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A Poor Wise Man by Mary Roberts Rinehart

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"I don't like to soil my hands on you," he said, "but I don't mind
telling you that any man who ruins a girl's life and then tries to
get out of it by defaming her, is a skunk."

Akers lunged at him.

Some time later Mr. William Wallace Cameron descended to the street.
He wore his coat collar turned up to conceal the absence of certain
articles of wearing apparel which he had mysteriously lost. And
he wore, too, a somewhat distorted, grim and entirely complacent
smile.

CHAPTER XXV

The city had taken the rioting with a weary philosophy. It was
tired of fighting. For two years it had labored at high tension for
the European war. It had paid taxes and bought bonds, for the war.
It had saved and skimped and denied itself, for the war. And for
the war it had made steel, steel for cannon and for tanks, for ships
and for railroads. It had labored hard and well, and now all it
wanted was to be allowed to get back to normal things. It wanted
peace.

It said, in effect: "I have both fought and labored, sacrificed and
endured. Give me now my rest of nights, after a day's work. Give
me marriage and children. Give me contentment. Give me the things
I have loved long since, and lost awhile."

And because the city craved peace, it was hard to rouse it to its
danger. It was war-weary, and its weariness was not of apathy, but
of exhaustion. It was not yet ready for new activity.

Then, the same night that had seen Willy Cameron's encounter with
Akers, it was roused from its lethargy. A series of bomb outrages
shook the downtown district. The Denslow Bank was the first to go.
Willy Cameron, inspecting a cut lip in his mirror, heard a dull
explosion, and ran down to the street. There he was joined by Joe
Wilkinson, in trousers over his night shirt, and as they looked, a
dull red glare showed against the sky. Joe went back for more
clothing, but Willy Cameron ran down the street. At the first
corner he heard a second explosion, further away and to the east,
but apparently no fire followed it. That, he learned later, was
the City Club, founded by Anthony Cardew years before.

The Denslow Bank was burning. The facade had been shattered and
from the interior already poured a steady flow of flame and smoke.
He stood among the crowd, while the engines throbbed and the great
fire hose lay along the streets, and watched the little upper
room where the precious records of the Committee were burning
brightly. The front wall gone, the small office stood open to the
world, a bright and shameless thing, flaunting its nakedness to
the crowd below.

He wondered why Providence should so play into the hands of the
enemy.

After a time he happened on Pink Denslow, wandering alone on the
outskirts of the crowd.

"Just about kill the governor, this," said Pink, heavily. "Don't
suppose the watchmen got out, either. Not that they'd care," he
added, savagely.

"How about the vaults? I suppose they are fireproof?"

"Yes. Do you realize that every record we've got has gone? D'you
suppose those fellows knew about them?"

Willy Cameron had been asking himself the same question.

"Trouble is," Pink went on, "you don't know who to trust. They're
not all foreigners. Let's get away from here; it makes me sick."

They wandered through the night together, almost unconsciously in
the direction of the City Club, but within a block of it they
realized that something was wrong. A hospital ambulance dashed by,
its gong ringing wildly, and a fire engine, not pumping, stood at
the curb.

"Come on" Pink said suddenly. "There were two explosions. It's
just possible - "

The club was more sinister than the burning bank; it was a mass of
grim wreckage, black and gaping, with now and then the sound of
settling masonry, and already dotted with the moving flash-lights
of men who searched.

To Pink this catastrophe was infinitely greater than that of the
bank. Men he knew had lived there. There were old club servants
who were like family retainers; one or two employees were
ex-service men for whom he had found employment. He stood there,
with Willy Cameron's hand on his arm, with a new maturity and a
vast suffering in his face.

"Before God," he said solemnly, "I swear never to rest until the
fellows behind this are tried, condemned and hanged. You've heard
it, Cameron."

The death list for that night numbered thirteen, the two watchmen
at the bank and eleven men at the club, two of them members. Willy
Cameron, going home at dawn, exhausted and covered with plaster dust,
bought an extra and learned that a third bomb, less powerful, had
wrecked the mayor's house. It had been placed under the sleeping
porch, and but for the accident of a sick baby the entire family
would have been wiped out.

Even his high courage began to waver. His records were gone; that
was all to do over again. But what seemed to him the impasse was
this fighting in the dark. An unseen enemy, always. And an enemy
which combined with skill a total lack of any rules of warfare,
which killed here, there and everywhere, as though for the sheer
joy of killing. It struck at the high but killed the low. And
it had only begun.

CHAPTER XXVI

Dominant family traits have a way of skipping one generation and
appearing in the next. Lily Cardew at that stage of her life had
a considerable amount of old Anthony's obstinacy and determination,
although it was softened by a long line of Cardew women behind her,
women who had loved, and suffered dominance because they loved.
Her very infatuation for Louis Akers, like Elinor's for Doyle, was
possibly an inheritance from her fore-mothers, who had been wont
to overlook the evil in a man for the strength in him. Only Lily
mistook physical strength for moral fibre, insolence and effrontery
for courage.

In both her virtues and her faults, however, irrespective of
heredity, Lily represented very fully the girl of her position and
period. With no traditions to follow, setting her course by no
compass, taught to think but not how to think, resentful of tyranny
but unused to freedom, she moved ahead along the path she had
elected to follow, blindly and obstinately, yet unhappy and
suffering.

Her infatuation for Louis Akers had come to a new phase of its
rapid development. She had reached that point where a woman
realizes that the man she loves is, not a god of strength and
wisdom, but a great child who needs her. It is at that point that
one of two things happens: the weak woman abandons him, and follows
her dream elsewhere. The woman of character, her maternal instinct
roused, marries him, bears him children, is both wife and mother
to him, and finds in their united weaknesses such strength as she
can.

In her youth and self-sufficiency Lily stood ready to give, rather
than to receive. She felt now that he needed her more than she
needed him. There was something unconsciously patronizing those
days in her attitude toward him, and if he recognized it he did not
resent it. Women had always been "easy" for him. Her very
aloofness, her faint condescension, her air of a young grande dame,
were a part of her attraction for him.

Love sees clearly, and seeing, loves on. But infatuation is blind;
when it gains sight, it dies. Already Lily was seeing him with the
critical eyes of youth, his loud voice, his over-fastidious dress,
his occasional grossnesses. To offset these she placed vast
importance on his promise to leave his old associates when she
married him.

The time was very close now. She could not hold him off much longer,
and she began to feel, too, that she must soon leave the house on
Cardew Way. Doyle's attitude to her was increasingly suspicious
and ungracious. She knew that he had no knowledge of Louis's
promise, but he began to feel that she was working against him, and
showed it.

And in Louis Akers too she began to discern an inclination not to
pull out until after the election. He was ambitious, and again and
again he urged that he would be more useful for the purpose in her
mind if he were elected first.

That issue came to a climax the day she had seen her mother and
learned the terms on which she might return home. She was alarmed
by his noisy anger at the situation.

"Do sit down, Louis, and be quiet," she said. "You have known their
attitude all along, haven't you?"

"I'll show them," he said, thickly. "Damned snobs!" He glanced at
her then uneasily, and her expression put him on his guard. "I
didn't mean that, little girl. Honestly I didn't. I don't care for
myself. It's you."

"You must understand that they think they are acting for my good.
And I am not sure," she added, her clear eyes on him, "that they are
not right. You frighten me sometimes, Louis."

But a little later he broke out again. If he wasn't good enough to
enter their house, he'd show them something. The election would
show them something. They couldn't refuse to receive the mayor of
the city. She saw then that he was bent on remaining with Doyle
until after the election.

Lily sat back, listening and thinking. Sometimes she thought that
he did not love her at all. He always said he wanted her, but that
was different.

"I think you love yourself more than you love me, Louis," she said,
when he had exhausted himself. "I don't believe you know what love
is."

That brought him to his knees, his arms around her, kissing her
hands, begging her not to give him up, and once again her curious
sense of responsibility for him triumphed.

"You will marry me soon, dear, won't you?" he implored her. But she
thought of Willy Cameron, oddly enough, even while his arms were
around her; of the difference in the two men. Louis, big, crouching,
suppliant and insistent; Willy Cameron, grave, reserved and steady,
taking what she now knew was the blow of her engagement like a
gentleman and a soldier.

They represented, although she did not know it, the two divisions
of men in love, the men who offer much and give little, the others
who, out of a deep humility, offer little and give everything they
have.

In the end. nothing was settled. After he had gone Lily, went up
to Elinor's room. She had found in Elinor lately a sort of nervous
tension that puzzled her, and that tension almost snapped when Lily
told her of her visit home, and of her determination to marry Louis
within the next few days. Elinor had dropped her sewing and
clenched her hands in her lap.

"Not soon, Lily!" she said. "Oh, not soon. Wait a little - wait
two months."

"Two months?" Lily said wonderingly. "Why two months?"

"Because, at the end of two months, nothing would make you marry
him," Elinor said, almost violently. "I have sat by and waited,
because I thought you would surely see your mistake. But now - Lily,
do you envy me my life?"

"No," Lily said truthfully; "but you love him."

Elinor sat, her eyes downcast and brooding.

"You are different," she said finally. "You will break, where I
have only bent."

But she said no more about a delay. She had been passive too long
to be able to take any strong initiative now. And all her moral and
physical courage she was saving for a great emergency.

Cardew Way was far from the center of town, and Lily knew nothing of
the bomb outrages of that night.

When she went down to breakfast the next morning she found Jim Doyle
pacing the floor of the dining room in a frenzy of rage, a newspaper
clenched in his hand. By the window stood Elinor, very pale and
with slightly reddened eyes. They had not heard her, and Doyle
continued a furious harangue.

"The fools!" he said. "Damn such material as I have to work with!
This isn't the time, and they know it. I've warned them over and
over. The fools!"

Elinor saw her then, and made a gesture of warning. But it was too
late. Lily had a certain quality of directness, and it did not
occur to her to dissemble.

"Is anything wrong?" she asked, and went at once to Elinor. She
had once or twice before this stood between them for Elinor's
protection.

"Everything is as happy as a May morning," Doyle sneered. "Your
Aunt Elinor has an unpleasant habit of weeping for joy."

Lily stiffened, but Elinor touched her arm.

"Sit down and eat your breakfast, Lily," she said, and left the room.

Doyle stood staring at Lily angrily. He did not know how much she
had heard, how much she knew. At the moment he did not care. He
had a reckless impulse to tell her the truth, but his habitual
caution prevailed. He forced a cold smile.

"Don't bother your pretty head about politics," he said.

Lily was equally cold. Her dislike of him had been growing for
weeks, coupled to a new and strange distrust.

"Politics? You seem to take your politics very hard."

"I do," he said urbanely. "Particularly when I am fighting my wife's
family. May I pour you some coffee?"

And pour it he did, eyeing her furtively the while, and brought it
to her.

"May I give you a word of advice, Lily?" he said. "Don't treat your
husband to tears at breakfast - unless you want to see him romping
off to some other woman."

"If he cared to do that I shouldn't want him anyhow."

"You're a self-sufficient child, aren't you? Well, the best of us
do it, sometimes."

He had successfully changed the trend of her thoughts, and he went
out, carrying the newspaper with him.

Nevertheless, he began to feel that her presence in the house was a
menace. With all her theories he knew that a word of the truth
would send her flying, breathless with outrage, out of his door.
He could quite plainly visualize that home-coming of hers. The
instant steps that would be taken against him, old Anthony on the
wire appealing to the governor, Howard closeted with the Chief of
Police, an instant closing of the net. And he was not ready for
the clash.

No. She must stay. If only Elinor would play the game, instead of
puling and mouthing! In the room across the hall where his desk
stood he paced the floor, first angrily, then thoughtfully, his
head bent. He saw, and not far away now, himself seated in the
city hall, holding the city in the hollow of his hand. From that
his dreams ranged far. He saw himself the head, not of the nation
- there would be no nation, as such - but of the country. The very
incidents of the night before, blundering as they were, showed him
the ease with which the new force could be applied.

He was drunk with power.

CHAPTER XXVII

Lily had an unexpected visitor that afternoon, in the person of
Pink Denslow. She had assumed some of Elinor's cares for the day,
for Elinor herself had not been visible since breakfast. It
soothed the girl to attend to small duties, and she was washing
and wiping Elinor's small stock of fine china when the bell rang.

"Mr. Denslow is calling," said Jennie. "I didn't know if you'd
see him, so I said I didn't know if you were in.

Lily's surprise at Pink's visit was increased when she saw him. He
was covered with plaster dust, even to the brim of his hat, and
his hands were scratched and rough.

"Pink!" she said. "Why, what is the matter?"

For the first time he was conscious of his appearance, and for the
first time in his life perhaps, entirely indifferent to it.

"I've been digging in the ruins," he said. "Is that man Doyle in
the house?"

Her color faded. Suddenly she noticed a certain wildness about
Pink's eyes, and the hard strained look of his mouth.

"What ruins, Pink?" she managed to ask.

"All the ruins," he said. "You know, don't you? The bank, our
bank, and the club?"

It seemed to her afterwards that she knew before he told her, saw
it all, a dreadful picture which had somehow superimposed upon it
a vision of Jim Doyle with the morning paper, and the thing that
this was not the time for.

"That's all," he finished. "Eleven at the club, two of them my
own fellows. In France, you know. I found one of them myself,
this morning." He stared past her, over her head. "Killed for
nothing, the way the Germans terrorized Belgium. Haven't you seen
the papers?"

"No, they wouldn't let you see them, of course. Lily, I want you
to leave here. If you don't, if you stay now, you're one of them,
whether you believe what they preach or not. Don't you see that?"

She was not listening. Her faith was dying hard, and the mental
shock had brought her dizziness and a faint nausea. He stood
watching her, and when she glanced up at him it seemed to her that
Pink was hard. Hard and suspicious, and the suspicion was for her.
It was incredible.

"Do you believe what they preach?" he demanded. "I've got to know,
Lily. I've suffered the tortures of the damned all night."

"I didn't know it meant this."

"Do you?" he repeated.

"No. You ought to know me better than that. But I don't believe
that it started here, Pink. He was very angry this morning, and
he wouldn't let me see the paper."

"He's behind it all right," Pink said grimly. "Maybe he didn't
plant the bombs, but his infernal influence did it, just the same.
Do you mean to say you've lived here all this time and don't know
he is plotting a revolution? What if he didn't authorize these
things last night? He is only waiting, to place a hundred bombs
instead of three. A thousand, perhaps."

"Oh, no!"

"We've got their own statements. Department of Justice found them.
The fools, to think they can overthrow the government! Can you
imagine men planning to capture this city and hold it?"

"It wouldn't be possible, Pink?"

"It isn't possible now, but they'll make a try at it."

There was a short pause, with Lily struggling to understand. Pink's
set face relaxed somewhat. All that night he had been fighting for
his belief in her.

"I never dreamed of it, Pink. I suppose all the talk I've heard
meant that, but I never - are you sure? About Jim Doyle, I mean."

"We know he is behind it. We haven't got the goods on him yet, but
we know. Cameron knows. You ask him and he'll tell you."

"Willy Cameron?"

"Yes. He's had some vision, while the rest of us - ! He's got a
lot of us working now, Lily. We are on the right trail, too, although
we lost some records last night that put us back a couple of months.
We'll get them, all right. We'll smash their little revolution into
a cocked hat." It occurred to him, then, that this house was a poor
place for such a confidence. "I'll tell you about it later. Get
your things now, and let me take you home."

But Lily's problem was too complex for Pink's simple remedy. She
was stricken with sudden conviction; the very mention of Willy
Cameron gave Pink's statements authority. But to go like that, to
leave Elinor in that house, with all that it implied, was impossible.
And there was her own private problem to dispose of.

"I'll go this afternoon, Pink. I'll promise you that. But I can't
go with you now. I can't. You'll have to take my word, that's all.
And you must believe I didn't know."

"Of course you didn't know," he said, sturdily. "But I hate like
thunder to go and leave you here." He picked up his hat, reluctantly.
"If I can do anything - "

Lily's mind was working more clearly now. This was the thing Louis
Akers had been concerned with, then, a revolution against his
country. But it was the thing, too, that he had promised to abandon.
He was not a killer. She knew him well, and he was not a killer.
He had got to a certain point, and then the thing had sickened him.
Even without her he would never have gone through with it. But it
would be necessary now to get his information quickly. Very quickly.

"Suppose," she said, hesitatingly, "suppose I tell you that I think
I am going to be able to help you before long?"

"Help? I want you safe. This is not work for women."

"But suppose I can bring you a very valuable ally?" she persisted.
"Some one who knows all about certain plans, and has changed his
views about them?"

"One of them?"

"He has been."

"Is he selling his information?"

"In a way, yes," said Lily, slowly.

"Ware the fellow who sells information," Pink said. "But we'll be
glad to have it. We need it, God knows. And - you'll leave?"

"I couldn't stay, could I?"

He kissed her hand when he went away, doing it awkwardly and
self-consciously, but withal reverently. She wondered, rather
dully, why she could not love Pink. A woman would be so safe with
him, so sure.

She had not even then gathered the full force of what he had told
her. But little by little things came back to her; the man on guard
in the garden; the incident of the locked kitchen door; Jim Doyle
once talking angrily over a telephone in his study, although no
telephone, so far as she knew, was installed in the room; his
recent mysterious absences, and the increasing visits of the hateful
Woslosky.

She went back to Louis. This was what he had meant. He had known
all along, and plotted with them; even if his stomach had turned
now, he had been a party to this infamy. Even then she did not hate
him; she saw him, misled as she had been by Doyle's high-sounding
phrases, lured on by one of those wild dreams of empire to which
men were sometimes given. She did not love him any more; she was
sorry for him.

She saw her position with the utmost clearness. To go home was to
abandon him, to lose him for those who needed what he could give,
to send him back to the enemy. She had told Pink she could secure
an ally for a price, and she was the price. There was not an ounce
of melodrama in her, as she stood facing the situation. She
considered, quite simply, that she had assumed an obligation which
she must carry out. Perhaps her pride was dictating to her also.
To go crawling home, bowed to the dust, to admit that life had
beaten her, to face old Anthony's sneers and her mother's pity
- that was hard for any Cardew.

She remembered Elinor's home-comings of years ago, the strained
air of the household, the whispering servants, and Elinor herself
shut away, or making her rare, almost furtive visits downstairs
when her father was out of the house.

No, she could not face that.

Her own willfulness had brought her to this pass; she faced that
uncompromisingly. She would marry Louis, and hold him to his
promise, and so perhaps out of all this misery some good would
come. But at the thought of marriage she found herself trembling
violently. With no love and no real respect to build on, with an
intuitive knowledge of the man's primitive violences, the
reluctance toward marriage with him which she had always felt
crystallized into something very close to dread.

But a few minutes later she went upstairs, quite steady again, and
fully determined. At Elinor's door she tapped lightly, and she
heard movements within. Then Elinor opened the door wide. She
had been lying on her bed, and automatically after closing the
door she began to smooth it. Lily felt a wave of intense pity
for her.

"I wish you would go away from here, Aunt Elinor," she said.

Elinor glanced up, without surprise.

"Where could I go?"

"If you left him definitely, you could go home."

Elinor shook her head, dumbly, and her passivity drove Lily suddenly
to desperation.

"You know what is going on," she said, her voice strained. "You
don't believe it is right; you know it is wicked. Clothe it in all
the fine language in the world, Aunt Elinor, and it is still wicked.
If you stay here you condone it. I won't. I am going away."

"I wish you had never come, Lily."

"It's too late for that," Lily said, stonily. "But it is not too
late for you to get away."

"I shall stay," Elinor said, with an air of finality. But Lily
made one more effort.

"He is killing you."

"No, he is killing himself." Suddenly Elinor flared into a
passionate outburst. "Don't you think I know where all this is
leading? Do you believe for a moment that I think all this can
lead to anything but death? It is a madness, Lily; they are all
mad, these men. Don't you know that I have talked and argued
and prayed, against it?"

"Then come away. You have done all you could, and you have failed,
haven't you?"

"It is not time for me to go," Elinor said. And Lily, puzzled and
baffled, found herself again looking into Elinor's quiet, inscrutable
eyes.

Elinor had taken it for granted that the girl was going home, and
together they packed almost in silence. Once Elinor looked up
from folding a garment, and said:

"You said you had not understood before, but that now you do. What
did you mean?"

"Pink Denslow was here."

"What does he know?"

"Do you think I ought to tell you, Aunt Elinor? It isn't that I
don't trust you. You must believe that, but don't you see that so
long as you stay here - he said that to me - you are one of them."

Elinor resumed her folding.

"Yes, I suppose I am one of them," she said quietly. "And you are
right. You must not tell me anything. Pink is Henry Denslow's son,
I suppose."

"Yes."

"Do they-still live in the old house?"

"Yes."

Elinor continued her methodical work.

CHAPTER XXVIII

Willy Cameron was free that evening. Although he had not slept at
all the night before, he felt singularly awake and active. The
Committee had made temporary quarters of his small back room at the
pharmacy, and there had sat in rather depressed conclave during a
part of the afternoon. Pink Denslow had come in late, and had
remained, silent and haggard, through the debate.

There was nothing to do but to start again in an attempt to get
files and card indexes. Greater secrecy was to be preserved and
enjoined, the location of the office to be known only to a small
inner circle, and careful policing of it and of the building which
housed it to be established. As a further safeguard, two duplicate
files would be kept in other places. The Committee groaned over
its own underestimate of the knowledge of the radicals.

The two buildings chosen for destruction were, respectively, the
bank building where their file was kept, and the club, where
nine-tenths of the officers of the Committee were members. The
significance of the double outrage was unquestionable.

When the meeting broke up Pink remained behind. He found it rather
difficult to broach the matter in his mind. It was always hard for
him to talk about Lily Cardew, and lately he had had a growing
conviction that Willy Cameron found it equally difficult. He
wondered if Cameron, too, was in love with Lily. There had been
a queer look in his face on those rare occasions when Pink had
mentioned her, a sort of exaltation, and an odd difficulty
afterwards in getting back to the subject in hand.

Pink had developed an enormous affection and admiration for Willy
Cameron, a strange, loyal, half wistful, totally unselfish devotion.
It had steadied him, when the loss of Li1y might have made him
reckless, and had taken the form in recent weeks of finding
innumerable business opportunities, which Willy Cameron cheerfully
refused to take.

"I'll stay here until this other thing is settled," was Willy's
invariable answer. "I have a certain amount of time here, and the
fellows can drop in to see me without causing suspicion. In an
office it would be different. And besides, I can't throw Mr.
Davis down. His wife is in bad shape."

So, that afternoon, Pink waited until the Committee had dispersed,
and then said, with some difficulty:

"I saw her, Cameron. She has promised to leave."

"To-day?"

"This afternoon. I wanted to take her away, but she had some things
to do."

"Then she hadn't known before?"

"No. She thought it was just talk. And they'd kept the papers from
her. She hadn't heard about last night. Well, that's all. I
thought you'd want to know."

Pink started out, but Willy Cameron called him back.

"Have any of your people any influence with the Cardews?"

"No one has any influence with the Cardews, if you mean the Cardew
men. Why?"

"Because Cardew has got to get out of the mayoralty campaign.
That's all."

"That's a-plenty," said Pink, grinning. "Why don't you go and tell
him so?"

"I'm thinking of it. He hasn't a chance in the world, but he'll
defeat Hendricks by splitting the vote, and let the other side in.
And you know what that means."

"I know it," Pink observed, "but Mr. Cardew doesn't, and he won't
after you've told him. They've put a lot of money in, and once a
Cardew has invested in a thing he holds on like death. Especially
the old man. Wouldn't wonder he was the fellow who pounded the
daylights out of Akers last night," he added.

Willy Cameron, having carefully filled his pipe, closed the door
into the shop, and opened a window.

"Akers?" he inquired.

"Noon edition has it," Pink said. "Claims to have been attacked in
his rooms by two masked men. Probably wouldn't have told it, but
the doctor talked. Looks as though he could wallop six masked men,
doesn't he?"

"Yes," said Willy Cameron, reflectively. "Yes; he does, rather."

He felt more hopeful than he had for days. Lily on her way home,
clear once more of the poisonous atmosphere of Doyle and his
associates; Akers temporarily out of the way, perhaps for long
enough to let the normal influences of her home life show him to
her in a real perspective; and a rather unholy but very human joy
that he had given Akers a part of what was coming to him - all
united to cheer him. He saw Lily going home, and a great wave
of tenderness flooded him. If only they would be tactful and
careful, if only they would be understanding and kind. If they
would only be normal and every-day, and accept her as though she
had never been away. These people were so hedged about with
conventions and restrictions, they put so much emphasis on the
letter and so little on the spirit. If only - God, if only
they wouldn't patronize her!

His mother would have known how to receive her. He felt, that
afternoon, a real homesickness for his mother. He saw her, ample
and comfortable and sane, so busy with the comforts of the body
that she seemed to ignore the soul, and yet bringing healing
with her every matter-of-fact movement.

If only Lily could have gone back to her, instead of to that great
house, full of curious eyes and whispering voices.

He saw Mr. Hendricks that evening on his way home to supper. Mr.
Hendricks had lost flesh and some of his buoyancy, but he was
persistently optimistic.

"Up to last night I'd have said we were done, son," he observed.
"But this bomb business has settled them. The labor vote'll split
on it, sure as whooping cough."

"They've bought a half-page in all the morning papers, disclaiming
all responsibility and calling on all citizens to help them in
protecting private property."

"Have they, now," said Hendricks, with grudging admiration. "Can
you beat that? Where do they get the money, anyhow? If I lost my
watch these days I'd have to do some high-finance before I'd be
able to advertise for it."

"All right, see Cardew," were his parting words. "But he doesn't
want this election any more than I want my right leg. He'll stick.
You can talk, Cameron, I'll say it. But you can't pry him off
with kind words, any more than you can a porous plaster."

Behind Mr. Hendricks' colloquialisms there was something sturdy
and fine. His very vernacular made him popular; his honesty was
beyond suspicion. If he belonged to the old school in politics,
he had most of its virtues and few of its vices. He would take
care of his friends, undoubtedly, but he was careful in his choice
of friends. He would make the city a good place to live in.
Like Willy Cameron, he saw it, not a center of trade so much as
a vast settlement of homes. Business supported the city in his
mind, not the city business.

Nevertheless the situation was serious, and it was with a sense of
a desperate remedy for a desperate disease that Willy Cameron, after
a careful toilet, rang the bell of the Cardew house that night. He
had no hope of seeing Lily, but the mere thought that they were
under one roof gave him a sense of nearness and of comfort in her
safety.

Dinner was recently over, and he found both the Cardews, father and
son, in the library smoking. He had arrived at a bad moment, for
the bomb outrage, coming on top of Lily's refusal to come home
under the given conditions, had roused Anthony to a cold rage, and
left Howard with a feeling of helplessness.

Anthony Cardew nodded to him grimly, but Howard shook hands and
offered him a chair.

"I heard you speak some time ago, Mr. Cameron," he said. "You made
me wish I could have had your support."

"I came to talk about that. I am sorry to have to come in the
evening, but I am not free at any other time."

"When we go into politics," said old Anthony in his jibing voice,
"the ordinary amenities have to go. When you are elected, Howard,
I shall live somewhere else."

Willy Cameron smiled.

"I don't think you will be put to that inconvenience, Mr. Cardew."

"What's that?" Old Anthony's voice was incredulous. Here, in his
own house, this whipper-snapper -

"I am sure Mr. Howard Cardew realizes he cannot be elected."

The small ragged vein on Anthony's forehead was the storm signal
for the family. Howard glanced at him, and said urbanely:

"Will you have a cigar, Mr. Cameron? Or a liqueur?"

"Nothing, thank you. If I can have a few minutes' talk with you - "

"If you mean that as a request for me to go out, I will remind you
that I am heavily interested in this matter myself," said old Anthony.
"I have put in a great deal of money. If you people are going to
drop out, I want to hear it. You've played the devil with us already,
with your independent candidate who can't talk English."

Willy Cameron kept his temper.

"No," he said, slowly. "It wasn't a question of Mr. Hendricks
withdrawing. It was a question of Mr. Cardew getting out."

Sheer astonishment held old Anthony speechless.

"It's like this," Willy Cameron said. "Your son knows it. Even if
we drop out he won't get it. Justly or unjustly - and I mean that
- nobody with the name of Cardew can be elected to any high office
in this city. There's no reflection on anybody in my saying that.
I am telling you a fact."

Howard had listened attentively and without anger. "For a long
time, Mr. Cameron," he said, "I have been urging men of - of
position in the city, to go into politics. We have needed to get
away from the professional politician. I went in, without much
hope of election, to - well, you can say to blaze a trail. It is
not being elected that counts with me, so much as to show my
willingness to serve."

Old Anthony recovered his voice.

"The Cardews made this town, sir," he barked. "Willingness to
serve, piffle! We need a business man to run the city, and by
God, we'll get it!"

"You'll get an anarchist," said Willy Cameron, slightly flushed.

"If you want my opinion, young man, this is a trick, a political
trick. And how do we know that your Vigilance Committee isn't a
trick, too? You try to tell us that there is an organized movement
here to do heaven knows what, and by sheer terror you build up a
machine which appeals to the public imagination. You don't say
anything about votes, but you see that they vote for your man.
Isn't that true?"

"Yes. If they can keep an anarchist out of office. Akers is an
anarchist. He calls himself something else, but that's what it
amounts to. And those bombs last night were not imaginary."

The introduction of Louis Akers' name had a sobering effect on
Anthony Cardew. After all, more than anything else, he wanted
Akers defeated. The discussion slowly lost its acrimony, and
ended, oddly enough, in Willy Cameron and Anthony Cardew virtually
uniting against Howard. What Willy Cameron told about Jim Doyle
fed the old man's hatred of his daughter's husband, and there was
something very convincing about Cameron himself. Something of
fearlessness and honesty that began, slowly, to dispose Anthony in
his favor.

It was Howard who held out.

"If I quit now it will look as though I didn't want to take a
licking," he said, quietly obstinate. "Grant your point, that I'm
defeated. All right, I'll be defeated - but I won't quit."

And Anthony Cardew, confronted by that very quality of obstinacy
which had been his own weapon for so many years, retired in high
dudgeon to his upper rooms. He was living in a strange new world,
a reasonable soul on an unreasonable earth, an earth where a man's
last sanctuary, his club, was blown up about him, and a man's
family apparently lived only to thwart him.

With Anthony gone, Howard dropped the discussion with the air of
a man who has made a final stand.

"What you have said about Mr. Doyle interests me greatly," he
observed, "because - you probably do not know this - my sister
married him some years ago. It was a most unhappy affair."

"I do know it. For that reason I am glad that Miss Lily has come
home."

"Has come home? She has not come home, Mr. Cameron. There was a
condition we felt forced to make, and she refused to agree to it.
Perhaps we were wrong. I - "

Willy Cameron got up.

"Was that to-day?" he asked.

"No."

"But she was coming home to-day. She was to leave there this
afternoon."

"How do you know that?"

"Denslow saw her there this afternoon. She agreed to leave at
once. He had told her of the bombs, and of other things. She
hadn't understood before, and she was horrified. It is just
possible Doyle wouldn't let her go."

"But - that's ridiculous. She can't be a prisoner in my sister's
house."

"Will you telephone and find out if she is there?" Howard went
to the telephone at once. It seemed to Willy Cameron that he stood
there for uncounted years, and as though, through all that eternity
of waiting, he knew what the answer would be. And that he knew,
too, what that answer meant, where she had gone, what she had done.
If only she had come to him. If only she had come to him. He would
have saved her from herself. He -

"She is not there," Howard Cardew said, in a voice from which all
life had gone. "She left this afternoon, at four o'clock. Of
course she has friends. Or she may have gone to a hotel. We had
managed to make it practically impossible for her to come home."

Willy Cameron glanced at his watch. He had discounted the worst
before it came, and unlike the older man, was ready for action. It
was he who took hold of the situation.

"Order a car, Mr. Cardew, and go to the hotels," he said. "And if
you will drop me downtown - I'll tell you where - I'll follow up
something that has just occurred to me."

CHAPTER XXIX

In one way Howard had been correct in his surmise. It had been Lily's
idea to go to a hotel until she had made some definite plan. She
would telephone Louis then, and the rest - she did not think beyond
that. She called a taxi and took a small bag with her, but in the
taxicab she suddenly realized that she could not go to any of the
hotels she knew. She would be recognized at once.

She wanted a little time to herself, time to think. And before it
was discovered that she had left Cardew Way she must see Louis, and
judge again if he intended to act in good faith. While he was with
her, reiterating his promises, she believed him, but when he was
gone, she always felt, a curious doubt.

She thought then of finding a quiet room somewhere, and stopping the
cab, bought a newspaper. It was when she was searching for the
"rooms for rent" column that she saw he had been attacked and
slightly injured.

They had got him. He had said that if they ever suspected him of
playing them false they would get him, and now they had done so.
That removed the last doubt of his good faith from her mind. She
felt indignation and dismay, and a sort of aching consciousness that
always she brought only trouble to the people who cared for her;
she felt that she was going through her life, leaving only
unhappiness behind her.

He had suffered, and for her.

She told the chauffeur to go to the Benedict Apartments, and sitting
back read the notice again. He had been attacked by two masked men
and badly bruised, after putting up a terrific resistance. They
would wear masks, of course. They loved the theatrical. Their
very flag was theatrical. And he had made a hard fight That was
like him, too; he was a fighter.

She was a Cardew, and she loved strength. There were other men,
men like Willy Cameron, for instance, who were lovable in many ways,
but they were not fighters. They sat back, and let life beat them,
and they took the hurt bravely and stoically. But they never got
life by the throat and shook it until it gave up what they wanted.

She had never been in a bachelors' apartment house before, and she
was both frightened and self-conscious. The girl at the desk eyed
her curiously while she telephoned her message, and watched her as
she moved toward the elevator. "Ever seen her before?" she said
to the hall boy.

"No. She's a new one."

"Face's kind of familiar to me," said the telephone girl,
reflectively. "Looks worried, doesn't she? Two masked men! Huh!
All Sam took up there last night was a thin fellow with a limp."

The hall boy grinned.

"Then his limp didn't bother him any. Sam says y'ought to seen
that place."

In the meantime, outside the door of Akers' apartment, Lily's fine
courage almost left her. Had it not been for the eyes of the
elevator man, fixed on her while he lounged in his gateway, she
might have gone away, even then. But she stood there, committed
to a course of action, and rang.

Louis himself admitted her, an oddly battered Louis, in a dressing
gown and slippers; an oddly watchful Louis, too, waiting, after the
manner of men of his kind the world over, to see which way the cat
would jump. He had had a bad day, and his nerves were on edge.
All day he had sat there, unable to go out, and had wondered just
when Cameron would see her and tell her about Edith Boyd. For,
just as Willy Cameron rushed him for the first time, there had
been something from between clenched teeth about marrying another
girl, under the given circumstances. Only that had not been the
sort of language in which it was delivered.

"I just saw about it in the newspaper," Lily said. "How dreadful,
Louis."

He straightened himself and drew a deep breath. The game was
still his, if he played it right.

"Bad enough, dear," he said, "but I gave them some trouble,
too." He pushed a chair toward her. "It was like you to come.
But I don't like your seeing me all mussed up, little girl."

He' made a move then to kiss her, but she drew back.

"Please!" she said. "Not here. And I can't sit down. I can't
stay. I only came because I wanted to tell you something and I
didn't want to telephone it. Louis, Jim Doyle knew about those
bombs last night. He didn't want it to happen before the election,
but - that doesn't alter the fact, does it?"

"How do you know he knew?"

"I do know. That's all. And I have left Aunt Elinor's"

"No!"

"I couldn't stay, could I?" She looked up at him, the little
wistful glance that Willy always found so infinitely touching, like
the appeal of a willful but lovable child, that has somehow got
into trouble. "And I can't go home, Louis, unless I - "

"Unless you give me up," he finished for her. "Well?"

She hesitated. She hated making terms with him, and yet somehow
she must make terms.

"Well?" he repeated. "Are you going to throw me over?"

Apparently merely putting the thought into words crystallized all
his fears of the past hours; seeing her there, too, had intensified
his want of her. She stood there, where he had so often dreamed
of seeing her, but still holding him off with the aloofness that
both chilled and inflamed him, and with a question in her eyes.
He held out his arms, but she drew back.

"Do you mean what you have said, Louis, about leaving them, if I
marry you, and doing all you can to stop them?"

"You know I mean it."

"Then - I'll not go home."

"You are going to marry me? Now?"

"Whenever you say.

Suddenly she was trembling violently, and her lips felt dry and
stiff. He pushed her into a chair, and knelt down beside her.

"You poor little kid," he said, softly.

Through his brain were racing a hundred thoughts; Lily his, in his
arms, in spite of that white-faced drug clerk with the cold eyes;
himself in the Cardew house, one of them, beating old Anthony Cardew
at his own cynical game; and persistently held back and often rising
again to the surface, Woslosky and Doyle and the others, killers that
they were, pursuing him with their vengeance over the world. They
would have to be counted in; they were his price, as he, had he
known it, was Lily's.

"My wife!" he said. "My wife."

She stiffened in his arms.

"I must go, Louis," she said. "I can't stay here. I felt very
queer downstairs. They all stared so."

There was a clock on the mantel shelf, and he looked at it. It was
a quarter before five.

"One thing is sure, Lily," he said. "You can't wander about alone,
and you are right - you can't stay here. They probably recognized
you downstairs. You are pretty well known."

For the first time it occurred to her that she had compromised
herself, and that the net, of her own making, was closing fast about
her.

"I wish I hadn't come."

"Why? We can fix that all right in a jiffy."

But when he suggested an immediate marriage she made a final
struggle. In a few days, even to-morrow, but not just then. He
listened, impatiently, his eyes on the clock. Beside it in the
mirror he saw his own marred face, and it added to his anger. In
the end he took control of the situation; went into his bedroom,
changed into a coat, and came out again, ready for the street. He
telephoned down for a taxicab, and then confronted her, his face
grim.

"I've let you run things pretty much to suit yourself, Lily," he
said. "Now I'm in charge. It won't be to-morrow or next week or
next month. It will be now. You're here. You've given them a
chance to talk downstairs. You've nowhere to go, and you're
going to marry me at once."

In the cab he explained more fully. They would get a license, and
then go to one of the hotels. There they could be married, in
their own suite.

"All regularly and in order, honey," he said, and kissed her hand.
She had hardly heard. She was staring ahead, not thinking, not
listening, not seeing, fighting down a growing fear of the man
before her, of his sheer physical proximity, of his increasing
exuberance.

"I'm mad about you, girl," he said. "Mad. And now you are going
to be mine, until death do us part."

She shivered and drew away, and he laughed a little. Girls were
like that, at such times. They always took a step back for every
two steps forward. He let her hand go, and took a careful survey
of his face in the mirror of the cab. The swelling had gone down,
but that bruise below his eye would last for days. He cursed
under his breath.

It was after nine o'clock when one of the Cardew cars stopped not
far from the Benedict Apartments, and Willy Cameron got out.

He was quite certain that Louis Akers would know where Lily was,
and he anticipated the interview with a sort of grim humor. There
might be another fight; certainly Akers would try to get back at
him for the night before. But he set his jaw. He would learn
where Lily was if he had to choke the knowledge out of that leering
devil's thick white throat. His arrival in the foyer of the
Benedict Apartments caused more than a ripple of excitement.

"Well, look who's here!" muttered the telephone girl, and watched
his approach, with its faint limp, over the top of her desk.
Behind, from his cage, the elevator man was staring with avid
interest.

"I suppose Mr. Akers is in?" said Willy Cameron, politely. The girl
smiled up at him.

"I'll say he ought to be, after last night! What're you going to
do now? Kill him?"

In spite of his anxiety there was a faint twinkle in Willy Cameron's
eyes.

"No," he said slowly. "No. I think not. I want to talk to him."

"Sam," called the telephone girl, "take this gentleman up to
forty-three."

"Forty-three's out" Sam partly shut the elevator door; he had seen
Forty-three's rooms the night before, and he had the discretion of
his race. "Went out with a lady at quarter to five."

Willy Cameron took a step or two toward the cage.

"You don't happen to be lying, I suppose?"

"No, sir!" said Sam. "I'll take you up to look, if you like. And
about an hour ago he sent a boy here with a note, to get some of
his clothes. The young lady at the desk was out at the movies at
the time."

"I was getting my supper, Sam."

Willy Cameron had gone very white.

"Did the boy say where he was taking the things?"

"To the Saint Elmo Hotel, sir."

On the street again Willy Cameron took himself fiercely in hand.
There were a half-dozen reasons why Akers might go to the Saint
Elmo. He might, for one thing, have thought that he, Cameron,
would go back to the Benedict. He might be hiding from Dan, or
from reporters. But there had been, apparently, no attempt to
keep his new quarters secret. If Lily was at the Saint Elmo -

He found a taxicab, and as it drew up at the curb before the
hotel he saw the Cardew car moving away. It gave him his first
real breath for twenty minutes. Lily was not there,

But Louis Akers was. He got his room number from a clerk and
went up, still determinedly holding on to himself. Afterwards he
had no clear recollection of any interval between the Benedict
and the moment he found himself standing outside a door on an
upper floor of the Saint Elmo. From that time on it was as clear
as crystal, his own sudden calm, the overturning of a chair inside,
a man's voice, slightly raised, which he recognized, and then the
thin crash of a wineglass dropped or thrown to the floor.

He opened the door and went in.

In the center of the sitting room a table was set, and on it the
remains of a dinner for two. Akers was standing by the table,
his chair overturned behind him, a splintered glass at his feet,
staring angrily at the window. Even then Willy Cameron saw that
he had had too much to drink, and that he was in an ugly mood.
He was in dinner clothes, but with his bruised face and scowling
brows he looked a sinister imitation of a gentleman.

By the window, her back to the room, was Lily.

Neither of them glanced at the door. Evidently the waiter had been
moving in and out, and Akers considered him as little as he would a
dog.

"Come and sit down," he said angrily. "I've quit drinking, I tell
you. Good God, just because I've had a little wine - and I had the
hell of a time getting it - you won't eat and won't talk. Come here."

"I'm not hungry."

"Come here."

"Stay where you are, Lily," said Willy Cameron, from inside the
closed door. "Or perhaps you'd better get your wraps. I came to
take you home."

Akers had wheeled at the voice, and now stood staring incredulously.
First anger, and then a grin of triumph, showed in his face. Drink
had made him not so much drunk as reckless. He had lost last night,
but to-day he had won.

"Hello, Cameron," he said.

Willy Cameron ignored him.

"Will you come?" he said to Lily.

"I can't, Willy."

"Listen, Lily dear," he said gravely. "Your father is searching the
city for you. Do you know what that means? Don't you see that you
must go home at once? You can't dine here in a private suite, like
this, and not expose yourself to all sorts of talk."

"Go on," said Akers, leering. "I like to hear you."

"Especially," continued Willy Cameron, "with a man like this."

Akers took a step toward him, but he was not too sure of himself,
and he knew now that the other man had a swing to his right arm
like the driving rod of a locomotive. He retreated again to the
table, and his hand closed over a knife there.

"Louis!" Lily said sharply.

He picked up the knife and smiled at her, his eyes cunning. "Not
going to kill him, my dear," he said. "Merely to give him a hint
that I'm not as easy as I was last night."

That was a slip, and he knew it. Lily had left the window and come
forward, a stricken slip of a girl, and he turned to her angrily.

"Go into the other room and close the door," he ordered. "When I've
thrown this fellow out, you can come back."

But Lily's eyes were fixed on Willy Cameron's face.

"It was you last night?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because," Willy Cameron said steadily, "he had got a girl into
trouble, and then insulted her. I wouldn't tell you, but you've got
to know the truth before it's too late."

Lily threw out both hands dizzily, as though catching for support.
But she steadied herself. Neither man moved.

"It is too late, Willy," she said. "I have just married him."

CHAPTER XXX

At midnight Howard Cardew reached home again, a tired and broken
man. Grace had been lying awake in her bedroom, puzzled by his
unexplained absence, and brooding, as she now did continually,
over Lily's absence.

At half past eleven she heard Anthony Cardew come in and go upstairs,
and for some time after that she heard him steadily pacing back and
forth overhead. Sometimes Grace felt sorry for Anthony. He had
made himself at such cost, and now when he was old, he had everything
and yet nothing.

They had never understood women, these Cardews. Howard was gentle
with them where Anthony was hard, but he did not understand, either.
She herself, of other blood, got along by making few demands, but
the Cardew women were as insistent in their demands as the men.
Elinor, Lily - She formed a sudden resolution, and getting up,
dressed feverishly. She had no plan in her mind, nothing but a
desperate resolution to put Lily's case before her grandfather,
and to beg that she be brought home without conditions.

She was frightened as she went up the stairs. Never before had she
permitted things to come to an issue between herself and Anthony.
But now it must be done. She knocked at the door.

Anthony Cardew opened it. The room was dark, save for one lamp
burning dimly on a great mahogany table, and Anthony's erect figure
was little more than a blur of black and white.

"I heard you walking about," she said breathlessly. "May I come in
and talk to you?"

"Come in," he said, with a sort of grave heaviness. "Shall I light
the other lamps?"

"Please don't."

"Will you sit down? No? Do you mind if I do? I am very tired.
I suppose it is about Lily?"

"Yes. I can't stand it any longer. I can't."

Sitting under the lamp she saw that he looked very old and very
weary. A tired little old man, almost a broken one.

"She won't come back?"

"Not under the conditions. But she must come back, father. To let
her stay on there, in that house, after last night - "

She had never called him "father" before. It seemed to touch him.

"You're a good woman, Grace," he said, still heavily. "We Cardews
all marry good women, but we don't know how to treat them. Even
Howard - " His voice trailed off. "No, she can't stay there," he
said, after a pause.

"But - I must tell you - she refuses to give up that man."

"You are a woman, Grace. You ought to know something about girls.
Does she actually care for him, or is it because he offers the
liberty she thinks we fail to give her? Or" - he smiled faintly -
"is it Cardew pig-headedness?"

Grace made a little gesture of despair.

"I don't know. She wanted to come home. She begged - it was
dreadful." Grace hesitated. "Even that couldn't be as bad as this,
father," she said. "We have all lived our own lives, you and Howard
and myself, and now we won't let her do it."

"And a pretty mess we have made of them!" His tone was grim. "No,
I can't say that we offer her any felicitous examples. But the
fellow's plan is transparent enough. He is ambitious. He sees
himself installed here, one of us. Mark my words, Grace, he may
love the child, but his real actuating motive is that. He's a
Radical, because since he can't climb up, he'll pull down. But once
let him get his foot on the Cardew ladder, and he'll climb, over
her, over all of us."

He sat after that, his head dropped on his chest, his hands resting
on the arms of his chair, in a brooding reverie. Grace waited.

"Better bring her home," he said finally. "Tell her I surrender.
I want her here. Let her bring that fellow here, too, if she has
to see him. But for God's sake, Grace," he added, with a flash of
his old fire, "show her some real men, too."

Suddenly Grace bent over and kissed him. He put up his hand, and
patted her on the shoulder.

"A good woman, Grace," he said, "and a good daughter to me. I'm
sorry. I'll try to do better."

As Grace straightened she heard the door close below, and Howard's
voice. Almost immediately she heard him coming up the staircase,
and going out into the hall she called softly to him.

"Where are you?" he asked, looking up. "Is father there?"

"Yes."

"I want you both to come down to the library, Grace."

She heard him turn and go slowly down the stairs. His voice had
been strained and unnatural. As she turned she found Anthony behind
her.

"Something has happened!"

"I rather think so," said old Anthony, slowly.

They went together down the stairs.

In the library Lily was standing, facing the door, a quiet figure,
listening and waiting. Howard had dropped into a chair and was
staring ahead. And beyond the circle of lights was a shadowy figure,
vaguely familiar, tall, thin, and watchful. Willy Cameron.

CHAPTER XXXI

The discovery that Lily had left his house threw Jim Doyle into a
frenzy. The very manner of her going filled him with dark
suspicion. Either she had heard more that morning than he had
thought, or - In his cunning mind for weeks there had been growing
a smoldering suspicion of his wife. She was too quiet, too
acquiescent. In the beginning, when Woslosky had brought the
scheme to him, and had promised it financial support from Europe,
he had taken a cruel and savage delight in outlining it to her,
in seeing her cringe and go pale.

He had not feared her then. She had borne with so much, endured,
tolerated, accepted, that he had not realized that she might have
a breaking point.

The plan had appealed to his cynical soul from the first. It was
the apotheosis of cynicism, this reducing of a world to its lowest
level. And it had amused him to see his wife, a gentlewoman born,
bewildered before the chaos he depicted.

"But-it is German!" she had said.

"I bow before intelligence. It is German. Also it is Russian.
Also it is of all nations. All this talk now, of a League of
Nations, a few dull diplomats acting as God over the peoples of
the earth!" His eyes blazed. "While the true league, of the
workers of the world, is already in effect!"

But he watched her after that, not that he was afraid of her, but
because her re-action as a woman was important. He feared women
in the movement. It had its disciples, fervent and eloquent, paid
and unpaid women agitators, but he did not trust them. They were
invariably women without home ties, women with nothing to protect,
women with everything to gain and nothing to lose. The woman in
the home was a natural anti-radical. Not the police, not even the
army, but the woman in the home was the deadly enemy of the great
plan.

He began to hate Elinor, not so much for herself, as for the women
she represented. She became the embodiment of possible failure.
She stood in his path, passively resistant, stubbornly brave.

She was not a clever woman, and she was slow in gathering the full
significance of a nation-wide general strike, that with an end of
all production the non-producing world would be beaten to its knees.
And then she waited for a world movement, forgetting that a flame
must start somewhere and then spread. But she listened and learned.
There was a great deal of talk about class and mass. She learned
that the mass, for instance, was hungry for a change. It would
welcome any change. Woslosky had been in Russia when the Kerensky
regime was overthrown, and had seen that strange three days when
the submerged part of the city filled the streets, singing, smiling,
endlessly walking, exalted and without guile.

No problems troubled them. They had ceased to labor, and that was
enough.

Had it not been for its leaders, the mass would have risen like a
tide, and ebbed again.

Elinor had struggled to understand. This was not Socialism. Jim
had been a Socialist for years. He had believed that the gradual
elevation of the few, the gradual subjection of the many, would go
on until the majority would drag the few down to their own level.
But this new dream was something immediate. At her table she began
to hear talk of substituting for that slow process a militant
minority. She was a long time, months, in discovering that Jim
Doyle was one of the leaders of that militant minority, and that
the methods of it were unspeakably criminal.

Then had begun Elinor Doyle's long battle, at first to hold him back,
and that failing, the fight between her duty to her husband and that
to her country. He had been her one occupation and obsession too
long to be easily abandoned, but she was sturdily national, too. In
the end she made her decision. She lived in his house, mended his
clothing, served his food, met his accomplices, and - watched.

She hated herself for it. Every fine fiber of her revolted. But
as time went on, and she learned the full wickedness of the thing,
her days became one long waiting. She saw one move after another
succeed, strike after strike slowing production, and thus increasing
the cost of living. She saw the growing discontent and muttering,
the vicious circle of labor striking for more money, and by its own
ceasing of activity making the very increases they asked inadequate.
And behind it all she saw the ceaseless working, the endless sowing,
of a grim-faced band of conspirators.

She was obliged to wait. A few men talking in secret meetings, a
hidden propaganda of crime and disorder - there was nothing to
strike at. And Elinor, while not clever, had the Cardew shrewdness.
She saw that, like the crisis in a fever, the thing would have to
come, be met, and defeated.

She had no hope that the government would take hold. Government
was aloof, haughty, and secure in its own strength. Just now, too,
it was objective, not subjective. It was like a horse set to win
a race, and unconscious of the fly on its withers. But the fly
was a gadfly.

Elinor knew Doyle was beginning to suspect her. Sometimes she
thought he would kill her, if he discovered what she meant to do.
She did not greatly care. She waited for some inkling of the day
set for the uprising in the city, and saved out of her small
house allowance by innumerable economies and subterfuges. When
she found out the time she would go to the Governor of the State.
He seemed to be a strong man, and she would present him facts.
Facts and names. Then he must act - and quickly.

Cut off from her own world, and with no roots thrown out in the
new, she had no friends, no one to confide in or of whom to ask
assistance. And she was afraid to go to Howard. He would
precipitate things. The leaders would escape, and a new group
would take their places. Such a group, she knew, stood ready
for that very emergency.

On the afternoon of Lily's departure she heard Doyle come in.
He had not recovered from his morning's anger, and she heard his
voice, raised in some violent reproof to Jennie. He came up the
stairs, his head sagged forward, his every step deliberate, heavy,
ominous. He had an evening paper in his hand, and he gave it to
her with his finger pointing to a paragraph.

"You might show that to the last of the Cardews," he sneered.

It was the paragraph about Louis Akers. Elinor read it. "Who were
the masked men?" she asked. "Do you know?"

"I wish to God I did. I'd - Makes him a laughing stock, of course.
And just now, when - Where's Lily?"

Elinor put down the paper.

"She is not here, She went home this afternoon."

He stared at her, angrily incredulous.

"Home?"

"This afternoon."

She passed him and went out into the hall. But he followed her and
caught her by the arm as she reached the top of the staircase.

"What made her go home?"

"I don't know, Jim."

"She didn't say?"

"Don't hold me like that. No."

She tried to free her arm, but he held her, his face angry and
suspicious.

"You are lying to me," he snarled. "She gave you a reason. What
was it?"

Elinor was frightened, but she had not lost her head. She was
thinking rapidly.

"She had a visitor this afternoon, a young man. He must have told
her something about last night. She came up and told me she was
going."

"You know he told her something, don't you?"

"Yes." Elinor had cowered against the wall. "Jim, don't look like
that. You frighten me. I couldn't keep her here. I - "

"What did he tell her?"

"He accused you."

He was eyeing her coldly, calculatingly. All his suspicions of the
past weeks suddenly crystallized. "And you let her go, after that,"
he said slowly. "You were glad to have her go. You didn't deny what
she said. You let her run back home, with what she had guessed and
what you told her to-day. You - "

He struck her then. The blow was as remorseless as his voice, as
deliberate. She fell down the staircase headlong, and lay there,
not moving.

The elderly maid came running from the kitchen, and found him
half-way down the stairs, his eyes still calculating, but his body
shaking.

"She fell," he said, still staring down. But the servant faced him,
her eyes full of hate.

"You devil!" she said. "If she's dead, I'll see you hang for it."

But Elinor was not dead. Doctor Smalley, making rounds in a nearby
hospital and answering the emergency call, found her lying on her
bed, fully conscious and in great pain, while her husband bent over
her in seeming agony of mind. She had broken her leg. He sent
Doyle out during the setting. It was a principle of his to keep
agonized husbands out of the room.

CHAPTER XXXII

Life had beaten Lily Cardew. She went about the house, pathetically
reminiscent of Elinor Doyle in those days when she had sought
sanctuary there; but where Elinor had seen those days only as
interludes in her stormy life, Lily was finding a strange new peace.
She was very tender, very thoughtful, insistently cheerful, as though
determined that her own ill-fortune should not affect the rest of the
household.

But to Lily this peace was not an interlude, but an end. Life for
her was over. Her bright dreams were gone, her future settled.
Without so putting it, even to herself, she dedicated herself to
service, to small kindnesses, and little thoughtful acts. She was,
daily and hourly, making reparation to them all for what she had
cost them, in hope.

That was the thing that had gone out of life. Hope. Her loathing
of Louis Akers was gone. She did not hate him. Rather she felt
toward him a sort of numbed indifference. She wished never to see
him again, but the revolt that had followed her knowledge of the
conditions under which he had married her was gone. She tried to
understand his viewpoint, to make allowances for his lack of some
fundamental creed to live by. But as the days went on, with that
healthy tendency of the mind to bury pain, she found him, from a
figure that bulked so large as to shut out all the horizon of her
life, receding more and more.

But always he would shut off certain things. Love, and marriage,
and of course the hope of happiness. Happiness was a thing one
earned, and she had not earned it.

After the scene at the Saint Elmo, when he had refused to let her
go, and when Willy Cameron had at last locked him in the bedroom
of the suite and had taken her away, there had followed a complete
silence. She had waited for some move or his part, perhaps an
announcement of the marriage in the newspapers, but nothing had
appeared. He had commenced a whirlwind campaign for the mayoralty
and was receiving a substantial support from labor.

The months at the house on Cardew Way seemed more and more
dream-like, and that quality of remoteness was accentuated by the
fact that she had not been able to talk to Elinor. She had
telephoned more than once during the week, but a new maid had
answered. Mrs. Doyle was out. Mrs. Doyle was unable to come to
the telephone. The girl was a foreigner, with something of
Woslosky's burr in her voice.

Lily had not left the house since her return. During that family
conclave which had followed her arrival, a stricken thing of few
words and long anxious pauses, her grandfather had suggested that.
He had been curiously mild with her, her grand father. He had
made no friendly overtures, but he had neither jibed nor sneered.

"It's done," he had said briefly. "The thing now is to keep her
out of his clutches." He had turned to her. "I wouldn't leave
the house for few days, Lily."

It was then that Willy Cameron had gone. Afterwards she thought
that he must have been waiting, patiently protective, to see how
the old man received her.

Her inability to reach Elinor began to dismay her, at last. There
was something. sinister about it, and finally Howard himself went
to the Doyle house. Lily had come back on Thursday, and on the
following Tuesday he made his call, timing it so that Doyle would
probably be away from home. But he came back baffled.

"She was not at home," he said. "I had to take the servant's word
for it, but: I think the girl was lying."

"She may be ill. She almost never goes out."

"What possible object could they have in concealing her illness?"
Howard said impatiently.

But he was very uneasy, and what Lily had told him since her return
only increased his anxiety. The house was a hotbed of conspiracy,
and for her own reasons Elinor was remaining there. It was no
place for a sister of his. But Elinor for years had only touched
the outer fringes of his life, and his days were crowded with other
things; the increasing arrogance of the strikers, the utter
uselessness of trying to make terms with them, his own determination
to continue to fight his futile political campaign. He put her out
of his mind.

Then, at the end of another week, a curious thing happened. Anthony
and Lily were in the library. Old Anthony without a club was Old
Anthony lost, and he had developed a habit, at first rather
embarrassing to the others, of spending much of his time downstairs.
He was no sinner turned saint. He still let the lash of his tongue
play over the household, but his old zest in it seemed gone. He made,
too, small tentative overtures to Lily, intended to be friendly, but
actually absurdly self-conscious. Grace, watching him, often felt
him rather touching. It was obvious to her that he blamed himself,
rather than Lily, for what had happened.

On this occasion he had asked Lily to read to him.

"And leave out the politics," he had said, "I get enough of that
wherever I go."

As she read she felt him watching her, and in the middle of a
paragraph he suddenly said:

"What's become of Cameron?"

"He must be very busy. He is supporting Mr. Hendricks, you know."

"Supporting him! He's carrying him on his back," grunted Anthony.
"What is it, Grayson?"

"A lady - a woman - calling on Miss Cardew."

Lily rose, but Anthony motioned her back.

"Did she give any name?"

"She said to say it was Jennie, sir."

"Jennie! It must be Aunt Elinor's Jennie!"

"Send her in," said Anthony, and stood waiting Lily noticed his face
twitching; it occurred to her then that this strange old man might
still love his daughter, after all the years, and all his cruelty.

It was the elderly servant from the Doyle house who came in, a tall
gaunt woman, looking oddly unfamiliar to Lily in a hat.

"Why, Jennie!" she said. And then: "Is anything wrong?"

"There is and there isn't," Jennie said, somberly. "I just wanted
to tell you, and I don't care if he kills me for it. It was him
that threw her downstairs. I heard him hit her."

Old Anthony stiffened.

"He threw Aunt Elinor downstairs?"

"That's how she broke her leg."

Sheer amazement made Lily inarticulate.

"But they said - we didn't know - do you mean that she has been
there all this time, hurt?"

"I mean just that," said Jennie, stolidly. "I helped set it, with
him pretending to be all worked up, for the doctor to see. He got
rid of me all right. He's got one of his spies there now, a
Bolshevik like himself. You can ask the neighbors."

Howard was out, and when the woman had gone Anthony ordered his
car. Lily, frightened by the look on his face, made only one
protest.

"You mustn't go alone," she said. "Let me go, too. Or take
Grayson - anybody."

But he went alone; in the hall he picked up his hat and stick, and
drew on his gloves.

"What is the house number?"

Lily told him and he went out, moving deliberately, like a man who
has made up his mind to follow a certain course, but to keep himself
well in hand.

CHAPTER XXXIII

Acting on Willy Cameron's suggestion, Dan Boyd retained his
membership in the union and frequented the meetings. He learned
various things, that the strike vote had been padded, for instance,
and that the Radicals had taken advantage of the absence of some
of the conservative leaders to secure such support as they had
received. He found the better class of workmen dissatisfied and
unhappy. Some of them, men who loved their tools, had resented
the order to put them down where they were and walk out, and this
resentment, childish as it seemed, was an expression of their
general dissatisfaction with the autocracy they had themselves
built up.

Finally Dan's persistent attendance and meek acquiescence, added to
his war record, brought him reward. He was elected member of a
conference to take to the Central Labor Council the suggestion for
a general strike. It was arranged that the delegates take the
floor one after the other, and hold it for as long as possible.
Then they were to ask the President of the Council to put the
question.

The arguments were carefully prepared. The general strike was to
be urged as the one salvation of the labor movement. It would prove
the solidarity of labor. And, at the Council meeting a few days
later, the rank and file were impressed by the arguments. Dan,
gnawing his nails and listening, watched anxiously. The idea was
favorably received, and the delegates went back to their local unions,
to urge, coerce and threaten.

Not once, during the meeting, had there been any suggestion of
violence, but violence was in the air, nevertheless. The quantity
of revolutionary literature increased greatly during the following
ten days, and now it was no longer furtively distributed. It was
sold or given away at all meetings; it flooded the various
headquarters with its skillful compound of lies and truth. The
leaders notified of the situation, pretended that it was harmless
raving, a natural and safe outlet for suppressed discontents.

Dan gathered up an armful of it and took it home. On a Sunday
following, there was a mass meeting at the Colosseum, and a business
agent of one of the unions made an impassioned speech. He recited
old and new grievances, said that the government had failed to live
up to its promises, that the government boards were always unjust
to the workers, and ended with a statement of the steel makers'
profits. Dan turned impatiently to a man beside him.

"Why doesn't he say how much of that profit the government gets?"
he demanded.

But the man only eyed him suspiciously.

Dan fell silent. He knew it was wrong, but he had no gift of
tongue. It was at that meeting that for the first time he heard
used the word "revolution."

CHAPTER XXXIV

Old Anthony's excursion to his daughter's house had not prospered.
During the drive to Cardew Way he sat forward on the edge of the
seat of his limousine, his mouth twitching with impatience and
anger, his stick tightly clutched in his hand. Almost before the
machine stopped he was out on the pavement, scanning the house
with hostile eyes.

The building was dark. Paul, the chauffeur, watching curiously,
for the household knew that Anthony Cardew had sworn never to
darken his daughter's door, saw his erect, militant figure enter
the gate and lose itself in the shadow of the house. There
followed a short interval of nothing in particular, and then a
tall man appeared in the rectangle of light which was the open
door.

Jim Doyle was astounded when he saw his visitor. Astounded and
alarmed. But he recovered himself quickly, and smiled.

"This is something I never expected to see," he said, "Mr. Anthony
Cardew on my doorstep."

"I don't give a damn what you expected to see," said Mr. Anthony
Cardew. "I want to see my daughter."

"Your daughter? You have said for a good many years that you have
no daughter."

"Stand aside, sir. I didn't come here to quibble."

"But I love to quibble," sneered Doyle. "However, if you insist -
I might as well tell you, I haven't the remotest intention of
letting you in."

"I'll ask you a question," said old Anthony. "Is it true that my
daughter has been hurt?"

"My wife is indisposed. I presume we are speaking of the same
person."

"You infernal scoundrel," shouted Anthony, and raising his cane,
brought it down with a crack on Doyle's head. The chauffeur was
half-way up the walk by that time, and broke into a run. He saw
Doyle, against the light, reel, recover and raise his fist, but
he did not bring it down.

"Stop that!" yelled the chauffeur, and came on like a charging steer.
When he reached the steps old Anthony was hanging his stick over his
left forearm, and Doyle was inside the door, trying to close it.
This was difficult, however, because Anthony had quietly put his
foot over the sill.

"I am going to see my daughter, Paul," said Anthony Cardew. "Can
you open the door?"

"Open it!" Paul observed truculently. "Watch me!"

He threw himself against the door, but it gave suddenly, and sent
him sprawling inside at Doyle's feet. He was up in an instant,
squared to fight, but he only met Jim Doyle's mocking smile. Doyle
stood, arms folded, and watched Anthony Cardew enter his house.
Whatever he feared he covered with the cynical mask that was his
face.

He made no move, offered no speech.

"Is she upstairs?"

"She is asleep. Do you intend to disturb her?"

"I do," said old Anthony grimly. "I'll go first, Paul. You follow
me, but I'd advise you to come up backwards."

Suddenly Doyle laughed.

"What!" he said, "Mr. Anthony Cardew paying his first visit to my
humble home, and anticipating violence! You underestimate the
honor you are doing me."

He stood like a mocking devil at the foot of the staircase until
the two men had reached the top. Then he followed them. The mask
had dropped from his face, and anger and watchfulness showed in it.
If she talked, he would kill her. But she knew that. She was not
a fool.

Elinor lay in the bed, listening. She had recognized her father's
voice, and her first impulse was one of almost unbearable relief.
They had found her. They had come to take her away. For she knew
now that she was a prisoner; even without the broken leg she would
have been a prisoner. The girl downstairs was one of them, and her
jailer. A jailer who fed her, and gave her grudgingly the attention
she required, but that was all.

Just when Doyle had begun to suspect her she did not know, but on
the night after her injury he had taken pains to verify his
suspicions. He had found first her little store of money, and that
had angered him. In the end he had broken open a locked trinket
box and found a notebook in which for months she had kept her
careful records. Here and there, scattered among house accounts,
were the names of the radical members of The Central Labor Council,
and other names, spoken before her and carefully remembered. He
had read them out to her as he came to them, suffering as she was,
and she had expected death then. But he had not killed her. He
had sent Jennie away and brought in this Russian girl, a mad-eyed
fanatic named Olga, and from that time on he visited her once daily.
In his anger and triumph over her he devised the most cunning of
all punishments; he told her of the movement's progress, of its
ingeniously contrived devilments in store, of its inevitable
success. What buildings and homes were to be bombed, the Cardew
house first among them; what leading citizens were to be held as
hostages, with all that that implied; and again the Cardews headed
the list.

When Doctor Smalley came he or the Russian were always present,
solicitous and attentive. She got out of her bed one day, and
dragging her splinted leg got to her desk, in the hope of writing
a note and finding some opportunity of giving it to the doctor.
Only to discover that they had taken away her pen, pencils and
paper.

She had been found there by Olga, but the girl had made no comment.
Olga had helped her back into bed without a word, but from that
time on had spent most of her day on the upper floor. Not until
Doyle came in would she go downstairs to prepare his food.

Elinor lay in her bed and listened to her father coming up the
stairs. She knew, before he reached the top, that Doyle would never
let her be taken away. He would kill her first. He might kill
Anthony Cardew. She had a sickening sense of tragedy coming up the
staircase, tragedy which took the form of her father's familiar
deliberate step. Perhaps had she known of the chauffeur's presence
she might have chanced it, for every fiber of her tired body was
crying for release. But she saw only her father, alone in that house
with Doyle and the smoldering Russian.

The key turned in the lock.

Anthony Cardew stood in the doorway, looking at her. With her
long hair in braids, she seemed young, almost girlish. She looked
like the little girl who had gone to dancing school in short white
frocks and long black silk stockings, so many years ago.

"I've just learned about it, Elinor," he said. He moved to the
bed and stood beside it, looking down, but he did not touch her.
"Are you able to be taken away from here?"

She knew that Doyle was outside, listening, and she hardened her
heart for the part she had to play. It was difficult; she was so
infinitely moved by her father's coming, and in the dim light he,
too, looked like himself of years ago.

"Taken away? Where?" she asked.

"You don't want to stay here, do you?" he demanded bluntly.

"This is my home, father."

"Good God, home! Do you mean to tell me that, with all you must
know about this man, you still want to stay with him?"

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