Part 3 out of 5
explained. He leaped to the ground, and holding the horse by
the bridle, he addressed his admiring companions. " The groom-
the man who has charge of the horses -says that he thinks that
the people on the mountain-side are Turks, but I don't see how
that is possible. You see-" he pointed wisely-" that road leads
directly south to Arta, and it is hardly possible that the Greek
army would come over here and leave that approach to Arta
utterly unguarded. It would be too foolish. They must have left
some men to cover it, and that is certainly what those troops
are. If you are all ready and willing, I don't see anything to do
but make a good, stout-hearted dash for Arta. It would be no
more dangerous than to sit here."
The professor was at last able to make his formal
speech. " Mr. Coleman," he said distinctly, "we place ourselves
entirely in your hands." It was some. how pitiful. This man who,
for years and years had reigned in a little college town almost
as a monarch, passing judgment with the air of one who words
the law, dealing criticism upon the universe as one to whom all
things are plain, publicly disdaining defeat as one to whom all
things are easy-this man was now veritably appealing to
Coleman to save his wife, his daughter and himself, and really
declared himself de. pendent for safety upon the ingenuity and
courage of the correspondent.
The attitude of the students was utterly indifferent. They did
not consider themselves helpless at all. they were evidently
quite ready to withstand anything but they looked frankly up to
Coleman as their intelligent leader. If they suffered any, their
only expression of it was in the simple grim slang of their
" I wish I was at Coney Island."
" This is not so bad as trigonometry, but it's worse than
playing billiards for the beers."
And Coke said privately to Coleman: " Say, what in hell are
these two damn peoples fighting for, anyhow? "
When he saw that all opinions were in favour of following
him loyally, Coleman was impelled to feel a responsibility. He
was now no errant rescuer, but a properly elected leader
of fellow beings in distress. While one
of the students held his horse, he took the dragoman for
another consultation with the captain of the battery. The officer
was sitting on a large stone, with his eyes fixed into his field
glasses. When again questioned he could give no satisfaction
as to the identity of the troops on the distant mountain. He
merely shrugged his shoulders and said that if they were Greeks
it was very good, but if they were Turks it was very bad. He
seemed more occupied in trying to impress the correspondent
that it was a matter of soldierly indifference to himself.
Coleman, after loathing him sufficiently in silence, returned to
the others and said: " Well, we'll chance it."
They looked to him to arrange the caravan. Speaking to the
men of the party he said: " Of course, any one of you is
welcome to my horse if you can ride it, but-if you're not too
tired-I think I had myself better ride, so that I can go ahead at
His manner was so fine as he said this that the students
seemed fairly to worship him. Of course it had been most
improbable that any of them could have ridden that volcanic
animal even if one of them had tried it.
He saw Mrs. Wainwright and Marjory upon the backs of
their two little natives, and hoisted the professor into the
saddle of the groom's horse, leaving instructions with the
servant to lead the animal always and carefully. He and the dragoman
then mounted at the head of the procession, and amid curious
questionings from the soldiery they crossed the bridge and
started on the trail to Arta. The rear was brought up by the
little grey horse with the luggage, led by one student and flogged
Coleman, checking with difficulty the battling disposition of
his horse, was very uneasy in his mind because the last words
of the captain of the battery had made him feel that perhaps on
this ride he would be placed in a position where only the best
courage would count, and he did not see his way clear to
feeling very confident about his conduct in such a case.
Looking back upon the caravan, he saw it as a most unwieldy
thing, not even capable of running away. He hurried it with
sudden, sharp contemptuous phrases.
On the. march there incidentally flashed upon him a new
truth. More than half of that student band were deeply in love
with Marjory. Of course, when he had been distant from her he
had had an eternal jealous reflection to that effect. It was natural
that he should have thought of the intimate camping relations
between Marjory and these young students with a great deal of
bitterness, grinding his teeth when picturing their opportunities
to make Marjory fall in love with some one of them. He had
raged particularly about Coke, whose father had millions of
dollars. But he had forgotten all these jealousies in the general
splendour of his exploits. Now, when he saw the truth, it
seemed. to bring him back to his common life and he saw himself suddenly
as not being frantically superior in any way to those other
young men. The more closely he looked at this
last fact, the more convinced he was of its truth. He seemed to
see that he had been impropererly elated over
his services to the Wainwrights, and that, in
the end, the girl might fancy a man because the man had done
her no service at all. He saw his proud position lower itself to
be a pawn in the game. Looking back over the students, he
wondered which one Marjory might love. This hideous
Nikopolis had given eight men chance to win her. His scorn and
his malice quite centered upon Coke, for he could never
forget that the man's father had millions of dollars. The
unfortunate Coke chose that moment to address him
querulously : "Look here, Coleman, can't you tell us how far it is
to Arta ? "
"Coke," said Coleman, " I don't suppose you take me for a
tourist agency, but if you can only try to distinguish between
me and a map with the scale of miles printed in the lower left-
hand corner, you will not contribute so much to the sufferings
of the party which you now adorn."
The students within hearing guffawed and Coke retired, in
The march was not rapid. Coleman almost wore
out his arms holding in check his impetuous horse. Often the
caravan floundered through mud, while at the same time a hot,
yellow dust came from the north.
They were perhaps half way to Arta when Coleman decided
that a rest and luncheon were the things to be considered. He
halted his troop then in the shade of some great trees, and
privately he bade his dragoman prepare the best feast which
could come out of those saddle-bags fresh from Athens. The
result was rather gorgeous in the eyes of the poor wanderers.
First of all there were three knives, three forks, three spoons,
three tin cups and three tin plaies, which the entire party of
twelve used on a most amiable socialistic principle. There were
crisp, salty biscuits and olives, for which they speared in the
bottle. There was potted turkey, and potted ham, and potted
tongue, all tasting precisely alike. There were sardines and the
ordinary tinned beef, disguised sometimes with onions, carrots
and potatoes. Out of the saddle-bags came pepper and salt and
even mustard. The dragoman made coffee over a little fire of
sticks that blazed with a white light. The whole thing was
prodigal, but any philanthropist would have approved of it if he
could have seen the way in which the eight students laid into
the spread. When there came a polite remonstrance-notably from
Mrs. Wainwright-Coleman merely pointed to a large bundle
strapped back of the groom's saddle. During the coffee he was
considering how best to get the students one by one out of the sight of
the Wainwrights where he could give them good drinks of
There was an agitation on the road toward Arta. Some people
were coming on horses. He paid small heed until he heard a
thump of pausing hoofs near him, and a musical voice say: "Rufus! "
He looked up quickly, and then all present saw his eyes
really bulge. There on a fat and glossy horse sat Nora Black,
dressed in probably one of the most correct riding habits which
had ever been seen in the East. She was smiling a radiant smile,
which held the eight students simpty spell-bound. They would
have recognised her if it had not been for this apparitional
coming in the wilds of southeastern Europe. Behind her were
her people-some servants and an old lady on a very little pony.
" Well, Rufus? " she said.
Coleman made the mistake of hesitating. For a fraction of a
moment he had acted as if he were embarrassed, and was only
going to nod and say: " How d'do ?"
He arose and came forward too late. She was looking at him
with a menacing glance which meant difficulties for him if he
was not skilful. Keen as an eagle, she swept her glance over the
face and figure of Marjory. Without. further introduction, the
girls seemed to understand that they were enemies.
Despite his feeling of awkwardness, Coleman's mind
was mainly occupied by pure astonishment. "Nora Black? " he
said, as if even then he could not believe his senses. " How in
the world did you get down here ?
She was not too amiable, evidently, over his reception, and
she seemed to know perfectly that it was in her power to make
him feel extremely unpleasant. " Oh, it's not so far," she
answered. " I don't see where you come in to ask me what I'm
doing here. What are you doing here? " She lifted her eyes and
shot the half of a glance at Marjory. Into her last question she
had interjected a spirit of ownership in which he saw future
woe. It turned him cowardly. " Why, you know I was sent up
here by the paper to rescue the Wainwright party, and I've got
them. I'm taking them to Arta. But why are you here?"
" I am here," she said, giving him the most defiant of
glances, " principally to look for you."
Even the horse she rode betrayed an intention of abiding
upon that spot forever. She had made her communication with
Coleman appear to the Wainwright party as a sort of tender
Coleman looked at her with a steely eye. "Nora, you can
certainly be a devil when you choose."
" Why don't you present me to your friends? Mis,; Nora
Black, special correspondent of the New York Daylighi, if
you please. I belong to your opposition. I am your rival, Rufus,
and I draw a bigger salary-see? Funny looking gang, that.
Who is the old Johnnie in the white wig?"
"Er-where you goin'-you can't "-blundered Coleman
miserably "Aw-the army is in retreat and you must go back to-
don't you see?"
"Is it?" she agked. After a pause she added coolly: "Then I
shall go back to Arta with you and your precious Wainwrights."
GIVING Coleman another glance of subtle menace Nora
repeated: "Why don't you present me to your friends? "
Coleman had been swiftly searching the whole world for a way
clear of this unhappiness, but he knew at last that he could only
die at his guns. " Why, certainly," he said quickly, " if you
wish it." He sauntered easily back to the luncheon blanket.
"This is Miss Black of the New York Daylight and she says
that those people on the mountain are Greeks." The students
were gaping at him, and Marjory and her father sat in the same
silence. But to the relief of Coleman and to the high edification
of the students, Mrs. Wainwright cried out: " Why, is she an
American woman? " And seeing Coleman's nod of assent she
rustled to her feet and advanced hastily upon the complacent
horsewoman. " I'm delighted to see you. Who would think of
seeing an American woman way over here. Have you been here
long? Are you going on further? Oh, we've had such a dreadful
time." Coleman remained long enough to hear Nora say: "
Thank you very much, but I shan't dismount. I am going to ride
back to Arta presently."
Then he heard Mrs. Wainwright cry: " Oh, are you indeed ?
Why we, too, are going at once to Arta. We can all go
together." Coleman fled then to the bosom of the students, who
all looked at him with eyes of cynical penetration. He cast a
glance at Marjory more than fearing a glare which denoted an
implacable resolution never to forgive this thing. On the
contrary he had never seen her so content and serene. "You
have allowed your coffee to get chilled," she said
considerately. "Won't you have the man warm you some more?"
"Thanks, no," he answered with gratitude.
Nora, changing her mind, had dismounted and was coming
with Mrs. Wainwright. That worthy lady had long had a fund of
information and anecdote the sound of which neither her
husband nor her daughter would endure for a moment. Of
course the rascally students were out of the question. Here,
then, was really the first ear amiably and cheerfully open, and
she was talking at what the students called her "thirty knot
"Lost everything. Absolutely everything. Neither of us have
even a brush and comb, or a cake of soap, or enough hairpins
to hold up our hair. I'm going to take Marjory's away from her
and let her braid her hair down her back. You can imagine how
dreadful it is---"
From time to time the cool voice of Nora sounded
without effort through this clamour. " Oh, it will be no trouble
at all. I have more than enough of everything. We can divide
Coleman broke somewhat imperiously into this feminine chat.
"Well, we must be moving, you know, " and his voice started
the men into activity. When the traps were all packed again on
the horse Coleman looked back surprised to see the three
women engaged in the most friendly discussion. The combined
parties now made a very respectable squadron. Coleman rode
off at its head without glancing behind at all. He knew that they
were following from the soft pounding of the horses hoofs on
the sod and from the mellow hum of human voices.
For a long time he did not think to look upon himself as
anything but a man much injured by circumstances. Among his
friends he could count numbers who had lived long lives
without having this peculiar class of misfortune come to them.
In fact it was so unusual a misfortune that men of the world had
not found it necessary to pass from mind to mind a perfec t
formula for dealing with it. But he soon began to consider
himself an extraordinarily lucky person inasmuch as Nora Black
had come upon him with her saddle bags packed with
inflammable substances, so to speak, and there had been as yet
only enough fire to boil coffee for luncheon. He laughed
tenderly when he thought of the innocence of Mrs.
Wainwright, but his face and back flushed with heat when lie
thought of the canniness of the eight American college students.
He heard a horse cantering up on his left side and looking he
saw Nora Black. She was beaming with satisfaction and good
nature. " Well, Rufus," she cried flippantly, " how goes it with
the gallant rescuer? You've made a hit, my boy. You are the
success of the season."
Coleman reflected upon the probable result of a direct appeal
to Nora. He knew of course that such appeals were usually idle,
but he did not consider Nora an ordinary person. His decision
was to venture it. He drew his horse close to hers. " Nora," he
said, " do you know that you are raising the very devil? "
She lifted her finely penciled eyebrows and looked at him
with the baby-stare. " How ? " she enquired.
" You know well enough," he gritted out wrathfully.
"Raising the very devil?" she asked. " How do you mean?"
She was palpably interested for his answer. She waited for his
reply for an interval, and then she asked him outright. " Rufus
Coleman do you mean that I am not a respectable woman ? "
In reality he had meant nothing of the kind, but this direct
throttling of a great question stupefied him utterly, for he saw
now that she' would probably never understand him in the
least and that she would
at any rate always pretend not to understand him and that the
more he said the more harm he manufactured. She studied him
over carefully and then wheeled her horse towards the rear with
some parting remarks. " I suppose you should attend more
strictly to your own affairs, Rufus. Instead of raising the devil I
am lending hairpins. I have seen you insult people, but I have
never seen you insult anyone quite for the whim of the thing.
Go soak your head."
Not considering it advisable to then indulge in such
immersion Coleman rode moodily onward. The hot dust
continued to sting the cheeks of the travellers and in some
places great clouds of dead leaves roared in circles about them.
All of the Wainwright party were utterly fagged. Coleman felt
his skin crackle and his throat seemed to be coated with the
white dust. He worried his dragoman as to the distance to Arta
until the dragoman lied to the point where he always declared
that Arta was only off some hundreds of yards.
At their places in the procession Mrs. Wainwright and
Marjory were animatedly talking to Nora and the old lady on
the little pony. They had at first suffered great amazement at the
voluntary presence of the old lady, but she was there really
because she knew no better. Her colossal ignorance took the
form, mainly, of a most obstreperous patriotism, and indeed she
always acted in a foreign country as if she were the
special commissioner of the President, or perhaps as a
special commissioner could not act at all. She was
very aggressive, and when any of the travelling
arrangements in Europe did not suit her ideas she was
won't to shrilly exclaim: " Well ! New York is good
enough for me." Nora, morbidly afraid that her ex-
pense bill to the Daylight would not be large enough,
had dragged her bodily off to Greece as her companion,
friend and protection. At Arta they had heard of the
grand success of the Greek army. The Turks had not
stood for a moment before that gallant and terrible
advance; no; they had scampered howling with fear
into the north. Jannina would fall-well, Jannina
would fall as soon as the Greeks arrived. There was
no doubt of it. The correspondent and her friend,
deluded and hurried by the light-hearted confidence
of the Greeks in Arta, had hastened out then on a
regular tourist's excursion to see Jannina after its
capture. Nora concealed from her friend the fact
that the editor of the Daylight particularly wished
her to see a battle so that she might write an article
on actual warfare from a woman's point of view.
With her name as a queen of comic opera, such an
article from her pen would be a burning, sensation.
Coleman had been the first to point out to Nora that instead
of going on a picnic to Jannina, she had better run back to
Arta. When the old lady heard that they had not been entirely
safe, she was furious with Nora. "The idea!" she exclaimed to
Mrs. Wainwright. "They might have caught us! They might have
caught us ! "
" Well," said Mrs. Wainwright. " I verily believe they would
have caught us if it had not been for Mr. Coleman."
" Is he the gentleman on the fine horse?"
" Yes; that's him. Oh, he has been sim-plee splendid. I
confess I was a little bit-er-surprised. He was in college under
my husband. I don't know that we thought very great things of
him, but if ever a man won golden opinions he has done so from
" Oh, that must be the Coleman who is such a great friend of
"Yes?" said Mrs. Wainwright insidiously. "Is he? I didn't
know. Of course he knows so many people." Her mind had been
suddenly illumined by the old lady and she thought
extravagantly of the arrival of Nora upon the scene. She
remained all sweetness to the old lady. "Did you know he was
here? Did you expect to meet him? I seemed such a delightful
coincidence." In truth she was being subterraneously clever.
" Oh, no; I don't think so. I didn't hear Nora mention it. Of
course she would have told me. You know, our coming to
Greece was such a surprise. Nora had an engagement in
London at the Folly Theatre in Fly by Night, but the manager
was insufferable, oh, insufferable. So, of course, Nora wouldn't
stand it a minute, and then these newspaper people came along and
asked her to go to Greece for them and she accepted. I am sure I
never expected to find us-aw-fleeing from the Turks or I
shouldn't have Come."
" Mrs. Wainwright was gasping. " You don't mean that she is--
she is Nora Black, the actress."
" Of course she is," said the old lady jubilantly.
" Why, how strange," choked Mrs. Wainwrignt. Nothing she
knew of Nora could account for her stupefaction and grief.
What happened glaringly to her was the duplicity of man.
Coleman was a ribald deceiver. He must have known and yet he
had pretended throughout that the meeting was a pure accident
She turned with a nervous impulse to sympathist with her
daughter, but despite the lovely tranquillity of the girl's face
there was something about her which forbade the mother to
meddle. Anyhow Mrs. Wainwright was sorry that she had told
nice things of Coleman's behaviour, so she said to the old lady:
" Young men of these times get a false age so quickly. We
have always thought it a great pity, about Mr. Coleman."
"Why, how so ? " asked the old lady.
"Oh, really nothing. Only, to us he seemed rather --er-
prematurely experienced or something of that kind.
The old lady did not catch the meaning of the phrase.
She seemed surprised. " Why, I've never seen any full-grown
person in this world who got experience any too
quick for his own good."
At the tail of the procession there was talk between the
two students who had in charge the little grey horse-one
to lead and one to flog. " Billie," said one, " it now
becomes necessary to lose this hobby into the hands of
some of the other fellows. Whereby we will gain
opportunity to pay homage to the great Nora. Why, you
egregious thick-head, this is the chance of a life-time. I'm
damned if I'm going to tow this beast of burden much
" You wouldn't stand a show," said Billie
pessimistically. " Look at Coleman."
" That's all right. Do you mean to say that you prefer to
continue towing pack horses in the presence of this queen
of song and the dance just because you think Coleman can
throw out his chest a little more than you. Not so. Think
of your bright and sparkling youth. There's Coke and
Pete Tounley near Marjory. We'll call 'em." Whereupon
he set up a cry. " Say, you people, we're not getting a,
salary for this. Supposin' you try for a time. It'll do you
good." When the two addressed bad halted to await the
arrival of the little grey horse, they took on glum
expressions. " You look like poisoned pups," said the
student who led the horse. " Too strong for
light work. Grab onto the halter, now, Peter, and tow.
We are going ahead to talk to Nora Black."
" Good time you'll have," answered Peter Tounley.
" Coleman is cuttin' up scandalous. You won't stand a
" What do you think of him ? " said Coke. " Seems
curious, all 'round. Do you suppose he knew she would
show up? It was nervy to--"
" Nervy to what? " asked Billie.
"Well," said Coke, " seems to me he is playing both
ends against the middle. I don't know anything about
Nora Black, but-"
The three other students expressed themselves with
conviction and in chorus. " Coleman's all right."
" Well, anyhow," continued Coke, " I don't see my way
free to admiring him introducing Nora Black to the
" He didn't," said the others, still in chorus.
" Queer game," said Peter Tounley. " He seems to
know her pretty well."
" Pretty damn well," said Billie.
"Anyhow he's a brick," said Peter Tounley. "We
mustn't forget that. Lo, I begin to feel that our Rufus is a
fly guy of many different kinds. Any play that he is in
commands my respect. He won't be hit by a chimney in
the daytime, for unto him has come much wisdom, I
don't think I'll worry."
"Is he stuck on Nora Black, do you know?" asked Billie.
" One thing is plain," replied Coke. " She has got him
somehow by the short hair and she intends him to holler
murder. Anybody can see that."
" Well, he won't holler murder," said one of them with
conviction. " I'll bet you he won't. He'll hammer the war-post
and beat the tom-tom until he drops, but he won't holler
" Old Mother Wainwright will be in his wool presently,"
quoth Peter Tounley musingly, " I could see it coming in her
eye. Somebody has given his snap away, or something."
" Aw, he had no snap," said Billie. " Couldn't you see how
rattled he was? He would have given a lac if dear Nora hadn't
"Of course," the others assented. "He was rattled."
" Looks queer. And nasty," said Coke.
" Nora herself had an axe ready for him."
They began to laugh. " If she had had an umbrella she
would have basted him over the head with it. Oh, my! He was
" Nevertheless," said Peter Tounley, " I refuse to worry over
our Rufus. When he can't take care of himself the rest of us
want to hunt cover. He is a fly guy-"
Coleman in the meantime had become aware that
the light of Mrs. Wainwright's countenance was turned from
him. The party stopped at a well, and when he offered her a
drink from his cup he thought she accepted it with scant
thanks. Marjory was still gracious, always gracious, but this did
not reassure him, because he felt there was much unfathomable
deception in it. When he turned to seek consolation in the
manner of the professor he found him as before, stunned with
surprise, and the only idea he had was to be as tractable as a
When he returned to the head of the column, Nora again
cantered forward to join him. " Well, me gay Lochinvar," she
cried, " and has your disposition improved? "
" You are very fresh," he said.
She laughed loud enough to be heard the full length of the
caravan. It was a beautiful laugh, but full of insolence and
confidence. He flashed his eyes malignantly upon her, but then
she only laughed more. She could see that he wished to
strangle her. " What a disposition ! " she said. " What a
disposition ! You are not. nearly so nice as your friends. Now,
they are charming, but you-Rufus, I wish you would get that
temper mended. Dear Rufus, do it to please me. You know you
like to please me. Don't you now, dear? "
He finally laughed. " Confound you, Nora. I would like to kill
But at his laugh she was all sunshine. It was as if she.
had been trying to taunt him into good humour with her.
"Aw, now, Rufus, don't be angry. I'll be good, Rufus.
Really, I will. Listen. I want to tell you something. Do you
know what I did? Well, you know, I never was cut out for
this business, and, back there, when you told me about the
Turks being near and all that sort of thing, I was
frightened almost to death. Really, I was. So, when
nobody was looking, I sneaked two or three little drinks
out of my flask. Two or three little drinks-"
" GOOD God!" said Coleman. "You don't Mean-"
Nora smiled rosily at him. " Oh, I'm all right," she
answered. " Don't worry about your Aunt Nora, my
precious boy. Not for a minute."
Coleman was horrified. " But you are not going to-you
are not going to-"
"Not at all, me son. Not at all," she answered.
I'm not going to prance. I'm going to be as nice as pie,
and just ride quietly along here with dear little Rufus.
Only * * you know what I can do when I get started, so
you had better be a very good boy. I might take it into my
head to say some things, you know."
Bound hand and foot at his stake, he could not even
chant his defiant torture song. It might precipitate-- in fact,
he was sure it would precipitate the grand smash. But to
the very core of his soul, he for the time hated Nora
Black. He did not dare to remind her that he would
revenge himself; he dared only to dream of this revenge,
but it fairly made his thoughts flame, and deep in his
throat he was swearing an inflexible persecution of Nora
Black. The old expression of his sex came to him,
" Oh, if she were only a man ! " she had
been a man, he would have fallen upon her tooth and nail. Her
motives for all this impressed him not at all; she was simply a
witch who bound him helpless with the pwer of her femininity,
and made him eat cinders. He was so sure that his face betrayed
him that he did not dare let her see it. " Well, what are you going
to do about it ? " he asked, over his shoulder.
" 0-o-oh," she drawled, impudently. "Nothing." He could see
that she was determined not to be confessed. " I may do this or
I may do that. It all depends upon your behaviour, my dear
As they rode on, he deliberated as to the best means of
dealing with this condition. Suddenly he resolved to go with
the whole tale direct to Marjory, and to this end he half wheeled
his horse. He would reiterate that he loved her and then explain-
explain ! He groaned when he came to the word, and ceased
The cavalcade reached at last the bank of the Aracthus river,
with its lemon groves and lush grass. A battery wheeled before
them over the ancient bridge -a flight of short, broad cobbled
steps up as far as the centre of the stream and a similar flight
down to the other bank. The returning aplomb of the travellers
was well illustrated by the professor, who, upon sighting this
bridge, murmured : " Byzantine."
This was the first indication that he had still within him a power
to resume the normal.
The steep and narrow street was crowded with soldiers; the
smoky little coffee shops were a-babble with people discussing
the news from the front. None seemed to heed the remarkable
procession that wended its way to the cable office. Here
Coleman resolutely took precedence. He knew that there was
no good in expecting intelligence out of the chaotic clerks, but
he managed to get upon the wires this message :
" Eclipse, New York: Got Wainwright party; all well. Coleman."
The students had struggled to send messages to their people
in America, but they had only succeeded in deepening the
tragic boredom of the clerks.
When Coleman returned to the street he thought that he had
seldom looked upon a more moving spectacle than the
Wainwright party presented at that moment. Most of the
students were seated in a row, dejectedly, upon the kerb. The
professor and Mrs. Wainwright looked like two old pictures,
which, after an existence in a considerate gloom, had been
brought out in their tawdriness to the clear light. Hot white dust
covered everybody, and from out the grimy faces the eyes
blinked, red-fringed with sleeplessness. Desolation sat upon all,
save Marjory. She possessed some marvellous power of
looking always fresh. This quality had indeed impressed the old
lady on the little pony until she had said to Nora Black: "That
girl would look well anywhere." Nora Black had not been amiable
in her reply.
Coleman called the professor and the dragoman for a durbar.
The dragoman said: "Well, I can get one carriage, and we can
" Carriage be blowed! " said Coleman. " What these people
need is rest, sleep. You must find a place at once. These people
can't remain in the street." He spoke in anger, as if he had
previously told the dragoman and the latter had been
inattentive. The man immediately departed.
Coleman remarked that there was no course but to remain in
the street until his dragoman had found them a habitation. It
was a mournful waiting. The students sat on the kerb. Once
they whispered to Coleman, suggesting a drink, but he told
them that he knew only one cafe, the entrance of which would
be in plain sight of the rest of the party. The ladies talked
together in a group of four. Nora Black was bursting with the
fact that her servant had hired rooms in Arta on their outcoming
journey, and she wished Mrs. Wainwright and Marjory to come
to them, at least for a time, but she dared not risk a refusal, and
she felt something in Mrs. Wainwright's manner which led her
to be certain that such would be the answer to her invitation.
Coleman and the professor strolled slowly up and down the
" Well, my work is over, sir," said Coleman. " My paper told
me to find you, and, through no virtue of my own, I found you.
I am very glad of it. I don't know of anything in my life that has
given me greater pleasure."
The professor was himself again in so far as he had lost all
manner of dependence. But still he could not yet be bumptious.
" Mr. Coleman," he said, "I am placed under life-long obligation
to you. * * * I am not thinking of myself so much. * * * My wife
and daughter---" His gratitude was so genuine that he could not
finish its expression.
" Oh, don't speak of it," said Coleman. " I really didn't do
anything at all."
The dragoman finally returned and led them all to a house
which he had rented for gold. In the great, bare, upper chamber
the students dropped wearily to the floor, while the woman of
the house took the Wainwrights to a more secluded apartment.,
As the door closed on them, Coleman turned like a flash.
" Have a drink," he said. The students arose around him like
the wave of a flood. "You bet." In the absence of changes of
clothing, ordinary food, the possibility of a bath, and in the
presence of great weariness and dust, Coleman's whisky
seemed to them a glistening luxury. Afterward they laid down
as if to sleep, but in reality they were too dirty and
too fagged to sleep. They simply lay murmuring Peter Tounley
even developed a small fever.
It was at this time that Coleman. suddenly discovered his
acute interest in the progressive troubles of his affair of the
heart had placed the business of his newspaper in the rear of
his mind. The greater part of the next hour he spent in getting
off to New York that dispatch which created so much excitement
for him later. Afterward he was free to reflect moodily upon the
ability of Nora Black to distress him. She, with her retinue, had
disappeared toward her own rooms. At dusk he went into the
street, and was edified to see Nora's dragoman dodging along in
his wake. He thought that this was simply another manifestation
of Nora's interest in his movements, and so he turned a corner,
and there pausing, waited until the dragoman spun around
directly into his arms. But it seemed that the man had a note to
deliver, and this was only his Oriental way of doing it.
The note read: " Come and dine with me to-night." It was, not
a request. It was peremptory. "All right," he said, scowling at
He did not go at once, for he wished to reflect for a time and
find if he could not evolve some weapons of his own. It seemed
to him that all the others were liberally supplied with weapons.
A clear, cold night had come upon the earth when he
signified to the lurking dragoman that he was in
readiness to depart with him to Nora's abode. They passed
finally into a dark court-yard, up a winding staircase, across an
embowered balcony, and Coleman entered alone a room where
there were lights.
His, feet were scarcely over the threshold before he
had concluded that the tigress was now going to try
some velvet purring. He noted that the arts of the
stage had not been thought too cheaply obvious for
use. Nora sat facing the door. A bit of yellow silk
had been twisted about the crude shape of the lamp,
and it made the play of light, amber-like, shadowy and
yet perfectly clear, the light which women love. She
was arrayed in a puzzling gown of that kind of Gre-
cian silk which is so docile that one can pull yards of
it through a ring. It was of the colour of new straw.
Her chin was leaned pensively upon her palm and the
light fell on a pearly rounded forearm. She was
looking at him with a pair of famous eyes, azure, per-
haps-certainly purple at times-and it may be, black
at odd moments-a pair of eyes that had made many
an honest man's heart jump if he thought they were
looking at him. It was a vision, yes, but Coleman's
cynical knowledge of drama overpowered his sense of
its beauty. He broke out brutally, in the phrases of
the American street. "Your dragoman is a rubber-neck.
If he keeps darking me I will simply have to
kick the stuffing out of him."
She was alone in the room. Her old lady had been
instructed to have a headache and send apologies. She was not
disturbed by Coleman's words. "Sit down, Rufus, and have a
cigarette, and don't be cross, because I won't stand it."
He obeyed her glumly. She had placed his chair where not a
charm of her could be lost upon an observant man. Evidently
she did not purpose to allow him to irritate her away from her
original plan. Purring was now her method, and none of his
insolence could achieve a growl from the tigress. She arose,
saying softly: "You look tired, almost ill, poor boy. I will give
you some brandy. I have almost everything that I could think to
make those Daylight people buy." With a sweep of her hand
she indicated the astonishing opulence of the possessions in
different parts of the room.
As she stood over him with the brandy there came through
the smoke of his cigarette the perfume of orris-root and violet.
A servant began to arrange the little cold dinner on a camp
table, and Coleman saw with an enthusiasm which he could not
fully master, four quart bottles of a notable brand of champagne
placed in a rank on the floor.
At dinner Nora was sisterly. She watched him, waited upon
him, treated him to an affectionate inti. macy for which he knew
a thousand men who would have hated him. The champagne
Slowly he melted. By the time that the boy came with little
cups of Turkish coffee he was at least amiable. Nora talked
dreamily. " The dragoman says this room used to be part of the
harem long ago." She shot him a watchful glance, as if she had
expected the fact to affect him. "Seems curious, doesn't it? A
harem. Fancy that." He smoked one cigar and then discarded
tobacco, for the perfume of orris-root and violet was making
him meditate. Nora talked on in a low voice. She knew that,
through half-closed lids, he was looking at her in steady
speculation. She knew that she was conquering, but no
movement of hers betrayed an elation. With the most exquisite
art she aided his contemplation, baring to him, for instance,
the glories of a statuesque neck, doing it all with the manner of
a splendid and fabulous virgin who knew not that there was
such a thing as shame. Her stockings were of black silk.
Coleman presently answered her only in monosyllable,
making small distinction between yes and no. He simply sat
watching her with eyes in which there were two little covetous
He was thinking, "To go to the devil-to go to the devil-to go
to the devil with this girl is not a bad fate-not a bad fate-not a
" Come out on the balcony," cooed Nora. "There are
some funny old storks on top of some chimneys near here
and they clatter like mad all day and night."
They moved together out to the balcony, but Nora
retreated with a little cry when she felt the coldness of the
night. She said that she would get a cloak. Coleman was
not unlike a man in a dream. He walked to the rail of the
balcony where a great vine climbed toward the roof. He
noted that it was dotted with. blossoms, which in the deep
purple of the Oriental night were coloured in strange
shades of maroon. This truth penetrated his abstraction
until when Nora came she found him staring at them as if
their colour was a revelation which affected him vitally.
She moved to his side without sound and he first knew of
her presence from the damning fragrance. She spoke just
above her breath. "It's a beautiful evening."
" Yes," he answered. She was at his shoulder. If he
moved two inches he must come in contact. They
remained in silence leaning upon the rail.
Finally he began to mutter some commonplaces which
meant nothing particularly, but into his tone as he mouthed
them was the note of a forlorn and passionate lover. Then
as if by accident he traversed the two inches and his
shoulder was against the soft and yet firm shoulder of
Nora Black. There was something in his throat at this
time which changed his voice into a mere choking noise.
She did not move. He could see her eyes glowing
innocently out of the pallour which the darkness gave to
her face. If he was touching her, she did not seem to
"I am awfully tired," said Coleman, thickly. "I think I
will go home and turn in."
" You must be, poor boy," said Nora tenderly.
"Wouldn't you like a little more of that champagne?"
" Well, I don't mind another glass."
She left him again and his galloping thought pounded to
the old refrain. " To go to the devil-to go to the devil-to go
to the devil with this girl is not a bad fate-not a bad fate-
not a bad fate." When she returned he drank his glass of
champagne. Then he mumbled: " You must be cold. Let
me put your cape around you better. It won't do to catch
cold here, you know."
She made a sweet pretence of rendering herself to his
care. " Oh, thanks * * * I am not really cold * * * There
Of course all his manipulation of the cloak had been a fervid
caress, and although her acting up to this point had remained in
the role of the splendid and fabulous virgin she now turned her
liquid eyes to his with a look that expressed knowledge, triumph
and delight. She was sure of her victory. And she said:
"Sweetheart * * * don't you think I am as nice as Marjory ?" The
impulse had been airily confident.
It was as if the silken cords had been parted by the sweep of
a sword. Coleman's face had instantly stiffened and he looked
like a man suddenly recalled to the ways of light. It may easily
have been that in a moment he would have lapsed again to his
luxurious dreaming. But in his face the girl had read a fatal
character to her blunder and her resentment against him took
precedence of any other emotion. She wheeled abruptly from
him and said with great contempt: " Rufus, you had better go
home. You're tired and sleepy, and more or less drunk."
He knew that the grand tumble of all their little embowered
incident could be neither stayed or mended. "Yes," he
answered, sulkily, "I think so too." They shook hands huffily
and he went away.
When he arrived among the students he found that they had
appropriated everything of his which would conduce to their
comfort. He was furious over it. But to his bitter speeches they
replied in jibes.
"Rufus is himself again. Admire his angelic disposition. See
him smile. Gentle soul."
A sleepy voice said from a comer: " I know what pinches
" What ? " asked several.
"He's been to see Nora and she flung him out bodily."
" Yes?" sneered Coleman. "At times I seem to
see in you, Coke, the fermentation of some primeval
form of sensation, as if it were possible for you to de-
velop a mind in two or three thousand years, and then
at other times you appear * * * much as you are
As soon as they had well measured Coleman's temper all of
the students save Coke kept their mouths tightly closed. Coke
either did not understand or his mood was too vindictive for
silence. " Well, I know you got a throw-down all right," he
"And how would you know when I got a throw down? You
pimply, milk-fed sophomore."
The others perked up their ears in mirthful appreciation of
" Of course," continued Coleman, " no one would protest
against your continued existence, Coke, unless you insist on
recalling yourself violently to people's attention in this way.
The mere fact of your living would not usually be offensive to
people if you weren't eternally turning a sort of calcium
light on your prehensile attributes."
Coke was suddenly angry, angry much like a peasant, and his
anger first evinced itself in a mere sputtering and spluttering.
Finally he got out a rather long speech, full of grumbling noises,
but he was understood by all to declare that his prehensile
attributes had not led him to cart a notorious woman about the
world with him. When they quickly looked at Coleman they saw
that he was livid. " You-"
But, of course, there immediately arose all sorts of protesting
cries from the seven non-combatants. Coleman, as he took two
strides toward Coke's corner, looked fully able to break him
across his knee, but for this Coke did not seem to care at all. He
was on his feet with a challenge in his eye. Upon each cheek
burned a sudden hectic spot. The others were clamouring, "Oh,
say, this won't do. Quit it. Oh, we mustn't have a fight. He didn't
mean it, Coleman." Peter Tounley pressed Coke to the wall
saying: " You damned young jackass, be quiet."
They were in the midst of these. festivities when a door
opened and disclosed the professor. He might. have been
coming into the middle of a row in one of the corridors of the
college at home only this time he carried a candle. His speech,
however, was a Washurst speech : " Gentlemen, gentlemen,
what does this mean ? " All seemed to expect Coleman to make
the answer. He was suddenly very cool. "Nothing, professor," he
said, " only that this-only that Coke has insulted me. I suppose
that it was only the irresponsibility of a boy, and I beg that you
will not trouble over it."
" Mr. Coke," said the professor, indignantly, " what have
you to say to this? " Evidently he could not clearly see Coke,
and he peered around his candle at where the virtuous Peter
Tounley was expostulating with the young man. The figures of
all the excited group moving in the candle light caused vast and
uncouth shadows to have conflicts in the end of the room.
Peter Tounley's task was not light, and beyond that he had
the conviction that his struggle with Coke was making him also
to appear as a rowdy. This conviction was proven to be true by
a sudden thunder from the old professor, " Mr. Tounley, desist ! "
In wrath he desisted and Coke flung himself forward. He
paid less attention to the professor than if the latter had been a
jack-rabbit. " You say I insulted you? he shouted crazily in
"Well * * * I meant to, do you see ? "
Coleman was glacial and lofty beyond everything.
"I am glad to have you admit the truth of what I have said."
Coke was, still suffocating with his peasant rage, which
would not allow him to meet the clear, calm
expressions of Coleman. "Yes * * * I insulted you * * * I insulted
you because what I said was correct * * my prehensile attributes
* * yes but I have never----"
He was interrupted by a chorus from the other students.
"Oh, no, that won't do. Don't say that. Don't repeat that, Coke."
Coleman remembered the weak bewilderment of
the little professor in hours that had not long passed,
and it was with something of an impersonal satisfac-
tion that he said to himself: " The old boy's got his
war-paint on again." The professor had stepped
sharply up to Coke and looked at him with eyes that
seemed to throw out flame and heat. There was a
moment's pause, and then the old scholar spoke, bit-
ing his words as if they were each a short section of
steel wire. " Mr. Coke, your behaviour will end your
college career abruptly and in gloom, I promise you.
You have been drinking."
Coke, his head simply floating in a sea of universal defiance,
at once blurted out: " Yes, sir."
"You have been drinking?" cried the professor, ferociously.
"Retire to your-retire to your----retire---" And then in a voice of
thunder he shouted: "Retire."
Whereupon seven hoodlum students waited a decent
moment, then shrieked with laughter. But the old
professor would have none of their nonsense. He quelled them
all with force and finish.
Coleman now spoke a few words." Professor, I
can't tell you how sorry I am that I should be
concerned in any such riot as this, and since we are
doomed to be bound so closely into each other's
society I offer myself without reservation as being
willing to repair the damage as well as may be, done. I
don t see how I can forget at once that Coke's conduct
was insolently unwarranted, but * * * if he has anything
to sayof a nature that might heal the
breach I would be willing to to meet
him in the openest manner." As he made these re-
marks Coleman's dignity was something grand, and,
Morever, there was now upon his face that curious
look of temperance and purity which had been noted
in New York as a singular physical characteristic. If
he. was guilty of anything in this affair at all-in fact,
if he had ever at any time been guilty of anything-
no mark had come to stain that bloom of innocence.
The professor nodded in the fullest appreciation and
sympathy. " Of course * * * really there is no other
sleeping placeI suppose it would be better-"
Then he again attacked Coke. "Young man, you
have chosen an unfortunate moment to fill us with a
suspicion that you may not be a gentleman. For the
time there is nothing to be done with you." He addressed
the other students. " There is nothing for
me to do, young gentleman, but to leave Mr. Coke in your care.
Good-night, sirs. Good-night, Coleman." He left the room with
When Coke was bade to " Retire " he had, of course, simply
retreated fuming to a corner of the room where he remained
looking with yellow eyes like an animal from a cave. When the
others were able to see through the haze of mental confusion
they found that Coleman was with deliberation taking off his
boots. " Afterward, when he removed his waist-coat, he took
great care to wind his large gold watch.
The students, much subdued, lay again in their
places, and when there was any talking it was of an
extremely local nature, referring principally to the
floor As being unsuitable for beds and also referring
from time to time to a real or an alleged selfishness
on the part of some one of the recumbent men. Soon
there was only the sound of heavy breathing.
When the professor had returned to what he called the
Wainwright part of the house he was greeted instantly with the
question: "What was it?" His wife and daughter were up in
alarm. "What was it " they repeated, wildly.
He was peevish. " Oh, nothing, nothing. But that young
Coke is a regular ruffian. He had gotten him. self into some
tremendous uproar with Coleman. When I arrived he seemed
actually trying to assault him. Revolting! He had been drinking.
Coleman's behaviour, I must say, was splendid. Recognised at once the
delicacy of my position-he not being a student. If I had found
him in the wrong it would have been simpler than finding him in
the right. Confound that rascal of a Coke." Then, as he began a
partial disrobing, he treated them to grunted scrap of information.
" Coke was quite insane * * * I feared that I couldn't
control him * * * Coleman was like ice * * * and as much as I
have seen to admire in him during the last few days, this quiet
beat it all. If he had not recognised my helplessness as far as he
was concerned the whole thing might have been a most
miserable business. He is a very fine young man." The
dissenting voice to this last tribute was the voice of Mrs.
Wainwright. She said: " Well, Coleman drinks, too-everybody
" I know," responded the professor, rather bashfully, but I
am confident that he had not touched a drop." Marjory said
The earlier artillery battles had frightened most of the
furniture out of the houses of Arta, and there was left in this
room only a few old red cushions, and the Wainwrights were
camping upon the floor. Marjory was enwrapped in Coleman's
macintosh, and while the professor and his wife maintained
some low talk of the recent incident she in silence had turned
her cheek into the yellow velvet collar of the coat. She felt
something against her bosom, and putting her hand
carefully into the top pocket of the coat she found three cigars.
These she took in the darkness and laid aside, telling herself to
remember their position in the morning. She had no doubt that
Coleman: would rejoice over them, before he could get back to,
Athens where there were other good cigars.
THE ladies of the Wainwright party had not complained
at all when deprived of even such civilised advantages as a
shelter and a knife and fork and soap and water, but Mrs.
Wainwright complained bitterly amid the half-civilisation of
Arta. She could see here no excuse for the absence of several
hundred things which she had always regarded as essential to
life. She began at 8.30 A. M. to make both the professor and
Marjory woeful with an endless dissertation upon the beds in
the hotel at Athens. Of course she had not regarded them at
the time as being exceptional beds * * * that was quite true, *
* * but then one really never knew what one was really missing
until one really missed it * * * She would never have thought
that she would come to consider those Athenian beds as
excellent * * * but experience is a great teacher * * * makes-
one reflect upon the people who year in and year out have no
beds at all, poor things. * * * Well, it made one glad if one did
have a good bed, even if it was at the time on the other side of
the world. If she ever reached it she did not know what could
ever induce her to leave it again. * * * She would never be
"'Induced!'" snarled the professor. The word represented to
him a practiced feminine misusage of truth, and at such his
white warlock always arose. "" Induced!' Out of four American
women I have seen lately, you seem to be the only one who
would say that you had endured this thing because you had
been 'induced' by others to come over here. How absurd!"
Mrs. Wainwright fixed her husband with a steely eye. She
saw opportunity for a shattering retort. " You don't mean,
Harrison, to include Marjory and I in the same breath with
those two women? "
The professor saw no danger ahead for himself. He merely
answered: " I had no thought either way. It did not seem
" Well, it is important," snapped Mrs. Wainwright.
" Do you know that you are speaking in the same breath of
Marjory and Nora Black, the actress? "
" No," said the professor. " Is that so ? " He was astonished,
but he was not aghast at all. "Do you mean to say that is Nora
Black, the comic opera star ? "
" That's exactly who she is," said Mrs. Wainwright,
dramatically. " And I consider that-I consider that Rufus
Coleman has done no less than-misled us."
This last declaration seemed to have no effect upon the
professor's pure astonishment, but Marjory looked at her
mother suddenly. However, she said no word,
exhibiting again that strange and, inscrutable countenance
which masked even the tiniest of her maidenly emotions.
Mrs. Wainwright was triumphant, and she immediately set
about celebrating her victory. " Men never see those things,"
she said to her husband. " Men never see those things. You
would have gone on forever without finding out that your-your-
hospitality was, being abused by that Rufus Coleman."
The professor woke up." Hospitality ?" he said,
indignantly. " Hospitality ? I have not had any
hospitality to be abused. Why don't you talk sense?
It is not that, but-it might-" He hesitated and
then spoke slowly. " It might be very awkward. Of
course one never knows anything definite about such
people, but I suppose * * * Anyhow, it was strange
in Coleman to allow her to meet us. "
"It Was all a pre-arranged plan," announced the
triumphant Mrs. Wainwright. " She came here on putpose
to meet Rufus Coleman, and he knew it, and I should not
wonder if they had not the exact spot picked out where
they were going to meet."
"I can hardly believe that," said the professor, in distress.
"I can, hardly believe that. It does, not seem to me that
" Oh yes. Your dear Rufus Coleman," cried Mrs.
Wainwright. " You think he is very fine now. But
I can remember when you didn't think---"
And the parents turned together an abashed look at their
daughter. The professor actually flushed with shame. It seemed
to him that he had just committed an atrocity upon the heart of
his child. The instinct of each of them was to go to her and
console her in their arms. She noted it immediately, and seemed
to fear it. She spoke in a clear and even voice. " I don't think,
father, that you should distress me by supposing that I am
concerned at all if Mr. Coleman cares to get Nora Black over
" Not at all," stuttered the professor. " I---"
Mrs. Wainwright's consternation turned suddenly to, anger.
" He is a scapegrace. A rascal. A-- a--"
" Oh," said Marjory, coolly, " I don't see why it isn't his own
affair. He didn't really present her to you, mother, you
remember? She seemed quite to force her way at first, and then
you-you did the rest. It should be very easy to avoid her, now
that we are out of the wilderness. And then it becomes a private
matter of Mr. Coleman's. For my part, I rather liked her. I don't
see such a dreadful calamity."
"Marjory!" screamed her mother. "How dreadful. Liked her!
Don't let me hear you say such shocking things."
" I fail to see anything shocking," answered Marjory,
The professor was looking helplessly from his
daughter to his wife, and from his wife to his daughter,
like a man who was convinced that his troubles
would never end. This new catastrophe created a
different kind of difficulty, but he considered that the
difficulties were as robust as had been the preceding
ones. He put on his hat and went out of the room.
He felt an impossibility of saying anything to
Coleman, but he felt that he must look upon him. He
must look upon this man and try to know from his
manner the measure of guilt. And incidentally he
longed for the machinery of a finished society which
prevents its parts from clashing, prevents it with its
great series of I law upon law, easily operative but
relentless. Here he felt as a man flung into the jungle
with his wife and daughter,
where they could become the victims of any sort of savagery.
His thought referred once more to what he considered the invaluable
services of Coleman, and as he observed them in conjunction
with the present accusation, he was simply dazed. It was then
possible that one man could play two such divergent parts. He
had not learned this at Washurst. But no; the world was not
such a bed of putrefaction. He would not believe it; he would
not believe it.
After adventures which require great nervous en. durance, it
is only upon the second or third night that the common man
sleeps hard. The students had expected to slumber like dogs on
the first night after their trials. but none slept long, And few
Coleman was the first man to arise. When he left the room
the students were just beginning to blink. He took his
dragoman among the shops and he bought there all the little
odds and ends which might go to make up the best breakfast in
Arta. If he had had news of certain talk he probably would not
have been buying breakfast for eleven people. Instead, he
would have been buying breakfast for one. During his absence
the students arose and performed their frugal toilets.
Considerable attention was paid to Coke by the others. " He
made a monkey of you," said Peter Tounley with unction. " He
twisted you until you looked like a wet, grey rag. You had
better leave this wise guy alone."
It was not the night nor was it meditation that had taught
Coke anything, but he seemed to have learned something from
the mere lapse of time. In appearance he was subdued, but he
managed to make a temporary jauntiness as he said : " Oh, I
" Well, you ought to know," said he who was called Billie.
"You ought to know. You made an egregious snark of
yourself. Indeed, you sometimes resembled a boojum. Anyhow,
you were a plain chump. You exploded your face about
something of which you knew nothing, and I'm damned if I
believe you'd make even a good retriever."
"You're a half-bred water-spaniel," blurted Peter Tounley.
"And," he added, musingly, "that is a pretty low animal."
Coke was argumentative. "Why am I? " he asked, turning his
head from side to side. " I don't see where I was so wrong."
" Oh, dances, balloons, picnics, parades and ascensions,"
they retorted, profanely. " You swam voluntarily into water that
was too deep for you. Swim out. Get dry. Here's a towel."
Coke, smitten in the face with a wet cloth rolled into a ball,
grabbed it and flung it futilely at a well-dodging
companion " No," he cried, " I don't see it. Now look here. I
don't see why we shouldn't all resent this Nora Black
One student said: "Well, what's the matter with Nora B lack,
Another student said "I don't see how you've been issued
any license to say things about Nora Black."
Another student said dubiously: " Well, he knows her well."
And then three or four spoke at once. " He was very badly
rattled when she appeared upon the scene."
Peter Tounley asked: "Well, which of you people know
anything wrong about Nora Black? "
There was a pause, and then Coke said: " Oh, of course-I
He who was called Billie then addressed his com- panions.
" It wouldn't be right to repeat any old lie about Nora Black, and
by the same token it wouldn't be right to see old Mother
Wainwright chummin' with her. There is no wisdom in going
further than that. Old Mother Wainwright don't know that her
fair companion of yesterday is the famous comic opera star. For
my part, I believe that Coleman is simply afraid to tell her. I
don't think he wished to see Nora Black yesterday any more
than he wished to see the devil. The discussion, as I
understand itconcerned itself only with what Coleman had to
do with the thing, and yesterday anybody could see that he
was in a panic."
They heard a step on the stair, and directly Coleman entered,
followed by his dragoman. They were laden with the raw
material for breakfast. The correspondent looked keenly among
the students, for it was plain that they had been talking of him.
It, filled him with rage, and for a stifling moment he could not
think why he failed to immediately decamp in chagrin and leave
eleven orphans to whatever fate. their general incompetence
might lead them. It struck him as a deep shame that even then
he and his paid man were carrying in the breakfast. He wanted
to fling it all on the floor and walk out. Then he remembered
Marjory. She was the reason. She was the reason for
But he could not repress certain, of his thoughts. "Say, you
people," he said, icily, " you had better soon learn to hustle for
yourselves. I may be a dragoman, and a butler, and a cook, and
a housemaid, but I'm blowed if I'm a wet nurse." In reality, he
had taken the most generous pleasure in working for the others
before their eyes had even been opened from sleep, but it was
now all turned to wormwood. It is certain that even this could
not have deviated this executive man from labour and
management. because these were his life. But he felt that he was
about to walk out of the room, consigning them all to Hades.
His glance of angry, reproach fastened itself mainly upon Peter
Tounley, because he knew that of all, Peter was the most
Peter, Tounley was abashed by this glance. So you've
brought us something to eat, old man. That is tremendously
nice of you-we-appreciate it like everything."
Coleman was mollified by Peter's tone. Peter had had that
emotion which is equivalent to a sense of guilt, although in
reality he was speckless. Two or three of the other students
bobbed up to a sense of the situation. They ran to Coleman,
and with polite cries took his provisions from him. One dropped
a bunch of lettuce on the floor, and others reproached him with
scholastic curses. Coke was seated near the window, half
militant, half conciliatory. It was
impossible for him to keep up a manner of deadly enmity while
Coleman was bringing in his breakfast. He would have much
preferred that Coleman had not brought in his breakfast. He
would have much preferred to have foregone breakfast
altogether. He would have much preferred anything. There
seemed to be a conspiracy of circumstance to put him in the
wrong and make him appear as a ridiculous young peasant. He
was the victim of a benefaction, and he hated Coleman harder
now than at any previous time. He saw that if he stalked out
and took his breakfast alone in a cafe, the others would
consider him still more of an outsider. Coleman had expressed
himself like a man of the world and a gentleman, and Coke was
convinced that he was a superior man of the world and a
superior gentleman, but that he simply had not had words to
express his position at the proper time. Coleman was glib.
Therefore, Coke had been the victim of an attitude as well as of
a benefaction. And so he deeply hated Coleman.
The others were talking cheerfully. "What the deuce are
these, Coleman ? Sausages? Oh, my. And look at these
burlesque fishes. Say, these Greeks don't care what they eat.
Them thar things am sardines in the crude state. No ? Great
God, look at those things. Look. What? Yes, they are.
Radishes. Greek synonym for radishes."
The professor entered. " Oh," he said apologetically,
as if he were intruding in a boudoir. All his serious desire
to probe Coleman to the bottom ended in embarrassment.
Mayhap it was not a law of feeling, but it happened at any rate.
" He had come in a puzzled frame of mind, even an accusative
frame of mind, and almost immediately he found himself suffer.
ing like a culprit before his judge. It is a phenomenon of what
we call guilt and innocence.
" Coleman welcomed him cordially. " Well, professor,
good-morning. I've rounded up some things that at least may be
" You are very good " very considerate, Mr. Coleman,"
answered the professor, hastily. " I'am sure we are much
indebted to you." He had scanned the correspondent's face,
land it had been so devoid of guile that he was fearful that his
suspicion, a base suspicion, of this noble soul would be
detected. " No, no, we can never thank you enough."
Some of the students began to caper with a sort of decorous
hilarity before their teacher. " Look at the sausage, professor.
Did you ever see such sausage " Isn't it salubrious " And see
these other things, sir. Aren't they curious " I shouldn't wonder
if they were alive. Turnips, sir? No, sir. I think they are
Pharisees. I have seen a Pharisee look like a pelican, but I have
never seen a Pharisee look like a turnip, so I think these turnips
must be Pharisees, sir, Yes, they may be walrus. We're not sure.
Anyhow, their angles are geometrically all wrong. Peter, look out."
Some green stuff was flung across the room. The professor laughed;
Coleman laughed. Despite Coke, dark-browed, sulking. and yet
desirous of reinstating himself, the room had waxed warm with
the old college feeling, the feeling of lads who seemed never to
treat anything respectfully and yet at the same time managed to
treat the real things with respect. The professor himself
contributed to their wild carouse over the strange Greek viands.
It was a vivacious moment common to this class in times of
relaxation, and it was understood perfectly.
Coke arose. " I don't see that I have any friends here," he
said, hoarsely, " and in consequence I don't see why I should
All looked at him. At the same moment Mrs. Wainwright and
Marjory entered the room.
"Good-morning," said Mrs. Wainwright jovially to the
students and then she stared at Coleman as if he were a sweep
at a wedding.
" Good-morning," said Marjory.
Coleman and the students made reply. " Good-morning.
Good-morning. Good-morning. Good-morning--"
It was curious to see this greeting, this common phrase, this
bit of old ware, this antique, come upon a dramatic scene and
pulverise it. Nothing remained but a ridiculous dust. Coke,
glowering, with his lips still trembling from heroic speech, was
an angry clown, a pantaloon in rage. Nothing was to be done to
keep him from looking like an ass. He, strode toward the door
mumbling about a walk before breakfast.
Mrs. Wainwright beamed upon him. " Why, Mr. Coke, not
before breakfast ? You surely won't have time." It was grim
punishment. He appeared to go blind, and he fairly staggered
out of the door mumbling again, mumbling thanks or apologies
or explanations. About the mouth of Coleman played a sinister
smile. The professor cast. upon his wife a glance expressing
weariness. It was as if he said " There you go again. You
can't keep your foot out of it." She understood the glance,
and so she asked blankly: "Why, What's the matter? Oh."
Her belated mind grasped that it waw an aftermath of the
quarrel of Coleman and Coke. Marjory looked as if she
was distressed in the belief that her mother had been
stupid. Coleman was outwardly serene. It was Peter
Tounley who finally laughed a cheery, healthy laugh and they
all looked at him with gratitude as if his sudden mirth had been
a real statement or recon- ciliation and consequent peace.
The dragoman and others disported themselves until a
breakfast was laid upon the floor. The adventurers squatted
upon the floor. They made a large company. The professor and
Coleman discussed the means of getting to Athens. Peter
Tounley sat next to Marjory. " Peter," she said, privately, " what
was all this trouble between Coleman and Coke ? "
Peter answered blandly: " Oh, nothing at Nothing at all."
" Well, but--" she persisted, " what was the cause of it?"
He looked at her quaintly. He was not one of those in love
with her, but be was interested in the affair. " Don't you know
? " he asked.
She understood from his manner that she had been some
kind of an issue in the quarrel. " No," she answered, hastily. " I
"Oh, I don't mean that," said Peter. "I only meant --I only
meant--oh, well, it was nothing-really."
" It must have been about something," continued Marjory.
She continued, because Peter had denied that she was
concerned in it. " Whose fault ? "
"I really don't know. It was all rather confusing," lied Peter,
Coleman and the professor decided to accept a plan of the
correspondent's dragoman to start soon on the first stage of
the journey to Athens. The dragoman had said that he had
found two large carriages rentable.
Coke, the outcast, walked alone in the narrow streets. The
flight of the crown prince's army from Larissa had just been
announced in Arta, but Coke was probably the most
woebegone object on the Greek peninsula.
He encountered a strange sight on the streets. A woman
garbed in the style for walking of an afternoon on upper
Broadway was approaching him through a mass of kilted
mountaineers and soldiers in soiled overcoats. Of course he
recognised Nora Black.
In his conviction that everybody in the world was at this
time considering him a mere worm, he was sure that she would
not heed him. Beyond that he had been presented to her notice
in but a transient and cursory fashion. But contrary to his
conviction, she turned a radiant smile upon him. " Oh," she
said, brusquely, " you are one of the students. Good
morning." In her manner was all the confidence of an old
warrior, a veteran, who addresses the universe with assurance
because of his past battles.
Coke grinned at this strange greeting. " Yes, Miss Black," he
answered, " I am one of the students."
She did not seem to quite know how to formulate her next
speech. " Er-I suppose you're going to Athens at once " You
must be glad after your horrid experiences."
" I believe they are going to start for Athens today," said
Nora was all attention. "'They ?'" she repeated.
"Aren't you going with them? "
" Well," he said, " * * Well---"
She saw of course that there had been some kind of trouble.
She laughed. " You look as if somebody had kicked you down
stairs," she said, candidly. She at once assumed an intimate
manner toward him which was like a temporary motherhood. "
Come, walk with me and tell me all about it." There was in her
tone a most artistic suggestion that whatever had happened
she was on his side. He was not loath. The street was full of
soldiers whose tongues clattered so loudly that the two
foreigners might have been wandering in a great cave of the
winds. " Well, what was the row about ? " asked Nora. " And
who was in it? "
It would have been no solace to Coke to pour out
his tale even if it had been a story that he could have told Nora.
He was not stopped by the fact that he had gotten himself in
the quarrel because he had insulted the name of the girt at his
side. He did not think of it at that time. The whole thing was
now extremely vague in outline to him and he only had a dull
feeling of misery and loneliness. He wanted her to cheer him.
Nora laughed again. " Why, you're a regular little kid. Do
you mean to say you've come out here sulking alone because
of some nursery quarrel? " He was ruffled by her manner. It did
not contain the cheering he required. " Oh, I don't know that I'm
such a regular little kid," he said, sullenly. " The quarrel was
not a nursery quarrel."
"Why don't you challenge him to a duel? " asked Nora,
suddenly. She was watching him closely.
" Who?" said Coke.
" Coleman, you stupid," answered Nora.
They stared at each other, Coke paying her first the tribute
of astonishment and then the tribute of admiration. "Why,
how did you guess that?" he demanded.
" Oh," said Nora., " I've known Rufus Coleman for years,
and he is always rowing with people."
"That is just it," cried Coke eagerly. "That is just it.
I fairly hate the man. Almost all of the other fellows
will stand his abuse, but it riles me, I tell
you. I think he is a beast. And, of course, if you seriously
meant what you said about challenging him to a duel--I
mean if there is any sense in that sort of thing-I would
challenge Coleman. I swear I would. I think he's a great
bluffer, anyhow. Shouldn't wonder if he would back out.
Really, I shouldn't.
Nora smiled humourously at a house on her side of the
narrow way. "I wouldn't wonder if he did either " she
answered. After a time she said " Well, do you mean to
say that you have definitely shaken them? Aren't you
going back to Athens with them or anything? "
" I-I don't see how I can," he said, morosely.
" Oh," she said. She reflected for a time. At last she
turned to him archly and asked: "Some words over a
Coke looked at her blankly. He suddenly remembered
the horrible facts. " No-no-not over a lady."
" My dear boy, you are a liar," said Nora, freely. "You
are a little unskilful liar. It was some words over a lady,
and the lady's name is Marjory Wainwright."
Coke felt as though he had suddenly been let out of a
cell, but he continued a mechanical denial. "No, no * * It
wasn't truly * * upon my word * * "
"Nonsense," said Nora. " I know better. Don't you
think you can fool me, you little cub. I know
you're in love with Marjory Wainwright, and you think
Coleman is your rival. What a blockhead you are. Can't
you understand that people see these things?"
" Well-" stammered Coke.
"Nonsense," said Nora again. "Don't try to fool
me, you may as well understand that it's useless. I
am too wise."
" Well-" stammered Coke.
" Go ahead," urged Nora. " Tell me about it. Have it
He began with great importance and solemnity. "Now,
to tell you the truth * * that is why I hate him * * I hate him
like anything. * * I can't see why everybody admires him so.
I don't see anything to him myself. I don't believe he's got
any more principle than a wolf. I wouldn't trust him with
two dollars. Why, I know stories about him that would
make your hair curl. When I think of a girl like Marjory-- "
His speech had become a torrent. But here Nora
raised her hand. " Oh! Oh! Oh! That will do. That will do.
Don't lose your senses. I don't see why this girl Marjory
is any too good. She is no chicken, I'll bet. Don't let
yourself get fooled with that sort of thing."
Coke was unaware of his incautious expressions. He
floundered on. while Nora looked at him as if she
wanted to wring his neck. " No-she's too fine and
too good-for him or anybody like him-she's too
fine and too good-"
" Aw, rats," interrupted Nora, furiously. "You
make me tired."
Coke had a wooden-headed conviction that he must
make Nora understand Marjory's infinite superiority
to all others of her sex, and so he passed into a
pariegyric, each word of which was a hot coal to the girl
addressed. Nothing would stop him, apparently. He
even made the most stupid repetitions. Nora finally
stamped her foot formidably. "Will you stop?
Will you stop ? " she said through her clenched teeth.
" Do you think I want to listen to your everlasting
twaddle about her? Why, she's-she's no better than
other people, you ignorant little mamma's boy. She's
no better than other people, you swab! "
Coke looked at her with the eyes of a fish. He did
not understand. "But she is better than other
people," he persisted.
Nora seemed to decide suddenly that there would
be no accomplishment in flying desperately against
this rock-walled conviction. " Oh, well," she said,
with marvellous good nature, " perhaps you are right,
numbskull. But, look here; do you think she cares
In his heart, his jealous heart, he believed that
Marjory loved Coleman, but he reiterated eternally to
himself that it was not true. As for speaking it to,
another, that was out of the question. " No," he
said, stoutly, " she doesn't care a snap for him." If
he had admitted it, it would have seemed to him that.
he was somehow advancing Coleman's chances.
"'Oh, she doesn't, eh ?" said Nora enigmatically.
"She doesn't?" He studied her face with an abrupt,
miserable suspicion, but he repeated doggedly: " No,
"Ahem," replied Nora. " Why, she's set her cap
for him all right. She's after him for certain. It's as
plain as day. Can't you see that, stupidity ?"
"No," he said hoarsely.
"You are a fool," said Nora. " It isn't Coleman
that's after her. It is she that is after Coleman."
Coke was mulish. " No such thing. Coleman's
crazy about her. Everybody has known it ever
since he was in college. You ask any of the other
Nora was now very serious, almost doleful. She
remained still for a time, casting at Coke little glances
of hatred. " I don't see my way clear to ask any of
the other fellows," she said at last, with considerable
bitterness. " I'm not in the habit of conducting such
Coke felt now that he disliked her, and he read
plainly her dislike of him. If they were the two
villains of the play, they were not having fun together
at all. Each had some kind of a deep knowledge that
their aspirations, far from colliding, were of such
character that the success of one would mean at least
assistance to the other, but neither could see how to
confess if. Pethapt it was from shame, perhaps it
was because Nora thought Coke to have little wit ;
perhaps it was because Coke thought Nora to have
little conscience. Their talk was mainly rudderless.
From time to time Nora had an inspiration to come
boldly at the point, but this inspiration was commonly
defeated by, some extraordinary manifestation of
Coke's incapacity. To her mind, then, it seemed like
a proposition to ally herself to a butcher-boy in a
matter purely sentimental. She Wondered indignantly
how she was going to conspire With this lad,
who puffed out his infantile cheeks in order to conceitedly
demonstrate that he did not understand the
game at all. She hated Marjory for it. Evidently it
was only the weaklings who fell in love with that girl.
Coleman was an exception, but then, Coleman was
misled, by extraordinary artifices. She meditatecf for
a moment if she should tell Coke to go home and not
bother her. What at last decided the question was
his unhappiness. Shd clung to this unhappiness for
its value as it stood alone, and because its reason for
existence was related to her own unhappiness. " You
Say you are not going back toAthens with your party.
I don't suppose you're going to stay here. I'm going
back to Athens to-day. I came up here to see a
battle, but it doesn't seem that there are to be any
more battles., The fighting will now all be on the
other side of'the mountains." Apparent she had
learned in some haphazard way that the Greek
peninsula was divided by a spine of almost inaccessible
mountains, and the war was thus split into two
simultaneous campaigns. The Arta campaign was known
to be ended. "If you want to go back to Athens
without consorting with your friends, you had better go
back with me. I can take you in my carriage as far
as the beginning of the railroad. Don't you worry.
You've got money enough, haven't you ? The pro-
fessor isn't keeping your money ?"
"Yes," he said slowly, "I've got money enough."
He was apparently dubious over the proposal.
In their abstracted walk they had arrived in front of
the house occupied by Coleman and the Wainwright
party. Two carriages, forlorn in dusty age, stood be-
fore the door. Men were carrying out new leather
luggage and flinging it into the traps amid a great
deal of talk which seemed to refer to nothing. Nora
and Coke stood looking at the scene without either
thinking of the importance of running away, when
out tumbled seven students, followed immediately but
in more decorous fashion by the Wainwrights and
Some student set up a whoop. " Oh, there he is.
There's Coke. Hey, Coke, where you been? Here
he is, professor."
For a moment after the hoodlum had subsided, the
two camps stared at each other in silence.
NORA and Coke were an odd looking pair at the
time. They stood indeed as if rooted to the spot,
staring vacuously, like two villagers, at the surprising
travellers. It was not an eternity before the practiced
girl of the stage recovered her poise, but to the end of
the incident the green youth looked like a culprit and
a fool. Mrs. Wainwright's glower of offensive
incredulity was a masterpiece. Marjory nodded
pleasantly; the professor nodded. The seven students
clambered boisterously into the forward carriage
making it clang with noise like a rook's nest. They
shouted to Coke. " Come on; all aboard; come on,
Coke; - we're off. Hey, there, Cokey, hurry up."
The professor, as soon as he had seated himself on
the forward seat of' the second carriage, turned in
Coke's general direction and asked formally: " Mr.
Coke, you are coming with us ? " He felt seemingly
much in doubt as to the propriety of abandoning the
headstrong young man, and this doubt was not at all
decreased by Coke's appearance with Nora Black. As
far as he could tell, any assertion of authority on his
part would end only in a scene in which Coke would
probably insult him with some gross violation of
collegiate conduct. As at first the young man made
no reply, the professor after waiting spoke again.
"You understand, Mr. Coke, that if you separate
yourself from the party you encounter my strongest
disapproval, and if I did not feel responsible to the
college and your father for your safe journey to New
York I-I don't know but what I would have you ex-
pelled by cable if that were possible."
Although Coke had been silent, and Nora Black had
had the appearance of being silent, in reality she had
lowered her chin and whispered sideways and swiftly.
She had said: " Now, here's your time. Decide
quickly, and don't look such a wooden Indian."
Coke pulled himself together with a visible effort,
and spoke to the professor from an inspiration in
which he had no faith. " I understand my duties to
you, sir, perfectly. I also understand my duty to the
college. But I fail to see where either of these
obligations require me to accept the introduction of
objectionable people into the party. If I owe a duty to
the college and to you, I don't owe any to Coleman,
and, as I understand it, Coleman was not in the
original plan of this expedition. If such had been the
case, I would not have been here. I can't tell what
the college may see fit to do, but as for my father I
I have no doubt of how he will view it."
The first one to be electrified by the speech was
Coke himself. He saw with a kind of sub-conscious
amazement this volley of bird-shot take effect upon
the face of the old professor. The face of Marjory
flushed crimson as if her mind had sprung to a fear
that if Coke could develop ability in this singular
fashion he might succeed in humiliating her father in
the street in the presence of the seven students, her
mother, Coleman and-herself. She had felt the bird-
shot sting her father.
When Coke had launched forth, Coleman with his
legs stretched far apart had just struck a match on
the wall of the house and was about to light a cigar.
His groom was leading up his horse. He saw the
value of Coke's argument more appreciatively and
sooner perhaps than did Coke. The match dropped
from his fingers, and in the white sunshine and still
air it burnt on the pavement orange coloured and
with langour. Coleman held his cigar with all five
fingers-in a manner out of all the laws of smoking.
He turned toward Coke. There was danger in the
moment, but then in a flash it came upon him that
his role was not of squabbling with Coke, far less of
punching him. On the contrary, he was to act the
part of a cool and instructed man who refused to be
waylaid into foolishness by the outcries of this
pouting youngster and who placed himself in complete
deference to the wishes of the professor. Before the
professor had time to embark upon any reply to Coke,
Coleman was at the side of the carriage and, with a
fine assumption of distress, was saying: "Professor,
I could very easily ride back to Agrinion alone. It
would be all right. I don't want to-"
To his surprise the professor waved at him to be
silent as if he were a mere child. The old man's face
was set with the resolution of exactly what hewas
going to say to Coke. He began in measured tone,
speaking with feeling, but with no trace of anger.
" Mr. Coke, it has probably escaped your attention
that Mr. Coleman, at what I consider a great deal of
peril to himself, came out to rescue this party-you
and others-and although he studiously disclaims all
merit in his finding us and bringing us in, I do not
regard it in that way, and I am surprised that any
member of this party should conduct himself in
this manner toward a man who has been most
devotedly and generously at our service." It was
at this time that the professor raised himself and
shook his finger at Coke, his voice now ringing with
scorn. In such moments words came to him and
formed themselves into sentences almost too rapidly
for him to speak them. " You are one of the most
remarkable products of our civilisation which I have
yet come upon. What do you mean, sir? Where
are your senses? Do you think that all this pulling
and pucking is manhood? I will tell you what I will
do with you. I thought I brought out eight students
to Greece, but when I find that I brought out, seven
students and--er--an--ourang-outang--don't get
angry, sir--I don't care for your anger--I say when I
discover this I am naturally puzzled for a moment. I
will leave you to the judgment of your peers. Young
Of the seven heads of the forward carriage none
had to be turned. All had been turned since the
beginning of the talk. If the professor's speech had
been delivered in one of the class-rooms of
Washurst they would have glowed with delight over the
butchery of Coke, but they felt its portentous aspect.
Butchery here in Greece thousands of miles from
home presented to them more of the emphasis of
downright death and destruction. The professor
called out " Young gentlemen, I have done all that I
can do without using force, which, much to my regret,
is impracticable. If you will persuade your fellow
student to accompany you I think our consciences
will be the better for not having left a weak minded
brother alone among the by-paths."
The valuable aggregation of intelligence and refine-
ment which decorated the interior of the first carriage
did not hesitate over answering this appeal. In fact,
his fellow students had worried among themselves
over Coke, and their desire to see him come out of his
troubles in fair condition was intensified by the fact
that they had lately concentrated much thought upon
him. There was a somewhat comic pretense of
speaking so that only Coke could hear. Their chorus was
law sung. " Oh, cheese it, Coke. Let up on your-self,
you blind ass. Wait till you get to Athens and
then go and act like a monkey. All this is no
The advice which came from the carriage was all in
one direction, and there was so much of it that the
hum of voices sounded like a wind blowing through a
Coke spun suddenly and said something to Nora
Black. Nora laughed rather loudly, and then the two
turned squarely and the Wainwright party contemplated
what were surely at that time the two most insolent
backs in the world.
The professor looked as if he might be going to
have a fit. Mrs. Wainwright lifted her eyes toward
heaven, and flinging out her trembling hands, cried:
" Oh, what an outrage. What an outrage! That
minx-" The concensus of opinion in the first carriage
was perfectly expressed by Peter Tounley, who
with a deep drawn breath, said : " Well, I'm damned! "
Marjory had moaned and lowered her head as from a
sense of complete personal shame. Coleman lit his
cigar and mounted his horse. " Well, I suppose there
is nothing for it but to be off, professor? " His tone
was full of regret, with sort of poetic regret. For a
moment the professor looked at him blankly, and then
gradually recovered part of his usual manner. " Yes,"
he said sadly, " there is nothing for it but to go on."
At a word from the dragoman, the two impatient
drivers spoke gutturally to their horses and the car-
riages whirled out of Arta. Coleman, his dragoman
and the groom trotted in the dust from the wheels of
the Wainwright carriage. The correspondent always
found his reflective faculties improved by the constant