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Wild Wings by Margaret Rebecca Piper

Part 2 out of 7

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of the crowd Phil Lambert's eyes met hers and smiled. Very sensibly and
modernly these two had decided to remain the best of friends since fate
prevented their being lovers. But Phil's eyes were rather more than
friendly, resting on Carlotta, and, underneath the diaphanous, exquisite
white cloud of a gown that she wore, Carlotta's heart beat a little
faster for what she saw in his face. The hand that held her rose trembled
ever so slightly as she smiled bravely back at him. She could not forget
those "very different" kisses of his, nor, with all the will in the
world, could she go back to where she was before she went up the mountain
and came down again in the purple dusk. She knew she had to get used to a
strange, new world, a world without Philip Lambert, a rather empty world,
it seemed. She wondered if this new world would give her anything so
wonderful and sweet as this thing that she had by her own act
surrendered. Almost she thought not.

Ted, standing beside his uncle, watching the procession, suddenly heard a
familiar whistle, a signal dating back to Holiday Hill days, as
unmistakable as the Star Spangled Banner itself, though who should be
using it here and why was a mystery. In a moment his roving gaze
discovered the solution. Standing upon a slight elevation on the campus
opposite he perceived Dick Carson. The latter beckoned peremptorily. Ted
wriggled out of the group, descended with one leap over the rail to the
lawn, and made his way to where the other youth waited.

"What in Sam Hill's chewing you?" he demanded upon arrival. "You've made
me quit the only spot I've struck to-day where I had room to stand on my
own feet and see anything at the same time."

"I say, Ted, what train was Larry coming on?" counterquestioned Dick.

"Chicago Overland. Why?"

"Are you sure?"

"Of course I am sure. He wired Tony. What in thunder are you driving at?
Get it out for Pete's sake?"

"The Chicago Overland smashed into a freight somewhere near Pittsburgh
this morning. There were hundreds of people killed. Oh, Lord, Ted! I
didn't mean to break it to you like that." Dick was aghast at his own
clumsiness as Ted leaned against the brick wall of the college building,
his face white as chalk. "I wasn't thinking--guess I wasn't thinking
about much of anything except Tony," he added.

Ted groaned.

"Don't wonder," he muttered. "Let's not let her get wind of it till we
have to. Are you sure there--there isn't any mistake?" Ted put up his
hand to brush back a refractory lock of hair and found his forehead wet
with cold perspiration. "There's got to be a mistake. Larry--I won't
believe it, so there!"

"You don't have to believe it till you know. Even if he was on the train
it doesn't mean he is hurt." Dick would not name the harsher possibility
to Larry Holiday's brother.

"Of course, it doesn't," snapped Ted. "I say, Dick, is it in the
papers yet?"

"No, it will be in an hour though, as soon as the evening editions get

"Good! Dick, it's up to you to keep Tony from knowing. She is going to
sing in the concert at five. That will keep her occupied until six. But
from now till then nix on the news. Take her out on the fool pond, walk
her up Sunset Hill, quarrel with her, make love to her, anything, so she
won't guess. I don't dare go near her. I'd give it away in a minute, I'm
such an idiot. Besides I can't think of anything but Larry. Gee!" The boy
swept his hand across his eyes. "Last time I saw him I consigned him to
the devil because he told me some perfectly true things about myself and
tried to give me some perfectly sound advice. And now--I'm damned if I
believe it. Larry is all right. He's got to be," fiercely.

"Of course, he is," soothed Dick. "And I'll try to do as you say about
Tony. I'm not much of an actor, but I guess I can carry it through
for--for her sake."

The little break in the speaker's voice made Ted turn quickly and stare
at the other youth.

"Dick, old chap, is it like that with you? I didn't know."

Ted's hand went out and held the other's in a cordial grip.

"Nobody knows. I--I didn't mean to show it then. It's no good. I know
that naturally."

"I'm not so sure about that. I know one member of the family that would
be mighty proud to have you for a brother."

The obvious ring of sincerity touched Dick. It was a good deal coming
from a Holiday.

"Thank you, Ted. That means a lot, I can tell you. I'll never forget your
saying it like that. You won't give me away, I know."

"Sure not, old man. Tony is way up in the clouds just now, anyway. We are
all mostly ants in our minor ant hills so far as she is concerned. Gee! I
hope it isn't this thing about Larry that is going to pull her down to
earth. If anything had to happen to any of us why couldn't it have been
me instead of Larry. He is worth ten of me."

"We don't know that anything has happened to Larry yet," Dick reminded.
"I say, Ted, they must have got the ivy planted. Everybody's coming back.
Tony is lunching with me at Boyden's right away, and I'll see that she
has her hands full until it is time for the concert. You warn Miss
Carlotta, so she'll be on guard after I surrender her. I'm afraid you
will have to tell your uncle."

"I will. Trot on, old man, and waylay Tony. I'll make a mess of things
sure as preaching if I run into her now."

Tony thought she had never known Dick to be so entertaining or talkative
as he was during that luncheon hour. He regaled her with all kinds of
newspaper yarns and related some of his own once semi-tragic but now
humorous misadventures of his early cub days. He talked, too, on current
events and world history, talked well, with the quiet poise and
assurance of the reader and thinker, the man who has kept his eyes and
ears open to life.

It was a revelation to Tony. For once their respective roles were
reversed, he the talker, she the listener.

"Goodness me, Dick!" she exclaimed during a pause in what had become
almost a monologue. "Why haven't you ever talked like this before? I
always thought I had to do it all and here you talk better than I ever
thought of doing because you have something to say and mine is just
chatter and nonsense."

He smiled at that.

"I love your chatter. But you are tired to-day and it is my turn. Do you
know what we are going to do after luncheon?"

"No, what?"

"We are going to take a canoe out on your Paradise and get into a shady
spot somewhere along the bank and you will lean back against a whole lot
of becoming cushions and put up that red parasol of yours so nobody but
me can see your face and then--"

"Dicky! Dicky! Whatever is in you to-day? Paradise, pillows and parasols
are familiar symptoms. You will be making love to me next."

"I might, at that," murmured Dick. "But you did not hear the rest of
my proposition. And then--I shall read you a story--a story that I
wrote myself."

"Dick!" Tony nearly upset her glass of iced tea in her amazement at this
unexpected announcement. "You don't mean you have really and truly
written a story!"

"Honest to goodness--such as it is. Please to remember it is my maiden
effort and make a margin of allowance. But I want your criticism,
too--all the benefit of your superior academic training."

"Superior academic bosh!" scoffed Tony. "I'll bet it is a corking
story," she added unacademically. "Come on. Let's go, quick. I can't
wait to hear it."

Nothing loath to get away speedily before the newsboys began to cry the
accident through the streets, Dick escorted his pretty companion back to
the campus and on to Paradise, at which point they took a canoe and,
finally selecting a shady point under an over-reaching sycamore tree,
drifted in to shore where Tony leaned against the cushions, tilted her
parasol as specified at the angle which forbade any but Dick to see her
charming, expressive young face and commanded him to "shoot."

Dick shot. Tony listened intently, watching his face as he read, feeling
as if this were a new Dick--a Dick she did not know at all, albeit a most
interesting person.

"Why Dick Carson!" she exclaimed when he finished. "It is great--a real
story with real laughter and tears in it. I love it. It is so--so human."

The author flushed and fidgeted and protested that it wasn't much--just a
sketch done from life with a very little dressing up and polishing down.

"I have a lot more of them in my head, though," he added. "And I'm
going to grind them out as soon as I get time. I wish I had a bigger
vocabulary and knew more about the technical end of the writing game.
I am going to learn, though--going to take some night work at the
University next fall. Maybe I'll catch up a little yet if I keep
pegging away."

"Catch up! Dick, you make me so ashamed. Here Larry and Ted and I have
had everything done for us all our lives and we've slipped along with the
current, following the line of least resistance. And you have had
everything to contend with and you are way ahead of the rest of us
already. But why didn't you tell me before about the story? I think you
might have, Dicky. You know I would be interested," reproachfully.

"I--I wasn't talking much about it to anybody till I knew it was any
good. But I--just took a notion to read it to you to-day. That's all."

It wasn't all, but he wanted Tony to think it was. Not for anything would
he have betrayed how reading the story was a desperate expedient to keep
her diverted and safe from news of the disaster on the Overland.

He escorted Tony back to the campus house at the latest possible moment
and Carlotta, in the secret, pretended to upbraid her roommate for her
tardiness and flew about helping her to get dressed, talking
continuously the while and keeping a sharp eye on the door lest some
intruder burst in and say the very thing Tony Holiday must not be
permitted to hear. It would be so ridiculously easy for somebody to ask,
"Oh, did you hear about the awful wreck on the Overland?" and then the
fat would be in the fire.

But, thanks to Carlotta, nobody had a chance to say it and later Tony
Holiday, standing in the twilight in front of College Hall's steps, sang
her solo, Gounod's beautiful Ave Maria, smiled happily down into the
faces of the dear folks from her beloved Hill and only regretted that
Larry was not there with the rest--Larry who, for all the others knew,
might never come again.

After dinner Ted rushed off again to the telegraph office which he had
been haunting all the afternoon to see if any word had come from his
brother, and Doctor Holiday went on up to the campus to escort his niece
to the informal hop. He had decided to go on just as if nothing was
wrong. If Larry was safe then there was no need of clouding Tony's joy,
and if he wasn't--well, there would be time enough to grieve when they
knew. By virtue of his being a grave and reverend uncle he was admitted
to the sacred precincts of his niece's room and had hardly gotten seated
when the door flew open and Ted flew in waving two yellow telegraph
blanks triumphantly, one in each hand, and announcing that everything was
all right--Larry was all right, had wired from Pittsburgh.

Before Tony had a chance to demand what it was all about the door opened
again and a righteously indignant house mother appeared on the threshold,
demanding by what right an unauthorized male had gone up her stairway and
entered a girl's room, without permission or escort.

"I apologize," beamed Ted with his most engaging smile. "Come on outside,
Mrs. Maynerd and I'll tell you all about it." And tucking his arm in hers
the irrepressible youth conveyed the angry personage out into the hall,
leaving his uncle to explain the situation to Tony.

In a moment he was back triumphant.

"She says I may stay since I'm here, and Uncle Phil is here to play
dragon," he announced. "She thought at first Carlotta would have to be
expunged to make it legal, but I overruled her, told her you and I had
played tiddle-de-winks with each other in our cradles," he added with an
impish grin at his sister's roommate. "Of course I never laid eyes on
you till two years ago, but that doesn't matter. I have a true
tiddle-de-winks feeling for you, anyway, and that is what counts, isn't
it, sweetness?"

Carlotta laughed and averred that she was going to expunge herself anyway
as Phil was waiting for her downstairs. She picked up a turquoise satin
mandarin cloak from the chair and Ted sprang to put it around her bare
shoulders, stooping to kiss the tip of her ear as he finished.

"Lucky Phil!" he murmured.

Carlotta shook her head at him and went over to Tony, over whom she bent
for an instant with unusual feeling in her lovely eyes.

"Oh, my dear," she whispered. "I wish I could tell you how I feel. I'm so
glad--so glad." And then she was gone before Tony could answer.

"Oh me!" she sighed. "She has been so wonderful. You all have. Ted--Uncle
Phil! Come over here. I want to hold you tight."

And, with her brother on one side of her and her uncle on the other, Tony
gave a hand to each and for a moment no one spoke. Then Ted produced his
telegrams one of which was addressed to Tony and one to her uncle. Both
announced the young doctor's safety. "Staying over in Pittsburgh. Letter
follows," was in the doctor's message. "Sorry can't make commencement.
Love and congratulations," was in Tony's.

"There, didn't I tell you he was all right?" demanded Ted, as if his
brother's safety were due to his own remarkably good management of the
affair. "Gee! Tony! If you knew how I felt when Dick told me this
morning. I pretty nearly disgraced myself by toppling over, just like a
girl, on the campus. Lord! It was fierce."

"I know." Tony squeezed his hand sympathetically. "And Dick--why Dick
must have kept me out in Paradise on purpose."

"Sure he did. Dick's a jim dandy and don't you forget it."

"I shan't," said Tony, her eyes a little misty, remembering how Dick had
fought all day to keep her care-free happiness intact. "I don't know
whether to be angry at you all for keeping it from me or to fall on your
necks and weep because you were all so dear not to tell me. And oh! If
anything had happened to Larry! I don't see how I could have stood it. It
makes us all seem awfully near, doesn't it?"

"You bet!" agreed Ted with more fervor than elegance. "If the old chap
had been done for I'd have felt like making for the river, myself. Funny,
now the scare is over and he is all safe, I shall probably cuss him out
as hard as ever next time he tries to preach at me."

"You had better listen to him instead. Larry is apt to be right and you
are apt to be wrong, and you know it."

"Maybe it is because I do know it and because he is so devilish right
that I damn him," observed the youngest Holiday sagely, his eyes meeting
his uncle's over his sister's head.

It wasn't until he had danced and flirted and made merry for three
consecutive hours at the hop, and proposed in the exuberance of his mood
to at least three different charmers whose names he had forgotten by the
next day, that Ted Holiday remembered Madeline and his promise to keep
tryst with her that afternoon. Other things of more moment had swept her
clean from his mind.

"Thunder!" he muttered to himself. "Wonder what she is thinking when I
swore by all that was holy to come. Oh well; I should worry. I couldn't
help it. I'll write and explain how it happened."

So said, so done. He scribbled off a hasty note of explanation and
apology which he signed "Yours devotedly, Ted Holiday" and went out to
the corner mail box to dispatch the same so it would go out in the
early morning collection, and prepared to dismiss the matter from his
mind again.

Coming back into his room he found his uncle standing on the threshold.

"Had to get a letter off," murmured the young man as his uncle looked
inquiring. He turned to light a cigarette with an air of determined
casualness. He didn't care to have Uncle Phil know any more about the
Madeline affair.

"It must have been important."

"Was," curtly. "Did you think I was joy riding again?"

"No, I heard you stirring and thought you might be sick. I haven't been
able to get to sleep myself."

Seeing how utterly worn out his uncle looked, Ted's resentment took
quick, shamed flight. Poor Uncle Phil! He never spared himself, always
bore the brunt of everything for them all. And here he himself had just
snapped like a cur because he suspected his guardian of desiring to
interfere with his high and mighty private business.

"Too bad," he said. "Wish you'd smoke, Uncle Phil. It's great to cool off
your nerves. Honest it is! Have one?" He held out his case.

Doctor Holiday smiled at that, though he declined the proffered weed. He
understood very well that the boy was making tacit amends for his
ungraciousness of a moment before.

"No, I'll get to sleep presently. It has been rather a wearing day."

"Should say it had been. I hope Aunt Margery doesn't know about the
wreck. She'll worry, if she knew Larry was coming east."

"I wired her this evening. I didn't want to take any chance of her
thinking he was in the smash."

Ted laid down his cigarette.

"You never forget anybody do you, Uncle Phil?" he said rather
soberly for him.

"I never forget Margery. She is a very part of myself, lad."

And when he was alone Ted pondered over that last speech of his uncle's.
He wondered if there would ever be a Margery for him, and, if so, what
she would think of the Madelines if she knew of them.



After the family had reassembled on the Hill the promised letter from
Larry arrived. He was staying on so long as his services were needed. The
enormous number of victims of the wreck had strained to the uttermost the
city's supply of doctors and nurses, and there was more than enough work
for all. The writer spared them the details of the wreck so far as
possible; indeed, evidently was not anxious to relive the horrors on his
own account. He mentioned a few of the many sad cases only. One of these
was the instant death of a famous surgeon whose loss to the world seemed
tragic and pitifully wasteful to the young doctor. Another was the
crushing to death of a young mother who, with her two children, had been
happily on their way to meet the husband who had been in South America
for a year. Larry had made friends with her on the train and played with
the babies who reminded him of his small cousins, Eric and Hester, Doctor
Philip's children.

A third case he went into more fully, that of a young woman--just a mere
girl in appearance though she wore a wedding ring--who had received a
terrible blow on the base of her brain which had driven out memory
entirely. She did not know who she was, where she was going, or whence
she had come. Her physical injuries, otherwise, were not serious, a
broken arm and some bad bruises, nothing but what she would easily
recover from in a short time; but, for all her effort, the past remained
as something on the other side of a strange, blank wall.

"She tries pitifully hard to remember, and is so sweet and brave we are
all devoted to her. I always stop and talk to her when I go by her. She
seems to cling to me, rather, as if I could help her get things back.
Lord knows I wish I could. She is too dainty and fragile a morsel of
humanity to be left to fight such a thing alone. She is a regular little
Dresden shepherdess, with the tiniest feet and hands and the yellowest
hair and bluest eyes I ever saw. Her husband must be about crazy, poor
chap, not hearing from her. I suppose he will be turning up soon to claim
her. I hope so. I don't know what will become of her if he does not.

"It is late and I must turn in. I don't know when I shall get home. I
don't flatter myself Dunbury will miss me much when it has you. Give
everybody my love and tell Tony I am awfully sorry I couldn't get to
commencement. I guess maybe she is glad enough to have me alive not to
mind much. I'm some glad to be alive myself."

The letter ended with affectionate greetings to the older doctor from his
nephew and junior assistant. With it came another epistle from the same
city from an old doctor friend who had watched Philip Holiday, himself,
grow up, and had immediately set his eye on the younger Holiday, when he
had discovered the relationship.

"You have a lad to be proud of in that Larry of yours," he wrote. "He is
on the job early and late, no smart Alecness, no shirking, no fool
questions, just there on the spot when you want him with cool head,
steady nerves and a hand as gentle as a woman's. I like his quality,
Phil. Quality shows up at a time like this. He is true Holiday, through
and through, and you can tell him I said so when you see him."

The doctor smiled, well pleased at this tribute to Ned's son and this
letter, like Larry's, he handed to his wife Margery to read.

The thirties had touched "Miss Margery" lightly. She was still slim and
girlish-looking. In her simple gown of that forgetmenot blue shade which
her husband particularly loved she seemed scarcely older than she had on
that day, some eight years earlier, when he had found her giving a Fourth
of July party to the Hill youngsters, and had begun to lose his heart to
her then and there. It was not by shedding care and responsibility,
however, that she had kept her youth. It was by no means the easiest
thing in the world to be a busy doctor's wife, the mother of two lively
children and faithful daughter to an invalid and rather "difficult"
mother-in-law, as well as to care for a big house and an elastic
household, which in vacation time included Ned Holiday's children and
their friends. Needless to say she did not do any painting these days.
But there is more than one way of being an artist, and of the art of
simple, lovely, human living Margery Holiday was past mistress.

"Doesn't sound much like 'Lazy Larry' these days, does it?" she
commented, giving the letters back to her husband. "I know you are proud
of Doctor Fenton's letter, Phil. You ought to be. It is more than a
little due to you that Larry is what he is."

"We are advertised by our loving wives," he misquoted teasingly. "I have
always observed that the things we approve of in the younger generation
are the fruit of seeds we planted. The things we disapprove of slipped in
inadvertedly like weeds."

The same mail that brought Larry's letter brought one also to Ted from
Madeline Taylor, a letter which made him wriggle a little internally,
and pull his forelock, as was his habit when things were a bit

Madeline had gone to bed that Sunday night after her meeting with Ted in
the woods, full of the happiest kind of anticipations and shy, foolish,
impossible dreams. Her mind told her it was the rankest of nonsense to
dream about Ted Holiday, but her heart would do it. She knew the affair
with Ted had begun wrong, but she couldn't help hoping it would come out
beautifully right. She couldn't help making believe she had found her
prince, a bonny laddie who liked her well enough to play straight with
her and to come again to see her.

She meant to try so hard, so very hard, to make herself into the kind of
girl he was used to and liked. She cut out the picture of Tony Holiday
that Max Hempel and Dick Carson had studied that day on the train. She
studied it even harder and hid it away among her very special treasures
where she could take it out and look at it often and use it as a model.
She even snatched her hitherto precious earrings from their pink cotton
resting place and hurled them as far as she could into the night. She was
very sure Tony Holiday did not wear earrings, and she was even surer she
had seen Ted's eyes resting disapprovingly on hers. The earrings had to
go. They had gone.

The next afternoon she had waited for a while patiently by the brook. The
distant clock struck the half hour, the three quarters, the full hour. No
Ted Holiday. By this time her patience had long since evaporated and now
blazed into blind rage. Ted had forgotten his promise, if indeed he had
ever meant to keep it. He was with those other girls--his kind. Maybe he
was laughing at her, telling them how "easy" she had been, how gullible.
No, he wouldn't! He would be ashamed to admit he had had anything to do
with her. Men did not boast of their conquest of one kind of girl to
another. She had read enough fiction to know that.

In any case she hated Ted Holiday with a fine fury of resentment. She
wanted to make him suffer, even as she was suffering, though she sensed
vaguely that men couldn't suffer that way. It was only women who were
capable of such fine-drawn torture. Men went free.

From her rage against her recreant cavalier she went on to rage against
life built on a man-made plan for the benefit of man. Women were hurt, no
matter what they did. Being good wasn't any use. You got hurt all the
worse if you were good. It was silly even to try. It was better to shut
your eyes and have a good time.

Pursuing this reasoning brought Madeline Taylor to the sycamore tree that
night where Willis Hubbard's car waited. She went with Willis, not to
please him, not to please herself, but to spite Ted Holiday. She had
hinted to Ted she would do something desperate if he failed her. She had
done something desperate, but it was herself, not Ted, that had been
hurt. She discovered that too late.

The next morning had brought Ted's pleasant, penitent note, explaining
his defection and expressing the hope that they might meet again soon,
signed hers "devotedly." Poor Madeline! The cup of her regret was very
bitter to the taste as she read that letter of Ted Holiday's.

Something of her misery and self-abasement crept into the letter to Ted,
together with a passionate remorse for having doubted him and her even
more vehement regret for having gone out with Willis Hubbard. The whole
complex story of her emotional reactions was of course not written down
for Ted's eyes; but he read quite enough to permit him to guess more than
he cared to know. Hubbard was evidently something of a rotter. Maybe he
was a bit of a rotter himself. If he hadn't taken the girl out joy riding
himself she wouldn't have gone with the other two nights later. That was
plain to be seen with half an eye and Ted Holiday was man enough to look
at the fact straight and unblinking for a moment.

Well! He should worry. It wasn't his fault if Madeline had been fool
enough to go out with Hubbard, when she knew what kind of a chap he was.
He wasn't her keeper. He didn't see why she had to ask him to forgive
her. It was none of his business. And he wished she hadn't begged so
earnestly and humbly that he would see her again soon. He didn't want to
see her. Yet, down underneath, Ted Holiday had an uneasy feeling he
ought to want it, ought to try to make up to her in some way for
something which was somehow his fault, even though he did disclaim the

Two days later came another letter even more disturbing. It seemed
Madeline was going to Holyoke again soon to visit her Cousin Emma and
wanted Ted to join her. She was "dying" to see him. He could stay at
Cousin Emma's, but maybe he wouldn't like that because there was a raft
of children always under foot and Fred, Emma's husband, was a dreadful
"ordinary" person who smoked a smelly pipe and sat round in his shirt
sleeves. But if he would come and stay at a hotel they could have a
wonderful time. She did want to see him so much. Besides, Willis
pestered her all the time and said if she went away he would come down
in his car every night to see her. So if Ted didn't want her to run
around with Willis as he said in his last letter he had better come
himself. She didn't like Willis the way she did Ted, though. Some ways
she hated him and she wished awfully she hadn't ever had anything to do
with him. And finally she liked Ted better than anybody in the world,
and would he please, please come to Holyoke, because she wanted him to
so very, very much?

And then the postscript. "The cut is going to leave a scar, I am most
sure. I don't care. I like it. It makes me think of you and what a
wonderful time we had together that night."

Ted read the letter coming up the Hill, and for once forebore to whistle
as he made the ascent. His mind was busy. A week of Dunbury calm and
sweet do-nothing had sufficed to make him undeniably restless. Madeline's
proposal struck him as rather a jolly idea accordingly. After all, she
was a dandy little girl, and he owed her a lot for not making any fuss
over his nearly killing her. He didn't like this Hubbard fellow, either.
He rather thought it was his duty to go and send him about his business.
Ted was a bit of a knight, at heart, and felt now the chivalric urge,
combining with others less unselfish, to go to the rescue of the damsel
and set her free of the false besieger.

Her undisguised admission of her caring for him was a bit
disconcerting, although perhaps also a little sweet to his youthful
male vanity. Her caring was a complication, made him feel as if somehow
he ought to make up to her for failing her in the big thing by granting
her the smaller favor.

By the time he had reached the top of the Hill he was rather definitely
committed in his own mind to the Holyoke trip, if he could throw enough
dust in his uncle's eyes to get away with it.

Arrived at the house he flung the other mail on the hall table and went
upstairs. As he passed his grandmother's room he noticed that the door
was ajar and stepped in for a word with her. She looked very still and
white as she lay there in the big, old fashioned four-poster bed! Poor
Granny! It was awfully sad to be old. Ted couldn't quite imagine it for
himself, somehow.

"'Lo, Granny dear," he greeted, stooping to kiss the withered old cheek.
"How goes it?"

"About as usual, dear. Any word from Larry?" There was a plaintive note
in Madame Holiday's voice. She was never quite content unless all the
"children" were under the family roof-tree. And Larry was particularly
dear to her heart.

"Yes, I just brought a letter for Uncle Phil. The very idea of your
wanting Larry when you have Tony and me, and you haven't had us for
so long." Ted pretended to be reproachful and his grandmother reached
for his hand.

"I know, dear boy. I am very glad to have you and Tony. But Larry is a
habit, like Philip. You mustn't mind my missing him."

"Course I don't mind, Granny. I was just jossing. I don't blame you a bit
for missing Larry. He is a mighty good thing to have in the family. Wish
I were half as valuable."

"You are, sonny. I am so happy to be having you here all summer."

"Maybe not quite all summer. I'll be going off for little trips," he
prepared her gently.

"Youth! Youth! Never still--always wanting to fly off somewhere!"

"We all fly back mighty quick," comforted Ted. "There come the kiddies."

A patter of small feet sounded down the hall. In the next moment they
were there--sturdy Eric, the six year old, apple-cheeked, incredibly
energetic, already bidding fair to equal if not to rival his cousin Ted's
reputation for juvenile naughtiness; and Hester, two years younger, a
rose-and-snow creation, cherubic, adorable, with bobbing silver curls,
delectably dimpled elbows and corn flower blue eyes.

Fresh from the tub and the daily delightful frolic with Daddy, they now
appeared for that other ceremonial known as saying good-night to Granny.

"Teddy! Teddy! Ride us to Granny," demanded Eric hilariously, jubilant at
finding his favorite tall cousin on the spot.

"'Es, wide us, wide us," chimed in Hester, not to be outdone.

"You fiends!" But Ted obediently got down on "all fours" while the small
folks clambered up on his back and he "rode" them over to the bed, their
bathrobes flying as they went. Arrived at the destination Ted deftly
deposited his load in a giggling, squirming heap on the rug and then
gathering up the small Hester, swung her aloft, bringing her down with
her rose bud of a mouth close to Granny's pale cheeks.

"Kiss your flying angel, Granny, before she flies away again."

"Me! Me!" clamored Eric vociferously, hugging Ted's knees. "Me flying
angel, too!"

"Not much," objected Ted. "No angel about you. Too, too much solid flesh
and bones. Kiss Granny, quick. I hear your parents approaching."

Philip and Margery appeared on the threshold, seeking their obstreperous

There was another stampede, this time in the direction of the "parents."

"Ca'y me! Ca'y me, Daddy," chirruped Hester.

"No, me. Ride me piggy-back," insisted Eric.

"Such children!" smiled Margery. "Ted, you encourage them. They are more
barbarian than ever when you are here, and they are bad enough under
normal conditions."

Ted chuckled at that. He and his Aunt Margery were the best of good
friends. They always had been since Ted had refused to join her Round
Table on the grounds that he might have to be sorry for being bad if he
did, though he had subsequently capitulated, in view of the manifest
advantages accruing to membership in the order.

"That's right. Lay it to me. I don't believe Uncle Phil was a saint,
either, was he, Granny?" he appealed. "I'll bet the kids get some of
their deviltry by direct line of descent."

His grandmother smiled.

"We forget a good deal about our children's naughtinesses when they are
grown up," she said. "I've even forgotten some of yours, Teddy."

"Lucky," grinned her grandson, stooping to kiss her again. "_Allons,

Later, when the obstreperous ones were in bed and everything quiet Philip
and Margery sat together in the hammock, lovers still after eight years
of strenuous married life and discussed Larry's last letter, which had
contained the rather astonishing request that he be permitted to bring
the little lady who had forgotten her past to Holiday Hill with him.

"Queer proposition!" murmured the doctor. "Doesn't sound like
sober Larry."

"I am not so sure. There is a quixotic streak in him--in all you
Holidays, for that matter. You can't say much. Think of the stray boys
you have taken in at one time or another, some of them rather dubious
specimens, I infer."

Margery's eyes smiled tender raillery at her husband. He chuckled at the
arraignment, and admitted its justice. Still, boys were not mystery
ladies. She must grant him that. Then he sobered.

"It is only you that makes me hesitate, Margery mine. You are carrying
about as heavy a burden now as any one woman ought to take upon herself,
with me and the house and the children and Granny. And here is this crazy
nephew of mine proposing the addition to the family of a stranger who
hasn't any past and whose future seems wrapped mostly in a nebular
hypothesis. It is rather a large order, my dear."

"Not too large. It isn't as if she were seriously ill, or would be a
burden in any way. Besides, it is Larry's home as well as ours, and he so
seldom asks anything for himself, and is always ready to help anywhere.
Do you really mind her coming, Phil?"

"Not if you don't. I am glad to agree if it is not going to be too hard
for you. As you say, Larry doesn't ever ask much for himself and I am
interested in the case, anyway. Shall we wire him to bring her, then?"

"Please do. I shall be very glad."

"You are a wonder, Margery mine." And the doctor bent and kissed his wife
before going in to telephone the message to be sent his nephew that
night, a message bidding him and the little stranger welcome, whenever
they cared to come to the House on the Hill.

And far away in Pittsburgh, Larry got the word that night and smiled
content. Bless Uncle Phil and Aunt Margery! They never failed you, no
matter what you asked of them.



Larry Holiday was a rather startlingly energetic person when he once got
under way. The next morning he overruled the "Mystery Lady's" faint
demurs, successfully argued the senior doctor into agreement with his
somewhat surprising plan of procedure, wired his uncle, engaged train
reservations for that evening, secured a nurse, preempted the services of
a Red Cap who promised to be waiting with a chair at the station so that
the little invalid would not have to set foot upon the ground, and
finally carried the latter with his own strong young arms onto the train
and into a large, cool stateroom where a fan was already whirring and the
white-clad nurse waiting to minister to the needs of the frail traveler.

In a few moments the train was slipping smoothly out of the station and
the girl who had forgotten most things else knew that she was being
spirited off to a delightful sounding place called Holiday Hill in the
charge of a gray-eyed young doctor who had made himself personally
responsible for her from the moment he had extricated her, more dead than
alive, from the wreckage. Somehow, for the moment she was quite content
with the knowledge.

Leaving his charge in the nurse's care, Larry Holiday ensconced himself
in his seat not far from the stateroom and pretended to read his paper.
But it might just as well have been printed in ancient Sanscrit for all
the meaning its words conveyed to his brain. His corporeal self occupied
the green plush seat. His spiritual person was elsewhere.

After fifteen minutes of futile effort at concentration he flung down the
paper and strode to the door of the stateroom. A white linen arm answered
his gentle knock. There was a moment's consultation, then the nurse came
out and Larry went in.

On the couch the girl lay very still with half-closed eyes. Her long
blonde braids tied with blue ribbons lay on the pillow on either side of
her sweet, pale little face, making it look more childlike than ever.

"I can't see why I can't remember," she said to Larry as he sat down on
the edge of the other cot opposite her. "I try so hard."

"Don't try. You are just wearing yourself out doing it. It will be all
right in time. Don't worry."

"I can't help worrying. It is--oh, it is horrible not to have any
past--to be different from everybody in the world."

"I know. It is mighty tough and you have been wonderfully brave about it.
But truly I do believe it will all come back. And in the meanwhile you
are going to one of the best places in the world to get well in. Take my
word for it."

"But I don't see why I should be going. It isn't as if I had any claim
on you or your people. Why are you taking me to your home?" The blue
eyes were wide open now, and looking straight up into Larry Holiday's
gray ones.

Larry smiled and Larry's smile, coming out of the usual gravity and
repose of his face, was irresistible. More than one young woman, case and
non-case, had wished, seeing that smile, that its owner had eyes for
girls as such.

"Because you are the most interesting patient I ever had. Don't begrudge
it to me. I get measles and sore throats mostly. Do you wonder I snatched
you as a dog grabs a bone?" Then he sobered. "Truly, Ruth--you don't mind
my calling you that, do you, since we don't know your other name?--the
Hill is the one place in the world for you just now. You will forgive my
kidnapping you when you see it and my people. You can't help liking it
and them."

"I am not afraid of not liking it or them if--" She had meant to say "if
they are at all like you," but that seemed a little too personal to say
to one's doctor, even a doctor who had saved your life and had the most
wonderful smile that ever was, and the nicest eyes. "If they will let
me," she substituted. "But it is such a queer, kind thing to do. The
other doctors were interested in me, too, as a case. But it didn't occur
to any of them to offer me the hospitality of their homes and family for
an unlimited time. Are you Holidays all like that?"

"More or less," admitted Larry with another smile. "Maybe we are a bit
vain-glorious about Holiday hospitality. It is rather a family tradition.
The House on the Hill has had open doors ever since the first Holiday
built it nearly two hundred years ago. You saw Uncle Phil's wire. He
meant that 'welcome ready.' You'll see. But anyway it won't be very hard
for them to open the door to you. They will all love you."

She shut her eyes again at that. Possibly the young doctor's expression
was rather more un-professionally eloquent than he knew.

"Tired?" he asked.

"Not much--tired of wondering. Maybe my name isn't Ruth at all."

"Maybe it isn't. But it is a name anyway, and you may as well use it for
the present until you can find your own. I think Ruth Annersley is a
pretty name myself," added the young doctor seriously. "I like it."

"Mrs. Geoffrey Annersley," corrected the girl. "That is rather
pretty too."

Larry agreed somewhat less enthusiastically.

Ruth lifted her hand and fell to twisting the wedding ring which was very
loose on her thin little finger.

"Think of being married and not knowing what your husband looks like.
Poor Geoffrey Annersley! I wonder if he cares a great deal for me."

"It is quite possible," said Larry Holiday grimly.

He had taken an absurd dislike to the very name of Geoffrey Annersley.
Why didn't the man appear and claim his wife? Practically every paper
from the Atlantic to the Pacific had advertised for him. If he was any
good and wanted to find his wife he would be half crazy looking for her
by this time. He must have seen the newspaper notices. There was
something queer about this Geoffrey Annersley. Larry Holiday detested him

"You don't suppose he was killed in the wreck, do you?" Ruth's mind
worked on, trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

"You were traveling alone. Your chair was near mine. I noticed you
because I thought--" He broke off abruptly.

"Thought what?"

"That you were the prettiest girl I ever saw in my life," he admitted. "I
wanted to speak to you. Two or three times I was on the verge of it but I
never could quite get up the courage. I'm not much good at starting
conversations with girls. My kid brother, Ted, has the monopoly of that
sort of thing in my family."

"Oh, if you only had," she sighed. "Maybe I would have told you
something about myself and where I was going when I got to New York."

"I wish I had," regretted Larry. "Confound my shyness! I don't see why
anybody ever let you travel alone from San Francisco to New York anyway,"
he added. "Your Geoffrey ought to have taken better care of you."

"Maybe I haven't a Geoffrey. The fact that there was an envelope in my
bag addressed to Mrs. Geoffrey Annersley doesn't prove that I am Mrs.
Geoffrey Annersley."

"No, still there is the ring." Larry frowned thoughtfully. "If you aren't
Mrs. Geoffrey Annersley you must be Mrs. Somebody Else, I suppose. And
the locket says _Ruth from Geoffrey_."

"Oh, yes, I suppose I am Mrs. Geoffrey Annersley. It seems as if I must
be. But why can't I remember? It seems as if any one would remember the
man she was married to--as if one couldn't forget that, no matter what
happened. But if there is a Geoffrey Annersley why doesn't he come and
get me and make me remember him?"

Larry shook his head.

"Don't worry, please. We'll keep on advertising. He is bound to come
before long if he really is your husband. Some day he will be coming up
our hill and run away with you, worse luck!"

Ruth's eyes were on the ring again.

"It is funny," she said. "But I can't make myself _feel_ married. I can't
make the ring mean anything to me. I don't want it to mean anything. I
don't want to be married. Sometimes I dream that Geoffrey Annersley has
come and I put my hand over my eyes because I don't want to see him.
Isn't that dreadful?" she turned to Larry to ask.

"You can't help it." Larry tried manfully to push back his own wholly
unreasonable satisfaction in her aversion to her presumptive husband.
"It is the blow and the shock of the whole thing. It will be all right in
time. You will fall on your Geoffrey's neck and call him blessed when the
time comes."

"I don't believe he is coming," she announced suddenly with conviction.

Larry got up and walked over to her couch.

"What makes you say that?" he demanded.

"I don't know. It was just a feeling I had. Something inside me said
right out loud: 'He isn't coming. He isn't your husband.' Maybe it is
because I don't want him to come and don't want him to be my husband. Oh,
dear! It is all so queer and mixed up and horrid. It is awful not to be
anybody--just a ghost. I wish I'd been killed. Why didn't you leave me?
Why did you dig me out? All the others said I was dead. Why didn't you
let me _be_ dead? It would have been better."

She turned her face away and buried it in the pillow, sobbing softly,
suddenly like a child.

This was too much for Larry. He dropped on his knees beside her and put
his arms around the quivering little figure.

"Don't, Ruth," he implored. "Don't cry and don't--don't wish you were
dead. I--I can't stand it."

There was a tap at the door. Larry got to his feet in guilty haste and
went to the door of the stateroom.

"It is time for Mrs. Annersley's medicine," announced the nurse
impersonally, entering and going over to the wash stand for a glass.

The white linen back safely turned, Larry gave one swift look at Ruth and
bolted, shutting the door behind him. The nurse turned to look at the
patient whose face was still hidden in the pillow and then her gaze
traveled meditatively toward the door out of which the young doctor had
shot so precipitately. Larry had forgotten that there was a mirror over
the wash stand and that nurses, however impersonal, are still women with
eyes in their heads.

"H--m," reflected the onlooker. "I wouldn't have thought he was that
kind. You never can tell about men, especially doctors. I wish him joy
falling in love with a woman who doesn't know whether or not she has a
husband. Your tablets, Mrs. Annersley," she added aloud.

* * * * *

"Larry, I think your Ruth is the dearest thing I ever laid eyes on,"
declared Tony next day to her brother. "Her name ought to be Titania. I'm
not very big myself, but I feel like an Amazon beside her. And her laugh
is the sweetest thing--so soft and silvery, like little bells. But she
doesn't laugh much, does she? Poor little thing!"

"She is awfully up against it," said Larry with troubled eyes. "She can't
stop trying to remember. It is a regular obsession with her. And she is
very shy and sensitive and afraid of strangers."

"She doesn't look at you as if you were a stranger. She adores you."

"Nonsense!" said Larry sharply.

Tony opened her eyes at her brother's tone.

"Why, Larry! Of course, I didn't mean she was in love with you. She
couldn't be when she is married. I just meant she adored you--well, the
way Max adores me," she explained as the tawny-haired Irish setter came
and rested his head on her knee, raising solemn worshipful brown eyes to
her face. "Why shouldn't she? You saved her life and you have been
wonderful to her every way."

"Nonsense!" said Larry again, though he said it in a different tone this
time. "I haven't done much. It is Uncle Phil and Aunt Margery who are the
wonderful ones. It is great the way they both said yes right away when I
asked if I could bring her here. I tell you, Tony, it means something to
have your own people the kind you can count on every time. And it is
great to have a home like this to bring her to. She is going to love it
as soon as she is able to get downstairs with us all."

Up in her cool, spacious north chamber, lying in the big bed with the
smooth, fine linen, Ruth felt as if she loved it already, though she
found these Holidays even more amazing than ever, now that she was
actually in their midst. Were there any other people in the world like
them she wondered--so kind and simple and unfeignedly glad to take a
stranger into their home and a queer, mysterious, sick stranger at that!

"If I have to begin living all over just like a baby I think I am the
luckiest girl that ever was to be able to start in a place like this with
such dear, kind people all around me," she told Doctor Holiday, senior,
to whom she had immediately lost her heart as soon as she saw his smile
and felt the touch of his strong, magnetic, healing hand.

"We will get you out under the trees in a day or two," he said. "And then
your business will be to get well and strong as soon as possible and not
worry about anything any more than if you were the baby you were just
talking about. Can you manage that, young lady?"

"I'll try. I would be horrid and ungrateful not to when you are all so
good to me. I don't believe my own people are half as nice as you
Holidays. I don't see how they could be."

The doctor laughed at that.

"We will let it go at that for the present. You will be singing another
tune when your Geoffrey Annersley comes up the Hill to claim you."

The girl's expressive face clouded over at that. She did not quite dare
to tell Doctor Holiday as she had his nephew that she did not want to see
Geoffrey Annersley nor to have to know she was married to him. It sounded
horrid, but it was true. Sometimes she hated the very thought of Geoffrey

Later Doctor Holiday and his nephew went over the girl's case together
from both the personal and professional angles. There was little enough
to go on in untangling her mystery. The railway tickets which had been
found in her purse were in an un-postmarked envelope bearing the name
Mrs. Geoffrey Annersley, but no address. The baggage train had been
destroyed by fire at the time of the accident, so there were no trunks to
give evidence. The small traveling bag she had carried with her bore
neither initial nor geographical designation, and contained nothing which
gave any clew as to its owner's identity save that she was presumably a
person of wealth, for her possessions were exquisite and obviously
costly. A small jewel box contained various valuable rings, one or two
pendants and a string of matched pearls which even to uninitiated eyes
spelled a fortune. Also, oddly enough, among the rest was an absurd
little childish gold locket inscribed "Ruth from Geoffrey."

She had worn no rings at all except for a single platinum-set, and very
perfect, diamond and a plain gold band, obviously a wedding ring. The
inference was that she was married and that her husband's name was
Geoffrey Annersley, but where he was and why she was traveling across the
United States alone and from whence she had come remained utterly
unguessable. Larry had seen to it that advertisements for Geoffrey
Annersley were inserted in every important paper from coast to coast but
nothing had come of any of his efforts.

As for the strange lapse of memory, there seemed nothing to do but wait
in the hope that recovered health and strength might bring it back.

"It may come bit by bit or by a sudden bound or never," was Doctor
Holiday's opinion. "There is nothing that I know of that she or you or
any one can do except let nature take her course. It is a case of time
and patience. I am glad you brought her to us. Margery and I are very
glad to have her."

"You are awfully good, Uncle Phil. I do appreciate it and it is great to
have you behind me professionally. I haven't got a great deal of
confidence in myself. Doctoring scares me sometimes. It is such a fearful

"It is, but you are going to be equal to it. The confidence will come
with experience. You need have no lack of faith in yourself; I haven't.
There is no reason why I should have, when I get letters like this."

The senior doctor leaned over and extracted old Doctor Fenton's letter
from a cubby hole in his desk and gave it to his nephew to read. The
latter perused it in silence with slightly heightened color. Praise
always embarrassed him.

"He is too kind," he observed as he handed back the letter. "I didn't do
much out there, precious little in fact but what I was told to do. I
figured it out that we young ones were the privates and it was up to us
to take orders from the captains who knew their business better than we
did and get busy. I worked on that basis."

"Sound basis. I am not afraid that a man who can obey well won't be able
to command well when the time comes. It isn't a small thing to be
recognized as a true Holiday, either. It is something to be proud of."

"I am proud, Uncle Phil. There is nothing I would rather hear--and
deserve. But, if I am anywhere near the Holiday standard, it is you
mostly that brought me up to it. I don't mean any dispraise of Dad. He
was fine and I am proud to be his son. But he never understood me. I
didn't have enough dash and go to me for him. Ted and Tony are both
more his kind, though I don't believe either of them loved him as I
did. But you seemed to understand always. You helped me to believe in
myself. It was the best thing that could have happened to me, coming to
you when I did."

Larry turned to the mantel and picked up a photograph of himself which
stood there, a lad of fifteen or so, facing the world with grave,
sensitive eyes, the Larry he had been when he came to the House on the
Hill. He smiled at his uncle over the boy's picture.

"You burned out the plague spots, too, with a mighty hot iron, some of
them," he added. "I'll never forget your sitting there in that very chair
telling me I was a lazy, selfish snob and that, all things considered, I
didn't measure up for a nickel with Dick. Jerusalem! I wonder if you knew
how that hit. I had a fairly good opinion of Larry Holiday in some ways
and you rather knocked the spots out of it, comparing me to my
disadvantage with a circus runaway."

He replaced the picture, the smile still lingering on his face.

"It was the right medicine though. I needed it. I can see that now.
Speaking of doses I wish you would make Ted tutor this summer. I don't
know whether he has told you. I rather think not. But he flunked so many
courses he will have to drop back a year unless he makes up the work and
takes examinations in the fall."

The senior doctor drummed thoughtfully on the desk. So that was what the
boy had on his mind.

"Why not speak to him yourself?" he asked after a minute.

"And be sent to warm regions as I was last spring when I ventured to give
his lord highmightiness some advice. No good, Uncle Phil. He won't listen
to me. He just gets mad and swings off in the other direction. I don't
handle him right. Haven't your patience and tact. I wonder if he ever
will get any sense into his head. He is the best hearted kid in the
world, and I'm crazy over him, but he does rile me to the limit with his
fifty-seven varieties of foolness."



The next morning Ted strolled into his uncle's office to ask if the
latter had any objections to his accepting an invitation to a house-party
from Hal Underwood, a college classmate, at the latter's home near

The doctor considered a moment before answering. He knew all about the
Underwoods and knew that his erratic nephew could not be in a safer,
pleasanter place. Also his quick wit saw a chance to put the screws on
the lad in connection with the tutoring business.

"I suppose your June allowance is able to float your traveling expenses,"
he remarked less guilelessly than the remark sounded.

The June allowance was, it seemed, the missing link.

"I thought maybe you would be willing to allow me a little extra this
month on account of commencement stunts. It is darned expensive sending
nosegays to sweet girl graduates. I couldn't help going broke. Honest I
couldn't, Uncle Phil." Then as his uncle did not leap at the suggestion
offered, the speaker changed his tack. "Anyway, you would be willing to
let me have my July money ahead of time, wouldn't you?" he ingratiated.
"It is only ten days to the first."

But Doctor Holiday still chose to be inconveniently irrelevant.

"Have you any idea how much my bill was for repairing the car?" he

Ted shook his head shamefacedly, and bent to examine a picture in a
magazine which lay on the desk. He wasn't anxious to have the car
incident resurrected. He had thought it decently buried by this time,
having heard no more about it.

"It was a little over a hundred dollars," continued the doctor.

The boy looked up, genuinely distressed.

"Gee, Uncle Phil! It's highway robbery."

"Scarcely. All things considered, it was a very fair bill. A hundred
dollars is a good deal to pay for the pleasure of nearly getting yourself
and somebody else killed, Ted."

Ted pulled his forelock and had nothing to say.

"Were you in earnest about paying up for that particular bit of
folly, son?"

"Why, yes. At least I didn't think it would be any such sum as that," Ted
hedged. "I'll be swamped if I try to pay it out of my allowance. I can't
come out even, as it is. Couldn't you take it out of my own money--what's
coming to me when I'm of age?"

"I could, if getting myself paid were the chief consideration. As it
happens, it isn't. I'm sorry if I seem to be hard on you, but I am going
to hold you to your promise, even if it pinches a bit. I think you know
why. How about it, son?"

"I suppose it has to go that way if you say so," said Ted a little
sulkily. "Can I pay it in small amounts?"

"How small? Dollar a year? I'd hate to wait until I was a hundred and
forty or so to get my money back."

The boy grinned reluctantly, answering the friendly twinkle in his
uncle's eyes. He was relieved that a joke had penetrated what had begun
to appear to be an unpleasantly jestless interview. He hated to be
called to account. Like many another older sinner he liked dancing, but
found paying the piper an irksome business.

"Nonsense, Uncle Phil! I meant real paying. Will ten dollars a month do?"

"It will, provided you don't try to borrow ahead each month from the
next one."

"I won't," glibly. "If you will--" The boy broke off and had the grace to
look confused, realizing he had been about to do the very thing he had
promised in the same breath not to do. "Then that means I can't go to
Hal's," he added soberly.

He felt sober. There was more than Hal and the house-party involved,
though the latter had fallen in peculiarly fortuitous with his other
plans. He had rashly written Madeline he would be in Holyoke next week as
she desired, and the first of July and his allowance would still be just
out of reach next week. It was a confounded nuisance, to say the least,
being broke just now, with Uncle Phil turned stuffy.

"No, I don't want you to give up your house-party, though that rests with
you. I'll make a bargain with you. I'll advance your whole July allowance
minus ten dollars Saturday morning."

Ted's face cleared, beamed like sudden sunshine on a cloudy March day.

"You will! Uncle Phil, you certainly are a peach!" And in his exuberance
he tossed his cap to the ceiling, catching it deftly on his nose as it

"Hold on. Don't rejoice too soon. It was to be a bargain, you know. You
have heard only one side."

"Oh--h!" The exclamation was slightly crestfallen.

"I understand that you fell down on most of your college work this
spring. Is that correct?"

This was a new complication and just as he had thought he was safely
out of the woods, too. Ted hung his head, gave consent to his uncle's
question by silence and braced himself for a lecture, though he was a
little relieved that he need not bring up the subject of that
inconvenient flunking of his, himself; that his uncle was already
prepared, whoever it was that had told tales. The lecture did not
come, however.

"Here is the bargain. I will advance the money as I said, provided
that as soon as you get back from Hal's you will make arrangements to
tutor with Mr. Caldwell this summer, in all the subjects you failed in
and promise to put in two months of good, solid cramming, no half way
about it."

"Gee, Uncle Phil! It's vacation."

"You don't need a vacation. If all I hear of you is true, or even half of
it, you made your whole college year one grand, sweet vacation. What is
the answer? Want time to think the proposition over?"

"No--o. I guess I'll take you up. I suppose I'll have to tutor anyway if
I don't want to drop back a class, and I sure don't," Ted admitted
honestly. "Unless you'll let me quit and you won't. It is awfully tough,
though. You never made Tony or Larry kill themselves studying in
vacations. I don't see--"

"Neither Tony or Larry ever flunked a college course. It remained for you
to be the first Holiday to wear a dunce cap."

Ted flushed angrily at that. The shot went home, as the doctor intended
it should. He knew when to hit and how to do it hard, as Larry had

"Fool's cap if you like, Uncle Phil. I am not a dunce."

"I rather think that is true. Anyway, prove it to us this summer and
there is no one who will be gladder than I to take back the aspersion. Is
it understood then? You have your house-party and when you come back you
are pledged to honest work, no shirking, no requests for time off, no
complaints. Have I your word?"

Ted considered. He thought he was paying a stiff price for his
house-party and his lark with Madeline. He could give up the first,
though a fellow always had a topping time at Hal's; but he couldn't quite
see himself owning ignominiously to Madeline that he couldn't keep his
promise to her because of empty pockets. Moreover, as he had admitted, he
would have to tutor anyway, probably, and he might as well get some gain
out of the pain.

"I promise, Uncle Phil."

"Good. Then that is settled. I am not going to say anything more about
the flunking. You know how we all feel about it. I think you have sense
enough and conscience enough to see it about the way the rest of us do."

Ted's eyes were down again now. Somehow Uncle Phil always made him feel
worse by what he didn't say than a million sermons from other people
would have done. He would have gladly have given up the projected journey
and anything else he possessed this moment if he could have had a clean
slate to show. But it was too late for that now. He had to take the
consequences of his own folly.

"I see it all right, Uncle Phil," he said looking up. "Trouble is I never
seem to have the sense to look until--afterward. You are awfully decent
about it and letting me go to Hal's and--everything. I--I'll be gone
about a week, do you mind?"

"No. Stay as long as you like. I am satisfied with your promise to make
good when you do come."

Ted slipped away quickly then. He was ashamed to meet his uncle's kind
eyes. He knew he was playing a crooked game with stacked cards. He hadn't
exactly lied--hadn't said a word that wasn't strictly true, indeed. He
was going to Hal's, but he had let his uncle think he was going to stay
there the whole week whereas in reality he meant to spend the greater
part of the time in Madeline Taylor's society, which was not in the
bargain at all. Well he would make up later by keeping his promise about
the studying. He would show them Larry wasn't the only Holiday who could
make good. The dunce cap jibe rankled.

And so, having satisfied his sufficiently elastic conscience, he departed
on Saturday for Springfield and adjacent points.

He had the usual "topping" time at Hal's and tore himself away with the
utmost reluctance from the house-party, had half a mind, indeed, to wire
Madeline he couldn't come to Holyoke. But after all that seemed rather a
mean thing to do after having treated her so rough before, and in the end
he had gone, only one day later than he had promised.

It was characteristic that, arrived at his destination, he straightway
forgot the pleasures he was foregoing at Hal's and plunged
whole-heartedly into amusing himself to the utmost with Madeline Taylor.
_Carpe Diem_ was Ted Holiday's motto.

Madeline had indeed proved unexpectedly pretty and attractive when she
opened the door to him on Cousin Emma's little box of a front porch, clad
all in white and wearing no extraneous ornament of any sort, blushing
delightfully and obviously more than glad of his coming. He would not
have been Ted Holiday if he hadn't risen to the occasion. The last girl
in sight was usually the only girl for him so long as she _was_ in sight
and sufficiently jolly and good to look upon.

A little later Madeline donned a trim tailored black sailor hat and a
pretty and becoming pale green sweater and the two went down the steps
together, bound for an excursion to the park. As they descended Ted's
hand slipped gallantly under the girl's elbow and she leaned on it ever
so little, reveling in the ceremony and prolonging it as much as
possible. Well she knew that Cousin Emma and the children were peering
out from behind the curtains of the front bedroom upstairs, and that Mrs.
Bascom and her stuck up daughter Lily had their faces glued to the pane
next door. They would all see that this was no ordinary beau, but a real
swell like the magnificent young men in the movies. Perhaps as she
descended Cousin Emma's steps and went down the path between the tiger
lilies and peonies that flanked the graveled path with Ted Holiday beside
her, Madeline Taylor had her one perfect moment.

Only the "ordinary" Fred, on hearing his wife's voluble descriptions
later of Madeline's "grand" young man failed to be suitably impressed.
"Them swells don't mean no girl no good no time," he had summed up his
views with sententious accumulation of negatives.

But little enough did either Ted or Madeline reck of Fred's or any other
opinion as they fared their blithe and care-free way that gala week. The
rest of the world was supremely unimportant as they went canoeing and
motoring and trolley riding and mountain climbing and "movieing"
together. Madeline strove with all her might to dress and act and _be_ as
nearly like those other girls after whom she was modeling herself as
possible, to do nothing, which could jar on Ted in any way or remind him
that she was "different." In her happiness and sincere desire to please
she succeeded remarkably well in making herself superficially at least
very much like Ted's own "kind of girl" and though with true masculine
obtuseness he was entirely unaware of the conscious effort she was
putting into the performance nevertheless he enjoyed the results in full
and played up to her undeniable charms with his usual debonair and
heedless grace and gallantry.

The one thing that had been left out of the program for lack of suitable
opportunity was dancing, an omission not to be tolerated by two strenuous
and modern young persons who would rather fox trot than eat any day.
Accordingly on Thursday it was agreed that they should repair to the
White Swan, a resort down the river, famous for its excellent cuisine,
its perfect dance floor and its "snappy" negro orchestra. Both Ted and
Madeline knew that the Swan had also a reputation of another less
desirable sort, but both were willing to ignore the fact for the sake of
enjoying the "jolliest jazz on the river" as the advertisement read. The
dance was the thing.

It was, indeed. The evening was decidedly the best yet, as both averred,
pirouetting and spinning and romping through one fox trot and one step
after another. The excitement of the music, the general air of
exhilaration about the place and their own high-pitched mood made the
occasion different from the other gaieties of the week, merrier, madder,
a little more reckless.

Once, seeing a painted, over-dressed or rather under-dressed, girl in the
arms of a pasty-faced, protruding-eyed roue, both obviously under the
spell of too much liquid inspiration, Ted suffered a momentary revulsion
and qualm of conscience. He shouldn't have brought Madeline here. It
wasn't the sort of place to bring a girl, no matter how good the music
was. Oh, well! What did it matter just this once? They were there now and
they might as well get all the fun they could out of it. The music
started up, he held out his hand to Madeline and they wheeled into the
maze of dancers, the girl's pliant body yielding to his arms, her eyes
brilliant with excitement. They danced on and on and it was amazingly and
imprudently late when they finally left the Swan and went home to Cousin
Emma's house.

Ted had meant to leave Madeline at the gate, but somehow he lingered and
followed the girl out into the yard behind the house where they seated
themselves in the hammock in the shade of the lilac bushes. And suddenly,
without any warning, he had her in his arms and was kissing her

It was only for a moment, however. He pulled himself together, hot
cheeked and ashamed and flung himself out of the hammock. Madeline sat
very still, not saying a word, as she watched him march to and fro
between the beds of verbena and love-lies-bleeding and portulaca.
Presently he paused beside the hammock, looking down at the girl.

"I am going home to-morrow," he said a little huskily.

Madeline threw out one hand and clutched one of the boy's in a
feverish clasp.

"No! No!" she cried. "You mustn't go. Please don't, Ted."

"I've got to," stolidly.


"You know why."

"You mean--what you did--just now?"

He nodded miserably.

"That doesn't matter. I'm not angry. I--I liked it."

"I am afraid it does matter. It makes a mess of everything, and it's all
my fault. I spoiled things. I've got to go."

"But you will come back?" she pleaded.

He shook his head.

"It is better not, Madeline. I'm sorry."

She snatched her hand away from his, her eyes shooting sparks of anger.

"I hate you, Ted Holiday. You make me care and then you go away and leave
me. You are cruel--selfish. I hate you--hate you."

Ted stared down at her, helpless, miserable, ashamed. No man knows what
to do with a scene, especially one which his own folly has precipitated.

"Willis Hubbard is coming down to-morrow night and if you don't stay as
you promised I'll go to the Swan with him. He has been teasing me to go
for ages and I wouldn't, but I will now, if you leave me. I'll--I'll do

Ted was worried. He did not like the sound of the girl's threats though
he wasn't moved from his own purpose.

"Don't go to the Swan with Hubbard, Madeline. You mustn't."

"Why not? You took me."

"I know I did, but that is different," he finished lamely.

"I don't see anything very different," she retorted hotly.

Ted bit his lip. Remembering his own recent aberration, he did not see as
much difference as he would have liked to see himself.

"I suppose you wouldn't have taken _your_ kind of girl to the Swan,"
taunted Madeline.

"No, I--"

It was a fatal admission. Ted hadn't meant to make it so bluntly, but it
was out. The damage was done.

A demon of rage possessed the girl. Beside herself with anger she sprang
to her feet and delivered a stinging blow straight in the boy's face.
Then, her mood changing, she fell back into the hammock sobbing bitterly.

For a moment Ted was too much astonished by this fish-wife exhibition
of temper even to be angry with himself. Then a hot wave of wrath and
shame surged over him. He put up his hand to his cheek as if to brush
away the indignity of the blow. But he was honest enough to realize
that maybe he had deserved the punishment, though not for the reason
the girl had dealt it.

Looking down at her in her racked misery, his resentment vanished and
an odd impersonal kind of pity for her possessed him instead, though
her attraction was gone forever. He could see the scar on her forehead,
and it troubled and reproached him vaguely, seemed a symbol of a deeper
wound he had dealt her, though never meaning any harm. He bent over
her, gently.

"Forgive me, Madeline," he said. "I am sorry--sorry for
everything. Goodby."

In a moment he was gone, past the portulaca and love-lies-bleeding, past
Cousin Emma's unlit parlor windows, down the walk between the tiger
lilies and peonies, out into the street. And Madeline, suddenly
realizing that she was alone, rushed after him, calling his name softly
into the dark. But only the echo of his firm, buoyant young feet came
back to her straining ears. She fled back to the garden and, throwing
herself, face down, on the dew drenched grass, surrendered to a passion
of tearless grief.

Ted astonished his uncle, first by coming home a whole day earlier than
he had been expected and second, by announcing his intention of seeing
Robert Caldwell and making arrangements about the tutoring that very
day. He was more than usually uncommunicative about his house-party
experiences the Doctor thought and fancied too that just at first after
his return the boy did not meet his eyes quite frankly. But this soon
passed away and he was delighted and it must be confessed considerably
astounded too to perceive that Ted really meant to keep his word about
the studying and settled down to genuine hard work for perhaps the first
time, in his idle, irresponsible young life. He had been prepared to put
on the screws if necessary. There had been no need. Ted had applied his
own screws and kept at his uncongenial task with such grim determination
that it almost alarmed his family, so contrary was his conduct to his
usual light-hearted shedding of all obligations which he could, by hook
or crook, evade.

Among other things to be noted with relief the doctor counted the fact
that there were no more letters from Florence. Apparently that flame
which had blazed up rather brightly at first had died down as a good many
others had. Doctor Holiday was particularly glad in this case. He had not
liked the idea of his nephew's running around with a girl who would be
willing to go "joy-riding" with him after midnight, and still less had he
liked the idea of his nephew's issuing such invitations to any kind of
girl. Youth was youth and he had never kept a very tight rein on any of
Ned's children, believing he could trust them to run straight in the
main. Still there were things one drew the line at for a Holiday.



Tony was dressing for dinner on her first evening at Crest House.
Carlotta was perched on the arm of a chair near by, catching up on mutual
gossip as to events that had transpired since they parted a month before
at Northampton.

"I have a brand new young man for you, Tony. Alan Massey--the artist. At
least he calls himself an artist, though he hasn't done a thing but
philander and travel two or three times around the globe, so near as I
can make out, since somebody died and left him a disgusting big fortune.
Aunt Lottie hints that he is very improper, but anyway he is amusing and
different and a dream of a dancer. It is funny, but he makes me think a
little bit once in a while of somebody we both know. I won't tell you
who, and see if the same thing strikes you."

A little later Tony met the "new young man." She was standing with her
friend in the big living room waiting for the signal for dinner when she
felt suddenly conscious of a new presence. She turned quickly and saw a
stranger standing on the threshold regarding her with a rather
disconcertingly intent gaze. He was very tall and foreign-looking,
"different," as Carlotta had said, with thick, waving blue-black hair, a
clear, olive skin and deep-set, gray-green eyes. There was nothing about
him that suggested any resemblance to anyone she knew. Indeed she had a
feeling that there was nobody at all like him anywhere in the world.

The newcomer walked toward her, their glances crossing. Tony stood very
still, but she had an unaccountable sensation of going to meet him, as if
he had drawn her to him, magnet-wise, by his strange, sweeping look. They
were introduced. He bowed low in courtly old world fashion over the
girl's hand.

"I am enchanted to know Miss Holiday," he said. His voice was as unusual
as the rest of him, deep-throated, musical, vibrant--an unforgettable
voice it seemed to Tony who for a moment seemed to have lost her own.

"I shall sit beside Miss Tony to-night, Carla," he added. It was not a
question, not a plea. It was clear assertion.

"Not to-night, Alan. You are between Aunt Lottie and Mary Frances Day.
You liked Mary Frances yesterday. You flirted with her outrageously
last night."

He shrugged.

"Ah, but that was last night, my dear. And this is to-night. And I have
seen your Miss Tony. That alters everything, even your seating
arrangements. Change me, Carlotta."

Carlotta laughed and capitulated. Alan's highhanded tactics always
amused her.

"Not that you deserve it," she said. "Don't be too nice to him, Tony. He
is not a nice person at all."

So it happened that Tony found herself at dinner between Ted's friend,
and her own, Hal Underwood, and this strange, impossible, arbitrary,
new personage who had hypnotized her into unwonted silence at their
first meeting.

She had recovered her usual poise by this time, however, and was quite
prepared to keep Alan Massey in due subjection if necessary. She did not
like masterful men. They always roused her own none too dormant

As they sat down he bent over to her.

"You are glad I made Carlotta put us together," he said, and this, too,
was no question, but an assertion.

Tony was in arms in a flash.

"On the contrary, I am exceedingly sorry she gave in to you. You seem to
be altogether too accustomed to having your own way as it is." And rather
pointedly she turned her pretty shoulder on her too presuming neighbor
and proceeded to devote her undivided attention for two entire courses to
Hal Underwood.

But, with the fish, Hal's partner on the other side, a slim young person
in a glittering green sequined gown, suggesting a fish herself, or, at
politest, a mermaid, challenged his notice and Tony returned perforce to
her left-hand companion who had not spoken a single word since she had
snubbed him as Tony was well aware, though she had seemed so entirely
absorbed in her own conversation with Hal.

His gray-green eyes smiled imperturbably into hers.

"Am I pardoned? Surely I have been punished enough for my sins, whatever
they may have been."

"I hope so," said Tony. "Are you always so disagreeable?"

"I am never disagreeable when I am having my own way. I am always good
when I am happy. At this moment I am very, very good."

"It hardly seems possible," said Tony. "Carlotta said you were not
good at all."

He shrugged, a favorite mannerism, it seemed.

"Goodness is relative and a very dull topic in any case. Let us talk,
instead, of the most interesting subject in the universe--love. You
know, of course, I am madly in love with you."

"Indeed, no. I didn't suspect it," parried Tony. "You fall in love

"Scarcely easily, in this case. I should say rather upon tremendous
provocation. I suppose you know how beautiful you are."

"I look in the mirror occasionally," admitted Tony with a glimmer of
mischief in her eyes. "Carlotta told me you were a philanderer.
Forewarned is forearmed, Mr. Massey."

"Ah, but this isn't philandery. It is truth." Suddenly the mockery had
died out of his voice and his eyes. "_Carissima,_ I have waited a very
long time for you--too long. Life has been an arid waste without you,
but, Allah be praised, you are here at last. You are going to love
me--ah, my Tony--how you are going to love me!" The last words were
spoken very low for the girl's ears alone, though more than one person at
the table seeing him bend over her, understood, that Alan Massey, that
professional master-lover was "off" again.

"Don't, Mr. Massey. I don't care for that kind of jest."

"Jest! Good God! Tony Holiday, don't you know that I mean it, that this,
is the real thing at last for me--and for you? Don't fight it,
Mademoiselle Beautiful. It will do no good. I love you and you are going
to love me--divinely."

"I don't even like you," denied Tony hotly.

"What of that? What do I care for your liking? That is for others. But
your loving--that shall be mine--all mine. You will see."

"I am afraid you are very much mistaken if you do mean all you are
saying. Please talk to Miss Irvine now. You haven't said a word to her
since you sat down. I hate rudeness."

Again Tony turned a cold shoulder upon her amazing dinner companion but
she did not do it so easily or so calmly this time. She was not unused
to the strange ways of men. Not for nothing had she spent so much of her
life at army posts where love-making is as familiar as brass buttons.
Sudden gusts of passion were no novelty to her, nor was it a new thing
to hear that a man thought he loved her. But Alan Massey was different.
She disliked him intensely, she resented the arrogance of his
assumptions with all her might, but he interested her amazingly. And,
incredible as it might seem and not to be admitted out loud, he was
speaking the truth, just now. He did love her. In her heart Tony knew
that she had felt his love before he had ever spoken a word to her when
their eyes had met as he stood on the threshold and she knew too
instinctively, that his love--if it was that--was not a thing to be
treated like the little summer day loves of the others. It was big,
rather fearful, not to be flouted or played with. One did not play with
a meteor when it crossed one's path. One fled from it or stayed and let
it destroy one if it would.

She roused herself to think of other people, to forget Alan Massey and
his wonderful voice which had said such perturbing things. Over across
the table, Carlotta was talking vivaciously to a pasty-visaged,
narrow-chested, stoop-shouldered youth who scarcely opened his mouth
except to consume food, but whose eyes drank in every movement of
Carlotta's. One saw at a glance he was another of that spoiled little
coquette's many victims. Tony asked Hal who he was. He seemed scarcely
worth so many of Carlotta's sparkles, she thought.

"Herb Lathrop--father is the big tea and coffee man--all rolled up in
millions. Carlotta's people are putting all the bets on him, apparently,
though for the life of me I can't see why. Don't see why people with
money are always expected to match up with somebody with a whole
caboodle of the same junk. Ought to be evened up I think, and a bit of
eugenics slipped in, instead of so much cash, for good measure. You can
see what a poor fish he is. In my opinion she had much better marry your
neighbor up there on the Hill. He is worth a gross of Herb Lathrops and
she knows it. Carlotta is no fool."

"You mean Phil Lambert?" Tony was surprised.

Hal nodded.

"That's the chap. Only man I ever knew that could keep Carlotta in

"But Carlotta hasn't the slightest idea of marrying Phil," objected Tony.

"Maybe not. I only say he is the man she ought to marry. I say, Tony,
does she seem happy to you?"

"Carlotta! Why, yes. I hadn't thought. She seems gayer than usual, if
anything." Tony's eyes sought her friend's face. Was there something a
little forced about that gaiety of hers? For the first time it struck her
that there was a restlessness in the lovely violet eyes which was
unfamiliar. Was Carlotta unhappy? Evidently Hal thought so. "You have
sharp eyes, Hal," she commented. "I hadn't noticed."

"Oh, I'm one of the singed moths you know. I know Carlotta pretty well
and I know she is fighting some kind of a fight--maybe with herself. I
rather think it is. Tell Phil Lambert to come down here and marry her out
of hand. I tell you Lambert's the man."

"You think Carlotta loves Phil?"

"I don't think. 'Tisn't my business prying into a girl's fancies. I'm
simply telling you Phil Lambert is the man that ought to marry her, and
if he doesn't get on to the job almighty quick that pop-eyed simpleton
over there will be prancing down the aisle to Lohengrin with Carlotta
before Christmas, and the jig will be up. You tell him what I say. And
study the thing a bit yourself while you are here, Tony. See if you can
get to the bottom of it. I hate to have her mess things up for herself
that way."

Whereupon Hal once more proceeded to do his duty to the mermaid, leaving
Tony to her other partner.

"Well," the latter murmured, seeing her free. "I have done the heavy
polite act, discussed D'Annunzio, polo and psycho-analysis and finished
all three subjects neatly. Do I get my reward?"

"What do you ask?"

"The first dance and then the garden and the moon and you--all to

Tony shook her head. She was on guard.

"I shall want more than one dance and more than one partner. I am afraid
I shan't have time for the moon and the garden to-night. I adore dancing.
I never stop until the music does."

A flash of exultancy leaped into his eyes.

"So? I might have known you would adore dancing. You shall have your
fill. You shall have many dances, but only one partner. I shall suffice.
I am one of the best dancers in the world."

"And evidently one of the vainest men," coolly.

"What of it? Vanity is good when it is not misplaced. But I was not
boasting. I _am_ one of the best dancers in the world. Why should I not
be? My mother was Lucia Vannini. She danced before princes." He might
have added, "She was a prince's mistress." It had been the truth.

"Oh!" cried Tony. She had heard of Lucia Vannini--a famous Italian beauty
and dancer of three decades ago. So Alan Massey was her son. No wonder he
was foreign, different, in ways and looks. One could forgive his
extravagances when one knew.

"Ah, you like that, my beauty? You will like it even better when you
have danced with me. It is then that you will know what it is to dance.
We shall dance and dance and--love. I shall make you mine dancing,
_Toinetta mia_."

Tony shrank back from his ardent eyes and his veiled threat. She was a
passionate devotee of her own freedom. She did not want to be made his or
any man's--certainly not his. She decided not to dance with him at all.
But later, when the violins began to play and Alan Massey came and stood
before her, uttering no word but commanding her to him with his eyes and
his out-stretched, nervous, slender, strong, artist hands, she
yielded--could scarcely have refused if she had wanted to. But she did
not want to, though she told herself it was with Lucia Vannini's son
rather than with Alan Massey that she desired to dance.

After that she thought not at all, gave herself up to the very ecstasy of
emotion. She had danced all her life, but, even as he had predicted, she
learned for the first time in this man's arms what dancing really was. It
was like nothing she had ever even dreamed of--pure poetry of motion, a
curious, rather alarming weaving into one of two vividly alive persons in
a kind of pagan harmony, a rhythmic rapture so intense it almost hurt. It
seemed as if she could have gone on thus forever.

But suddenly she perceived that she and her partner had the floor alone,
the others had stopped to watch, though the musicians still played on
frenziedly, faster and faster. Flushed, embarrassed at finding herself
thus conspicuous, she drew herself away from Alan Massey.

"We must stop," she murmured. "They are all looking at us."

"What of it?" He bent over her, his passionate eyes a caress. "Did I not
tell you, _carissima_ Was it not very heaven?"

Tony shook her head.

"I am afraid there was nothing heavenly about it. But it was wonderful. I
forgive you your boasting. You are the best dancer in the world. I am
sure of it."

"And you will dance with me again and again, my wonder-girl. You must.
You want to."

"I want to," admitted Tony. "But I am not going to--at least not again
to-night. Take me to a seat."

He did so and she sank down with a fluttering sigh beside Miss Lottie
Cressy, Carlotta's aunt. The latter stared at her, a little oddly she
thought, and then looked up at Alan Massey.

"You don't change, do you, Alan?" observed Miss Cressy.

"Oh yes, I change a great deal. I have been very different ever since I
met Miss Tony." His eyes fell on the girl, made no secret of his emotions
concerning her and her beauty.

Miss Cressy laughed a little sardonically.

"No doubt. You were always different after each new sweetheart, I recall.
So were they--some of them."

"You do me too much honor," he retorted suavely. "Shall we not go out,
Miss Holiday? The garden is very beautiful by moonlight."

She bowed assent, and together they passed out of the room through the
French window. Miss Cressy stared after them, the bitter little smile
still lingering on her lips.

"Youth for Alan always," she said to herself. "Ah, well, I was young,
too, those days in Paris. I must tell Carlotta to warn Tony. It would be
a pity for the child to be tarnished so soon by touching his kind too
close. She is so young and so lovely."

Alan and Tony strayed to a remote corner of the spacious gardens and
came to a pause beside the fountain which leaped and splashed and caught
the moonlight in its falling splendor. For a moment neither spoke. Tony
bent to dip her fingers in the cool water. She had an odd feeling of
needing lustration from something. The man's eyes were upon her. She was
very young, very lovely, as Miss Cressy had said. There was something
strangely moving to Alan Massey about her virginal freshness, her
moonshine beauty. He was unaccustomed to compunction, but for a fleeting
second, as he studied Tony Holiday standing there with bowed head,
laving her hands in the sparkling purity of the water, he had an impulse
to go away and leave her, lest he cast a shadow upon her by his
lingering near her.

It was only for a moment. He was far too selfish to follow the brief urge
to renunciation. The girl stirred his passion too deeply, roused his will
to conquer too irresistibly to permit him to forego the privilege of the
place and hour.

She looked up at him and he smiled down at her, once more the

"I was right, was I not, _Toinetta mia_? I did make you a little bit
mine, did I not? Be honest. Tell me." He laid a hand on each of her bare
white shoulders, looked deep, deep into her brown eyes as if he would
read secret things in their depths.

Tony drew away from his hands, dropped her gaze once more to the rippling
white of the water, which was less disconcerting than Alan Massey's too
ardent green eyes.

"You danced with me divinely. I shall also make you love me divinely even
as I promised. You know it dear one. You cannot deny it," the magically
beautiful voice which pulled so oddly at her heart strings went on
softly, almost in a sort of chant. "You love me already, my white
moonshine girl," he whispered. "Tell me you do."

"Ah but I don't," denied Tony. "I--I won't. I don't want to love

"You cannot help it, dear heart. Nature made you for loving and being
loved. And it is I that you are going to love. Mine that you shall
be. Tell me, did you ever feel before as you felt in there when we
were dancing?"

"No," said Tony, her eyes still downcast.

"I knew it. You are mine, belovedest. I knew it the moment I saw you. It
is Kismet. Kiss me."

"No." The girl pulled herself away from him, her face aflame.

"No? Then so." He drew her back to him, and lifted her face gently with
his two hands. He bent over her, his lips close to hers.

"If you kiss me I'll never dance with you again as long as I live!"
she flashed.

He laughed a little mockingly, but he lowered his hands, made no effort
to gainsay her will.

"What a horrible threat, you cruel little moonbeam! But you wouldn't keep
it. You couldn't. You love to dance with me too well."

"I would," she protested, the more sharply because she suspected he was
right, that she would dance with him again, no matter what he did. "Any
way I shall not dance with you again to-night. And I shall not stay out
here with you any longer." She turned to flee, but he put out his hand
and held her back.

"Not so fast, my Tony. They have eyes and ears in there. If you run away
from me and go back with those glorious fires lit in your cheeks and in
your eyes they will believe I did kiss you-."

"Oh!" gasped Tony, indignant but lingering, recognizing the probable
truth of his prediction.

"We shall go together after a minute with sedateness, as if we had been
studying the stars. I am wise, my Tony. Trust me."

"Very well," assented Tony. "How many stars are there in the Pleiades,
anyway?" she asked with sudden imps of mirth in her eyes.

Again she felt on safe ground, sure that she had conquered and put a
too presuming male in his place. She had no idea that the laurels had
been chiefly not hers at all but Alan Massey's, who was quite as wise
as he boasted.

But she kept her word and danced no more with Alan Massey that night.
She did not dare. She hated Alan Massey, disapproved of him heartily and
knew it would be the easiest thing in the world to fall in love with
him, especially if she let herself dance often with him as they had
danced to-night.

And so, her very first night at Crest House, Antoinette Holiday
discovered that, there was such a thing as love after all, and that it
had to be reckoned with whether you desired or not to welcome it at
your door.



After that first night in the garden Alan Massey did not try to make open
love to Tony again, but his eyes, following her wherever she moved, made
no secret of his adoration. He was nearly always by her side, driving off
other devotees when he chose with a cool high-handedness which sometimes
amused, sometimes infuriated Tony. She found the man a baffling and
fascinating combination of qualities, all petty selfishness and colossal
egotisms one minute, abounding in endless charms and graces and small
endearing chivalries the next; outrageously outspoken at times, at other
times, reticent to the point of secretiveness; now reaching the most
extravagant pitch of high spirits, and then, almost without warning,
submerged in moods of Stygian gloom from which nothing could rouse him.

Tony came to know something of his romantic and rather mottled career
from Carlotta and others, even from Alan himself. She knew perfectly well
he was not the kind of man Larry or her uncle would approve or tolerate.
She disapproved of him rather heartily herself in many ways. At times she
disliked him passionately, made up her mind she would have no more to do
with him. At other times she was all but in love with him, and suspected
she would have found the world an intolerably dull place with Alan Massey
suddenly removed from it. When they danced together she was dangerously
near being what he had claimed she was or would be--all his. She knew
this, was afraid of it, yet she kept on dancing with him night after
night. It seemed as if she had to, as if she would have danced with him
even if she knew the next moment would send them both hurtling through
space, like Lucifer, down to damnation.

It was not until Dick Carson came down for a week end, some time later,
that Tony discovered the resemblance in Alan to some one she knew of
which Carlotta had spoken. Incredibly and inexplicably Dick and Alan
possessed a shadowy sort of similarity. In most respects they were as
different in appearance as they were in personality. Dick's hair was
brown and straight; Alan's, black and wavy. Dick's eyes were steady
gray-blue; Alan's, shifty gray-green. Yet the resemblance was there,
elusive, though it was. Perhaps it lay in the curve of the sensitive
nostrils, perhaps in the firm contour of chin, perhaps in the arch of the
brow. Perhaps it was nothing so tangible, just a fleeting trick of
expression. Tony did not know, but she caught the thing just as Carlotta
had and it puzzled and interested her.

She spoke of it to Alan the next morning after Dick's arrival, as they
idled together, stretched out on the sand, waiting for the others to come
out of the surf.

To her surprise he was instantly highly annoyed and resentful.

"For Heaven's sake, Tony, don't get the resemblance mania. It's a
disgusting habit. I knew a woman once who was always chasing likenesses
in people and prattling about them--got her in trouble once and served
her right. She told a young lieutenant that he looked extraordinarily
like a certain famous general of her acquaintance. It proved later that
the young man had been born at the post where the general was stationed
while the presumptive father was absent on a year's cruise. It had been
quite a prominent scandal at the time."

"That isn't a nice story, Alan. Moreover it is entirely irrelevant. But

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