Part 1 out of 5
by Stephen Crane
MARJORY walked pensively along the hall. In the cool
shadows made by the palms on the window ledge, her face
wore the expression of thoughtful melancholy expected on the
faces of the devotees who pace in cloistered gloom. She halted
before a door at the end of the hall and laid her hand on the
knob. She stood hesitating, her head bowed. It was evident
that this mission was to require great fortitude.
At last she opened the door. " Father," she began at once.
There was disclosed an elderly, narrow-faced man seated at a
large table and surrounded by manuscripts and books. The
sunlight flowing through curtains of Turkey red fell sanguinely
upon the bust of dead-eyed Pericles on the mantle. A little
clock was ticking, hidden somewhere among the countless
leaves of writing, the maps and broad heavy tomes that
swarmed upon the table.
Her father looked up quickly with an ogreish scowl.
Go away! " he cried in a rage. " Go away. Go away. Get out "
" He seemed on the point of arising to eject the visitor. It was
plain to her that he had been interrupted in the writing of one
of his sentences, ponderous, solemn and endless, in which wandered
multitudes of homeless and friendless prepositions, adjectives
looking for a parent, and quarrelling nouns, sentences which no
longer symbolised the languageform of thought but which had about
them a quaint aroma from the dens of long-dead scholars. " Get out,"
snarled the professor.
Father," faltered the girl. Either because his formulated
thought was now completely knocked out of his mind by his
own emphasis in defending it, or because he detected
something of portent in her expression, his manner suddenly
changed, and with a petulant glance at his writing he laid down
his pen and sank back in his chair to listen. " Well, what is it,
my child ? "
The girl took a chair near the window and gazed out upon
the snow-stricken campus, where at the moment a group of
students returning from a class room were festively hurling
snow-balls. " I've got something important to tell you, father,"
but i don't quite know how to say it."
"Something important ? " repeated the professor. He was
not habitually interested in the affairs of his family, but this
proclamation that something important could be connected
with them, filled his mind with a capricious interest. "Well,
what is it, Marjory ? "
She replied calmly: " Rufus Coleman wants to marry me."
"What?" demanded the professor loudly. "Rufus Coleman.
What do you mean? "
The girl glanced furtively at him. She did not seem to be able
to frame a suitable sentence.
As for the professor, he had, like all men both thoughtless
and thoughtful, told himself that one day his daughter would
come to him with a tale of this kind. He had never forgotten that
the little girl was to be a woman, and he had never forgotten
that this tall, lithe creature, the present Marjory, was a woman.
He had been entranced and confident or entranced and
apprehensive according' to the time. A man focussed upon
astronomy, the pig market or social progression, may
nevertheless have a secondary mind which hovers like a spirit
over his dahlia tubers and dreams upon the mystery of their
slow and tender revelations. The professor's secondary mind
had dwelt always with his daughter and watched with a faith
and delight the changing to a woman of a certain fat and
mumbling babe. However, he now saw this machine, this self-
sustaining, self-operative love, which had run with the ease of a
clock, suddenly crumble to ashes and leave the mind of a great
scholar staring at a calamity. " Rufus Coleman," he repeated,
stunned. Here was his daughter, very obviously desirous of
marrying Rufus Coleman. " Marjory," he cried in amazement
and fear, "what possesses, you? Marry Rufus Colman?"
The girl seemed to feel a strong sense of relief at his prompt
recognition of a fact. Being freed from the necessity of making a
flat declaration, she simply hung her head and blushed
impressively. A hush fell upon them. The professor stared long
at his daugh. ter. The shadow of unhappiness deepened upon
his face. " Marjory, Marjory," he murmured at last. He had
tramped heroically upon his panic and devoted his strength to
bringing thought into some kind of attitude toward this terrible
fact. " I am-I am surprised," he began. Fixing her then with a
stern eye, he asked: "Why do you wish to marry this man? You,
with your opportunities of meeting persons of intelligence. And
you want to marry-" His voice grew tragic. "You want to marry
the Sunday editor of the New York Eclipse."
" It is not so very terrible, is it?" said Marjory sullenly.
"Wait a moment; don't talk," cried the professor. He arose
and walked nervously to and fro, his hands flying in the air. He
was very red behind the ears as when in the Classroom some
student offended him. " A gambler, a sporter of fine clothes, an
expert on champagne, a polite loafer, a witness knave who edits
the Sunday edition of a great outrage upon our sensibilities.
You want to marry him, this man? Marjory, you are insane. This
fraud who asserts that his work is intelligent, this fool comes
here to my house and-"
He became aware that his daughter was regarding him coldly.
"I thought we had best have all this part of it over at once," she
He confronted her in a new kind of surprise. The little keen-
eyed professor was at this time imperial, on the verge of a
majestic outburst. " Be still," he said. "Don't be clever with your
father. Don't be a dodger. Or, if you are, don't speak of it to me. I
suppose this fine young man expects to see me personally ? "
" He was coming to-morrow," replied Marjory. She began to
weep. " He was coming to-morrow."
" Um," said the professor. He continued his pacing while
Marjory wept with her head bowed to the arm of the chair. His
brow made the three dark vertical crevices well known to his
students. Some. times he glowered murderously at the
photographs of ancient temples which adorned the walls. "My
poor child," he said once, as he paused near her, " to think I
never knew you were a fool. I have been deluding myself. It has
been my fault as much as it has been yours. I will not readily
The girl raised her face and looked at him. Finally, resolved
to disregard the dishevelment wrought by tears,
she presented a desperate front with her wet
eyes and flushed cheeks. Her hair was disarrayed. "I don't see
why you can call me a fool," she said. The pause before this
sentence had been so portentous of a wild and rebellious
speech that the professor almost laughed now. But still the
father for the first time knew that he was being un-dauntedly
faced by his child in his own library, in the presence Of 372
pages of the book that was to be his masterpiece. At the back
of his mind he felt a great awe as if his own youthful spirit had
come from the past and challenged him with a glance. For a
moment he was almost a defeated man. He dropped into a chair.
" Does your mother know of this " " he asked mournfully.
"Yes," replied the girl. "She knows. She has been trying to
make me give up Rufus."
"Rufus," cried the professor rejuvenated by anger.
"Well, his name is Rufus," said the girl.
"But please don't call him so before me," said the father with
icy dignity. " I do not recognise him as being named Rufus.
That is a contention of yours which does not arouse my
interest. I know him very well as a gambler and a drunkard, and
if incidentally, he is named Rufus, I fail to see any importance
" He is not a gambler and he is not a drunkard," she said.
" Um. He drinks heavily-that is well known. He gambles.
He plays cards for money--more than he
possesses-at least he did when he was in college."
" You said you liked him when he was in college."
" So I did. So I did," answered the professor sharply. " I
often find myself liking that kind of a boy in college. Don't I
know them-those lads with their beer and their poker games in
the dead of the night with a towel hung over the keyhole. Their
habits are often vicious enough, but something remains in them
through it all and they may go away and do great things. This
happens. We know it. It happens with confusing insistence. It
destroys theo- ries. There-there isn't much to say about it. And
sometimes we like this kind of a boy better than we do the-the
others. For my part I know of many a pure, pious and fine-
minded student that I have positively loathed from a personal
point-of-view. But," he added, " this Rufus Coleman, his life in
college and his life since, go to prove how often we get off the
track. There is no gauge of collegiate conduct whatever, until we
can get evidence of the man's work in the world. Your precious
scoundrel's evidence is now all in and he is a failure, or worse."
" You are not habitually so fierce in judging people," said
"I would be if they all wanted to marry my daughter,"
rejoined the professor. " Rather than let that man make love to
you-or even be within a short railway journey of you,
I'll cart you off to Europe this winter and keep you there
until you forget. If you persist in this silly fancy, I shall at once
Marjory had evidently recovered much of her composure.
"Yes, father, new climates are alway's supposed to cure one,"
she remarked with a kind of lightness.
" It isn't so much the old expedient," said the professor
musingly, "as it is that I would be afraid to leave you herewith
no protection against that drinking gambler and gambling
" Father, I have to ask you not to use such terms in speaking
of the man that I shall marry."
There was a silence. To all intents, the professor remained
unmoved. He smote the tips of his fingers thoughtfully
together. " Ye-es," he observed. "That sounds reasonable from
your standpoint." His eyes studied her face in a long and
steady glance. He arose and went into the hall. When he
returned he wore his hat and great coat. He took a book and
some papers from the table and went away.
Marjory walked slowly through the halls and up to her room.
From a window she could see her father making his way across
the campus labouriously against the wind and whirling snow.
She watched it, this little black figure, bent forward, patient,
steadfast. It was an inferior fact that her father was one of the
famous scholars of the generation. To her, he was now a little
old man facing the wintry winds. Recollect. ing herself and
Rufus Coleman she began to weep again, wailing amid the ruins
of her tumbled hopes. Her skies had turned to paper and her
trees were mere bits of green sponge. But amid all this woe
appeared the little black image of her father making its way
against the storm.
IN a high-walled corrider of one of the college buildings, a
crowd of students waited amid jostlings and a loud buzz of talk.
Suddenly a huge pair of doors flew open and a wedge of young
men inserted itself boisterously and deeply into the throng.
There was a great scuffle attended by a general banging of
books upon heads. The two lower classes engaged in herculean
play while members of the two higher classes, standing aloof,
devoted themselves strictly to the encouragement of whichever
party for a moment lost ground or heart. This was in order to
prolong the conflict.
The combat, waged in the desperation of proudest youth,
waxed hot and hotter. The wedge had been instantly smitten
into a kind of block of men. It had crumpled into an irregular
square and on three sides it was now assailed with remarkable
It was a matter of wall meet wall in terrific rushes, during
which lads could feel their very hearts leaving them in the
compress of friends and foes. They on the outskirts upheld the
honour of their classes by squeezing into paper thickness the
lungs of those of their fellows who formed the centre of the
In some way it resembled a panic at a theatre.
The first lance-like attack of the Sophomores had been
formidable, but the Freshmen outnumbering their enemies and
smarting from continual Sophomoric oppression, had swarmed
to the front like drilled collegians and given the arrogant foe the
first serious check of the year. Therefore the tall Gothic
windows which lined one side of the corridor looked down
upon as incomprehensible and enjoyable a tumult as could
mark the steps of advanced education. The Seniors and juniors
cheered themselves ill. Long freed from the joy of such
meetings, their only means for this kind of recreation was to
involve the lower classes, and they had never seen the victims
fall to with such vigour and courage. Bits of printed leaves,
torn note-books, dismantled collars and cravats, all floated to
the floor beneath the feet of the warring hordes. There were no
blows; it was a battle of pressure. It was a deadly pushing
where the leaders on either side often suffered the most cruel
and sickening agony caught thus between phalanxes of
shoulders with friend as well as foe contributing to the pain.
Charge after charge of Freshmen beat upon the now
compact and organised Sophomores. Then, finally, the rock
began to give slow way. A roar came from the Freshmen and
they hurled themselves in a frenzy upon their betters.
To be under the gaze of the juniors and Seniors is
to be in sight of all men, and so the Sophomores at this
important moment laboured with the desperation of the half-
doomed to stem the terrible Freshmen.
In the kind of game, it was the time when bad tempers came
strongly to the front, and in many Sophomores' minds a
thought arose of the incomparable insolence of the Freshmen.
A blow was struck; an infuriated Sophomore had swung an
arm high and smote a Freshman.
Although it had seemed that no greater noise could be made
by the given numbers, the din that succeeded this manifestation
surpassed everything. The juniors and Seniors immediately set
up an angry howl. These veteran classes projected themselves
into the middle of the fight, buffeting everybody with small
thought as to merit. This method of bringing peace was as
militant as a landslide, but they had much trouble before they
could separate the central clump of antagonists into its parts.
A score of Freshmen had cried out: "It was Coke. Coke punched
him. Coke." A dozen of them were tempestuously endeavouring
to register their protest against fisticuffs by means of an
introduction of more fisticuffs.
The upper classmen were swift, harsh and hard. "Come, now,
Freshies, quit it. Get back, get back, d'y'hear?" With a wrench of
muscles they forced themselves in front of Coke, who was
being blindly defended by his classmates from intensely earnest
attacks by outraged Freshmen.
These meetings between the lower classes at the door of a
recitation room were accounted quite comfortable and idle
affairs, and a blow delivered openly and in hatred fractured a
sharply defined rule of conduct. The corridor was in a hubbub.
Many Seniors and Juniors, bursting from old and iron discipline,
wildly clamoured that some Freshman should be given the
privilege of a single encounter with Coke. The Freshmen
themselves were frantic. They besieged the tight and dauntless
circle of men that encompassed Coke. None dared confront the
Seniors openly, but by headlong rushes at auspicious moments
they tried to come to quarters with the rings of dark-browed
Sophomores. It was no longer a festival, a game; it was a riot.
Coke, wild-eyed, pallid with fury, a ribbon of blood on his chin,
swayed in the middle of the mob of his classmates, comrades
who waived the ethics of the blow under the circumstance of
being obliged as a corps to stand against the scorn of the whole
college, as well as against the tremendous assaults of the
Freshmen. Shamed by their own man, but knowing full well the
right time and the wrong time for a palaver of regret and
disavowal, this battalion struggled in the desperation of
despair. Once they were upon the verge of making unholy
campaign against the interfering Seniors. This fiery
impertinence was the measure of their state.
It was a critical moment in the play of the college. Four or
five defeats from the Sophomores during the fall had taught the
Freshmen much. They had learned the comparative
measurements, and they knew now that their prowess was ripe
to enable them to amply revenge what was, according to their
standards, an execrable deed by a man who had not the virtue
to play the rough game, but was obliged to resort to uncommon
methods. In short, the Freshmen were almost out of control, and
the Sophomores debased but defiant, were quite out of control.
The Senior and junior classes which, in American colleges
dictate in these affrays, found their dignity toppling, and in
consequence there was a sudden oncome of the entire force of
upper classmen football players naturally in advance. All
distinctions were dissolved at once in a general fracas. The stiff
and still Gothic windows surveyed a scene of dire carnage.
Suddenly a voice rang brazenly through the tumult. It was
not loud, but it was different. " Gentlemen! Gentlemen!'"
Instantly there was a remarkable number of haltings, abrupt
replacements, quick changes. Prof. Wainwright stood at the
door of his recitation room, looking into the eyes of each
member of the mob of three hundred. "Ssh! " said the mob. "
Ssh! Quit! Stop! It's the Embassador! Stop!" He had once
been minister to Austro-Hungary, and forever now to
the students of the college his name was Embassador. He
stepped into the corridor, and they cleared for him a little
respectful zone of floor. He looked about him coldly. " It seems
quite a general dishevelment. The Sophomores display an
energy in the halls which I do not detect in the class room." A
feeble murmur of appreciation arose from the outskirts of the
throng. While he had been speaking several remote groups of
battling men had been violently signaled and suppressed by
other students. The professor gazed into terraces of faces that
were still inflamed. " I needn't say that I am surprised," he
remarked in the accepted rhetoric of his kind. He added
musingly: " There seems to be a great deal of torn linen. Who is
the young gentleman with blood on his chin?"
The throng moved restlessly. A manful silence, such as
might be in the tombs of stern and honourable knights, fell
upon the shadowed corridor. The subdued rustling had fainted
to nothing. Then out of the crowd Coke, pale and desperate,
" Oh, Mr. Coke," said the professor, "I would be glad if you
would tell the gentlemen they may retire to their dormitories."
He waited while the students passed out to the campus.
The professor returned to his room for some books, and
then began his own march across the snowy
campus. The wind twisted his coat-tails fantastically, and he
was obliged to keep one hand firmly on the top of his hat.
When he arrived home he met his wife in the hall. " Look here,
Mary," he cried. She followed him into the library. " Look here,"
he said. "What is this all about? Marjory tells me she wants to
marry Rufus Coleman."
Mrs. Wainwright was a fat woman who was said to pride
herself upon being very wise and if necessary, sly. In addition
she laughed continually in an inexplicably personal way, which
apparently made everybody who heard her feel offended. Mrs.
"Well," said the professor, bristling, " what do you mean by
that ? "
"Oh, Harris," she replied. " Oh, Harris."
The professor straightened in his chair. " I do not see any
illumination in those remarks, Mary. I understand from
Marjory's manner that she is bent upon marrying Rufus
Coleman. She said you knew of it."
" Why, of course I knew. It was as plain---"
" Plain !" scoffed the professor. " Plain !"
Why, of course," she cried. "I knew it all along."
There was nothing in her tone which proved that she
admired the event itself. She was evidently carried away by the
triumph of her penetration. " I knew it all along," she added,
The professor looked at her affectionately. "You knew it all
along, then, Mary? Why didn't you tell me, dear ? "
" Because you ought to have known it," she answered
The professor was glaring. Finally he spoke in tones of grim
reproach. "Mary, whenever you happen to know anything,
dear, it seems only a matter of partial recompense that you
should tell me."
The wife had been taught in a terrible school that she should
never invent any inexpensive retorts concerning bookworms
and so she yawed at once. "Really, Harris. Really, I didn't
suppose the affair was serious. You could have knocked me
down with a feather. Of course he has been here very often, but
then Marjory gets a great deal of attention. A great deal of
The professor had been thinking. " Rather than let my girl
marry that scalawag, I'll take you and her to Greece this winter
with the class. Separation. It is a sure cure that has the
sanction of antiquity."
"Well," said Mrs. Wainwright, "you know best, Harris. You
know best." It was a common remark with her, and it probably
meant either approbation or disapprobation if it did not mean
THERE had been a babe with no arms born in one of the
western counties of Massachusetts. In place of upper limbs the
child had growing from its chest a pair of fin-like hands, mere
bits of skin-covered bone. Furthermore, it had only one eye.
This phenomenon lived four days, but the news of the birth
had travelled up this country road and through that village until
it reached the ears of the editor of the Michaelstown Tribune.
He was also a correspondent of the New York Eclipse. On the
third day he appeared at the home of the parents accompanied
by a photographer. While the latter arranged his, instrument,
the correspondent talked to the father and mother, two
coweyed and yellow-faced people who seemed to suffer a
primitive fright of the strangers. Afterwards as the
correspondent and the photographer were climbing into their
buggy, the mother crept furtively down to the gate and asked,
in a foreigner's dialect, if they would send her a copy of the
photograph. The correspondent carelessly indulgent, promised
it. As the buggy swung away, the father came from behind an
apple tree, and the two semi-humans watched it with its burden
of glorious strangers until it rumbled across
the bridge and disappeared. The correspondent was elate; he
told the photographer that the Eclipse would probably pay fifty
dollars for the article and the photograph.
The office of the New York Eclipse was at the top of the immense
building on Broadway. It was a sheer mountain to the heights of
which the interminable thunder of the streets arose faintly. The
Hudson was a broad path of silver in the distance. Its edge was
marked by the tracery of sailing ships' rigging and by the huge
and many-coloured stacks of ocean liners. At the foot of the
cliff lay City Hall Park. It seemed no larger than a quilt. The
grey walks patterned the snow-covering into triangles and ovals
and upon them many tiny people scurried here and there, without
sound, like a fish at the bottom of a pool. It was only the
vehicles that sent high, unmistakable, the deep bass of their
movement. And yet after listening one seemed to hear a singular
murmurous note, a pulsation, as if the crowd made noise by its
mere living, a mellow hum of the eternal strife. Then suddenly
out of the deeps might ring a human voice, a newsboy shout
perhaps, the cry of a faraway jackal at night.
From the level of the ordinary roofs, combined in many
plateaus, dotted with short iron chimneys from which curled
wisps of steam, arose other mountains like the Eclipse
Building. They were great peaks, ornate, glittering with
paint or polish. Northward they subsided to sun-crowned ranges.
From some of the windows of the Eclipse office
dropped the walls of a terrible chasm in the darkness of which
could be seen vague struggling figures. Looking down into this
appalling crevice one discovered only the tops of hats and
knees which in spasmodic jerks seemed to touch the rims of the
hats. The scene represented some weird fight or dance or
carouse. It was not an exhibition of men hurrying along a
It was good to turn one's eyes from that place to the vista of
the city's splendid reaches, with spire and spar shining in the
clear atmosphere and the marvel of the Jersey shore, pearl-
misted or brilliant with detail. From this height the sweep of a
snow-storm was defined and majestic. Even a slight summer
shower, with swords of lurid yellow sunlight piercing its edges
as if warriors were contesting every foot of its advance, was
from the Eclipse office something so
inspiring that the chance pilgrim felt a sense of exultation as if
from this peak he was surveying the worldwide war of the
elements and life. The staff of the Eclipse usually worked
without coats and amid the smoke from pipes.
To one of the editorial chambers came a photograph and an
article from Michaelstown, Massachusetts. A boy placed the
packet and many others upon the desk of a young man who
was standing before a window and
thoughtfully drumming upon the pane. He turned at the
thudding of the packets upon his desk. " Blast you," he
remarked amiably. " Oh, I guess it won't hurt you to work,"
answered the boy, grinning with a comrade's Insolence. Baker,
an assistant editor for the Sunday paper, took scat at his desk
and began the task of examining the packets. His face could not
display any particular interest because he had been at the same
work for nearly a fortnight.
The first long envelope he opened was from a woman.
There was a neat little manuscript accompanied by a letter
which explained that the writer was a widow who was trying to
make her living by her pen and who, further, hoped that the
generosity of the editor of the Eclipse would lead him to give
her article the opportunity which she was sure it deserved. She
hoped that the editor would pay her as well as possible for it, as
she needed the money greatly. She added that her brother was
a reporter on the Little Rock Sentinel and he had declared that
her literary style was excellent.
Baker really did not read this note. His vast experience of a
fortnight had enabled him to detect its kind in two glances. He
unfolded the manuscript, looked at it woodenly and then tossed
it with the letter to the top of his desk, where it lay with the
other corpses. None could think of widows in Arkansas,
ambitious from the praise of the reporter on the Little Rock Sentinel,
waiting for a crown of literary glory and money. In the next
envelope a man using the note-paper of a Boston journal
begged to know if the accompanying article would be
acceptable; if not it was to be kindly returned in the enclosed
stamped envelope. It was a humourous essay on trolley cars.
Adventuring through the odd scraps that were come to the
great mill, Baker paused occasionally to relight his pipe.
As he went through envelope after envelope, the desks
about him gradually were occupied by young men who entered
from the hall with their faces still red from the cold of the
streets. For the most part they bore the unmistakable stamp of
the American college. They had that confident poise which is
easily brought from the athletic field. Moreover, their clothes
were quite in the way of being of the newest fashion. There was
an air of precision about their cravats and linen. But on the
other hand there might be with them some indifferent westerner
who was obliged to resort to irregular means and harangue
startled shop-keepers in order to provide himself with collars of
a strange kind. He was usually very quick and brave of eye and
noted for his inability to perceive a distinction between his own
habit and the habit of others, his western character preserving
itself inviolate amid a confusion of manners.
The men, coming one and one, or two and two, flung
badinage to all corners of the room. Afterward, as they wheeled
from time to time in their chairs, they bitterly insulted each other
with the utmost good-nature, taking unerring aim at faults and
riddling personalities with the quaint and cynical humour of a
newspaper office. Throughout this banter, it was strange to
note how infrequently the men smiled, particularly when
directly engaged in an encounter.
A wide door opened into another apartment where were
many little slanted tables, each under an electric globe with a
green shade. Here a curly-headed scoundrel with a corncob
pipe was hurling paper balls the size of apples at the head of an
industrious man who, under these difficulties, was trying to
draw a picture of an awful wreck with ghastly-faced sailors
frozen in the rigging. Near this pair a lady was challenging a
German artist who resembled Napoleon III. with having been
publicly drunk at a music hall on the previous night. Next to the
great gloomy corridor of this sixteenth floor was a little office
presided over by an austere boy, and here waited in enforced
patience a little dismal band of people who wanted to see the
Baker took a manuscript and after glancing about the room,
walked over to a man at another desk,
Here is something that. I think might do," he said.
The man at the desk read the first two pages. " But where is the
photogragh " " he asked then. "There should be a photograph
with this thing."
" Oh, I forgot," said Baker. He brought from his desk a
photograph of the babe that had been born lacking arms and
one eye. Baker's superior braced a knee against his desk and
settled back to a judicial attitude. He took the photograph and
looked at it impassively. " Yes," he said, after a time, " that's a
pretty good thing. You better show that to Coleman when he
In the little office where the dismal band waited, there had
been a sharp hopeful stir when Rufus Coleman, the Sunday
editor, passed rapidly from door to door and vanished within
the holy precincts. It had evidently been in the minds of some
to accost him then, but his eyes did not turn once in their
direction. It was as if he had not seen them. Many experiences
had taught him that the proper manner of passing through this
office was at a blind gallop.
The dismal band turned then upon the austere office boy.
Some demanded with terrible dignity that he should take in
their cards at once. Others sought to ingratiate themselves by
smiles of tender friendliness. He for his part employed what we
would have called his knowledge of men and women upon the
group, and in consequence blundered and bungled vividly,
freezing with a glance an annoyed and importunate Arctic
explorer who was come to talk of illustrations
for an article that had been lavishly paid for in advance. The
hero might have thought he was again in the northern seas. At
the next moment the boy was treating almost courteously a
German from the cast side who wanted the Eclipse to print a grand full
page advertising description of his invention, a gun which was
supposed to have a range of forty miles and to be able to
penetrate anything with equanimity and joy. The gun, as a
matter of fact, had once been induced to go off when it had
hurled itself passionately upon its back, incidentally breaking
its inventor's leg. The projectile had wandered some four
hundred yards seaward, where it dug a hole in the water which
was really a menace to navigation. Since then there had been
nothing tangible save the inventor, in splints and out of splints,
as the fortunes of science decreed. In short, this office boy
mixed his business in the perfect manner of an underdone lad
dealing with matters too large for him, and throughout he
displayed the pride and assurance of a god.
As Coleman crossed the large office his face still wore the
stern expression which he invariably used to carry him
unmolested through the ranks of the dismal band. As he was
removing his London overcoat he addressed the imperturbable
back of one of his staff, who had a desk against the opposite
wall. " Has Hasskins sent in that drawing of the mine accident
yet? " The man did not lift his head from his work-, but he
answered at once: " No; not yet." Coleman was laying his hat
on a chair. " Well, why hasn't he ? " he demanded. He glanced
toward the door of the room in which the curly-headed
scoundrel with the corncob pipe was still hurling paper balls at
the man who was trying to invent the postures of dead
mariners frozen in the rigging. The office boy came timidly from
his post and informed Coleman of the waiting people. " All
right," said the editor. He dropped into his chair and began to
finger his letters, which had been neatly opened and placed in a
little stack by a boy. Baker came in with the photograph of the
It was publicly believed that the Sunday staff of the Eclipse
must have a kind of aesthetic delight in pictures of this kind,
but Coleman's face betrayed no emotion as he looked at this
specimen. He lit a fresh cigar, tilted his chair and surveyed it
with a cold and stony stare. " Yes, that's all right," he said
slowly. There seemed to be no affectionate relation between
him and this picture. Evidently he was weighing its value as a
morsel to be flung to a ravenous public, whose wolf-like
appetite, could only satisfy itself upon mental entrails,
abominations. As for himself, he seemed to be remote, exterior.
It was a matter of the Eclipse business.
Suddenly Coleman became executive. " Better give
it to Schooner and tell him to make a half-page---or, no, send
him in here and I'll tell him my idea. How's the article? Any
good? Well, give it to Smith to rewrite."
An artist came from the other room and presented for
inspection his drawing of the seamen dead in the rigging of the
wreck, a company of grizzly and horrible figures, bony-fingered,
shrunken and with awful eyes. " Hum," said Coleman, after a
prolonged study, " that's all right. That's good, Jimmie. But
you'd better work 'em up around the eyes a little more." The
office boy was deploying in the distance, waiting for the
correct moment to present some cards and names.
The artist was cheerfully taking away his corpses when
Coleman hailed him. " Oh, Jim, let me see that thing again, will
you? Now, how about this spar? This don't look right to me."
" It looks right to me," replied the artist, sulkily.
" But, see. It's going to take up half a page. Can't you
change it somehow "
How am I going to change it?" said the other, glowering at
Coleman. " That's the way it ought to be. How am I going to
change it? That's the way it ought to be."
" No, it isn't at all," said Coleman. "You've got a spar
sticking out of the main body of the drawing in a way that will
spoil the look of the whole page."
The artist was a man of remarkable popular reputation and
he was very stubborn and conceited of it, constantly making
himself unbearable with covert, threats that if he was not
delicately placated at all points, he would freight his genius
over to the office of the great opposition journal.
" That's the way it ought to be," he repeated, in a tone at
once sullen and superior. "The spar is all right. I can't rig spars
on ships just to suit you."
" And I can't give up the whole paper to your accursed spars,
either," said Coleman, with animation. " Don't you see you use
about a third of a page with this spar sticking off into space?
Now, you were always so clever, Jimmie, in adapting yourself to
the page. Can't you shorten it, or cut it off, or something? Or,
break it-that's the thing. Make it a broken spar dangling down.
" Yes, I s'pose I could do that," said the artist, mollified by a
thought of the ease with which he could make the change, and
mollified, too, by the brazen tribute to a part of his cleverness.
" Well, do it, then," said the Sunday editor, turning abruptly
away. The artist, with head high, walked majestically back to
the other room. Whereat the curly-headed one immediately
resumed the rain of paper balls upon him. The office boy came
timidly to Coleman and suggested the presence of the people
in the outer office. " Let them wait until I read my
mail," said Coleman. He shuffled the pack of letters
indifferently through his hands. Suddenly he came upon a little
grey envelope. He opened it at once and scanned its contents
with the speed of his craft. Afterward he laid it down before him
on the desk and surveyed it with a cool and musing smile.
"So?" he remarked. " That's the case, is it?"
He presently swung around in his chair, and for a time held
the entire attention of the men at the various desks. He outlined
to them again their various parts in the composition of the next
great Sunday edition. In a few brisk sentences he set a complex
machine in proper motion. His men no longer thrilled with
admiration at the precision with which he grasped each obligation
of the campaign toward a successful edition. They had grown
to accept it as they accepted his hat or his London clothes. At
this time his face was lit with something of the self-contained
enthusiasm of a general. Immediately afterward he arose and
reached for his coat and hat.
The office boy, coming circuitously forward, presented him
with some cards and also with a scrap of paper upon which was
scrawled a long and semicoherent word. " What are these ? "
"They are waiting outside," answered the boy, with
trepidation. It was part of the law that the lion of the ante-room
should cringe like a cold monkey,
more or less, as soon as he was out of his private jungle. "Oh,
Tallerman," cried the Sunday editor, "here's this Arctic man
come to arrange about his illustration. I wish you'd go and talk
it over with him." By chance he picked up the scrap of paper
with its cryptic word. " Oh," he said, scowling at the office boy.
"Pity you can't remember that fellow. If you can't remember
faces any better than that you should be a detective. Get out
now and tell him to go to the devil." The wilted slave turned at
once, but Coleman hailed him. " Hold on. Come to think of it, I
will see this idiot. Send him in," he commanded, grimly.
Coleman lapsed into a dream over the sheet of grey note
paper. Presently, a middle-aged man, a palpable German, came
hesitatingly into the room and bunted among the desks as
unmanageably as a tempest-tossed scow. Finally he was
impatiently towed in the right direction. He came and stood at
Coleman's elbow and waited nervously for the engrossed man
to raise his eyes. It was plain that this interview meant
important things to him. Somehow on his commonplace
countenance was to be found the expression of a dreamer, a
fashioner of great and absurd projects, a fine, tender fool. He
cast hopeful and reverent glances at the man who was deeply
contemplative of the grey note. He evidently believed himself
on the threshold of a triumph of some kind, and he awaited
his fruition with a joy that was only made sharper by
the usual human suspicion of coming events.
Coleman glanced up at last and saw his visitor.
" Oh, it's you, is it ? " he remarked icily, bending upon the
German the stare of a tyrant. "So you've come again, have you? "
He wheeled in his chair until he could fully display a
contemptuous, merciless smile. "Now, Mr.
What's-your-name, you've called here to see me about twenty
times already and at last I am going to say something definite
about your invention." His listener's face, which had worn for a
moment a look of fright and bewilderment, gladdened swiftly to
a gratitude that seemed the edge of an outburst of tears. " Yes,"
continued Coleman, " I am going to say something definite. I am
going to say that it is the most imbecile bit of nonsense that has
come within the range of my large newspaper experience. It is
simply the aberration of a rather remarkable lunatic. It is no good;
it is not worth the price of a cheese sandwich. I understand
that its one feat has been to break your leg; if it ever goes off
again, persuade it to break your neck. And now I want you to
take this nursery rhyme of yours and get out. And don't ever
come here again. Do You understand ? You understand, do you ?"
He arose and bowed in courteous dismissal.
The German was regarding him with the surprise
and horror of a youth shot mortally. He could not
find his tongue for a moment. Ultimately he gasped : "But,
Mister Editor "--Coleman interrupted him tigerishly. " You heard
what I said? Get out." The man bowed his head and went
slowly toward the door.
Coleman placed the little grey note in his breast pocket. He
took his hat and top coat, and evading the dismal band by a
shameless manoeuvre, passed through the halls to the entrance
to the elevator shaft. He heard a movement behind him and saw
that the German was also waiting for the elevator.
Standing in the gloom of the corridor, Coleman felt the
mournful owlish eyes of the German resting upon him. He took
a case from his pocket and elaborately lit a cigarette. Suddenly
there was a flash of light and a cage of bronze, gilt and steel
dropped, magically from above. Coleman yelled: " Down!" A
door flew open. Coleman, followed by the German, stepped
upon the elevator. " Well, Johnnie," he said cheerfully to the
lad who operated this machine, "is business good?" "Yes, sir,
pretty good," answered the boy, grinning. The little cage sank
swiftly; floor after floor seemed to be rising with marvellous
speed; the whole building was winging straight into the sky.
There were soaring lights, figures and the opalescent glow of
ground glass doors marked with black inscriptions. Other lifts
were springing heavenward. All the lofty corridors rang with
cries. " Up! " Down! " " Down! " " Up! " The boy's hand
grasped a lever and his machine obeyed his lightest movement
with sometimes an unbalancing swiftness.
Coleman discoursed briskly to the youthful attendant. Once
he turned and regarded with a quick stare of insolent
annoyance the despairing countenance of the German whose
eyes had never left him. When the elevator arrived at the
ground floor, Coleman departed with the outraged air of a man
who for a time had been compelled to occupy a cell in company
with a harmless spectre.
He walked quickly away. Opposite a corner of the City Hall
he was impelled to look behind him. Through the hordes of
people with cable cars marching like panoplied elephants, he
was able to distinguish the German, motionless and gazing after
him. Coleman laughed. " That's a comic old boy," he said, to
In the grill-room of a Broadway hotel he was obliged to wait
some minutes for the fulfillment of his orders and he spent the
time in reading and studying the little grey note. When his
luncheon was served he ate with an expression of morose
MARJORY paused again at her father's door. After hesitating
in the original way she entered the library. Her father almost
represented an emblematic figure, seated upon a column of
books. " Well," he cried. Then, seeing it was Marjory, he
changed his tone. " Ah, under the circumstances, my dear, I
admit your privilege of interrupting me at any hour of the day.
You have important business with me." His manner was
The girl fingered a book. She turned the leaves in absolute
semblance of a person reading. "Rufus Coleman called."
"Indeed," said the professor.
"And I've come to you, father, before seeing him."
The professor was silent for a time. " Well, Marjory," he said
at last, "what do you want me to say?" He spoke very
deliberately. " I am sure this is a singular situation. Here appears
the man I formally forbid you to marry. I am sure I do not know
what I am to say."
" I wish to see him," said the girl.
"You wish to see him?" enquired the professor. "You wish
to see him " Marjory, I may as well tell you now that with
all the books and plays I've read, I really
don't know how the obdurate father should conduct himself.
He is always pictured as an exceedingly dense gentleman with
white whiskers, who does all the unintelligent things in the
plot. You and I are going to play no drama, are we, Marjory? I
admit that I have white whiskers, and I am an obdurate father. I
am, as you well may say, a very obdurate father. You are not to
marry Rufus Coleman. You understand the rest of the matter.
He is here ; you want to see him. What will you say to him
when you see him? "
" I will say that you refuse to let me marry him, father and-"
She hesitated a moment before she lifted her eyes fully and
formidably to her father's face. " And that I shall marry him
The professor did not cavort when this statement came from
his daughter. He nodded and then passed into a period of
reflection. Finally he asked: "But when? That is the point.
The girl made a sad gesture. "I don't know. I don't know.
Perhaps when you come to know Rufus better-"
" Know him better. Know that rapscallion better? Why, I
know him much better than he knows himself. I know him too
well. Do you think I am talking offhand about this affair? Do
you think I am talking without proper information?"
Marjory made no reply.
"Well," said the professor, "you may see Coleman on
condition that you inform him at once that I forbid your
marriage to him. I don't understand at all how to manage these
situations. I don't know what to do. I suppose I should go
myself and-No, you can't see him, Majory."
Still the girl made no reply. Her head sank forward and she
breathed a trifle heavily.
"Marjory," cried the professor, it is impossible that you
should think so much of this man." He arose and went to his
daughter. " Marjory, many wise children have been guided by
foolish fathers, but we both suspect that no foolish child has
ever been guided by a wise father. Let us change it. I present
myself to you as a wise father. Follow my wishes in this affair
and you will be at least happier than if you marry this wretched
She answered: " He is waiting for me."
The professor turned abruptly from her and dropped into his
chair at the table. He resumed a grip on his pen. " Go," he said,
wearily. " Go. But if you have a remnant of sense, remember
what I have said to you. Go." He waved his hand in a dismissal
that was slightly scornful. " I hoped you would have a minor
conception of what you were doing. It seems a pity." Drooping
in tears, the girl slowly left the room.
Coleman had an idea that he had occupied the chair for
several months. He gazed about at the pictures and the odds
and ends of a drawing-room in an attempt to take an interest in
them. The great garlanded paper shade over the piano lamp
consoled his impatience in a mild degree because he knew that
Marjory had made it. He noted the clusters of cloth violets
which she had pinned upon the yellow paper and he dreamed
over the fact. He was able to endow this shade with certain
qualities of sentiment that caused his stare to become almost a
part of an intimacy, a communion. He looked as if he could
have unburdened his soul to this shade over the piano lamp.
Upon the appearance of Marjory he sprang up and came
forward rapidly. " Dearest," he murmured, stretching out both
hands. She gave him one set of fingers with chilling
convention. She said something which he understood to be "
Good-afternoon." He started as if the woman before him had
suddenly drawn a knife. " Marjory," he cried, "what is the
matter?." They walked together toward a window. The girl
looked at him in polite enquiry. " Why? " she said. " Do I seem
strange ? " There was a moment's silence while he gazed into
her eyes, eyes full of innocence and tranquillity. At last she
tapped her foot upon the floor in expression of mild impatience.
" People do not like to be asked what is the matter
when there is nothing the matter. What do you mean ? "
Coleman's face had gradually hardened. " Well, what is
wrong? " he demanded, abruptly. "What has happened? What
is it, Marjory ? "
She raised her glance in a perfect reality of wonder. "What is
wrong? What has happened? How absurd! Why nothing, of
course." She gazed out of the window. " Look," she added,
brightly, the students are rolling somebody in a drift. Oh,
the poor Man ! "
Coleman, now wearing a bewildered air, made some pretense
of being occupied with the scene. " Yes," he said, ironically.
"Very interesting, indeed."
" Oh," said Marjory, suddenly, " I forgot to tell you. Father
is going to take mother and me to Greece this winter with him
and the class."
Coleman replied at once. " Ah, indeed ? That will be jolly."
"Yes. Won't it be charming?"
" I don't doubt it," he replied. His composure May have
displeased her, for she glanced at him furtively and in a way
that denoted surprise, perhaps.
"Oh, of course," she said, in a glad voice. " It will be more
fun. We expect to nave a fine time. There is such a n ice lot of
boys going Sometimes father
chooses these dreadfully studious ones. But this time he
acts as if he knew precisely how to make up a party."
He reached for her hand and grasped it vise-like. "Marjory," he
breathed, passionately, " don't treat me so. Don't treat me-"
She wrenched her hand from him in regal indignation. " One
or two rings make it uncomfortable for the hand that is grasped
by an angry gentleman." She held her fingers and gazed as if
she expected to find them mere debris. " I am sorry that you are
not interested in the students rolling that man in the snow. It is
the greatest scene our quiet life can afford."
He was regarding her as a judge faces a lying culprit. " I
know," he said, after a pause. " Somebody has been telling you
some stories. You have been hearing something about me."
" Some stories ? " she enquired. " Some stories about you?
What do you mean? Do you mean that I remember stories I may
happen to hear about people? "
There was another pause and then Coleman's face flared red.
He beat his hand violently upon a table. " Good God, Marjory!
Don't make a fool of me. Don't make this kind of a fool of me, at
any rate. Tell me what you mean. Explain-"
She laughed at him. " Explain? Really, your vocabulary is
getting extensive, but it is dreadfully awkward to ask people to
explain when there is nothing to explain."
He glanced at her, " I know as well as you do that your
father is taking you to Greece in order to get rid of me."
" And do people have to go to Greece in order to get rid of
you? " she asked, civilly. " I think you are getting excited."
" Marjory," he began, stormily.
She raised her hand. " Hush," she said, "there is somebody
coming." A bell had rung. A maid entered the room. " Mr.
Coke," she said. Marjory nodded. In the interval of waiting,
Coleman gave the girl a glance that mingled despair with rage
and pride. Then Coke burst with half-tamed rapture into the
room. " Oh, Miss Wainwright," he almost shouted, " I can't tell
you how glad I am. I just heard to-day you were going. Imagine
it. It will be more--oh, how are you Coleman, how are you " "
Marjory welcomed the new-comer with a cordiality that might
not have thrilled Coleman with pleasure. They took chairs that
formed a triangle and one side of it vibrated with talk. Coke and
Marjory engaged in a tumultuous conversation concerning the
prospective trip to Greece. The Sunday editor, as remote as if
the apex of his angle was the top of a hill, could only study the
girl's clear profile. The youthful voices of the two others rang
like bells. He did not scowl at Coke; he merely looked at him as
if be gently disdained his mental calibre. In fact all the talk
seemed to tire him; it was childish; as for him, he apparently found
this babble almost insupportable.
" And, just think of the camel rides we'll have," cried Coke.
" Camel rides," repeated Coleman, dejectedly. " My dear
Finally he arose like an old man climbing from a sick bed.
"Well, I am afraid I must go, Miss Wainwright." Then he said
affectionately to Coke: " Good-bye, old boy. I hope you will
have a good time."
Marjory walked with him to the door. He shook her hand in a
friendly fashion. " Good-bye, Marjory,' he said. " Perhaps it
may happen that I shan't see you again before you start for
Greece and so I had best bid you God-speed---or whatever the
term is now. You will have a charming time; Greece must be a
delightful place. Really, I envy you, Marjory. And now my dear
child "-his voice grew brotherly, filled with the patronage of
generous fraternal love, " although I may never see you again
let me wish you fifty as happy years as this last one has been
for me." He smiled frankly into her eyes; then dropping her
hand, he went away.
Coke renewed his tempest of talk as Marjory turned toward
him. But after a series of splendid eruptions, whose red fire
illumined all of ancient and modem Greece, he too went away.
The professor was in his. library apparently absorbed in a
book when a tottering pale-faced woman appeared to him and,
in her course toward a couch in a corner of the room, described
almost a semi-circle. She flung herself face downward. A thick
strand of hair swept over her shoulder. " Oh, my heart is
broken! My heart is broken! "
The professor arose, grizzled and thrice-old with pain. He
went to the couch, but he found himself a handless, fetless
man. " My poor child," he said. " My poor child." He remained
listening stupidly to her convulsive sobbing. A ghastly kind of
solemnity came upon the room.
Suddenly the girl lifted herself and swept the strand of hair
away from her face. She looked at the professor with the wide-
open dilated eyes of one who still sleeps. " Father," she said in
a hollow voice, " he don't love me. He don't love me. He don't
love me. at all. You were right, father." She began to laugh.
"Marjory," said the professor, trembling. "Be quiet, child. Be
" But," she said, " I thought he loved me--I was sure of it. But
it don't-don't matter. I--I can't get over it. Women-women, the-
but it don't matter."
" Marjory," said the professor. " Marjory, my poor
She did not heed his appeal, but continued in a dull whisper.
" He was playing with me. He was--was-was flirting with me.
He didn't care when I told him--I told him--
I was going-going away." She turned her face wildly to the
cushions again. Her young shoulders shook as if they might
break. " Wo-men-women-they always----"
By a strange mishap of management the train which bore
Coleman back toward New York was fetched into an obscure
side-track of some lonely region and there compelled to bide a
change of fate. The engine wheezed and sneezed like a paused
fat man. The lamps in the cars pervaded a stuffy odor of smoke
and oil. Coleman examined his case and found only one cigar.
Important brakemen proceeded rapidly along the aisles, and
when they swung open the doors, a polar wind circled the legs
of the passengers. " Well, now, what is all this for? " demanded
Coleman, furiously. " I want to get back to New York."
The conductor replied with sarcasm, " Maybe you think I'm
stuck on it " I ain't running the road. I'm running this train, and I
run it according to orders." Amid the dismal comforts of the
waiting cars, Coleman felt all the profound misery of the
rebuffed true lover. He had been sentenced, he thought, to a
penal servitude of the heart, as he watched the dusky, vague
ribbons of smoke come from the lamps and felt to his knees the
cold winds from the brakemen's busy flights. When the train
started with a whistle and a jolt, he was elate as if in his
abjection his beloved's hand had reached to him from the clouds.
When he had arrived in New York, a cab rattled him to an
uptown hotel with speed. In the restaurant he first ordered a
large bottle of champagne. The last of the wine he finished in
sombre mood like an unbroken and defiant man who chews the
straw that litters his prison house. During his dinner he was
continually sending out messenger boys. He was arranging a
poker party. Through a window he watched the beautiful
moving life of upper Broadway at night, with its crowds and
clanging cable cars and its electric signs, mammoth and
glittering, like the jewels of a giantess.
Word was brought to him that the poker players were
arriving. He arose joyfully, leaving his cheese. In the broad hall,
occupied mainly by miscellaneous people and actors, all deep
in leather chairs, he found some of his friends waiting. They
trooped up stairs to Coleman's rooms, where as a preliminary,
Coleman began to hurl books and papers from the table to the
floor. A boy came with drinks. Most of the men, in order to
prepare for the game, removed their coats and cuffs and drew
up the sleeves of their shirts. The electric globes shed a
blinding light upon the table. The sound of clinking chips
arose; the elected banker spun the cards, careless and
Later, during a pause of dealing, Coleman said:
" Billie, what kind of a lad is that young Coke up at Washurst?"
He addressed an old college friend.
" Oh, you mean the Sophomore Coke? " asked the friend.
" Seems a decent sort of a fellow. I don't know. Why? "
"Well, who is he? Where does he come from? What do you
know about him? "
" He's one of those Ohio Cokes-regular thing-- father
millionaire-used to be a barber-good old boy -why? "
" Nothin'," said Coleman, looking at his cards. " I know the
lad. I thought he was a good deal of an ass. I wondered who
his people were."
" Oh, his people are all right-in one way. Father owns rolling
mills. Do you raise it, Henry? Well, in order to make vice
abhorrent to the young, I'm obliged to raise back."
" I'll see it," observed Coleman, slowly pushing forward two
blue chips. Afterward he reached behind him and took another
glass of wine.
To the others Coleman seemed to have something bitter
upon his mind. He played poker quietly, steadfastly, and,
without change of eye, following the mathematical religion of
the game. Outside of the play he was savage, almost
" What's the matter with you, Rufus ? " said his old college
friend. " Lost your job? Girl gone back on you? You're a
hell of -a host. We don't get any. thing but insults and drinks."
Late at night Coleman began to lose steadily. In the
meantime he drank glass after glass of wine. Finally he made
reckless bets on a mediocre hand and an opponent followed
him thoughtfully bet by bet, undaunted, calm, absolutely
without emotion. Coleman lost; he hurled down his cards. "
Nobody but a damned fool would have seen that last raise on
anything less than a full hand."
" Steady. Come off. What's wrong with you, Rufus ? " cried
" You're not drunk, are you ? " said his old college friend,
" 'Drunk' ?" repeated Coleman.
" Oh, say," cried a man, " let's play cards. What's all this
gabbling ? "
It was when a grey, dirty light of dawn evaded the thick
curtains and fought on the floor with the feebled electric glow
that Coleman, in the midst of play, lurched his chest heavily
upon the table. Some chips rattled to the floor. " I'll call you,"
he murmured, sleepily.
" Well," replied a man, sternly, " three kings."
The other players with difficulty extracted five cards from
beneath Coleman's pillowed head. " Not a pair! Come, come,
this won't do. Oh, let's stop playing. This is the rottenest game I
ever sat in. Let's go home. Why don't you put him. to bed, Billie?"
When Coleman awoke next morning, he looked back upon
the poker game as something that had transpired in previous
years. He dressed and went down to the grill-room. For his
breakfast he ordered some eggs on toast and a pint of
champagne. A privilege of liberty belonged to a certain Irish
waiter, and this waiter looked at him, grinning. "Maybe you
had a pretty lively time last night, Mr Coleman? "
" Yes, Pat," answered Coleman, " I did. It was all because of
an unrequited affection, Patrick." The man stood near, a napkin
over his arm. Coleman went on impressively. " The ways of the
modern lover are strange. Now, I, Patrick, am a modern lover,
and when, yesterday, the dagger of disappointment was driven
deep into my heart, I immediately played poker as hard as I
could and incidentally got loaded. This is the modern point of
view. I understand on good authority that in old times lovers
used to. languish. That is probably a lie, but at any rate we do
not, in these times, languish to any great extent. We get drunk.
Do you understand, Patrick? "
The waiter was used to a harangue at Coleman's breakfast
time. He placed his hand over his mouth and giggled. "Yessir."
" Of course," continued Coleman, thoughtfully. " It might be
pointed out by uneducated persons that
it is difficult to maintain a high standard of drunkenness for the
adequate length of time, but in the series of experiments which
I am about to make I am sure I can easily prove them to be in
" I am sure, sir," said the waiter, " the young ladies would
not like to be hearing you talk this way."
" Yes; no doubt, no doubt. The young ladies have still quite
medieval ideas. They don't understand. They still prefer lovers
" At any rate, sir, I don't see that your heart is sure
enough broken. You seem to take it very easy. "
" Broken! " cried Coleman. " Easy? Man, my heart is in
fragments. Bring me another small bottle."
Six weeks later, Coleman went to the office of the proprietor
of the Eclipse. Coleman was one of those
smooth-shaven old-young men who wear upon some occasions
a singular air of temperance and purity. At these times, his
features lost their quality of worldly shrewdness and endless
suspicion and bloomed as the face of some innocent boy. It
then would be hard to tell that he had ever encountered even
such a crime as a lie or a cigarette. As he walked into the
proprietor's office he was a perfect semblance of a fine,
inexperienced youth. People usually concluded this change was
due to a Turkish bath or some other expedient of recuperation,
but it was due probably to the power of a physical
" Boss in ? " said Coleman.
" Yeh," said the secretary, jerking his thumb toward an inner
door. In his private office, Sturgeon sat on the edge of the table
dangling one leg and dreamily surveying the wall. As Coleman
entered he looked up quickly. "Rufus," he cried, " you're just
the man I wanted to see. I've got a scheme. A great scheme."
He slid from the table and began to pace briskly to
and fro, his hands deep in his trousers' pockets, his chin sunk
in his collar, his light blue eyes afire with interest. " Now listen.
This is immense. The Eclipse enlists a battalion of men to go to
Cuba and fight the Spaniards under its own flag-the Eclipse flag.
Collect trained officers from here and there-enlist every young
devil we see-drill 'em--best rifles-loads of ammunition-
provisions-staff of doctors and nurses -a couple of dynamite
guns-everything complete best in the world. Now, isn't that
great ? What's the matter with that now ? Eh? Eh? Isn't that
great? It's great, isn't it? Eh? Why, my boy, we'll free-"
Coleman did not seem to ignite. " I have been arrested four
or five times already on fool matters connected with the
newspaper business," he observed, gloomily, " but I've never
yet been hung. I think your scheme is a beauty."
Sturgeon paused in astonishment. " Why, what happens to
be the matter with you ? What are you kicking about ? "
Coleman made a slow gesture. " I'm tired," he answered. " I
need a vacation."
"Vacation!" cried Sturgeon. "Why don't you take one then ? "
" That's what I've come to see you about. I've had a pretty
heavy strain on me for three years now, and I want to get a
" Well, who in thunder has been keeping you from it? It
hasn't been me."
" I know it hasn't been you, but, of course, I wanted the
paper to go and I wanted to have my share in its success, but
now that everything is all right I think I might go away for a
time if you don't mind."
" Mind! " exclaimed Sturgeon falling into his chair and
reaching for his check book. "Where do you want to go? How
long do you want to be gone? How much money do you want ?"
" I don't want very much. And as for where I want to go, I
thought I might like to go to Greece for a while."
Sturgeon had been writing a check. He poised his pen in the
air and began to laugh. " That's a queer place to go for a rest.
Why, the biggest war of modern times--a war that may involve
all Europe-is likely to start there at any moment. You are not
likely to get any rest in Greece."
" I know that," answered Coleman. " I know there is likely to
be a war there. But I think that is exactly what would rest me. I
would like to report the war."
"You are a queer bird," answered Sturgeon deeply fascinated
with this new idea. He had apparently forgotten his vision of a
Cuban volunteer battalion. " War correspondence is about the
most original medium for a rest I ever heard of."
"Oh, it may seem funny, but really, any change will be good
for me now. I've been whacking at this old Sunday edition until
I'm sick of it, and some,. times I wish the Eclipse was in hell."
That's all right," laughed the proprietor of the
Eclipse. " But I still don't see how you 'are going to get any
vacation out of a war that will upset the whole of Europe. But
that's your affair. If you want to become the chief
correspondent in the field in case of any such war, why, of
course, I would be glad to have you. I couldn't get anybody
better. But I don't see where your vacation comes in."
" I'll take care of that," answered Coleman. " When I take a
vacation I want to take it my own way, and I think this will be a
vacation because it will be different -don't you see-different ? "
" No, I don't see any sense in it, but if you think that is the
way that suits you, why, go ahead. How much money do you
want ? "
" I don't want much. just enough to see me through nicely."
Sturgeon scribbled on his check book and then ripped a
check from it. " Here's a thousand dollars. Will that do you to
start with? "
" That's plenty."
"When do you want to start ? "
"Oh," said Sturgeon. " You're in a hurry." This
impetuous manner of exit from business seemed to appeal to
him. " To-morrow," he repeated smiling. In reality he was some
kind of a poet using his millions romantically, spending wildly
on a sentiment that might be with beauty or without beauty,
according to the momentary vacillation. The vaguely-defined
desperation in Coleman's last announcement appeared to
delight him. He grinned and placed the points of his fingers
together stretching out his legs in a careful attitude of
indifference which might even mean disapproval. " To-morrow,"
he murmured teasingly.
" By jiminy," exclaimed Coleman, ignoring the other man's
mood, " I'm sick of the whole business. I've got out a Sunday
paper once a week for three years and I feel absolutely
incapable of getting out another edition. It would be all right if
we were running on ordinary lines, but when each issue is more
or less of an attempt to beat the previous issue, it becomes
rather wearing, you know. If I can't get a vacation now I take
one later in a lunatic asylum."
" Why, I'm not objecting to your having a vacation. I'm
simply marvelling at the kind of vacation you want to take. And
'to-morrow,' too, eh ? "
" Well, it suits me," muttered Coleman, sulkily.
" Well, if it suits you, that's enough. Here's your check. Clear
out now and don't let me see you again until you are
thoroughly rested, even if it takes a year." He arose and stood
smiling. He was mightily pleased with himself. He liked to
perform in this way. He was almost seraphic as he thrust the
check for a thousand dollars toward Coleman.
Then his manner changed abruptly. " Hold on a minute. I
must think a little about this thing if you are going to manage
the correspondence. Of course it will be a long and bloody
"The big chance is that all Europe will be dragged into it. Of
course then you would have to come out of Greece and take up
abetter position-say Vienna."
"No, I wouldn't care to do that," said Coleman positively. "I
just want to take care of the Greek end of it."
" It will be an idiotic way to take a vacation," observed
" Well, it suits me," muttered Coleman again. " I tell you
what it is-" he added suddenly. "I've got some private reasons-
see ? "
Sturgeon was radiant with joy. " Private reasons." He was
charmed by the sombre pain in Coleman's eyes and his own
ability to eject it. "Good. Go now and be blowed. I will cable
final instruction to meet you in London. As soon as you get to
Greece, cable me an account of the situation there and we will
arrange our plans." He began to laugh. " Private reasons. Come
out to dinner with me."
" I can't very well," said Coleman. " If I go tomorrow, I've
got to pack-"
But here the real tyrant appeared, emerging suddenly from
behind the curtain of sentiment, appearing like a red devil in a
pantomine. " You can't ? " snapped Sturgeon. " Nonsense----"
SWEEPING out from between two remote, half-submerged
dunes on which stood slender sentry light. houses, the steamer
began to roll with a gentle insinuating motion. Passengers in
their staterooms saw at rhythmical intervals the spray racing
fleetly past the portholes. The waves grappled hurriedly at the
sides of the great flying steamer and boiled discomfited astern
in a turmoil of green and white. From the tops of the enormous
funnels streamed level masses of smoke which were
immediately torn to nothing by the headlong wind. Meanwhile
as the steamer rushed into the northeast, men in caps and
ulsters comfortably paraded the decks and stewards arranged
deck chairs for the reception of various women who were
coming from their cabins with rugs.
In the smoking room, old voyagers were settling down
comfortably while new voyagers were regarding them with a
diffident respect. Among the passengers Coleman found a
number of people whom he knew, including a wholesale wine
merchant, a Chicago railway magnate and a New York
millionaire. They lived practically in the smoking room.
Necessity drove them from time to time to the salon, or to their
berths. Once indeed the millionaire was absent, from the group
while penning a short note to his wife.
When the Irish coast was sighted Coleman came on deck to
look at it. A tall young woman immediately halted in her walk
until he had stepped up to her. " Well, of all ungallant men,
Rufus Coleman, you are the star," she cried laughing and held
out her hand.
" Awfully sorry, I'm sure," he murmured. " Been playing poker
in the smoking room all voyage. Didn't have a look at the
passenger list until just now. Why didn't you send me word?"
These lies were told so modestly and sincerely that when the
girl flashed her, brilliant eyes full upon their author there was a
mixt of admiration in the indignation.
" Send you a card " I don't believe you can read, else you
would have known I was to sail on this steamer. If I hadn't been
ill until to-day you would have seen me in the salon. I open at
the Folly Theatre next week. Dear ol' Lunnon, y' know."
" Of course, I knew you were going," said Coleman.
"But I thought you were to go later. What do you open in? "
" Fly by Night. Come walk along with me. See those two old
ladies " They've been watching for me like hawks ever since we
left New York. They expected me to flirt with every man on
board. But I've fooled them. I've been just as g-o-o-d. I had to
As the pair moved toward the stern, enormous and
radiant green waves were crashing futilely after the steamer.
Ireland showed a dreary coast line to the north. A wretched
man who had crossed the Atlantic eighty-four times was
declaiming to a group of novices. A venerable banker, bundled
in rugs, was asleep in his deck chair.
" Well, Nora," said Coleman, " I hope you make a hit in
London. You deserve it if anybody does. You've worked hard."
"Worked hard," cried the girl. "I should think so. Eight years
ago I was in the rear row. Now I have the centre of the stage
whenever I want it. I made Chalmers cut out that great scene in
the second act between the queen and Rodolfo. The idea! Did
he think I would stand that ? And just because he was in love
with Clara Trotwood, too."
Coleman was dreamy. " Remember when I was dramatic man
for the Gazette and wrote the first notice ? "
" Indeed, I do," answered the girl affectionately.
" Indeed, I do, Rufus. Ah, that was a great lift. I believe that
was the first thing that had an effect on old Oliver. Before that,
he never would believe that I was any good. Give me your arm,
Rufus. Let's parade before the two old women." Coleman
glanced at her keenly. Her voice had trembled slightly. Her eyes
were lustrous as if she were about to weep.
" Good heavens," he said. " You are the same old
Nora Black. I thought you would be proud and 'aughty by this
" Not to my friends," she murmured., " Not to my friends. I'm
always the same and I never forget. Rufus."
" Never forget what? " asked Coleman.
" If anybody does me a favour I never forget it as long as I
live," she answered fervently.
" Oh, you mustn't be so sentimental, Nora. You remember
that play you bought from little Ben Whipple, just because he
had once sent you some flowers in the old days when you were
poor and happened to bed sick. A sense of gratitude cost you
over eight thousand dollars that time, didn't it? " Coleman
" Oh, it wasn't the flowers at all," she interrupted seriously. "
Of course Ben was always a nice boy, but then his play was
worth a thousand dollars. That's all I gave him. I lost some more
in trying to make it go. But it was too good. That was what was
the matter. It was altogether too good for the public. I felt
awfully sorry for poor little Ben."
"Too good?" sneered Coleman. "Too good? Too
indifferently bad, you mean. My dear girl, you mustn't imagine
that you know a good play. You don't, at all."
She paused abruptly and faced him. This regal, creature
was looking at him so sternly that Coleman
felt awed for a moment as if he, were in the presence of a great
mind. " Do you mean to say that I'm not an artist ? " she asked.
Coleman remained cool. " I've never been decorated for
informing people of their own affairs," he observed, " but I
should say that you were about as much of an artist as I am."
Frowning slightly, she reflected upon this reply. Then, of a
sudden, she laughed. " There is no use in being angry with
you, Rufus. You always were a hopeless scamp. But," she
added, childishly wistful, "have you ever seen Fly by Night?
Don't you think my dance in the second act is artistic? "
" No," said Coleman, " I haven't seen Fly by Night yet, but
of course I know that you are the most beautiful dancer on the
stage. Everybody knows that."
It seemed that her hand tightened on his arm. Her
face was radiant. " There," she exclaimed. " Now
you are forgiven. You are a nice boy, Rufus-some-
When Miss Black went to her cabin, Coleman strolled into
the smoking room. Every man there covertly or openly
surveyed him. He dropped lazily into a chair at a table where
the wine merchant, the Chicago railway king and the New York
millionaire were playing cards. They made a noble pretense of
not being aware of him. On the oil cloth top of the table the
cards were snapped down, turn by turn.
Finally the wine merchant, without lifting his head to-
address a particular person, said: " New conquest."
Hailing a steward Coleman asked for a brandy and soda.
The millionaire said: " He's a sly cuss, anyhow." The railway
man grinned. After an elaborate silence the wine merchant
asked: " Know Miss Black long, Rufus?" Coleman looked
scornfully at his friends. " What's wrong with you there,
fellows, anyhow?" The Chicago man answered airily. " Oh,
nothin'. Nothin', whatever."
At dinner in the crowded salon, Coleman was aware that
more than one passenger glanced first at Nora Black and then
at him, as if connecting them in some train of thought, moved to
it by the narrow horizon of shipboard and by a sense of the
mystery that surrounds the lives of the beauties of the stage.
Near the captain's right hand sat the glowing and splendid
Nora, exhibiting under the gaze of the persistent eyes of many
meanings, a practiced and profound composure that to the
populace was terrfying dignity.
Strolling toward the smoking room after dinner, Coleman met
the New York millionaire, who seemed agitated. He took
Coleman fraternally by the arm. " Say, old man, introduce me,
won't you ? I'm crazy to know her."
"Do you mean Miss Black?" asked Coleman.
" Why, I don't know that I have a right. Of course, you know,
she hasn't been meeting anybody aboard. I'll ask her, though-
" Thanks, old man, thanks. I'd be tickled to death. Come
along and have a drink. When will you ask her? "
" Why, I don't know when I'll see her. To-morrow, I suppose-"
They had not been long in the smoking room, however,
when the deck steward came with a card to Coleman. Upon it
was written: "Come for' a stroll?" Everybody, saw Coleman read
this card and then look up and whisper to the deck steward.
The deck steward bent his head and whispered discreetly in
reply. There was an abrupt pause in the hum of conversation.
The interest was acute.
Coleman leaned carelessly back in his chair, puffing at his
cigar. He mingled calmly in a discussion of the comparative
merits of certain trans-Atlantic lines. After a time he threw away
his cigar and arose. Men nodded. "Didn't I tell you?" His
studiously languid exit was made dramatic by the eagle-eyed
attention of the smoking room.
On deck he found Nora pacing to and fro. "You didn't hurry
yourself," she said, as he joined her. The lights of Queenstown
were twinkling. A warm wind, wet with the moisture of rain-
stricken sod, was coming from the land.
"Why," said Coleman, "we've got all these duffers very much excited."
"Well what do you care? " asked hte girl. "You don't, care do you?"
"No, I don't care. Only it's rather absurd to be
watched all the time." He said this precisely as
if he abhorred being watched in this case.
"Oh by the way," he added. Then he paused for a
moment. "Aw--a friend of mine--not a bad fellow--
he asked me for an introduction. Of course, I
told him I'd ask you."
She made a contemptuous gesture. "Oh, another Willie.
Tell him no. Tell him to go home to his family. Tell
him to run away."
"He isn't a bad fellow. He--" said Coleman diffidently,
"he would probably be at the theatre every night in a box."
"yes, and get drunk and throw a wine bottle on the
stage instead of a bouquet. No," she declared positively,
"I won't see him."
Coleman did not seem to be oppressed by this ultimatum.
"Oh, all right. I promised him--that was all."
"Besides, are you in a great hurry to get rid of me?"
"Rid of you? Nonsense."
They walked in the shadow. "How long are you going to be
in London, Rufus?" asked Nora softly.
"Who? I? Oh, I'm going right off to Greece. First
train. There's going to be a war, you know."
"A war? Why, who is going to fight? The Greeks
and the--the--the what?"
"The Turks. I'm going right over there."
"Why, that's dreadful, Rufus," said the girl, mournfull
and shocked. "You might get hurt or something."
Presently she asked: "And aren't you going to be in
London any time at all?"
"Oh," he answered, puffing out his lips, "I may stop
in Londom for three or four days on my way home. I'm
not sure of it."
"And when will that be?"
"Oh, I can't tell. It may be in three or four months,
or it may be a year from now. When the war stops."
There was a long silence as the walked up and down
the swaying deck.
"Do you know," said Nora at last, "I like you, Rufus Coleman.
I don't know any good reason for it either, unless it is because
you are such a brute. Now, when I was asking you if you were
to be in London you were perfectly detestable. You know I was
"I--detestable?" cried Coleman, feigning amazement.
"Why, what did I say?"
"It isn't so much what you said--" began Nora slowlly.
Then she suddenly changed her manner.
"Oh, well, don't let's talk about it any more. It's
too foolish. Only-you are a disagreeable person sometimes."
In the morning, as the vessel steamed up the Irish channel,
Coleman was on deck, keeping furtive watch on the cabin
stairs. After two hours of waiting, he scribbled a message on a
card and sent it below. He received an answer that Miss Black
had a headache, and felt too ill to come on deck. He went to the
smoking room. The three card-players glanced up, grinning.
"What's the matter?" asked the wine merchant. "You look
angry." As a matter of fact, Coleman had purposely wreathed
his features in a pleasant and satisfied expression, so he was
for a moment furious at the wine merchant.
"Confound the girl," he thought to himself. "She has
succeeded in making all these beggars laugh at me." He mused
that if he had another chance he would show her how
disagreeable or detestable or scampish he was under some
circumstances. He reflected ruefully that the complacence with
which he had accepted the comradeship of the belle of the
voyage might have been somewhat overdone. Perhaps he had got a
little out of proportion. He was annoyed at the stares of the
other men in the smoking room, who seemed now to be reading
his discomfiture. As for Nora Black he thought of her wistfully
and angrily as a superb woman whose company was honour
and joy, a payment for any sacrifices.
" What's the matter? " persisted the wine merchant. " You
Coleman laughed. " Do I?"
At Liverpool, as the steamer was being slowly warped to the
landing stage by some tugs, the passengers crowded the deck
with their hand-bags. Adieus were falling as dead leaves fall
from a great tree. The stewards were handling small hills of
luggage marked with flaming red labels. The ship was firmly
against the dock before Miss Black came from her cabin.
Coleman was at the time gazing shoreward, but his three
particular friends instantly nudged him. "What?" "There she
is?" "Oh, Miss Black?" He composedly walked toward her. It
was impossible to tell whether she saw him coming or whether it
was accident, but at any rate she suddenly turned and moved
toward the stern of the ship. Ten watchful gossips had noted
Coleman's travel in her direction and more than half the
passengers noted his defeat. He wheeled casually and returned
to his three friends. They were colic-stricken with a coarse and
yet silent merriment. Coleman was glad that the voyage was
After the polite business of an English custom house, the
travellers passed out to the waiting train. A nimble little
theatrical agent of some kind, sent from London, dashed
forward to receive Miss Black. He had a first-class compartment
engaged for her and he bundled her and her maid into it in an
exuberance of enthusiasm and admiration.. Coleman passing moodily
along the line of coaches heard Nora's voice hailing him.
" Rufus." There she was, framed in a carriage window,
beautiful and smiling brightly. Every near. by person turned to
contemplate this vision.
" Oh," said Coleman advancing, " I thought I was not going
to get a chance to say good-bye to you." He held out his hand.
She pouted. " Why, there's plenty of room in this
compartment." Seeing that some forty people were transfixed in
observation of her, she moved a short way back. " Come on in
this compartment, Rufus," she said.
"Thanks. I prefer to smoke," said Coleman. He went off
On the way to London, he brooded in his corner on the two
divergent emotions he had experienced when refusing her
invitation. At Euston Station in London, he was directing a
porter, who had his luggage, when he heard Nora speak at his
shoulder. " Well, Rufus, you sulky boy," she said, " I shall be at
the Cecil. If you have time, come and see me."
" Thanks, I'm sure, my dear Nora," answered Coleman
effusively. "But honestly, I'm off for Greece."
A brougham was drawn up near them and the nimble
little agent was waiting. The maid was directing the
establishment of a mass of luggage on and in a four-wheeler
cab. " Well, put me into my carriage, anyhow," said Nora. " You
will have time for that."
Afterward she addressed him from the dark interior.
Now, Rufus, you must come to see me the minute you strike
London again- of She hesitated a moment and then smiling
gorgeously upon him, she said: " Brute! "
As soon as Coleman had planted his belongings in a hotel he
was bowled in a hansom briskly along the smoky Strand,
through a dark city whose walls dripped like the walls of a cave
and whose passages were only illuminated by flaring yellow
and red signs.
Walkley the London correspondent of the Eclipse, whirled
from his chair with a shout of joy and relief -at sight of Coleman.
" Cables," he cried. "Nothin' but cables! All the people in New
York are writing cables to you. The wires groan with them. And
we groan with them too. They come in here in bales. However,
there is no reason why you should read them all. Many are
similar in words and many more are similar in spirit. The sense
of the whole thing is that you get to Greece quickly, taking with
you immense sums of money and enormous powers over
" Well, when does the row begin? "
" The most astute journalists in Europe have been predicting
a general European smash-up every year since 1878," said
Walkley, " and the prophets weep. The English are the only
people who can pull off wars on schedule time, and they have
to do it in odd corners of the globe. I fear the war business is
getting tuckered. There is sorrow in the lodges of the lone wolves,
the war correspondents. However, my boy, don't bury your face in
your blanket. This Greek business looks very promising, very
promising." He then began to proclaim trains and connections.
" Dover, Calais, Paris, Brindisi, Corfu, Patras, Athens. That is
your game. You are supposed to sky-rocket yourself over that
route in the shortest possible time, but you would gain no time
by starting before to-morrow, so you can cool your heels here
in London until then. I wish I was going along."
Coleman returned to his hotel, a knight impatient and savage
at being kept for a time out of the saddle. He went for a late
supper to the grill room and as he was seated there alone, a
party of four or five people came to occupy the table directly
behind him. They talked a great deal even before they arrayed
them. selves at the table, and he at once recognised the voice
of Nora Black. She was queening it, apparently, over a little
band of awed masculine worshippers.
Either by accident or for some curious reason, she took a
chair back to back with Coleman's chair. Her sleeve of fragrant
stuff almost touched his shoulder and he felt appealing to him
seductively a perfume of orris root and violet. He was drinking
bottled stout with his chop; be sat with a face of wood.
" Oh, the little lord ? " Nora was crying to some slave.
"Now, do you know, he won't do at all. He is too awfully
charming. He sits and ruminates for fifteen minutes and then he
pays me a lovely compliment. Then he ruminates for another
fifteen minutes and cooks up another fine thing. It is too
tiresome. Do you know what kind of man. I like? " she asked
softly and confidentially. And here she sank back in her chair
until. Coleman knew from the tingle that her head was but a few
inches from his head. Her, sleeve touched him. He turned more
wooden under the spell of the orris root and violet. Her
courtiers thought it all a graceful pose, but Coleman believed
otherwise. Her voice sank to the liquid, siren note of a
succubus. " Do you know what kind of a man I like? Really
like? I like a man that a woman can't bend in a thousand
different ways in five minutes. He must have some steel in him.
He obliges me to admire him the most when he remains stolid;
stolid to me lures. Ah, that is the only kind of a man who cap
ever break a heart among us women of the world. His stolidity
is not real; no; it is mere art, but it is a highly finished art and
often enough we can't cut through it. Really we can't. And, then
we may actually come to--er--care for the man. Really we may.
Isn't it funny?"
Alt the end Coleman arose and strolled out of the. room,
smoking a cigarette. He did not betray, a sign. Before. the door
clashed softly behind him, Nora laughed a little defiantly, perhaps
a little loudly. It made every man in the grill-room perk up his ears.
As for her courtiers, they were entranced. In her description of the
conquering man, she had easily contrived that each one of
them wondered if she might not mean him. Each man was
perfectly sure that he had plenty of steel in his composition
and that seemed to be a main point.
Coleman delayed for a time in the smoking room and then went
to his own quarters. In reality he was Somewhat puzzled in his
mind by a projection of the beauties of Nora Black upon his
desire for Greece and Marjory, His thoughts formed a duality.
Once he was on the point of sending his card to Nora Black's
parlour, inasmuch as Greece was very distant and he could not
start until the morrow. But he suspected that he was holding
the interest of the actress because of his recent appearance of
impregnable serenity in the presence of her fascinations. If he
now sent his card, it was a form of surrender and he knew her
to be one to take a merciless advantage. He would not make
this tactical mistake. On the contrary he would go to bed and
think of war,
In reality he found it easy to fasten his mind upon the
prospective war. He regarded himself cynically in most
affairs, but he could not be cynical of war, because had he -
seen none of it. His rejuvenated imagination began to thrill to
the roll of battle,
through his thought passing all the lightning in the pictures of
Detaille, de Neuville and Morot; lashed battery horse roaring
over bridges; grand cuirassiers dashing headlong against stolid
invincible red-faced lines of German infantry; furious and
bloody grapplings in the streets of little villages of
northeastern France. There was one thing at least of which he
could still feel the spirit of a debutante. In this matter of war he
was not, too, unlike a young girl embarking upon her first
season of opera. Walkely, the next morning, saw this mood
sitting quaintly upon Coleman and cackled with astonishment
and glee. Coleman's usual manner did not return until he
detected Walkely's appreciation of his state and then he
snubbed him according to the ritual of the Sunday editor of the
New York Eclipse. Parenthetically, it
might be said that if Coleman now recalled Nora Black to his
mind at all, it was only to think of her for a moment with ironical
complacence. He had beaten her.
When the train drew out of the station, Coleman felt himself
thrill. Was ever fate less perverse ? War and love-war and
Marjory-were in conjunction both in Greece-and he could tilt
with one lance at both gods. It was a great fine game to play
and no man was ever so blessed in vacations. He was smiling
continually to himself and sometimes actually on the point of
talking aloud. This was despite the
presence in the compartment of two fellow passengers who
preserved in their uncomfortably rigid, icy and uncompromising
manners many of the more or less ridiculous traditions of the
English first class carriage. Coleman's fine humour betrayed him
once into addressing one of these passengers and the man
responded simply with a wide look of incredulity, as if he
discovered that he was travelling in the same compartment with
a zebu. It turned Coleman suddenly to evil temper and he
wanted to ask the man questions concerning his education and
his present mental condition: and so until the train arrived at
Dover, his ballooning soul was in danger of collapsing. On the