Part 4 out of 5
"Better than nothing," suggested Culver, with a pitiful attempt
to be hopeful.
Merriweather shrugged his shoulders. "Let's get some supper,"
he said to Culver. Then to Larkin: "Well, Joe, you'll have to
try promises. Will you keep this cash or shall I?"
"You might as well keep it," replied Larkin, with a string of
oaths. "It'd be ruination to pay one without paying all.
Perhaps you can use some of it between ballots to-morrow."
Then, sharply to Culver: "You've telegraphed Mr. Dumont?"
"Of course," said Culver. "And it took some time as I had to
put the whole story into cipher."
As Culver and Merriweather were seated, with the dinner before
them which Culver did not touch, and which Merriweather ate
placidly, Culver asked him whether there was "any hope at all."
"There's always hope," replied Merriweather. "Promises,
especially from Joe Larkin, will go a long way, though they don't
rouse the white hot enthusiasm that cold cash in the pocket does.
We'll pull through all right." He ate for a while in silence.
Then: "This Mrs. Dumont must be an uncommon woman." A few
more mouthfuls and with his small, icy, mirthless laugh, he
added: "I've got one something like her at home. I keep her
Culver decided to spend the night at the hotel. He hung round
the hotel office until two in the morning, expecting and dreading
Dumont's reply to his telegram. But nothing came either for him
or for Merriweather. " Queer we don't get word of some sort,
isn't it?" said he to Merriweather the next morning, as the
latter was leaving for the convention.
Merriweather made no reply beyond a smile so faint that Culver
barely saw it.
"She was right, after all," thought Culver, less despondent.
"I'll get the money just before I leave and take it back. And
I'll not open this subject with Dumont. Maybe he'll never speak
of it to me."
And Dumont never did.
A MAN IN HIS MIGHT.
Olivia came to attend the convention as Fred was a delegate from
Marion County. Pauline and Gladys accepted her invitation and
shared her box--the convention was held in the Saint X Grand
Opera House, the second largest auditorium in the state.
Pauline, in the most retired corner, could not see the Marion
County delegation into which Scarborough went by substitution.
But she had had a glimpse of him as she came in--he was sitting
beside Fred Pierson and was gazing straight ahead, as if lost in
thought. He looked tired and worn, but not cast down.
"You should have been here, Polly, when Scarborough came in,"
said Olivia, who was just in front of her. "They almost tore
the roof off. He's got the audience with him, even if the
delegates aren't. A good many of the delegates applauded, too,"
she added--but in a significantly depressed tone.
"Why isn't he a candidate, Mrs. Pierson?" asked Gladys.
"They wanted him to be, of course," replied Olivia, "and I
think it was a mistake that he didn't consent. But he wouldn't
hear of it. He said it simply wouldn't do for him to make the
fight to carry the convention for himself. He said that, even if
he were nominated, the other side would use it against him."
"That seems reasonable," said Gladys.
"But it isn't," replied Olivia. "He may not know it but he
can lead men where they wouldn't go for his merely sending
"I suppose it was his modesty," suggested Gladys.
"Modesty's a good deal of a vice, especially in a leader,"
There was an hour of dullness--routine business, reports of
committees, wearisome speeches. But, like every one of those
five thousand people, Pauline was in a fever of anticipation.
For, while it was generally assumed that Scarborough and his
friends had no chance and while Larkin was apparently carrying
everything through according to program, still it was impossible
to conceive of such a man as Scarborough accepting defeat on test
votes tamely taken. He would surely challenge. Larkin watched
him uneasily, wondering at what point in the proceedings the gage
would be flung down. Even Merriweather could not keep still, but
flitted about, his nervousness of body contrasting strangely with
his calmness of face; himself the most unquiet man in the hall,
he diffused quiet wherever he paused.
At last came the call for nominations. When the secretary of the
convention read Cass from the roll of counties, a Larkin henchman
rose and spoke floridly for twenty minutes on the virtues of John
Frankfort, put up as the Larkin "draw-fire," the pretended
candidate whose prearranged defeat was to be used on the stump as
proof that Boss Larkin and his gang had been downed. At the call
of Hancock County, another--a secret--Larkin henchman rose to
eulogize "that stanch foe of corporate corruption and
aggression, Hancock County's favorite son, the people's judge,
Judge Edward Howel Graney!" Then the roll-call proceeded amid
steadily rising excitement which abruptly died into silence as
the clerk shouted, with impressive emphasis, "Wayne!" That was
the home county of the Scarborough candidate. A Wayne delegate
rose and in a single sentence put ex-Governor Bowen in
nomination. There was a faint ripple of applause which was
instantly checked. A silence of several seconds and--
"Mr. Chairman, and gentle--"
It was the voice Pauline knew so well. She could not see him,
but that voice seemed to make him visible to her. She caught her
breath and her heart beat wildly. He got no further into
seconding Bowen's nomination than the middle of the fourth word.
There may have been ears offended by the thunder-clap which burst
in that theater, but those ears were not Pauline's, were not in
Olivia Pierson's box. And then came tumbling and roaring, huge
waves of adulation, with his name shouted in voices hoarse and
voices shrill like hissing foam on the triumphant crests of
billows. And Pauline felt as if she were lifted from her bodily
self, were tossing in a delirium of ecstasy on a sea of sheer
And now he was on the platform, borne there above the shoulders
of a hundred men. He was standing pale and straight and mighty.
He stretched out his hand, so large and strong, and somehow as
honest as his eyes; the tempest stilled. He was speaking--what
did he say? She hardly heard, though she knew that it was of and
for right and justice--what else could that voice utter or the
brain behind those proud features think? With her, and with all
there, far more than his words it was his voice, like music, like
magic, rising and falling in thrilling inflections as it wove its
spell of gold and fire. Whenever he paused there would be an
instant of applause--a huge, hoarse thunder, the call of that
mysterious and awful and splendid soul of the mass--an instant
full of that one great, deep, throbbing note, then silence to
hear him again.
Scarborough had measured his task--to lift that convention from
the slough of sordidness to which the wiles and bribes of Dumont
and his clique had lured it; to set it in the highroad of what he
believed with all his intensity to be the high-road of right.
Usually he spoke with feeling strongly repressed; but he knew
that if he was to win that day against such odds he must take
those delegates by surprise and by storm, must win in a suddenly
descended whirlwind of passion that would engulf calculation and
craft, sordidness and cynicism. He made few gestures; he did not
move from the position he had first taken. He staked all upon
his voice; into it he poured all his energy, all his fire, all
his white-hot passion for right and justice, all his scorn of the
base and the low.
"Head above heart, when head is right," he had often said.
"But when head is wrong, then heart above head." And he
reached for hearts that day.
Five minutes, and delegates and spectators were his captives.
Fifteen minutes, and he was riding a storm such as comes only
when the fountains of the human deeps are broken up. Thirty
minutes and he was riding it as its master, was guiding it where
In vain Larkin sought to rally delegates round the shamed but
steadfast nucleus of the bribed and the bossed. In vain his
orator moved an adjournment until "calmness and reason shall be
restored." The answer made him shrink and sink into his seat.
For it was an awful, deafening roll of the war-drums of that
exalted passion which Scarborough had roused.
The call of counties began. The third on the
list--Bartholomew--was the first to say what the people longed to
hear. A giant farmer, fiery and freckled, rose and in a voice
like a blast from a bass horn bellowed: "Bartholomew casts her
solid vote for Hampden Scarborough!"
Pauline had thought she heard that multitude speak before. But
she now knew she had heard hardly more than its awakening
whisper. For, with the pronouncing of that name, the tempest
really burst. She sprang to her feet, obeying the imperious
inward command which made every one in that audience and most of
the delegates leap up. And for ten long minutes, for six hundred
cyclonic seconds, the people poured out their passionate
adoration. At first Scarborough flung out his arms, and all
could see that he was shouting some sort of protest. But they
would not hear him now. He had told them WHAT to do. He must
let them say HOW to do it.
Pauline looked out at those flaming thousands with the maddest
emotions streaming like lightning from their faces. But she
looked without fear. They--she--all were beside themselves; but
it was no frenzy for blood or for the sordid things. It was the
divine madness of the soldier of the right, battling for THE
CAUSE, in utter forgetfulness of self and selfishness.
"Beautiful! Beautiful!" she murmured, every nerve tingling.
"I never knew before how beautiful human beings are!"
Finally the roll-call could proceed. Long before it was ended
the necessary votes had been cast for Scarborough, and Larkin
rose to move that the nomination be made unanimous--Larkin,
beaten down in the open, was not the man to die there; he
hastened to cover where he could resume the fight in the manner
most to his liking. Again Scarborough was borne to the platform;
again she saw him standing there--straight and mighty, but
deathly pale, and sad--well he might be bowed by the
responsibility of that mandate, given by the god-in-man, but to
be executed by and through plain men. A few broken, hesitating
words, and he went into the wings and left the theater, applause
sweeping and swirling after him like a tidal wave.
Pauline, coming out into the open, looked round her, dazed. Why,
it was the same work-a-day world as before, with its actions so
commonplace and selfish, with only its impulses fine and high.
If these moments of exaltation could but last, could but become
the fixed order and routine of life! If high ideal and courage
ruled, instead of low calculation and fear! She sighed, then her
"At least I have seen!" she thought. "At least I have lived
one of those moments when the dreams come true. And `human
being' has a new meaning for me."
Two men, just behind her in the crowd, were talking of
Scarborough. "A demagogue!" sneered one.
"A demi-god," retorted the other. And Pauline turned suddenly
and gave him a look that astonished and dazzled him.
A COYOTE AT BAY.
Six weeks later, on the morning after the general election,
Dumont awoke bubbling over with good humor--as always, when the
world went well with him and so set the strong, red currents of
his body to flowing in unobstructed channels.
He had not gone to bed the previous night until he had definite
news from Indiana, Illinois and New York, the three states in
which his industrial-political stakes were heaviest. They had
gone as he wished, as he and his friends had spent large sums of
money to assist them to go. And now a glance at the morning
papers confirmed his midnight bulletins. Indiana, where he had
made the strongest efforts because the control of its statute
book was vital to him, had gone his way barely but, apparently,
securely; Scarborough was beaten for governor by twenty-five
hundred. Presently he had Culver in to begin the day's business.
The first paper Culver handed him was a cipher telegram
announcing the closing of an agreement which made the National
Woolens Company absolute in the Northwest; the second item in
Culver's budget was also a cipher telegram--from Merriweather.
It had been filed at four o'clock--several hours later than the
newspaper despatches. It said that Scarborough's friends
conceded his defeat, that the Legislature was safely Dumont's way
in both houses. Culver always sorted out to present first the
agreeable part of the morning's budget; never had he been more
At the office Dumont found another cipher telegram from
Merriweather: "Later returns show Scarborough elected by a
narrow majority. But he will be powerless as Legislature and all
other state offices are with us."
Dumont crushed the telegram in his hand. "Powerless--hell!" he
muttered. "Does he think I'm a fool?" He had spent three
hundred thousand dollars to "protect" his monopoly in its home;
for it was under Indiana laws, as interpreted by Dumont's agents
in public office, that the main or holding corporation of his
group was organized. And he knew that, in spite of his judges
and his attorney-general and his legislative lobby and his
resourceful lawyers and his subsidized newspapers, a governor of
Scarborough's courage and sagacity could harass him, could force
his tools in public office to activity against him, might drive
him from the state. Heretofore he had felt, and had been, secure
in the might of his millions. But now-- He had a feeling of
dread, close kin to fear, as he measured this peril, this man
strong with a strength against which money and intrigue were as
futile as bow and arrow against rifle.
He opened the door into the room where his twenty personal clerks
were at work. They glanced at his face, winced, bent to their
tasks. They knew that expression: it meant "J. D. will take the
hide off every one who goes near him to-day."
"Tell Mr. Giddings I want to see him," he snapped, lifting the
head of the nearest clerk with a glance like an electric shock.
The clerk rose, tiptoed away to the office of the first
vice-president of the Woolens Trust. He came tiptoeing back to
say in a faint, deprecating voice: "Mr. Giddings isn't down
Dumont rolled out a volley of violent language about Giddings.
In his tantrums he had no more regard for the dignity of his
chief lieutenants, themselves rich men and middle-aged or old,
than he had for his office boys. To the Ineffable Grand Turk
what noteworthy distinction is there between vizier and
"Send him in--quick,--you, as soon as he comes," he shouted in
conclusion. If he had not paid generously, if his lieutenants
had not been coining huge dividends out of his brains and
commercial audacity, if his magnetic, confidence-inspiring
personality had not created in the minds of all about him visions
of golden rivers widening into golden oceans, he would have been
deserted and execrated. As it was, his service was eagerly
sought; and his servants endured its mental and moral hardships
as the prospector endures the physical cruelties of the mountain
He was closing his private door when the door-boy from the
outermost of that maze of handsome offices came up to him with a
"Not here," he growled, and shut himself in.
Half an hour later the sounds of an angry tumult in the clerks'
room made him fling his door open. "What the--" he began, his
heavy face purple, then stopped amazed.
The outside doorkeeper, the watchman and several clerks were
engaged in a struggle with Fanshaw. His hat was off, his hair
wild, his necktie, shirt and coat awry.
"There you are now--I knew you were in," he shouted, as he
caught sight of Dumont. "Call these curs off, Jack!"
"Let him alone," snarled Dumont.
Fanshaw was released. He advanced into Dumont's office,
straightening his clothing and panting with exertion, excitement
and anger. Dumont closed the door. "Well," he said surlily.
"What d' you want?"
"I'll have to go to the wall at half-past ten if you don't help
me out," said Fanshaw. "The Montana election went against my
crowd--I'm in the copper deal. There's a slump, but the stock's
dead sure to go up within a week."
"In trouble again?" sneered Dumont. "It's been only three
months since I pulled you through."
"You didn't lose anything by it, did you?" retorted Fanshaw--he
had recovered himself and was eying Dumont with the cool, steady,
significant stare of one rascal at another whom he thinks he has
in his power.
Before that look Dumont flushed an angrier red. "I won't do it
again!" and he brought his fist down with a bang.
"All I want is five hundred thousand to carry my copper for a
week at the outside. If I get it I'll clear a million. If I
don't"--Fanshaw shrugged his shoulders--"I'll be cleaned out."
He looked with narrowed, shifting eyes at Dumont. "My wife has
all she's got in this," he went on, "even her jewels."
Dumont's look shot straight into Fanshaw's.
"Not a cent!" he said with vicious emphasis. "Not a red!"
Fanshaw paled and pinched in his lips. "I'm a desperate man.
I'm ruined. Leonora--"
Dumont shook his head, the veins swelling in his forehead and
neck. The last strand of his self-restraint snapped. "Leave
her out of this! She has no claim on me NOW--and YOU never had."
Fanshaw stared at him, then sprang to his feet, all in a blaze.
"You scoundrel!" he shouted, shaking his fist under Dumont's
"If you don't clear out instantly I'll have you thrown out,"
said Dumont. He was cool and watchful now.
Fanshaw folded his arms and looked down at him with the dignified
fury of the betrayed and outraged. "So!" he exclaimed. "I
see it all!"
Dumont pressed an electric button, then leaned back in his
revolving chair and surveyed Fanshaw tranquilly. "Not a cent!"
he repeated, a cruel smile in his eyes and round his mouth. The
boy came and Dumont said to him: "Send the watchman."
Fanshaw drew himself up. "I shall punish you," he said.
"Your wealth will not save you." And he stalked past the
gaping office boy.
He stood in front of the Edison Building, looking aimlessly up
and down the street as he pulled his long, narrow, brown-gray
mustache. Gloom was in his face and hate in his heart--not hate
for Dumont alone but hate for all who were what he longed to be,
all rich and "successful" men. And the towering steel and
stone palaces of prosperity sneered down on him with crushing
"Damn them all!" he muttered. "The cold-hearted thieves!"
From his entry into that district he had played a gambling game,
had played it dishonestly in a small way. Again and again he had
sneakingly violated Wall Street's code of morality--that curious
code with its quaint, unexpected incorporations of parts of the
decalogue and its quainter, though not so unexpected,
infringements thereof and amendments thereto. Now by "pull,"
now by trickery, he had evaded punishment. But apparently at
last he was to be brought to bar, branded and banished.
"Damn them all!" he repeated. "They're a pack of wolves.
They've got me down and they're going to eat me."
He blamed Dumont and he blamed his wife for his plight--and there
was some justice in both accusations. Twenty years before, he
had come down to "the Street" a frank-looking boy, of an old
and distinguished New York family that had become too
aristocratic for business and had therefore lost its hold upon
its once great fortune. He was neither a good boy nor a bad.
But he was weak, and had the extravagant tastes and cynical
morals to which he had been bred; and his intelligent brain was
of the kind that goes with weakness--shrewd and sly, preferring
to slink along the byways of craft even when the highway of
courage lies straight and easy. But he had physical bravery and
the self-confidence that is based upon an assured social position
in a community where social position is worshiped; so, he passed
for manly and proud when he was in reality neither. Family
vanity he had; personal pride he had not.
In many environments his weakness would have remained hidden even
from himself, and he would have lived and died in the odor and
complacence of respectability. But not in the strain and stress
of Wall Street. There he had naturally developed not into a
lion, not even into a wolf, but into a coyote.
Wall Street found him out in ten years--about one year after it
began to take note of him and his skulking ways and his habit of
prowling in the wake of the pack. Only his adroit use of his
family connections and social position saved him from being
trampled to death by the wolves and eaten by his brother coyotes.
Thereafter he lived precariously, but on the whole sumptuously,
upon carcasses of one kind and another. He participated in
"strike" suits against big corporations--he would set on a pack
of coyotes to dog the lions and to raise discordant howls that
inopportunely centered public attention upon leonine, lawless
doings; the lions would pay him well to call off the pack. He
assisted sometimes wolves and sometimes coyotes in flotations of
worthless, or almost worthless, stocks and bonds from gold and
mahogany offices and upon a sea of glittering prospectuses. He
had a hand in all manner of small, shady transactions of lawful,
or almost lawful, swindling that were tolerated by lions and
wolves, because at bottom there is a feeling of fellowship among
creatures of prey as against creatures preyed upon.
There were days when he came home haggard and blue in the lips to
tell Leonora that he must fly. There were days when he returned
from the chase, or rather from the skulk, elated, youthful, his
pockets full of money and his imagination afire with hopes of
substantial wealth. But his course was steadily downward, his
methods steadily farther and farther from the line of the law.
Dumont came just in time to save him, came to build him up from
the most shunned of coyotes into a deceptive imitation of a wolf
with aspirations toward the lion class.
Leonora knew that he was small, but she thought all men
small--she had supreme contempt for her own sex; and it seemed to
her that men must be even less worthy of respect since they were
under the influence of women and lavished time and money on them.
Thus she was deceived into cherishing the hope that her husband,
small and timid though he was, would expand into a
multi-millionaire and would help her to possess the splendors she
now enjoyed at the expense of her associates whom she despised.
She was always thinking how far more impressive than their
splendor her magnificence would be, if their money were added to
her brains and beauty.
Dumont had helped Fanshaw as much as he could. He immediately
detected the coyote. He knew it was impossible to make a lion or
even a wolf out of one who was both small and crooked. He used
him only in minor matters, chiefly in doing queer, dark things on
the market with National Woolens, things he indirectly ordered
done but refused to know the details of beyond the one important
detail--the record of checks for the profits in his bank account.
For such matters Fanshaw did as well as another. But as Dumont
became less of a wolf and more of a lion, less of a speculator
and more of a financier, he had less and less work of the kind
Fanshaw could do.
But Leonora, unaware of her husband's worthlessness and desperate
in her calamities, sneered and jeered and lashed him on--to ruin.
The coyote could put on the airs of a lion so long as the lion
was his friend and protector; when he kept on in kingly ways
after the lion had cast him off, he speedily came to grief.
As he stood looking helplessly up and down Broad Street he was
debating what move to make. There were about even measures of
truth and falsehood in his statement to Dumont--he did need two
hundred thousand dollars; and he must have it before a quarter
past two that day or go into a bankruptcy from which he could not
hope to save a shred of reputation or to secrete more than fifty
"To the New York Life Building," he finally said to the driver
as he got into his hansom. Then to himself: "I'll have a go at
He knew that Dumont and Herron had quarreled, and that Herron had
sold out of the National Woolens Company. But he did not know
that Herron was a man with a fixed idea, hatred of Dumont, and a
fixed purpose, to damage him at every opportunity that offered or
could be created, to ruin him if possible.
When the National Woolens Company was expanded into the huge
conglomerate it now was--a hundred millions common, a hundred
millions preferred, and twenty millions of bonds--Herron had
devised and directed the intricate and highly perilous course
among the rocks of law and public opinion in many states and in
the nation. It was a splendid exhibition of legal piloting, and
he was bitterly dissatisfied with the modest reward of ten
millions of the preferred stock which Dumont apportioned to him.
He felt that that would have been about his just share in the new
concern merely in exchange for his stock in the old. When he
found Dumont obdurate, and grew frank and spoke such words as
"dishonor" and "dishonesty" and got into the first syllable
of "swindling," Dumont cut him off with--
"If you don't like it, get out! I can hire that sort of work
for half what I've paid you. You're swollen with vanity. We
ought to have a young man in your position, anyhow."
Herron might have swallowed the insult to his pride as a lawyer.
But the insult to his pride in his youth! He was fifty-seven and
in dress and in expression was stoutly insisting that he was
still a young man whom hard work had made prematurely gray and
somewhat wrinkled. Dumont's insinuation that he was old and
stale set a great fire of hate blazing; he, of course, told
himself and others that his wrath was stirred solely because his
sense of justice had been outraged by the "swindling."
Fanshaw entered Herron's office wearing the jaunty air of
arrogant prosperity, never so important as when prosperity has
fled. But Herron's shrewd, experienced eyes penetrated the sham.
He had intended to be cold. Scenting a "hard-luck yarn" and a
"touch" he lowered his temperature to the point at which
conversation is ice-beset and confidences are frozen tight.
Fanshaw's nerve deserted him. "Herron," he said, dropping his
prosperous pose, "I want to get a divorce and I want to punish
Herron's narrow, cold face lighted up. He knew what everybody in
their set knew of Fanshaw's domestic affairs, but like everybody
else he had pretended not to know. He changed his expression to
one of shock and indignation.
"You astound me!" he exclaimed. "It is incredible!"
"He told me himself not an hour ago," said Fanshaw. "I went
to him as a friend to ask him to help me out of a hole. And--"
He rose and theatrically paced the floor.
Herron prided himself upon his acute conscience and his nice
sense of honor. He felt that here was a chance to wreak
vengeance upon Dumont--or rather, as he put it to himself, to
bring Dumont to an accounting for his depravity. Just as Dumont
maintained with himself a character of honesty by ignoring all
the dubious acts which his agents were forced to do in carrying
out his orders, so Herron kept peace with a far more sensitive
conscience by never permitting it to look in upon his mind or out
through his eyes.
"Frightful! Frightful!" he exclaimed, after a long pause in
which his immured and blindfold conscience decided that he could
afford to support Fanshaw. "I knew he was a rascal in
There was genuine emotion in his voice and in his mind. He was
strict to puritanic primness in his ideals of feminine morality;
nor had he been relaxed by having a handsome wife, looking scarce
a day over thirty behind her veil or in artificial light, and
fond of gathering about her young men who treated him as if he
were old and "didn't count."
"You are certain, Fanshaw?"
"I tell you, he hinted it himself," replied Fanshaw. "And
instantly my eyes were opened to scores of damning
confirmations." He struck his forehead with his open hand.
"How blind I've been!" he exclaimed.
Herron shook his head sympathetically and hastened on to
"WE can't handle your case," he said. "But Best and
Sharpless, on the floor above, are reliable. And I'll be glad to
help you with advice. I feel that this is the beginning of
Dumont's end. I knew such insolent wickedness could not have a
Fanshaw drew Herron on to tell the story of his wrongs--the
"swindling." Before it was ended Fanshaw saw that he had found
a man who hated Dumont malignantly and was thirsting for
vengeance. This encouraged him to unfold his financial
difficulties. Herron listened sympathetically, asked ingeniously
illuminating questions, and in the end agreed to tide him over.
He had assured himself that Fanshaw had simply undertaken too
large an enterprise; the advance would be well secured; he would
make the loan in such a way that he would get a sure profit, and
would also bind Fanshaw firmly to him without binding himself to
Fanshaw. Besides--"It wouldn't do for him to go to the wall
Arm in arm they went up to Best and Sharpless' to take the first
steps in the suit. Together they went down-town to relieve
Fanshaw of the pressure of the too heavy burden of copper stocks;
then up to their club where he assisted Fanshaw in composing the
breaking-off letter to Leonora.
STORMS IN THE WEST.
While the Fanshaw-Herron storm was slowly gathering in Dumont's
eastern horizon, two others equally black were lifting in the
In the two months between Scarborough's election and his
inauguration, the great monopolies thriving under the protection
of the state's corrupted statute-book and corrupted officials
followed the lead of their leader, Dumont's National Woolens
Company, in making sweeping but stealthy changes in their prices,
wages, methods and even in their legal status. They hoped thus
to enable their Legislature plausibly to resist Scarborough's
demand for a revision of the laws--why revise when the cry of
monopoly had been shown to be a false issue raised by a demagogue
to discredit the tried leaders of the party and to aggrandize
himself? And, when Scarborough had been thoroughly "exposed,"
business could be resumed gradually.
But Scarborough had the better brain, and had character as well.
He easily upset their program and pressed their Legislature so
hard that it was kept in line only by pouring out money like
water. This became a public scandal which made him stronger than
ever and also made it seem difficult or impossible for the
monopolies to get a corruptible Legislature at the next election.
At last the people had in their service a lawyer equal in ability
to the best the monopolies could buy, and one who understood
human nature and political machinery to boot.
Dumont began to respect Scarborough profoundly--not for his
character, which made him impregnable with the people, but for
his intellect, which showed him how to convince the people of his
character and to keep them convinced. When Merriweather came on
"to take his beating" from his employer he said among other
things deprecatory: "Scarborough's a dreamer. His head's among
the clouds." Dumont retorted: "Yes, but his feet are on the
ground--too damned firmly to suit me." And after a moment's
thought, he added: "What a shame for such a brain to go to
waste! Why, he could make millions."
He felt that Gladys was probably his best remaining card. She
had been in Indianapolis visiting the whole of February,
Scarborough's second month as governor, and had gone on to her
brother in New York with a glowing report of her progress with
Scarborough's sister Arabella, now a widow and at her own
invitation living with him in Indianapolis to relieve him of the
social duties of his office. She was a dozen years more the
Arabella who had roused her father's wrath by her plans for
educating her brother "like a gentleman"; and Olivia and Fred
were irritated and even alarmed by her anything but helpful
peculiarities--though Scarborough seemed cheerful and indifferent
enough about them.
It was a temperamental impossibility for Dumont to believe that
Scarborough could really be sincere in a course which was
obviously unprofitable. Therefore he attached even more
importance to Arabella's cordiality than did Gladys herself.
And, when the Legislature adjourned and Scarborough returned to
Saint X for a brief stay, Dumont sent Gladys post-haste back to
the Eyrie--that is, she instantly and eagerly acted upon his
A few evenings after her return, she and Pauline were on the
south veranda alone in the starlight. She was in low spirits and
presently began to rail against her lot.
"Don't be absurd," said Pauline. "You've no right to
complain. You have everything--and you're--free!"
That word "free" was often on Pauline's lips in those days.
And a close observer might have been struck by the tone in which
she uttered it. Not the careless tone of those who have never
had or have never lost freedom, but the lingering, longing tone
of those who have had it, and have learned to value it through
long years without it.
"Yes--everything!" replied Gladys, bitterly. "Everything
except the one thing I want."
Pauline did not help her, but she was at the stage of suppressed
feeling where desire to confide is stronger than pride.
"The one thing I want," she repeated. "Pauline, I used to
think I'd never care much for any man, except to like it for him
to like me. Men have always been a sort of amusement--and the
oftener the man changed, the better the fun. I've known for
several years that I simply must marry, but I've refused to face
it. It seemed to me I was fated to wander the earth, homeless,
begging from door to door for leave to come in and rest a
"You know perfectly well, Gladys, that this is your home."
"Of course--in a sense. It's as much my home as another woman's
house could be. But"--with a little sob--"I've seen my mate
and I want to begin my nest."
They were side by side on a wide, wicker sofa. Pauline made an
impulsive move to put her arm round Gladys, then drew away and
clasped her hands tightly in her lap.
Gladys was crying, sobbing, brokenly apologizing for it--"I'm a
little idiot--but I can't help it--I haven't any pride left--a
woman never does have, really, when she's in love--oh, Pauline,
do you think he cares at all for me?" And after a pause she
went on, too absorbed in herself to observe Pauline or to wonder
at her silence: "Sometimes I think he does. Again I fear
that--that he doesn't. And lately--why doesn't he come here any
"You know how busy he is," said Pauline, in a voice so strained
that Gladys ought to have noticed it.
"But it isn't that--I'm sure it isn't. No, it has something to
do with me. It means either that he doesn't care for me or
that--that he does care and is fighting against it. Oh, I don't
know what to think." Then, after a pause: "How I hate being a
woman! If I were a man I could find out the truth--settle it one
way or the other. But I must sit dumb and wait, and wait, and
wait! You don't know how I love him," she said brokenly,
burying her face in the ends of the soft white shawl that was
flung about her bare shoulders. "I can't help it--he's the
best--he makes all the others look and talk like cheap
imitations. He's the best, and a woman can't help wanting the
Pauline rose and leaned against the railing--she could evade the
truth no longer. Gladys was in love with Scarborough, was at
last caught in her own toils, would go on entangling herself
deeper and deeper, abandoning herself more and more to a hopeless
"What would you do, Pauline?" pleaded Gladys. "There must be
some reason why he doesn't speak. It isn't fair to me--it isn't
fair! I could stand anything--even giving him up--better than
this uncertainty. It's--it's breaking my heart--I who thought I
didn't have a heart."
"No, it isn't fair," said Pauline, to herself rather than to
"I suppose you don't sympathize with me," Gladys went on. "I
know you don't like him. I've noticed how strained and distant
you are toward each other. And you seem to avoid each other.
And he'll never talk of you to me. Did you have some sort of
misunderstanding at college?"
"Yes," said Pauline, slowly. "A--a misunderstanding."
"And you both remember it, after all these years?"
"Yes," said Pauline.
"How relentless you are," said Gladys, "and how tenacious!"
But she was too intent upon her own affairs to pursue a subject
which seemed to lead away from them. Presently she rose.
"I'll be ashamed of having confessed when I see you in daylight.
But I don't care. I shan't be sorry. I feel a little better.
After all, why should I be ashamed of any one knowing I care for
him?" And she sighed, laughed, went into the house, whistling
softly--sad, depressed, but hopeful, feeling deep down that she
surely must win where she had never known what it was to lose.
Pauline looked after her. "No, it isn't fair," she repeated.
She stayed on the veranda, walking slowly to and fro not to make
up her mind, for she had done that while Gladys was confessing,
but to decide how she could best accomplish what she saw she must
now no longer delay. It was not until two hours later that she
went up to bed.
When Gladys came down at nine the next morning Pauline had just
gone out--"I think, Miss Gladys, she told the coachman to drive
to her father's," said the butler.
Gladys set out alone. Instead of keeping to the paths and the
woods along the edge of the bluff she descended to the valley and
the river road. She walked rapidly, her face glowing, her eyes
sparkling--she was quick to respond to impressions through the
senses, and to-day she felt so well physically that it reacted
upon her mind and forced her spirits up. At the turn beyond Deer
Creek bridge she met Scarborough suddenly. He, too, was afoot
and alone, and his greeting was interpreted to her hopes by her
"May I turn and walk with you?" he asked.
"I'm finding myself disagreeable company today."
"You did look dull," she said, as they set out together, "dull
as a love-sick German. But I supposed it was your executive
"I was thinking that I'll be old before I know it." His
old-young face was shadowed for an instant. "Old--that's an
unpleasant thought, isn't it?"
"Unpleasant for a man," said Gladys, with a laugh, light as
youth's dread of age. "For a woman, ghastly! Old and
alone--either one's dreadful enough. But--the two together! I
often think of them. Don't laugh at me--really I do. Don't
"If you keep to that, our walk'll be a dismal failure. It's a
road I never take--if I can help it."
"You don't look as though you were ever gloomy." Gladys
glanced up at him admiringly. "I should have said you were one
person the blue devils wouldn't dare attack."
"Yes, but they do. And sometimes they throw me."
"And trample you?"
"And trample me," he answered absently.
"That's because you're alone too much," she said with a look of
"Precisely," he replied. "But how am I to prevent that?"
"Marry, of course," she retorted, smiling gaily up at him,
letting her heart just peep from her eyes.
"Thank you! And it sounds so easy! May I ask why you've
refused to take your own medicine--you who say you are so often
She shrugged her shoulders. "I've always suspected the men who
asked me. They were--" She did not finish what she feared
might be an unwise, repelling remark in the circumstances.
"They were after your money," he finished for her.
She nodded. "They were Europeans," she explained. "Europeans
want money when they marry."
"That's another of the curses of riches," he said judicially.
"And if you marry a rich man over here, you may be pretty sure
he'll marry you for your money. I've observed that rich men
attach an exaggerated importance to money, always."
"I'd prefer to marry a poor man," she hastened to answer, her
heart beating faster--certainly his warning against rich suitors
must have been designed to help his own cause with her.
"Yes, that might be better," he agreed. "But you would have
to be careful after you were married or he might fancy you were
using your money to tyrannize over him. I've noticed that the
poor husbands of rich women are supersensitive--often for
"Oh, I'd give it all to him. He could do what he pleased with
it. I'd not care so long as we were happy."
Scarborough liked the spirit of this, liked her look as she said
"That's very generous--very like you," he replied warmly.
"But I don't think it would be at all wise. You'd be in a
dangerous position. You might spoil him--great wealth is a great
danger, and when it's suddenly acquired, and so easily-- No,
you'd better put your wealth aside and only use so much of it as
will make your income equal to his--if you can stand living
"I could stand anything with or from any one I cared for."
Gladys was eager for the conversation to turn from the general to
the particular. She went on, forcing her voice to hide her
interest: "And you, why don't you cure your blues?"
"Oh, I shall," he replied carelessly. "But not with your
medicine. Every one to his own prescription."
"And what's yours for yourself?" said Gladys, feeling tired and
nervous from the strain of this delayed happiness.
"Mine?" He laughed. "My dreams."
"You are a strange combination, aren't you? In one way you're
so very practical--with your politics and all that. And in
another way--I suspect you of being sentimental--almost
"You've plucked out the heart of my mystery. My real name is
non Quixote de Saint X."
"And has your Dulcinea red hands and a flat nose and freckles
like the lady of Toboso?" Gladys' hands were white, her nose
notably fine, her skin transparently clear.
"Being Don Quixote, I don't know it if she has."
"And you prefer to worship afar, and to send her news of your
triumphs instead of going to her yourself?"
"I dare not go." He was looking away, far away. "There are
wicked enchanters. I'm powerless. She alone can break their
They walked in silence, her heart beating so loudly that she
thought he must be hearing it, must be hearing what it was
saying. Yes--she must break the spells. But how--but how? What
must she say to make him see? Did he expect her to ask him to
marry her? She had heard that rich women often were forced to
make this concession to the pride of the men they wished to
marry. On the other hand, was there ever a man less likely than
Scarborough to let any obstacle stand between him and what he
The first huge drops of a summer rain pattered in big, round
stains, brown upon the white of the road. He glanced up--a cloud
was rolling from beyond the cliffs, was swiftly curtaining the
"Come," he commanded, and they darted into the underbrush, he
guiding her by her arm. A short dash among the trees and bushes
and they were at the base of the bluff, were shielded by a shelf
"It'll be over soon," he assured her. "But you must stand
close or you'll be drenched."
A clap of thunder deafened them as a flame and a force enswathed
the sycamore tree a few yards away, blowing off its bark,
scattering its branches, making it all in an instant a blackened
and blasted wreck. Gladys gave a low scream of terror, fell
against him, hid her face in his shoulder. She was trembling
violently. He put his arm round her--if he had not supported her
she would have fallen. She leaned against him, clinging to him,
so that he felt the beat of her heart, the swell and fall of her
bosom, felt the rush of her young blood through her veins, felt
the thrill from her smooth, delicate, olive skin. And he, too,
was trembling--shaken in all his nerves.
"Don't be afraid," he said--in his voice he unconsciously
betrayed the impulse that was fighting for possession of him.
She drew herself closer to him with a long, tremulous sigh.
"I'm a coward," she murmured. "I'm shaking so that I can't
stand." She tried to draw herself away--or did she only make
pretense to him and to herself that she was trying?--then relaxed
again into his arms.
The thunder cracked and crashed; the lightnings leaped in streaks
and in sheets; the waters gushed from the torn clouds and
obscured the light like a heavy veil. She looked up at him in
the dimness--she, too, was drunk with the delirium of the storms
raging without and within them. His brain swam giddily. The
points of gold in her dark eyes were drawing him like so many
powerful magnets. Their lips met and he caught her up in his
arms. And for a moment all the fire of his intensely masculine
nature, so long repressed, raged over her lips, her eyes, her
hair, her cheeks, her chin.
A moment she lay, happy as a petrel, beaten by a tempest; a
moment her thirsty heart drank in the ecstasy of the lightnings
through her lips and skin and hair.
She opened her eyes to find out why there was a sudden calm. She
saw him staring with set, white face through the rain-veil. His
arms still held her, but where they had been like the clasp of
life itself, they were now dead as the arms of a statue. A
feeling of cold chilled her skin, trickled icily in and in. She
released herself--he did not oppose her.
"It seems to me I'll never be able to look you--or myself--in
the face again," he said at last.
"I didn't know it was in me to--to take advantage of a woman's
"I wanted you to do what you did," she said simply.
He shook his head. "You are generous," he answered. "But I
deserve nothing but your contempt."
"I wanted you to do it," she repeated. She was under the spell
of her love and of his touch. She was clutching to save what she
could, was desperately hoping it might not be so little as she
feared. "I had the--the same impulse that you had." She
looked at him timidly, with a pleading smile. "And please don't
say you're sorry you did it, even if you feel so. You'll think
me very bold--I know it isn't proper for young women to make such
admissions. But--don't reproach yourself--please!"
If she could have looked into his mind as he stood there, crushed
and degraded in his own eyes, she would have been a little
consoled--for, in defiance of his self-scorn and self-hate, his
nerves were tingling with the memory of that delirium, and his
brain was throbbing with the surge of impulses long dormant, now
imperious. But she was not even looking toward him--for, through
her sense of shame, of wounded pride, her love was clamoring to
her to cry out: "Take me in your arms again! I care not on
what terms, only take me and hold me and kiss me."
The rain presently ceased as abruptly as it had begun and they
returned under the dripping leaves to the highroad. She glanced
anxiously at him as they walked toward the town, but he did not
speak. She saw that if the silence was to be broken, she must
"What can I say to convince you?" she asked, as if not he but
she were the offender.
He did not answer.
"Won't you look at me, please?"
He looked, the color mounting in his cheeks, his eyes unsteady.
"Now, tell me you'll not make me suffer because you fancy you've
wronged me. Isn't it ungallant of you to act this way after I've
humiliated myself to confess I didn't mind?"
"Thank you," he said humbly, and looked away.
"You won't have it that I was in the least responsible?" She
was teasing him now--he was plainly unaware of the meaning of her
yielding. "He's so modest," she thought, and went on: "You
won't permit me to flatter myself I was a temptation too strong
even for your iron heart, Don Quixote?"
He flushed scarlet, and the suspicion, the realization of the
truth set her eyes to flashing.
"It's before another woman he's abasing himself," she thought,
"not before me. He isn't even thinking of me." When she spoke
her tone was cold and sneering: "I hope she will forgive you.
She certainly would if she could know what a paladin you are."
He winced, but did not answer. At the road up the bluffs she
paused and there was an embarrassed silence. Then he poured out
"It was doubly base. I betrayed your friendly trust, I was
false to her. Don't misunderstand--she's nothing to me. She's
nothing to me, yet everything. I began really to live when I
began to love her. And--every one must have a--a pole-star. And
she's mine--the star I sail by, and always must. And--" He
halted altogether, then blundered on: "I shall not forgive
myself. But you--be merciful--forgive me--forget it!"
"I shall do neither," she replied curtly, jealousy and vanity
stamping down the generous impulse that rose in response to his
appeal. And she went up her road. A few yards and she paused,
hoping to hear him coming after her. A few yards more and she
sat down on a big boulder by the wayside. Until now all the
wishes of her life had been more or less material, had been
wishes which her wealth or the position her wealth gave had
enabled her instantly to gratify. She buried her face in her
arms and sobbed and rocked herself to and fro, in a cyclone of
anger, and jealousy, and shame, and love, and despair.
"I hate him!" she exclaimed between clenched teeth. "I hate
him, but--if he came and wanted me, oh, how I would LOVE him!"
Meanwhile Pauline was at her father's.
"He isn't down yet," said her mother. "You know, he doesn't
finish dressing nowadays until he has read the papers and his
mail. Then he walks in the garden."
"I'll go there," said Pauline. "Won't you bring him when he's
She never entered the garden that the ghosts of her
childhood--how far, far it seemed!--did not join her, brushing
against her, or rustling in tree and bush and leafy trellis. She
paused at the end of the long arbor and sat on the rustic bench
there. A few feet away was the bed of lilies-of-the-valley.
Every spring of her childhood she used to run from the house on
the first warm morning and hurry to it; and if her glance raised
her hopes she would kneel upon the young grass and lower her head
until her long golden hair touched the black ground; and the soil
that had been hard and cold all winter would be cracked open this
way and that; and from the cracks would issue an odor--the odor
of life. And as she would peer into each crack in turn she would
see, down, away down, the pale tip of what she knew to be an
up-shooting slender shaft. And her heart would thrill with joy,
for she knew that the shafts would presently rise green above the
black earth, would unfold, would blossom, would bloom, would
fling from tremulous bells a perfumed proclamation of the arrival
As she sat waiting, it seemed to her that through the black earth
of her life she could see and feel the backward heralds of her
spring--"after the long winter," she said to herself.
She glanced up--her father coming toward her. He was alone, was
holding a folded letter uncertainly in his hand. He looked at
her, his eyes full of pity and grief. "Pauline," he began,
"has everything been--been well--of late between you and--your
She started. "No, father," she replied. Then, looking at him
with clear directness: "I've not been showing you and mother
the truth about John and me--not for a long time."
She saw that her answer relieved him. He hesitated, held out the
"The best way is for you to read it," he said. It was a letter
to him from Fanshaw. He was writing, he explained, because the
discharge of a painful duty to himself would compel him "to give
pain to your daughter whom I esteem highly," and he thought it
only right "to prepare her and her family for what was coming,
in order that they might be ready to take the action that would
suggest itself." And he went on to relate his domestic troubles
and his impending suit.
"Poor Leonora!" murmured Pauline, as she finished and sat
thinking of all that Fanshaw's letter involved.
"Is it true, Polly?" asked her father.
She gave a great sigh of relief. How easy this letter had made
all that she had been dreading! "Yes--it's true," she replied.
"I've known about--about it ever since the time I came back from
the East and didn't return."
The habitual pallor of her father's face changed to gray.
"I left him, father." She lifted her head, impatient of her
stammering. A bright flush was in her face as she went on
rapidly: "And I came to-day to tell you the whole story--to be
truthful and honest again. I'm sick of deception and evasion. I
can't stand it any longer--I mustn't. I--you don't know how I've
shrunk from wounding mother and you. But I've no choice now.
Father, I must be free--free!"
"And you shall be," replied her father. "He shall not wreck
your life and Gardiner's."
Pauline stared at him. "Father!" she exclaimed.
He put his arm round her and drew her gently to him.
"I know the idea is repellent," he said, as if he were trying
to persuade a child. "But it's right, Pauline. There are cases
in which not to divorce would be a sin. I hope my daughter sees
that this is one."
"I don't understand," she said confusedly. "I thought you and
mother believed divorce was dreadful--no matter what might
"We did, Pauline. But we--that is, I--had never had it brought
home. A hint of this story was published just after you came
last year. I thought it false, but it set me to thinking. `If
your daughter's husband had turned out to be as you once thought
him, would it be right for her to live on with him? To live a
lie, to pretend to keep her vows to love and honor him? Would it
be right to condemn Gardiner to be poisoned by such a father?'
And at last I saw the truth, and your mother agreed with me. We
had been too narrow. We had been laying down our own notions as
God's great justice."
Pauline drew away from her father so that she could look at him.
And at last she saw into his heart. "If I had only known," she
said, and sat numb and stunned.
"When you were coming home from college," her father went on,
"your mother and I talked over what we should do. John had just
confessed your secret marriage--"
"You knew that!"
"Yes, and we understood, Polly. You were so young--so
headstrong--and you couldn't appreciate our reasons."
Pauline's brain was reeling.
"Your mother and I talked it over before you got home and
thought it best to leave you entirely free to choose. But when
we saw you overcome by joy--"
"Don't!" she interrupted, her voice a cry of pain. "I can't
bear it! Don't!" Years of false self-sacrifice, of deceiving
her parents and her child, of self-suppression and
self-degradation, and this final cruelty to Gladys--all, all in
vain, all a heaping of folly upon folly, of wrong upon wrong.
She rushed toward the house. She must fly
somewhere--anywhere--to escape the thoughts that were picking
with sharp beaks at her aching heart. Half-way up the walk she
turned and fled to a refuge she would not have thought of half an
hour before to her father's arms.
"Oh, father," she cried. "If I had only known you!"
Gladys, returning from her walk, went directly to Pauline's
"I'm off for New York and Europe to-morrow morning," she began
abruptly, her voice hard, her expression bitter and reckless.
"Where can she have heard about Leonora?" thought Pauline. She
said in a strained voice: "I had hoped you would stay here to
look after the house."
"To look after the house? What do you mean?" asked Gladys.
But she was too full of herself to be interested in the answer,
and went on: "I want you to forget what I said to you. I've
got over all that. I've come to my senses."
Pauline began a nervous turning of her rings.
Gladys gave a short, grim laugh. "I detest him," she went on.
"We're very changeable, we women, aren't we? I went out of this
house two hours ago loving him--to distraction. I came back
hating him. And all that has happened in between is that I met
him and he kissed me a few times and stabbed my pride a few
Pauline stopped turning her rings--she rose slowly, mechanically,
looked straight at Gladys.
"That is not true," she said calmly.
Gladys laughed sardonically. "You don't know the cold and
haughty Governor Scarborough. There's fire under the ice. I can
feel the places on my face where it scorched. Can't you see
Pauline gave her a look of disgust. "How like John Dumont's
sister!" she thought. And she shut herself in her room and
stayed there, pleading illness in excuse, until Gladys was gone.
A SEA SURPRISE.
On the third day from New York, Gladys was so far recovered from
seasickness that she dragged herself to the deck. The water was
fairly smooth, but a sticky, foggy rain was falling. A
deck-steward put her steamer-chair in a sheltered corner. Her
maid and a stewardess swathed her in capes and rugs; she closed
her eyes and said: "Now leave me, please, and don't come near
me till I send for you."
She slept an hour. When she awoke she felt better. Some one had
drawn a chair beside hers and was seated there--a man, for she
caught the faint odor of a pipe, though the wind was the other
way. She turned her head. It was Langdon, whom she had not seen
since she went below a few hours after Sandy Hook disappeared.
Indeed, she had almost forgotten that he was on board and that
her brother had asked him to look after her. He was staring at
her in an absent-minded way, his wonted expression of satire and
lazy good-humor fainter than usual. In fact, his face was almost
"That pipe," she grumbled. "Please do put it away."
He tossed it into the sea. "Beg pardon," he said. "It was
stupid of me. I was absorbed in--in my book."
"What's the name of it?"
He turned it to glance at the cover, but she went on:
"No--don't tell me. I've no desire to know. I asked merely to
confirm my suspicion."
"You're right," he said. "I wasn't reading. I was looking at
"That was impertinent. A man should not look at a woman when
she doesn't intend him to look."
"Then I'd never look at all. I'm interested only in things not
meant for my eyes. I might even read letters not addressed to me
if I didn't know how dull letters are. No intelligent person
ever says anything in a letter nowadays. They use the telegraph
for ordinary correspondence, and telepathy for the other kind.
But it was interesting--looking at you as you lay asleep."
"Was my mouth open?"
"Am I yellow?"
"Eyes red? Hair in strings? Lips blue?"
"All that," he said, "and skin somewhat mottled. But I was
not so much interested in your beauty as I was in trying to
determine whether you were well enough to stand two shocks."
"I need them," replied Gladys.
"One is rather unpleasant, the other--the reverse, in fact a
"The unpleasant first, please."
"Certainly," he replied. "Always the medicine first, then the
candy." And he leaned back and closed his eyes and seemed to be
settling himself for indefinite silence.
"Go on," she said impatiently. "What's the medicine? A
"I said unpleasant, didn't I? When an enemy dies it's all joy.
When a friend passes over to eternal bliss, why, being good
Christians, we are not so faithless and selfish as to let the
momentary separation distress us."
"But what is it? You're trying to gain time by all this beating
about the bush. You ought to know me well enough to know you can
speak straight out."
"Fanshaw's suing his wife for divorce--and he names Jack."
"Is that your news?" said Gladys, languidly. Suddenly she
flung aside the robes and sat up.
"What's Pauline going to do? Can she--" Gladys paused.
"Yes, she can--if she wishes to."
"But--will she? Will she?" demanded Gladys.
"Jack doesn't know what she'll do," replied Langdon. "He's
keeping quiet--the only sane course when that kind of storm
breaks. He had hoped you'd be there to smooth her down, but he
says when he opened the subject of your going back to Saint X you
cut him off."
"Does she know?"
"Somebody must have told her the day you left. Don't you
remember, she was taken ill suddenly?"
"Oh!" Gladys vividly recalled Pauline's strange look and
manner. She could see her sister-in-law--the long, lithe form,
the small, graceful head, with its thick, soft, waving hair, the
oval face, the skin as fine as the petals at the heart of a rose,
the arched brows and golden-brown eyes; that look, that air, as
of buoyant life locked in the spell of an icy trance, mysterious,
fascinating, sometimes so melancholy.
"I almost hope she'll do it, Mowbray," she said. "Jack
doesn't deserve her. He's not a bit her sort. She ought to have
"Some one who had her sort of ideals--some one like that big,
handsome chap--the one you admired so frantically--Governor
Scarborough. He was chock full of ideals. And he's making the
sort of career she could sympathize with."
"Scarborough!" exclaimed Gladys, with some success at
self-concealment. "I detest him! I detest `careers'!"
"Good," said Langdon, his face serious, his eyes amused.
"That opens the way for my other shock."
"Oh, the good news. What is it?"
"That I'd like it if you'd marry me."
Gladys glanced into his still amused eyes, then with a shrug sank
back among her wraps. "A poor joke," she said.
"I should say that marriage was a stale joke rather than a poor
one. Will you try it--with me? You might do worse."
"How did you have the courage to speak when I'm looking such a
wreck?" she asked with mock gravity.
"But you ain't--you're looking better now. That first shock
braced you up. Besides, this isn't romance. It's no high flight
with all the longer drop and all the harder jolt at the landing.
It's a plain, practical proposition."
Gladys slowly sat up and studied him curiously.
"Do you really mean it?" she asked. Each was leaning on an
elbow, gazing gravely into the other's face.
"I'd never joke on such a dangerous subject as marriage. I'm
far too timid for that. What do you say, Gladys?"
She had never seen him look serious before, and she was thinking
that the expression became him.
"He knows how to make himself attractive to a woman when he
cares to," she said to herself.
"I'd like a man that has lightness of mind. Serious people bore
one so after a while." By "serious people" she meant one
serious person whom she had admired particularly for his
seriousness. But she was in another mood now, another
atmosphere--the atmosphere she had breathed since she was
thirteen, except in the brief period when her infatuation for
Scarborough had swept her away from her world.
"No!" She shook her head with decision--and felt decided. But
to his practised ear there was in her voice a hint that she might
hear him further on the subject.
They lay back in their chairs, he watching the ragged, dirty,
scurrying clouds, she watching him. After a while he said:
"Where are you going when we reach the other side?"
"To join mother and auntie."
"And how long will you stay with them?"
"Not more than a week, I should say," she answered with a
She did not reply for some time. Studying her face, he saw an
expression of lonesomeness gather and strengthen and deepen until
she looked so forlorn that he felt as if he must take her in his
arms. When she spoke it was to say dubiously: "Back to New
York--to keep house for my brother--perhaps."
"And when his wife frees herself and he marries again--where
will you go?"
Gladys lifted a fold of her cape and drew it about her as if she
were cold. But he noted that it hid her face from him.
"You want--you need--a home? So do I," he went on tranquilly.
"You are tired of wandering? So am I. You are bored with
parade and parade--people? So am I. You wish freedom, not
bondage, when you marry? I refuse to be bound, and I don't wish
to bind any one. We have the same friends, the same tastes, have
had pretty much the same experiences. You don't want to be
married for your money. I'm not likely to be suspected of doing
that sort of thing."
"Some one has said that rich men marry more often for money than
poor men," interrupted Gladys. And then she colored as she
recalled who had said it.
Langdon noted her color as he noted every point in any game he
was playing; he shrewdly guessed its origin. "When Scarborough
told you that," he replied calmly, "he told you a great truth.
But please remember, I merely said I shouldn't be SUSPECTED of
marrying you for money. I didn't say I wasn't guilty."
"Is your list of reasons complete?"
"Two more the clinchers. You are disappointed in love--so am I.
You need consolation--so do I. When one can't have the best one
takes the best one can get, if one is sensible. It has been
known to turn out not so badly."
They once more lay back watching the clouds. An hour passed
without either's speaking. The deck-steward brought them tea and
biscuits which he declined and she accepted. She tried the big,
hard, tasteless disk between her strong white teeth, then said
with a sly smile: "You pried into my secret a few minutes ago.
I'm going to pry into yours. Who was she?"
"As the lady would have none of me, there's no harm in
confessing," replied Langdon, carelessly. "She was--and
is--and--" he looked at her--"ever shall be, world without
Gladys gasped and glanced at him with swift suspicion that he was
jesting. He returned her glance in a calm, matter-of-fact way.
She leaned back in her chair and they watched the slippery rail
slide up and down against the background of chilly, rainy sea and
"Are you asleep?" he asked after a long silence.
"No," she replied. "I was thinking."
"Doesn't it grow on you?"
He shifted himself to a sitting position with much
deliberateness. He put his hand in among her rugs and wraps
until it touched hers. "It may turn out better than you
anticipate," he said, a little sentiment in his eyes and smile,
a little raillery in his voice.
"I doubt if it will," she answered, without looking at him
directly. "For--I--anticipate a great deal."
DUMONT BETRAYS DUMONT.
Fanshaw versus Fanshaw was heard privately by a referee; and
before Mrs. Fanshaw's lawyers had a chance to ask that the
referee's report be sealed from publicity, the judge of his own
motion ordered it. At the political club to which he belonged,
he had received an intimation from the local "boss" that if
Dumont's name were anywhere printed in connection with the case
he would be held responsible. Thus it came to pass that on the
morning of the filing of the decree the newspapers were grumbling
over their inability to give the eagerly-awaited details of the
great scandal. And Herron was Catonizing against "judicial
But Dumont was overswift in congratulating himself on his escape
and in preening himself on his power.
For several days the popular newspapers were alone in denouncing
the judge for favoritism and in pointing out that the judiciary
were "becoming subservient to the rich and the powerful in their
rearrangements of their domestic relations--a long first step
toward complete subservience." Herron happened to have among
his intimates the editor of an eminently respectable newspaper
that prides itself upon never publishing private scandals. He
impressed his friend with his own strong views as to the gravity
of this growing discrimination between masses and classes; and
the organ of independent conservatism was presently lifting up
its solemn voice in a stentorian jeremiad.
Without this reinforcement the "yellows" might have shrieked in
vain. It was assumed that baffled sensationalism was by far a
stronger motive with them than justice, and the public was amused
rather than aroused by their protests. But now soberer dailies
and weeklies took up the case and the discussion spread to other
cities, to the whole country. By his audacity, by his arrogant
frankness he had latterly treated public opinion with scantiest
courtesy--by his purchase of campaign committees, and
legislatures, and courts, Dumont had made himself in the public
mind an embodiment of the "mighty and menacing plutocracy" of
which the campaign orators talked so much. And the various
phases of the scandal gave the press a multitude of texts for
satirical, or pessimistic, or fiery discourses upon the public
and private rottenness of "plutocrats."
But Dumont's name was never directly mentioned. Every one knew
who was meant; no newspaper dared to couple him in plain language
with the scandal. The nearest approach to it was where one New
York newspaper published, without comment, in the center of a
long news article on the case, two photographs of Dumont side by
side--one taken when he first came to New York, clear-cut,
handsome, courageous, apparently a type of progressive young
manhood; the other, taken within the year, gross, lowering,
tyrannical, obviously a type of indulged, self-indulgent despot.
Herron had forced Fanshaw to abandon the idea of suing Dumont for
a money consolation. He had been deeply impressed by his wife's
warnings against Fanshaw--"a lump of soot, and sure to smutch
you if you go near him." He was reluctant to have Fanshaw give
up the part of the plan which insured the public damnation of
Dumont, but there was no other prudent course. He assured
himself that he knew Fanshaw to be an upright man; but he did not
go to so perilous a length in self-deception as to fancy he could
convince cynical and incredulous New York. It was too eager to
find excuses for successful and admired men like Dumont, too
ready to laugh at and despise underdogs like Fanshaw. Herron
never admitted it to himself, but in fact it was he who put it
into Fanshaw's resourceless mind to compass the revenge of
publicity in another way.
Fanshaw was denouncing the judge for sealing the divorce
testimony, and the newspapers for being so timid about libel laws
and contempt of court.
"If a newspaper should publish the testimony," said Herron,
"Judge Glassford would never dare bring the editor before him
for contempt. His record's too bad. I happen to know he was in
the News-Record office no longer ago than last month, begging for
the suppression of an article that might have caused his
impeachment, if published. So there's one paper that wouldn't be
afraid of him."
"Then why does it shield the scoundrel?"
"Perhaps," replied Herron, his hand on the door of his office
law-library, "it hasn't been able to get hold of a copy of the
testimony." And having thus dropped the seed on good soil, he
Fanshaw waited several weeks, waited until certain other plans of
his and Herron's were perfected. Then he suddenly deluged the
sinking flames of the divorce discussion with a huge outpouring
of oil. Indirectly and with great secrecy he sent a complete
copy of the testimony to the newspaper Herron had mentioned, the
most sensational, and one of the most widely circulated in New
The next morning Dumont had to ring three times for his
secretary. When Culver finally appeared he had in his trembling
right hand a copy of the News-Record. His face suggested that he
was its owner, publisher and responsible editor, and that he
expected then and there to be tortured to death for the two
illustrated pages of the "Great Fanshaw-Dumont Divorce! All the
Testimony! Shocking Revelations!"
"I thought it necessary for you to know this without delay,
sir," he said in a shaky voice, as he held out the newspaper to
Dumont grew sickly yellow with the first glance at those
head-lines. He had long been used to seeing extensive and highly
unflattering accounts of himself and his doings in print; but
theretofore every open attack had been on some public matter
where a newspaper "pounding" might be attributed to politics or
stock-jobbery. Here--it was a verbatim official report, and of a
private scandal, more dangerous to his financial standing than
the fiercest assault upon his honesty as a financier; for it tore
away the foundation of reputation--private character. A faithful
transcript throughout, it portrayed him as a bag of slimy gold
and gilded slime. He hated his own face staring out at him from
a three-column cut in the center of the first page--its heavy
jaw, its cynical mouth, its impudent eyes. "Do I look like
THAT?" he thought. He was like one who, walking along the
streets, catches sight of his own image in a show-window mirror
and before he recognizes it, sees himself as others see him. He
flushed to his temples at the contrast with the smaller cut
beside it--the face of Pauline, high and fine icily beautiful as
always in her New York days when her features were in repose.
Culver shifted from one weak leg to the other, and the movement
reminded Dumont of his existence. "That's all. Clear out!" he
exclaimed, and fell back into his big chair and closed his eyes.
He thought he at last understood publicity.
But he was mistaken.
He finished dressing and choked down a little breakfast. As he
advanced toward the front door the servant there coughed uneasily
and said: "Beg pardon, sir, but I fear you won't be able to get
"What's the matter?" he demanded, his brows contracting and his
lips beginning to slide back in a snarl--it promised to be a sad
morning for human curs of all kinds who did not scurry out of the
"The crowd, sir," said the servant. And he drew aside the
curtain across the glass in one of the inside pair of great
double doors of the palace entrance. "It's quite safe to look,
sir. They can't see through the outside doors as far as this."
Dumont peered through the bronze fretwork. A closely packed mass
of people was choking the sidewalk and street--his brougham was
like an island in a troubled lake. He saw several
policemen--they were trying to move the crowd on, but not trying
sincerely. He saw three huge cameras, their operators under the
black cloths, their lenses pointed at the door--waiting for him
to appear. For the first time in his life he completely lost his
nerve. Not only publicity, the paper--a lifeless sheet of print;
but also publicity, the public--with living eyes to peer and
living voices to jeer. He looked helplessly, appealingly at the
"cur" he had itched to kick the moment before.
"What the devil shall I do?" he asked in a voice without a
trace of courage.
"I don't know, sir," replied the servant. "The basement door
wouldn't help very much, would it?"
The basement door was in front also. "Idiot! Is there no way
out at the rear?" he asked.
"Only over the fences, sir," said the servant, perfectly
matter-of-fact. Having no imagination, his mind made no picture
of the great captain of industry scrambling over back fences like
a stray cat flying from a brick.
Dumont turned back and into his first-floor sitting-room. He
unlocked his stand of brandy bottles, poured out an enormous
drink and gulped it down. His stomach reeled, then his head. He
went to the window and looked out--there must have been five
hundred people in the street, and vehicles were making their way
slowly and with difficulty, drivers gaping at the house and
joking with the crowd; newsboys, bent sidewise to balance their
huge bundles of papers, were darting in and out, and even through
the thick plate glass he could hear: "All about Millionaire
He went through to a rear window. No, there was a continuous
wall, a high brick wall. A servant came and told him he was
wanted at the telephone. It was Giddings, who said in a voice
that was striving in vain to be calm against the pressure of some
intense excitement: "You are coming down to-day, Mr. Dumont?"
"Why?" asked Dumont, snapping the word out as short and savage
as the crack of a lash.
"There are disquieting rumors of a raid on us."
"Who's to do the raiding?"
"They say it's Patterson and Fanning-Smith and Cassell and
Herron. It's a raid for control."
Dumont snorted scornfully. "Don't fret. We're all right. I'll
be down soon." And he hung up the receiver, muttering: "The
ass! I must kick him out! He's an old woman the instant I turn
He had intended not to go down, but to shut himself in with the
brandy bottle until nightfall. This news made his presence in
the Street imperative. "They couldn't have sprung at me at a
worse time," he muttered. "But I can take care of 'em!"
He returned to the library, took another drink, larger than the
first. His blood began to pound through his veins and to rush
along under the surface of his skin like a sheet of fire. Waves
of fury surged into his brain, making him dizzy, confusing his
sight--he could scarcely refrain from grinding his teeth. He
descended to the basement, his step unsteady.
"A ladder," he ordered in a thick voice.
He led the way to the rear wall. A dozen men-servants swarming
about, tried to assist him. He ordered them aside and began to
climb. As the upper part of his body rose above the wall-line he
heard a triumphant shout, many voices crying: "There he is!
There he is!"
The lot round the corner from his place was not built upon; and
there, in the side street, was a rapidly swelling crowd, the
camera-bearers hastily putting their instruments in position,
the black cloths fluttering like palls or pirate flags. With a
roaring howl he released his hold upon the ladder and shook both
fists, his swollen face blazing between them. He tottered, fell
backward, crashed upon the stone flooring of the area. His head
struck with a crack that made the women-servants scream. The men
lifted him and carried him into the house. He was not stunned;
he tried to stand. But he staggered back into the arms of his
valet and his butler.
"Brandy!" he gasped.
He took a third drink--and became unconscious. When the doctor
arrived he was raving in a high fever. For years he had drunk to
excess--but theretofore only when HE chose, never when his
appetite chose, never when his affairs needed a clear brain. Now
appetite, long lying in wait for him, had found him helpless in
the clutches of rage and fear, and had stolen away his mind.
The news was telephoned to the office at half-past eleven
o'clock. "It doesn't matter," said Giddings. "He'd only make
things worse if he were to come now."
Giddings was apparently right. From a tower of strength,
supporting alone, yet with ease, National Woolens, and the vast
structure based upon it, Dumont had crumbled into an obstruction
and a weakness. There is an abysmal difference between everybody
knowing a thing privately and everybody knowing precisely the
same thing publicly. In that newspaper exposure there was no
fact of importance that was not known to the entire Street, to
his chief supporters in his great syndicate of ranches,
railroads, factories, steamship lines and selling agencies. But
the tremendous blare of publicity acted like Joshua's horns at
Jericho. The solid walls of his public reputation tottered,
toppled, fell flat.
There had been a tight money-market for two weeks. Though there
had been uneasiness as to all the small and many of the large
"industrials," belief in National Woolens and in the stability
of John Dumont had remained strong. But of all the cowards that
stand sentinel for capital, the most craven is Confidence. At
the deafening crash of the fall of Dumont's private character,
Confidence girded its loins and tightened its vocal cords to be
in readiness for a shrieking flight.
Dumont ruled, through a parent and central corporation, the
National Woolens Company, which held a majority of the stock in
each of the seventeen corporations constituting the trust. His
control was in part through ownership of Woolens stock but
chiefly through proxies sent him by thousands of small
stock-holders because they had confidence in his abilities. To
wrest control from him it was necessary for the raiders both to
make him "unload" his own holdings of stock and to impair his
reputation so that his supporters would desert him or stand
On the previous day National Woolens closed at eighty-two for the
preferred and thirty-nine for the common. In the first hour of
the day of the raid Giddings and the other members of Dumont's
supporting group of financiers were able to keep it fairly steady
at about five points below the closing price of the previous day,
by buying all that was offered--the early offerings were large,
but not overwhelming. The supporters of other industrials saw
that the assault on Woolens was a menace to their stocks--if a
strong industrial weakened, the weaker ones would inevitably
suffer disaster in the frightened market that would surely
result. They showed a disposition to rally to the support of the
At eleven o'clock Giddings began to hope that the raid was a
failure, if indeed it had been a real raid. At eleven-twenty
Herron played his trump card.
The National Industrial Bank is the huge barometer to which both
speculative and investing Wall Street looks for guidance. Whom
that bank protects is as safe as was the medieval fugitive who
laid hold of the altar in the sanctuary; whom that bank frowns
upon in the hour of stress is lost indeed if he have so much as a
pin's-point area of heel that is vulnerable. Melville, president
of the National Industrial, was a fanatically religious man, with
as keen a nose for heretics as for rotten spots in collateral.
He was peculiarly savage in his hatred of all matrimonial
deviations. He was a brother of Fanshaw's mother; and she and
Herron had been working upon him. But so long as Dumont's share
in the scandal was not publicly attributed he remained
obdurate--he never permitted his up-town creed or code to
interfere with his down-town doings unless it became
necessary--that is, unless it could be done without money loss.
For up-town or down-town, to make money was always and in all
circumstances the highest morality, to lose money the profoundest
At twenty minutes past eleven Melville and the president of the
other banks of his chain called loans to Dumont and the Dumont
supporting group to the amount of three millions and a quarter.
Ten minutes later other banks and trust companies whose loans to
Dumont and his allies either were on call or contained provisions
permitting a demand for increased collateral, followed Melville's
example and aimed and sped their knives for Dumont's vitals.
Giddings found himself face to face with unexpected and
peremptory demands for eleven millions in cash and thirteen
millions in additional collateral securities. If he did not meet
these demands forthwith the banks and trust companies, to protect
themselves, would throw upon the market at whatever price they
could get the thirty-odd millions of Woolens stocks which they
held as collateral for the loans.
"What does this mean, Eaversole?" he exclaimed, with white,
wrinkled lips, heavy circles suddenly appearing under his eyes.
"Is Melville trying to ruin everything?"
"No," answered Eaversole, third vice-president of the company.
"He's supporting the market, all except us. He says Dumont must
be driven out of the Street. He says his presence here is a
pollution and a source of constant danger."
The National Woolens supporting group was alone; it could get no
help from any quarter, as every possible ally was frightened into
his own breastworks for the defense of his own interests.
Dumont, the brain and the will of the group, had made no false
moves in business, had been bold only where his matchless
judgment showed him a clear way; but he had not foreseen the
instantaneous annihilation of his chief asset--his reputation.
Giddings sustained the unequal battle superbly. He was cool, and
watchful, and effective. It is doubtful if Dumont himself could
have done so well, handicapped as he would have been on that day
by the Fanshaw scandal. Giddings cajoled and threatened,
retreated slowly here, advanced intrepidly there. On the one
side, he held back wavering banks and trust companies, persuading
some that all was well, warning others that if they pressed him
they would lose all. On the other side, he faced his powerful
foes and made them quake as they saw their battalions of millions
roll upon his unbroken line of battle only to break and
disappear. At noon National Woolens preferred was at
fifty-eight, the common at twenty-nine. Giddings was beginning
At three minutes past noon the tickers clicked out: "It is
reported that John Dumont is dying."
As that last word jerked letter by letter from under the printing
wheel the floor of the Stock Exchange became the rapids of a
human Niagara. By messenger, by telegraph, by telephone, holders
of National Woolens and other industrials, in the financial
district, in all parts of the country, across the sea, poured in
their selling orders upon the frenzied brokers. And all these
forces of hysteria and panic, projected into that narrow,
roofed-in space, made of it a chaos of contending demons. All
stocks were caught in the upheaval; Melville's plans to limit the
explosion were blown skyward, feeble as straws in a cyclone.
Amid shrieks and howls and frantic tossings of arms and mad
rushes and maniac contortions of faces, National Woolens and all
the Dumont stocks bent, broke, went smashing down, down, down,
every one struggling to unload.
Dumont's fortune was the stateliest of the many galleons that day
driven on the rocks and wrecked. Dumont's crew was for the most
part engulfed. Giddings and a few selected friends reached the
shore half-drowned and humbly applied at the wreckers' camp; they
were hospitably received and were made as comfortable as their
exhausted condition permitted.
John Dumont was at the mercy of Hubert Herron in his own company.
If he lived he would be president only until the next annual
meeting--less than two months away; and the Herron crowd had won
over enough of his board of directors to make him meanwhile
powerless where he had been autocrat.
THE FALLEN KING.
Toward noon the next day Dumont emerged from the stupor into
which Doctor Sackett's opiate had plunged him. At once his mind
began to grope about for the broken clues of his business. His
"The morning papers," said Dumont.
"Yes, sir," replied the valet, and disappeared.
After a few seconds Culver came and halted just within the
doorway. "I'm sorry, sir, but Doctor Sackett left strict orders
that you were to be quiet. Your life depends on it."
Dumont scowled and his lower lip projected--the crowning touch in
his most imperious expression. "The papers, all of
'em,--quick!" he commanded.
Culver took a last look at the blue-white face and bloodshot eyes
to give him courage to stand firm. "The doctor'll be here in a
few minutes," he said, bowed and went out.
Choking with impotent rage, Dumont rang for his valet and forced
him to help him dress. He was so weak when he finished that only
his will kept him from fainting. He took a stiff drink of the
brandy--the odor was sickening to him and he could hardly force
it down. But once down, it strengthened him.
"No, nothing to eat," he said thickly, and with slow but fairly
steady step left his room and descended to the library. Culver
was there--sat agape at sight of his master. "But you--you must
not--" he began.
Dumont gave him an ugly grin. "But I will!" he said, and again
drank brandy. He turned and went out and toward the front door,
Culver following with stammering protests which he heeded not at
all. On the sidewalk he hailed a passing hansom. "To the
Edison Building," he said and drove off, Culver, bareheaded at
the curb, looking dazedly after him. Before he reached
Fifty-ninth Street he was half-sitting, half-reclining in the
corner of the seat, his eyes closed and his senses sinking into a
stupor from the fumes of the powerful doses of brandy. As the
hansom drove down the avenue many recognized him, wondered and
pitied as they noted his color, his collapsed body, head fallen
on one side, mouth open and lips greenish gray:. As the hansom
slowly crossed the tracks at Twenty-third Street the heavy jolt
"The newspapers," he muttered, and hurled up through the trap
in the roof an order to the driver to stop. He leaned over the
doors and bought half a dozen newspapers of the woman at the
Flat-iron stand. As the hansom moved on he glanced at the
head-lines--they were big and staring, but his blurred eyes could
not read them. He fell asleep again, his hands clasped loosely
about the huge proclamations of yesterday's battle and his rout.
The hansom was caught in a jam at Chambers Street. The clamor of
shouting, swearing drivers roused him. The breeze from the open
sea, blowing straight up Broadway into his face, braced him like
the tonic that it is. He straightened himself, recovered his
train of thought, stared at one of the newspapers and tried to
grasp the meaning of its head-lines. But they made only a vague