Part 3 out of 6
"Yes, it's enough," said Barney, flinging the semi-conscious man on
the floor, "it's enough for him. Foxmore, you laughed, I think,
when he uttered that lie," he said in a voice smooth, almost sweet,
but that chilled the hearts of the hearers, "you laughed. You were
a beastly cad, weren't you? Speak!"
"What? I--I--" gasped Foxmore, backing into the corner.
"Quick, quick!" cried Barney, stepping lightly toward him on his
toes, "say it quick!" His fingers were working convulsively.
"Yes, yes, I was!" cried Foxmore, backing further away behind the
"Yes," cried Barney, his voice rising hoarse, "you would all of you
laugh at that brute ruin the name and honour of a lonely girl!" He
walked up and down before the group which stood huddled in the
corner in abject terror, more like a wild beast than a man.
"You're not fit to live! You're beasts of prey! No decent girl is
safe from you!" His voice rose loud and thin and harsh. He was
fast losing hold of himself. His ghastly face, bloody and horribly
disfigured, made an appalling setting for his blazing eyes. Nearer
and nearer the crowd he walked, gnashing and grinding his teeth
till the foam fell from his lips. The wild fury of his Highland
ancestors was turning him into a wild beast with a wild beast's
lust of blood. Further and further back cowered the group without
a word, so utterly panic-stricken were they.
"Barney," said Dick quietly, "come home." He stopped short, with
a mighty effort recalling his reason. For a few moments he stood
silent looking at the floor, then, raising his eyes, he let them
rest upon the doctor, who was leaning against the wall, and,
without a word, turned and slowly passed out of the room.
"Gad!" said Foxmore, with a horrible gasp of relief, "if the devil
looks like that I never want to see him."
Iola was undoubtedly pleased; her lips parting in a half smile, her
eyes shining through half-closed lids, her whole face glowing with
a warm light proclaimed the joy in her heart. The morning letters
lay on her table. She sat some moments holding one which she had
opened, while she gazed dreamily out through the branches of the
big elms that overshadowed her window. She would not move lest the
dream should break and vanish. As she lay back in her chair
looking out upon the moving leaves and waving boughs, she allowed
the past to come back to her. How far away seemed the golden days
of her Southern childhood. Almost her first recollection of
sorrow, certainly the first that made any deep impression upon her
heart, was when the men carried out her father in a black box and
when, leaving the big house with the wide pillared veranda, she was
taken to the chilly North. How terribly vivid was the memory of
her miserable girlhood, poverty pressed and loveless, her soul
beating like a caged bird against the bars of the cold and rigid
discipline of her aunt's well-ordered home. Then came the first
glad freedom from dependence when first she undertook to earn her
own bread as a teacher. Freedom and love came to her together,
freedom and love and friendship in the Manse and the Old Stone
Mill. With the memory of the Mill, there rose before her, clear-
limned and vividly real, one face, rugged, strong, and passionate,
and the thought of him brought a warmer light to her eyes and a
stronger beat to her heart. Every feature of the moonlight scene
on the night of the barn-raising when first she saw him stood out
with startling distinctness, the new skeleton of the barn gleaming
bony and bare against the sky, the dusky forms crowding about, and,
sitting upon a barrel across the open moonlit space of the barn
floor, the dark-faced lad playing his violin and listening while
she sang. At that point it was that life for her began.
A new scene passed before her eyes. It was the Manse parlour, the
music professor with dirty, claw-like fingers but face alight with
rapturous delight playing for her while she sang her first great
oratorio aria. She could feel to-day that mysterious thrill in the
dawning sense of new powers as the old man, with his hands upon her
shoulders, cried in his trembling, broken voice, "My dear young
lady, the world will listen to you some day!" That was the
beginning of her great ambition. That day she began to look for
the time when the world would come to listen. Then followed weary
days and weeks and months and years, weary with self-denials new to
her and with painful struggling with unmusical pupils, for she
needed bread; weary with heart-breaking strivings and failings in
the practice of her art, but, worst of all, weary to heart-break
with the patronage of the rich and flattering friends--how she
loathed it--of whom Dr. Bulling was the most insistent and the most
objectionable. And then this last campaign, with its plans and
schemes for a place in the great Philharmonic which would at once
insure not only her standing in the city, but a New York engagement
as well. And now the moment of triumph had arrived. The letter
she held in her hand was proof of it. She glanced once more at the
written page, her eye falling upon a phrase here and there, "We
have succeeded at last--the Duff Charringtons have surrendered--you
only want a chance--here it is--you can do the part well." She
smiled a little. Yes, she knew she could do the part. "And now
let nothing or nobody prevent you from accepting Mrs. Duff
Charrington's invitation for next Saturday. It is a beautiful
yacht and well found, and I am confident the great lady will be
gracious--bring your guitar with you, and if you will only be kind,
I foresee two golden days in store for me." She allowed a smile
slightly sarcastic to curl her lips.
"The doctor is inclined to be poetical. Well, we shall see.
Saturday? That means Sunday spent on board the yacht. I wish they
had it made another day. Margaret won't like it, and Barney won't
For a moment or two she allowed her mind to go back to the Sundays
spent in the Manse. She had never known the meaning of the day
before. The utter difference in feeling, in atmosphere, between
that day and the other days of the week, the subduing quiet, the
soothing peace, and the sense of sacredness that pervaded life on
that day, made the Sabbaths in the Manse like blessed isles of rest
in the sea of time. Never, since her two years spent there, had
she been able to get quite away from the sense of obligation to
make the day differ from the ordinary days of the week. No, she
was sure Barney would not like it. Still, she could spend its
hours quietly enough upon the yacht.
She picked up another letter in a large square envelope, the
address written in bold characters. "This is the Duff Charrington
invitation, I suppose," she said, opening the letter. "Well, she
does it nicely, at any rate, even if, as Dr. Bulling suggests,
somewhat against her inclination."
Again she sat back in silent dreaming, her eyes looking far away
down the coming years of triumph. Surely enough, the big world was
drawing near to listen. All she had read of the great queens of
song, Patti, Nilsson, Rosa, Trebelli, Sterling, crowded in upon her
mind, their regal courts thronged by the great and rich of every
land, their country seats, their luxurious lives. At last her foot
was in the path. It only remained for her to press forward. Work?
She well knew how hard must be her daily lot. Yes, but that lesson
she had learned, and thoroughly well, during these past years, how
to work long hours, to deny herself the things her luxurious soul
longed for, and, hardest of all, to bear with and smile at those
she detested. All these she would endure a little longer. The
days were coming when she would have her desire and do her will.
She glanced at the other letters upon the table. "Barney," she
cried, seizing one. An odd compunction struck into her heart.
"Barney, poor old boy!" A sudden thought stayed her hand from
opening the letter. Where had Barney been in this picture of the
future years upon which she had been feasting her soul? Aghast,
she realized that, amid its splendid triumphs, Barney had not
appeared. "Of course, he'll be there," she murmured somewhat
impatiently. But how and in what capacity she could not quite see.
Some prima donnas had husbands, mere shadowy appendages to their
courts. Others there were who found their husbands most useful as
financial agents, business managers, or upper servants. Iola
smiled a proud little smile. Barney would not do for any of these
discreetly shadowy, conveniently colourless or more useful
husbands. Would he be her husband? A warm glow came into her eyes
and a flush upon her cheek. Her husband? Yes, surely, but not for
a time. For some years she must be free to study, and--well, it
was better to be free till she had made her name and her place in
the world. Then when she had settled down Barney would come to
But how would Barney accept her programme? Sure as she was of his
great love, and with all her love for him, she was a little afraid
of him. He was so strong, so silently immovable. Often in the
past three years she had made trial of that immovable strength,
seeking to draw him away from his work to some social engagement,
to her so important, to him so incidental. She had always failed.
His work absorbed him as her art had her, but with a difference.
With Barney, work was his reward; with her, a means to it. To gain
some further knowledge, to teach his fingers some finer skill, that
was enough for Barney. Iola wrought at her long tasks and
practised her unusual self-denials with her eye upon the public.
Her reward would come when she had brought the world, listening, to
her feet. Seized in the thrall of his work, Barney grimly held to
it, come what might. No such absorbing passion possessed Iola.
And Iola, while she was provoked by what she called his
stubbornness, was yet secretly proud of that silently resisting
strength she could neither shake nor break. No, Barney was not
fitted for the role of the shadowy, pliant, convenient husband.
What, then, in her plan of life would be his place? It startled
her to discover that her plan had been complete without him.
Complete? Ah, no. Her life without Barney would be like a house
without its back wall. During these years of study and toil, while
Barney could only give her snatches of his time, she had come to
feel with increasing strength that her life was built round about
him. When others had been applauding her successes, she waited for
Barney's word; and though beside the clever, brilliant men that
moved in the circle into which her art had brought her he might
appear awkward and dull, yet it was Barney who continued to be the
standard by which she judged men. With all his need of polish, his
poverty of small talk, his hopeless ignorance of the conventions,
and his obvious disregard of them, the massive strength of him, his
fine sense of honour, his chivalrous bearing toward women, added a
touch of reverence to the love she bore him. But more than all, it
was to Barney her heart turned for its rest. She knew well that
she held in all its depth and strength his heart's love. He would
never fail her. She could not exhaust that deep well. But the
question returned, where would Barney be while she was being
conducted by acclaiming multitudes along her triumphal way? "Oh,
he will wait--we will wait," she corrected, shrinking from the
heartlessness of the former phrasing. How many years she could not
say. But deep in her heart was the determination that nothing
should stand in the way of the ambition she had so long cherished
and for which she had so greatly endured.
She opened the note with lingering deliberation as one dallies with
an approaching delight.
"MY DEAR IOLA: I have always told you the truth. I could not see
you last evening, nor can I to-day, and perhaps not for a day or
two, because my face is disfigured. These are the facts: At the
dinner, night before last, Dr. Bulling lied about you. I made him
swallow his lie and in the process got rather badly marked, though
not at all hurt. The doctor and his friends will, I think, guard
their tongues in future, at least in my hearing. Dr. Bulling is a
man of vile mind and of unclean life. He should not be allowed to
appear with decent people. I have written to forbid him ever
approaching you in public. You will know how to treat him if he
attempts it. This will be a most disgusting business to you. I
hate to make you suffer, but it had to be done, and by no one but
me. Would I could bear it all for you, my darling. The patronage
of these people, I mean Dr. Bulling's set, cannot, surely, be
necessary to your success. Your great voice needs not their
patronage; if so, failure would be better. When I am fit for your
presence I shall come to you. Good-bye. It is hard not to see
you. Ever yours,
Alas! for her dreams. How rudely they were dispelled! Alas! for
her castle in Spain. Already it was tottering to ruin, and by
Barney's hand. She read the note hurriedly again.
"He wants me to break with Dr. Bulling." She recalled a sentence
in the doctor's letter. "Let no one or nothing keep you from
accepting this invitation." "He's afraid Barney will keep me back.
Nonsense! How stupid of Barney! He is so terribly particular! He
doesn't understand these things. There has been a horrid row of
some kind and now he asks me to cut Dr. Bulling!" She glanced at
Barney's letter. "Well, he doesn't ask me, but it's all the same--
'you will know how to treat him.' He's too proud to ask me, but he
expects me to. It would be sheer madness! Wouldn't the Duff
Charrington's and Evelyn Redd be delighted! It is preposterous! I
must go! I shall go!"
Rarely did Iola allow herself the luxury of a downright burst of
passion. With her, it was hardly ever worth while to be seriously
angry. It was so much easier to avoid straight issues. But to-day
there was no avoiding. She surprised herself with a storm of
indignant rage so heart-shaking that after it had passed she was
thankful she had been alone.
"What's the matter with me?" she asked herself. She did not know
that the whole volume of her ambition, which had absorbed so great
a part of her life, had come, in all its might, against the massive
rock of Barney's will. He would never yield, she knew well.
"What shall I do?" she cried aloud, beginning to pace the room.
"Margaret will tell me. No, she would be sure to side with Barney.
She would think it was wicked to go on Sunday, anyway, and,
besides, she has Barney's rigid notions about things. I wish I
could see Dick. Dick will understand. He has seen more of this
life and--oh, he's not so terribly hidebound. And I'll get Dick to
see Barney." She would not acknowledge that she was grateful that
Barney could not come to see her, but she could write him a note
and she could send Dick to him, and in the meantime she would
accept the invitation. "I will accept at once. I wish I had
before I read Barney's note. I really had accepted in my mind,
and, besides, the arrangements were all made. I'll write the
letters now." She hastened to burn her bridges behind her so that
retreat might be impossible. "There," she cried, as she sealed,
addressed, and stamped the letters, "I wish they were in the box.
I'm awfully afraid I'll change. But I can't change! I cannot let
this chance go! I have worked too long and too hard! Barney
should not ask it!" A wave of self-pity swept over her, bringing
her temporary comfort. Surely Barney would not cause her pain,
would not force her to give up her great opportunity. She sought
to prolong this mood. She pictured herself a forlorn maiden in
distress whom it was Barney's duty and privilege to rescue. "I'll
just go and post these now," she said. Hastily she put on her hat
and ran down with the letters, fearing lest the passing of her
self-pity might leave her to face again the thought of Barney's
inevitable and immovable opposition.
"There, that's done," she said to herself, as the lid of the post
box clicked upon her letters. "Oh, I wonder--I wish I hadn't!"
What she had feared had come to pass. She had committed herself,
and now her self-pity had evaporated and left her face to face with
the inevitable results. With terrible clearness she saw Barney's
dark, rugged face with the deep-seeing eyes. "He always makes you
feel in the wrong," she said impatiently. "You can never think
what to say. He always seems right, and," she added honestly, "he
is right generally. Never mind, Dick will help me." She shook off
her load and ran on. At her door she met Dr. Foxmore.
"Ah, good-morning," smiled the doctor, showing a double row of
white teeth under his waxed mustache. "And how does the fair Miss
Lane find herself this fine morning?"
It took the whole force of Iola's self-mastery to keep the disgust
which was swelling her heart from showing in her face. Here was
one of Dr. Bulling's friends, one of his toadies--and he had a
number of them--who represented to her all that was most loathsome
in her life. The effort to repress her disgust, however, only made
her smile the sweeter. Foxmore was greatly encouraged. It was one
of his fixed ideas that his manner was irresistible with "the sex."
Bulling might hold over him, by reason of his wealth and social
position, but give him a fair field without handicap and see who
would win out!
"I was about to do myself the honour and the pleasure of calling
upon you this morning."
"Oh, indeed. Well--ah--come in." Iola was fighting fiercely her
loathing of him. It was against this man and his friends that
Barney had defended her name. She led the way to her studio,
ignoring the silly chatter of the man following her upstairs, and
by the time he had fairly got himself seated she was coolly master
"Just ran in to give you the great news."
"Why, don't you know? The Philharmonic thing is settled. You've
Iola looked blank.
"Why, haven't you heard that the Duff Charringtons have surrendered?"
Iola recognized Dr. Bulling's words.
"Surrendered? Just what, exactly?"
"Oh, d-dash it all! You know the big fight that has been going on,
the Duff Charringtons backing that little Redd girl."
"Oh! So the Duff Charringtons have been backing the little Redd
girl? Miss Evelyn Redd, I suppose? It sounds a little like a
horse race or a pugilistic encounter."
"A horse race!" he exclaimed. "Ha, ha, ha! A horse race isn't in
it with this! But Bulling pulled the wires and you've got it."
"But this is extremely interesting. I was not aware that the
soloists were chosen for any other reason than that of merit."
In spite of herself Iola had adopted a cool and somewhat lofty
"Oh, well, certainly on merit, of course. But you know how these
things go." Dr. Foxmore was beginning to feel uncomfortable. The
lofty air of this struggling, as yet unrecognized, country girl was
both baffling and exasperating. "Oh, come, Miss Lane," he
continued, making a desperate effort to recover his patronizing
tone, "you know just what we all think of your ability."
"What do you think of it?" Iola's tone was calmly curious.
"Why, I think--well--I know you can do the work infinitely better
than Evelyn Redd."
"Have you heard Miss Redd in oratorio? I know you have never heard
"No, can't say I have; but I know your voice and your style and I'm
confident it will suit the part."
"Thank you so much," said Iola sweetly; "I am so sorry that Dr.
Bulling should have given so much time, and he is such a busy man."
"Oh, that's nothing," waved Dr. Foxmore, recovering his self-
esteem, "we enjoyed it."
"How nice of you! And you were pulling wires, too, Dr. Foxmore?"
"Ah, well, we did a little work in a quiet way," replied the
doctor, falling into his best professional tone.
"And this yachting party, I suppose Dr. Bulling and you worked
that, too? Really, Dr. Foxmore, you have no idea what a relief it
is to have one's affairs taken charge of in this way. It quite
saves one the trouble of making up one's mind. Indeed, one hardly
needs a mind at all." Iola's face and smile were those of innocent
childhood. Dr. Foxmore shot a suspicious glance at her and
hastened to change the subject.
"Well, you will go next Saturday, will you not?"
"I am really a little uncertain at present," replied Iola.
"Oh, you must, you know! Mrs. Duff Charrington will be awfully cut
up, not to speak of Bulling. He had no end of trouble to bring it
"You mean, to persuade Mrs. Duff Charrington to invite me?"
"Oh, well," said the doctor, plunging wildly, "I wouldn't put it
that way. But the whole question of the Philharmonic was involved,
and this invitation was a flag of truce, as it were."
"Your metaphors certainly have a warlike flavour, Dr. Foxmore; I
cannot pretend to follow the workings of your mind. But seeing
that this invitation has been secured at the expense of such effort
on the part of Dr. Bulling and yourself, I rather think I shall
decline it." In spite of all she could do, Iola could not keep out
of her voice a slightly haughty tone. Dr. Foxmore's sense of
superiority was fast deserting him. "And as to the Philharmonic
solos," continued Iola, "if the directors see fit to make me an
offer of the part I shall consider it."
"Consider it!" gasped Dr. Foxmore. It was time this young girl
with her absurd pretensions were given to understand the magnitude
of the favour that Dr. Bulling and himself were seeking to confer
upon her. He became brutal. "Well, all I say is that if you know
when you are well off, you'll take this chance."
Iola rose with easy grace and stood erect her full height. Dr.
Foxmore had not thought her so tall. Her face was a shade paler
than usual, her eyes a little wider open, but her voice was as
smooth as ever, and with just a little ring as of steel in it she
inquired, "Did you come here this morning to make this threat, Dr.
"I came," he said bluntly, "to let you know your good fortune and
to warn you not to allow any of your friends to persuade you
against your own best interests."
"My friends?" Iola threw her head slightly backward and her tone
became frankly haughty.
"Oh, I know your friends, and especially--I may as well be plain--
that young medical student, Boyle, don't like Dr. Bulling, and
might persuade you against this yacht trip."
Iola was furiously aware that her face was aflame, but she stood
without speaking for a few moments till she was sure her voice was
"My FRIENDS would never presume to interfere with my choosing."
"Well, they presume, or at least that young Boyle presumed, to
interfere once too often for his own good. But he'll probably be
more careful in future."
"Mr. Boyle is a gentleman in whom I have the fullest confidence.
He would do what he thought right."
"He will probably correct his judgments before he interferes with
Dr. Bulling again." The doctor's tone was insolently sarcastic.
"Yes. He was grossly insulting and Dr. Bulling was forced to
"Chastise! Mr. Boyle!" cried Iola, her anger throwing her off her
guard. "That is quite impossible, Dr. Foxmore! That could not
"But I am telling you it did! I was present and saw it. It was
Iola put up her hand imperiously. "Dr. Foxmore," she said,
recovering her self-command, "there is no need of words. I tell
you it is quite impossible! It is quite impossible!"
Dr. Foxmore's face flushed a deep red. He flung aside the
remaining shreds of decency in speech.
"Do you mean to call me a liar?" he shouted.
"Ah, Dr. Foxmore, would you also chastise me as well?"
The doctor stood in helpless rage looking at the calm, smiling
"I was a fool to come!" he blurted.
"I would not presume to contradict you, nor to stand in the way of
The doctor swore a great oath under his breath and without further
words strode from the room.
Iola stood erect and silent till he had disappeared through the
open door. "Oh!" she breathed, her hands fiercely clenched, "if I
were a man what a joy it would be just now!" She shut the door and
sat down to think. "I wonder what did happen? I must see Dick at
once. He'll tell me. Oh, it is all horribly loathsome!" For the
first time she saw herself from Dr. Bulling's point of view. If
she sang in the Philharmonic it would be by virtue of his good
offices and by the gracious permission of the Duff Charringtons.
That she had the voice for the part and that it was immeasurably
better than Evelyn Redd's counted not at all. How mean she felt!
And yet she must go on with it. She would not allow anything to
stand in the way of her success. This was the first firm stepping-
stone in her climb to fame. Once this was taken, she would be
independent of Bulling and his hateful associates. She would go
on this yacht trip. She need not have anything to do with Dr.
Bulling, nor would she, for Barney would undoubtedly be hurt and
angry. It looked terribly like disloyalty to him to associate
herself on terms of friendship with the man who had beaten him so
cruelly. Oh, how she hated herself! But she could not give up her
chance. She would explain to Barney how helpless she was and she
would send Dick to him. He would listen to Dick.
Poor Iola! Without knowing it, she was standing at the cross roads
making choice of a path that was to lead her far from the faith,
the ideals, the friends she now held most dear. Through all her
years she had been preparing herself for this hour of choice. With
her, to desire greatly was to bend her energies to attain. She
would deeply wound the man who loved her better than his own life;
but the moment of choice found her helpless in the grip of her
ambition. And so her choice was made.
HE THAT LOVETH HIS LIFE
Mrs. Duff Charrington at close range was not nearly so formidable
as when seen at a distance. The huge bulk of her, the pronouncedly
masculine dress and manner, the loud voice, the red face with its
dark mustache line on the upper lip, all of which at a distance
were calculated to overawe if not to strike terror to the heart of
the beholder, were very considerably softened by the shrewd, kindly
twinkle of the keen grey eyes which a nearer view revealed. Her
welcome of Iola was bluff and hearty, but she was much too busy
ordering her forces and disposing of her impedimenta, for she was
her own commodore, to pay particular attention in the meantime to
her guests. The wharf at which the Petrel was tied was crowded
this Saturday afternoon with various parties of excursionists
making for the steamers, ferries, yachts, and other craft that lay
along the water front. Already the Petrel had hoisted her mainsail
and, under the gentle breeze, was straining upon her shore lines
awaiting the word to cast off. As Iola stood idly gazing at the
shifting scene, wondering how Dick had succeeded on his mission to
his brother, she observed Dr. Bulling approaching with his usual
smiling assurance. Just as he was about to speak, however, she
noticed him start and gaze fixedly toward the farther side of the
wharf. Iola's eye, following his gaze, fell upon the figure of a
man pushing his way through the crowd. It was Barney. She saw him
pause, evidently to make inquiry of a dockhand. With a muttered
oath, Bulling sprang to the aft line.
"Let go that line, Murdoff!" he shouted to the man at the bow.
"Look lively, there!"
As he spoke he cast off the stern line and seized the wheel, making
it imperative that Murdoff should execute his command in the
liveliest manner. At once the yacht swung out and began to put a
space of blue water between herself and the dock. She was not a
moment too soon, for Barney, having received his direction, was
coming at a run, scattering the crowd to right and left. As he
arrived at the dock edge he caught sight of Iola and Dr. Bulling.
He took a step backwards and made as if to attempt the spring.
Iola's cry, "Don't, Barney!" arrested Mrs. Duff Charrington's
"What's up?" she shouted. "How's this? We're off! Bulling, what
the deuce--who gave orders?"
Mrs. Duff Charrington for once in her life was, as she would have
said herself, completely flabbergasted. At a single glance she
took in the white face of Iola, and that of Dr. Bulling, no less
"What's up?" she cried again. "Have you seen a ghost, Miss Lane?
You, too, Bulling?" She glanced back at the clock. "There's
someone left behind! Who is that young man, Daisy? Why, it's our
medallist, isn't it? Do you know him, Bulling? Shall we go back
"No, no! For Heaven's sake, no! He's a madman, quite!"
"Pardon me, Dr. Bulling," said Iola, her voice ringing clear and
firm in contrast with Bulling's agitated tone, "he is a friend of
mine, a very dear friend, and, I assure you, very sane." As she
spoke she waved her hand to Barney, but there was no answering
"Your friend, is he?" said Mrs. Duff Charrington. "Then doubtless
very sane. Does he want you, Miss Lane? Shall we go back for
"No, he doesn't want me," said Iola.
"Mrs. Charrington," said Dr. Bulling, "he has a grudge against me
because of a fancied insult."
"Ah," said Mrs. Duff Charrington, "I understand. What do you say,
Miss Lane? We can easily go back."
"Oh, let us not talk about it, Mrs. Charrington," said Iola
hurriedly; "he is gone."
"As you wish, my dear. Daisy, take Dr. Bulling down to the cabin.
I declare he looks as if he needed bracing up. I shall take the
"Mrs. Charrington," said Iola in a low voice, as Bulling
disappeared down the companionway, "that was Mr. Boyle, my friend,
and I want you to think him a man of the highest honour. But he
doesn't like Dr. Bulling. He doesn't trust him."
"My dear, my dear," said Mrs. Charrington brusquely, "don't trouble
yourself about him. I haven't lived fifty years for nothing. Oh!
these men, these men! They take themselves too seriously, the dear
creatures. But they are just like ourselves, with a little more
conceit and considerably less wit. And they are not really worth
all the trouble we take for them. I must get to know your
medallist, my dear. That was a strong face and an honest face. I
have heard John rave about him. John is my young son, first year
in medicine. His judgment, I confess, is not altogether reliable--
worships brawn, and there are traditions afloat as to that young
man's doings when they were initiating him. But I have no doubt
that, however sane on other subjects, he is quite mad about you,
and, hang me! if I can wonder. If I were a young man I'd get my
arms round you as soon as possible."
As she chattered along, Iola found her heart warm to Mrs. Duff
Charrington, who, with all her sporty manners and masculine ways,
was an honest soul, with a shrewd wit and a kindly heart.
"I'm glad now I came," said Iola gratefully; "I was afraid you
weren't--" She paused abruptly in confusion.
"Oh, I'm not so bad as I'm painted, I assure you."
"Oh, dear Mrs. Charrington, it was not you I was afraid of, it was
what Dr. Bulling--" Again Iola hesitated.
"Don't bother telling me," said Mrs. Duff Charrington, observing
her confusion. "No doubt Bulling gave you to understand that he
worked me to invite you. Confess now." There was a shrewd twinkle
in her keen grey eye. "Bulling is a liar, a terrible liar, with
large possibilities of self-appreciation. But he had nothing to do
with this invitation, though he flatters himself he had. He's not
without ability, but he can't teach his grandmother to suck eggs.
I'll tell you why you are here. I pride myself upon having an eye
for a winner, and I pick you as one, and that's why you are to sing
in the Philharmonic. Evelyn Redd has a pretty voice. She is a
niece of a very dear friend, and for a time I thought she might do.
But she has no soul, no passion, and music, like a man, must have
passion. Music without passion is a crime against art. So I just
told Duff, he's chairman, you know, of the Board of Directors, that
she was impossible and that we must have you. I have heard you
sing, my dear, and I know the singer's face and the singer's throat
and eye. You have them all. You have the voice and the
temperament and the passion. You'll be great some day, much
greater than I, and, with the hope of sharing your glory, I have
decided to put my money on you."
Iola murmured some words of thanks, not knowing just what to say,
but Mrs. Duff Charrington waved them aside.
"Purely selfish," she said, "purely selfish, my dear. Now don't
let Bulling worry you. I pick him for a winner, too. He has
force. He'll be a power in the country. Inclines to politics.
He's a kind of brute, of course, but he'll succeed, for he has
wealth and social prestige, neither to be sniffed at, my child.
But, especially, he has driving power. But I'll have my eye on him
this trip, so enjoy your outing."
Mrs. Duff Charrington was as good as her word. She knew nothing of
the finesse of diplomacy in the manipulation of her company. Her
method was straightforward dragooning. Observing the persistent
attempts of Dr. Bulling during the early part of the trip to secure
Iola for a tete-a-tete, she called out across the deck in the ears
of the whole company, "See here, Bulling, I won't have you trying
to monopolise our star. We're out for a good time and we're going
to have it. Miss Lane is not your property. She belongs to us
all." Thenceforth Dr. Bulling, with what grace he could summon,
had to content himself with just so much of Iola's company as his
hostess decided he should have.
It was Iola's first experience of yachting, and it brought her a
series of sensations altogether new and delightful. As the yacht
skimmed, like a great white-winged bird, over the blue waters of
Ontario, the humming breeze, the swift rush through the parting
waves, the sense of buoyant life with which the yacht seemed to be
endowed made her blood jump. She abandoned herself to the joys of
the hour and became the life and soul of the whole party. And were
it not for Barney's haunting face, the two days' outing would have
been for Iola among the happiest experiences of her life. But
Barney's last look across the widening strip of water pursued her
and filled her with foreboding. It was not rage; it was more
terrible than rage. Iola shuddered as she recalled it. She read
in it the despair of renunciation. She dreaded meeting him again,
and as the end of her trip drew near her dread increased.
Nor did Mrs. Duff Charrington, who had become warmly interested in
the girl during the short voyage, fail to observe her uneasiness
and to guess the cause. Foremost among the crowd awaiting them at
the dock, Iola detected Barney.
"There he is," she cried under her breath.
"My dear," said Mrs. Duff Charrington, who was at her side, "it is
not possible that you are afraid, and of a man! I would give
something to have that feeling. It is many years since a man could
inspire me with any feeling but that of contempt or of kind pity.
They are really silly creatures and most helpless. Let me manage
him. Introduce him to me and leave him alone."
Mrs. Duff Charrington's confidence in her superior powers was more
than justified. Through the crowd and straight for Iola came
Barney, his face haggard with two sleepless nights. By a clever
manoeuvre Mrs. Duff Charrington swung her massive form fair in his
path and, turning suddenly, faced him squarely. Iola seized the
moment to present him. Barney made as if to brush her aside, but
Mrs. Duff Charrington was not of the kind to be lightly brushed
aside by anyone, much less by a young man of Barney's inexperience.
"Ah, young man," she exclaimed, "I think I have seen you before."
The strong grip of her hand and the loud tone of her voice at once
arrested his progress and commanded his attention. "I saw you get
your medal the other day, and I have heard my young hopeful rave
about you--John Charrington, you know, medical student, first year.
He is something of a fool and a hero-worshipper. You, of course,
won't have noticed him."
Barney halted, gazed abstractedly at the strong face with the keen
grey eyes compelling his attention, then, with an effort, he
collected his wits.
"Charrington? Yes, of course, I know him. Very decent chap, too.
Don't see much of him."
"No, rather not. He doesn't haunt the same spots. The dissecting-
room wouldn't recognize him, I fancy. He's straight-going,
however, but he can't pass exams. Good thing, too, for unless he
changes considerably, the Lord pity his patients." She became
aware of a sudden hardening in Barney's face and a quick flash in
his eye. Without turning her head she knew that Dr. Bulling was
approaching Iola from the other side. She put her hand on Barney's
arm. "Mr. Boyle, please take Miss Lane to my carriage there?
Bulling," she said, turning sharply upon the doctor, "will you help
Daisy to collect my stuff? I am sure things will be left on the
yacht. There are always some things left. Servants are so
stupid." There was that in her voice that made Bulling stand
sharply at attention and promptly obey. And ere Barney knew, he
was leading Iola and Mrs. Duff Charrington to the waiting carriage.
"So sorry I didn't know you were a friend of Miss Lane's, or we
would have had you on our trip, Mr. Boyle," said Mrs. Duff
Charrington as he closed the carriage door.
"I thank you. But I am very busy, and, besides, I would not fit in
with some of your party." There was war in Barney's tone.
"Good Heavens, young man!" cried Mrs. Duff Charrington, in no way
disturbed, "you don't expect to make the world fit in with you or
you with the world, do you? Life consists in adjusting one's self.
But you will be glad to know that Miss Lane has made us all have a
very happy little holiday."
"Of that I am sure," cried Barney gravely.
"And we gave her, or we tried to give her, a good time."
"It is for that some of us have lived." Barney's deep voice,
thrilling with sad and tender feeling, brought the quick tears to
Iola's eyes. To her, the words had in them the sound of farewell.
Even Mrs. Duff Charrington was touched. She leaned over the
carriage door toward him.
"Mr. Boyle, I am taking Miss Lane home to dinner. Come with us."
Barney felt the kindly tone. "Thank you, Mrs. Charrington, it
would give none of us pleasure, and I have much to do. I am
leaving to-morrow for Baltimore."
Iola could not check a quick gasp. Mrs. Duff Charrington glanced
at her white face.
"Young man," she said sternly, leaning out toward him and looking
Barney in the eyes, "don't be a fool. The man that would, from
pique, willingly hurt a friend is a mean and cruel coward."
"Mrs. Charrington," replied Barney in a steady voice, "I have just
come from an operation by which a little girl, an only child, has
lost her arm. It was the mother that desired it, not from cruelty,
but from love. It is because it is best, that I go to-morrow.
Good-bye." Then turning to Iola he said, "I shall see you to-
night." He lifted his hat and turned away."
"Drive home, Smith," said Mrs. Charrington sharply; "the others
will find their way."
"Take me home," whispered Iola, with dry lips.
"Do you love him?" said Mrs. Duff Charrington, taking the girl's
hand in hers.
"Ah, yes. I never knew how much."
"Tut! tut! child, the world still moves. Baltimore is not so far
and he is only a man." Mrs. Duff Charrington's tone did not
indicate a high opinion of the masculine section of humanity.
"You'll just come with me for dinner and then I shall send you
home. Thank God, we can still eat."
For some minutes they drove along in silence.
"Yes," said Mrs. Charrington, following up the line of her thought,
"that's a man for you--thinks the whole world moves round the axis
of his own life. But I like him. He has a good face. Still," she
mused, "a man isn't everything, although once I--but never mind,
there is always a way of bringing them to time."
"You don't know Barney, Mrs. Charrington," said Iola; "nothing can
ever change him."
"Pish! You think so, and so, doubtless, does he. But none the
less it is sheer nonsense. Can you tell me the trouble?"
"No, I think not," said Iola softly.
"Very well. As you like, my dear. Few things are the better for
words. If ever you wish to come to me I shall be ready. Now let
us dismiss the thing till after dinner. Disagreeable thoughts
hinder digestion, I have found, and nothing is quite worth that."
With such resolution did she follow her own suggestion that, during
the drive and throughout the dinner hour and, indeed, until the
moment of her departure, Iola was not permitted to indulge her
anxious thoughts, but with Mrs. Duff Charrington's assistance she
succeeded in keeping them deep in her heart under guard.
As Mrs. Duff Charrington kissed her good-night she whispered:
"Don't face any issue to-night. Don't settle anything. Give time
a chance. Time is a wonderfully wise old party."
And Iola, sitting back in the carriage, decided she would act upon
the advice which suited so thoroughly her own habit of mind. That
Barney had made up his mind to a line of action she knew. She
would set herself to gain time, and yet she was fearful of the
issue of the interview before her. The fear and anxiety which she
had been holding down for the last two hours came over her in
floods. As she thought of Barney's last words she found herself
searching wildly, but in vain, for motives with which to brace her
strength. If he had only been angry! But that sad, tender
solicitude in his voice unnerved her. He was not thinking of
himself, she knew. He was, as ever, thinking of and for her.
A storm of wind and rain was rapidly drawing on, but she heeded not
the big drops driving into her face, nor did she notice that before
she reached her door she was quite wet. She found Barney waiting
for her. As she entered he arose and stood silent.
"Barney!" she exclaimed, and paused, waiting. But there was no
"Oh, Barney!" she cried again, her voice quivering, "won't you tell
me to come?"
"Come," he said, holding out his arms.
With a little cry of timid joy she ran to him, wreathed her arms
about his neck, and clung sobbing. For some moments he held her
fast, gently caressing with his hand her face and her beautiful
hair till she grew quiet. Then disengaging her arms, he kissed her
with grave tenderness and put her away from him.
"Go and take off your wet things first," he said.
"Say you forgive me, Barney," she whispered, putting her arms again
about his neck.
"That's not the word," he replied sadly; "there's nothing to
forgive. Go, now!"
She hurried away, praying that Barney's mood might not change. If
she could only get her arms about his neck she could win and hold
him, and, what was far more important, she could conquer herself,
for great as she knew her love to be, she was fully aware of the
hold her ambition had upon her and she dreaded lest that influence
should become dominant in this hour. She knew well their souls
would reach each other's secrets, and according to that reading the
issue would be.
"I will keep him! I will keep him!" she whispered to herself as
she tore off her wet clothing. "What shall I put on?" She could
afford to lose no point of vantage and she must hasten. She chose
her simplest gown, a soft creamy crepe de chene trimmed with lace,
and made so as to show the superb modelling of her perfect body,
leaving her arms bare to the elbow and falling away at the neck to
reveal the soft, full curves where they flowed down to the swell of
her bosom. She shook down her hair and gathered it loosely in a
knot, leaving it as the wind and rain had tossed it into a
bewildering tangle of ringlets about her face. One glance she
threw at her mirror. Never had she appeared more lovely. The dead
ivory of her skin, relieved by a faint flush in her cheeks, the
lustrous eyes, now aglow with passion, all set in the frame of the
night-black masses of her hair--this, and that indescribable but
all-potent charm that love lends to the face, she saw in her glass.
"Ah, God help me!" she cried, clasping her hands high above her
head, and went forth.
These few moments Barney had spent in a fierce struggle to regain
the mastery over the surging passion that was sweeping like a
tempest through his soul. As her door opened he rose to meet her;
but as his eyes fell upon her standing in the soft rose-shaded
light of the room, her attitude of mute appeal, the rare, rich
loveliness of her face and form again swept away all the barriers
of his control. She took one step toward him. With a swift
movement he covered his face with his hands and sank to his chair.
"O God! O God! O God!" he groaned. "And must I lose her!"
"Why lose me, Barney?" she said, gliding swiftly to him and
dropping to her knees beside him. "Why lose me?" she repeated,
taking his head to her heaving bosom.
The touch of pity aroused his scorn of himself and braced his
manhood. Not for himself must he think now, but for her. The
touch of self makes weak, the cross makes strong. What matter that
he was giving up his life in that hour if only she were helped? He
rose, lifted her from her knees, set her in a chair, and went back
to his place.
"Barney, let me come to you," she pleaded. "I'm sorry I went--"
"No," he said, his voice quiet and steady, "you must stay there.
You must not touch me, else I cannot say what I must."
"Barney," she cried again, "let me explain."
"Explain? There is no need. I know all you would say. These
people are nothing to you or to me. Let us forget them. It
matters not at all that you went with them. I am not angry.
I was at first insane, I think. But that is all past now."
"What is it, Barney?" she asked in a voice awed by the sadness and
despair in the even, quiet tone.
"It is this," he replied; "we have come to the end. I must not
hold you any more. For two years I have known. I had not the
courage to face it. But, thank God, the courage has come to me
these last two days."
"Yes. Courage to do right. That's it, to do right. That is what
a man must do. And I must think for you. Our lives are already
far apart and I must not keep you longer."
"Oh, Barney!" cried Iola, her voice breaking, "let me come to you!
How can I listen to you saying such terrible things without your
arms about me? Can't you see I want you? You are hurting me!"
The pain, the terror in her voice and in her eyes, made him wince
as from a stab. He seemed to hesitate as if estimating his
strength. Dare he trust himself? It would make the task
infinitely harder to have her near him, to feel the touch of her
hands, the pressure of her body. But he would save her pain. He
would help her through this hour of agony. How great it was he
could guess by his own. He led her to a sofa, sat down beside her,
and took her in his arms. With a long, shuddering sigh, she let
herself sink down, with muscles relaxed and eyes closed.
"Now go on, dear," she whispered.
"Poor girl! Poor girl!" said Barney, "we have made a great
mistake, you and I. I was not made for you nor you for me."
"Why not?" she whispered.
"Listen to me, darling. Do I love you?"
"Yes," she answered softly.
"With all my heart and soul?"
"Yes, dear," she answered again.
"Better than my own life?"
"Yes, Barney. Oh, yes," she replied with a little sob in her
"Now we will speak simple truth to each other," said Barney in a
tone solemn as if in prayer, "the truth as in God's sight."
She hesitated. "Oh, Barney!" she cried piteously, "must I say all
"We must, darling. You promise?"
"Oh-h-h! Yes, I promise." She flung her arms upward about his
neck. "I know what you will ask."
"Listen to me, darling," he said again, taking down her arms, "this
is what I would say. You have marked out your life. You will
follow your great ambition. Your glorious voice calls you and you
feel you must go. You love me and you would be my wife, make my
home, mother my children if God should send them to us; but both
these things you cannot do, and meantime you have chosen your great
career. Is not this true?"
"I can't give you up, Barney!" she moaned.
To neither of them did it occur as an alternative that Barney
should give up his life's work to accompany her in the path she had
marked. Equally to both this would have seemed unworthy of him.
"Is not this true, Iola?" Barney's voice, in spite of him, grew a
little stern. And though she knew it was at the cost of life she
could not deny it.
"God gave me the voice, Barney," she whispered.
"Yes, darling. And I would not hinder you nor turn you from your
great art. So it is better that there should be no bond between
us." He paused a moment as if to gather his strength together for
a supreme effort. "Iola, when you were a girl I bound you to me.
Now you are a woman, I set you free. I love you, but you are not
mine. You are your own."
Convulsively she clung to him moaning, "No, no, Barney!"
"It is the only way."
"No, not to-night, Barney!"
"Yes, to-night. To-morrow I go to Baltimore. Trent has got me an
appointment in Johns Hopkins. You will never forget me, but your
life will be full again of other people and other things." He
hurried his words, seeking to strike the note of her ambition and
so turn her mind from her present pain. "Your Philharmonic will
bring you fame. That means engagements, great masters, and then
you will belong to the great world." How clearly he had read her
mind and how closely he had followed the path she herself had
outlined for her feet! He paused, as if to take breath, then
hurried on again as through a task. "And we will all be proud of
you and rejoice in your success and in your--your--your--happiness."
The voice that had gone so bravely and so relentlessly through the
terrible lesson faltered at the word and broke, but only for an
instant. He must think of her. "Dick will he here," he went on,
"and Margaret, and soon you will have many friends. Believe me, it
is the best, Iola, and you will say it some day."
Like a flash of inspiration it came to her to say, "No, Barney, you
are not helping me to my best."
In his soul he felt that it was a true word. For a moment he had
no answer. Eagerly she followed up her advantage.
"And who," she cried, "will help me up and take care of me?"
Ah, she struck deep there. Who, indeed, would care for her, guard
her against the world with its beasts of prey that batten their
lusts upon beauty and innocence? And who would help her against
herself? The desire to hold her for himself and for her sprang up
fierce within him. Could he desert her, leave her to fight her
fights, to find her way through the world's treacherous paths
alone? That was the part of his renunciation that had been the
heart of his pain. Not his loss, but her danger. Not his
loneliness, but hers. For a moment he forgot everything. All the
great love in him gathered itself together and massed its weight
behind this desire to protect her and to hold her safe.
"Could you, Iola," he cried hoarsely, "don't you think you could
let me care for you? Couldn't you come to me, give me the right to
guard you? I can make wealth, great wealth, for you. Can't you
Wildly, with the incoherent logic and eloquence of great passion,
he poured forth his soul's desire for her. To work for her, to
suffer for her, to live for her, yes, and to give himself to her
and to keep her only for himself! Helpless in the sweeping tide of
his mighty passion, he poured forth his words, pleading as for his
life. By an inexplicable psychic law the exhibition of his passion
calmed hers. The sight of his weakness brought her strength. For
one fleeting moment she allowed her mind to rest upon the picture
his words made of a home, made rich with the love of a strong man,
and sweet with the music of children's voices, where she would be
safe and sheltered in infinite peace and content. But only for a
moment. Swifter than the play of light there flashed before her
another scene, a crowded amphitheatre of faces, tier upon tier,
eager, rapt, listening, and upon the stage the singer holding,
swaying, compelling them to her will. Barney felt her relaxed
muscles tone up into firmness. The force of her ambition was being
transmitted along those subtle spiritual nerves that knit soul and
mind and body into one complex whole, into the very sinews and
muscles of her frame. She had hold of herself again. She would
set herself to gain time.
"Let us wait, Barney," she said, "let us take time."
An intangible something in her tone pulled him to a sharp stop.
What a weak fool he had been and how he had been thinking of
himself! He sat up, straight and strong, his own man again.
"Forgive me, darling," he said, a faint, wan smile flitting across
his face. "I was weak and selfish. I allowed myself to think for
a moment that it might be, but now I know we must say good-bye to-
"Good-bye?" The sting of her pain made her irritable. He was so
stubborn. "Surely, Barney, it is unreasonable to ask me to decide
at once to-night."
He rose to his feet and lifted her gently.
"You have decided. You have already chosen your life's path, and
it lies apart from mine. Let me go quietly away." His voice was
toneless, passionless. His fight of two days and two nights had
left him exhausted. His apparent apathy chilled her to the heart.
It was a supreme moment in their lives, and yet she could not fan
her soul's fires into flame. He was tearing up the roots of his
love out of her life, but there was no acute sense of laceration.
The inevitable had come to pass. A silence, dense and throbbing,
fell upon them. Outside the storm was lashing the wet leaves
against the window.
"If ever you should want me to come to you, Iola, one word will
bring me. I shall be waiting, waiting. Remember that, always
waiting." He tightened his arms about her and without passion, but
gravely, tenderly he lifted her face. "Good-bye, my love," he
said, and kissed her lips. "My heart's love!" Once more he kissed
her. "My life! My love!"
She let the full weight of her body lie in his arms, lifeless but
for the eyes that held his fast and for the lips that gave him back
his kisses. Gently he placed her on the couch.
"God keep you, darling," he whispered, bending over her and
touching her dusky hair with his lips.
He found his hat, walked with unsteady feet as a man walks under a
heavy load, her eyes following his every step, and reached the
door. There he paused, his hand fumbling at the knob, opened the
door, halted yet an instant, but without turning he passed out of
An hour later Margaret came in and found her sitting where Barney
had left her, dazed and tearless.
"He is gone," she said dully.
Margaret turned upon her. "Gone? Yes. I have just seen him."
"And I love him," continued Iola, looking up at her with heavy
"Love him! You don't know what love means! Love him! And for
your paltry, selfish ambition you send from you a man whose shoes
you are not worthy to tie!"
"Oh, Margaret!" cried Iola piteously.
"Don't talk to me!" she replied, her lip quivering. "I can't bear
to look at you!" and she passed into her room.
It was intolerable to her that this girl should have regarded
lightly the love she herself would have died to gain. But long
after Iola had sobbed herself to sleep in her arms Margaret lay
wakeful for her own pain and for that of the man she loved better
than her life.
But next day, as Iola was planning to go to the station, Margaret
would not have it.
"Why should you go? You have nothing to say but what would give
him pain. Do you want him to despise you and me to hate you?"
But Iola was resolved to have her way. It was Mrs. Duff
Charrington who fortunately intervened and carried Iola off with
her to spend the afternoon and evening.
"Just a few musical friends, my dear. So brush up and come away.
Bring your guitar with you."
"I don't feel like it."
"Tut! Nonsense! The lovelorn damsel reads well in erotic novels,
but remember this, the men don't like stale beer."
This bit of worldly wisdom made Iola put on her smartest gown and
lay aside the role she had unconsciously planned to adopt, so that
even Mrs. Duff Charrington had no fault to find with the sparkling
animation of her protegee.
But to the three who stood together waiting for the train to pull
out that night there was only dreary, voiceless misery. There was
no pretence at anything but misery. To the brothers the moment of
parting would be the end of all that had been so delightful in
their old life. The days of their long companionship were over,
and to both the thought brought grief that made words impossible.
Only Margaret's presence forced them to self-control. As to
Margaret, Dick alone knew the full measure of her grief, and her
quiet, serene courage filled him with amazed admiration. At length
came the call of the bustling, businesslike conductor, "All
"Good-bye, Margaret," said Barney simply, holding out his hand.
But the girl quietly put back her veil and lifted up her face to
him, her brave blue eyes looking all their love into his, but her
lips only said, "Good-bye, Barney."
"Good-bye, dear Margaret," he said again, bending over her and
"Me, too, Barney," said Dick, his tears openly streaming down his
face. "I'm a confounded baby! But hanged if I care!"
At Dick's words all Barney's splendid self-mastery vanished. He
threw his arms about his brother's neck, crying "Good-bye, Dick,
old man. We've had a great time together; but oh, my boy, my boy,
it's all come to an end!"
Already the train was moving.
"Go, old chap," cried Dick, pushing him away but still clinging to
him. And then, as Barney swung on to the step he called back to
them what had long been in his heart to say.
"Look after her, will you?"
"Yes, Barney, we will," they both cried together. And as they
stood gazing through dimming tears after the train as it sped out
through the network of tracks and the maze of green and red lights,
they felt that a new bond drew them closer than before. And it was
the tightening of that bond that brought them all the comfort that
there was in that hour of misery unspeakable.
A MAN THAT IS AN HERETIC REJECT
The college year had come to an end. The results of the
examinations had been published. The Juniors were preparing to
depart for their summer work in the mission field. Of the
graduating class, some were waiting with calm confidence the
indications of the will of Providence as to their spheres of
labour, a confidence undoubtedly strengthened by certain letters in
their possession from leading members of influential congregations.
Others were preparing with painful shrinking of heart to tread the
weary and humiliating "trail of the black bag," while others again,
to whom had come visions of high deeds and sounds of distant
battle, were making ready outfits supposed to be suitable for life
and work in the great West, or in the far lands across the sea.
Two high functions of college life yet remained, one, the
Presbytery examination, the other, Professor Macdougall's student
party. The annual examination before Presbytery was ever an event
of nerve-racking uncertainty. It might prove to be an entirely
perfunctory performance of the most innocuous kind. On the other
hand, it might develop features of a most sensational and perilous
nature. The college barometer this year was unusually depressed,
for rumour had gone abroad that the Presbytery examination was to
be of the more serious type. It was a time of searchings of heart
for those who had been giving, throughout the session, undue
attention to the social opportunities afforded by college life, and
more especially if they had allowed their contempt for the archaic
and oriental to become unnecessarily pronounced. To these latter
gentlemen the day brought gloomy forebodings. Even their morning
devotions, which were marked by unusual sincerity and earnestness,
failed to bring them that calmness of mind which these exercises
are supposed to afford. For their slender ray of hope that their
memory of the English text might not fail them in the hour of trial
was very materially clouded by the dread that in their embarrassment
they might assign a perfectly correct English version to the wrong
Hebrew text. The result of such mischance they would not allow
themselves to contemplate. On the other hand, however, there was
the welcome possibility that they might be so able to dispose
themselves among the orientalists in their class that a word dropped
at a critical moment might save them from this mischance. And there
was the further, and not altogether unreal, ground of confidence,
that the examiner himself might be uneasily conscious of the
ever-present possibility that some hidden Hebrew snag might rudely
jag a hole in his own vessel while sailing the mare ignotum of
oriental literature. Of course, the examination would also include
other departments of sacred learning, for it was the province and
duty of Presbytery to satisfy itself as to the soundness in the
faith of the candidates before them. On this score, however, few
indulged serious anxiety. Once the Hebraic shoals and snags were
safely passed, both examiner and examined could disport themselves
with a jaunty self-confidence born of a thorough acquaintance with
the Shorter Catechism received during the plastic years of
It was, however, just in these calm waters that danger lurked for
Boyle. On the side of scholarship he was known to be invulnerable.
Boyle was the hero and darling of the college men, more especially
of the "sinners" among them, not simply by reason of his prowess
between the goal posts where, times without number, he had rescued
the college from the contempt of its foes; but quite as much for
the modesty with which he carried off his brilliant attainments in
the class lists. Throughout the term, in the college halls after
tea, there had been carried on a series of discussions extending
over the whole range of the "fundamentals," and Boyle had the
misfortune to rouse the wrath and awaken the concern of Finlay
Finlayson, the champion of orthodoxy. Finlay was a huge, gaunt,
broad-shouldered son of Uist, a theologian by birth, a dialectician
by training, and a man of war by the gift of Heaven. Cheerfully
would Finlay, for conscience' sake, have given his body to the
flames, as, for conscience' sake, he had shaken off the heretical
dust of New College, Edinburgh, from his shoes, unhesitatingly
surrendering at the same time, Scot though he was, a scholarship of
fifty pounds. The hope that he had cherished of being able to
find, in a colonial institution of sacred learning, a safe haven
where he might devote himself to the perfecting of the defences of
his faith within the citadel of orthodoxy was rudely shattered by
the discovery that the same heresies which had driven him from New
College had found their way across the sea and were being
championed by a man of such winning personality and undoubted
scholarship as Richard Boyle. The effect upon Finlayson's mind of
these discussions carried on throughout the term was such that,
after much and prayerful deliberation, and after due notice to the
person immediately affected, he discovered it to be his duty to
inform the professor in whose department these subjects lay of the
heresies that were threatening the very life of the college, and,
indeed, of the Canadian Church.
The report of his interview with the professor came back to college
through the realistic if somewhat irreverent medium of the
professor's son, Tom, presently pursuing a somewhat leisurely
course toward a medical degree. As Tom appeared in the college
hall he was immediately surrounded by an eager crowd, the most
eager of whom was Robert Duff, the sworn ally of Mr. Finlayson.
"Did Finlayson see your father?" inquired Mr. Duff anxiously.
"Sure thing," answered Tom.
"And did he inform him of what has been going on in this college?"
"You bet your life! Give him the whole tip!"
"And what did the professor say?" inquired Mr. Duff, with bated
"Told him to go to the devil."
"To what?" gasped Mr. Duff, to whom it appeared for the moment that
the foundations of things in heaven and on earth had indeed been
removed. It was only after the shout of laughter on the part of
the "sinners" had subsided that Mr. Duff realised that it was the
spirit only, and not the ipsissima verba, of the devout and
reverent professor, that had been translated in the vigorous
vernacular of his son.
Unhappily, however, for Boyle, the report of his heretical
tendencies had reached other ears than those of the sane and
liberal-minded professor, those, namely, of that stern and rigid
churchman, the Rev. Alexander Naismith, some time minister of St.
Columba's. Not through Finlayson, however, be it understood, did
this report reach him. That staunch defender of orthodoxy might,
under stress of conscience, find it his duty to inform the proper
authority of the matter, but sooner than retail gossip to the hurt
of his fellow-student he would have cut off his big, bony right
The Rev. Alexander Naismith was a little man with a shrill voice,
which gained for him the cognomen of "Squeaky Sandy," and a most
irritatingly persistent temper. Into his hands, while candidates
and examiners were disporting themselves in the calm waters of
Systematic Theology, fell poor Dick, to his confusion and the
temporary withholding of his license. It was impossible but that
in the college itself, and in the college circles of society, this
event should become a subject of much heated discussion.
Professor Macdougall's student parties were not as other student
parties. They were never attended from a sense of duty. This was
undoubtedly due, not so much to the popularity of the professor
with his students, as to the shrewd wisdom and profound knowledge
of human nature generally and of student nature particularly, on
the part of that gentle lady, the professor's wife. Mrs.
Macdougall was of the old school, with very beautiful if very old-
fashioned notions of propriety. Her whole life was one poetic
setting forth of the manners and deportment proper to ladies, both
young and old. But none the less her shrewd mother wit and kindly
heart instructed her in things not taught in the schools. The
consequence was that, while she herself sat erect in fine scorn of
the backs of her straight-backed Sheratons, her drawing-room was
furnished with an abundance of easy chairs and lounges, and
arranged with cosey nooks and corners calculated to gratify the
luxurious tastes and lazy manners of a decadent generation. Her
shrewd wit was further discovered in the care she took to assemble
to her evening parties the prettiest, brightest, wickedest of the
young girls in the wide circle of her friends. As young Robert
Kidd put it with more vigour than grace, "There were no last roses
in her bunch." Moreover, the wise little lady took pains to
instruct her young ladies as to their duties toward the young men
of the college.
"You must exert yourselves, my dears," she would explain, "to make
the evening pleasant for the young men. And they require something
to distract their attention from the too earnest pursuit of their
And it is a tradition that so heartily did the young ladies throw
themselves into this particular duty that there were, even of the
saintliest of the saints, who found it necessary to take their
lectures in absentia for at least two days in order that they might
recover from the all too successful distractions of the Macdougall
Among the guests invited was Margaret, beloved for her own sake,
but even more for the sake of her mother, who had been Mrs.
Macdougall's college companion and lifelong cherished friend. The
absorbing theme of conversation, carried on in a strictly
confidential manner, was the sensational feature of the Presbytery
examination. The professor himself was deeply grieved, and no less
so his stately little lady, for to both of them Dick was as a son.
But from neither of them could Margaret extract anything but the
most meagre outline of what had happened. For full details of the
whole dramatic scene she was indebted to Robert Kidd, second year
theologue, whose brown curly locks and cherubic face and fresh
innocence of manner won for him the sobriquet of "Baby Kidd," or
more shortly, "Kiddie."
"Tell us just what happened," entreated Miss Belle Macdougall, with
a glance of such heart-penetrating quality that Kiddie promptly
"Well, I'll tell you," he said, adopting a low confidential tone.
"I could see from the very start that old Squeaky Sandy was out
after Dick. He couldn't get him on his Hebrew, so the old chap lay
low till everything was lovely and they were falling on each
others' necks over the Shorter Catechism, and things every fellow
is supposed to be quite safe on. All at once Sandy squeaked in,
'Mr. Boyle, will you kindly state what you consider the correct
theory of the Atonement?' 'I don't know,' said Boyle; 'I haven't
got any.' By Jove! everyone sat up. 'You believe in the doctrine,
I suppose?' Boyle waited a while and my heart stopped till he went
on again. 'Yes, sir, I believe in it.' 'How is that, sir? If you
believe in it you must have a theory. What do you believe about
it?' 'I believe in the fact. I don't understand it, and I have no
theory of it as yet.' And Boyle was as gentle as a sucking dove.
Then the Moderator, decent old chap, chipped it."
"Who was it?" inquired Miss Belle.
"Dr. Mitchell. Fine old boy. None too sound himself, I guess.
Pre-mill, too, you know. Well, he chipped in and got him past that
snag. But old Sandy was not done yet by a long shot. He went
after Boyle on every doctrine in the catalogue where it was
possible for a man to get off the track, Inspiration, Inerrancy,
the Mosaic Authorship, and the whole Robertson Smith business. You
know that last big heresy hunt in Scotland."
"No," said Miss Belle, "I don't know. And you don't, either, so
you needn't stop and try to tell us."
"I don't, eh?" said Bob, who was finding it difficult to keep
himself in a perfectly sane condition under the bewildering glances
of Miss Belle's black eyes. "Well, perhaps I don't. At any rate,
I couldn't make you understand."
"Hear him!" said Miss Belle, with supreme scorn. "Go on. We are
interested in Boyle, aren't we, Margaret?"
"Well, where was I? Oh, yes. Well, sir, in about five minutes it
seemed to me that Boyle's theology was a tattered remnant. Some of
the brethren interfered, explaining and apologizing for the young
man after their kindly custom, but Squeaky wouldn't have it. 'This
is most serious, Mr. Moderator!' he sung out. 'This demands the
most searching investigation! We all know what is going on in the
Old Land, how the great doctrines of our faith are being undermined
by so-called scholarship, which is nothing less than blasphemy and
impudent scepticism.' And so he went on shrieking more and more
wildly a lot of tommy-rot. But the worst was yet to come. All at
once Sandy changed his line of attack and proceeded to take Boyle
on the flank. 'Mr. Boyle, are you a smoker?' he asked. 'Yes,'
stammered poor Boyle, getting red in the face, 'I smoke some.'
'Are you a total abstainer?' And then Boyle got on to him, and I
saw his head go back for the first time. Before this he had been
sitting like a convicted criminal. 'No, sir,' he answered, turning
square around and facing old Squeaky, 'I am not pledged to total
abstinence.' Don't suppose he ever took a drink in his life. 'Did
you ever attend the theatre?' This was the limit. It seemed to
strike the brethren all at once what the old inquisitor was driving
at. The words were hardly out of his mouth when there was a weird
sound, a cross between a howl and a roar, and Grant was at the
Moderator's desk. It will always be a mystery to me how he got
there. There were three pews between him and the desk, and I swear
he never came out into the aisle. 'Mr. Moderator, I protest', he
shouted. And then the dust began to fly. Say! it was a regular
sand storm! About the only thing visible was the lightning from
Grant's eyes. By Jingo! 'Mr. Moderator, I protest,' he cried,
when he could get a hearing, 'against these insinuations. We all
know what Mr. Naismith means by this method of inquisition. But
let me tell Mr. Naismith--' Don't know what in thunder he was
going to tell him, for the next few moments they mixed it up good
and hot. Say! it was a circus with all the monkeys loose and the
band playing seventeen tunes all at once! But finally Grant had
his say and treated the Presbytery to a pretty full disquisition of
his own theology, and when he was done my pity was transferred from
Boyle to him, for it seemed that on every doctrine where Boyle was
a heretic Grant had gone him one better. And I believe the whole
Presbytery were vastly relieved to discover how slight, by
contrast, were the errors to which Boyle had fallen. Then
Henderson, good old soul, took his innings and poured on oil, with
the result that Boyle was turned over to a committee--and that's
where he is now. But he'll never appear. He's going in for
journalism. The Telegraph wants him."
"Journalism?" cried Margaret faintly. She was thinking of the
dark-faced old lady up in the country who was counting the days
till her son should be sent forth a minister of the Gospel.
"Yes," said Kiddie. "And there's where he'll shine. See what he's
done with the Monthly. He's got great style. But wasn't there a
row at the college!" continued Kiddie. "Old Father Finlayson
there," nodding across the room at the Highlander, who was engaged
in what appeared to be an extremely interesting conversation with
his hostess, "orthodox old beggar as he is, was ready to lead a
raid on Squeaky Sandy's house. You know he has been at war with
Boyle all winter on every and all possible themes. But he fights
fair, and this hitting below the belt was too much for him. He was
raging up and down the hall like a wild man when Boyle came in.
'Mr. Boyle,' he roared, rushing up to him and seizing him by the
hand and working it like a pump-handle in a fire, 'it was a most
iniquitous proceeding! I wish to assure you I have no sympathy
whatever with that sort of thing!' And so he went on till he had
Boyle almost in tears. By Jove! he's a rum old party! Look at his
socks, will you!"
The young ladies glanced across and beheld in amused but amazed
horror the Highlander's great feet encased in a new pair of carpet
slippers adorned with pink roses and green ground, which made a
startling contrast with his three-ply worsted stockings, magenta in
colour, which his fond aunt had knit as part of his outfit for the
Arctic regions of Canada.
"You may laugh," continued Bob. "So would I yesterday. But, by
Jingo! he can wear magenta socks on his head if he likes for me!
He's all white, and he has the heart of a gentleman!" Little
Kidd's voice went shaky and his eyes had the curious shine that
appeared in them only in moments of deepest excitement, but if he
had only known it, he had never been so near storming the gate of
Miss Belle's heart as at that moment. She showed her sympathy with
Kiddie's attitude by giving Mr. Finlayson "the time of his life,"
as Kiddie himself remarked. So assiduously, indeed, did she devote
herself to the promotion of Mr. Finlayson's comfort and good cheer
that that gentleman's fine sense of honour prompted him to inform
her incidentally of the existence of Miss Jennie McLean, who was to
"come out to him as soon as he was placed." He was surprised, but
entirely delighted, to discover that this announcement made no
difference whatever in Miss Belle's attentions. At the supper
hour, however, Miss Belle, moved by Kiddie's lugubrious countenance,
yielded her place to Margaret, who continued the operation of giving
Mr. Finlayson "the time of his life." But not a word could she
extract from him regarding the heresy case, for, with a skill that
might have made a Queen's Counsel green with envy, he baffled her
leading questions with a density of ignorance unparalleled in her
experience, until she let it be known that Dick was an old
schoolmate and dear friend. Then Mr. Finlayson poured forth the
grief and rage swelling in his big heart at the treatment his enemy
had received and his anxious concern for his future both here and
hereafter. In a portion of this concern, at least, Margaret shared.
And as Mr. Finlayson continued to unburden himself, during the walk
home, regarding the heresies in Edinburgh from which he had fled and
the heresies that had apparently taken possession of Dick's mind,
her heart continued to sink within her, for it seemed that the
opinions attributed to Dick were subversive of all she had held true
from her childhood. With such intelligence and sympathy, however,
did she listen to Mr. Finlayson discoursing, that that gentleman
carried back with him to college a heart somewhat lightened of its
burden, but withal seriously impressed with the charm and the mental
grasp of the young ladies of Canada. And so enthusiastically did he
dwell upon this theme in his next letter, that Miss Jessie McLean
set herself devoutly to pray, either that Finlayson might soon be
placed, or that the professors might cease giving parties.
The brand of heresy almost invariably works ill to him who bears
it. For if he be young and shallow enough to enjoy the distinction,
it will only increase his vanity and render his return to sure and
safe paths more difficult. But if his doubts are to him a grief and
a horror of darkness, the brand will burn in and drive him far from
his fellows, and change the kindly spirit in him to bitterness
unless, perchance, he light upon a friend who gives him love and
trust unstinted and links him to wholesome living. After all, in
matters of faith every man must blaze his own path through the woods
and make his own clearing in which to dwell. And he may well thank
God if his path lead him some whither where there is space enough to
work his day's work and light enough to live by.
With Dick it was mostly dark, for it was not given him to have a
friend who could understand. But he was not allowed to feel
himself to be quite abandoned, for in the darkest of his hours
there stood at his side Margaret Robertson, whose strong, cheery
good sense and whose loyalty to right-doing helped him and
strengthened him and so made it possible to wait till the better
WHOSOEVER LOOKETH UPON A WOMAN
The Journalistic World has its own diversity of mountain and plain,
and its own variety of inhabitants. There are its mountain ranges
and upland regions of clear skies and pure airs, where are wide
outlooks and horizons whose dim lines fade beyond the reach of
clear vision. Amid these mountain ranges and upon these uplands
dwell men among the immortals to whom has come the "vision
splendid" and whose are the voices that in the crisis of a man or
of a nation give forth the call that turns the face upward to life
eternal and divine. To these men such words as Duty, Honour,
Patriotism, Purity, stand for things of intrinsic value worth a
man's while to seek and, having found, to die for.
Level plains there are, too, where harvests are sown and reaped.
But there these same words often become mere implements of
cultivation, tools for mechanical industries or currency for the
conduct of business. Here dwell the practical men of affairs, as
they love to call themselves, for whom has faded the vision in the
glare of opportunism.
And far down by the water-fronts are the slum wastes where the
sewers of politics and business and social life pour forth their
fetid filth. Here the journals of yellow shade grub and fatten.
In this ooze and slime puddle the hordes of sewer rats, scavengers
of the world's garbage, from whose collected stores the editor
selects his daily mess for the delectation of the great unwashed,
whether of the classes or of the masses, and from which he grabs in
large handfuls that viscous mud that sticks and stings where it
The Daily Telegraph was born yellow, a frank yellow of the barbaric
type that despises neutral tints. By the Daily Telegraph things
were called by their uneuphemistic names. A spade was a spade, and
mud was mud, and nothing was sacred from its sewer rats. The
highest paid official on its staff was a criminal lawyer celebrated
in the libel courts. Everybody cursed it and everybody read it.
After a season, having thus firmly established itself in the
enmities of the community, and having become, in consequence,
financially secure, it began to aspire toward the uplands, where
the harvests were as rich and at the same time less perilous as
well as less offensive in the reaping. It began to study
euphemism. A spade became an agricultural implement and mud
alluvial deposit. Having become by long experience a specialist in
the business of moral scavenging, it proceeded to devote itself
with most vehement energy to the business of moral reform. All
indecencies that could not successfully cover themselves with such
gilding as good hard gold can give were ruthlessly held up to
public contempt. It continued to be cursed, but gradually came to
be respected and feared.
It was to aid in this upward climb that the editor of the Daily
Telegraph seized upon Dick. That young man was peculiarly fitted
for the part which was to be assigned to him. He was a theological
student and, therefore, his ethical standards were unimpeachable.
His university training guaranteed his literary sense, and his
connection with the University and College papers had revealed him
a master of terse English. He was the very man, indeed, but he
must serve his apprenticeship with the sewer rats. For months he
toiled amid much slime and filth, breathing in its stinking odours,
gaining knowledge, it is true, but paying dear for it in the golden
coin of that finer sensibility and that vigorous moral health which
had formerly made his life, to himself and to others, a joy and
beauty. For the slime would stick, do what he could, and with the
smells he must become so familiar that they no longer offended.
That delicate discrimination that immediately detects the presence
of decay departed from him, and in its place there developed a
coarser sense whose characteristic was its power to distinguish
between sewage and sewage. Hence, morality, with him, came to
consist in the choosing of sewage of the less offensive forms. On
the other hand, consciousness of the brand of heresy drove him from
those scenes where the air is pure and from association with those
high souls who by mere living exhale spiritual health and fragrance.
"We do not see much of Mr. Boyle these days, Margaret," Mrs.
Macdougall would say to her friend, carefully modulating her tone
lest she should betray the anxiety of her gentle, loyal heart.
"But I doubt not he is very busy with his new duties."
"Yes, he is very busy," Margaret would reply, striving to guard her
voice with equal care, but with less success. For Margaret was
cursed, nay blessed, with that heart of infinite motherhood that
yearns over the broken or the weak or the straying of humankind,
and makes their pain its own.
"Bring him with you to tea next Sabbath evening, my dear," the
little lady would say, with never a quiver or inflection of voice
betraying that she had detected the girl's anxiety for her friend.
But more infrequently, as the days went on, could she secure Dick
for an hour on Sabbath evening in the quiet, sweet little nook of
the professor's dining-room. He was so often held by his work, but
more often by his attendance upon Iola, for between Iola and him
there had grown up and ripened rapidly an intimacy that Margaret
regarded with distrust and fear. How she hated herself for her
suspicions! How she fought to forbid them harbour in her heart!
But how persistently they made entrance and to abide.
The World of Fashion is, for the most part, a desert island of
gleaming sands, at times fanned by perfume-laden zephyrs and lapped
by shining waters. Then those who dwell there disport themselves,
careless of all save the lapping, shining waters and the gleaming
sands out of which they build their sand castles with such
concentrated eagerness and such painful industry. At other times
there come tempests, sudden and out of clear skies, which sweep,
with ruthless besom, castles and castle-builders alike, and leave
desolation and empty spaces for a time.
A silly world it is, and hard of heart, and like to die of ennui at
times. And hence it welcomes with pathetic joy all who can bring
some new fancy or trick to their castle-building, rejecting all
other without remorse. To this World of Fashion Iola had offered
herself, giving freely her great voice and her superb body, now
developed into the full splendour of its rich and sensuous beauty.
And how they gathered about her and gave her unstinted their
flatteries and homage, taking toll the while of the very soul-stuff
in her. Devoutly they worshipped at the shrine of that heavenlike
and heaven-given instrument wherewith she could tickle their
senses, rejoicing, during the pauses of their envies and hatreds,
such among them as were female, and of their lusts and despairs
such as were male, in her warm flesh tints and full flesh curves
and the draperies withal wherewith, with consummate art, she
revealed or enhanced the same. For Iola was possessed of a fatal,
maddening beauty, and an alluring fascination of manner that
wrought destruction among men and fury among women.
To Dick, who, with his brilliant talents, shed lustre upon her
courts, Iola gave chief place in her train, yet in such manner as
that her preference for him neither lessened the number nor checked
the ardour of her devotees. He was her friend of childhood days,
her good friend, but nothing more. Upon this basis of a boy and
girl friendship was established an intimacy which seemed to render
unnecessary those conventions, unreal and vexing in appearance, but
which, as the wise old world has proved, man and woman with the
dread potencies of passion slumbering within them cannot afford to
despise. By their mutual tastes, as by their habits of life, Iola
and Dick were brought into daily association. Under Dick's
guidance she read and studied the masters of the English drama.
For she had her eye now upon the operatic stage and was at present
devoting herself to the great musical dramas of Wagner. Together
they took full advantage of the theatre privileges which Dick's
connection with the press gave him. And at those festive routs by
which society amuses and vexes itself they were constantly thrown
together. Dick was acutely and growingly sensitive to the
influence Iola had upon him. Her beauty disturbed him. The subtle
potency that exhaled from her physical charms affected him like
draughts of wine. Away from her presence he marvelled at himself
and scorned his weakness; but once within sound of her voice,
within touch of her hand, her power reasserted itself. The mystery
of the body, its subtle appeal, its terrible potency, allured and
enslaved him. Against this infatuation of Dick's, Margaret felt
herself helpless. She well knew that Dick's love for her had not
changed, except to grow into a bitter, despairing intensity that
made his presence painful to her at times. This very love of his
closed her lips. She could only wait her time, meanwhile keeping
such touch with him as she could, bringing to him the wholesome
fragrance of a pure heart and the strength and serenity of a life
devoted to well doing.
Something would occur to recall him to his better self. And
something did occur. Almost a year had elapsed since Barney had
gone out of Iola's life in so tragic a way. Through all the months
of the year he had waited, longing and hoping for the word that
might recall him to her, until suspense became unbearable even for
his strong soul. Hence it was that Iola received from him a letter
breathing of love so deep, so tender, and withal so humble, that
even across the space that these months had put between Barney and
herself, Iola was profoundly stirred and sorely put to it to decide
upon her answer. She took the letter to Margaret and read her such
parts as she thought necessary. "A year has gone. It seems like
ten. I have waited for your word, but none has come. Looking back
upon that dreadful night I sometimes think I may have been severe.
If so, my punishment has been heavy enough to atone. Tell me,
shall I come to you? I can offer you a home even better than I had
hoped a year ago. I am offered a lectureship here with an ample
salary, or an assistantship on equal terms, by Trent. I have
discovered that I am in the grip of a love beyond my power to
control. In spite of all that my work is to me, I find myself
looking, not into the book before me, but into your eyes--I may be
able to live without you, but I cannot live my best. I don't see
how I can live at all. It seems as if I could not wait even a few
days for your word to come. Darling, my heart's love, tell me to
"How can I answer a letter like that?" said Iola to Margaret.
"How?" exclaimed Margaret. "Tell him to come. Wire him. Go to
him. Anything to get him to you."
Iola mused a while. "He wants me to marry him and to keep his
"Yes," said Margaret, "he does."
"Housekeeping and babies, ugh!" shuddered Iola.
"Yes," cried Margaret, "ah, God, yes! Housekeeping and babies and
Barney! God pity your poor soul!"
Iola shrank from the fierce intensity of Margaret's sudden passion.
"What do you mean?" she cried. "Why do you speak so?"
"Why? Can't you read God's meaning in your woman's body and in
your woman's heart?"
From Margaret Iola got little help. Indeed, the gulf between the
two was growing wider every day. She resolved to show her letter
to Dick. They were to go that evening to the play and after the
play there would be supper. And when he had taken her home she
would show him the letter.
On their way home that evening as they were passing Dick's rooms,
he suddenly remembered that a message was to be sent him from the
"Let us run in for a moment," he said.
"I think I had better wait you here," replied Iola.
"Nonsense!" cried Dick. "Don't be a baby. Come in."
Together they entered and, laying aside her wrap, Iola sat down and
drew forth Barney's letter.
"Listen, Dick. I want your advice." And she read over such
portions of Barney's letter as she thought necessary.
"Well?" she said, as Dick remained silent.
"Well," replied Dick, "what's your answer to be?"
"You know what he means," said Iola a little impatiently. "He
wants me to marry him at once and to settle down."
"Well," said Dick, "why not?"
"Now, Dick," cried Iola, "do you think I am suited for that kind of
life? Can you picture me devoting myself to the keeping of a house
tidy, the overseeing of meals? I fancy I see myself spending the
long, quiet evenings, my husband busy in his office or out among
his patients while I dose and yawn and grow fat and old and ugly,
and the great world forgetting. Dick, I should die! Of course, I
love Barney. But I must have life, movement. I can't be forgotten!"
"Forgotten?" cried Dick. "Why should you be forgotten? Barney's
wife could not be ignored and the world could not forget you. And,
after all," added Dick, in a musing tone, "to live with Barney
ought to be good enough for any woman."
"Why, how eloquent you are, Dick!" she cried, making a little moue.
"You are quite irresistible!" she added, leaning toward him with a
"Come, let us go," said Dick painfully, conscious of her physical
charm. "We must get away."
"But you haven't helped me, Dick," she cried, drawing nearer to him
and laying her hand upon his arm.
The perfume of her hair smote upon his senses. The beauty of her
face and form intoxicated him.
He knew he was losing control of himself.
"Come, Iola," he said, "let us go."
"Tell me what to say, Dick," she replied, smiling into his face and
leaning toward him.
"How can I tell you?" cried Dick desperately, springing up. "I
only know you are beautiful, Iola, beautiful as an angel, as a
devil! What has come over you, or is it me, that you should affect
me so? Do you know," he added roughly, lifting her to her feet,
his breath coming hard and fast, "I can hardly keep my hands off
you. We must go. I must go. Come!"
"Poor child," mocked Iola, still smiling into his eyes, "is it
afraid it will get hurt?"
"Stop it, Iola!" cried Dick. "Come on!"
"Come," she mocked, still leaning toward him.
Swiftly Dick turned, seized her in his arms, his eyes burning down
upon her mocking face. "Kiss me!" he commanded.
Gradually she allowed the weight of her body to lean upon him,
drawing him steadily down toward her the while, with the deep,
passionate lure of her lustrous eyes.
"Kiss me!" he commanded again. But she shook her head, holding him
still with her gaze.
"God in heaven!" cried Dick. "Go away!" He made to push her from
him. She clasped him about the neck, allowing herself to sink in
his arms with her face turned upward to his. Fiercely he crushed
her to him, and again and again his hot, passionate kisses fell
upon her face.
Conscious only of the passion throbbing in their hearts and pulsing
through their bodies, oblivious to all about them, they heard not
the opening of the door and knew not that a man had entered the
room. For a single moment he stood stricken with horror as if
gazing upon death itself. Turning to depart, his foot caught a
chair. Terror-smitten, the two sprang apart and stood with guilt
and shame stamped upon their ghastly faces.
"Barney!" they cried together.
Slowly he came back to them. "Yes, it is I." The words seemed to
come from some far distance. "I couldn't wait. I came for my
answer, Iola. I thought I could persuade you better. I have it
now. I have lost you! And"--here he turned to Dick--"oh, my God!
My God! I have lost my brother, too!" he turned to depart from
"Barney," cried Dick passionately, "there was no wrong! There was
nothing beyond what you saw!"
"Was that all?" inquired his brother quietly.
"As God is in heaven, Barney, that was all!"
Barney threw a swift glance round the room, crossed to a side
table, and picked up a Bible lying there. He turned the leaves
rapidly and handed it to his brother with his finger upon a verse.
"Read!" he said. "You know your Bible. Read!" His voice was
terrible and compelling in its calmness.
Following the pointing finger, Dick's eyes fell upon words that
seemed to sear his eyeballs as he read, "Whosoever looketh on a
woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already
in his heart." Heart-smitten, Dick stood without a word.
"I could kill you now," said the quiet, terrible voice. "But what
need? To me you are already dead."
When Dick looked up his brother had gone. Nerveless, broken, he
sank into a chair and sat with his face in his hands. Beside him
stood Iola, pale, rigid, her eyes distended as if she had seen a
horrid vision. She was the first to recover.
"Dick," she said softly, laying her hand upon his head.
He sprang up as if her fingers had been red-hot iron and had burned
to the bone.
"Don't touch me!" he cried in vehement frenzy. "You are a devil!
And I am in hell! In hell! do you hear?" He caught her by the arm
and shook her. "And I deserve hell! Hell! Hell! Fools! no
hell?" He turned again to her. "And for you, for this, and this,
and this," touching her hair, her cheek, and her heaving bosom with
his finger, "I have lost my brother--my brother--my own brother--
Barney. Oh, fool that I am! Damned! Damned! Damned!"
She shrank back from him, then whispered with pale lips, "Oh, Dick,
spare me! Take me home!"
"Yes, yes," he cried in mad haste, "anywhere, in the devil's name!
Come! Come!" He seized her wrap, threw it upon her shoulders,
caught up his hat, tore open the door for her, and followed her
"Can a man take fire into his bosom and not be burned?" And out of
the embers of his passion there kindled a fire that night that
burned with unquenchable fury for many a day.
THE SUPERINTENDENT'S METHODS
The Superintendent was spending the precious hours of one of his
rare visits at home in painful plodding through his correspondence.
For it was part of the sacrifice his work demanded, and which he
cheerfully made, that he should forsake home and wife and children
for his work's sake. The Assembly's Convener found him in the
midst of an orderly confusion of papers of different sorts.
"How do you do, sir?" The Superintendent's voice had a fine burr
about it that gripped the ear, and his hand a vigour and tenacity
of hold that gripped the outstretched hand of the Assembly's
Convener and nearly brought the little man to the floor. "Sit
down, sir, and listen to this. Here are some of the compensations
that go with the Superintendent's office. This is rich. It comes
from my friend, Henry Fink, of the Columbia Forks in the Windermere
Valley. British Columbia, you understand," noticing the Convener's