Part 4 out of 9
One morning Garland came to the legation to tell Everett that
Peabody was in danger of bringing about international
complications by having himself thrust into the cartel.
"If he qualifies for this local jail," said Garland, "you will have
a lot of trouble setting him free. You'd better warn him it's
easier to keep out than to get out."
"What has he been doing?" asked the minister.
"Poaching on Ward's ruins," said the consul. "He certainly is a
hustler. He pretends to go to Copan, but really goes to Cobre.
Ward had him followed and threatened to have him arrested.
Peabody claims any tourist has a right to visit the ruins so long
as he does no excavating. Ward accused him of exploring the place
by night and taking photographs by flash-light of the hieroglyphs.
He's put an armed guard at the ruins, and he told Peabody they are
to shoot on sight. So Peabody went to Mendoza and said if anybody
took a shot at him he'd bring warships down here and blow Amapala
off the map."
"A militant archaeologist," said Everett, "is something new. Peabody
is too enthusiastic. He and his hieroglyphs are becoming a bore."
He sent for Peabody and told him unless he curbed his spirit his
minister could not promise to keep him out of a very damp and
"I am too enthusiastic," Peabody admitted, "but to me this fellow
Ward is like a red flag to the bull. His private graft is holding
up the whole scientific world. He won't let us learn the truth,
and he's too ignorant to learn it himself. Why, he told me Cobre
dated from 1578, when Palacio wrote of it to Philip the Second,
not knowing that in that very letter Palacio states that he found
Cobre in ruins. Is it right a man as ignorant--"
Everett interrupted by levelling his finger.
"You," he commanded, "keep out of those ruins! My dear professor,"
he continued reproachfully, "you are a student, a man of peace.
Don't try to wage war on these Amapalans. They're lawless, they're
unscrupulous. So is Ward. Besides, you are in the wrong, and if
they turn ugly, your minister cannot help you." He shook his head
and smiled doubtfully. "I can't understand," he exclaimed, "why
you're so keen. It's only a heap of broken pottery. Sometimes I
wonder if your interest in Cobre is that only of the archaeologist."
"What other interest--" demanded Peabody.
"Doesn't Ward's buried treasure appeal at all?" asked the
minister. "I mean, of course, to your imagination. It does to
The young professor laughed tolerantly.
"Buried treasure!" he exclaimed. "If Ward has found treasure, and
I think he has, he's welcome to it. What we want is what you call
the broken pottery. It means nothing to you, but to men like
myself, who live eight hundred years behind the times, it is much
more precious than gold."
A few moments later Professor Peabody took his leave, and it was
not until he had turned the corner of the Calle Morazan that he
halted and, like a man emerging from water, drew a deep breath.
"Gee!" muttered the distinguished archeologist, "that was a close
One or two women had loved Everett, and after five weeks, in
which almost daily he had seen Monica, he knew she cared for him.
This discovery made him entirely happy and filled him with dismay.
It was a complication he had not foreseen. It left him at the parting
of two ways, one of which he must choose. For his career he was
willing to renounce marriage, but now that Monica loved him, even
though he had consciously not tried to make her love him, had he
the right to renounce it for her also? He knew that the difference
between Monica and his career lay in the fact that he loved Monica
and was in love with his career. Which should he surrender? Of this
he thought long and deeply, until one night, without thinking at all,
Colonel Goddard had given a dance, and, as all invited were
Americans, the etiquette was less formal than at the gatherings
of the Amapalans. For one thing, the minister and Monica were
able to sit on the veranda overlooking the garden without his
having to fight a duel in the morning.
It was not the moonlight, or the music, or the palms that made
Everett speak. It was simply the knowledge that it was written,
that it had to be. And he heard himself, without prelude or
introduction, talking easily and assuredly of the life they would
lead as man and wife. From this dream Monica woke him. The
violet eyes were smiling at him through tears.
"When you came," said the girl, "and I loved you, I thought that
was the greatest happiness. Now that I know you love me I ask
nothing more. And I can bear it."
Everett felt as though an icy finger had moved swiftly down his
spine. He pretended not to understand.
"Bear what?" he demanded roughly.
"That I cannot marry you," said the girl. "Even had you not asked
me, in loving you I would have been happy. Now that I know you
thought of me as your wife, I am proud. I am grateful. And the
Everett laughed scornfully.
"There is no obstacle."
Monica shook her head. Unafraid, she looked into his eyes, her
own filled with her love for him.
"Don't make it harder," she said. "My brother is hiding from the
law. What he did I don't know. When it happened I was at the
convent, and he did not send for me until he had reached Amapala.
I never asked why we came, but were I to marry you, with your name
and your position, every one else would ask. And the scandal would
follow you; wherever you went it would follow; it would put an end
to your career."
His career, now that Monica urged it as her rival, seemed to
Everett particularly trivial.
"I don't know what your brother did either," he said. "His sins
are on his own head. They're not on yours, nor on mine. I don't
judge him; neither do I intend to let him spoil my happiness. Now
that I have found you I will never let you go."
Sadly Monica shook her head and smiled.
"When you leave here," she said, "for some new post, you won't
forget me, but you'll be grateful that I let you go alone; that I was
not a drag on you. When you go back to your great people and
your proud and beautiful princesses, all this will seem a strange
dream, and you will be glad you are awake--and free."
"The idea of marrying you, Monica," said Everett, "is not new. It did
not occur to me only since we moved out here into the moonlight.
Since I first saw you I've thought of you, and only of you. I've
thought of you with me in every corner of the globe, as my wife,
my sweetheart, my partner, riding through jungles as we ride here,
sitting opposite me at our own table, putting the proud and beautiful
princesses at their ease. And in all places, at all moments, you make
all other women tawdry and absurd. And I don't think you are the
most wonderful person I ever met because I love you, but I love you
because you are the most wonderful person I ever met."
"I am young," said Monica, "but since I began to love you I am
very old. And I see clearly that it cannot be."
"Dear heart," cried Everett, "that is quite morbid. What the
devil do I care what your brother has done! I am not marrying
For a long time, leaning forward with her elbows on her knees and
her face buried in her hands, the girl sat silent. It was as though she
were praying. Everett knew it was not of him, but of her brother,
she was thinking, and his heart ached for her. For him to cut the
brother out of his life was not difficult; what it meant to her he
When the girl raised her eyes they were eloquent with distress.
"He has been so good to me," she said; "always so gentle. He has
been mother and father to me. He is the first person I can remember.
When I was a child he put me to bed, he dressed me, and comforted
me. When we became rich there was nothing he did not wish to give
me. I cannot leave him. He needs me more than ever I needed him. I
am all he has. And there is this besides. Were I to marry, of all the
men in the world it would be harder for him if I married you. For if
you succeed in what you came here to do, the law will punish him,
and he will know it was through you he was punished. And even
between you and me there always would be that knowledge, that
"That is not fair," cried Everett. "I am not an individual fighting
less fortunate individuals. I am an insignificant wheel in a great
machine. You must not blame me because I-"
With an exclamation the girl reproached him.
"Because you do your duty!" she protested. "Is that fair to me?
If for my sake or my brother you failed in your duty, if you were
less vigilant, less eager, even though we suffer, I could not
Everett sighed happily.
"As long as you love me," he said, "neither your brother nor any
one else can keep us apart."
"My brother," said the girl, as though she were pronouncing a
sentence, "always will keep us apart, and I will always love
It was a week before he again saw her, and then the feeling he
had read in her eyes was gone--or rigorously concealed. Now her
manner was that of a friend, of a young girl addressing a man
older than herself, one to whom she looked up with respect and
liking, but with no sign of any feeling deeper or more intimate.
It upset Everett completely. When he pleaded with her, she asked:
"Do you think it is easy for me? But--" she protested, "I know I
am doing right. I am doing it to make you happy."
"You are succeeding," Everett assured her, "in making us both
For Everett, in the second month of his stay in Amapala, events
began to move quickly. Following the example of two of his
predecessors, the Secretary of State of the United States was
about to make a grand tour of Central America. He came on a
mission of peace and brotherly love, to foster confidence and
good-will, and it was secretly hoped that, in the wake of his
escort of battle-ships, trade would follow fast. There would
be salutes and visits of ceremony, speeches, banquets, reviews.
But in these rejoicings Amapala would have no part.
For, so Everett was informed by cable, unless, previous to the
visit of the Secretary, Amapala fell into line with her sister
republics and signed a treaty of extradition, from the itinerary
of the great man Amapala would find herself pointedly excluded.
It would be a humiliation. In the eyes of her sister republics it
would place her outside the pale. Everett saw that in his hands
his friend the Secretary had placed a powerful weapon; and lost
no time in using it. He caught the President alone, sitting late at
his dinner, surrounded by bottles, and read to him the Secretary's
ultimatum. General Mendoza did not at once surrender. Before he
threw over the men who fed him the golden eggs that made him rich,
and for whom he had sworn never to violate the right of sanctuary,
he first, for fully half an hour, raged and swore. During that time,
while Everett sat anxiously expectant, the President paced and
repaced the length of the dining-hall. When to relight his cigar,
or to gulp brandy from a tumbler, he halted at the table, his great
bulk loomed large in the flickering candle-flames, and when he
continued his march, he would disappear into the shadows, and
only his scabbard clanking on the stone floor told of his presence.
At last he halted and shrugged his shoulders so that the tassels of
his epaulets tossed like wheat.
"You drive a hard bargain, sir," he said. "And I have no choice.
To-morrow bring the treaty and I will sign."
Everett at once produced it and a fountain pen.
"I should like to cable to-night," he urged, "that you have signed.
They are holding back the public announcement of the Secretary's
route until hearing from Your Excellency. This is only tentative,"
he pointed out; "the Senate must ratify. But our Senate will ratify
it, and when you sign now, it is a thing accomplished."
Over the place at which Everett pointed, the pen scratched harshly;
and then, throwing it from him, the President sat in silence. With
eyes inflamed by anger and brandy he regarded the treaty venomously.
As though loath to let it go, his hands played with it, as a cat plays
with the mouse between her paws. Watching him breathlessly,
Everett feared the end was not yet. He felt a depressing premonition
that if ever the treaty were to reach Washington he best had snatch it
and run. Even as he waited, the end came. An orderly, appearing
suddenly in the light of the candles, announced the arrival, in the
room adjoining, of "the Colonel Goddard and Senor Mellen." They
desired an immediate audience. Their business with the President
was most urgent. Whether from Washington their agents had warned
them, whether in Camaguay they had deciphered the cablegram from
the State Department, Everett could only guess, but he was certain the
cause of their visit was the treaty. That Mendoza also believed this
was most evident.
Into the darkness, from which the two exiles might emerge, he
peered guiltily. With an oath he tore the treaty in half. Crushing
the pieces of paper into a ball, he threw it at Everett's feet. His
voice rose to a shriek. It was apparent he intended his words to
carry to the men outside. Like an actor on a stage he waved his
"That is my answer!" he shouted. "Tell your Secretary the choice
he offers is an insult! It is blackmail. We will not sign his treaty.
We do not desire his visit to our country." Thrilled by his own
bravado, his voice rose higher. "Nor," he shouted, "do we desire
the presence of his representative. Your usefulness is at an end.
You will receive your passports in the morning."
As he might discharge a cook, he waved Everett away. His hand,
trembling with excitement, closed around the neck of the brandy-
bottle. Everett stooped and secured the treaty. On his return to
Washington, torn and rumpled as it was, it would be his
justification. It was his "Exhibit A."
As he approached the legation he saw drawn up in front of it three
ponies ready saddled. For an instant he wondered if Mendoza
intended further to insult him, if he planned that night to send
him under guard to the coast. He determined hotly sooner than
submit to such an indignity he would fortify the legation, and
defend himself. But no such heroics were required of him. As he
reached the door, Garland, with an exclamation of relief, hailed
him, and Monica, stepping from the shadow, laid an appealing
hand upon his sleeve.
"My brother!" she exclaimed. "The guard at Cobre has just sent
word that they found Peabody prowling in the ruins and fired on
him. He fired back, and he is still there hiding. My brother and
others have gone to take him. I don't know what may happen if he
resists. Chester is armed, and he is furious; he is beside himself;
he would not listen to me. But he must listen to you. Will you
go," the girl begged, "and speak to him; speak to him, I mean,"
she added, "as the American minister?"
Everett already had his foot in the stirrup. "I'm the American minister
only until to-morrow," he said. "I've got my walking-papers. But I'll
do all I can to stop this to-night. Garland," he asked, "will you take
Miss Ward home, and then follow me?"
"If I do not go with you," said Monica, "I will go alone."
Her tone was final. With a clatter of hoofs that woke alarmed
echoes in the sleeping streets the three horses galloped abreast
toward Cobre. In an hour they left the main trail and at a walk
picked their way to where the blocks of stone, broken columns,
and crumbling temples of the half-buried city checked the jungle.
The moon made it possible to move in safety, and at different
distances the lights of torches told them the man-hunt still was
"Thank God," breathed Monica, "we are in time."
Everett gave the ponies in care of one of the guards. He turned
"Catch up with those lights ahead of us," he said, "and we will
join this party to the right. If you find Ward, tell him I forbid
him taking the law into his own hands; tell him I will protect
his interests. If you meet Peabody, make him give up his gun,
and see that the others don't harm him!"
Everett and the girl did not overtake the lights they had seen
flashing below them. Before they were within hailing distance,
that searching party had disappeared, and still farther away
other torches beckoned.
Stumbling and falling, now in pursuit of one will-o'-the-wisp,
now of another, they scrambled forward. But always the lights
eluded them. From their exertions and the moist heat they were
breathless, and their bodies dripped with water. Panting, they
halted at the entrance of what once had been a tomb. From its
black interior came a damp mist; above them, alarmed by their
intrusion, the vampire bats whirled blindly in circles. Monica,
who by day possessed some slight knowledge of the ruins, had,
in the moonlight, lost all sense of direction.
"We're lost," said Monica, in a low tone. Unconsciously both were
speaking in whispers. "I thought we were following what used to
be the main thoroughfare of the city; but I have never seen this place
before. From what I have read I think we must be among the tombs
of the kings."
She was silenced by Everett placing one hand quickly on her arm,
and with the other pointing. In the uncertain moonlight she saw
moving cautiously away from them, and unconscious of their
presence, a white, ghostlike figure.
"Peabody," whispered Everett.
"Call him," commanded Monica.
"The others might hear," objected Everett. "We must overtake him.
If we're with him when they meet, they wouldn't dare--"
With a gasp of astonishment, his words ceased.
Like a ghost, the ghostlike figure had vanished.
"He walked through that rock!" cried Monica.
Everett caught her by the wrist. "Come!" he commanded.
Over the face of the rock, into which Peabody had dived as into
water, hung a curtain of vines. Everett tore it apart. Concealed
by the vines was the narrow mouth to a tunnel; and from it they
heard, rapidly lessening in the distance, the patter of footsteps.
"Will you wait," demanded Everett, "or come with me?"
With a shudder of distaste, Monica answered by seizing his hand.
With his free arm Everett swept aside the vines, and, Monica
following, they entered the tunnel. It was a passageway cleanly
cut through the solid rock and sufficiently wide to permit of their
moving freely. At the farther end, at a distance of a hundred
yards, it opened into a great vault, also hollowed from the rock
and, as they saw to their surprise, brilliantly lighted.
For an instant, in black silhouette, the figure of Peabody
blocked the entrance to this vault, and then, turning to the
right, again vanished. Monica felt an untimely desire to laugh.
Now that they were on the track of Peabody she no longer feared
the outcome of the adventure. In the presence of the American
minister and of herself there would be no violence; and as they
trailed the archaeologist through the tunnel she was reminded of
Alice and her pursuit of the white rabbit. This thought, and her
sense of relief that the danger was over, caused her to laugh aloud.
They had gained the farther end of the tunnel and the entrance to
the vault, when at once her amusement turned to wonder. For the
vault showed every evidence of use and of recent occupation. In
brackets, and burning brightly, were lamps of modern make; on
the stone floor stood a canvas cot, saddle-bags, camp-chairs,
and in the centre of the vault a collapsible table. On this were
bottles filled with chemicals, trays, and presses such as are used
in developing photographs, and apparently hung there to dry,
swinging from strings, the proofs of many negatives.
Loyal to her brother, Monica exclaimed indignantly. At the proofs
she pointed an accusing finger.
"Look!" she whispered. "This is Peabody's darkroom, where he
develops the flash-lights he takes of the hieroglyphs! Chester has
a right to be furious!"
Impulsively she would have pushed past Everett; but with an
exclamation he sprang in front of her.
"No!" he commanded, "come away!"
He had fallen into a sudden panic. His tone spoke of some
catastrophe, imminent and overwhelming. Monica followed
the direction of his eyes. They were staring in fear at the proofs.
The girl leaned forward; and now saw them clearly.
Each was a United States Treasury note for five hundred dollars.
Around the turn of the tunnel, approaching the vault apparently
from another passage, they heard hurrying footsteps; and then,
close to them from the vault itself, the voice of Professor Peabody.
It was harsh, sharp, peremptory.
"Hands up!" it commanded. "Drop that gun!"
As though halted by a precipice, the footsteps fell into instant
silence. There was a pause, and then the ring of steel upon the
stone floor. There was another pause, and Monica heard the
voice of her brother. Broken, as though with running, it still
retained its level accent, its note of insolence.
"So," it said, "I have caught you?"
Monica struggled toward the lighted vault, but around her Everett
threw his arm.
"Come away!" he begged.
Monica fought against the terror of something unknown. She could
not understand. They had come only to prevent a meeting between
her brother and Peabody; and now that they had met, Everett was
endeavoring to escape.
It was incomprehensible.
And the money in the vault, the yellow bills hanging from a
cobweb of strings; why should they terrify her; what did they
threaten? Dully, and from a distance, Monica heard the voice
"No," he answered; "I have caught you! And I've had a hell of a
time doing it!"
Monica tried to call out, to assure her brother of her presence.
But, as though in a nightmare, she could make no sound. Fingers
of fear gripped at her throat. To struggle was no longer possible.
The voice of Peabody continued:
"Six months ago we traced these bills to New Orleans. So we guessed
the plant was in Central America. We knew only one man who could
make them. When I found you were in Amapala and they said you had
struck 'buried treasure'--the rest was easy."
Monica heard the voice of her brother answer with a laugh.
"Easy?" he mocked. "There's no extradition. You can't touch me.
You're lucky if you get out of here alive. I've only to raise my voice--"
"And, I'll kill you!"
This was danger Monica could understand.
Freed from the nightmare of doubt, with a cry she ran forward.
She saw Peabody, his back against a wall, a levelled automatic in
his hand; her brother at the entrance to a tunnel like the one from
which she had just appeared. His arms were raised above his head.
At his feet lay a revolver. For an instant, with disbelief, he stared
at Monica, and then, as though assured that it was she, his eyes
dilated. In them were fear and horror. So genuine was the agony
in the face of the counterfeiter that Everett, who had followed,
turned his own away. But the eyes of the brother and sister
remained fixed upon each other, hers, appealingly; his, with
despair. He tried to speak, but the words did not come. When
he did break the silence his tone was singularly wistful, most
"Did you hear?" he asked.
Monica slowly bowed her head. With the same note of gentleness
her brother persisted:
"Did you understand?"
Between them stretched the cobweb of strings hung with yellow
certificates; each calling for five hundred dollars, payable in gold.
Stirred by the night air from the open tunnels, they fluttered and
Against the sight of them, Monica closed her eyes. Heavily, as
though with a great physical effort, again she bowed her head.
The eyes of her brother searched about him wildly. They rested on
the mouth of the tunnel.
With his lowered arm he pointed.
"Who is that?" he cried.
Instinctively the others turned.
It was for an instant. The instant sufficed.
Monica saw her brother throw himself upon the floor, felt herself
flung aside as Everett and the detective leaped upon him; saw her
brother press his hands against his heart, the two men dragging
at his arms.
The cavelike room was shaken with a report, an acrid smoke
assailed her nostrils. The men ceased struggling. Her brother lay
Monica sprang toward the body, but a black wave rose and
submerged her. As she fainted, to save herself she threw out her
arms, and as she fell she dragged down with her the buried
treasure of Cobre.
Stretched upon the stone floor beside her brother, she lay motionless.
Beneath her, and wrapped about and covering her, as the leaves
covered the babes in the wood, was a vast cobweb of yellow bills,
each for five hundred dollars, payable in gold.
A month later the harbor of Porto Cortez in Honduras was shaken
with the roar of cannon. In comparison, the roaring of all the cannon
of all the revolutions that that distressful country ever had known,
were like fire-crackers under a barrel.
Faithful to his itinerary, the Secretary of State of the United States
was paying his formal visit to Honduras, and the President of that
republic, waiting upon the Fruit Company's wharf to greet him, was
receiving the salute of the American battle-ships. Back of him, on
the wharf, his own barefooted artillerymen in their turn were saluting,
excitedly and spasmodically, the distinguished visitor. As an honor
he had at last learned to accept without putting a finger in each ear,
the Secretary of State smiled with gracious calm. Less calm was the
President of Honduras. He knew something the Secretary did not
know. He knew that at any moment a gun of his saluting battery
might turn turtle, or blow into the harbor himself, his cabinet, and
the larger part of his standing army.
Made fast to the wharf on the side opposite to the one at which
the Secretary had landed was one of the Fruit Company's steamers.
She was on her way north, and Porto Cortez was a port of call.
That her passengers might not intrude upon the ceremonies, her
side of the wharf was roped off and guarded by the standing army.
But from her decks and from behind the ropes the passengers, with
a battery of cameras, were perpetuating the historic scene.
Among them, close to the ropes, viewing the ceremony with the
cynical eye of one who in Europe had seen kings and emperors
meet upon the Field of the Cloth of Gold, was Everett. He made
no effort to bring himself to the attention of his former chief. But
when the introductions were over, the Secretary of State turned
his eyes to his fellow countrymen crowding the rails of the
American steamer. They greeted him with cheers. The great
man raised his hat, and his eyes fell upon Everett. The Secretary
advanced quickly, his hand extended, brushing to one side the
"What are you doing here?" he demanded.
"On my way home, sir," said Everett. "I couldn't leave sooner; there
were--personal reasons. But I cabled the department my resignation
the day Mendoza gave me my walking-papers. You may remember,"
Everett added dryly, "the department accepted by cable."
The great man showed embarrassment.
"It was most unfortunate," he sympathized. "We wanted that treaty,
and while, no doubt, you made every effort--"
He became aware of the fact that Everett's attention was not
exclusively his own. Following the direction of the young man's
eyes the Secretary saw on the deck just above them, leaning upon
the rail, a girl in deep mourning.
She was very beautiful. Her face was as lovely as a violet and as shy.
To the Secretary a beautiful woman was always a beautiful woman.
But he had read the papers. Who had not? He was sure there must
be some mistake. This could not be the sister of a criminal; the
woman for whom Everett had smashed his career.
The Secretary masked his astonishment, but not his admiration.
"Mrs. Everett?" he asked. His very tone conveyed congratulations.
"Yes," said the ex-diplomat. "Some day I shall be glad to present
The Secretary did not wait for an introduction. Raising his eyes
to the ship's rail, he made a deep and courtly bow. With a gesture
worthy of d'Artagnan, his high hat swept the wharf. The members
of his staff, the officers from the war-ships, the President of
Honduras and the members of his staff endeavored to imitate his
act of homage, and in confusion Mrs. Everett blushed becomingly.
"When I return to Washington," said the Secretary hastily, "come
and see me. You are too valuable to lose. Your career--"
Again Everett was looking at his wife. Her distress at having been
so suddenly drawn into the lime-light amused him, and he was
smiling. Then, as though aware of the Secretary's meaning, he
"My dear sir!" he protested. His tone suggested he was about to
add "mind your own business," or "go to the devil."
Instead he said: "I'm not worrying about my career. My career has
THE BOY SCOUT
A rule of the Boy Scouts is every day to do some one a good turn.
Not because the copybooks tell you it deserves another, but in
spite of that pleasing possibility. If you are a true scout, until
you have performed your act of kindness your day is dark. You
are as unhappy as is the grown-up who has begun his day without
shaving or reading the New York Sun. But as soon as you have
proved yourself you may, with a clear conscience, look the world
in the face and untie the knot in your kerchief.
Jimmie Reeder untied the accusing knot in his scarf at just ten
minutes past eight on a hot August morning after he had given one
dime to his sister Sadie. With that she could either witness the
first-run films at the Palace, or by dividing her fortune patronize
two of the nickel shows on Lenox Avenue. The choice Jimmie
left to her. He was setting out for the annual encampment of
the Boy Scouts at Hunter's Island, and in the excitement of that
adventure even the movies ceased to thrill. But Sadie also could
be unselfish. With a heroism of a camp-fire maiden she made
a gesture which might have been interpreted to mean she was
returning the money.
"I can't, Jimmie!" she gasped. "I can't take it off you. You
saved it, and you ought to get the fun of it."
"I haven't saved it yet," said Jimmie. "I'm going to cut it out
of the railroad fare. I'm going to get off at City Island instead
of at Pelham Manor and walk the difference. That's ten cents
Sadie exclaimed with admiration:
"An' you carryin' that heavy grip!"
"Aw, that's nothin'," said the man of the family.
"Good-by, mother. So long, Sadie."
To ward off further expressions of gratitude he hurriedly advised
Sadie to take in "The Curse of Cain" rather than "The Mohawk's
Last Stand," and fled down the front steps.
He wore his khaki uniform. On his shoulders was his knapsack,
from his hands swung his suit-case, and between his heavy stockings
and his "shorts" his kneecaps, unkissed by the sun, as yet unscathed
by blackberry vines, showed as white and fragile as the wrists of a girl.
As he moved toward the "L" station at the corner, Sadie and his mother
waved to him; in the street, boys too small to be scouts hailed him
enviously; even the policeman glancing over the newspapers on the
news-stand nodded approval.
"You a scout, Jimmie?" he asked.
"No," retorted Jimmie, for was not he also in uniform? "I'm Santa
Claus out filling Christmas stockings."
The patrolman also possessed a ready wit.
"Then get yourself a pair," he advised. "If a dog was to see your
Jimmie escaped the insult by fleeing up the steps of the
An hour later, with his valise in one hand and staff in the other,
he was tramping up the Boston Post Road and breathing heavily.
The day was cruelly hot. Before his eyes, over an interminable
stretch of asphalt, the heat waves danced and flickered. Already
the knapsack on his shoulders pressed upon him like an Old Man
of the Sea; the linen in the valise had turned to pig iron, his pipe-
stem legs were wabbling, his eyes smarted with salt sweat, and the
fingers supporting the valise belonged to some other boy, and were
giving that boy much pain. But as the motor-cars flashed past with
raucous warnings, or, that those who rode might better see the boy
with bare knees, passed at "half speed," Jimmie stiffened his shoulders
and stepped jauntily forward. Even when the joy-riders mocked with
"Oh, you scout!" he smiled at them. He was willing to admit to those
who rode that the laugh was on the one who walked. And he regretted--
oh, so bitterly--having left the train. He was indignant that for his
"one good turn a day" he had not selected one less strenuous--that,
for instance, he had not assisted a frightened old lady through the
traffic. To refuse the dime she might have offered, as all true scouts
refuse all tips, would have been easier than to earn it by walking five
miles, with the sun at ninety-nine degrees, and carrying excess baggage.
Twenty times James shifted the valise to the other hand, twenty times
he let it drop and sat upon it.
And then, as again he took up his burden, the good Samaritan drew
near. He drew near in a low gray racing-car at the rate of forty miles
an hour, and within a hundred feet of Jimmie suddenly stopped and
backed toward him. The good Samaritan was a young man with white
hair. He wore a suit of blue, a golf cap; the hands that held the wheel
were disguised in large yellow gloves. He brought the car to a halt and
surveyed the dripping figure in the road with tired and uncurious eyes.
"You a Boy Scout?" he asked.
With alacrity for the twenty-first time Jimmie dropped the valise,
forced his cramped fingers into straight lines, and saluted.
The young man in the car nodded toward the seat beside him.
"Get in," he commanded.
When James sat panting happily at his elbow the old young man, to
Jimmie's disappointment, did not continue to shatter the speed limit.
Instead, he seemed inclined for conversation, and the car, growling
"I never saw a Boy Scout before," announced the old young man.
"Tell me about it. First, tell me what you do when you're not
Jimmie explained volubly. When not in uniform he was an office
boy, and from peddlers and beggars guarded the gates of Carroll
and Hastings, stock-brokers. He spoke the names of his employers
with awe. It was a firm distinguished, conservative, and long
established. The white-haired young man seemed to nod in assent.
"Do you know them?" demanded Jimmie suspiciously. "Are you a
customer of ours?"
"I know them," said the young man. "They are customers of mine."
Jimmie wondered in what way Carroll and Hastings were customers
of the white-haired young man. Judging him by his outer garments,
Jimmie guessed he was a Fifth Avenue tailor; he might be even a
haberdasher. Jimmie continued. He lived, he explained, with his
mother at One Hundred and Forty-sixth Street; Sadie, his sister,
attended the public school; he helped support them both, and he
now was about to enjoy a well-earned vacation camping out on
Hunter's Island, where he would cook his own meals, and, if the
mosquitoes permitted, sleep in a tent.
"And you like that?" demanded the young man. "You call that fun?"
"Sure!" protested Jimmie. "Don't you go camping out?"
"I go camping out," said the good Samaritan, "whenever I leave
Jimmie had not for three years lived in Wall Street not to
understand that the young man spoke in metaphor.
"You don't look," objected the young man critically, "as though
you were built for the strenuous life."
Jimmie glanced guiltily at his white knees.
"You ought ter see me two weeks from now," he protested. "I get all
sunburnt and hard-
-hard as anything!"
The young man was incredulous.
"You were near getting sunstruck when I picked you up," he
laughed. "If you're going to Hunter's Island, why didn't you go
to Pelham Manor?"
"That's right!" assented Jimmie eagerly. "But I wanted to save
the ten cents so's to send Sadie to the movies. So I walked."
The young man looked his embarrassment.
"I beg your pardon," he murmured.
But Jimmie did not hear him. From the back of the car he was
dragging excitedly at the hated suit-case.
"Stop!" he commanded. "I got ter get out. I got ter walk."
The young man showed his surprise.
"Walk!" he exclaimed. "What is it--a bet?"
Jimmie dropped the valise and followed it into the roadway. It
took some time to explain to the young man. First, he had to be
told about the scout law and the one good turn a day, and that it
must involve some personal sacrifice. And, as Jimmie pointed out,
changing from a slow suburban train to a racing-car could not be
listed as a sacrifice. He had not earned the money, Jimmie argued;
he had only avoided paying it to the railroad. If he did not walk
he would be obtaining the gratitude of Sadie by a falsehood.
Therefore, he must walk.
"Not at all," protested the young man. "You've got it wrong. What
good will it do your sister to have you sunstruck? I think you are
sunstruck. You're crazy with the heat. You get in here, and we'll
talk it over as we go along."
Hastily Jimmie backed away. "I'd rather walk," he said.
The young man shifted his legs irritably.
"Then how'll this suit you?" he called. "We'll declare that first 'one
good turn' a failure and start afresh. Do me a good turn."
Jimmie halted in his tracks and looked back suspiciously.
"I'm going to Hunter's Island Inn," called the young man, "and I've
lost my way. You get in here and guide me. That'll be doing me
a good turn."
On either side of the road, blotting out the landscape, giant
hands picked out in electric-light bulbs pointed the way to
Hunter's Island Inn. Jimmie grinned and nodded toward them.
"Much obliged," he called. "I got ter walk." Turning his back
upon temptation, he waddled forward into the flickering heat
The young man did not attempt to pursue. At the side of the road,
under the shade of a giant elm, he had brought the car to a halt and
with his arms crossed upon the wheel sat motionless, following with
frowning eyes the retreating figure of Jimmie. But the narrow-chested
and knock-kneed boy staggering over the sun-baked asphalt no longer
concerned him. It was not Jimmie, but the code preached by Jimmie,
and not only preached but before his eyes put into practice, that
interested him. The young man with white hair had been running
away from temptation. At forty miles an hour he had been running
away from the temptation to do a fellow mortal "a good turn." That
morning, to the appeal of a drowning Caesar to "Help me, Cassius,
or I sink," he had answered: "Sink!" That answer he had no wish to
reconsider. That he might not reconsider he had sought to escape.
It was his experience that a sixty-horse-power racing-machine is a
jealous mistress. For retrospective, sentimental, or philanthropic
thoughts she grants no leave of absence. But he had not escaped.
Jimmie had halted him, tripped him by the heels, and set him again
to thinking. Within the half-hour that followed those who rolled
past saw at the side of the road a car with her engine running, and
leaning upon the wheel, as unconscious of his surroundings as
though he sat at his own fireplace, a young man who frowned and
stared at nothing. The half-hour passed and the young man swung
his car back toward the city. But at the first road-house that showed
a blue-and-white telephone sign he left it, and into the iron box at
the end of the bar dropped a nickel. He wished to communicate with
Mr. Carroll, of Carroll and Hastings; and when he learned Mr. Carroll
had just issued orders that he must not be disturbed, the young man
gave his name.
The effect upon the barkeeper was instantaneous. With the aggrieved
air of one who feels he is the victim of a jest he laughed scornfully.
"What are you putting over?" he demanded.
The young man smiled reassuringly. He had begun to speak and,
though apparently engaged with the beer-glass he was polishing,
the barkeeper listened.
Down in Wall Street the senior member of Carroll and Hastings
also listened. He was alone in the most private of all his private
offices, and when interrupted had been engaged in what, of all
undertakings, is the most momentous. On the desk before him
lay letters to his lawyer, to the coroner, to his wife; and hidden
by a mass of papers, but within reach of his hand, was an
automatic pistol. The promise it offered of swift release had
made the writing of the letters simple, had given him a feeling
of complete detachment, had released him, at least in thought,
from all responsibilities. And when at his elbow the telephone
coughed discreetly, it was as though some one had called him
from a world from which already he had made his exit.
Mechanically, through mere habit, he lifted the receiver.
The voice over the telephone came in brisk, staccato sentences.
"That letter I sent this morning? Forget it. Tear it up. I've been
thinking and I'm going to take a chance. I've decided to back you
boys, and I know you'll make good. I'm speaking from a road-house
in the Bronx; going straight from here to the bank. So you can begin
to draw against us within an hour. And--hello!--will three millions
see you through?"
From Wall Street there came no answer, but from the hands of the
barkeeper a glass crashed to the floor.
The young man regarded the barkeeper with puzzled eyes.
"He doesn't answer," he exclaimed. "He must have hung up."
"He must have fainted!" said the barkeeper.
The white-haired one pushed a bill across the counter. "To pay
for breakage," he said, and disappeared down Pelham Parkway.
Throughout the day, with the bill, for evidence, pasted against
the mirror, the barkeeper told and retold the wondrous tale.
"He stood just where you're standing now," he related, "blowing
in million-dollar bills like you'd blow suds off a beer. If I'd
knowed it was him, I'd have hit him once and hid him in the
cellar for the reward. Who'd I think he was? I thought he was
a wire-tapper, working a con game!"
Mr. Carroll had not "hung up," but when in the Bronx the
beer-glass crashed, in Wall Street the receiver had slipped from
the hand of the man who held it, and the man himself had fallen
forward. His desk hit him in the face and woke him--woke him
to the wonderful fact that he still lived; that at forty he had been
born again; that before him stretched many more years in which,
as the young man with the white hair had pointed out, he still
could make good.
The afternoon was far advanced when the staff of Carroll and
Hastings were allowed to depart, and, even late as was the hour,
two of them were asked to remain. Into the most private of the
private offices Carroll invited Gaskell, the head clerk; in the
main office Hastings had asked young Thorne, the bond clerk,
to be seated.
Until the senior partner has finished with Gaskell young Thorne
must remain seated.
"Gaskell," said Mr. Carroll, "if we had listened to you, if we'd run
this place as it was when father was alive, this never would have
happened. It hasn't happened, but we've had our lesson. And
after this we're going slow and going straight. And we don't need
you to tell us how to do that. We want you to go away--on a month's
vacation. When I thought we were going under I planned to send the
children on a sea voyage with the governess--so they wouldn't see the
newspapers. But now that I can look them in the eye again, I need
them, I can't let them go. So, if you'd like to take your wife on an
ocean trip to Nova Scotia and Quebec, here are the cabins I reserved
for the kids. They call it the royal suite--whatever that is--and the trip
lasts a month. The boat sails to-morrow morning. Don't sleep too late
or you may miss her."
The head clerk was secreting the tickets in the inside pocket of
his waistcoat. His fingers trembled, and when he laughed his
"Miss the boat!" the head clerk exclaimed. "If she gets away from
Millie and me she's got to start now. We'll go on board to-night!"
A half-hour later Millie was on her knees packing a trunk, and
her husband was telephoning to the drug-store for a sponge-bag
and a cure for seasickness.
Owing to the joy in her heart and to the fact that she was on her
knees, Millie was alternately weeping into the trunk-tray and
offering up incoherent prayers of thanksgiving. Suddenly she
sank back upon the floor.
"John!" she cried, "doesn't it seem sinful to sail away in a
'royal suite' and leave this beautiful flat empty?"
Over the telephone John was having trouble with the drug clerk.
"No!" he explained, "I'm not seasick now. The medicine I want is
to be taken later. I know I'm speaking from the Pavonia; but the
Pavonia isn't a ship; it's an apartment-house."
He turned to Millie. "We can't be in two places at the same
time," he suggested.
"But, think," insisted Millie, "of all the poor people stifling
to-night in this heat, trying to sleep on the roofs and fire-escapes;
and our flat so cool and big and pretty--and no one in it."
John nodded his head proudly.
"I know it's big," he said, "but it isn't big enough to hold all
the people who are sleeping to-night on the roofs and in the
"I was thinking of your brother--and Grace," said Millie. "They've
been married only two weeks now, and they're in a stuffy hall
bedroom and eating with all the other boarders. Think what our
flat would mean to them; to be by themselves, with eight rooms
and their own kitchen and bath, and our new refrigerator and the
gramophone! It would be heaven! It would be a real honeymoon!"
Abandoning the drug clerk, John lifted Millie in his arms and
kissed her, for, next to his wife, nearest his heart was the
The younger brother and Grace were sitting on the stoop of the
boarding-house. On the upper steps, in their shirt-sleeves, were
the other boarders; so the bride and bridegroom spoke in whispers.
The air of the cross street was stale and stagnant; from it rose
exhalations of rotting fruit, the gases of an open subway, the
smoke of passing taxicabs. But between the street and the hall
bedroom, with its odors of a gas-stove and a kitchen, the choice
"We've got to cool off somehow," the young husband was saying,
"or you won't sleep. Shall we treat ourselves to ice-cream sodas
or a trip on the Weehawken ferry-boat?"
"The ferry-boat!" begged the girl, "where we can get away from
all these people."
A taxicab with a trunk in front whirled into the street, kicked
itself to a stop, and the head clerk and Millie spilled out upon
the pavement. They talked so fast, and the younger brother and
Grace talked so fast, that the boarders, although they listened
intently, could make nothing of it.
They distinguished only the concluding sentences:
"Why don't you drive down to the wharf with us," they heard the
elder brother ask, "and see our royal suite?"
But the younger brother laughed him to scorn.
"What's your royal suite," he mocked, "to our royal palace?"
An hour later, had the boarders listened outside the flat of the
head clerk, they would have heard issuing from his bathroom the
cooling murmur of running water and from his gramophone the
jubilant notes of "Alexander's Rag-time Band."
When in his private office Carroll was making a present of the
royal suite to the head clerk, in the main office Hastings, the
junior partner, was addressing "Champ" Thorne, the bond clerk.
He addressed him familiarly and affectionately as "Champ." This
was due partly to the fact that twenty-six years before Thorne had
been christened Champneys and to the coincidence that he had
captained the football eleven of one of the Big Three to the
"Champ," said Mr. Hastings, "last month, when you asked me to
raise your salary, the reason I didn't do it was not because you
didn't deserve it, but because I believed if we gave you a raise
you'd immediately get married."
The shoulders of the ex-football captain rose aggressively; he
snorted with indignation.
"And why should I not get married?" he demanded. "You're a fine
one to talk! You're the most offensively happy married man I ever
"Perhaps I know I am happy better than you do," reproved the
junior partner; "but I know also that it takes money to support a
"You raise me to a hundred a week," urged Champ, "and I'll make
it support a wife whether it supports me or not."
"A month ago," continued Hastings, "we could have promised you a
hundred, but we didn't know how long we could pay it. We didn't
want you to rush off and marry some fine girl--"
"Some fine girl!" muttered Mr. Thorne. "The finest girl!"
"The finer the girl," Hastings pointed out, "the harder it would
have been for you if we had failed and you had lost your job."
The eyes of the young man opened with sympathy and concern.
"Is it as bad as that?" he murmured.
Hastings sighed happily.
"It was," he said, "but this morning the Young Man of Wall Street
did us a good turn--saved us--saved our creditors, saved our homes,
saved our honor. We're going to start fresh and pay our debts, and
we agreed the first debt we paid would be the small one we owe you.
You've brought us more than we've given, and if you'll stay with us
we're going to 'see' your fifty and raise it a hundred. What do you
Young Mr. Thorne leaped to his feet. What he said was: "Where'n
hell's my hat?"
But by the time he had found the hat and the door he mended his
"I say, 'Thank you a thousand times,"' he shouted over his
shoulder. "Excuse me, but I've got to go. I've got to break the
He did not explain to whom he was going to break the news; but
Hastings must have guessed, for again he sighed happily and then,
a little hysterically laughed aloud. Several months had passed
since he had laughed aloud.
In his anxiety to break the news Champ Thorne almost broke his
neck. In his excitement he could not remember whether the red
flash meant the elevator was going down or coming up, and sooner
than wait to find out he started to race down eighteen flights of
stairs when fortunately the elevator-door swung open.
"You get five dollars," he announced to the elevator man, "if you
drop to the street without a stop. Beat the speed limit! Act like
the building is on fire and you're trying to save me before the
Senator Barnes and his entire family, which was his daughter
Barbara, were at the Ritz-Carlton. They were in town in August
because there was a meeting of the directors of the Brazil and
Cuyaba Rubber Company, of which company Senator Barnes was
president. It was a secret meeting. Those directors who were
keeping cool at the edge of the ocean had been summoned by
telegraph; those who were steaming across the ocean, by wireless.
Up from the equator had drifted the threat of a scandal, sickening,
grim, terrible. As yet it burned beneath the surface, giving out only
an odor, but an odor as rank as burning rubber itself. At any moment
it might break into flame. For the directors, was it the better wisdom
to let the scandal smoulder, and take a chance, or to be the first to give
the alarm, the first to lead the way to the horror and stamp it out?
It was to decide this that, in the heat of August, the directors and the
president had foregathered.
Champ Thorne knew nothing of this; he knew only that by a miracle
Barbara Barnes was in town; that at last he was in a position to ask
her to marry him; that she would certainly say she would. That was
all he cared to know.
A year before he had issued his declaration of independence.
Before he could marry, he told her, he must be able to support a
wife on what he earned, without her having to accept money from
her father, and until he received "a minimum wage" of five thousand
dollars they must wait.
"What is the matter with my father's money?" Barbara had demanded.
Thorne had evaded the direct question.
"There is too much of it," he said.
"Do you object to the way he makes it?" insisted Barbara. "Because
rubber is most useful. You put it in golf balls and auto tires and
galoshes. There is nothing so perfectly respectable as galoshes.
And what is there 'tainted' about a raincoat?"
Thorne shook his head unhappily.
"It's not the finished product to which I refer," he stammered; "it's
the way they get the raw material."
"They get it out of trees," said Barbara. Then she exclaimed with
enlightenment--"Oh!" she cried, "you are thinking of the Congo.
There it is terrible! That is slavery. But there are no slaves on the
Amazon. The natives are free and the work is easy. They just tap
the trees the way the farmers gather sugar in Vermont. Father has
told me about it often."
Thorne had made no comment. He could abuse a friend, if the
friend were among those present, but denouncing any one he
disliked as heartily as he disliked Senator Barnes was a public
service he preferred to leave to others. And he knew besides that
if the father she loved and the man she loved distrusted each
other, Barbara would not rest until she learned the reason why.
One day, in a newspaper, Barbara read of the Puju Mayo atrocities,
of the Indian slaves in the jungles and backwaters of the Amazon,
who are offered up as sacrifices to "red rubber." She carried the
paper to her father. What it said, her father told her, was untrue,
and if it were true it was the first he had heard of it.
Senator Barnes loved the good things of life, but the thing he
loved most was his daughter; the thing he valued the highest was
her good opinion. So when for the first time she looked at him in
doubt, he assured her he at once would order an investigation.
"But, of course," he added, "it will be many months before our
agents can report. On the Amazon news travels very slowly."
In the eyes of his daughter the doubt still lingered.
"I am afraid," she said, "that that is true."
That was six months before the directors of the Brazil and Cuyaba
Rubber Company were summoned to meet their president at his
rooms in the Ritz-Carlton. They were due to arrive in half an hour,
and while Senator Barnes awaited their coming Barbara came to
him. In her eyes was a light that helped to tell the great news. It
gave him a sharp, jealous pang. He wanted at once to play a part
in her happiness, to make her grateful to him, not alone to this
stranger who was taking her away. So fearful was he that she
would shut him out of her life that had she asked for half his
kingdom he would have parted with it.
"And besides giving my consent," said the rubber king, "for which
no one seems to have asked, what can I give my little girl to make
her remember her old father? Some diamonds to put on her head,
or pearls to hang around her neck, or does she want a vacant lot
on Fifth Avenue?"
The lovely hands of Barbara rested upon his shoulders; her lovely
face was raised to his; her lovely eyes were appealing, and a little
"What would one of those things cost?" asked Barbara.
The question was eminently practical. It came within the scope of
the senator's understanding. After all, he was not to be cast into
outer darkness. His smile was complacent. He answered airily:
"Anything you like," he said; "a million dollars?"
The fingers closed upon his shoulders. The eyes, still frightened,
still searched his in appeal.
"Then, for my wedding-present," said the girl, "I want you to take
that million dollars and send an expedition to the Amazon. And I
will choose the men. Men unafraid; men not afraid of fever or
sudden death; not afraid to tell the truth--even to you. And all the
world will know. And they--I mean you--will set those people free!"
Senator Barnes received the directors with an embarrassment which
he concealed under a manner of just indignation.
"My mind is made up," he told them. "Existing conditions cannot
continue. And to that end, at my own expense, I am sending an
expedition across South America. It will investigate, punish, and
establish reforms. I suggest, on account of this damned heat, we
do now adjourn."
That night, over on Long Island, Carroll told his wife all, or
nearly all. He did not tell her about the automatic pistol. And
together on tiptoe they crept to the nursery and looked down at
their sleeping children. When she rose from her knees the mother
said: "But how can I thank him?"
By "him" she meant the Young Man of Wall Street.
"You never can thank him," said Carroll; "that's the worst of it."
But after a long silence the mother said: "I will send him a
photograph of the children. Do you think he will understand?"
Down at Seabright, Hastings and his wife walked in the sunken
garden. The moon was so bright that the roses still held their
"I would like to thank him," said the young wife. She meant the
Young Man of Wall Street. "But for him we would have lost this."
Her eyes caressed the garden, the fruit-trees, the house with wide,
hospitable verandas. "To-morrow I will send him some of these
roses," said the young wife. "Will he understand that they mean
At a scandalously late hour, in a scandalous spirit of independence,
Champ Thorne and Barbara were driving around Central Park in a
"How strangely the Lord moves, his wonders to perform," misquoted
Barbara. "Had not the Young Man of Wall Street saved Mr. Hastings,
Mr. Hastings could not have raised your salary; you would not have
asked me to marry you, and had you not asked me to marry you,
father would not have given me a wedding-present, and--"
"And," said Champ, taking up the tale, "thousands of slaves would
still be buried in the jungles, hidden away from their wives and
children and the light of the sun and their fellow men. They
still would be dying of fever, starvation, tortures."
He took her hand in both of his and held her finger-tips against
"And they will never know," he whispered, "when their freedom
comes, that they owe it all to you."
On Hunter's Island, Jimmie Reeder and his bunkie, Sam Sturges,
each on his canvas cot, tossed and twisted. The heat, the moonlight,
and the mosquitoes would not let them even think of sleep.
"That was bully," said Jimmie, "what you did to-day about saving
that dog. If it hadn't been for you he'd ha' drownded."
"He would not!" said Sammy with punctilious regard for the truth;
"it wasn't deep enough."
"Well, the scout-master ought to know," argued Jimmie; "he said
it was the best 'one good turn' of the day!"
Modestly Sam shifted the lime-light so that it fell upon his
"I'll bet," he declared loyally, "your 'one good turn' was a
Jimmie yawned, and then laughed scornfully.
"Me!" he scoffed. "I didn't do nothing. I sent my sister to the
"SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE"
Marie Gessler, known as Marie Chaumontel, Jeanne d'Avrechy,
the Countess d'Aurillac, was German. Her father, who served
through the Franco-Prussian War, was a German spy. It was
from her mother she learned to speak French sufficiently well
to satisfy even an Academician and, among Parisians, to pass
as one. Both her parents were dead. Before they departed,
knowing they could leave their daughter nothing save their
debts, they had had her trained as a nurse. But when they
were gone, Marie in the Berlin hospitals played politics,
intrigued, indiscriminately misused the appealing, violet
eyes. There was a scandal; several scandals. At the age of
twenty-five she was dismissed from the Municipal Hospital,
and as now-save for the violet eyes--she was without resources,
as a compagnon de voyage with a German doctor she travelled
to Monte Carlo. There she abandoned the doctor for Henri
Ravignac, a captain in the French Aviation Corps, who,
when his leave ended, escorted her to Paris.
The duties of Captain Ravignac kept him in barracks near the
aviation field, but Marie he established in his apartments on the
Boulevard Haussmann. One day he brought from the barracks a
roll of blue-prints, and as he was locking them in a drawer, said:
"The Germans would pay through the nose for those!" The remark
was indiscreet, but then Marie had told him she was French, and
any one would have believed her.
The next morning the same spirit of adventure that had exiled her
from the Berlin hospitals carried her with the blue-prints to the
German embassy. There, greatly shocked, they first wrote down her
name and address, and then, indignant at her proposition, ordered
her out. But the day following a strange young German who was
not at all indignant, but, on the contrary, quite charming, called
upon Marie. For the blue-prints he offered her a very large sum,
and that same hour with them and Marie departed for Berlin. Marie
did not need the money. Nor did the argument that she was serving
her country greatly impress her. It was rather that she loved intrigue.
And so she became a spy.
Henri Ravignac, the man she had robbed of the blue-prints, was tried
by court-martial. The charge was treason, but Charles Ravignac, his
younger brother, promised to prove that the guilty one was the girl,
and to that end obtained leave of absence and spent much time and
money. At the trial he was able to show the record of Marie in
Berlin and Monte Carlo; that she was the daughter of a German
secret agent; that on the afternoon the prints disappeared Marie,
with an agent of the German embassy, had left Paris for Berlin.
In consequence of this the charge of selling military secrets was
altered to one of "gross neglect," and Henri Ravignac was sentenced
to two years in the military prison at Tours. But he was of an ancient
and noble family, and when they came to take him from his cell in the
Cherche-Midi, he was dead. Charles, his brother, disappeared. It was
said he also had killed himself; that he had been appointed a military
attache in South America; that to revenge his brother he had entered
the secret service; but whatever became of him no one knew. All that
was certain was that, thanks to the act of Marie Gessler, on the rolls
of the French army the ancient and noble name of Ravignac no longer
In her chosen profession Marie Gessler found nothing discreditable.
Of herself her opinion was not high, and her opinion of men was
lower. For her smiles she had watched several sacrifice honor, duty,
loyalty; and she held them and their kind in contempt. To lie, to
cajole, to rob men of secrets they thought important, and of secrets
the importance of which they did not even guess, was to her merely
an intricate and exciting game.
She played it very well. So well that in the service her advance
was rapid. On important missions she was sent to Russia, through
the Balkans; even to the United States. There, with credentials
as an army nurse, she inspected our military hospitals and
unobtrusively asked many innocent questions.
When she begged to be allowed to work in her beloved Paris,
"they" told her when war came "they" intended to plant her
inside that city, and that, until then, the less Paris knew of
her the better.
But just before the great war broke, to report on which way Italy
might jump, she was sent to Rome, and it was not until September
she was recalled. The telegram informed her that her Aunt
Elizabeth was ill, and that at once she must return to Berlin.
This, she learned from the code book wrapped under the cover
of her thermos bottle, meant that she was to report to the general
commanding the German forces at Soissons.
From Italy she passed through Switzerland, and, after leaving Basle,
on military trains was rushed north to Luxemburg, and then west to
Laon. She was accompanied by her companion, Bertha, an elderly
and respectable, even distinguished-looking female. In the secret
service her number was 528. Their passes from the war office
described them as nurses of the German Red Cross. Only the
Intelligence Department knew their real mission. With her, also,
as her chauffeur, was a young Italian soldier of fortune, Paul
Anfossi. He had served in the Belgian Congo, in the French
Foreign Legion in Algiers, and spoke all the European languages.
In Rome, where as a wireless operator he was serving a commercial
company, in selling Marie copies of messages he had memorized,
Marie had found him useful, and when war came she obtained
for him, from the Wilhelmstrasse, the number 292. From Laon,
in one of the automobiles of the General Staff, the three spies
were driven first to Soissons, and then along the road to Meaux
and Paris, to the village of Neufchelles. They arrived at midnight,
and in a chateau of one of the Champagne princes, found the
colonel commanding the Intelligence Bureau. He accepted their
credentials, destroyed them, and replaced them with a laissez-
passer signed by the mayor of Laon. That dignitary, the colonel
explained, to citizens of Laon fleeing to Paris and the coast had
issued many passes. But as now between Laon and Paris there were
three German armies, the refugees had been turned back and their
"From among them," said the officer, "we have selected one for
you. It is issued to the wife of Count d'Aurillac, a captain of
reserves, and her aunt, Madame Benet. It asks for those ladies
and their chauffeur, Briand, a safe-conduct through the French
military lines. If it gets you into Paris you will destroy it and
assume another name. The Count d'Aurillac is now with his
regiment in that city. If he learned of the presence there of his
wife, he would seek her, and that would not be good for you. So,
if you reach Paris, you will become a Belgian refugee. You are
high-born and rich. Your chateau has been destroyed. But you
have money. You will give liberally to the Red Cross. You will
volunteer to nurse in the hospitals. With your sad story of ill
treatment by us, with your high birth, and your knowledge of
nursing, which you acquired, of course, only as an amateur, you
should not find it difficult to join the Ladies of France, or the
American Ambulance. What you learn from the wounded English
and French officers and the French doctors you will send us through
the usual channels."
"When do I start?" asked the woman.
"For a few days," explained the officer, "you remain in this chateau.
You will keep us informed of what is going forward after we
"Withdraw?" It was more of an exclamation than a question. Marie
was too well trained to ask questions.
"We are taking up a new position," said the officer, "on the
The woman, incredulous, stared.
"And we do not enter Paris?"
"You do," returned the officer. "That is all that concerns you.
We will join you later--in the spring. Meanwhile, for the winter
we intrench ourselves along the Aisne. In a chimney of this
chateau we have set up a wireless outfit. We are leaving it intact.
The chauffeur Briand--who, you must explain to the French, you
brought with you from Laon, and who has been long in your
service--will transmit whatever you discover. We wish especially
to know of any movement toward our left. If they attack in front
from Soissons, we are prepared; but of any attempt to cross the
Oise and take us in flank you must warn us."
The officer rose and hung upon himself his field-glasses,
map-cases, and side-arms.
"We leave you now," he said. "When the French arrive you will
tell them your reason for halting at this chateau was that the owner,
Monsieur Iverney, and his family are friends of your husband. You
found us here, and we detained you. And so long as you can use the
wireless, make excuses to remain. If they offer to send you on to Paris,
tell them your aunt is too ill to travel."
"But they will find the wireless," said the woman. "They are sure to
use the towers for observation, and they will find it."
"In that case," said the officer, "you will suggest to them that
we fled in such haste we had no time to dismantle it. Of course,
you had no knowledge that it existed, or, as a loyal French woman,
you would have at once told them." To emphasize his next words
the officer pointed at her: "Under no circumstances," he continued,
"must you be suspected. If they should take Briand in the act,
should they have even the least doubt concerning him, you must
repudiate him entirely. If necessary, to keep your own skirts clear,
it would be your duty yourself to denounce him as a spy."
"Your first orders," said the woman, "were to tell them Briand had
been long in my service; that I brought him from my home in Laon."
"He might be in your service for years," returned the colonel,
"and you not know he was a German agent."
"If to save myself I inform upon him," said Marie, "of course you
know you will lose him."
The officer shrugged his shoulders. "A wireless operator," he
retorted, "we can replace. But for you, and for the service you
are to render in Paris, we have no substitute. You must not be
found out. You are invaluable."
The spy inclined her head. "I thank you," she said.
The officer sputtered indignantly.
"It is not a compliment," he exclaimed; "it is an order. You must
not be found out!"
Withdrawn some two hundred yards from the Paris road, the
chateau stood upon a wooded hill. Except directly in front,
trees of great height surrounded it. The tips of their branches
brushed the windows; interlacing, they continued until they
overhung the wall of the estate. Where it ran with the road the
wall gave way to a lofty gate and iron fence, through which those
passing could see a stretch of noble turf, as wide as a polo-field,
borders of flowers disappearing under the shadows of the trees;
and the chateau itself, with its terrace, its many windows, its
high-pitched, sloping roof, broken by towers and turrets.
Through the remainder of the night there came from the road to
those in the chateau the roar and rumbling of the army in retreat.
It moved without panic, disorder, or haste, but unceasingly. Not
for an instant was there a breathing-spell. And when the sun rose,
the three spies--the two women and the chauffeur--who in the great
chateau were now alone, could see as well as hear the gray column
of steel rolling past below them.
The spies knew that the gray column had reached Claye, had stood
within fifteen miles of Paris, and then upon Paris had turned its
back. They knew also that the reverberations from the direction
of Meaux, that each moment grew more loud and savage, were the
French "seventy-fives" whipping the gray column forward. Of what
they felt the Germans did not speak. In silence they looked at each
other, and in the eyes of Marie was bitterness and resolve.
Toward noon Marie met Anfossi in the great drawing-room that
stretched the length of the terrace and from the windows of which,
through the park gates, they could see the Paris road.
"This, that is passing now," said Marie, "is the last of our rear-guard.
Go to your tower," she ordered, "and send word that except for
stragglers and the wounded our column has just passed through
NeufchelIes, and that any moment we expect the French." She
raised her hand impressively. "From now," she warned, "we
speak French, we think French, we are French!"
Anfossi, or Briand, as now he called himself, addressed her in
that language. His tone was bitter. "Pardon my lese-majesty," he
said, "but this chief of your Intelligence Department is a dummer
Mensch. He is throwing away a valuable life."
Marie exclaimed in dismay. She placed her hand upon his arm, and
the violet eyes filled with concern.
"Not yours!" she protested.
"Absolutely!" returned the Italian. "I can send nothing by this
knapsack wireless that they will not learn from others; from airmen,
Uhlans, the peasants in the fields. And certainly I will be caught.
Dead I am dead, but alive and in Paris the opportunities are unending.
From the French Legion Etranger I have my honorable discharge. I
am an expert wireless operator and in their Signal Corps I can easily
find a place. Imagine me, then, on the Eiffel Tower. From the air I
snatch news from all of France, from the Channel, the North Sea.
You and I could work together, as in Rome. But here, between the
lines, with a pass from a village sous-prefet, it is ridiculous. I am
not afraid to die. But to die because some one else is stupid, that is
Marie clasped his hand in both of hers.
"You must not speak of death," she cried; "you know I must carry out
my orders, that I must force you to take this risk. And you know that
thought of harm to you tortures me!"
Quickly the young man disengaged his hand. The woman exclaimed
"Why do you doubt me?" she cried.
Briand protested vehemently.
"I do not doubt you."
"My affection, then?" In a whisper that carried with it the
feeling of a caress Marie added softly: "My love?"
The young man protested miserably. "You make it very hard,
mademoiselle," he cried. "You are my superior officer, I am your
servant. Who am I that I should share with others--"
The woman interrupted eagerly.
"Ah, you are jealous!" she cried. "Is that why you are so cruel?
But when I tell you I love you, and only you, can you not feel it
is the truth?"
The young man frowned unhappily.
"My duty, mademoiselle!" he stammered.
With an exclamation of anger Marie left him. As the door slammed
behind her, the young man drew a deep breath. On his face was the
expression of ineffable relief.
In the hall Marie met her elderly companion, Bertha, now her
aunt, Madame Benet.
"I heard you quarrelling," Bertha protested. "It is most indiscreet.
It is not in the part of the Countess d'Aurillac that she makes love
to her chauffeur."
Marie laughed noiselessly and drew her farther down the hall. "He
is imbecile!" she exclaimed. "He will kill me with his solemn face
and his conceit. I make love to him--yes--that he may work the
more willingly. But he will have none of it. He is jealous of the
Madame Benet frowned.
"He resents the others," she corrected. "I do not blame him. He is
"And the others," demanded Marie; "were they not of the most
noble families of Rome?"
"I am old and I am ugly," said Bertha, "but to me Anfossi is
always as considerate as he is to you who are so beautiful."
"An Italian gentleman," returned Marie, "does not serve in
Belgian Congo unless it is--the choice of that or the marble
"I do not know what his past may be," sighed Madame Benet,
"nor do I ask. He is only a number, as you and I are only numbers.
And I beg you to let us work in harmony. At such a time your
love-affairs threaten our safety. You must wait."
Marie laughed insolently. "With the Du Barry," she protested, "I
can boast that I wait for no man."
"No," replied the older woman; "you pursue him!"
Marie would have answered sharply, but on the instant her
interest was diverted. For one week, by day and night, she had
lived in a world peopled only by German soldiers. Beside her
in the railroad carriage, on the station platforms, at the windows
of the trains that passed the one in which she rode, at the grade
crossings, on the bridges, in the roads that paralleled the tracks,
choking the streets of the villages and spread over the fields of
grain, she had seen only the gray-green uniforms. Even her
professional eye no longer distinguished regiment from regiment,
dragoon from grenadier, Uhlan from Hussar or Landsturm.
Stripes, insignia, numerals, badges of rank, had lost their meaning.
Those who wore them no longer were individuals. They were not
even human. During the three last days the automobile, like a
motor-boat fighting the tide, had crept through a gray-green
river of men, stained, as though from the banks, by mud and
yellow clay. And for hours, while the car was blocked, and in
fury the engine raced and purred, the gray-green river had rolled
past her, slowly but as inevitably as lava down the slope of a
volcano, bearing on its surface faces with staring eyes, thousands
and thousands of eyes, some fierce and bloodshot, others filled
with weariness, homesickness, pain. At night she still saw them:
the white faces under the sweat and dust, the eyes dumb, inarticulate,
asking the answer. She had been suffocated by German soldiers, by
the mass of them, engulfed and smothered; she had stifled in a land
inhabited only by gray-green ghosts.
And suddenly, as though a miracle had been wrought, she saw upon
the lawn, riding toward her, a man in scarlet, blue, and silver. One
man riding alone.
Approaching with confidence, but alert; his reins fallen, his hands
nursing his carbine, his eyes searched the shadows of the trees, the
empty windows, even the sun-swept sky. His was the new face at
the door, the new step on the floor. And the spy knew had she
beheld an army corps it would have been no more significant,
no more menacing, than the solitary chasseur a cheval scouting
in advance of the enemy.
"We are saved!" exclaimed Marie, with irony. "Go quickly," she
commanded, "to the bedroom on the second floor that opens upon
the staircase, so that you can see all who pass. You are too ill
to travel. They must find you in bed."
"And you?" said Bertha.
"I," cried Marie rapturously, "hasten to welcome our preserver!"
The preserver was a peasant lad. Under the white dust his cheeks
were burned a brown-red, his eyes, honest and blue, through much
staring at the skies and at horizon lines, were puckered and
encircled with tiny wrinkles. Responsibility had made him older
than his years, and in speech brief. With the beautiful lady who
with tears of joy ran to greet him, and who in an ecstasy of
happiness pressed her cheek against the nose of his horse, he was
unimpressed. He returned to her her papers and gravely echoed her
answers to his questions. "This chateau," he repeated, "was
occupied by their General Staff; they have left no wounded here;
you saw the last of them pass a half-hour since." He gathered up
Marie shrieked in alarm. "You will not leave us?" she cried.
For the first time the young man permitted himself to smile.
"Others arrive soon," he said.
He touched his shako, wheeled his horse in the direction from
which he had come, and a minute later Marie heard the hoofs
echoing through the empty village.
When they came, the others were more sympathetic. Even in
times of war a beautiful woman is still a beautiful woman. And
the staff officers who moved into the quarters so lately occupied by the enemy found in the presence of the Countess d'Aurillac
nothing to distress them. In the absence of her dear friend,
Madame Iverney, the chatelaine of the chateau, she acted as their
hostess. Her chauffeur showed the company cooks the way to the
kitchen, the larder, and the charcoal-box. She, herself, in the
hands of General Andre placed the keys of the famous wine-cellar,
and to the surgeon, that the wounded might be freshly bandaged,
intrusted those of the linen-closet. After the indignities she had
suffered while "detained" by les Boches, her delight and relief at
again finding herself under the protection of her own people would
have touched a heart of stone. And the hearts of the staff were not
of stone. It was with regret they gave the countess permission to
continue on her way. At this she exclaimed with gratitude. She
assured them, were her aunt able to travel, she would immediately
"In Paris she will be more comfortable than here," said the kind
surgeon. He was a reservist, and in times of peace a fashionable
physician and as much at his ease in a boudoir as in a field
hospital. "Perhaps if I saw Madam Benet?"
At the suggestion the countess was overjoyed. But they found
Madame Benet in a state of complete collapse. The conduct of
the Germans had brought about a nervous breakdown.
"Though the bridges are destroyed at Meaux," urged the surgeon,
"even with a detour, you can be in Paris in four hours. I think it is
worth the effort."
But the mere thought of the journey threw Madame Benet into
hysterics. She asked only to rest, she begged for an opiate to
make her sleep. She begged also that they would leave the door
open, so that when she dreamed she was still in the hands of the
Germans, and woke in terror, the sound of the dear French voices
and the sight of the beloved French uniforms might reassure her.
She played her part well. Concerning her Marie felt not the least
anxiety. But toward Briand, the chauffeur, the new arrivals were
less easily satisfied.
The general sent his adjutant for the countess. When the adjutant
had closed the door General Andre began abruptly:
"The chauffeur Briand," he asked, "you know him; you can vouch
"But, certainly!" protested Marie. "He is an Italian."
As though with sudden enlightenment, Marie laughed. It was
as if now in the suspicion of the officer she saw a certain
reasonableness. "Briand was so long in the Foreign Legion
in Algiers," she explained, "where my husband found him,
that we have come to think of him as French. As much French
as ourselves, I assure you."
The general and his adjutant were regarding each other
"Perhaps I should tell the countess," began the general, "that we
The signal from the adjutant was so slight, so swift, that Marie
barely intercepted it.
The lips of the general shut together like the leaves of a book.
To show the interview was at an end, he reached for a pen.
"I thank you," he said.
"Of course," prompted the adjutant, "Madame d'Aurillac understands
the man must not know we inquired concerning him."
General Andre frowned at Marie.
"Certainly not!" he commanded. "The honest fellow must not know
that even for a moment he was doubted."
Marie raised the violet eyes reprovingly.
"I trust," she said with reproach, "I too well understand the
feelings of a French soldier to let him know his loyalty is
With a murmur of appreciation the officers bowed and with a
gesture of gracious pardon Marie left them.
Outside in the hall, with none but orderlies to observe, like a cloak
the graciousness fell from her. She was drawn two ways. In her
work Anfossi was valuable. But Anfossi suspected was less than
of no value; he became a menace, a death-warrant.
General Andre had said, "We have learned--" and the adjutant
had halted him. What had he learned? To know that, Marie
would have given much. Still, one important fact comforted her.
Anfossi alone was suspected. Had there been concerning herself
the slightest doubt, they certainly would not have allowed her to
guess her companion was under surveillance; they would not have
asked one who was herself suspected to vouch for the innocence of
a fellow conspirator. Marie found the course to follow difficult.
With Anfossi under suspicion his usefulness was for the moment
at an end; and to accept the chance offered her to continue on to
Paris seemed most wise. On the other hand, if, concerning
Anfossi, she had succeeded in allaying their doubts, the results
most to be desired could be attained only by remaining where they
Their position inside the lines was of the greatest strategic
value. The rooms of the servants were under the roof, and that
Briand should sleep in one of them was natural. That to reach or
leave his room he should constantly be ascending or descending
the stairs also was natural. The field-wireless outfit, or, as he
had disdainfully described it, the "knapsack" wireless, was
situated not in the bedroom he had selected for himself, but in
one adjoining. At other times this was occupied by the maid of
Madame Iverney. To summon her maid Madame Iverney, from her
apartment on the second floor, had but to press a button. And it
was in the apartment of Madame Iverney, and on the bed of that
lady, that Madame Benet now reclined. When through the open
door she saw an officer or soldier mount the stairs, she pressed
the button that rang a bell in the room of the maid. In this way,
long before whoever was ascending the stairs could reach the top
floor, warning of his approach came to Anfossi. It gave him time
to replace the dustboard over the fireplace in which the wireless
was concealed and to escape into his own bedroom. The arrangement
was ideal. And already information picked up in the halls below
by Marie had been conveyed to Anfossi to relay in a French cipher
to the German General Staff at Rheims.
Marie made an alert and charming hostess. To all who saw her
it was evident that her mind was intent only upon the comfort of
her guests. Throughout the day many came and went, but each
she made welcome; to each as he departed she called "bonne
Efficient, tireless, tactful, she was everywhere: in the
dining-room, in the kitchen, in the bedrooms, for the wounded
finding mattresses to spread in the gorgeous salons of the
Champagne prince; for the soldier-chauffeurs carrying wine into
the courtyard, where the automobiles panted and growled, and the
arriving and departing shrieked for right of way. At all times an
alluring person, now the one woman in a tumult of men, her smart
frock covered by an apron, her head and arms bare, undismayed
by the sight of the wounded or by the distant rumble of the guns,
the Countess d'Aurillac was an inspiring and beautiful picture.
The eyes of the officers, young and old, informed her of that
fact, one of which already she was well aware. By the morning
of the next day she was accepted as the owner of the chateau.
And though continually she reminded the staff she was present
only as the friend of her schoolmate, Madame Iverney, they
deferred to her as to a hostess. Many of them she already
saluted by name, and to those who with messages were
constantly motoring to and from the front at Soissons she
was particularly kind. Overnight the legend of her charm,
of her devotion to the soldiers of all ranks, had spread from
Soissons to Meaux, and from Meaux to Paris. It was noon of
that day when from the window of the second story Marie saw
an armored automobile sweep into the courtyard. It was driven
by an officer, young and appallingly good-looking, and, as was
obvious by the way he spun his car, one who held in contempt
both the law of gravity and death. That he was some one of
importance seemed evident. Before he could alight the adjutant
had raced to meet him. With her eye for detail Marie observed
that the young officer, instead of imparting information, received
it. He must, she guessed, have just arrived from Paris, and his
brother officer either was telling him the news or giving him his
orders. Whichever it might be, in what was told him the new
arrival was greatly interested. One instant in indignation his
gauntleted fist beat upon the steering-wheel, the next he smiled
with pleasure. To interpret this pantomime was difficult; and,
the better to inform herself, Marie descended the stairs.
As she reached the lower hall the two officers entered. To the
spy the man last to arrive was always the one of greatest
importance; and Marie assured herself that through her friend,
the adjutant, to meet with this one would prove easy.
But the chauffeur-commander of the armored car made it most
difficult. At sight of Marie, much to her alarm, as though
greeting a dear friend, he snatched his kepi from his head and
sprang toward her.
"The major," he cried, "told me you were here, that you are Madame
d'Aurillac." His eyes spoke his admiration. In delight he beamed
upon her. "I might have known it!" he murmured. With the
confidence of one who is sure he brings good news, he laughed
happily. "And I," he cried, "am 'Pierrot'!"
Who the devil "Pierrot" might be the spy could not guess. She
knew only that she wished by a German shell "Pierrot" and his
car had been blown to tiny fragments. Was it a trap, she asked
herself, or was the handsome youth really some one the Countess
d'Aurillac should know. But, as from his introducing himself it
was evident he could not know that lady very well, Marie took
courage and smiled.
"Which 'Pierrot'?" she parried.
"Pierre Thierry!" cried the youth.
To the relief of Marie he turned upon the adjutant and to him
explained who Pierre Thierry might be.
"Paul d'Aurillac," he said, "is my dearest friend. When he married
this charming lady I was stationed in Algiers, and but for the war
I might never have met her."
To Marie, with his hand on his heart in a most charming manner,
he bowed. His admiration he made no effort to conceal.
"And so," he said, "I know why there is war!"
The adjutant smiled indulgently, and departed on his duties, leaving
them alone. The handsome eyes of Captain Thierry were raised to
the violet eyes of Marie. They appraised her boldly and as boldly
expressed their approval.
In burlesque the young man exclaimed indignantly: "Paul deceived
me!" he cried. "He told me he had married the most beautiful woman
in Laon. He has married the most beautiful woman in France!"
To Marie this was not impertinence, but gallantry.
This was a language she understood, and this was the type of man,
because he was the least difficult to manage, she held most in
"But about you Paul did not deceive me," she retorted. In
apparent confusion her eyes refused to meet his. "He told me
'Pierrot' was a most dangerous man!"
She continued hurriedly. With wifely solicitude she asked
concerning Paul. She explained that for a week she had been
a prisoner in the chateau, and, since the mobilization, of her
husband save that he was with his regiment in Paris she had heard
nothing. Captain Thierry was able to give her later news. Only
the day previous, on the boulevards, he had met Count d'Aurillac.
He was at the Grand Hotel, and as Thierry was at once motoring
back to Paris he would give Paul news of their meeting. He hoped
he might tell him that soon his wife also would be in Paris. Marie
explained that only the illness of her aunt prevented her from that
same day joining her husband. Her manner became serious.
"And what other news have you?" she asked. "Here on the
firing-line we know less of what is going forward than you in