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The Man Between by Amelia E. Barr

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The Man Between

AN INTERNATIONAL ROMANCE

By AMELIA E. BARR

PART FIRST

O LOVE WILL VENTURE IN!

THE MAN BETWEEN

CHAPTER I

THE thing that I know least about is my
beginning. For it is possible to introduce
Ethel Rawdon in so many picturesque ways
that the choice is embarrassing, and forces me
to the conclusion that the actual circumstances,
though commonplace, may be the
most suitable. Certainly the events that shape
our lives are seldom ushered in with pomp or
ceremony; they steal upon us unannounced,
and begin their work without giving any premonition
of their importance.

Consequently Ethel had no idea when she
returned home one night from a rather stupid
entertainment that she was about to open
a new and important chapter of her life.
Hitherto that life had been one of the sweetest
and simplest character--the lessons and
sports of childhood and girlhood had claimed
her nineteen years; and Ethel was just at that
wonderful age when, the brook and the river
having met, she was feeling the first swell of
those irresistible tides which would carry her
day by day to the haven of all days.

It was Saturday night in the January of
1900, verging toward twelve o'clock. When
she entered her room, she saw that one of
the windows was open, and she stood a moment
or two at it, looking across the straight miles
of white lights, in whose illumined shadows
thousands of sleepers were holding their lives
in pause.

"It is not New York at all," she whispered,
"it is some magical city that I have seen, but
have never trod. It will vanish about six
o'clock in the morning, and there will be only
common streets, full of common people. Of
course," and here she closed the window and
leisurely removed her opera cloak, "of
course, this is only dreaming, but to dream
waking, or to dream sleeping, is very pleasant.
In dreams we can have men as we like
them, and women as we want them, and make
all the world happy and beautiful."

She was in no hurry of feeling or movement.
She had been in a crowd for some hours, and
was glad to be quite alone and talk to herself
a little. It was also so restful to gradually
relinquish all the restraining gauds of fashionable
attire, and as she leisurely performed
these duties, she entered into conversation
with her own heart--talked over with it the
events of the past week, and decided that its
fretless days, full of good things, had been,
from the beginning to the end, sweet as a cup
of new milk. For a woman's heart is very
talkative, and requires little to make it
eloquent in its own way.

In the midst of this intimate companionship
she turned her head, and saw two letters lying
upon a table. She rose and lifted them. One
was an invitation to a studio reception, and
she let it flutter indeterminately from her
hand; the other was both familiar and appealing;
none of her correspondents but Dora
Denning used that peculiar shade of blue
paper, and she instantly began to wonder why
Dora had written to her.

"I saw her yesterday afternoon," she reflected,
"and she told me everything she had
to tell--and what does she-mean by such a
tantalizing message as this? `Dearest Ethel: I
have the most extraordinary news. Come to
me immediately. Dora.' How exactly like
Dora!" she commented. "Come to me im-
mediately--whether you are in bed or asleep
--whether you are sick or well--whether it is
midnight or high noon--come to me immediately.
Well, Dora, I am going to sleep now,
and to-morrow is Sunday, and I never know
what view father is going to take of Sunday.
He may ask me to go to church with him, and
he may not. He may want me to drive in the
afternoon, and again he may not; but Sunday
is father's home day, and Ruth and I make a
point of obliging him in regard to it. That
is one of our family principles; and a girl
ought to have a few principles of conduct
involving self-denial. Aunt Ruth says, `Life
cannot stand erect without self-denial,' and
aunt is usually right--but I do wonder what
Dora wants! I cannot imagine what extraordinary
news has come. I must try and see
her to-morrow--it may be difficult--but I
must make the effort"--and with this satisfying
resolution she easily fell asleep.

When she awoke the church bells were ringing
and she knew that her father and aunt
would have breakfasted. The feet did not
trouble her. It was an accidental sleep-over;
she had not planned it, and circumstances
would take care of themselves. In any case,
she had no fear of rebuke. No one was ever
cross with Ethel. It was a matter of pretty
general belief that whatever Ethel did was
just right. So she dressed herself becomingly
in a cloth suit, and, with her plumed hat on
her head, went down to see what the day had
to offer her.

"The first thing is coffee, and then, all being
agreeable, Dora. I shall not look further
ahead," she thought.

As she entered the room she called "Good
morning!" and her voice was like the voice
of the birds when they call "Spring!"; and
her face was radiant with smiles, and the touch
of her lips and the clasp of her hand warm
with love and life; and her father and aunt
forgot that she was late, and that her breakfast
was yet to order.

She took up the reproach herself. "I am
so sorry, Aunt Ruth. I only want a cup of
coffee and a roll."

"My dear, you cannot go without a proper
breakfast. Never mind the hour. What would
you like best?"

"You are so good, Ruth. I should like a
nice breakfast--a breast of chicken and mushrooms,
and some hot muffins and marmalade
would do. How comfortable you look here!
Father, you are buried in newspapers. Is
anyone going to church?"

Ruth ordered the desired breakfast and Mr.
Rawdon took out his watch--"I am afraid
you have delayed us too long this morning,
Ethel."

"Am I to be the scapegoat? Now, I do not
believe anyone wanted to go to church. Ruth
had her book, you, the newspapers. It is warm
and pleasant here, it is cold and windy outside.
I know what confession would be made,
if honesty were the fashion."

"Well, my little girl, honesty is the fashion
in this house. I believe in going to church.
Religion is the Mother of Duty, and we should
all make a sad mess of life without duty. Is
not that so, Ruth?"

"Truth itself, Edward; but religion is not
going to church and listening to sermons.
Those who built the old cathedrals of Europe
had no idea that sitting in comfortable pews
and listening to some man talking was worshiping
God. Those great naves were intended
for men and women to stand or kneel
in before God. And there were no high or
low standing or kneeling places; all were on a
level before Him. It is our modern Protestantism
which has brought in lazy lolling in
cushioned pews; and the gallery, which makes
a church as like a playhouse as possible!"

"What are you aiming at, Ruth?"

"I only meant to say, I would like going to
church much better if we went solely to praise
God, and entreat His mercy. I do not care to
hear sermons."

"My dear Ruth, sermons are a large fact in
our social economy. When a million or two
are preached every year, they have a strong
claim on our attention. To use a trade phrase,
sermons are firm, and I believe a moderate tax
on them would yield an astonishing income."

"See how you talk of them, Edward; as
if they were a commercial commodity. If you
respected them----"

"I do. I grant them a steady pneumatic
pressure in the region of morals, and even
faith. Picture to yourself, Ruth, New York
without sermons. The dear old city would be
like a ship without ballast, heeling over with
every wind, and letting in the waters of
immorality and scepticism. Remove this pulpit
balance just for one week from New York
City, and where should we be?"

"Well then," said Ethel, "the clergy ought
to give New York a first-rate article in sermons,
either of home or foreign manufacture.
New York expects the very best of everything;
and when she gets it, she opens her
heart and her pocketbook enjoys it, and pays
for it."

"That is the truth, Ethel. I was thinking
of your grandmother Rawdon. You have
your hat on--are you going to see her?"

"I am going to see Dora Denning. I had
an urgent note from her last night. She says
she has `extraordinary news' and begs me to
`come to her immediately.' I cannot imagine
what her news is. I saw her Friday
afternoon."

"She has a new poodle, or a new lover, or a
new way of crimping her hair," suggested
Ruth Bayard scornfully." She imposes on
you, Ethel; why do you submit to her selfishness?"

"I suppose because I have become used
to it. Four years ago I began to take her part,
when the girls teased and tormented her in the
schoolroom, and I have big-sistered her ever
since. I suppose we get to love those who
make us kind and give us trouble. Dora is not
perfect, but I like her better than any friend
I have. And she must like me, for she asks
my advice about everything in her life."

"Does she take it?"

"Yes--generally. Sometimes I have to
make her take it."

"She has a mother. Why does she not go
to her?"

"Mrs. Denning knows nothing about certain
subjects. I am Dora's social godmother,
and she must dress and behave as I tell her to
do. Poor Mrs. Denning! I am so sorry for
her--another cup of coffee, Ruth--it is not
very strong."

"Why should you be sorry for Mrs. Denning,
Her husband is enormously rich--she
lives in a palace, and has a crowd of men and
women servants to wait upon her--carriages,
horses, motor cars, what not, at her command."

"Yet really, Ruth, she is a most unhappy
woman. In that little Western town from
which they came, she was everybody. She ran
the churches, and was chairwoman in all the
clubs, and President of the Temperance
Union, and manager of every religious, social,
and political festival; and her days were full
to the brim of just the things she liked to do.
Her dress there was considered magnificent;
people begged her for patterns, and regarded
her as the very glass of fashion. Servants
thought it a great privilege to be employed on
the Denning place, and she ordered her house
and managed her half-score of men and maids
with pleasant autocracy. NOW! Well, I will
tell you how it is, NOW. She sits all day in her
splendid rooms, or rides out in her car or carriage,
and no one knows her, and of course no
one speaks to her. Mr. Denning has his Wall
Street friends----"

"And enemies," interrupted Judge Rawdon.

"And enemies! You are right, father.
But he enjoys one as much as the other--that
is, he would as willingly fight his enemies as
feast his friends. He says a big day in Wall
Street makes him alive from head to foot.
He really looks happy. Bryce Denning has
got into two clubs, and his money passes him,
for he plays, and is willing to love prudently.
But no one cares about Mrs. Denning. She is
quite old--forty-five, I dare say; and she is
stout, and does not wear the colors and style
she ought to wear--none of her things have
the right `look,' and of course I cannot advise
a matron. Then, her fine English servants
take her house out of her hands. She is afraid
of them. The butler suavely tries to inform
her; the housekeeper removed the white
crotcheted scarfs and things from the gilded
chairs, and I am sure Mrs. Denning had a
heartache about their loss; but she saw that
they had also vanished from Dora's parlor,
so she took the hint, and accepted the lesson.
Really, her humility and isolation are pitiful.
I am going to ask grandmother to go and see
her. Grandmother might take her to church,
and get Dr. Simpson and Mrs. Simpson to
introduce her. Her money and adaptability
would do the rest. There, I have had a good
breakfast, though I was late. It is not always
the early bird that gets chicken and mushrooms.
Now I will go and see what Dora
wants"--and lifting her furs with a smile,
and a "Good morning!" equally charming,
she disappeared.

"Did you notice her voice, Ruth?" asked
Judge Rawdon. What a tone there is in her
`good morning!'"

"There is a tone in every one's good morning,
Edward. I think people's salutations set
to music would reveal their inmost character.
Ethel's good morning says in D major `How
good is the day!' and her good night drops
into the minor third, and says pensively `How
sweet is the night!'"

"Nay, Ruth, I don't understand all that;
but I do understand the voice. It goes straight
to my heart."

"And to my heart also, Edward. I think
too there is a measured music, a central time
and tune, in every life. Quick, melodious natures
like Ethel's never wander far from their
keynote, and are therefore joyously set; while
slow, irresolute people deviate far, and only
come back after painful dissonances and frequent
changes."

"You are generally right, Ruth, even where
I cannot follow you. I hope Ethel will be
home for dinner. I like my Sunday dinner
with both of you, and I may bring my mother
back with me."

Then he said "Good morning" with an intentional
cheerfulness, and Ruth was left
alone with her book. She gave a moment's
thought to the value of good example, and
then with a sigh of content let her eyes rest on
the words Ethel's presence had for awhile
silenced:

"I am filled with a sense of sweetness and
wonder that such, little things can make a
mortal so exceedingly rich. But I confess that
the chiefest of all my delights is still the
religious." (Theodore Parker.) She read the
words again, then closed her eyes and let the
honey of some sacred memory satisfy her soul.
And in those few minutes of reverie, Ruth
Bayard revealed the keynote of her being.
Wanderings from it, caused by the exigencies
and duties of life, frequently occurred; but
she quickly returned to its central and
controlling harmony; and her serenity and poise
were therefore as natural as was her niece's
joyousness and hope. Nor was her religious
character the result of temperament, or of a
secluded life. Ruth Bayard was a woman of
thought and culture, and wise in the ways of
the world, but not worldly. Her personality
was very attractive, she had a good form, an
agreeable face, speaking gray eyes, and brown
hair, soft and naturally wavy. She was a
distant cousin of Ethel's mother, but had
been brought up with her in the same household,
and always regarded her as a sister,
and Ethel never remembered that she was
only her aunt by adoption. Ten years older
than her niece, she had mothered her with a
wise and loving patience, and her thoughts
never wandered long or far from the girl.
Consequently, she soon found herself wondering
what reason there could be for Dora
Denning's urgency.

In the meantime Ethel had reached her
friend's residence a new building of unusual
size and very ornate architecture. Liveried
footmen and waiting women bowed her with
mute attention to Miss Denning's suite, an
absolutely private arrangement of five rooms,
marvelously furnished for the young lady's
comfort and delight. The windows of her
parlor overlooked the park, and she was
standing at one of them as Ethel entered the
room. In a passion of welcoming gladness
she turned to her, exclaiming: "I have been
watching for you hours and hours, Ethel. I
have the most wonderful thing to tell you. I
am so happy! So happy! No one was ever
as happy as I am."

Then Ethel took both her hands, and, as they
stood together, she looked intently at her
friend. Some new charm transfigured her
face; for her dark, gazelle eyes were not more
lambent than her cheeks, though in a different
way; while her black hair in its picturesquely
arranged disorder seemed instinct
with life, and hardly to be restrained. She
was constantly pushing it back, caressing or
arranging it; and her white, slender fingers,
sparkling with jewels, moved among the
crimped and wavy locks, as if there was an
intelligent sympathy between them.

"How beautiful you are to-day, Dora!
Who has worked wonders on you?"

"Basil Stanhope. He loves me! He loves
me! He told me so last night--in the sweetest
words that were ever uttered. I shall never
forget one of them--never, as long as I live!
Let us sit down. I want to tell you everything."

"I am astonished, Dora!"

"So was mother, and father, and Bryce.
No one suspected our affection. Mother used
to grumble about my going `at all hours' to
St. Jude's church; but that was because St.
Jude's is so very High Church, and mother is
a Methodist Episcopal. It was the morning
and evening prayers she objected to. No one
had any suspicion of the clergyman. Oh,
Ethel, he is so handsome! So good! So
clever! I think every woman in the church
is in love with him."

"Then if he is a good man, he must be very
unhappy."

"Of course he is quite ignorant of their
admiration, and therefore quite innocent. I
am the only woman he loves, and he never
even remembers me when he is in the sacred
office. If you could see him come out of the
vestry in his white surplice, with his rapt face
and prophetic eyes. So mystical! So beautiful!
You would not wonder that I worship
him."

"But I do not understand--how did you
meet him socially?"

"I met him at Mrs. Taylor's first. Then
he spoke to me one morning as I came out of
church, and the next morning he walked
through the park with me. And after that--
all was easy enough."

"I see. What does your father and mother
think--or rather, what do they say?"

"Father always says what he thinks, and
mother thinks and says what I do. This condition
simplified matters very much. Basil
wrote to father, and yesterday after dinner he
had an interview with him. I expected it, and
was quite prepared for any climax that might
come. I wore my loveliest white frock, and
had lilies of the valley in my hair and on my
breast; and father called me `his little angel'
and piously wondered `how I could be his
daughter.' All dinner time I tried to be angelic,
and after dinner I sang `Little Boy
Blue' and some of the songs he loves; and I
felt, when Basil's card came in, that I had
prepared the proper atmosphere for the interview."

"You are really very clever, Dora."

"I tried to continue singing and playing,
but I could not; the notes all ran together, the
words were lost. I went to mother's side and
put my hand in hers, and she said softly: `I
can hear your father storming a little, but he
will settle down the quicker for it. I dare
say he will bring Mr. Stanhope in here before
long."

"Did he?"

"No. That was Bryce's fault. How Bryce
happened to be in the house at that hour, I
cannot imagine; but it seems to be natural for
him to drop into any interview where he can
make trouble. However, it turned out all for
the best, for when mother heard Bryce's voice
above all the other sounds, she said, `Come
Dora, we shall have to interfere now.' Then
I was delighted. I was angelically dressed,
and I felt equal to the interview."

"Do you really mean that you joined the
three quarreling men?"

"Of course. Mother was quite calm--calm
enough to freeze a tempest--but she gave
father a look he comprehended. Then she
shook hands with Basil, and would have made
some remark to Bryce, but with his usual
impertinence he took the initiative, and told he:
very authoritatively to `retire and take me
with her'--calling me that `demure little
flirt' in a tone that was very offensive. You
should have seen father blaze into anger at his
words. He told Bryce to remember that `Mr.
Ben Denning owned the house, and that Bryce
had four or five rooms in it by his courtesy.'
He said also that the `ladies present were
Mr. Ben Denning's wife and daughter, and
that it was impertinent in him to order them
out of his parlor, where they were always
welcome.' Bryce was white with passion,
but he answered in his affected way--`Sir,
that sly girl with her pretended piety and
her sneak of a lover is my sister, and I shall
not permit her to disgrace my family without
making a protest.'"

"And then?"

"I began to cry, and I put my arms around
father's neck and said he must defend me;
that I was not `sly,' and Basil was not `a
sneak,' and father kissed me, and said he
would settle with any man, and every man,
who presumed to call me either sly or a flirt."

"I think Mr. Denning acted beautifully.
What did Bryce say?"

"He turned to Basil, and said: `Mr. Stanhope,
if you are not a cad, you will leave the
house. You have no right to intrude yourself
into family affairs and family quarrels.'
Basil had seated mother, and was standing
with one hand on the back of her chair, and
he did not answer Bryce--there was no need,
father answered quick enough. He said Mr.
Stanhope had asked to become one of the family,
and for his part he would welcome him
freely; and then he asked mother if she was
of his mind, and mother smiled and reached
her hand backward to Basil. Then father
kissed me again, and somehow Basil's arm
was round me, and I know I looked lovely--
almost like a bride! Oh, Ethel, it was just
heavenly!"

"I am sure it was. Did Bryce leave the
room then?"

"Yes; he went out in a passion, declaring
he would never notice me again. This morning
at breakfast I said I was sorry Bryce felt
so hurt, but father was sure Bryce would
find plenty of consolation in the fact that his
disapproval of my choice would excuse him
from giving me a wedding present. You
know Bryce is a mean little miser!"

"On the contrary, I thought he was very;
luxurious and extravagant."

"Where Bryce is concerned, yes; toward
everyone else his conduct is too mean to
consider. Why, father makes him an allowance
of $20,000 a year and he empties father's
cigar boxes whenever he can do so without----"

"Let us talk about Mr. Stanhope he is far
more interesting. When are you going to
marry him?"

"In the Spring. Father is going to give
me some money and I have the fortune Grandmother
Cahill left me. It has been well invested,
and father told me this morning I
was a fairly rich little woman. Basil has
some private fortune, also his stipend--we
shall do very well. Basil's family is one of
the finest among the old Boston aristocrats,
and he is closely connected with the English
Stanhopes, who rank with the greatest of the
nobility."

"I wish Americans would learn to rely on
their own nobility. I am tired of their everlasting
attempts to graft on some English
noble family. No matter how great or clever
a man may be, you are sure to read of his
descent from some Scottish chief or English
earl."

"They can't help their descent, Ethel."

"They need not pin all they have done on
to it. Often father frets me in the same way.
If he wins a difficult case, he does it naturally,
because he is a Rawdon. He is handsome,
gentlemanly, honorable, even a perfect horseman,
all because, being a Rawdon, he was by
nature and inheritance compelled to such perfection.
It is very provoking, Dora, and if I
were you I would not allow Basil to begin a
song about `the English Stanhopes.' Aunt
Ruth and I get very tired often of the English
Rawdons, and are really thankful for the separating
Atlantic."

"I don't think I shall feel in that way,
Ethel. I like the nobility; so does father, he
says the Dennings are a fine old family."

"Why talk of genealogies when there is
such a man as Basil Stanhope to consider?
Let us grant him perfection and agree that
he is to marry you in the Spring; well then,
there is the ceremony, and the wedding garments!
Of course it is to be a church wedding?"

"We shall be married in Basil's own
church. I can hardly eat or sleep for thinking
of the joy and the triumph of it! There
will be women there ready to eat their hearts
with envy--I believe indeed, Ethel, that every
woman in the church is in love with Basil."

"You have said that before, and I am sure
you are wrong. A great many of them are
married and are in love with their own husbands;
and the kind of girls who go to St.
Jude's are not the kind who marry clergymen.
Mr. Stanhope's whole income would hardly
buy their gloves and parasols."

"I don't think you are pleased that I am
going to marry. You must not be jealous of
Basil. I shall love you just the same."

"Under no conditions, Dora, would I allow
jealousy to trouble my life. All the same, you
will not love me after your marriage as you
have loved me in the past. I shall not expect
it."

Passionate denials of this assertion, reminiscences
of the past, assurances for the future
followed, and Ethel accepted them without
dispute and without faith. But she understood
that the mere circumstance of her
engagement was all that Dora could manage
at present; and that the details of the marriage
merged themselves constantly in the
wonderful fact that Basil Stanhope loved
her, and that some time, not far off, she was
going to be his wife. This joyful certainty
filled her heart and her comprehension, and
she had a natural reluctance to subject it to
the details of the social and religious
ceremonies necessary, Such things permitted
others to participate in her joy, and she
resented the idea. For a time she wished to
keep her lover in a world where no other
thought might trouble the thought of Dora.

Ethel understood her friend's mood, and
was rather relieved when her carriage arrived.
She felt that her presence was preventing
Dora's absolute surrender of herself
to thoughts of her lover, and all the way
home she marveled at the girl's infatuation,
and wondered if it would be possible for her
to fall into such a dotage of love for any
man. She answered this query positively--
"No, if I should lose my heart, I shall not
therefore lose my head"--and then, before
she could finish assuring herself of her
determinate wisdom, some mocking lines she
had often quoted to love-sick girls went laughing
through her memory--

"O Woman! Woman! O our frail, frail sex!
No wonder tragedies are made from us!
Always the same--nothing but loves and cradles."

She found Ruth Bayard dressed for dinner,
but her father was not present. That
was satisfactory, for he was always a little
impatient when the talk was of lovers and
weddings; and just then this topic was uppermost
in Ethel's mind.

"Ruth," she said, "Dora is engaged,"
and then in a few sentences she told the little
romance Dora had lived for the past year,
and its happy culmination. "Setting money
aside, I think he will make a very suitable
husband. What do you think, Ruth?"

"From what I know of Mr. Stanhope, I
should doubt it. I am sure he will put his
duties before every earthly thing, and I am
sure Dora will object to that. Then I wonder
if Dora is made on a pattern large enough
to be the moneyed partner in matrimony. I
should think Mr. Stanhope was a proud
man."

"Dora says he is connected with the English
noble family of Stanhopes."

"We shall certainly have all the connections
of the English nobility in America very
soon now--but why does he marry Dora? Is
it her money?"

"I think not. I have heard from various
sources some fine things of Basil Stanhope.
There are many richer girls than Dora in St.
Jude's. I dare say some one of them would
have married him."

"You are mistaken. Do you think Margery
Starey, Jane Lewes, or any of the girls
of their order would marry a man with a few
thousands a year? And to marry for love is
beyond the frontiers of such women's intelligence.
In their creed a husband is a banker,
not a man to be loved and cared for. You
know how much of a banker Mr. Stanhope
could be."

"Bryce Denning is very angry at what he
evidently considers his sister's mesalliance."

"If Mr. Stanhope is connected with the
English Stanhopes, the mesalliance must be
laid to his charge."

"Indeed the Dennings have some pretenses
to good lineage, and Bryce spoke of his sister
`disgracing his family by her contemplated
marriage.'"

"His family! My dear Ethel, his grandfather
was a manufacturer of tin tacks. And
now that we have got as far away as the
Denning's grandfather, suppose we drop the
subject."

"Content; I am a little tired of the clan
Denning--that is their original name Dora
says. I will go now and dress for dinner."

Then Ruth rose and looked inquisitively
around the room. It was as she wished it to
be--the very expression of elegant comfort
--warm and light, and holding the scent of
roses: a place of deep, large chairs with no
odds and ends to worry about, a room to
lounge and chat in, and where the last touch
of perfect home freedom was given by a big
mastiff who, having heard the door-bell ring,
strolled in to see who had called.

CHAPTER II

DURING dinner both Ruth and Ethel were
aware of some sub-interest in the Judge's
manner; his absent-mindedness was unusual,
and once Ruth saw a faint smile that nothing
evident could have induced. Unconsciously
also he set a tone of constraint and hurry;
the meal was not loitered over, the conversation
flagged, and all rose from the table
with a sense of relief; perhaps, indeed, with
a feeling of expectation.

They entered the parlor together, and the
mastiff rose to meet them, asking permission
to remain with the little coaxing push of his
nose which brought the ready answer:

"Certainly, Sultan. Make yourself comfortable."

Then they grouped themselves round the
fire, and the Judge lit his cigar and looked
at Ethel in a way that instantly brought curiosity
to the question:

"You have a secret, father," she said.
"Is it about grandmother?"

"It is news rather than a secret, Ethel.
And grandmother has a good deal to do with
it, for it is about her family--the Mostyns."

"Oh!"

The tone of Ethel's "Oh!" was not encouraging,
and Ruth's look of interest held
in abeyance was just as chilling. But something
like this attitude had been expected,
and Judge Rawdon was not discouraged by
it; he knew that youth is capable of great and
sudden changes, and that its ability to find
reasonable motives for them is unlimited, so
he calmly continued:

"You are aware that your grandmother's
name before marriage was Rachel Mostyn?"

"I have seen it a thousand times at the
bottom of her sampler, father, the one that is
framed and hanging in her morning room--
Rachel Mostyn, November, Anno Domini,
1827."

"Very well. She married George Rawdon,
and they came to New York in 1834.
They had a pretty house on the Bowling
Green and lived very happily there. I was
born in 1850, the youngest of their children.
You know that I sign my name Edward M.
Rawdon; it is really Edward Mostyn Rawdon."

He paused, and Ruth said, "I suppose
Mrs. Rawdon has had some news from her
old home?"

"She had a letter last night, and I shall
probably receive one to-morrow. Frederick
Mostyn, her grand-nephew, is coming to New
York, and Squire Rawdon, of Rawdon
Manor, writes to recommend the young man
to our hospitality."

"But you surely do not intend to invite
him here, Edward. I think that would not
do."

"He is going to the Holland House. But
he is our kinsman, and therefore we must be
hospitable."

"I have been trying to count the kinship.
It is out of my reckoning," said Ethel. "I
hope at least he is nice and presentable."

"The Mostyns are a handsome family.
Look at your grandmother. And Squire
Rawdon speaks very well of Mr. Mostyn.
He has taken the right side in politics, and is
likely to make his mark. They were always
great sportsmen, and I dare say this
representative of the family is a good-looking
fellow, well-mannered, and perfectly dressed."

Ethel laughed. "If his clothes fit him he
will be an English wonder. I have seen lots
of Englishmen; they are all frights as to
trousers and vests. There was Lord Wycomb,
his broadcloths and satins and linen
were marvels in quality, but the make! The
girls hated to be seen walking with him, and
he would walk--`good for the constitution,'
was his explanation for all his peculiarities.
The Caylers were weary to death of them."

"And yet," said Ruth, "they sang songs
of triumph when Lou Cayler married him."

"That was a different thing. Lou would
make him get `fits' and stop wearing sloppy,
baggy arrangements. And I do not suppose
the English lord has now a single peculiarity
left, unless it be his constitutional walk--
that, of course. I have heard English babies
get out of their cradles to take a constitutional."

During this tirade Ruth had been thinking.
"Edward," she asked, "why does
Squire Rawdon introduce Mr. Mostyn?
Their relationship cannot be worth counting."

"There you are wrong, Ruth." He spoke
with a little excitement. "Englishmen never
deny matrimonial relationships, if they are
worthy ones. Mostyn and Rawdon are bound
together by many a gold wedding ring; we
reckon such ties relationships. Squire Raw-
don lost his son and his two grandsons a year
ago. Perhaps this young man may eventually
stand in their place. The Squire is nearly
eighty years old; he is the last of the English
Rawdons--at least of our branch of it."

"You suppose this Mr. Mostyn may become
Squire of Rawdon Manor?"

"He may, Ruth, but it is not certain.
There is a large mortgage on the Manor."

"Oh!"

Both girls made the ejaculation at the same
moment, and in both voices there was the
same curious tone of speculation. It was a
cry after truth apprehended, but not realized.
Mr. Rawdon remained silent; he was debating
with himself the advisability of further
confidence, but he came quickly to the
conclusion that enough had been told for the
present. Turning to Ethel, he said: "I suppose
girls have a code of honor about their
secrets. Is Dora Denning's `extraordinary
news' shut up in it?"

"Oh, no, father. She is going to be married.
That is all."

"That is enough. Who is the man?"

"Reverend Mr. Stanhope."

"Nonsense!"

"Positively."

"I never heard anything more ridiculous.
That saintly young priest! Why, Dora will
be tired to death of him in a month. And he?
Poor fellow!"

"Why poor fellow? He is very much in
love with her."

"It is hard to understand. St. Jerome's
love `pale with midnight prayer' would be
more believable than the butterfly Dora.
Goodness, gracious! The idea of that man
being in love! It pulls him down a bit. I
thought he never looked at a woman."

"Do you know him, father?"

"As many people know him--by good report.
I know that he is a clergyman who believes
what he preaches. I know a Wall
Street broker who left St. Jude's church
because Mr. Stanhope's sermons on Sunday put
such a fine edge on his conscience that Mondays
were dangerous days for him to do business
on. And whatever Wall Street financiers
think of the Bible personally, they do like a
man who sticks to his colors, and who holds
intact the truth committed to him. Stanhope
does this emphatically; and he is so
well trusted that if he wanted to build a new
church he could get all the money necessary,
from Wall Street men in an hour. And he
is going to marry! Going to marry Dora
Denning! It is `extraordinary news,' indeed!"

Ethel was a little offended at such unusual
surprise. "I think you don't quite understand
Dora," she said. "It will be Mr. Stanhope's
fault if she is not led in the right way;
for if he only loves and pets her enough he
may do all he wishes with her. I know, I
have both coaxed and ordered her for four
years--sometimes one way is best, and sometimes
the other."

"How is a man to tell which way to take?
What do her parents think of the marriage?"

"They are pleased with it."

"Pleased with it! Then I have nothing
more to say, except that I hope they will not
appeal to me on any question of divorce that
may arise from such an unlikely marriage."

"They are only lovers yet, Edward," said
Ruth. "It is not fair, or kind, to even think
of divorce."

"My dear Ruth, the fashionable girl of today
accepts marriage with the provision of
divorce."

"Dora is hardly one of that set."

"I hope she may keep out of it, but marriage
will give her many opportunities. Well,
I am sorry for the young priest. He isn't
fit to manage a woman like Dora Denning.
I am afraid he will get the worst of it."

"I think you are very unkind, father.
Dora is my friend, and I know her. She is
a girl of intense feelings and very affectionate.
And she has dissolved all her life and
mind in Mr. Stanhope's life and mind, just
as a lump of sugar is dissolved in water."

Ruth laughed. "Can you not find a more
poetic simile, Ethel?"

"It will do. This is an age of matter; a
material symbol is the proper thing."

"I am glad to hear she has dissolved her
mind in Stanhope's," said Judge Rawdon.
"Dora's intellect in itself is childish. What
did the man see in her that he should desire
her?"

"Father, you never can tell how much
brains men like with their beauty. Very
little will do generally. And Dora has beauty
--great beauty; no one can deny that. I
think Dora is giving up a great deal. To
her, at least, marriage is a state of passing
from perfect freedom into the comparative
condition of a slave, giving up her own way
constantly for some one else's way."

"Well, Ethel, the remedy is in the lady's
hands. She is not forced to marry, and the
slavery that is voluntary is no hardship.
Now, my dear, I have a case to look over, and
you must excuse me to-night. To-morrow
we shall know more concerning Mr. Mostyn,
and it is easier to talk about certainties than
probabilities."

But if conversation ceased about Mr. Mostyn,
thought did not; for, a couple of hours
afterwards, Ethel tapped at her aunt's door
and said, "Just a moment, Ruth."

"Yes, dear, what is it?"

"Did you notice what father said about
the mortgage on Rawdon Manor"'

"Yes."

"He seemed to know all about it."

"I think he does know all about it."

"Do you think he holds it?"

"He may do so--it is not unlikely."

"Oh! Then Mr. Fred Mostyn, if he is to
inherit Rawdon, would like the mortgage removed?"

"Of course he would."

"And the way to remove it would be to
marry the daughter of the holder of the
mortgage?"

"It would be one way."

"So he is coming to look me over. I am
a matrimonial possibility. How do you like
that idea, Aunt Ruth?"

"I do not entertain it for a moment.
Mr. Mostyn may not even know of the mortgage.
When men mortgage their estates
they do not make confidences about the matter,
or talk it over with their friends. They
always conceal and hide the transaction. If
your father holds the mortgage, I feel sure
that no one but himself and Squire Rawdon
know anything about it. Don't look at the
wrong side of events, Ethel; be content with
the right side of life's tapestry. Why are
you not asleep? What are you worrying
about?"

"Nothing, only I have not heard all I
wanted to hear."

"And perhaps that is good for you."

"I shall go and see grandmother first thing
in the morning."

"I would not if I were you. You cannot
make any excuse she will not see through.
Your father will call on Mr. Mostyn to-morrow,
and we shall get unprejudiced information."

"Oh, I don't know that, Ruth. Father is
intensely American three hundred and sixty-
four days and twenty-three hours in a year,
and then in the odd hour he will flare up
Yorkshire like a conflagration."

"English, you mean?"

"No. Yorkshire IS England to grandmother
and father. They don't think anything
much of the other counties, and people
from them are just respectable foreigners.
You may depend upon it, whatever grandmother
says of Mr. Fred Mostyn, father will
believe it, too."

"Your father always believes whatever
your grandmother says. Good night, dear."

"Good night. I think I shall go to grandmother
in the morning. I know how to
manage her. I shall meet her squarely with
the truth, and acknowledge that I am dying
with curiosity about Mr. Mostyn."

"And she will tease and lecture you, say
you are `not sweetheart high yet, only a little
maid,' and so on. Far better go and talk with
Dora. To-morrow she will need you, I am
sure. Ethel, I am very sleepy. Good night
again, dear."

"Good night!" Then with a sudden animation,
"I know what to do, I shall tell
grandmother about Dora's marriage. It is
all plain enough now. Good night, Ruth."
And this good night, though dropping sweetly
into the minor third, had yet on its final inflection
something of the pleasant hopefulness
of its major key--it expressed anticipation
and satisfaction.

What happened in the night session she
could not tell, but she awoke with a positive
disinclination to ask a question about Mr.
Mostyn. "I have received orders from some
one," she said to Ruth; "I simply do not
care whether I ever see or hear of the man
again. I am going to Dora, and I may not
come home until late. You know they will
depend upon me for every suggestion."

In fact, Ethel did not return home until the
following day, for a snowstorm came up in
the afternoon, and the girl was weary with
planning and writing, and well inclined to
eat with Dora the delicate little dinner served
to them in Dora's private parlor. Then
about nine o'clock Mr. Stanhope called, and
Ethel found it pleasant enough to watch the
lovers and listen to Mrs. Denning's opinions
of what had been already planned. And the
next day she seemed to be so absolutely necessary
to the movement of the marriage preparations,
that it was nearly dark before she
was permitted to return home.

It was but a short walk between the two
houses, and Ethel was resolved to have the
refreshment of the exercise. And how good
it was to feel the pinch of the frost and the
gust of the north wind, and after it to come
to the happy portal of home, and the familiar
atmosphere of the cheerful hall, and then to
peep into the firelit room in which Ruth lay
dreaming in the dusky shadows.

"Ruth, darling!"

"Ethel! I have just sent for you to come
home." Then she rose and took Ethel in her
arms. "How delightfully cold you are!
And what rosy cheeks! Do you know that
we have a little dinner party?"

"Mr. Mostyn?"

"Yes, and your grandmother, and perhaps
Dr. Fisher--the Doctor is not certain."

"And I see that you are already dressed.
How handsome you look! That black lace
dress, with the dull gold ornaments, is all
right."

"I felt as if jewels would be overdress for
a family dinner."

"Yes, but jewels always snub men so completely.
It is not altogether that they represent
money; they give an air of royalty,
and a woman without jewels is like an uncrowned
queen--she does not get the homage.
I can't account for it, but there it is. I shall
wear my sapphire necklace. What did father
say about our new kinsman?"

"Very little. It was impossible to judge
from his words what he thought. I fancied
that he might have been a little disappointed."

"I should not wonder. We shall see."

"You will be dressed in an hour?"

"In less time. Shall I wear white or
blue?"

"Pale blue and white flowers. There are
some white violets in the library. I have a
red rose. We shall contrast each other very
well."

"What is it all about? Do we really care
how we look in the eyes of this Mr. Mostyn?"

"Of course we care. We should not be
women if we did not care. We must make
some sort of an impression, and naturally
we prefer that it should be a pleasant one."

"If we consider the mortgage----"

"Nonsense! The mortgage is not in it."

"Good-by. Tell Mattie to bring me a cup
of tea upstairs. I will be dressed in an hour."

The tea was brought and drank, and Ethel
fell asleep while her maid prepared every
item for her toilet. Then she spoke to her
mistress, and Ethel awakened, as she always
did, with a smile; nature's surest sign of a
radically sweet temper. And everything went
in accord with the smile; her hair fell naturally
into its most becoming waves, her dress
into its most graceful folds; the sapphire
necklace matched the blue of her happy eyes,
the roses of youth were on her cheeks, and
white violets on her breast. She felt her own
beauty and was glad of it, and with a laughing
word of pleasure went down to the parlor.

Madam Rawdon was standing before the
fire, but when she heard the door open she
turned her face toward it.

"Come here, Ethel Rawdon," she said,
"and let me have a look at you." And Ethel
went to her side, laid her hand lightly on the
old lady's shoulder and kissed her cheek.
"You do look middling well," she continued,
"and your dress is about as it should be. I
like a girl to dress like a girl--still, the
sapphires. Are they necessary?"

"You would not say corals, would you,
grandmother? I have those you gave me
when I was three years old."

"Keep your wit, my dear, for this evening.
I should not wonder but you might need
it. Fred Mostyn is rather better than I expected.
It was a great pleasure to see him.
It was like a bit of my own youth back again.
When you are a very old woman there are
few things sweeter, Ethel."

"But you are not an old woman, grandmother."

Nor was she. In spite of her seventy-five
years she stood erect at the side of her grand-
daughter. Her abundant hair was partly
gray, but the gray mingled with the little oval
of costly lace that lay upon it, and the effect
was soft and fair as powdering. She had
been very handsome, and her beauty lingered
as the beauty of some flowers linger, in fainter
tints and in less firm outlines; for she had
never fallen from that "grace of God vouchsafed
to children," and therefore she had
kept not only the enthusiasms of her youth,
but that sweet promise of the "times of
restitution" when the child shall die one
hundred years old, because the child-heart
shall be kept in all its freshness and trust.
Yes, in Rachel Rawdon's heart the well-
springs of love and life lay too deep for the
frosts of age to touch. She would be eternally
young before she grew old.

She sat down as Ethel spoke, and drew the
girl to her side. "I hear your friend is going
to marry," she said.

"Dora? Yes."

"Are you sorry?"

"Perhaps not. Dora has been a care to
me for four years. I hope her husband may
manage her as well as I have done."

"Are you afraid he will not?"

"I cannot tell, grandmother. I see all
Dora's faults. Mr. Stanhope is certain that
she has no faults. Hitherto she has had her
own way in everything. Excepting myself,
no one has ventured to contradict her. But,
then, Dora is over head and ears in love, and
love, it is said, makes all things easy to bear
and to do."

"One thing, girls, amazes me--it is how
readily women go to church and promise to
love, honor, and obey their husbands, when
they never intend to do anything of the kind."

"There is a still more amazing thing,
Madam," answered Ruth; "that is that
men should be so foolish as to think, or hope,
they perhaps might do so."

"Old-fashioned women used to manage it
some way or other, Ruth. But the old-fashioned
woman was a very soft-hearted creature,
and, maybe, it was just as well that she
was."

"But Woman's Dark Ages are nearly
over, Madam; and is not the New Woman a
great improvement on the Old Woman?"

"I haven't made up my mind yet, Ruth,
about the New Woman. I notice one thing
that a few of the new kind have got into their
pretty heads, and that is, that they ought to
have been men; and they have followed up
that idea so far that there is now very little
difference in their looks, and still less in their
walk; they go stamping along with the step
of an athlete and the stride of a peasant on
fresh plowed fields. It is the most hideous
of walks imaginable. The Grecian bend,
which you cannot remember, but may have
heard of, was a lackadaisical, vulgar walking
fad, but it was grace itself compared with the
hideous stride which the New Woman has acquired
on the golf links or somewhere else."

"But men stamp and stride in the same
way, grandmother."

"A long stride suits a man's anatomy well
enough; it does not suit a woman's--she feels
every stride she takes, I'll warrant her."

"If she plays golf----"

"My dear Ethel, there is no need for her to
play golf. It is a man's game and was played
for centuries by men only. In Scotland, the
home of golf, it was not thought nice for
women to even go to the links, because of the
awful language they were likely to hear."

"Then, grandmother, is it not well for
ladies to play golf if it keeps men from using
`awful language' to each other)"

"God love you, child! Men will think what
they dare not speak."

"If we could only have some new men!"
sighed Ethel. "The lover of to-day is just
what a girl can pick up; he has no wit and no
wisdom and no illusions. He talks of his muscles
and smells of cigarettes--perhaps of
whisky"--and at these words, Judge Rawdon,
accompanied by Mr. Fred Mostyn, entered
the room.

The introductions slipped over easily, they
hardly seemed to be necessary, and the young
man took the chair offered as naturally as if
he had sat by the hearth all his life. There
was no pause and no embarrassment and no
useless polite platitudes; and Ethel's first
feeling about her kinsman was one of admiration
for the perfect ease and almost instinctive
at-homeness with which he took his place.
He had come to his own and his own had received
him; that was the situation, a very
pleasant one, which he accepted with the
smiling trust that was at once the most perfect
and polite of acknowledgments.

"So you do not enjoy traveling?" said
Judge Rawdon as if continuing a conversation.

"I think it the most painful way of taking
pleasure, sir--that is the actual transit. And
sleeping cars and electric-lighted steamers
and hotels do not mitigate the suffering. If
Dante was writing now he might depict a constant
round of personally conducted tours in
Purgatory. I should think the punishment
adequate for any offense. But I like arriving
at places. New York has given me a lot of
new sensations to-day, and I have forgotten
the transit troubles already."

He talked well and temperately, and yet
Ethel could not avoid the conclusion that he
was a man of positive character and
uncompromising prejudices. And she also felt a
little disappointed in his personality, which
contradicted her ideal of a Yorkshire squire.
For he was small and slender in stature, and
his face was keen and thin, from the high
cheek bones to the sharp point of the clean-
shaven chin. Yet it was an interesting face,
for the brows were broad and the eyes bright
and glancing. That his nature held the op-
posite of his qualities was evident from the
mouth, which was composed and discreet and
generally clothed with a frank smile, negatived
by the deep, sonorous voice which belongs
to the indiscreet and quarrelsome. His
dress was perfect. Ethel could find no fault
in it, except the monocle which he did not use
once during the evening, and which she therefore
decided was a quite idle and unhandsome
adjunct.

One feature of his character was definite--
he was a home-loving man. He liked the society
of women with whom he could be familiar,
and he preferred the company of books
and music to fashionable social functions.
This pleasant habit of domesticity was illustrated
during the evening by an accidental incident--
a noisy, mechanical street organ
stopped before the windows, and in a blatant
manner began its performance. Conversation
was paralyzed by the intrusion and when
it was removed Judge Rawdon said: "What
a democratic, leveling, aggressive thing music
is! It insists on being heard. It is always
in the way, it thrusts itself upon you, whether
you want it or not. Now art is different.
You go to see pictures when you wish to."

Mostyn did not notice the criticism on
music itself, but added in a soft, disapproving
way: "That man has no music in him. Do you
know that was one of Mendelssohn's delicious
dreams. This is how it should have been rendered,"
and he went impulsively to the piano
and then the sweet monotonous cadences and
melodious reveries slipped from his long white
fingers till the whole room was permeated
with a delicious sense of moonlit solitude and
conversation was stilled in its languor. The
young man had played his own dismissal, but
it was an effective one, and he complimented
himself on his readiness to seize opportunities
for display, and on his genius in satisfying
them.

"I think I astonished them a little," he
mused, "and I wonder what that pretty,
cousin of mine thought of the music and the
musician. I fancy we shall be good friends;
she is proud--that is no fault; and she has
very decided opinions--which might be a
great fault; but I think I rather astonished
them."

To such reflections he stepped rather pompously
down the avenue, not at all influenced by
any premonition that his satisfactory feelings
might be imperfectly shared. Yet silence
was the first result of his departure. Judge
Rawdon took out his pocketbook and began
to study its entries. Ruth Bayard rose and
closed the piano. Ethel lifted a magazine,
while it was Madam who finally asked in an
impatient tone:

"What do you think of Frederick? I suppose,
Edward, you have an opinion. Isn't he
a very clever man?"

"I should not wonder if he were, mother,
clever to a fault."

"I never heard a young man talk better."

"He talked a great deal, but then, you
know, he was not on his oath."

"I'll warrant every word he said."

"Your warrant is fine surety, mother, but
I am not bound to believe all I hear. You
women can please yourselves."

And with these words he left the women to
find out, if they could, what manner of man
their newly-found kinsman might be.

* * * * * * *

CHAPTER III

ONE of the most comfortable things about
Frederick Mostyn was his almost boyish delight
in the new life which New York opened
to him. Every phase of it was so fresh, so
unusual, that his Yorkshire existence at Mostyn
Hall gave him no precedents and no experiences
by which to measure events. The
simplest things were surprising or interesting.
He was never weary of taking those exciting
"lifts" to the top of twenty-three story buildings
and admiring the wonderful views such
altitudes gave him. He did not perhaps comprehend
how much he was influenced by the
friction of two million wills and interests; did
not realize how they evoked an electric condition
that got behind the foreground of existence
and stirred something more at the roots
of his being than any previous experience had
ever done. And this feeling was especially
entrancing when he saw the great city and
majestic river lying at his feet in the white,
uncanny light of electricity, all its color gone,
its breath cold, its life strangely remote and
quiet, men moving like shadows, and sounds
hollow and faint and far off, as if they came
from a distant world. It gave him a sense of
dreamland quite as much as that of reality.
The Yorkshire moors and words grew dull and
dreary in his memory; even the thought of the
hunting field could not lure his desire. New
York was full of marvelous novelties; its
daily routine, even in the hotel and on the
streets, gripped his heart and his imagination;
and he confessed to himself that New York
was life at first hand; fresh drawn, its very
foam sparkling and intoxicating. He walked
from the Park to the Battery and examined
all that caught his eye. He had a history of
the city and sought out every historical site;
he even went over to Weehawken, and did his
best to locate the spot where Burr and Hamilton
fought. He admired Hamilton, but
after reading all about the two men, gave his
sympathy to Burr, "a clever, unlucky little
chap," he said. "Why do clever men hate
each other?" and then he smiled queerly as
he remembered political enemies of great men
in his own day and his own country; and concluded
that "it was their nature to do so."

But in these outside enthusiasms he did not
forget his personal relations. It took him but
a few days to domesticate himself in both the
Rawdon houses. When the weather drove
him off the streets, he found a pleasant refuge
either with Madam or with Ethel and Miss
Bayard. Ethel he saw less frequently than he
liked; she was nearly always with Dora Denning,
but with Ruth Bayard he contracted a
very pleasant friendship. He told her all his
adventures and found her more sympathetic
than Madam ever pretended to be. Madam
thought him provincial in his tastes, and was
better pleased to hear that he had a visiting
entry at two good clubs, and had hired a
motor ear, and was learning how to manage
it. Then she told herself that if he was good
to her, she would buy him one to be proud of
before he returned to Yorkshire.

It was at the Elite Club Bryce Denning
first saw him. He came in with Shaw McLaren,
a young man whose acquaintance was
considered as most definitely satisfactory.
Vainly Bryce Denning had striven to obtain
any notice whatever from McLaren, whose
exclusiveness was proverbial. Who then was this
stranger he appeared so anxious to entertain?
His look of supreme satisfaction, his high-
bred air, and peculiar intonation quickly satisfied
Bryce as to his nationality.

"English, of course," he reflected, "and
probably one of the aristocrats that Shaw
meets at his recently ennobled sister's place.
He is forever bragging about them. I must
find out who Shaw's last British lion is," and
just as he arrived at this decision the person
appeared who could satisfy him.

"That man!" was the reply to the inevitable
question--"why, he is some relative
of the old lady Rawdon. He is staying at the
Holland House, but spends his time with the
Rawdons, old and young; the young one is a
beauty, you know."

"Do you think so? She is a good deal at
our house. I suppose the fellow has some
pretentions. Judge Rawdon will be a man hard
to satisfy with a son-in-law."

"I fancy his daughter will take that subject
in her own hand. She looks like a girl of
spirit; and this man is not as handsome as
most Englishmen."

"Not if you judge him by bulk, but women
want more than mere bulk; he has an air of
breeding you can't mistake, and he looks
clever."

"His name is Mostyn. I have heard him
spoken of. Would you like to know him?"

"I could live without that honor"--then
Bryce turned the conversation upon a recent
horse sale, and a few moments later was sauntering
up the avenue. He was now resolved to
make up his quarrel with Dora. Through
Dora he could manage to meet Mostyn socially,
and he smiled in anticipation of that
proud moment when he should parade in his
own friendly leash McLaren's new British
lion. Besides, the introduction to Mr. Mostyn
might, if judiciously managed, promote his
own acquaintance with Shaw McLaren, a sequence
to be much desired; an end he had
persistently looked for.

He went straight to his sister's apartments
and touched the bell quite gently. Her maid
opened the door and looked annoyed and uncertain.
She knew all about the cruelly
wicked opposition of Miss Denning's brother
to that nice young man, Basil Stanhope; and
also the general attitude of the Denning
household, which was a comprehensive disapproval
of all that Mr. Bryce said and did.

Dora had, however, talked all her anger
away; she wished now to be friends with her
brother. She knew that his absence from her
wedding would cause unpleasant notice, and
she had other reasons, purely selfish, all
emphasizing the advantages of a reconciliation.
So she went to meet Bryce with a pretty,
pathetic air of injury patiently endured, and
when Bryce put out his hands and said, "Forgive
me, Dodo! I cannot bear your anger any
longer!" she was quite ready for the next act,
which was to lay her pretty head on his shoulder
and murmur, "I am not angry, Bryce--I
am grieved, dear."

"I know, Dodo--forgive me! It was all
my fault. I think I was jealous of you; it
was hard to find that you loved a stranger
better than you loved me. Kiss me, and be
my own sweet, beautiful sister again. I shall
try to like all the people you like--for your
sake, you know."

Then Dora was charming. She sat and
talked and planned and told him all that had
been done and all that was yet to do. And
Bryce never once named either Ethel or Mr.
Mostyn. He knew Dora was a shrewd little
woman, and that he would have to be very
careful in introducing the subject of Mr.
Mostyn, or else she would be sure to reach the
central truth of his submission to her. But,
somehow, things happen for those who are
content to leave their desires to contingencies
and accidentals. The next morning he breakfasted
with the family and felt himself repaid
for his concession to Dora by the evident
pleasure their renewed affection gave his father
and mother; and though the elder Denning
made no remark in the renewed family
solidarity, Bryce anticipated many little
favors and accommodations from his father's
satisfaction.

After breakfast he sat down, lit his cigar
and waited. Both his mother and Dora had
much to tell him, and he listened, and gave
them such excellent advice that they were
compelled to regret the arrangements already
made had lacked the benefit of his counsels.

"But you had Ethel Rawdon," he said.
"I thought she was everybody rolled into
one."

"Oh, Ethel doesn't know as much as she
thinks she does," said Mrs. Denning. "I
don't agree with lots of things she advises."

"Then take my advice, mother."

"Oh, Bryce, it is the best of all."

"Bryce does not know about dress and such
things, mother. Ethel finds out what she does
not know. Bryce cannot go to modistes and
milliners with me."

"Well, Ethel does not pay as much atten-
tion as she might--she is always going somewhere
or other with that Englishman, that she
says is a relative--for my part, I doubt it."

"Oh, mother!"

"Girls will say anything, Dora, to hide a
love affair. Why does she never bring him
here to call?"

"Because I asked her not. I do not want
to make new friends, especially English ones,
now. I am so busy all day, and of course my
evenings belong to Basil."

"Yes, and there is no one to talk to me.
Ethel and the Englishman would pass an hour
or two very nicely, and your father is very
fond of foreigners. I think you ought to ask
Ethel to introduce him to us; then we could
have a little dinner for him and invite him to
our opera box--don't you agree with me,
Bryce?"

"If Dora does. Of course, at this time,
Dora's wishes and engagements are the most
important. I have seen the young man at the
club with Shaw McLaren and about town with
Judge Rawdon and others. He seems a nice
little fellow. Jack Lacy wanted to introduce
me to him yesterday, but I told him I could
live without the honor. Of course, if Dora
feels like having him here that is a very dif-
ferent matter. He is certainly distinguished
looking, and would give an air to the wedding."

"Is he handsome, Bryce?"

"Yes--and no. Women would rave about
him; men would think him finical and dandified.
He looks as if he were the happiest fellow
in the world--in fact, he looked to me so
provokingly happy that I disliked him; but
now that Dodo is my little sister again, I can
be happy enough to envy no one."

Then Dora slipped her hand into her brother's
hand, and Bryce knew that he might
take his way to his little office in William
Street, the advent of Mr. Mostyn into his life
being now as certain as anything in this
questionable, fluctuating world could be. As he
was sauntering down the avenue he met Ethel
and he turned and walked back with her to
the Denning house. He was so good-natured
and so good-humored that Ethel could not
avoid an inquisitive look at the usually glum
young man, and he caught it with a laugh and
said, "I suppose you wonder what is the matter
with me, Miss Rawdon?"

"You look more than usually happy. If I
suppose you have found a wife or a fortune,
shall I be wrong?"

"You come near the truth; I have found a
sister. Do you know I am very fond of Dora
and we have made up our quarrel?"

Then Ethel looked at him again. She did
not believe him. She was sure that Dora was
not the only evoker of the unbounded satisfaction
in Bryce Denning's face and manner.
But she let the reason pass; she had no likely
arguments to use against it. And that day
Mrs. Denning, with a slight air of injury,
opened the subject of Mr. Mostyn's introduction
to them. She thought Ethel had hardly
treated the Dennings fairly. Everyone was
wondering they had not met him. Of course,
she knew they were not aristocrats and she
supposed Ethel was ashamed of them, but, for
her part, she thought they were as good as
most people, and if it came to money, they
could put down dollar for dollar with any
multi-millionaire in America, or England
either, for that matter.

When the reproach took this tone there
seemed to be only one thing for Ethel to say or
to do; but that one thing was exactly what she
did not say or do. She took up Mrs. Denning's
reproach and complained that "her
relative and friend had been purposely and
definitely ignored. Dora had told her plainly
she did not wish to make Mr. Mostyn's
acquaintance; and, in accord with this feeling,
no one in the Denning family had called on
Mr. Mostyn, or shown him the least courtesy.
She thought the whole Rawdon family had
the best of reasons for feeling hurt at the
neglect."

This view of the case had not entered Mrs.
Denning's mind. She was quickly sorry and
apologetic for Dora's selfishness and her own
thoughtlessness, and Ethel was not difficult to
pacify. There was then no duty so imperative
as the arrangement of a little dinner for
Mr. Mostyn. "We will make it quite a family
affair," said Mrs. Denning, "then we can
go to the opera afterwards. Shall I call on
Mr. Mostyn at the Holland House?" she
asked anxiously.

"I will ask Bryce to call," said Dora.
"Bryce will do anything to please me now,
mother."

In this way, Bryce Denning's desires were
all arranged for him, and that evening Dora
made her request. Bryce heard it with a pronounced
pout of his lips, but finally told Dora
she was "irresistible," and as his time for
pleasing her was nearly out, he would even
call on the Englishman at her request.

"Mind!" he added, "I think he is as proud
as Lucifer, and I may get nothing for my civility
but the excuse of a previous engagement."

But Bryce Denning expected much more
than this, and he got all that he expected.
The young men had a common ground to meet
on, and they quickly became as intimate as
ever Frederick Mostyn permitted himself to
be with a stranger. Bryce could hardly help
catching enthusiasm from Mostyn on the subject
of New York, and he was able to show
his new acquaintance phases of life in the
marvelous city which were of the greatest
interest to the inquisitive Yorkshire squire--
Chinese theaters and opium dives; German,
Italian, Spanish, Jewish, French cities sheltering
themselves within the great arms of the
great American city; queer restaurants, where
he could eat of the national dishes of every
civilized country under the sun; places of
amusement, legal and illegal, and the vast
under side of the evident life--all the uncared
for toiling of the thousands who work through
the midnight hours. In these excursions the
young men became in a way familiar, though
neither of them ever told the other the real
feelings of their hearts or the real aim of
their lives.

The proposed dinner took place ten days
after its suggestion. There was nothing remarkable
in the function itself; all millionaires
have the same delicacies and the same
wines, and serve these things with precisely
the same ceremonies. And, as a general thing,
the company follow rigidly ordained laws of
conversation. Stories about public people, remarks
about the weather and the opera, are in
order; but original ideas or decided opinions
are unpardonable social errors. Yet even
these commonplace events may contain some
element that shall unexpectedly cut a life in
two, and so change its aims and desires as to
virtually create a new character. It was Frederick
Mostyn who in this instance underwent
this great personal change; a change totally
unexpected and for which he was absolutely
unprepared. For the people gathered in Mrs.
Denning's drawing-room were mostly known
to him, and the exceptions did not appear to
possess any remarkable traits, except Basil
Stanhope, who stood thoughtfully at a window,
his pale, lofty beauty wearing an air of
expectation. Mostyn decided that he was naturally
impatient for the presence of his
fiancee, whose delayed entrance he perceived
was also annoying Ethel. Then there was a
slight movement, a sudden silence, and Mostyn
saw Stanhope's face flush and turn magically
radiant. Mechanically he followed his
movement and the next moment his eyes
met Fate, and Love slipped in between.
Dora was there, a fairy-like vision in pale
amber draperies, softened with silk lace. Diamonds
were in her wonderfully waved hair
and round her fair white neck. They clasped
her belt and adorned the instep of her little
amber silk slippers. She held a yellow rose
in her hand, and yellow rosebuds lay among
the lace at her bosom, and Mostyn, stupefied
by her undreamed-of loveliness, saw golden
emanations from the clear pallor of her face.
He felt for a moment or two as if he should
certainly faint; only by a miracle of stubborn
will did he drag his consciousness from that
golden-tinted, sparkling haze of beauty which
had smitten him like an enchantment. Then
the girl was looking at him with her soft,
dark, gazelle eyes; she was even speaking to
him, but what she said, or what reply he made,
he could never by any means remember. Miss

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