Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Conflict by David Graham Phillips

Part 2 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.7 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

``Oh--please--no,'' she urged. ``I'd not like to have my name
mentioned. That would look as if I had done it to seem
charitable. Besides, it's such a trifle.''

Selma was calm and apparently unsuspicious. ``Very well,'' said
she. ``We'll write, telling what we did with the money, so that
you can investigate.''

``But I trust you entirely,'' cried Jane.

Selma shook her head. ``But we don't wish to be trusted,'' said
she. ``Only dishonest people wish to be trusted when it's
possible to avoid trusting. And we all need watching. It helps
us to keep straight.''

``Oh, I don't agree with you,'' protested Miss Hastings. ``Lots
of the time I'd hate to be watched. I don't want everybody to
know all I do.''

Selma's eyes opened. ``Why not?'' she said.

Jane cast about for a way to explain what seemed to her a
self-evident truth. ``I mean--privacy,'' she said. ``For
instance, if you were in love, you'd not want everybody to know
about it?''

``Yes, indeed,'' declared Selma. ``I'd be tremendously proud of
it. It must be wonderful to be in love.''

In one of those curious twists of feminine nature, Miss Hastings
suddenly felt the glow of a strong, unreserved liking for this
strange, candid girl.

Selma went on: ``But I'm afraid I never shall be. I get no time
to think about myself. From rising till bed time my work pushes
at me.'' She glanced uneasily at her desk, apologetically at
Miss Hastings. ``I ought to be writing this minute. The strike
is occupying Victor, and I'm helping out with his work.''

``I'm interrupting,'' said Jane. ``I'll go.'' She put out her
hand with her best, her sweetest smile. ``We're going to be
friends--aren't we?''

Selma clasped her hand heartily and said: ``We ARE friends. I
like everybody. There's always something to like in
everyone--and the bad part isn't their fault. But it isn't often
that I like anyone so much as I do you. You are so direct and
honest--quite different from the other women of your class that
I've met.''

Jane felt unaccountably grateful and humble. ``I'm afraid you're
too generous. I guess you're not a very good judge of people,''
she said.

``So Victor--Victor Dorn--says,'' laughed Selma. ``He says I'm
too confiding. Well--why not? And really, he trusts everybody,
too--except with the cause. Then he's--he's''--she glanced from
face to face of the four pictures--``he's like those men.''

Jane's glance followed Selma's. She said: ``Yes--I should
imagine so--from what I've heard.'' She startled, flushed, hid
behind a somewhat constrained manner. ``Will you come up to my
house to lunch?''

``If I can find time,'' said Selma. ``But I'd rather come and
take you for a walk. I have to walk two hours every day. It's
the only thing that'll keep my head clear.''

``When will you come?--to-morrow?''

``Is nine o'clock too early?''

Jane reflected that her father left for business at half-past
eight. ``Nine to-morrow,'' she said. ``Good- by again.''

As she was mounting her horse, she saw ``the Cossack girl,'' as
she was calling her, writing away at the window hardly three feet
above the level of Jane's head when she was mounted, so low was
the first story of the battered old frame house. But Selma did
not see her; she was all intent upon the writing. ``She's
forgotten me already,'' thought Jane with a pang of jealous
vanity. She added: ``But SHE has SOMETHING to think about-- she
and Victor Dorn.''

She was so preoccupied that she rode away with only an absent
thank you for the small boy, in an older and much larger and
wider brother's cast-off shirt, suspenders and trousers. At the
corner of the avenue she remembered and turned her horse. There
stood the boy gazing after her with a hypnotic intensity that
made her smile. She rode back fumbling in her pockets. ``I beg
your pardon,'' said she to the boy. Then she called up to Selma

``Miss Gordon--please--will you lend me a quarter until

Selma looked up, stared dazedly at her, smiled absently at Miss
Hastings--and Miss Hastings had the strongest confirmation of her
suspicion that Selma had forgotten her and her visit the instant
she vanished from the threshold of the office. Said Selma: ``A
quarter?--oh, yes--certainly.'' She seemed to be searching a
drawer or a purse out of sight. ``I haven't anything but a five
dollar bill. I'm so sorry'' --this in an absent manner, with
most of her thoughts evidently still upon her work. She rose,
leaned from the window, glanced up the street, then down. She
went on:

``There comes Victor Dorn. He'll lend it to you.''

Along the ragged brick walk at a quick pace the man who had in
such abrupt fashion stormed Jane Hasting's fancy and taken
possession of her curiosity was advancing with a basket on his
arm. He was indeed a man of small stature--about the medium
height for a woman--about the height of Jane Hastings. But his
figure was so well put together and his walk so easy and free
from self-consciousness that the question of stature no sooner
arose than it was dismissed. His head commanded all the
attention--its poise and the remarkable face that fronted it.
The features were bold, the skin was clear and healthy and rather
fair. His eyes--gray or green blue and set neither prominently
nor retreatedly--seemed to be seeing and understanding all that
was going on about him. He had a strong, rather relentless
mouth-- the mouth of men who make and compel sacrifices for their

``Victor,'' cried Selma as soon as he was within easy range of
her voice, ``please lend Miss Hastings a quarter.'' And she
immediately sat down and went to work again, with the incident
dismissed from mind.

The young man--for he was plainly not far beyond thirty--halted
and regarded the young woman on the horse.

``I wish to give this young gentleman here a quarter,'' said
Jane. ``He was very good about holding my horse.''

The words were not spoken before the young gentleman darted
across the narrow street and into a yard hidden by masses of
clematis, morning glory and sweet peas. And Jane realized that
she had wholly mistaken the meaning of that hypnotic stare.

Victor laughed--the small figure, the vast clothes, the bare feet
with voluminous trousers about them made a ludicrous sight. ``He
doesn't want it,'' said Victor. ``Thank you just the same.''

``But I want him to have it,'' said Jane.

With a significant unconscious glance at her costume Dorn said:
``Those costumes haven't reached our town yet.''

``He did some work for me. I owe it to him.''

``He's my sister's little boy,'' said Dorn, with his amiable,
friendly smile. ``We mustn't start him in the bad way of
expecting pay for politeness.''

Jane colored as if she had been rebuked, when in fact his tone
forbade the suggestion of rebuke. There was an unpleasant
sparkle in her eyes as she regarded the young man in the baggy
suit, with the basket on his arm. ``I beg your pardon,'' said
she coldly. ``I naturally didn't know your peculiar point of

``That's all right,'' said Dorn carelessly. ``Thank you, and
good day.'' And with a polite raising of the hat and a manner of
good humored friendliness that showed how utterly unconscious he
was of her being offended at him, he hastened across the street
and went in at the gate where the boy had vanished. And Jane had
the sense that he had forgotten her. She glanced nervously up at
the window to see whether Selma Gordon was witnessing her
humiliation--for so she regarded it. But Selma was evidently
lost in a world of her own. ``She doesn't love him,'' Jane
decided. ``For, even though she is a strange kind of person,
she's a woman--and if she had loved him she couldn't have helped
watching while he talked with another woman-- especially with one
of my appearance and class.''

Jane rode slowly away. At the corner--it was a long block--she
glanced toward the scene she had just quitted. Involuntarily she
drew rein. Victor and the boy had come out into the street and
were playing catches. The game did not last long. Dorn let the
boy corner him and seize him, then gave him a great toss into the
air, catching him as he came down and giving him a hug and a
kiss. The boy ran shouting merrily into the yard; Victor
disappeared in the entrance to the offices of the New Day.

That evening, as she pretended to listen to Hull on national
politics, and while dressing the following morning Jane reflected
upon her adventure. She decided that Dorn and the ``wild girl''
were a low, ill-mannered pair with whom she had nothing in
common, that her fantastic, impulsive interest in them had been
killed, that for the future she would avoid ``all that sort of
cattle.'' She would receive Selma Gordon politely, of
course--would plead headache as an excuse for not walking, would
get rid of her as soon as possible. ``No doubt,'' thought Jane,
with the familiar, though indignantly denied, complacence of her
class, ``as soon as she gets in here she'll want to hang on. She
played it very well, but she must have been crazy with delight at
my noticing her and offering to take her up.''

The postman came as Jane was finishing breakfast. He brought a
note from Selma--a hasty pencil scrawl on a sheet of printer's
copy paper:

``Dear Miss Hastings: For the present I'm too busy to take my
walks. So, I'll not be there to-morrow. With best regards, S.

Such a fury rose up in Jane that the undigested breakfast went
wrong and put her in condition to give such exhibition as chance
might tempt of that ugliness of disposition which appears from
time to time in all of us not of the meek and worm-like class,
and which we usually attribute to any cause under the sun but the
vulgar right one. ``The impertinence!'' muttered Jane, with a
second glance at the note which conveyed; among other humiliating
things, an impression of her own absolute lack of importance to
Selma Gordon. ``Serves me right for lowering myself to such
people. If I wanted to try to do anything for the working class
I'd have to keep away from them. They're so unattractive to look
at and to associate with--not like those shrewd, respectful,
interesting peasants one finds on the other side. They're better
in the East. They know their place in a way. But out here
they're insufferable.''

And she spent the morning quarrelling with her maid and the other
servants, issuing orders right and left, working herself into a
horrible mood dominated by a headache that was anything but a
pretense. As she wandered about the house and gardens, she
trailed a beautiful negligee with that carelessness which in a
woman of clean and orderly habits invariably indicates the
possession of many clothes and of a maid who can be counted on to
freshen things up before they shall be used again. Her father
came home to lunch in high good humor.

``I'll not go down town again for a few days,'' said he. ``I
reckon I'd best keep out of the way. That scoundrelly Victor
Dorn has done so much lying and inciting these last four or five
years that it ain't safe for a man like me to go about when
there's trouble with the hands.''

``Isn't it outrageous!'' exclaimed Jane. ``He ought to be

Hastings chuckled and nodded. ``And he will be,'' said he.
``Wait till this strike's over.''

``When will that be?'' asked Jane.

``Mighty soon,'' replied her father. ``I was ready for 'em this
time--good and ready. I've sent word to the governor that I want
the militia down here tomorrow----''

``Has there been a riot?'' cried Jane anxiously.

``Not yet,'' said Hastings. He was laughing to himself. ``But
there will be to-night. Then the governor'll send the troops in
to-morrow afternoon.''

``But maybe the men'll be quiet, and then----'' began Jane, sick
inside and trembling.

``When I say a thing'll happen, it'll happen,'' interrupted her
father. ``We've made up our minds it's time to give these
fellows a lesson. It's got to be done. A milder lesson'll serve
now, where later on it'd have to be hard. I tell you these
things because I want you to remember 'em. They'll come in
handy--when you'll have to look after your own property.''

She knew how her father hated the thought of his own death; this
was the nearest he had ever come to speaking of it. ``Of course,
there's your brother William,'' he went on. ``William's a good
boy--and a mighty good business man--though he does take risks
I'd never 'a took--not even when I was young and had nothing to
lose. Yes--and Billy's honest. BUT''--the big head shook
impressively--``William's human, Jenny --don't ever forget that.
The love of money's an awful thing.'' A lustful glitter like the
shine of an inextinguishable fire made his eyes fascinating and
terrible. ``It takes hold of a man and never lets go. To see
the money pile up--and up--and up.''

The girl turned away her gaze. She did not wish to see so far
into her father's soul. It seemed a hideous indecency.

``So, Jenny--don't trust William, but look after your own

``Oh, I don't care anything about it, popsy,'' she cried,
fighting to think of him and to speak to him as simply the living
father she had always insisted on seeing.

``Yes--you do care,'' said Hastings sharply. ``You've got to
have your money, because that's your foundation-- what you're
built on. And I'm going to train you. This here strike's a good
time to begin.''

After a long silence she said: ``Yes, money's what I'm built on.

I might as well recognize the truth and act accordingly. I want
you to teach me, father.''

``I've got to educate you so as, when you get control, you won't
go and do fool sentimental things like some women--and some men
that warn't trained practically-- men like that Davy Hull you
think so well of. Things that'd do no good and 'd make you
smaller and weaker.''

``I understand,'' said the girl. ``About this strike-- WHY won't
you give the men shorter hours and better pay?''

``Because the company can't afford it. As things are now,
there's only enough left for a three per cent dividend after the
interest on the bonds is paid.''

She had read in the New Day that by a series of tricks the
``traction ring'' had quadrupled the bonded indebtedness of the
roads and multiplied the stock by six, and had pocketed the
proceeds of the steal; that three per cent on the enormously
inflated capital was in fact eighteen per cent on the actual
stock value; that seven per cent on the bonds was in fact twenty-
eight per cent on the actual bonded indebtedness; that this
traction steal was a fair illustration of how in a score of ways
in Remsen City, in a thousand and one ways in all parts of the
country, the upper class was draining away the substance of the
masses, was swindling them out of their just wages, was forcing
them to pay many times the just prices for every article of
civilized use. She had read these things--she had thought about
them--she had realized that they were true.

She did not put to her father the question that was on her
lips--the next logical question after his answer that the company
could not afford to cut the hours lower than fourteen or to raise
wages to what was necessary for a man to have if he and his
family were to live, not in decency and comfort, but in something
less than squalor. She did not put the question because she
wished to spare her father--to spare herself the shame of hearing
his tricky answer--to spare herself the discomfort of squarely
facing a nasty truth.

Instead she said: ``I understand. And you have got to look out
for the rights of the people who have invested their money.''

``If I didn't I'd be cheating them,'' said Hastings. ``And if
the men don't like their jobs, why, they can quit and get jobs
they do like.'' He added, in absolute unconsciousness of his
inconsistency, in absolute belief in his own honesty and
goodness, ``The truth is our company pays as high wages as can be
got anywhere. As for them hours--when _I_ was working my way up,
_I_ used to put in sixteen and eighteen hours a day, and was
mighty glad to do it. This lazy talk of cutting down hours makes
me sick. And these fellows that're always kicking on their jobs,
I'd like to know what'd become of them and their families if I
and men like me didn't provide work for 'em.''

``Yes, indeed!'' cried Jane, eagerly seizing upon this attractive
view of the situation--and resolutely accepting it without

In came one of the maids, saying: ``There's a man wants to see
you, Mr. Hastings.''

``What's his name? What does he want?'' inquired Hastings, while
Jane made a mental note that she must try to inject at least a
little order and form into the manners of announcing visitors.

``He didn't give a name. He just said, `Tell the old man I want
to see him.' I ain't sure, but I think it's Dick Kelly.''

As Lizzie was an ardent Democrat, she spoke the name
contemptuously--for Dick Kelly was the Republican boss. If it
had been House, the Democratic boss and Kelly's secret dependent
and henchman, she would have said ``Mr. Joseph House'' in a tone
of deep respect.

``Kelly,'' said Hastings. ``Must be something important or he'd
'a telephoned or asked me to see him at my office or at the
Lincoln Club. He never came out here before. Bring him in,

A moment and there appeared in the doorway a man of perhaps forty
years who looked like a prosperous contractor who had risen from
the ranks. His figure was notable for its solidity and for the
power of the shoulders; but already there were indications that
the solidity, come of hard manual labor in early life, was soon
to soften into fat under the melting influence of prosperity and
the dissipation it put within too easy reach. The striking
features of his face were a pair of keen, hard, greenish eyes and
a jaw that protruded uglily--the jaw of aggressiveness, not the
too prominent jaw of weakness. At sight of Jane he halted

``How're you, Mr. Hastings?'' said he.

``Hello, Dick,'' said the old man. ``This is my daughter Jane.''

Jane smiled a pleasant recognition of the introduction. Kelly
said stiffly, ``How're you, ma'am?''

``Want to see me alone, I suppose?'' Hastings went on. ``You go
out on the porch, Jenny.''

As soon as Jane disappeared Kelly's stiffness and clumsiness
vanished. To head off Hastings' coming offer of a cigar, he drew
one from his pocket and lighted it. ``There's hell to pay, Mr.
Hastings,'' he began, seating himself near the old man, tilting
back in his chair and crossing his legs.

``Well, I reckon you can take care of it,'' said Hastings calmly.

``Oh, yes, we kin take care of it, all right. Only, I don't want
to do nothing without consulting you.''

In these two statements Mr. Kelly summed up the whole of politics
in Remsen City, in any city anywhere, in the country at large.

Kelly had started life as a blacksmith. But he soon tired of the
dullness and toil and started forth to find some path up to where
men live by making others work for them instead of plodding along
at the hand-to- mouth existence that is the lot of those who live
by their own labors alone. He was a safe blower for a while, but
wisely soon abandoned that fascinating but precarious and
unremunerative career. From card sharp following the circus and
sheet-writer to a bookmaker he graduated into bartender, into
proprietor of a doggery. As every saloon is a political club,
every saloon- keeper is of necessity a politician. Kelly's
woodbox happened to be a convenient place for directing the
floaters and the repeaters. Kelly's political importance grew
apace. His respectability grew more slowly. But it had grown
and was growing.

If you had asked Lizzie, the maid, why she was a Democrat, she
would have given no such foolish reason as the average man gives.

She would not have twaddled about principles--when everyone with
eyeteeth cut ought to know that principles have departed from
politics, now that both parties have been harmonized and
organized into agencies of the plutocracy. She would not have
said she was a Democrat because her father was, or because all
her friends and associates were. She would have replied--in
pleasantly Americanized Irish:

``I'm a Democrat because when my father got too old to work, Mr.
House, the Democrat leader, gave him a job on the elevator at the
Court House--though that dirty thief and scoundrel, Kelly, the
Republican boss, owned all the judges and county officers. And
when my brother lost his place as porter because he took a drink
too many, Mr. House gave him a card to the foreman of the gas
company, and he went to work at eight a week and is there yet.''

Mr. Kelly and Mr. House belong to a maligned and much
misunderstood class. Whenever you find anywhere in nature an
activity of any kind, however pestiferous its activity may seem
to you--or however good --you may be sure that if you look deep
enough you will find that that activity has a use, arises from a
need. The ``robber trusts'' and the political bosses are
interesting examples of this basic truth. They have arisen
because science, revolutionizing human society, has compelled it
to organize. The organization is crude and clumsy and stupid, as
yet, because men are ignorant, are experimenting, are working in
the dark. So, the organizing forces are necessarily crude and
clumsy and stupid.

Mr. Hastings was--all unconsciously--organizing society
industrially. Mr. Kelly--equally unconscious of the true nature
of his activities--was organizing society politically. And as
industry and politics are--and ever have been--at bottom two
names for identically the same thing, Mr. Hastings and Mr. Kelly
were bound sooner or later to get together.

Remsen City was organized like every other large or largish
community. There were two clubs--the Lincoln and the
Jefferson--which well enough represented the ``respectable
elements''--that is, those citizens who were of the upper class.
There were two other clubs--the Blaine and the Tilden--which were
similarly representative of the ``rank and file'' and, rather, of
the petty officers who managed the rank and file and voted it and
told it what to think and what not to think, in exchange taking
care of the needy sick, of the aged, of those out of work and so
on. Martin Hastings--the leading Republican citizen of Remsen
City, though for obvious reasons his political activities were
wholly secret and stealthy--was the leading spirit in the Lincoln
Club. Jared Olds-- Remsen City's richest and most influential
Democrat, the head of the gas company and the water company-- was
foremost in the Jefferson Club. At the Lincoln and the Jefferson
you rarely saw any but ``gentlemen'' --men of established
position and fortune, deacons and vestrymen, judges, corporation
lawyers and the like. The Blaine and the Tilden housed a
livelier and a far less select class--the ``boys''--the active
politicians, the big saloon keepers, the criminal lawyers, the
gamblers, the chaps who knew how to round up floaters and to
handle gangs of repeaters, the active young sports working for
political position, by pitching and carrying for the political
leaders, by doing their errands of charity or crookedness or what
not. Joe House was the ``big shout'' at the Tilden; Dick Kelly
could be found every evening on the third --or ``wine,'' or
plotting--floor of the Blaine-- found holding court. And very
respectful indeed were even the most eminent of Lincoln, or
Jefferson, respectabilities who sought him out there to ask
favors of him.

The bosses tend more and more to become mere flunkeys of the
plutocrats. Kelly belonged to the old school of boss, dating
from the days when social organization was in the early stages,
when the political organizer was feared and even served by the
industrial organizer, the embryo plutocrats. He realized how
necessary he was to his plutocratic master, and he made that
master treat him almost as an equal. He was exacting ever larger
pay for taking care of the voters and keeping them fooled; he was
getting rich, and had as yet vague aspirations to respectability
and fashion. He had stopped drinking, had ``cut out the women,''
had made a beginning toward a less inelegant way of speaking the
language. His view of life was what is called cynical. That is,
he regarded himself as morally the equal of the respectable
rulers of society--or of the preachers who attended to the
religious part of the grand industry of ``keeping the cow quiet
while it was being milked.''

But Mr. Kelly was explaining to Martin Hastings what he meant
when he said that there was ``hell to pay'':

``That infernal little cuss, Victor Dorn,'' said he ``made a
speech in the Court House Square to-day. Of course, none of the
decent papers--and they're all decent except his'n--will publish
any of it. Still, there was about a thousand people there before
he got through--and the thing'll spread.''

``Speech?--what about?'' said Hastings. ``He's always shooting
off his mouth. He'd better stop talking and go to work at some
honest business.''

``He's got on to the fact that this strike is a put-up job--that
the company hired labor detectives in Chicago last winter to come
down here and get hold of the union. He gave names--amounts
paid--the whole damn thing.''

``Um,'' said Hastings, rubbing his skinny hands along the shiny
pantaloons over his meagre legs. ``Um.''

``But that ain't all,'' pursued Kelly. ``He read out a list of
the men told off to pretend to set fire to the car barns and
start the riot--those Chicago chaps, you know.''

``I don't know anything about it,'' said Hastings sharply.

Kelly smiled slightly--amused scorn. It seemed absurd to him for
the old man to keep up the pretense of ignorance. In fact,
Hastings was ignorant--of the details. He was not quite the
aloof plutocrat of the modern school, who permits himself to know
nothing of details beyond the dividend rate and similar innocent
looking results of causes at which sometimes hell itself would
shudder. But, while he was more active than the
conscience-easing devices now working smoothly made necessary, he
never permitted himself to know any unnecessary criminal or
wicked fact about his enterprises.

``I don't know,'' he repeated. ``And I don't want to know.''

``Anyhow, Dorn gave away the whole thing. He even read a copy of
your letter of introduction to the governor--the one
you--according to Dorn--gave Fillmore when you sent him up to the
Capitol to arrange for the invitation to come after the riot.''

Hastings knew that the boss was deliberately ``rubbing it in''
because Hastings--that is, Hastings' agents had not invited Kelly
to assist in the project for ``teaching the labor element a much
needed lesson.'' But knowledge of Kelly's motive did not make
the truth he was telling any less true--the absurd mismanagement
of the whole affair, with the result that Dorn seemed in the way
to change it from a lesson to labor on the folly of revolt
against their kind and generous but firm employers into a
provoker of fresh and fiercer revolt --effective
revolt--political revolt. So, as Kelly ``rubbed,'' Hastings
visibly winced and writhed.

Kelly ended his recital with: ``The speech created a hell of a
sensation, Mr. Hastings. That young chap can talk.''

``Yes,'' snapped Hastings. ``But he can't do anything else.''

``I'm not so sure of that,'' replied Kelly, who was wise enough
to realize the value of a bogey like Dorn --its usefulness for
purposes of ``throwing a scare into the silk-stocking crowd.''
``Dorn's getting mighty strong with the people.''

``Stuff and nonsense!'' retorted Hastings. ``They'll listen to
any slick tongued rascal that roasts those that are more
prosperous than they are. But when it comes to doing anything,
they know better. They envy and hate those that give them jobs,
but they need the jobs.''

``There's a good deal of truth in that, Mr. Hastings,'' said
Kelly, who was nothing if not judicial. ``But Dorn's mighty
plausible. I hear sensible men saying there's something more'n
hot air in his facts and figgures.'' Kelly paused, and made the
pause significant.

``About that last block of traction stock, Mr. Hastings. I
thought you were going to let me in on the ground floor. But I
ain't heard nothing.''

``You ARE in,'' said Hastings, who knew when to yield. ``Hasn't
Barker been to see you? I'll attend to it, myself.''

``Thank you, Mr. Hastings,'' said Kelly--dry and brief as always
when receipting with a polite phrase for pay for services
rendered. ``I've been a good friend to your people.''

``Yes, you have, Dick,'' said the old man heartily. ``And I want
you to jump in and take charge.''

Hastings more than suspected that Kelly, to bring him to terms
and to force him to employ directly the high-priced Kelly or
Republico-Democratic machine as well as the State
Republico-Democratic machine, which was cheaper, had got together
the inside information and had ordered one of his henchmen to
convey it to Dorn. But of what use to quarrel with Kelly? Of
course, he could depose him; but that would simply mean putting
another boss in his place--perhaps one more expensive and less
efficient. The time had been when he--and the plutocracy
generally--were compelled to come to the political bosses almost
hat in hand. That time was past, never to return. But still a
competent political agent was even harder to find than a
competent business manager--and was far more necessary; for,
while a big business might stagger along under poor financial or
organizing management within, it could not live at all without
political favors, immunities, and licenses. A band of
pickpockets might as well try to work a town without having first
``squared'' the police. Not that Mr. Hastings and his friends
THEMSELVES compared themselves to a band of pickpockets. No,
indeed. It was simply legitimate business to blackjack your
competitors, corner a supply, create a monopoly and fix prices
and wages to suit your own notions of what was your due for
taking the ``hazardous risks of business enterprise.''

``Leave everything to me,'' said Kelly briskly. ``I can put the
thing through. Just tell your lawyer to apply late this
afternoon to Judge Lansing for an injunction forbidding the
strikers to assemble anywhere within the county. We don't want
no more of this speechifying. This is a peaceable community, and
it won't stand for no agitators.''

``Hadn't the lawyers better go to Judge Freilig?'' said Hastings.

``He's shown himself to be a man of sound ideas.''

``No--Lansing,'' said Kelly. ``He don't come up for re-election
for five years. Freilig comes up next fall, and we'll have hard
work to pull him through, though House is going to put him on the
ticket, too. Dorn's going to make a hot campaign--concentrate on

``There's nothing in that Dorn talk,'' said Hastings. ``You
can't scare me again, Dick, as you did with that Populist mare's
nest ten years ago.''

That had been Kelly's first ``big killing'' by working on the
fears of the plutocracy. Its success had put him in a position
to buy a carriage and a diamond necklace for Mrs. Kelly and to
make first payments on a large block of real estate. ``It was no
mare's nest, Mr. Hastings,'' gravely declared the boss. ``If I
hadn't 'a knowed just how to use the money we collected, there'd
'a been a crowd in office for four years that wouldn't 'a been
easy to manage, I can tell you. But they was nothing to this
here Dorn crowd. Dorn is----''

``We must get rid of him, Dick,'' interrupted Hastings.

The two men looked at each other--a curious glance --telegraphy.
No method was suggested, no price was offered or accepted. But
in the circumstances those matters became details that would
settle themselves; the bargain was struck.

``He certainly ought to be stopped,'' said Kelly carelessly.
``He's the worst enemy the labor element has had in my time.''
He rose. ``Well, Mr. Hastings, I must be going.'' He extended
his heavy, strong hand, which Hastings rose to grasp. ``I'm glad
we're working together again without any hitches. You won't
forget about that there stock?''

``I'll telephone about it right away, Dick--and about Judge
Lansing. You're sure Lansing's all right? I didn't like those
decisions of his last year--the railway cases, I mean.''

``That was all right, Mr. Hastings,'' said Kelly with a wave of
the hand. ``I had to have 'em in the interests of the party. I
knowed the upper court'd reverse. No, Lansing's a good party
man--a good, sound man in every way.''

``I'm glad to hear it,'' said Hastings.

Before going into his private room to think and plan and
telephone, he looked out on the west veranda. There sat his
daughter; and a few feet away was David Hull, his long form
stretched in a hammock while he discoursed of his projects for a
career as a political reformer. The sight immensely pleased the
old man. When he was a boy David Hull's grandfather, Brainerd
Hull, had been the great man of that region; and Martin Hastings,
a farm hand and the son of a farm hand, had looked up at him as
the embodiment of all that was grand and aristocratic. As
Hastings had never travelled, his notions of rank and position
all centred about Remsen City. Had he realized the extent of the
world, he would have regarded his ambition for a match between
the daughter and granddaughter of a farm hand and the son and
grandson of a Remsen City aristocrat as small and ridiculous.
But he did not realize.

Davy saw him and sprang to his feet.

``No--no--don't disturb yourselves,'' cried the old man. ``I've
got some things to 'tend to. You and Jenny go right ahead.''

And he was off to his own little room where he conducted his own
business in his own primitive but highly efficacious way. A
corps of expert accountants could not have disentangled those
crabbed, criss-crossed figures; no solver of puzzles could have
unravelled the mystery of those strange hieroglyphics. But to
the old man there wasn't a difficult--or a dull--mark in that
entire set of dirty, dog-eared little account books. He spent
hours in poring over them. Just to turn the pages gave him keen
pleasure; to read, and to reconstruct from those hints the whole
story of some agitating and profitable operation, made in
comparison the delight of an imaginative boy in Monte Cristo or
Crusoe seem a cold and tame emotion.

David talked on and on, fancying that Jane was listening and
admiring, when in fact she was busy with her own entirely
different train of thought. She kept the young man going because
she did not wish to be bored with her own solitude, because a man
about always made life at least a little more interesting than if
she were alone or with a woman, and because Davy was good to look
at and had an agreeable voice.

``Why, who's that?'' she suddenly exclaimed, gazing off to the

Davy turned and looked. ``I don't know her,'' he said. ``Isn't
she queer looking--yet I don't know just why.''

``It's Selma Gordon,'' said Jane, who had recognized Selma the
instant her eyes caught a figure moving across the lawn.

``The girl that helps Victor Dorn?'' said Davy, astonished.
``What's SHE coming HERE for? You don't know her--do you?''

``Don't you?'' evaded Jane. ``I thought you and Mr. Dorn were
such pals.''

``Pals?'' laughed Hull. ``Hardly that. We meet now and then at
a workingman's club I'm interested in--and at a cafe' where I
go to get in touch with the people occasionally--and in the
street. But I never go to his office. I couldn't afford to do
that. And I've never seen Miss Gordon.''

``Well, she's worth seeing,'' said Jane. ``You'll never see
another like her.''

They rose and watched her advancing. To the usual person,
acutely conscious of self, walking is not easy in such
circumstances. But Selma, who never bothered about herself, came
on with that matchless steady grace which peasant girls often get
through carrying burdens on the head. Jane called out:

``So, you've come, after all.''

Selma smiled gravely. Not until she was within a few feet of the
steps did she answer: ``Yes--but on business.'' She was wearing
the same linen dress. On her head was a sailor hat, beneath the
brim of which her amazingly thick hair stood out in a kind of
defiance. This hat, this further article of Western
civilization's dress, added to the suggestion of the absurdity of
such a person in such clothing. But in her strange Cossack way
she certainly was beautiful--and as healthy and hardy as if she
had never before been away from the high, wind-swept plateaus
where disease is unknown and where nothing is thought of living
to be a hundred or a hundred and twenty-five. Both before and
after the introduction Davy Hull gazed at her with fascinated
curiosity too plainly written upon his long, sallow, serious
face. She, intent upon her mission, ignored him as the arrow
ignores the other birds of the flock in its flight to the one at
which it is aimed.

``You'll give me a minute or two alone?'' she said to Jane. ``We
can walk on the lawn here.''

Hull caught up his hat. ``I was just going,'' said he. Then he
hesitated, looked at Selma, stammered: ``I'll go to the edge of
the lawn and inspect the view.''

Neither girl noted this abrupt and absurd change of plan. He
departed. As soon as he had gone half a dozen steps, Selma said
in her quick, direct fashion:

``I've come to see you about the strike.''

Jane tried to look cool and reserved. But that sort of
expression seemed foolish in face of the simplicity and candor of
Selma Gordon. Also, Jane was not now so well pleased with her
father's ideas and those of her own interest as she had been
while she was talking with him. The most exasperating thing
about the truth is that, once one has begun to see it--has begun
to see what is for him the truth--the honest truth--he can not
hide from it ever again. So, instead of looking cold and
repellant, Jane looked uneasy and guilty. ``Oh, yes--the
strike,'' she murmured.

``It is over,'' said Selma. ``The union met a half hour ago and
revoked its action--on Victor Dorn's advice. He showed the men
that they had been trapped into striking by the company--that a
riot was to be started and blamed upon them--that the militia was
to be called in and they were to be shot down.''

``Oh, no--not that!'' cried Jane eagerly. ``It wouldn't have
gone as far as that.''

``Yes--as far as that,'' said Selma calmly. ``That sort of thing
is an old story. It's been done so often --and worse. You see,
the respectable gentlemen who run things hire disreputable
creatures. They don't tell them what to do. They don't need to.

The poor wretches understand what's expected of them-- and they
do it. So, the respectable gentlemen can hold up white hands and
say quite truthfully, 'No blood-no filth on these--see!''' Selma
was laughing drearily. Her superb, primitive eyes, set ever so
little aslant, were flashing with an intensity of emotion that
gave Jane Hastings a sensation of terror-much as if a man who has
always lived where there were no storms, but such gentle little
rains with restrained and refined thunder as usually visit the
British Isles, were to find himself in the midst of one of those
awful convulsions that come crashing down the gorges of the
Rockies. She marveled that one so small of body could contain
such big emotions.

``You mustn't be unjust,'' she pleaded. ``WE aren't THAT wicked,
my dear.''

Selma looked at her. ``No matter,'' she said. ``I am not trying
to convert you--or to denounce your friends to you. I'll explain
what I've come for. In his speech to-day and in inducing the
union to change, Victor has shown how much power he has. The men
whose plans he has upset will be hating him as men hate only
those whom they fear.''

``Yes--I believe that,'' said Jane. ``So, you see, I'm not
blindly prejudiced.''

``For a long time there have been rumors that they might kill

``Absurd!'' cried Jane angrily. ``Miss Gordon, no matter how
prejudiced you may be--and I'll admit there are many things to
justify you in feeling strongly --but no matter how you may feel,
your good sense must tell you that men like my father don't
commit murder.''

``I understand perfectly,'' replied Selma. ``They don't commit
murder, and they don't order murder. I'll even say that I don't
think they would tolerate murder, even for their benefit. But
you don't know how things are done in business nowadays. The men
like your father have to use men of the Kelly and the House
sort--you know who they are?''

``Yes,'' said Jane.

``The Kellys and the Houses give general orders to their
lieutenants. The lieutenants pass the orders along --and down.
And so on, until all sorts of men are engaged in doing all sorts
of work. Dirty, clean, criminal--all sorts. Some of these men,
baffled in what they are trying to do to earn their pay--baffled
by Victor Dorn--plot against him.'' Again that sad, bitter
laugh. ``My dear Miss Hastings, to kill a cat there are a
thousand ways besides skinning it alive.''

``You are prejudiced,'' said Jane, in the manner of one who could
not be convinced.

Selma made an impatient gesture. ``Again I say, no matter.
Victor laughs at our fears----''

``I knew it,'' said Jane triumphantly. ``He is less foolish than
his followers.''

``He simply does not think about himself,'' replied Selma. ``And
he is right. But it is our business to think about him, because
we need him. Where could we find another like him?''

"Yes, I suppose your movement WOULD die out, if he were not
behind it.''

Selma smiled peculiarly. ``I think you don't quite understand
what we are about,'' said she. ``You've accepted the ignorant
notion of your class that we are a lot of silly roosters trying
to crow one sun out of the heavens and another into it. The
facts are somewhat different. Your class is saying, `To-day will
last forever,' while we are saying, `No, to-day will run its
course--will be succeeded by to-morrow. Let us not live like the
fool who thinks only of the day. Let us be sensible,
intelligent, let us realize that there will be to-morrow and that
it, too, must be lived. Let us get ready to live it sensibly.
Let us build our social system so that it will stand the wear and
tear of another day and will not fall in ruins about our heads.'

``I am terribly ignorant about all these things,'' said Jane.
``What a ridiculous thing my education has been!''

``But it hasn't spoiled your heart,'' cried Selma. And all at
once her eyes were wonderfully soft and tender, and into her
voice came a tone so sweet that Jane's eyes filled with tears.
``It was to your heart that I came to appeal,'' she went on.
``Oh, Miss Hastings--we will do all we can to protect Victor Dorn
--and we guard him day and night without his knowing it. But I
am afraid--afraid! And I want you to help. Will you?''

``I'll do anything I can,'' said Jane--a Jane very different from
the various Janes Miss Hastings knew --a Jane who seemed to be
conjuring of Selma Gordon's enchantments.

``I want you to ask your father to give him a fair show. We
don't ask any favors--for ourselves--for him. But we don't want
to see him--'' Selma shuddered and covered her eyes with her
hands ``--lying dead in some alley, shot or stabbed by some
unknown thug!''

Selma made it so vivid that Jane saw the whole tragedy before her
very eyes.

``The real reason why they hate him,'' Selma went on, ``is
because he preaches up education and preaches down violence--and
is building his party on intelligence instead of on force. The
masters want the workingman who burns and kills and riots. They
can shoot him down. They can make people accept any tyranny in
preference to the danger of fire and murder let loose. But
Victor is teaching the workingmen to stop playing the masters'
game for them. No wonder they hate him! He makes them afraid of
the day when the united workingmen will have their way by
organizing and voting. And they know that if Victor Dorn lives,
that day will come in this city very, very soon.'' Selma saw
Davy Hull, impatient at his long wait, advancing toward them.
She said: ``You will talk to your father?''

``Yes,'' said Jane. ``And I assure you he will do what he can.
You don't know him, Miss Gordon.''

``I know he loves you--I know he MUST love you,'' said Selma.
``Now, I must go. Good-by. I knew you would be glad of the
chance to do something worth while.''

Jane had been rather expecting to be thanked for her generosity
and goodness. Selma's remark seemed at first blush an irritating
attempt to shift a favor asked into a favor given. But it was
impossible for her to fail to see Selma's sensible statement of
the actual truth. So, she said honestly:

``Thank you for coming, Miss Gordon. I am glad of the chance.''

They shook hands. Selma, holding her hand, looked up at her,
suddenly kissed her. Jane returned the kiss. David Hull,
advancing with his gaze upon them, stopped short. Selma, without
a glance--because without a thought--in his direction, hastened

When David rejoined Jane, she was gazing tenderly after the
small, graceful figure moving toward the distant entrance gates.
Said David:

``I think that girl has got you hypnotized.''

Jane laughed and sent him home. ``I'm busy,'' she said. ``I've
got something to do, at last.''


Jane knocked at the door of her father's little office. ``Are
you there, father?'' said she.

``Yes--come in, Jinny.'' As she entered, he went on, ``But you
must go right away again. I've got to 'tend to this strike.''
He took on an injured, melancholy tone. ``Those fool workingmen!

They're certain to lose. And what'll come of it all? Why,
they'll be out their wages and their jobs, and the company lose
so much money that it can't put on the new cars the public's
clamorin' for. The old cars'll have to do for another year,
anyhow--maybe two.''

Jane had heard that lugubrious tone from time to time, and she
knew what it meant--an air of sorrow concealing secret joy. So,
here was another benefit the company--she preferred to think of
it as the company rather than as her father--expected to gain
from the strike. It could put off replacing the miserable old
cars in which it was compelling people to ride. Instead of
losing money by the strike, it would make money by it. This was
Jane's first glimpse of one of the most interesting and important
truths of modern life--how it is often to the advantage of
business men to have their own business crippled, hampered,
stopped altogether.

``You needn't worry, father,'' said she cheerfully. ``The
strike's been declared off.''

``What's that?'' cried her father.

``A girl from down town just called. She says the union has
called the strike off and the men have accepted the company's

``But them terms is withdrawn!'' cried Hastings, as if his
daughter were the union. He seized the telephone. ``I'll call
up the office and order 'em withdrawn.''

``It's too late,'' said she.

Just then the telephone bell rang, and Hastings was soon hearing
confirmation of the news his daughter had brought him. She could
not bear watching his face as he listened. She turned her back,
stood gazing out at the window. Her father, beside himself, was
shrieking into the telephone curses, denunciations, impossible
orders. The one emergency against which he had not provided was
the union's ending the strike. When you have struck the line of
battle of a general, however able and self-controlled, in the one
spot where he has not arranged a defense, you have thrown him--
and his army--into a panic. Some of the greatest tactitians in
history have given way in those circumstances; so, Martin
Hastings' utter loss of self-control and of control of the
situation only proves that he had his share of human nature. He
had provided against the unexpected; he had not provided against
the impossible.

Jane let her father rave on into the telephone until his voice
grew hoarse and squeaky. Then she turned and said: ``Now,
father--what's the use of making yourself sick? You can't do any
good--can you?'' She laid one hand on his arm, with the other
hand caressed his head. ``Hang up the receiver and think of your

``I don't care to live, with such goings-on,'' declared he. But
he hung up the receiver and sank back in his chair, exhausted.

``Come out on the porch,'' she went on, tugging gently at him.
``The air's stuffy in here.''

He rose obediently. She led him to the veranda and seated him
comfortably, with a cushion in his back at the exact spot at
which it was most comfortable. She patted his shrunken cheeks,
stood off and looked at him.

``Where's your sense of humor?'' she cried. ``You used to be
able to laugh when things went against you. You're getting to be
as solemn and to take yourself as seriously as Davy Hull.''

The old man made a not unsuccessful attempt to smile. ``That
there Victor Dorn!'' said he. ``He'll be the death of me, yet.''

``What has he done now?'' said Jane, innocently.

Hastings rubbed his big bald forehead with his scrawny hand.
``He's tryin' to run this town--to run it to the devil,'' replied
he, by way of evasion.

``Something's got to be done about him--eh?'' observed she, in a
fine imitation of a business-like voice.

``Something WILL be done,'' retorted he.

Jane winced--hid her distress--returned to the course she had
mapped out for herself. ``I hope it won't be something stupid,''
said she. Then she seated herself and went on. ``Father--did
you ever stop to wonder whether it is Victor Dorn or the changed

The old man looked up abruptly and sharply--the expression of a
shrewd man when he catches a hint of a new idea that sounds as if
it might have something in it.

``You blame Victor Dorn,'' she went on to explain. ``But if
there were no Victor Dorn, wouldn't you be having just the same
trouble? Aren't men of affairs having them everywhere--in Europe
as well as on this side--nowadays?''

The old man rubbed his brow--his nose--his chin-- pulled at the
tufts of hair in his ears--fumbled with his cuffs. All of these
gestures indicated interest and attention.

``Isn't the real truth not Victor Dorn or Victor Dorns but a
changed and changing world?'' pursued the girl. ``And if that's
so, haven't you either got to adopt new methods or fall back?
That's the way it looks to me--and we women have got intuitions
if we haven't got sense.''

``_I_ never said women hadn't got sense,'' replied the old man.
``I've sometimes said MEN ain't got no sense, but not women. Not
to go no further, the women make the men work for 'em--don't
they? THAT'S a pretty good quality of sense, _I_ guess.''

But she knew he was busily thinking all the time about what she
had said. So she did not hesitate to go on: ``Instead of
helping Victor Dorn by giving him things to talk about, it seems
to me I'd USE him, father.''

``Can't do anything with him. He's crazy,'' declared Hastings.

``I don't believe it,'' replied Jane. ``I don't believe he's
crazy. And I don't believe you can't manage him. A man like
that--a man as clever as he is--doesn't belong with a lot of
ignorant tenement-house people. He's out of place. And when
anything or anybody is out of place, they can be put in their
right place. Isn't that sense?''

The old man shook his head--not in negation, but in uncertainty.

``These men are always edging you on against Victor Dorn--what's
the matter with them?'' pursued Jane. ``_I_ saw, when Davy Hull
talked about him. They're envious and jealous of him, father.
They're afraid he'll distance them. And they don't want you to
realize what a useful man he could be--how he could help you if
you helped him--made friends with him-- roused the right kind of
ambition in him.''

``When a man's ambitious,'' observed Hastings, out of the
fullness of his own personal experience, ``it means he's got
something inside him, teasing and nagging at him--something that
won't let him rest, but keeps pushing and pulling--and he's got
to keep fighting, trying to satisfy it--and he can't wait to pick
his ground or his weapons.''

``And Victor Dorn,'' said Jane, to make it clearer to her father
by putting his implied thought into words, ``Victor Dorn is doing
the best he can--fighting on the only ground that offers and with
the only weapons he can lay hands on.''

The old man nodded. ``I never have blamed him-- not really,''
declared he. ``A practical man--a man that's been through
things--he understands how these things are,'' in the tone of a
philosopher. ``Yes, I reckon Victor's doing the best he
can--getting up by the only ladder he's got a chance at.''

``The way to get him off that ladder is to give him another,''
said Jane.

A long silence, the girl letting her father thresh the matter out
in his slow, thorough way. Finally her young impatience
conquered her restraint. ``Well-- what do you think, popsy?''
inquired she.

``That I've got about as smart a gel as there is in Remsen
City,'' replied he.

``Don't lay it on too thick,'' laughed she.

He understood why she was laughing, though he did not show it.
He knew what his much-traveled daughter thought of Remsen City,
but he held to his own provincial opinion, nevertheless. Nor,
perhaps, was he so far wrong as she believed. A cross section of
human society, taken almost anywhere, will reveal about the same
quantity of brain, and the quality of the mill is the thing, not
of the material it may happen to be grinding.

She understood that his remark was his way of letting her know
that he had taken her suggestion under advisement. This meant
that she had said enough. And Jane Hastings had made herself an
adept in the art of handling her father--an accomplishment she
could by no means have achieved had she not loved him; it is only
when a woman deeply and strongly loves a man that she can learn
to influence him, for only love can put the necessary
sensitiveness into the nerves with which moods and prejudices and
whims and such subtle uncertainties can be felt out.

The next day but one, coming out on the front veranda a few
minutes before lunch time she was startled rather than surprised
to see Victor Dorn seated on a wicker sofa, hat off and gaze
wandering delightedly over the extensive view of the beautiful
farming country round Remsen City. She paused in the doorway to
take advantage of the chance to look at him when he was off his
guard. Certainly that profile view of the young man was
impressive. It is only in the profile that we get a chance to
measure the will or propelling force behind a character. In each
of the two main curves of Dorn's head--that from the top of the
brow downward over the nose, the lips, the chin and under, and
that from the back of the head round under the ear and forward
along the lower jaw--in each of these curves Dorn excelled.

She was about to draw back and make a formal entry, when he said,
without looking toward her:

``Well--don't you think it would be safe to draw near?''

The tone was so easy and natural and so sympathetic --the tone of
Selma Gordon--the tone of all natural persons not disturbed about
themselves or about others --that Jane felt no embarrassment
whatever. ``I've heard you were very clever,'' said she,
advancing. ``So, I wanted to have the advantage of knowing you a
little better at the outset than you would know me.''

``But Selma Gordon has told me all about you,'' said he--he had
risen as she advanced and was shaking hands with her as if they
were old friends. ``Besides, I saw you the other day--in spite
of your effort to prevent yourself from being seen.''

``What do you mean?'' she asked, completely mystified.

``I mean your clothes,'' explained he. ``They were unusual for
this part of the world. And when anyone wears unusual clothes,
they act as a disguise. Everyone neglects the person to center
on the clothes.''

``I wore them to be comfortable,'' protested Jane, wondering why
she was not angry at this young man whose manner ought to be
regarded as presuming and whose speech ought to be rebuked as

``Altogether?'' said Dorn, his intensely blue eyes dancing.

In spite of herself she smiled. ``No--not altogether,'' she

``Well, it may please you to learn that you scored tremendously
as far as one person is concerned. My small nephew talks of you
all the time--the `lady in the lovely pants.' ''

Jane colored deeply and angrily. She bent upon Victor a glance
that ought to have put him in his place --well down in his place.

But he continued to look at her with unchanged, laughing,
friendly blue eyes, and went on: ``By the way, his mother asked
me to apologize for HIS extraordinary appearance. I suppose
neither of you would recognize the other in any dress but the one
each had on that day. He doesn't always dress that way. His
mother has been ill. He wore out his play-clothes. If you've
had experience of children you'll know how suddenly they demolish
clothes. She wasn't well enough to do any tailoring, so there
was nothing to do but send Leonard forth in his big brother's
unchanged cast-offs.''

Jane's anger had quite passed away before Dorn finished this
simple, ingenuous recital of poverty unashamed, this somehow fine
laying open of the inmost family secrets. ``What a splendid
person your sister must be!'' exclaimed she.

She more than liked the look that now came into his face. He
said: ``Indeed she is!--more so than anyone except us of the
family can realize. Mother's getting old and almost helpless.
My brother-in-law was paralyzed by an accident at the rolling
mill where he worked. My sister takes care of both of them--and
her two boys--and of me--keeps the house in band-box order,
manages a big garden that gives us most of what we eat--and has
time to listen to the woes of all the neighbors and to give them
the best advice I ever heard.''

``How CAN she?'' cried Jane. ``Why, the day isn't long enough.''

Dorn laughed. ``You'll never realize how much time there is in a
day, Miss Jane Hastings, until you try to make use of it all.
It's very interesting--how much there is in a minute and in a
dollar if you're intelligent about them.''

Jane looked at him in undisguised wonder and admiration. ``You
don't know what a pleasure it is,'' she said, ``to meet anyone
whose sentences you couldn't finish for him before he's a quarter
the way through them.''

Victor threw back his head and laughed--a boyish outburst that
would have seemed boorish in another, but came as naturally from
him as song from a bird. ``You mean Davy Hull,'' said he.

Jane felt herself coloring even more. ``I didn't mean him
especially,'' replied she. ``But he's a good example.''

``The best I know,'' declared Victor. ``You see, the trouble
with Davy is that he is one kind of a person, wants to be another
kind, thinks he ought to be a third kind, and believes he fools
people into thinking he is still a fourth kind.''

Jane reflected on this, smiled understandingly. ``That sounds
like a description of ME,'' said she.

``Probably,'' said Victor. ``It's a very usual type in the
second generation in your class.''

``My class?'' said Jane, somewhat affectedly. ``What do you

``The upper class,'' explained Victor.

Jane felt that this was an opportunity for a fine exhibition of
her democracy. ``I don't like that,'' said she. ``I'm a good
American, and I don't believe in classes. I don't feel--at least
I try not to feel--any sense of inequality between myself and
those--those less--less--fortunately off. I'm not expressing
myself well, but you know what I mean.''

``Yes, I know what you mean,'' rejoined Victor. ``But that
wasn't what I meant, at all. You are talking about social
classes in the narrow sense. That sort of thing isn't important.

One associates with the kind of people that pleases one--and one
has a perfect right to do so. If I choose to have my leisure
time with people who dress a certain way, or with those who have
more than a certain amount of money, or more than a certain
number of servants or what not--why, that's my own lookout.''

``I'm SO glad to hear you say that,'' cried Jane. ``That's SO

``Snobbishness may be amusing,'' continued Dorn, ``or it may be
repulsive--or pitiful. But it isn't either interesting or
important. The classes I had in mind were the economic
classes--upper, middle, lower. The upper class includes all
those who live without work-- aristocrats, gamblers, thieves,
preachers, women living off men in or out of marriage, grown
children living off their parents or off inheritances. All the

Jane looked almost as uncomfortable as she felt. She had long
taken a secret delight in being regarded and spoken of as an
``upper class'' person. Henceforth this delight would be at
least alloyed.

``The middle class,'' pursued Victor, ``is those who are in part
parasites and in part workers. The lower class is those who live
by what they earn only. For example, you are upper class, your
father is middle class and I am lower class.''

``Thank you,'' said Jane demurely, ``for an interesting lesson in
political economy.''

``You invited it,'' laughed Victor. ``And I guess it wasn't much
more tiresome to you than talk about the weather would have been.

The weather's probably about the only other subject you and I
have in common.''

``That's rude,'' said Jane.

``Not as I meant it,'' said he. ``I wasn't exalting my subjects
or sneering at yours. It's obvious that you and I lead wholly
different lives.''

``I'd much rather lead your life than my own,'' said Jane.
``But--you are impatient to see father. You came to see him?''

``He telephoned asking me to come to dinner--that is, lunch. I
believe it's called lunch when it's second in this sort of

``Father calls it dinner, and I call it lunch, and the servants
call it IT. They simply say, `It's ready.' ''

Jane went in search of her father, found him asleep in his chair
in the little office, one of his dirty little account books
clasped in his long, thin fingers with their rheumatic side
curve. The maid had seen him there and had held back dinner
until he should awaken. Perhaps Jane's entrance roused him; or,
perhaps it was the odor of the sachet powder wherewith her
garments were liberally scented, for he had a singularly delicate
sense of smell. He lifted his head and, after the manner of aged
and confirmed cat-nappers, was instantly wide awake.

``Why didn't you tell me Victor Dorn was coming for dinner?''
said she.

``Oh--he's here, is he?'' said Hastings, chuckling. ``You see I
took your advice. Tell Lizzie to lay an extra plate.''

Hastings regarded this invitation as evidence of his breadth of
mind, his freedom from prejudice, his disposition to do the
generous and the helpful thing. In fact, it was evidence of
little more than his dominant and most valuable trait--his
shrewdness. After one careful glance over the ruins of his plan,
he appreciated that Victor Dorn was at last a force to be
reckoned with. He had been growing, growing--somewhat above the
surface, a great deal more beneath the surface. His astonishing
victory demonstrated his power over Remsen City labor--in a
single afternoon he had persuaded the street car union to give up
without hesitation a strike it had been planning--at least, it
thought it had been doing the planning--for months. The Remsen
City plutocracy was by no means dependent upon the city
government of Remsen City. It had the county courts--the
district courts--the State courts even, except where favoring the
plutocracy would be too obviously outrageous for judges who still
considered themselves men of honest and just mind to decide that
way. The plutocracy, further, controlled all the legislative and
executive machinery. To dislodge it from these fortresses would
mean a campaign of years upon years, conducted by men of the
highest ability, and enlisting a majority of the voters of the
State. Still, possession of the Remsen City government was a
most valuable asset. A hostile government could ``upset
business,'' could ``hamper the profitable investment of
capital,'' in other words could establish justice to a highly
uncomfortable degree. This victory of Dorn's made it clear to
Hastings that at last Dorn was about to unite the labor vote
under his banner--which meant that he was about to conquer the
city government. It was high time to stop him and, if possible,
to give his talents better employment.

However, Hastings, after the familiar human fashion, honestly
thought he was showing generosity, was going out of his way to
``give a likely young fellow a chance.'' When he came out on the
veranda he stretched forth a graciously friendly hand and,
looking shrewdly into Victor's boyishly candid eyes, said:

``Glad to see you, young man. I want to thank you for ending
that strike. I was born a working man, and I've been one all my
life and, when I can't work any more, I want to quit the earth.
So, being a working man, I hate to see working men make fools of

Jane was watching the young man anxiously. She instinctively
knew that this speech must be rousing his passion for plain and
direct speaking. Before he had time to answer she said:
``Dinner's waiting. Let's go in.''

And on the way she made an opportunity to say to him in an
undertone: ``I do hope you'll be careful not to say anything
that'll upset father. I have to warn every one who comes here.
His digestion's bad, and the least thing makes him ill, and--''
she smiled charmingly at him-- ``I HATE nursing. It's too much
like work to suit an upper-class person.''

There was no resisting such an appeal as that. Victor sat silent
and ate, and let the old man talk on and on. Jane saw that it
was a severe trial to him to seem to be assenting to her father's
views. Whenever he showed signs of casting off his restraint,
she gave him a pleading glance. And the old man, so weazened, so
bent and shaky, with his bowl of crackers and milk, was--or
seemed to be--proof that the girl was asking of him only what was
humane. Jane relieved the situation by talking volubly about
herself--her college experiences, what she had seen and done in

After dinner Hastings said:

``I'll drive you back to town, young man. I'm going in to work,
as usual. I never took a vacation in my life. Can you beat that

``Oh, I knock off every once in a while for a month or so,'' said

``The young fellows growing up nowadays ain't equal to us of the
old stock,'' said Martin. ``They can't stand the strain. Well,
if you're ready, we'll pull out.''

``Mr. Dorn's going to stop a while with me, father,'' interposed
Jane with a significant glance at Victor. ``I want to show him
the grounds and the views.''

``All right--all right,'' said her father. He never liked
company in his drives; company interfered with his thinking out
what he was going to do at the office. ``I'm mighty glad to know
you, young man. I hope we'll know each other better. I think
you'll find out that for a devil I'm not half bad--eh?''

Victor bowed, murmured something inarticulate, shook his host's
hand, and when the ceremony of parting was over drew a stealthy
breath of relief--which Jane observed. She excused herself to
accompany her father to his trap. As he was climbing in she

``Didn't you rather like him, father?''

Old Hastings gathered the reins in his lean, distorted hands.
``So so,'' said he.

``He's got brains, hasn't he?''

``Yes; he's smart; mighty smart.'' The old man's face relaxed in
a shrewd grin. ``Too damn smart. Giddap, Bet.''

And he was gone. Jane stood looking after the ancient phaeton
with an expression half of amusement, half of discomfiture. ``I
might have known,'' reflected she, ``that popsy would see through
it all.''

When she reappeared in the front doorway Victor Dorn was at the
edge of the veranda, ready to depart. As soon as he saw her he
said gravely: ``I must be off, Miss Hastings. Thank you for the
very interesting dinner.'' He extended his hand. ``Good day.''

She put her hands behind her back, and stood smiling gently at
him. ``You mustn't go--not just yet. I'm about to show you the
trees and the grass, the bees, the chickens and the cows. Also,
I've something important to say to you.''

He shook his head. ``I'm sorry, but I must go.''

She stiffened slightly; her smile changed from friendly to cold.
``Oh--pardon me,'' she said. ``Good-by.''

He bowed, and was on the walk, and running rapidly toward the
entrance gates.

``Mr. Dorn!'' she called.

He turned.

She was afraid to risk asking him to come back for a moment. He
might refuse. Standing there, looking so resolute, so completely
master of himself, so devoid of all suggestion of need for any
one or anything, he seemed just the man to turn on his heel and
depart. She descended to the walk and went to him. She said:

``Why are you acting so peculiarly? Why did you come?''

``Because I understood that your father wished to propose some
changes in the way of better hours and better wages for the
men,'' replied he. ``I find that the purpose was--not that.''

``What was it?''

``I do not care to go into that.''

He was about to go on--on out of her life forever, she felt.
``Wait,'' she cried. ``The men will get better hours and wages.
You don't understand father's ways. He was really discussing
that very thing--in his own mind. You'll see. He has a great
admiration for you. You can do a lot with him. You owe it to
the men to make use of his liking.''

He looked at her in silence for a moment. Then he said: ``I'll
have to be at least partly frank with you. In all his life no
one has ever gotten anything out of your father. He uses men.
They do not use him.''

``Believe me, that is unjust,'' cried Jane. ``I'll tell you
another thing that was on his mind. He wants to --to make
reparation for--that accident to your father. He wants to pay
your mother and you the money the road didn't pay you when it

Dorn's candid face showed how much he was impressed. This
beautiful, earnest girl, sweet and frank, seemed herself to be
another view of Martin Hastings' character--one more in accord
with her strong belief in the essential goodness of human nature.

Said he: ``Your father owes us nothing. As for the road--its
debt never existed legally--only morally. And it has been
outlawed long ago--for there's a moral statute of limitations,
too. The best thing that ever happened to us was our not getting
that money. It put us on our mettle. It might have crushed us.
It happened to be just the thing that was needed to make us.''

Jane marveled at this view of his family, at the verge of
poverty, as successful. But she could not doubt his sincerity.
Said she sadly, ``But it's not to the credit of the road--or of
father. He must pay--and he knows he must.''

``We can't accept,'' said Dorn--a finality.

``But you could use it to build up the paper,'' urged Jane, to
detain him.

``The paper was started without money. It lives without
money--and it will go on living without money, or it ought to

``I don't understand,'' said Jane. ``But I want to understand.
I want to help. Won't you let me?''

He shook his head laughingly. ``Help what?'' inquired he.
``Help raise the sun? It doesn't need help.''

Jane began to see. ``I mean, I want to be helped,'' she cried.

``Oh, that's another matter,'' said he. ``And very simple.''

``Will YOU help me?''

``I can't. No one can. You've got to help yourself. Each one
of us is working for himself--working not to be rich or to be
famous or to be envied, but to be free.''

``Working for himself--that sounds selfish, doesn't it?''

``If you are wise, Jane Hastings,'' said Dorn, ``you will
distrust--disbelieve in--anything that is not selfish.''

Jane reflected. ``Yes--I see,'' she cried. ``I never thought of

``A friend of mine, Wentworth,'' Victor went on, ``has put it
wonderfully clearly. He said, `Some day we shall realize that no
man can be free until all men are free.' ''

``You HAVE helped me--in spite of your fierce refusal,'' laughed
Jane. ``You are very impatient to go, aren't you? Well, since
you won't stay I'll walk with you--as far as the end of the

She was slightly uneasy lest her overtures should be
misunderstood. By the time they reached the first long, sunny
stretch of the road down to town she was so afraid that those
overtures would not be ``misunderstood'' that she marched on
beside him in the hot sun. She did not leave him until they
reached the corner of Pike avenue--and then it was he that left
her, for she could cudgel out no excuse for going further in his
direction. The only hold she had got upon him for a future
attempt was slight indeed--he had vaguely agreed to lend her some

People who have nothing to do get rid of a great deal of time in
trying to make impressions and in speculating as to what
impressions they have made. Jane--hastening toward Martha's to
get out of the sun which could not but injure a complexion so
delicately fine as hers--gave herself up to this form of
occupation. What did he think of her? Did he really have as
little sense of her physical charm as he seemed? No woman could
hope to be attractive to every man. Still--this man surely must
be at least not altogether insensible. ``If he sends me those
books to-day--or tomorrow-- or even next day,'' thought Jane,
``it will be a pretty sure sign that he was impressed--whether he
knows it or not.''

She had now definitely passed beyond the stage where she wondered
at herself--and reproached herself--for wishing to win a man of
such common origin and surroundings. She could not doubt Victor
Dorn's superiority. Such a man as that didn't need birth or
wealth or even fame. He simply WAS the man worth while-- worth
any woman's while. How could Selma be associated so intimately
with him without trying to get him in love with her? Perhaps she
had tried and had given up? No--Selma was as strange in her way
as he was in his way. What a strange--original--INDIVIDUAL pair
they were!

``But,'' concluded Jane, ``he belongs with US. I must take him
away from all that. It will be interesting to do it--so
interesting that I'll be sorry when it's done, and I'll be
looking about for something else to do.''

She was not without hope that the books would come that same
evening. But they did not. The next day passed, and the next,
and still no books. Apparently he had meant nothing by his
remark, ``I've some books you'd be interested to read.'' Was his
silence indifference, or was it shyness? Probably she could only
faintly appreciate the effect her position, her surroundings
produced in this man whose physical surroundings had always been
as poor as her mental surroundings-- those created by that
marvelous mind of his--had been splendid.

She tried to draw out her father on the subject of the young man,
with a view to getting a hint as to whether he purposed doing
anything further. But old Hastings would not talk about it; he
was still debating, was looking at the matter from a standpoint
where his daughter's purely theoretical acumen could not help him
to a decision. Jane rather feared that where her father was
evidently so doubtful he would follow his invariable rule in
doubtful cases.

On the fourth day, being still unable to think of anything but
her project for showing her prowess by conquering this man with
no time for women, she donned a severely plain walking costume
and went to his office.

At the threshold of the ``Sanctum'' she stopped short. Selma,
pencil poised over her block of copy paper and every indication
of impatience, albeit polite impatience, in her fascinating
Cossack face, was talking to--or, rather, listening to--David
Hull. Like not a few young men--and young women--brought up in
circumstances that surround them with people deferential for the
sake of what there is, or may possibly be, in it--Davy Hull had
the habit of assuming that all the world was as fond of listening
to him as he was of listening to himself. So it did not often
occur to him to observe his audience for signs of a willingness
to end the conversation.

Selma, turning a little further in her nervousness, saw Jane and
sprang up with a radiant smile of welcome.

``I'm SO glad!'' she cried, rushing toward her and kissing her.
``I've thought about you often, and wished I could find time to
come to see you.''

Jane was suddenly as delighted as Selma. For Selma's burst of
friendliness, so genuine, so unaffected, in this life of
blackness and cold always had the effect of sun suddenly making
summer out of a chill autumnal day. Nor, curiously enough, was
her delight lessened by Davy Hull's blundering betrayal of
himself. His color, his eccentric twitchings of the lips and the
hands would have let a far less astute young woman than Jane
Hastings into the secret of the reason for his presence in that
office when he had said he couldn't ``afford'' to go. So guilty
did he feel that he stammered out:

``I dropped in to see Dorn.''

``You wished to see Victor?'' exclaimed the guileless Selma.
``Why didn't you say so? I'd have told you at once that he was
in Indianapolis and wouldn't be back for two or three days.''

Jane straightway felt still better. The disgusting mystery of
the books that did not come was now cleared up. Secure in the
certainty of Selma's indifference to Davy she proceeded to punish
him. ``What a stupid you are, Davy!'' she cried mockingly.
``The instant I saw your face I knew you were here to flirt with
Miss Gordon.''

``Oh, no, Miss Hastings,'' protested Selma with quaint intensity
of seriousness, ``I assure you he was not flirting. He was
telling me about the reform movement he and his friends are

``That is his way of flirting,'' said Jane. ``Every animal has
its own way--and an elephant's way is different from a

Selma was eyeing Hull dubiously. It was bad enough for him to
have taken her time in a well-meaning attempt to enlighten her as
to a new phase of local politics; to take her time, to waste it,
in flirting--that was too exasperating!

``Miss Hastings has a sense of humor that runs riot at times,''
said Hull.

``You can't save yourself, Davy,'' mocked Jane. ``Come along.
Miss Gordon has no time for either of us.''

``I do want YOU to stay,'' she said to Jane. ``But,
unfortunately, with Victor away----'' She looked disconsolately
at the half-finished page of copy.

``I came only to snatch Davy away,'' said Jane.

``Next thing we know, he'll be one of Mr. Dorn's lieutenants.''

Thus Jane escaped without having to betray why she had come. In
the street she kept up her raillery. ``And a WORKING girl, Davy!

What would our friends say! And you who are always boasting of
your fastidiousness! Flirting with a girl who--I've seen her
three times, and each time she has had on exactly the same plain,
cheap little dress.''

There was a nastiness, a vulgarity in this that was as unworthy
of Jane as are all the unlovely emotions of us who are always
sweet and refined when we are our true selves--but have a bad
habit of only too often not being what we flatter ourselves is
our true selves. Jane was growing angry as she, away from Selma,
resumed her normal place in the world and her normal point of
view. Davy Hull belonged to her; he had no right to be hanging
about another, anyway--especially an attractive woman. Her anger
was not lessened by Davy's retort. Said he:

``Her dress may have been the same. But her face wasn't--and her
mind wasn't. Those things are more difficult to change than a

She was so angry that she did not take warning from this reminder
that Davy was by no means merely a tedious retailer of stale
commonplaces. She said with fine irony--and with no show of
anger: ``It is always a shock to a lady to realize how coarse
men are--how they don't discriminate.''

Davy laughed. ``Women get their rank from men,'' said he coolly.

``In themselves they have none. That's the philosophy of the
peculiarity you've noted.''

This truth, so galling to a lady, silenced Jane, made her bite
her lips with rage. ``I beg your pardon,'' she finally said.
``I didn't realize that you were in love with Selma.''

``Yes, I am in love with her,'' was Davy's astounding reply.
``She's the noblest and simplest creature I've ever met.''

``You don't mean you want to marry her!'' exclaimed Jane, so
amazed that she for the moment lost sight of her own personal
interest in this affair.

Davy looked at her sadly, and a little contemptuously.

``What a poor opinion at bottom you women--your sort of
women--have of woman,'' said he.

``What a poor opinion of men you mean,'' retorted she. ``After a
little experience of them a girl--even a girl--learns that they
are incapable of any emotion that isn't gross.''

``Don't be so ladylike, Jane,'' said Hull.

Miss Hastings was recovering control of herself. She took a new
tack. ``You haven't asked her yet?''

``Hardly. This is the second time I've seen her. I suspected
that she was the woman for me the moment I saw her. To-day I
confirmed my idea. She is all that I thought--and more. And,
Jane, I know that you appreciate her, too.''

Jane now saw that Davy was being thus abruptly and speedily
confiding because he had decided it was the best way out of his
entanglement with her. Behind his coolness she could see an
uneasy watchfulness--the fear that she might try to hold him. Up
boiled her rage--the higher because she knew that if there were
any possible way of holding Davy, she would take it-- not because
she wished to, or would, marry him, but because she had put her
mark upon him. But this new rage was of the kind a clever woman
has small difficulty in dissembling.

``Indeed I do appreciate her, Davy,'' said she sweetly. ``And I
hope you will be happy with her.''

``You think I can get her?'' said he, fatuously eager. ``You
think she likes me? I've been rather hoping that because it
seized me so suddenly and so powerfully it must have seized her,
too. I think often things occur that way.''

``In novels,'' said Jane, pleasantly judicial. ``But in real
life about the hardest thing to do is for a man to make a woman
care for him--really care for him.''

``Well, no matter how hard I have to try----''

``Of course,'' pursued Miss Hastings, ignoring his interruption,
``when a man who has wealth and position asks a woman who hasn't
to marry him, she usually accepts--unless he happens to be
downright repulsive, or she happens to be deeply and hopefully in
love with another man.''

Davy winced satisfactorily. ``Do you suspect,'' he presently
asked, ``that she's in love with Victor Dorn?''

``Perhaps,'' said Jane reflectively. ``Probably. But I'd not
feel discouraged by that if I were you.''

``Dorn's a rather attractive chap in some ways.''

Davy's manner was so superior that Jane almost laughed in his
face. What fools men were. If Victor Dorn had position, weren't
surrounded by his unquestionably, hopelessly common family,
weren't deliberately keeping himself common--was there a woman in
the world who wouldn't choose him without a second thought being
necessary, in preference to a Davy Hull? How few men there were
who could reasonably hope to hold their women against all comers.

Victor Dorn might possibly be of those few. But Davy Hull--the
idea was ridiculous. All his advantages--height, looks, money,
position--were excellent qualities in a show piece; but they
weren't the qualities that make a woman want to live her life
with a man, that make her hope he will be able to give her the
emotions woman-nature craves beyond anything.

``He is very attractive,'' said Jane, ``and I've small doubt that
Selma Gordon is infatuated with him. But --I shouldn't let that
worry me if I were you.'' She paused to enjoy his anxiety, then
proceeded: ``She is a level-headed girl. The girls of the
working class-- the intelligent ones--have had the silly
sentimentalities knocked out of them by experience. So, when you
ask her to marry you, she will accept.''

``What a low opinion you have of her!'' exclaimed Davy. ``What a
low view you take of life!''--most inconsistent of him, since he
was himself more than half convinced that Jane's observations
were not far from the truth.

``Women are sensible,'' said Jane tranquilly. ``They appreciate
that they've got to get a man to support them. Don't forget, my
dear Davy, that marriage is a woman's career.''

``You lived abroad too long,'' said Hull bitterly.

``I've lived at home and abroad long enough and intelligently
enough not to think stupid hypocrisies, even if I do sometimes
imitate other people and SAY them.''

``I am sure that Selma Gordon would no more think of marrying me
for any other reason but love--would no more think of it
than--than YOU would!''

``No more,'' was Jane's unruffled reply. ``But just as much. I
didn't absolutely refuse you, when you asked me the other day,
partly because I saw no other way of stopping your tiresome
talk--and your unattractive way of trying to lay hands on me. I
DETEST being handled.''

Davy was looking so uncomfortable that he attracted the attention
of the people they were passing in wide, shady Lincoln Avenue.

``But my principal reason,'' continued Jane, mercilessly amiable
and candid, ``was that I didn't know but that you might prove to
be about the best I could get, as a means to realizing my
ambition.'' She looked laughingly at the unhappy young man.
``You didn't think I was in love with you, did you, Davy dear?''
Then, while the confusion following this blow was at its height,
she added: ``You'll remember one of your chief arguments for my
accepting you was ambition. You didn't think it low then--did

Hull was one of the dry-skinned people. But if he had been
sweating profusely he would have looked and would have been less
wretched than burning up in the smothered heat of his misery.

They were nearing Martha's gates. Jane said: ``Yes, Davy,
you've got a good chance. And as soon as she gets used to our
way of living, she'll make you a good wife.'' She laughed gayly.

``She'll not be quite so pretty when she settles down and takes
on flesh. I wonder how she'll look in fine clothes and jewels.''

She measured Hull's stature with a critical eye. ``She's only
about half as tall as you. How funny you'll look together!''
With sudden soberness and sweetness, ``But, seriously, David, I'm
proud of your courage in taking a girl for herself regardless of
her surroundings. So few men would be willing to face the
ridicule and the criticism, and all the social difficulties.''
She nodded encouragingly. ``Go in and win! You can count on my
friendship--for I'm in love with her myself.''

She left him standing dazedly, looking up and down the street as
if it were some strange and pine-beset highway in a foreign land.

After taking a few steps she returned to the gates and called
him: ``I forgot to ask do you want me to regard what you've told
me as confidential? I was thinking of telling Martha and Hugo,
and it occurred to me that you might not like it.''

``Please don't say anything about it,'' said he with panicky
eagerness. ``You see--nothing's settled yet.''

``Oh, she'll accept you.''

``But I haven't even asked her,'' pleaded Hull.

``Oh--all right--as you please.''

When she was safely within doors she dropped to a chair and burst
out laughing. It was part of Jane's passion for the sense of
triumph over the male sex to felt that she had made a ``perfect
jumping jack of a fool'' of David Hull. ``And I rather think,''
said she to herself, ``that he'll soon be back where he
belongs.'' This with a glance at the tall heels of the slippers
on the good-looking feet she was thrusting out for her own
inspection. ``How absurd for him to imagine he could do anything
unconventional. Is there any coward anywhere so cowardly as an
American conventional man? No wonder I hate to think of marrying
one of them. But--I suppose I'll have to do it some day. What's
a woman to do? She's GOT to marry.''

So pleased with herself was she that she behaved with unusual
forbearance toward Martha whose conduct of late had been most
trying. Not Martha's sometimes peevish, sometimes plaintive
criticisms of her; these she did not mind. But Martha's way of
ordering her own life. Jane, moving about in the world with a
good mind eager to improve, had got a horror of a woman's going
to pieces--and that was what Martha was doing.

``I'm losing my looks rapidly,'' was her constant complaint. As
she had just passed thirty there was, in Jane's opinion, not the
smallest excuse for this. The remedy, the preventive, was
obvious--diet and exercise. But Martha, being lazy and
self-indulgent and not imaginative enough to foresee to what a
pass a few years more of lounging and stuffing would bring her,
regarded exercise as unladylike and dieting as unhealthful. She
would not weaken her system by taking less than was demanded by
``nature's infallible guide, the healthy appetite.'' She would
not give up the venerable and aristocratic tradition that a lady
should ever be reposeful.

``Another year or so,'' warned Jane, ``and you'll be as
steatopygous as the bride of a Hottentot chief.''

``What does steat--that word mean?'' said Martha suspiciously.

``Look in the dictionary,'' said Jane. ``Its synonyms aren't
used by refined people.''

``I knew it was something insulting,'' said Martha with an
injured sniff.

The only concessions Martha would make to the latter-day craze of
women for youthfulness were buying a foolish chin-strap of a
beauty quack and consulting him as to whether, if her hair
continued to gray, she would better take to peroxide or to henna.

Jane had come down that day with a severe lecture on fat and
wrinkles laid out in her mind for energetic delivery to the
fast-seeding Martha. She put off the lecture and allowed the
time to be used by Martha in telling Jane what were her (Jane's)
strongest and less strong--not weaker but less strong, points of
physical charm.

It was cool and beautiful in the shade of the big gardens behind
the old Galland house. Jane, listening to Martha's honest and
just compliments and to the faint murmurs of the city's dusty,
sweaty toil, had a delicious sense of the superiority of her
lot--a feeling that somehow there must be something in the theory
of rightfully superior and inferior classes--that in taking what
she had not earned she was not robbing those who had earned it,
as her reason so often asserted, but was being supported by the
toil of others for high purposes of aesthetic beauty. Anyhow,
why heat one's self wrestling with these problems?

When she was sure that Victor Dorn must have returned she called
him on the telephone. ``Can't you come out to see me to-night?''
said she. ``I've something important--something YOU'LL think
important-- to consult you about.'' She felt a refusal forming
at the other end of the wire and hastened to add: ``You must
know I'd not ask this if I weren't certain you would be glad you

Book of the day: