Part 6 out of 8
zling white behind her lips. "No--I'm going to a
"Let me take you."
She shook her head. "You wouldn't like it. Only
"But I'm not so old."
She looked at him critically. "No--you're not.
It always puzzled me. You aren't old--you look like
a boy lots of the time. But you always SEEM old to
"I'll try to do better. To-night?"
"Not to-night," laughed she. "Let's see--to-
morrow's Sunday. Come to-morrow--about half past
"Thank you," he said so gratefully that he cursed
himself for his folly as he heard his voice--the idiotic
folly of so plainly betraying his feelings. No wonder
she despised him! Beginning again--and beginning;
"Good-by." Her eyes, her smile flashed and he
was alone, watching her slender grace glide through
the throngs of lower Broadway.
At his office again at three, he found a note from
Tetlow inclosing another of Dorothy's cards and also
the promised check. Into his face came the look that
always comes into the faces of the prisoners of despair
when the bolts slide back and the heavy door swings
and hope stands on the threshold instead of the famil-
iar grim figure of the jailer. "This looks like the
turn of the road," he muttered. Yes, a turn it certainly
was--but was it THE turn? "I'll know more as to
that," said he with a glance at the clock, "about this
It was a boarding house on the west side. And
when the slovenly, smelly maid said, "Go right up to
her room," he knew it was--probably respectable, but
not rigidly respectable. However, working girls must
receive, and they cannot afford parlors and chaperons.
Still-- It was no place for a lovely young girl, full
of charm and of love of life--and not brought up in
the class where the women are trained from babyhood
to protect themselves.
He ascended two flights, knocked at the door to the
rear. "Come!" called a voice, and he entered. It
was a small neat room, arranged comfortably and with
some taste. He recognized at first glance many little
things from her room in the Jersey City house--things
he had provided for her. On the chimney piece was a
large photograph of her father--Norman's eyes hastily
shifted from that. The bed was folded away into
a couch--for space and for respectability. At first
he did not see her. But when he advanced a step
farther, she was disclosed in the doorway of a deep closet
that contained a stationary washstand.
He had never seen her when she was not fully
dressed. He was now seeing her in a kind of wrapper
--of pale blue, clean but not fresh. It was open at the
throat; its sleeves fell away from her arms. And, to
cap the climax of his agitation, her hair, her wonderful
hair, was flowing loosely about her face and shoulders.
"What's the matter with you?" she cried laughingly.
Her eyes sparkled and danced; the waves of her
hair, each hair standing out as if it were alive, sparkled
and danced. It was a smile never to be forgotten.
"Why are you so embarrassed?"
He was embarrassed. He was thrilled. He was
enraged--enraged because, if she would thus receive
him whom she did not like, she would certainly thus
receive any man.
"I don't mind you," she went on, mockingly. "I'd
have to be careful if it was one of the boys."
"Do you receive the--boys--here?" demanded he
glumly, his voice arrogant with the possessive rights a
man feels when he cares for a woman, whether she cares
for him or not.
"Why not?" scoffed she. "Where else would I
see them? I don't make street corner dates, thank you.
You're as bad as fat, foolish Mr. Tetlow."
"I beg your pardon," said he humbly.
She straightway relented, saying: "Of course I'd
not let one of the boys come up when I was dressed like
this. But I didn't mind YOU." He winced at this
amiable, unconscious reminder of her always exasperating
and tantalizing and humiliating indifference to him--
"And as I'm going to a grand dance to-night I simply
had to wash my hair. Does that satisfy you, Mr.
He hid the torment of his reopened wound and seated
himself at the center table. She returned to a chair
in the window where the full force of the afternoon sun
would concentrate upon her hair. And he gazed spell
bound. He had always known that her hair was fine.
He had never dreamed it was like this. It was thick,
it was fine and soft. In color, as the sunbeams streamed
upon it, it was all the shades of gold and all the other
beautiful shades between brown and red. It fell about
her face, about her neck, about her shoulders in a
gorgeous veil. And her pure white skin-- It was an even
more wonderful white below the line of her collar--
where he had never seen it before. Such exquisitely
modeled ears--such a delicate nose--and the curve of
her cheeks--and the glory of her eyes! He clinched
his teeth and his hands, sat dumb with his gaze down.
"How do you like my room?" she chattered on.
"It's not so bad--really quite comfortable--though
I'm afraid I'll be cold when the weather changes. But
it's the best I can do. As it is, I don't see how I'm
going to make ends meet. I pay twelve of my fifteen
for this room and two meals. The rest goes for lunch
and car fare. As soon as I have to get clothes--" She
broke off, laughing.
"Well," he said, "what then?"
"I'm sure I don't know," replied she carelessly.
"Perhaps old Mr. Branscombe'll give me a raise. Still,
eighteen or twenty is the most I could hope for--and
that wouldn't mean enough for clothes."
She shook her head vigorously and her hair stood
out yet more vividly and the sunbeams seemed to go
mad with joy as they danced over and under and
through it. He had ventured to glance up; again he
hastily looked down.
"You spoiled me," she went on. "Those few
months over there in Jersey City. It made SUCH a
change in me, though I didn't realize it at the time.
You see, I hadn't known since I was a tiny little girl
what it was to live really decently, and so I was able
to get along quite contentedly. I didn't know any
better." She made a wry face. "How I loathe the
canned and cold storage stuff I have to eat nowadays.
And how I do miss the beautiful room I had in that big
house over there! and how I miss Molly and Pat--and
the garden--and doing as I pleased--and the clothes I
had: I thought I was being careful and not spoiling
myself. You may not believe it, but I was really
conscientious about spending money." She laughed in a
queer, absent way. "I had such a funny idea of what
I had a right to do and what I hadn't. And I didn't
spend so very much on out-and-out luxury. But--
enough to spoil me for this life."
As Norman listened, as he noted--in her appearance,
manner, way of talking--the many meaning signs
of the girl hesitating at the fork of the roads--he felt
within him the twinges of fear, of jealousy--and
through fear and jealousy, the twinges of conscience.
She was telling the truth. He had undermined her ability
to live in purity the life to which her earning power
assigned her. . . . WHY had she been so friendly to
him? Why had she received him in this informal, almost
if not quite inviting fashion?
"So you think I've changed?" she was saying.
"Well--I have. Gracious, what a little fool I was!"
His eyes lifted with an agonized question in them.
She flushed, glanced away, glanced at him again
with the old, sweet expression of childlike innocence
which had so often made him wonder whether it was
merely a mannerism, or was a trick, or was indeed a
beam from a pure soul. "I'm foolish still--in certain
ways," she said significantly.
"And you always intend to be?" suggested he with
a forced smile.
"Oh--yes," replied she--positively enough, yet it
somehow had not the full force of her simple short
statements in the former days.
He believed her. Perhaps because he wished to
believe, must believe, would have been driven quite mad
by disbelief. Still, he believed. As yet she was good.
But it would not last much longer. With him--or
with some other. If with him, then certainly afterward
with another--with others. No matter how jealously
he might guard her, she would go that road, if once she
entered it. If he would have her for his very own he
must strengthen her, not weaken her, must keep her
"foolish still--in certain ways."
He said: "There's nothing in the other sort of life."
"That's what they say," replied she, with ominous
irritation. "Still--some girls--LOTS of girls seem to
get on mighty well without being so terribly particular."
"You ought to see them after a few years."
"I'm only twenty-one," laughed she. "I've got
lots of time before I'm old. . . . You haven't--married?"
"No," said he.
"I thought I'd have heard, if you had." She
laughed queerly--again shook out her hair, and it
shimmered round her face and over her head and out
from her shoulders like flames. "You've got a kind of
a--Mr. Tetlow way of talking. It doesn't remind me
of you as you were in Jersey City."
She said nothing, she suggested nothing that had
the least impropriety in it, or faintest hint of
impropriety. It was nothing positive, nothing aggressive,
but a certain vague negative something that gave him
the impression of innocence still innocent but looking
or trying to look tolerantly where it should not. And
he felt dizzy and sick, stricken with shame and remorse
and jealous fear. Yes--she was sliding slowly,
gently, unconsciously down to the depth in which he
had been lying, sick and shuddering--no, to deeper
depths--to the depths where there is no light, no trace
of a return path. And he had started her down. He
had done it when he, in his pride and selfishness, had
ignored what the success of his project would mean
for her. But he knew now; in bitterness and shame and
degradation he had learned. "I was infamous!" he
said to himself.
She began to talk in a low, embarrassed voice:
"Sometimes I think of getting married. There's a
young man--a young lawyer--he makes twenty-five
a week, but it'll be years and years before he has a
good living. A man doesn't get on fast in New York
unless he has pull."
Norman, roused from his remorse, blazed inside.
"You are in love with him?"
She laughed, and he could not tell whether it was
to tease him or to evade.
"You'd not care about him long," said Norman,
"unless there were more money coming in than he'd
be likely to get soon. Love without money doesn't go
--at least, not in New York."
"Do you suppose I don't know that?" said she
with the irritation of one faced by a hateful fact.
"Still--I don't see what to do."
Norman, biting his lip and fuming and observing
her with jealous eyes, said in the best voice he could
command, "How long have you been in love with him?"
"Did I say I was in love?" mocked she.
"You didn't say you weren't. Who is he?"
"If you'll stay on about half an hour or so, you'll
see him. No--you can't. I've got to get dressed before
I let him up. He has very strict ideas--where I'm concerned."
"Then why did you let ME come up?" Norman said,
with a penetrating glance.
She lowered her gaze and a faint flush stole into her
cheeks. Was it confession of the purpose he suspected?
Or, was it merely embarrassment?
"I heard of a case once," continued Norman, his
gaze significantly direct, "the case of a girl who was
in love with a poor young fellow. She wanted money
--luxury. Also, she wanted the poor young fellow."
The color flamed into the girl's face, then left it pale.
Her white fingers fluttered with nervous grace into her
masses of hair and back to her lap again, to rest there
in timid quiet.
"She knew another man," pursued Norman, "one
who was able to give her what she wanted in the way of
comfort. So, she decided to make an arrangement with
the man, and keep it hidden from her lover--and in that
way get along pleasantly until her lover was in better
Her gaze was upon her hands, listless in her lap. He
felt that he had spoken her unspoken, probably
unformed thoughts. Yes, unformed. Men and women,
especially women, habitually pursued these unacknowledged
and--even unformed purposes, in their conflicts of
the desire to get what they wanted and their desire to
appear well to themselves.
"What would you think of an arrangement like
that?" asked he, determined to draw her secret heart
into the open where he could see, where she could see.
She lifted frank, guileless eyes to his. "I suppose
the girl was trying to do the best she could."
"What do you think of a girl who'd do that?"
"I don't judge anybody--any more. I've found out
that this world isn't at all as I thought--as I was
"Would YOU do it?"
She smiled faintly. "No," she replied uncertainly.
Then she restored his wavering belief in her essential
honesty and truthfulness by adding: "That is to say, I
don't think I would."
She busied herself with her hair, feeling it to see
whether it was not yet dry, spreading it out. He looked
at her unseeingly. At last she said: "You must go.
I've got to get dressed."
"Yes--I must be going," said he absently, rising
and reaching for his hat on the center table.
She stood up, put out her hand. "I'm glad you
"Thank you," said he, still in the same abstraction.
He shook hands with her, moved hesitatingly toward the
door. With his hand on the knob he turned and glanced
keenly at her. He surprised in her face a look of mystery--
of seriousness, of sadness--was there anxiety in it,
also? And then he saw a certain elusive reminder of her
father--and it brought to him with curious force the
memory of how she had been brought up, of what must
be hers by inheritance and by training--she, the daughter
of a great and simple and noble man--
"You'll come again?" she said, and there was the
note in her voice that made his nerves grow tense and
But he seemed not to have heard her question. Still
at the unopened door, he folded his arms upon his chest
and said, speaking rapidly yet with the deliberation of
one who has thought out his words in advance:
"I don't know what kind of girl you are. I never
have known. I've never wanted to know. If you told
me you were--what is called good, I'd doubt it. If you
told me you weren't, I'd want to kill you and myself.
They say there's a fatal woman for every man and a
fatal man for every woman. I always laughed at the
idea--until you. I don't know what to make of myself."
She suddenly laid her finger on her lips. It irritated
him, to discover that, as he talked, speaking the things
that came from the very depths of his soul, she had been
giving him only part of her attention, had been listening
for a step on the stairs. He was hearing the ascending
step now. He frowned. "Can't you send him away?"
"I must," said she in a low tone. "It wouldn't do
for him to know you were here. He has strict ideas--
and is terribly jealous."
A few seconds of silence, then a knock on the other
side of the door.
"Who's there?" she called.
"I'm a little early," came in an agreeable, young
man's voice. "Aren't you ready?"
"Not nearly," replied she, in a laughing, innocent
voice. "You'll have to go away for half an hour."
"I'll wait out here on the steps."
Her eyes were sparkling. A delicate color had
mounted to her skin. Norman, watching her jealously,
clinched his strong jaws. She said: "No--you must
go clear away. I don't want to feel that I'm being
hurried. Don't come back until a quarter past four."
"All right. I'm crazy to see you." This in the
voice of a lover. She smiled radiantly at Norman, as if
she thought he would share in her happiness at these
evidences of her being well loved. The unseen young
man said: "Exactly a quarter past. What time does
your clock say it is now?"
"A quarter to," replied she.
"That's what my watch says. So there'll be no
mistake. For half an hour--good-by!"
"Half an hour!" she called.
She and Norman stood in silence until the footsteps
died away. Then she said crossly to Norman: "You
ought to have gone before. I don't like to do these
"You do them well," said he, with a savage gleam.
She was prompt and sure with his punishment. She
said, simply and sweetly: "I'd do anything to keep HIS
good opinion of me."
Norman felt and looked cowed. "You don't know
how it makes me suffer to see you fond of another man,"
She seemed not in the least interested, went to the
mirror of the bureau and began to inspect her hair with
a view to doing it up. "You can go in five minutes,"
said she. "By that time he'll be well out of the way.
Anyhow, if he saw you leaving the house he'd not know
but what you had been to see some one else. He knows
you by reputation but not by sight."
Norman went to her, took her by the shoulders gently
but strongly. "Look at me," he said.
She looked at him with an expression, or perhaps
absence of expression, that was simple listening.
"If you meant awhile ago some such thing as I
hinted--I will have nothing to do with it. You must
marry me--or it's nothing at all."
Her gaze did not wander, but before his wondering
eyes she seemed to fade, fade toward colorlessness insig-
nificance. The light died from her eyes, the flush of
health from her white skin, the freshness from her lips,
the sparkle and vitality from her hair. A slow, gradual
transformation, which he watched with a frightened
tightening at the heart.
She said slowly: "You--want--me--to--MARRY--
"I've always wanted it, though I didn't realize,"
replied he. "How else could I be sure of you? Besides--"
He flushed, added hurriedly, almost in an undertone--
"I owe it to you."
She seated herself deliberately.
After he had waited in vain for her to speak, he
went on: "If you married me, I know you'd play square.
I could trust you absolutely. I don't know--can't find
out much about you--but at least I know that."
"But I don't love you," said she.
"You needn't remind me of it," rejoined he curtly.
"I don't think so--so poorly of you as I used to,"
she went on. "I understand a lot of things better
than I did. But I don't love you, and I feel that I
"I'll risk that," said Norman. Through his
clinched teeth, "I've got to risk it."
"I'd be marrying you because I don't feel able to
--to make my own way."
"That's the reason most girls have for marrying,"
said he. "Love comes afterward--if it comes. And
it's the more likely to come for the girl not having
faked the man and herself beforehand."
She glanced at the clock. He frowned. She started
up. "You MUST go," she said.
"What is your answer?"
"Oh, I couldn't decide so quickly. I must think."
"You mean you must see your young man again
--see whether there isn't some way of working it out
"That, too," replied she simply. "But--it's nearly
"I'll come back at seven for my answer."
"No, I'll write you to-night."
"I must know at once. This suspense has got to
end. It unfits me for everything."
"I'll--I'll decide--to-night," she said, with a queer
catch in her voice. "You'll get the letter in the morning
"Very well." And he gave her his club address.
She opened the door in her impatience to be rid of
him. He went with a hasty "Good-by" which she
echoed as she closed the door.
When he left the house he saw standing on the curb
before it a tall, good-looking young man--with a frank
amiable face. He hesitated, glowering at the young
man's profile. Then he went his way, suffocating with
jealous anger, depressed, despondent, fit for nothing
but to drink and to brood in fatuous futility.
UNTIL very recently indeed psychology was not an
ology at all but an indefinite something or other "up
in the air," the sport of the winds and fogs of
transcendental tommy rot. Now, however, science has drawn
it down, has fitted it in its proper place as a branch of
physiology. And we are beginning to have a clearer
understanding of the thoughts and the thought-producing
actions of ourselves and our fellow beings. Soon
it will be no longer possible for the historian and the
novelist, the dramatist, the poet, the painter or sculptor
to present in all seriousness as instances of sane human
conduct, the aberrations resulting from various forms
of disease ranging from indigestion in its mild, temper-
breeding forms to acute homicidal or suicidal mania.
In that day of greater enlightenment a large body of
now much esteemed art will become ridiculous. Practically
all the literature of strenuous passion will go by
the board or will be relegated to the medical library
where it belongs; and it, and the annals of violence
found in the daily newspapers of our remote time will
be cited as documentary proof of the low economic and
hygienic conditions prevailing in that almost barbarous
period. For certain it is that the human animal when
healthy and well fed is invariably peaceable and kindly
and tolerant--up to the limits of selfishness, and even
encroaching upon those limits.
Of writing rubbish about love and passion there is
no end--and will be no end until the venerable traditional
nonsense about those interesting emotions shares
the fate that should overtake all the cobwebs of ignorance
thickly clogging the windows and walls of the
human mind. Of all the fiddle-faddle concerning passion
probably none is more shudderingly admired than the
notion that one possessed of an overwhelming desire for
another longs to destroy that other. It is true there
is a form of murderous mania that involves practically
all the emotions, including of course the passions--which
are as readily subject to derangement as any other part
of the human organism. But passion in itself--even
when it is so powerful that it dominates the whole life,
as in the case of Frederick Norman--passion in itself
is not a form of mental derangement in the medical
sense. And it does not produce acute selfishness,
paranoiac egotism, but a generous and beautiful kind of
unselfishness. Not from the first moment of Fred Norman's
possession did he wish to injure or in any way
to make unhappy the girl he loved. He longed to be
happy with her, to have her happy with and through
him. He represented his plotting to himself as a plan
to make her happier than she ever had been; as for
ultimate consequences, he refused to consider them.
The most hardened rake, when passion possesses him,
wishes all happiness to the woman of his pursuit.
Indifference, coldness--the natural hard-heartedness of
the normal man--returns only when the inspiration and
elevation of passion disappear in satiety. The man or
the woman who continues to inspire passion continues
to inspire tenderness and considerateness.
So when Norman left Dorothy that Sunday afternoon,
he, being a normal if sore beset human being, was
soon in the throes of an agonized remorse. There may
have been some hypocrisy in it, some struggling to cover
up the baser elements in his infatuation for her. What
human emotion of upward tendency has not at least a
little of the varnish of hypocrisy on certain less presentable
spots in it? But in the main it was a creditable,
a manly remorse, and not altogether the writhings of
jealousy and jealous fear of losing her.
He saw clearly that she was telling the truth, and
telling it too gently, when she said he was responsible
for her having standards of living which she could not
unaided hope to attain. It is a dreadful thing to interfere
in the destiny of a fellow being. We do it all the
time; we do it lightly. Nevertheless, it is a dreadful
thing--not one that ought not to be done, but one that
ought to be done only under imperative compulsion,
and then with every precaution. He had interfered in
Dorothy Hallowell's destiny. He had lifted her out of
the dim obscure niche where she was ensconced in
comparative contentment. He had lifted her up where she
had seen and felt the pleasures of a life of luxury.
"But for me," he said to himself, "she would now
be marrying this poor young lawyer, or some chap of
the same sort, and would be looking forward to a life
of happiness in a little flat or suburban cottage."
If she should refuse his offer--what then? Clearly
he ought to do his best to help her to happiness with
the other man. He smiled cynically at the moral height
to which his logic thus pointed the way. Nevertheless,
he did not turn away but surveyed it--and there formed
in his mind an impulse to make an effort to attempt
that height, if Fate should rule against him with her.
"If I were a really decent man," thought he, "I'd
sit down now and write her that I would not marry
her but would give her young man a friendly hand in
the law if she wished to marry him." But he knew that
such utter generosity was far beyond him. "Only a
hero could do it," said he; he added with what a
sentimentalist might have called a return of his normal
cynicism, "only a hero who really in the bottom of
his heart didn't especially want the girl." And a
candid person of experience might possibly admit that
there was more truth than cynicism in his look askance
at the grand army of martyrs of renunciation, most
of whom have simply given up something they didn't
"If she accepts me, I'll make it impossible for her
not to be happy," he said to himself, in all the fine
unselfishness of passion--not divine unselfishness but
human--not the kind we read about and pretend to have
--and get a savage attack of bruised vanity if we are
accused of not having it--no, but just the kind we
have and show in our daily lives--the unselfishness of
longing to make happy those whom it would make us
happier to see happy. "She may think she cares for
this young clerk--" so ran his thoughts--"but she
doesn't know her own mind. When she is mine, I'll take
her in hand as a gardener does a delicate rare flower
--and, by Heaven, how I shall make her blossom and
It would hardly be possible for a human being to
pass a stormier night than was that night of his.
Alternations between hope and despair--fantastic
pictures of future with and without her, wild pleadings
with her--those delirious transports to which our
imaginations give way if we happen to be blessed and cursed
with imaginations--in the security of the darkness and
aloneness of night and bed. And through it all he was
tormented body and soul by her loveliness--her hair,
her skin, her eyes, the shy, slender graces of her form--
He tossed about until his bed was so wildly disheveled
that he had to rise and remake it.
When day came and the first mail, there was her
letter on the salver of the boy entering the room.
He reached for it with eager, trembling arm, drew back.
"Put it on the table," he said.
The boy left. He was alone. Leaning upon his
elbow in the bed he stared at the letter with hollow,
terrified eyes. It contained his destiny. If she accepted,
he would go up, for his soul sickness would be cured.
If she refused, he would cease to struggle. He rose,
took from a locked drawer a bottle of rye whisky. He
poured a tall glass--the kind called a bar glass--half
full, drank it straight down without a pause or a quiver.
The shock brought him up standing. He looked and
acted like his former self as he went to the table, took
the letter, opened it, and read:
"I am willing to marry you, if you really want me.
I am so tired of struggling, and I don't see anything but
dark ahead.--D. H."
Norman struggled over to the bed, threw himself
down, flat upon his back, arms and legs extended wide
and whole body relaxed. He felt the blood whirl up
into his brain like the great red and black tongues of
flame and smoke in a conflagration, and then he slept
soundly until nearly one o'clock.
To an outsider there would have been a world of
homely commonplace pathos in that little letter of the
girl's if read aright, that is to say, if read with what
was between the lines supplied. It is impossible to live
in cities any length of time and with any sort of eyes
without learning the bitter unromantic truths about
poverty--city poverty. In quiet, desolate places one
may be poor, very poor, without much conscious
suffering. There are no teasing contrasts, no torturing
temptations. But in a city, if one knows anything at
all of the possibilities of civilized life, of the joys and
comforts of good food, clothing, and shelter, of theater
and concert and excursion, of entertaining and being
entertained, poverty becomes a hell. In the country,
in the quiet towns, the innocent people wonder at the
greediness of the more comfortable kinds of city people,
at their love of money, their incessant dwelling upon
it, their reverence for those who have it, their panic-
like flight from those who have it not. They wonder
how folk, apparently human, can be so inhuman. Let
them be careful how they judge. If you discover any
human being anywhere acting as you think a human
being should not, investigate all the circumstances, look
thoroughly into all the causes of his or her conduct,
before you condemn him or her as inhuman, unworthy of
your kinship and your sympathy.
In her brief letter the girl showed that, young though
she was and not widely experienced in life, she yet had
seen the horrors of city poverty, how it poisons and
kills all the fine emotions. She had seen many a loving
young couple start out confidently, with a few hundred
dollars of debt for furniture--had seen the love fade
and wither, shrivel, die--had seen appear peevishness
and hatred and unfaithfulness and all the huge, foul
weeds that choke the flowers of married life. She knew
what her lover's salary would buy--and what it would
not buy--for two. She could imagine their fate if
there should be three or more. She showed frankly her
selfishness of renunciation. But there could be read
between the lines--concealed instead of vaunted--perhaps
unsuspected--her unselfishness of renunciation for
the sake of her lover and for the sake of the child or
the children that might be. In our love of moral sham
and glitter, we overlook the real beauties of human
morality; we even are so dim or vulgar sighted that we
do not see them when they are shown to us.
As Norman awakened, he reached for the telephone,
said to the boy in charge of the club exchange: "Look
in the book, find the number of a lawyer named Branscombe,
and connect me with his office." After some
confusion and delay he got the right office, but Dorothy
was out at lunch. He left a message that she was to
call him up at the club as soon as she came in. He was
shaving when the bell rang.
He was at the receiver in a bound. "Is it you?"
"Yes," came in her quiet, small voice.
"Will you resign down there to-day? Will you
marry me this afternoon?"
A brief silence, then--"Yes."
Thus it came about that they met at the City Hall
license bureau, got their license, and half an hour later
were married at the house of a minister in East Thirty-
third Street, within a block of the Subway station. He
was feverish, gay, looked years younger than his thirty-
seven. She was quiet, dim, passive, neither grave nor
gay, but going through her part without hesitation,
with much the same patient, plodding expression she
habitually bore as she sat working at her machine--as
if she did not quite understand, but was doing her best
and hoped to get through not so badly.
"I've had nothing to eat," said he as they came out
of the parsonage.
"Nor I," said she.
"We'll go to Delmonico's," said he, and hailed a
On the way, he sitting in one corner explained to her,
shrunk into the other corner: "I can confess now that
I married you under false pretenses. I am not prosperous,
as I used to be. To be brief and plain, I'm down
and out, professionally."
She did not move. Apparently she did not change
expression. Yet he, speaking half banteringly, felt
some frightful catastrophe within her. "You are--
poor?" she said in her usual quiet way.
"WE are poor," corrected he. "I have at present
only a thousand dollars a month--a little more, but not
enough to talk about."
She did not move or change expression. Yet he felt
that her heart, her blood were going on again.
"Are you--angry?" he asked.
"A thousand dollars a month seems an awful lot of
money to me," she said.
"It's nothing--nothing to what we'll soon have.
Trust me." And back into his eyes flashed their former
look. "I've been sick. I'm well again. I shall get
what I want. If you want anything, you've only to
ask for it. I'll get it. I know how. . . . I don't prey,
myself--I've no fancy for the brutal sports. But I
teach lions how to prey, and I make them pay for the
lessons." He laughed with an effervescing of young
vitality and self-confidence that made him look handsome
and powerful. "In the future they'll have to pay still
She was looking at him with weary, wondering,
pathetic eyes that gazed from the pallor of her dead-
white face mysteriously.
"What are you thinking?" he asked.
"I was listening," replied she.
"Doesn't it make you happy--what you are going
"No," replied she. "But it makes me content."
With eyes suddenly suffused, he took her hand--so
gently. "Dorothy," he said, "you will try to love
"I'll try," said she. "You'll be kind to me?"
"I couldn't be anything else," he cried. And in a
gust of passion he caught her to his breast and kissed
her triumphantly. "I love you--and you're mine--mine!"
She released herself with the faint insistent push
that seemed weak, but always accomplished its purpose.
Her lip was trembling. "You said you'd be kind," she
He gazed at her with a baffled expression. "Oh--I
understand," he said. "And I shall be kind. But I
must teach you to love me."
Her trembling lip steadied. "You must be careful
or you may teach me to hate you," said she.
He studied her in a puzzled way, laughed. "What
a mystery you are!" he cried with raillery. "Are you
child or are you woman? No matter. We shall be
The taxicab was swinging to the curb. In the
restaurant he ordered an enormous meal. And he ate
enormously, and drank in due proportion. She ate and
drank a good deal herself--a good deal for her. And
the results were soon apparent in a return of the spirits
that are normal to twenty-one years, regardless of what
may be lurking in the heart, in a dark corner, to come
forth and torment when there is nothing to distract the
"We shall have to live quietly for a while," said he.
"Of course you must have clothes-at once. I'll take
you shopping to-morrow." He laughed grimly.
"Just at present we can get only what we pay cash for.
Still, you won't need much. Later on I'll take you over
to Paris. Does that attract you?"
Her eyes shone. "How soon?" she asked.
"I can tell you in a week or ten days." He became
abstracted for a moment. "I can't understand how I
let them get me down so easily--that is, I can't understand
it now. I suppose it's just the difference between
being weak with illness and strong with health." His
eyes concentrated on her. "Is it really you?" he cried
gaily. "And are you really mine? No wonder I feel
strong! It was always that way with me. I never
could leave a thing until I had conquered it."
She gave him a sweet smile. "I'm not worth all the
trouble you seem to have taken about me," said she.
He laughed; for he knew the intense vanity so
pleasantly hidden beneath her shy and modest exterior.
"On the contrary," said he good-humoredly, "you in
your heart think yourself worth any amount of trouble.
It's a habit we men have got you women into. And
you-- One of the many things that fascinate me in
you is your supreme self-control. If the king were to
come down from his throne and fall at your feet, you'd
take it as a matter of course."
She gazed away dreamily. And he understood that
her indifference to matters of rank and wealth and
power was not wholly vanity but was, in part at least,
due to a feeling that love was the only essential. Nor
did he wonder how she was reconciling this belief of high
and pure sentiment with what she was doing in marrying
him. He knew that human beings are not consistent,
cannot be so in a universe that compels them to
face directly opposite conditions often in the same
moment. But just as all lines are parallel in infinity, so
all actions are profoundly consistent when referred to
the infinitely broad standard of the necessity that every
living thing shall look primarily to its own well being.
Disobedience to this fundamental carries with it
inevitable punishment of disintegration and death; and
those catastrophes are serious matters when one has but
the single chance at life, that will be repeated never
again in all the eternities.
After their late lunch or early dinner, they drove to
her lodgings. He went up with her and helped her to
pack--not a long process, as she had few belongings.
He noted that the stockings and underclothes she took
from the bureau drawers were in anything but good
condition, that the half dozen dresses she took from the
closet and folded on the couch were about done for.
Presently she said, cheerfully and with no trace of false
"You see, I'm pretty nearly in rags."
"Oh, that's soon arranged," replied he. "Why
bother to take these things? Why not give them to
She debated with herself. "I think you're right,"
she decided. "Yes, I'll give them to Jennie."
"The underclothes, too," he urged. "And the
It ended in her having left barely enough loosely to
fill the bottom of a small trunk with two trays.
They drove to the Knickerbocker Hotel, and he took
a small suite, one of the smallest and least luxurious in
the house, for with all his desire to make her feel the
contrast of her change of circumstances sharply, he
could not forget how limited his income was, and how
unwise it would be to have to move in a few days to
humbler quarters. He hoped that the rooms,
englamoured by the hotel's general air of costly luxury,
would sufficiently impress her. And while she gave no
strong indication but accepted everything in her wonted
quiet, passive manner, he was shrewd enough to see that
she was content. "To-morrow," he said to himself,
"after she has done some shopping, the last regret will
leave her, and her memory of that clerk will begin to
fade fast. I'll give her too much else to think about."
The following morning, when they faced each other
at breakfast in their sitting room, he glanced at her
from time to time in wonder and terror. She looked not
merely insignificant, but positively homely. Her skin
had a sickly pallor; her hair seemed to be of many
different and disagreeable shades of uninteresting dead
yellow. Her eyes suggested faded blue china dishes,
with colorless lashes and reddened edges of the lids.
Her lips had lost their rosy freshness, her teeth their
His heavy heart seemed to be resting nauseously
upon the pit of his stomach. Was his infatuation sheer
delusion, with no basis of charm in her at all? Was
she, indeed, nothing but this unattractive, faded little
commonplaceness?--a poor specimen of an inferior
order of working girl? What an awakening! And she
was his WIFE!--was his companion for the yet more
brilliant career he had resolved and was planning! He
must introduce her everywhere, must see the not to be
concealed amazement in the faces of his acquaintances,
must feel the cruel covert laughter and jeering at his
weak folly! Was there ever in history or romance a
parallel to such fatuity as his? Why, people would be
right in thinking him a sham, a mere bluffer at the high
and strong qualities he was reputed to have.
Had Norman been, in fact, the man of ice and iron
the compulsions of a career under the social system made
him seem, the homely girl opposite him that morning
would speedily have had something to think about other
than her unhappiness of the woman who has given her
person to one man and her heart to another. Instead,
the few words he addressed to her were all gentleness and
forbearance. Stronger than his chagrin was his pity
for her--the poor, unconscious victim of his mad hallu-
cination. If she thought about the matter at all, she
assumed that he was still the slave of her charms--for,
the florid enthusiasm of man's passion inevitably deludes
the woman into fancying it objective instead of wholly
subjective; and, only the rare very wise woman, after
much experience, learns to be suspicious of the validity
of her own charms and to concentrate upon keeping up
the man's delusions.
At last he rose and kissed her on the brow and let
his hand rest gently on her shoulder--what a difference
between those caresses and the caresses that had made
her beg him to be "kind" to her! Said he:
"Do you mind if I leave you alone for a while? I
ought to go to the club and have the rest of my things
packed and sent. I'll not be gone long--about an
"Very well," said she lifelessly.
"I'll telephone my office that I'll not be down
With an effort she said, "There's no reason for
doing that. I don't want to interfere with your business."
"I'm neglecting nothing. And that shopping must
She made no reply, but went to the window, and
from the height looked down and out upon the mighty
spread of the city. He observed her a moment with a
dazed pitying expression, took his hat and departed.
It was nearly two hours before he got together suffi-
cient courage to return. He had been hoping--had
been saying to himself with vigorous effort at confidence
--that he had simply seen one more of the many
transformations, each of which seemed to present her as a
wholly different personality. When he should see her
again, she would have wiped out the personality that
had shocked and saddened him, would appear as some
new variety of enchantress, perhaps even more potent
over his senses than ever before. But a glance as he
entered demolished that hope. She was no different
than when he left. Evidently she had been crying, and
spasms of that sort always accentuate every unloveliness.
He did not try to nerve himself to kiss her, but
"It'll not take you long to get ready?"
She moved to rise from her languid rest upon the
sofa. She sank back. "Perhaps we'd better not go
to-day," suggested she.
"Don't you feel well?" he asked, and his tone was
more sympathetic than it would have been had his sympathy
"Not very," replied she, with a faint deprecating
smile. "And not very--not very----"
"Not very what?" he said, in a tone of encouragement.
"Not very happy," she confessed. "I'm afraid
I've made a--a dreadful mistake."
He looked at her in silence. She could have said
nothing that would have caused a livelier response within
himself. His cynicism noted the fact that while he had
mercifully concealed his discontent, she was thinking
only of herself. But he did not blame her. It was
only the familiar habit of the sex, bred of man's
assiduous cultivation of its egotism. He said: "Oh, you'll
feel differently about it later. Let's get some fresh air
and see what the shops have to offer."
A pause, then she, timidly: "Would you mind very
much if I--if I didn't--go on?"
"You mean, if you left me?"
She nodded without looking at him. He could not
understand himself, but as he sat observing her, so
young, so inexperienced and so undesirable, a pity of
which he would not have dreamed his nature capable
welled up in him, choking his throat with sobs he could
scarcely restrain and filling his eyes with tears he had
secretly to wipe away. And he felt himself seized of a
sense of responsibility for her as strong in its solemn,
still way as any of the paroxysms of his passion had
He said: "My dear--you mustn't decide anything
so important to you in a hurry."
A tremor passed over her, and he thought she was
going to dissolve in hysterics. But she exhibited once
more that marvelous and mysterious self-control, whose
secret had interested and baffled him. She said in her
dim, quiet way:
"It seems to me I just can't stay on."
"You can always go, you know. Why not try it a
He could feel the trend of her thoughts, and in the
way things often amuse us without in the least moving
us to wish to laugh, he was amused by noting that she
was trying to bring herself to stay on, out of consideration
for HIS feelings! He said with a kind of paternal
"Whenever you want to go, I am willing to arrange
things for you--so that you needn't worry about money.
But I feel that, as I am older than you, I ought to do all
I can to keep you from making a mistake you might
She studied him dubiously. He saw that she--
naturally enough--did not believe in his disinterestedness,
that she hadn't a suspicion of his change, or,
rather collapse, of feeling. She said:
"If you ask it, I'll stay a while. But you must
promise to--to be kind to me."
There was only gentleness in his smile. But what a
depth of satirical self-mockery and amusement at her
innocent young egotism it concealed! "You'll never
have reason to speak of that again, my dear," said he.
"I--can--trust you?" she said.
"Absolutely," replied he. "I'll have another room
opened into this suite. Would you like that?"
"If you--if you don't mind."
He stood up with sudden boyish buoyance. "Now
--let's go shopping. Let's amuse ourselves."
She rose with alacrity. She eyed him uncertainly,
then flung her arms round his neck and kissed him.
"You are SO good to me!" she cried. "And I'm not a
He did not try to detain her, but sent her to finish
dressing, with an encouraging pat on the shoulder and a
cheerful, "Don't worry about yourself--or me."
ABOUT half an hour later the door into the bedroom
opened and she appeared on the threshold of the sitting
room, ready for the street. He stared at her in the
dazed amazement of a man faced by the impossible, and
uncertain whether it is sight or reason that is tricking
him. She had gone into the bedroom not only homely
but commonplace, not only commonplace but common,
a dingy washed-out blonde girl whom it would be a
humiliation to present as his wife. She was standing there,
in the majesty of such proud pale beauty as poets
delight to ascribe to a sorrowful princess. Her wonderful
skin was clear and translucent, giving her an ethereal
look. Her hair reminded him again of what marvels he
had seen in the sunlight of Sunday afternoon. And
looking at her form and the small head so gracefully
capping it, he could think only of the simile that had
always come to him in his moments of ecstasy--the lily
on its tall stem.
And once more, like a torrent, the old infatuation
sprang from its dried sources and came rushing and
overwhelming through vein and nerve. "Am I mad
now?--was I mad a few moments ago?--is it she or is
it my own disordered senses?"
She was drawing on her gloves, was unconscious of
his confusion. He controlled himself and said: "You
have a most disconcerting way of changing your appearance."
She glanced down at her costume. "No, it's the
same dress. I've only the one, you know."
He longed to take her in his arms, but could not
trust himself. And this wonder-girl, his very own, was
talking of leaving him! And he--not an hour before--
he, apparently in his right senses had been tolerating
such preposterous talk! Give her up? Never! He
must see to it that the subject did not find excuse for
intruding again. "I have frightened her--have
disgusted her. I must restrain myself. I must be patient
--and teach her slowly--and win her gradually."
They spent an interesting and even exciting afternoon,
driving from shop to shop and selecting the first
beginnings of her wardrobe. He had only about three
hundred dollars. Some of the things they ordered were
ready for delivery, and so had to be paid for at once.
When they returned to the hotel he had but fifty dollars
left--and had contracted debts that made it necessary
for him to raise at least a thousand dollars within a week.
He saw that his freedom with sums of money which
terrified her filled her with awe and admiration--and that
he was already more successful than he had expected to
be, in increasing her hesitation about leaving him.
Among the things they had bought were a simple black
chiffon dress and a big plumed black hat to match.
These needed no alterations and were delivered soon
after they returned. Some silk stockings came also and
a pair of slippers bought for the dinner toilet.
"You can dress to-night," said he, "and I'll take
you to Sherry's, and to the theater afterwards."
She was delighted. At last she was going to look
like the women of whom she had been dreaming these
last few months. She set about dressing herself, he
waiting in the sitting room in a state of acute nervousness.
What would be the effect of such a toilet? Would
she look like a lady--or like--what she had suggested
that morning? She was so changeable, had such a wide
range of variability that he dared not hope. When she
finally appeared, he was ready to fall down and worship.
He was about to take her where his world would see her,
where every inch of her would be subjected to the cruelest,
most hostile criticism. One glance at her, and he
knew a triumph awaited him. No man and no woman
would wonder that he had lost his head over such beauty
as hers. Hat and dress seemed just what had been
needed to bring out the full glory of her charms.
"You are incredibly beautiful," he said in an awed
tone. "I am proud of you."
A little color came into her cheeks. She looked at
herself in the mirror with her quiet intense secret, yet
not covert vanity. He laughed in boyish pleasure.
"This is only the small beginning," said he. "Wait a
At dinner and in a box at the theater afterwards, he
had the most exquisite pleasure of his life. She had been
seen by many of his former friends, and he was certain
they knew who she was. He felt that he would have no
difficulty in putting her in the place his wife should
occupy. A woman with such beauty as hers was a sensation,
one fashionable society would not deny itself.
She had good manners, an admirable manner. With a
little coaching she would be as much at home in grandeur
as were those who had always had it.
The last fear of losing her left him. On the way
back to the hotel he, in a delirium of pride and passion,
crushed her in his arms and caressed her with the frenzy
that had always terrified her. She resisted only faintly,
was almost passive. "She is mine!" he said to himself,
exultantly. "She is really mine!"
When he awoke in the morning she was still asleep--
looked like a tired lovely child. Several times, while he
was dressing, he went in to feast his eyes upon her
beauty. How could he possibly have thought her
homely, in whatever moment of less beauty or charm
she might have had? The crowning charm of infinite
variety! She had a delightfully sweet disposition. He
was not sure how much or how little intelligence she
had--probably more than most women. But what did
that matter? It would be impossible ever to grow weary
or to be anything but infatuated lover when she had
such changeful beauty.
He kissed her lightly on her thick braids, as he was
about to go. He left a note explaining that he did not
wish to disturb her and that it was necessary for him
to be at the office earlier. And that morning in all
New York no man left his home for the day's struggle
for dollars with a freer or happier heart, or readier to
play the game boldly, skillfully, with success.
Certainly he needed all his courage and all his skill.
To most of the people who live in New York and
elsewhere throughout the country--or the world, for
that matter--an income of a thousand dollars a month
seems extremely comfortable, to say the least of it. The
average American family of five has to scrape along
on about half that sum a year. But among the
comfortable classes in New York--and perhaps in one or
two other cities--a thousand dollars a month is literally
genteel poverty. To people accustomed to what is
called luxury nowadays--people with the habit of the
private carriage, the private automobile, and several
servants--to such people a thousand dollars a month is
an absurd little sum. It would not pay for the food
alone. It would not buy for a man and his wife, with
no children, clothing enough to enable them to make a
Norman, living alone and living very quietly indeed,
might have got along for a while on that sum, if he had
taken much thought about expenditures, had persisted
in such severe economies as using street cars instead of
taxicabs and drinking whisky at dinner instead of his
customary quart of six-dollar champagne. Norman,
the married man, could not escape disaster for a single
month on an income so pitiful.
Probably on the morning on which he set out for
downtown in search of money enough to enable him to
live decently, not less than ten thousand men on
Manhattan Island left comfortable or luxurious homes faced
with precisely the same problem. And each and every
one of them knew that on that day or some day soon
they must find the money demanded imperiously by their
own and their families' tastes and necessities or be ruined
--flung out, trampled upon, derided as failures, hated
by the "loved ones" they had caused to be humiliated.
And every man of that legion had a fine, an unusually
fine brain--resourceful, incessant, teeming with schemes
for wresting from those who had dollars the dollars they
dared not go home without. And those ten thousand
quickest and most energetic brains, by their mode of
thought and action, determined the thought and action
of the entire country--gave the mercenary and unscrupulous
cast to the whole social system. Themselves the
victims of conditions, they were the bellwethers to
millions of victims compelled to follow their leadership.
Norman, by the roundabout mode of communication
he and Tetlow had established, summoned his friend and
backer to his office. "Tetlow," he began straight off,
"I've got to have more money."
"How much?" said Tetlow.
"More than you can afford to advance me."
"How much?" repeated Tetlow.
"Three thousand a month right away--at the
"That's a big sum," said Tetlow.
"Yes, for a man used to dealing in small figures.
But in reality it's a moderate income."
"Few large families spend more."
"Few large or small families in my part of New
York pinch along on so little."
"What has happened to you?" said Tetlow, dropping
into a chair and folding his fat hands on his
"Why?" asked Norman.
"It's in your voice--in your face--in your cool
demand for a big income."
"Let's start right, old man," said Norman. "Don't
CALL thirty-six thousand a year big or you'll THINK it big.
And if you think it big, you will stay little."
Tetlow nodded. "I'm ready to grow," said he.
"Now what's happened to you?"
"I've got married," replied Norman.
"I thought so. To Miss--Hallowell?"
"To Miss Hallowell. So my way's clear, and I'm
going to resume the march."
"I've two plans. Either will serve. The first is
yours--the one you partly revealed to me the other
"Partly?" said Tetlow.
"Partly," repeated Norman, laughing. "I know
you, Billy, and that means I know you're absolutely
incapable of plotting as big a scheme as you suggested
to me. It came either from Galloway or from some one
of his clique."
"I said all I'm at liberty to say, Fred."
"I don't wish you to break your promise. All I
want to know is, can I get the three thousand a month
and assurance of its lasting and leading to something
"What is your other scheme?" said Tetlow, and it
was plain to the shrewder young lawyer that the less
shrewd young lawyer wished to gain time.
"Simple and sure," replied Norman. "We will buy
ten shares of Universal Fuel Company through a dummy
and bring suit to dissolve it. I looked into the matter
for Burroughs once when he was after the Fosdick-
Langdon group. Universal Fuel wouldn't dare defend
the action I could bring. We could get what we pleased
for our ten shares to let up on the suit. The moment
their lawyers saw the papers I'd draw, they'd advise it."
Tetlow shook his large, impressively molded head.
"Shady," said he. "Shady."
Norman smiled with good-natured patience. "You
sound like Burroughs or Galloway when they are
denouncing a man for trying to get rich by the same
methods they pursued. My dear Bill, don't be one of
those lawyers who will do the queer work for a client
but not for themselves. There's no sense, no morality,
no intelligent hypocrisy even, in that. We didn't create
the commercial morality of the present day. For God's
sake, let's not be of the poor fools who practice it but
get none of its benefits."
Tetlow shifted uneasily. "I don't like to hear that
sort of thing," said he, apologetic and nervous.
"Is it true?"
"Yes. But--damn it, I don't like to hear it."
"That is to say, you're willing to pay the price of
remaining small and obscure just for the pleasure of
indulging in a wretched hypocrisy of a self-deception.
Bill, come out of the small class. Whether you go in
with me or not, come out of the class of understrappers.
What's the difference between the big men and their
little followers? Why, the big men SEE. They don't
deceive themselves with the cant they pour out for the
benefit of the ignorant mob."
Tetlow was listening like a pupil to a teacher. That
was always his attitude toward Norman.
"The big men," continued Norman, "know that
canting is necessary--that one must always profess
high and disinterested motives, and so on, and so on.
But they don't let their hypocritical talk influence their
actions. How is it with the little fellows? Why, they
believe the flapdoodle the leaders talk. They go into
the enterprise, do all the small dirty work, lie and cheat
and steal, and hand over the proceeds to the big fellows,
for the sake of a pat on the back and a noisy `Honest
fellow! Here are a few crumbs for you.' And crumbs
are all that a weak, silly, hypocritical fool deserves.
Can you deny it?"
"No doubt you're right, Fred," conceded Tetlow.
"But I'm afraid I haven't the nerve."
"Come in behind me. I've got nerve for two--
At that triumphant "now" Tetlow looked curiously
at his friend. "Yes, IT has changed you--changed you
back to what you were. I don't understand."
"It isn't necessary that you understand," rejoined
"Do you think you could really carry through that
scheme you've just outlined?"
"I see it fascinates you."
"I've no objection to rising to the class of big
men," said Tetlow. "But aren't you letting your
confidence in yourself deceive you?"
"Did I ever let it deceive me?"
"No," confessed Tetlow. "I've often watched you,
and thought you'd fall through it, or stumble at least.
But you never did."
"And shall I tell you why? Because I use my self-
confidence and my hopefulness and all my optimistic
qualities only to create an atmosphere of success. But
when it comes to planning a move of any kind, when
I assemble my lieutenants round the council board in
my brain, I never permit a single cheerful one to speak,
or even to enter. It's a serious, gloomy circle of faces,
Tetlow nodded reminiscently. "Yes, you always
were like that, Fred."
"And the one who does the most talking at my
council is the gloomiest of all. He's Lieutenant Flaw-
picker. He can't see any hope for anything. He sees
all the possibilities of failure. He sees all the chances
against success. And what's the result? Why, when
the council rises it has taken out of the plan every
chance of mishap that my intelligence could foresee
and it has provided not one but several safe lines of
orderly retreat in case success proves impossible."
Tetlow gazed at Norman in worshipful admiration.
"What a brain! What a mind!" he ejaculated.
"And to think that YOU could be upset by a WOMAN!"
Norman leaned back in his chair smiling broadly.
"Not by a woman," he corrected. "By a girl--an
inexperienced girl of twenty."
"It seems incredible."
"A grain of dust, dropped into a watch movement
in just the right place--you know what happens."
Tetlow nodded. Then, with a sharp, anxious look,
"But it's all over?"
Norman hesitated. "I believe so," he said.
Tetlow rose and rubbed his thighs. He had been
sitting long in the same position, and he was now stout
enough to suffer from fat man's cramp. "Well," said
he, "we needn't bother about that Universal Fuel
scheme at present. I can guarantee you the three
thousand dollars, and the other things."
Norman shook his head. "Not enough," he said.
"You want more money?"
"No. But I will not work, or rather, wait, in the
dark. Tell your principals that I must be let in."
Tetlow hesitated, walking about the office. Finally
he said, "Look here, Fred--you think I deceived you
the other day--posed as your friend when in reality
I was simply acting as agent for people who wanted
Norman gave Tetlow a look that made him redden
with pleasure. "No, I don't, old man," said he. "I
know you recommended me--and that they were shy of
me because of the way I've been acting--and that you
stood sponsor for me. Isn't that right?"
"Something like that," admitted Tetlow. "But
they were eager to get you. It was only a question of
trusting you. I was able to do you a good turn there."
"And I'll make a rich man, and a famous one, of
you," said Norman.
"Yes. I believe you will," cried Tetlow, tears in
his prominent studious eyes. "I'll see those people in
a day or two, and let you know. Do you need money
right away? Of course you do." And down he sat and
drew a check for fifteen hundred dollars.
Norman laughed as he glanced to see if it was
correctly drawn. "I'd not have dared return to my bride
with empty pockets. That's what it means to live in
Tetlow grinned. "A sentimental town, isn't it?
Especially the women."
"Oh, I don't blame them," said Norman. "They
need the money, and the only way they've got of making
it is out of sentiment. And you must admit they
give a bully good quality, if the payment is all right."
Tetlow shrugged his shoulders. "I'm glad I don't
need them," said he. "It gives me the creeps to see
them gliding about with their beautiful dresses and
their sweet, soft faces."
He and Norman lunched together in an out-of-the
way restaurant. After a busy and a happy afternoon,
Norman returned early to the hotel. He had cashed
his check. He was in funds. He would give her
another and more thrilling taste of the joy that was to
be hers through him--and soon she would be giving
even as she got--for he would teach her not to fear
love, not to shrink from it, but to rejoice in it and to
let it permeate and complete all her charms.
He ascended to the apartment and knocked. There
was no answer. He searched in vain for a chamber-
maid to let him in. He descended to the office. "Oh,
Mr. Norman," said one of the clerks. "Your wife left
this note for you."
Norman took it. "She went out?"
"About three o'clock--with a young gentleman
who called on her. They came back a while ago and
she left the note."
"Thank you," said Norman. He took his key,
went up to the apartment. Not until he had closed and
locked the door did he open the note. He read:
"Last night you broke your promise. So I am
going away. Don't look for me. It won't be any use.
When I decide what to do I'll send you word."
He was standing at the table. He tossed the note
on the marble, threw open the bedroom door. The
black chiffon dress, the big plumed hat, and all the
other articles they had bought were spread upon the
bed, arranged with the obvious intention that he should
see at a glance she had taken nothing away with her.
"Hell!" he said aloud. "Why didn't I let her go
A FEW days later, Tetlow, having business with Norman,
tried to reach him by telephone. After several
failures he went to the hotel, and in the bar learned
enough to enable him to guess that Norman was of on
a mad carouse. He had no difficulty in finding the trail
or in following it; the difficulty lay in catching up, for
Norman was going fast. Not until late at night--that
is, early in the morning--of the sixth day from the
beginning of his search did he get his man.
He was prepared to find a wreck, haggard, wildly
nervous and disreputably disheveled; for, so far as he
could ascertain Norman had not been to bed, but had
gone on and on from one crowd of revelers to another,
in a city where it is easy to find companions in dissipation
at any hour of the twenty-four. Tetlow was even
calculating upon having to put off their business many
weeks while the crazy man was pulling through delirium
tremens or some other form of brain fever.
An astonishing sight met his eyes in the Third
Avenue oyster house before which the touring car Norman
had been using was drawn up. At a long table,
eating oysters as fast as the opener could work, sat
Norman and his friend Gaskill, a fellow member of the
Federal Club, and about a score of broken and battered
tramps. The supper or breakfast was going forward
in admirable order. Gaskill, whom Norman had
picked up a few hours before, showed signs of having
done some drinking. But not Norman. It is true his
clothing might have looked fresher; but hardly the
"Just in time!" he cried out genially, at sight of
Tetlow. "Sit down with us. Waiter, a chair next to
mine. Gentlemen, Mr. Tetlow. Mr. Tetlow, gentlemen.
What'll you have, old man?"
Tetlow declined champagne, accepted half a dozen
of the huge oysters. "I've been after you for nearly
a week," said he to Norman.
"Pity you weren't WITH me," said Norman. "I've
been getting acquainted with large numbers of my fellow
"From the Bowery to Yonkers."
"Exactly. Don't fall asleep, Gaskill."
But Gaskill was snoring with his head on the back
of his chair and his throat presented as if for the as
of the executioner. "He's all in," said Tetlow.
"That's the way it goes," complained Norman.
"I can't find anyone to keep me company."
Tetlow laughed. "You look as if you had just
started out," said he. "Tell me--WHERE have you
"I haven't had time to sleep as yet."
"I dropped in to suggest that a little sleep wouldn't
do any harm."
"Not quite yet. Watch our friends eat. It gives
me an appetite. Waiter, another dozen all round--and
some more of this carbonated white wine you've labeled
As he called out this order, a grunt of satisfaction
ran round the row of human derelicts. Tetlow shuddered,
yet was moved and thrilled, too, as he glanced
from face to face--those hideous hairy countenances,
begrimed and beslimed, each countenance expressing
in its own repulsive way the one emotion of gratified
longing for food and drink. "Where did you get
'em?" inquired he.
"From the benches in Madison Square," replied
Norman. He laughed queerly. "Recognize yourself
in any of those mugs, Tetlow?" he asked.
Tetlow shivered. "I should say not!" he exclaimed.
Norman's eyes gleamed. "I see myself in all of
'em," said he.
"Poor wretches!" muttered Tetlow.
"Pity wasted," he rejoined. "You might feel
sorry for a man on the way to where they've got. But
once arrived--as well pity a dead man sleeping quietly
in his box with three feet of solid earth between him and
worries of every kind."
"Shake this crowd," said Tetlow impatiently. "I
want to talk with you."
"All right, if it bores you." He sent the waiter
out for enough lodging-house tickets to provide for all.
He distributed them himself, to make sure that the
proprietor of the restaurant did not attempt to graft.
Then he roused Gaskill and bundled him into the car
and sent it away to his address. The tramps
gathered round and gave Norman three cheers--they
pressed close while four of them tried to pick his and
Tetlow's pockets. Norman knocked them away good-
naturedly, and he and Tetlow climbed into Tetlow's
"To my place," suggested Tetlow.
"No, to mine--the Knickerbocker," replied Norman.
"I'd rather you went to my place first," said
"My wife isn't with me. She has left me," said
Tetlow hesitated, extremely nervous, finally
acquiesced. They drove a while in silence, then Norman
said, "What's the business?"
"Galloway wants to see you."
"Tell him to come to my office to-morrow--that
means to-day--at any time after eleven."
"But that gives you no chance to pull yourself
together," objected Tetlow.
Norman's face, seen in the light of the street lamp
they happened to be passing, showed ironic amusement.
"Never mind about me, Billy. Tell him to come."
Tetlow cleared his throat nervously. "Don't you
think, old man, that you'd better go to see him? I'll
arrange the appointment."
Norman said quietly: "Tetlow, I've dropped pretty
far. But not so far that I go to my clients. The rule
of calls is that the man seeking the favor goes to the
man who can grant it."
"But it isn't the custom nowadays for a lawyer to
deal that way with a man like Galloway."
"And neither is it the custom for anyone to have
any self-respect. Does Galloway need my brains more
than I need his money, or do I need his money more
than he needs my brains? You know what the answer
to that is, Billy. We are partners--you and I. I'm
training you for the position."
"Galloway won't come," said Tetlow curtly.
"So much the worse for him," retorted Norman
placidly. "No--I've not been drinking too much, old
man--as your worried--old-maid look suggests. Do a
little thinking. If Galloway doesn't get me, whom
will he get?"
"You know very well, Norman, there are scores of
lawyers, good ones, who'd crawl at his feet for his
business. Nowadays, most lawyers are always looking
round for a pair of rich man's boots to lick."
"But I am not `most lawyers,' " said Norman.
"Of course, if Galloway could make me come to him,
he'd be a fool to come to me. But when he finds I'm
not coming, why, he'll behave himself--if his business
is important enough for me to bother with."
"But if he doesn't come, Fred?"
"Then--my Universal Fuel scheme, or some other
equally good. But you will never see me limbering my
knees in the anteroom of a rich man, when he needs
me and I don't need him."
"Well, we'll see," said Tetlow, with the air of a
sober man patient with one who is not sober.
"By the way," continued Norman, "if Galloway
says he's too ill to come--or anything of that sort--
tell him I'd not care to undertake the affairs of a man
too old or too feeble to attend to business, as he might
die in the midst of it."
Tetlow's face was such a wondrous exhibit of
discomfiture that Norman laughed outright. Evidently
he had forestalled his fat friend in a scheme to get him
to Galloway in spite of himself. "All right--all right,"
said Tetlow fretfully. "We'll sleep on this. But I
don't see why you're so opposed to going to see the
man. It looks like snobbishness to me--false pride--
silly false pride."
"It IS snobbishness," said Norman. "But you
forget that snobbishness rules the world. The way to
rule fools is to make them respect you. And the way
to make them respect you is by showing them that
they are your inferiors. I want Galloway's respect
because I want his money. And I'll not get his money--
as much of it as belongs to me--except by showing
him my value. Not my value as a lawyer, for he
knows that already, but my value as a man. Do you
"No, I don't," snapped Tetlow.
"That's what it means to be Tetlow. Now, I do
see--and that's why I'm Norman."
Tetlow looked at him doubtfully, uncertain whether
he had been listening to wisdom put in a jocose form
of audacious egotism or to the effervescings of intoxication.
The hint of a smile lurking in the sobriety of
the powerful features of his extraordinary friend only
increased his doubt. Was Norman mocking him, and
himself as well? If so, was it the mockery of sober
sense or of drunkenness?
"You seem to be puzzled, Billy," said Norman, and
Tetlow wondered how he had seen. "Don't get your
brains in a stew trying to understand me. I'm acting
the way I've always acted--except in one matter. You
know that I know what I'm about?"
"I certainly do," replied his admirer.
"Then, let it go at that. If you could understand
me--the sort of man I am, the sort of thing I do--
you'd not need me, but would be the whole show yourself
--eh? That being true, don't show yourself a com-
monplace nobody by deriding and denying what your
brain is unable to comprehend. Show yourself a
somebody by seeing the limitations of your ability. The
world is full of little people who criticise and judge and
laugh at and misunderstand the few real intelligences.
And very tedious interruptions of the scenery those little
people are. Don't be one of them. . . . Did you know
my wife's father?"
Tetlow startled. "No--that is, yes," he stammered.
"That is, I met him a few times."
"Often enough to find out that he was crazy?"
"Oh, yes. He explained some of his ideas to me.
Yes--he was quite mad, poor fellow."
Norman gave way to a fit of silent laughter. "I
can imagine," he presently said, "what you'd have
thought if Columbus or Alexander or Napoleon or
Stevenson or even the chaps who doped out the telephone
and the telegraph--if they had talked to you
before they arrived. Or even after they arrived, if they
had been explaining some still newer and bigger idea
not yet accomplished."
"You don't think Mr. Hallowell was mad?"
"He was mad, assuming that you are the standard
of sanity. Otherwise, he was a great man. There'll
be statues erected and pages of the book of fame devoted
to the men who carry out his ideas."
"His death was certainly a great loss to his daughter,"
said Tetlow in his heaviest, most bourgeois manner.
"I said he was a great man," observed Norman.
"I didn't say he was a great father. A great man is
never a great father. It takes a small man to be a
"At any rate, her having no parents or relatives
doesn't matter, now that she has you," said Tetlow, his
manner at once forced and constrained.
"Um," muttered Norman.
Said Tetlow: "Perhaps you misunderstood why I--
I acted as I did about her, toward the last."
"It was of no importance," said Norman brusquely.
"I wish to hear nothing about it."
"But I must explain, Fred. She piqued me by
showing so plainly that she despised me. I must admit
the truth, though I've got as much vanity as the next
man, and don't like to admit it. She despised me, and
it made me mad."
An expression of grim satire passed over Norman's
face. Said he: "She despised me, too."
"Yes, she did," said Tetlow. "And both of us
were certainly greatly her superiors--in every
substantial way. It seemed to me most--most----"
"Most impertinent of her?" suggested Norman.
"Precisely. MOST impertinent."
"Rather say, ignorant and small. My dear Tetlow,
let me tell you something. Anybody, however
insignificant, can be loved. To be loved means nothing,
except possibly a hallucination in the brain of the lover.
But to LOVE--that's another matter. Only a great soul
is capable of a great love."
"That is true," murmured Tetlow sentimentally,
preening in a quiet, gentle way.
Said Norman sententiously: "YOU stopped loving.
It was _I_ that kept on."
Tetlow looked uncomfortable. "Yes--yes," he said.
"But we were talking of her--of her not appreciating
the love she got. And I was about to say--"
Earnestly-- "Fred, she's not to be blamed for her folly!
She's very, very young--and has all the weaknesses and
vanities of youth----"
"Here we are," interrupted Norman.
The hansom had stopped in Forty-second Street
before the deserted but still brilliantly lighted entrances
to the great hotel. Norman sprang out so lightly and
surely that Tetlow wondered how it was possible for
this to be the man who had been racketing and roistering
day after day, night after night for nearly a week.
He helped the heavy and awkward Tetlow to descend,
"You'll have to pay, Bill. I've got less than a
dollar left. And I touched Gaskill for a hundred and
fifty to-night. You can imagine how drunk he was, to
let me have it. How they've been shying off from
ME these last few months!"
"And you want GALLOWAY to come to YOU," thrust
Tetlow, as he counted out the money.
"Don't go back and chew on that," laughed
Norman. "It's settled." He took the money, gave it to
the driver. "Thanks," he said to Tetlow. "I'll pay
you to-morrow--that is, later to-day--when you send
me another check."
"Why should you pay for my cab?" rejoined