Part 6 out of 9
could not picture a world so complete with happiness.
Since entering the army he had never taken a leave of absence, and he
was sure, if now he asked for one, it would not be refused. He determined,
if the answer to his cable gave him the address, he would return at once,
and again offer her his love, which he now knew was deeper, finer, and
infinitely more tender than the love he first had felt for her. But the cable
balked him. "Address unknown," it read; "believed to have gone abroad in
capacity of governess. Have employed foreign agents. Will cable their
Whether to wait for and be guided by the report of the
detectives, or to proceed to Europe and search for her himself,
Lee did not know. He finally determined that to seek for her with
no clew to her whereabouts would be but a waste of precious
moments, while, if in their search the agents were successful, he
would be able to go directly to her. Meanwhile, by cable, he
asked for protracted leave of absence and, while waiting for his
answer, returned to his post. There, within a week, he received
his leave of absence, but in a fashion that threatened to remove
him forever from the army.
The constabulary had located the will-o'-the-wisp brigands behind
a stockade built about an extinct volcano, and Lee and his troop
and a mountain battery attempted to dislodge them. In the fight that
followed Lee covered his brows with laurel wreaths and received
two bullet wounds in his body.
For a month death stood at the side of his cot; and then, still weak
and at times delirious with fever, by slow stages he was removed to the
hospital in Manila. In one of his sane moments a cable was shown
him. It read: "Whereabouts still unknown." Lee at once rebelled
against his doctors. He must rise, he declared, and proceed to
Europe. It was upon a matter of life and death. The surgeons
assured him his remaining exactly where he was also was a matter
of as great consequence. Lee's knowledge of his own lack of
strength told him they were right.
Then, from headquarters, he was informed that, as a reward for
his services and in recognition of his approaching convalescence,
he was ordered to return to his own climate and that an easy
billet had been found for him as a recruiting officer in New York
City. Believing the woman he loved to be in Europe, this plan for
his comfort only succeeded in bringing on a relapse. But the day
following there came another cablegram. It put an abrupt end to
his mutiny, and brought him and the War Department into complete
"She is in New York," it read, "acting as agent for a charitable
institution, which one not known, but hope in a few days to cable
In all the world there was no man so happy. The next morning a
transport was sailing, and, probably because they had read the
cablegram, the surgeons agreed with Lee that a sea voyage would
do him no harm. He was carried on board, and when the propellers
first churned the water and he knew he was moving toward her, the
hero of the fight around the crater shed unmanly tears. He would
see her again, hear her voice; the same great city would shelter
them. It was worth a dozen bullets.
He reached New York in a snow-storm, a week before Christmas, and
went straight to the office of his lawyers. They received him with
embarrassment. Six weeks before, on the very day they had
cabled him that Mrs. Stedman was in New York, she had left the
charitable institution where she had been employed, and had again
Lee sent his trunks to the Army and Navy Club, which was
immediately around the corner from the recruiting office in Sixth
Avenue, and began discharging telegrams at every one who had ever
known Frances Gardner. The net result was discouraging. In the
year and a half in which he had been absent every friend of the
girl he sought had temporarily changed his place of residence or
was permanently dead.
Meanwhile his arrival by the transport was announced in the
afternoon papers. At the wharf an admiring trooper had told a
fine tale of his conduct at the battle of the crater, and
reporters called at the club to see him. He did not discourage
them, as he hoped through them the fact of his return might be
made known to Frances. She might send him a line of welcome, and
he would discover her whereabouts. But, though many others sent
him hearty greetings, from her there was no word.
On the second day after his arrival one of the telegrams was
answered in person by a friend of Mrs. Stedman. He knew only that
she had been in New York, that she was very poor and in ill
health, that she shunned all of her friends, and was earning her
living as the matron of some sort of a club for working girls. He
did not know the name of it.
On the third day there still was no news. On the fourth Lee
decided that the next morning he would advertise. He would say
only: "Will Mrs. Arthur Stedman communicate with Messrs. Fuller &
Fuller?" Fuller & Fuller were his lawyers. That afternoon he
remained until six o'clock at the recruiting office, and when he
left it the electric street lights were burning brightly. A heavy
damp snow was falling, and the lights and the falling flakes and
the shouts of drivers and the toots of taxicabs made for the man
from the tropics a welcome homecoming.
Instead of returning at once to his club, he slackened his steps.
The shop windows of Sixth Avenue hung with Christmas garlands,
and colored lamps glowed like open fireplaces. Lee passed slowly
before them, glad that he had been able to get back at such a
season. For the moment he had forgotten the woman he sought, and
was conscious only of his surroundings. He had paused in front of
the window of a pawn-shop. Over the array of cheap jewelry, of
banjos, shot-guns, and razors, his eyes moved idly. And then they
became transfixed and staring. In the very front of the window,
directly under his nose, was a tarnished silver loving-cup. On it
was engraved, "Mixed Doubles. Agawamsett, 1910." In all the world
there were only two such cups, and as though he were dodging the
slash of a bolo, Lee leaped into the shop. Many precious seconds
were wasted in persuading Mrs. Cohen that he did not believe the
cup had been stolen; that he was not from the Central Office;
that he believed the lady who had pawned the cup had come by it
honestly; that he meant no harm to the lady; that he meant no
harm to Mrs. Cohen; that, much as the young lady may have needed
the money Mrs. Cohen had loaned her on the cup, he needed the
address of the young lady still more.
Mrs. Cohen retired behind a screen, and Lee was conscious that
from the other side of it the whole family of Cohens were taking
his measurements. He approved of their efforts to protect the
owner of the cup, but not from him.
He offered, if one of the younger Cohens would take him to the
young lady, to let him first ask her if she would receive Captain Lee,
and for his service he would give the young Cohen untold gold.
He exhibited the untold gold. The young Cohen choked at the sight
and sprang into the seat beside the driver of a taxicab.
"To the Working Girls' Home, on Tenth Street!" he commanded.
Through the falling snow and the flashing lights they slid,
skidded, and leaped. Inside the cab Lee shivered with excitement,
with cold, with fear that it might not be true. He could not
realize she was near. It was easier to imagine himself still in
the jungle, with months of time and sixteen thousand miles of
land and water separating them; or in the hospital, on a
white-enamel cot, watching the shadow creep across the
whitewashed wall; or lying beneath an awning that did not move,
staring at a burning, brazen sea that did not move, on a transport
that, timed by the beating of his heart, stood still.
Those days were within the radius of his experience. Separation,
absence, the immutable giants of time and space, he knew. With
them he had fought and could withstand them. But to be near her,
to hear her voice, to bring his love into her actual presence, that was
an attack upon his feelings which found him without weapons. That
for a very few dollars she had traded the cup from which she had sworn
never to part did not concern him. Having parted from him, what she
did with a silver mug was of little consequence. It was of significance
only in that it meant she was poor. And that she was either an inmate
or a matron of a lodging-house for working girls also showed she was
He had been told that was her condition, and that she was in ill health,
and that from all who loved her she had refused to accept help. At the
thought his jaws locked pugnaciously. There was one who loved her,
who, should she refuse his aid, was prepared to make her life intolerable.
He planned in succession at lightning speed all he might do for her. Among
other things he would make this Christmas the happiest she or he would
ever know. Not for an instant did he question that she who had refused
help from all who loved her could refuse anything he offered. For he
knew it was offered with a love that demanded nothing in return, with
a love that asked only to be allowed to love, and to serve. To refuse help
inspired by such a feeling as his would be morbid, wicked, ridiculous,
as though a flower refused to turn its face to the sun, and shut its lips
to the dew.
The cab stopped in front of a brick building adorned with many fire-
escapes. Afterward he remembered a bare, brilliantly lit hall hung with
photographs of the Acropolis, and a stout, capable woman in a cap, who
looked him over and said:
"You will find Mrs. Stedman in the writing-room."
And he remembered entering a room filled with Mission furniture and
reading-lamps under green shades. It was empty, except for a young
girl in deep black, who was seated facing him, her head bent above a
writing-desk. As he came into the circle of the lamps the girl raised
her eyes and as though lifted to her feet by what she saw, and through
no effort of her own, stood erect.
And the young man who had persuaded himself his love demanded
nothing, who asked only to worship at her gate, found his arms reaching
out, and heard his voice as though it came from a great distance, cry,
And the girl who had refused the help of all who loved her, like a
homing pigeon walked straight into the outstretched arms.
After five minutes, when he was almost able to believe it was true,
he said in his commanding, masterful way: "And now I'm going to
take you out of here. I'm going to buy you a ring, and a sable coat,
and a house to live in, and a dinner. Which shall we buy first?"
"First," said Frances, frowning happily, "I am afraid we must go
to the Ritz, to tell Aunt Emily. She always loved you, and it will
make her so happy."
"To the Ritz!" stammered the young man. "To Aunt Emily! I thought
they told me your aunt and-you-"
"We quarrelled, yes," said Frances, "and she has forgiven me; but she
has not forgiven herself, so she spoils me, and already I have a house
to live in, and several sable coats, and, oh! everything, everything but
"I am so sorry!" cried Lee. "I thought you were poor. I hoped you were
poor. But you are joking!" he exclaimed delightedly. "You are here in
a working girls' home-"
"It is one of Aunt Emily's charities. She built it," said Frances. "I
come here to talk to the girls."
"But," persisted Lee triumphantly, "if you are not poor, why did you
pawn our silver loving-cup?"
The face of the girl became a lovely crimson, and tears rose to her eyes.
As though at a confessional, she lifted her hands penitently.
"Try to understand," she begged; "I wanted you to love me, not for
"But you knew!" cried Lee.
"I had to be sure," begged the girl; "and I wanted to believe you loved
me even if I did not love you. When it was too late I knew you loved me
as no woman ever deserved to be loved; and I wanted that love. I could
not live without it. So when I read in the papers you had returned I
wouldn't let myself write you; I wouldn't let myself beg you to come
to see me. I set a test for you. I knew from the papers you were at the
Army and Navy Club, and that around the corner was the recruiting
office. I'd often seen the sergeant there, in uniform, at the door. I knew
you must pass from your club to the office many times each day, so I
thought of the loving-cup and the pawn-shop. I planted it there. It was
a trick, a test. I thought if you saw it in a pawn-shop you would believe I
no longer cared for you, and that I was very poor. If you passed it by,
then I would know you yourself had stopped caring, but if you asked
about it, if you inquired for me, then I would know you came to me of
your own wish, because you-"
Lee shook his head.
"You don't have to tell me," he said gently, "why I came. I've a cab
outside. You will get in it," he commanded, "and we will rescue our
cup. I always told you they would look well together over an open
THE MIRACLE OF LAS PALMAS
This is the story of a gallant officer who loved his profession,
his regiment, his country, but above all, whiskey; of his
miraculous conversion to total abstinence, and of the humble
instrument that worked the miracle. At the time it was worked,
a battalion of the Thirty-third Infantry had been left behind to
guard the Zone, and was occupying impromptu barracks on the hill
above Las Palmas. That was when Las Palmas was one of the four
thousand stations along the forty miles of the Panama Railroad.
When the railroad was "reconstructed" the name of Las Palmas did
not appear on the new time-table, and when this story appears
Las Palmas will be eighty feet under water. So if any one wishes
to dispute the miracle he will have to conduct his investigation
in a diving-bell.
On this particular evening young Major Aintree, in command of the
battalion, had gone up the line to Panama to dine at the Hotel
Tivoli, and had dined well. To prevent his doing this a paternal
government had ordered that at the Tivoli no alcoholic liquors
may be sold; but only two hundred yards from the hotel, outside
the zone of temperance, lies Panama and Angelina's, and during
the dinner, between the Tivoli and Angelina's, the Jamaican
waiter-boys ran relay races.
After the dinner, the Jamaican waiter-boys proving too slow, the
dinner-party in a body adjourned to Angelina's, and when later,
Major Aintree moved across the street to the night train to Las
Palmas, he moved unsteadily.
Young Standish of the Canal Zone police, who, though but twenty-
six, was a full corporal, was for that night on duty as "train
guard," and was waiting at the rear steps of the last car. As
Aintree approached the steps he saw indistinctly a boyish figure
in khaki, and, mistaking it for one of his own men, he clasped
the handrail for support, and halted frowning.
Observing the condition of the officer the policeman also frowned,
but in deference to the uniform, slowly and with reluctance raised
his hand to his sombrero. The reluctance was more apparent than
the salute. It was less of a salute than an impertinence.
Partly out of regard for his rank, partly from temper, chiefly
from whiskey, Aintree saw scarlet.
"When you s'lute your s'perior officer," he shouted, "you s'lute him
quick. You unnerstan', you s'lute him quick! S'lute me again," he
commanded, "and s'lute me damn quick."
Standish remained motionless. As is the habit of policemen over
all the world, his thumbs were stuck in his belt. He answered
without offense, in tones matter-of-fact and calm.
"You are not my superior officer," he said.
It was the calmness that irritated Aintree. His eyes sought for
the infantryman's cap and found a sombrero.
"You damned leatherneck," he began, "I'll report--"
"I'm not a marine, either," interrupted Standish. "I'm a policeman.
Move on," he ordered, "you're keeping these people waiting."
Others of the dinner-party formed a flying wedge around Aintree
and crowded him up the steps and into a seat and sat upon him.
Ten minutes later, when Standish made his rounds of the cars,
Aintree saw him approaching. He had a vague recollection that
he had been insulted, and by a policeman.
"You!" he called, and so loudly that all in the car turned, "I'm
going to report you, going to report you for insolence. What's
Looking neither at Aintree nor at the faces turned toward him,
Standish replied as though Aintree had asked him what time it was.
"Standish," he said, "corporal, shield number 226, on train
guard." He continued down the aisle.
"I'll remember you," Aintree shouted.
But in the hot, glaring dawn of the morning after, Aintree forgot.
It was Standish who remembered.
The men of the Zone police are hand-picked. They have been
soldiers, marines, cowboys, sheriffs, "Black Hussars" of the
Pennsylvania State constabulary, rough riders with Roosevelt,
mounted police in Canada, irregular horse in South Africa; they
form one of the best-organized, best-disciplined, most efficient,
most picturesque semi-military bodies in the world. Standish
joined them from the Philippine constabulary in which he had
been a second lieutenant. There are several like him in the
Zone police, and in England they would be called gentlemen
rankers. On the Isthmus, because of his youth, his fellow
policemen called Standish "Kid." And smart as each of them was,
each of them admitted the Kid wore his uniform with a difference.
With him it always looked as though it had come freshly ironed
from the Colon laundry; his leather leggings shone like
meerschaum pipes; the brim of his sombrero rested impudently on
the bridge of his nose.
"He's been an officer," they used to say in extenuation. "You can
tell when he salutes. He shows the back of his hand." Secretly,
they were proud of him. Standish came of a long chain of soldiers,
and that the weakest link in the chain had proved to be himself was
a sorrow no one else but himself could fathom. Since he was three
years old he had been trained to be a soldier, as carefully, with the
same singleness of purpose, as the crown prince is trained to be a
king. And when, after three happy, glorious years at West Point,
he was found not clever enough to pass the examinations and was
dropped, he did not curse the gods and die, but began again to work
his way up. He was determined he still would wear shoulder-straps.
He owed it to his ancestors. It was the tradition of his family, the one
thing he wanted; it was his religion. He would get into the army
even if by the side door, if only after many years of rough and
patient service. He knew that some day, through his record,
through the opportunity of a war, he would come into his
inheritance. Meanwhile he officered his soul, disciplined his
body, and daily tried to learn the lesson that he who hopes to
control others must first control himself.
He allowed himself but one dissipation, one excess. That was
to hate Major Aintree, commanding the Thirty-third Infantry. Of
all the world could give, Aintree possessed everything that
Standish considered the most to be desired. He was a graduate of
West Point, he had seen service in Cuba, in the Boxer business,
and in the Philippines. For an act of conspicuous courage at
Batangas, he had received the medal of honor. He had had the
luck of the devil. Wherever he held command turned out to be the
place where things broke loose. And Aintree always attacked and
routed them, always was the man on the job. It was his name that
appeared in the newspapers, it was his name that headed the list
of the junior officers mentioned for distinguished conduct.
Standish had followed his career with an admiration and a joy
that was without taint of envy or detraction. He gloried in
Aintree, he delighted to know the army held such a man. He was
grateful to Aintree for upholding the traditions of a profession
to which he himself gave all the devotion of a fanatic. He made
a god of him. This was the attitude of mind toward Aintree before
he came to the Isthmus. Up to that time he had never seen his
idol. Aintree had been only a name signed to brilliant articles
in the service magazines, a man of whom those who had served with
him or under him, when asked concerning him, spoke with loyalty
and awe, the man the newspapers called "the hero of Batangas."
And when at last he saw his hero, he believed his worship was
justified. For Aintree looked the part. He was built like a
greyhound with the shoulders of a stevedore. His chin was as
projecting, and as hard, as the pointed end of a flat-iron. His every
movement showed physical fitness, and his every glance and tone a
confidence in himself that approached insolence. He was thirty-
eight, twelve years older than the youth who had failed to make
his commission, and who, as Aintree strode past, looked after him
with wistful, hero-worshipping eyes. The revulsion, when it came,
was extreme. The hero-worship gave way to contempt, to indignant
condemnation, in which there was no pity, no excuse. That one upon
whom so much had been lavished, who for himself had accomplished
such good things, should bring disgrace upon his profession,
should by his example demoralize his men, should risk losing all
he had attained, all that had been given, was intolerable. When
Standish learned his hero was a drunkard, when day after day
Aintree furnished visible evidences of that fact, Standish felt
Aintree had betrayed him and the army and the government that had
educated, trained, clothed, and fed him. He regarded Aintree as
worse than Benedict Arnold, because Arnold had turned traitor for
power and money; Aintree was a traitor through mere weakness,
because he could not say "no" to a bottle.
Only in secret Standish railed against Aintree. When his brother
policemen gossiped and jested about him, out of loyalty to the
army he remained silent. But in his heart he could not forgive.
The man he had so generously envied, the man after whose career
he had wished to model his own, had voluntarily stepped from his
pedestal and made a swine of himself. And not only could he not
forgive, but as day after day Aintree furnished fresh food for
his indignation he felt a fierce desire to punish.
Meanwhile, of the conduct of Aintree, men older and wiser, if less
intolerant than Standish, were beginning to take notice. It was
after a dinner on Ancon Hill, and the women had left the men to
themselves. They were the men who were placing the Panama Canal
on the map. They were officers of the army who for five years had
not worn a uniform. But for five years they had been at war with
an enemy that never slept. Daily they had engaged in battle with
mountains, rivers, swamps, two oceans, and disease. Where Aintree
commanded five hundred soldiers, they commanded a body of men
better drilled, better disciplined, and in number half as many as
those who formed the entire army of the United States. The mind
of each was occupied with a world problem. They thought and
talked in millions --of millions of cubic yards of dirt, of
millions of barrels of cement, of millions of tons of steel, of
hundreds of millions of dollars, of which latter each received
enough to keep himself and his family just beyond the reach of
necessity. To these men with the world waiting upon the outcome
of their endeavor, with responsibilities that never relaxed,
Aintree's behavior was an incident, an annoyance of less
importance than an overturned dirt train that for five minutes
dared to block the completion of their work. But they were human
and loyal to the army, and in such an infrequent moment as this,
over the coffee and cigars, they could afford to remember the
junior officer, to feel sorry for him, for the sake of the army,
to save him from himself.
"He takes his orders direct from the War Department," said the
chief. "I've no authority over him. If he'd been one of my workmen
I'd have shipped him north three months ago."
"That's it," said the surgeon, "he's not a workman. He has nothing
to do, and idleness is the curse of the army. And in this climate--"
"Nothing to do!" snorted the civil administrator. "Keeping his
men in hand is what he has to do! They're running amuck all over
Panama, getting into fights with the Spiggoty police, bringing
the uniform into contempt. As for the climate, it's the same
climate for all of us. Look at Butler's marines and Barber's Zone
police. The climate hasn't hurt them. They're as smart men as
ever wore khaki. It's not the climate or lack of work that ails
the Thirty- third, it's their commanding officer. 'So the
colonel, so the regiment.' That's as old as the hills. Until
Aintree takes a brace, his men won't. Some one ought to talk to
him. It's a shame to see a fine fellow like that going to the
dogs because no one has the courage to tell him the truth."
The chief smiled mockingly.
"Then why don't you?" he asked.
"I'm a civilian," protested the administrator. "If I told him he was
going to the dogs he'd tell me to go to the devil. No, one of you
army men must do it. He'll listen to you."
Young Captain Haldane of the cavalry was at the table; he was
visiting Panama on leave as a tourist. The chief turned to him.
"Haldane's the man," he said. "You're his friend and you're his
junior in rank, so what you say won't sound official. Tell him
people are talking; tell him it won't be long before they'll be
talking in Washington. Scare him!"
The captain of cavalry smiled dubiously.
"Aintree's a hard man to scare," he said. "But if it's as bad as you
all seem to think, I'll risk it. But, why is it," he complained,
"that whenever a man has to be told anything particularly
unpleasant they always pick on his best friend to tell him? It
makes them both miserable. Why not let his bitterest enemy try
it? The enemy at least would have a fine time."
"Because," said the chief, "Aintree hasn't an enemy in the world-
The next morning, as he had promised, Haldane called upon his
friend. When he arrived at Las Palmas, although the morning was
well advanced toward noon, he found Aintree still under his
mosquito bars and awake only to command a drink. The situation
furnished Haldane with his text. He expressed his opinion of
any individual, friend or no friend, officer or civilian, who on
the Zone, where all men begin work at sunrise, could be found
at noon still in his pajamas and preparing to face the duties of
the day on an absinth cocktail. He said further that since he had
arrived on the isthmus he had heard only of Aintree's misconduct,
that soon the War Department would hear of it, that Aintree would
lose his commission, would break the backbone of a splendid career.
"It's a friend talking," continued Haldane, "and you know it! It's
because I am your friend that I've risked losing your friendship!
And, whether you like it or not, it's the truth. You're going down-hill,
going fast, going like a motor-bus running away, and unless you put
on the brakes you'll smash!"
Aintree was not even annoyed.
"That's good advice for the right man," he granted, "but why waste
it on me? I can do things other men can't. I can stop drinking this
minute, and it will mean so little to me that I won't know I've stopped."
"Then stop," said Haldane.
"Why?" demanded Aintree. "I like it. Why should I stop anything
I like? Because a lot of old women are gossiping? Because old men
who can't drink green mint without dancing turkey-trots think I'm
going to the devil because I can drink whiskey? I'm not afraid of
whiskey," he laughed tolerantly. "It amuses me, that's all it does
to me; it amuses me." He pulled back the coat of his pajamas and
showed his giant chest and shoulder. With his fist he struck his
bare flesh and it glowed instantly a healthy, splendid pink.
"See that!" commanded Aintree. "If there's a man on the isthmus in
any better physical shape than I am, I'll--" He interrupted himself
to begin again eagerly. "I'll make you a sporting proposition,"
he announced "I'll fight any man on the isthmus ten rounds--
no matter who he is, a wop laborer, shovel man, Barbadian
nigger, marine, anybody--and if he can knock me out I'll stop
drinking. You see," he explained patiently, "I'm no mollycoddle
or jelly-fish. I can afford a headache. And besides, it's my own
head. If I don't give anybody else a headache, I don't see that it's
anybody else's damned business."
"But you do," retorted Haldane steadily. "You're giving your own
men worse than a headache, you're setting them a rotten example,
you're giving the Thirty-third a bad name-"
Aintree vaulted off his cot and shook his fist at his friend.
"You can't say that to me," he cried.
"I do say it," protested Haldane. "When you were in Manila your
men were models; here they're unshaven, sloppy, undisciplined.
They look like bell-hops. And it's your fault. And everybody
Slowly and carefully Aintree snapped his fingers.
"And you can tell everybody, from me," he cried, "that's all I care
what they think! And now," he continued, smiling hospitably, "let
me congratulate you on your success as a missionary, and, to show
you there's not a trace of hard feeling, we will have a drink."
Informally Haldane reported back to the commission, and the wife
of one of them must have talked, for it was soon known that a
brother officer had appealed to Aintree to reform, and Aintree
had refused to listen.
When she heard this, Grace Carter, the wife of Major Carter, one
of the surgeons at the Ancon Hospital, was greatly perturbed.
Aintree was engaged to be married to Helen Scott, who was her
best friend and who was arriving by the next steamer to spend the
winter. When she had Helen safely under her roof, Mrs. Carter had
planned to marry off the young couple out of hand on the isthmus.
But she had begun to wonder if it would not be better they should
delay, or best that they should never marry.
"The awakening is going to be a terrible blow to Helen," she said
to her husband. "She is so proud of him."
"On the contrary," he protested, "it will be the awakening of
Aintree--if Helen will stand for the way he's acting, she is not
the girl I know. And when he finds she won't, and that he may lose
her, he'll pull up short. He's talked Helen to me night after
night until he's bored me so I could strangle him. He cares more
for her than he does for anything, for the army, or for himself,
and that's saying a great deal. One word from her will be enough."
Helen spoke the word three weeks after she arrived. It had not
been necessary to tell her of the manner in which her lover was
misconducting himself. At various dinners given in their honor
he had made a nuisance of himself; on another occasion, while in
uniform, he had created a scene in the dining-room of the Tivoli
under the prying eyes of three hundred seeing-the-Canal tourists;
and one night he had so badly beaten up a cabman who had laughed
at his condition that the man went to the hospital. Major Carter,
largely with money, had healed the injuries of the cabman, but
Helen, who had witnessed the assault, had suffered an injury that
money could not heal.
She sent for Aintree, and at the home of her friend delivered
"I hit him because he was offensive to you," said Aintree. "That's
why I hit him. If I'd not had a drink in a year, I'd have hit him
just as quick and just as hard."
"Can't you see," said the girl, "that in being not yourself when
I was in your care you were much more insulting to me than any
cabman could possibly be? When you are like that you have no
respect for me, or for yourself. Part of my pride in you is that
you are so strong, that you control yourself, that common
pleasures never get a hold on you. If you couldn't control your
temper I wouldn't blame you, because you've a villainous temper
and you were born with it. But you weren't born with a taste for
liquor. None of your people drank. You never drank until you went
into the army. If I were a man," declared the girl, "I'd be ashamed
to admit anything was stronger than I was. You never let pain beat
you. I've seen you play polo with a broken arm, but in this you give
pain to others, you shame and humiliate the one you pretend to love,
just because you are weak, just because you can't say 'no.'"
Aintree laughed angrily.
"Drink has no hold on me," he protested. "It affects me as much as the
lights and the music affect a girl at her first dance, and no more. But,
if you ask me to stop--"
"I do not!" said the girl. "If you stop, you'll stop not because
I have any influence over you, but because you don't need my
influence. If it's wrong, if it's hurting you, if it's taking away
your usefulness and your power for good, that's why you'll stop.
Not because a girl begs you. Or you're not the man I think you."
Aintree retorted warmly. "I'm enough of a man for this," he
protested: "I'm enough of a man not to confess I can't drink
without making a beast of myself. It's easy not to drink at all.
But to stop altogether is a confession of weakness. I'd look on
my doing that as cowardly. I give you my word--not that I'll swear
off, that I'll never do--but I promise you you'll have no further
reason to be what you call humiliated, or ashamed. You have my
word for it."
A week later Aintree rode his pony into a railway cutting and
rolled with it to the tracks below, and, if at the time he had
not been extremely drunk, would have been killed. The pony,
being quite sober, broke a leg and was destroyed.
When word of this came to Helen she was too sick at heart to see
Aintree, and by others it was made known to him that on the first
steamer Miss Scott would return North. Aintree knew why she was
going, knew she had lost faith and patience, knew the woman he
loved had broken with him and put him out of her life. Appalled
at this calamity, he proceeded to get drunk in earnest.
The night was very hot and the humidity very heavy, and at Las
Palmas inside the bungalow that served as a police-station the
lamps on either side of the lieutenant's desk burned like tiny
furnaces. Between them, panting in the moist heat and with the
sweat from his forehead and hand dripping upon an otherwise
immaculate report, sat Standish. Two weeks before, the chief had
made him one of his six lieutenants. With the force the promotion
had been most popular.
Since his promotion Standish had been in charge of the police-
station at Las Palmas and daily had seen Aintree as, on his way
down the hill from the barracks to the railroad, the hero of
Batangas passed the door of the station-house. Also, on the
morning Aintree had jumped his horse over the embankment,
Standish had seen him carried up the hill on a stretcher. At the
sight the lieutenant of police had taken from his pocket a notebook,
and on a flyleaf made a cross. On the flyleaf were many other dates
and opposite each a cross. It was Aintree's record and as the number
of black crosses grew, the greater had grown the resentment of Standish,
the more greatly it had increased his anger against the man who had put
this affront upon the army, the greater became his desire to punish.
In police circles the night had been quiet, the cells in the yard
were empty, the telephone at his elbow had remained silent, and
Standish, alone in the station-house, had employed himself in
cramming "Moss's Manual for Subalterns." He found it a fascinating
exercise. The hope that soon he might himself be a subaltern
always burned brightly, and to be prepared seemed to make the
coming of that day more certain. It was ten o'clock and Las Palmas
lay sunk in slumber, and after the down train which was now due
had passed, there was nothing likely to disturb her slumber until
at sunrise the great army of dirt-diggers with shrieks of whistles,
with roars of dynamite, with the rumbling of dirt-trains and
steam-shovels, again sprang to the attack. Down the hill, a
hundred yards below Standish, the night train halted at the
station, with creakings and groanings continued toward Colon,
and again Las Palmas returned to sleep.
And, then, quickly and viciously, like the crack of a mule-whip,
came the reports of a pistol; and once more the hot and dripping
On post at the railroad-station, whence the shots came, was Meehan,
one of the Zone police, an ex-sergeant of marines. On top of the hill,
outside the infantry barracks, was another policeman, Bullard, once a
Standish ran to the veranda and heard the pebbles scattering as
Bullard leaped down the hill, and when, in the light from the
open door, he passed, the lieutenant shouted at him to find Meehan
and report back. Then the desk telephone rang, and Standish
returned to his chair.
"This is Meehan," said a voice. "Those shots just now were fired
by Major Aintree. He came down on the night train and jumped off
after the train was pulling out and stumbled into a negro, and
fell. He's been drinking and he swore the nigger pushed him; and
the man called Aintree a liar. Aintree pulled his gun and the
nigger ran. Aintree fired twice; then I got to him and knocked
the gun out of his hand with my nightstick."
There was a pause. Until he was sure his voice would be steady
and official, the boy lieutenant did not speak.
"Did he hit the negro?" he asked.
"I don't know," Meehan answered. "The man jumped for the darkest
spot he could find." The voice of Meehan lost its professional
calm and became personal and aggrieved.
"Aintree's on his way to see you now, lieutenant. He's going to
The voice over the telephone rose indignantly.
"For knocking the gun out of his hand. He says it's an assault.
He's going to break me!"
Standish made no comment.
"Report here," he ordered.
He heard Bullard hurrying up the hill and met him at the foot of
"There's a nigger," began Bullard, "lying under some bushes--"
"Hush!" commanded Standish.
From the path below came the sound of footsteps approaching
unsteadily, and the voice of a man swearing and muttering to
himself. Standish pulled the ex-cowboy into the shadow of the
darkness and spoke in eager whispers.
"You understand," he concluded, "you will not report until you
see me pick up a cigar from the desk and light it. You will wait
out here in the darkness. When you see me light the cigar, you
will come in and report."
The cowboy policeman nodded, but without enthusiasm. "I
understand, lieutenant," he said, "but," he shook his head doubtfully,
"it sizes up to me like what those police up in New York call a
Standish exclaimed impatiently.
"It's not my frame-up!" he said. "The man's framed himself up.
All I'm going to do is to nail him to the wall!"
Standish had only time to return to his desk when Aintree stumbled
up the path and into the station-house. He was "fighting drunk,"
ugly, offensive, all but incoherent with anger.
"You in charge?" he demanded. He did not wait for an answer.
"I've been 'saulted!" he shouted. "'Saulted by one of your damned
policemen. He struck me--struck me when I was protecting myself.
He had a nigger with him. First the nigger tripped me; then, when
I tried to protect myself, this thug of yours hits me, clubs me, you
unnerstan', clubs me! I want him--"
He was interrupted by the entrance of Meehan, who moved into the
light from the lamps and saluted his lieutenant.
"That's the man!" roared Aintree. The sight of Meehan whipped him
into greater fury.
"I want that man broke. I want to see you strip his shield off
him--now, you unnerstan', now--for 'saulting me, for 'saulting an
officer in the United States army. And, if you don't," he threw
himself into a position of the prize-ring, "I'll beat him up and
you, too." Through want of breath, he stopped, and panted. Again
his voice broke forth hysterically. "I'm not afraid of your damned
night-sticks," he taunted. "I got five hundred men on top this hill,
all I've got to do is to say the word, and they'll rough-house this
place and throw it into the cut--and you with it."
Standish rose to his feet, and across the desk looked steadily at
Aintree. To Aintree the steadiness of his eyes and the quietness
of his voice were an added aggravation.
"Suppose you did," said Standish, "that would not save you."
"From what?" roared Aintree. "Think I'm afraid of your night-
"Arrest me!" yelled Aintree. "Do you know who's talking to you?
Do you know who I am? I'm Major Aintree, damn you, commanding
the infantry. An' I'm here to charge that thug--"
"You are here because you are under arrest," said Standish. "You
are arrested for threatening the police, drunkenness, and assaulting
a citizen with intent to kill--" The voice of the young man turned shrill
and rasping. "And if the man should die--"
Aintree burst into a bellow of mocking laughter.
Standish struck the desk with his open palm.
"Silence!" he commanded.
"Silence to me!" roared Aintree, "you impertinent pup!" He flung
himself forward, shaking his fist. "I'm Major Aintree. I'm your
superior officer. I'm an officer an' a gentleman--"
"You are not!" replied Standish. "You are a drunken loafer!"
Aintree could not break the silence. Amazement, rage, stupefaction
held him in incredulous wonder. Even Meehan moved uneasily.
Between the officer commanding the infantry and an officer of
police, he feared the lieutenant would not survive.
But he heard the voice of his lieutenant continuing, evenly,
coldly, like the voice of a judge delivering sentence.
"You are a drunken loafer," repeated the boy. "And you know it.
And I mean that to-morrow morning every one on the Zone shall know
it. And I mean to-morrow night every one in the States shall know
it. You've killed a man, or tried to, and I'm going to break you."
With his arm he pointed to Meehan. "Break that man?" he demanded.
"For doing his duty, for trying to stop a murder? Strip him of his
shield?" The boy laughed savagely. "It's you I am going to strip,
Aintree," he cried, "you 'hero of Batangas'; I'm going to strip you
naked. I'm going to 'cut the buttons off your coat, and tear the stripes
away.' I'm going to degrade you and disgrace you, and drive you out
of the army!" He threw his note-book on the table. "There's your dossier,
Aintree," he said. "For three months you've been drunk, and there's your
record. The police got it for me; it's written there with dates and the names
of witnesses. I'll swear to it. I've been after you to get you, and I've got
With that book, with what you did to-night, you'll leave the army. You
may resign, you may be court-martialled, you may be hung. I don't
give a damn what they do to you, but you will leave the army!"
He turned to Meehan, and with a jerk of the hand signified Aintree.
"Put him in a cell," he said. "If he resists--"
Aintree gave no sign of resisting. He stood motionless, his arms
hanging limp, his eyes protruding. The liquor had died in him, and
his anger had turned chill. He tried to moisten his lips to speak,
but his throat was baked, and no sound issued. He tried to focus
his eyes upon the menacing little figure behind the desk, but
between the two lamps it swayed, and shrank and swelled. Of one
thing only was he sure, that some grave disaster had overtaken
him, something that when he came fully to his senses still would
overwhelm him, something he could not conquer with his fists.
His brain, even befuddled as it was, told him he had been caught
by the heels, that he was in a trap, that smashing this boy who
threatened him could not set him free. He recognized, and it was
this knowledge that stirred him with alarm, that this was no
ordinary officer of justice, but a personal enemy, an avenging
spirit who, for some unknown reason, had spread a trap; who, for
some private purpose of revenge, would drag him down.
Frowning painfully, he waved Meehan from him.
"Wait," he commanded. "I don' unnerstan'. What good's it goin' to
do you to lock me up an' disgrace me? What harm have I done you?
Who asked you to run the army, anyway? Who are you?"
"My name is Standish," said the lieutenant. "My father was colonel
of the Thirty-third when you first joined it from the Academy."
Aintree exclaimed with surprise and enlightenment. He broke into
hurried speech, but Standish cut him short.
"And General Standish of the Mexican War," he continued, "was my
grandfather. Since Washington all my people have been officers of
the regular army, and I'd been one, too, if I'd been bright enough.
That's why I respect the army. That's why I'm going to throw you
out of it. You've done harm fifty men as good as you can't undo.
You've made drunkards of a whole battalion. You've taught boys
who looked up to you, as I looked up to you once, to laugh at
discipline, to make swine of themselves. You've set them an example.
I'm going to make an example of you. That's all there is to this. I've
got no grudge against you. I'm not vindictive; I'm sorry for you. But,"
he paused and pointed his hand at Aintree as though it held a gun,
"you are going to leave the army!"
Like a man coming out of an ugly dream, Aintree opened and shut
his eyes, shivered, and stretched his great muscles. They watched
him with an effort of the will force himself back to consciousness.
When again he spoke, his tone was sane.
"See here, Standish," he began, "I'll not beg of you or any man.
I only ask you to think what you're doing. This means my finish.
If you force this through to-night it means court-martial, it means
I lose my commission, I lose--lose things you know nothing about.
And, if I've got a record for drinking, I've got a record for other
things, too. Don't forget that!"
Standish shook his head. "I didn't forget it," he said.
"Well, suppose I did," demanded Aintree. "Suppose I did go on
the loose, just to pass the time, just because I'm sick of this damned
ditch? Is it fair to wipe out all that went before, for that? I'm the
youngest major in the army, I served in three campaigns, I'm a
medal-of-honor man, I've got a career ahead of me, and--and I'm
going to be married. If you give me a chance-"
Standish struck the table with his fist.
"I will give you a chance," he cried. "If you'll give your word to this
man and to me, that, so help you God, you'll never drink again--I'll
let you go."
If what Standish proposed had been something base, Aintree could
not have accepted it with more contempt.
"I'll see you in hell first," he said.
As though the interview was at an end, Standish dropped into his
chair and leaning forward, from the table picked up a cigar. As
he lit it, he motioned Meehan toward his prisoner, but before the
policeman could advance the sound of footsteps halted him.
Bullard, his eyes filled with concern, leaped up the steps, and
ran to the desk.
"Lieutenant!" he stammered, "that man--the nigger that officer
Aintree gave a gasp that was partly a groan, partly a cry of
protest, and Bullard, as though for the first time aware of his
presence, sprang back to the open door and placed himself between
it and Aintree.
"It's murder!" he said.
None of the three men spoke; and when Meehan crossed to where
Aintree stood, staring fearfully at nothing, he had only to touch
his sleeve, and Aintree, still staring, fell into step beside him.
From the yard outside Standish heard the iron door of the cell
swing shut, heard the key grate in the lock, and the footsteps of
Meehan laid the key upon the desk, and with Bullard stood at
"Give him time," whispered Standish. "Let it sink in!"
At the end of half an hour Standish heard Aintree calling, and,
with Meehan carrying a lantern, stepped into the yard and stopped
at the cell door.
Aintree was quite sober. His face was set and white, his voice
was dull with suffering. He stood erect, clasping the bars in his
"Standish," he said, "you gave me a chance a while ago, and I
refused it. I was rough about it. I'm sorry. It made me hot
because I thought you were forcing my hand, blackmailing me into
doing something I ought to do as a free agent. Now, I am a free
agent. You couldn't give me a chance now, you couldn't let me go
now, not if I swore on a thousand Bibles. I don't know what
they'll give me--Leavenworth for life, or hanging, or just dismissal.
But, you've got what you wanted--I'm leaving the army!" Between
the bars he stretched out his arms and held a hand toward Meehan
and Standish. In the same dull, numbed voice he continued.
"So, now," he went on, "that I've nothing to gain by it, I want
to swear to you and to this man here, that whether I hang, or go
to jail, or am turned loose, I will never, so help me God, take
Standish was holding the hand of the man who once had been his
hero. He clutched it tight.
"Aintree," he cried, "suppose I could work a miracle; suppose I've
played a trick on you, to show you your danger, to show you what
might come to you any day--does that oath still stand?"
The hand that held his ground the bones together.
"I've given my word!" cried Aintree. "For the love of God, don't
torture me. Is the man alive?"
As Standish swung open the cell door, the hero of Batangas,
he who could thrash any man on the isthmus, crumpled up
like a child upon his shoulder.
And Meehan, as he ran for water, shouted joyfully.
"That nigger," he called to Bullard, "can go home now. The lieutenant
don't want him no more.
EVIL TO HIM WHO EVIL THINKS
As a rule, the instant the season closed Aline Proctor sailed on
the first steamer for London, where awaited her many friends,
both English and American--and to Paris, where she selected those
gowns that on and off the stage helped to make her famous. But
this particular summer she had spent with the Endicotts at Bar
Harbor, and it was at their house Herbert Nelson met her. After
Herbert met her very few other men enjoyed that privilege. This
was her wish as well as his.
They behaved disgracefully. Every morning after breakfast they
disappeared and spent the day at opposite ends of a canoe. She,
knowing nothing of a canoe, was happy in stabbing the waters with
her paddle while he told her how he loved her and at the same
time, with anxious eyes on his own paddle, skilfully frustrated
her efforts to drown them both. While the affair lasted it was
ideal and beautiful, but unfortunately it lasted only two months.
Then Lord Albany, temporarily in America as honorary attache to
the British embassy, his adoring glances, his accent, and the way
he brushed his hair, proved too much for the susceptible heart of
Aline, and she chucked Herbert and asked herself how a woman of
her age could have seriously considered marrying a youth just out
of Harvard! At that time she was a woman of nineteen; but, as she
had been before the public ever since she was eleven, the women
declared she was not a day under twenty-six; and the men knew she
could not possibly be over sixteen!
Aline's own idea of herself was that without some one in love
with her she could not exist--that, unless she knew some man cared
for her and for her alone, she would wither and die. As a matter
of fact, whether any one loved her or not did not in the least
interest her. There were several dozen men who could testify to
that. They knew! What she really wanted was to be head over ears
in love--to adore some one, to worship him, to imagine herself
starving for him and making sacrifice hits for him; but when the
moment came to make the sacrifice hit and marry the man, she
invariably found that a greater, truer love had arisen--for some
This greater and truer love always made her behave abominably to
the youth she had just jilted. She wasted no time on post-mortems.
She was so eager to show her absolute loyalty to the new monarch
that she grudged every thought she ever had given the one she had
cast into exile. She resented him bitterly. She could not forgive him
for having allowed her to be desperately in love with him. He should
have known he was not worthy of such a love as hers. He should have
known that the real prince was waiting only just round the corner.
As a rule the rejected ones behaved well. Each decided Aline was much
too wonderful a creature for him, and continued to love her cautiously
and from a distance. None of them ever spoke or thought ill of her and
would gladly have punched any one who did. It was only the women
whose young men Aline had temporarily confiscated, and then returned
saddened and chastened, who were spiteful. And they dared say no more
than that Aline would probably have known her mind better if she had
had a mother to look after her. This, coming to the ears of Aline,
caused her to reply that a girl who could not keep straight herself,
but needed a mother to help her, would not keep straight had she a
dozen mothers. As she put it cheerfully, a girl who goes wrong and
then pleads "no mother to guide her" is like a jockey who pulls a race
and then blames the horse.
Each of the young men Aline rejected married some one else and,
except when the name of Aline Proctor in the theatrical
advertisements or in electric lights on Broadway gave him a
start, forgot that for a month her name and his own had been
linked together from Portland to San Francisco. But the girl he
married did not forget. She never understood what the public saw
in Aline Proctor. That Aline was the queen of musical comedy she
attributed to the fact that Aline knew the right people and got
herself written about in the right way. But that she could sing,
dance, act; that she possessed compelling charm; that she "got
across" not only to the tired business man, the wine agent, the
college boy, but also to the children and the old ladies, was to
her never apparent.
Just as Aline could not forgive the rejected suitor for allowing
her to love him, so the girl he married never forgave Aline for
having loved her husband. Least of all could Sally Winthrop, who
two years after the summer at Bar Harbor married Herbert Nelson,
forgive her. And she let Herbert know it. Herbert was properly
in love with Sally Winthrop, but he liked to think that his
engagement to Aline, though brief and abruptly terminated, had
proved him to be a man fatally attractive to all women. And
though he was hypnotizing himself into believing that his feeling
for Aline had been the grand passion, the truth was that all that
kept her in his thoughts was his own vanity. He was not
discontented with his lot--his lot being Sally Winthrop, her
millions, and her estate of three hundred acres near Westbury.
Nor was he still longing for Aline. It was only that his vanity
was flattered by the recollection that one of the young women
most beloved by the public had once loved him.
"I once was a king in Babylon," he used to misquote to himself,
"and she was a Christian slave."
He was as young as that.
Had he been content in secret to assure himself that he once had
been a reigning monarch, his vanity would have harmed no one;
but, unfortunately, he possessed certain documentary evidence to
that fact. And he was sufficiently foolish not to wish to destroy
it. The evidence consisted of a dozen photographs he had snapped
of Aline during the happy days at Bar Harbor, and on which she
had written phrases somewhat exuberant and sentimental.
From these photographs Nelson was loath to part--especially with
one that showed Aline seated on a rock that ran into the waters of
the harbor, and on which she had written: "As long as this rock
lasts!" Each time she was in love Aline believed it would last.
That in the past it never had lasted did not discourage her.
What to do with these photographs that so vividly recalled the
most tumultuous period of his life Nelson could not decide. If he
hid them away and Sally found them, he knew she would make his
life miserable. If he died and Sally then found them, when he no
longer was able to explain that they meant nothing to him, she
would believe he always had loved the other woman, and it would
make her miserable. He felt he could not safely keep them in his
own house; his vanity did not permit him to burn them, and,
accordingly, he decided to unload them on some one else.
The young man to whom he confided his collection was Charles
Cochran. Cochran was a charming person from the West. He had
studied in the Beaux Arts and on foot had travelled over England
and Europe, preparing himself to try his fortune in New York as
an architect. He was now in the office of the architects Post &
Constant, and lived alone in a tiny farmhouse he had made over
for himself near Herbert Nelson, at Westbury, Long Island.
Post & Constant were a fashionable firm and were responsible for
many of the French chateaux and English country houses that were
rising near Westbury, Hempstead, and Roslyn; and it was Cochran's
duty to drive over that territory in his runabout, keep an eye on
the contractors, and dissuade clients from grafting mansard roofs
on Italian villas. He had built the summer home of the Herbert
Nelsons, and Herbert and Charles were very warm friends. Charles
was of the same lack of years as was Herbert, of an enthusiastic
and sentimental nature; and, like many other young men, the story
of his life also was the lovely and much-desired Aline Proctor.
It was this coincidence that had made them friends and that had
led Herbert to select Charles as the custodian of his treasure.
As a custodian and confidant Charles especially appealed to his
new friend, because, except upon the stage and in restaurants,
Charles had never seen Aline Proctor, did not know her--and
considered her so far above him, so unattainable, that he had no
wish to seek her out. Unknown, he preferred to worship at a
distance. In this determination Herbert strongly encouraged him.
When he turned over the pictures to Charles, Herbert could not
resist showing them to him. They were in many ways charming.
They presented the queen of musical comedy in several new roles.
In one she was in a sailor suit, giving an imitation of a girl
paddling a canoe. In another she was in a riding-habit mounted
upon a pony of which she seemed very much afraid.
In some she sat like a siren among the rocks with the waves and
seaweed snatching at her feet, and in another she crouched
beneath the wheel of Herbert's touring car. All of the
photographs were unprofessional and intimate, and the
legends scrawled across them were even more intimate.
"'As long as this rock lasts!'" read Herbert. At arm's length he
held the picture for Cochran to see, and laughed bitterly and
unmirthfully as he had heard leading men laugh in problem plays.
"That is what she wrote," he mocked--"but how long did it last?
Until she saw that little red-headed Albany playing polo. That
lasted until his mother heard of it. She thought her precious
lamb was in the clutches of a designing actress, and made the
Foreign Office cable him home. Then Aline took up one of those
army aviators, and chucked him for that fellow who painted her
portrait, and threw him over for the lawn-tennis champion. Now
she's engaged to Chester Griswold, and Heaven pity her! Of course
he's the greatest catch in America; but he's a prig and a snob, and
he's so generous with his money that he'll give you five pennies for
a nickel any time you ask him. He's got a heart like the metre of a
taxicab, and he's jealous as a cat. Aline will have a fine time with
Chester! I knew him at St. Paul's and at Harvard, and he's got as
much red blood in him as an eel!"
Cochran sprang to the defense of the lady of his dreams.
"There must be some good in the man," he protested, "or Miss
"Oh, those solemn snobs," declared Herbert, "impress women by
just keeping still. Griswold pretends the reason he doesn't speak
to you is because he's too superior, but the real reason is that
he knows whenever he opens his mouth he shows he is an ass."
Reluctantly Herbert turned over to Charles the precious pictures.
"It would be a sin to destroy them, wouldn't it?" he prompted.
Cochran agreed heartily.
"You might even," suggested Herbert, "leave one or two of them
about. You have so many of Aline already that one more wouldn't
be noticed. Then when I drop in I could see it." He smiled
"But those I have I bought," Cochran pointed out. "Anybody can
buy them, but yours are personal. And they're signed."
"No one will notice that but me," protested Herbert. "Just one or
two," he coaxed-"stuck round among the others. They'd give me a
heap of melancholy pleasure."
Charles shook his head doubtfully.
"Your wife often comes here with you," he said. "I don't believe
they'd give her melancholy pleasure. The question is, are you married
to Sally or to Aline Proctor?"
"Oh, of course," exclaimed Herbert--" if you refuse!"
With suspicious haste Charles surrendered.
"I don't refuse," he explained; "I only ask if it's wise. Sally
knows you were once very fond of Miss Proctor--knows you were
engaged to her."
"But," protested Herbert, "Sally sees your photographs of Aline.
What difference can a few more make? After she's seen a dozen
she gets used to them."
No sooner had Herbert left him than the custodian of the treasure
himself selected the photographs he would display. In them the
young woman he had--from the front row of the orchestra--so
ardently admired appeared in a new light. To Cochran they seemed
at once to render her more kindly, more approachable; to show her
as she really was, the sort of girl any youth would find it extremely
difficult not to love. Cochran found it extremely easy. The photographs
gave his imagination all the room it wanted. He believed they also gave
him an insight into her real character that was denied to anybody else.
He had always credited her with all the virtues; he now endowed her
with every charm of mind and body. In a week to the two photographs
he had selected from the loan collection for purposes of display and to
give Herbert melancholy pleasure he had added three more. In two
weeks there were half a dozen. In a month, nobly framed in silver,
in leather of red, green, and blue, the entire collection smiled upon him
from every part of his bedroom. For he now kept them where no one
but himself could see them. No longer was he of a mind to share
his borrowed treasure with others--not even with the rightful
Chester Griswold, spurred on by Aline Proctor, who wanted to
build a summer home on Long Island, was motoring with Post, of
Post & Constant, in the neighborhood of Westbury. Post had
pointed out several houses designed by his firm, which he hoped
might assist Griswold in making up his mind as to the kind of
house he wanted; but none they had seen had satisfied his client.
"What I want is a cheap house," explained the young millionaire.
"I don't really want a house at all," he complained. "It's Miss
Proctor's idea. When we are married I intend to move into my
mother's town house, but Miss Proctor wants one for herself in
the country. I've agreed to that; but it must be small and it
must be cheap."
"Cheap" was a word that the clients of Post & Constant never
used; but Post knew the weaknesses of some of the truly rich, and
he knew also that no house ever built cost only what the
architect said it would cost.
"I know the very house you want!" he exclaimed. "One of our
young men owns it. He made it over from an old farmhouse. It's
very well arranged; we've used his ground-plan several times and
it works out splendidly. If he's not at home, I'11 show you over the
place myself. And if you like the house he's the man to build you one."
When they reached Cochran's home he was at Garden City playing
golf, but the servant knew Mr. Post, and to him and his client
threw open every room in the house.
"Now, this," exclaimed the architect enthusiastically, "is the
master's bedroom. In your case it would probably be your wife's
room and you would occupy the one adjoining, which Cochran now
uses as a guest-room. As you see, they are entirely cut off from-"
Mr. Griswold did not see. Up to that moment he had given every
appearance of being both bored and sulky. Now his attention was
entirely engaged--but not upon the admirable simplicity of Mr.
Cochran's ground-plan, as Mr. Post had hoped. Instead, the eyes
of the greatest catch in America were intently regarding a display
of photographs that smiled back at him from every corner of the
room. Not only did he regard these photographs with a savage glare,
but he approached them and carefully studied the inscriptions scrawled
across the face of each.
Post himself cast a glance at the nearest photographs, and then
hastily manoeuvred his client into the hall and closed the door.
"We will now," he exclaimed, "visit the butler's pantry, which
opens upon the dining-room and kitchen, thus saving--"
But Griswold did not hear him. Without giving another glance at
the house he stamped out of it and, plumping himself down in the
motor-car, banged the door. Not until Post had driven him well
into New York did he make any comment.
"What did you say," he then demanded, "is the name of the man who
owns that last house we saw?"
Post told him.
"I never heard of him!" said Griswold as though he were
delivering young Cochran's death sentence. "Who is he?"
"He's an architect in our office," said Post. "We think a lot of
him. He'll leave us soon, of course. The best ones always do. His
work is very popular. So is he."
"I never heard of him," repeated Griswold. Then, with sudden
heat, he added savagely: "But I mean to to-night."
When Griswold had first persuaded Aline Proctor to engage herself
to him he had suggested that, to avoid embarrassment, she should
tell him the names of the other men to whom she had been engaged.
"What kind of embarrassment would that avoid?"
"If I am talking to a man," said Griswold, "and he knows the
woman I'm going to marry was engaged to him and I don't know
that, he has me at a disadvantage."
"I don't see that he has," said Aline. "If we suppose, for the sake
of argument, that to marry me is desirable, I would say that the
man who was going to marry me had the advantage over the one
I had declined to marry."
"I want to know who those men are," explained Griswold, "because
I want to avoid them. I don't want to talk to them. I don't want
even to know them."
"I don't see how I can help you," said Aline. "I haven't the
slightest objection to telling you the names of the men I have
cared for, if I can remember them, but I certainly do not intend
to tell you the name of any man who cared for me enough to ask me
to marry him. That's his secret, not mine--certainly not yours."
Griswold thought he was very proud. He really was very vain; and
as jealousy is only vanity in its nastiest development he was
extremely jealous. So he persisted.
"Will you do this?" he demanded. "If I ever ask you, 'Is that one
of the men you cared for?' will you tell me?"
"If you wish it," said Aline; "but I can't see any health in it.
It will only make you uncomfortable. So long as you know I have
given you the greatest and truest love I am capable of, why
should you concern yourself with my mistakes?"
"So that I can avoid meeting what you call your mistakes," said
Griswold--" and being friendly with them."
"I assure you," laughed Aline, "it wouldn't hurt you a bit to be
as friendly with them as they'd let you. Maybe they weren't as
proud of their families as you are, but they made up for that by
being a darned sight prouder of me!"
Later, undismayed by this and unashamed, on two occasions
Griswold actually did demand of Aline if a genial youth she had
just greeted joyfully was one of those for whom she once had
And Aline had replied promptly and truthfully that he was. But in
the case of Charles Cochran, Griswold did not ask Aline if he was
one of those for whom she once had cared. He considered the
affair with Cochran so serious that, in regard to that man, he
adopted a different course.
In digging rivals out of the past his jealousy had made him
indefatigable, but in all his researches he never had heard the
name of Charles Cochran. That fact and the added circumstance
that Aline herself never had mentioned the man was in his eyes so
suspicious as to be almost a damning evidence of deception. And
he argued that if in the past Aline had deceived him as to Charles
Cochran she would continue to do so. Accordingly, instead
of asking her frankly for the truth he proceeded to lay traps for
it. And if there is one thing Truth cannot abide, it is being
hunted by traps.
That evening Aline and he were invited to a supper in her honor,
and as he drove her from the theatre to the home of their hostess
he told her of his search earlier in the day.
The electric light in the limousine showed Aline's face as
clearly as though it were held in a spotlight, and as he prepared
his trap Griswold regarded her jealously.
"Post tells me," he said, "he has the very man you want for your
architect. He's sure you'll find him most understanding and--and-
sympathetic. He's a young man who is just coming to the front,
and he's very popular, especially with women."
"What's his being popular with women," asked Aline, "got to do
with his carrying out my ideas of a house?"
"That's just it," said Griswold--"it's the woman who generally has
the most to say as to how her house shall be built, and this man
understands woman. I have reasons for believing he will certainly
"If he understands me well enough to give me all the
linen-closets I want," said Aline, "he will be perfectly
Before delivering his blow Griswold sank back into his corner of
the car, drew his hat brim over his forehead, and fixed spying
eyes upon the very lovely face of the girl he had asked to marry
"His name," he said in fateful tones, "is Charles Cochran!"
It was supposed to be a body blow; but, to his distress, Aline
neither started nor turned pale. Neither, for trying to trick
her, did she turn upon him in reproof and anger. Instead, with
alert eyes, she continued to peer out of the window at the
electric-light advertisements and her beloved Broadway.
"Well?" demanded Griswold; his tone was hoarse and heavy with
"Well what?" asked Aline pleasantly.
"How," demanded Griswold, "do you like Charles Cochran for an
"How should I know?" asked Aline. "I've not met him yet!"
She had said it! And she had said it without the waver of one of
her lovely eyelashes. No wonder the public already hailed her as
a finished actress! Griswold felt that his worst fears were
justified. She had lied to him. And, as he knew she had never
before lied to him, that now she did so proved beyond hope of
doubt that the reason for it was vital, imperative, and compelling.
But of his suspicions Griswold gave no sign. He would not at
once expose her. He had trapped her, but as yet she must not
know that. He would wait until he had still further entangled
her--until she could not escape; and then, with complete proof
of her deceit, he would confront and overwhelm her.
With this amiable purpose in mind he called early the next morning
upon Post & Constant and asked to see Mr. Cochran. He wished,
he said, to consult him about the new house. Post had not yet
reached the office, and of Griswold's visit with Post to his house
Cochran was still ignorant. He received Griswold most courteously.
He felt that the man who was loved by the girl he also had long and
hopelessly worshipped was deserving of the highest consideration.
Griswold was less magnanimous. When he found his rival--for as
such he beheld him--was of charming manners and gallant appearance
he considered that fact an additional injury; but he concealed his
resentment, for he was going to trap Cochran, too.
He found the architect at work leaning over a drawing-board, and
as they talked Cochran continued to stand. He was in his shirt-sleeves,
which were rolled to his shoulders; and the breadth of those shoulders
and the muscles of his sunburned arms were much in evidence.
Griswold considered it a vulgar exhibition.
For over ten minutes they talked solely of the proposed house,
but not once did Griswold expose the fact that he had seen any
more of it than any one might see from the public road. When he
rose to take his leave he said:
"How would it do if I motored out Sunday and showed your house
to Miss Proctor? Sunday is the only day she has off, and if it would not
The tender heart of Cochran leaped in wild tumult; he could not
conceal his delight, nor did he attempt to do so; and his expression
made it entirely unnecessary for him to assure Griswold that such a
visit would be entirely welcome and that they might count on finding
him at home. As though it were an afterthought, Griswold halted at
the door and said:
"I believe you are already acquainted with Miss Proctor."
Cochran, conscious of five years of devotion, found that he was
blushing, and longed to strangle himself. Nor was the blush lost
"I'm sorry," said Cochran, "but I've not had that honor. On the
stage, of course--"
He shrugged the broad shoulders deprecatingly, as though to suggest
that not to know Miss Proctor as an artist argues oneself unknown.
Griswold pretended to be puzzled. As though endeavoring to recall
a past conversation he frowned.
"But Aline," he said, "told me she had met you-met you at Bar
Harbor." In the fatal photographs the familiar landfalls of Bar
Harbor had been easily recognized.
The young architect shook his head.
"It must be another Cochran," he suggested. "I have never been in
With the evidence of the photographs before him this last
statement was a verdict of guilty, and Griswold, not with the
idea of giving Cochran a last chance to be honest, but to cause
him to dig the pit still deeper, continued to lead him on. "Maybe
she meant York Harbor?"
Again Cochran shook his head and laughed.
"Believe me," he said, "if I'd ever met Miss Proctor anywhere I
wouldn't forget it!"
Ten minutes later Griswold was talking to Aline over the telephone.
He intended to force matters. He would show Aline she could neither
trifle with nor deceive Chester Griswold; but the thought that he had
been deceived was not what most hurt him. What hurt him was to
think that Aline had preferred a man who looked like an advertisement
for ready-made clothes and who worked in his shirt-sleeves.
Griswold took it for granted that any woman would be glad to marry him.
So many had been willing to do so that he was convinced, when one of
them was not, it was not because there was anything wrong with him,
but because the girl herself lacked taste and perception.
That the others had been in any degree moved by his many millions
had never suggested itself. He was convinced each had loved him for
himself alone; and if Aline, after meeting him, would still consider any
one else, it was evident something was very wrong with Aline. He was
determined that she must be chastened--must be brought to a proper
appreciation of her good fortune and of his condescension.
On being called to the telephone at ten in the morning, Aline
demanded to know what could excuse Griswold for rousing her
in the middle of the night!
Griswold replied that, though the day was young, it also was
charming; that on Sunday there might be rain; and that if she
desired to see the house he and Post thought would most suit her,
he and his car would be delighted to convey her to it. They could
make the run in an hour, lunch with friends at Westbury, and
return in plenty of time for the theatre. Aline was delighted at
the sudden interest Griswold was showing in the new house.
Without a moment's hesitation she walked into the trap. She
would go, she declared, with pleasure. In an hour he should
call for her.
Exactly an hour later Post arrived at his office. He went directly
"Charles," he said, "I'm afraid I got you into trouble yesterday.
I took a client to see your house. You have often let us do it before;
but since I was there last you've made some changes. In your bedroom--"
Cochran's naive habit of blushing told him it was not necessary
to proceed. In tones of rage and mortification Cochran swore
explosively; Post was relieved to find he was swearing at himself.
"I ought to be horsewhipped!" roared Cochran. "I'll never forgive
myself! Who," he demanded, "saw the pictures? Was it a man or a
Post laughed unhappily.
"It was Chester Griswold."
A remarkable change came over Cochran. Instead of sobering him,
as Post supposed it would, the information made him even more
angry--only now his anger was transferred from himself to Griswold.
"The blankety-blank bounder!" yelled Cochran. "That was what he
wanted! That's why he came here!"
"Here!" demanded Post.
"Not an hour ago," cried Cochran. "He asked me about Bar Harbor.
He saw those pictures were taken at Bar Harbor!"
"I think," said Post soothingly, "he'd a right to ask questions.
There were so many pictures, and they were very--well--very!"
"I'd have answered his questions," roared Cochran, "if he'd asked
them like a man, but he came snooping down here to spy on me.
He tried to trick me. He insulted me! He insulted her!" He emitted
a howl of dismay. "And I told him I'd never been to Bar Harbor--
that I'd never met Aline Proctor!"
Cochran seized his coat and hat. He shouted to one of the office
boys to telephone the garage for his car.
"What are you--where are you going?" demanded Post.
"I'm going home first," cried Cochran, "to put those pictures in
a safe, as I should have done three months ago. And then I'm
going to find Chester Griswold and tell him he's an ass and a
"If you do that," protested Post, "you're likely to lose us a very
"And your client," roared Charles, "is likely to lose some very
As Charles whirled into the country road in which stood his house
he saw drawn up in front of it the long gray car in which, that morning,
Chester Griswold had called at the office. Cochran emitted a howl of
anger. Was his home again to be invaded? And again while he was
absent? To what extreme would Griswold's jealousy next lead him?
He fell out of his own car while it still moved, and leaped up the garden
walk. The front rooms of the house were empty, but from his bedroom
he heard, raised in excited tones, the voice of Griswold. The audacity
of the man was so surprising, and his own delight at catching him
red-handed so satisfying, that no longer was Cochran angry. The Lord
had delivered his enemy into his hands! And, as he advanced toward his
bedroom, not only was he calm, but, at the thought of his revenge,
distinctly jubilant. In the passageway a frightened maid servant, who,
at his unexpected arrival, was now even more frightened, endeavored
to give him an explanation; but he waved her into silence, and, striding
before her, entered his bedroom.
He found confronting him a tall and beautiful young woman. It was
not the Aline Proctor he knew. It was not the well-poised, gracious,
and distinguished beauty he had seen gliding among the tables at
Sherry's or throwing smiles over the footlights. This Aline Proctor
was a very indignant young person, with flashing eyes, tossing head,
and a stamping foot. Extended from her at arm's length, she held a
photograph of herself in a heavy silver frame; and, as though it were
a weapon, she was brandishing it in the face of Chester Griswold.
As Cochran, in amazement, halted in the doorway she was exclaiming:
"I told you I didn't know Charles Cochran! I tell you so now! If you
can't believe me-"
Out of the corner of her flashing eyes the angry lady caught sight of
Cochran in the doorway. She turned upon the intruder as though she
meant forcibly to eject him.
"Who are you?" she demanded. Her manner and tone seemed to add:
"And what the deuce are you doing here?"
Charles answered her tone.
"I am Charles Cochran," he said. "I live here. This is my house!"
These words had no other effect upon Miss Proctor than to switch
her indignation down another track. She now turned upon Charles.
"Then, if this is your house," cried that angry young person,
"why have you filled it with photographs of me that belong to
some one else?"
Charles saw that his hour had come. His sin had found him out. He
felt that to prevaricate would be only stupid.
Griswold had tried devious methods--and look where his devious
methods had dumped him! Griswold certainly was in wrong. Charles
quickly determined to adopt a course directly opposite. Griswold
had shown an utter lack of confidence in Aline. Charles decided
that he would give her his entire confidence, would throw himself
upon the mercy of the court.
"I have those photographs in my house, Miss Proctor," he said,
"because I have admired you a long time. They were more like you
than those I could buy. Having them here has helped me a lot, and it
hasn't done you any harm. You know very well you have anonymous
admirers all over this country. I'm only one of them. If I have offended,
I have offended with many, many thousands."
Already it has been related that Cochran was very good to look
upon. At the present moment, as he spoke in respectful, even
soulful accents, meekly and penitently proclaiming his
long-concealed admiration, Miss Proctor found her indignation
melting like an icicle in the sun.
Still, she did not hold herself cheaply. She was accustomed to
such open flattery. She would not at once capitulate.
"But these pictures," she protested, "I gave to a man I knew. You
have no right to them. They are not at all the sort of picture I
would give to an utter stranger!" With anxiety the lovely lady
paused for a reply. She hoped that the reply the tall young man
with appealing eyes would make would be such as to make it
possible for her to forgive him.
He was not given time to reply. With a mocking snort Griswold
interrupted. Aline and Charles had entirely forgotten him.
"An utter stranger!" mimicked Griswold. "Oh, yes; he's an utter
stranger! You're pretty good actors, both of you; but you can't
keep that up long, and you'd better stop it now."
"Stop what?" asked Miss Proctor. Her tone was cold and calm, but
in her eyes was a strange light. It should have warned Griswold
that he would have been safer under the bed.
"Stop pretending!" cried Griswold. "I won't have it!"
"I don't understand," said Miss Proctor. She spoke in the same
cold voice, only now it had dropped several degrees nearer freezing.
"I don't think you understand yourself. You won't have what?"
Griswold now was frightened, and that made him reckless. Instead
of withdrawing he plunged deeper.
"I won't have you two pretending you don't know each other," he
blustered. "I won't stand being fooled! If you're going to deceive
me before we're married, what will you do after we're married?"
Charles emitted a howl. It was made up of disgust, amazement, and
rage. Fiercely he turned upon Miss Proctor.
"Let me have him!" he begged.
"No!" almost shouted Miss Proctor. Her tone was no longer cold--it
was volcanic. Her eyes, flashing beautifully, were fixed upon Griswold.
She made a gesture as though to sweep Charles out of the room.
"Please go!" she demanded. "This does not concern you."
Her tone was one not lightly to be disregarded. Charles disregarded it.
"It does concern me," he said briskly. "Nobody can insult a woman
in my house--you, least of all!" He turned upon the greatest catch
in America. "Griswold," he said, "I never met this lady until I
came into this room; but I know her, understand her, value her
better than you'd understand her if you knew her a thousand
Griswold allowed him to go no farther.
"I know this much," he roared: "she was in love with the man who
took those photographs, and that man was in love with her! And
you're that man!"
"What if I am!" roared back Charles. "Men always have loved her;
men always will--because she's a fine, big, wonderful woman! You
can't see that, and you never will. You insulted her! Now I'll give
you time to apologize for that, and then I'll order you out of this
house! And if Miss Proctor is the sort of girl I think she is, she'll
order you out of it, too!"
Both men swung toward Miss Proctor. Her eyes were now smiling
excitedly. She first turned them upon Charles, blushing most
"Miss Proctor," she said, "hopes she is the sort of girl
Mr. Cochran thinks she is." She then turned upon the greatest
catch in America. "You needn't wait, Chester," she said, "not
even to apologize."
Chester Griswold, alone in his car, was driven back to New York.
On the way he invented a story to explain why, at the eleventh
hour, he had jilted Aline Proctor; but when his thoughts reverted
to the young man he had seen working with his sleeves rolled up
he decided it would be safer to let Miss Proctor tell of the broken
engagement in her own way.
Charles would not consent to drive his fair guest back to New
York until she had first honored him with her presence at
luncheon. It was served for two, on his veranda, under the
climbing honeysuckles. During the luncheon he told her all.
Miss Proctor, in the light of his five years of devotion,
magnanimously forgave him.
"Such a pretty house!" she exclaimed as they drove away from it.
"When Griswold selected it for our honeymoon he showed his first
appreciation of what I really like."
"It is still at your service!" said Charles.
Miss Proctor's eyes smiled with a strange light, but she did not
speak. It was a happy ride; but when Charles left her at the door
of her apartment-house he regarded sadly and with regret the
bundle of retrieved photographs that she carried away.
"What is it?" she asked kindly.
"I'm thinking of going back to those empty frames," said Charles,
and blushed deeply. Miss Proctor blushed also. With delighted
and guilty eyes she hastily scanned the photographs. Snatching one
from the collection, she gave it to him and then ran up the steps.
In the light of the spring sunset the eyes of Charles devoured
the photograph of which, at last, he was the rightful owner. On
it was written: "As long as this rock lasts!"
As Charles walked to his car his expression was distinctly
THE MEN OF ZANZIBAR
When his hunting trip in Uganda was over, Hemingway shipped his
specimens and weapons direct from Mombasa to New York, but he
himself journeyed south over the few miles that stretched to
On the outward trip the steamer had touched there, and the
little he saw of the place had so charmed him that all the time
he was on safari he promised himself he would not return home
without revisiting it. On the morning he arrived he had called
upon Harris, his consul, to inquire about the hotel; and that
evening Harris had returned his call and introduced him at
One of the men there asked Hemingway what brought him to
Africa, and when he answered simply and truthfully that he had
come to shoot big game, it was as though he had said something
clever, and every one smiled. On the way back to the hotel, as
they felt their way through the narrow slits in the wall that
served as streets, he asked the consul why every one had smiled.
The consul laughed evasively.
"It's a local joke," he explained. "A lot of men come here for
reasons best kept to themselves, and they all say what you said,
that they've come to shoot big game. It's grown to be a polite
way of telling a man it is none of his business."
"But I didn't mean it that way," protested Hemingway. "I really
have been after big game for the last eight months."
In the tone one uses to quiet a drunken man or a child, the
consul answered soothingly.
"Of course," he assented-- "of course you have." But to show he
was not hopelessly credulous, and to keep Hemingway from
involving himself deeper, he hinted tactfully: "Maybe they
noticed you came ashore with only one steamer trunk and no
"Oh, that's easily explained," laughed Hemingway. "My heavy
The consul had reached his house and his "boy" was pounding upon
it with his heavy staff.
"Please don't explain to me," he begged. "It's quite unnecessary.
Down here we're so darned glad to see any white man that we don't
ask anything of him except that he won't hurry away. We judge
them as they behave themselves here; we don't care what they are
at home or why they left it."
Hemingway was highly amused. To find that he, a respectable,
sport-loving Hemingway of Massachusetts, should be mistaken for a
gun-runner, slave-dealer, or escaping cashier greatly delighted
"All right!" he exclaimed. "I'll promise not to bore you with my past,
and I agree to be judged by Zanzibar standards. I only hope I can
live up to them, for I see I am going to like the place very much."
Hemingway kept his promise. He bored no one with confidences as
to his ancestors. Of his past he made a point never to speak. He
preferred that the little community into which he had dropped
should remain unenlightened, should take him as they found him.
Of the fact that a college was named after his grandfather and
that on his father's railroad he could travel through many
States, he was discreetly silent.
The men of Zanzibar asked no questions. That Hemingway could play
a stiff game of tennis, a stiffer game of poker, and, on the piano, songs
from home was to them sufficient recommendation. In a week he had
become one of the most popular members of Zanzibar society. It was
as though he had lived there always. Hemingway found himself reaching
out to grasp the warmth of the place as a flower turns to the sun. He
discovered that for thirty years something in him had been cheated.
For thirty years he had believed that completely to satisfy his soul all
he needed was the gray stone walls and the gray-shingled cabins under
the gray skies of New England, that what in nature he most loved was
the pine forests and the fields of goldenrod on the rock-bound coast
of the North Shore. But now, like a man escaped from prison, he
leaped and danced in the glaring sunlight of the equator, he revelled
in the reckless generosity of nature, in the glorious confusion of
colors, in the "blooming blue" of the Indian Ocean, in the Arabian
nights spent upon the housetops under the purple sky, and beneath
silver stars so near that he could touch them with his hand.
He found it like being perpetually in a comic opera and playing a
part in one. For only the scenic artist would dare to paint houses
in such yellow, pink, and cobalt-blue; only a "producer" who had
never ventured farther from Broadway than the Atlantic City
boardwalk would have conceived costumes so mad and so
magnificent. Instinctively he cast the people of Zanzibar in the
conventional roles of musical comedy.
His choruses were already in waiting. There was the Sultan's
body-guard in gold-laced turbans, the merchants of the bazaars in
red fezzes and gowns of flowing silk, the Malay sailors in blue,
the black native police in scarlet, the ladies of the harems closely
veiled and cloaked, the market women in a single garment of
orange, or scarlet, or purple, or of all three, and the happy,
hilarious Zanzibari boys in the color God gave them.
For hours he would sit under the yellow-and-green awning of the
Greek hotel and watch the procession pass, or he would lie under
an umbrella on the beach and laugh as the boatmen lifted their
passengers to their shoulders and with them splash through the
breakers, or in the bazaars for hours he would bargain with the
Indian merchants, or in the great mahogany hall of the Ivory
House, to the whisper of a punka and the tinkle of ice in a tall
glass, listen to tales of Arab raids, of elephant poachers, of
the trade in white and black ivory, of the great explorers who
had sat in that same room--of Emin Pasha, of Livingstone, of
Stanley. His comic opera lacked only a heroine and the love
When he met Mrs. Adair he found both. Polly Adair, as every
one who dared to do so preferred to call her, was, like himself, an
American and, though absurdly young, a widow. In the States she
would have been called an extremely pretty girl. In a community
where the few dozen white women had wilted and faded in the
fierce sun of the equator, and where the rest of the women were
jet black except their teeth, which were dyed an alluring purple,
Polly Adair was as beautiful as a June morning. At least, so
Hemingway thought the first time he saw her, and each succeeding
time he thought her more beautiful, more lovely, more to be loved.
He met her, three days after his arrival, at the residence of the
British agent and consul-general, where Lady Firth was giving tea
to the six nurses from the English hospital and to all the other
respectable members of Zanzibar society.
"My husband's typist," said her ladyship as she helped Hemingway
to tea, "is a copatriot of yours. She's such a nice gell; not a bit like
an American. I don't know what I'd do in this awful place without her.
Promise me," she begged tragically, "you will not ask her to marry you."
Unconscious of his fate, Hemingway promised.
"Because all the men do," sighed Lady Firth, "and I never know
what morning one of the wretches won't carry her off to a home of
her own. And then what would become of me? Men are so selfish!
If you must fall in love," suggested her ladyship, "promise me you
will fall in love with"--she paused innocently and raised baby-blue
eyes, in a baby-like stare--"with some one else."
Again Hemingway promised. He bowed gallantly. "That will be quite
easy," he said.
Her ladyship smiled, but Hemingway did not see the smile. He was
looking past her at a girl from home, who came across the terrace
carrying in her hand a stenographer's note-book.
Lady Firth followed the direction of his eyes and saw the look in
them. She exclaimed with dismay:
"Already! Already he deserts me, even before the ink is dry on
She drew the note-book from Mrs. Adair's fingers and dropped it
under the tea-table.
"Letters must wait, my child," she declared.
"But Sir George--" protested the girl.
"Sir George must wait, too," continued his wife; "the Foreign Office
must wait, the British Empire must wait until you have had your tea."
The girl laughed helplessly. As though assured her fellow
countryman would comprehend, she turned to him.
"They're so exactly like what you want them to be," she said--"I
mean about their tea!"
Hemingway smiled back with such intimate understanding that