Part 11 out of 11
do it because he was human himself--human. "I'm friendly," he had said
with his boy's laugh--"just friendly."
"I saw him start, though you did not," Palliser continued. "He stood
and studied the locket intently."
She remembered perfectly. He had examined it so closely that he had
unconsciously knit his brows.
"He said something in a rather low voice," Palliser took it up. "I
could not quite catch it all. It was something about `knowing the face
again.' I can see you remember, Lady Joan. Can you repeat the exact
He did not understand the struggle he saw in her face. It would have
been impossible for him to understand it. What she felt was that if
she lost hold on her strange belief in the honesty of this one decent
thing she had seen and felt so close to her that it cleared the air
she breathed, it would be as if she had fallen into a bottomless
abyss. Without knowing why she did it, she got up from her chair as if
she were a witness in a court.
"Yes, I can," she said. "Yes, I can; but I wish to make a statement
for myself. Whether Jem Temple Barholm is alive or dead, Captain
Palliser, T. Tembarom has done him no harm."
The duke sat up delicately alert. He had evidently found her worth
looking at and listening to from the outset.
"Hear! Hear!" he said pleasantly.
"What were the exact words?" suggested Palliser.
Miss Alicia who had been weeping on Little Ann's shoulder --almost on
her lap--lifted her head to listen. Hutchinson set his jaw and
grunted, and Mr. Palford cleared his throat mechanically.
"He said," and no one better than herself realized how ominously
"cumulative" the words sounded, "that a man would know a face like
that again--wherever he saw it."
"Wherever he saw it!" ejaculated Mr. Grimby.
There ensued a moment of entire pause. It was inevitable. Having
reached this point a taking of breath was necessary. Even the duke
ceased to appear entirely detached. As Mr. Palford turned to his
papers again there was perhaps a slight feeling of awkwardness in the
air. Miss Alicia had dropped, terror smitten, into new tears.
The slight awkwardness was, on the whole, rather added to by T.
Tembarom--as if serenely introduced by the hand of drama itself--
opening the door and walking into the room. He came in with a matter-
of-fact, but rather obstinate, air, and stopped in their midst,
looking round at them as if collectedly taking them all in.
Hutchinson sprang to his feet with a kind of roar, his big hands
plunging deep into his trousers pockets.
"Here he is! Danged if he isn't!" he bellowed. "Now, lad, tha let 'em
What he was to let them have did not ensue, because his attitude was
not one of assault.
"Say, you are all here, ain't you!" he remarked obviously. "Good
Miss Alicia got up from the sofa and came trembling toward him as one
approaches one risen from the dead, and he made a big stride toward
her and took her in his arms, patting her shoulder in reproachful
"Say, you haven't done what I told you--have you?" he soothed. "You've
let yourself get rattled."
"But I knew it wasn't true," she sobbed. "I knew it wasn't."
"Of course you did, but you got rattled all the same." And he patted
The duke came forward with a delightfully easy and--could it be almost
jocose?--air of bearing himself. Palford and Grimby remarked it with
pained dismay. He was so unswerving in his readiness as he shook
"How well done of you!" he said. "How well arranged! But I'm afraid
you didn't arrange it at all. It has merely happened. Where did you
"From America; got back yesterday." T. Tembarom's hand-shake was a
robust hearty greeting. "It's all right."
"From America!" The united voices of the solicitors exclaimed it.
Joseph Hutchinson broke into a huge guffaw, and he stamped in
"I'm danged if be has na' been to America!" he cried out. "To
"Oh!" Miss Alicia gasped hysterically, "they go backward and forward
to America like--like lightning!"
Little Ann had not risen at his entrance, but sat still with her hands
clasped tightly on her lap. Her face had somehow the effect of a
flower gradually breaking into extraordinary bloom. Their eyes had
once met and then she remained, her soul in hers which were upon him,
as she drank in every word he uttered. Her time had not yet come.
Lady Joan had remained standing by the chair, which a few moments
before her manner had seemed to transform into something like a
witness stand in a court of justice. Her hungry eyes had grown
hungrier each second, and her breath came and went quickly. The very
face she had looked up at on her last talk with T. Tembarom--the oddly
human face--turned on her as he came to her. It was just as it had
been that night --just as commonly uncommon and believable.
"Say, Lady Joan! You didn't believe all that guff, did you--You
didn't?" he said.
"No--no--no! I couldn't!" she cried fiercely.
He saw she was shaking with suspense, and he pushed her gently into a
"You'd better sit down a minute. You're about all in," he said.
She might have been a woman with an ague as she caught his arm,
shaking it because her hands themselves so shook.
"Is it true?" was her low cry. "Is he alive--is he alive?"
"Yes, he's alive." And as he answered he drew close and so placed
himself before her that he shielded her from the others in the room.
He seemed to manage to shut them out, so that when she dropped her
face on her arms against the chair-back her shuddering, silent sobbing
was hidden decently. It was not only his body which did it, but some
protecting power which was almost physically visible. She felt it
spread before her.
"Yes, he's alive," he said, "and he's all right--though it's been a
long time coming, by gee!"
"He's alive." They all heard it. For a man of Palliser's make to stand
silent in the midst of mysterious slowly accumulating convictions that
some one--perilously of his own rarely inept type--was on the verge of
feeling appallingly like a fool--was momentarily unendurable. And
nothing had been explained, after all.
"Is this what you call `bluff' in New York?" he demanded. "You've got
a lot to explain. You admit that Jem Temple Barholm is alive?" and
realized his asinine error before the words were fully spoken.
The realization was the result of the square-shouldered swing with
which T. Tembarom turned round, and the expression of his eyes as they
ran over him.
"Admit!" he said. "Admit hell! He's up-stairs," with a slight jerk of
his head in the direction of the ceiling.
The duke alone did not gasp. He laughed slightly.
"We've just got here. He came down from London with me, and Sir Ormsby
Galloway." And he said it not to Palliser but to Palford and Grimby.
"The Sir Ormsby Galloway?" It was an ejaculation from Mr. Palford
T. Tembarom stood square and gave his explanation to the lot of them,
so to speak, without distinction.
"He's the big nerve specialist. I've had him looking after the case
from the first--before I began to suspect anything. I took orders, and
orders were to keep him quiet and not let any fool butt in and excite
him. That's what I've been giving my mind to. The great stunt was to
get him to go and stay at Sir Ormsby's place." He stopped a moment and
suddenly flared forth as if he had had about enough of it. He almost
shouted at them in exasperation. "All I'm going to tell you is that
for about six months I've been trying to prove that Jem Temple Barholm
was Jem Temple Barholm, and the hardest thing I had to do was to get
him so that he could prove it himself." He strode over to the hearth
and rang a bell. "It's not my place to give orders here now," he said,
"but Jem commissioned me to see this thing through. Sir Ormsby'll tell
you all you want to hear."
He turned and spoke solely to the duke.
"This is what happened," he said. "I dare say you'll laugh when you
hear it. I almost laughed myself. What does Jem do, when he thinks
things over, but get some fool notion in his head about not coming
back here and pushing me out. And he lights out and leaves the
country--leaves it--to get time to think it over some more."
The duke did not laugh. He merely smiled--a smile which had a shade of
curious self-questioning in it.
"Romantic and emotional--and quite ridiculous," he commented slowly.
"He'd have awakened to that when he had thought it out `some more.'
The thing couldn't be done."
Burrill had presented himself in answer to the bell, and awaited
orders. His Grace called Tembarom's attention to him, and Tembarom
included Palliser with Palford and Grimby when he gave his gesture of
"Take these gentlemen to Sir Ormsby Galloway, and then ask Mr. Temple
Barholm if he'll come down-stairs," he said.
It is possible that Captain Palliser felt himself more irritatingly
infolded in the swathing realization that some one was in a ridiculous
position, and it is certain that Mr. Palford felt it necessary to
preserve an outwardly flawless dignity as the duke surprisingly left
his chair and joined them.
"Let me go, too," he suggested; "I may be able to assist in throwing
light." His including movement in Miss Alicia's direction was
delightfully gracious and friendly. It was inclusive of Mr. Hutchinson
"Will you come with us, Miss Temple Barholm?" he said. "And you too,
Mr. Hutchinson. We shall go over it all in its most interesting
detail, and you must be eager about it. I am myself."
His happy and entirely correct idea was that the impending entrance of
Mr. James Temple Barholm would "come off" better in the absence of
Hutchinson almost bounced from his chair in his readiness. Miss Alicia
looked at Tembarom.
"Yes, Miss Alicia," he answered her inquiring glance. "You go, too.
You'll get it all over quicker."
Rigid propriety forbade that Mr. Palford should express annoyance, but
the effort to restrain the expression of it was in his countenance.
Was it possible that the American habit of being jocular had actually
held its own in a matter as serious as this? And could even the most
cynical and light-minded of ducal personages have been involved in its
unworthy frivolities? But no one looked jocular--Tembarom's jaw was
set in its hard line, and the duke, taking up the broad ribbon of his
rimless monocle to fix the glass in his eye, wore the expression of a
man whose sense of humor was temporarily in abeyance.
"Are we to understand that your Grace--?"
"Yes," said his Grace a trifle curtly, "I have known about it for some
"But why was nobody told?" put in Palliser.
"Why should people be told? There was nothing sufficiently definite to
tell. It was a waiting game." His Grace wasted no words. "I was told.
Mr. Temple Barholm did not know England or English methods. His idea--
perhaps a mistaken one--was that an English duke ought to be able to
advise him. He came to me and made a clean breast of it. He goes
straight at things, that young fellow. Makes what he calls a `bee
line.' Oh! I've been in it--I 've been in it, I assure you."
It was as they crossed the hall that his Grace slightly laughed.
"It struck me as a sort of wild-goose chase at first. He had only a
ghost of a clue--a mere resemblance to a portrait. But he believed in
it, and he had an instinct." He laughed again. "The dullest and most
unmelodramatic neighborhood in England has been taking part in a
melodrama--but there has been no villain in it--only a matter-of-fact
young man, working out a queer thing in his own queer, matter-of-fact
When the door closed behind them, Tembarom went to Lady Joan. She had
risen and was standing before the window, her back to the room. She
looked tall and straight and tensely braced when she turned round, but
there was endurance, not fierceness in her eyes.
"Did he leave the country knowing I was here--waiting?" she asked. Her
voice was low and fatigued. She had remembered that years had passed,
and that it was perhaps after all only human that long anguish should
blot things out, and dull a hopeless man's memory.
"No," answered Tembarom sharply. "He didn't. You weren't in it then.
He believed you'd married that Duke of Merthshire fellow. This is the
way it was: Let me tell it to you quick. A letter that had been
wandering round came to him the night before the cave-in, when they
thought he was killed. It told him old Temple Barholm was dead. He
started out before daylight, and you can bet he was strung up till he
was near crazy with excitement. He believed that if he was in England
with plenty of money he could track down that cardsharp lie. He
believed you'd help him. Somewhere, while he was traveling he came
across an old paper with a lot of dope about your being engaged."
Joan remembered well how her mother had worked to set the story
afloat--how they had gone through the most awful of their scenes--
almost raving at each other, shut up together in the boudoir in Hill
"That's all he remembers, except that he thought some one had hit him
a crack on the head. Nothing had hit him. He'd had too much to stand
up under and something gave way in his brain. He doesn't know what
happened after that. He'd wake up sometimes just enough to know he was
wandering about trying to get home. It's been the limit to try to
track him. If he'd not come to himself we could never have been quite
sure. That's why I stuck at it. But he DID come to himself. All of a
sudden. Sir Ormsby will tell you that's what nearly always happens.
They wake up all of a sudden. It's all right; it's all right. I used
to promise him it would be--when I wasn't sure that I wasn't lying."
And for the first time he broke into the friendly grin--but it was
more valiant than spontaneous. He wanted her to know that it was "all
"Oh!" she cried, "oh! you--"
She stopped because the door was opening.
"It's Jem," he said sharply. "Ann, let's go." And that instant Little
Ann was near him.
"No! no! don't go," cried Lady Joan.
Jem Temple Barholm came in through the doorway. Life and sound and
breath stopped for a second, and then the two whirled into each
other's arms as if a storm had swept them there.
"Jem!" she wailed. "Oh, Jem! My man! Where have you been?"
"I've been in hell, Joan--in hell!" he answered, choking, --"and this
wonderful fellow has dragged me out of it."
But Tembarom would have none of it. He could not stand it. This sort
of thing filled up his throat and put him at an overwhelming
disadvantage. He just laid a hand on Jem Temple Barholm's shoulder and
gave him an awkwardly friendly push.
"Say, cut me out of it!" he said. "You get busy," his voice rather
breaking. "You've got a lot to say to her. It was up to me before;--
now, it's up to you."
Little Ann went with him into the next room.
The room they went into was a smaller one, quiet, and its oriel
windows much overshadowed by trees. By the time they stood together in
the center of it Tembarom had swallowed something twice or thrice, and
had recovered himself. Even his old smile had come back as he took one
of her hands in each of his, and holding them wide apart stood and
looked down at her.
"God bless you, Little Ann," he said. "I just knew I should find you
here. I'd have bet my last dollar on it."
The hands he held were trembling just a little, and the dimples
quivered in and out. But her eyes were steady, and a lovely increasing
intensity glowed in them.
"You went after him and brought him back. He was all wrought up, and
he needed some one with good common sense to stop him in time to make
him think straight before he did anything silly," she said.
"I says to him," T. Tembarom made the matter clear; "`Say, you've left
something behind that belongs to you! Comeback and get it.' I meant
Lady Joan. And I says, `Good Lord, man, you're acting like a fellow in
a play. That place doesn't belong to me. It belongs to you. If it was
mine, fair and square, Little Willie'd hang on to it. There'd be no
noble sacrifice in his. You get a brace on.'"
"When they were talking in that silly way about you, and saying you'd
run away," said Little Ann, her face uplifted adoringly as she talked,
"I said to father, `If he's gone, he's gone to get something. And
he'll be likely to bring it back.'"
He almost dropped her hands and caught her to him then. But he saved
himself in time.
"Now this great change has come," he said, "everything will be
different. The men you'll know will look like the pictures in the
advertisements at the backs of magazines--those fellows with chins and
smooth hair. I shall look like a chauffeur among them."
But she did not blench in the least, though she remembered whose words
he was quoting. The intense and lovely femininity in her eyes only
increased. She came closer to him, and so because of his height had to
look up more.
"You will always make jokes--but I don't care. I don't care for
anything but you," she said. "I love your jokes; I love everything
about you: I love your eyes--and your voice --and your laugh. I love
your very clothes." Her voice quivered as her dimples did. "These last
months I've sometimes felt as if I should die of loving you."
It was a wonderful thing--wonderful. His eyes--his whole young being
had kindled as he looked down drinking in every word.
"Is that the kind of quiet little thing you are?" he said.
"Yes, it is," she answered firmly.
"And you're satisfied--you know, who it is I want?-- You're ready to
do what you said you would that last night at Mrs. Bowse's?"
"What do you think?" she said in her clear little voice.
He caught her then in a strong, hearty, young, joyous clutch.
"You come to me, Little Ann. You come right to me," he said.
Many an honest penny was turned, with the assistance of the romantic
Temple Barholm case, by writers of paragraphs for newspapers published
in the United States. It was not merely a romance which belonged to
England but was excitingly linked to America by the fact that its hero
regarded himself as an American, and had passed through all the
picturesque episodes of a most desirably struggling youth in the very
streets of New York itself, and had "worked his way up" to the proud
position of society reporter "on" a huge Sunday paper. It was
generally considered to redound largely to his credit that refusing
"in spite of all temptations to belong to other nations," he had been
born in Brooklyn, that he had worn ragged clothes and shoes with holes
in them, that he had blacked other people's shoes, run errands, and
sold newspapers there. If he had been a mere English young man, one
recounting of his romance would have disposed of him; but as he was
presented to the newspaper public every characteristic lent itself to
elaboration. He was, in fact, flaringly anecdotal. As a newly elected
President who has made boots or driven a canal-boat in his
unconsidered youth endears himself indescribably to both paragraph
reader and paragraph purveyor, so did T. Tembarom endear himself. For
weeks, he was a perennial fount. What quite credible story cannot be
related of a hungry lad who is wildly flung by chance into immense
fortune and the laps of dukes, so to speak? The feeblest imagination
must be stirred by the high color of such an episode, and stimulated
to superb effort. Until the public had become sated with reading
anecdotes depicting the extent of his early privations, and dwelling
on illustrations which presented lumber-yards in which he had slept,
and the facades of tumble-down tenements in which he had first beheld
the light of day, he was a modest source of income. Any lumber-yard or
any tenement sufficiently dilapidated would serve as a model; and the
fact that in the shifting architectural life of New York the actual
original scenes of the incidents had been demolished and built upon by
new apartment-houses, or new railroad stations, or new factories
seventy-five stories high, was an unobstructing triviality. Accounts
of his manner of conducting himself in European courts to which he had
supposedly been bidden, of his immense popularity in glittering
circles, of his finely democratic bearing when confronted by emperors
surrounded by their guilty splendors, were the joy of remote villages
and towns. A thrifty and young minor novelist hastily incorporated him
in a serial, and syndicated it upon the spot under the title of
"Living or Dead." Among its especial public it was a success of such a
nature as betrayed its author into as hastily writing a second
romance, which not being rendered stimulating by a foundation of fact
failed to repeat his triumph.
T. Tembarom, reading in the library at Temple Barholm the first
newspapers sent from New York, smiled widely.
"You see they've got to say something, Jem," he explained. "It's too
big a scoop to be passed over. Something's got to be turned in. And it
means money to the fellows, too. It's good copy."
"Suppose," suggested Jem, watching him with interest, "you were to
write the facts yourself and pass them on to some decent chap who'd be
glad to get them."
"Glad!" Tembarom flushed with delight. "Any chap would be'way up in
the air at the chance. It's the best kind of stuff. Wouldn't you mind?
Are you sure you wouldn't?" He was the warhorse snuffing battle from
Jem Temple Barholm laughed outright at the gleam in his eyes.
"No, I shouldn't care a hang, dear fellow. And the fact that I
objected would not stop the story."
"No, it wouldn't, by gee! Say, I'll get Ann to help me, and we'll send
it to the man who took my place on the Earth. It'll mean board and
boots to him for a month if he works it right. And it'll be doing a
good turn to Galton, too. I shall be glad to see old Galton when I go
"You are quite sure you want to go back?" inquired Jem. A certain glow
of feeling was always in his eyes when he turned them on T. Tembarom.
"Go back! I should smile! Of course I shall go back. I've got to get
busy for Hutchinson and I've got to get busy for myself. I guess
there'll be work to do that'll take me half over the world; but I'm
going back first. Ann's going with me."
But there was no reference to a return to New York when the Sunday
Earth and other widely circulated weekly sheets gave prominence to the
marriage of Mr. Temple Temple Barholm and Miss Hutchinson, only child
and heiress of Mr. Joseph Hutchinson, the celebrated inventor. From a
newspaper point of view, the wedding had been rather unfairly quiet,
and it was necessary to fill space with a revival of the renowned
story, with pictures of bride and bridegroom, and of Temple Barholm
surrounded by ancestral oaks. A thriving business would have been done
by the reporters if an ocean greyhound had landed the pair at the dock
some morning, and snap-shots could have been taken as they crossed the
gangway, and wearing apparel described. But hope of such fortune was
swept away by the closing paragraph, which stated that Mr. and Mrs.
Temple Barholm would "spend the next two months in motoring through
Italy and Spain in their 90 h. p. Panhard."
It was T. Tembarom who sent this last item privately to Galton.
"It's not true," his letter added, "but what I'm going to do is
nobody's business but mine and my wife's, and this will suit people
just as well." And then he confided to Galton the thing which was the
The St. Francesca apartment-house was a very new one, situated on a
corner of an as yet sparsely built but rapidly spreading avenue above
the "100th Streets"--many numbers above them. There was a frankly
unfinished air about the neighborhood, but here and there a "store"
had broken forth and valiantly displayed necessities, and even
articles verging upon the economically ornamental. It was plainly
imperative that the idea should be suggested that there were on the
spot sources of supply not requiring the immediate employment of the
services of the elevated railroad in the achievement of purchase, and
also that enterprise rightly encouraged might develop into being equal
to all demands. Here and there an exceedingly fresh and clean "market
store," brilliant with the highly colored labels adorning tinned soups
and meats and edibles in glass jars, alluringly presented itself to
the passer-by. The elevated railroad perched upon iron supports, and
with iron stairways so tall that they looked almost perilous, was a
prominent feature of the landscape. There were stretches of waste
ground, and high backgrounds of bits of country and woodland to be
seen. The rush of New York traffic had not yet reached the streets,
and the avenue was of an agreeable suburban cleanliness and calm.
People who lived in upper stories could pride themselves on having
"views of the river." These they laid stress upon when it was hinted
that they "lived a long way uptown."
The St. Francesca was built of light-brown stone and decorated with
much ornate molding. It was fourteen stories high, and was supplied
with ornamental fire-escapes. It was "no slouch of a building."
Everything decorative which could be done for it had been done. The
entrance was almost imposing, and a generous lavishness in the way of
cement mosaic flooring and new and thick red carpet struck the eye at
once. The grill-work of the elevator was of fresh, bright blackness,
picked out with gold, and the colored elevator-boy wore a blue livery
with brass buttons. Persons of limited means who were willing to
discard the excitements of "downtown" got a good deal for their money,
and frequently found themselves secretly surprised and uplifted by the
atmosphere of luxury which greeted them when they entered their red-
carpeted hall. It was wonderful, they said, congratulating one another
privately, how much comfort and style you got in a New York apartment-
house after you passed the "150ths."
On a certain afternoon T. Tembarom, with his hat on the back of his
head and his arms full of parcels, having leaped off the "L" when it
stopped at the nearest station, darted up and down the iron stairways
until he reached the ground, and then hurried across the avenue to the
St. Francesca. He made long strides, and two or three times grinned as
if thinking of something highly amusing; and once or twice he began to
whistle and checked himself. He looked approvingly at the tall
building and its solidly balustraded entrance-steps as he approached
it, and when he entered the red-carpeted hall he gave greeting to a
small mulatto boy in livery.
"Hello, Tom! How's everything?" he inquired, hilariously. "You taking
good care of this building? Let any more eight-room apartments? You've
got to keep right on the job, you know. Can't have you loafing because
you've got those brass buttons."
The small page showed his teeth in gleeful appreciation of their
"Yassir. That's so," he answered. "Mis' Barom she's waitin' for you.
Them carpets is come, sir. Tracy's wagon brought 'em 'bout an hour
ago. I told her I'd help her lay 'em if she wanted me to, but she said
you was comin' with the hammer an' tacks. 'Twarn't that she thought I
was too little. It was jest that there wasn't no tacks. I tol' her
jest call me in any time to do anythin' she want done, an' she said
"She'll do it," said T. Tembarom. "You just keep on tap. I'm just
counting on you and Light here," taking in the elevator-boy as he
stepped into the elevator, "to look after her when I'm out."
The elevator-boy grinned also, and the elevator shot up the shaft, the
numbers of the floors passing almost too rapidly to be distinguished.
The elevator was new and so was the boy, and it was the pride of his
soul to land each passenger at his own particular floor, as if he had
been propelled upward from a catapult. But he did not go too rapidly
for this passenger, at least, though a paper parcel or so was dropped
in the transit and had to be picked up when he stopped at floor
The red carpets were on the corridor there also, and fresh paint and
paper were on the walls. A few yards from the elevator he stopped at a
door and opened it with a latch-key, beaming with inordinate delight.
The door opened into a narrow corridor leading into a small apartment,
the furniture of which was not yet set in order. A roll of carpet and
some mats stood in a corner, chairs and tables with burlaps round
their legs waited here and there, a cot with a mattress on it,
evidently to be transformed into a "couch," held packages of
bafflingly irregular shapes and sizes. In the tiny kitchen new pots
and pans and kettles, some still wrapped in paper, tilted themselves
at various angles on the gleaming new range or on the closed lids of
the doll-sized stationary wash-tubs.
Little Ann had been very busy, and some of the things were unpacked.
She had been sweeping and mopping floors and polishing up remote
corners, and she had on a big white pinafore-apron with long sleeves,
which transformed her into a sort of small female chorister. She came
into the narrow corridor with a broom in her hand, her periwinkle-blue
gaze as thrilled as an excited child's when it attacks the arrangement
of its first doll's house. Her hair was a little ruffled where it
showed below the white kerchief she had tied over her head. The warm,
daisy pinkness of her cheeks was amazing.
"Hello!" called out Tembarom at sight of her. "Are you there yet? I
don't believe it."
"Yes, I'm here," she answered, dimpling at him.
"Not you!" he said. "You couldn't be! You've melted away. Let's see."
And he slid his parcels down on the cot and lifted her up in the air
as if she had been a baby. "How can I tell, anyhow?" he laughed out.
"You don't weigh anything, and when a fellow squeezes you he's got to
look out what he's doing."
He did not seem to "look out" particularly when he caught her to him
in a hug into which she appeared charmingly to melt. She made herself
part of it, with soft arms which went at once round his neck and held
"Say!" he broke forth when he set her down. "Do you think I'm not glad
to get back?"
"No, I don't, Tem," she answered, "I know how glad you are by the way
I'm glad myself."
"You know just everything!" he ejaculated, looking her over, "just
every darned thing--God bless you! But don't you melt away, will you?
That's what I'm afraid of. I'll do any old thing on earth if you'll
That was his great joke,--though she knew it was not so great a joke
as it seemed,--that he would not believe that she was real, and
believed that she might disappear at any moment. They had been married
three weeks, and she still knew when she saw him pause to look at her
that he would suddenly seize and hold her fast, trying to laugh,
sometimes not with entire success.
"Do you know how long it was? Do you know how far away that big place
was from everything in the world?" he had said once. "And me holding
on and gritting my teeth? And not a soul to open my mouth to! The old
duke was the only one who understood, anyhow. He'd been there."
"I'll stay," she answered now, standing before him as he sat down on
the end of the "couch." She put a firm, warm-palmed little hand on
each side of his face, and held it between them as she looked deep
into his eyes. "You look at me, Tem--and see."
"I believe it now," he said, "but I shan't in fifteen minutes."
"We're both right-down silly," she said, her soft, cosy laugh breaking
out. "Look round this room and see what we've got to do. Let's begin
this minute. Did you get the groceries?"
He sprang up and began to go over his packages triumphantly.
"Tea, coffee, sugar, pepper, salt, beefsteak," he called out.
"We can't have beefsteak often," she said, soberly, "if we're going to
do it on fifteen a week."
"Good Lord, no!" he gave back to her, hilariously. "But this is a
Fifth Avenue feed."
"Let's take them into the kitchen and put them into the cupboard, and
untie the pots and pans." She was suddenly quite absorbed and
businesslike. "We must make the room tidy and tack down the carpet,
and then cook the dinner."
He followed her and obeyed her like an enraptured boy. The wonder of
her was that, despite its unarranged air, the tiny place was already
cleared and set for action. She had done it all before she had swept
out the undiscovered corners. Everything was near the spot to which it
belonged. There was nothing to move or drag out of the way.
"I got it all ready to put straight," she said, "but I wanted you to
finish it with me. It wouldn't have seemed right if I'd done it
without you. It wouldn't have been as much OURS."
Then came active service. She was like a small general commanding an
army of one. They put things on shelves; they hung things on hooks;
they found places in which things belonged; they set chairs and tables
straight; and then, after dusting and polishing them, set them at a
more imposing angle; they unrolled the little green carpet and tacked
down its corners; and transformed the cot into a "couch" by covering
it with what Tracy's knew as a "throw" and adorning one end of it with
cotton-stuffed cushions. They hung little photogravures on the walls
and strung up some curtains before the good-sized window, which looked
down from an enormous height at the top of four-storied houses, and
took in beyond them the river and the shore beyond. Because there was
no fireplace Tembarom knocked up a shelf, and, covering it with a
scarf (from Tracy's), set up some inoffensive ornaments on it and
flanked them with photographs of Jem Temple Barholm, Lady Joan in
court dress, Miss Alicia in her prettiest cap, and the great house
with its huge terrace and the griffins.
"Ain't she a looker?" Tembarom said of Lady Joan. "And ain't Jem a
looker, too? Gee! they're a pair. Jem thinks this honeymoon stunt of
ours is the best thing he ever heard of-- us fixing ourselves up here
just like we would have done if nothing had ever happened, and we'd
HAD to do it on fifteen per. Say," throwing an arm about her, "are you
getting as much fun out of it as if we HAD to, as if I might lose my
job any minute, and we might get fired out of here because we couldn't
pay the rent? I believe you'd rather like to think I might ring you
into some sort of trouble, so that you could help me to get you out of
That's nonsense," she answered, with a sweet, untruthful little face.
"I shouldn't be very sensible if I wasn't glad you COULDN'T lose your
job. Father and I are your job now."
He laughed aloud. This was the innocent, fantastic truth of it. They
had chosen to do this thing--to spend their honey-moon in this
particular way, and there was no reason why they should not. The
little dream which had been of such unattainable proportions in the
days of Mrs. Bowse's boarding-house could be realized to its fullest.
No one in the St. Francesca apartments knew that the young honey-
mooners in the five-roomed apartment were other than Mr. and Mrs. T.
Barholm, as recorded on the tablet of names in the entrance.
Hutchinson knew, and Miss Alicia knew, and Jem Temple Barholm, and
Lady Joan. The Duke of Stone knew, and thought the old-fashionedness
of the idea quite the last touch of modernity.
"Did you see any one who knew you when you were out?" Little Ann
"No, and if I had they wouldn't have believed they'd seen me, because
the papers told them that Mr. and Mrs. Temple Barholm are spending
their honeymoon motoring through Spain in their ninety-horse-power
"Let's go and get dinner," said Little Ann.
They went into the doll's-house kitchen and cooked the dinner. Little
Ann broiled steak and fried potato chips, and T. Tembarom produced a
wonderful custard pie he had bought at a confectioner's. He set the
table, and put a bunch of yellow daisies in the middle of it.
"We couldn't do it every day on fifteen per week," he said. "If we
wanted flowers we should have to grow them in old tomato-cans."
Little Ann took off her chorister's-gown apron and her kerchief, and
patted and touched up her hair. She was pink to her ears, and had
several new dimples; and when she sat down opposite him, as she had
sat that first night at Mrs. Bowse's boarding-house supper, Tembarom
stared at her and caught his breath.
"You ARE there?" he said, "ain't you?"
"Yes, I am," she answered.
When they had cleared the table and washed the dishes, and had left
the toy kitchen spick and span, the ten million lights in New York
were lighted and casting their glow above the city. Tembarom sat down
on the Adams chair before the window and took Little Ann on his knee.
She was of the build which settles comfortably and with ease into soft
curves whose nearness is a caress. Looked down at from the fourteenth
story of the St. Francesca apartments, the lights strung themselves
along lines of streets, crossing and recrossing one another; they
glowed and blazed against masses of buildings, and they hung at
enormous heights in mid-air here and there, apparently without any
support. Everywhere was the glow and dazzle of their brilliancy of
light, with the distant bee hum of a nearing elevated train, at
intervals gradually deepening into a roar. The river looked miles
below them, and craft with sparks or blaze of light went slowly or
swiftly to and fro.
"It's like a dream," said Little Ann, after a long silence. "And we
are up here like birds in a nest."
He gave her a closer grip.
"Miss Alicia once said that when I was almost down and out," he said.
"It gave me a jolt. She said a place like this would be like a nest.
Wherever we go,--and we'll have to go to lots of places and live in
lots of different ways,--we'll keep this place, and some time we'll
bring her here and let her try it. I've just got to show her New
"Yes, let us keep it," said Little Ann, drowsily, "just for a nest."
There was another silence, and the lights on the river far below still
twinkled or blazed as they drifted to and fro.
"You are there, ain't you?" said Tembarom in a half-whisper.
"Yes--I am," murmured Little Ann.
But she had had a busy day, and when he looked down at her, she hung
softly against his shoulder, fast asleep.