Part 4 out of 7
"Yes, I know. I suppose a girl like you couldn't be
interested in seeing a chap like me again, but I thought
"But I would," interrupted Fanny, impulsively. "Indeed I
"Really! Perhaps you'll drive, some evening. Over to the
Bismarck Gardens, or somewhere. It would rest you."
"I'm sure it would. Suppose you telephone me."
That was her honest, forthright, Winnebago Wisconsin self
talking. But up in her apartment the other Fanny Brandeis,
the calculating, ambitious, determined woman, said: "Now
why did I say that! I never want to see the boy again.
"Use him. Experiment with him. Evidently men are going to
enter into this thing. Michael Fenger has, already. And
now this boy. Why not try certain tests with them as we
used to follow certain formulae in the chemistry laboratory
at high school? This compound, that compound, what
reaction? Then, when the time comes to apply your
knowledge, you'll know."
Which shows how ignorant she was of this dangerous phase of
her experiment. If she had not been, she must have known
that these were not chemicals, but explosives with which she
proposed to play.
The trouble was that Fanny Brandeis, the creative, was not
being fed. And the creative fire requires fuel. Fanny
Brandeis fed on people, not things. And her work at Haynes-
Cooper was all with inanimate objects. The three months
since her coming to Chicago had been crowded and eventful.
Haynes-Cooper claimed every ounce of her energy, every atom
of her wit and resourcefulness. In return it gave--salary.
Not too much salary. That would come later, perhaps.
Unfortunately, Fanny Brandeis did not thrive on that
kind of fare. She needed people. She craved contact.
All these millions whom she served--these unseen, unheard
men and women, and children--she wanted to see them. She
wanted to touch them. She wanted to talk with them. It was
as though a lover of the drama, eager to see his favorite
actress in her greatest part, were to find himself viewing
her in a badly constructed film play.
So Fanny Brandeis took to prowling. There are people who
have a penchant for cities--more than that, a talent for
them, a gift of sensing them, of feeling their rhythm and
pulse-beats, as others have a highly developed music sense,
or color reaction. It is a thing that cannot be acquired.
In Fanny Brandeis there was this abnormal response to the
color and tone of any city. And Chicago was a huge,
polyglot orchestra, made up of players in every possible
sort of bizarre costume, performing on every known
instrument, leaderless, terrifyingly discordant, yet with an
occasional strain, exquisite and poignant, to be heard
through the clamor and din.
A walk along State street (the wrong side) or Michigan
avenue at five, or through one of the city's foreign
quarters, or along the lake front at dusk, stimulated her
like strong wine. She was drunk with it. And all the time
she would say to herself, little blind fool that she was:
"Don't let it get you. Look at it, but don't think about
it. Don't let the human end of it touch you. There's
nothing in it."
And meanwhile she was feasting on those faces in the crowds.
Those faces in the crowds! They seemed to leap out at her.
They called to her. So she sketched them, telling herself
that she did it by way of relaxation, and diversion. One
afternoon she left her desk early, and perched herself on
one of the marble benches that lined the sunken garden just
across from the main group of Haynes-Cooper buildings.
She wanted to see what happened when those great buildings
emptied. Even her imagination did not meet the actuality.
At 5:30 the streets about the plant were empty, except for
an occasional passerby. At 5:31 there trickled down the
broad steps of building after building thin dark streams of
humanity, like the first slow line of lava that crawls down
the side of an erupting volcano. The trickle broadened into
a stream, spread into a flood, became a torrent that
inundated the streets, the sidewalks, filling every nook and
crevice, a moving mass. Ten thousand people! A city!
Fanny found herself shaking with excitement, and something
like terror at the immensity of it. She tried to get a
picture of it, a sketch, with the gleaming windows of the
red brick buildings as a background. Amazingly enough, she
succeeded in doing it. That was because she tried for broad
effects, and relied on one bit of detail for her story. It
was the face of a girl--a very tired and tawdry girl, of
sixteen, perhaps. On her face the look that the day's work
had stamped there was being wiped gently away by another
look; a look that said release, and a sweetheart, and an
evening at the movies. Fanny, in some miraculous way, got
She prowled in the Ghetto, and sketched those patient Jewish
faces, often grotesque, sometimes repulsive, always mobile.
She wandered down South Clark street, flaring with purple-
white arc-lights, and looked in at its windows that
displayed a pawnbroker's glittering wares, or, just next
door, a flat-topped stove over which a white-capped magician
whose face smacked of the galley, performed deft tricks with
a pancake turner. "Southern chicken dinner," a lying sign
read, "with waffles and real maple syrup, 35@." Past these
windows promenaded the Clark street women, hard-eyed, high-
heeled, aigretted; on the street corners loafed the Clark
street men, blue-shaven, wearing checked suits, soiled
faun-topped shoes, and diamond scarf pins. And even as she
watched them, fascinated, they vanished. Clark street
changed overnight, and became a business thoroughfare, lined
with stately office buildings, boasting marble and gold-leaf
banks, filled with hurrying clerks, stenographers, and
prosperous bond salesmen. It was like a sporting man who,
thriving in middle age, endeavors to live down his shady
Fanny discovered Cottage Grove avenue, and Halsted street,
and Jefferson, and South State, where she should never have
walked. There is an ugliness about Chicago's ugly streets
that, for sheer, naked brutality, is equaled nowhere in the
world. London has its foul streets, smoke-blackened,
sinister. But they are ugly as crime is ugly--and as
fascinating. It is like the ugliness of an old hag who has
lived a life, and who could tell you strange tales, if she
would. Walking through them you think of Fagin, of Children
of the Ghetto, of Tales of Mean Streets. Naples is
honeycombed with narrow, teeming alleys, grimed with the
sediment of centuries, colored like old Stilton, and
smelling much worse. But where is there another Cottage
Grove avenue! Sylvan misnomer! A hideous street, and
sordid. A street of flat-wheeled cars, of delicatessen
shops and moving picture houses, of clanging bells, of
frowsy women, of men who dart around corners with pitchers,
their coat collars turned up to hide the absence of linen.
One day Fanny found herself at Fifty-first street, and there
before her lay Washington Park, with its gracious meadow,
its Italian garden, its rose walk, its lagoon, and drooping
willows. But then, that was Chicago. All contrast. The
Illinois Central railroad puffed contemptuous cinders into
the great blue lake. And almost in the shadow of the City
Hall nestled Bath-House John's groggery.
Michigan Avenue fascinated her most. Here was a street
developing before one's eyes. To walk on it was like
being present at a birth. It is one of the few streets in
the world. New York has two, Paris a hundred, London none,
Vienna one. Berlin, before the war, knew that no one walked
Unter den Linden but American tourists and German
shopkeepers from the provinces, with their fat wives. But
this Michigan Boulevard, unfinished as Chicago itself,
shifting and changing daily, still manages to take on a
certain form and rugged beauty. It has about it a gracious
breadth. As you turn into it from the crash and thunder of
Wabash there comes to you a sense of peace. That's the
sweep of it, and the lake just beyond, for Michigan avenue
is a one-side street. It's west side is a sheer mountain
wall of office buildings, clubs, and hotels, whose ground
floors are fascinating with specialty shops. A milliner
tantalizes the passer-by with a single hat stuck knowingly
on a carved stick. An art store shows two etchings, and a
vase. A jeweler's window holds square blobs of emeralds, on
velvet, and perhaps a gold mesh bag, sprawling limp and
invertebrate, or a diamond and platinum la valliere,
chastely barbaric. Past these windows, from Randolph to
Twelfth surges the crowd: matinee girls, all white fox, and
giggles and orchids; wise-eyed saleswomen from the smart
specialty shops, dressed in next week's mode; art students,
hugging their precious flat packages under their arms;
immigrants, in corduroys and shawls, just landed at the
Twelfth street station; sightseeing families, dazed and
weary, from Kansas; tailored and sabled Lake Shore Drive
dwellers; convention delegates spilling out of the
Auditorium hotel, red-faced, hoarse, with satin badges
pinned on their coats, and their hats (the wrong kind) stuck
far back on their heads; music students to whom Michigan
Avenue means the Fine Arts Building. There you have the
west side. But just across the street the walk is as
deserted as though a pestilence lurked there. Here the Art
Institute rears its smoke-blackened face, and Grant
Park's greenery struggles bravely against the poisonous
breath of the Illinois Central engines.
Just below Twelfth street block after block shows the solid
plate glass of the automobile shops, their glittering wares
displayed against an absurd background of oriental rugs,
Tiffany lamps, potted plants, and mahogany. In the windows
pose the salesmen, no less sleek and glittering than their
wares. Just below these, for a block or two, rows of
sinister looking houses, fallen into decay, with slatternly
women lolling at their windows, and gas jets flaring blue in
dim hallways. Below Eighteenth still another change, where
the fat stone mansions of Chicago's old families (save the
mark!) hide their diminished heads behind signs that read:
"Marguerite. Robes et Manteaux." And, "Smolkin. Tailor."
Now, you know that women buyers for mail order houses do not
spend their Saturday afternoons and Sundays thus, prowling
about a city's streets. Fanny Brandeis knew it too, in her
heart. She knew that the Ella Monahans of her world spent
their holidays in stayless relaxation, manicuring, mending a
bit, skimming the Sunday papers, massaging crows'-feet
somewhat futilely. She knew that women buyers do not, as a
rule, catch their breath with delight at sight of the pock-
marked old Field Columbian museum in Jackson Park, softened
and beautified by the kindly gray chiffon of the lake mist,
and tinted by the rouge of the sunset glow, so that it is a
thing of spectral loveliness. Successful mercantile women,
seeing the furnace glare of the South Chicago steel mills
flaring a sullen red against the lowering sky, do not draw a
disquieting mental picture of men toiling there, naked to
the waist, and glistening with sweat in the devouring heat
of the fires.
I don't know how she tricked herself. I suppose she
said it was the city's appeal to the country dweller,
but she lied, and she knew she was lying. She must have
known it was the spirit of Molly Brandeis in her, and of
Molly Brandeis' mother, and of her mother's mother's mother,
down the centuries to Sarah; repressed women, suffering
women, troubled, patient, nomadic women, struggling now in
her for expression.
And Fanny Brandeis went doggedly on, buying and selling
infants' wear, and doing it expertly. Her office desk would
have interested you. It was so likely to be littered with
the most appealing bits of apparel--a pair of tiny,
crocheted bootees, pink and white; a sturdy linen smock; a
silken hood so small that one's doubled fist filled it.
The new catalogue was on the presses. Fanny had slaved over
it, hampered by Slosson. Fenger had given her practically a
free hand. Results would not come in for many days. The
Christmas trade would not tell the tale, for that was always
a time of abnormal business. The dull season following the
holiday rush would show the real returns. Slosson was
discouragement itself. His attitude was not resentful; it
was pitying, and that frightened Fanny. She wished that he
would storm a little. Then she read her department
catalogue proof sheets, and these reassured her. They were
attractive. And the new baby book had turned out very well,
with a colored cover that would appeal to any one who had
ever been or seen a baby.
September brought a letter from Theodore. A letter from
Theodore meant just one thing. Fanny hesitated a moment
before opening it. She always hesitated before opening
Theodore's letters. While she hesitated the old struggle
would rage in her.
"I don't owe him anything," the thing within her would say.
"God knows I don't. What have I done all my life but give,
and give, and give to him! I'm a woman. He's a man.
Let him work with his hands, as I do. He's had his share.
More than his share."
Nevertheless she had sent him one thousand of the six
thousand her mother had bequeathed to her. She didn't want
to do it. She fought doing it. But she did it.
Now, as she held this last letter in her hands, and stared
at the Bavarian stamp, she said to herself:
"He wants something. Money. If I send him some I can't
have that new tailor suit, or the furs. And I need them.
I'm going to have them."
She tore open the letter.
"Dear Old Fan:
"Olga and I are back in Munich, as you see. I think we'll
be here all winter, though Olga hates it. She says it isn't
lustig. Well, it isn't Vienna, but I think there's a
chance for a class here of American pupils. Munich's
swarming with Americans--whole families who come here to
live for a year or two. I think I might get together a very
decent class, backed by Auer's recommendations. Teaching!
Good God, how I hate it! But Auer is planning a series of
twenty concerts for me. They ought to be a success, if
slaving can do it. I worked six hours a day all summer. I
wanted to spend the summer--most of it, that is--in
Holzhausen Am Ammersee, which is a little village, or
artist's colony in the valley, an hour's ride from here, and
within sight of the Bavarian Alps. We had Kurt Stein's
little villa for almost nothing. But Olga was bored, and
she wasn't well, poor girl, so we went to Interlaken and it
was awful. And that brings me to what I want to tell you.
"There's going to be a baby. No use saying I'm glad,
because I'm not, and neither is Olga. About February,
I think. Olga has been simply wretched, but the doctor says
she'll feel better from now on. The truth of it is she
needs a lot of things and I can't give them to her. I told
you I'd been working on this concerto of mine. Sometimes I
think it's the real thing, if only I could get the leisure
and the peace of mind I need to work on it. You don't know
what it means to be eaten up with ambition and to be
"Oh, don't I!" said Fanny Brandeis, between her teeth, and
crumpled the letter in her strong fingers. "Don't I!" She
got up from her chair and began to walk up and down her
little office, up and down. A man often works off his
feelings thus; a woman rarely. Fenger, who had not been
twice in her office since her coming to the Haynes-Cooper
plant, chose this moment to visit her, his hands full of
papers, his head full of plans. He sensed something wrong
at once, as a highly organized human instrument responds to
a similarly constructed one.
"What's wrong, girl?"
"Everything. And don't call me girl."
Fenger saw the letter crushed in her hand.
"Brother?" She had told him about Theodore and he had been
"Money again, I suppose?"
"You know your salary's going up, after Christmas."
"Catalogue or no catalogue?"
"Catalogue or no catalogue."
"Because you've earned it."
Fanny faced him squarely. "I know that Haynes-Cooper isn't
exactly a philanthropic institution. A salary raise
here usually means a battle. I've only been here three
Fenger seated himself in the chair beside her desk and ran a
cool finger through the sheaf of papers in his hand. "My
dear girl--I beg your pardon. I forgot. My good woman
then--if you like that better--you've transfused red blood
into a dying department. It may suffer a relapse after
Christmas, but I don't think so. That's why you're getting
more money, and not because I happen to be tremendously
interested in you, personally."
Fanny's face flamed scarlet. "I didn't mean that."
"Yes you did. Here are those comparative lists you sent me.
If I didn't know Slosson to be as honest as Old Dog Tray I'd
think he had been selling us to the manufacturers. No
wonder this department hasn't paid. He's been giving 'em
top prices for shoddy. Now what's this new plan of yours?"
In an instant Fanny forgot about Theodore, the new winter
suit and furs, everything but the idea that was clamoring to
be born. She sat at her desk, her fingers folding and
unfolding a bit of paper, her face all light and animation
as she talked.
"My idea is to have a person known as a selector for each
important department. It would mean a boiling down of the
products of every manufacturer we deal with, and skimming
the cream off the top. As it is now a department buyer has
to do the selecting and buying too. He can't do both and
get results. We ought to set aside an entire floor for the
display of manufacturers' samples. The selector would make
his choice among these, six months in advance of the season.
The selector would go to the eastern markets too, of course.
Not to buy. Merely to select. Then, with the line chosen
as far as style, quality, and value is concerned, the buyer
would be free to deal directly with the manufacturer as to
quantity, time, and all that. You know as well as I
that that's enough of a job for any one person, with the
labor situation what it is. He wouldn't need to bother
about styles or colors, or any of that. It would all have
been done for him. The selector would have the real
responsibility. Don't you see the simplicity of it, and the
way it would grease the entire machinery?"
Something very like jealousy came into Michael Fenger's face
as he looked at her. But it was gone in an instant. "Gad!
You'll have my job away from me in two years. You're a
super-woman, do you know that?"
"Super nothing! It's just a perfectly good idea, founded on
common sense and economy."
"M-m-m, but that's all Columbus had in mind when he started
out to find a short cut to India."
Fanny laughed out at that. "Yes, but see where he landed!"
But Fenger was serious. "We'll have to have a meeting on
this. Are you prepared to go into detail on it, before Mr.
Haynes and the two Coopers, at a real meeting in a real
mahogany directors' room? Wednesday, say?"
"I think so."
Fenger got up. "Look here, Miss Brandeis. You need a day
in the country. Why don't you run up to your home town over
Sunday? Wisconsin, wasn't it?"
"Oh, no! No. I mean yes it was Wisconsin, but no I don't
want to go."
"Then let me send you my car."
"Car! No, thanks. That's not my idea of the country."
"It was just a suggestion. What do you call going to the
"Tramping all day, and getting lost, if possible. Lying
down under a tree for hours, and letting the ants amble
over you. Dreaming. And coming back tired, hungry, dusty,
"It sounds awfully uncomfortable. But I wish you'd try it,
"Do I look such a wreck?" Fanny demanded, rather pettishly.
"You!" Fenger's voice was vibrant. "You're the most
splendidly alive looking woman I ever saw. When you came
into my office that first day you seemed to spark with
health, and repressed energy, and electricity, so that you
radiated them. People who can do that, stimulate. That's
what you are to me--a stimulant."
What can one do with a man who talks like that? After all,
what he said was harmless enough. His tone was quietly
sincere. One can't resent an expression of the eyes. Then,
too, just as she made up her mind to be angry she remembered
the limp and querulous Mrs. Fenger, and the valve and the
scarf. And her anger became pity. There flashed back to
her the illuminating bit of conversation with which
Fascinating Facts had regaled her on the homeward drive that
night of the tea.
"Nice chap, Fenger. And a wiz in business. Get's a king's
salary; Must be hell for a man to be tied, hand and foot,
the way he is."
"Mrs. Fenger's a semi-invalid. At that I don't believe
she's as helpless as she seems. I think she just holds him
by that shawl of hers, that's forever slipping. You know he
was a machine boy in her father's woolen mill. She met him
after he'd worked his way up to an office job. He has
forged ahead like a locomotive ever since."
That had been their conversation, gossipy, but tremendously
enlightening for Fanny. She looked up at him now.
"Thanks for the vacation suggestion. I may go off
somewhere. Just a last-minute leap. It usually turns
out better, that way. I'll be ready for the Wednesday
She sounded very final and busy. The crumpled letter lay on
her desk. She smoothed it out, and the crumple transferred
itself to her forehead. Fenger stood a moment, looking down
at her. Then he turned, abruptly and left the office.
Fanny did not look up.
That was Friday. On Saturday her vacation took a personally
conducted turn. She had planned to get away at noon, as
most office heads did on Saturday, during the warm weather.
When her 'phone rang at eleven she answered it mechanically
as does one whose telephone calls mean a row with a tardy
manufacturer, an argument with a merchandise man, or a
catalogue query from the printer's.
The name that came to her over the telephone conveyed
nothing to her.
"Who?" Again the name. "Heyl?" She repeated the name
uncertainly. "I'm afraid I--O, of course! Clarence Heyl.
"I want to see you," said the voice, promptly.
There rose up in Fanny's mind a cruelly clear picture of the
little, sallow, sniveling school boy of her girlhood. The
little boy with the big glasses and the shiny shoes, and the
"Sorry," she replied, promptly, "but I'm afraid it's
impossible. I'm leaving the office early, and I'm swamped."
Which was a lie.
"I rarely plan anything for the evening. Too tired, as a
"Too tired to drive?"
"I'm afraid so."
A brief silence. Then, "I'm coming out there to see you."
"Where? Here? The plant! That's impossible, Mr. Heyl.
I'm terribly sorry, but I can't----"
"Yes, I know. Also terribly sure that if I ever get to you
it will be over your office boy's dead body. Well, arm him.
I'm coming. Good-by."
"Wait a minute! Mr. Heyl! Clarence! Hello! Hello!"
A jiggling of the hook. "Number, please?" droned the voice
of the operator.
Fanny jammed the receiver down on the hook and turned to her
work, lips compressed, a frown forming a double cleft
between her eyes.
Half an hour later he was there. Her office boy brought in
his card, as she had rehearsed him to do. Fanny noted that
it was the wrong kind of card. She would show him what
happened to pushers who pestered business women during
"Bring him in in twenty minutes," she said, grimly. Her
office boy (and slave) always took his cue from her. She
hoped he wouldn't be too rude to Heyl, and turned back to
her work again. Thirty-nine seconds later Clarence Heyl
"Hello, Fan!" he said, and had her limp hand in a grip that
made her wince.
"But I told----"
"Yes, I know. But he's a crushed and broken office boy by
now. I had to be real harsh with him."
Fanny stood up, really angry now. She looked up at Clarence
Heyl, and her eyes were flashing. Clarence Heyl looked down
at her, and his eyes were the keenest, kindest, most gently
humorous eyes she had ever encountered. You know that
picture of Lincoln that shows us his eyes with much that
expression in them? That's as near as I can come to
conveying to you the whimsical pathos in this man. They
were the eyes of a lonely little boy grown up. And they had
seen much in the process.
Fanny felt her little blaze of anger flicker and die.
"That's the girl," said Heyl, and patted her hand. "You'll
like me--presently. After you've forgotten about that
sniveling kid you hated." He stepped back a pace and threw
back his coat senatorially. "How do I look?" he demanded.
"Look?" repeated Fanny, feebly.
"I've been hours preparing for this. Years! And now
something tells me--This tie, for instance."
Fanny bit her lip in a vain effort to retain her solemnity.
Then she gave it up and giggled, frankly. "Well, since you
ask me, that tie!----"
"What's the matter with it?"
Fanny giggled again. "It's red, that's what."
"Well, what of it! Red's all right. I've always considered
red one of our leading colors."
"But you can't wear it."
"Can't! Why can't I?"
"Because you're the brunest kind of brunette. And dark
people have a special curse hanging over them that makes
them want to wear red. It's fatal. That tie makes you look
like a Mafia murderer dressed for business."
"I knew it," groaned Heyl. "Something told me." He sank
into a chair at the side of her desk, a picture of mock
dejection. "And I chose it. Deliberately. I had black
ones, and blue ones, and green ones. And I chose--this."
He covered his face with a shaking hand.
Fanny Brandeis leaned back in her chair, and laughed, and
laughed, and laughed. Surely she hadn't laughed like that
in a year at least.
"You're a madman," she said, finally.
At that Heyl looked up with his singularly winning smile.
"But different. Concede that, Fanny. Be fair, now.
"Different," said Fanny, "doesn't begin to cover it. Well,
now you're here, tell me what you're doing here."
"I mean here, in Chicago."
"So do I. I'm on my way from Winnebago to New York, and I'm
in Chicago to see Fanny Brandeis."
"Don't expect me to believe that."
Heyl put an arm on Fanny's desk and learned forward, his
face very earnest. "I do expect you to believe it. I
expect you to believe everything I say to you. Not only
that, I expect you not to be surprised at anything I say.
I've done such a mass of private thinking about you in the
last ten years that I'm likely to forget I've scarcely seen
you in that time. Just remember, will you, that like the
girl in the sob song, `You made me what I am to-day?'"
"I! You're being humorous again."
"Never less so in my life. Listen, Fan. That cowardly,
sickly little boy you fought for in the street, that day in
Winnebago, showed every sign of growing up a cowardly,
sickly man. You're the real reason for his not doing so.
Now, wait a minute. I was an impressionable little kid, I
guess. Sickly ones are apt to be. I worshiped you and
hated you from that day. Worshiped you for the blazing,
generous, whole-souled little devil of a spitfire that you
were. Hated you because--well, what boy wouldn't hate a
girl who had to fight for him. Gosh! It makes me sick to
think of it, even now. Pasty-faced rat!"
"What nonsense! I'd forgotten all about it."
"No you hadn't. Tell me, what flashed into your mind when
you saw me in Temple that night before you left Winnebago?
The truth, now."
She learned, later, that people did not lie to him. She
tried it now, and found herself saying, rather shamefacedly,
"I thought `Why, it's Clarence Heyl, the Cowardy-Cat!'"
"There! That's why I'm here to-day. I knew you were
thinking that. I knew it all the time I was in
Colorado, growing up from a sickly kid, with a bum
lung, to a heap big strong man. It forced me to do things I
was afraid to do. It goaded me on to stunts at the very
thought of which I'd break out in a clammy sweat. Don't you
see how I'll have to turn handsprings in front of you, like
the school-boy in the McCutcheon cartoon? Don't you see how
I'll have to flex my muscles--like this--to show you how
strong I am? I may even have to beat you, eventually. Why,
child, I've chummed with lions, and bears, and wolves, and
everything, because of you, you little devil in the red cap!
I've climbed unclimbable mountains. I've frozen my feet in
blizzards. I've wandered for days on a mountain top, lost,
living on dried currants and milk chocolate,--and Lord! how
I hate milk chocolate! I've dodged snowslides, and slept in
trees; I've endured cold, and hunger and thirst, through
you. It took me years to get used to the idea of passing a
timber wolf without looking around, but I learned to do it--
because of you. You made me. They sent me to Colorado, a
lonely kid, with a pretty fair chance of dying, and I would
have, if it hadn't been for you. There! How's that for a
burst of speech, young woman! And wait a minute. Remember,
too, my name was Clarence. I had that to live down."
Fanny was staring at him eyes round, lips parted. "But
why?" she said, faintly. "Why?"
Heyl smiled that singularly winning smile of his. "Since
you force me to it, I think I'm in love with that little,
warm-hearted spitfire in the red cap. That's why."
Fanny sat forward now. She had been leaning back in her
chair, her hands grasping its arms, her face a lovely,
mobile thing, across which laughter, and pity, and sympathy
and surprise rippled and played. It hardened now, and set.
She looked down at her hands, and clasped them in her lap,
then up at him. "In that case, you can forsake the
strenuous life with a free conscience. You need never climb
another mountain, or wrestle with another--er--hippopotamus.
That little girl in the red cap is dead."
"Yes. She died a year ago. If the one who has taken her
place were to pass you on the street today, and see you
beset by forty thieves, she'd not even stop. Not she.
She'd say, `Let him fight it out alone. It's none of your
business. You've got your own fights to handle.'"
"Why--Fanny. You don't mean that, do you? What could have
made her like that?"
"She just discovered that fighting for others didn't pay.
She just happened to know some one else who had done that
all her life and--it killed her."
A little silence. "Fanny, let's play outdoors tomorrow,
will you? All day."
Involuntarily Fanny glanced around the room. Papers,
catalogues, files, desk, chair, typewriter. "I'm afraid
I've forgotten how."
"I'll teach you. You look as if you could stand a little of
"I must be a pretty sight. You're the second man to tell me
that in two days."
Heyl leaned forward a little. "That so? Who's the other
"Fenger, the General Manager."
"Oh! Paternal old chap, I suppose. No? Well, anyway, I
don't know what he had in mind, but you're going to spend
Sunday at the dunes of Indiana with me."
"Dunes? Of Indiana?"
"There's nothing like them in the world. Literally. In
September that combination of yellow sand, and blue
lake, and the woods beyond is--well, you'll see what it is.
It's only a little more than an hour's ride by train. And
it will just wipe that tired look out of your face, Fan."
He stood up. "I'll call for you tomorrow morning at eight,
or thereabouts. That's early for Sunday, but it's going to
be worth it."
"I can't. Really. Besides, I don't think I even want to.
"I promise not to lecture on Nature, if that's what's
worrying you." He took her hand in a parting grip. "Bring
some sandwiches, will you? Quite a lot of 'em. I'll have
some other stuff in my rucksack. And wear some clothes you
don't mind wrecking. I suppose you haven't got a red tam o'
"I just thought it might help to keep me humble." He was at
the door, and so was she, somehow, her hand still in his.
"Eight o'clock. How do you stand it in this place, Fan?
Oh, well--I'll find that out to-morrow. Good-by."
Fanny went back to her desk and papers. The room seemed all
at once impossibly stuffy, her papers and letters dry,
meaningless things. In the next office, separated from her
by a partition half glass, half wood, she saw the top of
Slosson's bald head as he stood up to shut his old-fashioned
roll-top desk. He was leaving. She looked out of the
window. Ella Monahan, in hat and suit, passed and came back
to poke her head in the door.
"Run along!" she said. "It's Saturday afternoon. You'll
work overtime enough when the Christmas rush begins. Come
on, child, and call it a day!"
And Fanny gathered papers, figures, catalogue proofs into a
glorious heap, thrust them into a drawer, locked the drawer,
pushed back her chair, and came.
Fanny told herself, before she went to bed Saturday night,
that she hoped it would rain Sunday morning from seven to
twelve. But when Princess woke her at seven-thirty, as per
instructions left in penciled scrawl on the kitchen table,
she turned to the window at once, and was glad, somehow, to
find it sun-flooded. Princess, if you're mystified, was
royal in name only--a biscuit-tinted lady, with a very black
and no-account husband whose habits made it necessary for
Princess to let herself into Fanny's four-room flat at seven
every morning, and let herself out at eight every evening.
She had an incredibly soft and musical voice, had Princess,
and a cooking hand. She kept Fanny mended, fed and
comfortable, and her only cross was that Fanny's taste in
blouses (ultimately her property) ran to the severe and
"Mawnin', Miss Fanny. There's a gep'mun waitin' to see
Fanny choked on a yawn. "A what!"
"Gep'mun. Says yo-all goin' picnickin'. He's in the
settin' room, a-lookin' at yo' pictchah papahs. Will Ah fry
yo' up a li'l chicken to pack along? San'wiches ain't no
eatin' fo' Sunday."
Fanny flung back her covers, swung around to the side of the
bed, and stood up, all, seemingly, in one sweeping movement.
"Do you mean to tell me he's in there, now?"
From the sitting room. "I think I ought to tell you I can
hear everything you're saying. Say. Fanny, those sketches
of yours are---- Why, Gee Whiz! I didn't know
you did that kind of thing. This one here, with that girl's
face in the crowd----"
"For heaven's sake!" Fanny demanded, "what are you doing
here at seven-thirty? And I don't allow people to look at
those sketches. You said eight-thirty."
"I was afraid you'd change your mind, or something.
Besides, it's now twenty-two minutes to eight. And will you
tell the lady that's a wonderful idea about the chicken?
Only she'd better start now."
Goaded by time bulletins shouted through the closed door,
Fanny found herself tubbed, clothed, and ready for breakfast
by eight-ten. When she opened the door Clarence was
standing in the center of her little sitting room, waiting,
a sheaf of loose sketches in his hand.
"Say, look here! These are the real thing. Why, they're
great! They get you. This old geezer with the beard,
selling fish and looking like one of the Disciples. And
this. What the devil are you doing in a mail order house,
or whatever it is? Tell me that! When you can draw like
"Good morning," said Fanny, calmly. "And I'll tell you
nothing before breakfast. The one thing that interests me
this moment is hot coffee. Will you have some breakfast?
Oh, well, a second one won't hurt you. You must have got up
at three, or thereabouts." She went toward the tiny
kitchen. "Never mind, Princess. I'll wait on myself. You
go on with that chicken."
Princess was the kind of person who can fry a chicken, wrap
it in cool, crisp lettuce leaves, box it, cut sandwiches,
and come out of the process with an unruffled temper and an
immaculate kitchen. Thanks to her, Fanny and Heyl found
themselves on the eight fifty-three train, bound for the
Clarence swung his rucksack up to the bundle rack. He took
off his cap, and stuffed it into his pocket. He was
grinning like a schoolboy. Fanny turned from the window and
smiled at what she saw in his face. At that he gave an
absurd little bounce in his place, like an overgrown child,
and reached over and patted her hand.
"I've dreamed of this for years."
"You're just fourteen, going on fifteen," Fanny reproved
"I know it. And it's great! Won't you be, too? Forget
you're a fair financier, or whatever they call it. Forget
you earn more in a month than I do in six. Relax. Unbend.
Loosen up. Don't assume that hardshell air with me. Just
remember that I knew you when the frill of your panties
showed below your skirt."
But he was leaning past her, and pointing out of the window.
"See that curtain of smoke off there? That's the South
Chicago, and the Hammond and Gary steel mills. Wait till
you see those smokestacks against the sky, and the iron
scaffoldings that look like giant lacework, and the slag
heaps, and the coal piles, and those huge, grim tanks. Gad!
It's awful and beautiful. Like the things Pennell does."
"I came out here on the street car one day," said Fanny,
quietly. "One Sunday."
"You did!" He stared at her.
"It was hot, and they were all spilling out into the street.
You know, the women in wrappers, just blobs of flesh trying
to get cool. And the young girls in their pink silk dresses
and white shoes, and the boys on the street corners, calling
to them. Babies all over the sidewalks and streets, and the
men who weren't in the mills--you know how they look in
their Sunday shirtsleeves, with their flat faces, and high
cheekbones, and their great brown hands with the broken
nails. Hunkies. Well, at five the motor cars began
whizzing by from the country roads back to Chicago.
You have to go back that way. Just then the five o'clock
whistles blew and the day shift came off. There was a great
army of them, clumping down the road the way they do. Their
shoulders were slack, and their lunch pails dangled, empty,
and they were wet and reeking with sweat. The motor cars
were full of wild phlox and daisies and spiderwort."
Clarence was still turned sideways, looking at her. "Get a
picture of it?"
"Yes. I tried, at least."
"Is that the way you usually spend your Sundays?"
"Well, I--I like snooping about."
"M-m," mused Clarence. Then, "How's business, Fanny?"
"Business?" You could almost feel her mind jerk back. "Oh,
let's not talk about business on Sunday."
"I thought so," said Clarence, enigmatically. "Now listen
to me, Fanny."
"I'll listen," interrupted she, "if you'll talk about
yourself. I want to know what you're doing, and why you're
going to New York. What business can a naturalist have in
New York, anyway?"
"I didn't intend to be a naturalist. You can tell that by
looking at me. But you can't have your very nose rubbed up
against trees, and rocks, and mountains, and snow for years
and years without learning something about 'em. There were
whole weeks when I hadn't anything to chum with but a
timber-line pine and an odd assortment of mountain peaks.
We just had to get acquainted."
"But you're going back, aren't you? Don't they talk about
the spell of the mountains, or some such thing?"
"They do. And they're right. And I've got to have them six
months in the year, at least. But I'm going to try spending
the other six in the bosom of the human race. Not only
that, I'm going to write about it. Writing's my job,
really. At least, it's the thing I like best."
"Human nature. I went out to Colorado just a lonesome
little kid with a bum lung. The lung's all right, but I
never did quite get over the other. Two years ago, in the
mountains, I met Carl Lasker, who owns the New York Star.
It's said to be the greatest morning paper in the country.
Lasker's a genius. And he fries the best bacon I ever
tasted. I took him on a four-weeks' horseback trip through
the mountains. We got pretty well acquainted. At the end
of it he offered me a job. You see, I'd never seen a chorus
girl, or the Woolworth building, or a cabaret, or a broiled
lobster, or a subway. But I was interested and curious
about all of them. And Lasker said, `A man who can humanize
a rock, or a tree, or a chipmunk ought to be able to make
even those things seem human. You've got what they call the
fresh viewpoint. New York's full of people with a scum over
their eyes, but a lot of them came to New York from
Winnebago, or towns just like it, and you'd be surprised at
the number of them who still get their home town paper. One
day, when I came into Lee Kohl's office, with stars, and
leading men, and all that waiting outside to see him, he was
sitting with his feet on the desk reading the Sheffield,
Illinois, Gazette.' You see, the thing he thinks I can do
is to give them a picture of New York as they used to see
it, before they got color blind. A column or so a day,
about anything that hits me. How does that strike you as a
job for a naturalist?"
"It's a job for a human naturalist. I think you'll cover
If you know the dunes, which you probably don't, you know
why they did not get off at Millers, with the crowd, but
rode on until they were free of the Sunday picnickers.
Then they got off, and walked across the tracks, past
saloons, and a few huddled houses, hideous in yellow paint,
and on, and on down a road that seemed endless. A stretch
of cinders, then dust, a rather stiff little hill, a great
length of yellow sand and--the lake! We say, the lake! like
that, with an exclamation point after it, because it wasn't
at all the Lake Michigan that Chicagoans know. This vast
blue glory bore no relation to the sullen, gray, turbid
thing that the city calls the lake. It was all the blues of
which you've ever heard, and every passing cloud gave it a
new shade. Sapphire. No, cobalt. No, that's too cold.
Mediterranean. Turquoise. And the sand in golden contrast.
Miles of sand along the beach, and back of that the dunes.
Now, any dictionary or Scotchman will tell you that a dune
is a hill of loose sand. But these dunes are done in
American fashion, lavishly. Mountains of sand, as far as
the eye can see, and on the top of them, incredibly, great
pine trees that clutch at their perilous, shifting foothold
with frantic root-toes. And behind that, still more
incredibly, the woods, filled with wild flowers, with
strange growths found nowhere else in the whole land, with
trees, and vines, and brush, and always the pungent scent of
the pines. And there you have the dunes--blue lake, golden
sand-hills, green forest, in one.
Fanny and Clarence stood there on the sand, in silence, two
ridiculously diminutive figures in that great wilderness of
beauty. I wish I could get to you, somehow, the clear
sparkle of it, the brilliance of it, and yet the peace of
it. They stood there a long while, those two, without
speaking. Then Fanny shut her eyes, and I think her lower
lip trembled just a little. And Clarence patted her hand
"I thank you," he said, "in the name of that much-abused
lady known as Nature."
Said Fanny, "I want to scramble up to the top of one of
those dunes--the high one--and just sit there."
And that is what they did. A poor enough Sunday, I suppose,
in the minds of those of you who spend yours golfing at the
club, or motoring along grease-soaked roads that lead to a
shore dinner and a ukulele band. But it turned Fanny
Brandeis back a dozen years or more, so that she was again
the little girl whose heart had ached at sight of the pale
rose and, orange of the Wisconsin winter sunsets. She
forgot all about layettes, and obstetrical outfits, and
flannel bands, and safety pins; her mind was a blank in the
matter of bootees, and catalogues, and our No. 29E8347, and
those hungry bins that always yawned for more. She forgot
about Michael Fenger, and Theodore, and the new furs. They
scrambled up dunes, digging into the treacherous sand with
heels, toes, and the side of the foot, and clutching at
fickle roots with frantic fingers. Forward a step, and back
two--that's dune climbing. A back-breaking business, unless
you're young and strong, as were these two. They explored
the woods, and Heyl had a fascinating way of talking about
stones and shrubs and trees as if they were endowed with
human qualities--as indeed they were for him. They found a
hill-slope carpeted with dwarf huckleberry plants, still
bearing tiny clusters of the blue-black fruit. Fanny's
heart was pounding, her lungs ached, her cheeks were
scarlet, her eyes shining. Heyl, steel-muscled, took the
hills like a chamois. Once they crossed hands atop a dune
and literally skated down it, right, left, right, left,
shrieking with laughter, and ending in a heap at the bottom.
"In the name of all that's idiotic!" shouted Heyl. "Silk
stockings! What in thunder made you wear silk stockings!
At the sand dunes! Gosh!"
They ate their dinner in olympic splendor, atop a dune.
Heyl produced unexpected things from the rucksack--things
that ranged all the way from milk chocolate to
literature, and from grape juice to cigarettes. They ate
ravenously, but at Heyl's thrifty suggestion they saved a
few sandwiches for the late afternoon. It was he, too, who
made a little bonfire of papers, crusts, and bones, as is
the cleanly habit of your true woodsman. Then they
stretched out, full length, in the noon sun, on the warm,
"What's your best price on one-sixth doz. flannel vests?"
And, "Oh, shut up!" said Fanny, elegantly. Heyl laughed as
one who hugs a secret.
"We'll work our way down the beach," he announced, "toward
Millers. There'll be northern lights to-night; did you know
that? Want to stay and see them?"
"Do I want to! I won't go home till I have."
These were the things they did on that holiday; childish,
happy, tiring things, such as people do who love the
The charm of Clarence Heyl--for he had charm--is difficult
to transmit. His lovableness and appeal lay in his
simplicity. It was not so much what he said as in what he
didn't say. He was staring unwinkingly now at the sunset
that had suddenly burst upon them. His were the eyes of one
accustomed to the silent distances.
"Takes your breath away, rather, doesn't it? All that
color?" said Fanny, her face toward the blaze.
"Almost too obvious for my taste. I like 'em a little more
subdued, myself." They were atop a dune, and he stretched
himself flat on the sand, still keeping his bright brown
eyes on lake and sky. Then he sat up, excitedly. "Heh, try
that! Lie flat. It softens the whole thing. Like this.
Now look at it. The lake's like molten copper flowing in.
And you can see that silly sun going down in jerks, like a
balloon on a string."
They lay there, silent, while the scarlet became orange, the
orange faded to rose, the rose to pale pink, to salmon, to
mauve, to gray. The first pale star came out, and the
brazen lights of Gary, far to the north, defied it.
Fanny sat up with a sigh and a little shiver.
"Fasten up that sweater around your throat," said Heyl.
"Got a pin?" They munched their sandwiches, rather soggy by
now, and drank the last of the grape juice. "We'll have a
bite of hot supper in town, at a restaurant that doesn't
mind Sunday trampers. Come on, Fan. We'll start down the
beach until the northern lights begin to show."
"It's been the most accommodating day," murmured Fanny.
"Sunshine, sunset, northern lights, everything. If we were
to demand a rainbow and an eclipse they'd turn those on,
They started to walk down the beach in the twilight, keeping
close to the water's edge where the sand was moist and firm.
It was hard going. They plunged along arm in arm, in
silence. Now and again they stopped, with one accord, and
looked out over the great gray expanse that lay before them,
and then up at the hills and the pines etched in black
against the sky. Nothing competitive here, Fanny thought,
and took a deep breath. She thought of to-morrow's work,
with day after to-morrow's biting and snapping at its heels.
Clarence seemed to sense her thoughts. "Doesn't this make
you feel you want to get away from those damned bins that
you're forever feeding? I watched those boys for a minute,
the other day, outside your office. Jove!"
Fanny dug a heel into the sand, savagely. "Some days I feel
that I've got to walk out of the office, and down the
street, without a hat, and on, and on, walking and walking,
and running now and then, till I come to the horizon.
That's how I feel, some days."
"Then some day, Fanny, that feeling will get too strong for
you, and you'll do it. Now listen to me. Tuck this away in
your subconscious mind, and leave it there until you need
it. When that time comes get on a train for Denver. From
Denver take another to Estes Park. That's the Rocky
Mountains, and they're your destination, because that's
where the horizon lives and has its being. When you get
there ask for Heyl's place. They'll just hand you from one
to the other, gently, until you get there. I may be there,
but more likely I shan't. The key's in the mail box, tied
to a string. You'll find a fire already laid, in the
fireplace, with fat pine knots that will blaze up at the
touch of a match. My books are there, along the walls. The
bedding's in the cedar chest, and the lamps are filled.
There's tinned stuff in the pantry. And the mountains are
there, girl, to make you clean and whole again. And the
pines that are nature's prophylactic brushes. And the sky.
And peace. That sounds like a railway folder, but it's
true. I know." They trudged along in silence for a little
while. "Got that?"
"M-m," replied Fanny, disinterestedly, without looking at
Heyl's jaw set. You could see the muscles show white for an
instant. Then he said: "It has been a wonderful day,
Fanny, but you haven't told me a thing about yourself. I'd
like to know about your work. I'd like to know what you're
doing; what your plan is. You looked so darned definite up
there in that office. Whom do you play with? And who's
this Fenger--wasn't that the name?--who saw that you looked
"All right, Clancy. I'll tell you all about it," Fanny
"Well, I can't call you Clarence. It doesn't fit. So just
for the rest of the day let's make it Clancy, even if
you do look like one of the minor Hebrew prophets, minus the
And so she began to tell him of her work and her aims. I
think that she had been craving just this chance to talk.
That which she told him was, unconsciously, a confession.
She told him of Theodore and his marriage; of her mother's
death; of her coming to Haynes-Cooper, and the changes she
had brought about there. She showed him the infinite
possibilities for advancement there. Slosson she tossed
aside. Then, rather haltingly, she told him of Fenger, of
his business genius, his magnetic qualities, of his career.
She even sketched a deft word-picture of the limp and
irritating Mrs. Fenger.
"Is this Fenger in love with you?" asked Heyl, startlingly.
Fanny recoiled at the idea with a primness that did credit
"Clancy! Please! He's married."
"Now don't sneak, Fanny. And don't talk like an ingenue.
So far, you've outlined a life-plan that makes Becky Sharp
look like a cooing dove. So just answer this straight, will
"Why, I suppose I attract him, as any man of his sort, with
a wife like that, would be attracted to a healthily alert
woman, whose ideas match his. And I wish you wouldn't talk
to me like that. It hurts."
"I'm glad of that. I was afraid you'd passed that stage.
Well now, how about those sketches of yours? I suppose you
know that they're as good, in a crude, effective sort of
way, as anything that's being done to-day."
"Oh, nonsense!" But then she stopped, suddenly, and put
both hands on his arm, and looked up at him, her face
radiant in the gray twilight. "Do you really think they're
"You bet they're good. There isn't a newspaper in the
country that couldn't use that kind of stuff. And there
aren't three people in the country who can do it. It isn't
a case of being able to draw. It's being able to see life
in a peculiar light, and to throw that light so that others
get the glow. Those sketches I saw this morning are life,
served up raw. That's your gift, Fanny. Why the devil
don't you use it!"
But Fanny had got herself in hand again. "It isn't a gift,"
she said, lightly. "It's just a little knack that amuses
me. There's no money in it. Besides, it's too late now.
One's got to do a thing superlatively, nowadays, to be
recognized. I don't draw superlatively, but I do handle
infants' wear better than any woman I know. In two more
years I'll be getting ten thousand a year at Haynes-Cooper.
In five years----"
Fanny's hands became fists, gripping the power she craved.
"Then I shall have arrived. I shall be able to see the
great and beautiful things of this world, and mingle with
the people who possess them."
"When you might be making them yourself, you little fool.
Don't glare at me like that. I tell you that those pictures
are the real expression of you. That's why you turn to them
as relief from the shop grind. You can't help doing them.
"I can stop if I want to. They amuse me, that's all."
"You can't stop. It's in your blood. It's the Jew in you."
"The---- Here, I'll show you. I won't do another sketch
for a year. I'll prove to you that my ancestors' religion
doesn't influence my work, or my play."
"Dear, you can't prove that, because the contrary has been
proven long ago. You yourself proved it when you did that
sketch of the old fish vender in the Ghetto. The one with
the beard. It took a thousand years of suffering and
persecution and faith to stamp that look on his face,
and it took a thousand years to breed in you the genius to
see it, and put it down on paper. Fan, did you ever read
"No," said Fanny, low-voiced.
"Sometime, when you can snatch a moment from the
fascinations of the mail order catalogue, read it. Fishberg
says--I wish I could remember his exact words--`It isn't the
body that marks the Jew. It's his Soul. The type is not
anthropological, or physical; it's social or psychic. It
isn't the complexion, the nose, the lips, the head. It's
his Soul which betrays his faith. Centuries of Ghetto
confinement, ostracism, ceaseless suffering, have produced a
psychic type. The thing that is stamped on the Soul seeps
through the veins and works its way magically to the
"But I don't want to talk about souls! Please! You're
spoiling a wonderful day."
"And you're spoiling a wonderful life. I don't object to
this driving ambition in you. I don't say that you're wrong
in wanting to make a place for yourself in the world. But
don't expect me to stand by and let you trample over your
own immortal soul to get there. Your head is busy enough on
this infants' wear job, but how about the rest of you--how
about You? What do you suppose all those years of work, and
suppression, and self-denial, and beauty-hunger there in
Winnebago were meant for! Not to develop the mail order
business. They were given you so that you might recognize
hunger, and suppression, and self-denial in others. The
light in the face of that girl in the crowd pouring out of
the plant. What's that but the reflection of the light in
you! I tell you, Fanny, we Jews have got a money-grubbing,
loud-talking, diamond-studded, get-there-at-any-price
reputation, and perhaps we deserve it. But every now and
then, out of the mass of us, one lifts his head and stands
erect, and the great white light is in his face. And that
person has suffered, for suffering breeds genius. It
expands the soul just as over-prosperity shrivels it. You
see it all the way from Lew Fields to Sarah Bernhardt; from
Mendelssohn to Irving Berlin; from Mischa Elman to Charlie
Chaplin. You were a person set apart in Winnebago. Instead
of thanking your God for that, you set out to be something
you aren't. No, it's worse than that. You're trying not to
be what you are. And it's going to do for you."
"Stop!" cried Fanny. "My head's whirling. It sounds like
something out of `Alice in Wonderland.'"
"And you," retorted Heyl, "sound like some one who's afraid
to talk or think about herself. You're suppressing the
thing that is you. You're cutting yourself off from your
own people--a dramatic, impulsive, emotional people. By
doing those things you're killing the goose that lays the
golden egg. What's that old copy-book line? `To thine own
self be true,' and the rest of it."
"Yes; like Theodore, for example," sneered Fanny.
At which unpleasant point Nature kindly supplied a
diversion. Across the black sky there shot two luminous
shafts of lights. Northern lights, pale sisters of the
chromatic glory one sees in the far north, but still weirdly
beautiful. Fanny and Heyl stopped short, faces upturned.
The ghostly radiance wavered, expanded, glowed palely, like
celestial searchlights. Suddenly, from the tip of each
shaft, there burst a cluster of slender, pin-point lines,
like aigrettes set in a band of silver. Then these slowly
wavered, faded, combined to form a third and fourth slender
shaft of light. It was like the radiance one sees in the
old pictures of the Holy Family. Together Fanny and Heyl
watched it in silence until the last pale glimmer faded and
was gone, and only the brazen lights of Gary, far, far down
the beach, cast a fiery glow against the sky.
They sighed, simultaneously. Then they laughed, each at the
"Curtain," said Fanny. They raced for the station, despite
the sand. Their car was filled with pudgy babies lying limp
in parental arms; with lunch baskets exuding the sickly
scent of bananas; with disheveled vandals whose moist palms
grasped bunches of wilted wild flowers. Past the belching
chimneys of Gary, through South Chicago, the back yard of a
metropolis, past Jackson Park that breathed coolly upon
them, and so to the city again. They looked at it with the
shock that comes to eyes that have rested for hours on long
stretches of sand and sky and water. Monday, that had
seemed so far away, became an actuality of to-morrow.
Tired as they were, they stopped at one of those frank
little restaurants that brighten Chicago's drab side
streets. Its windows were full of pans that held baked
beans, all crusty and brown, and falsely tempting, and of
baked apples swimming in a pool of syrup. These flanked by
ketchup bottles and geometrical pyramids of golden grape-
Coffee and hot roast beef sandwiches, of course, in a place
like that. "And," added Fanny, "one of those baked apples.
Just to prove they can't be as good as they look."
They weren't, but she was too hungry to care. Not too
hungry, though, to note with quick eye all that the little
restaurant held of interest, nor too sleepy to respond to
the friendly waitress who, seeing their dusty boots, and the
sprig of sumac stuck in Fanny's coat, said, "My, it must
have been swell in the country today!" as her flapping
napkin precipitated crumbs into their laps.
"It was," said Fanny, and smiled up at the girl with her
generous, flashing smile. "Here's a bit of it I brought
back for you." And she stuck the scarlet sumac sprig into
the belt of the white apron.
They finished the day incongruously by taking a taxi
home, Fanny yawning luxuriously all the way. "Do you know,"
she said, as they parted, "we've talked about everything
from souls to infants' wear. We're talked out. It's a
mercy you're going to New York. There won't be a next
"Young woman," said Heyl, forcefully, "there will. That
young devil in the red tam isn't dead. She's alive. And
kicking. There's a kick in every one of those Chicago
sketches in your portfolio upstairs. You said she wouldn't
fight anybody's battles to-day. You little idiot, she's
fighting one in each of those pictures, from the one showing
that girl's face in the crowd, to the old chap with the
fish-stall. She'll never die that one. Because she's the
spirit. It's the other one who's dead--and she doesn't know
it. But some day she'll find herself buried. And I want to
be there to shovel on the dirt."
From the first of December the floor of the Haynes-Cooper
mail room looked like the New York Stock Exchange, after a
panic. The aisles were drifts of paper against which a
squad of boys struggled as vainly as a gang of snow-
shovelers against a blizzard. The guide talked in terms of
tons of mail, instead of thousands. And smacked his lips
after it. The Ten Thousand were working at night now,
stopping for a hasty bite of supper at six, then back to
desk, or bin or shelf until nine, so that Oklahoma and
Minnesota might have its Christmas box in time.
Fanny Brandeis, working under the light of her green-shaded
desk lamp, wondered, a little bitterly, if Christmas would
ever mean anything to her but pressure, weariness, work.
She told herself that she would not think of that Christmas
of one year ago. One year! As she glanced around the
orderly little office, and out to the stock room beyond,
then back to her desk again, she had an odd little feeling
of unreality. Surely it had been not one year, but many
years--a lifetime--since she had elbowed her way up and down
those packed aisles of the busy little store in Winnebago--
she and that brisk, alert, courageous woman.
"Mrs. Brandeis, lady wants to know if you can't put this
blue satin dress on the dark-haired doll, and the pink
satin. . . . Well, I did tell her, but she said for me to
ask you, anyway."
"Mis' Brandeis, this man says he paid a dollar down on a go-
cart last month and he wants to pay the rest and take it
home with him."
And then the reassuring, authoritative voice, "Coming! I'll
be right there."
"Coming!" That had been her whole life. Service. And now
she lay so quietly beneath the snow of the bitter northern
At that point Fanny's fist would come down hard on her desk,
and the quick, indrawn breath of mutinous resentment would
hiss through her teeth.
She kept away from the downtown shops and their crowds. She
scowled at sight of the holly and mistletoe wreaths, with
their crimson streamers. There was something almost
ludicrous in the way she shut her eyes to the holiday
pageant all around her, and doubled and redoubled her work.
It seemed that she had a new scheme for her department every
other day, and every other one was a good one.
Slosson had long ago abandoned the attempt to keep up with
her. He did not even resent her, as he had at first. "I'm
a buyer," he said, rather pathetically, "and a pret-ty good
one, too. But I'm not a genius, and I never will be. And I
guess you've got to be a genius, these days, to keep up. It
used to be enough for an infants' wear buyer to know
muslins, cottons, woolens, silks, and embroideries. But
that's old-fashioned now. These days, when you hire an
office boy you don't ask him if he can read and write. You
tell him he's got to have personality, magnetism, and
imagination. Makes me sick!"
The Baby Book came off the presses and it was good. Even
Slosson admitted it, grudgingly. The cover was a sunny,
breezy seashore picture, all blue and gold, with plump,
dimpled youngsters playing, digging in the sand, romping
(and wearing our No. 13E1269, etc., of course). Inside were
displayed the complete baby outfits, with a smiling mother,
and a chubby, crowing baby as a central picture, and each
piece of each outfit separately pictured. Just below this,
the outfit number and price, and a list of the pieces
that went to make it up. From the emergency outfit at $3.98
to the outfit de luxe (for Haynes-Cooper patrons) at $28.50,
each group was comprehensive, practical, complete. In the
back of the book was a personal service plea. "Use us," it
said. "We are here to assist you, not only in the matter of
merchandise, but with information and advice. Mothers in
particular are in need of such service. This book will save
you weariness and worry. Use us."
Fanny surveyed the book with pardonable pride. But she was
not satisfied. "We lack style," she said. "The practical
garments are all right. But what we need is a little snap.
That means cut and line. And I'm going to New York to get
it." That had always been Slosson's work.
She and Ella Monahan were to go to the eastern markets
together. Ella Monahan went to New York regularly every
three weeks. Fanny had never been east of Chicago. She
envied Ella her knowledge of the New York wholesalers and
manufacturers. Ella had dropped into Fanny's office for a
brief moment. The two women had little in common, except
their work, but they got on very well, and each found the
"Seems to me you're putting an awful lot into this,"
observed Ella Monahan, her wise eyes on Fanny's rather tense
"You've got to," replied Fanny, "to get anything out of it."
"I guess you're right," Ella agreed, and laughed a rueful
little laugh. "I know I've given 'em everything I've got--
and a few things I didn't know I had. It's a queer game--
life. Now if my old father hadn't run a tannery in Racine,
and if I hadn't run around there all the day, so that I got
so the smell and feel of leather and hides were part of me,
why, I'd never be buyer of gloves at Haynes-Cooper.
"Brandeis' Bazaar." And was going on, when her office boy
came in with a name. Ella rose to go, but Fanny stopped
her. "Father Fitzpatrick! Bring him right in! Miss
Monahan, you've got to meet him. He's"--then, as the great
frame of the handsome old priest filled the doorway--"he's
just Father Fitzpatrick. Ella Monahan."
The white-haired Irishman, and the white-haired Irish woman
"And who are you, daughter, besides being Ella Monahan?"
"Buyer of gloves at Haynes-Cooper, Father."
"You don't tell me, now!" He turned to Fanny, put his two
big hands on her shoulders, and swung her around to face the
light. "Hm," he murmured, noncommittally, after that.
"Hm--what?" demanded Fanny. "It sounds unflattering,
whatever it means."
"Gloves!" repeated Father Fitzpatrick, unheeding her.
"Well, now, what d'you think of that! Millions of dollars'
worth, I'll wager, in your time."
"Two million and a half in my department last year," replied
Ella, without the least trace of boastfulness. One talked
only in terms of millions at Haynes-Cooper's.
"What an age it is! When two slips of women can earn
salaries that would make the old kings of Ireland look like
beggars." He twinkled upon the older woman. "And what a
feeling it must be--independence, and all."
"I've earned my own living since I was seventeen," said Ella
Monahan. "I'd hate to tell you how long that is." A murmur
from the gallant Irishman. "Thanks, Father, for the
compliment I see in your eyes. But what I mean is this:
You're right about independence. It is a grand thing. At
first. But after a while it begins to pall on you. Don't
ask me why. I don't know. I only hope you won't think I'm a
wicked woman when I say I could learn to love any man who'd hang a
silver fox scarf and a string of pearls around my neck, and ask me
if I didn't feel a draft."
"Wicked! Not a bit of it, my girl. It's only natural, and
commendable--barrin' the pearls."
"I'd forego them," laughed Ella, and with a parting
handshake left the two alone.
Father Fitzpatrick looked after her. "A smart woman, that."
He took out his watch, a fat silver one. "It's eleven-
thirty. My train leaves at four. Now, Fanny, if you'll get
on your hat, and arrange to steal an hour or so from this
Brobdingnagian place a grand word that, my girl, and nearer
to swearing than any word I know--I'll take you to the
Blackstone, no less, for lunch. How's that for a poor
miserable old priest!"
"You dear, I couldn't think of it. Oh, yes, I could get
away, but let's lunch right here at the plant, in the
"Never! I couldn't. Don't ask it of me. This place scares
me. I came up in the elevator with a crowd and a guide, and
he was juggling millions, that chap, the way a newsboy flips
a cent. I'm but a poor parish priest, but I've got my
pride. We'll go to the Blackstone, which I've passed,
humbly, but never been in, with its rose silk shades and its
window boxes. And we'll be waited on by velvet-footed
servitors, me girl. Get your hat."
Fanny, protesting, but laughing, too, got it. They took the
L. Michigan avenue, as they approached it from Wabash, was
wind-swept and bleak as only Michigan avenue can be in
December. They entered the warm radiance of the luxurious
foyer with a little breathless rush, as wind-blown
Chicagoans generally do. The head waiter must have thought
Father Fitzpatrick a cardinal, at least, for he seated them
at a window table that looked out upon the icy street,
with Grant Park, crusted with sooty snow, just across the
way, and beyond that the I. C. tracks and the great gray
lake. The splendid room was all color, and perfume, and
humming conversation. A fountain tinkled in the center, and
upon its waters there floated lily pads and blossoms,
weirdly rose, and mauve, and lavender. The tables were
occupied by deliciously slim young girls and very self-
conscious college boys, home for the holidays, and marcelled
matrons, furred and aigretted. The pink in Fanny's cheeks
deepened. She loved luxury. She smiled and flashed at the
handsome old priest opposite her.
"You're a wastrel," she said, "but isn't it nice!" And
tasted the first delicious sip of soup.
"It is. For a change. Extravagance is good for all of us,
now and then." He glanced leisurely about the brilliant
room, then out to the street, bleakly windswept. He leaned
back and drummed a bit with his fingers on the satin-smooth
cloth. "Now and then. Tell me, Fanny, what would you say,
off-hand, was the most interesting thing you see from here?
You used to have a trick of picking out what they call the
human side. Your mother had it, too."
Fanny, smiling, glanced about the room, her eyes
unconsciously following the track his had taken. About the
room, and out, to the icy street. "The most interesting
thing?" Back to the flower-scented room, with its music,
and tinkle, and animation. Out again, to the street. "You
see that man, standing at the curb, across the street. He's
sort of crouched against the lamp post. See him? Yes,
there, just this side of that big gray car? He's all drawn
up in a heap. You can feel him shivering. He looks as if
he were trying to crawl inside himself for warmth. Ever
since we came in I've noticed him staring straight across at
these windows where we're all sitting so grandly, lunching.
I know what he's thinking, don't you? And I wish I
didn't feel so uncomfortable, knowing it. I wish we hadn't
ordered lobster thermidor. I wish--there! the policeman's
moving him on."
Father Fitzpatrick reached over and took her hand, as it lay
on the table, in his great grasp. "Fanny, girl, you've told
me what I wanted to know. Haynes-Cooper or no Haynes-
Cooper, millions or no millions, your ravines aren't choked
up with ashes yet, my dear. Thank God."
From now on Fanny Brandeis' life became such a swift-moving
thing that your trilogist would have regarded her with
disgust. Here was no slow unfolding, petal by petal. Here
were two processes going on, side by side. Fanny, the woman
of business, flourished and throve like a weed, arrogantly
flaunting its head above the timid, white flower that lay
close to the soil, and crept, and spread, and multiplied.
Between the two the fight went on silently.
Fate, or Chance, or whatever it is that directs our
movements, was forever throwing tragic or comic little life-
groups in her path, and then, pointing an arresting finger
at her, implying, "This means you!" Fanny stepped over
these obstructions, or walked around them, or stared
straight through them.
She had told herself that she would observe the first
anniversary of her mother's death with none of those ancient
customs by which your pious Jew honors his dead. There
would be no Yahrzeit light burning for twenty-four hours.
She would not go to Temple for Kaddish prayer. But the
thing was too strong for her, too anciently inbred. Her
ancestors would have lighted a candle, or an oil lamp.
Fanny, coming home at six, found herself turning on the
shaded electric lamp in her hall. She went through to the
"Princess, when you come in to-morrow morning you'll find a
light in the hall. Don't turn it off until to-morrow
evening at six."
"All day long, Miss Fan! Mah sakes, wa' foh?"
"It's just a religious custom."
"Didn't know yo' had no relijin, Miss Fan. Leastways, Ah
nevah could figgah----"
"I haven't," said Fanny, shortly. "Dinner ready soon,
Princess? I'm starved."
She had entered a Jewish house of worship only once in this
year. It was the stately, white-columned edifice on Grand
Boulevard that housed the congregation presided over by the
famous Kirsch. She had heard of him, naturally. She was
there out of curiosity, like any other newcomer to Chicago.
The beauty of the auditorium enchanted her--a magnificently
proportioned room, and restful without being in the least
gloomy. Then she had been interested in the congregation as
it rustled in. She thought she had never seen so many
modishly gowned women in one room in all her life. The men
were sleekly broadclothed, but they lacked the well-dressed
air, somehow. The women were slimly elegant in tailor suits
and furs. They all looked as if they had been turned out by
the same tailor. An artist, in his line, but of limited
imagination. Dr. Kirsch, sociologist and savant, aquiline,
semi-bald, grimly satiric, sat in his splendid, high-backed
chair, surveying his silken flock through half-closed lids.
He looked tired, and rather ill, Fanny thought, but
distinctly a personage. She wondered if he held them or
they him. That recalled to her the little Winnebago Temple
and Rabbi Thalmann. She remembered the frequent rudeness
and open inattention of that congregation. No doubt Mrs.
Nathan Pereles had her counterpart here, and the
hypocritical Bella Weinberg, too, and the giggling Aarons
girls, and old Ben Reitman. Here Dr. Kirsch had risen, and,
coming forward, had paused to lean over his desk and, with
an awful geniality, had looked down upon two rustling,
exquisitely gowned late-comers. They sank into their seats,
cowed. Fanny grinned. He began his lecture
something about modern politics. Fanny was fascinated
and resentful by turns. His brilliant satire probed, cut,
jabbed like a surgeon's scalpel; or he railed, scolded,
snarled, like a dyspeptic schoolmaster. Often he was in
wretched taste. He mimicked, postured, sneered. But he had
this millionaire congregation of his in hand. Fanny found
herself smiling up at him, delightedly. Perhaps this wasn't
religion, as she had been taught to look upon it, but it
certainly was tonic. She told herself that she would have
come to the same conclusion if Kirsch had occupied a
There were no Kaddish prayers in Kirsch's Temple. On the
Friday following the first anniversary of Molly Brandeis's
death Fanny did not go home after working hours, but took a
bite of supper in a neighborhood restaurant. Then she found
her way to one of the orthodox Russian Jewish synagogues on
the west side. It was a dim, odorous, bare little place,
this house of worship. Fanny had never seen one like it
before. She was herded up in the gallery, where the women
sat. And when the patriarchal rabbi began to intone the
prayer for the dead Fanny threw the gallery into wild panic
by rising for it--a thing that no woman is allowed to do in
an orthodox Jewish church. She stood, calmly, though the
beshawled women to right and left of her yanked at her coat.
In January Fanny discovered New York. She went as selector
for her department. Hereafter Slosson would do only the
actual buying. Styles, prices, and materials would be
decided by her. Ella Monahan accompanied her, it being the
time for her monthly trip. Fanny openly envied her her
knowledge of New York's wholesale district. Ella offered to
"No," Fanny had replied, "I think not, thanks. You've your
own work. And besides I know pretty well what I want, and
where to go to get it. It's making them give it to me that
will be hard."
They went to the same hotel, and took connecting rooms.
Each went her own way, not seeing the other from morning
until night, but they often found kimonoed comfort in each
Fanny had spent weeks outlining her plan of attack. She had
determined to retain the cheap grades, but to add a finer
line as well. She recalled those lace-bedecked bundles that
the farmer women and mill hands had born so tenderly in
their arms. Here was one direction in which they allowed
extravagance free rein. As a canny business woman, she
would trade on her knowledge of their weakness.
At Haynes-Cooper order is never a thing to be despised by a
wholesaler. Fanny, knowing this, had made up her mind to go
straight to Horn & Udell. Now, Horn & Udell are responsible
for the bloomers your small daughter wears under her play
frock, in place of the troublesome and extravagant petticoat
of the old days. It was they who introduced smocked
pinafores to you; and those modish patent-leather belts for
children at which your grandmothers would have raised
horrified hands. They taught you that an inch of hand
embroidery is worth a yard of cheap lace. And as for style,
cut, line--you can tell a Horn & Udell child from among a
flock of thirty.
Fanny, entering their office, felt much as Molly Brandeis
had felt that January many, many years before, when she had
made that first terrifying trip to the Chicago market. The
engagement had been made days before. Fanny never knew the
shock that her youthfully expectant face gave old Sid Udell.
He turned from his desk to greet her, his polite smile of
greeting giving way to a look of bewilderment.
"But you are not the buyer, are you, Miss Brandeis?"
"No, Mr. Slosson buys."
"I thought so."
"But I select for my entire department. I decide on our
styles, materials, and prices, six months in advance. Then
Mr. Slosson does the actual bulk buying."
"Something new-fangled?" inquired Sid Udell. "Of course,
we've never sold much to you people. Our stuff is----"
"Yes, I know. But you'd like to, wouldn't you?"
"Our class of goods isn't exactly suited to your wants."
"Yes, it is. Exactly. That's why I'm here. We'll be doing
a business of a million and a quarter in my department in
another two years. No firm, not even Horn & Udell, can
afford to ignore an account like that."
Sid Udell smiled a little. "You've made up your mind to
that million and a quarter, young lady?"
"Well, I've dealt with buyers for a quarter of a century or
more. And I'd say that you're going to get it."
Whereupon Fanny began to talk. Ten minutes later Udell
interrupted her to summon Horn, whose domain was the
factory. Horn came, was introduced, looked doubtful. Fanny
had statistics. Fanny had arguments. She had
determination. "And what we want," she went on, in her
quiet, assured way, "is style. The Horn & Udell clothes
have chic. Now, material can't be imitated successfully,
but style can. Our goods lack just that. I could copy any
model you have, turn the idea over to a cheap manufacturer,
and get a million just like it, at one-fifth the price.
That isn't a threat. It's just a business statement that
you know to be true. I can sketch from memory anything I've
seen once. What I want to know is this: Will you make it
necessary for me to do that, or will you undertake to
furnish us with cheaper copies of your high-priced designs?
We could use your entire output. I know the small-town
woman of the poorer class, and I know she'll wear a shawl in
order to give her child a cloth coat with fancy buttons and
a velvet collar."
And Horn & Udell, whose attitude at first had been that of
two seasoned business men dealing with a precocious child,
found themselves quoting prices to her, shipments,
materials, quality, quantities. Then came the question of
"We'll get out a special catalogue for the summer," Fanny
said. "A small one, to start them our way. Then the big
Fall catalogue will contain the entire line."
"That doesn't give us time!" exclaimed both men, in a
"But you must manage, somehow. Can't you speed up the
workroom? Put on extra hands? It's worth it."
They might, under normal conditions. But there was this
strike-talk, its ugly head bobbing up in a hundred places.
And their goods were the kind that required high-class
workers. Their girls earned all the way from twelve to
But Fanny knew she had driven home the entering wedge. She
left them after making an engagement for the following day.
The Horn & Udell factory was in New York's newer loft-
building section, around Madison, Fifth avenue, and the
Thirties. Her hotel was very near. She walked up Fifth
avenue a little way, and as she walked she wondered why she
did not feel more elated. Her day's work had exceeded her
expectations. It was a brilliant January afternoon, with a
snap in the air that was almost western. Fifth avenue
flowed up, flowed down, and Fanny fought the impulse to
stare after every second or third woman she passed. They
were so invariably well-dressed. There was none of the
occasional shabbiness or dowdiness of Michigan Avenue.
Every woman seemed to have emerged fresh from the hands of
masseuse and maid. Their hair was coiffed to suit the
angle of the hat, and the hat had been chosen to enhance the
contour of the head, and the head was carried with regard
for the dark furs that encircled the throat. They were
amazingly well shod. Their white gloves were white. (A
fact remarkable to any soot-haunted Chicagoan.) Their
coloring rivaled the rose leaf. And nobody's nose was red.
"Goodness knows I've never pretended to be a beauty," Fanny
said that evening, in conversation with Ella Monahan. "But
I've always thought I had my good points. By the time I'd
reached Forty-second street I wouldn't have given two cents
for my chances of winning a cave man on a desert island."
She made up her mind that she would go back to the hotel,
get a thick coat, and ride outside one of those fascinating
Fifth avenue 'buses. It struck her as an ideal way to see
this amazing street. She was back at her hotel in ten
minutes. Ella had not yet come in. Their rooms were on the
tenth floor. Fanny got her coat, peered at her own
reflection in the mirror, sighed, shook her head, and was
off down the hall toward the elevators. The great hall
window looked toward Fifth avenue, but between it and the
avenue rose a yellow-brick building that housed tier on tier
of manufacturing lofts. Cloaks, suits, blouses, petticoats,
hats, dresses--it was just such a building as Fanny had come
from when she left the offices of Horn & Udell. It might be
their very building, for all she knew. She looked straight
into its windows as she stood waiting for the lift. And
window after window showed women, sewing. They were sewing
at machines, and at hand-work, but not as women are
accustomed to sew, with leisurely stitches, stopping to pat
a seam here, to run a calculating eye along hem or ruffle.
It was a dreadful, mechanical motion, that sewing, a
machine-like, relentless motion, with no waste in it, no
pause. Fanny's mind leaped back to Winnebago, with its
pleasant porches on which leisurely women sat stitching
peacefully at a fine seam.
What was it she had said to Udell? "Can't you speed up the
workroom? It's worth it."
Fanny turned abruptly from the window as the door of the
bronze and mirrored lift opened for her. She walked over to
Fifth avenue again and up to Forty-fifth street. Then she
scrambled up the spiral stairs of a Washington Square 'bus.
The air was crisp, clear, intoxicating. To her Chicago eyes
the buildings, the streets, the very sky looked startlingly
fresh and new-washed. As the 'bus lurched down Fifth avenue
she leaned over the railing to stare, fascinated, at the
colorful, shifting, brilliant panorama of the most amazing
street in the world. Block after block, as far as the eye
could see, the gorgeous procession moved up, moved down, and
the great, gleaming motor cars crept, and crawled, and
writhed in and out, like nothing so much as swollen angle
worms in a fishing can, Fanny thought. Her eye was caught
by one limousine that stood out, even in that crush of
magnificence. It was all black, as though scorning to
attract the eye with vulgar color, and it was lined with
white. Fanny thought it looked very much like Siegel &
Cowan's hearse, back in Winnebago. In it sat a woman, all
furs, and orchids, and complexion. She was holding up to
the window a little dog with a wrinkled and weary face, like
that of an old, old man. He was sticking his little evil,
eager red tongue out at the world. And he wore a very smart
and woolly white sweater, of the imported kind--with a
monogram done in black.
The traffic policeman put up his hand. The 'bus rumbled on
down the street. Names that had always been remotely
mythical to her now met her eye and became realities.
Maillard's. And that great red stone castle was the
Waldorf. Almost historic, and it looked newer than the
smoke-grimed Blackstone. And straight ahead--why, that must
be the Flatiron building! It loomed up like the giant prow
of an unimaginable ship. Brentano's. The Holland House.
Madison Square. Why there never was anything so terrifying,
and beautiful, and palpitating, and exquisite as this Fifth
avenue in the late winter afternoon, with the sky ahead a
rosy mist, and the golden lights just beginning to spangle
the gray. At Madison Square she decided to walk. She
negotiated the 'bus steps with surprising skill for a
novice, and scurried along the perilous crossing to the
opposite side. She entered Madison Square. But why hadn't
O. Henry emphasized its beauty, instead of its squalor? It
lay, a purple pool of shadow, surrounded by the great,
gleaming, many-windowed office buildings, like an amethyst
sunk in a circle of diamonds. "It's a fairyland!" Fanny
told herself. "Who'd have thought a city could be so
And then, at her elbow, a voice said, "Oh, lady, for the
lova God!" She turned with a jerk and looked up into the
unshaven face of a great, blue-eyed giant who pulled off his
cap and stood twisting it in his swollen blue fingers.
"Lady, I'm cold. I'm hungry. I been sittin' here hours."
Fanny clutched her bag a little fearfully. She looked at
his huge frame. "Why don't you work?"
"Work!" He laughed. "There ain't any. Looka this!" He
turned up his foot, and you saw the bare sole, blackened and
horrible, and fringed, comically, by the tattered leather
"Oh--my dear!" said Fanny. And at that the man began to
cry, weakly, sickeningly, like a little boy.
"Don't do that! Don't! Here." She was emptying her purse,
and something inside her was saying, "You fool, he's only a
And then the man wiped his face with his cap, and
swallowed hard, and said, "I don't want all you got. I
ain't holdin' you up. Just gimme that. I been sittin'
here, on that bench, lookin' at that sign across the street.
Over there. It says, `EAT.' It goes off an' on. Seemed
like it was drivin' me crazy."
Fanny thrust a crumpled five-dollar bill into his hand. And
was off. She fairly flew along, so that it was not until
she had reached Thirty-third street that she said aloud, as
was her way when moved, "I don't care. Don't blame me. It
was that miserable little beast of a dog in the white
sweater that did it."
It was almost seven when she reached her room. A maid, in
neat black and white, was just coming out with an armful of