pounding of a horse on the trot, and he was not sorry to have now a period for reflection, as well as this artificial stimulant. As he viewed the game he had in his hand about all the cards that were valuable. In fact, he considered that the only ace against him was Mrs. Wainwright. He had always regarded her as a stupid person, concealing herself behind a mass of trivialities which were all conventional, but he thought now that the more stupid she was and the more conventional in her triviality the more she approached to being the very ace of trumps itself. She was just the sort of a card that would come upon the table mid the neat play of experts and by some inexplicable arrangement of circumstance, lose a whole game for the wrong man. After Mrs. Wainwright he worried over the students. He believed them to be reasonable enough; in fact, he honoured them distinctly in regard to their powers of reason, but he knew that people generally hated a row. It, put them off their balance, made them sweat over a lot of pros and cons, and prevented them from thinking for a time at least only of themselves. Then they came to resent the principals in a row. Of course the principal, who was thought to be in the wrong, was the most rescnted, but Coleman be- lieved that, after all, people always came to resent the other principal, or at least be impatient and suspicious of him. If he was a correct person, why was he in a row at all? The principal who had been in the right often brought this impatience and suspicion upon himself, no doubt, by never letting the matter end, continuing to yawp about his virtuous suffering, and not allowing people to return to the steady contemplation of their own affairs. As a precautionary measure he decided to say nothing at all about the late trouble, unless some one addressed him upon it. Even then he would be serenely laconic. He felt that he must be popular with the seven students. In the first place, it was nice that in the presence of Marjory they should like him, and in the second place he feared to displease them as a body because he believed that he had some dignity. Hoodlums are seldom dangerous to other hoodlums, but if they catch pomposity alone in the field, pomposity is their prey. They tear him to mere bloody ribbons, amid heartless shrieks. When Coleman put himself on the same basis with the students, he could cope with them easily, but he did not want the wild pack after him when Marjory could see the chase. And so be rea- soned that his best attitude was to be one of rather taciturn serenity.
On the hard military road the hoofs of the horses made such clatter that it was practically impossible to hold talk between the carriages and the horsemen without all parties bellowing. The professor, how- ever, strove to overcome the difficulties. He was apparently undergoing a great amiability toward Coleman. Frequently he turned with a bright face, and pointing to some object in the landscape, obviously tried to convey something entertaining to Coleman’s mind. Coleman could see his lips mouth the words. He always nodded cheerily in answer and yelled.
The road ultimately became that straight lance-handle which Coleman-it seemed as if many years had passed-had traversed with his dragoman and the funny little carriers. He was fixing in his mind a possible story to the Wainwrights about the snake and his first dead Turk. But suddenly the carriages left this road and began a circuit of the Gulf of Arta, winding about an endless series of promontories. The journey developed into an excess of dust whirling from a road, which half circled the waist of cape after cape. All dramatics were lost in the rumble of wheels and in the click of hoofs. They passed a little soldier leading a prisoner by a string. They passed more frightened peasants, who seemed resolved to flee down into the very boots of Greece. And people looked at them with scowls, envying them their speed. At the little town from which Coleman embarked at one stage of the upward journey, they found crowds in the streets. There was no longer any laughter, any confidence, any vim. All the spirit of the visible Greek nation seemed to have been knocked out of it in two blows. But still they talked and never ceased talking. Coleman noticed that the most curious changes had come upon them since his journey to the frontier. They no longer approved of foreigners. They seemed to blame the travellers for something which had transpired in the past few days. It was not that they really blamed the travellers for the nation’s calamity: It was simply that their minds were half stunned by the news of defeats, and, not thinking for a moment to blame themselves, or even not thinking to attribute the defeats to mere numbers and skill, they were savagely eager to fasten it upon something near enough at hand for the operation of vengeance.
Coleman perceived that the dragoman, all his former plumage gone, was whining and snivelling as he argued to a dark-browed crowd that was running beside the cavalcade. The groom, who always had been a miraculously laconic man, was suddenly launched forth garrulously. The, drivers, from their high seats, palavered like mad men, driving with oat hand and gesturing with the other, explaining evidently their own great innocence.
Coleman saw that there was trouble, but he only sat more stiffly in his saddle. The eternal gabble moved him to despise the situation. At any rate, the travellers would soon be out of this town and on to a more sensible region.
However he saw the driver of the first carriage sud- denly pull up boforg a little blackened coffee shop and inn. The dragman spurred forward and began wild expostulation. The second carriage pulled close behind the other. The crowd, murmuring like a Roman mob in Nero’s time, closed around them.
COLEMAN pushed his horse coolly through to the dragoman;s side. ” What is it ? ” he demanded. The dragoman was broken-voiced. ” These peoples, they say you are Germans, all Germans, and they are angry,” he wailed. ” I can do nossing-nossing.”
” Well, tell these men to drive on,” said Coleman, “tell them theymust drive on.”
” They will not drive on,” wailed the dragoman, still more loudly. ” I can do nossing. They say here is place for feed the horse. It is the custom and they will note drive on.”
” Make them drive on.”
” They will note,” shrieked the agonised servitor. Coleman looked from the men waving their arms and chattering on the box-seats to the men of the crowd who also waved their arms and chattered. In this throng far to the rear of the fighting armies there did not seem to be a single man who was not ablebodied, who had not been free to enlist as a soldier. They were of that scurvy behind-the-rear-guard which every nation has in degree proportionate to its worth. The manhood of Greece had gone to the frontier, leaving at home this rabble of talkers, most of whom were armed with rifles for mere pretention. Coleman loathed them to the end of his soul. He thought them a lot of infants who would like to prove their courage upon eleven innocent travellers, all but unarmed, and in this fact he was quick to see a great danger to the Wainwright party. One could deal with soldiers; soldiers would have been ashamed to bait helpless people ; but this rabble-
The fighting blood of the correspondent began to boil, and he really longed for the privilege to run amuck through the multitude. But a look at the Wainwrights kept him in his senses. The professor had turned pale as a dead man. He sat very stiff and still while his wife clung to him, hysterically beseeching him to do something, do something, although what he was to do she could not have even imagined.
Coleman took the dilemma by its beard. He dismounted from his horse into the depths of the crowd and addressed the Wainwrights. ” I suppose we had better go into this place and have some coffee while the men feed their horses. There is no use in trying to make them go on.” His manner was fairly casual, but they looked at him in glazed horror. ” It is the only thing to do. This crowd is not nearly so bad as they think they are. But we’ve got to look as if we felt confident.” He himself had no confidence with this angry buzz in his ears, but be felt certain that the only correct move was to get everybody as quickly as possible within the shelter of the inn. It might not be much of a shelter for them, but it was better than the carriages in the street.
The professor and Mrs. Wainwright seemed to be considering their carriage as a castle, and they looked as if their terror had made them physically incapable of leaving it. Coleman stood waiting. Behind him the clapper-tongued crowd was moving ominously. Marjory arose and stepped calmly down to him. He thrilled to the end of every nerve. It was as if she had said: ” I don’t think there is great danger, but if there is great danger, why * * here I am * ready * with you.” It conceded everything, admitted everything. It was a surrender without a blush, and it was only possible in the shadow of the crisis when they did not know what the next moments might contain for them. As he took her hand and she stepped past him he whispered swiftly and fiercely in her ear, ” I love you.” She did not look up, but he felt that in this quick incident they had claimed each other, accepted each other with a far deeper meaning and understanding than could be possible in a mere drawing-room. She laid her hand on his arm, and with the strength of four men he twisted his horse into the making of furious prancing side-steps toward the door of the inn, clanking side- steps which mowed a wide lane through the crowd for Marjory, his Marjory. He was as haughty as a new German lieutenant, and although he held the fuming horse with only his left hand, he seemed perfectly capable of hurling the animal over a house without calling into service the arm which was devoted to Marjory.
It was not an exhibition of coolness such as wins applause on the stage when the hero placidly lights a cigarette before the mob which is clamouring for his death. It was, on the contrary, an exhibition of downright classic disdain, a disdain which with the highest arrogance declared itself in every glance of his eye into the faces about him. ” Very good * * attack me if you like * * there is nothing to prevent it * * you mongrels.” Every step of his progress was made a renewed insult to them. The very air was charged with what this lone man was thinking of this threatening crowd.
His audacity was invincible. They actually made way for it as quickly as children would flee from a ghost. The horse, dancing; with ringing steps, with his glistening neck arched toward the iron hand at his bit, this powerful, quivering animal was a regular engine of destruction, and they gave room until Coleman halted him -at an exclamation from Marjory.
” My mother and father.” But they were coming close behind and Coleman resumed this contemptuous journey to the door of the inn. The groom, with his new-born tongue, was clattering there to the populace. Coleman gave him the horse and passed after the Wainwrights into the public room of the inn. He was smiling. What simpletons!
A new actor suddenly appeared in the person of the keeper of the inn. He too had a rifle and a prodigious belt of cartridges, but it was plain at once that he had elected to be a friend of the worried travellers. A large part of the crowd were thinking it necessary to enter the inn and pow-wow more. But the innkeeper stayed at the door with the dragoman, and together they vociferously held back the tide. The spirit of the mob had subsided to a more reasonable feeling. They no longer wished to tear the strangers limb from limb on the suspicion that they were Germans. They now were frantic to talk as if some inexorable law had kept them silent for ten years and this was the very moment of their release. Whereas, their simul- taneous and interpolating orations had throughout made noise much like a coal-breaker.
Coleman led the Wainwrights to a table in a far part of the room. They took chairs as if he had com- manded them. ” What an outrage,” he said jubilantly. ” The apes.” He was keeping more than half an eye upon the door, because he knew that the quick coming of the students was important.
Then suddenly the storm broke in wrath. Something had happened in the street. The jabbering crowd at the door had turned and were hurrying upon some central tumult. The dragoman screamed to Coleman. Coleman jumped and grabbed the dragoman. ” Tell this man to take them somewhere up stairs,” he cried, indicating the Wainwrights with a sweep of his arm. The innkeeper seemed to understand sooner than the dragoman, and he nodded eagerly. The professor was crying: “What is it, Mr. Coleman? What is it ? ” An instant later, the correspondent was out in the street, buffeting toward a scuffle. Of course it was the students. It appeared, afterward, that those seven young men, with their feelings much ruffled, had been making the best of their way toward the door of the inn, when a large man in the crowd, during a speech which was surely most offensive, had laid an arresting hand on the shoulder of Peter Tounley. Whereupon the excellent Peter Tounley had hit the large man on the jaw in such a swift and skilful manner that the large man had gone spinning through a group of his countrymen to the hard earth, where he lay holding his face together and howling. Instantly, of course, there had been a riot. It might well be said that even then the affair could have ended in a lot of talking, but in the first place the students did not talk modern Greek, and in the second place they were now past all thought of talking. They regarded this affair seriously as a fight, and now that they at last were in it, they were in it for every pint of blood in their bodies. Such a pack of famished wolves had never before been let loose upon men armed with Gras rifles.
They all had been expecting the row, and when Peter Tounley had found it expedient to knock over the man, they had counted it a signal: their arms immediately begun to swing out as if they had been wound up. It was at this time that Coleman swam brutally through the Greeks and joined his countrymen. He was more frightened than any of those novices. When he saw Peter Tounley overthrow a dreadful looking brigand whose belt was full of knives, and who -crashed to the ground amid a clang of cartridges, he was appalled by the utter simplicity with which the lads were treating the crisis. It was to them no com- mon scrimmage at Washurst, of course, but it flashed through Coleman’s mind that they had not the slightegt sense of the size of the thing. He expected every instant to see the flash of knives or to hear the deafening intonation of a rifle fired against hst ear. It seemed to him miraculous that the tragedy was so long delayed.
In the meantirne he was in the affray. He jilted one man under the chin with his elbow in a way that reeled him off from Peter Tounley’s back; a little person in thecked clothes he smote between the eyes; he recieved a gun-butt emphatically on the aide of the neck; he felt hands tearing at him; he kicked the pins out from under three men in rapid succession. He was always yelling. ” Try to get to the inn, boys, try to get to the inn. Look out, Peter. Take care for his knife, Peter–” Suddenly he whipped a rifle out of the hands of a man and swung it, whistling. He had gone stark mad with the others.
The boy Billy, drunk from some blows and bleeding, was already. staggering toward the inn over the clearage which the wild Coleman made with the clubbed rifle. Tho others follewed as well as they might while beating off a discouraged enemy. The remarkable innkeeper had barred his windows with strong wood shutters. He held the door by the crack for them, and they stumbled one by on through the portal. Coleman did not know why they were not all dead, nor did he understand the intrepid and generous behaviour of the innkeeper, but at any rate he felt that the fighting was suspended, and he wanted to see Marjory. The innkeeper was, doing a great pantomime in the middle of the darkened room, pointing to the outer door and then aiming his rifle at it to explain his intention of defending them at all costs. Some of the students moved to a billiard table and spread them- selves wearily upon it. Others sank down where they stood. Outside the crowd was beginning to roar. Coleman’s groom crept out from under the little Coffee bar and comically saluted his master. The dragoman was not present. Coleman felt that he must see Marjory, and he made signs to the innkeeper. The latter understood quickly, and motioned that Coleman should follow him. They passed together through a dark hall and up a darker stairway, where after Coleman stepped out into a sun-lit room, saying loudly: “Oh, it’s all right. It’s all over. Don’t worry.”
Three wild people were instantly upon him. ” Oh, what was it? What did happen? Is anybody hurt? Oh, tell us, quick!” It seemed at the time that it was an avalanche of three of them, and it was not until later that he recognised that Mrs. Wainwright had tumbled the largest number of questions upon him. As for Marjory, she had said nothing until the time when she cried: ” Oh-he is bleeding-he is bleeding. Oh, come, quick!” She fairly dragged him out of one room into another room, where there was a jug of water. She wet her handkerchief and softly smote his wounds. “Bruises,” she said, piteously, tearfully. ” Bruises. Oh, dear! How they must hurt you.’ The handkerchief was soon stained crimson.
When Coleman spoke his voice quavered. ” It isn’t anything. Really, it isn’t anything.” He had not known of these wonderful wounds, but he almost choked in the joy of Marjory’s ministry and her half coherent exclamations. This proud and beautiful girl, this superlative creature, was reddening her handkerchief with his blood, and no word of his could have prevented her from thus attending him. He could hear the professor and Mrs. Wainwright fussing near him, trying to be of use. He would have liked to have been able to order them out of the room. Marjory’s cool fingers on his face and neck had conjured within him a vision at an intimacy tnat was even sweeter than anything which he had imagined, and he longed to pour out to her the bubbling, impassioned speech which came to his lips. But, always doddering behind him, were the two old people, strenuous to be of help to him.
Suddenly a door opened and a youth appeared, simply red with blood. It was Peter Tounley. His first remark was cheerful. “Well, I don’t suppose those people will be any too quick to look for more trouble.”
Coleman felt a swift pang because he had forgotten to announce the dilapidated state of all the students. He had been so submerged by Marjory’s tenderness that all else had been drowned from his mind. His heart beat quickly as he waited for Marjory to leave him and rush to Peter Tounley.
But she did nothing of the sort. ” Oh, Peter,” she cried in distress, and then she turned back to Coleman. It was the professor and Mrs. Wainwright who, at last finding a field for their kindly ambitions, flung them. selves upon Tounley and carried him off to another place. Peter was removed, crying: ” Oh, now, look
here, professor, I’m not dying or anything of the sort Coleman and Marjory were left alone. He suddenly and forcibly took one of her hands and the blood stained hankerchief dropped to the floor.
From below they could hear the thunder of weapons and fits upon the door of the inn amid a great clamour of. tongues. Sometimes there arose the argumtntative howl of the innkeeper. Above this roar, Coleman’s quick words sounded in Marjory’s ear.
” I’ve got to go. I’ve got to go back to the boys, but -I love you.”
” Yes go, go,” she whispered hastily. ” You should be there, but-come back.”
He held her close to him. ” But you are mine, remember,” he said fiercely and sternly. ” You are
mine-forever-As I am yours-remember.” Her eyes half closed. She made intensely solemn answer. “Yes.” He released her and vphs gone. In the glooming coffee room of the inn he found the students, the dragoman, the groom and the innkeeper armed with a motley collection of weapons which ranged from the rifle of the innkeeper to the table leg in the hands of PeterTounley. The last named young student of archeology was in a position of temporary leadefship and holding a great pow-bow with the innkeeper through the medium of peircing outcries by the dragoman. Coleman had not yet undestood why none of them had been either stabbed or shot in the fight in the steeet, but it seemed to him now that affairs were leading toward a crisis of tragedy. He thought of the possibilities of having the dragoman go to an upper window and harangue the people, but he saw no chance of success in such a plan. He saw that the crowd would merely howl at the dragoman while the dragoman howled at the crowd. He then asked if there was any other exit from the inn by which they could secretly escape. He learned that the door into the coffee room was the only door which pierced the four great walls. All he could then do was to find out from the innkeeper how much of a siege the place could stand, and to this the innkeeper answered volubly and with smiles that this hostelry would easily endure until the mercurial temper of the crowd had darted off in a new direction. It may be curious to note here that all of Peter Tounley’s impassioned communication with the innkeeper had been devoted to an endeavour to learn what in the devil was the matter with these people, as a man about to be bitten by poisonous snakes should, first of all, furiously insist upon learning their exact species before deciding upon either his route, if he intended to run away, or his weapon if he intended to fight them.
The innkeeper was evidently convinced that this house would withstand the rage of the populace, and he was such an unaccountably gallant little chap that Coleman trusted entirely to his word. His only fear or suspicion was an occasional one as to the purity of the dragoman’s translation.
Suddenly there was half a silence on the mob without the door. It is inconceivable that it could become altogether silent, but it was as near to a rational stillness of tongues as it was able. Then there was a loud knocking by a single fist and a new voice began to spin Greek, a voice that was somewhat like the rattle of pebbles in a tin box. Then a startling voice called out in English. ” Are you in there, Rufus? “
Answers came from every English speaking person in the room in one great outburst. “Yes.”
” Well, let us in,” called Nora Black. ” It is all right. We’ve got an officer with us.”
” Open the door,” said Coleman with speed. The little innkeeper labouriously unfastened the great bars, and when the door finally opened there appeared on the threshold Nora Black with Coke and an officer of infantry, Nora’s little old companion, and Nora’s dragoman.
” We saw your carriage in the street,” cried the queen of comic opera as she swept into the room. She was beaming with delight. ” What is all the row, anyway? O-o-oh, look at that student’s nose. Who hit him? And look at Rufus. What have you boys been doing?”
Her little Greek officer of infantry had stopped the mob from flowing into the room. Coleman looked toward the door at times with some anxiety. Nora, noting it, waved her hand in careless reassurance; ” Oh, it’s, all right. Don’t worry about them any more. He is perfectly devoted to me. He would die there on the threshold if I told him it would please me. Speaks splendid French. I found him limping along the road and gave him a lift. And now do hurry up and tell me exactly what happened.” They all told what had happened, while Nora and Coke listened agape. Coke, by the way, had quite floated back to his old position with the students. It had been easy in the stress of excitement and wonder. Nobody had any titne to think of the excessively remote incidents of the early morning. All minor interests were lost in the marvel of the present situation.
“Who landed you in the eye, Billie?” asked the awed Coke. ” That was a bad one.”
” Oh, I don’t know,” said Billie. ” You really couldn’t tell who hit you, you know. It was a football rush. They had guns and knives, but they didn’t use ’em. I don’t know why Jinks! I’m getting pretty stiff. My face feels as if it were made of tin. Did they give you people a row, too ? “
” No; only talk. That little officer managed them. Out-talked them, I suppose. Hear him buzz, now.” The Wainwrights came down stairs. Nora Black went confidently forward to meet them. “You’ve added one more to your list of rescuers,” She cried, with her glowing, triumphant smile. “Miss Black of the New York Daylight-at your service. How in the world do you manage to get yourselves into such dreadful Scrapes? You are the most remarkable people. You need a guardian. Why, you might have all been killed. How exciting it must seem to be regularly of your party.” She had shaken cordiaily one of Mrs. Wainwright’s hands without that lady indicating assent to the proceeding but Mrs. Wainwright had not felt repulsion. In fact she had had no emotion springing directly from it. Here again the marvel of the situation came to deny Mrs. Wainwright the right to resume a state of mind which had been so painfully interesting to her a few hours earlier.
The professor, Coleman and all the students were talking together. Coke had addressed Coleman civilly and Coleman had made a civil reply. Peace was upon them.
Nora slipped her arm lovingly through Marjbry’s arm. “That Rufus! Oh, that Rufus,” she cried joyously. ” I’ll give him a good scolding as soon as I see him alone. I might have foreseen that he would get you all into trouble. The old stupid ! “
Marjory did not appear to resent anything. ” Oh, I don’t think it was Mr. Coleman’s fault at ail,” she an- swered calmly. “I think it was more the fault of Peter Tounley, poor boy.”
” Well, I’d be glad to believe it, I’d be glad to believe it,” said Nora. “I want Rufus to keep out of
that sort of thing, but he is so hot-headed and foolish.” If she had pointed out her proprietary stamp on Coleman’s cheek she could not have conveyed what she wanted with more clearness.
” Oh,” said the impassive Marjory, ” I don’t think you need have any doubt as to whose fault it was, if there were any of our boys at fault. Mr. Coleman was inside when the fighting commenced, and only ran out to help the boys. He had just brought us safely through the mob, and, far from being hot-headed and foolish, he was utterly cool in manner, impressively cool, I thought. I am glad to be able to reassure you on these points, for I see that they worry you.”
“.Yes, they do worry me,” said Nora, densely. They worry me night and day when he is away from me.”
” Oh,” responded Marjory, ” I have never thought of Mr. Coleman as a man that one would worry about much. We consider him very self-reliant, able to take care of himself under almost any conditions, but then, of course, we do not know him at all in the way that you know him. I should think that you would find that he came off rather better than you expected from most of his difficulties. But then, of course, as. I said, you know him so much better than we do.” Her easy indifference was a tacit dismissal of Coleman as a topic.
Nora, now thoroughly alert, glanced keenly into the other girl’s face, but it was inscrutable. The actress had intended to go careering through a whole circle of daring illusions to an intimacy with,Coleman, but here, before she had really developed her attack, Marjory, with a few conventional and indifferent sentences, almost expressive of boredom, had made the subject of Coleman impossible. An effect was left upon Nora’s mind that Marjory had been extremely polite in listening to much nervous talk about a person in whom she had no interest.
The actress was dazed. She did not know how it had all been done. Where was the head of this thing? And where Was the tail? A fog had mysteriously come upon all her brilliant prospects of seeing Marjory Wainwright suffer, and this fog was the product of a kind of magic with which she was not familiar. She could not think how to fight it. After being simply dubious throughout a long pause, she in the end went into a great rage. She glared furiously at Marjory, dropped her arm as if it had burned her and moved down upon Coleman. She must have reflected that at any rate she could make him wriggle. When she was come near to him, she called out: “Rufus!” In her tone was all the old insolent statement of ownership. Coleman might have been a poodle. She knew how to call his same in a way that was anything less than a public scandal. On this occasion everybody looked at him and then went silent, as people awaiting the startling denouement of a drama. ” Rufus! ” She was baring his shoulder to show the fieur-de-lis of the criminal. The students gaped.
Coleman’s temper was, if one may be allowed to speak in that way, broken loose inside of him. He could hardly beeathe; he felt that his body was about to explode into a thousand fragments. He simply snarled out ” What? ” Almost at once he saw that she had at last goaded him into making a serious tactical mistake. It must be admitted that it is only when the relations between a man and a woman are the relations of wedlock, or at least an intimate resemblance to it, that the man snarls out ” What? ” to the woman. Mere lovers say ” I beg your pardon ? ” It is only Cupid’s finished product that spits like a cat. Nora Black had called him like a wife, and he had answered like a husband. For his cause, his manner could not possibly have been worse. He saw the professor stare at him in surprise and alarm, and felt the excitement of the eight students. These latter were diabolic in the celerity with which they picked out meanings. It was as plain to them as if Nora Black had said: ” He is my property.”
Coleman would have given his nose to have been able to recall that single reverberating word. But he saw that the scene was spelling downfall for him, and he went still more blind and desperate of it. His despair made him burn to make matters Worse. He did not want to improve anything at all. ” What?” he demanded. ” What do ye’ want?”
Nora was sweetly reproachful. ” I left my jacket in the carriage, and I want you to get it for me.”
” Well, get it for yourself, do you see? Get it for yourself.”
Now it is plainly to be seen that no one of the people listening there had ever heard a man speak thus to a woman who was not his wife. Whenever they had heard that form of spirited repartee it had come from the lips of a husband. Coleman’s rude speech was to their ears a flat announcement of an extraordinary intimacy between Nora Black and the correspondent. Any other interpretation would not have occurred to them. It was so palpable that it greatly distressed them with its arrogance and boldness. The professor had blushed. The very milkiest word in his mind at the time was the word vulgarity.
Nora Black had won a great battle. It was her Agincourt. She had beaten the clever Coleman in a way that had left little of him but rags. However, she could have lost it all again if she had shown her feeling of elation. At Coleman’s rudeness her manner indicated a mixture of sadness and embarrassment. Her suffering was so plain to the eye that Peter Tounley was instantly moved. ” Can’t I get your jacket for you, Miss Black? ” he asked hastily, and at her grateful nod he was off at once.
Coleman was resolved to improve nothing. His overthrow seemed to him to be so complete that he could not in any way mend it without a sacrifice of his dearest prides. He turned away from them all and walked to an isolated corner of the room. He would abide no longer with them. He had been made an outcast by Nora Black, and he intended to be an outcast. Therc was no sense in attempting to stem this extraordinary deluge. It was better to acquiesce. Then suddenly he was angry with Marjory. He did not exactly see why he was angry at Marjory, but he was angry at her nevertheless. He thought of how he could revenge himself upon her. He decided to take horse with his groom and dragoman and proceed forthwith on the road, leaving the jumble as it stood. This would pain Marjory, anyhow, he hoped. She would feel it deeply, he hoped. Acting upon this plan, he went to the professor. Well, of course you are all right now, professor, and if you don’t mind, I would like to leave you-go on ahead. I’ve got a considerable pressure of business on my mind, and I think I should hurry on to Athens, if you don’t mind.”
The professor did not seem to know what to say. ” Of course, if you wish it-sorry, I’m sure-of course it is as you please-but you have been such a power in our favour-it seems too bad to lose you-but-if you wish it-if you insist-“
” Oh, yes, I quite insist,” said Coleman, calmly. “I quite insist. Make your mind easy on that score, professor. I insist.”
“Well, Mr. Coleman,” stammered the old man. ” Well, it seems a great pity to lose you-you have been such a power in our favour-“
“Oh, you are now only eight hours from the rail- way. It is very easy. You would not need my as- sistance, even if it were a benefit!
” But-” said the professor.
Coleman’s dragoman came to him then and said: “There is one man here who says you made to take one rifle in the fight and was break his head. He was say he wants sunthing for you was break his head. He says hurt.”
“How much does he want?” asked Coleman, im- patiently.
The dragoman wrestled then evidently with a desire to protect this mine from outside fingers. “I-I think two gold piece plenty.”
“Take them,” said Coleman. It seemed to him preposterous that this idiot with a broken head should interpolate upon his tragedy. ” Afterward you and the groom get the three horses and we will start for Athens at once.”
“For Athens? At once? ” said Marjory’s voice in his ear.
“Om,” said Coleman, ” I was thinking of starting.”
“Why? ” asked Marjory, unconcernedly.
Coleman shot her a quick glance. ” I believe my period of usefulness is quite ended,” he said. with just a small betrayal of bitter feeling.
” It is certainly true that you have had a remark- able period of usefulness to us,” said Marjory with a slow smile, “but if it is ended, you should not run away from us.”
Coleman looked at her to see what she could mean. From many women, these words would have been equal, under the circumstances, to a command to stay, but he felt that none might know what impulses moved the mind behind that beautiful mask. In his misery he thought to hurt her into an expression of feeling by a rough speech. ” I’m so in love with Nora Black, you know, that I have to be very careful of myself.”
” Oh,” said Marjory, never thought of that. I should think you would have to be careful of yourself.” She did not seem moved in any way. Coleman despaired of finding her weak spot. She was a’damantine, this girl. He searched his mind for something to say which would be still more gross than his last outbreak, but when he felt that he was about to hit upon it, the professor interrupted with an agitated speech to Marjory. “You had better go to your mother, my child, and see that you are all ready to leave here as soon as the carriages come up.”
“We have absolutely nothing to make ready,” said Marjory, laughing. ” But I’ll go and see if mother needs anything before we start that I can get for her.” She went away without bidding good-bye to Coleman. The sole maddening impression to him was that the matter of his going had not been of sufficient importance to remain longer than a moment upon her mind. At the same time he decided that he would go, irretrievably go.
Even then the dragoman entered the room. ” We will pack everything -upon the horse?”
Peter Tounley came afterward. ” You are not going to bolt ? “
” Yes, I’m off,” answered Coleman recovering him- self for Peter’s benefit. ” See you in Athens, probably.”
Presently the dragoman announced the readiness of the horses. Coleman shook hands with the students and the Professor amid cries of surprise and polite regret. “What? Going, oldman? Really? What for ? Oh, wait for us. We’re off in a few minutes. Sorry as the devil, old boy, to’ see you go.” He accepted their protestations with a somewhat sour face. He knew perfectly well that they were thinking of his departure as something that related to Nora Black. At the last, he bowed to the ladies as a collection. Marjory’s answering bow was affable; the bow of Mrs. Wainwright spoke a resentment for some- thing; and Nora’s bow was triumphant mockery. As he swung into the saddle an idea struck him with over whelming force. The idea was that he was a fool. He was a colossal imbecile. He touched the spur to his horse and the animal leaped superbly, making the Greeks hasten for safety in all directions. He was off ; he could no more return to retract his devious idiocy than he could make his horse fly to Athens. What was done was done. He could not mend it. And he felt like a man that had broken his own heart; perversely, childishly, stupidly broken his own heart. He was sure that Marjory was lost to him. No man could be degraded so publicly and resent it so crudely and still retain a Marjory. In his abasement from his defeat at the hands of Nora Black he had performed every imaginable block-headish act and had finally climaxed it all by a departure which left the tongue of Nora to speak unmolested into the ear of Marjory. Nora’s victory had been a serious blow to his fortunes, but it had not been so serious as his own subsequent folly. He had generously muddled his own affairs until he could read nothing out of them but despair.
He was in the mood for hatred. He hated many people. Nora Black was the principal item, but he did not hesitate to detest the professor, Mrs. Wain- wright, Coke and all the students. As for Marjory, he would revenge himself upon her. She had done nothing that he defined clearly but, at any rate, he would take revenge for it. As much as was possible, he would make her suffer. He would convince her that he was a tremendous and inexorable person. But it came upon his mind that he was powerless in all ways. If he hated many people they probably would not be even interested in his emotion and, as for his revenge upon Marjory, it was beyond his strength. He was nothing but the complaining victim of Nora Black and himself.
He felt that he would never again see Marjory, and while feeling it he began to plan his attitude when next they met. He would be very cold and reserved. At Agrinion he found that there would be no train until the next daybreak. The dragoman was excessively annoyed over it, but Coleman did not scold at all. As a matter of fact his heart had given a great joyus bound. He could not now prevent his being overtaken. They were only a few leagues away, and while he was waiting for the train they would easily cover the distance. If anybody expressed surprise at seeing him he could exhibit the logical reasons. If there had been a train starting at once he would have taken it. His pride would have put up with no subterfuge. If the Wainwrights overtook him it was because he could not help it. But he was delighted that he could not help it. There had been an inter- position by some specially beneficent fate. He felt like whistling. He spent the early half of the night in blissful smoke, striding the room which the dragoman had found for him. His head was full of plans and detached impressive scenes in which he figured before Marjory. The simple fact that there was no train away from Agrinion until the next daybreak had wrought a stupendous change in his outlook. He unhesitatingly considered it an omen of a good future. He was up before the darkness even contained presage of coming light, but near the railway station was a little hut where coffee was being served to several prospective travellers who had come even earlier to the rendezvous. There was no evidence of the Wainwrights.
Coleman sat in the hut and listened for the rumble of wheels. He was suddenly appalled that the Wainwrights were going to miss the train. Perhaps they had decided against travelling during the night. Perbaps this thing, and perhaps that thing. The morning was very cold. Closely muffled in his cloak, he went to the door and stared at where the road was whiten- ing out of night. At the station stood a little spectral train, and the engine at intervals emitted a long, piercing scream which informed the echoing land that, in all probability, it was going to start after a time for the south. The Greeks in the coffee room were, of course, talking.
At last Coleman did hear the sound of hoofs and wheels. The three carriages swept up in grand procession. The first was laden with students ; in the second was the professor, the Greek officer, Nora Black’s old lady and other persons, all looking marvellously unimportant and shelved. It was the third carriage at which Coleman stared. At first be thought the dim light deceived his vision, but in a moment he knew that his first leaping conception of the arrangement of the people in this vehicle had been perfectly correct. Nora Black and Mrs. Wainwright sat side by side on the back seat, while facing them were Coke and Marjory.
They looked cold but intimate.
The oddity of the grouping stupefied Coleman. It was anarchy, naked and unashamed. He could not imagine how such changes could have been consummated in the short time he had been away from them, but he laid it all to some startling necromancy on the part of Nora Black, some wondrous play which had captured them all because of its surpassing skill and because they were, in the main, rather gullible people. He was wrong. The magic had been wrought by the unaided foolishness of Mrs. Wainwfight. As soon as Nora Black had succeeded in creating an effect of intimacy and dependence between herself and Coleman, the professor had flatly stated to his wife that the presence of Nora Black in the party, in the inn, in the world, was a thiag that did not meet his approval in any way. She should be abolished. As for Coleman, he would not defend him. He preferred not to talk to him. It made him sad. Coleman at least had been very indiscreet, very indiscreet. It was a great pity. But as for this blatant woman, the sooner they rid themselves of her, the sooner he would feel that all the world was not evil.
Whereupon Mrs. Wainwright had changed front with the speed of light and attacked with horse, foot and guns. She failed to see, she had declared, where this poor, lone girt was in great fault. Of course it was probable that she had listened to this snaky. tongued Rufus Coleman, but that was ever the mistake that women made. Oh, certainly ; the professor would like to let Rufus Coleman off scot-free. That was the way with men. They defended each other in all cases. If wrong were done it was the woman who suffered. Now, since this poor girl was alone far off here in Greece, Mrs. Wainwright announced that she had such full sense of her duty to her sex that her conscience would not allow her to scorn and desert a sister, even if that sister was, approximately, the victim of a creature like Rufus Coleman. Perhaps the poor thing loved this wretched man, although it was hard to imagine any woman giving her heart to such. a monster.
The professor had then asked with considerable spirit for the proofs upon which Mrs. Wainwright named Coleman a monster, and had made a wry face over her completely conventional reply. He had told her categorically his opinion of her erudition in such matters.
But Mrs. Wainwright was not to be deterred from an exciting espousal of the cause of her sex. Upon the instant that the professor strenuously opposed her she becamean apostle, an enlightened, uplifted apostle to the world on the wrongs of her sex. She had come down with this thing as if it were a disease. Nothing could stop her. Her husband, her daughter, all influences in other directions, had been overturned with a roar, and the first thing fully clear to the professor’s mind had been that his wife was riding affably in the carriage with Nora Black.
Coleman aroused when he heard one of the students cry out: ” Why, there is Rufus Coleman’s dragoman. He must be here.” A moment later they thronged upon him. ” Hi, old man, caught you again! Where did you break to? Glad to catch you, old boy. How are you making it? Where’s your horse?”
” Sent the horses on to, Athens,” said Coleman. He had not yet recovered his composure, and he was glad to find available this commonplace return to their exuberant greetings and questions. ” Sent them on to Athens with the groom.”
In the mean time the engine of the little train was screaming to heaven that its intention of starting was most serious. The diligencia careered to the station platform and unburdened. Coleman had had his dragoman place his luggage in a little first-class carriage and he defiantly entered it and closed the door. He had a sudden return to the old sense of downfall, and with it came the original rebellious desires. However, he hoped that somebody would intrude upon him.
It was Peter Tounley. The student flung open the door and then yelled to the distance : ” Here’s an empty one.” He clattered into the compartment. ” Hello, Coleman! Didn’t know you were in here! ” At his heels came Nora Black, Coke and Marjory. ” Oh! ” they said, when they saw the occupant of the carriage. ” Oh ! ” Coleman was furious. He could have distributed some of his traps in a way to create more room, but he did not move.
THERE was a demonstration of the unequalled facilities of a European railway carriage for rendering unpleasant things almost intolerable. These people could find no way to alleviate the poignancy of their position. Coleman did not know where to look. Every personal mannerism becomes accentuated in a European railway carriage. If you glance at a man, your glance defines itself as a stare. If you carefully look at nothing, you create for yourself a resemblance to all wooden-headed things. A newspaper is, then, in the nature of a preservative, and Coleman longed for a newspaper.
It was this abominable railway carriage which exacted the first display of agitation from Marjory. She flushed rosily, and her eyes wavered over the cornpartment. Nora Black laughed in a way that was a shock to the nerves. Coke seemed very angry, indeed, and Peter Tounley was in pitiful distress. Everything was acutely, painfully vivid, bald, painted as glaringly as a grocer’s new wagon. It fulfilled those traditions which the artists deplore when they use their pet phrase on a picture, “It hurts.” The damnable power of accentuation of the European railway carriage seemed, to Coleman’s amazed mind, to be redoubled and redoubled.
It was Peter Tounley who seemed to be in the greatest agony. He looked at the correspondent beseechingly and said: “It’s a very cold morning, Coleman.” This was an actual appeal in the name of humanity.
Coleman came squarely. to the front and even grinned a little at poor Peter Tounley’s misery. “Yes, it is a cold morning, Peter. I should say it to one of the coldest mornings in my recollection.”
Peter Tounley had not intended a typical American emphasis on the polar conditions which obtained in the compartment at this time, but Coleman had given the word this meaning. Spontaneously every body smiled, and at once the tension was relieved. But of course the satanic powers of the railway carriage could not be altogether set at naught. Of course it fell to the lot of Coke to get the seat directly in front of Coleman, and thus, face to face, they were doomed to stare at each other.
Peter Tounley was inspired to begin conventional babble, in which he took great care to make an appear. ance of talking to all in the carriage. ” Funny thing I never knew these mornings in Greece were so cold. I thought the climate here was quite tropical. It must have been inconvenient in the ancient times, when, I am told, people didn’t wear near so many- er-clothes. Really, I don’t see how they stood it. For my part, I would like nothing so much as a buffalo robe. I suppose when those great sculptors were doing their masterpieces, they had to wear gloves. Ever think of that? Funny, isn’t it? Aren’t you cold, Marjory ? I am. jingo! Imagine the Spartans in ulsters, going out to meet an enemy in cape-overcoats, and being desired by their mothers to return with their ulsters or wrapped in them.”
It was rather hard work for Peter Tounley. Both Marjory and Coleman tried to display an interest in his labours, and they laughed not at what he said, but because they believed it assisted him. The little train, meanwhile, wandered up a great green slope, and the day rapidly coloured the land.
At first Nora Black did not display a militant mood, but as time passed Coleman saw clearly that she was considering the advisability of a new attack. She had Coleman and Marjory in conjunction and where they were unable to escape from her. The opportunities were great. To Coleman, she seemed to be gloating over the possibilities of making more mischief. She was looking at him speculatively, as if considering the best place to hit him first. Presently she drawled : ” Rufus, I wish you would fix my rug about me a little better.” Coleman saw that this was a beginning. Peter Tounley sprang to his feet with speed and en- thusiasm. ” Oh, let me do it for you.” He had her well muffled in the rug before she could protest, even if a protest had been rational. The young man had no idea of defending Coleman. He had no knowledge of the necessity for it. It had been merely the exercise of his habit of amiability, his chronic desire to see everybody comfortable. His passion in this direction was well known in Washurst, where the students had borrowed a phrase from the photographers in order to describe him fully in a nickname. They called him ” Look-pleasant Tounley.” This did not in any way antagonise his perfect willingness to fight on occasions with a singular desperation, which usually has a small stool in every mind where good nature has a throne.
” Oh, thank you very much, Mr. Tounley,” said Nora Black, without gratitude. ” Rufus is always so lax in these matters.”
“I don’t know how you know it,” said Coleman boldly, and he looked her fearlessly in the eye. The battle had begun.
” Oh,” responded Nora, airily, ” I have had opportunity enough to know it, I should think, by this time.”
” No,” said Coleman, ” since I have never paid you particular and direct attention, you cannot possibly know what I am lax in and what I am not lax in. I would be obliged to be of service at any time, Nora, but surely you do not consider that you have a right to my services superior to any other right.”
Nora Black simply went mad, but fortunately part of her madness was in the form of speechlessness. Otherwise there might have been heard something approaching to billingsgate.
Marjory and Peter Tounley turned first hot and then cold, and looked as if they wanted to fly away; and even Coke, penned helplessly in with this unpleasant incident, seemed to have a sudden attack of distress. The only frigid person was Coleman. He had made his declaration of independence, and he saw with glee that the victory was complete. Nora Black might storm and rage, but he had announced his position in an unconventional blunt way which nobody in the carriage could fail to understand. He felt somewhat like smiling with confidence and defiance in Nora’s face, but he still had the fear for Marjory.
Unexpectedly, the fight was all out of Nora Black. She had the fury of a woman scorned, but evidently she had perceived that all was over and lost. The remainder of her wrath dispensed itself in glares which Coleman withstood with great composure.
A strained silence fell upon the group which lasted until they arrived at the little port of Mesalonghi, whence they were to take ship for Patras. Coleman found himself wondering why he had not gone flatly at the great question at a much earlier period, indeed at the first moment when the great question began to make life exciting for him. He thought that if he had charged Nora’s guns in the beginning they would have turned out to be the same incapable artillery. Instead of that he had run away and continued to run away until he was actually cornered and made to fight, and his easy victory had defined him as a person who had, earlier, indulged in much stupidity and cowardice.
Everything had worked out so simply, his terrors had been dispelled so easily, that he probably was led to overestimate his success. And it occurred suddenly to him. He foresaw a fine occasion to talk privately to Marjory when all had boarded the steamer for Patras and he resolved to make use of it. This he believed would end the strife and conclusively laurel him.
The train finally drew up on a little stone pier and some boatmen began to scream like gulls. The steamer lay at anchor in the placid blue cove. The embarkation was chaotic in the Oriental fashion and there was the customary misery which was only relieved when the travellers had set foot on the deck of the steamer. Coleman did not devote any premature attention to finding Marjory, but when the steamer was fairly out on the calm waters of the Gulf of Corinth, he saw her pacing to and fro with Peter Tounley. At first he lurked in the distance waiting for an opportunity, but ultimately he decided to make his own opportunity. He approached them. “Marjory,would you let me speak to you alone for a few moments? You won’t mind, will you, Peter? “
” Oh, no, certainly not,” said Peter Tounley.
“Of course. It is not some dreadful revelation, is it? ” said Marjory, bantering him coolly.
” No,” answered Coleman, abstractedly. He was thinking of what he was going to say. Peter Tounley vanished around the corner of a deck-house and Marjory and Coleman began to pace to and fro even as Marjory and Peter Tounley had done. Coleman had thought to speak his mind frankly and once for all, and on the train he had invented many clear expressions of his feeling. It did not appear that he had forgotten them. It seemed, more, that they had become entangled in his mind in such a way that he could not unravel the end of his discourse.
In the pause, Marjory began to speak in admiration of the scenery. ” I never imagined that Greece was so full of mountains. One reads so much of the Attic Plains, but aren’t these mountains royal? They look so rugged and cold, whereas the bay is absolutely as blue as the old descriptions of a summer sea.”
” I wanted to speak to you about Nora Black,” said Coleman.
“Nora Black? Why?” said Marjory, lifting her eye- brows.
You know well enough,” said Coleman, in a head. long fashion. ” You must know, you must have seen it. She knows I care for you and she wants to stop it. And she has no right to-to interfere. She is a fiend, a perfect fiend. She is trying to make you feel that I care for her.”
” And don’t you care for her ? ” asked Marjory.
“No,” said Coleman, vehemently. ” I don’t care for her at all.”
” Very well,” answered Marjory, simply. ” I believe you.” She managed to give the words the effect of a mere announcement that she believed him and it was in no way plain that she was glad or that she esteemed the matter as being of consequence.
He scowled at her in dark resentment. ” You mean by that, I suppose, that you don’t believe me ? “
” Oh,” answered Marjory, wearily, ” I believe you. I said so. Don’t talk about it any more.”
“Then,” said Coleman, slowly, ” you mean that you do not care whether I’m telling the truth or not?”
” Why, of course I care,” she said. ” Lying is not nice.”
He did not know, apparently, exactly how to deal with her manner, which was actually so pliable that-it was marble, if one may speak in that way. He looked ruefully at the sea. He had expected a far easier time. ” Well-” he began.
” Really,” interrupted Marjory, ” this is something which I do not care to discuss. I would rather you would not speak to me at all about it. It seems too -too-bad. I can readily give you my word that I believe you, but I would prefer you not to try to talk to me about it or-anything of that sort. Mother!”
Mrs. Wainwright was hovering anxiously in the vicinity, and she now bore down rapidly upon the pair. “You are very nearly to Patras,” she said reproachfully to her daughter, as if the fact had some fault of Marjory’s concealed in it. She in no way ac- knowledged the presence of Coleman.
” Oh, are we ? ” cried Marjory.
“Yes,” said Mrs. Wainwright. ” We are.”
She stood waiting as if she expected Marjory to in- stantly quit Coleman. The girl wavered a moment and then followed her mother. ” Good-bye.” she said. “I hope we may see you again in Athens.” It was a command to him to travel alone with his servant on the long railway journey from Patras to Athens. It was a dismissal of a casual acquaintance given so graciously that it stung him to the depths of his pride. He bowed his adieu and his thanks. When the yelling boatmen came again, he and his man proceeded to the shore in an early boat without looking in any way after the welfare of the others.
At the train, the party split into three sections. Coleman and his man had one compartment, Nora Black and her squad had another, and the Wainwrights and students occupied two more.
The little officer was still in tow of Nora Black. He was very enthusiastic. In French she directed him to remain silent, but he did not appear to understand. ” You tell him,” she then said to her dragoman, ” to sit in a corner and not to speak until I tell him to, or I won’t have him in here.” She seemed anxious to unburden herself to the old lady companion. ” Do you know,” she said, ” that girl has a nerve like steel. I tried to break it there in that inn, but I couldn’t budge her. If I am going to have her beaten I must prove myself to be a very, very artful person.”
” Why did you try to break her nerve ? ” asked the old lady, yawning. “Why do you want to have her beaten ? “
” Because I do, old stupid,” answered Nora. ” You should have heard the things I said to her.”
” About Coleman. Can’t you understand anything at all?”
” And why should you say anything about Coleman to her?” queried the old lady, still hopelessly befogged.
” Because,” cried Nora, darting a look of wrath at her companion, ” I want to prevent that marriage.” She had been betrayed into this avowal by the singularly opaque mind of the old lady. The latter at once sat erect. – ” Oh, ho,” she said, as if a ray of light had been let into her head. ” Oh, ho. So that’s it, is it ? “
“Yes, that’s it, rejoined Nora, shortly.
The old lady was amazed into a long period of meditation. At last she spoke depressingly. ” Well, how are you going to prevent it? Those things can’t be done in these days at all. If they care for each other-“
Nora burst out furiously. “Don’t venture opinions until you know what you are talking about, please. They don’t care for each other, do you see? She cares for him, but he don’t give a snap of his fingers for her.”
” But,” cried the bewildered lady, ” if he don’t care for her, there will be nothing to prevent. If he don’t care for her, he won’t ask her to marry him, and so there won’t be anything to prevent.”
Nora made a broad gesture of impatience. ” Oh, can’t you get anything through your head ? Haven’t you seen that the girl has been the only young woman in that whole party lost up there in the mountains, and that naturally more than half of the men still think they are in love with her? That’s what it is. Can’t you see ? It always happens that way. Then Coleman comes along and makes a fool of himself with the others.”
The old lady spoke up brightly as if at last feeling able to contribute something intelligent to the talk. ” Oh, then, he does care for her.”
Nora’s eyes looked as if their glance might shrivel the old lady’s hair. “Don’t I keep telling you that it is no such thing ? Can’t you understand? It is all glamour! Fascination! Way up there in the wilderness! Only one even passable woman in sight.”
” I don’t say that I am so very keen,” said the old lady, somewhat offended, “but I fail to see where I could improve when first you tell me he don’t care for her, and then you tell me that he does care for her.”
” Glamour,’ ‘ Fascination,'” quoted Nora. ” Don’t you understand the meaning of the words ? “
” Well,” asked the other, didn’t he know her, then, before he came over here ?”
Nora was silent for a time, while a gloom upon her face deepened. It had struck her that the theories for which she protested so energetically might not be of such great value. Spoken aloud, they had a sudden new flimsiness. Perhaps she had reiterated to herself that Coleman was the victim of glamour only because she wished it to be true. One theory, however, re- mained unshaken. Marjory was an artful rninx, with no truth in her.
She presently felt the necessity of replying to the question of her companion. ” Oh,” she said, care- lessly, ” I suppose they were acquainted-in a way.”
The old lady was giving the best of her mind to the subject. ” If that’s the case-” she observed, musingly, ” if that’s the case, you can’t tell what is between ’em.”
The talk had so slackened that Nora’s unfortunate Greek admirer felt that here was a good opportunity to present himself again to the notice of the actress. The means was a smile and a French sentence, but his reception would have frightened a man in armour. His face blanched with horror at the storm, he had invoked, and he dropped limply back as if some one had shot him. “You tell this little snipe to let me alone! ” cried Nora, to the dragoman. ” If he dares to come around me with any more of those Parisian dude speeches, I-I don’t know what I’ll do! I won’t have it, I say.” The impression upon the dragoman was hardly less in effect. He looked with bulging eyes at Nora, and then began to stammer at the officer. The latter’s voice could sometimes be heard in awed whispers for the more elaborate explanation of some detail of the tragedy. Afterward, he remained meek and silent in his corner, barely more than a shadow, like the proverbial husband of imperious beauty.
“Well,” said the old lady, after a long and thoughtful pause, ” I don’t know, I’m sure, but it seems to me that if Rufus Coleman really cares for that girl, there isn’t much use in trying to stop him from getting her. He isn’t that kind of a man.”
” For heaven’s sake, will you stop assuming that he does care for her ? ” demanded Nora, breathlessly.
“And I don’t see,” continued the old lady, “what you want to prevent him for, anyhow.”
” I FEEL in this radiant atmosphere that there could be no such thing as war-men striving together in black and passionate hatred.” The professor’s words were for the benefit of his wife and daughter. ,He was viewing the sky-blue waters of the Gulf of Corinth with its background of mountains that in the sunshine were touched here and there with a copperish glare. The train was slowly sweeping along the southern shore. ” It is strange to think of those men fighting up there in the north. And it is strange to think that we ourselves are but just returning from it.”
” I cannot begin to realise it yet,” said Mrs. Wain- wright, in a high voice.
” Quite so,” responded the professor, reflectively.
“I do not suppose any of us will realise it fully for some time. It is altogether too odd, too very odd.”
“To think of it!” cried Mrs. WainWright. “To think of it! Supposing those dreadful Albanians or those awful men from the Greek mountains had caught us! Why, years from now I’ll wake up in the night and think of it! “
The professor mused. ” Strange that we cannot feel it strongly now. My logic tells me to be aghast that we ever got into such a place, but my nerves at present refuse to thrill. I am very much afraid that this singular apathy of ours has led us to be unjust to poor Coleman.”
Here Mrs. Wainwright objected. ” Poor Coleman! I don’t see why you call him poor Coleman.
” Well,” answered the professor, slowly, ” I am in doubt about our behaviour. It-“
” Oh,” cried the wife, gleefully,” in doubt about our behaviour! I’m in doubt about his behaviour.”
” So, then, you do have a doubt. of his behaviour?” ” Oh, no,” responded Mrs. Wainwright, hastily, ” not about its badness. What I meant to say was that in the face of his outrageous conduct with that- that woman, it is curious that you should worry about our behaviour. It surprises me, Harrison.”
The professor was wagging his head sadly. ” I don’t know I don’t know It seems hard to judge * * I hesitate to-“
Mrs. Wainwright treated this attitude with disdain. ” It is not hard to judge,” she scoffed, ” and I fail to see why you have any reason for hesitation at all. Here he brings this woman– “
The professor got angry. “Nonsense! Nonsense! I do not believe that he brought her. If I ever saw a spectacle of a woman bringing herself, it was then. You keep chanting that thing like an outright parrot.”
“Well,” retorted Mrs. Wainwright, bridling, “I suppose you imagine that you understand such things, Men usually think that, but I want to tell you that you seem to me utterly blind.”
” Blind or not, do stop the everlasting reiteration of that sentence.”
Mrs. Wainwright passed into an offended silence, and the professor, also silent, looked with a gradually dwindling indignation at the scenery.
Night was suggested in the sky before the train was near to Athens. ” My trunks,” sighed Mrs. Wainwright. ” How glad I will be to get back to my trunks! Oh, the dust! Oh, the misery ! Do find out when we will get there, Harrison. Maybe the train is late.”
But, at last, they arrived in Athens, amid a darkness which was confusing, and, after no more than the common amount of trouble, they procured carriages and were taken to the hotel. Mrs. Wainwright’s impulses now dominated the others in the family. She had one passion after another. The majority of the servants in the hotel pretended that they spoke English, but, in three minutes, she drove them distracted with the abundance and violence of her requests. It came to pass that in the excitement the old couple quite forgot Marjory. It was not until Mrs. Wainwright, then feeling splendidly, was dressed for dinner, that she thought to open Marjory’s door and go to render a usual motherly supervision of the girl’s toilet.
There was no light: there did not seem to be any- body in the room. ” Marjory ! ” called the mother, in alarm. She listened for a moment and then ran hastily out again. ” Harrison ! ” she cried. ” I can’t find Marjory!” The professor had been tying his cravat. He let the loose ends fly. “What?” he ejaculated, opening his mouth wide. Then they both rushed into Marjory’s room. “Marjory!” beseeched the old man in a voice which would have invoked the grave.
The answer was from the bed. “Yes?” It was low, weary, tearful. It was not like Marjory. It was dangerously the voice of a hcart-broken woman. They hurried forward with outcries. “Why, Marjory! Are you ill, child? How long have you been lying in the dark? Why didn’t you call us? Are you ill?”
” No,” answered this changed voice, ” I am not ill. I only thought I’d rest for a time. Don’t bother.”
The professor hastily lit the gas and then father and mother turned hurriedly to the bed. In the first of the illumination they saw that tears were flowing unchecked down Marjory’s face.
The effect.of this grief upon the professor was, in part, an effect of fear. He seemed afraid to touch it, to go near it. He could, evidently, only remain in the outskirts, a horrified spectator. The mother, how. ever, flung her arms about her daughter. ” Oh, Marjory! ” She, too, was weeping.
The girl turned her face to the pillow and held out a hand of protest. ” Don’t, mother! Don’t !”
“Oh, Marjory! Oh, Marjory!”
” Don’t, mother. Please go away. Please go away. Don’t speak at all, I beg of you.”
” Oh, Marjory! Oh, Marjory!”
” Don’t.” The girl lifted a face which appalled them. It had something entirely new in it. ” Please go away, mother. I will speak to father, but I won’t -I can’t-I can’t be pitied.”
Mrs. Wainwright looked at her husband. ” Yes,” said the old man, trembling. “Go! ” She threw up her hands in a sorrowing gesture that was not without its suggestion that her exclusion would be a mistake. She left the room.
The professor dropped on his knees at the bedside and took one of Marjory’s hands. His voice dropped to its tenderest note. “Well, my Marjory?”
She had turned her face again to the pillow. At last she answered in muffled tones, ” You know.” Thereafter came a long silence full of sharpened pain. It was Marjory who spoke first. “I have saved my pride, daddy, but-I have-lost-everything –else.” Even her sudden resumption of the old epithet of her childhood was an additional misery to the old man. He still said no word. He knelt, gripping her fingers and staring at the wall.
” Yes, I have lost~everything-else.”
The father gave a low groan. He was thinking deeply, bitterly. Since one was only a human being, how was one going to protect beloved hearts assailed with sinister fury from the inexplicable zenith? In this tragedy he felt as helpless as an old grey ape. He did not see a possible weapon with which he could defend his child from the calamity which was upon her. There was no wall, no shield which could turn this sorrow from the heart of his child. If one of his hands loss could have spared her, there would have been a sacrifice of his hand, but he was potent for nothing. He could only groan and stare at the wall. He reviewed the past half in fear that he would suddenly come upon his error which was now the cause of Marjory’s tears. He dwelt long upon the fact that in Washurst he had refused his consent to Marjory’s marriage with Coleman, but even now he could not say that his judgment was not correct. It was simply that the doom of woman’s woe was upon Marjory, this ancient woe of the silent tongue and the governed will, and he could only kneel at the bedside and stare at the wall.
Marjory raised her voice in a laugh. ” Did I betray myself? Did I become the maiden all forlorn ? Did I giggle to show people that I did not care? No-I did not-I did not. And it was such a long time, daddy! Oh, such a long time! I thought we would never get here. I thought I would never get where I could be alone like this, where I could-cry-if I wanted to. I am not much of – a crier, am I, daddy? But this time-this-time-“
She suddenly drew herself over near to her father and looked at him. ” Oh, daddy, I want to tell you one thing. just one simple little thing.” She waited then, and while she waited her father’s head went lower and lower. ” Of course, you know-I told you once. I love him! I love him! Yes, probably he is a rascal, but, do you know, I don’t think I would mind if he was a-an assassin. This morning I sent him away, but, daddy, he didn’t want to go at all. I know he didn’t. This Nora Black is nothing to him. I know she is not. I am sure of it. Yes-I am sure of it. * * * I never expected to talk this way to any living creature, but-you are so good, daddy. Dear old daddy—“
She ceased, for she saw that her father was praying.
The sight brought to her a new outburst of sobbing, for her sorrow now had dignity and solemnity from thebowed white head of her old father, and she felt that her heart was dying amid the pomp of the church. It was the last rites being performed at the death-bed. Into her ears came some imagining of the low melan. choly chant of monks in a gloom.
Finally her father arose. He kissed her on the brow. ” Try to sleep, dear,” he said. He turned out the gas and left the room. His thought was full of chastened emotion.
But if his thought was full of chastened emotion, it received some degree of shock when he arrived in the presence of Mrs. Wainwright. ” Well, what is all this about ? ” she demanded, irascibly. ” Do you mean to say that Marjory is breaking her heart over that man Coleman ? It is all your fault-” She was apparently still ruffled over her exclusion.
When the professor interrupted her he did not speak with his accustomed spirit, but from something novel in his manner she recognised a danger signal. ” Please do not burst out at it in that way.”
“Then it Is true?” she asked. Her voice was a mere awed whisper.
” It is true,” answered the professor.
“Well,” she said, after reflection, “I knew it. I alway’s knew it. If you hadn’t been so blind! You turned like a weather-cock in your opinions of Coleman. You never could keep your opinion about him for more than an hour. Nobody could imagine what you might think next. And now you see the result of it! I warned you! I told you what this Coleman was, and if Marjory is suffering now, you have only yourself to blame for it. I warned you! “
” If it is my fault,” said the professor, drearily, ” I hope God may forgive me, for here is a great wrong to my daughter.”
Well, if you had done as I told you-” she began.
Here the professor revolted. ” Oh, now, do not be- gin on that,” he snarled, peevishly. Do not begin on that.”
” Anyhow,” said Mrs. Wainwright, it is time that we should be going down to dinner. Is Marjory com- ing? “
” No, she is not,” answered the professor, ” and I do not know as I shall go myself.”
” But you must go. Think how it would look! All the students down there dining without us, and cutting up capers! You must come.”
” Yes,” he said, dubiously, ” but who will look after Marjory ? “
” She wants to be left alone,” announced Mrs. Wainwright, as if she was the particular herald of this news. ” She wants to be left alone.”
” Well, I suppose we may as well go down.” Before they went, the professor tiptoed into his daughter’s room. In the darkness he could only see her waxen face on the pillow, and her two eyes gazing fixedly at the ceiling. He did not speak, but immedi. ately withdrew, closing the door noiselessly behind him.
IF the professor and Mrs. Wainwright had descended sooner to a lower floor of the hotel, they would have found reigning there a form of anarchy. The students were in a smoking room which was also an entrance hall to the dining room, and because there was in the middle of this apartment a fountain containing gold fish, they had been moved to license and sin. They had all been tubbed and polished and brushed and dressed until they were exuberantly beyond themselves. The proprietor of the hotel brought in his dignity and showed it to them, but they minded it no more than if he had been only a common man. He drew himself to his height and looked gravely at them and they jovially said: ” Hello, Whiskers.” American college students are notorious in their country for their inclination to scoff at robed and crowned authority, and, far from being awed by the dignity of the hotel-keeper, they were delighted with it. It was something with which to sport. With immeasurable impudence, they copied his attitude, and, standing before him, made comic speeches, always alluding with blinding vividness to his beard. His exit disappointed them. He had not remained long under fire. They felt that they could have interested themselves with him an entire evening. ” Come back, Whiskers! Oh, come back! ” Out in the main hall he made a ges. ture of despair to some of his gaping minions and then fled to seclusion.
A formidable majority then decided that Coke was a gold fish, and that therefore his proper place was in the fountain. They carried him to it while he strug. gled madly. This quiet room with its crimson rugs and gilded mirrors seemed suddenly to have become an important apartment in hell. There being as yet no traffic in the dining room, the waiters were all at liberty to come to the open doors, where they stood as men turned to stone. To them, it was no less than incendiarism.
Coke, standing with one foot on the floor and the other on the bottom of the shallow fountain, blas- phemed his comrades in a low tone, but with inten- tion. He was certainly desirous of lifting his foot out of the water, but it seemed that all movement to that end would have to wait until he had successfully ex- pressed his opinions. In the meantime, there was heard slow footsteps and the rustle of skirts, and then some people entered the smoking room on their way to dine. Coke took his foot hastily out of the fountain.
The faces of the men of the arriving party went blank, and they turned their cold and pebbly eyes straight to the front, while the ladies, after little ex. pressions of alarm, looked As if they wanted to run. In fact, the whole crowd rather bolted from this ex- traordinary scene.
” There, now,” said Coke bitterly to his companions. “You see? We looked like little schoolboys-“
” Oh, never mind, old man,” said Peter Tounley. “We’ll forgive you, although you did embarrass us. But, above everything, don’t drip. Whatever you do, don’t drip.”
The students took this question of dripping and played upon it until they would have made quite insane anybody but another student. They worked it into all manner of forms, and hacked and haggled at Coke until he was driven to his room to seek other apparel. ” Be sure and change both legs,” they told him. ” Remember you can’t change one leg without changing both legs.”
After Coke’s departure, the United States minister entered the room, and instantly they were subdued. It was not his lofty station-that affected them. There are probably few stations that would have at all af- fectedthem. They became subdued because they un- feignedly liked the United States minister. They, were suddenly a group of well-bred, correctly attired young men who had not put Coke’s foot in the fountain. Nor had they desecrated the majesty of the hotelkeeper.
“Well, I am delighted,” said the minister, laughing as he shook hands with them all. ” I was not sure I would ever see you again. You are not to be trusted, and, good boys as you are, I’ll be glad to see you once and forever over the boundary of my jurisdiction. Leave Greece, you vagabonds. However, I am truly delighted to see you all safe.”
” Thank you, sir,” they said.
” How in the world did you get out of it? You must be remarkable chaps. I thought you were in a hopeless position. I wired and cabled everywhere I could, but I could find out nothing.”
” A correspondent,” said Peter Tounley. ” I don’t know if you have met him. His name is Coleman. He found us.”
” Coleman ? ” asked the minister, quickly.
” Yes, sir. He found us and brought us out safely.”
” Well, glory be to Coleman,” exclaimed the min- ister, after a long sigh of surprise. ” Glory be to Cole- man! I never thought he could do it.”
The students were alert immediately. “Why, did you know about it, sir? Did he tell you he was coming after us ? “
“Of course. He came tome here in Athens. and asked where you were. I told him you were in a peck of trouble. He acted quietly and somewhat queerly,. and said that he would try to look you up. He said you were friends of his. I warned him against trying it. Yes, I said it was impossible, I had no idea that he would really carry the thing out. But didn’t he tell you anything about this himself?”
” No, sir ‘ ” answered Peter Tounley. ” He never said much about it. I think he usually contended that it was mainly an accident.”
” It was no accident,” said the minister, sharply. “When a man starts out to do a thing and does it, you can’t say it is an accident.”
” I didn’t say so, sir,” said Peter Tounley diffidently.
” Quite true, quite true ! You didn’t, but-this Coleman must be a man! “
” We think so, sir,” said be who was called Billie. ” He certainly brought us through in style.”
” But how did he manage it? ” cried the minister, keenly interested. ” How did he do it ? “
” It is hard to say, sir. But he did it. He met us in the dead of night out near Nikopolis-“
“Yes, sir. And he hid us in a forest while a fight was going on, and then in the morning he brought us inside the Greek lines. Oh, there is a lot to tell-“
Whereupon they told it, or as much as they could of it. In the end, the minister said: ” Well, where are the professor and Mrs. Wainwright ? I want you all to dine with me to-night. I am dining in the public room, but you won’t mind that after Epirus.” ” They should be down now, sir,” answered a Student.
People were now coming rapidly to dinner and presently the professor and Mrs. Wainwright appeared. The old man looked haggard and white. He accepted the minister’s warm greeting with a strained pathetic smile. ” Thank you. We are glad to return safely.”
Once at dinner the minister launched immediately into the subject of Coleman. ” He must be altogether a most remarkable man. When he told me, very quietly, that he was going to try to rescue you, I frankly warned him against any such attempt. I thought he would merely add one more to a party of suffering people. But the. boys tell- me that he did actually rescue you.”
“Yes, he did,” said the professor. ” It was a very gallant performance, and we are very grateful.”
“Of course,” spoke Mrs. Wainwright, “we might have rescued ourselves. We were on the right road, and all we had to do was to keep going on.”
” Yes, but I understand-” said the minister. ” I understand he took you into a wood to protect you from that fight, and generally protected you from all, kinds of trouble. It seems wonderful to me, not so much because it was done as because it was done by the man who, some time ago, calmy announced to me that he was going to do it. Extraordinary.”
“Of course,” said Mrs. Wainwright. ” Oh, of course.”
“And where is he now? ” asked the minister suddenly. “Has he now left you to the mercies of civilisation ? “
There was a moment’s curious stillness, and then Mrs. Wainwright used that high voice which-the students believed-could only come to her when she was about to say something peculiarly destructive to the sensibilities. ” Oh, of course, Mr. Coleman rendered us a great service, but in his private character he is not a man whom we exactly care to associate with.”
” Indeed” said the minister staring. Then he hastily addressed the students. ” Well, isn’t this a comic war? Did you ever imagine war could be like this ? ” The professor remained looking at his wife with an air of stupefaction, as if she had opened up to him visions of imbecility of which he had not even dreamed. The students loyally began to chatter at the minister. ” Yes, sir, it is a queer war. After all their bragging, it is funny to hear that they are running away with such agility. We thought, of course, of the old Greek wars.”
Later, the minister asked them all to his rooms for coffee and cigarettes, but the professor and Mrs.