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Flappers and Philosophers by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Redacted by Curtis A. Weyant {dylan38@angelfire.com}
Courtesy of the Michigan State University Libraries


To Zelda


The Offshore Pirate
The Ice Palace
Head and Shoulders
The Cut-Glass Bowl
Bernice Bobs Her Hair
Dalyrimple Goes Wrong
The Four Fists

Flappers and Philosophers

The Offshore Pirate


This unlikely story begins on a sea that was a blue dream, as
colorful as blue-silk stockings, and beneath a sky as blue as the
irises of children's eyes. From the western half of the sky the
sun was shying little golden disks at the sea--if you gazed
intently enough you could see them skip from wave tip to wave tip
until they joined a broad collar of golden coin that was
collecting half a mile out and would eventually be a dazzling
sunset. About half-way between the Florida shore and the golden
collar a white steam-yacht, very young and graceful, was riding
at anchor and under a blue-and-white awning aft a yellow-haired
girl reclined in a wicker settee reading The Revolt of the
Angels, by Anatole France.

She was about nineteen, slender and supple, with a spoiled
alluring mouth and quick gray eyes full of a radiant curiosity.
Her feet, stockingless, and adorned rather than clad in
blue-satin slippers which swung nonchalantly from her toes, were
perched on the arm of a settee adjoining the one she occupied.
And as she read she intermittently regaled herself by a faint
application to her tongue of a half-lemon that she held in her
hand. The other half, sucked dry, lay on the deck at her feet and
rocked very gently to and fro at the almost imperceptible motion
of the tide.

The second half-lemon was well-nigh pulpless and the golden
collar had grown astonishing in width, when suddenly the drowsy
silence which enveloped the yacht was broken by the sound of
heavy footsteps and an elderly man topped with orderly gray hair
and clad in a white-flannel suit appeared at the head of the
companionway. There he paused for a moment until his eyes became
accustomed to the sun, and then seeing the girl under the awning
he uttered a long even grunt of disapproval.

If he had intended thereby to obtain a rise of any sort he was
doomed to disappointment. The girl calmly turned over two pages,
turned back one, raised the lemon mechanically to tasting
distance, and then very faintly but quite unmistakably yawned.

"Ardita!" said the gray-haired man sternly.

Ardita uttered a small sound indicating nothing.

"Ardita!" he repeated. "Ardita!"

Ardita raised the lemon languidly, allowing three words to slip
out before it reached her tongue.

"Oh, shut up."



Will you listen to me--or will I have to get a servant to hold
you while I talk to you?"

The lemon descended very slowly and scornfully.

"Put it in writing."

"Will you have the decency to close that abominable book and
discard that damn lemon for two minutes?"

"Oh, can't you lemme alone for a second?"

"Ardita, I have just received a telephone message from the

"Telephone?" She showed for the first time a faint interest.

"Yes, it was---"

"Do you mean to say," she interrupted wonderingly, "'at they let
you run a wire out here?"

"Yes, and just now---"

"Won't other boats bump into it?"

"No. It's run along the bottom. Five min---"

"Well, I'll be darned! Gosh! Science is golden or
something--isn't it?"

"Will you let me say what I started to?"


"Well it seems--well, I am up here--" He paused and swallowed
several times distractedly. "Oh, yes. Young woman, Colonel
Moreland has called up again to ask me to be sure to bring you in
to dinner. His son Toby has come all the way from New York to
meet you and he's invited several other young people. For the
last time, will you---"

"No" said Ardita shortly, "I won't. I came along on this darn
cruise with the one idea of going to Palm Beach, and you knew it,
and I absolutely refuse to meet any darn old colonel or any darn
young Toby or any darn old young people or to set foot in any
other darn old town in this crazy state. So you either take me to
Palm Beach or else shut up and go away."

"Very well. This is the last straw. In your infatuation for this
man.--a man who is notorious for his excesses--a man your father
would not have allowed to so much as mention your name--you have
rejected the demi-monde rather than the circles in which you have
presumably grown up. From now on---"

"I know" interrupted Ardita ironically, "from now on you go your
way and I go mine. I've heard that story before. You know I'd
like nothing better."

"From now on," he announced grandiloquently, "you are no niece of
mine. I---"

"O-o-o-oh!" The cry was wrung from Ardita with the agony of a
lost soul. "Will you stop boring me! Will you go 'way! Will you
jump overboard and drown! Do you want me to throw this book at

"If you dare do any---"

Smack! The Revolt of the Angels sailed through the air, missed
its target by the length of a short nose, and bumped cheerfully
down the companionway.

The gray-haired man made an instinctive step backward and then
two cautious steps forward. Ardita jumped to her five feet four
and stared at him defiantly, her gray eyes blazing.

"Keep off!"

"How dare you!" he cried.

"Because I darn please!"

"You've grown unbearable! Your disposition---"

"You've made me that way! No child ever has a bad disposition
unless it's her fancy's fault! Whatever I am, you did it."

Muttering something under his breath her uncle turned and,
walking forward called in a loud voice for the launch. Then he
returned to the awning, where Ardita had again seated herself and
resumed her attention to the lemon.

"I am going ashore," he said slowly. "I will be out again at nine
o'clock to-night. When I return we start back to New York,
wither I shall turn you over to your aunt for the rest of your
natural, or rather unnatural, life." He paused and looked at
her, and then all at once something in the utter childness of her
beauty seemed to puncture his anger like an inflated tire, and
render him helpless, uncertain, utterly fatuous.

"Ardita," he said not unkindly, "I'm no fool. I've been round. I
know men. And, child, confirmed libertines don't reform until
they're tired--and then they're not themselves--they're husks of
themselves." He looked at her as if expecting agreement, but
receiving no sight or sound of it he continued. "Perhaps the man
loves you--that's possible. He's loved many women and he'll love
many more. Less than a month ago, one month, Ardita, he was
involved in a notorious affair with that red-haired woman, Mimi
Merril; promised to give her the diamond bracelet that the Czar
of Russia gave his mother. You know--you read the papers."

"Thrilling scandals by an anxious uncle," yawned Ardita. "Have it
filmed. Wicked clubman making eyes at virtuous flapper. Virtuous
flapper conclusively vamped by his lurid past. Plans to meet him
at Palm Beach. Foiled by anxious uncle."

"Will you tell me why the devil you want to marry him?"

"I'm sure I couldn't say," said Audits shortly. "Maybe because
he's the only man I know, good or bad, who has an imagination and
the courage of his convictions. Maybe it's to get away from the
young fools that spend their vacuous hours pursuing me around the
country. But as for the famous Russian bracelet, you can set
your mind at rest on that score. He's going to give it to me at
Palm Beach--if you'll show a little intelligence."

"How about the--red-haired woman?"

"He hasn't seen her for six months," she said angrily. "Don't you
suppose I have enough pride to see to that? Don't you know by
this time that I can do any darn thing with any darn man I want

She put her chin in the air like the statue of France Aroused,
and then spoiled the pose somewhat by raising the lemon for

"Is it the Russian bracelet that fascinates you?"

"No, I'm merely trying to give you the sort of argument that
would appeal to your intelligence. And I wish you'd go 'way," she
said, her temper rising again. "You know I never change my mind.
You've been boring me for three days until I'm about to go
crazy. I won't go ashore! Won't! Do you hear? Won't!"

"Very well," he said, "and you won't go to Palm Beach either. Of
all the selfish, spoiled, uncontrolled disagreeable, impossible
girl I have---"

Splush! The half-lemon caught him in the neck. Simultaneously
came a hail from over the side.

"The launch is ready, Mr. Farnam."

Too full of words and rage to speak, Mr. Farnam cast one utterly
condemning glance at his niece and, turning, ran swiftly down the


Five o'clock robed down from the sun and plumped soundlessly into
the sea. The golden collar widened into a glittering island; and
a faint breeze that had been playing with the edges of the
awning and swaying one of the dangling blue slippers became
suddenly freighted with song. It was a chorus of men in close
harmony and in perfect rhythm to an accompanying sound of oars
dealing the blue writers. Ardita lifted her head and

"Carrots and Peas,
Beans on their knees,
Pigs in the seas,
Lucky fellows!
Blow us a breeze,
Blow us a breeze,
Blow us a breeze,
With your bellows."

Ardita's brow wrinkled in astonishment. Sitting very still she
listened eagerly as the chorus took up a second verse.

"Onions and beans,
Marshalls and Deans,
Goldbergs and Greens
And Costellos.
Blow us a breeze,
Blow us a breeze,
Blow us a breeze,
With your bellows."

With an exclamation she tossed her book to the desk, where it
sprawled at a straddle, and hurried to the rail. Fifty feet away
a large rowboat was approaching containing seven men, six of them
rowing and one standing up in the stern keeping time to their
song with an orchestra leader's baton.

"Oysters and Rocks,
Sawdust and socks,
Who could make clocks
Out of cellos?---"

The leader's eyes suddenly rested on Ardita, who was leaning over
the rail spellbound with curiosity. He made a quick movement
with his baton and the singing instantly ceased. She saw that he
was the only white man in the boat--the six rowers
were negroes.

"Narcissus ahoy!" he called politely.

What's the idea of all the discord?" demanded Ardita cheerfully.
"Is this the varsity crew from the county nut farm?"

By this time the boat was scraping the side of the yacht and a
great bulking negro in the bow turned round and grasped the
ladder. Thereupon the leader left his position in the stern and
before Ardita had realized his intention he ran up the ladder and
stood breathless before her on the deck.

"The women and children will be spared!" he said briskly. "All
crying babies will be immediately drowned and all males put in
double irons!" Digging her hands excitedly down into the pockets
of her dress Ardita stared at him, speechless with astonishment.
He was a young man with a scornful mouth and the bright blue eyes
of a healthy baby set in a dark sensitive face. His hair was
pitch black, damp and curly--the hair of a Grecian statue gone
brunette. He was trimly built, trimly dressed, and graceful as an
agile quarter-back.

"Well, I'll be a son of a gun!" she said dazedly.

They eyed each other coolly.

"Do you surrender the ship?"

"Is this an outburst of wit? " demanded Ardita. "Are you an
idiot--or just being initiated to some fraternity?"

"I asked you if you surrendered the ship."

"I thought the country was dry," said Ardita disdainfully. "Have
you been drinking finger-nail enamel? You better get off this

"What?" the young man's voice expressed incredulity.

"Get off the yacht! You heard me!"

He looked at her for a moment as if considering what she had

"No" said his scornful mouth slowly; "No, I won't get off the
yacht. You can get off if you wish."

Going to the rail be gave a curt command and immediately the crew
of the rowboat scrambled up the ladder and ranged themselves in
line before him, a coal-black and burly darky at one end and a
miniature mulatto of four feet nine at to other. They seemed to
be uniformly dressed in some sort of blue costume ornamented with
dust, mud, and tatters; over the shoulder of each was slung a
small, heavy-looking white sack, and under their arms they
carried large black cases apparently containing musical

"'Ten-SHUN!" commanded the young man, snapping his own heels
together crisply. "Right DRISS! Front! Step out here, Babe!"

The smallest Negro took a quick step forward and saluted.

"Take command, go down below, catch the crew and tie 'em up--all
except the engineer. Bring him up to me. Oh, and pile those bags
by the rail there."


Babe saluted again and wheeling about motioned for the five others
to gather about him. Then after a short whispered consultation
they all filed noiselessly down the companionway.

"Now," said the young man cheerfully to Ardita, who had witnessed
this last scene in withering silence, "if you will swear on your
honor as a flapper--which probably isn't worth much--that you'll
keep that spoiled little mouth of yours tight shut for
forty-eight hours, you can row yourself ashore in our

"Otherwise what?"

"Otherwise you're going to sea in a ship."

With a little sigh as for a crisis well passed, the young man
sank into the settee Ardita had lately vacated and stretched his
arms lazily. The corners of his mouth relaxed appreciatively as
he looked round at the rich striped awning, the polished brass,
and the luxurious fittings of the deck. His eye felt on the book,
and then on the exhausted lemon.

"Hm," he said, "Stonewall Jackson claimed that lemon-juice
cleared his head. Your head feel pretty clear?"

Ardita disdained to answer.

"Because inside of five minutes you'll have to make a clear
decision whether it's go or stay."

He picked up the book and opened it curiously.

"The Revolt of the Angels. Sounds pretty good. French, eh?" He
stared at her with new interest "You French?"


"What's your name?"


"Farnam what?"

"Ardita Farnam."

"Well Ardita, no use standing up there and chewing out the
insides of your mouth. You ought to break those nervous habits
while you're young. Come over here and sit down."

Ardita took a carved jade case from her pocket, extracted a
cigarette and lit it with a conscious coolness, though she knew
her hand was trembling a little; then she crossed over with her
supple, swinging walk, and sitting down in the other settee blew
a mouthful of smoke at the awning.

"You can't get me off this yacht," she raid steadily; "and you
haven't got very much sense if you think you'll get far with it.
My uncle'll have wirelesses zigzagging all over this ocean by
half past six."


She looked quickly at his face, caught anxiety stamped there
plainly in the faintest depression of the mouth's corners.

"It's all the same to me," she said, shrugging her shoulders.
"'Tisn't my yacht. I don't mind going for a coupla hours' cruise.
I'll even lend you that book so you'll have something to read on
the revenue boat that takes you up to Sing-Sing."

He laughed scornfully.

"If that's advice you needn't bother. This is part of a plan
arranged before I ever knew this yacht existed. If it hadn't been
this one it'd have been the next one we passed anchored along
the coast."

"Who are you?" demanded Ardita suddenly. "And what are you?"

"You've decided not to go ashore?"

"I never even faintly considered it."

"We're generally known," he said "all seven of us, as Curtis
Carlyle and his Six Black Buddies late of the Winter Garden and
the Midnight Frolic."

"You're singers?"

"We were until to-day. At present, due to those white bags you
see there we're fugitives from justice and if the reward offered
for our capture hasn't by this time reached twenty thousand
dollars I miss my guess."

"What's in the bags?" asked Ardita curiously.

"Well," he said "for the present we'll call it--mud--Florida


Within ten minutes after Curtis Carlyle's interview with a very
frightened engineer the yacht Narcissus was under way, steaming
south through a balmy tropical twilight. The little mulatto,
Babe, who seems to have Carlyle's implicit confidence, took full
command of the situation. Mr. Farnam's valet and the chef, the
only members of the crew on board except the engineer, having
shown fight, were now reconsidering, strapped securely to their
bunks below. Trombone Mose, the biggest negro, was set busy with
a can of paint obliterating the name Narcissus from the bow, and
substituting the name Hula Hula, and the others congregated aft
and became intently involved in a game of craps.

Having given order for a meal to be prepared and served on deck
at seven-thirty, Carlyle rejoined Ardita, and, sinking back into
his settee, half closed his eyes and fell into a state of
profound abstraction.

Ardita scrutinized him carefully--and classed him immedialely as
a romantic figure. He gave the effect of towering self-confidence
erected on a slight foundation--just under the surface of each
of his decisions she discerned a hesitancy that was in decided
contrast to the arrogant curl of his lips.

"He's not like me," she thought "There's a difference somewhere."
Being a supreme egotist Ardita frequently thought about
herself; never having had her egotism disputed she did it
entirely naturally and with no detraction from her unquestioned
charm. Though she was nineteen she gave the effect of a
high-spirited precocious child, and in the present glow of her
youth and beauty all the men and women she had known were but
driftwood on the ripples of her temperament. She had met other
egotists--in fact she found that selfish people bored her rather
less than unselfish people--but as yet there had not been one she
had not eventually defeated and brought to her feet.

But though she recognized an egotist in the settee, she felt none
of that usual shutting of doors in her mind which meant clearing
ship for action; on the contrary her instinct told her that this
man was somehow completely pregnable and quite defenseless. When
Ardita defied convention--and of late it had been her chief
amusement--it was from an intense desire to be herself, and she
felt that this man, on the contrary, was preoccupied with his own

She was much more interested in him than she was in her own
situation, which affected her as the prospect of a matineé might
affect a ten-year-old child. She had implicit confidence in her
ability to take care of herself under any and all circumstances.

The night deepened. A pale new moon smiled misty-eyed upon the
sea, and as the shore faded dimly out and dark clouds were blown
like leaves along the far horizon a great haze of moonshine
suddenly bathed the yacht and spread an avenue of glittering mail
in her swift path. From time to time there was the bright flare
of a match as one of them lighted a cigarette, but except for
the low under-tone of the throbbing engines and the even wash of
the waves about the stern the yacht was quiet as a dream boat
star-bound through the heavens. Round them bowed the smell of the
night sea, bringing with it an infinite languor.

Carlyle broke the silence at last.

"Lucky girl," he sighed "I've always wanted to be rich--and buy
all this beauty."

Ardita yawned.

"I'd rather be you," she said frankly.

"You would--for about a day. But you do seem to possess a lot of
nerve for a flapper."

"I wish you wouldn't call me that"

"Beg your pardon."

"As to nerve," she continued slowly, "it's my one redeemiug
feature. I'm not afraid of anything in heaven or earth."

"Hm, I am."

"To be afraid," said Ardita, "a person has either to be very
great and strong--or else a coward. I'm neither." She paused for
a moment, and eagerness crept into her tone. "But I want to talk
about you. What on earth have you done--and how did you do it?"

"Why?" he demanded cynically. "Going to write a movie, about

"Go on," she urged. "Lie to me by the moonlight. Do a fabulous

A negro appeared, switched on a string of small lights under the
awning, and began setting the wicker table for supper. And while
they ate cold sliced chicken, salad, artichokes and strawberry
jam from the plentiful larder below, Carlyle began to talk,
hesitatingly at first, but eagerly as he saw she was interested.
Ardita scarcely touched her food as she watched his dark young
face--handsome, ironic faintly ineffectual.

He began life as a poor kid in a Tennessee town, he said, so poor
that his people were the only white family in their street. He
never remembered any white children--but there were inevitably a
dozen pickaninnies streaming in his trail, passionate admirers
whom he kept in tow by the vividness of his imagination and the
amount of trouble he was always getting them in and out of. And
it seemed that this association diverted a rather unusual musical
gift into a strange channel.

There had been a colored woman named Belle Pope Calhoun who
played the piano at parties given for white children--nice white
children that would have passed Curtis Carlyle with a sniff. But
the ragged little "poh white" used to sit beside her piano by the
hour and try to get in an alto with one of those kazoos that
boys hum through. Before he was thirteen he was picking up a
living teasing ragtime out of a battered violin in little cafés
round Nashville. Eight years later the ragtime craze hit the
country, and he took six darkies on the Orpheum circuit. Five of
them were boys he had grown up with; the other was the little
mulatto, Babe Divine, who was a wharf nigger round New York, and
long before that a plantation hand in Bermuda, until he stuck an
eight-inch stiletto in his master's back. Almost before Carlyle
realized his good fortune he was on Broadway, with offers of
engagements on all sides, and more money than he had ever dreamed

It was about then that a change began in his whole attitude, a
rather curious, embittering change. It was when he realized that
he was spending the golden years of his life gibbering round a
stage with a lot of black men. His act was good of its
kind--three trombones, three saxaphones, and Carlyle's flute--and
it was his own peculiar sense of rhythm that made all the
difference; but he began to grow strangely sensitive about it,
began to hate the thought of appearing, dreaded it from day to

They were making money--each contract he signed called for
more--but when he went to managers and told them that he wanted
to separate from his sextet and go on as a regular pianist, they
laughed at him aud told him he was crazy--it would he an artistic
suicide. He used to laugh afterward at the phrase "artistic
suicide." They all used it.

Half a dozen times they played at private dances at three
thousand dollars a night, and it seemed as if these crystallized
all his distaste for his mode of livlihood. They took place in
clubs and houses that he couldn't have gone into in the daytime
After all, he was merely playing to rôle of the eternal monkey, a
sort of sublimated chorus man. He was sick of the very smell of
the theatre, of powder and rouge and the chatter of the
greenroom, and the patronizing approval of the boxes. He couldn't
put his heart into it any more. The idea of a slow approach to
the luxury of liesure drove him wild. He was, of course,
progressing toward it, but, like a child, eating his ice-cream so
slowly that he couldn't taste it at all.

He wanted to have a lot of money and time and opportunity to read
and play, and the sort of men and women round him that he could
never have--the kind who, if they thought of him at all, would
have considered him rather contemptible; in short he wanted all
those things which he was beginning to lump under the general
head of aristocracy, an aristocracy which it seemed almost any
money could buy except money made as he was making it. He was
twenty-five then, without family or education or any promise that
he would succeed in a business career. He began speculating
wildly, and within three weeks he had lost every cent he had

Then the war came. He went to Plattsburg, and even there his
profession followed him. A brigadier-general called him up to
headquarters and told him he could serve his country better as a
band leader--so he spent the war entertaining celebrities behind
the line with a headquarters band. It was not so bad--except
that when the infantry came limping back from the trenches he
wanted to be one of them. The sweat and mud they wore seemed
only one of those ineffable symbols of aristocracy that were
forever eluding him.

"It was the private dances that did it. After I came back from
the war the old routine started. We had an offer from a
syndicate of Florida hotels. It was only a question of time

He broke off and Ardita looked at him expectantly, but he shook
his head.

"No," he said, "I'm going to tell you about it. I'm enjoying it
too much, and I'm afraid I'd lose a little of that enjoyment if I
shared it with anyone else. I want to hang on to those few
breathless, heroic moments when I stood out before them all and
let them know I was more than a damn bobbing, squawking clown."

>From up forward came suddenly the low sound of singing. The
negroes had gathered together on the deck and their voices rose
together in a haunting melody that soared in poignant harmonics
toward the moon. And Ardita listens in enchantment.

"Oh down---
oh down,
Mammy wanna take me down milky way,
Oh down,
oh down,
Pappy say to-morra-a-a-ah
But mammy say to-day,
Yes--mammy say to-day!"

Carlyle sighed and was silent for a moment looking up at the
gathered host of stars blinking like arc-lights in the warm sky.
The negroes' song had died away to a plaintive humming and it
seemed as if minute by minute the brightness and the great
silence were increasing until he could almost hear the midnight
toilet of the mermaids as they combed their silver dripping curls
under the moon and gossiped to each other of the fine wrecks
they lived on the green opalescent avenues below.

"You see," said Carlyle softly, "this is the beauty I want.
Beauty has got to be astonishing, astounding--it's got to burst
in on you like a dream, like the exquisite eyes of a girl."

He turned to her, but she was silent.

"You see, don't you, Anita--I mean, Ardita?"

Again she made no answer. She had been sound asleep for some


In the dense sun-flooded noon of next day a spot in the sea
before them resolved casually into a green-and-gray islet,
apparently composed of a great granite cliff at its northern end
which slanted south through a mile of vivid coppice and grass to
a sandy beach melting lazily into the surf. When Ardita, reading
in her favorite seat, came to the last page of The Revolt of the
Angels, and slamming the book shut looked up and saw it, she
gave a little cry of delight, and called to Carlyle, who was
standing moodily by the rail.

"Is this it? Is this where you're going?"

Carlyle shrugged his shoulders carelessly.

"You've got me." He raised his voice and called up to the acting
skipper: "Oh, Babe, is this your island?"

The mulatto's miniature head appeared from round the corner of
the deck-house.

"Yas-suh! This yeah's it."

Carlyle joined Ardita.

"Looks sort of sporting, doesn't it?"

"Yes," she agreed; "but it doesn't look big enough to be much of
a hiding-place."

"You still putting your faith in those wirelesses your uncle was
going to have zigzagging round?"

"No," said Ardita frankly. "I'm all for you. I'd really like to
see you make a get-away."

He laughed.

"You're our Lady Luck. Guess we'll have to keep you with us as a
mascot--for the present anyway."

"You couldn't very well ask me to swim back," she said coolly.
"If you do I'm going to start writing dime novels founded on that
interminable history of your life you gave me last night."

He flushed and stiffened slightly.

"I'm very sorry I bored you."

"Oh, you didn't--until just at the end with some story about how
furious you were because you couldn't dance with the ladies you
played music for."

He rose angrily.

"You have got a darn mean little tongue."

"Excuse me," she said melting into laughter, "but I'm not used to
having men regale me with the story of their life
ambitions--especially if they've lived such deathly platonic

"Why? What do men usually regale you with?"

"Oh, they talk about me," she yawned. "They tell me I'm the
spirit of youth and beauty."

"What do you tell them?"

"Oh, I agree quietly."

"Does every man you meet tell you he loves you?"

Ardita nodded.

"Why shouldn't he? All life is just a progression toward, and
then a recession from, one phrase--'I love you.'"

Carlyle laughed and sat down.

"That's very true. That's--that's not bad. Did you make that up?"

"Yes--or rather I found it out. It doesn't mean anything
especially. It's just clever."

"It's the sort of remark," he said gravely, "that's typical of
your class."

"Oh," she interrupted impatiently, "don't start that lecture on
aristocracy again! I distrust people who can be intense at this
hour in the morning. It's a mild form of insanity--a sort of
breakfast-food jag. Morning's the time to sleep, swim, and be

Ten minutes later they had swung round in a wide circle as if to
approach the island from the north.

"There's a trick somewhere," commented Ardita thoughtfully. "He
can't mean just to anchor up against this cliff."

They were heading straight in now toward the solid rock, which
must have been well over a hundred feet tall, and not until they
were within fifty yards of it did Ardita see their objective.
Then she clapped her hands in delight. There was a break in the
cliff entirely hidden by a curious overlapping of rock, and
through this break the yacht entered and very slowly traversed a
narrow channel of crystal-clear water between high gray walls.
Then they were riding at anchor in a miniature world of green and
gold, a gilded bay smooth as glass and set round with tiny
palms, the whole resembling the mirror lakes and twig trees that
children set up in sand piles.

"Not so darned bad!" cried Carlyle excitedly.

"I guess that little coon knows his way round this corner of the

His exuberance was contagious, and Ardita became quite jubilant.

"It's an absolutely sure-fire hiding-place!"

"Lordy, yes! It's the sort of island you read about."

The rowboat was lowered into the golden lake and they pulled to

"Come on," said Carlyle as they landed in the slushy sand, "we'll
go exploring."

The fringe of palms was in turn ringed in by a round mile of
flat, sandy country. They followed it south and brushing through
a farther rim of tropical vegetation came out on a pearl-gray
virgin beach where Ardita kicked of her brown golf shoes--she
seemed to have permanently abandoned stockings--and went wading.
Then they sauntered back to the yacht, where the indefatigable
Babe had luncheon ready for them. He had posted a lookout on the
high cliff to the north to watch the sea on both sides, though he
doubted if the entrance to the cliff was generally known--he had
never even seen a map on which the island was marked.

"What's its name," asked Ardita--"the island, I mean?"

"No name 'tall," chuckled Babe. "Reckin she jus' island, 'at's

In the late afternoon they sat with their backs against great
boulders on the highest part of the cliff and Carlyle sketched
for her his vague plans. He was sure they were hot after him by
this time. The total proceeds of the coup he had pulled off and
concerning which he still refused to enlighten her, he estimated
as just under a million dollars. He counted on lying up here
several weeks and then setting off southward, keeping well
outside the usual channels of travel rounding the Horn and
heading for Callao, in Peru. The details of coaling and
provisioning he was leaving entirely to Babe who, it seemed, had
sailed these seas in every capacity from cabin-boy aboard a
coffee trader to virtual first mate on a Brazillian pirate craft,
whose skipper had long since been hung.

"If he'd been white he'd have been king of South America long
ago," said Carlyle emphatically. "When it comes to intelligence
he makes Booker T. Washington look like a moron. He's got the
guile of every race and nationality whose blood is in his veins,
and that's half a dozen or I'm a liar. He worships me because I'm
the only man in the world who can play better ragtime than he
can. We used to sit together on the wharfs down on the New York
water-front, he with a bassoon and me with an oboe, and we'd
blend minor keys in African harmonics a thousand years old until
the rats would crawl up the posts and sit round groaning and
squeaking like dogs will in front of a phonograph."

Ardita roared.

"How you can tell 'em!"

Carlyle grinned.

"I swear that's the gos---"

"What you going to do when you get to Callao?" she interrupted.

"Take ship for India. I want to be a rajah. I mean it. My idea is
to go up into Afghanistan somewhere, buy up a palace and a
reputation, and then after about five years appear in England
with a foreign accent and a mysterious past. But India first. Do
you know, they say that all the gold in the world drifts very
gradually back to India. Something fascinating about that to me.
And I want leisure to read--an immense amount."

"How about after that?"

"Then," he answered defiantly, "comes aristocracy. Laugh if you
want to--but at least you'll have to admit that I know what I
want--which I imagine is more than you do."

"On the contrary," contradicted Ardita, reaching in her pocket
for her cigarette case, "when I met you I was in the midst of a
great uproar of all my friends and relatives because I did know
what I wanted."

"What was it?"

"A man."

He started.

"You mean you were engaged?"

"After a fashion. If you hadn't come aboard I had every intention
of slipping ashore yesterday evening--how long ago it seems--and
meeting him in Palm Beach. He's waiting there for me with a
bracelet that once belonged to Catherine of Russia. Now don't
mutter anything about aristocracy," she put in quickly. "I liked
him simply because he had had an imagination and the utter
courage of his convictions."

"But your family disapproved, eh?"

"What there is of it--only a silly uncle and a sillier aunt. It
seems he got into some scandal with a red-haired woman name Mimi
something--it was frightfully exaggerated, he said, and men don't
lie to me--and anyway I didn't care what he'd done; it was the
future that counted. And I'd see to that. When a man's in love
with me he doesn't care for other amusements. I told him to drop
her like a hot cake, and he did."

"I feel rather jealous," said Carlyle, frowning--and then he
laughed. "I guess I'll just keep you along with us until we get
to Callao. Then I'll lend you enough money to get back to the
States. By that time you'll have had a chance to think that
gentleman over a little more."

"Don't talk to me like that!" fired up Ardita. "I won't tolerate
the parental attitude from anybody! Do you understand me?" He
chuckled and then stopped, rather abashed, as her cold anger
seemed to fold him about and chill him.

"I'm sorry," he offered uncertainly.

"Oh, don't apologize! I can't stand men who say 'I'm sorry' in
that manly, reserved tone. Just shut up!"

A pause ensued, a pause which Carlyle found rather awkward, but
which Ardita seemed not to notice at all as she sat contentedly
enjoying her cigarette and gazing out at the shining sea. After a
minute she crawled out on the rock and lay with her face over
the edge looking down. Carlyle, watching her, reflected how it
seemed impossible for her to assume an ungraceful attitude.

"Oh, look," she cried. "There's a lot of sort of ledges down
there. Wide ones of all different heights."

"We'll go swimming to-night!" she said excitedly. "By moonlight."

"Wouldn't you rather go in at the beach on the other end?"

"Not a chance. I like to dive. You can use my uncle's bathing
suit, only it'll fit you like a gunny sack, because he's a very
flabby man. I've got a one-piece that's shocked the natives all
along the Atlantic coast from Biddeford Pool to St. Augustine."

"I suppose you're a shark."

"Yes, I'm pretty good. And I look cute too. A sculptor up at Rye
last summer told me my calves are worth five hundred dollars."

There didn't seem to be any answer to this, so Carlyle was
silent, permitting himself only a discreet interior smile.


When the night crept down in shadowy blue and silver they
threaded the shimmering channel in the rowboat and, tying it to a
jutting rock, began climbing the cliff together. The first shelf
was ten feet up, wide, and furnishing a natural diving platform.
There they sat down in the bright moonlight and watched the
faint incessant surge of the waters almost stilled now as the
tide set seaward.

"Are you happy?" he asked suddenly.

She nodded.

"Always happy near the sea. You know," she went on, "I've been
thinking all day that you and I are somewhat alike. We're both
rebels--only for different reasons. Two years ago, when I was
just eighteen and you were---"


"---well, we were both conventional successes. I was an utterly
devastating débutante and you were a prosperous musician just
commissioned in the army---"

"Gentleman by act of Congress," he put in ironically.

"Well, at any rate, we both fitted. If our corners were not
rubbed off they were at least pulled in. But deep in us both was
something that made us require more for happiness. I didn't know
what I wanted. I went from man to man, restless, impatient,
month by month getting less acquiescent and more dissatisfied. I
used to sit sometimes chewing at the insides of my mouth and
thinking I was going crazy--I had a frightful sense of
transiency. I wanted things now--now--now! Here I
was--beautiful--I am, aren't I?"

"Yes," agreed Carlyle tentatively.

Ardita rose suddenly.

"Wait a second. I want to try this delightful-looking sea."

She walked to the end of the ledge and shot out over the sea,
doubling up in mid-air and then straightening out and entering to
water straight as a blade in a perfect jack-knife dive.

In a minute her voice floated up to him.

"You see, I used to read all day and most of the night. I began
to resent society---"

"Come on up here," he interrupted. "What on earth are you doing?"

"Just floating round on my back. I'll be up in a minute. Let me
tell you. The only thing I enjoyed was shocking people; wearing
something quite impossible and quite charming to a fancy-dress
party, going round with the fastest men in New York, and getting
into some of the most hellish scrapes imaginable."

The sounds of splashing mingled with her words, and then he heard
her hurried breathing as she began climbing up side to the

"Go on in!" she called

Obediently he rose and dived. When he emerged, dripping, and
made the climb he found that she was no longer on the ledge, but
after a frightened he heard her light laughter from another shelf
ten feet up. There he joined her and they both sat quietly for a
moment, their arms clasped round their knees, panting a little
from the climb.

"The family were wild," she said suddenly. "They tried to marry
me off. And then when I'd begun to feel that after all life was
scarcely worth living I found something"--her eyes went skyward
exultantly---"I found something!"

Carlyle waited and her words came with a rush.

"Courage--just that; courage as a rule of life, and something to
cling to always. I began to build up this enormous faith in
myself. I began to see that in all my idols in the past some
manifestation of courage had unconsciously been the thing that
attracted me. I began separating courage from the other things of
life. All sorts of courage--the beaten, bloody prize-fighter
coming up for more--I used to make men take me to prize-fights;
the déclassé woman sailing through a nest of cats and looking at
them as if they were mud under her feet; the liking what you like
always; the utter disregard for other people's opinions--just to
live as I liked always and to die in my own way-- Did you bring
up the cigarettes?"

He handed one over and held a match for her gently.

"Still," Ardita continued, "the men kept gathering--old men and
young men, my mental and physical inferiors, most of them, but
all intensely desiring to have me--to own this rather
magnificent proud tradition I'd built up round me. Do you see?"

"Sort of. You never were beaten and you never apologized."


She sprang to the edge, poised for a moment like a crucified
figure against the sky; then describing a dark parabola plunked
without a slash between two silver ripples twenty feet below.

Her voice floated up to him again.

"And courage to me meant ploughing through that dull gray mist
that comes down on life--not only overriding people and
circumstances but overriding the bleakness of living. A sort of
insistence on the value of life and the worth of transient

She was climbing up now, and at her last words her head, with the
damp yellow hair slicked symmetrically back appeared on his

"All very well," objected Carlyle. "You can call it courage, but
your courage is really built, after all, on a pride of birth. You
were bred to that defiant attitude. On my gray days even courage
is one of the things that's gray and lifeless."

She was sitting near the edge, hugging her knees and gazing
abstractedly at the white moon; he was farther back, crammed like
a grotesque god into a niche in the rock.

"I don't want to sound like Pollyanna," she began, "but you
haven't grasped me yet. My courage is faith--faith in the eternal
resilience of me--that joy'll come back, and hope and
spontaneity. And I feel that till it does I've got to keep my
lips shut and my chin high, and my eyes wide--not necessarily any
silly smiling. Oh, I've been through hell without a whine quite
often--and the female hell is deadlier than the male."

"But supposing," suggested Carlyle" that before joy and hope and
all that came back the curtain was drawn on you for good?"

Ardita rose, and going to the wall climbed with some difficulty
to the next ledge, another ten or fifteen feet above.

"Why," she called back "then I'd have won!"

He edged out till he could see her.

"Better not dive from there! You'll break your back," he said

She laughed.

"Not I!"

Slowly she spread her arms and stood there swan-like, radiating a
pride in her young perfection that lit a warm glow in Carlyle's

"We're going through the black air with our arms wide and our
feet straight out behind like a dolphin's tail, and we're going
to think we'll never hit the silver down there till suddenly
it'll be all warm round us and full of little kissing, caressing

Then she was in the air, and Carlyle involuntarily held his
breath. He had not realized that the dive was nearly forty feet.
It seemed an eternity before he heard the swift compact sound as
she reached the sea.

And it was with his glad sigh of relief when her light watery
laughter curled up the side of the cliff and into his anxious
ears that he knew he loved her.


Time, having no axe to grind, showered down upon them three days
of afternoons. When the sun cleared the port-hole of Ardita's
cabin an hour after dawn she rose cheerily, donned her
bathing-suit, and went up on deck. The negroes would leave their
work when they saw her, and crowd, chuckling and chattering, to
the rail as she floated, an agile minnow, on and under the
surface of the clear water. Again in the cool of the afternoon
she would swim--and loll and smoke with Carlyle upon the cliff;
or else they would lie on their sides in the sands of the
southern beach, talking little, but watching the day fade
colorfully and tragically into the infinite langour of a tropical

And with the long, sunny hours Ardita's idea of the episode as
incidental, madcap, a sprig of romance in a desert of reality,
gradually left her. She dreaded the time when he would strike
off southward; she dreaded all the eventualities that presented
themselves to her; thoughts were suddenly troublesome and
decisions odious. Had prayers found place in the pagan rituals
of her soul she would have asked of life only to be unmolested
for a while, lazily acquiescent to the ready, naïf flow of
Carlyle's ideas, his vivid boyish imagination, and the vein of
monomania that seemed to run crosswise through his temperament
and colored his every action.

But this is not a story of two on an island, nor concerned
primarily with love bred of isolation. It is merely the
presentation of two personalities, and its idyllic setting among
the palms of the Gulf Stream is quite incidental. Most of us are
content to exist and breed and fight for the right to do both,
and the dominant idea, the foredoomed attest to control one's
destiny, is reserved for the fortunate or unfortunate few. To me
the interesting thing about Ardita is the courage that will
tarnish with her beauty and youth.

"Take me with you," she said late one night as they sat lazily in
the grass under the shadowy spreading palms. The negroes had
brought ashore their musical instruments, and the sound of weird
ragtime was drifting softly over on the warm breath of the night.
"I'd love to reappear in ten years, as a fabulously wealthy
high-caste Indian lady," she continued.

Carlyle looked at her quickly.

"You can, you know."

She laughed.

"Is it a proposal of marriage? Extra! Ardita Farnam becomes
pirate's bride. Society girl kidnapped by ragtime bank robber."

"It wasn't a bank."

"What was it? Why won't you tell me?"

"I don't want to break down your illusions."

"My dear man, I have no illusions about you."

"I mean your illusions about yourself."

She looked up in surprise.

"About myself! What on earth have I got to do with whatever stray
felonies you've committed?"

"That remains to be seen."

She reached over and patted his hand.

"Dear Mr. Curtis Carlyle," she said softly, "are you in love with

"As if it mattered."

"But it does--because I think I'm in love with

He looked at her ironically.

"Thus swelling your January total to half a dozen," he suggested.
"Suppose I call your bluff and ask you to come to India with

"Shall I?"

He shrugged his shoulders.

"We can get married in Callao."

"What sort of life can you offer me? I don't mean that unkindly,
but seriously; what would become of me if the people who want
that twenty-thousand-dollar reward ever catch up with you?"

"I thought you weren't afraid."

"I never am--but I won't throw my life away just to show one man
I'm not."

"I wish you'd been poor. Just a little poor girl dreaming over a
fence in a warm cow country."

"Wouldn't it have been nice?"

"I'd have enjoyed astonishing you--watching your eyes open on
things. If you only wanted things! Don't you see?"

"I know--like girls who stare into the windows of

"Yes--and want the big oblong watch that's platinum and has
diamonds all round the edge. Only you'd decide it was too
expensive and choose one of white gold for a hundred dollar. Then
I'd say: 'Expensive? I should say not!' And we'd go into the
store and pretty soon the platinum one would be gleaming on your

"That sounds so nice and vulgar--and fun, doesn't it?" murmured

"Doesn't it? Can't you see us travelling round and spending money
right and left, and being worshipped by bell-boys and waiters?
Oh, blessed are the simple rich for they inherit the earth!"

"I honestly wish we were that way."

"I love you, Ardita," he said gently.

Her face lost its childish look for moment and became oddly

"I love to be with you," she said, "more than with any man I've
ever met. And I like your looks and your dark old hair, and the
way you go over the side of the rail when we come ashore. In
fact, Curtis Carlyle, I like all the things you do when you're
perfectly natural. I think you've got nerve and you know how I
feel about that. Sometimes when you're around I've been tempted
to kiss you suddenly and tell you that you were just an
idealistic boy with a lot of caste nonsense in his head.

Perhaps if I were just a little bit older and a little more bored
I'd go with you. As it is, I think I'll go back and marry--that
other man."

Over across the silver lake the figures of the negroes writhed
and squirmed in the moonlight like acrobats who, having been too
long inactive, must go through their tacks from sheer surplus
energy. In single file they marched, weaving in concentric
circles, now with their heads thrown back, now bent over their
instruments like piping fauns. And from trombone and saxaphone
ceaselessly whined a blended melody, sometimes riotous and
jubilant, sometimes haunting and plaintive as a death-dance from
the Congo's heart.

"Let's dance," cried Ardita. "I can't sit still with that perfect
jazz going on."

Taking her hand he led her out into a broad stretch of hard sandy
soil that the moon flooded with great splendor. They floated out
like drifting moths under the rich hazy light, and as the
fantastic symphony wept and exulted and wavered and despaired
Ardita's last sense of reality dropped away, and she abandoned
her imagination to the dreamy summer scents of tropical flowers
and the infinite starry spaces overhead, feeling that if she
opened her eyes it would be to find herself dancing with a ghost
in a land created by her own fancy.

"This is what I should call an exclusive private dance," he

"I feel quite mad--but delightfully mad!"

"We're enchanted. The shades of unnumbered generations of
cannibals are watching us from high up on the side of the cliff

"And I'll bet the cannibal women are saying that we dance too
close, and that it was immodest of me to come without my

They both laughed softly--and then their laughter died as over
across the lake they heard the trombones stop in the middle of a
bar, and the saxaphones give a startled moan and fade out.

"What's the matter?" called Carlyle.

After a moment's silence they made out the dark figure of a man
rounding the silver lake at a run. As he came closer they saw it
was Babe in a state of unusual excitement. He drew up before them
and gasped out his news in a breath.

"Ship stan'in' off sho' 'bout half a mile suh. Mose, he uz on
watch, he say look's if she's done ancho'd."

"A ship--what kind of a ship?" demanded Carlyle

Dismay was in his voice, and Ardita's heart gave a sudden wrench
as she saw his whole face suddenly droop.

"He say he don't know, suh."

"Are they landing a boat?"

"No, suh."

"We'll go up," said Carlyle.

They ascended the hill in silence, Ardita's hand still resting in
Carlyle's as it had when they finished dancing. She felt it
clinch nervously from time to time as though he were unaware of
the contact, but though he hurt her she made no attempt to remove
it. It seemed an hour's climb before they reached the top and
crept cautiously across the silhouetted plateau to the edge of
the cliff. After one short look Carlyle involuntarily gave a
little cry. It was a revenue boat with six-inch guns mounted fore
and aft.

"They know!" he said with a short intake of breath. "They know!
They picked up the trail somewhere."

"Are you sure they know about the channel? They may be only
standing by to take a look at the island in the morning. From
where they are they couldn't see the opening in the cliff."

"They could with field-glasses," he said hopelessly. He looked at
his wrist-watch. "It's nearly two now. They won't do anything
until dawn, that's certain. Of course there's always the faint
possibility that they're waiting for some other ship to join; or
for a coaler."

"I suppose we may as well stay right here."

The hour passed and they lay there side by side, very silently,
their chins in their hands like dreaming children. In back of
them squatted the negroes, patient, resigned, acquiescent,
announcing now and then with sonorous snores that not even the
presence of danger could subdue their unconquerable African
craving for sleep.

Just before five o'clock Babe approached Carlyle. There were half
a dozen rifles aboard the Narcissus he said. Had it been decided
to offer no resistance?

A pretty good fight might be made, he thought, if they worked out
some plan.

Carlyle laughed and shook his head.

"That isn't a Spic army out there, Babe. That's a revenue boat.
It'd be like a bow and arrow trying to fight a machine-gun. If
you want to bury those bags somewhere and take a chance on
recovering them later, go on and do it. But it won't work--they'd
dig this island over from one end to the other. It's a lost
battle all round, Babe."

Babe inclined his head silently and turned away, and Carlyle's
voice was husky as he turned to Ardita.

"There's the best friend I ever had. He'd die for me, and be
proud to, if I'd let him."

"You've given up?"

"I've no choice. Of course there's always one way out--the sure
way--but that can wait. I wouldn't miss my trial for
anything--it'll be an interesting experiment in notoriety. 'Miss
Farnam testifies that the pirate's attitude to her was at all
times that of a gentleman.'"

"Don't!" she said. "I'm awfully sorry."

When the color faded from the sky and lustreless blue changed to
leaden gray a commotion was visible on the ship's deck, and they
made out a group of officers clad in white duck, gathered near
the rail. They had field-glasses in their hands and were
attentively examining the islet.

"It's all up," said Carlyle grimly.

"Damn," whispered Ardita. She felt tears gathering in her eyes
"We'll go back to the yacht," he said. "I prefer that to being
hunted out up here like a 'possum."

Leaving the plateau they descended the hill, and reaching the
lake were rowed out to the yacht by the silent negroes. Then,
pale and weary, they sank into the settees and waited.

Half an hour later in the dim gray light the nose of the revenue
boat appeared in the channel and stopped, evidently fearing that
the bay might be too shallow. From the peaceful look of the
yacht, the man and the girl in the settees, and the negroes
lounging curiously against the rail, they evidently judged that
there would be no resistance, for two boats were lowered casually
over the side, one containing an officer and six bluejackets,
and the other, four rowers and in the stern two gray-haired men
in yachting flannels. Ardita and Carlyle stood up, and half
unconsciously started toward each other.

Then he paused and putting his hand suddenly into his pocket he
pulled out a round, glittering object and held it out to her.

"What is it?" she asked wonderingly.

"I'm not positive, but I think from the Russian inscription
inside that it's your promised bracelet."

"Where--where on earth---"

"It came out of one of those bags. You see, Curtis Carlyle and
his Six Black Buddies, in the middle of their performance in the
tea-room of the hotel at Palm Beach, suddenly changed their
instruments for automatics and held up the crowd. I took this
bracelet from a pretty, overrouged woman with red hair."

Ardita frowned and then smiled.

"So that's what you did! You HAVE got nerve!"

He bowed.

"A well-known bourgeois quality," he said.

And then dawn slanted dynamically across the deck and flung the
shadows reeling into gray corners. The dew rose and turned to
golden mist, thin as a dream, enveloping them until they seemed
gossamer relics of the late night, infinitely transient and
already fading. For a moment sea and sky were breathless, and
dawn held a pink hand over the young mouth of life--then from out
in the lake came the complaint of a rowboat and the swish of

Suddenly against the golden furnace low in the east their two
graceful figures melted into one, and he was kissing her spoiled
young mouth.

"It's a sort of glory," he murmured after a second.

She smiled up at him.

"Happy, are you?"

Her sigh was a benediction--an ecstatic surety that she was youth
and beauty now as much as she would ever know. For another
instant life was radiant and time a phantom and their strength
eternal--then there was a bumping, scraping sound as the rowboat
scraped alongside.

Up the ladder scrambled the two gray-haired men, the officer and
two of the sailors with their hands on their revolvers. Mr.
Farnam folded his arms and stood looking at his niece.

"So," he said nodding his head slowly.

With a sigh her arms unwound from Carlyle's neck, and her eyes,
transfigured and far away, fell upon the boarding party. Her
uncle saw her upper lip slowly swell into that arrogant pout he
knew so well.

"So," he repeated savagely. "So this is your idea of--of romance.
A runaway affair, with a high-seas pirate."

Ardita glanced at him carelessly.

"What an old fool you are!" she said quietly.

"Is that the best you can say for yourself?"

"No," she said as if considering. "No, there's something else.
There's that well-known phrase with which I have ended most of
our conversations for the past few years--'Shut up!'"

And with that she turned, included the two old men, the officer,
and the two sailors in a curt glance of contempt, and walked
proudly down the companionway.

But had she waited an instant longer she would have heard a sound
from her uncle quite unfamiliar in most of their interviews. He
gave vent to a whole-hearted amused chuckle, in which the second
old man joined.

The latter turned briskly to Carlyle, who had been regarding this
scene with an air of cryptic amusement.

"Well Toby," he said genially, "you incurable, hare-brained
romantic chaser of rainbows, did you find that she was the person
you wanted?

Carlyle smiled confidently.

"Why--naturally," he said "I've been perfectly sure ever since I
first heard tell of her wild career. That'd why I had Babe send
up the rocket last night."

"I'm glad you did," said Colonel Moreland gravely. "We've been
keeping pretty close to you in case you should have trouble with
those six strange niggers. And we hoped we'd find you two in some
such compromising position," he sighed. "Well, set a crank to
catch a crank!"

"Your father and I sat up all night hoping for the best--or
perhaps it's the worst. Lord knows you're welcome to her, my boy.
She's run me crazy. Did you give her the Russian bracelet my
detective got from that Mimi woman?"

Carlyle nodded.

"Sh!" he said. "She's coming on deck."

Ardita appeared at the head of the companionway and gave a quick
involuntary glance at Carlyle's wrists. A puzzled look passed
across her face. Back aft the negroes had begun to sing, and the
cool lake, fresh with dawn, echoed serenely to their low voices.

"Ardita," said Carlyle unsteadily.

She swayed a step toward him.

"Ardita," he repeated breathlessly, "I've got to tell you
the--the truth. It was all a plant, Ardita. My name isn't
Carlyle. It's Moreland, Toby Moreland. The story was invented,
Ardita, invented out of thin Florida air."

She stared at him, bewildered, amazement, disbelief, and anger
flowing in quick waves across her face. The three men held their
breaths. Moreland, Senior, took a step toward her; Mr. Farnam's
mouth dropped a little open as he waited, panic-stricken, for the
expected crash.

But it did not come. Ardita's face became suddenly radiant, and
with a little laugh she went swiftly to young Moreland and looked
up at him without a trace of wrath in her gray eyes.

"Will you swear," she said quietly "That it was entirely a
product of your own brain?"

"I swear," said young Moreland eagerly.

She drew his head down and kissed him gently.

"What an imagination!" she said softly and almost enviously. "I
want you to lie to me just as sweetly as you know how for the
rest of my life."

The negroes' voices floated drowsily back, mingled in an air that
she had heard them singing before.

"Time is a thief;
Gladness and grief
Cling to the leaf
As it yellows---"

"What was in the bags?" she asked softly.

"Florida mud," he answered. "That was one of the two true things
I told you."

"Perhaps I can guess the other one," she said; and reaching up on
her tiptoes she kissed him softly in the illustration.

The Ice Palace

The sunlight dripped over the house like golden paint over an art
jar, and the freckling shadows here and there only intensified
the rigor of the bath of light. The Butterworth and Larkin houses
flanking were entrenched behind great stodgy trees; only the
Happer house took the full sun, and all day long faced the dusty
road-street with a tolerant kindly patience. This was the city of
Tarleton in southernmost Georgia, September afternoon.

Up in her bedroom window Sally Carrol Happer rested her
nineteen-year-old chin on a fifty-two-year-old sill and watched
Clark Darrow's ancient Ford turn the corner. The car was
hot--being partly metallic it retained all the heat it absorbed
or evolved--and Clark Darrow sitting bolt upright at the wheel
wore a pained, strained expression as though he considered
himself a spare part, and rather likely to break. He laboriously
crossed two dust ruts, the wheels squeaking indignantly at the
encounter, and then with a terrifying expression he gave the
steering-gear a final wrench and deposited self and car
approximately in front of the Happer steps. There was a heaving
sound, a death-rattle, followed by a short silence; and then the
air was rent by a startling whistle.

Sally Carrol gazed down sleepily. She started to yawn, but
finding this quite impossible unless she raised her chin from the
window-sill, changed her mind and continued silently to regard
the car, whose owner sat brilliantly if perfunctorily at
attention as he waited for an answer to his signal. After a
moment the whistle once more split the dusty air.

"Good mawnin'."

With difficulty Clark twisted his tall body round and bent a
distorted glance on the window.

"Tain't mawnin', Sally Carrol."

"Isn't it, sure enough?"

"What you doin'?"

"Eatin' 'n apple."

"Come on go swimmin'--want to?"

"Reckon so."

"How 'bout hurryin' up?"

"Sure enough."

Sally Carrol sighed voluminously and raised herself with profound
inertia from the floor where she had been occupied in
alternately destroyed parts of a green apple and painting paper
dolls for her younger sister. She approached a mirror, regarded
her expression with a pleased and pleasant languor, dabbed two
spots of rouge on her lips and a grain of powder on her nose, and
covered her bobbed corn-colored hair with a rose-littered
sunbonnet. Then she kicked over the painting water, said, "Oh,
damn!"--but let it lay--and left the room.

"How you, Clark?" she inquired a minute later as she slipped
nimbly over the side of the car.

"Mighty fine, Sally Carrol."

"Where we go swimmin'?"

"Out to Walley's Pool. Told Marylyn we'd call by an' get her an'
Joe Ewing."

Clark was dark and lean, and when on foot was rather inclined to
stoop. His eyes were ominous and his expression somewhat petulant
except when startlingly illuminated by one of his frequent
smiles. Clark had "a income"--just enough to keep himself in ease
and his car in gasolene--and he had spent the two years since he
graduated from Georgia Tech in dozing round the lazy streets of
his home town, discussing how he could best invest his capital
for an immediate fortune.

Hanging round he found not at all difficult; a crowd of little
girls had grown up beautifully, the amazing Sally Carrol foremost
among them; and they enjoyed being swum with and danced with and
made love to in the flower-filled summery evenings--and they all
liked Clark immensely. When feminine company palled there were
half a dozen other youths who were always just about to do
something, and meanwhile were quite willing to join him in a few
holes of golf, or a game of billiards, or the consumption of a
quart of "hard yella licker." Every once in a while one of these
contemporaries made a farewell round of calls before going up to
New York or Philadelphia or Pittsburgh to go into business, but
mostly they just stayed round in this languid paradise of dreamy
skies and firefly evenings and noisy nigger street fairs--and
especially of gracious, soft-voiced girls, who were brought up on
memories instead of money.

The Ford having been excited into a sort of restless resentful
life Clark and Sally Carrol rolled and rattled down Valley Avenue
into Jefferson Street, where the dust road became a pavement;
along opiate Millicent Place, where there were half a dozen
prosperous, substantial mansions; and on into the down-town
section. Driving was perilous here, for it was shopping time;
the population idled casually across the streets and a drove of
low-moaning oxen were being urged along in front of a placid
street-car; even the shops seemed only yawning their doors and
blinking their windows in the sunshine before retiring into a
state of utter and finite coma.

"Sally Carrol," said Clark suddenly, "it a fact that you're

She looked at him quickly.

"Where'd you hear that?"

"Sure enough, you engaged?"

"'At's a nice question!"

"Girl told me you were engaged to a Yankee you met up in
Asheville last summer."

Sally Carrol sighed.

"Never saw such an old town for rumors."

"Don't marry a Yankee, Sally Carrol. We need you round here."

Sally Carrol was silent a moment.

"Clark," she demanded suddenly, "who on earth shall I marry?"

"I offer my services."

"Honey, you couldn't support a wife," she answered cheerfully.
"Anyway, I know you too well to fall in love with you."

"'At doesn't mean you ought to marry a Yankee," he persisted.

"S'pose I love him?"

He shook his head.

"You couldn't. He'd be a lot different from us, every way."

He broke off as he halted the car in front of a rambling,
dilapidated house. Marylyn Wade and Joe Ewing appeared in the

"'Lo Sally Carrol."


"How you-all?"

"Sally Carrol," demanded Marylyn as they started of again, "you

"Lawdy, where'd all this start? Can't I look at a man 'thout
everybody in town engagin' me to him?"

Clark stared straight in front of him at a bolt on the clattering

"Sally Carrol," he said with a curious intensity, "don't you
'like us?"


"Us down here?"

"Why, Clark, you know I do. I adore all you boys."

"Then why you gettin' engaged to a Yankee?."

"Clark, I don't know. I'm not sure what I'll do, but--well, I
want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want
to live where things happen on a big scale."

"What you mean?"

"Oh, Clark, I love you, and I love Joe here and Ben Arrot, and
you-all, but you'll--you'll---"

"We'll all be failures?"

"Yes. I don't mean only money failures, but just sort of--of
ineffectual and sad, and--oh, how can I tell you?"

"You mean because we stay here in Tarleton?"

"Yes, Clark; and because you like it and never want to change
things or think or go ahead."

He nodded and she reached over and pressed his hand.

"Clark," she said softly, "I wouldn't change you for the world.
You're sweet the way you are. The things that'll make you fail
I'll love always--the living in the past, the lazy days and
nights you have, and all your carelessness and generosity."

"But you're goin' away?"

"Yes--because I couldn't ever marry you. You've a place in my
heart no one else ever could have, but tied down here I'd get
restless. I'd feel I was--wastin' myself. There's two sides to
me, you see. There's the sleepy old side you love an' there's a
sort of energy--the feeling that makes me do wild things. That's
the part of me that may be useful somewhere, that'll last when
I'm not beautiful any more."

She broke of with characteristic suddenness and sighed, "Oh,
sweet cooky!" as her mood changed.

Half closing her eyes and tipping back her head till it rested on
the seat-back she let the savory breeze fan her eyes and ripple
the fluffy curls of her bobbed hair. They were in the country
now, hurrying between tangled growths of bright-green coppice and
grass and tall trees that sent sprays of foliage to hang a cool
welcome over the road. Here and there they passed a battered
negro cabin, its oldest white-haired inhabitant smoking a corncob
pipe beside the door, and half a dozen scantily clothed
pickaninnies parading tattered dolls on the wild-grown grass in
front. Farther out were lazy cotton-fields where even the workers
seemed intangible shadows lent by the sun to the earth, not for
toil, but to while away some age-old tradition in the golden
September fields. And round the drowsy picturesqueness, over the
trees and shacks and muddy rivers, flowed the heat, never
hostile, only comforting, like a great warm nourishing bosom for
the infant earth.

"Sally Carrol, we're here!"

"Poor chile's soun' asleep."

"Honey, you dead at last outa sheer laziness?"

"Water, Sally Carrol! Cool water waitin' for you!"

Her eyes opened sleepily.

"Hi!" she murmured, smiling.


In November Harry Bellamy, tall, broad, and brisk, came down from
his Northern city to spend four days. His intention was to
settle a matter that had been hanging fire since he and Sally
Carrol had met in Asheville, North Carolina, in midsummer. The
settlement took only a quiet afternoon and an evening in front of
a glowing open fire, for Harry Bellamy had everything she
wanted; and, beside, she loved him--loved him with that side of
her she kept especially for loving. Sally Carrol had several
rather clearly defined sides.

On his last afternoon they walked, and she found their steps
tending half-unconsciously toward one of her favorite haunts, the
cemetery. When it came in sight, gray-white and golden-green
under the cheerful late sun, she paused, irresolute, by the iron

"Are you mournful by nature, Harry?" she asked with a faint

"Mournful?" Not I."

"Then let's go in here. It depresses some folks, but I like it."

They passed through the gateway and followed a path that led
through a wavy valley of graves--dusty-gray and mouldy for the
fifties; quaintly carved with flowers and jars for the seventies;
ornate and hideous for the nineties, with fat marble cherubs
lying in sodden sleep on stone pillows, and great impossible
growths of nameless granite flowers.

Occasionally they saw a kneeling figure with tributary flowers,
but over most of the graves lay silence and withered leaves with
only the fragrance that their own shadowy memories could waken in
living minds.

They reached the top of a hill where they were fronted by a tall,
round head-stone, freckled with dark spots of damp and half
grown over with vines.

"Margery Lee," she read; "1844-1873. Wasn't she nice? She died
when she was twenty-nine. Dear Margery Lee," she added softly.
"Can't you see her, Harry?"

"Yes, Sally Carrol."

He felt a little hand insert itself into his.

"She was dark, I think; and she always wore her hair with a
ribbon in it, and gorgeous hoop-skirts of Alice blue and old


"Oh, she was sweet, Harry! And she was the sort of girl born to
stand on a wide, pillared porch and welcome folks in. I think
perhaps a lot of men went away to war meanin' to come back to
her; but maybe none of 'em ever did."

He stooped down close to the stone, hunting for any record of

"There's nothing here to show."

"Of course not. How could there be anything there better than
just 'Margery Lee,' and that eloquent date?"

She drew close to him and an unexpected lump came into his throat
as her yellow hair brushed his cheek.

"You see how she was, don't you Harry?"

"I see," he agreed gently. "I see through your precious eyes.
You're beautiful now, so I know she must have been."

Silent and close they stood, and he could feel her shoulders
trembling a little. An ambling breeze swept up the hill and
stirred the brim of her floppidy hat.

"Let's go down there!"

She was pointing to a flat stretch on the other side of the hill
where along the green turf were a thousand grayish-white crosses
stretching in endless, ordered rows like the stacked arms of a

"Those are the Confederate dead," said Sally Carrol simply.

They walked along and read the inscriptions, always only a name
and a date, sometimes quite indecipherable.

"The last row is the saddest--see, 'way over there. Every cross
has just a date on it and the word 'Unknown.'"

She looked at him and her eyes brimmed with tears.

"I can't tell you how real it is to me, darling--if you don't

"How you feel about it is beautiful to me."

"No, no, it's not me, it's them--that old time that I've tried to
have live in me. These were just men, unimportant evidently or
they wouldn't have been 'unknown'; but they died for the most
beautiful thing in the world--the dead South. You see," she
continued, her voice still husky, her eyes glistening with tears,
"people have these dreams they fasten onto things, and I've
always grown up with that dream. It was so easy because it was
all dead and there weren't any disillusions comin' to me. I've
tried in a way to live up to those past standards of noblesse
oblige--there's just the last remnants of it, you know, like the
roses of an old garden dying all round us--streaks of strange
courtliness and chivalry in some of these boys an' stories I used
to hear from a Confederate soldier who lived next door, and a
few old darkies. Oh, Harry, there was something, there was
something! I couldn't ever make you understand but it was there."

"I understand," he assured her again quietly.

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