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Half a Rogue by Harold MacGrath

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Half A Rogue

Harold MacGrath

To The Memory Of My Mother

Half A Rogue

Chapter I

It was Warrington's invariable habit--when no business or social
engagement pressed him to go elsewhere--to drop into a certain quaint
little restaurant just off Broadway for his dinners. It was out of the
way; the throb and rattle of the great commercial artery became like
the far-off murmur of the sea, restful rather than annoying. He always
made it a point to dine alone, undisturbed. The proprietor nor his
silent-footed waiters had the slightest idea who Warrington was. To
them he was simply a profitable customer who signified that he dined
there in order to be alone His table was up stairs. Below, there was
always the usual dinner crowd till theater time; and the music had the
faculty of luring his thoughts astray, being, as he was, fonder of
music than of work. As a matter of fact, it was in this little
restaurant that he winnowed the day's ideas, revamped scenes, trimmed
the rough edges of his climaxes, revised this epigram or rejected this
or that line; all on the backs of envelopes and on the margins of
newspapers. In his den at his bachelor apartments, he worked; but here
he dreamed, usually behind the soothing, opalescent veil of Madame

What a marvelous thing a good after-dinner cigar is! In the smoke of
it the poor man sees his ships come in, the poet sees his muse
beckoning with hands full of largess, the millionaire reverts to his
early struggles, and the lover sees his divinity in a thousand
graceful poses.

To-night, however, Warrington's cigar was without magic. He was out of
sorts. Things had gone wrong at the rehearsal that morning. The star
had demanded the removal of certain lines which gave the leading man
an opportunity to shine in the climax of the third act. He had labored
a whole month over this climax, and he revolted at the thought of
changing it to suit the whim of a capricious woman.

Everybody had agreed that this climax was the best the young dramatist
had yet constructed. A critic who had been invited to a reading had
declared that it lacked little of being great. And at this late hour
the star wanted it changed in order to bring her alone in the
lime-light! It was preposterous. As Warrington was on the first wave
of popularity, the business manager and the stage manager both agreed
to leave the matter wholly in the dramatist's hands. He resolutely
declined to make a single alteration in the scene. There was a fine
storm. The star declared that if the change was not made at once she
would leave the company. In making this declaration she knew her
strength. Her husband was rich; a contract was nothing to her. There
was not another actress of her ability to be found; the season was too
late. There was not another woman available, nor would any other
manager lend one. As the opening performance was but two weeks hence,
you will realize why Warrington's mood this night was anything but

He scowled at his cigar. There was always something, some sacrifice to
make, and seldom for art's sake. It is all very well to witness a play
from the other side of the footlights; everything appears to work out
so smoothly, easily and without effort. To this phenomenon is due the
amateur dramatist--because it looks simple. A play is not written; it
is built, like a house. In most cases the dramatist is simply the
architect. The novelist has comparatively an easy road to travel. The
dramatist is beset from all sides, now the business manager--that is
to say, the box-office--now the stage manager, now the star, now the
leading man or woman. Jealousy's green eyes peer from behind every
scene. The dramatist's ideal, when finally presented to the public,
resembles those mutilated marbles that decorate the museums of Rome
and Naples. Only there is this difference: the public can easily
imagine what the sculptor was about, but seldom the dramatist.

Warrington was a young man, tolerably good-looking, noticeably well
set up. When they have good features, a cleft chin and a generous
nose, clean-shaven men are good to look at. He had fine eyes, in the
corners of which always lurked mirth and mischief; for he possessed
above all things an inexhaustible fund of dry humor. His lines seldom
provoked rough laughter; rather, silent chuckles.

Warrington's scowl abated none. In business, women were generally
nuisances; they were always taking impossible stands. He would find
some way out; he was determined not to submit to the imperious fancies
of an actress, however famous she might be.

"Sir, will you aid a lady in distress?" The voice was tremulous, but
as rich in tone as the diapason of an organ.

Warrington looked up from his cigar to behold a handsome young woman
standing at the side of his table. Her round, smooth cheeks were
flushed, and on the lower lids of her splendid dark eyes tears of
shame trembled and threatened to fall. Behind her stood a waiter, of
impassive countenance, who was adding up the figures on a check, his
movement full of suggestion.

The dramatist understood the situation at once. The young lady had
ordered dinner, and, having eaten it, found that she could not pay for
it. It was, to say the least, a trite situation. But what can a man do
when a pretty woman approaches him and pleads for assistance? So
Warrington rose.

"What may the trouble be?" he asked coldly, for all that he instantly
recognized her to be a person of breeding and refinement.

"I--I have lost my purse, and I have no money to pay the waiter." She
made this confession bravely and frankly.

He looked about. They were alone. She interpreted his glance rather

"There were no women to appeal to. The waiter refused to accept my
word, and I really can't blame him. I had not even the money to send a
messenger home."

One of the trembling tears escaped and rolled down the blooming cheek.
Warrington surrendered. He saw that this was an exceptional case. The
girl was truly in distress. He knew his New York thoroughly; a man or
woman without funds is treated with the finished cruelty with which
the jovial Romans amused themselves with the Christians. Lack of money
in one person creates incredulity in another. A penniless person is
invariably a liar and a thief. Only one sort of person is pitied in
New York: the person who has more money than she or he can possibly

The girl fumbled in her hand-bag and produced a card, which she gave
to Warrington--"Katherine Challoner." He looked from the card to the
girl and then back to the card. Somehow, the name was not wholly
unfamiliar, but at that moment he could not place it.

"Waiter, let me see the check," he said. It amounted to two dollars
and ten cents. Warrington smiled. "Scarcely large enough to cause all
this trouble," he added reassuringly. "I will attend to it."

The waiter bowed and withdrew. So long as the check was paid he did
not care who paid it.

"Oh, it is so horribly embarrassing! What must you think of me?" She
twisted her gloves with a nervous strength which threatened to rend

"May I give you a bit of friendly advice?" he asked.

She nodded, hiding the fall of the second tear.

"Well, never dine alone in public; at any rate, in the evening. It is
not wise for a woman to do so. She subjects herself to any number of

She did not reply, and for a moment he believed that she was about to
break down completely. He aimlessly brushed the cigar ashes from the
tablecloth. He hated a scene in public. In the theater it was
different; it was a part of the petty round of business to have the
leading lady burst into tears when things didn't suit her. What fools
women are in general! But the girl surprised him by holding up
determinedly, and sinking her white teeth into her lips to smother the
sob which rose in her throat.

"Be seated," he said, drawing out the opposite chair.

A wave of alarm spread over her face. She clasped her hands.

"Sir, if you are a gentleman--"

Warrington interrupted her by giving her his card, which was
addressed. She glanced at it through a blur of tears, then sat down.
He shrugged his shoulders slightly; his vanity was touched. There was,
then, a young woman in New York who had not heard of Richard

"In asking you to be seated," he explained, "it was in order that you
might wait in comfort while I despatched a messenger to your home.
Doubtless you have a brother, a father, or some male relative, who
will come at once to your assistance." Which proved that Warrington
was prudent.

But instead of brightening as he expected she would, she straightened
in her chair, while her eyes widened with horror, as if she saw
something frightful in perspective.

What the deuce could be the matter now? he wondered, as he witnessed
this inexplicable change.

"No, no! You must not send a messenger!" she protested.


"No, no!" tears welling into her beautiful eyes again. They were
beautiful, he was forced to admit.

"But," he persisted, "you wished the waiter to do so. I do not
understand." His tone became formal again.

"I have reasons. Oh, heavens! I am the most miserable woman in all the
world!" She suddenly bowed her head upon her hands and her shoulders
rose and fell with silent sobs.

Warrington stared at her, dumfounded. NOW what? He glanced cautiously
around as if in search of some avenue of escape. The waiter, ever
watchful, assumed that he was wanted, and made as though to approach
the table; but Warrington warned him off. All distrust in the girl
vanished. Decidedly she was in great trouble of some sort, and it
wasn't because she could not pay a restaurant check. Women--and
especially New York women--do not shed tears when a stranger offers to
settle for their dinner checks.

"If you will kindly explain to me what the trouble is," visibly
embarrassed, "perhaps I can help you. Have you run away from borne?"
he asked.

A negative nod.

"Are you married?"

Another negative nod.

Warrington scratched his chin. "Have you done anything wrong?"

A decided negative shake of the head. At any other time the
gesticulation of the ostrich plume, so close to his face, would have
amused him; but there was something eminently pathetic in the diapasm
which drifted toward him from the feather.

"Come, come; you may trust me thoroughly. If you are afraid to return
home alone--"

He was interrupted by an affirmative nod this time. Possibly, he
conjectured, the girl had started out to elope and had fortunately
paused at the brink.

"Will it help you at all if I go home with you?" he asked.

His ear caught a muffled "Yes."

Warrington beckoned to the waiter.

"Order a cab at once," he said.

The waiter hurried away, with visions of handsome tips.

Presently the girl raised her head and sat up. Her eyes, dark as
shadows in still waters, glistened.

"Be perfectly frank with me; and if I can be of service to you, do not
hesitate to command me." He eyed her thoughtfully. Everything attached
to her person suggested elegance. Her skin was as fine as vellum; her
hair had a dash of golden bronze in it; her hands were white and
shapely, and the horn on the tips of the fingers shone rosily. Now,
what in the world was there to trouble a young woman who possessed
these favors, who wore jewels on her fingers and sable on her
shoulders? "Talk to me just as you would to a brother," he added

"You will take this ring," she said irrelevantly. She slipped a fine
sapphire from one of her fingers and pushed it across the table.

"And for what reason?" he cried.

"Security for my dinner. I can not accept charity," with a hint of
hauteur which did not in the least displease him.

"But, my dear young woman, I can not accept this ring. You have my
address. You may send the sum whenever you please. I see no reason
why, as soon as you arrive home, you can not refund the small sum of
two dollars and ten cents. It appears to me very simple."

"There will be no one at home, not even the servants," wearily.

Warrington's brows came together. Was the girl fooling him, after all?
But for what reason?

"You have me confused," he admitted. "I can do nothing blindly. Tell
me what the trouble is."

"How can I tell you, an absolute stranger? It is all so frightful, and
I am so young!"

Frightful? Young? He picked up his half-finished cigar, but
immediately let it fall. He stole a look at his watch; it was seven.

"Oh, I know what you must think of me," despairingly. "Nobody believes
in another's real misfortune in this horrid city. There are so many
fraudulent methods used to obtain people's sympathies that every one
has lost trust. I had no money when I entered here; but outside it was
so dark. Whenever I stopped, wondering where I should go, men turned
and stared at me. Once a policeman peered into my face suspiciously.
And I dared not return home, I dared not! No, no; I promise not to
embarrass you with any more tears." She brushed her eyes with a rapid

Warrington's success as a dramatist was due largely to his interest in
all things that passed under his notice. Nothing was too trivial to
observe. The tragic threads of human life, which escaped the eyes of
the passing many or were ignored by them, always aroused his interest
and attention; and more than once he had picked up one of these
threads and followed it to the end. Out of these seemingly
insignificant things he often built one of those breathless,
nerve-gripping climaxes which had, in a few years' time, made him
famous. In the present case he believed that he had stumbled upon
something worthy his investigation. This handsome young woman, richly
dressed, who dared not go home, who had jewels but no money--there
was some mystery surrounding her, and he determined to find out what
it was. And then, besides, for all that he was worldly, he was young
and still believed in his Keats.

"If, as you say, there is no one at your home, why do you fear to go
there?" he asked, with some remnant of caution.

"It is the horror of the place," shuddering; "the horror!" And indeed,
at that moment, her face expressed horror.

"Is it some one dead?" lowering his voice.

"Dead?" with a flash of cold anger in her eyes. "Yes--to me, to truth,
to honor; dead to everything that should make life worth the living.
Oh, it is impossible to say more in this place, to tell you here what
has happened this day to rob me of all my tender illusions. This
morning I awoke happy, my heart was light; now, nothing but shame and
misery!" She hid her eyes for a space behind the back of her hand.

"I will take you home," he said simply.

"You trust me?"

"Why not? I am a man, and can take care of myself."

"Thank you!"

What a voice! It possessed a marvelous quality, low and penetrating,
like the voices of great singers and actresses. Any woman with such a
voice ...

Here the waiter returned to announce that a cab awaited them in the
street below. Warrington paid the two checks, dropped a liberal tip,
rose and got into his coat. The girl also rose, picked up his card,
glanced carelessly at it, and put it into her hand-bag--a little
gold-link affair worth many dinners. It was the voice and these
evidences of wealth, more than anything else, that determined
Warrington. Frauds were always perpetrated for money, and this
exquisite creature had a small fortune on her fingers.

Silently they left the restaurant, entered the cab, and went rolling
out into Broadway. Warrington, repressing his curiosity, leaned back
against the cushions. The girl looked dully ahead.

What manner of tragedy was about to unfold itself to his gaze?

The house was situated in Central Park, West. It was of modern
architecture, a residence such as only rich men can afford to build.
It was in utter gloom; not a single light could be seen at any window.
It looked, indeed, as if tragedy sat enthroned within. Warrington's
spine wrinkled a bit as he got out of the cab and offered his hand to
the girl.

Mute and mysterious as a sphinx, the girl walked to the steps, not
even looking around to see if he was coming after her. Perhaps she
knew the power of curiosity. Without hesitance she mounted the steps;
he followed, a step behind. At the door, however, she paused. He could
hear her breath coming in quick gasps. Oddly enough, the recollection
of some detective stories flashed through his mind.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Nothing, nothing; only I am afraid."

She stooped; there was a grating sound, a click, and the door opened.
Warrington was a man of courage, but he afterward confessed that it
took all his nerve force to move his foot across the threshold.

"Do not be frightened," she said calmly; "there is nothing but ghosts
here to frighten any one."



"Have you brought me here to tell me a ghost story?" with an effort at
lightness. What misery the girl's tones conveyed to his ears!

"The ghosts of things that ought to, and should, have been; are not
those the most melancholy?" She pressed a button and flooded the
hallway with light.

His keen eyes roving met nothing but signs of luxury. She led him into
the library and turned on the lights. Not a servant anywhere in sight;
the great house seemed absolutely empty. Not even the usual cat or dog
came romping inquisitively into the room. The shelves of books stirred
his sense of envy; what a den for a literary man to wander in! There
were beautiful marbles, splendid paintings, taste and refinement
visible everywhere.

Warrington stood silently watching the girl as she took off her hat
and carelessly tossed it on the reading-table. The Russian sables were
treated with like indifference. The natural abundance of her hair
amazed him; and what a figure, so elegant, rounded, and mature! The
girl, without noticing him, walked the length of the room and back
several times. Once or twice she made a gesture. It was not addressed
to him, but to some conflict going on in her mind.

He sat down on the edge of a chair and fell to twirling his hat, a
sign that he was not perfectly at his ease.

"I am wondering where I shall begin," she said.

Warrington turned down his coat-collar, and the action seemed to
relieve him of the sense of awkwardness.

"Luxury!" she began, with a sweep of her hand which was full of
majesty and despair. "Why have I chosen you out of all the thousands?
Why should I believe that my story would interest you? Well, little as
I have seen of the world, I have learned that woman does not go to
woman in cases such as mine is." And then pathetically: "I know no
woman to whom I might go. Women are like daws; their sympathy comes
but to peck. Do you know what it is to be alone in a city? The desert
is not loneliness; it is only solitude. True loneliness is to be found
only in great communities. To be without a single friend or confidant,
when thousand of beings move about you; to pour your sorrows into
cold, unfeeling ears; to seek sympathy in blind eyes--that is
loneliness. That is the loneliness that causes the heart to break."

Warrington's eyes never left hers; he was fascinated.

"Luxury!" she repeated bitterly. "Surrounding me with all a woman
might desire--paintings that charm the eye, books that charm the mind,
music that charms the ear. Money!"

"Philosophy in a girl!" thought Warrington. His hat became motionless.

"It is all a lie, a lie!" The girl struck her hands together, impotent
in her wrath.

It was done so naturally that Warrington, always the dramatist, made a
mental note of the gesture.

"I was educated in Paris and Berlin; my musical education was
completed in Dresden. Like all young girls with music-loving souls, I
was something of a poet. I saw the beautiful in everything; sometimes
the beauty existed only in my imagination. I dreamed; I was happy. I
was told that I possessed a voice such as is given to few. I sang
before the Emperor of Austria at a private musicale. He complimented
me. The future was bright indeed. Think of it; at twenty I retained
all my illusions! I am now twenty-three, and not a single illusion is
left. I saw but little of my father and mother, which is not unusual
with children of wealthy parents. The first shock that came to my
knowledge was the news that my mother had ceased to live with my
father. I was recalled. There were no explanations. My father met me
at the boat. He greeted my effusive caresses--caresses that I had
saved for years!--with careless indifference. This was the second
shock. What did it all mean? Where was my mother? My father did not
reply. When I reached home I found that all the servants I had known
in my childhood days were gone. From the new ones I knew that I should
learn nothing of the mystery which, like a pall, had suddenly settled
down upon me."

She paused, her arms hanging listless at her sides, her gaze riveted
upon a pattern in the rug at her feet. Warrington sat like a man of
stone; her voice had cast a spell upon him.

"I do not know why I tell you these things. It may weary you. I do not
care. Madness lay in silence. I had to tell some one. This morning I
found out all. My mother left my father because he was ... a thief!"

"A thief!" fell mechanically from Warrington's lips.

"A thief, bold, unscrupulous; not the petty burglar, no. A man who has
stolen funds intrusted to him for years; a man who has plundered the
orphan and the widow, the most despicable of all men. My mother died
of shame, and I knew nothing. My father left last night for South
America, taking with him all the available funds, leaving me a curt
note of explanation. I have neither money, friends, nor home. The
newspapers as yet know nothing; but to-morrow, to-morrow! The banks
have seized everything."

She continued her story. Sometimes she was superb in her wrath; at
others, abject in her misery. She seemed to pass through the whole
gamut of the passions.

And all this while it ran through Warrington's head--"What a theme for
a play! What a voice!"

He pitied the girl from the bottom of his heart; but what could he do
for her other than offer her cold sympathy? He was ill at ease in the
face of this peculiar tragedy.

All at once the girl stopped and faced him, There was a smile on her
lips, a smile that might be likened to a flash of sunlight on a wintry
day. Directly the smile melted into a laugh, mellow, mischievous,

Warrington sat up stiffly in his chair.

"I beg your pardon!" he said.

The girl sat down before a small writing-table. She reached among some
papers and finally found what she sought.

"Mr. Warrington, all this has been in very bad taste; I frankly
confess it. There are two things you may do: leave the house in anger,
or remain to forgive me this imposition."

"I fail to understand." He was not only angered, but bewildered.

"I have deceived you."

"You mean that you have lured me here by trick? That you have played
upon my sympathies to gratify ..."

"Wait a moment," she interrupted proudly, her cheeks darkening richly.
"A trick, it is true; but there are extenuating circumstances. What I
have told you HAS happened, only it was not to-day nor yesterday.
Please remain seated till I have done. I AM poor; I WAS educated in
the cities I have named; I have to earn my living."

She rose and came over to his chair. She gave him a letter.

"Read this; you will fully understand."

Warrington experienced a mild chill as he saw a letter addressed to
him, and his rude scribble at the bottom of it.

Miss Challoner--I beg to state that I have neither the time nor the
inclination to bother with amateur actresses. Richard Warrington.

"It was scarcely polite, was it?" she asked, with a tinge of irony.
"It was scarcely diplomatic, either, you will admit. I simply asked
you for work. Surely, an honest effort to obtain employment ought not
to be met with insolence."

He stared dumbly at the evidence in his hand. He recalled distinctly
the rage that was in his heart when he penned this note. The stage
manager had lost some valuable manuscript that had to be rewritten
from memory, the notes having been destroyed.

"For weeks," said the girl, "I have tried to get a hearing. Manager
after manager I sought; all refused to see me. I have suffered a
hundred affronts, all in silence. Your manager I saw, but he referred
me to you, knowing that probably I should never find you. But I was
determined. So I wrote; that was your answer. I confess that at the
time I was terribly angry, for courtesy is a simple thing and within
reach of every one."

To receive a lesson in manners from a young woman, when that young
woman is handsome and talented, is not a very pleasant experience. But
Warrington was, a thorough gentleman, and he submitted with grace.

"I know that you are a busy man, that you are besieged with
applications. You ought, at least, to have formal slips, such as
editors have. I have confidence in my ability to act, the confidence
which talent gives to all persons. After receiving your letter I was
more than ever determined to see you. So I resorted to this
subterfuge. It was all very distasteful to me; but I possess a vein of
wilfulness. This is not my home. It is the home of a friend who was
kind enough to turn it over to me this night, relying upon my wit to
bring about this meeting."

"It was neatly done," was Warrington's comment. He was not angry now
at all. In fact, the girl interested him tremendously. "I am rather
curious to learn how you went about it."

"You are not angry?"

"I was."

This seemed to satisfy her.

"Well, first I learned where you were in the habit of dining. All day
long a messenger has been following you. A telephone brought me to the
restaurant. The rest you know. It was simple."

"Very simple," laconically.

"You listened and believed. I have been watching you. You believed
everything I have told you. You have even been calculating how this
scene might go in a play. Have I convinced you that I have the ability
to act?"

Warrington folded the letter and balanced it on his palm.

"You have fooled me completely; that ought to be sufficient

"Thank you." But her eyes were eager with anxiety.

"Miss Challoner, I apologize for this letter. I do more than that. I
promise not to leave this house till you agree to call at the theater
at ten to-morrow morning." He was smiling, and Warrington had a
pleasant smile. He had an idea besides. "Good fortune put it into my
head to follow you here. I see it all now, quite plainly. I am in a
peculiar difficulty, and I honestly believe that you can help me out
of it. How long would it take you to learn a leading part? In fact,
the principal part?"

"A week."

"Have you had any experience?"

"A short season out west in a stock company."


"And I love work."

"Do not build any great hopes," he warned, "for your chance depends
upon the whim of another woman. But you have my word and my good
offices that something shall be put in your way. You will come at
ten?" drawing on his gloves.


"I believe that we both have been wise to-night; though it is true
that a man dislikes being a fool and having it made manifest."

"And how about the woman scorned?" with an enchanting smile.

"It is kismet," he acknowledged.

Chapter II

Warrington laid down his pen, brushed his smarting eyes, lighted his
pipe, and tilted back his chair. With his hands clasped behind his
head, he fell into a waking dream, that familiar pastime of the
creative mind. It was half after nine, and he had been writing
steadily since seven. The scenario was done; the villain had lighted
his last cigarette, the hero had put his arms protectingly around the
heroine, and the irascible rich uncle had been brought to terms. All
this, of course, figuratively speaking; for no one ever knew what the
plot of that particular play was, insomuch as Warrington never
submitted the scenario to his manager, an act which caused almost a
serious rupture between them. But to-night his puppets were moving
hither and thither across the stage, pulsing with life; they were
making entrances and exits; developing this climax and that; with wit
and satire, humor and pathos. It was all very real to the dreamer.

The manuscript lay scattered about the top of his broad flat desk, and
the floor beside the waste-basket was flaked with the remains of
various futile lines and epigrams. The ash-pan was littered with burnt
matches, ends of cigars and pipe tobacco, while the ash-crumbs
speckled all dark objects, not excepting the green rug under his feet.
Warrington smoked incessantly while at work, now a cigarette, now a
cigar, now a pipe. Specialists declare with cold authoritative
positiveness that the use of tobacco blunts the thought, dulls the
edge of invention; but Warrington knew better. Many a night he had
thrown his coat over his smoking-jacket and dashed down the street to
the corner drug-store for a fresh supply of tobacco. He simply could
not work without it. I do not know that he saw his heroes and heroines
any plainer for the smoke; but I do know that when their creator held
a cigar between his teeth, they frowned less, and the spirit of malice
and irony, of which he was master, became subdued.

Warrington was thirty-five now. The grey hair at the temples and the
freshness of his complexion gave him a singularly youthful appearance.
His mouth was even-lipped and rather pleasure-loving, which, without
the balance of a strong nose, would have appealed to you as
effeminate. Warrington's was what the wise phrenologists call the
fighting nose; not pugnacious, but the nose of a man who will fight
for what he believes to be right, fight bitterly and fearlessly.
To-day he was famous, but only yesterday he had been fighting,
retreating, throwing up this redoubt, digging this trench; fighting,
fighting. Poverty, ignorance and contempt he fought; fought
dishonesty, and vice, and treachery, and discouragement.

Presently he leaned toward the desk and picked up a letter. He read it
thoughtfully, and his brows drew together. A smile, whimsically sad,
stirred his lips, and was gone. It was written by a girl or a very
young woman. There was no signature, no address, no veiled request for
an autograph. It was one of those letters which bring to the novelist
or dramatist, or any man of talent, a real and singular pleasure. It
is precious because honest and devoid of the tawdry gilt of flattery.

Richard Warrington--You will smile, I know, when you read this letter,
doubtless so many like it are mailed to you day by day. You will toss
it into the waste-basket, too, as it deserves to be. But it had to be
written. However, I feel that I am not writing to a mere stranger, but
to a friend whom I know well. Three times you have entered into my
life, and on each occasion you have come by a different avenue. I was
ill at school when you first appeared to me. It was a poem in a
magazine. It was so full of the spirit of joyousness, so full of
kindliness, so rich in faith and hope, that I cried over it, cut it
out and treasured it, and re-read it often in the lonely hours when
things discouraged me,--things which mean so little to women but so
much to girls. Two years went by, and then came that brave book! It
was like coming across a half-forgotten friend. I actually ran home
with it, and sat up all night to complete it. It was splendid. It was
the poem matured, broadened, rounded. And finally your first play! How
I listened to every word, watched every move! I wrote you a letter
that night, but tore it up, not having the courage to send it to you.
How versatile you must be: a poem, a book, a play! I have seen all
your plays these five years, plays merry and gay, sad and grave. How
many times you have mysteriously told me to be brave! I envy and
admire you. What an exquisite thing it must be to hear one's thoughts
spoken across the footlights! Please do not laugh. It would hurt me to
know that you could laugh at my honest admiration. You won't laugh,
will you? I am sure you will value this letter for its honesty rather
than for its literary quality. I have often wondered what you were
like. But after all, that can not matter, since you are good and kind
and wise; for you can not be else, and write the lofty things you do.

Warrington put the letter away, placed it carefully among the few
things he held of value. It would not be true to say that it left him
unaffected. There was an innocent barb in this girlish admiration, and
it pierced the quick of all that was good in him.

"Good and kind and wise," he mused. "If only the child knew! Heigh-ho!
I am kind, sometimes I've been good, and often wise. Well, I can't
disillusion the child, happily; she has given me no address."

He rose, wheeled his chair to a window facing the street, and opened
it. The cool fresh April air rushed in, clearing the room of its
opalescent clouds, cleansing his brain of the fever that beset it. He
leaned with his elbows on the sill and, breathed noisily, gratefully.
Above, heaven had decked her broad bosom with her flickering stars,
and from the million lamps of the great city rose and floated a
tarnished yellow haze. So many sounds go forth to make the voices of
the night: somewhere a child was crying fretfully, across the way the
faint tinkle of a piano, the far-off rattle of the elevated, a muffled
laugh from a window, above, the rat-tat of a cab-horse, the breeze in
the ivy clinging to the walls of the church next door, the quarrelsome
chirp of the sleepy sparrows; and then, recurrence. Only the poet or
the man in pain opens his ears to these sounds.

Over on Broadway a child of his fertile brain was holding the rapt
attention of several hundred men and women; and across the broad land
that night four other dramas were being successfully acted. People
were discussing his theories, denouncing or approving his conception
of life. The struggle was past, his royalties were making him rich.
And here he was this night, drinking the cup of bitterness, of
unhappiness, the astringent draft of things that might and should have
been. The coveted grape was sour, the desired apple was withered.
Those who traverse the road with Folly as boon companion find only

And so it was with Warrington. He had once been good, wholly good and
kind and wise, lofty as a rural poet who has seen nothing of life save
nature's pure and visible face. In the heat of battle he had been
strong, but success had subtly eaten into the fibers and loosed his
hold, and had swept him onward into that whirlpool out of which no man
emerges wholly undefiled. It takes a great and strong man to withstand
success, and Warrington was only a genius. It was not from lack of
will power; rather it was because he was easy-going and loved pleasure
for its own sake. He had fought and starved, and now for the jingle of
the guinea in his pocket and the junkets of the gay! The prodigality
of these creative beings is not fully understood by the laity, else
they would forgive more readily the transgressions. Besides, the
harbor of family ties is a man's moral bulwark; and Warrington drifted
hither and thither with no harbor in view at all.

He had been an orphan since his birth; a mother meant simply a giver
of life, and a father meant, even less. Until he had read the reverse
and obverse sides of life, his sense of morality had lain dormant and
untilled. Such was his misfortune. The solitary relative he laid claim
to was an aged aunt, his father's sister. For her he had purchased a
beautiful place in the town of his birth, vaguely intending to live
out his old age there.

There had been a fight for all he possessed. Good had not come easily,
as it does to some particularly favored mortals. There was no family,
aristocracy to back him up, no melancholy recollections of past
grandeur to add the interest of romance to his endeavors. His father
had been a poor man of the people, a farmer. And yet Warrington was by
no means plebeian. Somewhere there was a fine strain. It had been a
fierce struggle to complete a college education. In the summer-time he
had turned his hand to all sorts of things to pay his winter's
tuition. He had worked as clerk in summer hotels, as a surveyor's
assistant in laying street-railways, he had played at private
secretary, he had hawked vegetables about the streets at dawn.
Happily, he had no false pride. Chance moves quite as mysteriously as
the tides. On leaving college he had secured a minor position on one
of the daily newspapers, and had doggedly worked his way up to the
coveted position of star-reporter. Here the latent power of the
story-teller, the poet and the dramatist was awakened; in any other
pursuit the talent would have quietly died, as it has died in the
breasts of thousands who, singularly enough, have not stood in the
path of Chance.

Socially, Warrington was one of the many nobodies; and if he ever
attended dinners and banquets and balls, it was in the capacity of
reporter. But his cynical humor, which was manifest even in his youth,
saved him the rancor and envy which is the portion of the outsider.

At length the great city called him, and the lure was strong. He
answered, and the long battle was on. Sometimes he dined, sometimes he
slept; for there's an old Italian saying that he who sleeps dines. He
drifted from one paper to another, lived in prosperity one week and in
poverty the next; haggled with pawnbrokers and landladies, and
borrowed money and lent it. He never saved anything; the dreamer never
does. Then one day the end came to the long lane, as it always does to
those who keep on. A book was accepted and published; and then
followed the first play.

By and by, when his name began to figure in the dramatic news items,
and home visitors in New York returned to boast about the Warrington
"first nights," the up-state city woke and began to recollect
things--what promise Warrington had shown in his youth, how clever he
was, and all that. Nothing succeeds like success, and nobody is so
interesting as the prophet who has shaken the dust of his own country
and found honor in another. Human nature can't help itself: the women
talked of his plays in the reading-clubs, the men speculated on the
backs of envelopes what his royalties were, and the newspaper that had
given him a bread-and-butter pittance for a man's work proudly took it
upon itself to say that its columns had fostered the genius in the
growing. This was not because the editors were really proud of their
townsman's success; rather it was because it made a neat little
advertisement of their own particular foresight, such as it was. In
fact, in his own town (because he had refused to live in it!)
Warrington was a lion of no small dimensions.

Warrington's novel (the only one he ever wrote) was known to few. To
tell the truth, the very critics that were now praising the dramatist
had slashed the novelist cruelly. And thereby hangs a tale. A New York
theatrical manager sent for Warrington one day and told him that he
had read the book, and if the author would attempt a dramatic version,
the manager would give it a fair chance. Warrington, the bitterness of
failure in his soul, undertook the work, and succeeded. Praise would
have made an indifferent novelist of him, for he was a born dramatist.

Regularly each year he visited his birthplace for a day or so, to pay
in person his taxes. For all that he labored in New York, he still
retained his right to vote in his native town.

A sudden desire seized him to-night to return to his home, to become a
citizen in fact and deed. It was now the time of year when the spring
torrents flood the lowlands, when the melting snows trickle down the
bleak hillsides, when the dead hand of winter lies upon the bosom of
awakening spring, and the seed is in travail. Heigh-ho! the world went
very well in the springs of old; care was in bondage, and all the many
gateways to the heart were bastioned and sentineled.

"Sir, a lady wishes to see you."

Warrington turned. His valet stood respectfully in the doorway.

"The name?" Warrington rose impatiently. Nobody likes to have his
dreams disturbed.

"Miss Challoner, sir."

"Challoner!" in surprise; "and this time of night?" He stroked his
chin. A moment passed. Not that he hesitated to admit her; rather he
wished to make a final analysis of his heart before his eyes fell down
to worship her beauty. "Admit her at once." He brushed the ashes from
his jacket and smoothed his hair. The valet disappeared. "If I only
loved the woman, loved her honestly, boldly, fearlessly, what a
difference it would make! I don't love her, and I realize that I never
did. She never touched my heart, only my eye and mind. I may be
incapable of loving any one; perhaps that's it. But what can have
possessed her to leave the theater this time of night?"

A swish of petticoats, a rush of cool air with which mingled an
indefinable perfume, and, like a bird taking momentary rest in the
passage, she stood poised on the threshold. A beautiful woman is a
tangible enchantment; and fame and fortune had made Katherine
Challoner beautiful, roguishly, daringly, puzzlingly beautiful. Her
eyes sparkled like stars on ruffled waters, the flame of health and
life burned in her cheeks, and the moist red mobile mouth expressed
emotions so rapidly and irregularly as to bewilder the man who
attempted to follow them. Ah, but she could act; comedy or tragedy, it
mattered not; she was always superb.

There was a tableau of short duration. Her expression was one of
gentle inquiry, his was one of interest not unmixed with fascination.
He felt a quick touch of compassion, of embarrassment. There had been
times when yonder woman had seemed to show him the preference that is
given only to men who are loved. Even as the thought came to him, he
prayed that it was only his man's vanity that imagined it. As he
stared at her, there came the old thrill: beauty is a power

"Dick, you do not say you are glad to see me."

"Beauty striketh the sage dumb," he laughed. "What good fortune brings
you here to-night? What has happened? How could you find time between
the acts to run over?"

"I am not acting to-night."


"No. Nor shall I be to-morrow night, nor the thousand nights that
shall follow."

"Why, girl!" he cried, pushing out a chair. He had not seen her for
two weeks. He had known nothing of her movements, save that her
splendid talents had saved a play from utter ruin. Her declaration was
like a thunderbolt. "Explain!"

"Well, I am tired, Dick; I am tired." She sat down, and her gaze roved
about the familiar room with a veiled affection for everything she
saw. "The world is empty. I have begun to hate the fools who applaud
me. I hate the evil smells which hang about the theater. I hate the
overture and the man with the drums," whimsically.

"What's he done to you?"

"Nothing, only he makes more noise than the others. I'm tired. It is
not a definite reason; but a woman is never obliged to be definite."

"No; I never could understand you, even when you took the trouble to
explain things."

"Yes, I know." She drew off her gloves and rubbed her fingers, which
were damp and cold.

"But, surely, this is only a whim. You can't seriously mean to give up
the stage when the whole world is watching you!"

She did not answer him, but continued to rub her fingers. She wore
several rings, among which was a brilliant of unusual luster.
Warrington, however, had eyes for nothing but her face. For the past
six months he had noted a subtle change in her, a growing reserve, a
thoughtfulness that was slowly veiling or subduing her natural gaiety.
She now evaded him when he suggested one of their old romps in queer
little restaurants; she professed illness when he sent for her to join
him in some harmless junketing. She was slowly slipping away from him;
no, drifting, since he made no real effort to hold her. And why had he
made no real effort? Sometimes he thought he could answer this
question, and then again he knew that he could not. Ah, if he only
loved her! What a helpmeet: cheerful, resourceful, full of good humor
and practical philosophy, a brilliant wit, with all the finished
graces of a goddess. Ah, if indeed he only loved her! This thought
kept running through his mind persistently; it had done so for days;
but it had always led him back to the starting point. Love is not
always reasoning with itself. Perhaps--and the thought filled him with
regret--perhaps he was indeed incapable of loving any one as his
poet's fancy believed he ought to love. And this may account for the
truth of the statement that genius is rarely successful in love; the
ideal is so high that it is out of the reach of life as we, genius or
clod, live it.

"Isn't this determination rather sudden?" he asked, when the pause
grew insupportable.

"I have been thinking of it for some time," she replied, smiling. A
woman always finds herself at ease during such crises. "Only, I hadn't
exactly made up my mind. You were at work?" glancing at the desk.

"Yes, but I'm through for the night. It's only a scenario, and I am
not entirely satisfied with it."

She walked over to the desk and picked up a sheet at random. She was a
privileged person in these rooms. Warrington never had any nervous
dread when she touched his manuscript.

"How is it going to end?" she asked.

"Oh, they are going to marry and be happy ever after," he answered,

"Ah; then they are never going to have any children?" she said, with a
flash of her old-time mischief.

"Will you have a cigarette?" lighting one and offering her the box.

"No; I have a horror of cigarettes since that last play. To smoke in
public every night, perforce, took away the charm. I hated that part.
An adventuress! It was altogether too close to the quick; for I am
nothing more or less than an adventuress who has been successful. Why,
the very method I used to make your acquaintance years and years ago,
wasn't it?--proved the spirit. 'We hate two kinds of people,'" she
read, taking up another page of manuscript; "'the people we wrong and
the people who wrong us. Only, the hate for those we have wronged is
most enduring.' That isn't half bad, Dick. How do you think of all
these things?"

She crossed over to the window to cool her hot face. She, too, heard
the voices of the night; not as the poet hears them, but as one in
pain. "He never loved me!" she murmured, so softly that even the
sparrows in the vine heard her not. And bitter indeed was the pain.
But of what use to struggle, or to sigh, or vainly to regret? As
things are written, so must they be read. She readily held him
guiltless; what she regretted most deeply was the lack of power to
have him and to hold him. Long before, she had realized the
hopelessness of it all. Knowing that he drank from the cup of
dissipation, she had even sought to hold him in contempt; but to her
he had never ceased to be a gentleman, tender, manly and kind. It is
contempt that casts the first spadeful in the grave of love.

"Come, girl," he said, going to her side; "you have something to tell
me. What is it?"

She turned to find his hand outstretched and a friendly look in his
eyes. Impulsively she gave him both her hands. He bowed over them with
the grave air of the days of powdered wigs. There was not a particle
of irony in the movement; rather it was a quiet acknowledgment that he
recollected the good influence she had at times worked upon him in
some dark days. As he brushed her fingers with his lips, he saw. His
head came up quickly.


"Yes." Her voice was steady and her eyes were brave.

He drew her to the lamp and studied the ring. The ruddy lights dartled
as he slowly turned the jewel around.

"It is a beauty. No one but a rich man could have given a ring like
that. And on your finger it means but one thing."

"I am to be married in June."

"Do you love him?"

"I respect him; he is noble and good and kind."

Warrington did not press the question. He still retained the hand,
though he no longer gazed at the ring.

"I have always wanted a home. The stage never really fascinated me; it
was bread and butter."

"Is it necessary to marry in order to have a home?" he asked quietly,
letting the hand gently slide from his. "You are wealthy, after a
fashion; could you not build a home of your own?"

"Always to be identified as the actress? To be looked at curiously, to
be annoyed by those who are not my equals, and only tolerated by those
who are? No! I want a man who will protect me from all these things,
who will help me to forget some needless follies and the memory that a
hundred different men have made play-love to me on the other side of
the footlights."

"Some men marry actresses to gratify their vanity; does this man love

"Yes; and he will make me what Heaven intended I should be--a woman.
Oh, I have uttered no deceit. This man will take me for what I am."

"And you have come here to-night to ask me to forget, too?" There was
no bitterness in his tone, but there was a strong leaven of regret.
"Well, I promise to forget."

"It was not necessary to ask you that," generously. "But I thought I
would come to you and tell you everything. I did not wish you to
misjudge me. For the world will say that I am marrying this good man
for his money; whereas, if he was a man of the most moderate
circumstances, I should still marry him."

"And who might this lucky man be? To win a woman, such as I know you
to be, this man must have some extraordinary attributes." And all at
once a sense of infinite relief entered into his heart: if she were
indeed married, there would no longer be that tantalizing doubt on his
part, that peculiar attraction which at one time resembled love and at
another time was simply fascination. She would pass out of his life
definitely. He perfectly recognized the fact that he admired her above
all other women he knew; but it was also apparent that to see her day
by day, year by year, his partner in the commonplaces as well as in
the heights, romance would become threadbare quickly enough. "Who is
he?" he repeated.

"That I prefer not to disclose to you just yet. What are you going to
call your new play?" with a wave of her hand toward the manuscript.

"I had intended to call it Love and Money, but the very name presages

"Yes, it needs the cement of compatibility to keep the two together."

"Well, from my heart I wish you all the best luck in the world," he
said, the absence of any mental reservation in his eyes. "You would
make any man a good wife. If I weren't a born fool--"

She leaned toward him, her face suddenly tense and eager.

"--if I weren't a born fool," with a smile that was whimsical, "I'd
have married you myself, long ago. But fate has cut me out for a
bachelor." He knocked the ash from a cold pipe, filled and lighted it.
"By the way," he said, "I received a curious letter to-day." Its
production would relieve the awkwardness of the moment. "Would you
like to see it?" opening the drawer and handing the letter to her.
"It's one of the few letters of the sort I'm going to keep."

She accepted the letter, but without any spirit of interest. For a
moment a thought had all but swept her off her feet; yet she realized
instantly that this thought was futile. Warrington did not love her;
and there was nothing to do but to follow out the course she had
planned. She had come to him that night with a single purpose in mind:
to plumb the very heart of this man who was an enigma to every woman
he met. She had plumbed it. Warrington loved nobody but Warrington and
pleasure. Oh, he was capable of the grand passion, she very well knew,
but the woman to arouse it had not yet crossed his path.

"What do you think of it?" he asked.

She came closer to the lamp. It was only pretense, but Warrington was
not aware of it. She had stared at the sheet, reading only her
miserable thoughts. Presently she smiled; the girlish exuberance
amused her.

"She has put you quite out of reach. What a fine thing it must be to
have such faith in any man!"

"And I'm not worth in her esteem an ounce to the pound." He was quite
frank with himself. "I would to Heaven I were!"

"And this is the kind of woman that you will fall violently in love
with, some day, Dick. It will be your punishment." She had fully
recovered by now, and the old-time raillery was in the ascendant. "Oh,
she has read you fairly well. You are good and kind and wise, but
these virtues are not of equal weight. Your goodness and wisdom will
never catch up with your abundant kindness. I've a good deal to thank
you for, Dick; a good deal."

"Nonsense! The shoe is on the other foot. You have made half my plays
what they are to-day." He rang and ordered some coffee.

She dropped into his desk-chair and propped her chin in her palms,
viewing him through half-closed, speculative eyes.

"We've had some jolly larks together," he said. "I shall miss you; how
much I shall know only when you are gone. Is he good-looking?"

"Very. He is tall and straight, with a manly face, fine eyes, and a
good nose. You know that I'm always particular about a man's nose."

"And young, of course?" not without some feeling of jealousy.

"And young."

"Tell me all about him," drawing up a chair and facing her.

"He is a lucky chap," he summed up when she had done.

"That remains to be seen," lightly. "I may prove the worst wife
possible. Perhaps, when I have burned my bridges, I shall be mad for
the very publicity I'm trying to escape. Women are like extinct
volcanos; they are most to be dreaded when written perfectly

Warrington shook his head and laughed. Here the coffee came in. He
dismissed his man, and poured the nectar himself.

"You are the one man I know who never asks to sweeten my coffee," she

"And yet I had to learn. You haven't taught this other fellow yet, I
see. Is he warranted house-broken, or will he have to be chained?"

"He will not have to be chained; and a man who is a recluse seldom has
to be broken in."

"A recluse? What's his hobby: butterflies, stones, stamps, or
coins?--No, girl; I don't mean that. I'm a little heavy to-night. Do
you recollect the night you donned a suit of mine, bundled your hair
under a felt hat, and visited the studios? What a romp! Not a soul
ever found out who you were; and if I hadn't been in the secret, I
shouldn't have known, either. I shall never forget how funny Dolman
looked when he started a certain popular story of his and you shut him
up. 'Gentlemen,' you said, 'neither listen to, nor repeat that kind of
story in the presence of ladies.' 'Ladies?' cried Dolman. 'I see no
ladies.' 'But there are gentlemen,' you added quickly. Later, Dolman
advised me not to bring any more of my Sunday-school friends to HIS

The woman smiled, but the smile was only on the lips. All those happy
frolics were to be no more. Heigh-ho! Over the mantel there were
several photographs of herself. Like all celebrities of her kind, the
camera was a constant source of amusement. It was not necessarily
vanity. The rose is not vain, yet it repeats its singular beauty as
often as the seasons permit it. Across these pictures she had scrawled
numerous signatures, "Kate" and "Kit" and "Kitty" and "Katherine
Challoner," with here and there a phrase in French and Italian.

"You wouldn't return those under any circumstances?"

"No, indeed! That's all I'll have. And besides, you wouldn't ask me to
give them up?"

Her answer remained unspoken. The valet appeared deferentially.

"Well?" said Warrington.

"A gentleman to see you, sir. He said he wouldn't need any card. Mr.
John Bennington, sir.

"John Bennington!" Warrington sprang from his chair, his face joyous.
"Old John here to-night! Finest chap on earth, Kate; my roommate at
college, and the only chap in my town who was my friend when I was a
nobody. Old John ..."

"Richard, you must hide me quickly. I mustn't be seen here. There is
no way of passing him the hall."

"Good Lord!" He did not notice her pallor. "The butler's pantry," he
said hastily.

She slipped out of sight noiselessly. Presently she heard sounds,
men's voices, a hearty greeting and for a moment the world seemed
gliding from under her feet. Her gloves! She had forgotten her gloves!

Chapter III

Men have a way of greeting which is all their own. It is unlike the
kiss and flutter of women, which may signify frankness or deceit,
generosity or selfishness, some favor to gain, some treachery to
forestall. Men's likes and dislikes are generally visible. The dog
wags his tail, or he warns you away with a growl; there is no
mistaking his attitude. On the other hand, the cat purrs and rubs
against your leg, and when you reach down to smooth her, as likely as
not she gives you a dig for your pains. True, there are always
exceptions to this rule.

With their hands on each other's shoulders, at arm's length they
stood, a likely pair to look at, smiling frankly and joyfully into
each other's eyes. When it is without self-interest, friendship
between man and man is a fine and noble thing. It is known best in the
stress of storms, in the hour of sorrow and adversity. Friendship, to
be perfect, must be without any sense of obligation; for obligation
implies that one or the other is in debt, and the debtor is always
wondering when he will have to pay. Between these two men only the
slightest favors had been exchanged. They had grown up together, one
the son of a rich steel-mill owner, the other the son of a poor
farmer. The one had entered college to the sounding of golden cymbals,
the other had marched in with nothing but courage in his pocket. It is
impossible to describe how these great friendships come about;
generally they begin with some insignificant trifle, soon forgotten.
Warrington had licked Bennington in the boyhood days; why, I doubt
that the Recording Angel himself remembers. So the friendship began
with secret admiration on one side and good-natured toleration on the
other. One day Warrington broke a colt for Bennington, and later
Bennington found a passably good market for Warrington's vegetables.
Friendship, like constancy, finds strange niches. The Bennington
family were not very cordial to the young vegetable grower. On the
mother's side there was a long line of military ancestors. It is
impossible that a cabbage and a uniform should cohere. Warrington's
great-grandsires had won honors in the Revolution, but as this fact
did not make cabbages grow any faster he kept the faded glory to

In college the two lads were as inseparable as La Mole and Coconnas;
they played on the same teams, rowed on the same crews and danced with
the same girls. The only material difference in their respective
talents lay in one thing: Bennington could not write a respectable
rhyme, and I'm not sure that he wasn't proud of it. It distinguished
him from the other members of his class. As for Warrington, there
wasn't a pretty girl in the whole college town who couldn't boast of
one or more of his impassioned stanzas. And you may be sure that when
Warrington became talked about these self-same halting verses were dug
up from the garret and hung in sundry parlors.

Bennington was handsome, and, but for his father's blood, the idleness
of his forebears would have marked him with effeminateness. His head,
his face, the shape of his hands and feet, these proclaimed the
aristocrat. It was only in the eyes and the broad shoulders that you
recognized the iron-monger's breed. His eyes were as blue as his own
hammered steel; but, like the eyes of the eagle at peace, they were
mild and dreamy and deceptive to casual inspection. In the shops the
men knew all about those eyes and shoulders. They had been fooled
once, but only once. They had felt the iron in the velvet.

"I'm mighty glad to see you, boy," said Warrington, dropping his arms.
"You haven't changed a bit."

"Nor you, Dick; if anything you look younger."

"How many years is it, John?"

"Six or seven; not very long."

"Time never seems long to a man who never has to wait for anything. I
have had to reckon time with hours full of suspense, and those hours
have aged me; perhaps not outwardly, but all the same, I'm an old man,


"When did you cross?"

"About a year ago, when father died. I had given up the English end of
the concern two years before, and was just wandering about the
continent. I was dreadfully disappointed when I learned that you had
visited the shops in ninety-eight. That summer I was in Switzerland.
I had no idea there was going to be war, and never saw a newspaper
till it was nearly over. I should have enlisted. And another year we
passed within two days of each other."

"No!" Bennington exclaimed.

"Yes. It was in Italy, at Sorrento, that I learned of your nearness.
You were off for Amalfi and I had just come from there. For three days
I ran across your name in the hotel registers. I tried to find your
permanent address, but failed. Cook's nor the bankers in Naples knew
anything about you. I tell you what, it was discouraging."

"What luck! I was having all my mail sent direct to Mentone, where I
spent the winter. Say, what do you think?"

"About what?"

"Won five thousand at Monte Carlo in one play."

"Pounds?" exclaimed Bennington.

"Lord, no!--dollars."

"Ah! But of course you went back and lost it?" ironically.

"On the contrary, I've never staked a dollar since. Gambling was never
a habit of mine, though I dare say the moral side of the subject would
not have held me back. Simply, I know that the gambler always loses,
and the banker always wins, in the end. Common sense told me to quit,
and I did. I brought my letter of credit home practically intact."

"You used to play poker," dubiously.

"Poker isn't gambling. It's surreptitiously lending money to your

"You were always good at definitions," sighed Bennington.

"I understand you've sold your holdings in the English shops?"

"Yes. I was weary of the people and what they called their
conservatism, which is only a phase of stupidity. And then, besides, I
loved the old home up there. I've been living there about a year now."

"It's a pity you couldn't have looked me up before this," Warrington

Bennington only laughed affectionately.

"Take a look around the room while I get the whisky and soda."

"Don't bother, Dick."

"Boy, I licked you once, and I'll do it again if you don't sit down. A
little extra attention won't hurt; and I'll guarantee the whisky."
Waving his arms toward all the desirable things in the room, he
vanished beyond the curtain.

Bennington looked about leisurely. It was just the kind of room he had
always imagined; it was like the man who occupied it. Simplicity and
taste abounded; the artist and the collector, the poet and the
musician, were everywhere in evidence. He strolled over to the mantel
and took down one of the pictures signed "Kate." He smiled. It was not
an indulgent smile, nor the smile of a man who has stumbled upon
another man's secret. The smile was rather exultant. He leaned against
the mantel and studied the face in its varied expressions. He nodded
approvingly. It was a lovely face; it was more than lovely,--it was
tender and strong. Presently he returned to his chair and sat down,
the photograph still in his hand. And in this position Warrington
found him.

"Ah, you sly dog!" he hailed, setting down the glasses and pouring out
a liberal bumper. "So I've caught you? Well, you're not the only man
who has been conquered by that very photograph." He had half a notion
to go in and bring her out; but then, women are such finicky beings!

Bennington laid aside the photograph, a certain reverence in his
action that in ordinary times would not have escaped Warrington's

"What's this to be?" asked Bennington, lifting his glass and stirring
the ice.

"Immer und immer, as the German has it," Warrington replied.

"For ever and ever, then!"

And the two lightly touched glasses, with that peculiar gravity which
always accompanies such occasions.

"When a man drinks your health in bad whisky, look out for him; but
this whisky is very good, Dick." Bennington set down his glass and
wiped his lips. "It is very good, indeed."

"Well, how are things up in Herculaneum?" asked Warrington. "You know,
or ought to know, that I get up there only once a year."

"Things are not very well. There's the devil to pay in politics, and
some day I may have a jolly long strike on my hands," grimly. "But I
shall know exactly what to do. That man McQuade owns about all the
town now. He controls congressmen, state senators and assemblymen, and
the majority of the Common Council is his, body and soul. Only
recently he gave the traction company a new right of way. Not a penny
went into the city's purse. And you know these street-railways; they
never pay their taxes. A franchise for ninety-nine years; think of

"Why don't you men wake up and oust McQuade? I'll tell you right here,
Jack, you have no one to blame but yourself. Scoundrels like McQuade
are always in the minority; but they remain in power simply because
men like you think politics a dirty business and something for an
honest man to keep out of. Run for mayor yourself, if you want clean
politics. Rouse up an independent party."

"Do you know what they call me up there?" Bennington laughed.

"I confess to ignorance."

"Well, the newspapers say covertly that I'm all but a naturalized
Englishman, a snob, when I'm only a recluse, a man who dresses every
night for dinner, who dines instead of eats. There are some things it
is impossible to understand, and one is the interest the newspapers
take in the private affairs of men. If they jumped on me as a
mill-owner, there might be some excuse, but they are always digging me
on the private-citizen side. Every man, in his own house, ought to be
allowed to do as he pleases. They never bothered the governor any,
when he was alive. I believe they were afraid of him."

"I can explain all that, my boy. Buy your clothes of the local
tailors; get rid of your valet; forget that you have lived in England.
They'll come around to you, then. You may talk as much as you like
about the friendliness between the Englishman and the American. It is
simply a case of two masters who are determined that their dogs shall
be friendly. Let the masters drop out of sight for a moment, and you
will find the dogs at each other's throat. And the masters? The dollar
on this side and the sovereign on the other. There is a good deal of
friendship these days that is based upon three and a half per cent.
Get into politics, my boy."

"Bah! I'd look nice running for mayor, wouldn't I? The newspapers
would howl calamity, and the demagogues would preach that I would soon
impose English wages in the shops, and all that tommyrot. No, thank
you; I'll take trouble as it comes, but I'm not looking for it."

"I see that I shall have to go back there and start the ball myself,"
said Warrington, jesting.

"Why don't you? You are not a rank outsider. The people are proud of

"And always will be, so long as I have sense enough to remain here in
New York," dryly. "But if I lived there ...!"

"You are not always going to live in New York?"

"Not always."

"You've a beautiful old home up there."

"I bought that just to show the people I had the money," laughing.
"They may never forget my cabbages, but they'll forgive them."

"Nevertheless, you ought to return."

"Listen," said Warrington, lifting his hand. They became silent, and
presently the voice of the city came into the room. "I'm afraid I
could not live away from that. How many times have I stopped work to
listen to it! How many inspirations have I drawn from it! It is the
siren's music, I know, but I am no longer afraid of the reefs. Perhaps
I have become enamored with noise; it is quite possible."

"I have lived in London. I thought it was going to be hard to break
away, but it wasn't."

They lighted cigars, and Bennington took up the photograph again.

"A lovely face," was his comment.

"With a heart and a mind even more lovely," supplemented Warrington.
"She is one of the most brilliant women I have ever met, and what is
more, humorous and good-humored. My word for it, she may have equals,
but she has no superiors on this side of the ocean."

Bennington looked up sharply.

"Nothing serious?" he asked gently.

"Serious? No. We are capital friends, but nothing more. There's been
too much comradeship to admit anything like sentimentality. Ah, boy,
you should see her act!"

"I have. I saw her in London last season. She was playing your War of
Women. She appeared to me enchanting. But about these actresses ..."

"I know, I know," interrupted Warrington. "Some of them are bad, but
some of them are the noblest creatures God ever put on earth; and
yonder is one of them. I remember. Often we were both in debt; plays
went wrong; sometimes I helped her out, sometimes she returned the
favor. We were more like two men. Without her help I shouldn't be
where I am to-day. I always read the scenario of a play to her first;
and often we've worked together half a night on one scene. I shall
miss her."

"What! Is she going away?"

"After a fashion. She has retired from the stage."

"Do you believe she means it?" asked Bennington. "You know how
changeable actresses' moods are."

"I think Miss Challoner will never act again. She has always been an
enigma to the majority of the show people. Never any trumpets,
jewelry, petty squabbles, lime-lights, and silks; she never read
criticisms, save those I sent her. Managers had to knock on her
dressing-room door. Oh, I do not say that she is an absolute paragon,
but I do say that she is a good woman, of high ideals, loyal,
generous, frank, and honest. And I have often wondered why the devil I
couldn't fall in love with her myself," moodily.

Bennington was silent for a moment. Finally he said: "How does it feel
to be famous, to have plays produced simultaneously in New York and

"After the first success there is never anything but hard work. A
failure once in a while acts like a tonic. And sometimes we get an
anonymous letter that refreshes us--a real admirer, who writes from
the heart and doesn't fish for a letter or an autograph in return. I
received one of these only a few days ago, and I want you to read it."
Warrington produced the missive and tossed it into Bennington's hands.
"Read that. It's worth while to get a letter like that one."

Bennington took up the letter, smiling at his friend's enthusiasm. A
single glance at the graceful script, however, changed his expression.
He sat back and stared at Warrington.

"What's the matter?"

Bennington did not answer, but settled down to his task, reading
carefully and slowly. He did not look for any signature, for he knew
there would be none. He returned the letter, his face sober, but his
eyes dancing.

"Now, what the deuce do you see that is so amusing?"

"Oh, nothing."

"Don't tell me there isn't any romance in the world. But, hang it,
Jack, I'm not worth a letter like that," earnestly.

"Of course not."

"I'm not jesting. I've sown wild oats, and God knows what the harvest
will be. There's a law that exacts payment. Retribution is the only
certain thing in this world."

"Oh, you're no worse than the average man. But the average man is
jolly bad," Bennington added gravely. "But you, Dick; I'm not worrying
about you. Perhaps the writer of that letter sees good in you that you
can't see yourself; good that is in you but of which you are
unconscious. 0ne thing, you have never besmirched the talents God gave
you. Everything you have done has been clean and wholesome--like

"I wish I could believe that! But I've had no ties, Jack, none. You
can't keep to a course without a compass. The real good in life, the
good that makes life worth while, is the toil for those you love. I
love nobody, not even myself. But this girl rather woke me up. I began
to look inward, as they say. So far I've not discovered much good. I'd
give a good deal to meet this writer."

"Doubtless you will find her charming."

Suddenly Warrington turned upon his friend. "But what I want to know
is, what brought you around here this time o' night? I never knew you
to do anything without a definite purpose."

"That's precisely what I've been waiting for you to lead up to. The
truth is--" Bennington hesitated. His hand, idly trailing over the
desk, came into contact with something smooth and soft. It was a pair
of white kid gloves, a woman's. Absently he drew them through his
hand. He was only half conscious of his action, and he did not observe
Warrington's sudden agitation. "The truth is, I've gone and done it.
I'm going to be married in June, and I want you to be my best man."

Warrington's hand went out impulsively.

"Oh, I felt it in my bones when your card came in," he said,
rearranging the glasses. "Lucky woman! Long life to you, Jack, and
long happiness!"

"Thank you, Dick." (Ceremonial recurrence of drinking a health.)

"Now, out with it. Who is she, and all about her?"

"Dick, I'm genuinely sorry, but I'm still under bond of silence."

"More mysteries!" cried Warrington, with evident discontent.

"Only for a week, when, if you say, we'll have breakfast here in these
very rooms.

"Done. Only I must say you're a bit hard on me to-night.

"I'm sorry."

"Let me see; I'll describe her for you. Beautiful."




"A woman who will be both wife and comrade."


"An American."

"In all things."

"You make me envious."

"Why don't you get married yourself?"

"Bah!" Warrington went to the window and looked down upon the street.

Bennington eyed his broad shoulders sympathetically. He looked down at
the limp, smooth skins in his hand, and sat up stiffly. From the
gloves to Warrington and back again to the gloves, his gaze traveled.
With an impulse rather mechanical he raised the gloves to his nose.
Quickly he dropped them on the desk, took up the photograph, rose and
replaced it on the mantel. Hearing him, Warrington turned.

"No, Jack, I doubt if I shall ever be lucky enough to find the one
woman. I've been so busy that I've never had time to hunt for
happiness. And those who hunt for it never find it, and those who wait
for it can not see it standing at their side."

Bennington wandered about, from object to object. Here he picked up a
dagger, there a turquoise in the matrix, and again some inlaid wood
from Sorrento. From these his interest traveled to and lingered over
some celebrated autographs.

"Happiness is a peculiar thing," went on the dramatist. "It is far
less distinctive than fame or fortune. They sometimes knock at your
door, but happiness steals in without warning, and often leaves as
mysteriously as it comes."

Bennington paused to examine a jade cigarette case, which he opened
and closed aimlessly. And there were queer little Japanese ash-trays
that arrested his attention.

"Men like you and me, Jack, never marry unless we love. It is never a
business transaction."

"It is love or nothing," said Bennington, turning his face toward
Warrington. The smile he gave was kindly. "Yes, true happiness can be
sought only in those we love. There is happiness even in loving some
one who does not love you." Bennington repressed a sigh. "But, Dick,
you'll be the best man?"

"Depend upon me. What do you say to this day week for breakfast here?"

"That will be wholly agreeable to me."

Bennington's cigar had gone out. He leaned upon the desk and took his
light from the chimney. Men who have traveled widely never waste

"Can't you bunk here for the night? There's plenty of room," said

"Impossible, Dick. I leave at midnight for home. I must be there
to-morrow morning. I'm afraid of trouble in the shops. The unions are
determined to push me to the limit of my patience."

"Why the deuce don't you get rid of the shops?"

"They're the handiwork of my father, and I'm proud to follow his
steps." Bennington's eyes were no longer at peace; they sparkled with
defiance. "Half-past ten!" suddenly. "I must be going. My luggage is
still at the hotel. God bless you, Dick!"

Their hands met once again.

"You know, jack, that I love you best of all men."

"You are sure there is no woman?"

Warrington laughed easily. "Ah, if there was a woman! I expect to be
lonely some day."

Bennington put on his hat and gloves, and Warrington followed him into
the hall. Once the prospective bridegroom paused, as if he had left
something unsaid; but he seemed to think the better of silence, and
went on.

"Tuesday morning, then?"

"Tuesday morning. Good night."

"Good night, and luck attend you."

The door closed, and Warrington went slowly back to his desk, his mind
filled with pleasant recollections of youth. He re-read the letter,
studied it thoroughly, in hopes that there might be an anagram. There
was nothing he could see, and he put it away, rather annoyed. He
arranged the sheets and notes of the scenario, marshaled the scattered
pencils, and was putting the glasses on the tray, when a sound in the
doorway caused him to lift his head. One of the glasses tumbled over
and rolled across the desk, leaving a trail of water which found its
level among the ash-trays.

"It is quite evident that you forgot me," said the woman, a faint
mirthless smile stirring her lips. "It was very close in there, and I
could hear nothing." She placed a hand on her forehead, swayed, and
closed her eyes for a second.

"You are faint!" he cried, springing toward her.

"It is nothing," she replied, with a repelling gesture. "John
Bennington, was it not?"

"Yes." His eyes grew round with wonder.

"I was going to keep it secret as long as I could, but I see it is
useless. He is the man I have promised to marry." Her voice had a
singular quietness.

Warrington retreated to his desk, leaning heavily against it.

"Bennington? You are going to marry John Bennington?" dully.


He sat down abruptly and stared at her with the expression of one who
is suddenly confronted by some Medusa's head, as if in the straggling
wisps of hair that escaped from beneath her hat he saw the writhing
serpents. She was going to marry John Bennington!

She stepped quickly up to the desk and began to scatter things about.
Her hands shook, she breathed rapidly, her delicate nostrils dilating
the while.

"Look out!" he warned, at her side the same instant. "Your hat is
burning!" He smothered the incipient flame between his palms.

"Never mind the hat. My gloves, Dick, my gloves! I left them here on
the desk."

"Your gloves?" Then immediately he recollected that he had seen them
in Bennington's hands, but he was positive that the gloves meant
nothing to Bennington. He had picked them up just as he would have
picked up a paper-cutter, a pencil, a match-box, if any of these had
been within reach of his nervous fingers. Most men who are at times
mentally embarrassed find relief in touching small inanimate objects.
So he said reassuringly: "Don't let a pair of gloves worry you, girl."

"He bought them for me this morning," a break in her voice. "I MUST
find them!"

The situation assumed altogether a different angle. There was a hint
of tragedy in her eyes. More trivial things than a forgotten pair of
gloves have brought about death and division. Together they renewed
the search. They sifted the manuscripts, the books, the magazines,
burrowed into the drawers; and sometimes their hands touched, but they
neither noticed nor felt the contact. Warrington even dropped to his
knees and hunted under the desk, all the while "Jack Bennington, Jack
Bennington!" drumming in his ears. The search was useless. The gloves
were nowhere to be found. He stood up irresolute, dismayed and
anxious, keenly alive to her misery and to the inferences his best
friend might draw. The desk stood between them, but their faces were
within two spans of the hand.

"I can't find them."

"They are gone!" she whispered.

Chapter IV

When the pathfinders came into the territory which is now called the
Empire State, they carried muskets and tripods under one arm and Greek
dictionaries under the other. They surveyed all day and scanned all
night, skirmishing intermittently with prowling redskins. They knew
something about elementary geometry, too, and you will find evidences
of it everywhere, even in the Dutch settlements. The Dutchman always
made the beauty of geometry impossible. Thus, nowadays, one can not
move forward nor backward fifty miles in any direction without having
the classic memory jarred into activity. Behold Athens, Rome, Ithaca,
Troy; Homer, Virgil, Cicero; Pompey and Hannibal; cities and poets and
heroes! It was, in those early days, a liberal education to be born in
any one of these towns. Let us take Troy, for instance. When the young
mind learned to spell it, the young mind yearned to know what Troy
signified. Then came Homer, with his heroic fairy-story of gods,
demigods and mortals. Of one thing you may be reasonably sure: Helen
was kept religiously in the background. You will find no city named
after her; nor Sappho, nor Aspasia. The explorer and the geographer
have never given woman any recognition; it was left to the poets to
sing her praise. Even Columbus, fine old gentleman that he was,
absolutely ignored Isabella as a geographical name.

The city of Herculaneum (so called in honor of one Hercules) was very
well named. To become immortal it had the same number of tasks to
perform as had old Hercules. The Augean Stables were in the City Hall;
and had Hercules lived in Herculaneum, he never would have sat with
the gods. The city lay in a pleasant valley, embraced by imposing
wooded hills. There was plenty of water about, a lake, a river, a
creek; none of these, however, was navigable for commercial purposes.
But this in nowise hindered the city's progress. On the tranquil bosom
of the Erie Canal rode the graceful barges of commerce straight and
slowly through the very heart of the town. Like its historic namesake,
the city lived under the eternal shadow of smoke, barring Sundays; but
its origin was not volcanic, only bituminous. True, year in and year
out the streets were torn up, presenting an aspect not unlike the
lava-beds of Vesuvius; but as this phase always implies, not
destruction, but construction, murmurs were only local and few. It was
a prosperous and busy city. It grew, it grows, and will grow. Long
life to it! Every year the city directory points with pride to its
growing bulk. A hundred thousand people; and, as Max O'Rell said--"All
alive and kicking!" Herculaneum held its neighbors in hearty contempt,
like the youth who has suddenly found his man's strength, and parades
round with a chip on his shoulder.

Three railroad lines ran through the business section, bisecting the
principal thoroughfares. The passenger trains went along swiftly
enough, but often freights of almost interminable length drawled
through the squares. I say drawled advisedly. Surely the whuff-whuff
of the engine seems to me a kind of mechanical speech; and to this was
often added the sad lowing of cattle. From time to time some earnest
but misdirected young man would join the aldermanic body, and
immediately lift up his voice in protest. It was outrageous, and so
forth; the railroads must be brought to their senses, and so forth.
Presently a meeting would come and go without his voice being heard,
another, and yet another. By and by he would silently cast his vote
for the various businesses under hand, and go home. The old-timers
would smile. They understood. They rode on annuals themselves.

All the same, Herculaneum was a beautiful city in parts. Great leafy
maples and elms arched the streets in the residential quarters, and
the streets themselves were broad and straight. There were several
dignified buildings of ten and twelve stories, many handsome banks,
several clubs, and two or three passable monuments. There were at that
time five enterprising newspapers, four frankly partizan and one
independent. Personalities entered freely into the editorials, which
often abounded in wit and scholarship. There were three theaters, and
many churches of many denominations; religion and amusement, to
thrive, must have variety. There were great steel shops,
machine-shops, factories and breweries. And there were a few people
who got in touch with one another, and invented society.

Herculaneum has its counterpart in every state; each city is a
composite of all the others. A fashion in New York is immediately
reproduced in every other city on the continent. Conservatism, day by
day, becomes more and more retiring; presently it will exist only in
Webster, side by side with the word prehistoric.

It was Sunday in Herculaneum, a June Sunday, radiant with sunshine.
The broad green leaves of the maples shivered, lacing the streets with
amber and jade, and from a thousand emerald gardens rose the subtle,
fragrant incense of flowers. How still and beautiful this day seems to
us who have hurried hither and thither for six long days, sometimes in
anger, sometimes in exultation, failure or success! It breathes a
peace and quiet that is tonic. Upon this day there is truce between us
and the enemy.

In Herculaneum they still went to church on a Sunday morning. Perhaps
it was merely habit, perhaps it was simply formality, perhaps it was
only to parade new clothes; anyhow, they went to church. At ten-thirty
the procession started; gentlemen in their tiles, ladies in their
furbelows, children stiffly starched. Some rode to church, but the
majority walked. There were many store-windows to preen before, as in
a mirror. Vanity has something to her credit, after all; it is due to
her that most of us make an effort to keep spruce and clean.

Comment passed like the fall of dominoes. Some woman,
ultra-fashionable, would start the chatter. She NEVER saw anything
like the gowns Mrs. Jones wore; Mrs. Jones touched upon the impossible
feathers of Mrs. Smith's hat, and Mrs. Smith in turn questioned the
exquisite complexion of Mrs. Green, who thought Mrs. White's children
the homeliest in the city. (Can't you hear the dominoes going down?)

The men nodded here and there, briefly. Saturday night in a provincial
town holds many recollections.

The high church was a stately pile of granite, with lofty spire and
fine memorial windows. Doves fluttered about the eaves. Upon this
particular Sunday morning there seemed to be something in the air that
was not a component part of any of the elements. It was simply a bit
of news which the church-goers had read in the papers that morning. To
many a bud and belle it was a thunder-clap, a bolt from a cloudless
heaven. They whispered about it, lifted their eyebrows, and shrugged
their shoulders. But their mamas gave no sign. If the fox of
disappointment ate into their vitals, they determined, Spartan-like,
that none should know it. An actress! Men might marry actresses in
England, but Herculaneum still clung to the belief that actresses were
not eligible.

Some of the men had seen Katherine Challoner act, and they sighed,
retrospectively and introspectively.

"I feel for Mrs. Bennington and her daughter. It must be a great blow
to their pride." Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene sat down in her pew-seat and
arranged her silk petticoats. Mrs. Wilmington-Fairchilds sat down
beside her. "You know I never meddle with scandal."

Mrs. Fairchilds nodded brightly.

"Never. I never repeat anything I hear. The Archibald affair was
enacted right under my very nose; but did I circulate what I saw? I
think not! That woman!--but there! I pray for her every night."

"Was it really true, then?" asked Mrs. Fairchilds, breathless. She
knew something about the Archibald affair, but not enough.

"I saw it all with these eyes," flatly. "But, as I said, I keep my
hands clean of scandal." Her hands were white and flabby. "I consider
it not only wicked to start a scandal, but positively bad taste. The
lightest word sometimes ruins a reputation."

"Mrs. Archibald--" began Mrs. Fairchilds.

"Not another word, my dear. I've said nothing at all; I haven't even
told you what I saw. But an actress is different. Think of it, my
dear! She will live among us and we shall have to meet her. Think of
the actors who have kissed her in their make-believe love affairs! It
is so horribly common. I have heard a good many things about her. She
has romped in studios in male attire and smokes cigarettes. I should
not want any son of mine to be seen with her. I'm not saying a single
word against her, mind you; not a single word. You know as well as I
do what a wild fellow Warrington is. Well, she has been going around
with him."

"But they took him up in London," said Mrs. Wilmington-Fairchilds.

"London! London society, indeed! It's the greatest jumble in the
world: nobility hobnobs with jockeys, piano-players, writers and

Mrs. Fairchilds shook her head sadly. She had always believed London
society quite the proper thing, and she had followed the serials of
"The Duchess" with reverent awe. But Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene ought to
know; she had traveled in Europe several seasons. Mrs. Franklyn-
Haldene was one of the prominent social leaders, and Mrs. Fairchilds
had ambitions. The ready listener gets along very well in this old
world of ours.

"I always knew that some time or other the plebeian Bennington blood
would crop out," went on Mrs. Haldene. "But we must not criticize the
dead," benignly.

"We shall have to receive her."

"After a fashion," replied Mrs. Haldene, opening her prayer-book. Her
tone implied that things would not go very smoothly for the
interloper. "All this comes from assimilating English ideas," she

Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene was one of those fortunate persons who always
have their names in the society columns of the Sunday newspapers.
Either she was among those present, or she gave a luncheon, or she
assisted at a reception, or was going out of town, or coming back.
Those who ran their husbands in debt to get into society always looked
to see what Mrs. Haldene had been doing the past week. The society
reporters, very often smug young women of aristocratic but
impoverished families, called her up by telephone every day in the
week. Mrs. Haldene pretended to demur, but the reporters found her an
inexhaustible mine of tittle-tattle. Sometimes they omitted some news
which she considered important; and, as the saying goes, the hair
flew. She found many contestants for the leadership; but her rivals
never lasted more than a month. She was president of hospital
societies, orphan asylums, and the auxiliary Republican Club, and
spoke at a bimonthly club on the servant question. Everybody was a
little afraid of her, with one exception.

The society columns of the Sunday newspapers have become permanently
established. In every city and hamlet from New York to San Francisco,
you will find the society column. It is all tommyrot to the outsider;
but the proprietor is generally a shrewd business man and makes vanity
pay tribute to his exchequer. The column especially in early summer,
begins something like this:

June will be a busy month for brides, and King Cupid and his gala
court will hold sway. The bridal processions will begin to move this
week in homes and churches. On Wednesday, at high noon, the marriage
of Miss Katherine Challoner, the well-known actress, and Mr. John
Bennington, of this city, will be solemnized in New York. Only the
immediate relatives will be present. Richard Warrington, our own

Book of the day: