stand aside for the time. He now saw that
reluctance to attack Dumont had been at least a factor in this
decision; and he also saw that he could not delay, as he had
hoped. There was no escape--either he must let his work of years
be undermined and destroyed or he must give battle with all his
strength and skill. He remembered what Pauline had said: "You
can't lose!"
"No, one can't lose in this sort of fight," he thought.
"Either WE win or there'll be no victory." He sprang from the
fence to the ground. "Let's go to the house," he said to
"What you going to do?" asked Burdick, as they walked toward
the gate, where his horse and buggy were hitched.
"Fight, of course," said Scarborough. "Fight Larkin and his
gang in the open. I'll get ex-Governor Bowen to let us use his
name and canvass the state for him."
Burdick shook his head sadly.
"It ain't politics," he said. "You'll split the party; then
the party'll turn and split you." And later, as they were
separating, Scarborough to drive to Saint X, Burdick to go back
to Marshaltown, he said: "I'll help all I can in a quiet way.
But--I hope you've got your cyclone cellar dug."
Scarborough laughed. "I haven't been digging a cyclone cellar.
I've been trying to manufacture a cyclone."
There were thirty-three clear days before the meeting of the
convention. He wasted not an hour of them on the manufacturing
towns; he went to the country--to the farmers and the villagers,
the men who lived each man in his own house, on his own soil from
which he earned his own living. Up and down and across the state
he went, speaking, organizing, planning, inspiring--he and the
coterie of young men who looked up to him as their leader and
followed him in this desperate assault as courageously as if
victory were assured.
Not long before the convention he paused at ex-Judge Bowen's
country place and spent two hours with him in his great, quiet,
cool library.
"Isn't it inspiring," Scarborough said, "to see so many young
men in arms for a principle?"
The old man slowly shook his magnificent white head and smiled at
the young man. "Principles without leaders go begging," he
replied. "Men rally to the standard only when the right voice
calls. The right voice at the right time." He laid his hand on
Scarborough's shoulder with affection and pride. "If the moment
should come for you to think of it, do not forget that the leader
is the principle, and that in this fight the leader is not I--but
Larkin decided that the state convention should be held at Saint
X because his machine was most perfect there. The National
Woolens Company, the Consolidated Pipe and Wire Company and the
Indiana Oil and Gas Corporation--the three principal political
corporations in the state--had their main plants there and were
in complete political control. While Larkin had no fear of the
Scarborough movement, regarding it as a sentimental outburst in
the rank and file of the party that would die away when its
fomenter had been "read out of the party" at the convention by
the regular organization, still he had been in the game too long
to take unnecessary chances. He felt that it would be wise to
have the delegates assemble where all the surroundings would be
favorable and where his ablest and confidential men could do
their work in peace and quiet.
The convention was to, meet on the last Thursday in September.
On the preceding Monday morning, Culver--Dumont's small, thin,
stealthy private secretary--arrived at Saint X and, after making
an appointment with Merriweather for half-past twelve, went out
to the Eyrie to go through a lot of accumulated domestic business
with Mrs. Dumont. When she in a most formal and unencouraging
manner invited him to stop there, he eagerly accepted. "Thank
you so much," he said effusively. "To be perfectly frank, I've
been tempted to invite myself. I have some valuables with me
that I don't feel at all easy about. If I should be robbed, it
would be a very serious matter. Would it be asking too much of
you to ask you to put a package in your jewel safe?"
"I'll be glad to do it for you," replied Pauline. "There's
plenty of room--the safe's almost empty and it's ridiculously
"My package isn't small," said Culver. "And on my mind it
weighs tons." He reached into his large bag--at sight of it
Pauline had wondered why he had brought such a bag up from the
hotel when his papers for her inspection were so few. He lifted
out an oblong, bulky package.
"If you'll just touch that button," said she, "James will come
and show you how to get to the safe."
Culver hesitated nervously. Finally he said: "I'm making a
nuisance of myself, Mrs. Dumont, but would you mind going to the
safe with me? I'd much rather none of the servants knew about
Pauline smiled and bade him follow her. They went to her private
sitting-room and she showed him the safe, in a small closet built
into the lower part of the book-case. "You have the
combination?" asked Culver, as he put the package away.
"I see that you don't lock this door often."
"How fortunate you spoke of it!" said she.
"The combination is on a bit of paper in one of the little
Culver found it in the first drawer he opened, and handed it to
her without looking at it.
"You mustn't let me know it," said he. "I'll just fix the
time lock so that it won't interfere." And when he had done so,
he closed the safe. As he left, he said, "I shall only bother
you to let me sleep in the house. I'll be very busy all day each
day I'm here." When she thought he had gone he returned to add:
"Perhaps I'd better explain to you that there's forty-five
thousand dollars in cash in the package. That's why I was so
anxious for no one to know."
"I'll say nothing about it," Pauline assured him.
Larkin came down from Indianapolis the next day and registered at
the Palace Hotel. As soon as he could escape from the
politicians and newspaper correspondents in the hotel office, he
went by a devious route to a room on the floor below his own and,
knocking, was admitted to Culver and Merriweather. He nodded to
Dumont's political agent, then said to Culver: "You've got the
"Yes," Culver answered, in his best imitation of the tone of
the man of large affairs. "In twenties, fifties and hundreds."
"I hope, mighty few hundreds," said Larkin. "The boys are
kind o' shy about changing hundred-dollar bills. It seems to
attract attention to them." He had large, dreamy, almost
sentimental, brown eyes that absurdly misrepresented his
character, or, at least, his dominant characteristics. His long,
slightly bent nose and sharp chin and thin, tight mouth were more
"How do things look, Joe?" asked Merriweather.
"Yes, Mr. Dumont asked me to telegraph him after I'd talked with
you," said Culver. "Has Scarborough made much headway?"
"I must say, he's raised a darn sight more hell than I thought
he would," Larkin answered.
"The people seem to be in a nasty mood about corruption. Darn
their fool souls, as if they wouldn't be in the rottenest kind of
a fix, with no property and no jobs, if we didn't keep the
ignorant vote under control and head off such firebrands as this
fellow Scarborough."
"Got any figgers?" demanded Merriweather, who had listened to
this tirade with an expression suggesting cynicism. He thought,
and he knew Joe Larkin thought, politics a mere game of
chance--you won or you didn't win; and principles and oratory and
likes and dislikes and resentments were so much "hot air." If
the "oil can" had been with Scarborough, Merriweather would
have served him as cheerfully and as loyally as--well, as would
Joe Larkin in those circumstances.
Larkin wrenched a big bunch of letters and papers from the sagged
inside pocket of his slouchy sack coat; after some fumbling and
sorting, he paused upon the back of a dirty envelope.
"Here's how the convention stands, to a man," he said. "Sure,
two hundred and sixty-seven-by `sure' I mean the fellows we own
outright. Safe, two hundred and forty-five-by `safe' I mean
those that'll stand by the organization, thick and thin.
Insurgents, two hundred and ninety-five--those are the chaps
that've gone clean crazy with Scarborough. Doubtful, three
hundred and eighty-six-some of 'em can be bought; most of 'em are
waiting to see which way the cat jumps, so as to jump with her."
"Then we've got five hundred and twelve, and it takes five
hundred and ninety-seven to elect," said Merriweather, the
instant the last word was out of Larkin's mouth. Merriweather
was a mite of a man, could hardly have weighed more than a
hundred pounds, had a bulging forehead, was bald and gray at the
temples, eyes brown as walnut juice and quick and keen as a
rat-terrier's. His expression was the gambler's--calm, watchful,
indifferent, pallid, as from years of nights under the gas-light
in close, hot rooms, with the cards sliding from the faro box
hour after hour.
"Eighty-five short--that's right," assented Larkin. Then, with
a look at Culver: "And some of 'em'll come mighty high."
"Where are you going to do business with them?" inquired
Merriweather. "Here?"
"Right here in this room, where I've done it many's the time
before," replied Larkin. "To-morrow night Conkey Sedgwick and
my boy Tom'll begin steerin' 'em in one at a time about eight
"Then I'll turn the money over to you at seven to-morrow
night," said Culver. "I've got it in a safe place."
"Not one of the banks, I hope," said Merriweather.
"We noted your suggestions on that point, and on all the
others," Culver answered with gracious condescension. "That's
why I brought cash in small denominations and didn't go near
anybody with it."
Larkin rose. "I've got to get to work. See you here to-morrow
night at seven, Mr. Culver--seven sharp. I guess it'll be Judge
Graney on the third ballot. On the first ballot the
organization'll vote solid for Graney, and my fellows'll vote for
John Frankfort. On the second ballot half my Frankfort crowd'll
switch over to Graney. On the third I'll put the rest of 'em
over, and that'll be enough to elect--probably the Scarborough
crowd'll see it's no use and let us make it unanimous. The
losers are always hot for harmony."
"That sounds well," said Merriweather--his was a voice that
left his hearers doubtful whether he meant what his words said or
the reverse.
Culver looked with secret admiration from one man to the other,
and continued to think of them and to admire, after they had
gone. He felt important, sitting in and by proxy directing the
councils of these powerful men, these holders and manipulators of
the secret strings whereto were attached puppet peoples and
puppet politicians. Seven years behind the scenes with Dumont's
most private affairs had given him a thoroughgoing contempt for
the mass of mankind. Did he not sit beside the master, at the
innermost wheels, deep at the very heart of the intricate
mechanism? Did not that position make him a sort of master, at
any rate far superior to the princeliest puppet?
At five the next afternoon--the afternoon of the day before the
convention--he was at the Eyrie, and sent a servant to say to
Mrs. Dumont that he would like to see her. She came down to him
in the library.
"I'm only troubling you for a moment," he said.
"I'll relieve you of my package."
"Very well," said Pauline. "I haven't thought of it since day
before yesterday. I'll bring it down to you."
She left him in the library and went up the stairs--she had been
reading everything that was published about the coming
convention, and the evident surprise of all the politicians at
the strength Scarborough was mustering for ex-Governor Bowen had
put her in high good humor. She cautioned herself that he could
not carry the convention; but his showing was a moral
victory--and what a superb personal triumph! With everything
against him--money and the machine and the skilful confusing of
the issues by his crafty opponents--he had rallied about him
almost all that was really intelligent in his party; and he had
demonstrated that he had on his side a mass of the voters large
out of all proportion to the number of delegates he had wrested
away from the machine--nearly three hundred, when everybody had
supposed the machine would retain all but a handful.
Money! Her lips curled scornfully--out here, in her own home,
among these simple people, the brutal power of money was master
just as in New York, among a people crazed by the passion for
luxury and display.
She was kneeling before the safe, was working the combination,
paper in hand. The knob clicked as the rings fell into place;
she turned the bolt and swung the door open. She reached into
the safe. Suddenly she drew her hand back and sat up on the
floor, looking at the package. "Why, it's for use in the
convention!" she exclaimed.
She did not move for several minutes; when she did, it was to
examine the time lock, to reset it, to close the door and bolt it
and throw the lock off the combination. Then she rose and slowly
descended to the library. As she reappeared, empty-handed,
Culver started violently and scrutinized her face. Its
expression put him in a panic. "Mrs. Dumont!" he exclaimed
"Has it been stolen?"
She shook her head. "No," she said. "It's there."
Trembling from weakness in the reaction, he leaned against the
table, wiping his sweating brow with sweating hands.
"But," she went on, "it must stay there."
He looked open-mouthed at her.
"You have brought the money out here for use in the
convention," she went on with perfect calmness. "You have
tried to make me a partner in that vile business. And--I refuse
to play the part assigned me. I shall keep the money until the
convention is over."
He looked round like a terror-stricken drowning man, about to
sink for the last time.
"I'm ruined! I'm ruined!" he almost screamed.
"No," she said, still calm. "You will not be ruined, though
you deserve to be. But I understand why you have become callous
to the commonplace decencies of life, and I shall see to it that
no harm comes to you."
"Mr. Dumont will--DESTROY me! You don't realize, Mrs. Dumont.
Vast property interests are at stake on the result of this
convention--that's our cause. And you are imperiling it!"
"Imperiling a cause that needs lies and bribes to save it?" she
said ironically. "Please calm yourself, Mr. Culver. You
certainly can't be blamed for putting your money in a safe place.
I take the responsibility for the rest. And when you tell Mr.
Dumont exactly what happened, you will not be blamed or injured
in any way."
"I shall telegraph him at once," he warned her.
"Certainly," said Pauline. "He might blame you severely for
failing to do that."
He paused in his pacing up and down the room. He flung his arms
toward her, his eyes blazing.
"I WILL have it!" he exclaimed. "Do you hear me, I WILL!
I'll bring men from down-town and have the safe blown open. The
money is not yours--it is----"
She advanced to the bell.
"Another word, Mr. Culver, and I'll have the servants show you
the door. Yours is a strange courage--to dare to speak thus to
me when your head should be hanging in shame for trying to make
such base use of me and my courtesy and friendliness."
His arms dropped, and he lowered his head.
"I beg your pardon," he said humbly. "I'm not myself. I
think I'm going insane. PITY me!"
Pauline looked at him sadly. "I wish I had the right to.
But--I SYMPATHIZE, and I'm sorry--so sorry--to have to do this."
A pause, then--"Good afternoon, Mr. Culver." And she moved
toward the door. At the threshold she turned. "I must say one
thing further--THE CONVENTION MUST NOT BE PUT OFF. If it is
adjourned to-morrow without making nominations, I shall
understand that you are getting the money elsewhere. And--I
shall be compelled to put such facts as I know in the possession
of--of those you came to injure." And she was gone.
Culver went to Merriweather's office and sent out for him and
Larkin. When they arrived he shut the doors and told them what
had happened--and in his manner there was not left a trace of the
New Yorker and ambassador condescending to westerners and
underlings. Larkin cursed; Merriweather gave no outward sign.
Presently Merriweather said: "Larkin, you must adjourn the
convention over to-morrow. Culver can go to Chicago and get back
with the money by to-morrow night."
"No use," groaned Culver. And he told them the last part of
his talk with Mrs. Dumont.
"She thought of that!" said Merriweather, and he looked the
impartial admiration of the connoisseur of cleverness.
"But she'd never carry out her threat--never in the world!"
persisted Larkin.
"If you had seen her when she said it, and if you'd known her as
long as I have, you wouldn't say that," replied Culver. "We
must try to get the money here, right away--at the banks."
"All shut," said Merriweather "I wonder how much cash there is
at the Woolens and the Oil and Steel offices? We must get
together as much as we can--quietly." And he rapidly outlined a
program that put all three at work within fifteen minutes. They
met again at seven. Culver had twenty-six hundred dollars,
Larkin thirty-one hundred, Merriweather, who had kept for himself
the most difficult task, had only twelve hundred.
"Sixty-nine hundred," said Merriweather, eying the heap, of
paper in packages and silver in bags.
"Better than nothing," suggested Culver, with a pitiful attempt
to be hopeful.
Merriweather shrugged his shoulders. "Let's get some supper,"
he said to Culver. Then to Larkin: "Well, Joe, you'll have to
try promises. Will you keep this cash or shall I?"
"You might as well keep it," replied Larkin, with a string of
oaths. "It'd be ruination to pay one without paying all.
Perhaps you can use some of it between ballots to-morrow."
Then, sharply to Culver: "You've telegraphed Mr. Dumont?"
"Of course," said Culver. "And it took some time as I had to
put the whole story into cipher."
As Culver and Merriweather were seated, with the dinner before
them which Culver did not touch, and which Merriweather ate
placidly, Culver asked him whether there was "any hope at all."
"There's always hope," replied Merriweather. "Promises,
especially from Joe Larkin, will go a long way, though they don't
rouse the white hot enthusiasm that cold cash in the pocket does.
We'll pull through all right." He ate for a while in silence.
Then: "This Mrs. Dumont must be an uncommon woman." A few
more mouthfuls and with his small, icy, mirthless laugh, he
added: "I've got one something like her at home. I keep her
Culver decided to spend the night at the hotel. He hung round
the hotel office until two in the morning, expecting and dreading
Dumont's reply to his telegram. But nothing came either for him
or for Merriweather. " Queer we don't get word of some sort,
isn't it?" said he to Merriweather the next morning, as the
latter was leaving for the convention.
Merriweather made no reply beyond a smile so faint that Culver
barely saw it.
"She was right, after all," thought Culver, less despondent.
"I'll get the money just before I leave and take it back. And
I'll not open this subject with Dumont. Maybe he'll never speak
of it to me."
And Dumont never did.
Olivia came to attend the convention as Fred was a delegate from
Marion County. Pauline and Gladys accepted her invitation and
shared her box--the convention was held in the Saint X Grand
Opera House, the second largest auditorium in the state.
Pauline, in the most retired corner, could not see the Marion
County delegation into which Scarborough went by substitution.
But she had had a glimpse of him as she came in--he was sitting
beside Fred Pierson and was gazing straight ahead, as if lost in
thought. He looked tired and worn, but not cast down.
"You should have been here, Polly, when Scarborough came in,"
said Olivia, who was just in front of her. "They almost tore
the roof off. He's got the audience with him, even if the
delegates aren't. A good many of the delegates applauded, too,"
she added--but in a significantly depressed tone.
"Why isn't he a candidate, Mrs. Pierson?" asked Gladys.
"They wanted him to be, of course," replied Olivia, "and I
think it was a mistake that he didn't consent. But he wouldn't
hear of it. He said it simply wouldn't do for him to make the
fight to carry the convention for himself. He said that, even if
he were nominated, the other side would use it against him."
"That seems reasonable," said Gladys.
"But it isn't," replied Olivia. "He may not know it but he
can lead men where they wouldn't go for his merely sending
"I suppose it was his modesty," suggested Gladys.
"Modesty's a good deal of a vice, especially in a leader,"
replied Olivia.
There was an hour of dullness--routine business, reports of
committees, wearisome speeches. But, like every one of those
five thousand people, Pauline was in a fever of anticipation.
For, while it was generally assumed that Scarborough and his
friends had no chance and while Larkin was apparently carrying
everything through according to program, still it was impossible
to conceive of such a man as Scarborough accepting defeat on test
votes tamely taken. He would surely challenge. Larkin watched
him uneasily, wondering at what point in the proceedings the gage
would be flung down. Even Merriweather could not keep still, but
flitted about, his nervousness of body contrasting strangely with
his calmness of face; himself the most unquiet man in the hall,
he diffused quiet wherever he paused.
At last came the call for nominations. When the secretary of the
convention read Cass from the roll of counties, a Larkin henchman
rose and spoke floridly for twenty minutes on the virtues of John
Frankfort, put up as the Larkin "draw-fire," the pretended
candidate whose prearranged defeat was to be used on the stump as
proof that Boss Larkin and his gang had been downed. At the call
of Hancock County, another--a secret--Larkin henchman rose to
eulogize "that stanch foe of corporate corruption and
aggression, Hancock County's favorite son, the people's judge,
Judge Edward Howel Graney!" Then the roll-call proceeded amid
steadily rising excitement which abruptly died into silence as
the clerk shouted, with impressive emphasis, "Wayne!" That was
the home county of the Scarborough candidate. A Wayne delegate
rose and in a single sentence put ex-Governor Bowen in
nomination. There was a faint ripple of applause which was
instantly checked. A silence of several seconds and--
"Mr. Chairman, and gentle--"
It was the voice Pauline knew so well. She could not see him,
but that voice seemed to make him visible to her. She caught her
breath and her heart beat wildly. He got no further into
seconding Bowen's nomination than the middle of the fourth word.
There may have been ears offended by the thunder-clap which burst
in that theater, but those ears were not Pauline's, were not in
Olivia Pierson's box. And then came tumbling and roaring, huge
waves of adulation, with his name shouted in voices hoarse and
voices shrill like hissing foam on the triumphant crests of
billows. And Pauline felt as if she were lifted from her bodily
self, were tossing in a delirium of ecstasy on a sea of sheer
And now he was on the platform, borne there above the shoulders
of a hundred men. He was standing pale and straight and mighty.
He stretched out his hand, so large and strong, and somehow as
honest as his eyes; the tempest stilled. He was speaking--what
did he say? She hardly heard, though she knew that it was of and
for right and justice--what else could that voice utter or the
brain behind those proud features think? With her, and with all
there, far more than his words it was his voice, like music, like
magic, rising and falling in thrilling inflections as it wove its
spell of gold and fire. Whenever he paused there would be an
instant of applause--a huge, hoarse thunder, the call of that
mysterious and awful and splendid soul of the mass--an instant
full of that one great, deep, throbbing note, then silence to
hear him again.
Scarborough had measured his task--to lift that convention from
the slough of sordidness to which the wiles and bribes of Dumont
and his clique had lured it; to set it in the highroad of what he
believed with all his intensity to be the high-road of right.
Usually he spoke with feeling strongly repressed; but he knew
that if he was to win that day against such odds he must take
those delegates by surprise and by storm, must win in a suddenly
descended whirlwind of passion that would engulf calculation and
craft, sordidness and cynicism. He made few gestures; he did not
move from the position he had first taken. He staked all upon
his voice; into it he poured all his energy, all his fire, all
his white-hot passion for right and justice, all his scorn of the
base and the low.
"Head above heart, when head is right," he had often said.
"But when head is wrong, then heart above head." And he
reached for hearts that day.
Five minutes, and delegates and spectators were his captives.
Fifteen minutes, and he was riding a storm such as comes only
when the fountains of the human deeps are broken up. Thirty
minutes and he was riding it as its master, was guiding it where
he willed.
In vain Larkin sought to rally delegates round the shamed but
steadfast nucleus of the bribed and the bossed. In vain his
orator moved an adjournment until "calmness and reason shall be
restored." The answer made him shrink and sink into his seat.
For it was an awful, deafening roll of the war-drums of that
exalted passion which Scarborough had roused.
The call of counties began. The third on the
list--Bartholomew--was the first to say what the people longed to
hear. A giant farmer, fiery and freckled, rose and in a voice
like a blast from a bass horn bellowed: "Bartholomew casts her
solid vote for Hampden Scarborough!"
Pauline had thought she heard that multitude speak before. But
she now knew she had heard hardly more than its awakening
whisper. For, with the pronouncing of that name, the tempest
really burst. She sprang to her feet, obeying the imperious
inward command which made every one in that audience and most of
the delegates leap up. And for ten long minutes, for six hundred
cyclonic seconds, the people poured out their passionate
adoration. At first Scarborough flung out his arms, and all
could see that he was shouting some sort of protest. But they
would not hear him now. He had told them WHAT to do. He must
let them say HOW to do it.
Pauline looked out at those flaming thousands with the maddest
emotions streaming like lightning from their faces. But she
looked without fear. They--she--all were beside themselves; but
it was no frenzy for blood or for the sordid things. It was the
divine madness of the soldier of the right, battling for THE
CAUSE, in utter forgetfulness of self and selfishness.
"Beautiful! Beautiful!" she murmured, every nerve tingling.
"I never knew before how beautiful human beings are!"
Finally the roll-call could proceed. Long before it was ended
the necessary votes had been cast for Scarborough, and Larkin
rose to move that the nomination be made unanimous--Larkin,
beaten down in the open, was not the man to die there; he
hastened to cover where he could resume the fight in the manner
most to his liking. Again Scarborough was borne to the platform;
again she saw him standing there--straight and mighty, but
deathly pale, and sad--well he might be bowed by the
responsibility of that mandate, given by the god-in-man, but to
be executed by and through plain men. A few broken, hesitating
words, and he went into the wings and left the theater, applause
sweeping and swirling after him like a tidal wave.
Pauline, coming out into the open, looked round her, dazed. Why,
it was the same work-a-day world as before, with its actions so
commonplace and selfish, with only its impulses fine and high.
If these moments of exaltation could but last, could but become
the fixed order and routine of life! If high ideal and courage
ruled, instead of low calculation and fear! She sighed, then her
eyes shone.
"At least I have seen!" she thought. "At least I have lived
one of those moments when the dreams come true. And `human
being' has a new meaning for me."
Two men, just behind her in the crowd, were talking of
Scarborough. "A demagogue!" sneered one.
"A demi-god," retorted the other. And Pauline turned suddenly
and gave him a look that astonished and dazzled him.
Six weeks later, on the morning after the general election,
Dumont awoke bubbling over with good humor--as always, when the
world went well with him and so set the strong, red currents of
his body to flowing in unobstructed channels.
He had not gone to bed the previous night until he had definite
news from Indiana, Illinois and New York, the three states in
which his industrial-political stakes were heaviest. They had
gone as he wished, as he and his friends had spent large sums of
money to assist them to go. And now a glance at the morning
papers confirmed his midnight bulletins. Indiana, where he had
made the strongest efforts because the control of its statute
book was vital to him, had gone his way barely but, apparently,
securely; Scarborough was beaten for governor by twenty-five
hundred. Presently he had Culver in to begin the day's business.
The first paper Culver handed him was a cipher telegram
announcing the closing of an agreement which made the National
Woolens Company absolute in the Northwest; the second item in
Culver's budget was also a cipher telegram--from Merriweather.
It had been filed at four o'clock--several hours later than the
newspaper despatches. It said that Scarborough's friends
conceded his defeat, that the Legislature was safely Dumont's way
in both houses. Culver always sorted out to present first the
agreeable part of the morning's budget; never had he been more
At the office Dumont found another cipher telegram from
Merriweather: "Later returns show Scarborough elected by a
narrow majority. But he will be powerless as Legislature and all
other state offices are with us."
Dumont crushed the telegram in his hand. "Powerless--hell!" he
muttered. "Does he think I'm a fool?" He had spent three
hundred thousand dollars to "protect" his monopoly in its home;
for it was under Indiana laws, as interpreted by Dumont's agents
in public office, that the main or holding corporation of his
group was organized. And he knew that, in spite of his judges
and his attorney-general and his legislative lobby and his
resourceful lawyers and his subsidized newspapers, a governor of
Scarborough's courage and sagacity could harass him, could force
his tools in public office to activity against him, might drive
him from the state. Heretofore he had felt, and had been, secure
in the might of his millions. But now-- He had a feeling of
dread, close kin to fear, as he measured this peril, this man
strong with a strength against which money and intrigue were as
futile as bow and arrow against rifle.
He opened the door into the room where his twenty personal clerks
were at work. They glanced at his face, winced, bent to their
tasks. They knew that expression: it meant "J. D. will take the
hide off every one who goes near him to-day."
"Tell Mr. Giddings I want to see him," he snapped, lifting the
head of the nearest clerk with a glance like an electric shock.
The clerk rose, tiptoed away to the office of the first
vice-president of the Woolens Trust. He came tiptoeing back to
say in a faint, deprecating voice: "Mr. Giddings isn't down
yet, sir."
Dumont rolled out a volley of violent language about Giddings.
In his tantrums he had no more regard for the dignity of his
chief lieutenants, themselves rich men and middle-aged or old,
than he had for his office boys. To the Ineffable Grand Turk
what noteworthy distinction is there between vizier and
"Send him in--quick,--you, as soon as he comes," he shouted in
conclusion. If he had not paid generously, if his lieutenants
had not been coining huge dividends out of his brains and
commercial audacity, if his magnetic, confidence-inspiring
personality had not created in the minds of all about him visions
of golden rivers widening into golden oceans, he would have been
deserted and execrated. As it was, his service was eagerly
sought; and his servants endured its mental and moral hardships
as the prospector endures the physical cruelties of the mountain
He was closing his private door when the door-boy from the
outermost of that maze of handsome offices came up to him with a
"Not here," he growled, and shut himself in.
Half an hour later the sounds of an angry tumult in the clerks'
room made him fling his door open. "What the--" he began, his
heavy face purple, then stopped amazed.
The outside doorkeeper, the watchman and several clerks were
engaged in a struggle with Fanshaw. His hat was off, his hair
wild, his necktie, shirt and coat awry.
"There you are now--I knew you were in," he shouted, as he
caught sight of Dumont. "Call these curs off, Jack!"
"Let him alone," snarled Dumont.
Fanshaw was released. He advanced into Dumont's office,
straightening his clothing and panting with exertion, excitement
and anger. Dumont closed the door. "Well," he said surlily.
"What d' you want?"
"I'll have to go to the wall at half-past ten if you don't help
me out," said Fanshaw. "The Montana election went against my
crowd--I'm in the copper deal. There's a slump, but the stock's
dead sure to go up within a week."
"In trouble again?" sneered Dumont. "It's been only three
months since I pulled you through."
"You didn't lose anything by it, did you?" retorted Fanshaw--he
had recovered himself and was eying Dumont with the cool, steady,
significant stare of one rascal at another whom he thinks he has
in his power.
Before that look Dumont flushed an angrier red. "I won't do it
again!" and he brought his fist down with a bang.
"All I want is five hundred thousand to carry my copper for a
week at the outside. If I get it I'll clear a million. If I
don't"--Fanshaw shrugged his shoulders--"I'll be cleaned out."
He looked with narrowed, shifting eyes at Dumont. "My wife has
all she's got in this," he went on, "even her jewels."
Dumont's look shot straight into Fanshaw's.
"Not a cent!" he said with vicious emphasis. "Not a red!"
Fanshaw paled and pinched in his lips. "I'm a desperate man.
I'm ruined. Leonora--"
Dumont shook his head, the veins swelling in his forehead and
neck. The last strand of his self-restraint snapped. "Leave
her out of this! She has no claim on me NOW--and YOU never had."
Fanshaw stared at him, then sprang to his feet, all in a blaze.
"You scoundrel!" he shouted, shaking his fist under Dumont's
"If you don't clear out instantly I'll have you thrown out,"
said Dumont. He was cool and watchful now.
Fanshaw folded his arms and looked down at him with the dignified
fury of the betrayed and outraged. "So!" he exclaimed. "I
see it all!"
Dumont pressed an electric button, then leaned back in his
revolving chair and surveyed Fanshaw tranquilly. "Not a cent!"
he repeated, a cruel smile in his eyes and round his mouth. The
boy came and Dumont said to him: "Send the watchman."
Fanshaw drew himself up. "I shall punish you," he said.
"Your wealth will not save you." And he stalked past the
gaping office boy.
He stood in front of the Edison Building, looking aimlessly up
and down the street as he pulled his long, narrow, brown-gray
mustache. Gloom was in his face and hate in his heart--not hate
for Dumont alone but hate for all who were what he longed to be,
all rich and "successful" men. And the towering steel and
stone palaces of prosperity sneered down on him with crushing
"Damn them all!" he muttered. "The cold-hearted thieves!"
From his entry into that district he had played a gambling game,
had played it dishonestly in a small way. Again and again he had
sneakingly violated Wall Street's code of morality--that curious
code with its quaint, unexpected incorporations of parts of the
decalogue and its quainter, though not so unexpected,
infringements thereof and amendments thereto. Now by "pull,"
now by trickery, he had evaded punishment. But apparently at
last he was to be brought to bar, branded and banished.
"Damn them all!" he repeated. "They're a pack of wolves.
They've got me down and they're going to eat me."
He blamed Dumont and he blamed his wife for his plight--and there
was some justice in both accusations. Twenty years before, he
had come down to "the Street" a frank-looking boy, of an old
and distinguished New York family that had become too
aristocratic for business and had therefore lost its hold upon
its once great fortune. He was neither a good boy nor a bad.
But he was weak, and had the extravagant tastes and cynical
morals to which he had been bred; and his intelligent brain was
of the kind that goes with weakness--shrewd and sly, preferring
to slink along the byways of craft even when the highway of
courage lies straight and easy. But he had physical bravery and
the self-confidence that is based upon an assured social position
in a community where social position is worshiped; so, he passed
for manly and proud when he was in reality neither. Family
vanity he had; personal pride he had not.
In many environments his weakness would have remained hidden even
from himself, and he would have lived and died in the odor and
complacence of respectability. But not in the strain and stress
of Wall Street. There he had naturally developed not into a
lion, not even into a wolf, but into a coyote.
Wall Street found him out in ten years--about one year after it
began to take note of him and his skulking ways and his habit of
prowling in the wake of the pack. Only his adroit use of his
family connections and social position saved him from being
trampled to death by the wolves and eaten by his brother coyotes.
Thereafter he lived precariously, but on the whole sumptuously,
upon carcasses of one kind and another. He participated in
"strike" suits against big corporations--he would set on a pack
of coyotes to dog the lions and to raise discordant howls that
inopportunely centered public attention upon leonine, lawless
doings; the lions would pay him well to call off the pack. He
assisted sometimes wolves and sometimes coyotes in flotations of
worthless, or almost worthless, stocks and bonds from gold and
mahogany offices and upon a sea of glittering prospectuses. He
had a hand in all manner of small, shady transactions of lawful,
or almost lawful, swindling that were tolerated by lions and
wolves, because at bottom there is a feeling of fellowship among
creatures of prey as against creatures preyed upon.
There were days when he came home haggard and blue in the lips to
tell Leonora that he must fly. There were days when he returned
from the chase, or rather from the skulk, elated, youthful, his
pockets full of money and his imagination afire with hopes of
substantial wealth. But his course was steadily downward, his
methods steadily farther and farther from the line of the law.
Dumont came just in time to save him, came to build him up from
the most shunned of coyotes into a deceptive imitation of a wolf
with aspirations toward the lion class.
Leonora knew that he was small, but she thought all men
small--she had supreme contempt for her own sex; and it seemed to
her that men must be even less worthy of respect since they were
under the influence of women and lavished time and money on them.
Thus she was deceived into cherishing the hope that her husband,
small and timid though he was, would expand into a
multi-millionaire and would help her to possess the splendors she
now enjoyed at the expense of her associates whom she despised.
She was always thinking how far more impressive than their
splendor her magnificence would be, if their money were added to
her brains and beauty.
Dumont had helped Fanshaw as much as he could. He immediately
detected the coyote. He knew it was impossible to make a lion or
even a wolf out of one who was both small and crooked. He used
him only in minor matters, chiefly in doing queer, dark things on
the market with National Woolens, things he indirectly ordered
done but refused to know the details of beyond the one important
detail--the record of checks for the profits in his bank account.
For such matters Fanshaw did as well as another. But as Dumont
became less of a wolf and more of a lion, less of a speculator
and more of a financier, he had less and less work of the kind
Fanshaw could do.
But Leonora, unaware of her husband's worthlessness and desperate
in her calamities, sneered and jeered and lashed him on--to ruin.
The coyote could put on the airs of a lion so long as the lion
was his friend and protector; when he kept on in kingly ways
after the lion had cast him off, he speedily came to grief.
As he stood looking helplessly up and down Broad Street he was
debating what move to make. There were about even measures of
truth and falsehood in his statement to Dumont--he did need two
hundred thousand dollars; and he must have it before a quarter
past two that day or go into a bankruptcy from which he could not
hope to save a shred of reputation or to secrete more than fifty
thousand dollars.
"To the New York Life Building," he finally said to the driver
as he got into his hansom. Then to himself: "I'll have a go at
old Herron."
He knew that Dumont and Herron had quarreled, and that Herron had
sold out of the National Woolens Company. But he did not know
that Herron was a man with a fixed idea, hatred of Dumont, and a
fixed purpose, to damage him at every opportunity that offered or
could be created, to ruin him if possible.
When the National Woolens Company was expanded into the huge
conglomerate it now was--a hundred millions common, a hundred
millions preferred, and twenty millions of bonds--Herron had
devised and directed the intricate and highly perilous course
among the rocks of law and public opinion in many states and in
the nation. It was a splendid exhibition of legal piloting, and
he was bitterly dissatisfied with the modest reward of ten
millions of the preferred stock which Dumont apportioned to him.
He felt that that would have been about his just share in the new
concern merely in exchange for his stock in the old. When he
found Dumont obdurate, and grew frank and spoke such words as
"dishonor" and "dishonesty" and got into the first syllable
of "swindling," Dumont cut him off with--
"If you don't like it, get out! I can hire that sort of work
for half what I've paid you. You're swollen with vanity. We
ought to have a young man in your position, anyhow."
Herron might have swallowed the insult to his pride as a lawyer.
But the insult to his pride in his youth! He was fifty-seven and
in dress and in expression was stoutly insisting that he was
still a young man whom hard work had made prematurely gray and
somewhat wrinkled. Dumont's insinuation that he was old and
stale set a great fire of hate blazing; he, of course, told
himself and others that his wrath was stirred solely because his
sense of justice had been outraged by the "swindling."
Fanshaw entered Herron's office wearing the jaunty air of
arrogant prosperity, never so important as when prosperity has
fled. But Herron's shrewd, experienced eyes penetrated the sham.
He had intended to be cold. Scenting a "hard-luck yarn" and a
"touch" he lowered his temperature to the point at which
conversation is ice-beset and confidences are frozen tight.
Fanshaw's nerve deserted him. "Herron," he said, dropping his
prosperous pose, "I want to get a divorce and I want to punish
Herron's narrow, cold face lighted up. He knew what everybody in
their set knew of Fanshaw's domestic affairs, but like everybody
else he had pretended not to know. He changed his expression to
one of shock and indignation.
"You astound me!" he exclaimed. "It is incredible!"
"He told me himself not an hour ago," said Fanshaw. "I went
to him as a friend to ask him to help me out of a hole. And--"
He rose and theatrically paced the floor.
Herron prided himself upon his acute conscience and his nice
sense of honor. He felt that here was a chance to wreak
vengeance upon Dumont--or rather, as he put it to himself, to
bring Dumont to an accounting for his depravity. Just as Dumont
maintained with himself a character of honesty by ignoring all
the dubious acts which his agents were forced to do in carrying
out his orders, so Herron kept peace with a far more sensitive
conscience by never permitting it to look in upon his mind or out
through his eyes.
"Frightful! Frightful!" he exclaimed, after a long pause in
which his immured and blindfold conscience decided that he could
afford to support Fanshaw. "I knew he was a rascal in
business--but THIS!"
There was genuine emotion in his voice and in his mind. He was
strict to puritanic primness in his ideals of feminine morality;
nor had he been relaxed by having a handsome wife, looking scarce
a day over thirty behind her veil or in artificial light, and
fond of gathering about her young men who treated him as if he
were old and "didn't count."
"You are certain, Fanshaw?"
"I tell you, he hinted it himself," replied Fanshaw. "And
instantly my eyes were opened to scores of damning
confirmations." He struck his forehead with his open hand.
"How blind I've been!" he exclaimed.
Herron shook his head sympathetically and hastened on to
"WE can't handle your case," he said. "But Best and
Sharpless, on the floor above, are reliable. And I'll be glad to
help you with advice. I feel that this is the beginning of
Dumont's end. I knew such insolent wickedness could not have a
long course."
Fanshaw drew Herron on to tell the story of his wrongs--the
"swindling." Before it was ended Fanshaw saw that he had found
a man who hated Dumont malignantly and was thirsting for
vengeance. This encouraged him to unfold his financial
difficulties. Herron listened sympathetically, asked ingeniously
illuminating questions, and in the end agreed to tide him over.
He had assured himself that Fanshaw had simply undertaken too
large an enterprise; the advance would be well secured; he would
make the loan in such a way that he would get a sure profit, and
would also bind Fanshaw firmly to him without binding himself to
Fanshaw. Besides--"It wouldn't do for him to go to the wall
just now."
Arm in arm they went up to Best and Sharpless' to take the first
steps in the suit. Together they went down-town to relieve
Fanshaw of the pressure of the too heavy burden of copper stocks;
then up to their club where he assisted Fanshaw in composing the
breaking-off letter to Leonora.
While the Fanshaw-Herron storm was slowly gathering in Dumont's
eastern horizon, two others equally black were lifting in the
In the two months between Scarborough's election and his
inauguration, the great monopolies thriving under the protection
of the state's corrupted statute-book and corrupted officials
followed the lead of their leader, Dumont's National Woolens
Company, in making sweeping but stealthy changes in their prices,
wages, methods and even in their legal status. They hoped thus
to enable their Legislature plausibly to resist Scarborough's
demand for a revision of the laws--why revise when the cry of
monopoly had been shown to be a false issue raised by a demagogue
to discredit the tried leaders of the party and to aggrandize
himself? And, when Scarborough had been thoroughly "exposed,"
business could be resumed gradually.
But Scarborough had the better brain, and had character as well.
He easily upset their program and pressed their Legislature so
hard that it was kept in line only by pouring out money like
water. This became a public scandal which made him stronger than
ever and also made it seem difficult or impossible for the
monopolies to get a corruptible Legislature at the next election.
At last the people had in their service a lawyer equal in ability
to the best the monopolies could buy, and one who understood
human nature and political machinery to boot.
Dumont began to respect Scarborough profoundly--not for his
character, which made him impregnable with the people, but for
his intellect, which showed him how to convince the people of his
character and to keep them convinced. When Merriweather came on
"to take his beating" from his employer he said among other
things deprecatory: "Scarborough's a dreamer. His head's among
the clouds." Dumont retorted: "Yes, but his feet are on the
ground--too damned firmly to suit me." And after a moment's
thought, he added: "What a shame for such a brain to go to
waste! Why, he could make millions."
He felt that Gladys was probably his best remaining card. She
had been in Indianapolis visiting the whole of February,
Scarborough's second month as governor, and had gone on to her
brother in New York with a glowing report of her progress with
Scarborough's sister Arabella, now a widow and at her own
invitation living with him in Indianapolis to relieve him of the
social duties of his office. She was a dozen years more the
Arabella who had roused her father's wrath by her plans for
educating her brother "like a gentleman"; and Olivia and Fred
were irritated and even alarmed by her anything but helpful
peculiarities--though Scarborough seemed cheerful and indifferent
enough about them.
It was a temperamental impossibility for Dumont to believe that
Scarborough could really be sincere in a course which was
obviously unprofitable. Therefore he attached even more
importance to Arabella's cordiality than did Gladys herself.
And, when the Legislature adjourned and Scarborough returned to
Saint X for a brief stay, Dumont sent Gladys post-haste back to
the Eyrie--that is, she instantly and eagerly acted upon his
A few evenings after her return, she and Pauline were on the
south veranda alone in the starlight. She was in low spirits and
presently began to rail against her lot.
"Don't be absurd," said Pauline. "You've no right to
complain. You have everything--and you're--free!"
That word "free" was often on Pauline's lips in those days.
And a close observer might have been struck by the tone in which
she uttered it. Not the careless tone of those who have never
had or have never lost freedom, but the lingering, longing tone
of those who have had it, and have learned to value it through
long years without it.
"Yes--everything!" replied Gladys, bitterly. "Everything
except the one thing I want."
Pauline did not help her, but she was at the stage of suppressed
feeling where desire to confide is stronger than pride.
"The one thing I want," she repeated. "Pauline, I used to
think I'd never care much for any man, except to like it for him
to like me. Men have always been a sort of amusement--and the
oftener the man changed, the better the fun. I've known for
several years that I simply must marry, but I've refused to face
it. It seemed to me I was fated to wander the earth, homeless,
begging from door to door for leave to come in and rest a
"You know perfectly well, Gladys, that this is your home."
"Of course--in a sense. It's as much my home as another woman's
house could be. But"--with a little sob--"I've seen my mate
and I want to begin my nest."
They were side by side on a wide, wicker sofa. Pauline made an
impulsive move to put her arm round Gladys, then drew away and
clasped her hands tightly in her lap.
Gladys was crying, sobbing, brokenly apologizing for it--"I'm a
little idiot--but I can't help it--I haven't any pride left--a
woman never does have, really, when she's in love--oh, Pauline,
do you think he cares at all for me?" And after a pause she
went on, too absorbed in herself to observe Pauline or to wonder
at her silence: "Sometimes I think he does. Again I fear
that--that he doesn't. And lately--why doesn't he come here any
"You know how busy he is," said Pauline, in a voice so strained
that Gladys ought to have noticed it.
"But it isn't that--I'm sure it isn't. No, it has something to
do with me. It means either that he doesn't care for me or
that--that he does care and is fighting against it. Oh, I don't
know what to think." Then, after a pause: "How I hate being a
woman! If I were a man I could find out the truth--settle it one
way or the other. But I must sit dumb and wait, and wait, and
wait! You don't know how I love him," she said brokenly,
burying her face in the ends of the soft white shawl that was
flung about her bare shoulders. "I can't help it--he's the
best--he makes all the others look and talk like cheap
imitations. He's the best, and a woman can't help wanting the
Pauline rose and leaned against the railing--she could evade the
truth no longer. Gladys was in love with Scarborough, was at
last caught in her own toils, would go on entangling herself
deeper and deeper, abandoning herself more and more to a hopeless
love, unless--
"What would you do, Pauline?" pleaded Gladys. "There must be
some reason why he doesn't speak. It isn't fair to me--it isn't
fair! I could stand anything--even giving him up--better than
this uncertainty. It's--it's breaking my heart--I who thought I
didn't have a heart."
"No, it isn't fair," said Pauline, to herself rather than to
"I suppose you don't sympathize with me," Gladys went on. "I
know you don't like him. I've noticed how strained and distant
you are toward each other. And you seem to avoid each other.
And he'll never talk of you to me. Did you have some sort of
misunderstanding at college?"
"Yes," said Pauline, slowly. "A--a misunderstanding."
"And you both remember it, after all these years?"
"Yes," said Pauline.
"How relentless you are," said Gladys, "and how tenacious!"
But she was too intent upon her own affairs to pursue a subject
which seemed to lead away from them. Presently she rose.
"I'll be ashamed of having confessed when I see you in daylight.
But I don't care. I shan't be sorry. I feel a little better.
After all, why should I be ashamed of any one knowing I care for
him?" And she sighed, laughed, went into the house, whistling
softly--sad, depressed, but hopeful, feeling deep down that she
surely must win where she had never known what it was to lose.
Pauline looked after her. "No, it isn't fair," she repeated.
She stayed on the veranda, walking slowly to and fro not to make
up her mind, for she had done that while Gladys was confessing,
but to decide how she could best accomplish what she saw she must
now no longer delay. It was not until two hours later that she
went up to bed.
When Gladys came down at nine the next morning Pauline had just
gone out--"I think, Miss Gladys, she told the coachman to drive
to her father's," said the butler.
Gladys set out alone. Instead of keeping to the paths and the
woods along the edge of the bluff she descended to the valley and
the river road. She walked rapidly, her face glowing, her eyes
sparkling--she was quick to respond to impressions through the
senses, and to-day she felt so well physically that it reacted
upon her mind and forced her spirits up. At the turn beyond Deer
Creek bridge she met Scarborough suddenly. He, too, was afoot
and alone, and his greeting was interpreted to her hopes by her
"May I turn and walk with you?" he asked.
"I'm finding myself disagreeable company today."
"You did look dull," she said, as they set out together, "dull
as a love-sick German. But I supposed it was your executive
"I was thinking that I'll be old before I know it." His
old-young face was shadowed for an instant. "Old--that's an
unpleasant thought, isn't it?"
"Unpleasant for a man," said Gladys, with a laugh, light as
youth's dread of age. "For a woman, ghastly! Old and
alone--either one's dreadful enough. But--the two together! I
often think of them. Don't laugh at me--really I do. Don't
"If you keep to that, our walk'll be a dismal failure. It's a
road I never take--if I can help it."
"You don't look as though you were ever gloomy." Gladys
glanced up at him admiringly. "I should have said you were one
person the blue devils wouldn't dare attack."
"Yes, but they do. And sometimes they throw me."
"And trample you?"
"And trample me," he answered absently.
"That's because you're alone too much," she said with a look of
tactful sympathy.
"Precisely," he replied. "But how am I to prevent that?"
"Marry, of course," she retorted, smiling gaily up at him,
letting her heart just peep from her eyes.
"Thank you! And it sounds so easy! May I ask why you've
refused to take your own medicine--you who say you are so often
She shrugged her shoulders. "I've always suspected the men who
asked me. They were--" She did not finish what she feared
might be an unwise, repelling remark in the circumstances.
"They were after your money," he finished for her.
She nodded. "They were Europeans," she explained. "Europeans
want money when they marry."
"That's another of the curses of riches," he said judicially.
"And if you marry a rich man over here, you may be pretty sure
he'll marry you for your money. I've observed that rich men
attach an exaggerated importance to money, always."
"I'd prefer to marry a poor man," she hastened to answer, her
heart beating faster--certainly his warning against rich suitors
must have been designed to help his own cause with her.
"Yes, that might be better," he agreed. "But you would have
to be careful after you were married or he might fancy you were
using your money to tyrannize over him. I've noticed that the
poor husbands of rich women are supersensitive--often for
"Oh, I'd give it all to him. He could do what he pleased with
it. I'd not care so long as we were happy."
Scarborough liked the spirit of this, liked her look as she said
"That's very generous--very like you," he replied warmly.
"But I don't think it would be at all wise. You'd be in a
dangerous position. You might spoil him--great wealth is a great
danger, and when it's suddenly acquired, and so easily-- No,
you'd better put your wealth aside and only use so much of it as
will make your income equal to his--if you can stand living
"I could stand anything with or from any one I cared for."
Gladys was eager for the conversation to turn from the general to
the particular. She went on, forcing her voice to hide her
interest: "And you, why don't you cure your blues?"
"Oh, I shall," he replied carelessly. "But not with your
medicine. Every one to his own prescription."
"And what's yours for yourself?" said Gladys, feeling tired and
nervous from the strain of this delayed happiness.
"Mine?" He laughed. "My dreams."
"You are a strange combination, aren't you? In one way you're
so very practical--with your politics and all that. And in
another way--I suspect you of being sentimental--almost
"You've plucked out the heart of my mystery. My real name is
non Quixote de Saint X."
"And has your Dulcinea red hands and a flat nose and freckles
like the lady of Toboso?" Gladys' hands were white, her nose
notably fine, her skin transparently clear.
"Being Don Quixote, I don't know it if she has."
"And you prefer to worship afar, and to send her news of your
triumphs instead of going to her yourself?"
"I dare not go." He was looking away, far away. "There are
wicked enchanters. I'm powerless. She alone can break their
They walked in silence, her heart beating so loudly that she
thought he must be hearing it, must be hearing what it was
saying. Yes--she must break the spells. But how--but how? What
must she say to make him see? Did he expect her to ask him to
marry her? She had heard that rich women often were forced to
make this concession to the pride of the men they wished to
marry. On the other hand, was there ever a man less likely than
Scarborough to let any obstacle stand between him and what he
The first huge drops of a summer rain pattered in big, round
stains, brown upon the white of the road. He glanced up--a cloud
was rolling from beyond the cliffs, was swiftly curtaining the
"Come," he commanded, and they darted into the underbrush, he
guiding her by her arm. A short dash among the trees and bushes
and they were at the base of the bluff, were shielded by a shelf
of rock.
"It'll be over soon," he assured her. "But you must stand
close or you'll be drenched."
A clap of thunder deafened them as a flame and a force enswathed
the sycamore tree a few yards away, blowing off its bark,
scattering its branches, making it all in an instant a blackened
and blasted wreck. Gladys gave a low scream of terror, fell
against him, hid her face in his shoulder. She was trembling
violently. He put his arm round her--if he had not supported her
she would have fallen. She leaned against him, clinging to him,
so that he felt the beat of her heart, the swell and fall of her
bosom, felt the rush of her young blood through her veins, felt
the thrill from her smooth, delicate, olive skin. And he, too,
was trembling--shaken in all his nerves.
"Don't be afraid," he said--in his voice he unconsciously
betrayed the impulse that was fighting for possession of him.
She drew herself closer to him with a long, tremulous sigh.
"I'm a coward," she murmured. "I'm shaking so that I can't
stand." She tried to draw herself away--or did she only make
pretense to him and to herself that she was trying?--then relaxed
again into his arms.
The thunder cracked and crashed; the lightnings leaped in streaks
and in sheets; the waters gushed from the torn clouds and
obscured the light like a heavy veil. She looked up at him in
the dimness--she, too, was drunk with the delirium of the storms
raging without and within them. His brain swam giddily. The
points of gold in her dark eyes were drawing him like so many
powerful magnets. Their lips met and he caught her up in his
arms. And for a moment all the fire of his intensely masculine
nature, so long repressed, raged over her lips, her eyes, her
hair, her cheeks, her chin.
A moment she lay, happy as a petrel, beaten by a tempest; a
moment her thirsty heart drank in the ecstasy of the lightnings
through her lips and skin and hair.
She opened her eyes to find out why there was a sudden calm. She
saw him staring with set, white face through the rain-veil. His
arms still held her, but where they had been like the clasp of
life itself, they were now dead as the arms of a statue. A
feeling of cold chilled her skin, trickled icily in and in. She
released herself--he did not oppose her.
"It seems to me I'll never be able to look you--or myself--in
the face again," he said at last.
"I didn't know it was in me to--to take advantage of a woman's
"I wanted you to do what you did," she said simply.
He shook his head. "You are generous," he answered. "But I
deserve nothing but your contempt."
"I wanted you to do it," she repeated. She was under the spell
of her love and of his touch. She was clutching to save what she
could, was desperately hoping it might not be so little as she
feared. "I had the--the same impulse that you had." She
looked at him timidly, with a pleading smile. "And please don't
say you're sorry you did it, even if you feel so. You'll think
me very bold--I know it isn't proper for young women to make such
admissions. But--don't reproach yourself--please!"
If she could have looked into his mind as he stood there, crushed
and degraded in his own eyes, she would have been a little
consoled--for, in defiance of his self-scorn and self-hate, his
nerves were tingling with the memory of that delirium, and his
brain was throbbing with the surge of impulses long dormant, now
imperious. But she was not even looking toward him--for, through
her sense of shame, of wounded pride, her love was clamoring to
her to cry out: "Take me in your arms again! I care not on
what terms, only take me and hold me and kiss me."
The rain presently ceased as abruptly as it had begun and they
returned under the dripping leaves to the highroad. She glanced
anxiously at him as they walked toward the town, but he did not
speak. She saw that if the silence was to be broken, she must
break it.
"What can I say to convince you?" she asked, as if not he but
she were the offender.
He did not answer.
"Won't you look at me, please?"
He looked, the color mounting in his cheeks, his eyes unsteady.
"Now, tell me you'll not make me suffer because you fancy you've
wronged me. Isn't it ungallant of you to act this way after I've
humiliated myself to confess I didn't mind?"
"Thank you," he said humbly, and looked away.
"You won't have it that I was in the least responsible?" She
was teasing him now--he was plainly unaware of the meaning of her
yielding. "He's so modest," she thought, and went on: "You
won't permit me to flatter myself I was a temptation too strong
even for your iron heart, Don Quixote?"
He flushed scarlet, and the suspicion, the realization of the
truth set her eyes to flashing.
"It's before another woman he's abasing himself," she thought,
"not before me. He isn't even thinking of me." When she spoke
her tone was cold and sneering: "I hope she will forgive you.
She certainly would if she could know what a paladin you are."
He winced, but did not answer. At the road up the bluffs she
paused and there was an embarrassed silence. Then he poured out
abrupt sentences:
"It was doubly base. I betrayed your friendly trust, I was
false to her. Don't misunderstand--she's nothing to me. She's
nothing to me, yet everything. I began really to live when I
began to love her. And--every one must have a--a pole-star. And
she's mine--the star I sail by, and always must. And--" He
halted altogether, then blundered on: "I shall not forgive
myself. But you--be merciful--forgive me--forget it!"
"I shall do neither," she replied curtly, jealousy and vanity
stamping down the generous impulse that rose in response to his
appeal. And she went up her road. A few yards and she paused,
hoping to hear him coming after her. A few yards more and she
sat down on a big boulder by the wayside. Until now all the
wishes of her life had been more or less material, had been
wishes which her wealth or the position her wealth gave had
enabled her instantly to gratify. She buried her face in her
arms and sobbed and rocked herself to and fro, in a cyclone of
anger, and jealousy, and shame, and love, and despair.
"I hate him!" she exclaimed between clenched teeth. "I hate
him, but--if he came and wanted me, oh, how I would LOVE him!"
Meanwhile Pauline was at her father's.
"He isn't down yet," said her mother. "You know, he doesn't
finish dressing nowadays until he has read the papers and his
mail. Then he walks in the garden."
"I'll go there," said Pauline. "Won't you bring him when he's
She never entered the garden that the ghosts of her
childhood--how far, far it seemed!--did not join her, brushing
against her, or rustling in tree and bush and leafy trellis. She
paused at the end of the long arbor and sat on the rustic bench
there. A few feet away was the bed of lilies-of-the-valley.
Every spring of her childhood she used to run from the house on
the first warm morning and hurry to it; and if her glance raised
her hopes she would kneel upon the young grass and lower her head
until her long golden hair touched the black ground; and the soil
that had been hard and cold all winter would be cracked open this
way and that; and from the cracks would issue an odor--the odor
of life. And as she would peer into each crack in turn she would
see, down, away down, the pale tip of what she knew to be an
up-shooting slender shaft. And her heart would thrill with joy,
for she knew that the shafts would presently rise green above the
black earth, would unfold, would blossom, would bloom, would
fling from tremulous bells a perfumed proclamation of the arrival
of spring.
As she sat waiting, it seemed to her that through the black earth
of her life she could see and feel the backward heralds of her
spring--"after the long winter," she said to herself.
She glanced up--her father coming toward her. He was alone, was
holding a folded letter uncertainly in his hand. He looked at
her, his eyes full of pity and grief. "Pauline," he began,
"has everything been--been well--of late between you and--your
She started. "No, father," she replied. Then, looking at him
with clear directness: "I've not been showing you and mother
the truth about John and me--not for a long time."
She saw that her answer relieved him. He hesitated, held out the
"The best way is for you to read it," he said. It was a letter
to him from Fanshaw. He was writing, he explained, because the
discharge of a painful duty to himself would compel him "to give
pain to your daughter whom I esteem highly," and he thought it
only right "to prepare her and her family for what was coming,
in order that they might be ready to take the action that would
suggest itself." And he went on to relate his domestic troubles
and his impending suit.
"Poor Leonora!" murmured Pauline, as she finished and sat
thinking of all that Fanshaw's letter involved.
"Is it true, Polly?" asked her father.
She gave a great sigh of relief. How easy this letter had made
all that she had been dreading! "Yes--it's true," she replied.
"I've known about--about it ever since the time I came back from
the East and didn't return."
The habitual pallor of her father's face changed to gray.
"I left him, father." She lifted her head, impatient of her
stammering. A bright flush was in her face as she went on
rapidly: "And I came to-day to tell you the whole story--to be
truthful and honest again. I'm sick of deception and evasion. I
can't stand it any longer--I mustn't. I--you don't know how I've
shrunk from wounding mother and you. But I've no choice now.
Father, I must be free--free!"
"And you shall be," replied her father. "He shall not wreck
your life and Gardiner's."
Pauline stared at him. "Father!" she exclaimed.
He put his arm round her and drew her gently to him.
"I know the idea is repellent," he said, as if he were trying
to persuade a child. "But it's right, Pauline. There are cases
in which not to divorce would be a sin. I hope my daughter sees
that this is one."
"I don't understand," she said confusedly. "I thought you and
mother believed divorce was dreadful--no matter what might
"We did, Pauline. But we--that is, I--had never had it brought
home. A hint of this story was published just after you came
last year. I thought it false, but it set me to thinking. `If
your daughter's husband had turned out to be as you once thought
him, would it be right for her to live on with him? To live a
lie, to pretend to keep her vows to love and honor him? Would it
be right to condemn Gardiner to be poisoned by such a father?'
And at last I saw the truth, and your mother agreed with me. We
had been too narrow. We had been laying down our own notions as
God's great justice."
Pauline drew away from her father so that she could look at him.
And at last she saw into his heart. "If I had only known," she
said, and sat numb and stunned.
"When you were coming home from college," her father went on,
"your mother and I talked over what we should do. John had just
confessed your secret marriage--"
"You knew that!"
"Yes, and we understood, Polly. You were so young--so
headstrong--and you couldn't appreciate our reasons."
Pauline's brain was reeling.
"Your mother and I talked it over before you got home and
thought it best to leave you entirely free to choose. But when
we saw you overcome by joy--"
"Don't!" she interrupted, her voice a cry of pain. "I can't
bear it! Don't!" Years of false self-sacrifice, of deceiving
her parents and her child, of self-suppression and
self-degradation, and this final cruelty to Gladys--all, all in
vain, all a heaping of folly upon folly, of wrong upon wrong.
She rushed toward the house. She must fly
somewhere--anywhere--to escape the thoughts that were picking
with sharp beaks at her aching heart. Half-way up the walk she
turned and fled to a refuge she would not have thought of half an
hour before to her father's arms.
"Oh, father," she cried. "If I had only known you!"
Gladys, returning from her walk, went directly to Pauline's
"I'm off for New York and Europe to-morrow morning," she began
abruptly, her voice hard, her expression bitter and reckless.
"Where can she have heard about Leonora?" thought Pauline. She
said in a strained voice: "I had hoped you would stay here to
look after the house."
"To look after the house? What do you mean?" asked Gladys.
But she was too full of herself to be interested in the answer,
and went on: "I want you to forget what I said to you. I've
got over all that. I've come to my senses."
Pauline began a nervous turning of her rings.
Gladys gave a short, grim laugh. "I detest him," she went on.
"We're very changeable, we women, aren't we? I went out of this
house two hours ago loving him--to distraction. I came back
hating him. And all that has happened in between is that I met
him and he kissed me a few times and stabbed my pride a few
Pauline stopped turning her rings--she rose slowly, mechanically,
looked straight at Gladys.
"That is not true," she said calmly.
Gladys laughed sardonically. "You don't know the cold and
haughty Governor Scarborough. There's fire under the ice. I can
feel the places on my face where it scorched. Can't you see
Pauline gave her a look of disgust. "How like John Dumont's
sister!" she thought. And she shut herself in her room and
stayed there, pleading illness in excuse, until Gladys was gone.
On the third day from New York, Gladys was so far recovered from
seasickness that she dragged herself to the deck. The water was
fairly smooth, but a sticky, foggy rain was falling. A
deck-steward put her steamer-chair in a sheltered corner. Her
maid and a stewardess swathed her in capes and rugs; she closed
her eyes and said: "Now leave me, please, and don't come near
me till I send for you."
She slept an hour. When she awoke she felt better. Some one had
drawn a chair beside hers and was seated there--a man, for she
caught the faint odor of a pipe, though the wind was the other
way. She turned her head. It was Langdon, whom she had not seen
since she went below a few hours after Sandy Hook disappeared.
Indeed, she had almost forgotten that he was on board and that
her brother had asked him to look after her. He was staring at
her in an absent-minded way, his wonted expression of satire and
lazy good-humor fainter than usual. In fact, his face was almost
"That pipe," she grumbled. "Please do put it away."
He tossed it into the sea. "Beg pardon," he said. "It was
stupid of me. I was absorbed in--in my book."
"What's the name of it?"
He turned it to glance at the cover, but she went on:
"No--don't tell me. I've no desire to know. I asked merely to
confirm my suspicion."
"You're right," he said. "I wasn't reading. I was looking at
"That was impertinent. A man should not look at a woman when
she doesn't intend him to look."
"Then I'd never look at all. I'm interested only in things not
meant for my eyes. I might even read letters not addressed to me
if I didn't know how dull letters are. No intelligent person
ever says anything in a letter nowadays. They use the telegraph
for ordinary correspondence, and telepathy for the other kind.
But it was interesting--looking at you as you lay asleep."
"Was my mouth open?"
"A little."
"Am I yellow?"
"Eyes red? Hair in strings? Lips blue?"
"All that," he said, "and skin somewhat mottled. But I was
not so much interested in your beauty as I was in trying to
determine whether you were well enough to stand two shocks."
"I need them," replied Gladys.
"One is rather unpleasant, the other--the reverse, in fact a
"The unpleasant first, please."
"Certainly," he replied. "Always the medicine first, then the
candy." And he leaned back and closed his eyes and seemed to be
settling himself for indefinite silence.
"Go on," she said impatiently. "What's the medicine? A
"I said unpleasant, didn't I? When an enemy dies it's all joy.
When a friend passes over to eternal bliss, why, being good
Christians, we are not so faithless and selfish as to let the
momentary separation distress us."
"But what is it? You're trying to gain time by all this beating
about the bush. You ought to know me well enough to know you can
speak straight out."
"Fanshaw's suing his wife for divorce--and he names Jack."
"Is that your news?" said Gladys, languidly. Suddenly she
flung aside the robes and sat up.
"What's Pauline going to do? Can she--" Gladys paused.
"Yes, she can--if she wishes to."
"But--will she? Will she?" demanded Gladys.
"Jack doesn't know what she'll do," replied Langdon. "He's
keeping quiet--the only sane course when that kind of storm
breaks. He had hoped you'd be there to smooth her down, but he
says when he opened the subject of your going back to Saint X you
cut him off."
"Does she know?"
"Somebody must have told her the day you left. Don't you
remember, she was taken ill suddenly?"
"Oh!" Gladys vividly recalled Pauline's strange look and
manner. She could see her sister-in-law--the long, lithe form,
the small, graceful head, with its thick, soft, waving hair, the
oval face, the skin as fine as the petals at the heart of a rose,
the arched brows and golden-brown eyes; that look, that air, as
of buoyant life locked in the spell of an icy trance, mysterious,
fascinating, sometimes so melancholy.
"I almost hope she'll do it, Mowbray," she said. "Jack
doesn't deserve her. He's not a bit her sort. She ought to have
"Some one who had her sort of ideals--some one like that big,
handsome chap--the one you admired so frantically--Governor
Scarborough. He was chock full of ideals. And he's making the
sort of career she could sympathize with."
"Scarborough!" exclaimed Gladys, with some success at
self-concealment. "I detest him! I detest `careers'!"
"Good," said Langdon, his face serious, his eyes amused.
"That opens the way for my other shock."
"Oh, the good news. What is it?"
"That I'd like it if you'd marry me."
Gladys glanced into his still amused eyes, then with a shrug sank
back among her wraps. "A poor joke," she said.
"I should say that marriage was a stale joke rather than a poor
one. Will you try it--with me? You might do worse."
"How did you have the courage to speak when I'm looking such a
wreck?" she asked with mock gravity.
"But you ain't--you're looking better now. That first shock
braced you up. Besides, this isn't romance. It's no high flight
with all the longer drop and all the harder jolt at the landing.
It's a plain, practical proposition."
Gladys slowly sat up and studied him curiously.
"Do you really mean it?" she asked. Each was leaning on an
elbow, gazing gravely into the other's face.
"I'd never joke on such a dangerous subject as marriage. I'm
far too timid for that. What do you say, Gladys?"
She had never seen him look serious before, and she was thinking
that the expression became him.
"He knows how to make himself attractive to a woman when he
cares to," she said to herself.
"I'd like a man that has lightness of mind. Serious people bore
one so after a while." By "serious people" she meant one
serious person whom she had admired particularly for his
seriousness. But she was in another mood now, another
atmosphere--the atmosphere she had breathed since she was
thirteen, except in the brief period when her infatuation for
Scarborough had swept her away from her world.
"No!" She shook her head with decision--and felt decided. But
to his practised ear there was in her voice a hint that she might
hear him further on the subject.
They lay back in their chairs, he watching the ragged, dirty,
scurrying clouds, she watching him. After a while he said:
"Where are you going when we reach the other side?"
"To join mother and auntie."
"And how long will you stay with them?"
"Not more than a week, I should say," she answered with a
"And then--where?"
She did not reply for some time. Studying her face, he saw an
expression of lonesomeness gather and strengthen and deepen until
she looked so forlorn that he felt as if he must take her in his
arms. When she spoke it was to say dubiously: "Back to New
York--to keep house for my brother--perhaps."
"And when his wife frees herself and he marries again--where
will you go?"
Gladys lifted a fold of her cape and drew it about her as if she
were cold. But he noted that it hid her face from him.
"You want--you need--a home? So do I," he went on tranquilly.
"You are tired of wandering? So am I. You are bored with
parade and parade--people? So am I. You wish freedom, not
bondage, when you marry? I refuse to be bound, and I don't wish
to bind any one. We have the same friends, the same tastes, have
had pretty much the same experiences. You don't want to be
married for your money. I'm not likely to be suspected of doing
that sort of thing."
"Some one has said that rich men marry more often for money than
poor men," interrupted Gladys. And then she colored as she
recalled who had said it.
Langdon noted her color as he noted every point in any game he
was playing; he shrewdly guessed its origin. "When Scarborough
told you that," he replied calmly, "he told you a great truth.
But please remember, I merely said I shouldn't be SUSPECTED of
marrying you for money. I didn't say I wasn't guilty."
"Is your list of reasons complete?"
"Two more the clinchers. You are disappointed in love--so am I.
You need consolation--so do I. When one can't have the best one
takes the best one can get, if one is sensible. It has been
known to turn out not so badly."
They once more lay back watching the clouds. An hour passed
without either's speaking. The deck-steward brought them tea and
biscuits which he declined and she accepted. She tried the big,
hard, tasteless disk between her strong white teeth, then said
with a sly smile: "You pried into my secret a few minutes ago.
I'm going to pry into yours. Who was she?"
"As the lady would have none of me, there's no harm in
confessing," replied Langdon, carelessly. "She was--and
is--and--" he looked at her--"ever shall be, world without
end--Gladys Dumont."
Gladys gasped and glanced at him with swift suspicion that he was
jesting. He returned her glance in a calm, matter-of-fact way.
She leaned back in her chair and they watched the slippery rail
slide up and down against the background of chilly, rainy sea and
"Are you asleep?" he asked after a long silence.
"No," she replied. "I was thinking."
"Of my--proposition?"
"Doesn't it grow on you?"
He shifted himself to a sitting position with much
deliberateness. He put his hand in among her rugs and wraps
until it touched hers. "It may turn out better than you
anticipate," he said, a little sentiment in his eyes and smile,
a little raillery in his voice.
"I doubt if it will," she answered, without looking at him
directly. "For--I--anticipate a great deal."
Fanshaw versus Fanshaw was heard privately by a referee; and
before Mrs. Fanshaw's lawyers had a chance to ask that the
referee's report be sealed from publicity, the judge of his own
motion ordered it. At the political club to which he belonged,
he had received an intimation from the local "boss" that if
Dumont's name were anywhere printed in connection with the case
he would be held responsible. Thus it came to pass that on the
morning of the filing of the decree the newspapers were grumbling
over their inability to give the eagerly-awaited details of the
great scandal. And Herron was Catonizing against "judicial
But Dumont was overswift in congratulating himself on his escape
and in preening himself on his power.
For several days the popular newspapers were alone in denouncing
the judge for favoritism and in pointing out that the judiciary
were "becoming subservient to the rich and the powerful in their
rearrangements of their domestic relations--a long first step
toward complete subservience." Herron happened to have among
his intimates the editor of an eminently respectable newspaper
that prides itself upon never publishing private scandals. He
impressed his friend with his own strong views as to the gravity
of this growing discrimination between masses and classes; and
the organ of independent conservatism was presently lifting up
its solemn voice in a stentorian jeremiad.
Without this reinforcement the "yellows" might have shrieked in
vain. It was assumed that baffled sensationalism was by far a
stronger motive with them than justice, and the public was amused
rather than aroused by their protests. But now soberer dailies
and weeklies took up the case and the discussion spread to other
cities, to the whole country. By his audacity, by his arrogant
frankness he had latterly treated public opinion with scantiest
courtesy--by his purchase of campaign committees, and
legislatures, and courts, Dumont had made himself in the public
mind an embodiment of the "mighty and menacing plutocracy" of
which the campaign orators talked so much. And the various
phases of the scandal gave the press a multitude of texts for
satirical, or pessimistic, or fiery discourses upon the public
and private rottenness of "plutocrats."
But Dumont's name was never directly mentioned. Every one knew
who was meant; no newspaper dared to couple him in plain language
with the scandal. The nearest approach to it was where one New
York newspaper published, without comment, in the center of a
long news article on the case, two photographs of Dumont side by
side--one taken when he first came to New York, clear-cut,
handsome, courageous, apparently a type of progressive young
manhood; the other, taken within the year, gross, lowering,
tyrannical, obviously a type of indulged, self-indulgent despot.
Herron had forced Fanshaw to abandon the idea of suing Dumont for
a money consolation. He had been deeply impressed by his wife's
warnings against Fanshaw--"a lump of soot, and sure to smutch
you if you go near him." He was reluctant to have Fanshaw give
up the part of the plan which insured the public damnation of
Dumont, but there was no other prudent course. He assured
himself that he knew Fanshaw to be an upright man; but he did not
go to so perilous a length in self-deception as to fancy he could
convince cynical and incredulous New York. It was too eager to
find excuses for successful and admired men like Dumont, too
ready to laugh at and despise underdogs like Fanshaw. Herron
never admitted it to himself, but in fact it was he who put it
into Fanshaw's resourceless mind to compass the revenge of
publicity in another way.
Fanshaw was denouncing the judge for sealing the divorce
testimony, and the newspapers for being so timid about libel laws
and contempt of court.
"If a newspaper should publish the testimony," said Herron,
"Judge Glassford would never dare bring the editor before him
for contempt. His record's too bad. I happen to know he was in
the News-Record office no longer ago than last month, begging for
the suppression of an article that might have caused his
impeachment, if published. So there's one paper that wouldn't be
afraid of him."
"Then why does it shield the scoundrel?"
"Perhaps," replied Herron, his hand on the door of his office
law-library, "it hasn't been able to get hold of a copy of the
testimony." And having thus dropped the seed on good soil, he
Fanshaw waited several weeks, waited until certain other plans of
his and Herron's were perfected. Then he suddenly deluged the
sinking flames of the divorce discussion with a huge outpouring
of oil. Indirectly and with great secrecy he sent a complete
copy of the testimony to the newspaper Herron had mentioned, the
most sensational, and one of the most widely circulated in New
The next morning Dumont had to ring three times for his
secretary. When Culver finally appeared he had in his trembling
right hand a copy of the News-Record. His face suggested that he
was its owner, publisher and responsible editor, and that he
expected then and there to be tortured to death for the two
illustrated pages of the "Great Fanshaw-Dumont Divorce! All the
Testimony! Shocking Revelations!"
"I thought it necessary for you to know this without delay,
sir," he said in a shaky voice, as he held out the newspaper to
his master.
Dumont grew sickly yellow with the first glance at those
head-lines. He had long been used to seeing extensive and highly
unflattering accounts of himself and his doings in print; but
theretofore every open attack had been on some public matter
where a newspaper "pounding" might be attributed to politics or
stock-jobbery. Here--it was a verbatim official report, and of a
private scandal, more dangerous to his financial standing than
the fiercest assault upon his honesty as a financier; for it tore
away the foundation of reputation--private character. A faithful
transcript throughout, it portrayed him as a bag of slimy gold
and gilded slime. He hated his own face staring out at him from
a three-column cut in the center of the first page--its heavy
jaw, its cynical mouth, its impudent eyes. "Do I look like
THAT?" he thought. He was like one who, walking along the
streets, catches sight of his own image in a show-window mirror
and before he recognizes it, sees himself as others see him. He
flushed to his temples at the contrast with the smaller cut
beside it--the face of Pauline, high and fine icily beautiful as
always in her New York days when her features were in repose.
Culver shifted from one weak leg to the other, and the movement
reminded Dumont of his existence. "That's all. Clear out!" he
exclaimed, and fell back into his big chair and closed his eyes.
He thought he at last understood publicity.
But he was mistaken.
He finished dressing and choked down a little breakfast. As he
advanced toward the front door the servant there coughed uneasily
and said: "Beg pardon, sir, but I fear you won't be able to get
"What's the matter?" he demanded, his brows contracting and his
lips beginning to slide back in a snarl--it promised to be a sad
morning for human curs of all kinds who did not scurry out of the
lion's way.
"The crowd, sir," said the servant. And he drew aside the
curtain across the glass in one of the inside pair of great
double doors of the palace entrance. "It's quite safe to look,
sir. They can't see through the outside doors as far as this."
Dumont peered through the bronze fretwork. A closely packed mass
of people was choking the sidewalk and street--his brougham was
like an island in a troubled lake. He saw several
policemen--they were trying to move the crowd on, but not trying
sincerely. He saw three huge cameras, their operators under the
black cloths, their lenses pointed at the door--waiting for him
to appear. For the first time in his life he completely lost his
nerve. Not only publicity, the paper--a lifeless sheet of print;
but also publicity, the public--with living eyes to peer and
living voices to jeer. He looked helplessly, appealingly at the
"cur" he had itched to kick the moment before.
"What the devil shall I do?" he asked in a voice without a
trace of courage.
"I don't know, sir," replied the servant. "The basement door
wouldn't help very much, would it?"
The basement door was in front also. "Idiot! Is there no way
out at the rear?" he asked.
"Only over the fences, sir," said the servant, perfectly
matter-of-fact. Having no imagination, his mind made no picture
of the great captain of industry scrambling over back fences like
a stray cat flying from a brick.
Dumont turned back and into his first-floor sitting-room. He
unlocked his stand of brandy bottles, poured out an enormous
drink and gulped it down. His stomach reeled, then his head. He
went to the window and looked out--there must have been five
hundred people in the street, and vehicles were making their way
slowly and with difficulty, drivers gaping at the house and
joking with the crowd; newsboys, bent sidewise to balance their
huge bundles of papers, were darting in and out, and even through
the thick plate glass he could hear: "All about Millionaire
Dumont's disgrace!"
He went through to a rear window. No, there was a continuous
wall, a high brick wall. A servant came and told him he was
wanted at the telephone. It was Giddings, who said in a voice
that was striving in vain to be calm against the pressure of some
intense excitement: "You are coming down to-day, Mr. Dumont?"
"Why?" asked Dumont, snapping the word out as short and savage
as the crack of a lash.
"There are disquieting rumors of a raid on us."
"Who's to do the raiding?"
"They say it's Patterson and Fanning-Smith and Cassell and
Herron. It's a raid for control."
Dumont snorted scornfully. "Don't fret. We're all right. I'll
be down soon." And he hung up the receiver, muttering: "The
ass! I must kick him out! He's an old woman the instant I turn
my back."
He had intended not to go down, but to shut himself in with the
brandy bottle until nightfall. This news made his presence in
the Street imperative. "They couldn't have sprung at me at a
worse time," he muttered. "But I can take care of 'em!"
He returned to the library, took another drink, larger than the
first. His blood began to pound through his veins and to rush
along under the surface of his skin like a sheet of fire. Waves
of fury surged into his brain, making him dizzy, confusing his
sight--he could scarcely refrain from grinding his teeth. He
descended to the basement, his step unsteady.
"A ladder," he ordered in a thick voice.
He led the way to the rear wall. A dozen men-servants swarming
about, tried to assist him. He ordered them aside and began to
climb. As the upper part of his body rose above the wall-line he
heard a triumphant shout, many voices crying: "There he is!
There he is!"
The lot round the corner from his place was not built upon; and
there, in the side street, was a rapidly swelling crowd, the
camera-bearers hastily putting their instruments in position,
the black cloths fluttering like palls or pirate flags. With a
roaring howl he released his hold upon the ladder and shook both
fists, his swollen face blazing between them. He tottered, fell
backward, crashed upon the stone flooring of the area. His head
struck with a crack that made the women-servants scream. The men
lifted him and carried him into the house. He was not stunned;
he tried to stand. But he staggered back into the arms of his
valet and his butler.
"Brandy!" he gasped.
He took a third drink--and became unconscious. When the doctor
arrived he was raving in a high fever. For years he had drunk to
excess--but theretofore only when HE chose, never when his
appetite chose, never when his affairs needed a clear brain. Now
appetite, long lying in wait for him, had found him helpless in
the clutches of rage and fear, and had stolen away his mind.
The news was telephoned to the office at half-past eleven
o'clock. "It doesn't matter," said Giddings. "He'd only make
things worse if he were to come now."
Giddings was apparently right. From a tower of strength,
supporting alone, yet with ease, National Woolens, and the vast
structure based upon it, Dumont had crumbled into an obstruction
and a weakness. There is an abysmal difference between everybody
knowing a thing privately and everybody knowing precisely the
same thing publicly. In that newspaper exposure there was no
fact of importance that was not known to the entire Street, to
his chief supporters in his great syndicate of ranches,
railroads, factories, steamship lines and selling agencies. But
the tremendous blare of publicity acted like Joshua's horns at
Jericho. The solid walls of his public reputation tottered,
toppled, fell flat.
There had been a tight money-market for two weeks. Though there
had been uneasiness as to all the small and many of the large
"industrials," belief in National Woolens and in the stability
of John Dumont had remained strong. But of all the cowards that
stand sentinel for capital, the most craven is Confidence. At
the deafening crash of the fall of Dumont's private character,
Confidence girded its loins and tightened its vocal cords to be
in readiness for a shrieking flight.
Dumont ruled, through a parent and central corporation, the
National Woolens Company, which held a majority of the stock in
each of the seventeen corporations constituting the trust. His
control was in part through ownership of Woolens stock but
chiefly through proxies sent him by thousands of small
stock-holders because they had confidence in his abilities. To
wrest control from him it was necessary for the raiders both to
make him "unload" his own holdings of stock and to impair his
reputation so that his supporters would desert him or stand
On the previous day National Woolens closed at eighty-two for the
preferred and thirty-nine for the common. In the first hour of
the day of the raid Giddings and the other members of Dumont's
supporting group of financiers were able to keep it fairly steady
at about five points below the closing price of the previous day,
by buying all that was offered--the early offerings were large,
but not overwhelming. The supporters of other industrials saw
that the assault on Woolens was a menace to their stocks--if a
strong industrial weakened, the weaker ones would inevitably
suffer disaster in the frightened market that would surely
result. They showed a disposition to rally to the support of the
Dumont stocks.
At eleven o'clock Giddings began to hope that the raid was a
failure, if indeed it had been a real raid. At eleven-twenty
Herron played his trump card.
The National Industrial Bank is the huge barometer to which both
speculative and investing Wall Street looks for guidance. Whom
that bank protects is as safe as was the medieval fugitive who
laid hold of the altar in the sanctuary; whom that bank frowns
upon in the hour of stress is lost indeed if he have so much as a
pin's-point area of heel that is vulnerable. Melville, president
of the National Industrial, was a fanatically religious man, with
as keen a nose for heretics as for rotten spots in collateral.
He was peculiarly savage in his hatred of all matrimonial
deviations. He was a brother of Fanshaw's mother; and she and
Herron had been working upon him. But so long as Dumont's share
in the scandal was not publicly attributed he remained
obdurate--he never permitted his up-town creed or code to
interfere with his down-town doings unless it became
necessary--that is, unless it could be done without money loss.
For up-town or down-town, to make money was always and in all
circumstances the highest morality, to lose money the profoundest
At twenty minutes past eleven Melville and the president of the
other banks of his chain called loans to Dumont and the Dumont
supporting group to the amount of three millions and a quarter.
Ten minutes later other banks and trust companies whose loans to
Dumont and his allies either were on call or contained provisions
permitting a demand for increased collateral, followed Melville's
example and aimed and sped their knives for Dumont's vitals.
Giddings found himself face to face with unexpected and
peremptory demands for eleven millions in cash and thirteen
millions in additional collateral securities. If he did not meet
these demands forthwith the banks and trust companies, to protect
themselves, would throw upon the market at whatever price they
could get the thirty-odd millions of Woolens stocks which they
held as collateral for the loans.
"What does this mean, Eaversole?" he exclaimed, with white,
wrinkled lips, heavy circles suddenly appearing under his eyes.
"Is Melville trying to ruin everything?"
"No," answered Eaversole, third vice-president of the company.
"He's supporting the market, all except us. He says Dumont must
be driven out of the Street. He says his presence here is a
pollution and a source of constant danger."
The National Woolens supporting group was alone; it could get no
help from any quarter, as every possible ally was frightened into
his own breastworks for the defense of his own interests.
Dumont, the brain and the will of the group, had made no false
moves in business, had been bold only where his matchless
judgment showed him a clear way; but he had not foreseen the
instantaneous annihilation of his chief asset--his reputation.
Giddings sustained the unequal battle superbly. He was cool, and
watchful, and effective. It is doubtful if Dumont himself could
have done so well, handicapped as he would have been on that day
by the Fanshaw scandal. Giddings cajoled and threatened,
retreated slowly here, advanced intrepidly there. On the one
side, he held back wavering banks and trust companies, persuading
some that all was well, warning others that if they pressed him
they would lose all. On the other side, he faced his powerful
foes and made them quake as they saw their battalions of millions
roll upon his unbroken line of battle only to break and
disappear. At noon National Woolens preferred was at
fifty-eight, the common at twenty-nine. Giddings was beginning
to hope.
At three minutes past noon the tickers clicked out: "It is
reported that John Dumont is dying."
As that last word jerked letter by letter from under the printing
wheel the floor of the Stock Exchange became the rapids of a
human Niagara. By messenger, by telegraph, by telephone, holders
of National Woolens and other industrials, in the financial
district, in all parts of the country, across the sea, poured in
their selling orders upon the frenzied brokers. And all these
forces of hysteria and panic, projected into that narrow,
roofed-in space, made of it a chaos of contending demons. All
stocks were caught in the upheaval; Melville's plans to limit the
explosion were blown skyward, feeble as straws in a cyclone.
Amid shrieks and howls and frantic tossings of arms and mad
rushes and maniac contortions of faces, National Woolens and all
the Dumont stocks bent, broke, went smashing down, down, down,
every one struggling to unload.
Dumont's fortune was the stateliest of the many galleons that day
driven on the rocks and wrecked. Dumont's crew was for the most
part engulfed. Giddings and a few selected friends reached the
shore half-drowned and humbly applied at the wreckers' camp; they
were hospitably received and were made as comfortable as their
exhausted condition permitted.
John Dumont was at the mercy of Hubert Herron in his own company.
If he lived he would be president only until the next annual
meeting--less than two months away; and the Herron crowd had won
over enough of his board of directors to make him meanwhile
powerless where he had been autocrat.
Toward noon the next day Dumont emerged from the stupor into
which Doctor Sackett's opiate had plunged him. At once his mind
began to grope about for the broken clues of his business. His
valet appeared.
"The morning papers," said Dumont.
"Yes, sir," replied the valet, and disappeared.
After a few seconds Culver came and halted just within the
doorway. "I'm sorry, sir, but Doctor Sackett left strict orders
that you were to be quiet. Your life depends on it."
Dumont scowled and his lower lip projected--the crowning touch in
his most imperious expression. "The papers, all of
'em,--quick!" he commanded.
Culver took a last look at the blue-white face and bloodshot eyes
to give him courage to stand firm. "The doctor'll be here in a
few minutes," he said, bowed and went out.
Choking with impotent rage, Dumont rang for his valet and forced
him to help him dress. He was so weak when he finished that only
his will kept him from fainting. He took a stiff drink of the
brandy--the odor was sickening to him and he could hardly force
it down. But once down, it strengthened him.
"No, nothing to eat," he said thickly, and with slow but fairly
steady step left his room and descended to the library. Culver
was there--sat agape at sight of his master. "But you--you must
not--" he began.
Dumont gave him an ugly grin. "But I will!" he said, and again
drank brandy. He turned and went out and toward the front door,
Culver following with stammering protests which he heeded not at
all. On the sidewalk he hailed a passing hansom. "To the
Edison Building," he said and drove off, Culver, bareheaded at
the curb, looking dazedly after him. Before he reached
Fifty-ninth Street he was half-sitting, half-reclining in the
corner of the seat, his eyes closed and his senses sinking into a
stupor from the fumes of the powerful doses of brandy. As the
hansom drove down the avenue many recognized him, wondered and
pitied as they noted his color, his collapsed body, head fallen
on one side, mouth open and lips greenish gray:. As the hansom
slowly crossed the tracks at Twenty-third Street the heavy jolt
roused him.
"The newspapers," he muttered, and hurled up through the trap
in the roof an order to the driver to stop. He leaned over the
doors and bought half a dozen newspapers of the woman at the
Flat-iron stand. As the hansom moved on he glanced at the
head-lines--they were big and staring, but his blurred eyes could
not read them. He fell asleep again, his hands clasped loosely
about the huge proclamations of yesterday's battle and his rout.
The hansom was caught in a jam at Chambers Street. The clamor of
shouting, swearing drivers roused him. The breeze from the open
sea, blowing straight up Broadway into his face, braced him like
the tonic that it is. He straightened himself, recovered his
train of thought, stared at one of the newspapers and tried to
grasp the meaning of its head-lines. But they made only a vague
impression on him.
"It's all lies," he muttered. "Lies! How could those fellows
smash ME!" And he flung the newspapers out of the hansom into
the faces of two boys seated upon the tail of a truck.
"You're drunk early," yelled one of the boys.
"That's no one-day jag," shouted the other. "It's a
He made a wild, threatening gesture and, as his hansom drove on,
muttered and mumbled to himself, vague profanity aimed at nothing
and at everything. At the Edison Building he got out.
"Wait!" he said to the driver. He did not see the impudent
smirk on the face of the elevator boy nor the hesitating,
sheepish salutation of the door-man, uncertain how to greet the
fallen king. He went straight to his office, unlocked his desk
and, just in time to save himself from fainting, seized and
half-emptied a flask of brandy he kept in a drawer. It had been
there--but untouched ever since he came to New York and took
those offices; he never drank in business hours.
His head was aching horribly and at every throb of his pulse a
pain tore through him. He rang for his messenger.
"Tell Mr. Giddings I want to see him--you!" he said, his teeth
clenched and his eyes blazing--he looked insane.
Giddings came. His conscience was clear--he had never liked
Dumont, owed him nothing, yet had stood by him until further
fidelity would have ruined himself, would not have saved Dumont,
or prevented the Herron-Cassell raiders from getting control.
Now that he could afford to look at his revenge-books he was
deeply resenting the insults and indignities heaped upon him in
the past five years. But he was unable to gloat, was moved to
pity, at sight of the physical and mental wreck in that chair
which he had always seen occupied by the most robust of despots.
"Well," said Dumont in a dull, far-away voice, without looking
at him. "What's happened?"
Giddings cast about for a smooth beginning but could find none.
"They did us up--that's all," he said funereally.
Dumont lifted himself into a momentary semblance of his old look
and manner. "You lie, damn you!" he shouted, his mouth raw and
ragged as a hungry tiger's.
Giddings began to cringe, remembered the changed conditions,
bounded to his feet.
"I'll tolerate such language from no man!" he exclaimed. "I
wish you good morning, sir!" And he was on his way to the door.
"Come back!" commanded Dumont. And Giddings, the habit of
implicit obedience to that voice still strong upon him, hesitated
and half turned.
Dumont was more impressed with the truth of the cataclysm by
Giddings' revolt than by the newspaper head-lines or by Giddings'
words. And from somewhere in the depths of his reserve-self he
summoned the last of his coolness and self-control. "Beg
pardon, Giddings," said he. "You see I'm not well."
Giddings returned--he had taken orders all his life, he had
submitted to this master slavishly; the concession of an apology
mollified him and flattered him in spite of himself.
"Oh, don't mention it," he said, seating himself again. "As I
was saying, the raid was a success. I did the best I could.
Some called our loans and some demanded more collateral. And
while I was fighting front and rear and both sides, bang came
that lie about your condition. The market broke. All I could do
was sell, sell, sell, to try to meet or protect our loans."
Giddings heard a sound that made him glance at Dumont. His head
had fallen forward and he was snoring. Giddings looked long and
"A sure enough dead one," he muttered, unconsciously using the
slang of the Street which he habitually avoided. And he went
away, closing the door behind him.
After half an hour Dumont roused himself--out of a stupor into a
half-delirious dream.
"Must get cash," he mumbled, "and look after the time loans."
He lifted his head and pushed back his hair from his hot
forehead. "I'll stamp on those curs yet!"
He took another drink--his hands were so unsteady that he had to
use both of them in lifting it to his lips. He put the flask in
his pocket instead of returning it to the drawer. No one spoke
to him, all pretended not to see him as he passed through the
offices on his way to the elevator. With glassy unseeing eyes he
fumbled at the dash-board and side of the hansom; with a groan
like a rheumatic old man's he lifted his heavy body up into the
seat, dropped back and fell asleep. A crowd of clerks and
messengers, newsboys and peddlers gathered and gaped, awed as
they looked at the man who had been for five years one of the
heroes of the Street, and thought of his dazzling catastrophe.
"What's the matter?" inquired a new-comer, apparently a
tourist, edging his way into the outskirts of the crowd.
"That's Dumont, the head of the Woolens Trust," the curb-broker
he addressed replied in a low tone. "He was raided
yesterday--woke up in the morning worth a hundred millions, went
to bed worth--perhaps five, maybe nothing at all."
At this exaggeration of the height and depth of the disaster, awe
and sympathy became intense in that cluster of faces. A hundred
millions to nothing at all, or at most a beggarly five
millions--what a dizzy precipice! Great indeed must be he who
could fall so far. The driver peered through the trap, wondering
why his distinguished fare endured this vulgar scrutiny. He saw
that Dumont was asleep, thrust down a hand and shook him.
"Where to, sir?" he asked, as Dumont straightened himself.
"To the National Industrial Bank, you fool," snapped Dumont.
"How many times must I tell you?"
"Thank you, sir," said the driver--without sarcasm, thinking
steadfastly of his pay--and drove swiftly away.
Theretofore, whenever he had gone to the National Industrial Bank
he had been received as one king is received by another. Either
eager and obsequious high officers of King Melville had escorted
him directly to the presence, or King Melville, because he had a
caller who could not be summarily dismissed, had come out
apologetically to conduct King Dumont to another audience
chamber. That day the third assistant cashier greeted him with
politeness carefully graded to the due of a man merely moderately
rich and not a factor in the game of high finance.
"Be seated, Mr. Dumont," he said, pointing to a chair just
inside the railing--a seat not unworthy of a man of rank in the
plutocratic hierarchy, but a man of far from high rank. "I'll
see whether Mr. Melville's disengaged."
Dumont dropped into the chair and his heavy head was almost
immediately resting upon his shirt-bosom. The third assistant
cashier returned, roused him somewhat impatiently. "Mr.
Melville's engaged," said he. "But Mr. Cowles will see you."
Mr. Cowles was the third vice-president.
Dumont rose. The blood flushed into his face and his body shook
from head to foot. "Tell Melville to go to hell," he jerked
out, the haze clearing for a moment from his piercing, wicked
eyes. And he stalked through the gateway in the railing. He
turned. "Tell him I'll tear him down and grind him into the
gutter within six months."
In the hansom again, he reflected or tried to reflect. But the
lofty buildings seemed to cast a black shadow on his mind, and
the roar and rush of the tremendous tide of traffic through that
deep canon set his thoughts to whirling like drink-maddened
bacchanals dancing round a punch-bowl. "That woman!" he
exclaimed suddenly. "What asses they make of us men! And all
these vultures--I'm not carrion yet. But THEY soon will be!"
And he laughed and his thoughts began their crazy spin again.
A newsboy came, waving an extra in at the open doors of the
hansom. "Dumont's downfall!" he yelled in his shrill, childish
voice. "All about the big smash!"
Dumont snatched a paper and flung a copper at the boy.
"Gimme a tip on Woolens, Mr. Dumont," said the boy, with an
impudent grin, balancing himself for flight. "How's Mrs.
The newspapers had made his face as familiar as the details of
his private life. He shrank and quivered. He pushed up the
trap. "Home!" he said, forgetting that the hansom and driver
were not his own.
"All right, Mr. Dumont!" replied the driver. Dumont shrank
again and sat cowering in the corner--the very calling him by his
name, now a synonym for failure, disgrace, ridicule and contempt,
seemed a subtile insult.
With roaring brain and twitching, dizzy eyes he read at the
newspaper's account of his overthrow. And gradually there formed
in his mind a coherent notion of how it had come to pass, of its
extent; of why he found himself lying in the depths, the victim
of humiliations so frightful that they penetrated even to him,
stupefied and crazed with drink and fever though he was. His
courage, his self-command were burnt up by the brandy. His body
had at last revolted, was having its terrible revenge upon the
mind that had so long misused it in every kind of indulgence.
"I'm done for--done for," he repeated audibly again and again,
at each repetition looking round mentally for a fact or a hope
that would deny this assertion--but he cast about in vain.
"Yes, I'm done for." And flinging away the newspaper he
settled back and ceased to try to think of his affairs. After a
while tears rolled from under his blue eyelids, dropped haltingly
down his cheeks, spread out upon his lips, tasted salt in his
half-open mouth.
The hansom stopped before his brick and marble palace. The
butler hurried out and helped him alight--not yet thirty-seven,
he felt as if he were a dying old man. "Pay the cabby," he
said and groped his way into the house and to the elevator and
mechanically ran himself up to his floor. His valet was in his
dressing-room. He waved him away. "Get out! And don't disturb
me till I ring."
"The doctor--" began Mallow.
"Do as I tell you!"
When he was alone he poured out brandy and gulped it down a drink
that might have eaten the lining straight out of a stomach less
powerful than his. He went from door to door, locking them all.
Then he seated himself in a lounging-chair before the long
mirror. He stared toward the image of himself but was so
dim-eyed that he could see nothing but spinning black disks.
"Life's not such a good game even when a man's winning," he
said aloud. "A rotten bad game when he's losing."
His head wabbled to fall forward but he roused himself. "Wife
gone--" The tears flooded his eyes--tears of pity for himself,
an injured and abandoned husband. "Wife gone," he repeated.
"Friends gone--" He laughed sardonically. "No, never had
friends, thank God, or I shouldn't have lasted this long. No
such thing as friends--a man gets what he can pay for. Grip
gone--luck gone! What's the use?"
He dozed off, presently to start into acute, shuddering
consciousness. At the far end of the room, stirring, slowly
oozing from under the divan was a--a Thing! He could not define
its shape, but he knew that it was vast, that it was scaly, with
many short fat legs tipped with claws; that its color was green,
that its purpose was hideous, gleaming in craft from large,
square, green-yellow eyes. He wiped the sticky sweat from his
brow. "It's only the brandy," he said loudly, and the Thing
faded, vanished. He drew a deep breath of relief.
He went to a case of drawers and stood before it, supporting
himself by the handles of the second drawer. "Yes," he
reflected, "the revolver's in that drawer." He released the
handles and staggered back to his chair. "I'm crazy," he
muttered, "crazy as a loon. I ought to ring for the doctor."
In a moment he was up again, but instead of going toward the bell
he went to the drawers and opened the second one. In a
compartment lay a pearl-handled, self-cocking revolver. He put
his hand on it, shivered, drew his hand away--the steel and the
pearl were cold. He closed the drawer with a quick push, opened
it again slowly, took up the revolver, staggered over to his desk
and laid it there. His face was chalk-white in spots and his
eyes were stiff in their sockets. He rested his aching, burning,
reeling head on his hands and stared at the revolver.
"But," he said aloud, as if contemptuously dismissing a
suggestion, "why should I shoot myself? I can smash 'em all--to
powder--grind 'em into the dirt."
He took up the revolver. "What'd be the use of smashing 'em?"
he said wearily. He felt tired and sick, horribly sick.
He laid it down. "I'd better be careful," he thought. "I'm
not in my right mind. I might--"
He took it in his hand and went to the mirror and put the muzzle
against his temple. He laughed crazily. "A little pressure on
that trigger and--bang! I'd be in kingdom come and shouldn't
give a damn for anybody." He caught sight of his eyes in the
mirror and hastily dropped his arm to his side. "No, I'd never
shoot myself in the temple. The heart'd be better. Just
here"--and he pressed the muzzle into the soft material of his
coat--"if I touched the trigger--"
And his finger did touch the trigger. Pains shot through his
chest like cracks radiating in glass when a stone strikes it. He
looked at his face--white, with wild eyes, with lips blue and
ajar, the sweat streaming from his forehead.
"What have I done?" he shrieked, mad with the dread of death.
"I must call for help." He turned toward the door, plunged
forward, fell unconscious, the revolver flung half-way across the
When he came to his senses he was in his bed--comfortable, weak,
lazy. With a slight effort he caught the thread of events. He
turned his eyes and saw a nurse, seated at the head of his bed,
reading. "Am I going to die?" he asked--his voice was thin and
came in faint gusts.
"Certainly not," replied the nurse, putting down her book and
standing over him, her face showing genuine reassurance and
"You'll be well very soon. But you must lie quiet and not
"Was it a bad wound?"
"The fever was the worst. The bullet glanced round just under
the surface."
"It was an accident," he said, after a moment's thought. "I
suppose everybody is saying I tried to kill myself."
"`Everybody' doesn't know anything about it. Almost nobody
knows. Even the servants don't know. Your secretary sent them
away, broke in and found you."
He closed his eyes and slept.
When he awoke again he felt that a long time had passed, that he
was much better, that he was hungry. "Nurse!" he called.
The woman at the head of the bed rose and laid a cool hand upon
his forehead. "How good that feels," he mumbled gratefully.
"What nice hands you have, nurse," and he lifted his glance to
her face. He stared wonderingly, confusedly. "I thought I was
awake and almost well," he murmured. "And instead, I'm out of
my head."
"Can I do anything for you?" It certainly was HER voice.
"Is it you, Pauline?" he asked, as if he feared a negative
A long silence, then he said: "Why did you come?"
"The doctor wrote me that--wrote me the truth."
"But haven't you heard? Haven't you seen the papers? Don't
they say I'm ruined?"
"Yes, John."
He lay silent for several minutes. Then he asked hesitatingly:
"And--when--do you--go back--West?"
"I have come to stay," she replied. Neither in her voice nor
in her face was there a hint of what those five words meant to
He closed his eyes again. Presently a tear slid from under each
lid and stood in the deep, wasted hollows of his eye-sockets.
When he awoke again he felt that he should get well rapidly. He
was weak, but it seemed the weakness of hunger rather than of
illness. His head was clear, his nerves tranquil; his mind was
as hungry for action as his body was for food.
"As soon as I've had something to eat," he said to himself,
"I'll be better than for years. I needed this." And
straightway he began to take hold of the outside world.
"Are you there, Pauline?" he asked, after perhaps half an hour
during which his mind had swiftly swept the whole surface of his
The nurse rose from the lounge across the foot of the bed.
"Your wife was worn out, Mr. Dumont," she began. "She has--"
"What day is it?" he interrupted.
"Of the month, I mean."
"The seventeenth," she answered, smiling in anticipation of his
But he said without change of expression,
"Then I've been ill three weeks and three days. Tell Mr. Culver
I wish to see him at once."
"But the doctor--"
"Damn the doctor," replied Dumont, good-naturedly. "Don't
irritate me by opposing. I shan't talk with Culver a minute by
the clock. What I say will put my mind at rest. Then I'll eat
something and sleep for a day at least."
The nurse hesitated, but his eyes fairly forced her out of the
room to fetch Culver. "Now remember, Mr. Dumont--less than a
minute," she said. "I'll come back in just sixty seconds."
"Come in forty," he replied. When she had closed the door he
said to Culver: "What are the quotations on Woolens?"
"Preferred twenty-eight; Common seven," answered Culver.
"They've been about steady for two weeks."
"Good. And what's Great Lakes and Gulf?"
Culver showed his surprise. "I'll have to consult the paper,"
he said. "You never asked me for that quotation before. I'd no
idea you'd want it." He went to the next room and immediately
returned. "G. L. and G. one hundred and two."
Dumont smiled with a satisfied expression.
"Now--go down-town--what time is it?"
"Eight o'clock."
"Yes, sir, morning."
"Go down-town at once and set expert accountants--get Evarts and
Schuman--set them at work on my personal accounts with the
Woolens Company. Tell everybody I'm expected to die, and know
it, and am getting facts for making my will. And stay down-town
yourself all day--find out everything you can about National
Woolens and that raiding crowd and about Great Lakes and Gulf.
The better you succeed in this mission the better it'll be for
you. Thank you, by the way, for keeping my accident quiet. Find
out how the Fanning-Smiths are carrying National Woolens. Find
The door opened and the plain, clean figure of the nurse
appeared. "The minute's up," she said.
"One second more, please. Close the door." When she had
obeyed he went on: "See Tavistock--you know you must be careful
not to let any one at his office know that you're connected with
me. See him--ask him--no, telephone Tavistock to come at
once--and you find out all you can independently--especially
about the Fanning-Smiths and Great Lakes and Gulf."
"Very well," said Culver.
"A great deal depends on your success," continued Dumont--"a
great deal for me, a great deal--a VERY great deal for you."
His look met Culver's and each seemed satisfied with what he saw.
Then Culver went, saying to himself: "What makes him think the
Fanning-Smiths were mixed up in the raid? And what on earth has
G. L. and G. got to do with it? Gad, he's a WONDER!" The
longer Culver lived in intimacy with Dumont the greater became to
him the mystery of his combination of bigness and littleness,
audacity and caution, devil and man. "It gets me," he often
reflected, "how a man can plot to rob millions of people in one
hour and in the next plan endowments for hospitals and colleges;
despise public opinion one minute and the next be courting it
like an actor. But that's the way with all these big fellows.
And I'll know how to do it when I get to be one of 'em."
As the nurse reentered Dumont's bedroom he called out, lively as
a boy: "SOMETHING to eat! ANYthing to eat! EVERYthing to
The nurse at first flatly refused to admit Tavistock. But at
half-past nine he entered, tall, lean, lithe, sharp of face,
shrewd of eye, rakish of mustache; by Dumont's direction he
closed and locked the door. "Why!" he exclaimed, "you don't
look much of a sick man. You're thin, but your color's not bad
and your eyes are clear. And down-town they have you dying."
Dumont laughed. Tavistock instantly recognized in laugh and look
Dumont's battle expression. "Dying--yes. Dying to get at 'em.
Tavistock, we'll kick those fellows out of Wall Street before the
middle of next week. How much Great Lakes is there floating on
the market?"
Tavistock looked puzzled. He had expected to talk National
Woolens, and this man did not even speak of it, seemed absorbed
in a stock in which Tavistock did not know he had any interest
whatever. "G. L. and G.?" he said. "Not much--perhaps thirty
thousand shares. It's been quiet for a long time. It's an
investment stock, you know."
Dumont smiled peculiarly. "I want a list of the
stock-holders--not all, only those holding more than a thousand
"There aren't many big holders. Most of the stock's in small
lots in the middle West."
"So much the better."
"I'm pretty sure I can get you a fairly accurate list."
Tavistock, Dumont's very private and personal broker, had many
curious ways of reaching into the carefully guarded books and
other business secrets of brokers and of the enterprises listed
on the New York Stock Exchange. He and Dumont had long worked
together in the speculative parts of Dumont's schemes. Dumont
was the chief source of his rapidly growing fortune, though no
one except Culver, not even Mrs. Tavistock, knew that they had
business relations. Dumont moved through Tavistock secretly, and
Tavistock in turn moved through other agents secretly. But for
such precautions as these the great men of Wall Street would be
playing with all the cards exposed for the very lambs to cock
their ears at.
"I want it immediately," said Dumont. "Only the larger
holders, you understand."
"Haste always costs. I'll have to get hold of a man who can get
hold of some one high up in the Great Lakes dividend
"Pay what you must--ten--twenty thousand--more if necessary.
But get it to-night!"
"I'll try."
"Then you'll get it."
He slept, with a break of fifteen minutes, until ten the next
morning. Then Tavistock appeared with the list. "It was nearly
midnight before my man could strike a bargain, so I didn't
telephone you. The dividend clerk made a memory list. I had him
verify it this morning as early as he could get at the books. He
says at least a third of the road is held in small lots abroad.
He's been in charge of the books for twenty years, and he says
there have been more changes in the last two months than in all
that time. He thinks somebody has sold a big block of the stock
on the quiet."
Dumont smiled significantly. "I think I understand that," he
said. He glanced at the list. "It's even shorter than I
"You notice, one-third of the stock's tied up in the Wentworth
estate," said Tavistock.
"Yes. And here's the name of Bowen's dividend clerk. Bowen is
traveling in the far East. Probably he's left no orders about
his Great Lakes--why should he when it's supposed to be as sound
and steady as Government bonds? That means another fifty
thousand shares out of the way for our purposes. Which of these
names stand for the Fanning-Smiths?"
"I only recognize Scannell--James Fanning-Smith's private
secretary. But there must be others, as he's down for only
twenty-one thousand shares."
"Then he's the only one," said Dumont, "for the Fanning-Smiths
have only twenty-one thousand shares at the present time. I know
that positively."
"What!" Tavistock showed that he was astounded. "I knew James
Fanning-Smith was an ass, but I never suspected him of such folly
as that. So they are the ones that have been selling?"
"Yes--not only selling what they owned but also-- However, no
matter. It's safe to say there are less than a hundred and fifty
thousand shares for us to take care of. I want you to get
me--right away--options for fifteen days on as many of these
remaining big lots as possible. Make the best terms you
can--anything up to one hundred and twenty-five--and offer five
or even ten dollars a share forfeit for the option. Make bigger
offers--fifteen--where it's necessary. Set your people to work
at once. They've got the rest of to-day, all day to-morrow, all
day Sunday. But I'd rather the whole thing were closed up by
Saturday night. I'll be satisfied when you've got me control of
a hundred thousand shares--that'll be the outside of safety."
"Yes, you're reasonably sure to win, if you can carry that and
look after offerings of fifty thousand in the market. The
options on the hundred thousand shares oughtn't to cost you much
more than a million. The fifty thousand you'll have to buy in
the market may cost you six or seven millions." Tavistock
recited these figures carelessly. In reality he was watching
Dumont shrewdly, for he had believed that the National Woolens
raid had ruined him, had certainly put him out of the large Wall
Street moves.
"In that small drawer, to the left, in the desk there," said
Dumont, pointing. "Bring me the Inter-State National
check-book, and pen and ink."
When he had the book he wrote eight checks, the first for fifty
thousand, the next five for one hundred thousand each, the last
two for two hundred and fifty thousand each. "The first
check," he said, "you may use whenever you like. The others,
except the last two, will be good after two o'clock to-day. The
last two can be used any time after eleven to-morrow. And--don't
forget! I'm supposed to be hopelessly ill--but then, no one must
know you've seen me or know anything about me. Spread it as a
Tavistock went away convinced, enthusiastic. There was that in
Dumont which inspired men to their strongest, most intelligent
efforts. He was harsh, he was tyrannical, treacherous even--in a
large way, often cynically ungrateful. But he knew how to lead,
knew how to make men forget all but the passion for victory, and
follow him loyally. Tavistock had seen his financial brain solve
too many "unsolvable" problems not to have confidence in it.
"I might have known!" he reflected. "Why, those fellows
apparently only scotched him. They got the Woolens Company away
from him. He lets it go without a murmur when he sees he's
beaten, and he turns his mind to grabbing a big railway as if
Woolens had never existed."
Just after his elevated train passed Chatham Square on the way
down-town Tavistock suddenly slapped his leg with noisy energy
and exclaimed half-aloud, "By Jove, of course!" to the
amusement of those near him in the car. He went on to himself:
"Why didn't I see it before? Because it's so beautifully
simple, like all the things the big 'uns do. He's a wonder. So
THAT'S what he's up to? Gad, what a breeze there'll be next
At eleven o'clock Doctor Sackett came into Dumont's bedroom, in
arms against his patient.
"You're acting like a lunatic. No business, I say--not for a
week. Absolute quiet, Mr. Dumont, or I'll not answer for the
"I see you want to drive me back into the fever," replied
Dumont. "But I'm bent on getting well. I need the medicine
I've had this morning, and Culver's bringing me another dose. If
I'm not better when he leaves, I agree to try your prescription
of fret and fume."
"You are risking your life."
Dumont smiled. "Possibly. But I'm risking it for what's more
than life to me, my dear Sackett."
"You'll excite yourself. You'll----"
"On the contrary, I shall calm myself. I'm never so calm and
cheerful as when I'm fighting, unless it's when I'm getting ready
to fight. There's something inside me--I don't know what--but it
won't let me rest till it has pushed me into action. That's my
nature. If any one asks how I am, say you've no hope of my
"I shall tell only the truth in that case," said Sackett, but
with resignation--he was beginning to believe that for his
extraordinary patient extraordinary remedies might be best.
Dumont listened to Culver's report without interrupting him once.
Culver's position had theretofore been most disadvantageous to
himself. He had been too near to Dumont, had been merged in
Dumont's big personality. Whatever he did well seemed to Dumont
merely the direct reflection of his own abilities; whatever he
did ill seemed far more stupid than a similar blunder made by a
less intimate subordinate--what excuse for Culver's going wrong
with the guiding hand of the Great Man always upon him?
In this, his first important independent assignment, he had at
last an opportunity to show his master what he could do, to show
that he had not learned the Dumont methods parrot-fashion, but
intelligently, that he was no mere reflecting asteroid to the
Dumont sun, but a self-luminous, if lesser and dependent, star.
Dumont was in a peculiarly appreciative mood.
"Why, the fellow's got brains--GOOD brains," was his inward
comment again and again as Culver unfolded the information he had
collected--clear, accurate, non-essentials discarded, essentials
given in detail, hidden points brought to the surface.
It was proof positive of Dumont's profound indifference to money
that he listened without any emotion either of anger or of regret
to the first part of Culver's tale, the survey of the wreck--what
had been forty millions now reduced to a dubious six. Dumont had
neither time nor strength for emotion; he was using all his
mentality in gaging what he had for the work in hand--just how
long and how efficient was the broken sword with which he must
face his enemies in a struggle that meant utter ruin to him if he
failed. For he felt that if he should fail he would never again
be able to gather himself together to renew the combat; either he
would die outright or he would abandon himself to the appetite
which had just shown itself dangerously near to being the
strongest of the several passions ruling him.
When Culver passed to the Herron coterie and the Fanning-Smiths
and Great Lakes and Gulf, Dumont was still motionless--he was now
estimating the strength and the weaknesses of the enemy, and
miscalculation would be fatal. At the end of three-quarters of
an hour Culver stopped the steady, swift flow of his
report--"That's all the important facts. There's a lot more but
it would be largely repetition."
Dumont looked at him with an expression that made him proud.
"Thanks, Culver. At the next annual meeting we'll elect you to
Giddings' place. Please go back down-town and--" He rapidly
indicated half a dozen points which Culver had failed to see and
investigate--the best subordinate has not the master's eye; if he
had, he would not be a subordinate.
Dumont waved his hand in dismissal and settled himself to sleep.
When Culver began to stammer thanks for the promised promotion,
he frowned.
"Don't bother me with that sort of stuff. The job's yours
because you've earned it. It'll be yours as long as you can hold
it down--or until you earn a better one. And you'll be loyal as
Giddings was--just as long as it's to your interest and not a
second longer. Otherwise you'd be a fool, and I'd not have you
about me. Be off!"
He slept an hour and a half, then Pauline brought him a cup of
beef extract--"A very small cup," he grumbled good-humoredly.
"And a very weak, watery mess in it."
As he lay propped in his bed drinking it--slowly to make it last
the longer--Pauline sat looking at him. His hands had been fat
and puffy; she was filled with pity as she watched the almost
scrawny hand holding the cup to his lips; there were hollows
between the tendons, and the wrist was gaunt. Her gaze wandered
to his face and rested there, in sympathy and tenderness. The
ravages of the fever had been frightful--hollows where the
swollen, sensual cheeks had been; the neck caved in behind and
under the jaw-bones; loose skin hanging in wattles, deeply-set
eyes, a pinched look about the nostrils and the corners of the
mouth. He was homely, ugly even; except the noble curve of head
and profile, not a trace of his former good looks--but at least
that swinish, fleshy, fleshly expression was gone.
A physical wreck, battered, torn, dismantled by the storm and
fire of disease! It was hard for her to keep back her tears.
Their eyes met and his instantly shifted. The rest of the world
saw the man of force bent upon the possessions which mean fame
and honor regardless of how they are got. He knew that he could
deceive the world, that so long as he was rich and powerful it
would refuse to let him undeceive it, though he might strive to
show it what he was. But he knew that SHE saw him as he really
was--knew him as only a husband and a wife can know each the
other. And he respected her for the qualities which gave her a
right to despise him, and which had forced her to exercise that
right. He felt himself the superior of the rest of his
fellow-beings, but her inferior; did she not successfully defy
him; could she not, without a word, by simply resting her calm
gaze upon him, make him shift and slink?
He felt that he must change the subject--not of their
conversation, for they were not talking, but of
their--her--thoughts. He did not know precisely what she was
thinking of him, but he was certain that it was not anything
favorable how could it be? In fact, fight though she did against
the thought, into her mind as she looked, pitying yet shrinking,
came his likeness to a wolf--starved and sick and gaunt, by
weakness tamed into surface restraint, but in vicious teeth, in
savage lips, in jaw made to crush for love of crushing, a wicked
wolf, impatient to resume the life of the beast of prey.
By a mischance unavoidable in a mind filled as was his he began
to tell of his revenge--of the exhibition of power he purposed to
give, sudden and terrible. He talked of his enemies as a cat
might of a mouse it was teasing in the impassable circle of its
paws. She felt that they deserved the thunderbolt he said he was
about to hurl into them, but she could not help feeling pity for
them. If what he said of his resources and power were true, how
feeble, how helpless they were--pygmies fatuously disporting
themselves in the palm of a giant's hand, unconscious of where
they were, of the cruel eyes laughing at them, of the iron
muscles that would presently contract that hand and--she
shuddered; his voice came to her in a confused murmur.
"If he does not stop I shall loathe him AGAIN!" she said to
herself. Then to him: "Perhaps you'd like to see Langdon--he's
in the drawing-room with Gladys."
"I sent for him two hours ago. Yes, tell him to come up at
As she took the cup he detained her hand. She beat down the
impulse to snatch it away, let it lie passive. He pressed his
lips upon it.
"I haven't thanked you for coming back," he said in a low
voice, holding to her hand nervously.
"But you know it wasn't because I'm not grateful, don't you? I
can hardly believe yet that it isn't a dream. I'd have said
there wasn't a human being on earth who'd have done it--except
your mother. No, not even you, only your mother."
At this tribute to her mother, unexpected, sincere, tears dimmed
Pauline's eyes and a sob choked up into her throat.
"It was your mother in you that made you come," he went on.
"But you came--and I'll not forget it. You said you had come to
stay--is that so, Pauline?"
She bent her head in assent.
"When I'm well and on top again--but there's nothing in words.
All I'll say is, you're giving me a chance, and I'll make the
best of it. I've learned my lesson."
He slowly released her hand. She stood there a moment, without
speaking, without any definite thought. Then she left to send
"Yes," Dumont reflected, "it was her duty. It's a woman's
duty to be forgiving and gentle and loving and pure--they're made
differently from men. It was unnatural, her ever going away at
all. But she's a good woman, and she shall get what she deserves
hereafter. When I settle this bill for my foolishness I'll not
start another."
Duty--that word summed up his whole conception of the right
attitude of a good woman toward a man. A woman who acted from
love might change her mind; but duty was safe, was always there
when a man came back from wanderings which were mere amiable,
natural weaknesses in the male. Love might adorn a honeymoon or
an escapade; duty was the proper adornment of a home.
"I've just been viewing the wreck with Culver," he said, as
Langdon entered, dressed in the extreme of the latest London
"Much damage?"
"What didn't go in the storm was carried off by Giddings when he
abandoned the ship. But the hull's there and--oh, I'll get her
off and fix her up all right."
"Always knew Giddings was a rascal. He oozes piety and
respectability. That's the worst kind you have down-town. When
a man carries so much character in his face--it's like a woman
who carries so much color in her cheeks that you know it couldn't
have come from the inside."
"You're wrong about Giddings. He's honest enough. Any other
man would have done the same in his place. He stayed until there
was no hope of saving the ship."
"All lost but his honor--Wall Street honor, eh?"
After a pause Langdon said: "I'd no idea you held much of your
own stock. I thought you controlled through other people's
proxies and made your profits by forcing the stock up or down and
getting on the other side of the market."
"But, you see, I believe in Woolens," replied Dumont. "And I
believe in it still, Langdon!" His eyes had in them the look of
the fanatic.
"That concern is breath and blood and life to me, and wife and
children and parents and brothers and sisters. I've put my whole
self into it. I conceived it. I brought it into the world. I
nursed it and brought it up. I made it big and strong and great.
It's mine, by heaven! MINE! And no man shall take it from me!"
He was sitting up, his face flushed, his eyes blazing. "Gad--he
does look a wild beast!" said Langdon to himself. He would have
said aloud, had Dumont been well: "I'm precious glad I ain't
the creature those fangs are reaching for!" He was about to
caution him against exciting himself when Dumont sank back with a
cynical smile at his own outburst.
"But to get down to business," he went on. "I've eleven
millions of the stock left--about a hundred and twenty thousand
shares. Gladys has fifty thousand shares--how much have you
"Less than ten thousand. And I'd have had none at all if my
mind hadn't been full of other things as I was sailing. I forgot
to tell my broker to sell."
Dumont was reflecting. Presently he said: "Those curs not only
took most of my stock and forced the sale of most of my other
securities; they've put me in such a light that outside
stockholders wouldn't send me their proxies now. To get back
control I must smash them, and I must also acquire pretty nearly
half the shares, and hold them till I'm firm in the saddle
"You'd better devote yourself for the present to escaping the
grave. Why bother about business? You've got enough--too much,
as it is. Take a holiday--go away and amuse yourself."
Dumont smiled. "That's what I'm going to do, what I'm
doing--amusing myself. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't live, if I
didn't feel that I was on my way back to power. Now--in the
present market I couldn't borrow on my Woolens stock. I've two
requests to make of you."
"Anything that's possible."
"The first is, I want you to lend me four millions, or, rather,
negotiate the loan for me, as if it were for yourself. I've got
about that amount in Governments, in several good railways and in
the property here. The place at Saint X is Pauline's, but the
things I can put up would bring four millions and a half at least
at forced sale. So, you'll be well secured. I'm asking you to
do it instead of doing it myself because, if I'm to win out, the
Herron crowd must think I'm done for and nearly dead."
Langdon was silent several minutes. At last he said: "What's
your plan?"
Dumont looked irritated--he did not like to be questioned, to
take any one into his confidence. But he restrained his temper
and said: "I'm going to make a counter-raid. I know where to
"Are you sure?"
Dumont frowned. "Don't disturb yourself," he said coldly. "I
can arrange the loan in another way."
"I'm asking you only for your own sake, Jack," Langdon hastily
interposed. "Of course you can have the money, and I don't want
your security."
"Then I'll not borrow through you." Dumont never would accept
a favor from any one. He regarded favors as profitable
investments but ruinous debts.
"Oh--very well--I'll take the security," said Langdon. "When
do you want the money?"
"It must be covered into my account at the Inter-State
National--remember, NOT the National Industrial, but the
Inter-State National. A million must be deposited to-day--the
rest by ten o'clock to-morrow at the latest."
"I'll attend to it. What's your other request?"
"Woolens'll take another big drop on Monday and at least two
hundred and fifty thousand shares'll be thrown on the market at
perhaps an average price of eighteen--less rather than more. I
want you quietly to organize a syndicate to buy what's offered.
They must agree to sell it to me for, say, two points advance on
what they pay for it. I'll put up--in your name--a million
dollars in cash and forfeit it if I don't take the stock off
their hands. As Woolens is worth easily double what it now
stands at, they can't lose. Of course the whole thing must be
kept secret."
Langdon deliberated this proposal. Finally he said: "I think
brother-in-law Barrow and his partner and I can manage it."
"You can assure them they'll make from six hundred thousand to a
million on a less than thirty days' investment of four millions
and a half, with no risk whatever."
"Just about that," assented Langdon--he had been carefully
brought up by his father to take care of a fortune and was
cleverer at figures than he pretended.
"Do your, buying through Tavistock," continued Dumont. "Give
him orders to take on Monday all offerings of National Woolens,
preferred and common, at eighteen or less. He'll understand what
to do."
"But I may be unable to get up the syndicate on such short
"You must," said Dumont. "And you will. You can get a move
on yourself when you try--I found that out when I was organizing
my original combine. One thing more--very important. Learn for
me all you can--without being suspected--about the Fanning-Smiths
and Great Lakes."
He made Langdon go over the matters he was to attend to, point by
point, before he would let him leave. He was asleep when the
nurse, sent in by Langdon on his way out, reached his bed--the
sound and peaceful sleep of a veteran campaigner whose nerves are
trained to take advantage of every lull.
At ten the next morning he sent the nurse out of his room. "And
close the doors," he said, "and don't come until I ring." He
began to use the branch telephone at his bedside, calling up
Langdon, and then Tavistock, to assure himself that all was going
well. Next he called up in succession five of the great
individual money-lenders of Wall Street, pledged them to secrecy
and made arrangements for them to call upon him at his house at
different hours that day and Sunday. Another might have
intrusted the making of these arrangements to Culver or Langdon,
but Dumont never let any one man know enough of his plan of
battle to get an idea of the whole.
"Now for the ammunition," he muttered, when the last
appointment was made. And he rang for Culver.
Culver brought him writing materials. "Take this order," he
said, as he wrote, "to the Central Park Safety Deposit vaults
and bring me from my compartment the big tin box with my initials
in white--remember, IN WHITE--on the end of it."
Three-quarters of an hour later Culver returned, half-carrying,
half-dragging the box. Dumont's eyes lighted up at sight of it.
"Ah!" he said, in a sigh of satisfaction and relief. "Put it
under the head of the bed here. Thanks. That's all."
The nurse came as Culver left, but he sent her away. He
supported himself to the door, locked it. He took his keys from
the night-stand, drew out the box and opened it. On the mass of
stocks and bonds lay an envelope containing two lists--one, of
the securities in the box that were the property of Gladys
Dumont; the other, of the securities there that were the property
of Laura Dumont, their mother.
His hands shook as he unfolded these lists, and a creaking in the
walls or flooring made him start and glance round with the look
of a surprised thief. But this weakness was momentary. He was
soon absorbed in mentally arranging the securities to the best
advantage for distribution among the money-lenders as collateral
for the cash he purposed to stake in his game.
Such thought as he gave to the moral quality of what he was doing
with his sister's and his mother's property without asking their
consent was altogether favorable to himself. His was a
well-trained, "practical" conscience. It often anticipated his
drafts upon it for moral support in acts that might at first
blush seem criminal, or for soothing apologies for acts which
were undeniably "not QUITE right." This particular act,
conscience assured him, was of the highest morality--under his
own code. For the code enacted by ordinary human beings to guide
their foolish little selves he had no more respect than a lion
would have for a moral code enacted by and for sheep. The sheep
might assert that their code was for lions also; but why should
that move the lions to anything but amusement? He had made his
own code--not by special revelation from the Almighty, as did
some of his fellow practitioners of high finance, but by especial
command of his imperial "destiny." And it was a strict
code--it had earned him his unblemished reputation for inflexible
commercial honesty and commercial truthfulness. The foundation
principle was his absolute right to the great property he had
created. This being granted, how could there be immorality in
any act whatsoever that might be necessary to hold or regain his
kingdom? As well debate the morality of a mother in
"commandeering" bread or even a life to save her baby from
His kingdom! His by discovery, his by adroit appropriation, his
by intelligent development, his by the right of mental
might--HIS! Stake his sister's and his mother's possessions for
it? Their lives, if necessary!
Than John Dumont, president of the Woolens Monopoly, there was no
firmer believer in the gospel of divine right--the divine right
of this new race of kings, the puissant lords of trade.
When he had finished his preparations for the money-lenders he
unlocked the door and sank into bed exhausted. Hardly had he
settled himself when, without knocking, Gladys entered, Pauline
just behind her. His face blanched and from his dry throat came
a hoarse, strange cry--it certainly sounded like fright. "You
startled me--that was all," he hastened to explain, as much to
himself as to them. For, a something inside him had echoed the
wondering inquiry in the two women's faces--a something that
persisted in reverencing the moral code which his new code had
At eleven o'clock on Monday morning James, head of the
Fanning-Smith family, president of Fanning-Smith and Company, and
chairman of the Great Lakes and Gulf railway--to note his chief
titles to eminence up-town and down--was seated in his
grandfather's office, in his grandfather's chair, at his
grandfather's desk. Above his head hung his grandfather's
portrait; and he was a slightly modernized reproduction of it.
As he was thus in every outward essential his grandfather over
again, he and his family and the social and business world
assumed that he was the reincarnation of the crafty old fox who
first saw the light of day through the chinks in a farm-hand's
cottage in Maine and last saw it as it sifted through the
real-lace curtains of his gorgeous bedroom in his great Madison
Avenue mansion. But in fact James was only physically and
titularly the representative of his grandfather. Actually he was
typical of the present generation of Fanning-Smiths--a
self-intoxicated, stupid and pretentious generation; a
polo-playing and racing and hunting, a yachting and
palace-dwelling and money-scattering generation; a
business-despising and business-neglecting, an old-world
aristocracy-imitating generation. He moved pompously through his
two worlds, fashion and business, deceiving himself completely,
every one else except his wife more or less, her not at all--but
that was the one secret she kept.
James was the husband of Herron's daughter by his first wife, and
Herron had induced him to finance the syndicate that had raided
and captured National Woolens.
James was bred to conservatism. His timidity was of that
wholesome strength which so often saves chuckle-heads from the
legitimate consequences of their vanity and folly. But the
spectacle of huge fortunes, risen overnight before the wands of
financial magicians whose abilities he despised when he compared
them with his own, was too much for timidity. He had been born
with a large vanity, and it had been stuffed from his babyhood by
all around him until it was become as abnormal as the liver of a
Strasburg goose--and as supersensitive. It suffered acutely as
these Jacks went climbing up their bean-stalk wealth to heights
of magnificence from which the establishments and equipages of
the Fanning-Smiths must seem poor to shabbiness. He sneered at
them as "vulgar new-comers"; he professed abhorrence of their
ostentation. But he--and Gertrude, his wife--envied them, talked
of them constantly, longed to imitate, to surpass them.
In the fullness of time his temptation came. He shivered,
shrank, leaped headlong--his wife pushing.
About ten days before the raid on National Woolens there had
drifted in to Dumont through one of his many subterranean sources
of information a rumor that the Fanning-Smiths had stealthily
reduced their holdings of Great Lakes to twenty-one thousand
shares and that the property was not so good as it had once been.
He never permitted any Wall Street development to pass
unexplained--he thought it simple prudence for a man with the
care of a great financial and commercial enterprise to look into
every dark corner of the Street and see what was hatching there.
Accordingly, he sent an inquiry back along his secret avenue.
Soon he learned that Great Lakes was sound, but the
Fanning-Smiths had gone rotten; that they were gambling in the
stock of the road they controlled and were supposed in large part
to own; that they were secretly selling its stock "short"--that
is, were betting it would go down--when there was nothing in the
condition of the property to justify a fall. He reflected on
this situation and reached these conclusions: "James
Fanning-Smith purposes to pass the autumn dividend, which will
cause the stock to drop. Then he will take his profits from the
shares he has sold short and will buy back control at the low
price. He is a fool and a knave. Only an imbecile would thus
trifle with an established property. A chance for some one to
make a fortune and win a railroad by smashing the
Fanning-Smiths." Having recorded in his indelible memory these
facts and conclusions as to James Fanning-Smith's plunge from
business into gambling, Dumont returned to his own exacting
He had himself begun the race for multi-millions as a gambler and
had only recently become ALMOST altogether a business man. But
he thought there was a radical difference between his case and
Fanning-Smith's. To use courageous gambling as means to a
foothold in business--he regarded that as wise audacity. To use
a firm-established foothold in business as a means to
gambling--he regarded that as the acme of reckless folly.
Besides, when he marked the cards or loaded the dice for a great
Wall Street game of "high finance," he did it with skill and
intelligence; and Fanning-Smith had neither.
When the banking-house of Fanning-Smith and Company undertook to
finance the raid on National Woolens it was already deep in the
Great Lakes gamble. James was new to Wall Street's green table;
and he liked the sensations and felt that his swindle on other
gamblers and the public--he did not call it by that homely name,
though he knew others would if they found him out--was moving
smoothly. Still very, very deep down his self-confidence was
underlaid with quicksand. But Herron was adroit and convincing
to the degree attainable only by those who deceive themselves
before trying to deceive others; and James' cupidity and conceit
were enormous. He ended by persuading himself that his house,
directed and protected by his invincible self, could carry with
ease the burden of both loads. Indeed, the Great Lakes gamble
now seemed to him a negligible trifle in the comparison--what
were its profits of a few hundred thousands beside the millions
that would surely be his when the great Woolens Monopoly, bought
in for a small fraction of its value, should be controlled by a
group of which he would be the dominant personality?
He ventured; he won. He was now secure--was not Dumont
dispossessed, despoiled, dying?
At eleven o'clock on that Monday morning he was seated upon his
embossed leather throne, under his grandfather's portrait,
immersed in an atmosphere of self-adoration. At intervals he
straightened himself, distended his chest, elevated his chin and
glanced round with an air of haughty dignity, though there was
none to witness and to be impressed. In Wall Street there is a
fatuity which, always epidemic among the small fry, infects wise
and foolish, great and small, whenever a paretic dream of an
enormous haul at a single cast of the net happens to come true.
This paretic fatuity now had possession of James; in imagination
he was crowning and draping himself with multi-millions, power
and fame. At intervals he had been calling up on the telephone
at his elbow Zabriskie, the firm's representative on 'Change, and
had been spurring him on to larger and more frequent "sales" of
Great Lakes.
His telephone bell rang. He took down the receiver--"Yes, it's
Mr. Fanning-Smith--oh--Mr. Fanshaw----" He listened, in his
face for the first few seconds all the pitying amusement a small,
vain man can put into an expression of superiority. "Thank you,
Mr. Fanshaw," he said. "But really, it's impossible. WE are
perfectly secure. No one would venture to disturb US." And he
pursed his lips and swelled his fat cheeks in the look for which
his father was noted. But, after listening a few seconds longer,
his eyes had in them the beginnings of timidity.
He turned his head so that he could see the ticker-tape as it
reeled off. His heavy cheeks slowly relaxed. "Yes, yes," he
said hurriedly.
"I'll just speak to our Mr. Zabriskie. Good-by." And he rang
off and had his telephone connected with the telephone Zabriskie
was using at the Stock Exchange. All the while his eyes were on
the ticker-tape. Suddenly he saw upon it where it was bending
from under the turning wheel a figure that made him drop the
receiver and seize it in both his trembling hands. "Great
heavens!" he gasped. "Fanshaw may be right. Great Lakes one
hundred and twelve--and only a moment ago it was one hundred and
His visions of wealth and power and fame were whisking off in a
gale of terror. A new quotation was coming from under the
wheel--Great Lakes one hundred and fifteen. In his eyes stared
the awful thought that was raging in his brain--"This may
mean----" And his vanity instantly thrust out Herron and
Gertrude and pointed at them as the criminals who would be
responsible if--he did not dare formulate the possibilities of
that bounding price.
The telephone boy at the other end, going in search of Zabriskie,
left the receiver off the hook and the door of the booth open.
Into Fanning-Smith's ear came the tumult from the floor of the
Exchange--shrieks and yells riding a roar like the breakers of an
infernal sea. And on the ticker-tape James was reading the story
of the cause, was reading how his Great Lakes venture was caught
in those breakers, was rushing upon the rocks amid the despairing
wails of its crew, the triumphant jeers of the wreckers on shore.
Great Lakes one hundred and eighteen--tick--tick--tick--Great
Lakes one hundred and twenty-three--tick--tick--tick--Great Lakes
one hundred and thirty--tick--tick--tick--Great Lakes one hundred
and thirty-five--
"It can't be true!" he moaned. "It CAN'T be true! If it is
I'm ruined--all of us ruined!"
The roar in the receiver lessened--some one had entered the booth
at the other end and had closed the door. "Well!" he heard in
a sharp, impatient voice--Zabriskie's.
"What is it, Ned--what's the matter? Why didn't you tell me?"
Fanning-Smith's voice was like the shrill shriek of a coward in a
perilous storm. It was in itself complete explanation of
Zabriskie's neglect to call upon him for orders.
"Don't ask me. Somebody's rocketing Great Lakes--taking all
offerings. Don't keep me here. I'm having a hard enough time,
watching this crazy market and sending our orders by the
roundabout way. Got anything to suggest?"
Tick--tick--tick--Commander-in-chief Fanning-Smith watched the
crawling tape in fascinated horror--Great Lakes one hundred and
thirty-eight. It had spelled out for him another letter of that
hideous word, Ruin. All the moisture of his body seemed to be on
the outside; inside, he was dry and hot as a desert. If the
price went no higher, if it did not come down, nearly all he had
in the world would be needed to settle his "short" contracts.
For he would have to deliver at one hundred and seven, more than
two hundred thousand shares which he had contracted to sell; and
to get them for delivery he would have to pay one hundred and
thirty-eight dollars a share. A net loss of more than six
"You must get that price down--you must! You MUST!" quavered
"Hell!" exclaimed Zabriskie--he was the youngest member of the
firm, a son of James' oldest sister. "Tell me how, and I'll do
"You're there--you know what to do," pleaded James. "And I
order you to get that price down!"
"Don't keep me here, talking rot. I've been fighting--and I'm
going to keep on."
James shivered. Fighting! There was no fight in him--all his
life he had got everything without fighting. "Do your best,"
he said. "I'm very ill to-day. I'm--"
"Good-by--" Zabriskie had hung up the receiver.
James sat staring at the tape like a paralytic staring at death.
The minutes lengthened into an hour--into two hours. No one
disturbed him--when the battle is on who thinks of the "honorary
commander"? At one o'clock he shook himself, brushed his hand
over his eyes--quotations of Woolens were reeling off the tape,
alternating with quotations of Great Lakes.
"Zabriskie is selling our Woolens," he thought. Then, with a
blinding flash the truth struck through his brain. He gave a
loud cry between a sob and a shriek and, flinging his arms at
full length upon his desk, buried his face between them and burst
into tears.
"Ruined! Ruined! Ruined!" And his shoulders, his whole body,
shook like a child in a paroxysm.
A long, long ring at the telephone. Fanning-Smith, irritated by
the insistent jingling so close to his ear, lifted himself and
answered--the tears were guttering his swollen face; his lips and
eyelids were twitching.
"Well?" he said feebly.
"We've got 'em on the run," came the reply in Zabriskie's
voice, jubilant now.
"Don't know who--whoever was trying to squeeze us. I had to
throw over some Woolens--but I'll pick it up again--maybe
Fanning-Smith could hear the roar of the Exchange--wilder,
fiercer than three hours before, but music to him now. He looked
sheepishly at the portrait of his grandfather. When its eyes met
his he flushed and shifted his gaze guiltily. "Must have been
something I ate for breakfast," he muttered to the portrait and
to himself in apologetic explanation of his breakdown.
In a distant part of the field all this time was posted the
commander-in-chief of the army of attack. Like all wise
commanders in all well-conducted battles, he was far removed from
the blinding smoke, from the distracting confusion. He had
placed himself where he could hear, see, instantly direct,
without being disturbed by trifling reverse or success, by
unimportant rumors to vast proportions blown.
To play his game for dominion or destruction John Dumont had had
himself arrayed in a wine-colored, wadded silk dressing-gown over
his white silk pajamas and had stretched himself on a divan in
his sitting-room in his palace. A telephone and a stock-ticker
within easy reach were his field-glasses and his aides--the
stock-ticker would show him second by second the precise posture
of the battle; the telephone would enable him to direct it to the
minutest manoeuver.
The telephone led to the ear of his chief of staff, Tavistock,
who was at his desk in his privatest office in the Mills
Building, about him telephones straight to the ears of the
division commanders. None of these knew who was his commander;
indeed, none knew that there was to be a battle or, after the
battle was on, that they were part of one of its two contending
armies. They would blindly obey orders, ignorant who was aiming
the guns they fired and at whom those guns were aimed. Such
conditions would have been fatal to the barbaric struggles for
supremacy which ambition has waged through all the past; they are
ideal conditions for these modern conflicts of the market which
more and more absorb the ambitions of men. Instead of shot and
shell and regiments of "cannon food," there are battalions of
capital, the paper certificates of the stored-up toil or trickery
of men; instead of mangled bodies and dead, there are minds in
the torment of financial peril or numb with the despair of
financial ruin. But the stakes are the same old stakes--power
and glory and wealth for a few, thousands on thousands dragged or
cozened into the battle in whose victory they share scantily, if
at all, although they bear its heaviest losses on both sides.
It was half-past eight o'clock when Dumont put the receiver to
his ear and greeted Tavistock in a strong, cheerful voice.
"Never felt better in my life," was his answer to Tavistock's
inquiry as to his health. "Even old Sackett admits I'm in
condition. But he says I must have no irritations--so, be
careful to carry out orders."
He felt as well as he said. His body seemed the better for its
rest and purification, for its long freedom from his occasional
but terrific assaults upon it, for having got rid of the
superfluous flesh which had been swelling and weighting it.
He made Tavistock repeat all the orders he had given him, to
assure himself he had not been misunderstood. As he listened to
the rehearsal of his own shrewd plans his eyes sparkled. "I'll
bag the last----of them," he muttered, and his lips twisted into
a smile at which Culver winced.
When the ticker clicked the first quotation of Great Lakes Dumont
said: "Now, clear out, Culver! And shut the door after you,
and let no one interrupt me until I call." He wished to have no
restraint upon his thoughts, no eyes to watch his face, no ears
to hear what the fortune of the battle might wring from him.
As the ticker pushed out the news of the early declines and
recoveries in Great Lakes, Tavistock leading the Fanning-Smith
crowd on to make heavier and heavier plunges, Dumont could see in
imagination the battle-field--the floor of the Stock Exchange--as
plainly as if he were there.
The battle began with a languid cannonade between the two
seemingly opposed parts of Dumont's army. Under cover of this he
captured most of the available actual shares of Great
Lakes--valuable aids toward making his position, his "corner,"
impregnable. But before he had accomplished his full purpose
Zabriskie, nominal lieutenant-commander, actual commander of the
Fanning-Smith forces, advanced to give battle. Instead of
becoming suspicious at the steadiness of the price under his
attacks upon it, Zabriskie was lured on to sell more of those
Great Lakes shares which he did not have. And he beamed from his
masked position as he thought of the batteries he was holding in
reserve for his grand movement to batter down the price of the
stock late in the day, and capture these backers of the property
that was supposed to be under the protection of the high and
honorable Fanning-Smiths.
He was still thinking along this line, as he stood aloof and
apparently disinterested, when Dumont began to close in upon him.
Zabriskie, astonished by this sudden tremendous fire, was alarmed
when under its protection the price advanced. He assaulted in
force with large selling orders; but the price pushed on and the
fierce cannonade of larger and larger buying orders kept up.
When Great Lakes had mounted in a dozen bounds from one hundred
and seven to one hundred and thirty-nine, he for the first time
realized that he was facing not an unorganized speculating public
but a compact army, directed by a single mind to a single
purpose. "A lunatic--a lot of lunatics," he said, having not
the faintest suspicion of the reason for the creation of these
conditions of frenzy. Still, if this rise continued or was not
reversed the Fanning-Smiths would be ruined--by whom? "Some of
those Chicago bluffers," he finally decided. "I must throw a
scare into I them."
He could have withdrawn from the battle then with a pitiful
remnant of the Fanning-Smiths and their associates--that is, he
thought he could, for he did not dream of the existence of the
"corner." But he chose the opposite course. He flung off his
disguise and boldly attacked the stock with selling orders openly
in the name of the Fanning-Smiths.
"When they see us apparently unloading our own ancestral
property I think they'll take to their heels," he said. But his
face was pale as he awaited the effect of his assault.
The price staggered, trembled. The clamor of the battle alarmed
those in the galleries of the Stock Exchange--Zabriskie's brokers
selling, the brokers of the mysterious speculator buying, the
speculating public through its brokers joining in on either side;
men shrieking into each other's faces as they danced round and
round the Great Lakes pillar. The price went down, went up, went
down, down, down--Zabriskie had hurled selling orders for nearly
fifty thousand shares at it and Dumont had commanded his guns to
cease firing. He did not dare take any more offerings; he had
reached the end of the ammunition he had planned to expend at
that particular stage of the battle.
The alarm spread and, although Zabriskie ceased selling, the
price continued to fall under the assaults of the speculating
public, mad to get rid of that which its own best friends were so
eagerly and so frankly throwing over. Down, down, down to one
hundred and twenty, to one hundred and ten, to one hundred and
Zabriskie telephoned victory to his nominal commander, lifting
him, weak and trembling, from the depths into which he had
fallen, to an at least upright position upon his embossed leather
throne. Then Zabriskie began stealthily to cover his appallingly
long line of "shorts" by making purchases at the lowest
obtainable prices--one hundred and four--one hundred and
three--one hundred and one--ninety-nine--one hundred and six!
The price rebounded so rapidly and so high that Zabriskie was
forced to stop his retreat. Dumont, noting the celerity with
which the enemy were escaping under cover of the demoralization,
had decided no longer to delay the move for which he had saved
himself. He had suddenly exploded under the falling price mine
after mine of buying orders that blew it skyward. Zabriskie's
retreat was cut off.
But before he had time to reason out this savage renewal of the
assault by that mysterious foe whom he thought he had routed, he
saw a new and more dreadful peril. Brackett, his firm's secret
broker, rushed to him and, to make himself heard through the
hurly-burly, shouted into his ear:
"Look what's doing in Woolens!"
Dumont had ordered a general assault upon his enemies, front,
rear and both flanks. His forces were now attacking not only
through Great Lakes but also through Woolens. Two apparently
opposing sets of his brokers were trading in Woolens, were
hammering the price down, down, a point, an eighth, a half, a
quarter, at a time. The sweat burst out all over Zabriskie's
body and his eyes rolled wildly. He was caught among four fires:
To continue to sell Great Lakes in face of its rising price--that
was ruin. To cease to sell it and so let its price go up to
where he could not buy when settlement time came--that was ruin.
To sell Woolens, to help batter down its price, to shrink the
value of his enormous investment in it--ruin again. To buy
Woolens in order to hold up its price, to do it when he would
need all obtainable cash to extricate him from the Great Lakes
entanglement--ruin, certain ruin.
His judgment was gone; his brute instinct of fighting was
dominant; he began to strike out wildly, his blows falling either
nowhere or upon himself.
At the Woolens post he was buying in the effort to sustain its
price, buying stock that might be worthless when he got it--and
that he might not be able to pay for. At the Great Lakes post he
was selling in the effort to force the price down, selling more
and more of a stock he did not have and---- At last the thought
flashed into his befuddled brain: "There may be a corner in
Great Lakes. What if there were no stock to be had?"
He struck his hands against the sides of his head. "Trapped!"
he groaned, then bellowed in Brackett's ear. "Sell Woolens--do
the best you can to keep the price up, but sell at any price! We
must have money--all we can get! And tell Farley"--Farley was
Brackett's partner--"to buy Great Lakes--buy all he can get--at
any price. Somebody's trying to corner us!"
He felt--with an instinct he could not question--that there was
indeed a corner in Great Lakes, that he and his house and their
associates were caught. Caught with promises to deliver
thousands upon thousands of shares of Great Lakes, when Great
Lakes could be had only of the mysterious cornerer, and at
whatever price he might choose to ask!
"If we've got to go down," he said to himself, "I'll see that
it's a tremendous smash anyhow, and that we ain't alone in it."
For he had in him the stuff that makes a man lead a forlorn hope
with a certain joy in the very hopelessness of it.
The scene on the day of Dumont's downfall was a calm in
comparison with the scene which Dumont, sitting alone among the
piled-up coils of ticker-tape, was reconstructing from its, to
him, vivid second-by-second sketchings.
The mysterious force which had produced a succession of
earthquakes moved horribly on, still in mystery impenetrable, to
produce a cataclysm. In the midst of the chaos two vast
whirlpools formed--one where Great Lakes sucked down men and
fortunes, the other where Woolens drew some down to destruction,
flung others up to wealth. Then Rumor, released by Tavistock
when Dumont saw that the crisis had arrived, ran hot foot through
the Exchange, screaming into the ears of the brokers, shrieking
through the telephones, howling over the telegraph wires, "A
corner! A corner! Great Lakes is cornered!" Thousands besides
the Fanning-Smith coterie had been gambling in Great Lakes, had
sold shares they did not have. And now all knew that to get them
they must go to the unknown, but doubtless merciless,
master-gambler--unless they could save themselves by instantly
buying elsewhere before the steel jaws of the corner closed and
Reason fled, and self-control. The veneer of civilization was
torn away to the last shred; and men, turned brute again, gave
themselves up to the elemental passions of the brute.
In the quiet, beautiful room in upper Fifth Avenue was Dumont in
his wine-colored wadded silk dressing-gown and white silk
pajamas. The floor near his lounge was littered with the
snake-like coils of ticker-tape. They rose almost to his knees
as he sat and through telephone and ticker drank in the massacre
of his making, glutted himself with the joy of the vengeance he
was taking--on his enemies, on his false or feeble friends, on
the fickle public that had trampled and spat upon him. His wet
hair was hanging in strings upon his forehead. His face was
flushed and his green-gray eyes gleamed like a mad dog's. At
intervals a jeer or a grunt of gratified appetite ripped from his
mouth or nose. Like a great lean spider he lay hid in the center
of that vast net of electric wires, watching his prey writhe
helpless. Pauline, made uneasy by his long isolation, opened his
door and looked--glanced, rather. As she closed it, in haste to
shut from view that spectacle of a hungry monster at its banquet
of living flesh, Culver saw her face. Such an expression an
angel might have, did it chance to glance down from the
battlements of heaven and, before it could turn away, catch a
glimpse of some orgy in hell.
But Dumont did not hear the door open and close. He was at the
climax of his feast.
Upon his two maelstroms, sucking in the wreckage from a dozen
other explosions as well as from those he had directly caused, he
could see as well as if he were among the fascinated, horrified
spectators in the galleries of the Exchange, the mangled flotsam
whirling and descending and ascending. The entire stock list,
the entire speculating public of the country was involved. And
expression of the emotions everywhere was by telegraph and
telephone concentrated in the one hall, upon the faces and bodies
of those few hundred brokers. All the passions which love of
wealth and dread of want breed in the human animal were there
finding vent--all degrees and shades and modes of greed, of hate,
of fear, of despair. It was like a shipwreck where the whole
fleet is flung upon the reefs, and the sailors, drunk and insane,
struggle with death each in his own awful way. It was like the
rout where frenzied victors ride after and among frenzied
vanquished to shoot and stab and saber.
And while this battle, precipitated by the passions of a few
"captains of industry," raged in Wall Street and filled the
nation with the clamor of ruined or triumphant gamblers,
ten-score thousand toilers in the two great enterprises directly
involved toiled tranquilly on--herding sheep and shearing them,
weaving cloths and dyeing them, driving engines, handling
freight, conducting trains, usefully busy, adding to the sum of
human happiness, subtracting from the sum of human misery.
At three o'clock Dumont sank back among his cushions and pillows.
His child, his other self, his Woolens Monopoly, was again his
own; his enemies were under his heel, as much so as those heaps
and coils of ticker-tape he had been churning in his excitement.
"I'm dead tired," he muttered, his face ghastly, his body
relaxed in utter exhaustion.
He closed his eyes. "I must sleep--I've earned it.
To-morrow"--a smile flitted round his mouth--"I'll hang their
hides where every coyote and vulture can see."
Toward four o'clock in came Doctor Sackett and Culver. The room
was flooded with light--the infinite light of the late-spring
afternoon reflected on the white enamel and white brocade of
walls and furniture. On the floor in the heaps and coils of
ticker-tape lay Dumont.
In his struggles the tape had wound round and round his legs, his
arms, his neck. It lay in a curling, coiling mat, like a
serpent's head, upon his throat, where his hands clutched the
collar of his pajamas.
Sackett knelt beside him, listening at his chest, feeling for his
pulse in vain. And Culver stood by, staring stupidly at the now
worthless instrument of his ambition for wealth and power.
Within two hours Langdon, in full control, had arranged with
Tavistock to make the imperiled victory secure. Thus, not until
the next day but one did it come out that the cataclysm had been
caused by a man ruined and broken and with his back against
death's door to hold it shut; that Dumont himself had turned the
triumphing host of his enemies into a flying mob, in its panic
flinging away its own possessions as well as its booty.
Perhaps the truth never would have been known, perhaps Langdon
would have bribed Tavistock to silence and would have posed as
the conquering genius, had he found out a day earlier how Dumont
had put himself in funds. As it was, this discovery did not come
too late for him to seize the opportunity that was his through
Dumont's secret methods, Pauline's indifference to wealth and his
own unchecked authority. He has got many an hour of--strictly
private--mental gymnastics out of the moral problem he saw, in
his keeping for himself and Gladys the spoils he gathered up. He
is inclined to think he was intelligent rather than right; but,
knowing his weakness for self-criticism, he never gives a
positive verdict against himself. That, however, is unimportant,
as he is not the man to permit conscience to influence conduct in
grave matters.
He feels that, in any case, he did not despoil Pauline or
Gardiner. For, after he had told her what Dumont did--and to
protect himself he hastened to tell it--she said: "Whatever
there may be, it's all for Gardiner. I waive my own rights, if I
have any. But you must give me your word of honor that you won't
let anything tainted pass to him." Langdon, judging with the
delicacy of a man of honor put on honor, was able to find little
such wealth.
He gives himself most of the credit for Gardiner's turning out so
well--"Inherited riches are a hopeless handicap," he often says
to Gladys when they are talking over the future of their
The first six months of her new life, of her resumed life, she
spent in Europe with her father and mother and Gardiner. Late in
the fall they were back at Saint X, at the old house in Jefferson
Street. In the following June came Scarborough. She was in the
garden, was waiting for him, was tying up a tall rose, whose
splendid, haughty head had bent under the night's rain.
He was quite near her when she heard his step and turned. He
stood, looked at her--the look she had seen that last afternoon
at Battle Field. He came slowly up and took both her hands.
"After all the waiting and longing and hoping," he said, "at
last--you! I can't put it into words--except to
She drew a long breath; her gaze met his. And in her eyes he saw
a flame that had never shone clearly there before--the fire of
her own real self, free and proud. "Once you told me about your
father and mother--how he cared--cared always."
"I remember," he answered.
"Well--I--I," said Pauline, "I care as SHE must have cared
when she gave him herself--and YOU."

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