Part 5 out of 7
festive in this house to-night?"
"Oh _very_ festive in this house to-night. Some army people are here from
Washington. We're going to have a gorgeous dinner, and I'm going to wear
a gorgeous gown and drink champagne and try and smile myself into the
good graces of a man who can do things for my brother and be--oh _so_
clever and festive."
He looked at her as if by different route he had come again to that thing
of pitying her; only along this other route the quality of the pity had
changed and there was in it now a tender sadness. "It's not so simple a
matter for you, is it--this 'being free'? You're of the bound, too,
aren't you? And you've become conscious of your chains. There's all the
hope and all the tragedy of it in that." He took an impulsive step toward
her and smiled at her appealingly, a little mistily, as he said: "Only
please don't tell me you're not going to laugh any more."
As a matter of fact Katie did laugh a great deal that night. At least it
passed for laughter, and the man who was worth cultivating for Wayne
seemed to find it most attractive. It was evident to them all that Katie
was getting on famously with him.
It was well that she was, for Wayne himself seemed making little headway.
Before dinner Katie had told him briefly that Ann had come down with
Worth (whose sore throat didn't seem serious, after all) and then had
been called away. She said she couldn't talk about it then; she would
tell him later.
But though they had a quiet host they had a vivid and a brilliant
hostess. Those who knew Katie best, Mrs. Prescott in particular, kept
watching her in wonderment. She had never known Katie to vie with Zelda
Fraser in saying those daring things. Katie, though so merry, had seemed
a different type. But to-night Katie and Zelda and Major Darrett kept
things very lively.
Katie was telling her distinguished guest the tale of the champagne
glasses. "Just fancy," she said, "here was I, giving a dinner for
you--and it looked as if somebody would have to turn teetotaler or drink
out of the bottle! After I finally got it straightened out I told Zelda
she must keep her hand as much as possible on the stem of her glass so
it would not be noted she was drinking from gothic architecture and the
rest of us from classic."
"And you may have observed," blithely observed Zelda, "that keeping my
hand on the stem of my glass is an order I am not loathe to obey--be it
any old architecture."
They laughed. Zelda was the daughter of a general, and could say very
much what she pleased and be laughed at as amusing.
It came to Katie in what large measure they all could do very much as
they pleased. It was a game they played, and great liberty was accorded
them in that game so long as they took their liberty in accordance with
the prescribed rules of that game. But they guarded their own privileges
with an intolerance for all those outside their game who would take
privileges of their own. That--labeled a respect for good form--was in
reality their method of self-defense.
She looked at Zelda Fraser--Zelda with her bold black eyes, her red
cheeks which she made still redder--and her _hair_--as long as people
were "wearing" hair Zelda wore a little more than any one else. Nothing
about her suggested anything so redeeming as a quest for Something
Somewhere. No veiled splendor of a dream hovered tenderly over Zelda.
Watching her as she bantered with Major Barrett it grew upon Katie as
one of the grotesque things of the world that Zelda should be within and
Major Barrett had remained. It was Ann who had gone. Yet it was Ann had
dreamed the dream. He who had made the "excursion" despoiling the dream.
It was Ann had been "called." He who had preyed upon--cheated--that call.
Yet she had not sent him away. She was too much in the game for that.
She had not seemed to have the power. Certainly she had not had the
wit nor the courage. He had remained and taken command. She had done
as he told her.
He was smiling approvingly upon her now, manifestly proud of the way
Katie was playing the game.
Seeing it as a thing to win his approval she could with difficulty
continue it. She was thankful that the dinner itself had drawn to a
Later, on the porch, Caroline Osborne asked for Ann. Zelda and Major
Darrett and Harry Prescott were in the group at the time.
"You mean she is not coming back?" she pursued in response to Katie's
statement that Ann had been called away.
"I don't know," said Katie. "I'm afraid not."
"Who is she, Katie?" Zelda asked.
"No one you know."
Zelda turned to Prescott. "You know her?"
"Yes," he said. His voice told Katie how hard he was finding it just then
to play the game.
"Yes," he replied.
Zelda threw back her head in an impertinent way of hers that was called
engaging. "Love her?"
He stepped nearer Katie, as if for protection. His smile was a
"Really, Zelda," said Katie, in laughing protest.
"I just wondered," said Zelda, "if she was going to marry into the army."
Katie saw Major Darrett's smile.
"If she did," she said, "the army would gain something that might
do it good."
Major Darrett was staring at her speechlessly. Harry gratefully. "You're
very fond of her?" said Caroline Osborne in her sweet-toned way.
"Very," said Kate in way less sweet.
"Too bad we missed her," said Zelda, "especially if she would do us good.
Now Cal here's going in for doing good, too. Only she's not trying to do
it to the army. She's doing it to the working people."
"Get the distinction," laughed the Major.
"I must get hold of some stunt like that," said Zelda. "The world's
getting stuntier and stuntier." She turned to Major Darrett. "Whom do you
think I could do good to?"
"Me," he said, and they strolled laughingly away together.
A few minutes later Katie found herself alone with Captain Prescott.
"Katie," he asked pleadingly, "where has Ann gone?"
"She's been called away, Harry. She's--gone away."
"But won't she be back?"
Katie turned away. "I don't know. I'm afraid not."
"Katie," he besought, "won't you help me? Won't you tell me where I can
find her? I know--something's the matter. I know--something's strange.
But I want to see her! I want to find her!"
"I want to see her!--I want to find her!"--It invaded the chamber in
Katie's heart she would keep inexorably shut. She dared not speak.
But he was waiting, and she was forced to speak. "Harry, I'm afraid
you'll have to forget Ann," she said unsteadily. "I'm afraid you'll have
to--" Because she could not go on, sure if she did she would not be able
to go on with the evening, she laughed. "I'll tell you what you do," she
said briskly. "Marry Caroline Osborne. She's going to have heaps of money
and will go in for philanthropy. 'Twill be quite stunty. Don't you see,
even Zelda thinks it stunty?"
He stepped back. "I had thought, Katie,"--and his voice pierced her
armor--"that you were kind."
She dared not let in anything so human as a hurt. "Well that's where
you're wrong. I'm not kind," she said harshly.
"So I see," he answered unsteadily.
But of a sudden the fact that he had been drawn to Ann drew her
irresistibly to him. He had been part of all those wonderful days--days
of dream and play, or waking and wondering. She remembered that other
night they had stood on the porch speaking of Ann--the very night she had
become Ann. That fact that he had accepted her as Ann--cared for
her--made it impossible to harden her heart against him. "Oh Harry," she
said, voice shaking, "I'm sorry. So sorry. It's my fault--and I'm sorry.
I didn't want you to be hurt. I didn't want--anybody to be hurt."
Some one called to him and he had to turn away. She stepped into the
shadow and had a moment to herself.
What did it _mean_--she wondered. That one was indeed bound hand and foot
and brain and heart and spirit?
What had she done save prove that she could do nothing?
Ann had been driven away. And in her house now were Zelda Fraser and
Caroline Osborne and Major Darrett and all those others who were not
dreamers of dreams. And the dream betrayed--she felt one with _them_.
For she had turned the dream out of doors with Ann: the wonderful dream
which sheltered the heart of reality, dream through which waking had
come, from which all the long dim paths of wondering had opened--dream
through which self had called.
And what was there left?
A house of hollow laughter was left--of pretense--"stunts"--of prescribed
rules and intolerance with all breakers of rules even though the breakers
of rules were dreamers of dreams.
With a barely repressed sob she remembered what Ann had said in her story
of her dog. "I could have stood my own lonesomeness. But what I couldn't
stand was thinking about him.... I couldn't keep from thinking things
that tortured me."
It was that gnawed at the heart of it.... How go to bed that night
without knowing that Ann had a bed? She had loved Ann because Ann needed
her, been tender to her because Ann was her charge. She yearned for her
now in fearing for her. More sickening than the pain of having failed was
the pain of wondering where Ann would get her breakfast. Tears which she
had been able to hold back even under the shame of her infidelity came
uncontrollably with the simple thought that she might never do Ann's hair
for her again.
It seemed to Katie then that the one thing she could not do was go back
to her guests.
A boy was coming on a bicycle. He had a letter for Katie.
She excused herself and went to the little room to read it--the same
little room where they had been that afternoon.
It was but a hurried note. He had found nothing at the station except
that the Chicago train was probably there at the time. Doubtless she had
taken it. He had taken a chance and wired the train asking her to wire
Katie immediately. That was all he could think of to do. He was taking
the night train for Chicago--not that he knew of anything to do there,
but perhaps she would like to feel there was some one there. He would
have to go soon anyhow--might as well be that night. He would be there
three or four days. He told Katie where to address him. He would do
anything she asked.
He advised her, for the time, to remain where she was. Probably word
would come to her there. She might be able to do more from there than
elsewhere. It was not even certain Ann had gone to Chicago--by no
means certain. And even if she had--how find her there if she did not
wish to be found?
At the last: "I suppose you're very gay at your dinner just now.
That must be tough business--being gay. Don't let it harden your
heart--as gayety like that could so easily do. And remember--you're
_going on!_ You're not a quitter. And it's only the quitters stop
when they fall down."
Below, shyly off in one corner, written very lightly as if he scarcely
dared write it, she found: "You don't know what a wonderful thing it is
to me just to know that you are in the world."
Katie went back to her guests with less gayety but more poise.
Major Darrett had remained for a good-night drink with Wayne. He came out
to Katie as she was going up stairs.
"I was proud of you, Katie," he said.
"I take no pride in your approval!"
"You made a great hit, Katie."
"Not with myself."
"Katie," he suddenly demanded, "what were you up to? I can't get the run
of it. For heaven's sake, what did you mean?"
"You wouldn't understand," she murmured wearily, for she was indeed so
very weary then.
"Well, I'm afraid I wouldn't. I don't want to be harsh--when you've had
such a hard day, but it looks to me as if you broke the rules."
"Our rules. You didn't play the game fair, Katie--presenting her here. I
never would have done that."
"No," she said, "I know. You put what you call the rules of life so far
above life itself."
"And look here, Katie, what's this about Prescott? I'm not going to have
him hurt. If he doesn't know the situation, and has any thought of
marrying her--why I'm in honor bound to tell him."
That fired her. "Oh you are, are you? Well if your honor moves you to
that I'll have a few things to say about that same 'honor' of yours! To
our distinguished guest of this evening, for instance," she laughed.
He lost color, but quickly recovered himself. "Oh come now, Katie, you
and I are not going to quarrel."
"No, not if you can help it. That wouldn't be your way. But do you know
what I think of the 'game' you play?"
She had gone a little way up the stairs, and was standing looking back at
him. Her eyes were shining feverishly.
"I think it's a game for cheats."
He did go colorless at that. "That's not the sort of thing you can say to
a man, Katie," he said in shaking voice.
"A game for cheats," she repeated. "The cheats who cheat with life--and
then make rules around their cheating and boast about the 'honor' of
keeping those rules. You'd scorn a man who cheated at cards. Oh you're
very virtuous--all of you--in your scorn of lesser cheats. What's cards
compared with the divinest thing in life!"
"I tell you, I played fair," he insisted, his voice still unsteady.
"Why to be sure you did--according to the rules laid down by the cheats!"
Wayne came upon her upstairs a little later, sobbing. And sobbingly she
told the story--her face buried too much of the time for her to see her
brother's face, too shaken by her own sobs to mark how strange was his
breathing. Wayne did not accuse her of not having played a fair game. He
said almost nothing at all, save at the last, and that under his breath:
"We'll move heaven and earth to get her back!"
His one reproach was--"Oh Katie--you might have told _me_!"
But they did not get her back. July had passed, and August, and most of
September, and they had not found Ann.
Heaven and earth were not so easily moved.
Katie had tried, and the man who mended the boats had tried, and Wayne,
but to no avail.
There had come the one letter from her--letter seeking to save "Ann" for
Katie. It was a key to Ann, but no key to her whereabouts save that it
was postmarked Chicago.
Those last three months had impressed Katie with the tragic
indefiniteness of the Chicago postmark.
She had spent the greater part of the summer there, at a quiet little
hotel on the North Side, where she was nominally one of a party of army
women. That was the olive branch to her Aunt Elizabeth on the chaperone
question. For her own part, she had seen too many unchaperoned girls in
Chicago that summer to care whether she was chaperoned or not.
Her army friends thought Katie interested in some work which she did not
care to talk about. They thought it interesting, though foolhardy to let
it bring those lines. Katie was not a beauty, they said among themselves,
and could not afford lines. Her charm had always been her freshness, her
buoyancy and her blitheness. Now if she lost that--
Wayne had been there from time to time. It was but a few hours' ride
from the Arsenal, and his detail to his individual work gave him
He, too, had more "lines" in September than he had had in June. That they
attributed to his "strenuousness" in his work, and thought it to be
deplored. After all, the department might throw him down--who knew what
it might not do?--and then what would have been the use? For a man who
did not have to live on his pay, Captain Jones was looked upon as
But Katie suspected that it was not alone devotion to military science
had traced those lines. It surprised her a little that they should have
come, but to Katie herself it was so vital and so tragic a thing that it
was not difficult to accept the fact of its marking any one who came
close to it. After that night at the dance there had several times
stirred a vague uneasiness, calling out the thought that it was a good
thing Wayne was, as she loosely thought it, immune. But even that
uneasiness was lost now in sterner things.
She had never gone into her reasons for looking upon her brother as
"immune." It was an idea fixed in her mind by her association with his
unhappiness with Clara. Knowing how much he had given, she thought of him
as having given all. Her sense of the depth of his hurt had unanalyzed
associations with finality, associations intrenched by Wayne's growing
It could not be said, however, that that queerness had stood in the way
of his doing all he could. Some of the best suggestions had come from
him. And Katie had reasons for suspecting he had done some searching of
his own which he did not report to her.
She knew that he was worried about her, though he understood too well to
ask her to give up and turn back to her own life.
Her gratitude to Wayne for that very understanding made her regret the
more her inability to be frank with him about the man who mended the
boats. She had had to tell him at first that he was helping, but Wayne
had seemed to think it so strange, had appeared so little pleased with
the idea, that she had not seen it as possible to make a clean breast of
it. She told him that she had talked with him about Ann--that was because
he had seen her, knew more about it than she did. And that she had talked
with him again the day Ann left, thinking he might have seen her. That
Wayne had not liked. "You should have sent for me," he said. "Never take
outsiders into your confidence in intimate matters like that."
And what she had not found it possible to try to make clear to him was
that the man who mended the boats seemed to her anything but an outsider.
And if he had not seemed so in those days of early summer, he seemed
infinitely less so now. She talked with him of things of which she could
not talk with anyone else. In those talks it was all the rest of the
people of the world who were the outsiders.
He had been there several times during the summer. Katie knew now that he
did not mean to spend all his life mending boats. He was writing a play;
it was things in relation to that brought him to Chicago. Katie wanted to
know about the play, but when she asked he told her, rather shortly, that
he did not believe she would like it. He qualified it with saying he did
not know that anyone would like it.
When he was there he went about with her as she looked for Ann.
Every day she pursued her search, now in this way, now in that. That
search brought her a vision of the city she would have had in no other
way. It was that vision, revealed, interpreted, by her anxiety for Ann
brought the sleepless nights and the ceaseless imagery and imaginings
which caused her army friends to wish that dear Katie would marry before
she, as they more feelingly than lucidly put it, lost out that way.
She thought sometimes of Ann's moving picture show, showing her the
things of which she had dreamed. All this, things seen in her search, had
become to Katie as a moving picture show. It moved before her awake and
asleep; "called" to her.
She would stand outside the stores as the girls were coming out at night.
Stores, factories, all places where girls worked she watched that way. By
the hundreds, thousands, she saw them filling the city's streets as
through the long summer one hot day after another drew to a close. Often
she would crowd into the street cars they were crowding into, rush with
them for the elevated trains, or follow them across the river and see
them disappear into boarding-house and rooming-house, those hot, crowded
places waiting to receive them after the hot, crowded day. Sometimes she
would go for lunch to the places she saw them going to--always searching,
and as she searched, wondering, and as she wondered, sorrowing.
She came to know of many things: of "dates"--vulgar enough affairs many
of them appeared to be. But she no longer dismissed them with that. She
always wondered now if the sordid-looking adventure might not be at heart
the divine adventure. Things which she would at one time have called
"common" and turned from as such she brooded over now as sorry expression
of a noble thing. And then she would go home to her friends at night and
sometimes they would seem the moving-picture show--their pleasures and
standards--the whole of their lives. And she sorrowed that where there
was setting for loveliness the setting itself should so many times absorb
it all, and that out on the city's streets that tender fluttering of life
for life, divine yearning for joy that joy might give again to life,
should find so many paths to that abyss where joy could be not and where
the life of life must go. There were days which showed all too brutally
that many were "called" and few were saved.
Thus had she passed the summer, and thus it happened that she did not
have in September all the freshness and the gladness that had been her
charm in May.
Though to the man waiting for her that afternoon she had another and a
finer charm. Life had taken something from her, but she had wrested
something from life.
"I could have had a job," she said, and smiled.
But the smile was soon engulfed. "And there was a girl who needed it, she
told me how she was 'up against it,' and through some caprice she didn't
get it. Needing it doesn't seem to make a bit of difference. If anything,
it works the other way."
She had read in the paper that morning that the chorus was to be "tried
out" for a new musical comedy. Thinking that Ann, too, might have read
that in the paper, she went.
She had been seeing something of chorus girls as well as shop girls. She
went to all the musical comedies and sat far front and kept her glasses
on the chorus. More than once she had stood near stage doors as they
were coming out. Seeing them so, they were not a group of chorus girls;
they were a number of individuals, any one of whom might be Ann, more
than one of whom might be fighting the things Ann had fought, seeking
the things Ann had sought. It was that about the city that _got_ her. It
was a city full of individuals, none of whom were to be dismissed as
just this, or exactly that. She challenged all groupings, those
groupings which seemed formed by the accidents of life and so often made
for the tragedy of life.
She was talking to him about chorus girls; announcing her discovery that
they were just girls in the chorus. "I was once asked to define army
people," she laughed, "and said that they were people who entered the
army--either martially or maritally. Now I find that chorus girls are
girls who enter the chorus. Even their vocabularies can't disguise them,
and if that can't--what could?
"Though there are different kinds of chorus girls," she reflected. "Some
wanted to be somewhere else. Some hope to be somewhere else. And some
swaggeringly make it plain that they wouldn't be anywhere else if they
could. I'd hate to have to say which kind is the most sad."
"Katie," he said--he never spoke her name save in that timid, lingering
way--"don't you think you're rather over-emphasizing the sadness?"
Two girls passed them, laughing boisterously. "Perhaps so. I suppose I
am. And yet nothing seems to me sadder than some of the people who would
be astonished at suggesting sadness."
That afternoon they were going to the telephone office. Katie had been
there early in the summer, to the central office and all the exchanges,
but wanted to go again. And Mann said he would like to go with her and
see what the thing looked like.
The officials were cordial to them at the telephone office, seeming
pleased to exhibit and explain. And it seemed that with their rest rooms
and recreation rooms, their various things to contribute to comfort and
pleasure, their pride was justified.
But when they were in the immense room where several hundred girls were
sitting before the boards, rest rooms and recreation rooms did not seem
to _reach_. They walked behind a long row, their guide proudly calling
attention to the fact that not one of those girls turned her head to look
at them. He called it discipline--concentration. Katie, looking at the
tense faces, was thinking of the price paid for that discipline. Many of
the girls were very young, some not more than sixteen. They preferred
taking them young, said the guide; they were easier to break in if they
had never done anything else.
There was not the shadow of a doubt that they were being "broken in." So
clearly was that demonstrated that Katie wondered what there would be
left for them to be broken in to after they had been thoroughly broken in
to that. Walking slowly behind them, looking at every girl as a possible
Ann, she wondered what they would have left for a Something Somewhere.
She remembered the woman who wore the white furs saying it "got on her
nerves" and wondered what kind of nerves they would be it wouldn't "get
on." The thing itself seemed a mammoth nervous system, feeding on other
nervous systems, lesser sacrificed to greater.
Her fancy reached out to all the things that at that instant were going
through those cords. Plans were being made for dinner, for motoring that
evening, for many pleasant, restful things. Many little red lights, with
many possible invitations, were insistently dancing before tired eyes
just then. They seemed endless--those demands of life--demands of life
before which other demands of life were slowly going down.
She and Mann were alone for the minute. "And yet," she turned to him,
after following his glance to a girl's tense, white face, "what can they
do? The company, I mean. One must be fair. They pay better than most
things pay, seem more interested in the girls. What more can we ask?"
"Well, what would you think," he suggested, "of 'asking' for a system
more interested in conserving nervous systems than in producing
"Why, yes," he added, "in view of the fact that it has to make a few men
rich, perhaps they are doing all they can. I don't doubt that they think
they are. But if this were a thing that didn't have to produce
wealth--then it wouldn't need to endanger health. Don't you think that in
this nerve-blighting work four or five hours, instead of eight, would be
a pretty good day's work for girls just out of short clothes?"
"It would seem so," sighed Katie, as she left the room filled with girls
answering calls--girls looking too worn to respond to any "call" life
might have for them.
Though when, a little later, they stood in the doorway watching a long
line of them passing out into the street it was amazing how ready and how
eager they seemed for what life had to offer them. They all looked tired,
but many appeared happy--determined that all of life should not be going
over the wire. It seemed to Katie the most wonderful thing she knew of
that girls from whom life exacted so much could remain so ready--so
happily eager--for life.
There was one thing to which she had made up her mind. Amid the
confusion of her thinking and the sadness of her spirit one thing she saw
as clear. There was something wrong with an arrangement of life which
struck that hard at life. The very fact that the capacity for life
persisted through so much was the more reason for its being a thing to be
cherished rather than sacrificed.
"Let's walk up this way," she was saying; "walk over the river. The
bridge is a good place just now."
Katie's face was white and tense as some of the faces they had left
behind "No," he said impetuously. "Let's not. Let's do something jolly!"
She shook her head "I have a feeling we're going to find her to-night."
Katie was always having that feeling. But as she looked then he had not
the heart to remind her of the many times it had played her false.
Many girls passed them on the bridge, but not Ann. "I can never make up
my mind to go," she said. "I always think I ought to wait till the next
one comes round the corner."
A girl who appeared to be thinking deeply passed them, turning weary eyes
upon them in languid interest.
"I wonder _what_," Katie exclaimed. "What she's thinking about," she
explained. "Maybe she's come to the end of her string--and if she has,
hundreds of thousands of people about her--oh I think it's terrible"--her
voice broke--"the way people are crowded so close together--and held so
far apart. Everybody's _alone_. Nobody _knows_."
For a second his hand closed over hers as it rested on the railing of
the bridge, as if he would bear some of the hurt for her, that hurt she
was finding in everything.
Despite the extreme simplicity of her dress she looked out of place
standing on that bridge at that hour; he was thinking that she had not
lost her distinction with her buoyancy.
Her face was quivering. "Katie," it made him ask, "don't you think you'd
She turned wet eyes upon him reproachfully. "From _you_?"
"But is any--individual--worth it?"
"Oh I suppose no 'individual' is worth much to you," she said a
There was a touch of irony in the tender smile which was his only
They stood there in silence watching men and women come and go--solitary
and in groups--groups tired and groups laughing--groups respectable and
groups questionable--humanity--worn humanity--as it crossed that bridge.
She recalled that first night she had talked with him--that first time a
hot day had seemed to her anything more than mere hot day, that night on
the Mississippi--where distant hills were to be seen. She remembered how
she had looked around the world that night to see if it needed "saving."
It seemed a long time ago since she had not been able to see that the
world needed saving.
That was the night the man who mended the boats told her she had walked
sunny paths. She looked up at him with a faint smile, smiling at the
fancy of his being an outsider.
It seemed, on the other hand, that all the hopes and fears in all the
hearts that were passing them were drawing them together. There had been
times when she had had a wonderful sense of their silences holding the
sum of man's experiences.
"You must go home," he was saying decisively.
"Home? Where? To my uncle's? That's where I keep the trunks I'm
She laughed and brushed away a tear. "You know in the army we don't
"Well you have temporary homes," he insisted, as each moment she seemed
to become more worn. "You know what I mean. Go back to your brother's."
"He'll be ordered from there very soon. There'll not be a place there for
me much longer."
He did not seem to have reckoned with that. His face changed. "Then where
will you go, Katie?" he asked, very low. "What will you do?"
She shook her head. "I don't know. I don't know where I'll go--and I
don't know what I'll do."
They stood there in silence, drawn close by thought of separation.
"Shall we walk on?" she said at last. "I've lost the feeling that we're
going to find Ann to-night."
And so, still silently, they walked on.
But when, after a moment, he looked at her, it was to see that she
was making heroic effort to control the tears. "Katie!" he murmured,
"what is it?"
"We're giving up," she said, and could not say more.
"Why no we're not! It's only the method we're giving up. This way of
doing it. You've tried this long enough."
"But what else is there? Just looking. Just keeping on looking--and
hoping. Just the chance. What other method is there?"
"We'll find some other," he insisted, not willing, when she looked like
that, to speak his fears. "There'll be some other way. But you can't keep
on this way--dear."
There was another silence--a different one: silence which opened to
receive them at the throb in his voice as he spoke that last word.
He had to go back that night. "Well?" he asked gently, as they neared
"I'll be down in a couple of days," replied Katie, not steadily.
"And you'll be there a little while, won't you," he asked wistfully,
"before you go--you don't know where?"
"Yes," she said, turning her eyes upon him for just an instant, "a little
while--before I go--I don't know where."
But though she was going--she didn't know where--though she was giving
up--seemed conquered--through all the uncertainty and the sadness there
surged a strange new joy in their hearts as, very slowly, they walked
that final block.
At the door, after a moment's full silence, she held out her hand. "And
you'll be down there--mending boats?"
He nodded, his eyes going where words had not ventured.
"And you'll--come and see me?" she asked shyly. "You don't mean, do
you,"--looking away, as if with scarcely the courage to say it--"that I'm
"No, Katie," he said, and his voice was shaking, "I think you must know I
do not mean you are to--stop everything."
As they lingered for a final moment, they were alone--far out in the
sweet wild new places of the spirit; and all that man had ever yearned
for, all joy that had been given and all joy denied seemed as a rich
sea--fathomless sea--swelling just beneath that sweet wild new thing that
had fluttered to consciousness in their hearts.
The new life in her heart gave her new courage that night to look out at
life. She faced what before that she had evaded consciously facing.
Perhaps they would not find Ann at all. Perhaps Ann had given up--as they
were giving up. Perhaps Ann was not there to be found.
It was her fight against that fear had kept her so much in the crowds.
Ann was there. She had only to find her. Leaving the crowds seemed to be
admitting that Ann was not in them; for if she really felt she was in
them, surely she would not consent to leaving them.
That idea of Ann's not being there was as a shadow which had from time to
time crept beside her. In the crowds she lost it. There were so many in
the crowds. Ann, too, was in the crowds. She had only to stay in them and
she must find her.
Now she was leaving them; and it was he who understood the crowds was
telling her to leave them. Did _he_ think she was not there? Why had she
not had the courage to press it? There was so much they should have been
talking of in those last blocks--and they had talked of nothing.
But the new warmth flooded Katie's heart at thought of having talked of
nothing. What was there to talk about so important as talking of
nothing? In a new way it drew her back to the crowds; the crowds that
talked so loudly of many unlovely things in order to still in their
hearts that call for the loveliness of talking of nothing.
It gave her new understanding of Ann. Ann was one who must rest in the
wonder of talking of nothing. It was for that she had gone down. The
world had destroyed her for the very thing for which life loved
her--Katie joining with the world.
She would not have done that to-night. To-night, in the face of all the
world, she must have joined with life.
She wondered if all along it was not the thing for which she had most
loved Ann. This shy new thing in her own heart seemed revealing Ann. It
was kin to her, and to Katie's feeling for her.
Many times she had wondered why she cared so terribly, would ask herself,
as she could hear her friends asking if they knew: "But does it matter so
much as all this?"
She had never been able to make clear to herself why it mattered so
much--mattered more than anything else mattered. None of the reasons
presenting themselves on the surface were commensurate to the depth of
the feeling. To-night she wondered if deep below all else might not lie
that thing of Ann's representing life, her failure with Ann meaning
infidelity to life.
It turned her to Ann's letter;--she had not had the courage to read it
for a number of days.
"Katie," Ann had written, "I'm writing to try and show you that you were
not all wrong. That there was something there. And I'm not doing it for
myself, Katie. I'm doing it for you.
"If I can just forget I'm writing about myself, feel instead that I'm
writing about somebody you've cared for, believed in, somebody who has
disappointed and hurt you, trying to show you--for _your_ sake--if I
don't mind being either egotistical or terrible for the sake of
"It's not _me_ that matters, Katie--it's what you thought of me. That's
why I'm writing.
"I never could talk to you right. For a long time I couldn't talk at all,
and then that night I talked most of the night I didn't tell the real
things, after all. And at the last I told you something I knew would hurt
you without telling you the things that might keep it from hurting,
without saving for you the things you had thought you saw. I don't know
why I did that--desperate, I suppose, because it was all spoiled, frantic
because I was helpless to keep it from being spoiled. And then I said
things to _you_--that must show--And yet, Katie, as long as I'm trying to
be honest I've got to say again, though all differently, that I was
surprised--shocked, I suppose, at something in the way you looked. It's
just a part of your world that I don't understand. It's as I told
you--we've lived in different worlds. Things--some things--that seem all
right in yours--well, it's just surprising that you should think them all
right. In your world the way you do things seems to matter so much more
than what you do.
"I've gone, Katie, and as far as I'm concerned it's what has to be. You
see you couldn't fit me in. The only thing I can do for you now is
to--stay gone. You'll feel badly--oh, I know that--but in the end it
won't be as bad as trying to fit me in, trying to keep it up. And I can't
have you doing things for me in another way--as you'd want
to--because--it's hard to explain just what I mean, but after I've been
Ann I couldn't be just somebody you were helping. It meant too much to me
to be Ann to become just a girl you're good to.
"What I'd rather do--want this letter to do--is keep for you that idea of
Ann--memory of her.
"So that's why I want to tell you about some things that really were Ann.
I haven't any more right to you, but I want you to know you have some
right to her.
"I told you that I was standing on the corner, and that he asked me to
get in the automobile, and that I did, and that that--began it. It was
true. It was one way to put it. I'll try and put it another way.
"It isn't even fair to him, putting it that way. You know, of course,
that he's not in the habit of asking girls on corners to go with him. I
think--there at the first--he was sorry for me. I think it was what you
would call an impulse and that being sorry for me had more to do with it
than anything else.
"And I know I wasn't fair to myself when I put it that way; and you
weren't fair to me when you called it common and low. That's what I want
to try and show you--that it wasn't that.
"It was in the warm weather. It had been a hot, hard day. Oh they were
all hot, hard days. I didn't feel well. I made mistakes. I was scolded
for it. I quarreled with one of the girls about washing my hands! She
said she was there before I was and that I took the bowl. We said hateful
things to each other, grew furious about it. We were both so tired--the
day had been so hot--
"Out on the street I was so ashamed. It seemed _that_ was what life
had come to.
"That afternoon I got something that was going over the wire. You get so
tired you don't care what's going over the wire--you aren't alive enough
to care--but I just happened to be let in to this--a man's voice talking
to the girl he loved. I don't remember what he was saying, but his voice
told that there were such things in the world--and girls they were for.
One glimpse of a beautiful country--to one in a desert. I don't know,
perhaps that's why I talked that way to the other poor girl who was
tired--perhaps that's why I went in the automobile.
"I had to ride a long way on the street car to get where I boarded. I had
to stand up--packed in among a lot of people who were hot and tired
too--the smell so awful--everything so _ugly_.
"I had to transfer. That's where I was when I first saw him--standing on
the corner waiting for the other car.
"Something was the matter--it was a long time coming. I was so
tired, Katie, as I stood there waiting. Tired of having it all going
over the wire.
"He was doing something to his automobile. I didn't pay any attention at
first--then I realized he was just fooling with the automobile--and was
looking at me.
"And then he took my breath away by stepping up to me and raising his
hat. I had never had a man raise his hat to me in that way--
"And then he said--and his voice was low--and like the voices in your
world are--I hadn't heard them before, except on the wire--'I beg
pardon--I trust I'm not offensive. But you seem so tired. You're waiting
for a car? It doesn't appear to be coming. Why not ride with me instead?
I'll take you where you want to go. Though I wish'--it was like the voice
on the wire--and for _me_--'that you'd let me take you for a ride.'
"Katie, _you_ called him charming. You told about the women in your world
being in love with him. If he's charming to them--to you--what do you
suppose he seemed to me as he stood there smiling at me--looking so sorry
"He went on talking. He drew a beautiful picture of what we would do. We
would ride up along the lake. There would be a breeze from the lake, he
said. And way up there he knew a place where we could sit out of doors
under trees and eat our dinner and listen to beautiful music. Didn't I
think that might be nice?
"Didn't I think it might be--_nice?_ Oh Katie--you'd have to know what
that day had been--what so many days--all days--had been.
"I looked down the street. The car was coming at last--packed--men
hanging on outside--everybody looking so hot--so dreadful. 'Oh you
mustn't get in that car,' he said.
"Beautiful things were beckoning to me--things I was to be taken to in an
automobile--I had never been in an automobile. It seemed I was being
rescued, carried away to a land of beautiful things, far away from
crowded street cars, from the heat and the work that make you do things
you hate yourself for doing.
"_Was_ it so common, Katie? So low? What I felt wasn't--what I dreamed as
we went along that beautiful drive beside the lake.
"For I dreamed that the city of dreadful things was being left behind.
The fairy prince had come for me. He was taking me to the things of
dreams, things which lately had seemed to slip out beyond even dreams.
"It was just as he had said--A little table under a tree--a breeze from
the lake--music--the lovely things to eat and the beautiful happy people.
Of course I wasn't dressed as much as they were, so we sat at a little
table half hidden in one corner--Oh I thought it was so wonderful!
"And he saw I thought it wonderful and that interested him, pleased him.
Maybe it was new to him. I think he likes things that are new to him.
Anyhow, he was very gentle and lovely to me that night. He told me I was
beautiful--that nothing in the world had ever been so beautiful as my
eyes. You know how he would say it, the different ways he would have of
saying it beautifully. And I want to say again--if it seems beautiful to
you--Why, Katie, I had never had anything.
"Going home he kissed me--
"When I went home that night the world was all different. The world was
too wonderful for even thoughts. Too beautiful to believe it could be
"I was in the arms of the wonderful new beauty of the world. Something in
my heart which had been crouching down afraid and cold and sad grew warm
and live and glad. Life grew so lovely; and as the days went on I think I
grew lovely too. He said so; said love was making me radiant--that I was
wonderful--that I was a child of love.
"Those days when I was in the dream, folded in the dream, days before any
of it fell away, they were golden days, singing days--days there are no
"We saw each other often. He said business kept him away from Chicago
much of the time. I didn't know he was in the army; I suppose now he
belonged in some place near there. And I think you told me he was not
married. He said he was--but was going to be divorced some day. But I
didn't seem to care--didn't think much about it. Nothing really mattered
except the love.
"Then there came a time when I knew I was trying to keep a door
shut--keep the happiness in and the thoughts out. It wasn't that I came
to think it was wrong. But the awful fear that wanted to get into my
heart was that it was _not_ beautiful.
"And it wasn't beautiful because to him it wasn't beautiful. It was
only--what shall I say--would there be such a thing as usurping beauty?
That was the thought--the fear--I tried and tried to push away. I see I
can't tell it; no matter how much we may want to tell everything--no
matter how willing we are--there are things can't be told, so I'll just
have to say that things happened that forced the door open, and I had to
know that what to me was--oh what shall I say, Katie?--was like the
prayer at the heart of a dream--didn't, to him, have anything to do with
dreams, or prayers, or beautiful, far-away things that speak to you from
"And having nothing to do with them, he seemed to be pushing them away,
crowding them out, hurting them.
"I haven't told it at all. I can't. But, Katie, you're in the army, you
must admire courage and I want you to take my word for it when I tell you
I did what it took courage to do. I think you'd let me live on in your
heart as Ann if you knew what I gave up--and just for something all dim
and distant I had no assurance I'd ever come near to. For oh, Katie--when
you love love--need it--it's not so easy to let go what's the closest
you've come to it. Not so easy to turn from the most beautiful thing
you've known--just because something _very far away_ whispers to you that
you're hurting beauty.
"I didn't go back. One night my Something Somewhere called me away--and
I left the only real thing I had--and I didn't go back. I don't
know--maybe I'm overestimating myself--perhaps I'm just measuring it by
the suffering--but it seems to me, Katie, that you needn't despise
yourself when loneliness can't take you back to the substitutes offered
for your Something Somewhere. Something in you had been brave; something
in you has been faithful--and what you've actually _done_ doesn't matter
much in comparison with that.
"I've been writing most of the day. It's evening now, and I'm tired. I
was going to tell more. Tell you of things that happened afterward--tell
you why you found me where you did find me. But now I don't believe I
want to tell those things. They're too awful. They'd hurt you--haunt you.
And that's not what I want to do. What I want is to make you understand,
and if the part I've told hasn't done that--
"'I think it was to save Ann you were going to give up Verna,' you said.
Oh Katie--how did you know? How _do_ you know?
"And then you called to me. You weren't sick at all--were you, Katie? Oh
I soon guessed that it was the wonderful goodness of your heart--not the
disease of it--caused that 'attack.'
"Then those beautiful days began. I wanted to talk about what those days
meant--what you meant--what our play--our dream meant. Things I thought
that I never said--how proud I was you should want to make up those
stories about me--how I wanted to _be_ the things you said I was--and oh,
Katie dear, the trouble you got me into by loving to tell those
stories--telling one to one man and another to another! I'd never known
any one full of _play_ like you--yet play that is so much more than just
play. Sometimes a picture of Centralia would come to me when I'd hear you
telling about my having lived in Florence. Sometimes when I was listening
to stories of things you and I had done in Italy I'd see that old place
where I used to put suspenders in boxes--! Katie, how strange it all was.
How did it happen that things you made up were things I had dreamed about
without really knowing what I was dreaming? How wonderful you were,
Katie--how good--to put me in the things of my dreams rather than the
things of my life. The world doesn't do that for us.
"It seems a ridiculous thing to be mentioning, when I owe you so many
things too wonderful to mention--but you know I do owe you some money. I
took what was in my purse. I hope I can pay it back. I'm so tired just
now it doesn't seem to me I ever can--but if I don't, don't associate it
with my not paying back the missionary money!
"Katie, do you know how I'd like to pay you back? I'd like to give you
the most beautiful things I've ever dreamed. And I hope that some of
them, at least, are waiting somewhere--and not very far off--for you. How
I used to love to hear you laugh--watch you play your tricks on
people--so funny and so dear--
"Now that's over. Katie, I don't believe it's all my fault, and I know
it's not yours. It's our two worlds. You see you _couldn't_ fit me in.
"I used to be afraid it must end like that. Yet most of the time I felt
so secure--that was the wonder of you--that you could make me so
beautifully secure. And your brother, Katie, have you told him? I don't
care if you do, only if you tell him anything, won't you try and make him
understand everything? I couldn't bear it to think he might think me--oh
those things I don't believe you really think me.
"If you don't see me any more, you won't think those things. It's easier
to understand when things are all over. It's easier to forgive people who
are not around. After what's happened I couldn't be Ann if I were with
you. That's spoiled. But if _I_ go--I think maybe Ann can stay. For both
our sakes, that's what I want.
"'Twas a lovely dream, Katie. The house by the river--the big trees--the
big flag that waved over us--the pretty dresses--the lovely way of
living--the dogs--the men who were always so nice to us--Last night I
dreamed you and Worth and I were going to a wedding. That is, it started
out to be a wedding--then it seemed it was a funeral. But you were
saying such funny things about the funeral, Katie. Then I woke up--"
The letter broke off there.
The next morning Katie did something which it had been in her mind to do
for some time. She went to Centralia.
It was not that she expected Centralia to furnish any information about
Ann. It was hard to say just why she was so certain Ann had not gone back
to Centralia. The conviction had something to do with her belief in Ann.
Centralia, however, might be an avenue to something. Furthermore, she
wanted to see Centralia. That was part of her passion for seeing the
thing as a whole, realizing it. And she had a suspicion that if anything
remained to forgive Ann it would be forgiven after seeing Centralia.
And back of all that lurked the longing to tell Ann's father what she
thought of him.
Katie was in a strange mood that day. She had read Ann's letter many
times, but had never finished it with that poignantly personal heartache
of the night before. It was as if she were not worthy that new thing
which kept warm in her own heart. For she had been hostile to the very
thing from which the warmth in her own heart drew. The sadness deepened
in the thought that the great hosts of the world's people sheltered joy
in their own hearts and hardened those very hearts against all to whom
love came less fortunately than it had come to them. How could there be
'hope for the world, no matter what it might do about its material
affairs, while heart closed against heart like that, while men and women
drew their own portions of joy and shut themselves in with them, refusing
to see that they were one with all who drew, or would draw. It seemed the
most cruel, the most wrong thing of all the world that men--and above
all, women--should turn their most unloving face upon the face of love.
Of which things she thought again as she passed various Centralias
and wondered if there were Anns longing for love in all those
She came at last, after crossing a long stretch of nothingness, to the
town where Ann had lived, town from which she had gone forth to hear
grand opera and find the loveliness of life. But as she stepped from the
train and approached a group of men lounging at the station it came to
her that "Ann's father," particularly as Ann had not been Ann in
Centralia, was a somewhat indefinite person to be inquiring for.
After a moment's consideration she approached the man who looked newest
to his profession and asked how many churches there were in Centralia.
Thereupon one man beat open retreat and all viewed her with suspicion.
But the man of her choice was a brave man and ventured to guess that
there were four.
One of his comrades held that there were five. A discussion ensued
closing with the consensus of opinion in favor of the greater number.
Then Katie explained her predicament; she wanted to find a man who was a
minister in Centralia and she didn't know his name. Reassured, they
gathered round interestedly. Was he young or old? Katie cautiously placed
him in the forties or fifties. Then they guessed and reckoned that it
couldn't be either the Reverend Lewis or that new fellow at the Baptist.
Was he--would she say he was one to be kind of easy on a fellow, or did
she think he took his religion pretty hard?
Katie was forced to admit that she feared he took it hard. With that they
were agreed to a man that it must be the Reverend Saunders.
She was thereupon directed to the residence of the Reverend Saunders.
Right down there was a restaurant with a sign in the window "Don't Pass
By." But she was to pass by. Then there was the church said "Welcome."
No, that was not the Reverend Saunders' church. It was the church where
she turned to the right. She could turn to the left, but, on the whole,
it would be better to turn to the right--It would all have been quite
simple had it not been for the fullness of the directions.
She took it that the fullness of their directions was in proportion to
the emptiness of their lives.
As she walked slowly along she appreciated what Ann had said of the
town's being walled in by nothingness--the people walled in by
nothingness. Her two blocks on "Main Street" showed her Centralia as a
place of petty righteousness and petty vice. There was nothing so large
and flexible as the real joys of either righteousness or unrighteousness.
Nor was Centralia picturesquely desolate. It had not that quality of
hopelessness which lures to melancholy. New houses were going up. The
last straw was that Centralia was "growing."
And it was on those streets that a lonely little girl with deep brown
eyes and soft brown hair had dreamed of a Something Somewhere.
As she turned in at the residence of the Reverend Saunders Katie was
newly certain that Ann had not come back to Centralia. It seemed the one
disappointment in Ann she was not prepared to bear would be to find that
she had returned to the home of her youth.
Katie had been shown into the parlor. She was sitting in a rocking chair
which "squeaked"--her smartly shod foot resting on a pale blue rose--the
pale blue rose being in the carpet. The carpet also squeaked--or the
papers underneath it did. On the table beside her was a large and ornate
Bible, an equally splendid album, and something called "Stepping
Oh no--Ann had not come back. She knew that before she asked.
Ann's father was a tall, thin man with small gray eyes. "Thin lips that
shut together tight"--she recalled that. And the kind of beard that is
unalterably associated with self-righteousness.
It was clear he did not know what to make of Katie. She was wearing a
linen suit which had vague suggestions of the world, the flesh, and the
devil. She had selected it that morning with considerable care. Likewise
the shoes! And the angle of the quill in Katie's hat stirred in him the
same suspicion and aggression which his beard stirred in her.
Thus viewing each other across seas of prejudice, separated, as it
were, by all the experiences of the human race, they began to speak of
Ann and of life.
"I am a friend of your daughter's," was Katie's opening.
It startled him, stirring something on the borderland of the human. Then
he surveyed Katie anew and shut his lips together more tightly. It was
evidently just what he had expected his daughter to come to.
"And I came," said Katie, "to ask if you had any idea where she was."
That reached even farther into the border-country. He sat forward--his
lips relaxed. "Don't _you_ know?"
"No--I don't know. She was living with me, and she went away."
That recalled his own injury. He sat back and folded his arms. "She was
living with _me_--and she went away. No, I know nothing of her
whereabouts. My daughter saw fit to leave her father's house--under
circumstances that bowed his head in shame. She has not seen fit to
return, or to give information of her whereabouts. I have tried to serve
my God all my days," said the Reverend Saunders; "I do not know why this
should have been visited upon me. But His ways are inscrutable. His
purpose is not revealed."
"No," said Katie crisply, "I should say not."
He expressed his condemnation of the relation of manner to subject by a
compression of both eyes and lips. That, Katie supposed, was the way he
had looked when he told Ann her dog had been sent away.
"Did you ever wonder," she asked, with real curiosity, "how in the world
you happened to have such a daughter?"
"I have many times taken it up in prayer," was his response.
Katie sat there viewing him and looking above his head at the motto "God
Is Love." She wondered if Ann had had to work it.
It was the suggestion in the motto led her to ask: "Tell me, have you
really no idea, have you never had so much as a suspicion of why Ann
"Who?" he asked sharply.
"Your daughter. Her friends call her Ann."
"Her name," said he uncompromisingly, "is Maria."
Katie smiled slightly. Maria, as he uttered it, squeaked distressingly.
"Be that as it may. But have you really no notion of why she went away?"
She was looking at him keenly. After a moment his eyes fell, or
rather, lifted under the look. "She had a good home--a God-fearing
home," he said.
But Katie did not let go her look. He had to come back to it, and he
shifted. Did he have it in him remotely, unavowedly, to suspect?
It would seem so, for he continued his argument, as if meeting
something. He repeated that she had a good home. He enumerated her
But when he paused it was to find Katie looking at him in just the
same way. It forced him to an unwilling, uneasy: "What more could a
"What she wanted," said Katie passionately, "was life."
The word spoken as Katie spoke it had suggestion of unholy things. "But
God is life," he said.
Suddenly Katie's eyes blazed. "God! Well it's my opinion that you know
just as little about _Him_ as you do about 'life.'"
It was doubtless the most dumbfounded moment of the Reverend Saunders'
life. His jaw dropped. But only to come together the tighter. "Young
woman," said he, "I am a servant of God. I have served Him all my days."
"Heaven pity Him!" said Katie, and rocked and her chair squeaked
He rose. "I cannot permit such language to be used in my house."
Katie gave no heed. "I'll tell you why your daughter left. She left
because you _starved_ her.
"Above your head is a motto. The motto says, 'God Is Love.' I could
almost fancy somebody hung that in this house as a _joke_!
"You see you don't know anything about love. That's why you don't know
anything about God--or life--or Ann.
"In this universe of mysterious things," Katie went on, "it so
happened--as you have remarked, God's ways are indeed inscrutable--that
unto you was born a child ordained for love."
She paused, held herself by the mystery of that.
And as she contemplated the mystery of it her wrath against him fell
strangely away. Telling him what she thought of him suddenly ceased to be
the satisfying thing she had anticipated. It was all too mysterious.
It grew so large and so strange that it did not seem a matter the
Reverend Saunders had much to do with it. Telling him what she
thought of him was not the thing interesting her then. What
interested her was wondering why he was as he was. How it had all
happened. What it all meant.
Her wondering almost drew her to him; certainly it gave her a new
approach. "Oh isn't it a pity!" was what Katie said next. And there was
pain and feeling and almost sympathy in her voice as she repeated, "Isn't
it a pity!"
He, too, spoke differently--more humanly. "Isn't--what a pity?"
"That we bungle it so! That we don't seem to know anything about
"Why I suppose you _didn't_ know--you simply didn't have it _in_ you to
know--that the way she needed to serve God was by laughing and dancing!"
He was both outraged and drawn. He neither rebuked nor agreed. He waited.
"You see it was this way. You were one thing; she was another thing. And
neither of you had any way of getting at the thing that the other was. So
you just grew more intolerant in the things _you_ were, and that, I
suppose, is the way hearts are broken and lives are spoiled."
Her eyes had filled. It had drawn her back to her mood of the morning.
"Doesn't it seem to you," she asked gently of the Reverend Saunders,
"that it's just an awful pity?"
The Reverend Saunders did not reply. But he was not looking at Katie's
quill or Katie's shoes. He was looking at Katie's wet eyes.
And Katie, as they sat there for a moment in silence, was not seeing him
alone as the Reverend Saunders. She was seeing him as product of
something which had begun way back across the centuries, seeing far back
of the Reverend Saunders that spirit of intolerance which had shaped
him--wrung him dry--spirit which in the very beginning had lost the
meaning of those words which hung above the Reverend Saunders' head.
It seemed a childish thing to be blaming the Reverend Saunders for the
things the centuries had made him.
Indeed, she no longer felt like "blaming" any one. Sorrow which comes
through seeing leaves small room for blame.
Katie did not know as much about the history of mankind as she now wished
she did--as she meant to know!--but there did open to her a glimpse of
the havoc wrought by the forerunners of the Reverend Saunders--of all the
children of love blighted in the name of a God of love.
She had risen. And as she looked at him again she was sorry for him.
Sterility of the heart seemed a thing for pity rather than scorn. "I'm
sorry for you," she spoke it. "Oh I'm sorry for us all! We all bungle it!
We're all in the grip of dead things, aren't we? Do you suppose it will
ever be any different?"
And still he looked, not at the quill or the shoes, but the eyes, eyes
which seemed sorrowing with all the love sorrows of the centuries. "Young
woman," he said uncertainly, "you puzzle me."
"I puzzle myself," said Katie, and wiped her eyes and laughed a little,
thinking of the scornful exit she had meant to make after telling him
what she thought of him.
She retraced her steps and waited for two hours at the station,
reconstructing for herself Ann's girlhood in Centralia and thinking
larger thoughts of the things which spoiled girlhoods, the pity of it
all. And it seemed that even self-righteousness was not wholly to blame.
Katie felt a little lonely in losing her scorn of "goodness." She had so
enjoyed hating the godly. If even they were to be gently grouped with the
wicked as more to be pitied than hated, then whom would one hate?
Did knowing--seeing--spoil hating? And was all hating to go when
all men saw?
At the last minute she had a fight with herself to keep from going back
and refunding the missionary money! The missionary money worried Katie.
She wanted it paid back. But she saw that it was not her paying it back
would satisfy her. She even felt that she had no right to pay it back.
She returned to Chicago to find that her uncle was in town. He had left a
message asking her to join him for dinner over at his hotel.
It was pleasant to be dining with her uncle that night. The best
possible antidote she could think of for Ann's father was her dear uncle
As she watched him ordering their excellent dinner she wondered what he
would think of Ann's father. She could hear him calling Centralia a
God-forsaken spot and Ann's father a benighted fossil. Doubtless he would
speak of the Reverend Saunders as a type fast becoming obsolete. "And the
quicker the better," she could hear him add.
But she fancied that the Reverend Saunderses of the world had yet a long
course to run in the Centralias of the world. She feared that many Anns
had yet to go down before them.
At any rate, her uncle was not that. To-night Katie loved him anew for
his delightful worldliness.
Though he was not in his best form that night. He was on his way out to
Colorado for the marriage of his son. "There was no doing anything about
it," he said with a sigh. "My office has made me enough the diplomat,
Katherine, to know when to quit trying. So I'm going out there--fearful
trip--why it's miles from Denver--to do all I can to respectablize the
affair. It seemed to me a trifle inconsiderate--in view of the effort
I'm making--that they could not have waited until next month; there are
things calling me to Denver then. Now what shall I do there all that
time?--though I may run on to California. But it seems my daughter-in-law
would have her honeymoon in the mountains while the aspens are just a
certain yellow she's fond of. So of course"--with his little shrug Katie
loved--"what's my having a month on my hands?"
"Well, uncle, dear uncle," she laughed, "hast forgotten the days when
nothing mattered so much as having the leaves the right shade of yellow?"
"I have not--and trust I never will," he replied, with a touch of
asperity; "but I feel that Fred has shown very little consideration for
"But why, uncle? I'm strong for her! She sounds to me like just what our
He gave her a glance over his glasses--that delighted Katie, too; she had
long ago learned that when her uncle felt occasion demand he look like a
bishop he lowered his chin and looked over his glasses.
"Well our family may need something; it's the first intimation I've had,
Katherine, that it's in distress--but I don't see that a young woman who
votes is the crying need of the family."
"She's in great luck," returned Katie, "to live in a State where she
He held up his hands. "_Katie? You_?"
"Oh I haven't prowled around this town all summer, uncle, without seeing
things that women ought to be voting about."
He stared at her. "Well, Katie, you--you don't mean to take it up, do
He looked so unhappy that she laughed. "Oh I don't know, uncle, what I
mean to 'take up,' but I herewith serve notice that I'm going to take
something up--something besides bridge and army gossip."
She looked at him reflectively. "Uncle, does it ever come home to you
that life's a pretty serious business?"
"Well I hadn't wanted it to come home to me tonight," he sighed
plaintively. "I'm really most upset about this unfortunate affair. I had
thought that you, Katie, would be pleasant."
"Forgive me," she laughed. "I can see how it must disturb you, uncle, to
hear me express a serious thought."
He laughed at her delightedly. He loved Katie. "You've got the fidgets,
Katie. Just the fidgets. That's what's the matter with the whole lot of
you youngsters. It's becoming an epidemic--a sort of spiritual measles.
Though I must say, I hadn't expected you to catch it. And just a word of
warning, Katie. You've always been so unique as a trifler that one rather
hates to see you swallowed up in the troop of serious-minded young women.
I was talking to Darrett the other day--charming fellow, Darrett--and he
held that your charm was in your brilliant smile. I told him I hadn't
thought so much about the brilliant smile, but that I knew a good deal
about a certain impish grin. Katie, you have a very disreputable grin.
You have a way of directing it at me across ponderous drawing-rooms that
I wish you'd stop. It gives me a sort of--'Oh I am on to you, uncle old
boy' feeling that is most--"
He looked at her, humorously and yet meditatively--fondly. "Katie, why
do you think it's so funny? Why does it make you want to grin?"
"You know. Else you wouldn't read the grin."
"But I don't know. Nobody else grins at me."
"Oh don't you think we're a good deal of a joke, uncle?"
"Us. The solemnity with which we take ourselves and the way the world
lets us do it."
He laughed. Then, as one coming back to his lines: "You have no
"No, neither have you. That's why we get on."
He made an unsuccessful attempt at frowning upon her and surveyed her a
little more seriously. "Katie, do you know that the things you say
sometimes puzzle me. They're queer. They burrow. They're so insultingly
knowing, down at the root of their unknowingness. I'll think--'She didn't
know how "pat" that was'--and then as I consider it I'll think--'Yes,
she did, only she didn't know that she knew.' I remember telling your
mother once when you were a little girl that if you were going to sit
through service with your head cocked in that knowing fashion I wished
she'd leave you at home."
Katie laughed and cocked her head at him again, just to show she had not
forgotten. Then she fell serious.
"Uncle, for a long time I only smiled. I seemed to know enough to do
that. Do you think you could bear it with Christian fortitude if I
were to tell you I'm beginning now to try and figure out what I was
He shook his head. "'Twould spoil it."
He looked at his niece and smiled as he asked: "Katie dear, are you
becoming world weary?" Katie, very smart that night in white gown and
black hat, appealed to him as distinctly humorous in the role of world
"No," returned Katie, "not world weary; just weary of not knowing
Afterward in his room they chatted cheerfully of many things: family
affairs, army and church affairs. Katie strove to keep to them as merely
But there were no merely personal matters any more. All the little things
were paths to the big things. There was no way of keeping herself
detached. Even the seemingly isolated topic of the recent illness of the
Bishop's wife led full upon the picture of other people she had been
seeing that summer who looked ill.
Her uncle was telling of a case he had recently disposed of, a rector of
his diocese who was guilty of an atheistic book. He spoke feelingly of
what he called the shallowness of rationalism, of the dangers of the age,
beautifully of that splendid past which the church must conserve. He told
of some lectures he himself was to deliver on the fallacies of socialism.
"It's honeycombing our churches, Katherine--yes, and even the army.
Darrett tells me they've found it's spreading among the men. Nice state
of affairs were we to have any sort of industrial war!"
It was hard for Katie to keep silence, but she felt so sadly the lack of
assurance arising from lack of knowledge. Well, give her a little time,
she would fix that!
She contented herself with asking if he anticipated an industrial war.
The Bishop made a large gesture and said he hoped not, but he felt it a
time for the church to throw all her forces to safeguarding the great
heritage of the country's institutions. He especially deplored that the
church itself did not see it more clearly, more unitedly. He mentioned
fellow bishops who seemed to be actually encouraging inroads upon
tradition. Where did they expect it to lead?--he demanded.
"Perhaps," meekly suggested Katie, "they expect it to lead to growth."
"Growth!" snorted the Bishop. "Destruction!"
They passed to the sunnier subject of raising money. As regards the
budget, Bishop Wayneworth was the church's most valued servant. His
manner of good-humored tolerance gave Mammon a soothing sense of being
understood, moving the much maligned god to reach for its check book,
just to bear the friendly bishop out in his lenient interpretation of a
certain text about service rendered in two directions.
He was telling of a fund he expected to raise at a given time. If he did,
a certain capitalist would duplicate it. The Bishop became jubilant at
And as they talked, there passed before Katie, as in review, the things
she had seen that summer--passed before her the worn faces of those
girls who night after night during the hot summer had come from the
stores and factories where the men of whom her uncle was so jubilantly
speaking made the money which they were able to subscribe to the church.
She thought of her uncle's church; she could not recall having seen many
such faces in the pews of that church. She thought of Ann--wondered where
Ann might be that night while she and her uncle chatted so cheerfully in
his pleasant room at his luxurious hotel. She tried to think of anything
for which her uncle stood which would give her confidence in saying to
herself, "Ann will be saved." The large sum of money over which he was
gloating was to be used for a new cathedral. She wondered if the Anns of
her uncle's city would find the world a safer or a sweeter place after
that cathedral had been erected. She thought of Ann's world of the opera
and world of work. Was it true--as the man who mended the boats would
hold--that the one made the other possible--only to be excluded from it?
And all the while there swept before her faces--faces seen in the crowd,
faces of those who were not finding what they wanted, faces of all those
to whom life denied life. And then Katie thought of a man who had lived &
long time before, a man of whom her uncle spoke lovingly in his sermons
as Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. She thought of Ann's
father--how far he had gone from a religion of love. Then came back to
her lovable uncle. Well, what of him?
Charm of personality, a sense of humor, a comfortable view of living (for
himself and his kind) did not seem the final word.
"Uncle," Katie asked quietly, "do you ever think much about Christ?"
In his astonishment the Bishop dropped his cigar.
"What a strange man he must have been," she murmured.
"Kindly explain yourself," said he curtly.
"He seemed to think so much about people. Just people. And chiefly people
who were down on their luck. I don't believe he would have been much good
at raising money. He had such a queer way of going around where people
worked, talking with them about their work. If he were here now, and were
to do that, I wonder if he'd help much in 'stemming the rising tide of
socialism' What a blessing it is for our institutions," Katie concluded,
"that he's not anywhere around."
The Bishop's hand shook. "I had not expected," he said, "that my own
niece, my favorite niece--indeed, the favorite member of my family--was
here to--revile me."
"Uncle--forgive me! But isn't it bigger than that thing of being members
of the same family--hurting each other's feelings? Oh uncle!" she burst
forth, no longer able to hold back, "as you stand sometimes at the altar
don't you hear them moaning and sobbing down underneath?"
He looked at her sharply, with some alarm.
"Oh no," she laughed, "not going crazy. Just trying to think a little
about things. But don't you ever hear them, uncle? I should think they
might--bother you sometimes."
"Really, Katherine," he said stiffly, "this is most--annoying. Hear whom
moaning and sobbing?"
"Those people! The worn out shop girls and broken down men and women and
diseased children that your church is built right on top of!"
Not the words but the sob behind them moved him to ask gently: "Katie
dear, what is it? What's the trouble?"
Her eyes were swimming. "Uncle--it's the misery of the world! It's the
people who aren't where they belong! It's the lives ruined through
blunders--it's the cruelty--the needless _cruelty_ of it all." She leaned
forward, the tears upon her cheeks. "Uncle, how can you? You have a
mind--a kind heart. But what good are they? If you believe the things you
say you believe--oh you think you believe them--but you don't seem to
connect them. Here to-night we've been talking about the forms of the
church--finances of the church--and humanity is in _need_, uncle--bodily
need--and oh the _heart_ need! Why don't you go and see? Why you've only
to look! What are your puny little problems of the church compared with
people's lives? And yet you--cut off--detached--save in so far as feeding
on them goes--claim to be following in the footsteps of a man who
followed in _their_ footsteps--a man who went about seeing how people
lived--finding out what troubled them--trying--" She sank back with a
sob. "I didn't mean to--but I simply _can't understand it._ Can't
understand how you _can_."
She hid her face. _Those faces_--they passed and passed.
He had risen and was walking about the room. After a moment he stopped
and cleared his throat. "If I didn't think, Katherine, that something had
happened to almost derange you, I should not have permitted you to
continue these ravings."
She raised her head defiantly. "Truths people don't want to hear are
usually disposed of as ravings!"
"Now if I may be permitted a word. Your indictment is not at all new,
though your heat in making it would indicate you believed yourself to be
saying something never said before--"
"I know it's been said before! I'm more interested in knowing how it's
"You have never seemed sufficiently interested in the affairs of the
church, Katherine, for one to think of seriously discussing our charities
"Uncle, do you know what your charities make me think of?"
He had resumed his chair--and cigar. "No," he said coldly, "I do not
know what they make you 'think of.' I was attempting to tell you what
"I know what they are. The idea that comes to my mind has a rather
"Oh, pray do not hesitate, Katherine. You have not been speaking what I
would call delicately."
"Your charities are like waving a scented handkerchief over the
stock-yards. Or like handing out after-dinner mints to a mob of
"You're quite the wrong end there--as is usual with you agitators," he
replied comfortably. "We don't give them mints. We give them soup."
"_Giving_ them soup--even if you did--is the mint end. Why don't you give
He spread out his hands in gesture of despair. "What a bore a little
learning can make of one! My dear niece, I deeply regret to be compelled
to inform you that there aren't 'jobs' enough to go around."
"Why aren't there?"
"Why the obvious reason would seem, Katie," he replied patiently, "that
there are too many of them wanting them."
"And as usual, the obvious reason is not it. There are too many of you
and me--that's the trouble. They don't have the soup because they must
furnish us the mints." It was Katie who had risen now and was walking
about the room. Her cheeks were blazing. "I tell you, uncle, I feel it's
a disgrace the way we live--taking everything and doing nothing. I feel
positively cheap about it. The army and the church and all the other
"I do not agree with you that the army is useless and I certainly cannot
permit you to say the church is."
"You'll not be able to stop other people from saying it!"
He seemed about to make heated reply, but instead sank back with an
amused smile. "Katie, your learning sounds very suspiciously as though
it were put on last night. I feel like putting up a sign--'Fresh
"Well at any rate it's not mouldy!"
"At college I roomed with a chap who had a way of discovering things,
getting in a fine glow of discovery over things everybody else had known.
He would wake me out of a sound sleep to tell me something I had heard
the week before."
"And it's trying to be waked out of a sound sleep, isn't it, uncle?" she
flashed back at him.
It ended with his kindly assuring her that he was glad she had begun to
think about the problems of the world; that no one knew better than he
that there was a social problem--and a grave one; that men of the church
had written some excellent things on the subject--he would send her some
of them. Indeed, he would be glad to do all in his power to help her to
a better understanding of things. He was convinced, he said soothingly,
that when she had gone a little farther into them she would see them
Katie was back home; or, more accurately, she was back at Wayne's
quarters, where they could perhaps remain for a month or two longer.
And craving some simple, natural thing, something that could not make the
heart ache, she went out that afternoon to play golf. The physical Kate,
Katie of the sound body, was delighted to be back playing golf. Every
little cell sang its song of rejoicing--rejoicing in emancipation from
the ill-smelling crowds, return to the open air and the good green earth.
It seemed a saving thing that they could so rejoice.
Katie was reading the little book on man's evolution which the man who
was having much to do with her evolution had--it seemed long ago--sent
her in the package marked "Danger." She had finished the book about women
and was just looking through the one on evolution on the day Caroline
Osborne's car had stopped at her door. That began a swift series of
events leaving small place for reading. But when, that last day they were
together in Chicago, she asked him about something to read, he suggested
a return to that book. There seemed wisdom and kindness in the
suggestion. The story of evolution was to the mind what the game of golf
was to the body. With the life about her pressing in too close there was
something freeing and saving in that glimpse of herself as part of all
the life there had ever been. Because the crowds had seemed the all--were
suffocating her--something in that vastness of vision was as fresh air
after a stifling room. It was not that it did away with the crowds--made
her think they did not matter; they were, after all, the more
vital--imperative--but she had more space in which to see them, was given
a chance to understand them rather than be blindly smothered by them.
For a number of years Katie had known that there was such a thing as
evolution. It had something to do with an important man named Darwin. He
got it up. It was the idea that we came from monkeys. The monkey was not
Katie's favorite animal and she would have been none too pleased with the
idea had it not been that there was something so delicious about solemn
people like her Aunt Elizabeth and proper people like Clara having come
from them. She was willing to stand it herself, just because if she came
from them they did, too. She had assumed all along that she believed in
Darwin and that people who did not believe in him were benighted. But the
chief reason she had for believing in him was that the church had not
believed in him. That was through neither malice nor conviction as
regards the church, but merely because it was exciting to have some one
disagreeing with it. It had thrilled her as "fearless," She had always
meant to find out more about evolution, she had a hazy idea that there
was a great deal more to it than just the fact of having come from
monkeys, but she led such a busy life--bridge and things--that there was
never time and so it remained a thing she believed in and was some day
going to find out about.
Now she was furious with herself and with everybody connected
with her for having lived so much of her life shut out from the
knowledge--vision--that made life so vast and so splendid. It was like
having lived all one's life in sight of the sea and being so busy walking
around a silly little lake in a park that there was no time to turn one's
face seaward. She wondered what she would think of a person who said the
little toy lake kept her so busy there was never a minute to turn around
and take a good look at the sea!
Katie had always loved the great world of living things--the fishes and
birds--all animals--all things that grew. They had always called to her
imagination--she used to make up stories about them. She saw now that
their real story was a thousand-fold more wonderful--more the story--than
anything she had been able to invent. She would give much to have known
it long before. She felt that she had missed much. There was something
humiliating in the thought of having lived one's life without knowing
what life was. It made one seem such a dead thing. Now she was on fire to
know all about it.
She smiled as it suggested to her what her uncle had said a few days
before of the fresh paint. She supposed there was some truth in it, that
one who was conserving the past must find something raw and ludicrous in
her state of mind. Her passion to fairly devour knowledge would probably
bring to many of them the same amused smile it had brought to her uncle.
But it was surprising how little she minded the smile. She was too intent
on the things she would devour.
Her glimpse into this actual story of life brought the first purely
religious feeling she had ever known. It even brought the missionary
fervor, which, as they sat down to rest, she exercised upon Worth, who
had been proudly filling the office of caddy. She told him that she was
going to tell him the most wonderful fairy story there had ever been in
the world. And the thing that made it most wonderful of all was that,
while it was just like a fairy story in being wonderful, it was every bit
true. And then she told him a little of the great story of how one thing
became another thing, how everything grew out of something else, how it
had been doing that for millions of years, how he was what he was then
because through all those years one thing had changed, grown, into
As she told it it seemed so noble a thing to be telling a child, so
much purer and more dignified--to say nothing of more stimulating--than
the evasive tales of life employed in the attempt to thwart her
Worth was upon her with a hundred questions. _How_ did a worm become
something that wasn't a worm? Did it know it was going to do it? And why
did one worm go one way and in a lot of million years be a little boy
and another worm go another way and just never be anything but a worm?
Did she think in another hundred million years that little bird up there
would be something else? Would _they_ be anything else? And why--?
She saw that she had let herself in for a whole new world of whys. One
thing was certain: if she were to remain with Worth she would have to
find out more about evolution. Her knowledge was pitifully incommensurate
to his whys.
But it was beautiful to her the way his mind reached out to it. He was
lying on his stomach, head propped up on hands, in an almost prayerful
attitude before an ant hill. Did she think those little ants knew that
they were alive? Would they ever be anything else? He wanted to be told
more stories about things becoming other things, seemed intoxicated with
that idea of the constant becoming.
"But, Aunt Kate," he cried, "mama told me that God made me!"
"Why so He did, Worthie--that is, I suppose He did--but He didn't just
make you out of nothing."
He lay there on the grass in silence for a long time, looking at the
world about him--thinking. After a while he was singing a little song.
This was the song:
"Once I was a little worm--
Katie smiled in thinking how scandalized Clara would be to have heard
the story just told her son, story moving him to sing a vulgar song about
having been a horrid little worm. It would be Clara's notion of propriety
to tell Worth that the doctor brought him in his motor car and expect his
mind, that wonderful, plastic little mind of his, to be proper enough to
rest content with that lucid exposition of the wonder of life.
The time was near for Clara's six months of Worth to begin. Katie had
promised she would bring him to her wherever she was; and Clara was in
Paris and meaning to remain there. It meant that Worth would spend the
winter in Paris, away from them; from time to time--as the custom of the
city dictated--he would be taken for perfunctory little walks in the
_Bois_ and would be told to "run and play" if he asked indelicate
questions concerning the things of life.
In the light of this story of the ways of growth the arrangement about
Worth seemed an unnatural and a brutal thing.
She did not believe that, as a matter of fact, Clara wanted Worth. The
maternal passion was less strong in Clara than the passion for
_lingerie_. But she wanted Worth with her for six months because that
kept him from Wayne and Katie for six months and she knew that they
did want him.
The poor little fellow's summer had not been what Katie had planned. Part
of the time he had been with his father and part of the time with
her--that thing of division again, and as neither of them had been happy
any of the time Worth had had to suffer for it. He seemed to have to
suffer so much through the fact that grown-up people did not know how to
manage their lives.
Suddenly he sat up. "Aunt Kate," he asked, "when's Miss Ann coming back?"
"I don't know, dear."
"Well where _is_ she?"
"She's been--called away."
"Well I wish she'd come back. I like Miss Ann, Aunt Kate."
"Yes, dear; we all do."
"She tells nice stories, too. Only they're about fairies that are just
fairies--not worms and things that are really so. Do you suppose Miss Ann
knows, Aunt Kate, that she used to be a frog?"
Katie laughed and tried to elucidate her point about the frog. But she
wondered what difference it might not have made had Ann known that, as
Worth put it, she used to be a frog. With Ann, fairy stories would have
to be about things not real. All Ann's life it had been so. It suddenly
seemed that it might have made all the difference in the world had Ann
known that the things most wonderful were the things that were.
Or rather, had the world in which Ann lived cared to know real things for
precious things, the desire for life as the most radiant thing that had
ever been upon the earth. Ann would have found the world a different
place had men known life for the majestic thing it was, seen that back of
what her uncle called the "splendid heritage of the country's
institutions" was the vastly more splendid heritage of the institution of
life. Letting the former shut them from the latter was being too busy
with the toy lake to look out at the sea.
Seeing Ann as part of all the life that had ever been upon the earth she
became, not infinitesimal, but newly significant. Widened outlook brought
deepened feeling. Newly understanding, she sat there brooding over Ann
anew, pain in the perfection of her understanding.
But new courage. Life had persisted through so much, was so triumphant.
The larger conception lent its glow to the paling belief that Ann would
"Aunt Kate," Worth burst forth, "let's take the boat and go up and find
the man that mends the boats."
Aunt Kate blushed. "Oh no, dearie, we couldn't do that."
"Why we did do it once," argued Worth.
"I know, but we can't do it now."
"I don't see why not."
No, Worth didn't see.
"I just want to ask him, Aunt Kate, if he knows that he used to live
in a tree."
"Oh, he knows it," she laughed.
"He knows everything," said Worth.
"Worthie, is that why you like him? 'Cause he knows everything? Or do you
like him--just because you like him?"
"I like him because he knows everything--but mostly I like him just
because I like him."
"Same here," breathed Aunt Kate.
The man who mended the boats was coming to see her that night. Perhaps
golf and evolution should not grow arrogant, after all.
He had been strange about coming; when she talked with him over the
'phone he had hesitated at the suggestion and finally said, with a
defiance she could not see the situation called for, that he would like
to come. In Chicago he had once said to her: "There's too much gloom
around you now for me to contribute the story of my life. But please
remember that that was why I didn't tell it."
She wondered if the "story of his life" had anything to do with his
hesitancy in coming to see her. Surely he would have no commonplace
notions about "different spheres," though he had mentioned them, and with
bitterness. He was especially hostile to the army, had more than once
hurt her in his hostility. She would not have resented his attacking it
as an institution, that she would expect from his philosophy, but it was
a sort of personal contempt for the army and its people she had resented,
almost as she would a contemptuous attitude toward her own family.
She had contended that he was unjust; that a lack of sympathy with the
ends of the army--basis of it--should not bring him to a prejudiced
attitude toward its people. She maintained that officers of the army were
a higher type than civilians of the same class. He had told her, almost
roughly, that he didn't think she knew anything about it, and she had
replied, heatedly, that she would like to know why she wouldn't know more
about it than he! In the end he said he was sorry to have hurt her when
there was so much else to hurt her, but had not retracted what he had
said, or even admitted the possibility of mistake.
It seemed that one of the worst things about "classes" was that they
inevitably meant misunderstanding. They bred antagonism, and that
prejudice. People didn't know each other.
Considering it now, she wondered, though feeling traitorous to him in the
wondering, if the man who mended the boats might shrink from anything so
distinctly social as calling upon her.
Their meetings theretofore had been on a bigger and a sterner basis; she
had missed a few of the little niceties of consideration, a few of those
perfunctory and yet curiously vital courtesies to which she had all her
life been accustomed as a matter of course from her army men; but it had