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The Conflict by David Graham Phillips

Part 6 out of 6

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before the people would have the intelligence and the persistence
to claim and to hold their own. In the meantime, they could be
fooled and robbed by a hundred tricks. He was not a
constitutional lawyer, but he had practical good sense, and could
enjoy the joke upon the people in their entanglement in the toils
of their own making. Through fear of governmental tyranny they
had divided authority among legislators, executives and judges,
national, state, local. And, behold, outside of the government,
out where they had never dreamed of looking, had grown up a
tyranny that was perpetuating itself by dodging from one of these
divided authorities to another, eluding capture, wearing out the
not too strong perseverance of popular pursuit.

But, thanks to Victor Dorn, the local graft was about to be taken
away from the politicians and the plutocracy. How put off that
unpleasant event? Obviously, in the only way left unclosed. The
election must be stolen.

It is a very human state of mind to feel that what one wants
somehow has already become in a sense one's property. It is even
more profoundly human to feel that what one has had, however
wrongfully, cannot justly be taken away. So Mr. Kelly did not
regard himself as a thief, taking what did not belong to him; no,
he was holding on to and defending his own.

Victor Dorn had not been in politics since early boyhood without
learning how the political game is conducted in all its branches.

Because there had never been the remotest chance of victory,
Victor had never made preelection polls of his party. So the
first hint that he got of there being a real foundation for the
belief of some of his associates in an impending victory was when
he found out that Kelly and House were ``colonizing'' voters, and
were selecting election officers with an eye to ``dirty work.''
These preparations, he knew, could not be making for the same
reason as in the years before the ``gentlemen's agreement''
between the Republican and the Democratic machines. Kelly, he
knew, wanted House and the Alliance to win. Therefore, the
colonizations in the slums and the appointing of notorious buckos
to positions where they would control the ballot boxes could be
directed only against the Workingmen's League. Kelly must have
accurate information that the League was likely, or at least not
unlikely, to win.

Victor had thought he had so schooled himself that victory and
defeat were mere words to him. He soon realized how he had
overestimated the power of philosophy over human nature. During
that campaign he had been imagining that he was putting all his
ability, all his energy, all his resourcefulness into the fight.
He now discovered his mistake. Hope--definite hope--of victory
had hardly entered his mind before he was organizing and leading
on such a campaign as Remsen City had never known in all its
history--and Remsen City was in a state where politics is the
chief distraction of the people. Sleep left him; he had no need
of sleep. Day and night his brain worked, pouring out a steady
stream of ideas. He became like a gigantic electric storage
battery to which a hundred, a thousand small batteries come for
renewal. He charged his associates afresh each day. And they in
turn became amazingly more powerful forces for acting upon the
minds of the people.

In the last week of the campaign it became common talk throughout
the city that the ``Dorn crowd'' would probably carry the
election. Kelly was the only one of the opposition leaders who
could maintain a calm front. Kelly was too seasoned a gambler
even to show his feelings in his countenance, but, had he been
showing them, his following would not have been depressed, for he
had made preparations to meet and overcome any majority short of
unanimity which the people might roll up against him. The
discouragement in the House-Alliance camps became so apparent
that Kelly sent his chief lieutenant, Wellman, successor to the
fugitive Rivers, to House and to David Hull with a message. It
was delivered to Hull in this form:

``The old man says he wants you to stop going round with your
chin knocking against your knees. He says everybody is saying
you have given up the fight.''

``Our meetings these last few days are very discouraging,'' said
Davy gloomily.

``What's meetin's?'' retorted Wellman. ``You fellows that shoot
off your mouths think you're doing the campaigning. But the real
stuff is being doped up by us fellows who ain't seen or heard.
The old man says you are going to win. That's straight. He
knows. It's only a question of the size of your majority. So
pull yourself together, Mr. Hull, and put the ginger back into
your speeches, and stir up that there gang of dudes. What a gang
of Johnnies and quitters they are!''

Hull was looking directly and keenly at the secret messenger.
Upon his lips was a question he dared not ask. Seeing the
impudent, disdainful smile in Wellman's eyes, he hastily shifted
his glance. It was most uncomfortable, this suspicion of the
hidden meaning of the Kelly message--a suspicion ALMOST confirmed
by that mocking smile of the messenger. Hull said with

``Tell Mr. Kelly I'm much obliged.''

``And you'll begin to make a fight again?''

``Certainly,'' said Davy impatiently.

When he was alone he became once more involved in one of those
internal struggles to prevent himself from seeing--and
smelling--a hideous and malodorous truth. These struggles were
painfully frequent. The only consolation the young reformer
found was that they were increasingly less difficult to end in
the way such struggles must be ended if a high-minded young man
is to make a career in ``practical'' life.

On election day after he had voted he went for a long walk in the
woods to the south of the town, leaving word at his headquarters
what direction he had taken. After walking two hours he sat down
on a log in the shade near where the highroad crossed Foaming
Creek. He became so absorbed in his thoughts that he sprang to
his feet with a wild look when Selma's voice said, close by:

``May I interrupt a moment, Mr. Hull?''

He recovered slowly. His cheeks were pale and his voice
uncertain as he replied:

``You? I beg your pardon. This campaign has played smash with
my nerves.''

He now noted that she was regarding him with a glance so intense
that it seemed to concentrate all the passion and energy in that
slim, nervous body of hers. He said uncomfortably:

``You wished to see me?''

``I wonder what you were thinking about,'' she said in her
impetuous, direct way. ``It makes me almost afraid to ask what I
came to ask.''

``Won't you sit?'' said he.

``No, thanks,'' replied she.

``Then you'll compel me to stand. And I'm horribly tired.''

She seated herself upon the log. He made himself comfortable at
its other end.

``I've just come from Victor Dorn's house,'' said she. ``There
was a consultation among the leaders of our party. We have
learned that your people--Kelly and House--are going to steal the
election on the count this evening. They are committing
wholesale frauds now-- sending round gangs of repeaters,
intimidating our voters, openly buying votes at the polling
places-- paying men as much not to vote as they usually pay for

Davy, though latterly he had grown so much older and graver that
no one now thought of him as Davy, contrived to muster a smile of
amusement. ``You oughtn't to let them deceive you with that
silly talk, Miss Gordon. The losers always indulge in it. Your
good sense must tell you how foolish it is. The police are on
guard, and the courts of justice are open.''

``Yes--the police are on guard--to protect fraud and to drive us
away from the polls. And the courts are open--but not for us.''

David was gentle with her. ``I know how sincere you are,
Selma,'' said he. ``No doubt you believe those things. Perhaps
Dorn believes them, also--from repeating them so often. But all
the same I'm sorry to hear you say them.''

He tried to look at her. He found that his eyes were more
comfortable when his glance was elsewhere.

``This has been a sad campaign to me,'' he went on. ``I did not
appreciate before what demagogery meant --how dangerous it
is--how wicked, how criminally wicked it is for men to stir up
the lower classes against the educated leadership of the

Selma laughed contemptuously. ``What nonsense, David Hull--and
from YOU!'' she cried. ``By educated leadership do you mean the
traction and gas and water and coal and iron and produce thieves?

Or do you mean the officials and the judges who protect them and
license them to rob?'' Her eyes flashed. ``At this very moment,
in our town, those thieves and their agents, the police and the
courts, are committing the most frightful crime known to a free
people. Yet the masses are submitting peaceably. How long the
upper class has to indulge in violence, and how savagely cruel it
has to be, before the people even murmur. But I didn't come here
to remind you of what you already know. I came to ask you, as a
man whom I have respected, to assert his manhood--if there is any
of it left after this campaign of falsehood and shifting.''

``Selma!'' he protested energetically, but still avoiding her

``Those wretches are stealing that election for you, David Hull.
Are you going to stand for it? Or, will you go into town and
force Kelly to stop?''

``If anything wrong is being done by Kelly,'' said David, ``it
must be for Sawyer.''

Selma rose. ``At our consultation,'' said she quietly and even
with no suggestion of repressed emotion, ``they debated coming to
you and laying the facts before you. They decided against it.
They were right; I was wrong. I pity you, David Hull.

She walked away. He hesitated, observing her. His eyes lighted
up with the passion he believed his good sense had conquered.
``Selma, don't misjudge me!'' he cried, following her. ``I am
not the scoundrel they're making you believe me. I love you!''

She wheeled upon him so fiercely that he started back. ``How
dare you!'' she said, her voice choking with anger. ``You
miserable fraud! You bellwether for the plutocracy, to lead
reform movements off on a false scent, off into the marshes where
they'll be suffocated.'' She looked at him from head to foot
with a withering glance. ``No doubt, you'll have what's called a
successful career. You'll be their traitor leader for the
radicals they want to bring to confusion. When the people cry
for a reform you'll shout louder than anybody else--and you'll be
made leader--and you'll lead--into the marshes. Your followers
will perish, but you'll come back, ready for the next treachery
for which the plutocracy needs you. And you'll look honest and
respectable--and you'll talk virtue and reform and justice. But
you'll know what you are yourself. David Hull, I despise you as
much as you despise yourself.''

He did not follow as she walked away. He returned to the log,
and slowly reseated himself. He was glad of the violent headache
that made thought impossible.

Remsen City, boss-ridden since the Civil War, had experienced
many a turbulent election day and night. The rivalries of the
two bosses, contending for the spoils where the electorate was
evenly divided, had made the polling places in the poorer
quarters dangerous all day and scenes of rioting at night. But
latterly there had been a notable improvement. People who
entertained the pleasant and widespread delusion that statute
laws offset the habits and customs of men, restrain the strong
and protect the weak, attributed the improvement to sundry
vigorously worded enactments of the legislature on the subject of
election frauds. In fact, the real bottom cause of the change
was the ``gentlemen's agreement'' between the two party machines
whereunder both entered the service of the same master, the

Never in Remsen City history had there been grosser frauds than
those of this famous election day, and never had the frauds been
so open. A day of scandal was followed by an evening of shame;
for to overcome the League the henchmen of Kelly and House had to
do a great deal of counting out and counting in, of mutilating
ballots, of destroying boxes with their contents. Yet never had
Remsen City seen so peaceful an election. Representatives of the
League were at every polling place. They protested; they took
names of principals and witnesses in each case of real or
suspected fraud. They appealed to the courts from time to time
and got rulings--always against them, even where the letter of
the decision was in their favor. They did all this in the
quietest manner conceivable, without so much as an expression of
indignation. And when the results were announced--a sweeping
victory for Hull and the fusion ticket, Hugo Galland elected by
five hundred over Falconer--the Leaguers made no counter
demonstration as the drunken gangs of machine heelers paraded in
the streets with bands and torches.

Kelly observed and was uneasy. What could be the meaning of this
meek acceptance of a theft so flagrant that the whole town was
talking about it? What was Victor Dorn's ``game''?

He discovered the next day. The executive committee of the
League worked all night; the League's printers and presses worked
from six o'clock in the morning until ten. At half-past ten
Remsen City was flooded with a special edition of the New Day,
given away by Leaguers and their wives and sons and daughters--a
monster special edition paid for with the last money in the
League's small campaign chest. This special was a full account
of the frauds that had been committed. No indictment could have
been more complete, could have carried within itself more
convincing proofs of the truth of its charges. The New Day
declared that the frauds were far more extensive than it was able
to prove; but it insisted upon, and took into account, only those
frauds that could be proved in a ``court of justice --if Remsen
City had a court of justice, which the treatment of the League's
protectors at the Courthouse yesterday shows that it has not.''
The results of the League's investigations were tabulated. The
New Day showed:

First, that while Harbinger, the League candidate for Mayor, had
actually polled 5,280 votes at least, and David Hull had polled
less than 3,950, the election had been so manipulated that in the
official count 4,827 votes were given to Hull and 3,980 votes to

Second, that in the actual vote Falconer had beaten Hugo Galland
by 1,230 at least; that in the official count Galland was
declared elected by a majority of 672.

Third, that these results were brought about by wholesale
fraudulent voting, one gang of twenty-two repeaters casting
upwards of a thousand votes at the various polling places; also
by false counting, the number of votes reported exceeding the
number cast by between two and three thousand.

As a piece of workmanship the document was an amazing
illustration of the genius of Victor Dorn. Instead of violence
against violence, instead of vague accusation, here was a calm,
orderly proof of the League's case, of the outrage that had been
done the city and its citizens. Before night fell the day after
the election there was no one in Remsen City who did not know the

The three daily newspapers ignored the special. They continued
to congratulate Remsen City upon the ``vindication of the city's
fame for sound political sense,'' as if there had been no protest
against the official version of the election returns. Nor did
the press of the state or the country contain any reference to
the happenings at Remsen City. But Remsen City knew, and that
was the main point sought by Victor Dorn.

A committee of the League with copies of the special edition and
transcripts of the proofs in the possession of the League went in
search of David Hull and Hugo Galland. Both were out of town,
``resting in retirement from the fatigue of the campaign.'' The
prosecuting attorney of the county was seen, took the documents,
said he would look into the matter, bowed the committee out--and
did as Kelly counted on his doing. The grand jury heard, but
could not see its way clear to returning indictments; no one was
upon a grand jury in that county unless he had been passed by
Kelly or House. Judge Freilig and Judge Lansing referred the
committee to the grand jury and to the county prosecutor.

When the League had tried the last avenue to official justice and
had found the way barred, House meeting Kelly in the Palace Hotel
cafe', said:

``Well, Richard, I guess it's all over.'' Kelly nodded. ``You've
got away with the goods.''

``I'm surprised at Dorn's taking it so quietly,'' said House.
``I rather expected he'd make trouble.''

Kelly vented a short, grunting laugh. ``Trouble-- hell!''
ejaculated he. ``If he'd 'a' kicked up a fight we'd 'a' had him.

But he was too 'cute for that, damn him. So next time he wins.''

``Oh, folks ain't got no memories--especially for politics,''
said House easily.

``You'll see,'' retorted Kelly. ``The next mayor of this town'll
be a Leaguer, and by a majority that can't be trifled with. So
make hay while the sun shines, Joe. After this administration
there'll be a long stretch of bad weather for haying.''

``I'm trying to get hold of Hull,'' said House, and it was not
difficult to read his train of thought. ``I was a LEETLE afraid
he was going to be scared by that document of Dorn's--and was
going to do something crazy.''

Again Kelly emitted his queer grunting laugh. ``I guess he was a
LEETLE afraid he would, too, and ran away and hid to get back his

``Oh, he's all right. He's a pushing, level-headed fellow, and
won't make no trouble. Don't you think so?''

``Trouble? I should say not. How can he--if he takes the job?''

To which obvious logic no assent was necessary.

Davy's abrupt departure was for the exact reason Mr. Kelly
ascribed. And he had taken Hugo with him because he feared that
he would say or do something to keep the scandal from dying the
quick death of all scandals. There was the less difficulty in
dissuading him from staying to sun himself in the glories of his
new rank and title because his wife had cast him adrift for the
time and was stopping at the house of her father, whose death was
hourly expected.

Old Hastings had been in a stupor for several weeks. He
astonished everybody, except Dr. Charlton, by rousing on election
night and asking how the battle had gone.

``And he seemed to understand what I told him,'' said Jane.

``Certainly he understood,'' replied Charlton. ``The only part
of him that's in any sort of condition is his mind, because it's
the only part of him that's been properly exercised. Most people
die at the top first because they've never in all their lives
used their minds when they could possibly avoid it.''

In the week following the election he came out of his stupor
again. He said to the nurse:

``It's about supper time, ain't it?''

``Yes,'' answered she. ``They're all down at din-- supper.
Shall I call them?''

``No,'' said he. ``I want to go down to her room.''

``To Miss Jane's room?'' asked the puzzled nurse.

``To my wife's room,'' said Hastings crossly.

The nurse, a stranger, thought his mind was wandering.
``Certainly,'' said she soothingly. ``In a few minutes--as soon
as you've rested a while.''

``You're a fool!'' mumbled Hastings. ``Call Jinny.''

The nurse obeyed. When he repeated his request to Jane, she
hesitated. The tears rolled down his cheeks. ``I know what I'm
about,'' he pleaded. ``Send for Charlton. He'll tell you to let
me have my way.''

Jane decided that it was best to yield. The shrunken figure,
weighing so little that it was terrifying to lift it, was wrapped
warmly, and put in an invalid chair. With much difficulty the
chair was got out into the hall and down the stairs. Then they
wheeled it into the room where he was in the habit of sitting
after supper. When he was opposite the atrocious crayon
enlargement of his wife an expression of supreme content settled
upon his features. Said he:

``Go back to your supper, Jinny. Take the nurse woman with you.
I want to be by myself.''

The nurse glanced stealthily in from time to time during the next
hour. She saw that his eyes were open, were fixed upon the
picture. When Jane came she ventured to enter. She said:

``Do you mind my sitting with you, father?''

He did not answer. She went to him, touched him. He was dead.

As a rule death is not without mitigations, consolations even.
Where it is preceded by a long and troublesome illness,
disrupting the routine of the family and keeping everybody from
doing the things he or she wishes, it comes as a relief. In this
particular case not only was the death a relief, but also the
estate of the dead man provided all the chief mourners with
instant and absorbing occupation. If he had left a will, the
acrimony of the heirs would have been caused by dissatisfaction
with his way of distributing the property. Leaving no will, he
plunged the three heirs--or, rather, the five heirs, for the
husband of Martha and the wife of the son were most important
factors--he plunged the five heirs into a ferment of furious
dispute as to who was to have what. Martha and her husband and
the daughter-in-law were people of exceedingly small mind.
Trifles, therefore, agitated them to the exclusion of larger
matters. The three fell to quarreling violently over the
division of silverware, jewelry and furniture. Jane was so
enraged by the ``disgusting spectacle'' that she proceeded to
take part in it and to demand everything which she thought it
would irritate Martha Galland or Irene Hastings to have to give

The three women and Hugo--for Hugo loved petty wrangling--spent
day after day in the bitterest quarrels. Each morning Jane,
ashamed overnight, would issue from her room resolved to have no
part in the vulgar rowdyism. Before an hour had passed she would
be the angriest of the disputants. Except her own unquestioned
belongings there wasn't a thing in the house or stables about
which she cared in the least. But there was a principle at
stake--and for principle she would fight in the last ditch.

None of them wished to call in arbitrators or executors; why go
to that expense? So, the bickering and wrangling, the insults
and tears and sneers went on from day to day. At last they
settled the whole matter by lot--and by a series of easily
arranged exchanges where the results of the drawings were
unsatisfactory. Peace was restored, but not liking. Each of the
three groups--Hugo and Martha, Will and Irene, Jane in a group by
herself--detested the other two. They felt that they had found
each other out. As Martha said to Hugo, ``It takes a thing of
this kind to show people up in their true colors.'' Or, as Jane
said to Doctor Charlton, ``What beasts human beings are!''

Said he: ``What beasts circumstance makes of some o them

``You are charitable,'' said Jane.

``I am scientific,'' replied he. ``It's very intelligent to go
about distributing praise and blame. To do that is to obey a
slightly higher development of the instinct that leads one to
scowl at and curse the stone he stumps his toe on. The sensible
thing to do is to look at the causes of things--of brutishness in
human beings, for example--and to remove those causes.''

``It was wonderful, the way you dragged father back to life and
almost saved him. That reminds me. Wait a second, please.''

She went up to her room and got the envelope addressed to
Charlton which she had found in the drawer, as her father
directed. Charlton opened it, took out five bank notes each of a
thousand dollars. She glanced at the money, then at his face.
It did not express the emotion she was expecting. On the
contrary, its look was of pleased curiosity.

``Five thousand dollars,'' he said, reflectively. ``Your father
certainly was a queer mixture of surprises and contradictions.
Now, who would have suspected him of a piece of sentiment like
this? Pure sentiment. He must have felt that I'd not be able to
save him, and he knew my bill wouldn't be one-tenth this sum.''

``He liked you, and admired you,'' said Jane.

``He was very generous where he liked and admired.''

Charlton put the money back in the envelope, put the envelope in
his pocket. ``I'll give the money to the Children's Hospital,''
said he. ``About six months ago I completed the sum I had fixed
on as necessary to my independence; so, I've no further use for
money--except to use it up as it comes in.''

``You may marry some day,'' suggested Jane.

``Not a woman who wishes to be left richer than independent,''
replied he. ``As for the children, they'll be brought up to earn
their own independence. I'll leave only incubators and keepsakes
when I die. But no estate. I'm not that foolish and

``What a queer idea!'' exclaimed Jane.

``On the contrary, it's simplest common sense. The idea of
giving people something they haven't earned-- that's the queer

``You are SO like Victor Dorn!''

``That reminds me!'' exclaimed Charlton. ``It was very negligent
of me to forget. The day your father died I dropped in on Victor
and told him--him and Selma Gordon--about it. And both asked me
to take you their sympathy. They said a great deal about your
love for your father, and how sad it was to lose him. They were
really distressed.''

Jane's face almost brightened. ``I've been rather hurt because I
hadn't received a word of sympathy from-- them,'' she said.

``They'd have come, themselves, except that politics has made a
very ugly feeling against them--and Galland's your

``I understand,'' said Jane. ``But I'm not Galland-- and not of
that party.''

``Oh, yes, you are of that party,'' replied Charlton. ``You draw
your income from it, and one belongs to whatever he draws his
income from. Civilization means property--as yet. And it
doesn't mean men and women --as yet. So, to know the man or the
woman we look at the property.''

``That's hideously unjust,'' cried Jane.

``Don't be utterly egotistical,'' said Charlton. ``Don't attach
so much importance to your little, mortal, WEAK personality. Try
to realize that you're a mere chip in the great game of chance.
You're a chip with the letter P on it--which stands for
Plutocracy. And you'll be played as you're labeled.''

``You make it very hard for any one to like you.''

``Well--good-by, then.''

And ignoring her hasty, half-laughing, half-serious protests he
took himself away. She was intensely irritated. A rapid change
in her outward character had been going forward since her
father's death--a change in the direction of intensifying the
traits that had always been really dominant, but had been less
apparent because softened by other traits now rapidly whithering.

The cause of the change was her inheritance.

Martin Hastings, remaining all his life in utter ignorance of the
showy uses of wealth and looking on it with the eyes of a farm
hand, had remained the enriched man of the lower classes, at
heart a member of his original class to the end. The effect of
this upon Jane had been to keep in check all the showy and
arrogant, all the upper class, tendencies which education and
travel among the upper classes of the East and of Europe had
implanted in her. So long as plain old Martin lived, she could
not FEEL the position she had--or, rather, would some day
have--in the modern social system. But just as soon as he passed
away, just as soon as she became a great heiress, actually in
possession of that which made the world adore, that which would
buy servility, flattery, awe--just so soon did she begin to be an
upper-class lady.

She had acquired a superficial knowledge of business --enough to
enable her to understand what the various items in the long, long
schedule of her holdings meant. Symbols of her importance, of
her power. She had studied the ``great ladies'' she had met in
her travels and visitings. She had been impressed by the charm
of the artistic, carefully cultivated air of simplicity and
equality affected by the greatest of these great ladies as those
born to wealth and position. To be gentle and natural, to be
gracious--that was the ``proper thing.'' So, she now adopted a
manner that was if anything too kindly. Her pose, her mask,
behind which she was concealing her swollen and still swelling
pride and sense of superiority, as yet fitted badly. She
``overacted,'' as youth is apt to do. She would have given a
shrewd observer--one not dazzled by her wealth beyond the power
of clear sight--the impression that she was pitying the rest of
mankind, much as we all pity and forbear with a hopeless cripple.

But the average observer would simply have said: ``What a sweet,
natural girl, so unspoiled by her wealth!''--just as the hopeless
cripple says, ``What a polite person,'' as he gets the benefit of
effusive good manners that would, if he were shrewd, painfully
remind him that he was an unfortunate creature.

Of all the weeds that infest the human garden snobbishness, the
commonest, is the most prolific, and it is a mighty cross
breeder, too--modifying every flower in the garden, changing
colors from rich to glaring, changing odors from perfumes to
sickening-sweet or to stenches. The dead hands of Martin
Hastings scattered showers of shining gold upon his daughter's
garden; and from these seeds was springing a heavy crop of that
most prolific of weeds.

She was beginning to resent Charlton's manner-- bluff,
unceremonious, candid, at times rude. He treated women exactly
as he treated men, and he treated all men as intimates, free and
easy fellow travelers afoot upon a dusty, vulgar highway. She
had found charm in that manner, so natural to the man of no
pretense, of splendid physical proportions, of the health of a
fine tree. She was beginning to get into the state of mind at
which practically all very rich people in a civilized society
sooner or later arrive--a state of mind that makes it impossible
for any to live with or near them except hirelings and
dependents. The habit of power of any kind breeds intolerance of
equality of level intercourse. This is held in check, often held
entirely in check, where the power is based upon mental
superiority; for the very superiority of the mind keeps alive the
sense of humor and the sense of proportion. Not so the habit of
money power. For money power is brutal, mindless. And as it is
the only real power in any and all aristocracies, aristocracies
are inevitably brutal and brutalizing.

If Jane had been poor, or had remained a few years longer--until
her character was better set--under the restraining influence of
her unfrilled and unfrillable father, her passion for power, for
superiority would probably have impelled her to develop her mind
into a source of power and position. Fate abruptly gave her the
speediest and easiest means to power known in our plutocratic
civilization. She would have had to be superhuman in beauty of
character or a genius in mind to have rejected the short and easy
way to her goal and struggled on in the long and hard--and

She did not herself appreciate the change within herself. She
fancied she was still what she had been two weeks before. For as
yet nothing had occurred to enable her to realize her changed
direction, her changed view of life. Thus, she was still
thinking of Victor Dorn as she had thought of him; and she was
impatient to see him. She was now free FREE! She could, without
consulting anybody, have what she wanted. And she wanted Victor

She had dropped from her horse and with her arm through the
bridle was strolling along one of the quieter roads which Victor
often took in his rambles. It was a tonic October day, with
floods of sunshine upon the gorgeous autumnal foliage, never more
gorgeous than in that fall of the happiest alternations of frost
and warmth. She heard the pleasant rustle of quick steps in the
fallen leaves that carpeted the byroad. She knew it was he
before she glanced; and his first view of her face was of its
beauty enhanced by a color as delicate and charming as that in
the leaves about them.

She looked at his hands in which he was holding something half
concealed. ``What is it?'' she said, to cover her agitation.

He opened his hands a little wider. ``A bird,'' said he. ``Some
hunter has broken its wing. I'm taking it to Charlton for
repairs and a fair start for its winter down South.''

His eyes noted for an instant significantly her sombre riding
costume, then sought her eyes with an expression of simple and
friendly sympathy. The tears came to her eyes, and she turned
her face away. She for the first time had a sense of loss, a
moving memory of her father's goodness to her, of an element of
tenderness that had passed out of her life forever. And she felt
abjectly ashamed--ashamed of her relief at the lifting of the
burden of his long struggle against death, ashamed of her
miserable wranglings with Martha and Billy's wife, ashamed of her
forgetfulness of her father in the exultation over her wealth,
ashamed of the elaborately fashionable mourning she was
wearing--and of the black horse she had bought to match. She
hoped he would not observe these last flauntings of the purely
formal character of a grief that was being utilized to make a
display of fashionableness.

``You always bring out the best there is in me,'' said she.

He stood silently before her--not in embarrassment, for he was
rarely self-conscious enough to be embarrassed, but refraining
from speech simply because there was nothing to say.

``I haven't heard any of the details of the election,'' she went
on. ``Did you come out as well as you hoped?''

``Better,'' said he. ``As a result of the election the
membership of the League has already a little more than doubled.
We could have quadrupled it, but we are somewhat strict in our
requirements. We want only those who will stay members as long
as they stay citizens of Remsen City. But I must go on to
Charlton or he'll be out on his rounds.''

She caught his glance, which was inclined to avoid hers. She
gave him a pleading look. ``I'll walk with you part of the
way,'' she said.

He seemed to be searching for an excuse to get away. Whether
because he failed to find it or because he changed his mind, he
said: ``You'll not mind going at a good gait?''

``I'll ride,'' said she. ``It's not comfortable, walking fast in
these boots.''

He stood by to help her, but let her get into the saddle alone.
She smiled down at him with a little coquetry. ``Are you afraid
to touch me--to-day?'' she asked.

He laughed: ``The bird IS merely an excuse,'' he admitted.
``I've got back my self-control, and I purpose to keep it.''

She flushed angrily. His frankness now seemed to her to be
flavored with impertinent assurance. ``That's amusing,'' said
she, with an unpleasant smile. ``You have an extraordinary
opinion of yourself, haven't you?''

He shrugged his shoulders as if the subject did not interest him
and set off at a gait that compelled her horse to a rapid walk.
She said presently:

``I'm going to live at the old place alone for the present.
You'll come to see me?''

He looked at her. ``No,'' he said. ``As I told you a moment
ago, that's over. You'll have to find some one else to amuse
you--for, I understand perfectly, Jane, that you were only doing
what's called flirting. That sort of thing is a waste of
time--for me. I'm not competent to judge whether it's a waste
for you.''

She looked coldly down at him. ``You have changed since I last
saw you,'' she said. ``I don't mean the change in your manner
toward me. I mean something deeper. I've often heard that
politics makes a man deteriorate. You must be careful, Victor.''

``I must think about that,'' said he. ``Thank you for warning

His prompt acceptance of her insincere criticism made her
straightway repentant. ``No, it's I that have changed,'' she
said. ``Oh, I'm horrid!--simply horrid. I'm in despair about

``Any one who thinks about himself is bound to be,'' said he
philosophically. ``That's why one has to keep busy in order to
keep contented.'' He halted. ``I can save a mile and half an
hour by crossing these fields.'' He held the wounded bird in one
hand very carefully while he lifted his hat.

She colored deeply. ``Victor,'' she said, ``isn't there any way
that you and I can be friends?''

``Yes,'' replied he. ``As I told you before, by becoming one of
us. Those are impossible terms, of course. But that's the only
way by which we could be of use to each other. Jane, if I,
professing what I do profess, offered to be friends with you on
any other terms, you'd be very foolish not to reject my offer.
For, it would mean that I was a fraud. Don't you see that?''

``Yes,'' she admitted. ``But when I am with you I see everything
exactly as you represent it.''

``It's fortunate for you that I'm not disposed to take advantage
of that--isn't it?'' said he, with good-humored irony.

``You don't believe me!''

``Not altogether,'' he confessed. ``To be quite candid, I think
that for some reason or other I rouse in you an irresistible
desire to pose. I doubt if you realize it-- wholly. But you'd
be hard pressed just where to draw the line between the sincere
and the insincere, wouldn't you--honestly?''

She sat moodily combing at her horse's mane.

``I know it's cruel,'' he went on lightly, ``to deny anything,
however small, to a young lady who has always had her own way.
But in self-defense I must do it.''

``Why DO I take these things from you?'' she cried, in sudden
exasperation. And touching her horse with her stick, she was off
at a gallop.


From anger against Victor Dorn, Jane passed to anger against
herself. This was soon followed by a mood of self-denunciation,
by astonishment at the follies of which she had been guilty, by
shame for them. She could not scoff or scorn herself out of the
infatuation. But at least she could control herself against
yielding to it. Recalling and reviewing all he had said,
she--that is, her vanity--decided that the most important remark,
the only really important remark, was his declaration of
disbelief in her sincerity. ``The reason he has repulsed me--and
a very good reason it is--is that he thinks I am simply amusing
myself. If he thought I was in earnest, he would act very
differently. Very shrewd of him!''

Did she believe this? Certainly not. But she convinced herself
that she believed it, and so saved her pride. From this point
she proceeded by easy stages to doubting whether, if Victor had
taken her at her word, she would have married him. And soon she
had convinced herself that she had gone so far only through her
passion for conquest, that at the first sign of his yielding her
good sense would have asserted itself and she could have

``He knew me better than I knew myself,'' said she-- not so
thoroughly convinced as her pride would have liked, but far
better content with herself than in those unhappy hours of
humiliation after her last talk with him.

From the beginning of her infatuation there had been only a few
days, hardly more than a few hours, when the voice of prudence
and good sense had been silenced. Yes, he was right; they were
not suited to each other, and a marriage between them would have
been absurd. He did belong to a different, to a lower class, and
he could never have understood her. Refinement, taste, the
things of the life of luxury and leisure were incomprehensible to
him. It might be unjust that the many had to toil in squalor and
sordidness while the few were privileged to cultivate and to
enjoy the graces and the beauties; but, unjust or in some
mysterious way just, there was the fact. Her life was marked out
for her; she was of the elect. She would do well to accept her
good fortune and live as the gods had ordained for her.

If Victor had been different in that one respect! . . . The
infatuation, too, was a fact. The wise course was flight--and
she fled.

That winter, in Chicago and in New York, Jane amused herself--in
the ways devised by latter day impatience with the folly of
wasting a precious part of the one brief life in useless grief or
pretense of grief. In Remsen City she would have had to be very
quiet indeed, under penalty of horrifying public sentiment. But
Chicago and New York knew nothing of her grief, cared nothing
about grief of any kind. People in deep mourning were found in
the theaters, in the gay restaurants, wherever any enjoyment was
to be had; and very sensible it was of them, and proof of the
sincerity of their sorrow--for sincere sorrow seeks consolation
lest it go mad and commit suicide--does it not?

Jane, young, beautiful, rich, clever, had a very good time
indeed--so good that in the spring, instead of going back to
Remsen City to rest, she went abroad. More enjoyment--or, at
least, more of the things that fill in the time and spare one the
necessity of thinking.

In August she suddenly left her friends at St. Moritz and
journeyed back to Remsen City as fast as train and boat and train
could take her. And on the front veranda of the old house she
sat herself down and looked out over the familiar landscape and
listened to the katydids lulling the woods and the fields, and
was bored and wondered why she had come.

In a reckless mood she went down to see Victor Dorn. ``I am
cured,'' she said to herself. ``I must be cured. I simply can't
be small and silly enough to care for a country town labor
agitator after all I've been through --after the attentions I've
had and the men of the world I've met. I'm cured, and I must
prove it to myself .''

In the side yard Alice Sherrill and her children and several
neighbor girls were putting up pears and peaches, blackberries
and plums. The air was heavy with delicious odors of ripe and
perfect fruit, and the laughter, the bright healthy faces, the
strong graceful bodies in all manner of poses at the work
required made a scene that brought tears to Jane's eyes. Why
tears she could not have explained, but there they were. At far
end of the arbor, looking exactly as he had in the same place the
year before, sat Victor Dorn, writing. He glanced up, saw her!
Into his face came a look of welcome that warmed her chilled

``Hel-LO!'' he cried, starting up. ``I AM glad to see you.''

``I'm mighty glad to be back,'' said she, lapsing with keen
pleasure into her native dialect.

He took both her hands and shook them cordially, then looked at
her from head to foot admiringly. ``The latest from the Rue de
la Paix, I suppose?'' said he.

They seated themselves with the table between them. She, under
cover of commonplaces about her travels, examined him with the
utmost calmness. She saw every point wherein he fell short of
the men of her class-- the sort of men she ought to like and
admire. But, oh, how dull and stale and narrow and petty they
were, beside this man. She knew now why she had fled. She
didn't want to love Victor Dorn, or to marry him--or his sort of
man. But he, his intense aliveness, his keen, supple mind, had
spoiled her for those others. One of them she could not marry.
``I should go mad with boredom. One can no more live intimately
with fashion than one can eat gold and drink diamonds. And, oh,
but I am hungry and thirsty!''

``So you've had a good time?'' he was saying.

Superb,'' replied she. ``Such scenery--such variety of people.
I love Europe. But--I'm glad to be home again.''

``I don't see how you can stand it,'' said Victor.

``Why?'' inquired she in surprise.

``Unless I had an intense personal interest in the most active
kind of life in a place like this, I should either fly or take to
drink,'' replied he. ``In this world you've either got to invent
occupation for yourself or else keep where amusements and
distractions are thrust at you from rising till bed-time. And no
amusements are thrust at you in Remsen City.''

``But I've been trying the life of being amused,'' said Jane,
``and I've got enough.''

``For the moment,'' said Victor, laughing. ``You'll go back.
You've got to. What else is there for you?''

Her eyes abruptly became serious. ``That's what I've come home
to find out,'' said she. Hesitatingly, ``That's why I've come
here to-day.''

He became curiously quiet--stared at the writing before him on
the table. After a while he said:

``Jane, I was entirely too glad to see you to-day. I had----''

``Don't say that,'' she pleaded. ``Victor, it isn't a

His hand resting upon the table clenched into a fist and his
brows drew down. ``There can be no question but that it is a
weakness and a folly,'' he pushed on. ``I will not spoil your
life and mine. You are not for me, and I am not for you. The
reason we hang on to this is because each of us has a streak of
tenacity. We don't want each other, but we are so made that we
can't let go of an idea once it has gotten into our heads.''

``There is another reason,'' she said gently. ``We are, both of
us, alone--and lonesome, Victor.''

``But I'm not alone. I'm not lonesome----'' And there he
abruptly halted, to gaze at her with the expression of awakening
and astonishment. ``I believe I'm wrong. I believe you're
right,'' he exclaimed. ``I had never thought of that before.''

``You've been imagining your work, your cause was enough,'' she
went on in a quiet rational way that was a revelation--and a
self-revelation--of the real Jane Hastings. ``But it isn't.
There's a whole other side of your nature--the--the--the private
side--that's the expression--the private side. And you've been
denying to it its rights.''

He reflected, nodded slowly. ``I believe that's the truth,'' he
said. ``It explains a curious feeling I've had --a sort of
shriveling sensation.'' He gazed thoughtfully at her, his face
gradually relaxing into a merry smile.

``What is it?'' asked she, smiling in turn.

``We've both got to fall in love and marry,'' said he. ``Not
with each other, of course--for we're not in any way mated. But
love and marriage and the rest of it-- that's the solution. I
don't need it quite as much as you do, for I've got my work. But
I need it. Now that I see things in the right light I wonder
that I've been so stupidly blind. Why do we human beings always
overlook the obvious?''

``It isn't easy to marry,'' said Jane, rather drearily. ``It
isn't easy to find some one with whom one would be willing to
pass one's life. I've had several chances-- one or two of them
not entirely mercenary, I think. But not one that I could bring
myself to accept.''

``Vanity--vanity,'' said Victor. ``Almost any human being is
interesting and attractive if one will stop thinking about
oneself and concentrate on him or her.''

She smiled. ``It's evident you've never tried to fall in love.''

``The nearest I ever came to it was with you,'' replied he.
``But that was, of course, out of the question.''

``I don't admit that,'' said she, with an amusing kind of timid

``Let's be honest and natural with each other,'' urged he.
``Now, Jane, admit that in your heart of hearts you feel you
ought not to marry me.''

Her glance avoided his.

``Come--own up!'' cried he.

``I have thought of that side of it,'' she conceded.

``And if I hadn't piqued you by thinking of it, too, you'd never
have lingered on any other side of it,'' said he. ``Well! Now
that we've cleared the ground-- there's Davy. He's to be
nominated by the Republicans for Governor next week.''

``Davy? I had almost forgotten him. I'll think of Davy--and let
you know . . . And you? Who is there for you?''

``Oh--no one you know. My sister has recommended several girls
from time to time. I'll see.''

Jane gave the freest and heartiest laugh that had passed her lips
in more than a year. It was thus free and unrestrained because
he had not said what she was fearing he would say--had not
suggested the woman nearest him, the obvious woman. So eager was
she to discover what he thought of Selma, that she could hardly
restrain herself from suggesting her. Before they could say
anything more, two men came to talk with him. Jane could not but

She dined that night at Mrs. Sherlock's--Mrs. Sherlock was Davy's
oldest sister. Davy took her in, they talked--about his
career--through dinner, and he walked home with her in the
moonlight. He was full of his approaching nomination. He had
been making what is known as a good record, as mayor. That is,
he had struck out boldly at sundry petty abuses practised by a
low and comparatively uninfluential class of exploiters of the
people. He had been so busy with these showy trifles that there
had been no time for the large abuses. True, he had publicly
warned the gas company about its poor gas, and the water company
about its unwholesome water for the low-lying tenement districts,
and the traction company about the fewness and filthiness of its
cars. The gas company had talked of putting in improved
machinery; the water company had invited estimates on a
filtration plant; the traction company had said a vague something
about new cars as soon as car manufacturers could make definite
promises as to delivery. But nothing had been done--as yet.
Obviously a corporation, a large investment of capital, must be
treated with consideration. It would not do for a conservative,
fair minded mayor to rush into demagogery. So, Davy was content
to point proudly to his record of having ``made the big
corporations awaken to a sense of their duty.'' An excellent
record, as good as a reform politician, with a larger career in
prospect, could be expected to make. People spoke well of Mayor
Hull and the three daily papers eulogized him. Davy no longer
had qualms of conscience. He read the eulogies, he listened to
the flatteries of the conservative leading citizens he met at the
Lincoln and at the University, and he felt that he was all that
he in young enthusiasm had set out to be.

When he went to other cities and towns and to county fairs to
make addresses he was introduced as the man who had redeemed
Remsen City, as a shining example of the honest SANE man in
politics, as a man the bosses were afraid of, yet dared not try
to down. ``You can't fool the people.'' And were not the
people, notably those who didn't live in Remsen City and had only
read in their newspapers about the reform Republican mayor
--weren't they clamorous for Mayor Hull for governor! Thus, Davy
was high in his own esteem, was in that mood of profound
responsibility to righteousness and to the people wherein a man
can get the enthusiastic endorsement of his conscience for any
act he deems it expedient to commit in safeguarding and advancing
his career. His person had become valuable to his country. His
opponents were therefore anathema maranatha.

As he and Jane walked side by side in the tender moonlight, Jane

``What's become of Selma Gordon?''

A painful pause; then Davy, in a tone that secretly amused Jane:
``Selma? I see her occasionally--at a distance. She still
writes for Victor Dorn's sheet, I believe. I never see it.''

Jane felt she could easily guess why. ``Yes--it is irritating to
read criticisms of oneself,'' said she sweetly. Davy's
self-complacence had been most trying to her nerves.

Another long silence, then he said: ``About--Miss Gordon. I
suppose you were thinking of the things I confided to you last

``Yes, I was,'' confessed Jane.

``That's all over,'' said Mayor and prospective Governor Hull.
``I found I was mistaken in her.''

``Didn't you tell me that she refused you?'' pressed Jane, most

``We met again after that,'' said Davy--by way of proving that
even the most devoted apostle of civic righteousness is yet not
without his share of the common humanity, ``and from that time I
felt differently toward her. . . . I've never been able to
understand my folly. . . . I wonder if you could forgive me for

Davy was a good deal of a bore, she felt. At least, he seemed so
in this first renewing of old acquaintance. But he was a man of
purpose, a man who was doing much and would do more. And she
liked him, and had for him that feeling of sympathy and
comprehension which exists among people of the same region,
brought up in much the same way. Instead of cutting him off, she
temporized. Said she with a serenely careless laugh that might
have let a man more expert in the ways of women into the secret
of how little she cared about him: ``You mean forgive you for
dropping me so abruptly and running after her?''

``That's not exactly the way to put it,'' objected he.

``Put it any way you like,'' said Jane. ``I forgive you. I
didn't care at the time, and I don't care now.''

Jane was looking entrancing in that delicate light. Davy was
noting--was feeling--this. Also, he was reflecting--in a
high-minded way--upon the many material, mental and spiritual
advantages of a marriage with her. Just the woman to be a
governor's wife-- a senator's wife--a president's wife. Said he:

``Jane, my feeling for you has never changed.''

``Really?'' said Jane. ``Why, I thought you told me at one time
that you were in love with me?''

``And I always have been, dear--and am,'' said Davy, in his
deepest, tenderest tones. ``And now that I am winning a position
worthy of you----''

``I'll see,'' cut in Jane. ``Let's not talk about it tonight.''
She felt that if he kept on she might yield to the temptation to
say something mocking, something she would regret if it drove him
away finally.

He was content. The ice had been broken. The Selma Gordon
business had been disposed of. The way was clear for
straight-away love-making the next time they met. Meanwhile he
would think about her, would get steam up, would have his heart
blazing and his words and phrases all in readiness.

Every human being has his or her fundamental vanity that must be
kept alive, if life is to be or to seem to be worth living. In
man this vanity is usually some form of belief in his mental
ability, in woman some form of belief in her physical charm.
Fortunately-- or, rather, necessarily--not much is required to
keep this vanity alive--or to restore it after a shock, however
severe. Victor Dorn had been compelled to give Jane Hastings'
vanity no slight shock. But it recovered at once. Jane saw that
his failure to yield was due not to lack of potency in her
charms, but to extraordinary strength of purpose in his
character. Thus, not only was she able to save herself from any
sense of humiliation, but also she was without any feeling of
resentment against him. She liked him and admired him more than
ever. She saw his point of view; she admitted that he was
right--IF it were granted that a life such as he had mapped for
himself was better for him than the career he could have made
with her help.

Her heart, however, was hastily, even rudely thrust to the
background when she discovered that her brother had been gambling
in wheat with practically her entire fortune. With an adroitness
that irritated her against herself, as she looked back, he had
continued to induce her to disregard their father's cautionings
and to ask him to take full charge of her affairs. He had not
lost her fortune, but he had almost lost it. But for an
accidental stroke, a week of weather destructive to crops all
over the country, she would have been reduced to an income of not
more than ten or fifteen thousand a year--twenty times the income
of the average American family of five, but for Miss Hastings
straitened subsistence and a miserable state of shornness of all
the radiance of life. And, pushing her inquiries a little
farther, she learned that her brother would still have been rich,
because he had taken care to settle a large sum on his wife--in
such a way that if she divorced him it would pass back to him.

In the course of her arrangings to meet this situation and to
prevent its recurrence she saw much of Doctor Charlton. He gave
her excellent advice and found for her a man to take charge of
her affairs so far as it was wise for her to trust any one. The
man was a bank cashier, Robert Headley by name--one of those rare
beings who care nothing for riches for themselves and cannot
invest their own money wisely, but have a genius for fidelity and
wise counsel.

``It's a pity he's married,'' said Charlton. ``If he weren't I'd
urge you to take him as a husband.''

Jane laughed. A plainer, duller man than Headley it would have
been hard to find, even among the respectabilities of Remsen

``Why do you laugh?'' said Charlton. ``What is there absurd in a
sensible marriage?''

``Would you marry a woman because she was a good housekeeper?''

``That would be one of the requirements,'' said Charlton. ``I've
sense enough to know that, no matter how much I liked a woman
before marriage, it couldn't last long if she were incompetent.
She'd irritate me every moment in the day. I'd lie awake of
nights despising her. And how she would hate me!''

``I can't imagine you a husband,'' laughed Jane.

``That doesn't speak well for your imagination,' rejoined
Charlton. ``I have perfect health--which means that I have a
perfect disposition, for only people with deranged interiors are
sour and snappy and moody. And I am sympathetic and
understanding. I appreciate that women are rottenly brought up
and have everything to learn--everything that's worth while if
one is to live comfortably and growingly. So, I shouldn't expect
much at the outset beyond a desire to improve and a capacity to
improve. Yes, I've about all the virtues for a model husband--a
companionable, helpful mate for a woman who wants to be more of a
person every day she lives.''

``No, thanks,'' said Jane, mockingly. ``The advertisement reads
well, but I don't care to invest.''

``Oh, I looked you over long ago,'' said Charlton with a coolness
that both amused and exasperated her. ``You wouldn't do at all.
You are very attractive to look at and to talk with. Your money
would be useful to some plans I've got for some big sanatoriums
along the line of Schulze's up at Saint Christopher. But---''
He shook his head, smiling at her through a cloud of cigarette

``Go on,'' urged Jane. ``What's wrong with me?''

``You've been miseducated too far and too deeply. You KNOW too
much that isn't so. You've got the upper class American woman
habit of thinking about yourself all the time. You are an
indifferent housekeeper, and you think you are good at it. You
don't know the practical side of life--cooking, sewing, house
furnishing, marketing. You're ambitious for a show career--the
sort Davy Hull--excuse me, Governor David Hull--is making so
noisily. There's just the man for you. You ought to marry.
Marry Hull.''

Jane was furiously angry. She did not dare show it; Charlton
would merely laugh and walk away, and perhaps refuse to be
friends with her. It exasperated her to the core, the narrow
limitations of the power of money. She could, through the power
of her money, do exactly as she pleased to and with everybody
except the only kind of people she cared about dominating; these
she was apparently the less potent with because of her money.
It seemed to put them on their mettle and on their guard.

She swallowed her anger. ``Yes, I've got to get married,'' said
she. ``And I don't know what to do about it.''

``Hull,'' said Charlton.

``Is that the best advice you can give?'' said she disdainfully.

``He needs you, and you need him. You like him-- don't you?''

``Very much.''

``Then--the thing's done. Davy isn't the man to fail to seize an
opportunity so obviously to his advantage. Not that he hasn't a
heart. He has a big one--does all sorts of gracious,
patronizing, kind things--does no end of harm. But he'd no more
let his emotions rule his life than--than--Victor Dorn--or I, for
that matter.''

Jane colored; a pathetic sadness tinged the far-away expression
of her eyes.

``No doubt he's half in love with you already. Most men are who
know you. A kindly smile and he'll be kneeling.''

``I don't want David Hull,'' cried Jane. ``Ever since I can
remember they've been at me to marry him. He bores me. He
doesn't make me respect him. He never could control me--or teach
me--or make me look up to him in any way. I don't want him, and
I won't have him.''

``I'm afraid you've got to do it,'' said Charlton. ``You act as
if you realized it and were struggling and screaming against
manifest destiny like a child against a determined mother.''

Jane's eyes had a look of terror. ``You are joking,'' said she.
``But it frightens me, just the same.''

``I am not joking,'' replied he. ``I can hear the wedding
bells--and so can you.''

``Don't!'' pleaded Jane. ``I've so much confidence in your
insight that I can't bear to hear you saying such things even to
tease me. . . . Why haven't you told me about these sanatoriums
you want?''

``Because I've been hoping I could devise some way of getting
them without the use of money. Did it ever occur to you that
almost nothing that's been of real and permanent value to the
world was built with money? The things that money has done have
always been badly done.''

``Let me help you,'' said Jane earnestly. ``Give me something to
do. Teach me how to do something. I am SO bored!--and so eager
to have an occupation. I simply can't lead the life of my class.

``You want to be a lady patroness--a lady philanthropist,'' said
Charlton, not greatly impressed by her despair. ``That's only
another form of the life of your class--and a most offensive

``Your own terms--your own terms, absolutely,'' cried Jane in

``No--marry Hull and go into upper and middle class politics.
You'll be a lady senator or a lady ambassador or cabinet officer,
at least.''

``I will not marry David Hull--or anybody, just yet,'' cried
Jane. ``Why should I? I've still got ten years where there's a
chance of my being able to attract some man who--attracts me.
And after that I can buy as good a husband as any that offers
now. Doctor Charlton, I'm in desperate, deadly earnest. And I
ask you to help me.''

``My own terms?''

``I give you my word.''

``You'll have to give your money outright. No strings attached.
No chance to be a philanthropist. Also, you'll have to
work--have to educate yourself as I instruct you.''

``Yes--yes. Whatever you say.''

Charlton looked at her dubiously. ``I'm a fool to have anything
to do with this,'' he said. ``You aren't in any way a suitable
person--any more than I'm the sort of man you want to assist you
in your schemes. You don't realize what tests you're to be put

``I don't care,'' said Jane.

``It's a chance to try my theory,'' mused he. ``You know, I
insist we are all absolutely the creatures of circumstance--that
character adapts itself to circumstance--that to change a man or
a town or a nation --or a world--you have only to change their
fundamental circumstances.''

``You'll try me?''

``I'll think about it,'' said Charlton. ``I'll talk with Victor
Dorn about it.''

``Whatever you do, don't talk to him,'' cried Jane, in terror.
``He has no faith in me--'' She checked herself, hastily
added--``in anybody outside his own class.''

``I never do anything serious without consulting Victor,'' said
Charlton firmly. ``He's got the best mind of any one I know, and
it is foolish to act without taking counsel of the best.''

``He'll advise against it,'' said Jane bitterly.

``But I may not take his advice literally,'' said Charlton.
``I'm not in mental slavery to him. I often adapt his advice to
my needs instead of adopting it outright.''

And with that she had to be content.

She passed a day and night of restlessness, and called him on the
telephone early the following morning. As she heard his voice
she said:

``Did you see Victor Dorn last night?''

``Where are you?'' asked Charlton.

``In my room,'' was her impatient answer.

``In bed?''

``I haven't gotten up yet,'' said she. ``What IS the matter?''

``Had your breakfast?''

``No. I've rung for it. It'll be here in a few minutes.''

``I thought so,'' said Charlton.

``This is very mysterious--or very absurd,'' said Jane.

``Please ring off and call your kitchen and tell them to put your
breakfast on the dining-room table for you in three-quarters of
an hour. Then get up, take your bath and your exercises--dress
yourself for the day--and go down and eat your breakfast. How
can you hope to amount to anything unless you live by a rational
system? And how can you have a rational system unless you begin
the day right?''

``DID you see Victor Dorn?'' said Jane--furious at his
impertinence but restraining herself.

``And after you have breakfasted,'' continued Charlton, ``call me
up again, and I'll answer your questions.''

With that he hung up his receiver. Jane threw herself angrily
back against her pillow. She would lie there for an hour, then
call him again. But--if he should ask her whether she had obeyed
his orders? True, she might lie to him; but wouldn't that be too
petty? She debated with herself for a few minutes, then obeyed
him to the letter. As she was coming through the front hall
after breakfast, he appeared in the doorway.

``You didn't trust me!'' she cried reproachfully.

``Oh, yes,'' replied he. ``But I preferred to talk with you face
to face.''

``DID you see Mr. Dorn?''

Charlton nodded. ``He refused to advise me. He said he had a
personal prejudice in your favor that would make his advice

Jane glowed--but not quite so thrillingly as she would have
glowed in the same circumstances a year before.

``Besides, he's in no state of mind to advise anybody about
anything just now,'' said Charlton.

Jane glanced sharply at him. ``What do you mean?'' she said.

``It's not my secret,'' replied Charlton.

``You mean he has fallen in love?''

``That's shrewd,'' said Charlton. ``But women always assume a
love affair.''

``With whom?'' persisted Jane.

``Oh, a very nice girl. No matter. I'm not here to talk about
anybody's affairs but yours--and mine.''

``Answer just one question,'' said Jane, impulsively. ``Did he
tell you anything about--me?''

Charlton stared--then whistled. ``Are YOU in love with him,
too?'' he cried.

Jane flushed--hesitated--then met his glance frankly. ``I WAS,''
said she.


``I mean that I'm over it,'' said she. ``What have you decided
to do about me?''

Charlton did not answer immediately. He eyed her narrowly--an
examination which she withstood well. Then he glanced away and
seemed to be reflecting. Finally he came back to her question.
Said he:

``To give you a trial. To find out whether you'll do.''

She drew a long sigh of relief.

``Didn't you guess?'' he went on, smilingly, nodding his round,
prize-fighter head at her. ``Those suggestions about bed and
breakfast--they were by way of a beginning.''

``You must give me a lot to do,'' urged she. ``I mustn't have a
minute of idle time.''

He laughed. ``Trust me,'' he said.

While Jane was rescuing her property from her brother and was
safeguarding it against future attempts by him, or by any of that
numerous company whose eyes are ever roving in search of the most
inviting of prey, the lone women with baggage--while Jane was
thus occupied, David Hull was, if possible, even busier and more
absorbed. He was being elected governor. His State was being
got ready to say to the mayor of Remsen City, ``Well done, good
and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things;
I will make thee ruler over many.''

The nomination was not obtained for him without difficulty. The
Republican party--like the Democratic --had just been brought
back under ``safe and sane and conservative'' leadership after a
prolonged debauch under the influence of that once famous and
revered reformer, Aaron Whitman, who had not sobered up or
released the party for its sobering until his wife's extravagant
entertaining at Washington had forced him to accept large
``retainers'' from the plutocracy. The machine leaders had in
the beginning forwarded the ambitions of Whitman under the
impression that his talk of a ``square deal'' was ``just the
usual dope'' and that Aaron was a ``level-headed fellow at
bottom.'' It had developed--after they had let Aaron become a
popular idol, not to be trifled with--it had developed that he
was almost sincere--as sincere as can be expected of an
ambitious, pushing fellow. Now came David Hull, looking
suspiciously like Whitman at his worst-and a more hopeless case,
because he had money a plenty, while Whitman was luckily poor and
blessed with an extravagant wife. True, Hull had the backing of
Dick Kelly-- and Kelly was not the man ``to hand the boys a
lemon.'' Still Hull looked like a ``holy boy,'' talked like one,
had the popular reputation of having acted like one as mayor--and
the ``reform game'' was certainly one to attract a man who could
afford it and was in politics for position only. Perhaps Dick
wanted to be rid of Hull for the rest of his term, and was
``kicking him upstairs.'' It would be a shabby trick upon his
fellow leaders, but justifiable if there should be some big
``job'' at Remsen City that could be ``pulled off'' only if Hull
were out of the way.

The leaders were cold until Dick got his masters in the Remsen
City branch of the plutocracy to pass the word to the
plutocracy's general agents at Indianapolis-- a certain
well-known firm of political bankers. Until that certification
came the leaders, having no candidate who stood a chance of
winning, were ready to make a losing campaign and throw the
election to the Democrats--not a serious misfortune at a time
when the machines of the two parties had become simply friendly
rival agents for the same rich master.

There was a sharp fight in the convention. The anti-machine
element, repudiating Whitman under the leadership of a shrewd and
honest young man named Joe Bannister, had attacked Hull in the
most shocking way. Bannister had been reading Victor Dorn's New
Day and had got a notion of David Hull as man and mayor different
from the one made current by the newspapers. He made a speech on
the floor of the convention which almost caused a riot and nearly
cost Davy the nomination. That catastrophe was averted by
adjournment. Davy gave Dick Kelly's second lieutenant, Osterman,
ten thousand in cash, of which Osterman said there was pressing
need ``for perfectly legitimate purposes, I assure you, Mr.
Mayor.'' Next day the Bannister faction lost forty and odd
sturdy yeomen from districts where the crops had been painfully
short, and Davy was nominated.

In due time the election was held, and Mayor Hull became Governor
Hull by a satisfactory majority for so evenly divided a State.
He had spent--in contributions to the machine campaign
fund--upwards of one hundred thousand dollars. But that seemed a
trifling sacrifice to make for reform principles and for keeping
the voice of the people the voice of God. He would have been
elected if he had not spent a cent, for the Democratic machine,
bent on reorganizing back to a sound basis with all real
reformers or reformers tainted with sincerity eliminated, had
nominated a straight machine man--and even the politicians know
that the people who decide elections will not elect a machine man
if they have a chance to vote for any one else. It saddened
David Hull, in the midst of victory, that his own town and county
went against him, preferring the Democrat, whom it did not know,
as he lived at the other end of the State. Locally the offices
at stake were all captured by the ``Dorn crowd.'' At last the
Workingmen's League had a judge; at last it could have a day in
court. There would not be a repetition of the great frauds of
the Hull-Harbinger campaign.

By the time David had sufficient leisure to reopen the heart
department of his ambition, Jane was deep in the effort to show
Doctor Charlton how much intelligence and character she had. She
was serving an apprenticeship as trained nurse in the Children's
Hospital, where he was chief of the staff, and was taking several
extra courses with his young assistants. It was nearly two weeks
after David's first attempt to see her when her engagements and
his at last permitted this meeting. Said he:

``What's this new freak?''

``I can't tell you yet,'' replied she. ``I'm not sure, myself.''

``I don't see how you can endure that fellow Charlton. They say
he's as big a crank in medicine as he is in politics.''

``It's all of a piece,'' said Jane, tranquilly. ``He says he
gets his political views from his medicine and his medical ideas
from his politics.''

``Don't you think he's a frightful bounder?''

``Frightful,'' said Jane.

``Fresh, impudent--conceited. And he looks like a prize

``At some angles--yes,'' conceded Jane. ``At others, he's almost

``The other day, when I called at the hospital and they wouldn't
take my name in to you--'' David broke off to vent his
indignation--``Did you ever hear of such impertinence!''

``And you the governor-elect,'' laughed Jane. ``Shall I tell you
what Doctor Charlton said? He said that a governor was simply a
public servant, and anything but a public representative--usually
a public disgrace. He said that a servant's business was
attending to his own job and not hanging round preventing his
fellow servants from attending to their jobs.''

``I knew he had low and vulgar views of public affairs,'' said
David. ``What I started to say was that I saw him talking to you
that day, across the court, and you seemed to be enjoying his

``ENJOYING it? I love it,'' cried Jane. ``He makes me laugh, he
makes me cold with rage, he gives me a different sensation every
time I see him.''

``You LIKE--him?''

``Immensely. And I've never been so interested or so happy in my
life.'' She looked steadily at him. ``Nothing could induce me
to give it up. I've put everything else out of my mind.''

Since the dismal end of his adventure with Selma Gordon, David
had become extremely wary in his dealings with the female sex.
He never again would invite a refusal; he never again would put
himself in a position where a woman might feel free to tell him
her private opinion of him. He reflected upon Jane's words.
They could have but the one meaning. Not so calmly as he would
have liked, but without any embarrassing constraint, he said:

``I'm glad you've found what suits you, at last. It isn't
exactly the line I'd have thought a girl such as you would
choose. You're sure you are not making a mistake?''

``Quite,'' said Jane.

``I should think you'd prefer marriage--and a home --and a social
circle--and all that,'' ventured David.

``I'll probably not marry.''

``No. You'd hardly take a doctor.''

``The only one I'd want I can't get,'' said Jane.

She wished to shock David, and she saw with pleasure that she had
succeeded. Indeed so shocked was he that in a few minutes he
took leave. And as he passed from her sight he passed from her

Victor Dorn described Davy Hull's inaugural address as ``an
uninteresting sample of the standard reform brand of artificial
milk for political infants.'' The press, however, was
enthusiastic, and substantial people everywhere spoke of it as
having the ``right ring,'' as being the utterance of a ``safe,
clean man whom the politicians can't frighten or fool.'' In this
famous speech David urged everybody who was doing right to keep
on doing so, warned everybody who was doing wrong that they would
better look out for themselves, praised those who were trying to
better conditions in the right way, condemned those who were
trying to do so in the wrong way. It was all most eloquent, most
earnest. Some few people were disappointed that he had not
explained exactly what and whom he meant by right and by wrong;
but these carping murmurs were drowned in the general acclaim. A
man whose fists clenched and whose eyes flashed as did David
Hull's must ``mean business''--and if no results came of these
words, it wouldn't be his fault, but the machinations of wicked
plutocrats and their political agents.

``Isn't it disgusting!'' exclaimed Selma, reading an impassioned
paragraph aloud to Victor Dorn. ``It almost makes me despair
when I see how people--our sort of people, too--are taken in by
such guff. And they stand with their empty picked pockets and
cheer this man, who's nothing but a stool pigeon for

``It's something gained,'' observed Victor tranquilly, ``when
politicians have to denounce the plutocracy in order to get
audiences and offices. The people are beginning to know what's
wrong. They read into our friend Hull's generalities what they
think he ought to mean--what they believe he does mean. The next
step is--he'll have to do something or they'll find him out.''

``He do anything?'' Selma laughed derisively. ``He hasn't the
courage--or the honesty.''

``Well--`patience and shuffle the cards,' as Sancho Panza says.
We're winning Remsen City. And our friends are winning a little
ground here, and a little there and a little yonder--and
soon--only too soon-- this crumbling false politics will collapse
and disappear. Too soon, I fear. Before the new politics of a
work-compelling world for the working class only is ready to be

Selma had been only half attending. She now said abruptly, with
a fluttering movement that suggested wind blowing strongly across
open prairies under a bright sky:

``I've decided to go away.''

``Yes, you must take a vacation,'' said Victor. ``I've been
telling you that for several years. And you must go away to the
sea or the mountains where you'll not be harassed by the fate of
the human race that you so take to heart.''

``I didn't mean a vacation,'' said Selma. ``I meant to
Chicago--to work there.''

``You've had a good offer?'' said Victor. ``I knew it would
come. You've got to take it. You need the wider experience--the
chance to have a paper of your own--or a work of your own of some
kind. It's been selfishness, my keeping you all this time.''

Selma had turned away. With her face hidden from him she said,
``Yes, I must go.''

``When?'' said Victor.

``As soon as you can arrange for some one else.''

``All right. I'll look round. I've no hope of finding any one
to take your place, but I can get some one who will do.''

``You can train any one,'' said Selma. ``Just as you trained

``I'll see what's to be done,'' was all he said.

A week passed--two weeks. She waited; he did not bring up the
subject. But she knew he was thinking of it; for there had been
a change in his manner toward her--a constraint, a
self-consciousness theretofore utterly foreign to him in his
relations with any one. Selma was wretched, and began to show it
first in her appearance, then in her work. At last she burst

``Give that article back to me,'' she cried. ``It's rotten. I
can't write any more. Why don't you tell me so frankly? Why
don't you send me away?''

``You're doing better work than I am,'' said he. ``You're eager
to be off--aren't you? Will you stay a few days longer? I must
get away to the country-- alone--to get a fresh grip on myself.
I'll come back as soon as I can, and you'll be free. There'll be
no chance for vacations after you're gone.''

``Very well,'' said she. She felt that he would think this
curtness ungracious, but more she could not say.

He was gone four days. When he reappeared at the office he was
bronzed, but under the bronze showed fatigue--in a man of his
youth and strength sure sign of much worry and loss of sleep. He
greeted her almost awkwardly, his eyes avoiding hers, and sat
down to opening his accumulated mail. Although she was furtively
observing him she started when he abruptly said:

``You know you are free to go--at any time.''

``I'll wait until you catch up with your work,'' she suggested.

``No--never mind. I'll get along. I've kept you out of all
reason. . . . The sooner you go the better. I've got to get
used to it, and--I hate suspense.''

``Then I'll go in the morning,'' said Selma. ``I've no
arrangements to make--except a little packing that'll take less
than an hour. Will you say good-by for me to any one who asks?
I hate fusses, and I'll be back here from time to time.''

He looked at her curiously, started to speak, changed his mind
and resumed reading the letter in his hand. She turned to her
work, sat pretending to write. In fact she was simply
scribbling. Her eyes were burning and she was fighting against
the sobs that came surging. He rose and began to walk up and
down the room. She hastily crumpled and flung away the sheet on
which she had be scrawling; he might happen to glance at her desk
and see. She bent closer to the paper and began to
write--anything that came into her head. Presently the sound of
his step ceased. An uncontrollable impulse to fly seized her.
She would get up--would not put on her hat--would act as if she
were simply going to the street door for a moment. And she would
not return--would escape the danger of a silly breakdown. She
summoned all her courage, suddenly rose and moved swiftly toward
the door. At the threshold she had to pause; she could not
control her heart from a last look at him.

He was seated at his table, was staring at its litter of letters,
papers and manuscripts with an expression so sad that it
completely transformed him. She forgot herself. She said


He did not hear.

``Victor,'' she repeated a little more loudly.

He roused himself, glanced at her with an attempt at his usual
friendly smile of the eyes.

``Is there something wrong that you haven't told me about?'' she

``It'll pass,'' said he. ``I'll get used to it.'' With an
attempt at the manner of the humorous philosopher, ``Man is the
most adaptable of all the animals. That's why he has distanced
all his relations. I didn't realize how much our association
meant to me until you set me to thinking about it by telling me
you were going. I had been taking you for granted--a habit we
easily fall into with those who simply work with and for us and
don't insist upon themselves.''

She was leaning against the frame of the open door into the hall,
her hands behind her back. She was gazing out of the window
across the room.

``You,'' he went on, ``are as I'd like to be--as I imagined I
was. Your sense of duty to the cause orders you elsewhere, and
you go--like a good soldier, with never a backward glance.''

She shook her head, but did not speak.

``With never a backward glance,'' he repeated. ``While I--'' He
shut his lips together firmly and settled himself with fierce
resolution to his work. ``I beg your pardon,'' he said. ``This
is--cowardly. As I said before, I shall get myself in hand
again, and go on.''

She did not move. The breeze of the unseasonably warm and
brilliant day fluttered her thick, loosely gathered hair about
her brow. Her strange, barbaric little face suggested that the
wind was blowing across it a throng of emotions like the clouds
of a driven storm.

A long silence. He suddenly flung out his arms in a despairing
gesture and let them fall to the table. At the crash she
startled, gazed wildly about.

``Selma!'' he cried. ``I must say it. I love you.''

A profound silence fell. After a while she went softly across
the room and sat down at her desk.

``I think I've loved you from the first months of your coming
here to work--to the old office, I mean. But we were always
together--every day--all day long-- working together--I thinking
and doing nothing without your sharing in it. So, I never
realized. Don't misunderstand. I'm not trying to keep you here.

It's simply that I've got the habit of telling you everything--
of holding back nothing from you.''

``I was going,'' she said, ``because I loved you.''

He looked at her in amazement.

``That day you told me you had decided to get married-- and asked
my advice about the girls among our friends--that was the day I
began to feel I'd have to go. It's been getting worse ever

Once more silence, both looking uneasily about, their glances
avoiding each other. The door of the printing room opened, and
Holman, the printer, came in, his case in his grimy hand. Said

``Where's the rest of that street car article?''

``I beg your pardon,'' said Selma, starting up and taking some
manuscript from her desk and handing it to him.

``Louis,'' said Victor, as Holmes was retreating, ``Selma and I
are going to be married.''

Louis paused, but did not look round. ``That ain't what'd be
called news,'' said he. ``I've known it for more than three

He moved on toward his room. ``I'll be ready for that leading
article in half an hour. So, you'd better get busy.''

He went out, closing the door behind him. Selma and Victor
looked at each other and burst out laughing. Then--still
laughing--they took hold of hands like two children. And the
next thing they knew they were tight in each other's arms, and
Selma was sobbing wildly.


When Jane had finished her apprenticeship, Doctor Charlton asked
her to marry him. Said Jane:

``I never knew you to be commonplace before. I've felt this
coming for some time, but I expected it would be in the form of
an offer to marry me.''

She promptly accepted him--and she has not, and will not regret
it. So far as a single case can prove a theory, Jane's case has
proved Charlton's theory that environment determines character.
His alternations of tenderness and brusqueness, of devotion to
her and devotion to his work, his constant offering of something
new and his unremitting insistence upon something new from her
each day make it impossible for her to develop the slightest
tendency toward that sleeping sickness wherewith the germ of
conventionality inflicts any mind it seizes upon.

David Hull, now temporarily in eclipse through over caution in
radical utterance, is gathering himself for a fresh spurt that
will doubtless place him at the front in politics again. He has
never married. The belief in Remsen City is that he is a victim
of disappointed love for Jane Hastings. But the truth is that he
is unable to take his mind off himself long enough to be come
sufficiently interested in another human being. There is no
especial reason why he has thus far escaped the many snares that
have been set for him because of his wealth and position. Who
can account for the vagaries of chance?

The Workingmen's League now controls the government of Remsen
City. It gives an honest and efficient administration, and keeps
the public service corporations as respectful of the people as
the laws will permit. But, as Victor Dorn always warned the
people, little can be done until the State government is
conquered--and even then there will be the national government to
see that all the wrongs of vested rights are respected and that
the people shall have little to say, in the management of their
own affairs. As all sensible people know, any corrupt
politician, or any greedy plutocrat, or any agent of either is a
safer and better administrator of the people's affairs than the
people themselves.

The New Day is a daily with a circulation for its weekly edition
that is national. And Victor and Selma are still its editors,
though they have two little boys to bring up.

Jane and Selma see a great deal of each other, and are friendly,
and try hard to like each other. But they are not friends.

Dick Kelly's oldest son, graduated from Harvard, is the leader of
the Remsen City fashionable set. Joe House's only son is a
professional gambler and sets the pace among the sports.

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