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A Poor Wise Man by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Part 4 out of 9

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But he had rather floundered there. He could not discuss physical
attraction with her.

"We're getting rather deep for eleven o'clock at night, aren't we?"

After a short silence:

"Do you mind speaking about Aunt Elinor, father?"

"No, dear. Although it is rather a painful subject."

"But if she is happy, why is it painful?"

"Well, because Doyle is the sort of man he is."

"You mean-because he is unfaithful to her? Or was?"

He was very uncomfortable.

"That is one reason for it, of course. There are others."

"But if he is faithful to her now, father? Don't you think, whatever
a man has been, if he really cares for a woman it makes him over?"

"Sometimes, not always." The subject was painful to him. He did
not want his daughter to know the sordid things of life. But he
added, gallantly: "Of course a good woman can do almost anything she
wants with a man, if he cares for her."

She lay awake almost all night, thinking that over.

On the Sunday following Louis Akers' call Mademoiselle learned of
it, by the devious route of the servants' hall, and she went to Lily
at once, yearning and anxious, and in her best lace collar. She
needed courage, and to be dressed in her best gave her moral strength.

"It is not," she said, "that they wish to curtail your liberty, Lily.
But to have that man come here, when he knows he is not wanted, to
force himself on you - "

"I need not have seen him. I wanted to see him."

Mademoiselle waved her hands despairingly.

"If they find it out!" she wailed.

"They will. I intend to tell them."

But Mademoiselle made her error there. She was fearful of Grace's
attitude unless she forewarned her, and Grace, frightened,
immediately made it a matter of a family conclave. She had not
intended to include Anthony, but he came in on an excited speech
from Howard, and heard it all.

The result was that instead of Lily going to them with her
confession, she was summoned, to find her family a unit for once
and combined against her. She was not to see Louis Akers again, or
the Doyles.

They demanded a promise, but she refused. Yet even then, standing
before them, forced to a defiance she did not feel, she was puzzled
as well as angry. They were wrong, and yet in some strange way
they were right, too. She was Cardew enough to get their point of
view. But she was Cardew enough, too, to defy them.

She did it rather gently.

"You must understand," she said, her hands folded in front of her,
"that it is not so much that I care to see the people you are talking
about. It is that I feel I have the right to choose my own friends."

"Friends!" sneered old Anthony. "A third-rate lawyer, a - "

"That is not the point, grandfather. I went away to school when I
was a little girl. I have been away for five years. You cannot
seem to realize that I am a woman now, not a child. You bring me
in here like a bad child."

In the end old Anthony had slammed out of the room. There were
arguments after that, tears on Grace's part, persuasion on Howard's;
but Lily had frozen against what she considered their tyranny, and
Howard found in her a sort of passive resistance, that drove him
frantic.

"Very well," he said finally. "You have the arrogance of youth,
and its cruelty, Lily. And you are making us all suffer without
reason."

"Don't you think I might say that too, father?"

"Are you in love with this man?"

"I have only seen him four times. If you would give me some reasons
for all this fuss - "

"There are things I cannot explain to you. You wouldn't understand."

"About his moral character?"

Howard was rather shocked. He hesitated:

"Yes."

"Will you tell me what they are?"

"Good heavens, no!" he exploded. "The man's a radical, too. That
in itself ought to be enough."

"You can't condemn a man for his political opinions."

"Political opinions!"

"Besides," she said, looking at him with her direct gaze, "isn't
there some reason in what the radicals believe, father? Maybe it
is a dream that can't come true, but it is rather a fine dream,
isn't it?"

It was then that Howard followed his father's example, and flung
out of the room.

After that Lily went, very deliberately and without secrecy, to the
house on Cardew Way. She found a welcome there, not so marked on
her Aunt Elinor's part as on Doyle's, but a welcome. She found
approval, too, where at home she had only suspicion and a solicitude
based on anxiety. She found a clever little circle there, and
sometimes a cultured one; underpaid, disgruntled, but brilliant
professors from the college, a journalist or two, a city councilman,
even prosperous merchants, and now and then strange bearded
foreigners who were passing through the city and who talked
brilliantly of the vision of Lenine and the future of Russia.

She learned that the true League of Nations was not a political
alliance, but a union of all the leveled peoples of the world.
She had no curiosity as to how this leveling was to be brought
about. All she knew was that these brilliant dreamers made her
welcome, and that instead of the dinner chat at home, small
personalities, old Anthony's comments on his food, her father's
heavy silence, here was world talk, vast in its scope, idealistic,
intoxicating.

Almost always Louis Akers was there; it pleased her to see how the
other men listened to him, deferred to his views, laughed at his wit.
She did not know the care exercised in selecting the groups she was
to meet, the restraints imposed on them. And she could not know
that from her visits the Doyle establishment was gaining a prestige
totally new to it, an almost respectability.

Because of those small open forums, sometimes noted in the papers,
those innocuous gatherings, it was possible to hold in that very
room other meetings, not open and not innocuous, where practical
plans took the place of discontented yearnings, and where the talk
was more often of fighting than of brotherhood.

She was, by the first of May, frankly infatuated with Louis Akers,
yet with a curious knowledge that what she felt was infatuation only.
She would lie wide-eyed at night and rehearse painfully the
weaknesses she saw so clearly in him. But the next time she saw him
she would yield to his arms, passively but without protest. She did
not like his caresses, but the memory of them thrilled her.

She was following the first uncurbed impulse of her life. Guarded
and more or less isolated from other youth, she had always lived a
strong inner life, purely mental, largely interrogative. She had
had strong childish impulses, sometimes of pure affection,
occasionally of sheer contrariness, but always her impulses had
been curbed.

"Do be a little lady," Mademoiselle would say.

She had got, somehow, to feel that impulse was wrong. It ranked
with disobedience. It partook of the nature of sin. People who
did wicked things did them on impulse, and were sorry ever after;
but then it was too late.

As she grew older, she added something to that. Impulses of the
mind led to impulses of the body, and impulse was wrong. Passion
was an impulse of the body. Therefore it was sin. It was the one
sin one could not talk about, so one was never quite clear about
it. However, one thing seemed beyond dispute; it was predominatingly
a masculine wickedness. Good women were beyond and above it, its
victims sometimes, like those girls at the camp, or its toys, like
the sodden creatures in the segregated district who hung, smiling
their tragic smiles, around their doorways in the late afternoons.

But good women were not like that. If they were, then they were
not good. They did not lie awake remembering the savage clasp of a
man's arms, knowing all the time that this was not love, but
something quite different. Or if it was love, that it was painful
and certainly not beautiful.

Sometimes she thought about Willy Cameron. He had had very exalted
ideas about love. He used to be rather oratorical about it.

"It's the fundamental principle of the universe," he would say,
waving his pipe wildly. "But it means suffering, dear child. It
feeds on martyrdom and fattens on sacrifice. And as the h.c. of l.
doesn't affect either commodity, it lives forever."

"What does it do, Willy, if it hasn't any martyrdom and sacrifice
to feed on? Do you mean to say that when it is returned and
everybody is happy, it dies?"

"Practically," he had said. "It then becomes domestic contentment,
and expresses itself in the shape of butcher's bills and roast
chicken on Sundays."

But that had been in the old care-free days, before Willy had
thought he loved her, and before she had met Louis.

She made a desperate effort one day to talk to her mother. She
wanted, somehow, to be set right in her own eyes. But Grace could
not meet her even half way; she did not know anything about
different sorts of love, but she did know that love was beautiful,
if you met the right man and married him. But it had to be some
one who was your sort, because in the end marriage was only a sort
of glorified companionship.

The moral in that, so obviously pointed at Louis Akers, invalidated
the rest of it for Lily.

She was in a state of constant emotional excitement by that time,
and it was only a night or two after that she quarreled with her
grandfather. There had been a dinner party, a heavy, pompous affair,
largely attended, for although spring was well advanced, the usual
May hegira to the country or the coast had not yet commenced.
Industrial conditions in and around the city were too disturbed for
the large employers to get away, and following Lent there had been
a sort of sporadic gayety, covering a vast uneasiness. There was
to be no polo after all.

Lily, doing her best to make the dinner a success, found herself
contrasting it with the gatherings at the Doyle house, and found it
very dull. These men, with their rigidity of mind, invited because
they held her grandfather's opinions, or because they kept their
own convictions to themselves, seemed to her of a bygone time. She
did not see in them a safe counterpoise to a people which in its
reaction from the old order, was ready to swing to anything that
was new. She saw only a dozen or so elderly gentlemen, immaculate
and prosperous, peering through their glasses after a world which
had passed them by.

They were very grave that night. The situation was serious. The
talk turned inevitably to the approaching strike, and from that to
a possible attempt on the part of the radical element toward
violence. The older men pooh-poohed that, but the younger ones were
uncertain. Isolated riotings, yes. But a coordinated attempt
against the city, no. Labour was greedy, but it was law-abiding.
Ah, but it was being fired by incendiary literature. Then what were
the police doing? They were doing everything. They were doing
nothing. The governor was secretly a radical. Nonsense. The
governor was saying little, but was waiting and watching. A general
strike was only another word for revolution. No. It would be
attempted, perhaps, but only to demonstrate the solidarity of labor.

After a time Lily made a discovery. She found that even into that
carefully selected gathering had crept a surprising spirit, based
on the necessity for concession; a few men who shared her father's
convictions, and went even further. One or two, even, who,
cautiously for fear of old Anthony's ears, voiced a belief that
before long invested money would be given a fixed return, all
surplus profits to be divided among the workers, the owners and
the government.

"What about the lean years?" some one asked.

The government's share of all business was to form a contingent fund
for such emergencies, it seemed.

Lily listened attentively. Was it because they feared that if they
did not voluntarily divide their profits they would be taken from
them? Enough for all, and to none too much. Was that what they
feared? Or was it a sense of justice, belated but real?

She remembered something Jim Doyle had said:

"Labor has learned its weakness alone, its strength united. But
capital has not learned that lesson. It will not take a loss for a
principle. It will not unite. It is suspicious and jealous, so it
fights its individual battles alone, and loses in the end."

But then to offset that there was something Willy Cameron had said
one day, frying doughnuts for her with one hand, and waving the fork
about with the other.

"Don't forget this, oh representative of the plutocracy," he had
said. "Capital has its side, and a darned good one, too. It's got
a sense of responsibility to the country, which labor may have
individually but hasn't got collectively."

These men at the table were grave, burdened with responsibility.
Her father. Even her grandfather. It was no longer a question of
profit. It was a question of keeping the country going. They
were like men forced to travel, and breasting a strong head wind.
There were some there who would turn, in time, and travel with
the gale. But there were others like her grandfather, obstinate
and secretly frightened, who would refuse. Who would, to change
the figure, sit like misers over their treasure, an eye on the
window of life for thieves.

She went upstairs, perplexed and thoughtful. Some time
later she heard the family ascending, the click of her mother's
high heels on the polished wood of the staircase, her father's
sturdy tread, and a moment or two later her grandfather's slow,
rather weary step. Suddenly she felt sorry for him, for his age,
for his false gods of power and pride, for the disappointment
she was to him. She flung open her door impulsively and con-
fronted him.

"I just wanted to say good-night, grandfather," she said
breathlessly. "And that I am sorry."

"Sorry for what?"

"Sorry - " she hesitated. "Because we see things so differently."

Lily was almost certain that she caught a flash of tenderness in his
eyes, and certainly his voice had softened.

"You looked very pretty to-night," he said. But he passed on, and
she had again the sense of rebuff with which he met all her small
overtures at that time. However, he turned at the foot of the
upper flight.

"I would like to talk to you, Lily. Will you come upstairs?"

She had been summoned before to those mysterious upper rooms of his,
where entrance was always by request, and generally such requests
presaged trouble. But she followed him light-heartedly enough then.
His rare compliment had pleased and touched her.

The lamp beside his high-backed, almost throne-like chair was
lighted, and in the dressing-room beyond his valet was moving about,
preparing for the night. Anthony dismissed the man, and sat down
under the lamp.

"You heard the discussion downstairs, to-night, Lily. Personally
I anticipate no trouble, but if there is any it may be directed at
this house." He smiled grimly. "I cannot rely on my personal
popularity to protect me, I fear. Your mother obstinately refuses
to leave your father, but I have decided to send you to your
grand-aunt Caroline."

"Aunt Caroline! She doesn't care for me, grandfather. She never
has."

"That is hardly pertinent, is it? The situation is this: She intends
to open the Newport house early in June, and at my request she will
bring you out there. Next fall we will do something here; I haven't
decided just what."

There was a sudden wild surge of revolt in Lily. She hated Newport.
Grand-aunt Caroline was a terrible person. She was like Anthony,
domineering and cruel, and with even less control over her tongue.

"I need not point out the advantages of the plan," said Anthony
suavely. "There may be trouble here, although I doubt it. But in
any event you will have to come out, and this seems an excellent way.

"Is it a good thing to spend a lot of money now, grandfather, when
there is so much discontent?"

Old Anthony had a small jagged vein down the center of his forehead,
and in anger or his rare excitements it stood out like a scar. Lily
saw it now, but his voice was quiet enough.

"I consider it vitally important to the country to continue its
social life as before the war."

"You mean, to show we are not frightened?"

"Frightened! Good God, nobody's frightened. It will take more
than a handful of demagogues to upset this government. Which brings
me to a subject you insist on reopening, by your conduct. I have
reason to believe that you are still going to that man's house."

He never called Doyle by name if he could avoid it.

"I have been there several times.

"After you were forbidden?"

His tone roused every particle of antagonism in her. She flushed.

"Perhaps because I was forbidden," she said, slowly. "Hasn't it
occurred to you that I may consider your attitude very unjust?"

If she looked for an outburst from him it did not come. He stood
for a moment, deep in thought.

"You understand that this Doyle once tried to assassinate me?"

"I know that he tried to beat you, grandfather. I am sorry, but
that was long ago. And there was a reason for it, wasn't there?"

"I see," he said, slowly. "What you are conveying to me, not too
delicately, is that you have definitely allied yourself with my
enemies. That, here in my own house, you intend to defy me. That,
regardless of my wishes or commands, while eating my food, you
purpose to traffic with a man who has sworn to get me, sooner or
later. Am I correct?"

"I have only said that I see no reason why I should not visit
Aunt Elinor."

"And that you intend to. Do I understand also that you refuse to
go to Newport?"

"I daresay I shall have to go, if you send me. I don't want to go.

"Very well. I am glad we have had this little talk. It makes my
own course quite plain. Good-night."

He opened the door for her and she went out and down the stairs.
She felt very calm, and as though something irrevocable had happened.
With her anger at her grandfather there was mixed a sort of pity for
him, because she knew that nothing he could do would change the
fundamental situation. Even if he locked her up, and that was
possible, he would know that he had not really changed things, or
her. She felt surprisingly strong. All these years that she had
feared him, and yet when it came to a direct issue, he was helpless!
What had he but his wicked tongue, and what did that matter to deaf
ears?

She found her maid gone, and Mademoiselle waiting to help her
undress. Mademoiselle often did that. It made her feel still
essential in Lily's life.

"A long seance!" she said. "Your mother told me to-night. It is
Newport?"

"He wants me to go. Unhook me, Mademoiselle, and then run off and
go to bed. You ought not to wait up like this."

"Newport!" said Mademoiselle, deftly slipping off the white and
silver that was Lily's gown. "It will be wonderful, dear. And you
will be a great success. You are very beautiful."

"I am not going to Newport, Mademoiselle."

Mademoiselle broke into rapid expostulation, in French. Every girl
wanted to make her debut at Newport. Here it was all industry,
money, dirt. Men who slaved in offices daily. At Newport was
gathered the real leisure class of America, those who knew how to
play, who lived. But Lily, taking off her birthday pearls before
the mirror of her dressing table, only shook her head.

"I'm not going," she said. "I might as well tell you, for you'll
hear about it later. I have quarreled with him, very badly. I
think he intends to lock me up."

"C'est impossible!" cried Mademoiselle.

But a glance at Lily's set face in the mirror told her it was true.

She went away very soon, sadly troubled. There were bad times
coming. The old peaceful quiet days were gone, for age and
obstinacy had met youth and the arrogance of youth, and it was to
be battle.

CHAPTER XVII

But there was a truce for a time. Lily came and went without
interference, and without comment. Nothing more was said about
Newport. She motored on bright days to the country club, lunched
and played golf or tennis, rode along the country lanes with Pink
Denslow, accepted such invitations as came her way cheerfully
enough but without enthusiasm, and was very gentle to her mother.
But Mademoiselle found her tense and restless, as though she were
waiting.

And there were times when she disappeared for an hour or two in
the afternoons, proffering no excuses, and came back flushed, and
perhaps a little frightened. On the evenings that followed those
small excursions she was particularly gentle to her mother.
Mademoiselle watched and waited for the blow she feared was about
to fall. She felt sure that the girl was seeing Louis Akers, and
that she would ultimately marry him. In her despair she fell back
on Willy Cameron and persuaded Grace to invite him to dinner. It
was meant to be a surprise for Lily, but she had telephoned at
seven o'clock that she was dining at the Doyles'.

It was that evening that Willy Cameron learned that Mr. Hendricks
had been right about Lily. He and Grace dined alone, for Howard
was away at a political conference, and Anthony had dined at his
club. And in the morning room after dinner Grace found herself
giving him her confidence.

"I have no right to burden you with our troubles, Mr. Cameron,"
Grace said, "but she is so fond of you, and she has great respect
for your judgment. If you could only talk to her about the anxiety
she is causing. These Doyles, or rather Mr. Doyle - the wife is
Mr. Cardew's sister - are putting all sorts of ideas into her head.
And she has met a man there, a Mr. Akers, and - I'm afraid she
thinks she is in love with him, Mr. Cameron."

He met her eyes gravely.

"Have you tried not forbidding her to go to the Doyles?"

"I have forbidden her nothing. It is her grandfather."

"Then it seems to be Mr. Cardew who needs to be talked to, doesn't
it?" he said. "I wouldn't worry too much, Mrs. Cardew. And don't
hold too tight a rein.

He was very down-hearted when he left. Grace's last words placed
a heavy burden on him.

"I simply feel," she said, "that you can do more with her than we
can, and that if something isn't done she will ruin her life. She
is too fine and wonderful to have her do that."

To picture Lily as willfully going her own gait at that period
would be most unfair. She was suffering cruelly; the impulse that
led her to meet Louis Akers against her family's wishes was
irresistible, but there was a new angle to her visits to the Doyle
house. She was going there now, not so much because she wished to
go, as because she began to feel that her Aunt Elinor needed her.

There was something mysterious about her Aunt Elinor, mysterious
and very sad. Even her smile had pathos in it, and she was smiling
less and less. She sat in those bright little gatherings, in them
but not of them, unbrilliant and very quiet. Sometimes she gave
Lily the sense that like Lily herself she was waiting. Waiting for
what?

Lily had a queer feeling too, once or twice, that Elinor was afraid.
But again, afraid of what? Sometimes she wondered if Elinor Doyle
was afraid of her husband; certainly there were times, when they were
alone, when he dropped his unctuous mask and held Elinor up to
smiling contempt.

"You can see what a clever wife I have," he said once. "Sometimes I
wonder, Elinor, how you have lived with me so long and absorbed so
little of what really counts."

"Perhaps the difficulty," Elinor had said quietly, "is because we
differ as to what really counts."

Lily brought Elinor something she needed, of youth and irresponsible
chatter, and in the end the girl found the older woman depending on
her. To cut her off from that small solace was unthinkable. And
then too she formed Elinor's sole link with her former world, a
world of dinners and receptions, of clothes and horses and men who
habitually dressed for dinner, of the wealth and panoply of life.
A world in which her interest strangely persisted.

"What did you wear at the country club dance last night?" she would
ask.

"A rose-colored chiffon over yellow. It gives the oddest effect,
like an Ophelia rose."

Or:

"At the Mainwarings? George or Albert?"

"The Alberts."

"Did they ever have any children?"

One day she told her about not going to Newport, and was surprised
to see Elinor troubled.

"Why won't you go? It is a wonderful house."

"I don't care to go away, Aunt Nellie." She called her that sometimes.

Elinor had knitted silently for a little. Then:

"Do you mind if I say something to you?"

"Say anything you like, of course."

"I just - Lily, don't see too much of Louis Akers. Don't let him
carry you off your feet. He is good-looking, but if you marry him,
you will be terribly unhappy."

"That isn't enough to say, Aunt Nellie," she said gravely. "You
must have a reason."

Elinor hesitated.

"I don't like him. He is a man of very impure life."

"That's because he has never known any good women." Lily rose
valiantly to his defense, but the words hurt her. "Suppose a good
woman came into his life? Couldn't she change him?"

"I don't know," Elinor said helplessly. "But there is something
else. It will cut you off from your family."

"You did that. You couldn't stand it, either. You know what it's
like."

"There must be some other way. That is no reason for marriage."

"But-suppose I care for him?" Lily said, shyly.

"You wouldn't live with him a year. There are different ways of
caring, Lily. There is such a thing as being carried away by a man's
violent devotion, but it isn't the violent love that lasts."

Lily considered that carefully, and she felt that there was some
truth in it. When Louis Akers came to take her home that night he
found her unresponsive and thoughtful.

"Mrs. Doyle's been talking to you," he said at last. "She hates me,
you know."

"Why should she hate you?"

"Because, with all her vicissitudes, she's still a snob," he said
roughly. "My family was nothing, so I'm nothing."

"She wants me to be happy, Louis."

"And she thinks you won't be with me."

"I am not at all sure that I would be." She made an effort then to
throw off the strange bond that held her to him. "I should like to
have three months, Louis, to get a - well, a sort of perspective.
I can't think clearly when you're around, and - "

"And I'm always around? Thanks." But she had alarmed him. "You're
hurting me awfully, little girl," he said, in a different tone. "I
can't live without seeing you, and you know it. You're all I have
in life. You have everything, wealth, friends, position. You could
play for three months and never miss me. But you are all I have."

In the end she capitulated

Jim Doyle was very content those days. There had been a time when
Jim Doyle was the honest advocate of labor, a flaming partizan of
those who worked with their hands. But he had traveled a long road
since then, from dreamer to conspirator. Once he had planned to
build up; now he plotted to tear down.

His weekly paper had enormous power. To the workers he had begun to
preach class consciousness, and the doctrine of being true to their
class. From class consciousness to class hatred was but a step.
Ostensibly he stood for a vast equality, world wide and beneficent;
actually he preached an inflammable doctrine of an earth where the
last shall be first. He advocated the overthrow of all centralized
government, and considered the wages system robbery. Under it
workers were slaves, and employers of workers slave-masters. It was
with such phrases that he had for months been consistently inflaming
the inflammable foreign element in and around the city, and not the
foreign element only. A certain percentage of American-born workmen
fell before the hammer-like blows of his words, repeated and driven
home each week.

He had no scruples, and preached none. He preached only revolt, and
in that revolt defiance of all existing laws. He had no religion;
Christ to him was a pitiful weakling, a historic victim of the same
system that still crucified those who fought the established order.
In his new world there would be no churches and no laws. He
advocated bloodshed, arson, sabotage of all sorts, as a means to an
end.

Fanatic he was, but practical fanatic, and the more dangerous for
that. He had viewed the failure of the plan to capture a city in
the northwest in February with irritation, but without discouragement.
They had acted prematurely there and without sufficient secrecy.
That was all. The plan in itself was right. And he had watched the
scant reports of the uprising in the newspapers with amusement and
scorn. The very steps taken to suppress the facts showed the
uneasiness of the authorities and left the nation with a feeling
of false security.

The people were always like that. Twice in a hundred years France
had experienced the commune. Each time she had been warned, and
each time she had waited too long. Ever so often in the life of
every nation came these periodic outbursts of discontent, economic
in their origin, and ran their course like diseases, contagious,
violent and deadly.

The commune always followed long and costly wars. The people would
dance, but they revolted at paying the piper.

The plan in Seattle had been well enough conceived; the city light
plant was to have been taken over during the early evening of
February 6, and at ten o'clock that night the city was to have gone
dark. But the reign of terrorization that was to follow had
revolted Jim Osborne, one of their leaders, and from his hotel
bedroom he had notified the authorities. Word had gone out to "get"
Osborne.

If it had not been for Osborne, and the conservative element behind
him, a flame would have been kindled at Seattle that would have
burnt across the nation.

Doyle watched Gompers cynically.. He considered his advocacy of
patriotic cooperation between labor and the Government during the
war the skillful attitude of an opportunist. Gompers could do
better with public opinion behind him than without it. He was an
opportunist, riding the wave which would carry him farthest.
Playing both ends against the middle, and the middle, himself. He
saw Gompers, watching the release of tension that followed the
armistice and seeing the great child he had fathered, grown now
and conscious of its power, - watching it, fully aware that it had
become stronger than he.

Gompers, according to Doyle, had ceased to be a leader and become
a follower, into strange and difficult paths.

The war had made labor's day. No public move was made without
consulting organized labor, and a certain element in it had grown
drunk with power. To this element Doyle appealed. It was Doyle
who wrote the carefully prepared incendiary speeches, which were
learned verbatim by his agents for delivery. For Doyle knew one
thing, and knew it well. Labor, thinking along new lines, must
think along the same lines. Be taught the same doctrines. Be
pushed in one direction

There were, then, two Doyles, one the poseur, flaunting his
outrageous doctrines with a sardonic grin, gathering about him a
small circle of the intelligentsia, and too openly heterodox to be
dangerous. And the other, secretly plotting against the city, wary,
cautious, practical and deadly, waiting to overthrow the established
order and substitute for it chaos. It was only incidental to him
that old Anthony should go with the rest.

But he found a saturnine pleasure in being old Anthony's Nemesis.
He meant to be that. He steadily widened the breach between Lily
and her family, and he watched the progress of her affair with
Louis Akers with relish. He had not sought this particular form
of revenge, but Fate had thrust it into his hands, and he meant to
be worthy of the opportunity.

He was in no hurry. He had extraordinary patience, and he rather
liked sitting back and watching the slow development of his plans.
It was like chess; it was deliberate and inevitable. One made a
move, and then sat back waiting and watching while the other side
countered it, or fell, with slow agonizing, into the trap.

A few days after Lily had had her talk with Elinor, Doyle found a
way to widen the gulf between Lily and her grandfather. Elinor
seldom left the house, and Lily had done some shopping for her.
The two women were in Elinor's bedroom, opening small parcels,
when he knocked and came in.

"I don't like to disturb the serenity of this happy family group,"
he said, "but I am inclined to think that a certain gentleman,
standing not far from a certain young lady's taxicab, belongs to a
certain department of our great city government. And from his
unflattering lack of interest in me, that he - "

Elinor half rose, terrified.

"Not the police, Jim?"

"Sit down," he said, in a tone Lily had never heard him use before.
And to Lily, more gently: "I am not altogether surprised. As a
matter of fact, I have known it for some time. Your esteemed
grandfather seems to take a deep interest in your movements these
days.".

"Do you mean that I am being followed?"

"I'm afraid so. You see, you are a very important person, and if
you will venture in the slums which surround the Cardew Mills, you
should be protected. At any time, for instance, Aunt Elinor and
I may despoil you of those pearls you wear so casually, and - "

"Don't talk like that, Jim," Elinor protested. She was very pale.
"Are you sure he is watching Lily?"

He gave her an ugly look.

"Who else?" he inquired suavely.

Lily sat still, frozen with anger. So this was her grandfather's
method of dealing with her. He could not lock her up, but he would
know, day by day, and hour by hour, what she was doing. She could
see him reading carefully his wicked little notes on her day.
Perhaps he was watching her mail, too. Then when he had secured a
hateful total he would go to her father, and together they would
send her away somewhere. Away from Louis Akers. If he was
watching her mail too he would know that Louis was in love with her.
They would rake up all the things that belonged in the past he was
done with, and recite them to her. As though they mattered now!

She went to the window and looked out. Yes, she had seen the
detective before. He must have been hanging around for days, his
face unconsciously impressing itself upon her. When she turned:

"Louis is coming to dinner, isn't he?"

"Yes."

"If you don't mind, Aunt Nellie, I think I'll dine out with him
somewhere. I want to talk to him alone."

"But the detective - "

"If my grandfather uses low and detestable means to spy on me, Aunt
Nellie, he deserves what he gets, doesn't he?"

When Louis Akers came at half-past six, he found that she had been
crying, but she greeted him calmly enough, with her head held high.
Elinor, watching her, thought she was very like old Anthony himself
just then.

CHAPTER XVIII

Willy Cameron came home from a night class in metallurgy the evening
after the day Lily had made her declaration of independence, and let
himself in with his night key. There was a light in the little
parlor, and Mrs. Boyd's fragile silhouette against the window shade.

He was not surprised at that. She had developed a maternal affection
for him stronger than any she showed for either Edith or Dan. She
revealed it in rather touching ways, too, keeping accounts when he
accused her of gross extravagance, for she spent Dan's swollen wages
wastefully; making him coffee late at night, and forcing him to
drink it, although it kept him awake for hours; and never going to
bed until he was safely closeted in his room at the top of the
stairs.

He came in as early as possible, therefore, for he had had Doctor
Smalley in to see her, and the result had been unsatisfactory.

"Heart's bad," said the doctor, when they had retired to Willy's
room. "Leaks like a sieve. And there may be an aneurism. Looks
like it, anyhow."

"What is there to do?" Willy asked, feeling helpless and extremely
shocked. "We might send her somewhere."

"Nothing to do. Don't send her away; she'd die of loneliness. Keep
her quiet and keep her happy. Don't let her worry. She only has a
short time, I should say, and you can't lengthen it. It could be
shortened, of course, if she had a shock, or anything like that."

"Shall I tell the family?"

"What's the use?" asked Doctor Smalley, philosophically. "If they
fuss over her she'll suspect something."

As he went down the stairs he looked about him. The hall was fresh
with new paper and white paint, and in the yard at the rear, visible
through an open door, the border of annuals was putting out its
first blossoms.

"Nice little place you've got here," he observed. "I think I see
the fine hand of Miss Edith, eh?"

"Yes," said Willy Cameron, gravely.

He had made renewed efforts to get a servant after that, but the
invalid herself balked him. When he found an applicant Mrs. Boyd
would sit, very much the grande dame, and question her, although
she always ended by sending her away.

"She looked like the sort that would be running out at nights," she
would say. Or: "She wouldn't take telling, and I know the way you
like your things, Willy. I could see by looking at her that she
couldn't cook at all."

She cherished the delusion that he was improving and gaining flesh
under her ministrations, and there was a sort of jealousy in her
care for him. She wanted to yield to no one the right to sit
proudly behind one of her heavy, tasteless pies, and say:

"Now I made this for you, Willy, because I know country boys like
pies. Just see if that crust isn't nice."

"You don't mean to say you made it!"

"I certainly did." And to please her he would clear his plate.
He rather ran to digestive tablets those days, and Edith, surprising
him with one at the kitchen sink one evening, accused him roundly
of hypocrisy.

"I don't know why you stay anyhow," she said, staring into the yard
where Jinx was burying a bone in the heliotrope bed. "The food's
awful. I'm used to it, but you're not."

"You don't eat anything, Edith."

"I'm not hungry. Willy, I wish you'd go away. What right we got
to tie you up with us, anyhow? We're a poor lot. You're not
comfortable and you know it. D'you know where she is now?"

"She" in the vernacular of the house, was always Mrs. Boyd.

"She forgot to make your bed, and she's doing it now."

He ran up the stairs, and forcibly putting Mrs. Boyd in a chair,
made up his own bed, awkwardly and with an eye on her chest, which
rose and fell alarmingly. It was after that that he warned Edith.

"She's not strong," he said. "She needs care and - well, to be
happy. That's up to the three of us. For one thing, she must not
have a shock. I'm going to warn Dan against exploding paper bags;
she goes white every time."

Dan was at a meeting, and Willy dried the supper dishes for Edith.
She was silent and morose. Finally she said:

"She's not very strong for me, Willy. You needn't look so shocked.
She loves Dan and you, but not me. I don't mind, you know. She
doesn't know it, but I do."

"She is very proud of you."

"That's different. You're right, though. Pride's her middle name.
It nearly killed her at first to take a roomer, because she is
always thinking of what the neighbors will say. That's why she
hates me sometimes."

"I wish you wouldn't talk that way."

"But it's true. That fool Hodge woman at the corner came here one
day last winter and filled her up with a lot of talk about me, and
she's been queer to me ever since."

"You are a very good daughter."

She eyed him furtively. If only he wouldn't always believe in her!
It was almost worse than to have him know the truth. But he went
along with his head in the clouds; all women were good and all men
meant well. Sometimes it worked out; Dan, for instance. Dan was
trying to live up to him. But it was too late for her. Forever
too late.

It was Willy Cameron's night off, and they went, the three of them,
to the movies that evening. To Mrs. Boyd the movies was the acme
of dissipation. She would, if warned in advance, spend the entire
day with her hair in curlers, and once there she feasted her starved
romantic soul to repletion. But that night the building was
stifling, and without any warning Edith suddenly got up and walked
toward the door. There was something odd about her walk and Willy
followed her, but she turned on him almost fiercely outside.

"I wish you'd let me alone," she said, and then swayed a little.
But she did not faint.

"I'm going home," she said. "You stay with her. And for heaven's
sake don't stare at me like that. I'm all right."

Nevertheless he had taken her home, Edith obstinately silent and
sullen, and Willy anxious and perplexed. At the door she said:

"Now go back to her, and tell her I just got sick of the picture.
It was the smells in that rotten place. They'd turn a pig's stomach."

"I wish you'd see a doctor."

She looked at him with suspicious eyes. "If you run Smalley in on
me I'll leave home."

"Will you go to bed?"

"I'll go to bed, all right."

He had found things rather more difficult after that. Two women,
both ill and refusing to acknowledge it, and the prospect of Dan's
being called out by the union. Try as he would, he could not
introduce any habit of thrift into the family. Dan's money came
and went, and on Saturday nights there was not only nothing left,
but often a deficit. Dan, skillfully worked upon outside, began
to develop a grievance, also, and on his rare evenings at home or
at the table he would voice his wrongs.

"It's just hand to mouth all the time," he would grumble. "A fellow
working for the Cardews never gets ahead. What chance has he got,
anyhow? It takes all he can get to live."

Willy Cameron began to see that the trouble was not with Dan, but
with his women folks. And Dan was one of thousands. His wages went
for food, too much food, food spoiled in cooking. There were men,
with able women behind them, making less than Dan and saving money.

"Keep some of it out and bank it," he suggested, but Dan sneered.

"And have a store bill a mile long! You know mother as well as I
do. She means well, but she's a fool with money."

He counted his hours from the time he entered the mill until he left
it, but he revealed once that there were long idle periods when the
heating was going on, when he and the other men of the furnace crew
sat and waited, doing nothing.

"But I'm there, all right," he said. "I'm not playing golf or
riding in my automobile. I'm on the job.",

"Well," said Willy Cameron, "I'm on the job about eleven hours a
day, and I wear out more shoe leather than trouser seats at that.
But it doesn't seem to hurt me."

"It's a question of principle," said Dan doggedly. "I've got no
personal kick, y'understand. Only I'm not getting anywhere, and
something's got to be done about it."

So, on the evening of the day after Lily had made her declaration
of independence, Willy Cameron made his way rather heavily toward
the Boyd house. He was very tired. He had made one or two
speeches for Hendricks already, before local ward organizations,
and he was working hard at his night class in metallurgy. He had
had a letter from his mother, too, and he thought he read
homesickness between the lines. He was not at all sure where his
duty lay, yet to quit now, to leave Mr. Hendricks and the Boyds
flat, seemed impossible.

He had tried to see Lily, too, and failed. She had been very gentle
over the telephone, but, attuned as he was to every inflection of
her voice, he had thought there was unhappiness in it. Almost
despair. But she had pleaded a week of engagements.

"I'm sorry," she had said. "I'll call you up next week some time
I have a lot of things I want to talk over with you."

But he knew she was avoiding him.

And he knew that he ought to see her. Through Mr. Hendricks he
had learned something more about Jim Doyle, the real Doyle and not
the poseur, and he felt she should know the nature of the
accusations against him. Lily mixed up with a band of traitors,
Lily of the white flame of patriotism, was unthinkable. She must
not go to the house on Cardew Way. A man's loyalty was like a
woman's virtue; it could not be questionable. There was no middle
ground.

He heard voices as he entered the house, and to his amazement found
Ellen in the parlor. She was sitting very stiff on the edge of her
chair, her hat slightly crooked and a suit-case and brown paper
bundle at her feet.

Mrs. Boyd was busily entertaining her.

"I make it a point to hold my head high," she was saying. "I guess
there was a lot of talk when I took a boarder, but - Is that you,
Willy?"

"Why, Miss Ellen!" he said. "And looking as though headed for a
journey!"

Ellen's face did not relax. She had been sitting there for an hour,
letting Mrs. Boyd's prattle pour over her like a rain, and thinking
meanwhile her own bitter thoughts.

"I am, Willy. Only I didn't wait for my money and the bank's closed,
and I came to borrow ten dollars, if you have it."

That told him she was in trouble, but Mrs. Boyd, amiably hospitable
and reveling in a fresh audience, showed no sign of departing.

"She says she's been living at the Cardews," she put in, rocking
valiantly. "I guess most any place would seem tame after that. I
do hear, Miss Hart, that Mrs. Howard Cardew only wears her clothes
once and then gives them away."

She hitched the chair away from the fireplace, where it showed every
indication of going up the chimney.

"I call that downright wasteful," she offered.

Willy glanced at his watch, which had been his father's, and bore
the inscription: "James Duncan Cameron, 1876" inside the case.

"Eleven o'clock," he said sternly. "And me promising the doctor
I'd have you in bed at ten sharp every night! Now off with you."

"But, Willy - "

" - or I shall have to carry you," he threatened. It was an old
joke between them, and she rose, smiling, her thin face illuminated
with the sense of being looked after.

"He's that domineering," she said to Ellen, "that I can't call my
soul my own."

"Good-night," Ellen said briefly.

Willy stood at the foot of the stairs and watched her going up. He
knew she liked him to do that, that she would expect to find him
there when she reached the top and looked down, panting slightly.

"Good-night," he called. "Both windows open. I shall go outside
to see."

Then he went back to Ellen, still standing primly over her Lares and
Penates.

"Now tell me about it," he said.

"I've left them. There has been a terrible fuss, and when Miss Lily
left to-night, I did too."

"She left her home?"

She nodded.

"It's awful, Willy. I don't know all of it, but they've been having
her followed, or her grandfather did. I think there's a man in it.
Followed! And her a good girl! Her grandfather's been treating her
like a dog for weeks. We all noticed it. And to-night there was
a quarrel, with all of them at her like a pack of dogs, and her
governess crying in the hall. I just went up and packed my things."

"Where did she go?"

"I don't know. I got her a taxicab, and she only took one bag. I
went right off to the housekeeper and told her I wouldn't stay, and
they could send my money after me."

"Did you notice the number of the taxicab?"

"I never thought of it."

He saw it all with terrible distinctness, The man was Akers, of
course. Then, if she had left her home rather than give him up,
she was really in love with him. He had too much common sense to
believe for a moment that she had fled to Louis Akers' protection,
however. That was the last thing she would do. She would have
gone to a hotel, or to the Doyle house.

"She shouldn't have left home, Ellen."

"They drove her out, I tell you," Ellen cried, irritably. "At least
that's what it amounted to. There are things no high-minded girl
will stand. Can you lend me some money, Willy?"

He felt in his pocket, producing a handful of loose money.

"Of course you can have all I've got," he said. "But you must not
go to-night, Miss Ellen. It's too late. I'll give you my room and
go in with Dan Boyd."

And he prevailed over her protests, in the end. It was not until
he saw her settled there, hiding her sense of strangeness under an
impassive mask, that he went downstairs again and took his hat
from its hook.

Lily must go back home, he knew. It was unthinkable that she should
break with her family, and go to the Doyles. He had too little
self-consciousness to question the propriety of his own interference,
too much love for her to care whether she resented that interference.
And he was filled with a vast anger at Jim Doyle. He saw in all
this, somehow, Doyle's work; how it would play into Doyle's plans to
have Anthony Cardew's granddaughter a member of his household. He
would take her away from there if he had to carry her.

He was a long time in getting to the mill district, and a longer
time still in finding Cardew Way. At an all-night pharmacy he
learned which was the house, and his determined movements took on
a sort of uncertainty. It was very late. Ellen had waited for
him for some time. If Lily were in that sinister darkened house
across the street, the family had probably retired. And for the
first time, too, he began to doubt if Doyle would let him see her.
Lily herself might even refuse to see him.

Nevertheless, the urgency to get her away from there, if she were
there, prevailed at last, and a strip of light in an upper window,
as from an imperfectly fitting blind, assured him that some one
was still awake in the house.

He went across the street and opening the gate, strode up the walk.
Almost immediately he was confronted by the figure of a man who had
been concealed by the trunk of one of the trees. He lounged
forward, huge, menacing, yet not entirely hostile.

"Who is it?" demanded the figure blocking his way.

"I want to see Mr. Doyle."

"What about?"

"I'll tell him that," said Willy Cameron.

"What's your name?"

"That's my business, too," said Mr. Cameron, with disarming
pleasantness.

"Damn private about your business, aren't you?" jeered the sentry,
still in cautious tones. "Well, you can write it down on a piece
of paper and mail it to him. He's busy now."

"All I want to do," persisted Mr. William Wallace Cameron, growing
slightly giddy with repressed fury, "is to ring that doorbell and
ask him a question. I'm going to do it, too."

There was rather an interesting moment then, because the figure
lunged at Mr. Cameron, and Mr. Cameron, stooping low and swiftly,
as well as to one side, and at the same instant becoming a fighting
Scot, which means a cool-eyed madman, got in one or two rather neat
effects with his fists. The first took the shadow just below his
breast-bone, and the left caught him at that angle of the jaw where
a small cause sometimes produces a large effect. The figure sat
down on the brick walk and grunted, and Mr. Cameron, judging that
he had about ten seconds' leeway, felt in the dazed person's right
hand pocket for the revolver he knew would be there, and secured it.
The sitting figure made puffing, feeble attempts to prevent him, but
there was no real struggle.

Mr. Cameron himself was feeling extremely triumphant and as strong
as a lion. He was rather sorry no one had seen the affair, but
that of course was sub-conscious. And he was more cheerful than he
had been for some days. He had been up against so many purely
intangible obstacles lately that it was a relief to find one he
could use his fists on.

"Now I'll have a few words with you, my desperate friend," he said.
"I've got your gun, and I am hell with a revolver, because I've
never fired one, and there's a sort of homicidal beginner's luck
about the thing. If you move or speak, I'll shoot it into you
first and when it's empty I'll choke it down your throat and
strangle you to death."

After which ferocious speech he strolled up the path, revolver in
hand, and rang the doorbell. He put the weapon in his pocket then,
but he kept his hand upon it. He had read somewhere that a revolver
was quite useable from a pocket. There was no immediate answer to
the bell, and he turned and surveyed the man under the tree, faintly
distinguishable in the blackness. It had occurred to him that the
number of guns a man may carry is only limited to his pockets, which
are about fifteen.

There were heavy, deliberate footsteps inside, and the door was
flung open. No glare of light followed it, however. There was a
man there, alarmingly tall, who seemed to stare at him, and then
beyond him into the yard.

"Well?"

"Are you Mr. Doyle?"

"I am."

"My name is Cameron, Mr. Doyle. T have had a small difference with
your watch-dog, but he finally let me by."

"I'm afraid I don't understand. I have no dog."

"The sentry you keep posted, then." Mr. Cameron disliked fencing.

"Ah!" said Mr. Doyle, urbanely. "You have happened on one of my
good friends, I see. I have many enemies, Mr. Cameron - was that
the name? And my friends sometimes like to keep an eye on me. It
is rather touching."

He was smiling, Mr. Cameron knew, and his anger rose afresh.

"Very touching," said Mr. Cameron, "but if he bothers me going out
you may be short one friend. Mr. Doyle, Miss Lily Cardew left her
home to-night. I want to know if she is here."

"Are you sent by her family?"

"I have asked you if she is here."

Jim Doyle apparently deliberated.

"My niece is here, although just why you should interest yourself - "

"May I see her?"

"I regret to say she has retired."

"I think she would see me."

A door opened into the hall, throwing a shaft of light on the wall
across and letting out the sounds of voices.

"Shut that door," said Doyle, wheeling sharply. It was closed at
once. "Now," he said, turning to his visitor, "I'll tell you this.
My niece is here." He emphasized the "my." "She has come to me for
refuge, and I intend to give it to her. You won't see her to-night,
and if you come from her people you can tell them she came here of
her own free will, and that if she stays it will be because she wants
to. Joe!" he called into the darkness.

"Yes," came a sullen voice, after a moment's hesitation.

"Show this gentleman out."

All at once Willy Cameron was staring at a dosed door, on the inner
side of which a bolt was being slipped. He felt absurd and futile,
and not at all like a lion. With the revolver in his hand, he went
down the steps.

"Don't bother about the gate, Joe," he said. "I like to open my
own gates. And - don't try any tricks, Joe. Get back to your
kennel."

Fearful mutterings followed that, but the shadow retired, and he
made an undisturbed exit to the street. Once on the street-car,
the entire episode became unreal and theatrical, with only the drag
of Joe's revolver in his coat pocket to prove its reality.

It was after midnight when, shoes in hand, he crept up the stairs
to Dan's room, and careful not to disturb him, slipped into his
side of the double bed. He did not sleep at all. He lay there,
facing the fact that Lily had delivered herself voluntarily into
the hands of the enemy of her house, and not only of her house, an
enemy of the country. That conference that night was a sinister one.
Brought to book about it, Doyle might claim it as a labor meeting.
Organizers planning a strike might - did indeed - hold secret
conferences, but they did not post armed guards. They opened
business offices, and brought in the press men, and shouted their
grievances for the world to hear.

This was different. This was anarchy. And in every city it was
going on, this rallying of the malcontents, the idlers, the
envious and the dangerous, to the red flag. Organized labor
gathered together the workmen, but men like Doyle were organizing
the riff-raff of the country. They secured a small percentage of
idealists and pseudo-intellectuals, and taught them a so-called
internationalism which under the name of brotherhood was nothing
but a raid on private property, a scheme of pillage and arson.
They allied with themselves imported laborers from Europe, men
with everything to gain and nothing to lose, and by magnifying
real grievances and inflaming them with imaginary ones, were
building out of this material the rank and file of an anarchist
army.

And against it, what?

On toward morning he remembered something, and sat bolt upright in
bed. Edith had once said something about knowing of a secret
telephone. She had known Louis Akers very well. He might have
told her what she knew, or have shown her, in some braggart moment.
A certain type of man was unable to keep a secret from a woman.
But that would imply - For the first time he wondered what Edith's
relations with Louis Akers might have been.

CHAPTER XIX

The surface peace of the house on Cardew Way, the even tenor of her
days there, the feeling she had of sanctuary did not offset Lily's
clear knowledge that she had done a cruel and an impulsive thing.
Even her grandfather, whose anger had driven her away, she remembered
now as a feeble old man, fighting his losing battle in a changing
world, and yet with a sort of mistaken heroism hoisting his colors
to the end.

She had determined, that first night in Elinor's immaculate guest
room, to go back the next day. They had been right at home, by all
the tenets to which they adhered so religiously. She had broken
the unwritten law not to break bread with an enemy of her house.
She had done what they had expressly forbidden, done it over and over.

"On top of all this," old Anthony had said, after reading the tale
of her delinquencies from some notes in his hand, "you dined last
night openly at the Saint Elmo Hotel with this same Louis Akers, a
man openly my enemy, and openly of impure life."

"I do not believe he is your enemy."

"He is one of the band of anarchists who have repeatedly threatened
to kill me."

"Oh, Lily, Lily!" said her mother.

But it was to her father, standing grave and still, that Lily replied.

"I don't believe that, father. He is not a murderer. If you would
let him come here - "

"Never in this house," said old Anthony, savagely crushing notes in
his hand. "He will come here over my dead body."

"You have no right to condemn a man unheard."

"Unheard! I tell you I know all about him. The man is an
anarchist, a rake, a - dog."

"Just a moment, father," Howard had put in, quietly. "Lily, do you
care for this man? I mean by that, do you want to marry him?"

"He has asked me. I have not given him any answer yet. I don't
want to marry a man my family will not receive. It wouldn't be
fair to him."

Which speech drove old Anthony into a frenzy, and led him to a
bitterness of language that turned Lily cold and obstinate. She
heard him through, with her father vainly trying to break in and
save the situation; then she said, coldly:

"I am sorry you feel that way about it," and turned and left the
room.

She had made no plan, of course. She hated doing theatrical things.
But shut in her bedroom with the doors locked, Anthony's furious
words came back, his threats, his bitter sneers. She felt strangely
alone, too. In all the great house she had no one to support her.
Mademoiselle, her father and mother, even the servants, were tacitly
aligned with the opposition. Except Ellen. She had felt lately
that Ellen, in her humble way, had espoused her cause.

She had sent for Ellen.

In spite of the warmth of her greeting, Lily had felt a reserve in
Aunt Elinor's welcome. It was as though she was determinedly making
the best of a bad situation.

"I had to do it, Aunt Elinor," she said, when they had gone upstairs.
There was a labor conference, Doyle had explained, being held below.

"I know," said Elinor. "I understand. I'll pin back the curtains
so you can open your windows. The night air is so smoky here."

"I am afraid mother will grieve terribly."

"I think she will," said Elinor, with her quiet gravity. "You are
all she has."

"She has father. She cares more for him than for anything in the
world."

"Would you like some ice-water, dear?"

Some time later Lily roused from the light sleep of emotional
exhaustion. She had thought she heard Willy Cameron's voice. But
that was absurd, of course, and she lay back to toss uneasily for
hours. Out of all her thinking there emerged at last her real self,
so long overlaid with her infatuation. She would go home again,
and make what amends she could. They were wrong about Louis Akers,
but they were right, too.

Lying there, as the dawn slowly turned her windows to gray, she saw
him with a new clarity. She had a swift vision of what life with
him would mean. Intervals of passionate loving, of boyish dependence
on her, and then - a new face. Never again was she to see him with
such clearness. He was incapable of loyalty to a woman, even though
he loved her. He was born to be a wanderer in love, an experimenter
in passion. She even recognized in him an incurable sensuous
curiosity about women, that would be quite remote from his love for
her. He would see nothing wrong in his infidelities, so long as
she did not know and did not suffer. And he would come back to her
from them, watchful for suspicion, relieved when he did not find it,
and bringing her small gifts which would be actually burnt offerings
to his own soul.

She made up her mind to give him up. She would go home in the
morning, make her peace with them all, and never see Louis Akers
again.

She slept after that, and at ten o'clock Elinor wakened her with
the word that her father was downstairs. Elinor was very pale. It
had been a shock to her to see her brother in her home after all
the years, and a still greater one when he had put his arm around
her and kissed her.

"I am so sorry, Howard," she had said. The sight of him had set
her lips trembling. He patted her shoulder.

"Poor Elinor," he said. "Poor old girl! We're a queer lot, aren't
we?"

"All but you."

"An obstinate, do-and-be-damned lot," he said slowly. "I'd like to
see my little girl, Nellie. We can't have another break in the
family."

He held Lily in much the same way when she came down, an arm around
her, his big shoulders thrown back as though he would guard her
against the world. But he was very uneasy and depressed, at that.
He had come on a difficult errand, and because he had no finesse he
blundered badly. It was some time before she gathered the full
meaning of what he was saying.

"Aunt Cornelia's!" she exclaimed.

"Or, if you and your mother want to go to Europe," he put in hastily,
seeing her puzzled face, "I think I can arrange about passports."

"Does that mean he won't have me back, father?"

"Lily, dear," he said, hoarse with anxiety, "we simply have to
remember that he is a very old man, and that his mind is not elastic.
He is feeling very bitter now, but he will get over it."

"And I am to travel around waiting to be forgiven! I was ready to
go back, but - he won't have me. Is that it?"

"Only just for the present." He threw out his hands. "I have tried
everything. I suppose, in a way, I could insist, make a point of it,
but there are other things to be considered. His age, for one thing,
and then - the strike. If he takes an arbitrary stand against me, no
concession, no argument with the men, it makes it very difficult, in
many ways."

"I see. It is wicked that any one man should have such power. The
city, the mills, his family - it's wicked." But she was conscious of
no deep anger against Anthony now. She merely saw that between them,
they, she and her grandfather, had dug a gulf that could not be
passed. And in Howard's efforts she saw the temporizing that her
impatient youth resented.

"I am afraid it is a final break, father," she said. "And if he
shuts me out I must live my own life. But I am not going to run
away to Aunt Cornelia or Europe. I shall stay here."

He had to be content with that. After all, his own sister - but
he wished it were not Jim Doyle's house. Not that he regarded
Lily's shift toward what he termed Bolshevism very seriously; all
youth had a slant toward socialism, and outgrew it. But he went
away sorely troubled, after a few words with Elinor Doyle alone.

"You don't look unhappy, Nellie."

"Things have been much better the last few years."

"Is he kind to you?"

"Not always, Howard. He doesn't drink now, so that is over. And
I think there are no other women. But when things go wrong I suffer,
of course." She stared past him toward the open window.

"Why don't you leave him?"

"I couldn't go home, Howard. You know what it would be. Worse
than Lily. And I'm too old to start out by myself. My habits are
formed, and besides, I - " She checked herself.

"I could take a house somewhere for both of you, Lily and yourself,"
he said eagerly; "that would be a wonderful way out for everybody."

She shook her head.

"We'll manage all right," she said. "I'll make Lily comfortable
and as happy as I can."

He felt that he had to make his own case clear, or he might have
noticed with what care she was choosing her words. His father's
age, his unconscious dependence on Grace, his certainty to retire
soon from the arbitrary stand he had taken. Elinor hardly heard
him. Months afterwards he was to remember the distant look in
her eyes, a sort of half-frightened determination, but he was
self-engrossed just then.

"I can't persuade you?" he finished.

"No. But it is good of you to think of it."

"You know what the actual trouble was last night? It was not her
coming here."

"I know, Howard."

"Don't let her marry him, Nellie! Better than any one, you ought
to know what that would mean."

"I knew too, Howard, but I did it."

In the end he went away not greatly comforted, to fight his own
battles, to meet committees from the union, and having met them, to
find himself facing the fact that, driven by some strange urge he
could not understand, the leaders wished a strike. There were times
when he wondered what would happen if he should suddenly yield
every point, make every concession. They would only make further
demands, he felt. They seemed determined to put him out of business.
If only he could have dealt with the men directly, instead of with
their paid representatives, he felt that he would get somewhere.
But always, interposed between himself and his workmen, was this
barrier of their own erecting.

It was like representative government. It did not always represent.
It, too, was founded on representation in good faith; but there was
not always good faith. The union system was wrong. It was like
politics. The few handled the many. The union, with its
all-powerful leaders, was only another form of autocracy. It was
Prussian. Yet the ideal behind the union was sound enough.

He had no quarrel with the union. He puzzled it out, traveling
unaccustomed mental paths. The country was founded on liberty. All
men were created free and equal. Free, yes, but equal? Was not
equality a long way ahead along a thorny road? Men were not equal
in the effort they made, nor did equal efforts bring equal result.
If there was class antagonism behind all this unrest, would there
not always be those who rose by dint of ceaseless effort? Equality
of opportunity, yes. Equality of effort and result, no.

To destroy the chance of gain was to put a premium on inertia; to
kill ambition; to reduce the high without raising the low.

At noon on the same day Willy Cameron went back to the house on
Cardew Way, to find Lily composed and resigned, instead of the
militant figure he had expected. He asked her to go home, and she
told him then that she had no longer a home to go to.

"I meant to go, Willy," she finished. "I meant to go this morning.
But you see how things are."

He had stood for a long time, looking at nothing very hard. "I
see," be said finally. "Of course your grandfather will be sorry
in a day or two, but he may not swallow his pride very soon."

That rather hurt her.

"What about my pride?" she asked.

"You can afford to be magnanimous with all your life before you."
Then he faced her. "Besides, Lily, you're wrong. Dead wrong.
You've hurt three people, and all you've got out of it has been
your own way."

"There is such a thing as liberty."

"I don't know about that. And a good many crimes have been committed
in its name." Even in his unhappiness he was controversial. "We are
never really free, so long as we love people, and they love us.
Well - " He picked up his old felt hat and absently turned down the
brim; it was raining. "I'll have to get back. I've overstayed my
lunch hour as it is."

"You haven't had any luncheon?"

"I wasn't hungry," he had said, and had gone away, his coat collar
turned up against the shower. Lily had had a presentiment that he
was taking himself out of her life, that he had given her up as a
bad job. She felt depressed and lonely, and not quite so sure of
herself as she bad been; rather, although she did not put it that
way, as though something fine had passed her way, like Pippa singing,
and had then gone on.

She settled down as well as she could to her new life, making no
plans, however, and always with the stricken feeling that she had
gained her own point at the cost of much suffering. She telephoned
to her mother daily, broken little conversations with long pauses
while Grace steadied her voice. Once her mother hung up the
receiver hastily, and Lily guessed that her grandfather had come in.
She felt very bitter toward him.

But she found the small oneage interesting, in a quiet way; to make
her own bed and mend her stockings - Grace had sent her a trunkful
of clothing; and on the elderly maid's afternoon out, to help
Elinor with the supper. She seldom went out, but Louis Akers came
daily, and on the sixth day of her stay she promised to marry him.

She had not meant to do it, but it was difficult to refuse him.
She had let him think she would do it ultimately, for one thing.
And, however clearly she might analyze him in his absences, his
strange attraction reasserted itself when he was near. But her
acceptance of him was almost stoical.

"But not soon, Louis," she said, holding him off. "And - I ought
to tell you - I don't think we will be happy together."

"Why not?"

"Because - " she found it hard to put into words - "because love
with you is a sort of selfish thing, I think."

"I'll lie down now and let you tramp on me," he said exultantly, and
held out his arms. But even as she moved toward him she voiced her
inner perplexity.

"I never seem to be able to see myself married to you."

"Then the sooner the better, so you can."

"You won't like being married, you know."

"That's all you know about it, Lily. I'm mad about you. I'm mad
for you."

There was a new air of maturity about Lily those days, and sometimes
a sort of aloofness that both maddened him and increased his desire
to possess her. She went into his arms, but when he held her closest
she sometimes seemed farthest away.

"I want you now."

"I want to be engaged a long time, Louis. We have so much to learn
about each other."

He thought that rather childish. But whatever had been his motive
in the beginning, he was desperately in love with her by that time,
and because of that he frightened her sometimes. He was less sure
of himself, too, even after she had accepted him, and to prove his
continued dominance over her he would bully her.

"Come here," be would say, from the hearth rug, or by the window.

"Certainly not."

"Come here."

Sometimes she went, to be smothered in his hot embrace; sometimes
she did not.

But her infatuation persisted, although there were times when his
inordinate vitality and his caresses gave her a sense of physical
weariness, times when sheer contact revolted her. He seemed always
to want to touch her. Fastidiously reared, taught a sort of
aloofness from childhood, Lily found herself wondering if all men
in love were like that, always having to be held off.

CHAPTER XX

Ellen was staying at the Boyd house. She went downstairs the morning
after her arrival, and found the bread - bakery bread-toasted and
growing cold on the table, while a slice of ham, ready to be cooked,
was not yet on the fire, and Mrs. Boyd had run out to buy some milk.

Dan had already gone, and his half-empty cup of black coffee was on
the kitchen table. Ellen sniffed it and raised her eyebrows.

She rolled up her sleeves, put the toast in the oven and the ham in
the frying pan, with much the same grimness with which she had sat
the night before listening to Mrs. Boyd's monologue. If this was
the way they looked after Willy Cameron, no wonder he was thin and
pale. She threw out the coffee, which she suspected had been made
by the time-saving method of pouring water on last night's grounds,
and made a fresh pot of it. After that she inspected the tea towels,
and getting a tin dishpan, set them to boil in it on the top of the
range.

"Enough to give him typhoid," she reflected.

Ellen disapproved of her surroundings; she disapproved of any woman
who did not boil her tea towels. And when Edith came down carefully
dressed and undeniably rouged she formed a disapproving opinion of
that young lady, which was that she was trying to land Willy Cameron,
and that he would be better dead than landed.

She met Edith's stare of surprise with one of thinly veiled hostility.

"Hello!" said Edith. "When did you blow in, and where from?"

"I came to see Mr. Cameron last night, and he made me stay."

"A friend of Willy's! Well, I guess you needn't pay for your
breakfast by cooking it. Mother's probably run out for something
- she never has anything in the house - and is talking somewhere.
I'll take that fork."

But Ellen proceeded to turn the ham.

"I'll do it," she said. "You might spoil your hands."

But Edith showed no offense.

"All right," she acceded indifferently. "If you're going to eat it
you'd better cook it. We're rotten housekeepers here."

"I should think, if you're going to keep boarders, somebody would
learn to cook. Mr. Cameron's mother is the best housekeeper in town,
and he was raised on good food and plenty of it."

Her tone was truculent. Ellen's world, the world of short hours and
easy service, of the decorum of the Cardew servants' hall, of luxury
and dignity and good pay, had suddenly gone to pieces about her.
She was feeling very bitter, especially toward a certain chauffeur
who had prophesied the end of all service. He had made the statement
that before long all people would be equal. There would be no above
and below-stairs, no servants' hall.

"They'll drive their own cars, then, damn them," he had said once,
"if they can get any to drive. And answer their own bells, if
they've got any to ring. And get up and cook their own breakfasts."

"Which you won't have any to cook," Grayson had said irritably, from
the head of the long table. "Just a word, my man. That sort of
talk is forbidden here. One word more and I go to Mr. Cardew."

The chauffeur had not sulked, however. "All right, Mr. Grayson," he
said affably. "But I can go on thinking, I daresay. And some of
these days you'll be wishing you'd climbed on the band wagon before
it's too late."

Ellen, turning the ham carefully, was conscious that her revolt had
been only partially on Lily's account. It was not so much Lily's
plight as the abuse of power, although she did not put it that way,
that had driven her out. Ellen then had carried out her own small
revolution, and where had it put her? She had lost a good home, and
what could she do? All she knew was service.

Edith poured herself a cup of coffee, and taking a piece of toast
from the oven, stood nibbling it. The crumbs fell on the not
over-clean floor.

"Why don't you go into the dining-room to eat?" Ellen demanded.

"Got out of the wrong side of the bed, didn't you?" Edith asked.
"Willy's bed, I suppose. I'm not hungry, and I always eat breakfast
like this. I wish he would hurry. We'll be late."

Ellen stared. It was her first knowledge that this girl, this
painted hussy, worked in Willy's pharmacy, and her suspicions
increased. She had a quick vision, as she had once had of Lily,
of Edith in the Cameron house; Edith reading or embroidering on the
front porch while Willy's mother slaved for her; Edith on the same
porch in the evening, with all the boys in town around her. She
knew the type, the sort that set an entire village by the ears and
in the end left home and husband and ran away with a traveling
salesman.

Ellen had already got Willy married and divorced when Mrs. Boyd
came in. She carried the milk pail, but her lips were blue and she
sat down in a chair and held her hand to her heart.

"I'm that short of breath!" she gasped. "I declare I could hardly
get back."

"I'll give you some coffee, right off."

When Willy Cameron had finished his breakfast she followed him into
the parlor. His pallor was not lost on her, or his sunken eyes.
He looked badly fed, shabby, and harassed, and he bore the marks of
his sleepless night on his face. "Are you going to stay here?" she
demanded.

"Why, yes, Miss Ellen."

"Your mother would break her heart if she knew the way you're living."

"I'm very comfortable. We've tried to get a ser - " He changed
color at that. In the simple life of the village at home a woman
whose only training was the town standard of good housekeeping might
go into service in the city and not lose caste. But she was never
thought of as a servant. " - help," he substituted. "But we can't
get any one, and Mrs. Boyd is delicate. It is heart trouble."

"Does that girl work where you do?"

"Yes. Why?"

"Is she engaged to you? She calls you Willy." He smiled into her
eyes.

"Not a bit of it, or thinking of it."

"How do you know what she's thinking? It's all over her. It's
Willy this and Willy that - and men are such fools."

There flashed into his mind certain things that he had tried to
forget; Edith at his doorway, with that odd look in her eyes; Edith
never going to sleep until he had gone to bed; and recently, certain
things she had said, that he had passed over lightly and somewhat
uncomfortably.

"That's ridiculous, Miss Ellen. But even if it were true, which it
isn't, don't you think it would be rather nice of her?" He smiled.

"I do not. I heard you going out last night, Willy. Did you find
her?".

"She is at the Doyles'. I didn't see her."

"That'll finish it," Ellen prophesied, somberly. She glanced around
the parlor, at the dust on the furniture, at the unwashed baseboard,
at the unwound clock on the mantel shelf.

"If you're going to stay here I will," she announced abruptly. "I
owe that much to your mother. I've got some money. I'll take what
they'd pay some foreigner who'd throw out enough to keep another
family." Then, seeing hesitation in his eyes: "That Woman's sick,
and you've got to be looked after. I could do all the work, if
that - if the girl would help in the evenings."

He demurred at first. She would find it hard. They had no luxuries,
and she was accustomed to luxury. There was no room for her. But
in the end he called Edith and Mrs. Boyd, and was rather touched to
find Edith offering to share her upper bedroom.

"It's a hole," she said, "cold in winter and hot as blazes in summer.
But there's room for a cot, and I guess we can let each other alone."

"I wish you'd let me move up there, Edith," he said for perhaps the
twentieth time since he had found out where she slept, "and you would
take my room."

"No chance," she said cheerfully. "Mother would raise the devil if
you tried it." She glanced at Ellen's face. "If that word shocks
you, you're due for a few shocks, you know."

"The way you talk is your business, not mine," said Ellen austerely.

When they finally departed on a half-run Ellen was established as a
fixture in the Boyd house, and was already piling all the cooking
utensils into a wash boiler and with grim efficiency was searching
for lye with which to clean them.

Two weeks later, the end of June, the strike occurred. It was not,
in spite of predictions, a general walk-out. Some of the mills,
particularly the smaller plants, did not go down at all, and with
reduced forces kept on, but the chain of Cardew Mills was closed.
There was occasional rioting by the foreign element in outlying
districts, but the state constabulary handled it easily.

Dan was out of work, and the loss of his pay was a serious matter
in the little house. He had managed to lay by a hundred dollars,
and Willy Cameron had banked it for him, but there was a real
problem to be faced. On the night of the day the Cardew Mills went
down Willy called a meeting of the household after supper, around
the dining room table. He had been in to see Mr. Hendricks, who
had been laid up with bronchitis, and Mr. Hendricks had predicted
a long strike.

"The irresistible force and the immovable body, son," he said.
"They'll stay set this time. And unless I miss my guess that is
playing Doyle's hand for him, all right. His chance will come when
the men have used up their savings and are growing bitter. Every
strike plays into the hands of the enemy, son, and they know it.
The moment production ceases prices go up, and soon all the money
in the world won't pay them wages enough to live on."

He had a store of homely common sense, and a gift of putting things
into few words. Willy Cameron, going back to the little house that
evening, remembered the last thing he had said.

"The only way to solve this problem of living," he said, "is to see
how much we can work, and not how little. Germany's working ten
hours a day, and producing. We're talking about six, and loafing
and fighting while we talk."

So Willy went home and called his meeting, and knowing Mrs. Boyd's
regard for figures, set down and added or subtracted, he placed a
pad and pencil on the table before him. It was an odd group: Dan
sullen, resenting the strike and the causes that had led to it;
Ellen, austere and competent; Mrs. Boyd with a lace fichu pinned
around her neck, now that she had achieved the dignity of hired
help, and Edith. Edith silent, morose and fixing now and then
rather haggard eyes on Willy Cameron's unruly hair. She seldom met
his eyes.

"First of all," said Willy, "we'll take our weekly assets. Of
course Dan will get something temporarily, but we'll leave that out
for the present."

The weekly assets turned out to be his salary and Edith's.

"Why, Willy," said Mrs. Boyd, "you can't turn all your money over
to us."

"You are all the family I have just now. Why not? Anyhow, I'll
have to keep out lunch money and carfare, and so will Edith. Now
as to expenses."

Ellen had made a great reduction in expenses, but food was high.
And there was gas and coal, and Dan's small insurance, and the rent.
There was absolutely no margin, and a sort of silence fell.

"What about your tuition at night school?" Edith asked suddenly.

"Spring term ended this week."

"But you said there was a summer one."

"Well, I'll tell you about that," Willy said, feeling for words.
"I'm going to be busy helping Mr. Hendricks in his campaign. Then
next fall - well, I'll either go back or Hendricks will make me
chief of police, or something." He smiled around the table. "I
ought to get some sort of graft out of it."

"Mother!" Edith protested. "He mustn't sacrifice himself for us.
What are we to him anyhow? A lot of stones hung around his neck.
That's all."

It was after Willy had declared that this was his home now, and he
had a right to help keep it going, and after Ellen had observed that
she had some money laid by and would not take any wages during the
strike, that the meeting threatened to become emotional. Mrs. Boyd
shed a few tears, and as she never by any chance carried a
handkerchief, let them flow over her fichu. And Dan shook Willy's
hand and Ellen's, and said that if he'd had his way he'd be working,
and not sitting round like a stiff letting other people work for him.
But Edith got up and went out into the little back garden, and did
not come back until the meeting was both actually and morally broken
up. When she heard Dan go out, and Ellen and Mrs. Boyd go upstairs,
chatting in a new amiability brought about by trouble and sacrifice,
she put on her hat and left the house.

Ellen, rousing on her cot in Edith's upper room, heard her come in
some time later, and undress and get into bed. Her old suspicion of
the girl revived, and she sat upright.

"Where I come from girls don't stay out alone until all hours," she
said.

"Oh, let me alone."

Ellen fell asleep, and in her sleep she dreamed that Mrs. Boyd had
taken sick and was moaning. The moaning was terrible; it filled
the little house. Ellen wakened suddenly. It was not moaning; it
was strange, heavy breathing, strangling; and it came from Edith's
bed.

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