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Stories from Everybody's Magazine

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voice rose savagely: "Don't know but what your palaver mightn't
win plenty o' foolish gals. But who are ye? What's your trade?
Whar's your folks? Thar's lots o' rogues afoot. Do you allow I'd
let the first stranger in Ragged Woods talk marriage to my
daughter? What have you said? What's between you? Out with it, or
I'll have you in Rockledge Jail by to-morrow morning!"

The Man who had come nodded response with imperturbable gravity.

"I like your talk," he said. "It comes straight off the hip, an'
it calls for a straight answer. What have I spoke to her?
Nothin'! What's between us? Nothin' but the makin's! Next,
touchin' myself: Since sixteen I've been kickin' up the dust o'
the earth till my home is anywhar immediately convenient. Once I
had a brother in New Orleans, another in the Northwest, and
another who drank himself accidentally into the British army an'
died in the Sudan. We were wanderers, the lot of us. I'm
Scotch-Irish, and my old mother used to claim we harked back to
the kings o' some outfit I've forgotten. But blood-facts is no
more proof than specimens from an unprospected claim. Friends? I
make 'em everywhar: any one on the top o' the earth who's got the
makin's of a man kin call me friend. Yet right here an' now I
wouldn't touch the twelve apostles for an assay on my character.
'Cause why? 'Cause I hold that, just like a man lays in his own
little square o' earth, so a man stands alone on his own little
piece o' reputation. Good or bad, friends or no friends, it's
his'n; and the Almighty files a pretty good chart of it right on
his face. I want you to size me up accordingly."

Again the father gazed deeply at the Man who had come, and again
the Man gave him the full of his eyes. Crane's glance shifted
suspiciously from the other's face to the decanter and back
again; the Man immediately responded by lifting his glass.

"Fill that up three times raw," he said, "and I'll swaller it in
three breaths, just to show you what a drink IS. No, sir, it's
hot your picayune drop o' spirits that's talkin'--it's me.
Acabado! Finished!" And, tossing the contents of his glass into
the fire, he replaced it upside down on the table.

"Yes," said Crane wonderingly, "you're sober--and you're honest.
You certainly are honest!" He paused as if to steel himself. "But
what o' that? Why should you come between me and my child in one
night, after these twenty years we've spent--we've spent--"
Simultaneously his words failed and his shoulders drooped. "See
here, now: Stay along and work for me awhile. I'll give you half
shares in the boat. But just wait, wait awhile. Some day you'll
speak to her about it, and then--then mebbe I'll see it

But the Man rose restively.

"It comes hard on you," he mused, "aye, mighty hard; but it ain't
all my doin', Mr. Crane, nor yet Little Peachey's. It's something
bigger'n the lot of us: it's nature. You might as well put your
back up against a landslide. As to stayin' on here, 'tain't in
me: I must hit the trail to-morrow morning. But to-night thar's
somethin' in here"---and he struck his breast--"that won't keep:
it's got to be said. I've spoken my little piece, an' you say you
size me for a man. Bien! Bein' a man, I take no favors. No sir, I
ain't no empty-handed brave. Little Peachey bein' the squaw for
me, an' I havin' told you so, an' smoked your tobacco an' drunk
your whisky, I hereby deliver."

He drew out a roll of bills and tossed them upon the table,
observing whimsically:

"Two hundred an' thirty-odd dollars, honestly come by, an' all
the estate, real or otherwise, whereof I stand possessed. Money
talks. Take it; it's yours. An' now I'm goin' to find Little

He strode out into the night and toward the forelands, his ears
guided by the monotonous crash and moan of the long Atlantic

Standing on the cliff was a wind-fluttered figure that turned at
the sound of his step, with eyes defiantly alert.

"You knew I'd come," he said simply, drawing close to her.
"Peachey, little Peachey, what's them waves a-sayin' to the
rocks? It's: `ME! YOU! ME! YOU!' Ain't they always been a-sayin'
it? Kin you stop 'em, little Peachey? And that's the words I'm
a-standin' here now fer to say to you."

"I ain't a-goin' to listen," she cried sharply, drawing back. "I
don't want none o' your words. You just leave me alone, now,

"Why, names don't count between us, chiquita," said he, with his
great-hearted smile. "I'm just a man, I am, an' you're just a
woman; and rightly I don't know no name for the thing that's been
a-callin' between us ever since I seen you in the woods. But I
kin see it in your face, Peachey, an' you kin see it in mine;
it's a-lookin' at me through them eyes o' yourn----"

"Don't you look at me!" she cried, flinging an arm across her
face. "I hate you, you--Man. Don't you come near me, naow! I hate
you, I could kill you!"

But he only smiled down upon her kindly, understandingly.

"That's what the father said--aye, or somethin' mighty like it;
but I told him, I wrastled with him till he savvied. And--makin'
no secrets between us, Peachey--I paid him two hundred dollars
down, to call it quits. Why, what's a few dollars? They don't cut
no figure between you and me, 'cause I love you, little Peachey,
an' I know right down in your heart you love me, too."

His voice quivered deeply as he drew near and laid his hands on
her shoulders.

Instantly she raised her face, and their glances met in one quick
flare. He felt her shiver in his grasp like some panic-stricken
animal, then she turned and fled from him.

He followed, calling after her to stop; yet the lust of the chase
swelled within him, and he knew he but loved this woman the more
that she was not lying tamed within his arm. Breasting the house,
he saw that she had swerved toward the island's long, leeward
neck, from whence there was thrown a narrow pile-bridge
connecting it with the mainland. His feet rang on the planks as
she gained the opposite shore; and his heart laughed with joy,
for he divined the instinct that had called her, not to her
father's side, but to the mysterious heart of the woods.

Now he felt beneath him the soft pad of pine needles, little
twigs switched his face, and warm, odorous airs breathed their
welcome. Through the dimness he saw her gain the crest of a
ridge, running lightly with long strides, and, as he reached the
spot, from the hollow beneath there rang her voice flung back in
mocking laughter. By the trail's wide curve and the shelving land
he perceived that they were skirting the edge of inland waters;
more than this he knew nothing save that, through vista after
vista, mile by mile, her flying feet beckoned him onward, and
that her heart was singing to his the last wild defiance of the

At a sharp turn he came suddenly upon a cleared space shoring
along the water's edge, lit by a blazing camp-fire. Within the
circle of the glow she stood, a spent, panting figure, half
supported by two men. A hunting-dog dashed forward, menacing the
oncomer with stiffened back and bared teeth. The man strode into
the group and said with quiet courtesy:

"Good evening, gentlemen. I am glad you rounded her up, for both
consarned. Peachey, my hat's off to you an' all your tribe: you'd
have run till you dropped. I see, gentlemen, that you're sizin'
me up, which is natural an' gratifyin'. But things is square an'
satisfactory between me and her, I do assure you."

The younger of the two--a tall, keen-faced man of city-bred
appearance--turned to the girl and said with irritation:

"I don't understand. What does he mean? Are you his wife?"

She was leaning against a tree, her face averted. "No!" she
panted vehemently. "No, no!"

"Tell yer it's Crane's gal," insisted the second man. "They live
over yonder on the island. I pointed it aout a-comin' through the
woods, the day you landed up here, Mr. Hemsley."

"Have you any claim on this girl?" demanded Hemsley, wheeling
upon the stranger.

"Touchin' claims," returned the other, with sure emphasis, "I am
not for filin' mine with the first party immediately convenient.
The claim is filed O. K. elsewhere, and at present, as you're
prospectin' on the hither side o' my line, I'll put one straight
question to you: Did, or did not, Little Peachey ask you for

"Why, no," retorted Hemsley, a trifle confused, "she didn't--not
in so many words." He turned to the girl. "Who is this man? Tell
me everything; you needn't be afraid, Miss Crane."

"I'm not afraid!" she flashed sullenly. "He was a-layin' in
Ragged Woods this afternoon, an' he carried my berry basket home
an' stayed to supper. And afterward he caught hold o' me, he did,
an' tried to kiss me; an' I ran away 'cause--'cause I hate him. I
hate him!"

Her shrill cry ended in a passionate gesture. Wheeling, she
marched down the slope to the water's edge, where she stood
looking out into the night. All at once the man threw his face up
to the sky and burst into a great roar of laughter.

"Right you are, Little Peachey!" he called. "Thar ain't no more
to be said than that--just you an' me in the Ragged Woods at
sundown. An' now--Blessed if we ain't downright stampeded! It's a
reg'lar round-up, Peachey!" And he laughed again uncontrollably.

"Well," said Hemsley at length, "I don't like the looks of
things, and I'm going to make it my business to take Miss Crane
home to her father. I advise you not to make any trouble until
you've proved who you are. Rockledge County Jail is only six
miles away."

The other sobered to a statue, then turned, regarding Hemsley
with mild fixity.

"Gentlemen," he said, "gentlemen both. I ain't askin' for your
help, and, as far as I can see, neither is Peachey. I mean it.
Gentlemen, a mule is a most onsafe critter. Even when you go to
his funeral, you'll do well to sit at the head of the coffin."

Then all three turned quickly, for there had arisen from below
the sound of a grating keel.

"That settles it," said Hemsley with dry satisfaction. "Miss
Crane has gone home in the canoe. So much the better: I'm not
looking for trouble." And he turned away.

But the Man gave one great laugh, then he was off like a shot,
down the slope and into the water. At shoulder-depth he overtook
the canoe and clung to its stern.

"Go up forward, Little Peachey," he cried, "an' sit mighty still
till I swing in, else we'll be swimmin' in another minute.

And drawing himself up over the stern, he seized the paddle,
while the canoe leaped forward beneath his powerful strokes. From
somewhere along the shore came the sound of voices, but the
camp-fire blazed deserted. Gradually its light diminished to a
twinkling spark in the blackness. For a while no word was spoken,
the man bending to his task, the girl crouching with averted face
in the extreme bow. Then a little new moon peered over the
distant pine tops, the heavens spread their starry veil, and the
hour of Susanna Crane's wooing had come.

"Me! You!" intoned the Man, to the sweep of his paddle. "Me! You!
That's what the waves were sayin', that's what you kep' a-callin'
to me through the woods, that's what the stars are writin' on the
sky--Me! You! Big Chief, oh, you heap Big Chief, somewhar up
yonder, ain't you l'arned me some things this day? Peachey, me
and another man, down in the marble quarries, got fightin' in
liquor, an' he drew a gun on me, an' I killed him with it. Then I
got away quick and careless-like; but the Big Chief he leads me
up here an' sets me in the woods, an' sends you along the trail.
An' while I'm lyin' thar asleep, He tells me in a dream, `You
proud man! You unbroke bucker! Maybe you kin kill a man, but I've
got my own good way o' tamin' you and bringin' you home.' Blood
for blood I thought He meant, but I wakes up and--Que
gracia!--thar you stands. And your face it says to me, `Come on,
you wicked, red-handed man. God's a-callin'.' And I says to
myself real sudden, like I was at a camp meetin', `Praise God!'
Then, when we ran into the camp, just now, who was thar but
Hemsley, the county sheriff, whose deputies have been after me
for a week! Maybe the Big Chief's savin' me to l'arn me something
more. So again I says, `Praise God!'

"Will you travel with me, camarada?" he went on. "The whole big
world's waitin' for us. I kin read an' write, an' my arms are
strong. We'll ride the plains an' climb the hills an' swim in the
rivers, and when you're tired I'll carry you on my shoulder. Then
we'll take in the big, flat cities, Little Peachey, an' walk
around 'em at night, lookin' on friendly. Yes, we'll drop in at
all of 'em, stringin' out across the country like sideshows on
the old Chicago Midway. And one o' these days, when we're gittin'
real old, we'll pull up stakes an' start off to locate our last
campin' ground. Thar ain't no maps nor surveys to it; it's just
somewhar over yonder, and we'll know it on sight, Little Peachey.
Maybe it's some picayune island chucked into the middle o' the
ocean, with one high rock whar we can sit and watch the sun
a-risin' an' the sun a-settin', an' the seagulls flyin'. And
we'll talk over old times, Little Peachey, an' we'll just sit an'
watch an' wait thar together till--till thar ain't nothin' left
at all, only the rocks an' the sky an' the gulls a-screamin' at
the sea.

"Peachey, a man read me some pieces out o' a book once, and I
wrote 'em down an' learned 'em.

" `For springtime is here,' it says, `thou soul unloosened--the
restlessness after I know not what. Oh, if we could but fly like
a bird! Oh, to escape, to sail forth as on a ship!' Camarada,
give me your hand. I will give you myself, more precious than
money. Will you give me yourself? Will you travel with me? Shall
we stick by each other as long as we live?"

The chant of his voice died away upon the night, and there was no
sound but the soft ripple of the water under keel. In the bow sat
the girl, motionless as a crouched Indian, her face fixed upon
the nearing shore.

As the water shoaled, the Man stroked powerfully, landing the
canoe sternforemost; then he stepped forth, drew it along the
bank, and said:

"Camarada, give me your hand!"

But already the girl had risen, steadying herself with the bow
paddle. With a sinuous movement she eluded his arms, and fled;
then voices woke amid the pines, and the Man strode forward, to
find his way blocked by two men holding the sobbing girl between

"I've seen enough of this," said Hemsley, facing him, "to know
what you are. Miss Crane, can you find your way home alone? Jim,
you and I will walk this man over to Rockledge."

"Peachey!" called the Man, retreating instantly. "Come on over
here; thar's goin' to be trouble. Git behind me, Little Peachey!"

In the landing place there was driven a heavy stake. He drew this
forth, then advanced, saying earnestly:

"Gentlemen both, you size me up wrong. Now, I ain't lookin' for
trouble, but don't you bank too strong on takin' me anywhar with
you to-night."

Hemsley's right hand drew backward, then came the level glitter
of a long revolver barrel. "Drop that!" he began.

But suddenly something flashed before his face, and the keen edge
of a boat-paddle bit numbingly into his extended hand; then the
girl darted forward to where the revolver lay glistening among
the pine needles.

"Well struck, Little Peachey," cried the Man; and he stepped
protectingly in front of her, with upraised stake. But she stood
from behind him and leveled the revolver full at Hemsley.

"I don't want your help," she said. The words came torn from her
in sobbing whispers. "Git! Don't you come back no more. Don't you
send no one lookin' for this man. I kin take care o' myself, I

And the look in her eyes warned them to go. Now the Man and the
Woman were alone in the black hush of the pine woods.

"I saved you," she said at length; "now go away from here. Yes,
go!" And as her face lifted defiantly to his, her voice slid
upward like the lonely, untamed wail of some wild creature. "Go
back from whar you come! Don't you never let me see your face
again, nor hear you speak; don't you never touch me no more, you
Man! 'Cause I'm scairt o' you, I am; 'cause you're big an'
strong, an' you'd forgit a gal like me. 'Cause I hate you, an' I
hate myself!"

For an instant the man gazed at her, perplexed, irresolute; then
he took her right hand and guided it until the revolver muzzle
touched his forehead.

"Peachey," he whispered tenderly, "you hate me--but could you
kill me; Little Peachey?" And he smiled his great, full-hearted

Then her hand fell, her head sunk upon his breast, and a strong
shuddering filled all her young body.

"Oh, Man, Man!" she breathed, as his arms closed about her.

Vol. XXIII No.1 JULY 1910 {pages 74-83}

By Alice MacGowan and Grace MacGowan Cooke

Authors of "Return, A Story of the Sea Islands," etc.

"Is Ellen worse to-day?" The opening and closing of the front
door brought in a swirl of red and yellow leaves from the porch
outside. There came, too, a breath of sharp, sweet October air to
tired little Mrs. Kendrick where she paused, foot on stair, the
tray steadied in her hand, looking back at her husband.

"No. It's just that I got Mary Louise Jackson to come over and
play with her. I can't ask Aunt Dicey to wait on a negro child
like Ma'Lou is, and she's got to eat with Ellen; so I'm----"

"So you're waiting on her yourself," supplied Kendrick, hanging
up a shabby overcoat on the hall rack.

"I'd do more than that to keep her here," his wife returned
almost fiercely. "I tell you nobody knows till they've tried it
what it is to have a child like Ellen, always lonesome and pining
for company, and quarreling with every girl that comes about her.
Sometimes I think it would be better if we moved away from
Watauga. Everybody pities her--they all notice that she's
backward in her studies--how can she help it, poor dear, with
that hip joint the way it is?"

Kendrick came closer; he laid a kind arm along the frail, bent
shoulders of his wife, and her senses were aware of the fresh
outdoor air as he put his cool cheek to hers. "Don't you grieve,
Fanny," he said. "Ma'Lou's a good companion for Ellen. The kid's
better trained and better educated than half the white girls of
her age in Watauga. If things go well, in a year or two we'll
send Nellie to Baltimore and see what the big man there can do
for her. You shall have a daughter that can dance like you used
to, honey," and he patted her shoulder gently.

She turned with a little, gasping sigh to put up her tired face
for his kiss. "You're good, Scott," she murmured, then went more
cheerfully upstairs and to Ellen's room, glancing as she entered
at the two girls, who were playing happily with paper dolls.

"Here's your feast," she called to them in the gay tone we use
with sick children. "Come, Ellen. I'll go down and give your
father his dinner, and you two can play any kind of party you
want to with this."

The little girl with skin like white cotton cloth rolled her big,
gray eves toward the tray and asked listlessly, "What you got for
dinner, ma?" The brown-skinned one, tidily dressed from her
carefully combed head with its crisp, black mass that was
scarcely hair, held in place by spick-and-span hair ribbons, to
the toes of her stout, handsome shoes, got up quickly and came
forward to arrange the meal.

"They's molasses pie, Nell," Ma'Lou said joyously. "Oh, I'm going
to bring it over there and fix it by the side of the lounge.
We'll play you' a sick lady, and I'm you' trained nurse. Just
wait till I fix my handkerchief into a cap like they wear."

Mrs. Kendrick turned away and left the children at their play.
Mary Louise Jackson had been kept at home from school that she
might come over and spend the day with Ellen. For when Ellen
Kendrick was ill, her cry always was, "Oh, send for the
doctor--and Mary Louise."

The old Kendrick place sat back in its grassy yard and concealed
behind voluminous chinaberry trees such shabbiness as time had
brought it; but on the corner, the home of Ezra Jackson perched
proudly above its stone wall and added a considerable touch of
elegance to the street.

It was in the early eighties, and the Queen Anne style of
architecture was just coming into great popularity in the South.
Jackson, who could well afford it, had let an architect have full
sway in producing for him a dwelling in the new mode. Ezra
Jackson, a full-blooded negro born a slave, had been a teamster
on his master's Georgia plantation, and after the war that
master, who still maintained friendly relations with his
ex-slaves, gave him a start in life with a mule and a dray. From
this the honest, industrious, and enterprising man had built up a
transfer business which was the best of its sort in town. There
were many teams and drivers now, and Ezra could walk in the garb
of other men of means about him; yet he still wrote his name in
the manner of the kings of old--he produced it as a sort of
landscape effect without any idea of what the separate characters
meant. He was a good citizen, a dignified man; and, except for
his black skin, he would have been an acceptable neighbor to the
Kendricks, and a desirable resident in their quarter of town. The
young wife whom he had married rather late in life, and to whose
taste the Queen Anne house catered, had a good grammar-school
education, gained from those first devoted teachers that the
Freedman's Bureau sent to the Southern negroes in the years
immediately following the war. At first she had kept his books
and made out his bills; and she always insisted on the best of
schooling for their children.

Of these latter, only Mary Louise concerns this history, since
she chanced to be very near the age of Ellen Kendrick and had
become a necessity in the life of that peevish little invalid.
The negro girl had smooth features, and her mother saw to it that
she was always spotlessly dressed and that her manners were
perfect. The children of her race take to good manners very
readily, being usually amiable and eager for approbation. Mrs.
Jackson undoubtedly took pride in the connection with her
aristocratic white neighbors, and Mrs. Kendrick was forced to be
glad of the chance to have the Jackson child come over and play
with Ellen. A nurse she could have hired, but a child near the
afflicted girl's age, a sound-natured, sweet-tempered, well-bred
little girl, was not to be had for money--love was the only coin
current that could pay for that.

And the two girls loved each other--of course they did. Did not
Ellen need Ma'Lou and is not service the basis of all love? The
flame on the altar of their affection burned always clear and
strong, unshaken by the peevish gusts that extinguished many a
less sturdy light of friendship for the Kendrick girl. So that
existence to Ellen--the pleasant part of it, anyhow--meant a
great deal of Ma'Lou, and there was scarcely an object in her
room, a game or a pursuit of her days, that was not associated
with the brown girl. The pair grew up in a companionship closer
than that of some born sisters.

The mere fact of this intimacy was not regarded by the Kendricks
with any disfavor whatever. Scott and Fanny both had played with
negro children, both had been reared by negro mammies. Neither
realized that conditions were changed, that the negroes with whom
they had associated were no longer an enslaved people, hopeless
of any equality, nor that, with the coming of freedom, and still
more with the growing ferment among the blacks, such association
was different from the intimacy of slavery days.

And Ezra Jackson's wife watched jealously that the preponderance
of gifts and favors should be always on her child's side. If any
present were given Mary Louise in the Kendrick house, her mother
always retorted instantly, as one might say, with something
better or handsomer. Mrs. Kendrick was a slow woman, and such a
point would naturally have been obscure to her; yet she finally
came to be aware of the fact, and at last it vexed her a little.
She turned the question in her mind and sought for some
substantial favor or patronage which she might offer to the
Jacksons, to quiet once for all her offended sense of fitness.

It fell out that about this time she was passing their home on
her way to her own, loaded down with bundles from the market
because her cook, Aunt Dicey, was old and feeble and there had
been nobody else to go this morning, when she raised her eyes and
saw the Jackson back yard full of snowy wash on the line. Mrs.
Jackson stood in the kitchen door, and, at the juxtaposition of
the dark skin and the well-washed clothes, an idea promptly
occurred to the lawyer's wife.

"Good morning," she called in a friendly tone. "I wanted to ask
you something; I guess I'll come through the gate and go out your
front way, if you don't mind."

Ezra Jackson's wife ran down the steps and put out a hand to help
the tired woman with her packages. Mrs. Kendrick rested them on
the railing of the back porch.

"Your clothes look lovely," she said meditatively. "You get them
out so early. Aunt Dicey's too old to do the washing and cooking
both any longer. I've been thinking for some time that I would
really have to get me a washerwoman."

"It is hard to have the person who cooks wash also," said Mrs.
Jackson, choosing her words carefully, and speaking in that
serious tone which the new generation of colored people are apt
to use toward their white neighbors. It is always as though they
were on guard, or perhaps on parade is the better word,
determined not to be guilty of lapses which would be excusable in
those whom they address, but which are not permitted to the
inferior race.

Fanny Kendrick looked at the handsome, well-kept house and its
dignified, serious-faced mistress, and a feeling of irritation
rose within her.

"I thought maybe you--I want a washerwoman--and seeing your
clothes looked so nice made me think that maybe you----"

She came to an uncertain halt, and glanced again half impatiently
at the other woman. After all, Ezra Jackson's wife was just a
negro, and there was no use in feeling embarrassed or in
supposing you didn't know how to deal with negroes. Good
gracious! what was the world coming to if you couldn't offer work
to folks without blushing? But she did not complete her sentence.
The Jackson woman waited for a while that she might do so, and
finally said, still in that slow, correct utterance which was in
itself an offense:

"You thought I might tell you of some one? Mrs. Payson does mine.
As you say she does it very nicely, and is quick about it. Her
prices are high. I pay her half a dollar, and she gets done, as
you see, a good deal before noon. But the work is satisfactory,
and I think it pays better. I don't know whether she has a free
day--but--shall I send her to you when she comes next week?"

Mrs. Kendrick blushed burning red, and took up her bundles with a

"No, thank you," she said shortly. "I couldn't any more afford
that than I could fly. I didn't know Sally Payson had got to
charging like that--fifty cents for less than half a day's work!
I declare, prices are enough to ruin a body these days."

She went on to her own home smarting. She had called the washer
woman "Sally Payson," to be sure, in correction of Eliza
Jackson's "Mrs. Payson," which was a minor victory, yet it was
not enough to wipe away a feeling of stinging exasperation and a
curious sense of defeat. And when she told her husband about it
afterward, he received her recital with a sort of humorous

"Good Lord, Fan," he broke in finally, "don't you know that every
woman with a black skin isn't hungry to do your washing? It's not
a question of complexion; it's money that talks. Ezra Jackson
could buy me out two or three times over. I'm trying to act all
his legal business. He's bringing a big suit against the
railroad. If he gives it to me I shall be able to send Ellen to
Baltimore this year instead of next."

"Well," said Mrs. Kendrick, submissively but acidly, "if you want
me to go and apologize, I suppose I can. The South is getting to
be a queer place when white gentlemen have to be under obligation
to negro teamsters. I certainly don't want to interfere with your
business in any way, Scott," she concluded plaintively. "We're
hard up all the time; I feel it deeply that poor Ellen is such an
expense to you."

Scott Kendrick's ready arm went round the weary little woman. "An
apology would be worse than the offense, Fanny," he admonished
gently. "It's just this. the Jacksons are in an absolutely new
position, and have to be treated in a new way. You wouldn't go
and ask Mrs. Ford or Mrs. Brashear to do your washing; and the
Lord knows that neither Jim Brashear nor Bate Ford makes half
what Ezra Jackson does. The world is changing, honey, and we have
to change with it."


As they grew older, the association of the two girls, in spite of
the affection between them--perhaps because of it--began to
present almost daily problems and embarrassments. Ellen's health
was worse, her nerves were shattered, and she clung with more and
more insistence to this one healthy companion, who responded with
a tireless devotion. Coming in from her wholesome outdoor life
and her triumphs at school--where she always stood high--Ma'Lou
brought to the sick room a very wind of comfort and cheer, which
Mrs. Kendrick had not the heart to deny her pining young invalid.
Once, when she spoke apprehensively of the matter to her husband,
Scott Kendrick answered with astonishment:

"Why, Fanny, it's only a question of health--a little bodily
improvement. We'd break it off to-morrow if Ellen was well.
You'll see; there would never be any more of it if I could send
her away for that operation."

But the white people had not, as they supposed, this anxiety all
to themselves. The timid, conservative, colored mother regarded
the friendship with growing anxiety. And before Scott Kendrick
got together the money to send Ellen to Baltimore, Ezra Jackson's
wife had coaxed her husband into letting Mary Louise go North to
school. The Watauga public schools, with a term or two of Fiske,
at Nashville, afterward, had been good enough for the other
children. But the mother craved wider opportunities for this, her
youngest; money was freer with them now; and Mary Louise went to
a preparatory school, then to Oberlin.

Ellen Kendrick returned from the hands of the surgeons in
Baltimore much improved in health. She was sent back twice
afterward for treatment. Finally she walked as well as other
girls, and hastily made up her arrears of education, as best she
might, at a private school in Watauga. She would always be frail;
the invalid habit had gotten into both mind and body; she would
continue dependent, demanding; and somewhat irritable; yet there
was a fragile prettiness about her, and her very childishness had
its own charm.

Mary Louise Jackson passed one of two vacations at home; but, as
time went on, there were opportunities for her to have trips of
an educational nature, and one summer was spent at a Chautauqua
taking a special course, so that after the first break in their
association the two girls saw almost nothing of each other till
they were women grown. There had been some letters; yet what the
white girl had always demanded and received from her friend could
not come through the mails, and the neglected correspondence
finally died a natural death.

There was one person in Watauga, however, to whom Mary Louise
wrote, and from whom she received letters regularly--Ulysses
Grant Payson, the washerwoman's son, with whom she had gone to
school. Grant Payson was a sober, ambitious, industrious fellow,
who seemed to feel from childhood the weight of responsibility
for his people. A widow's only boy, he had worked hard and
studied hard. With a very fair mental endowment, he was able to
get what the Watauga public schools could give him, secure a few
years training at Nashville, then read law.

And, when, after her graduation, Mary Louise returned to her
father's home, a very well-educated young lady indeed, wearing
glasses and looking older than her years, she found Grant
established in a good practice, and with some other prospects
that were, for a colored man, flattering. Both families knew that
Grant wanted Ma'Lou. Whether the girl would marry him and settle
down in Watauga had been a matter of anxiety, often talked over
between the two mothers. For they also knew of and discussed
Ma'Lou's opportunity to take a position as private secretary to
one of the instructors in her college. They understood that it
was a situation which would pay fairly well, and give her
associates who gained an added glory in the minds of these humble
folk by their distance. In short, it would be a foothold in the
white people's world; and Grant Payson's mother trembled for her
son, while the mother of Mary Jackson feared to lose, once for
all, her daughter. The two Southern-bred black women could see in
such things as the girl reported only the wiping out of all race
barrier, the sudden achievement of equality. Had Mary Louise been
asked, no doubt she could have told them of a social ban at the
North quite as definite as that in Watauga, if different; but her
father's daughter kept a silence that was not without dignity
over what she found irremediable, in the North as in the South.

To warm-hearted Mary Louise, Watauga meant, of course, father and
mother; but directly after them--perhaps before them, in the
calendar of youth--it meant Ellen Kendrick and Grant Payson. And
the colored elders, looking on, felt that as these twin idols of
the girl turned out, so rose or fell the chances of keeping her
with them in Watauga.

Grant instituted at once a courtship as ardent and eager as it
was open and avowed. His people, florid and colorful in
temperament, are natural wooers, free of the language of
affection and adroit in its use. Grant was very much in love with
the girl, and she meant even more to him than that, since in
aspiring to her his ambition stepped hand in hand with his

Mary Louise received his advances with curious reservations, as
though there were positions and premises she defended against

It was when the girl's visit was three weeks old that the
fine-looking, broad-shouldered, young colored man in his
well-fitting business suit--a goodly figure in the eyes of the
mother watching from her own room across the hall--left the
parlor where he and Mary Louise had been sitting all evening,
with so doleful a countenance that the older woman had a quickly
suppressed impulse to go to him and speak. She did open the
subject to the girl next morning, approaching it obliquely. In
her own day a very progressive person, she felt that her daughter
had far outstripped her, and she offered advice but timidly to
this tall, perfectly dressed young woman who seemed so competent
in all the affairs of life, and who knew so much more than she
did upon many subjects. But after a little profitless skirmishing
she came out with:

"Looks like you must have said something hard to Grant last
night--he never came in to say good-by to me. Ain't you going to
have him, Ma'Lou? Don't you care anything about him?"

"I care a great deal about Grant," Mary Louise told her, in a
voice of pain. "I could love him dearly--if I'd let myself. But,
mother, I just can't settle down to live here in Watauga. There's
nobody and nothing here for me."

The woman looked at her child, and her mind misgave her sorely
that she had done wrong to send the girl away among an alien
people, where she would learn to despise her own.

"You're still grievin' about Ellen Kendrick," she said finally.
"If I were you I wouldn't let that go the way it has. Don't--"
she hesitated, with eyes full of helpless solicitude upon her
daughter's face--"honey, don't wait for any sign from Ellen,
because you won't get it. You just take those postal cards that
you got for her on your Canadian trip, and some morning you step
over to the side door and ask for her, if you want to see her. I
know she thinks a great deal of you. She's stopped me on the
street more than once and asked all about you and what you were
doing. I don't see why you shouldn't go to the side door and go
in and have a nice little visit with her."

Mary Louise considered this suggestion at some length. She had
the wider outlook which some travel gives, and, in Oberlin, she
had been where the race question was relatively negligible. Her
mother's way of putting it jarred on her; yet the hungry craving
she felt at this time for a touch of companionship with a girl of
her own age, her longing for the beloved Ellen of her childhood,
overbore all shrinking. That afternoon she brought the cards down
in her hand, and, full of an unwelcome timidity, made her way to
the side door of the Kendrick house and rapped. Mrs. Kendrick
answered and received her with a certain thin cordiality that
suggested reservations. The fact was that Ellen was having a
little party that evening, and the colored girl would perhaps be
in the way. Among the guests bidden were two young men, upon
either one of whom Mrs. Kendrick looked with a hopeful maternal
eye, and nothing could be less desirable than for her daughter to
seem to "even herself with negroes" in the eyes of these possible

"Shall I stop and see Ellen a minute, or may I just leave these
with you, Mrs. Kendrick?" asked the tall, brown-skinned young
woman finally.

"Oh, come in--come right in here to the dining room and sit
down," said the mistress of the house, remembering with a twinge
how much she owed to this girl. "Ellen will be crazy about these.
She's got a postal card album, and she hasn't anything in it from
Canada. Ellen! Come downstairs, honey; Ma'Lou Jackson has brought
you something pretty."

But even as she called up the stairway, and heard the quick
response from above, it crossed Mrs. Kendrick's mind that her
daughter would not be willing to put these postal cards in her
album, for she would be ashamed to tell from whom they came.

She was annoyed when Ellen came flying down the stairs, her thin,
blond hair all about her shoulders, and caught both the
newcomer's hands--the mother feared for a moment that she would
kiss her old playmate.

"And then if somebody saw it through the window, and went and
told young Emery Ford or Mr. Hyatt, I don't know what on earth I
should do," reflected the careworn matron.

"Mamma, do come and look at these lovely postals," Ellen cried
effusively a little later, as her mother, plainly ill at ease,
passed through the room. "I'm going to pull out those that Cousin
Rob sent me from Texas, and put these in right after the
California ones. See here, mamma; isn't this one beautiful?
Ma'Lou was there a week. She's put a little cross over the hotel
where they stayed."

Mrs. Kendrick looked at the strong, well-developed figure of her
guest, and a certain dull anger arose in her mind. Why did health
and money both go to this inferior creature, when they were
lacking in higher quarters? Perhaps this prompted her query;
"That hotel? It's a big one, isn't it? Did they--could you----?"

She broke off, and Mary Louise supplied, innocently enough: "Oh,
they didn't let us travel during school term. This was a vacation

She had been long away from the South; in the protective
conditions of Oberlin she had been measurably free from the
wounding of race prejudice; and now she failed to realize that
Mrs. Kendrick's curiosity was as to whether she had been
permitted to go to a hotel with white people.

Old Dicey's place in the kitchen had long been supplied by a
negress of the newer generation--"the worst gossip and tattler in
town," if you might take her mistress's word for it. Mrs.
Kendrick now made her way thither, ostensibly to superintend the
preparation of the evening's refreshments, but in reality to try
to fix up an explanation of why Ezra Jackson's daughter sat
visiting in the dining room with the young lady of the house.
"Because if Penny goes out and tells her friends, every darky in
town'll be retailing the story to the folks that hire them, and
it'll soon be all over the place."

She came back into the dining room to find Ellen glowing with
enthusiasm. Yes, her mind was still that of a sick child; she had
dropped back into her old-time attitude toward Mary Louise.

"Mamma, Ma'Lou says that they used to give lunches at the
college, and fix the floral centerpiece so it would all come
apart, and each guest could draw a bunch of it with a ribbon. Oh,
I don't understand very well, but she can tell you--it's just
beautiful, and we could make it out of the chrysanthemums in the
side yard, she says."

Mrs. Kendrick looked uneasy. But there was no window in the
dining room which commanded the street except the side light of
the bay, and at it Ellen herself sat. Nobody passing would be apt
to see Mary Louise over in the room.

"I reckon we can't go into those things," she objected, a little
irritably. "I suppose Ma'Lou has seen a heap of fine doings up
North that we couldn't possibly attempt."

"But she's promised to make me a lot of cute little candies--like
potatoes, and put them in paper baskets--to go at each plate,"
put in Ellen, jealously.

The brown-faced girl nodded and laughed, with a quick flash of
white teeth. It was plain she was taking the attitude of an older
person talking to a child about a juvenile party to which there
could be no question of invitation, and Mrs. Kendrick's fears
rather subsided. She was safe, if only Ellen would show some
sense and judgment.

"Well, I must go on home, now, if I'm to make those candies and
have them ready by this evening," said Ezra Jackson's daughter,
getting to her feet. "They take a good while to harden properly."

Ellen went with her to the side door, clinging to her arm and
insisting on some last remark. Mrs. Kendrick, in an agony of
apprehension, hovered in the background.

"Oh, well," said the daughter of the house finally, "I won't
bother you any more about it now, Ma'Lou. It's hard for you to
explain just how to fix it, but you can show me when you come
over this evening. I'll have the chrysanthemums ready. You come a
little early--won't you, please?"

Mary Louise, in the doorway, glanced from mother to daughter in
some confusion. Would this do? Her own mother had cautioned her
to be certain to go to the side door.

"I--I don't know," she hesitated doubtfully. "I'll bring the
candies over, if you like, and I might be able to show you a
little about the table then." And again she looked from the face
of the girl who had been her childhood's most intimate friend and
associate to that of the woman who had accepted so much at her
childish hands.

"Why, I supposed you'd be here when I was giving the party,
Ma'Lou," argued Ellen petulantly. "I don't see why not! Isn't it
all right, mother?" she appealed sharply. "Shouldn't Ma'Lou come
over this evening?"

For one desperate moment Mrs. Kendrick sought to shape a policy;
Ellen's words sounded frightfully like an invitation to the
party. Would Mary Louise accept them so? Her worried, resentful
glance traveled over the tall, dignified figure, the correct,
quiet costume. Oh, it had no business to be as hard as this! But
she must make the girl understand; she could not run the risk of
injury to Ellen's belated social opportunities.

"Why--you see--we--" she began, in an agony of embarrassment, "we
can't--we can't--" Her voice failed her. She looked fleetingly at
Mary Louise, who returned the gaze with a look hurt, accusing,
difficult to meet. She drew her breath sharply, and began again
with more resolution. "We'll have an extra maid in to help with
the serving. If you don't mind staying in the dining room with
her--" She ceased and waited hopefully, to see if the girl
understood. There was an uncertain silence. She must finish.
"Ma'Lou, if you'd stay in the dining room with Tillie, and
wouldn't mind wearing a--cap--and apron like she does, why you
could come over and look on."

Ellen Kendrick had seen somebody coming down the street. It was
Emory Ford, and she flushed and dimpled and smiled as she bowed
to him, forgetting everything else, including the departing Mary
Louise, who, after one mute look at Mrs. Kendrick's flushed,
disturbed face, turned and walked with hanging head toward the
house on the corner.

Arrived at home, she went methodically to work upon the promised
candies and the little baskets that were to contain them. Ezra
Jackson's wife, noting the face of set misery, forbore long to
question her as she brought out the novel materials and pursued
her work.

The afternoon wore on. Mrs. Jackson was at work at her
sewing-machine in the front hall; but she could not keep out of
the kitchen, she made continual futile errands through it, giving
anxious, sidelong glances at the child over whom her heart

Finally, when she could bear it no more, "Did--did something hurt
your feelings over there, Ma'Lou?" she asked huskily.

She spoke behind her daughter's shoulder. The girl set the last
finished basket in its place in the row before she turned to
answer. Then she showed a face so much more cheerful and composed
than the elder woman had dared hope for that the relief was
almost revulsion.

"Sit down, mother," said Mary Lou, pushing a chair with her foot.
"Sit there while I fill the baskets, and I'll tell you about it."

The mother sat and watched the deft brown fingers, and marveled
at the girl's collected manner, her quiet, even voice. For Ezra
Jackson's wife was shaken by alternate gusts of anger and hurt
pride, of shame and fear, as, with a judicial fairness
extraordinary in one of her years and sex, the girl went over the
details of that unhappy visit. The old teamster had given his
child a heritage of rare good sense. Early in the recital the
woman broke in bitterly with:

"And yet you're making candies for her party? Such as that is all
they want of you. I wouldn't do it. And I'd never step foot in
their house again!"

"Why, mother, I'd certainly make these. I promised them," said
Mary Louise mildly. She put the last tiny candy potato in place,
pushed back the basket, wiped her hands, and turned fully to her
mother. "But you're exactly right about not entering Judge
Kendrick's house again," she said, with increasing emphasis. "I
can't go in at the front door as a friend--that's true; I can't.
I certainly sha'n't go in at the back door as a
servant--and--I've thought it all out now--I see it plain--our
people make a great mistake when they hang around the side doors
of white folks. There's no way but----"

"Don't say it, honey!" gasped the mother "Wait a minute." This
was the end, and she could not quite face it. She was to lose her
youngest and dearest. Mary Lou was going back North to live among
the white people. Her head went down on the table the convulsed
face hidden in her arms. Then broke forth the cry of the blood:

"Oh, Lord! I reckon I'm just another fool nigger woman that's
raised a child too good for her own color. I wish I was dead--I
wish I was dead!"

"Mother--mother!" The girl flung herself on her knees beside the
chair, and caught at the other's dress. "Don't take on that way.
You don't understand. I'm--look around here--I'm glad of what
happened over there to-day. It's shown me the truth about a good
many things. We're all black people together. It's the only way
for us now. I'm not going back to be Professor Sheridan's
secretary--a black woman among white people. I'm going to marry
Grant--he's everything to me; these people are nothing--and
settle right down here in Watauga with him--and be happy and
useful. Mother, you didn't make any mistake in the way you
brought me up. I'll be a credit and a comfort to you yet."

Vol. XXIII No. 1 JULY 1910

THE TRIAL BALANCE {pages 83-94}


Author of "Corrie Who?" etc.

Like so many others of her class, Stella Willoughby was a
satisfied, confident woman, placidly aware of the station her
husband's money assured to her. For Willoughby was accounted
wealthy even in this lake town, where riches were so much in
evidence; and if the wife betrayed a cool superiority because of
his money, it was only natural, perhaps, since she and most of
her associates knew no other means of gauging success, or worth,
or the individual's place in life. Looking over her shoulder now,
she glanced nonchalantly across the club dining-room.

"You mean those people--the Severances, Mrs. Kinsman?" There was
a bland indifference in her tone that made the guest beside Mrs.
Willoughby look at her curiously, for she knew that Severance had
once been a suitor for Mrs. Willoughby's hand. "I believe we did
know them before they dropped out. He lost everything, didn't
he?--went to smash, as I vaguely remember."

Still with the same air of unconcern, she dipped the tips of her
fingers in the finger-bowl, and prepared to rise. "Queer they
should come back here, isn't it?" she commented idly; and then,
as if the subject had passed from her mind with the observation,
Mrs. Willoughby pushed back her chair in signal to her guests,
and led the way from the room. In the hall, while the maid was
putting on her wraps, she turned and looked back, still idly as
before. Her eyes, traveling about, rested a moment on the man
sitting at the distant table, and then, when he half rose from
his place as if to bow, they journeyed on again, coolly
unconcerned. A moment later, smiling gayly, she walked down the
steps to her carriage, and, with her guests, was driven away to
the theatre.

Yet, somehow, in spite of this sureness of speech and manner, the
sight of her old-time suitor had wakened in Mrs. Willoughby the
subtle discontent that occasionally affected her--the discontent
of women who have only themselves to think about. One might have
said that at these times she was subconsciously wearied of her
form of life; that, in so many words, though ignorant of the
fact, though, consciously, her vacuous life immensely satisfied
her, she was BORED. But to-day, bluntly speaking, it was about
her husband that her vague dissatisfaction centered; and when she
had glanced coolly at her former suitor, it was for the purpose
of comparison.

Willoughby was a fair type of the money-getter. Furthermore, what
he had built had been raised by his own hands unaided; he was a
self-made man, whose one boast was that he owed nothing to any
one, not even so little as a debt of gratitude. One realized the
fact, too, in the way he carried on his affairs; for in his
business he was alert and determined, implacably pursuing his
money-making as if it were a warfare, and considerate of none but
those joined with him in the moment's harvesting venture. Perhaps
his reasons were sufficient--who knows? Perhaps Willoughby was as
well aware as they that the friends of to-day might reasonably
become the enemies of to-morrow.

But at home the money gathered so ruthlessly elsewhere was thrown
about with a lavish hand. Nothing that wealth could provide was
denied Mrs. Willoughby or her boy; and though she had been poor
when she married, money, in the mere crudity of having it to
spend, had long since lost its novelty. To-day, beyond the pride
of having it, and beyond the luxury and ostentation it could buy,
money possessed for her a far greater significance in its power
to make one powerful. In that she had already tasted the
illogical enjoyment of one that can obtain power in no other way.
And it was because of this place that his money had bought her
that Mrs. Willoughby began to look on her husband with a critical

For she was an ambitious woman, though one with definite
limitations. Among different surroundings and in an atmosphere
less sordidly striving and commonplace, she was fitted to have
become, with some encouragement, an admirable and utterly
inconspicuous wife and mother. But here, in this narrow,
money-getting environment, many things prevented; among them,
primarily, the way in which she had been brought up. For her
father, too, had been driven by this lust for riches; and though
he had failed, to the last he had been goaded on by his one
eager, grasping hope. He had drummed into her head the single
lesson that without money one is nothing.

In itself it suggested to the few a plausible reason why she had
married Willoughby. There had been nothing openly unhappy in
their life together. Still, as others saw, Willoughby was much
older than his wife, radically without her social instincts, and,
furthermore, when she had accepted him, it had been pretty
generally understood that Severance had won her heart.

And now, as she sat back in her carriage, remembrance came
rapping like an unwelcome, unadmitted visitant. She tried to put
it away by chattering smartly; the theatre-wagon rolled along to
the clicking of hoofs on the asphalt; but through it all the
troublous knocking persistently recurred. For this was one of the
few times when she had lingered upon a thought of that first
romance of hers; and now, coupled with her hardening criticism of
Willoughby, it brought forth insistent questions.

Whether she had really loved her husband when she married him, or
whether she had not instead been dazzled by his peculiar
abilities remained in doubt.

Severance had come first; he had a little money to begin, and he
was doing well with it and seemed on the road to do better.
Therefore, her friends were secure in the belief that she would
marry him, when Willoughby had made his appearance.

He went at this love-making of his as he went at all his
affairs--implacably bold and ruthlessly sweeping aside whoever or
whatever came into his way. The fact that he and Severance were
considered friends seemed to have counted little; and when, a few
months later, it was learned that she had dropped one to take the
other, it was also learned that Severance had played at ducks and
drakes with his money. Briefly, he had become bankrupt in a
mining deal. He and others, Willoughby among them, had gone into
a Wyoming copper prospect--the Teton Sisters Company--and while
Willoughby apparently got off without damage, Severance had
dropped everything. How, was never clearly understood. Severance
and his sister had parted with their home to satisfy his
creditors, and then moved away.

In the twelve years of the Willoughbys' married life, the tide of
money had kept steadfastly on the flood. Nothing his hands
touched seemed to fail him. He had his fingers in every kind of
venture--mines and mills, foundries and furnaces, steam roads,
trolley lines and public utilities; and to each and every one of
these promotions, the name of Willoughby affixed the hall-mark of
success. Now his dollars jingled in every state of the Union--and
they jingled in his own home, too, almost as the only evidences
that the home was his. For Willoughby, pursuing money everywhere,
seemed to have lost interest in all else but his money-grubbing,
just as Willoughby's wife, excepting for the same money-grubbing,
seemed to have lost all interest in him.

And now she had looked at Severance; her eyes had rested on him
long enough to make comparisons--Severance much improved, cool,
suave, presentable, and deferential; her husband big and
masterful, a brooding, preoccupied man, and a kind of Orson to be
kept denned in his money caves. She sighed to herself

Some minutes after Mrs. Willoughby had found her seat in the
theatre box she was aware of another party coming down the aisle.
"Hello!" exclaimed the man beside her, "here come Hudson Mills
and his wife with Case Severance. I didn't know he was in town."

Mrs. Willoughby laid a gloved finger to her lips and affected to
yawn, though she stole a glance out of the corner of her eye. Her
guest was now nodding over her shoulder at the arrivals in the
seats below.

"Severance has made a ten-strike, I hear," he volunteered, in an
expressive, if inelegant, idiom of the money game; "there's a
story going the rounds that Mills and Severance have been gunning
together and that some one else got burned. Anyway, I hear
they've lined their pockets. Severance is rich again."

This mixed metaphor affected Mrs. Willoughby with a curious
interest. "Oh, is he!" she exclaimed, and, glancing down, she
looked unexpectedly into Severance's watching eyes.

But she seemed not in the least disconcerted. Severance was just
turning away, mindful of the previous snub, when, with a
reassuring smile, she bowed, and then smiled again. For why not?
Severance's position had been reestablished in her world.

It was late that night when Mrs. Willoughby returned home. There
was a light in her husband's library, and before going to her
room she stopped and tapped at the door. Willoughby, with a pile
of papers stacked before him, sat with his chin in his hand,
staring absently at the wall. As the door opened, he turned for a
moment, and then, seeing who it was, thrust his hands into his
pockets and slouched down in his chair. "Well?" he murmured,

Mrs. Willoughby, slipping out of her wrap, dropped into a
convenient seat.

"Are you still at it? It's nearly one o'clock, Harmon." Yawning
slightly, she wriggled her feet out of her carriage slippers and
kicked them under her chair. Willoughby looked up, silently
watching her, and a momentary small shadow crept into his face.
Yet the shadow, small as it was, could not have been because of
any flaw in his wife's appearance. Mrs. Willoughby was still
young and fair to look upon, clear-eyed and almost girlish, her
rounded, regular features set off picturesquely by her hat and
its flowing purple plumes, even though both hat and plumes were
extravagant in size. Willoughby must have known another reason to

"Where've you been?" he demanded, heavily, his voice bare of any
interest. He was a large, florid man, heavily built,
square-jawed, and with the deep, scrutinous eyes of one aware of
his own power and accustomed to enforce it. But now his eyes
seemed listless, as if weary of the strain that had kept them so
long on the alert.

"I? At the club," she answered, briefly. Though her own home was
large and amply appointed, few were ever asked there to anything
more formal than a luncheon or an afternoon at bridge. Home
hospitality and the housekeeping it involved had long since
become a bore to her; like many others in her set, she had
learned to square her obligations through the convenience of her
husband's club. The hospitality there entailed no other bother
than paying the bills. "Just dinner at the club, and the theatre

She stripped off her long gloves and dropped them to the floor
beside her carriage slippers. Again her husband studied her,
almost covertly, one might have thought.

"Any one there?" Willoughby began absently to pick at the edges
of the papers on his desk.

She shook her head. "No one you'd care about, I think. There were
only three tables besides mine. Mrs. Chardon and her daughter
with some of her young friends, and then--" Mrs. Willoughby
closely inspected one of her rubies. "The Severances are back in
town, Harmon. He and his sister were there with Hudson Mills and
his wife."

"Severance--with MILLS!" cried her husband, lifting his head
alertly. It was not often that Mrs. Willoughby's talk with him
evoked such instant attention. "See here, Stella, are you sure it
was Severance?"

"Sure? Sure whether it was Severance? Why, of course I am!" she
answered petulantly. She and her husband had never discussed the
man, and it seemed a late day now to begin. "What in the world
is--?" she began, and then desisted. Willoughby, slouched down in
his chair again, had dropped his chin on his breast and was
nervously gnawing his lip.

His wife leaned over and gathered up slippers and gloves. "I
think I'll go to bed," she murmured carelessly, and wandered
toward the door. Willoughby made no response, and she turned and
slowly came back. A calendar hanging from the gas bracket had
fallen a little aslant, and she reached up and critically
straightened it. "Harmon, I hear Case Severance is rich again. I
wonder how he managed it."

"Hey? Who?" Willoughby jerked up his head as if startled from a
dream--and not a very pretty dream, either, if one might judge
from his countenance. "Oh, you mean HIM," he uttered thickly.
"How do I know. I suppose he's been up to some of his games
again." An almost savage dislike and contempt evidenced
themselves in his tone, and pushing back his chair, he picked up
his papers and arose. "You'd better go to bed Stella," he
suggested brusquely, averting his eyes from her quick scrutiny;
"I've got a lot of work here."

She laid a hand on his arm. "What's wrong with you?" she asked
intently. There was alertness in the question, rather than
responsive softness. Willoughby drew a hand across his mouth.
"Nothing's wrong Stella. I've had a hard day. Aren't you going?"

"Yes--in just a moment." She had moved toward the door again, and
now was standing with her hand on the knob. "It's Willard's
birthday next Wednesday." Willard was their boy. "He'll be
eleven, an he wants an electric runabout. The Doane boys have
one, and he's just crazy about it We'd better let him have it."

Willoughby frowned, and irritably ruffled the papers in his hand.
"A runabout. No; he sha'n't have it. He's too young, and

"Oh, nonsense, Harmon!"

Willoughby fluttered his papers more irritably than before.

"Well, he can't have it; that's all I have to say." Ordinarily,
he gave to her and the boy what they wished, never questioning
the cost or character of what they bought "Eleven, and wants an
automobile!" he commented, sullenly. "When I was his age I was
working day and night to support my----"

"Yes, I know, Harmon," interrupted Mrs. Willoughby, affecting to
stifle a yawn "but Willard, fortunately, doesn't have to think of

Mrs. Willoughby gave her gloves a disdainful, careless twirl, and
went on her way to her room. To her astonishment, a few moments
later, she heard the front door slam. Willoughby had gone out.

He was away for nearly a week; and when he returned, his eyes
were heavy and blood-shot, his face was pallid and wearily drawn.

"Well, so you are back. What have you been doing?" Mrs.
Willoughby asked, perfunctorily. Though it was late in the
morning she was still in bed, sitting up in a dressing sack, and
turning the pages of a weekly publication that dealt in news of
local high life. Its chief item, to-day, was the announcement of
a dance she was to give shortly--at the club, as usual--and she
had just finished for the second time the commentator's glib and
unctuous phrasing.

He answered evasively, "Oh, just away on business." As he walked
to the window and looked out, she carelessly turned the pages.
"Stella, what did you do for the boy's birthday?" he asked,
slowly pacing back to the foot of the bed.

She turned another page. "The boy? Oh, I gave him some money, and
sent him down-town with the coachman. I was too busy." Smiling
lightly, she went on glancing through the paper. "I suspect he
stuffed himself on candy."

But there was no answering smile on Willoughby's face. "On candy?
How much did you give him?"

Without looking up, she answered as lightly as before. "Oh, I
can't remember now. Let me think." Then she vaguely named an
amount, and Willoughby pressed his lips together.

"Stella," he said slowly, after a moment's darkening of his eyes,
"do you know that amounts to a week's salary of more than one of
my clerks? Don't you think it was a great deal to give a boy?"

She looked up now, astonished--a little vexed, too; for this was
the second time he had questioned her use of money. "Well, what
of it? It seems of little consequence." She buried her face in
the paper again after this shot, and Willoughby stared at her.

"No," he murmured, reflectively, an alarming bitterness in his
voice; "nothing seems of any consequence."

As she glanced casually over the top of her paper, she saw him
draw a hand across his face; but, still vexed, she took no
warning from the sign. "Well, there's no need of making a fuss,
is there?" she asked, rebukingly. Thus showing how distasteful
the subject had become, and, having had her say, she instantly
changed the topic. "You're coming home Thursday night, aren't

Willoughby watched her absorbedly. "I don't know. Why?"

"Oh, I just wanted to find out. It's the night of my dance, you

"A dance? Your dance?" He drew in his breath, and his hands,
gripping the bed's footboard, closed a little tighter. "I'd
forgotten that. Yes, your dance, and I----"

He broke off wearily, his lips framing a mere wraith of a smile,
and in its gravity she still saw no warning of deep waters
stirring troublously. "A dance--you're giving a dance!" he
repeated, and there came into his eyes a subtle hint of mockery
that, coupled with the words, gave them almost the significance
of a jeer.

"Oh, for heaven's sake, Harmon!" Mrs. Willoughby threw down her
paper irritably, aware only of the unspoken protest in his
manner, and disdaining to analyze it. "See here--are you going to
make a fuss about that, too? Or are you still growling about the
boy? I should think a man with your money would be above----"

It seemed unnecessary to round out the sentence; in itself the
fragment, sharply uttered, peevish and fretful, conveyed more
than enough. "You wouldn't let him have what he wanted; so what's
the use of making it any worse? He swallowed his disappointment;
but if you're getting ready to complain about me now, I'll----"

"Yes, I've thought there was good stuff in the boy," he
interrupted, the slow words cutting short her vehement protest.
"Where is he now?" he added abruptly. " I think I'd like to see

Mrs. Willoughby flounced down among the pillows. "I don't
know--at school, I suppose. Aren't you going to your office

Willoughby shook his head. He turned to the door, moving heavily;
and there, at last, in his sunken head, his shoulders wearily
bent, she caught some hint of the man's hidden emotion.
Astonishment at first ousted all else from her thought, and she
gaped at him in wonder. Then came a small, chilling touch of

"HARMON!" At the swift call he looked back at her. "Harmon! Has
anything happened?"

His answer was an evasion, and she knew it. "I'm staying home to
see some men. That's all."

But the moment's fear was too stressful to be so easily set at
rest. "Wait--do you hear?" She slipped from the bed, and, with
her eyes still fastened on him she groped about till she found
her down slippers. Willoughby had slowly opened the door, but his
wife angrily reached over his shoulder and pushed it shut. "You
SHALL tell me!" she insisted, fiercely determined. "I want to
know what's happened."

Willoughby shook off her hand, and renewed his effort at the
door. "I've nothing to tell you," he rumbled sullenly; and
then--"What do you want to know for?"

She caught her breath, certain now of the fear that shook her
like an ague. He was in trouble, and trouble, to her, meant but
the one thing--a money trouble. It was the first time in her
years of placid, self-possessed vanity that any terror like this
had come to jar her. To lose it now--this bought and paid-for
complacency, this counterpart of happiness, struck her to the
heart with a keener, more convincingly human emotion than she had
known for many a day in her negligent, shallow existence.

"You want to know?" he answered, and smiled at her in grim,
accusing mockery. "All right, then; I'll tell you. You'd better
be ready for it, too." In his brutality there was a guarded note
of self-pity, as if to see her suffer would somehow rejoice him
in his own trouble. "Well, I'm smashed up--that's all. I'm

Mrs. Willoughby, shrinking away, laid a hand on her lips and
stared with distended eyes. "RUINED?" she gasped, unable to
believe him--incredulously, as if at some barbaric jest.
"Ruined?" She had turned quite white. "Oh," she cried, wetting
her lips, "does it mean there is nothing left? How did it happen?
Oh, it can't be true!"

"How did it happen?" Willoughby had thrust both hands into his
pockets, and his head was turned sideways, as if the better to
study the depths of her emotion. "Oh, the usual way--flying too
many kites, I suppose. Poor?" he growled savagely. "Yes; we're
poor as Job's turkey! They've cleaned me out of
everything--their----Teton Sisters, too!"

In her mind's bewilderment of distress she caught at the name; it
was the property in which Severance had lost his money; and she
recalled ugly rumors that, before, had not affected her. Now that
his money was gone, they attached to themselves a newer
significance, accusing and indefensible. "The Teton Sisters! What
do you mean?" For was the shame of losing his wealth to be
coupled with the shameful admission that he had taken a hand in
gouging her former suitor? It was singular she hadn't thought of
it before; now it struck home with redoubled poignancy.

"Mean, hey? I mean they've got it away from me--Mills and that
fellow Severance. It was the prettiest thing I owned, too," he
groaned, careless of what he was saying, and blurting out the
acknowledgment. "But that ain't the worst--no, not by a long
chalk! Do you know what they're going to do?" he demanded,
hoarsely, and with an almost weeping resentment, yet as if glad
to find some one to whom to pour it out. "They're going to sue
for the money, too!"

"What money?" she persisted, hollowly, determined now to know
all. It might be dreadful to lose one's money--it was dreadful;
but to have this man drag her down into his own shame, too--ah!

Willoughby threw up both hands in a gesture of ungovernable
petulance. "Oh, what's the use of talking about it?" he growled,
and then instantly his voice dropped. "Stella, I'm sorry for your
sake. We'll have to begin all over again, dear."

"But you shall talk of it!" she directed, with a cruel and
cutting significance in her voice. "You can't hide it from me

His mouth opened dumbfoundedly. Then he thrust out his jaw with a
reawakened truculency, now aimed at her.

"Well, then--it was the money I took from that fellow--from your
old friend, Severance. He was----"

"You took it from him!" she cried. "You mean you STOLE it!"

Willoughby's mouth twitched, as if she had struck him a blow. "So
that's the way you look at it now, is it?" he said, his voice
quietly effective. "All right, then! I came in here hoping to get
a word of sympathy from you--perhaps a little kindness. But I
knew it was only a hope." He drew a deep breath. "Now don't work
yourself up over him, I warn you, my dear. I won't tell you why I
ruined him, years ago, but I'll tell you how. You've called me a
thief, so I'll give you some more facts before you jump at

"I don't want excuses--it's explanations!"

It was another taunt that struck home, but Willoughby again
mastered himself grimly. "Any one of us would have done it," he
answered, ignoring the remark. "Severance made it easy. I did to
him only what he tried to do to others. When he saw how good the
mine was, he wanted me to help him rook them out of their stock,
so that we could get it. Simple enough, of course, but they'd
been square with me. No, I refused--but I did accommodate him to
the extent of doing him out of his own block. He'd mortgaged
everything to buy shares, and when he was where I wanted him, all
tied up with loans and not able to borrow another cent, I told
the mine people what Severance was trying to do. So they put in a
ruinous report, and every one from whom he'd borrowed a cent just
called his loans and foreclosed on him right and left. He went
down and out--and that's all there was to it. Nobody else got
hurt, and we divided his stock among us. Can't you see how it
was, Stella?" he asked quietly, and stood awaiting her verdict.

"Yes! I see how it was!" she flashed. "It was robbery--you can't
excuse yourself."

If she had wished to sting him again, the attempt seemed to
become fruitful. "Excuses! I make none, do you hear?" he
retorted, incensed. " I ruined him to get him out of your
way--yes!--oh, you needn't say it!--out of mine, too. Look here!"
he cried, passionately; "don't you think I didn't know you? All
you looked for or lived for was--" But he broke off there, and
surveyed her with an affronted dullness, as if it were only
wasted effort. "Oh, well, what's the use?" he muttered, and with
morose and glowering eyes slouched through the doorway.

Mrs. Willoughby lay among the pillows, her arms flung out and her
face half hidden by her disordered hair. TO BE POOR! Her mind
seized on that as the one incalculable shame that had befallen
her--on that, rather than on her view of his dishonesty.
Curiously enough, it was not only the loss of the money itself
and the imminent surrender of her ease and luxury and ostentation
that dismayed her. She was anguished, as well, by the stigma of
being poor. She was able to see only the mean side of it; the
pity of her friends already rang in her ears like scorn, mocking
her because the one thing that had made her was now stripped
away. Hers was not the nature to see the other side of it--the
helpful nobility of self-denial, the heroism of unselfishness,
the courage that stoically faces the narrow and sordid effort
whose rewards are only in the future. No, indeed!--there was only
a savage resentment in her mind, the inexplicable sense that
somehow she had been tricked and cheated, and that he alone was
to blame.

Though she accused him of dishonesty in the Severance affair, the
charge was only secondary. Given another time, she might
carelessly have acquitted him, taking his own say-so as enough;
but Willoughby now had chosen a poor hour for his acknowledgment,
when he linked it to the tidings of his ruin. All that day she
kept to her bed, her mind absorbed with the catastrophe that had
swept out from under her the unsolid prop of her arrogant money
pride. For, again, without money what was left?

She showed herself the day following, wan and silent. Willoughby
was away; the news of his failure was public property, and she
writhed when she read of it in the daily prints. But in the
following days she suffered other pangs that were a healthy
counter-irritant--she learned to pick and number her FRIENDS, and
to know, among so large a list of acquaintances, how very few
they were. Though she was prepared for this, well aware what
befalls the one with broken playthings, nevertheless she was
filled with bitter exasperation against those who were no more
careless than she had been herself. So she left orders with the
servants that none was to be admitted.

Her husband was not so easily evaded. He returned, three days
later, and, walking straight to her, laid a hand on her shoulder.
"Stella, I'm mighty sorry; but if you'll help me, I can get on my
feet again."

"Oh, don't bother me!" she retorted, flinging off his hand.
Willoughby flushed, seemed about to make a bitter retort, and
apparently changed his mind. "Stella, I'm in a good deal of
trouble. A kind word or two would help." But the wife maintained
a sullen dumbness, her eyes turned away from him; and Willoughby
retired, shaking his head.

At the week end he tried again, hopefully. "Stella, it's not so
bad as we first thought. I think we'll save enough to live
on--maybe enough to keep our home. But you'll have to lend a

She looked up from her packing. "What do you say?" she demanded,
with a rekindled interest, and at the sight of it his eyes

"Why, if you're willing to go slowly, and put up with a few
things, we might be able to do it."

"Humh!" Mrs. Willoughby bent over her trunk again. "I suppose
that means you'd make me a kind of drudge. Thank you; I prefer
the other way."

"The other way?" he inquired, looking at her closely. "What do
you mean by that?"

She affected to show her carelessness by smoothing the clothes in
the trunk tray. "Oh, I'm going to take the boy and go away
somewhere for a while."

It was not unexpected. Willoughby came a step nearer, his brow
wrinkled ominously. "You shall not!" he said, with a slow
distinctness, every syllable rapped out decisively. Then his
anger, righteous enough in its way, got the better of him.
"Listen to me, Stella!' he gritted, clenching his hands beside
him. "I can see clear through you. You haven't the nerve to face
this down, so you're going to sling me overboard. That's it,
isn't it? Well, you sha'n't. I've handled you like a fool, these
years, and now I'm going to take charge. You'll stay here--not
because of yourself or me--but for the boy!" he cried; and Mrs.
Willoughby arose, quiet, but white.

"No," she answered, clearly; "we've played this farce too long,
Harmon. I don't think I'm suited to you, and I'm sure you're not
suited to me. We married under false ideas of each other."

Willoughby turned white, too, but, restraining himself, he peered
at her from under his heavy brows. "No, we didn't!" he retorted,
solemnly. "YOU did, but _I_ didn't! You married me thinking my
money would buy you what you wanted. I question whether you
thought of ME at all. But I married you, Stella, knowing exactly
what you were, and, since I've paid for it, I intend you shall
stick to your bargain."

"Oh, yes," she answered, smiling a little in scorn, "it would be
like you to call it a bargain. But you can't prevent my leaving."
"No--perhaps not; but I can give you a good, strong argument why
you shouldn't. Don't think I'm the only one that knows you--why,
good Lord, Stella, I've no monopoly on the knowledge! Do you know
what they'll say of you, all these fair weather friends that've
dropped you like a smashed toy? _I_ DO--they'll say you've wrung
me dry, and that now I'm ruined you've chucked me just as they
thought you would. If you care to know, I've heard whispers of it
already; so I'm going to save my boy, if I can."

Mrs. Willoughby stood with a hand at her throat, gasping; the
shot had struck home. "How dare you?" she whispered. "How dare
you, after what I know of you? You say that, after cheating me
into marrying you?"

Willoughby tossed his head. "Do you still refer to Severance?" he
inquired, caustically; and then his face darkened. "I'll tell you
why I cheated you into marrying me. It was because I loved you, I
think," he said, and there came a wistfulness into his voice that
almost startled her. But she put it away scornfully.

"You mean you stole his money to get me!" she retorted,

"I did--you're quite right!" he answered quickly. "And do you
know what became of the money?" he demanded, pausing long enough
to wet his lips, but giving her no time to reply "Well, it bought
the clothes you wore--your hats--your gloves--your jewels. It's
paid for your extravagances--or a part of them. It bought you the
carriage you wanted; your string of pearls too. My soul!" he
cried in a kind of fierce wonderment, "it bought nearly all there
is of you, I think! It bought you, besides--that money did--his,
with a lot more added to it!"

Mrs. Willoughby stared at him confounded--the situation had
become reversed. She found herself impugned and called to defend
when she had thought only to attack. It was a bitter reflection
that he had, all along, hidden his contempt, while she had been
idly picking flaws in him.

"Oh, yes!" he cried, going on; "all you looked for or lived for
was money. I'd heard your father drum it into your head, and I'd
seen the way you took it in!" He threw up his hand with a gesture
of intolerable regret, this man who had been only a
money-grubbing automaton. "I was ashamed, at first, but as you'd
seemed to take a fancy to me, I deluded myself into thinking you
cared. I knew Severance, too. He was clever and shrewd, but
crooked as a fish-hook. At the time he was making love to you,
there was another. But, never mind, I won't talk of that. I saw
you, and it didn't take long to turn my head." He smiled
wistfully, as before. "I'd never seen a woman like you, you know.
I'd been too busy trying to keep alive. But there was this
Severance, and--oh, well, what's the use?" he muttered again
thickly. "You got your money, and I got the woman I loved. Yes, I
got her--my soul!" he protested; "and it's a pretty trial
balance, isn't it, to cast up on a day like this?"

Silenced, she stood and watched him, waiting for the next storm
of his passion. But Willoughby's rage seemed to have burned
itself out. He drifted across the room and reached his hand for
the bell-pull. "Put away that trunk," he ordered quietly, facing
her; "I'm going to run things now. If you're determined to leave
me, you'll have to put it off a while. I'm going to save the boy.
When I'm on my feet again, I'll give you what money you want; but
there shall be no open scandal." Still silent, she was watching
him, when the maid came in answer to the bell. "Help Mrs.
Willoughby with these," he said curtly, denoting the half-packed
trunk; "we're not going away." And in the presence of the servant
she dared make no rejoinder. Later in the day he looked in again;
Mrs. Willoughby and the maid were rearranging the room, and the
trunk had been whisked away. He smiled grimly, and withdrew.

There could be but two results from a conflict like this: she
would either scorn him the more or she would come to respect him.
For days the outcome wavered in the balance. They met at the
table only--she sitting preoccupied, he talking quietly with the
boy. At the week end he brought her a roll of bills. "For the
house money," he said briefly; and when she would not reach out a
hand for it, he dropped it in her lap, and went away. But that
night she entered into the talk at the table, a little quiet,
still repressed, and showing her hurt. Willoughby, quietly
deferential, kept to his part of the conversation exactly as if
nothing ugly had occurred between them. His bantering with his
son was genial and affectionate, and once she thought he tried to
include her in this camaraderie. The few last shreds of her
vanity, however, still waved distressing signals of the hurt, and
she evaded it. But she felt strangely alone, notwithstanding;
with an almost unconquerable self-pity she reflected on the
fair-weather friends that had deserted her. A little sense of
comfort trickled into her heart, though, when she thought of her
boy. HE, at all events, had not been affected by the rumble of
drums that had beaten her out of the worldly camp where once she
had commanded. That night Willoughby looked in at her, while she
sat musing over a book, and when she would not look up at him he
went away again. A more complete sense of her loneliness came
over her as the hours passed in the big, silent house. So she
laid down her book, and went up-stairs to her boy's room.

"Who's there?" he cried, awakening from a doze.

"Just I, Willard. I came up to see whether you were all right."

"Oh, yes, I am!" he answered, a little perplexed; it had not been
often that she had found time from her busy affairs for a visit
like this. The boy took her hand in his and snuggled down in the
pillows. "It's nice to have you, mumsy," he mumbled, comfortably.

Willoughby, coming home the next evening, heard her talking to
the cook. "You mustn't be so wasteful, Annie. Unless you can do
better, I shall have to get some one else." Her voice was
peevish, but to Willoughby it sounded full of inexplicable
melody. Nor when she carried her complaint to him later, at the
dinner-table, was he less affected with a secret joy.
"Harmon--we'd better take a smaller house. I can't do it any
longer on what we have."

"You needn't," he answered lightly; "I can let you have more.
Things are working out better than I expected. Just let me know
what you're short at the end of the week. I can manage it."

That night, too, he came and sat in the room where she was
reading. He said nothing, and picked up another book. But she
knew what he wished, and resolutely steeled herself. The next
night he was there again. "Good night, dear," he said cheerfully,
daring the added word when she arose to go.

"Good night," she answered.

But on the evening following they talked together, each evading
the shoals of past regret, and threading only the safe channels
of the commonplace. "Good night, Stella dear," he said,
unaffectedly, as she picked up her things; and she answered:
"Good night, Harmon."

He came close to her, and looked down into her face. "Stella," he
said, quietly; "Stella, it would make me very happy if you--if I
might--why, kiss you good night."

Mrs. Willoughby gathered up the remainder of her things, and then
slowly shook her head.

"No, we won't talk of that--yet!" she answered, and went away up
the stairs. Willoughby bit his lip, looking silently after her.

"Why, mumsy!" exclaimed the boy, his hand touching his mother's
cheek as she leaned over him. "What's wrong?"

She shook her head vehemently in the dark. "Nothing at all, dear.
You must go to sleep now."

The next day, Willoughby, on his return from down-town, found her
busily superintending the two servants while they cleaned up his
room. It was an unexpected attention on her part. He withdrew
quietly. A little while later, leaning over the balusters, she
saw Willard whispering to him earnestly. "Did she, my boy?" she
heard the man cry under his breath. "Why, now, mumsy must just
have been a little tired. I don't think it was anything else."
Willoughby's smile seemed enough at the moment to reassure almost
any one.

At dinner his lightness, good-nature, geniality became
infectious. Even Mrs. Willoughby suffered herself to smile at his
whimsical jollity with the boy. Later there was the little comedy
of the good night; and then they parted again. But Willoughby did
not go out as usual.

It was very late that night when Mrs. Willoughby awoke with the
conviction that some one was in her room. Her first impulse was
to cry out in alarm; then, in terror she lay quiet, peering from
beneath her half-closed lids. Across the lighter background of
the curtained window a figure moved, big and familiar in its
bulk. She knew then, and there seemed a greater reason than ever
why she should remain quiet.

Nor was she wrong in her surmise. A moment later Willoughby
leaned over, and she felt his lips lightly brush her cheek. A
little sigh followed, and then he was gone, tiptoeing cautiously.
Mrs. Willoughby sat up in bed, her face in her hands, and
reflected in the stillness that presages the storm. But
loneliness no longer pained her; the solitude had become suddenly
peopled with vivid, poignant regrets, shouting loudly their
indictment and their appeal.

Then, with the curious informality of a woman's emotion--whether
of grief or of joy, whether of pleasure or of pain--she rocked
down her head to her knees, while through her fingers poured the
scalding tears. Mrs. Willoughby had become sincere at last.

Vol. XXIII No.1 JULY 1910

The Painter of "Diana of the Tides" {pages 95-103}


Author of "The American Stage of To-day," etc.

Given nearly three hundred square feet of blank wall space, and
it takes something of an artist to fill it up with interesting
paint. Probably you would not pick a miniature painter for the
task. Yet, curiously, John Elliott, creator of "Diana of the
Tides," the great mural painting which adorns the large gallery
to the right of the entrance of the new National Museum at
Washington, also paints on ivory. He works, likewise, in silver
point, that delicate and difficult medium; he draws pastel
illustrations for children's fairy tales; he works in portraiture
with red chalk or oils. And, when the need comes, he has shown
that he can turn stevedore, carpenter, and architect, to slave
with the relief party at Messina, finally to help design and
build, in four months, an entire village for the stricken
sufferers, including a hotel, a hospital, three schoolhouses, and
a church. The too frequent scorn of the "practical man of
affairs" for the artist and dreamer, the world's sneaking
tolerance for the temperament which creates in forms of ideal
beauty rather than in bridges or factories or banks, finds in the
life and work of such a man as John Elliott such complete, if
unconscious, refutation, that his story should have its place in
the history of the day.

John Elliott was born on Good Friday, 1859, one of a famous
Scottish border family. His residence is now in Boston,
Massachusetts, at the home of his mother-in-law. Mrs. Julia Ward
Howe. Robert Louis Stevenson had Elliott blood in his veins.
"Parts of me," he once wrote, "have shouted the slogan of the
Elliotts in the debatable land." If Stevenson's Homeric account
of the Four Black Elliotts in "Weir of Hermiston" is historically
veracious, we might fancy that one of their descendants would
feel his activities somewhat cramped on Beacon Street, Boston.
The Elliotts were a wild lot, and some of them did not escape the
hangman. Their family tree appears to have been the gallows. But
Stevenson tells us they were noted for their prayers, and at
least one of them wrote poetry, and declaimed it, drunk, to
Walter Scott, who retaliated in kind.

But the present John Elliott, artist, though he is of the kin of
Stevenson, and bears the dark hair and rather prominent,
melancholy eyes of the traditional Elliott stock, yet physically
much more closely resembles Edgar Allan Poe. If you press him
hard, he will confess that he began life by studying for the
stage, and "almost played Romeo," before painting drew him away.
Reaching Italy, he aspired to enter the studio of Don Jose di
Villegas, now director of the Prado Museum in Madrid, but then in
Rome. Villegas took no pupils. But "Jack" Elliott is Scotch. He
made a bargain. He would teach the master English, in return for
instruction in painting. At the end of two years, young Elliott
had learned much about art, but the master, he says, had acquired
only one English phrase--"I haf no money!"

At the end of two years, Elliott wished to leave, because he
despaired of painting like his master. "That is why I keep you,"
said Villegas; "you have retained your own manner and choice of
subjects." So the pupil stayed on in Rome for five years, sharing
his studio later with Aristide Sartorio, now a leading Italian
painter. Here, in the Via Flaminia, he painted his first
important mural decoration, for the dining room of Mrs. Potter
Palmer's Chicago Lake Shore mansion. This work, called "The
Vintage," is decorously inebriate, a vinous riot of little
cupids. It led, shortly after his marriage in 1887 to Miss Maud
Howe, a daughter of Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, to his establishing
himself in Chicago, where he did many decorations and portraits.
In 1894, he went back to Rome to execute a commission for a huge
ceiling piece for the Boston Public Library. The piece was for a
room later converted into a children's room, and after the canvas
was placed, in 1901, the incongruity of the adult painting and
the purposes of the room caused unfavorable comment. But the room
has been recently readjusted. It is now lined with high oak
shelves, almost to the cornice, filled with musty old books of a
beautiful brown--perhaps the most effective decoration in the
world--and the ceiling tells at its true value.

This ceiling, fifty feet square, divided into two equal panels,
represents the twenty Christian centuries, as horses, led by the
hours (winged female figures) out of the mists of the past into
the illumination of the present. The models for the horses were
the undersized nags of the Roman Campagna, which are "small but
decorative beasties," as Mr. Elliott puts it, and lend themselves
to a slightly conventional treatment. They sweep two by two, out
of a cool mistiness, round the ceiling past the suggestion of a
pale moon, into the full radiance of the golden orb of the sun.
The triumph of the picture is its handling of the problem of
light. This golden daybreak pierces the mists whereon the horses
gallop, touches here a flank, there a wing feather on one of the
hours, and warms to rosy glow the tip of a cloud. It appears in
unexpected places, grows where only shadow seemed to be, and
surprises you anew each time you look up. Painted in the
flat--that is, with no part of the picture telling as farther
from the eye than another, to distort the proportions of the
room--the ceiling yet has great depth, distance, airy lightness.
It is a true decorative painting.

While at work upon it, Mr. Elliott painted many portraits,
including the well-known red chalk heads of the "Soldiers Three,"
Lord Ava, the Marquis of Winchester, and General Wauchope; the
portrait of His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge; and that of
Lady Katherine Thynne, now Lady Cromer, a celebrated English
beauty. Indeed, he made her the model for the second hour in the
Boston ceiling, the figure next to the leader in the procession.
Three studies of her head for this figure, well known from
reproduction, are now in the possession of Thomas W. Lawson.

In Rome the Elliotts occupied for some time the apartments of
Mrs. Elliott's cousin, the late F. Marion Crawford, in the
Palazzo Santa Croce. In writing "With the Immortals," Mr.
Crawford had collected many death masks, including one of Dante,
which fascinated Mr. Elliott. Two pictures of "Dante in Exile"
were the result. One of them now hangs in the living room of
Queen Margherita of Italy, the other in the house of Mrs. J.
Montgomery Sears of Boston. A third pastel study was made, an
unfinished head of the poet, and thrown into a wastebasket. By a
curious fatality, it is now better known than either of the
paintings. Mrs. Elliott rescued the drawing, smoothed it out,
framed it, and was allowed to hang it in her chamber. Later it
was seen and purchased by Mrs. David Kimball of Boston, and in
reproduction has gone all over the world, receiving honors in
Japan and the higher honor of a place over the desk of many Dante
students. Yet few who possess the reproduction know anything of
the artist.

Mr. Elliott, receiving his commission to do a great mural
painting for the new National Museum in Washington, again went to
Rome four years ago. "Diana of the Tides" was completed and
signed on Christmas day, 1908. Three days later came the awful
news of the Messina earthquake, and the Hon. Lloyd Griscom, then
American Ambassador to Italy, at once called for volunteers for
his relief expedition. John Elliott was among the first to
respond. He went south officially as an interpreter. Actually, he
played the part of stevedore as well for ten days on the relief

"I have dropped my last knuckle down the hold this morning," he
wrote back, "and I have only two fingers left that I can wash."

After a few weeks, he hastened back to Rome, to give a promised
public exhibition of "Diana of the Tides," and, as soon as the
exhibition was over, rushed down to Messina again.

There Commander Belknap, who was at the head of the American
relief forces, put him to work, as architect, on the erection of
the American village, in the lemon groves on the outskirts of the
stricken city. "I had never been trained as an architect," he
says, "but I once made over a house up in Cornish, New Hampshire,
and that gave me a practical experience which came in remarkably

Most of the lumber had been cut for the erection of small houses,
and the door and window frames were stock pieces. It became his
task to design and build, as quickly as could be done, not only
comfortable houses for many thousand people, but a church, a
hotel, three schools, a hospital, all out of these small lumber
units. He combined the units for the larger buildings, so
grouping the small stock window frames as to give a pleasing
effect of size, even constructing a kind of rose window for the
church. He helped lay out the streets in such a way as to
preserve all the trees possible. And, in spite of the haste with
which the work had to he done, and the sixteen-hour-a-day strain
under which the workers labored, the Zona Americana emerged an
attractive and sanitary, as well as practical, village. Queen
Helena, as soon as the American village was under way, got Mr.
Elliott to go over the drafts for the plans of the American
quarter in her village near by, working them up along the same
lines. So, in four months, he designed and superintended the
erection of houses, churches, schools, and hospitals for a town
of several thousand inhabitants.

Commander Belknap's report spoke of him as "the first to
volunteer, and the most devoted worker, sharing every hardship
with unfailing good humor and leaving his beautifying touch on
every part of the work."

On June 12, 1908, having built his town and recovered his lost
knuckles, John Elliott returned to Rome, where the soil did not
rock, and set quietly about making twenty-four small pastel
drawings to illustrate a fairy story! From building houses for
the wretched homeless sufferers, he turned to the play tales of
childhood. He laid down the T square and the hammer for a piece
of pastel crayon. But he had triumphantly refuted the scorn of
the "practical man" for the artist. He had shown the stuff that
dreams are really made of. Incidentally, he had won for himself a
decoration from the King of Italy, and the medal of the American
Red Cross Association.

"Diana of the Tides," which now covers the end wall of the
right-hand gallery of the new National Museum at Washington, is
akin to the Boston Library ceiling in its employment of horses
symbolically, its light, luminous color, and its subtle play of
illumination. This charm of illumination is unfortunately lost in
reproduction. Mr. Elliott has made symbolic use of Diana, the
Moon Goddess. in a way obvious enough, but hitherto, oddly,
untried by artists. It is a way singularly appropriate in a
museum of scientific character--a combination of ancient myth and
modern science. As the Moon Goddess, Diana controls the four
tides, which, in the shape of horses, draw her erect and jubilant
figure on a great seashell. They are without guiding reins and
harness, to suggest the unseen channels of her sway. If the
reader will note an advancing wave, he will see that, just before
the crest curls over, the foam is tossed back. Then the wave bows
and breaks. So the nearest horse raises his head slightly, the
next higher, the third tosses his head back, and the last has
bowed his neck. In their motion and grouped attitudes. as they
gallop up on the beach, is the rhythm of an oncoming wave.
Farther than that Mr. Elliott wisely did not go. "Let them
suggest more obviously a wave," he says, "and you have a trick
picture. After a while, you wouldn't see anything in it but the
trick." The wave motion is repeated on a comber out at sea, and,
to the left, against a rock on the shore.

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