In the Quarter
by Robert W. Chambers
One evening in May, 1888, the Café des Écoles
was even more crowded and more noisy than usual. The
marble-topped tables were wet with beer and the din was
appalling. Someone shouted to make himself heard.
``Any more news from the Salon?''
``Yes,'' said Elliott, ``Thaxton's in with a number three.
Rhodes is out and takes it hard. Clifford's out too, and takes
it -- ''
A voice began to chant:
Je n'sais comment faire,
Ma maitresse et mon père,
Le Code et Bullier.
``Drop it! Oh, drop it!'' growled Rhodes, and sent a handful
of billiard chalk at the singer.
Mr Clifford returned a volley of the Café spoons, and
Mais c'que je trouve de plus bête,
C'est qu' i' faut financer
Avec ma belle galette,
J'aimerai mieux m'amuser.
Several other voices took up the refrain, lamenting the
difficulty of reconciling their filial duties with balls at
Bullier's, and protesting that they would rather amuse
themselves than consider financial questions. Rhodes sipped his
``The longer I live in the Latin Quarter,'' he said to his
neighbor, ``the less certain I feel about a place of future
punishment. It would be so tame after this.'' Then, reverting
to his grievance, he added, ``The slaughter this year at the
Salon is awful.''
Reginald Gethryn stirred nervously but did not speak.
``Have a game, Rex?'' called Clifford, waving a cue.
Gethryn shook his head, and reaching for a soiled copy of
the Figaro, glanced listlessly over its contents. He
sighed and turned his paper impatiently. Rhodes echoed the
``What's at the theaters?''
``Same as last week, excepting at the Gaieté. They've
put on `La Belle Hélène' there.''
``Oh! Belle Hélène!'' cried Clifford.
Tzing! la! la! Tzing! la! la!
C'est avec ces dames qu' Oreste
Fait danser l'argent de Papa!
Rhodes began to growl again.
``I shouldn't think you'd feel like gibbering that rot
Clifford smiled sweetly and patted him on the head. ``Tzing!
la! la! My shot, Elliott?''
``Tzing! la! la!'' laughed Thaxton, ``That's Clifford's
biography in three words.''
Clifford repeated the refrain and winked impudently at the
pretty bookkeeper behind her railing. She, alas! returned it
with a blush.
Gethryn rose restlessly and went over to another table where
a man, young, but older than himself, sat, looking
``Braith,'' he began, trying to speak indifferently, ``any
news of my fate?''
The other man finished his beer and then answered
carelessly, ``No.'' But catching sight of Gethryn's face he
added, with a laugh:
``Look here, Rex, you've got to stop this moping.''
``I'm not moping,'' said Rex, coloring up.
``What do you call it, then?'' Braith spoke with some
sharpness, but continued kindly, ``You know I've been through
it all. Ten years ago, when I sent in my first picture, I
confess to you I suffered the torments of the damned until --
``Until they sent me my card. The color was green.''
``But I thought a green card meant `not admitted.'''
``It does. I received three in three years.''
``Do you mean you were thrown out three years in
Braith knocked the ashes out of his pipe. ``I gave up
smoking for those three years.''
Braith filled his pipe tenderly. ``I was very poor,'' he
``If I had half your sand!'' sighed Rex.
``You have, and something more that the rest of us have not.
But you are very young yet.''
This time Gethryn colored with surprise and pleasure. In all
their long and close friendship Braith had never before given
him any other encouragement than a cool, ``Go ahead!''
He continued: ``Your curse thus far has been want of steady
application, and moreover you're too easily scared. No matter
what happens this time, no knocking under!''
``Oh, I'm not going to knock under. No more is Clifford, it
seems,'' Rex added with a laugh, as Clifford threw down his cue
and took a step of the devil's quadrille.
``Oh! Elliott!'' he crowed, ``what's the matter with
Elliott turned and punched a sleepy waiter in the ribs.
``Emile -- two bocks!''
The waiter jumped up and rubbed his eyes. ``What is it,
monsieur?'' he snapped.
Elliott repeated the order and they strolled off toward a
table. As Clifford came lounging by, Carleton said, ``I hear
you lead with a number one at the Salon.''
``Right, I'm the first to be fired.''
``He's calm now,'' said Elliott, ``but you should have seen
him yesterday when the green card came.''
``Well, yes. I discoursed a little in several
``After he had used up his English profanity, he called the
Jury names in French, German and Spanish. The German stuck, but
came out at last like a cork out of a bottle -- ''
``Or a bung out of a barrel.''
``These comparisons are as offensive as they are unjust,''
``Quite so,'' said Braith. ``Here's the waiter with your
``What number did you get, Braith?'' asked Rhodes, who
couldn't keep his mind off the subject and made no pretense of
``Three,'' answered Braith.
There was a howl, and all began to talk at once.
``There's justice for you!'' ``No justice for Americans!''
``Serves us right for our tariff!'' ``Are Frenchmen going to
give us all the advantages of their schools and honors besides
while we do all we can to keep their pictures out of our
``No, we don't, either! Tariff only keeps out the sweepings
of the studios -- ''
``If there were no duty on pictures the States would be
flooded with trash.''
``Take it off!'' cried one.
``Make it higher!'' shouted another.
``Idiots!'' growled Rhodes. ``Let 'em flood the country with
bad work as well as good. It will educate the people, and the
day will come when all good work will stand an equal chance --
be it French or be it American.''
``True,'' said Clifford, ``Let's all have a bock. Where's
But Gethryn had slipped out in the confusion. Quitting the
Café des Écoles, he sauntered across the street,
and turning through the Rue de Vaugirard, entered the rue
Monsieur le Prince. He crossed the dim courtyard of his
hôtel, and taking a key and a candle from the lodge of
the Concierge, started to mount the six flights to his bedroom
and studio. He felt irritable and fagged, and it did not make
matters better when he found, on reaching his own door, that he
had taken the wrong key. Nor did it ease his mind to fling the
key over the banisters into the silent stone hallway below. He
leaned sulkily over the railing and listened to it ring and
clink down into the darkness, and then, with a brief but
vigorous word, he turned and forced in his door with a crash.
Two bull pups which had flown at him with portentous growls and
yelps of menace now gamboled idiotically about him, writhing
with anticipation of caresses, and a gray and scarlet parrot,
rudely awakened, launched forth upon a musical effort
resembling the song of a rusty cart-wheel.
``Oh, you infernal bird!'' murmured the master, lighting his
candle with one hand and fondling the pups with the other.
``There, there, puppies, run away!'' he added, rolling the
ecstatic pups into a sort of dog divan, where they curled
themselves down at last and subsided with squirms and wriggles,
Gethryn lighted a lamp and then a cigarette. Then, blowing
out the candle, he sat down with a sigh. His eyes fell on the
parrot. It annoyed him that the parrot should immediately turn
over and look at him upside down. It also annoyed him that
``Satan,'' an evil-looking raven, was evidently preparing to
descend from his perch and worry ``Mrs Gummidge.''
``Mrs Gummidge'' was the name Clifford had given to a large
sad-eyed white tabby who now lay dozing upon a panther
``Satan!'' said Gethryn. The bird checked his sinister
preparations and eyed his master. ``Don't,'' said the young
Satan weighed his chances and came to the conclusion that he
could swoop down, nip Mrs Gummidge, and get back to his bust of
Pallas without being caught. He tried it, but his master was
too quick for him, and foiled, he lay sullenly in Gethryn's
hands, his two long claws projecting helplessly between the
brown fists of his master.
``Oh, you fiend!'' muttered Rex, taking him toward a wicker
basket, which he hated. ``Solitary confinement for you, my
``Double, double, toil and trouble,'' croaked the
Gethryn started nervously and shut him inside the cage, a
regal gilt structure with ``Shakespeare'' printed over the
door. Then, replacing the agitated Gummidge on her panther
skin, he sat down once more and lighted another cigarette.
His picture. He could think of nothing else. It was a
serious matter with Gethryn. Admitted to the Salon meant three
more years' study in Paris. Failure, and back he must go to New
The personal income of Reginald Gethryn amounted to the
magnificent sum of two hundred and fifty dollars. To this, his
aunt, Miss Celestia Gethryn, added nine hundred and fifty
dollars more. This gave him a sum of twelve hundred dollars a
year to live on and study in Paris. It was not a large sum, but
it was princely when compared to the amount on which many a
talented fellow subsists, spending his best years in a foul
atmosphere of paint and tobacco, ill fed, ill clothed, scarcely
warmed at all, often sick in mind and body, attaining his first
scant measure of success just as his overtaxed powers give
Gethryn's aunt, his only surviving relative, had recently
written him one of her ponderous letters. He took it from his
pocket and began to read it again, for the fourth time.
You have now been in Paris three years, and as yet I have
seen no results. You should be earning your own living, but
instead you are still dependent upon me. You are welcome to
all the assistance I can give you, in reason, but I expect
that you will have something to show for all the money I
expend upon you. Why are you not making a handsome income and
a splendid reputation, like Mr Spinder?
The artist named was thirty-five and had been in Paris
fifteen years. Gethryn was twenty-two and had been studying
Why are you not doing beautiful things, like Mr Mousely? I'm
told he gets a thousand dollars for a little sketch.
Rex groaned. Mr Mousely could neither draw nor paint, but he
made stories of babies' deathbeds on squares of canvas with
china angels solidly suspended from the ceiling of the nursery,
pointing upward, and he gave them titles out of the hymnbook,
which caused them to be bought with eagerness by all the
members of the congregation to which his family belonged.
The letter proceeded:
I am told by many reliable persons that three years abroad is
more than enough for a thorough art education. If no results
are attained at the end of that time, there is only one of
two conclusions to be drawn. Either you have no talent, or
you are wasting your time. I shall wait until the next Salon
before I come to a decision. If then you have a picture
accepted and if it shows no trace of the immorality which is
rife in Paris, I will continue your allowance for three years
more; this, however, on condition that you have a picture in
the Salon each year. If you fail again this year, I shall
insist upon your coming home at once.
Why Gethryn should want to read this letter four times, when
one perusal of it had been more than enough, no one, least of
all himself, could have told. He sat now crushing it in is
hand, tasting all the bitterness that is stored up for a
sensitive artist tied by fate to an omniscient Philistine who
feeds his body with bread and his soul with instruction about
art and behavior.
Presently he mastered the black mood which came near being
too much for him, his face cleared and he leaned back, quietly
smoking. From the rug rose a muffled rumbling where Mrs
Gummidge dozed in peace. The clock ticked sharply. A mouse
dropped silently from the window curtain and scuttled away
The pups lay in a soft heap. The parrot no longer hung head
downward, but rested in his cage in a normal position, one eye
fixed steadily on Gethryn, the other sheathed in a bluish-white
eyelid, every wrinkle of which spoke scorn of men and
For some time Gethryn had been half-conscious of a piano
sounding on the floor below. It suddenly struck him now that
the apartment under his, which had been long vacant, must have
found an occupant.
``Idiots!'' he grumbled. ``Playing at midnight! That will
have to stop. Singing too! We'll see about that!''
The singing continued, a girl's voice, only passably
trained, but certainly fresh and sweet.
Gethryn began to listen, reluctantly and ungraciously. There
was a pause. ``Now she's going to stop. It's time,'' he
muttered. But the piano began again -- a short prelude which he
knew, and the voice was soon in the midst of the Dream Song
from ``La Belle Hélène.''
Gethryn rose and walked to his window, threw it open and
leaned out. An April night, soft and delicious. The air was
heavy with perfume from the pink and white chestnut blossoms.
The roof dripped with moisture. Far down in the dark court the
gas-jets flickered and flared. From the distance came the
softened rumble of a midnight cab, which, drawing nearer and
nearer and passing the hôtel with a rollicking rattle of
wheels and laughing voices, died away on the smooth pavement by
the Luxembourg Gardens. The voice had stopped capriciously in
the middle of the song. Gethryn turned back into the room
whistling the air. His eye fell on Satan sitting behind his
bars in crumpled malice.
``Poor old chap,'' laughed the master, ``want to come out
and hop around a bit? Here, Gummidge, we'll remove temptation
out of his way,'' and he lifted the docile tabby, who increased
the timbre of her song to an ecstatic squeal at his touch, and
opening his bedroom door, gently deposited her on his softest
blankets. He then reinstated the raven on his bust of Pallas,
and Satan watched him from thence warily as he fussed about the
studio, sorting brushes, scraping a neglected palette, taking
down a dressing gown, drawing on a pair of easy slippers,
opening his door and depositing his boots outside. When he
returned the music had begun again.
``What on earth does she mean by singing at a quarter to one
o'clock?'' he thought, and went once more to the window. ``Why
-- that is really beautiful.''
Oui! c'est un rêve, Oui! c'est un rêve doux
La nuit lui prête son mystère,
Il doit finir -- il doit finir avec le jour.
The song of Hélène ceased. Gethryn leaned out
and gazed down at the lighted windows under his. Suddenly the
light went out. He heard someone open the window, and straining
his eyes, could just discern the dim outline of a head and
shoulders, unmistakably those of a girl. She had perched
herself on the windowsill. Presently she began to hum the air,
then to sing it softly. Gethryn waited until the words came
Oui, c'est un rêve --
and then struck in with a very sweet baritone:
Oui, c'est un rêve --
She never moved, but her voice swelled out fresh and clear
in answer to his, and a really charming duet came to a
delightful finish. Then she looked up. Gethryn was reckless
``Shall it be, then, only a dream?'' he laughed. Was it his
fate that made him lean out and whisper, ``Is it, then, only a
There was nothing but the rustling of the chestnut branches
to answer his folly. Not another sound. He was half inclined to
shut his window and go in, well satisfied with the silence and
beginning to feel sleepy. All at once from below came a faint
laugh, and as he leaned out he caught the words:
``Paris, Hélène bids you good night!''
``Ah, Belle Hélène!'' -- he began, but was cut
short by the violent opening of a window opposite.
``Bon dieu de bon dieu!'' howled an injured gentleman. ``To
sleep is impossible, tas d'imbeciles! -- ''
And Hélène's window closed with a snap.
The day broke hot and stifling. The first sunbeams which
chased the fog from bridge and street also drove the mists from
the cool thickets of the Luxembourg Garden, and revealed groups
of dragoons picketed in the shrubbery.
``Dragoons in the Luxembourg!'' cried the gamins to each
other. ``What for?''
But even the gamins did not know -- yet.
At the great Ateliers of Messieurs Bouguereau and Lefebvre
the first day of the week is the busiest -- and so, this being
Monday, the studios were crowded.
The heat was suffocating. The walls, smeared with the refuse
of a hundred palettes, fairly sizzled as they gave off a sickly
odor of paint and turpentine. Only two poses had been
completed, but the tired models stood or sat, glistening with
perspiration. The men drew and painted, many of them stripped
to the waist. The air was heavy with tobacco smoke and the
respiration of some two hundred students of half as many
``Dieu! quel chaleur!'' gasped a fat little Frenchman,
mopping his clipped head and breathing hard.
``Clifford,'' he inquired in English, ``ees eet zat you haf
a so great -- a -- heat chez vous?''
Clifford glanced up from his easel. ``Heat in New York? My
dear Deschamps, this is nothing.''
The other eyed him suspiciously.
``You know New York is the capital of Galveston?'' said
Clifford, slapping on a brush full of color and leaning back to
look at it.
The Frenchman didn't know, but he nodded.
``Well, that's very far south. We suffer -- yes, we suffer,
but our poor poultry suffer more.''
``Ze -- ze pooltree? Wat eez zat?''
``In summer the fire engines are detailed to throw water on
the hens to keep their feathers from singeing. Singeing spoils
The Frenchman growled.
``One of our national institutions is the `Hen's Mutual Fire
Insurance Company,' supported by the Government,'' added
``That is why,'' put in Rhodes, lazily dabbing at his
canvas, ``why we seldom have omelets -- the eggs are so apt to
be laid fried.''
``How, zen, does eet make ze chicken?'' spluttered the
Frenchman, his wrath rising.
``Our chickens are also -- '' a torrent of bad language from
Monsieur Deschamps, and a howl of execration from all the rest,
``It's too hot for that sort of thing,'' pleaded
``Idiot!'' muttered the Frenchman, shooting ominous glances
at the bland youth, who saw nothing.
``C'est l'heure,'' cried a dozen voices, and the tired model
stretched his cramped limbs. Clifford rose, dropped a piece of
charcoal down on his neighbor's neck, and stepping across
Thaxton's easel, walked over to Gethryn.
``Rex, have you heard the latest?''
``The Ministry has fallen again, and the Place de la
Concorde is filled with people yelling, A bas la Republique!
Vive le General Boulanger!''
Gethryn looked serious. Clifford went on, speaking low.
``I saw a troop of cavalry going over this morning, and old
Forain told me just now that the regiments at Versailles were
ready to move at a minute's notice.''
``I suppose things are lively across the river,'' said
``Exactly, and we're all going over to see the fun. You'll
``Oh, I'll come. Hello! here's Rhodes; tell him.''
Rhodes knew. Ministry fallen. Mob at it some more. Been
fired on by the soldiers once. Pont Neuf and the Arc guarded by
cannon. Carleton came hurrying up.
``The French students are loose and raising Cain. We're
going to assist at the show. Come along.''
``No,'' growled Braith, and looked hard at Rex.
``Oh, come along! We're all going,'' said Carleton,
``Elliott, Gethryn, the Colossus, Thaxton, Clifford.''
Braith turned sharply to Rex. ``Yes, going to get your heads
smashed by a bullet or carved by a saber. What for? What
business is it of yours?''
``Braith thinks he looks like a Prussian and is afraid,''
``Come on, won't you, Braith?'' said Gethryn.
``Are you going?''
``Why not?'' said the other, uneasily, ``and why won't
``No French mob for me,'' answered Braith, quietly. ``You
fellows had better keep away. You don't know what you may get
into. I saw the siege, and the man who was in Paris in '71 has
``Oh, this is nothing serious,'' urged Clifford. ``If they
fire I shall leg it; so will the lordly Reginald; so will we
Braith dug his hands into the pockets of his velveteens, and
shook his head.
``No,'' he said, ``I've got some work to do. So have you,
``Come on, we're off,'' shouted Thaxton from the
Clifford seized Gethryn's arm, Elliott and Rhodes crowded on
behind. A small earthquake shock followed as the crowd of
students launched itself down the stairs.
``Braith doesn't approve of my cutting the atelier so
often,'' said Gethryn, ``and he's right. I ought to have
``Reggy going to back out?'' cooed Clifford.
``No,'' said Rex. ``Here's Rhodes with a cab.''
``It's too hot to walk,'' gasped Rhodes. ``I secured this.
It was all I could get. Pile in.''
Rex sprang up beside the driver.
``Allons!'' he cried, ``to the Obelisk!''
``But, monsieur -- '' expostulated the cabby, ``it is today
the revolution. I dare not.''
``Go on, I tell you,'' roared Rhodes. ``Clifford, take his
reins away if he refuses.''
Clifford made a snatch at them, but was repulsed by the
``Go on, do you hear?'' shouted the Colossus. The cabman
looked at Gethryn.
``Go on!'' laughed Rex, ``there is no danger.''
Jehu lifted his shoulders to the level of his shiny hat, and
giving the reins a jerk, muttered, ``Crazy English! -- Heu --
heu -- Cocotte!''
In twenty minutes they had arrived at the bridge opposite
the Palais Bourbon.
``By Jove!'' said Gethryn, ``look at that crowd! The Place
de la Concorde is black with them!''
The cab stopped with a jolt. Half a dozen policemen stepped
into the street. Two seized the horses' heads.
``The bridge is forbidden to vehicles, gentlemen,'' they
said, courteously. ``To cross, one must descend.''
Clifford began to argue, but Elliott stopped him.
``It's only a step,'' said he, paying the relieved cabby.
In a moment they were across the bridge and pushing into the
crowd, single file.
``What a lot of troops and police!'' said Elliott, panting
as he elbowed his way through the dense masses. ``I tell you,
the mob are bent on mischief.''
The Place de la Concorde was packed and jammed with
struggling, surging humanity. Pushed and crowded up to the
second fountain, clinging in bunches to the Obelisk,
overrunning the first fountain, and covering the pedestals of
the ``Cities of France,'' it heaved, shifted, undulated like
clusters of swarming ants.
In the open space about the second fountain was the Prefect
of the Seine, surrounded by a staff of officers. He looked worn
and anxious as he stood mopping the perspiration from his neck
and glancing nervously at his men, who were slowly and gently
rolling back the mob. On the bridge a battalion of red-legged
soldiers lounged, leaning on their rifles. To the right were
long lines of cavalry in shining helmets and cuirasses. The men
sat motionless in their saddles, their armor striking white
fire in the fierce glow of the midday sun. Ever and anon the
faint flutter of a distant bugle announced the approach of more
Among the shrubbery of the Gardens, a glimmer of orange and
blue betrayed the lurking presence of the Guards. Down the
endless vistas of the double and quadruple rows of trees
stretching out to the Arc, and up the Cour la Reine, long lines
of scarlet were moving toward the central point, the Place de
la Concorde. The horses of a squadron of hussars pawed and
champed across the avenue, the men, in their pale blue jackets,
presenting a cool relief to the universal glare. The Champs
Elysees was deserted, excepting by troops. Not a civilian was
to be seen on the bridge. In front of the Madeleine three
points of fire blazed and winked in the sun. They were three
Suddenly, over by the Obelisk, began a hoarse murmur,
confused and dull at first, but growing louder, until it
swelled into a deafening roar. ``Long live Boulanger!'' ``Down
with Ferry!'' ``Long live the Republic!'' As the great wave of
sound rose over the crowd and broke sullenly against the somber
masses of the Palace of the Bourbons, a thin, shrill cry from
the extreme right answered, ``Vive la Commune!'' Elliott
``They'll charge those howling Belleville anarchists!''
Clifford began, in pure deviltry, to whistle the
``Do you want to get us all into hot water?'' whispered
``Monsieur is of the Commune?'' inquired a little man,
And, the devil still prompting Clifford, he answered:
``Because I whistled the Carmagnole? Bah!''
The man scowled.
``Look here, my friend,'' said Clifford, ``my political
principles are yours, and I will be happy to drink at your
The other Americans exchanged looks, and Elliott tried to
check Clifford's folly before it was too late.
``Espion!'' muttered the Frenchman, adding, a little louder,
Gethryn looked up startled.
``Keep cool,'' whispered Thaxton; ``if they think we're
Germans we're done for.''
Carleton glanced nervously about. ``How they stare,'' he
whispered. ``Their eyes pop out of their heads as if they saw
There was an ominous movement among the throng.
``Vive l'Anarchie! A bas les Prussiens!'' yelled a
beetle-browed Italian. ``A bas les etrangers!''
``My friend,'' said Clifford, pleasantly, ``you've got a
very vile accent yourself.''
``You're a Prussian!'' screamed the man.
Every one was now looking at them. Gethryn began to
``I'll thrash that cur if he says Prussian again,'' said
``You'll keep quiet, that's what you'll do,'' growled
Thaxton, looking anxiously at Rhodes.
``Yes, you will!'' said the Colossus, very pale.
``Pig of a Prussian!'' shouted a fearful-looking hag,
planting herself in front of Clifford with arms akimbo and head
thrust forward. ``Pig of a Prussian spy!''
She glanced at her supporters, who promptly applauded.
``Ah--h--h!'' she screamed, her little green eyes shining
like a tiger's -- ``Spy! German spy!''
``Madam,'' said Clifford, politely, ``go and wash
``Hold your cursed tongue, Clifford!'' whispered Thaxton.
``Do you want to be torn to pieces?''
Suddenly a man behind Gethryn sprang at his back, and then,
amazed and terrified at his own daring, yelled lustily for
help. Gethryn shook him off as he would a fly, but the last
remnant of self-control went at the same time, and, wheeling,
he planted a blow square in the fellow's neck. The man fell
like an ox. In an instant the mob was upon them. Thaxton
received a heavy kick in the ribs, which sent him reeling
against Carleton. Clifford knocked two men down in as many
blows, and, springing back, stood guard over Thaxton until he
could struggle to his feet again. Elliott got a sounding thwack
on the nose, which he neatly returned, adding one on the eye
for interest. Gethryn and Carleton fought back to back. Rhodes
began by half strangling a son of the Commune and then flung
him bodily among his howling compatriots.
``Good Heavens,'' gasped Rhodes, ``we can't keep this up!''
And raising his voice, he cried with all the force of his
lungs, ``Help! This way, police!'' A shot answered him, and a
man, clapping his hands to his face, tilted heavily forward,
the blood spurting between his fingers.
Then a terrible cry arose, a din in which the Americans
caught the clanging of steel and the neighing of horses. A man
was hurled violently against Gethryn, who, losing in turn his
balance, staggered and fell. Rising to his knees, he saw a
great foam-covered horse rearing almost over him, and a
red-faced rider in steel helmet and tossing plume slashing
furiously among the crowd. Next moment he was dragged to his
feet and back into the flying mob.
``Look out,'' panted Thaxton, ``the cavalry -- they've
charged -- run!'' Gethryn glanced over his shoulder. All along
the edge of the frantic, panic-stricken crowd the gleaming
crests of the cavalry surged and dashed like a huge wave of
Cries, groans, and curses rose and were drowned in the
thunder of the charging horses and the clashing of weapons.
``Spy!'' screamed a voice in his ear. Gethryn turned, but
the fellow was legging it for safety.
Suddenly he saw a woman who, pushed and crowded by the mob,
stumbled and fell. In a moment he was by her side, bent over to
raise her, was hurled upon his face, rose blinded by dust and
half-stunned, but dragging her to her feet with him.
Swept onward by the rush, knocked this way and that, he
still managed to support the dazed woman, and by degrees
succeeded in controlling his own course, which he bent toward
the Obelisk. As he neared the goal of comparative safety,
exhausted, he suffered himself and the woman to be carried on
by the rush. Then a blinding flash split the air in front, and
the crash of musketry almost in his face hurled him back.
Men threw up their hands and sank in a heap or spun round
and pitched headlong. For a moment he swayed in the drifting
smoke. A blast of hot, sickening air enveloped him. Then a dull
red cloud seemed to settle slowly, crushing, grinding him into
When Gethryn unclosed his eyes the dazzling sunlight almost
blinded him. A thousand grotesque figures danced before him, a
hot red vapor seemed to envelop him. He felt a dull pain in his
ears and a numb sensation about the legs. Gradually he recalled
the scene that had just passed; the flying crowd lashed by that
pitiless iron scourge; the cruel panic; the mad, suffocating
rush; and then that crash of thunder which had crushed him.
He lay quite still, not offering to move. A strange languor
seemed to weigh down his very heart. The air reeked with powder
smoke. Not a breath was stirring.
Presently the numbness in his knees changed to a hot,
pricking throb. He tried to move his legs, but found he could
not. Then a sudden thought sent the blood with a rush to his
heart. Perhaps he no longer had any legs! He remembered to have
heard of legless men whose phantom members caused them many
uncomfortable sensations. He certainly had a dull pain where
his legs belonged, but the question was, had he legs also? The
doubt was too much, and with a faint cry he struggled to
``The devil!'' exclaimed a voice close to his head, and a
pair of startled eyes met his own. `` The devil!''
repeated the owner of the eyes, as if to a apostrophize some
particular one. He was a bird-like little fellow, with thin
canary-colored hair and eyebrows and colorless eyes, and he was
seated upon a campstool about two feet from Gethryn's head.
He blinked at Gethryn. ``These Frenchmen,'' said he, ``have
as many lives as a cat.''
``Thanks!'' said Gethryn, smiling faintly.
``An Englishman! The devil!'' shouted the pale-eyed man,
hopping in haste from his campstool and dropping a well-thumbed
sketching-block as he did so.
``Don't be an ass,'' suggested Gethryn; ``you'd much better
help me to get up.''
``Look here,'' cried the other, ``how was I to know you were
not done for?''
``What's the matter with me?'' said Gethryn. ``Are my -- my
The little man glanced at Gethryn's shoes.
No, they're all there, unless you originally had more than
the normal number -- in fact I'm afraid -- I think you're all
Gethryn stared at him.
``And what the devil am I to do with this sketch?'' he
continued, kicking the fallen block. ``I've been at it for an
hour. It isn't half bad, you know. I was going to call it `Love
in Death.' It was for the London Illustrated
Gethryn lay quite still. He had decided the little fellow
``Dead in each other's arms!'' continued the stranger,
sentimentally. ``She so fair -- he so brave -- ''
Gethryn sprang up impatiently, but only a little way.
Something held him down and he fell back.
``Do you want to get up?'' asked the stranger.
``I should rather think so.''
The other bent down and placed his hands under Gethryn's
arms, and -- half helped, half by his own impatient efforts --
Rex sat up, leaning against the other man. A sharp twinge shot
through the numbness of his legs, and his eyes, seeking the
cause, fell upon the body of a woman. She lay across his knees,
apparently dead. Rex remembered her now for the first time.
``Lift her,'' he said weakly.
The little man with some difficulty succeeded in moving the
body; then Gethryn, putting one arm around the other's neck,
struggled up. He was stiff, and toppled about a little, but
before long he was pretty steady on his feet.
``The woman,'' he said, ``perhaps she is not dead.''
``Dead she is,'' said the Artist of the Mirror
cheerfully, gathering up his pencils, which lay scattered on
the steps of the pedestal. He leaned over the little heap of
``Shot, I fancy,'' he muttered.
Gethryn, feeling his strength returning and the circulation
restored to his limbs, went over to the place where she
``Have you a flask?'' he asked. The little Artist eyed him
``Are you a newspaperman?''
``No, an art student.''
``Nothing to do with newspapers?''
``I don't drink,'' said the queer little person.
``I never said you did,'' said Gethryn. ``Have you a flask,
or haven't you?''
The stranger slowly produced one, and poured a few drops
into his pink palm.
``We may as well try,'' he said, and began to chafe her
forehead. ``Here, take the whiskey -- let it trickle, so,
between her teeth. Don't spill any more than you can help,'' he
``Has she been shot?'' asked Gethryn.
``Poor little thing, look at her roll of music!'' said
Gethryn, wiping a few drops of blood from her pallid face, and
glancing compassionately at the helpless, dust-covered
``I'm afraid it's no use -- ''
``Give her some more whiskey, quick!'' interrupted the
Gethryn tremblingly poured a few more drops between the
parted lips. A faint color came into her temples. She moved,
shivered from head to foot, and then, with a half-choked sob,
opened her eyes.
``Mon Dieu, comme je souffre!''
``Where do you suffer?'' said Gethryn gently.
``The arm; I think it is broken.''
Gethryn stood up and looked about for help. The Place was
nearly deserted. The blue-jacketed hussars were still standing
over by the Avenue, and an occasional heavy, red-faced
cuirassier walked his sweating horse slowly up and down the
square. A few policemen lounged against the river wall,
chatting with the sentries, and far down the dusty Rue Royale,
the cannon winked and blinked before the Church of the
The rumble of wheels caused him to turn. A clumsy,
blue-covered wagon drew up at the second fountain. It was a
military ambulance. A red-capped trooper sprang down jingling
from one of the horses, and was joined by two others who had
followed the ambulance and who also dismounted. Then the three
approached a group of policemen who were lifting something from
the pavement. At the same moment he heard voices beside him,
and turning, found that the girl had risen and was sitting on
the campstool, her head leaning against the little stranger's
An officer stood looking down at her. His boots were
spotless. The band of purple on his red and gold cap showed
that he was a surgeon.
``Can we be of any assistance to madame?'' he inquired.
``I was looking for a cab,'' said Gethryn, ``but perhaps she
is not strong enough to be taken to her home.''
A frightened look came into the girl's face and she glanced
anxiously at the ambulance. The surgeon knelt quietly beside
``Madame is not seriously hurt,'' he said, after a rapid
examination. ``The right arm is a little strained, but it will
be nothing, I assure you, Madame; a matter of a few days, that
He rose and stood brushing the knees of his trousers with
his handkerchief. ``Monsieur is a foreigner?''
Gethryn smiled. ``The accent?''
``On the contrary, I assure you, Monsieur,'' cried the
officer with more politeness than truth. He eyed the ambulance.
``The people of Paris have learned a lesson today,'' he
A trooper clattered up, leading an officer's horse, and
dismounted, saluting. The young surgeon glanced at his
``Picard,'' he said, ``stop a closed cab and send it
The trooper wheeled his horse and galloped away across the
square, and the officer turned to the others.
``Madame, I trust, will soon recover,'' he said courteously.
``Madame, messieurs, I have the honor to salute you.'' And with
many a clink and jingle, he sprang into the saddle and
clattered away in the wake of the slowly moving ambulance.
At the corner of the Rue Royale, Gethryn saw the trooper
stop a cab and point to the Obelisk. He went over and asked the
canary-colored stranger, ``Will you take her home, or shall
``Why, you, of course; you brought her here.''
``No, I didn't. I never saw her until I noticed her being
pushed about by the crowd.'' He caught the girl's eye and
colored furiously, hoping she did not suspect the nature of
their discussion. Before her helplessness it seemed so
The cab drew up before the Obelisk and a gruff voice cried,
``V'la! M'ssieurs! -- 'dames!''
``Put your arm on my shoulder -- so,'' said Gethryn, and the
two men raised her gently. Once in the cab, she sank back,
looking limp and white. Gethryn turned sharply to the other
``Shall I go?''
``Rather,'' replied the little stranger, pleasantly.
Opening his coat in haste, he produced a square of
pasteboard. ``My card,'' he said, offering one to Gethryn, who
bowed and fumbled in his pockets. As usual, his card-case was
in another coat.
``I'm sorry I have none,'' he said at length, ``but my name
is Reginald Gethryn, and I shall give myself the pleasure of
calling to thank you for -- ''
``For nothing,'' laughed the other, ``excepting for the
sketch, which you may have when you come to see me.''
``Thanks, and au revoir,'' glancing at the card. ``Au
revoir, Mr Bulfinch.''
He was giving the signal to the cabby when his new
acquaintance stopped him.
``You're quite sure -- you -- er -- don't know any
``All right -- all right -- and -- er -- just don't mention
about my having a flask, if you do meet any of them. I -- er --
keep it for others. I don't drink.''
``Certainly not,'' began Gethryn, but Mr T. Hoppley Bulfinch
had seized his campstool and trotted away across the
Gethryn leaned into the cab.
``Will you give me your address?'' he asked gently.
``Rue Monsieur le Prince -- 430 -- '' she whispered. ``Do
you know where it is?''
``Yes,'' said Gethryn. It was his own number.
``Rue Monsieur le Prince 430'', he repeated to the driver,
and stepping in, softly shut the door.
Rain was falling steadily. The sparrows huddled under the
eaves, or hopped disconsolately along the windowsills, uttering
short, ill-tempered chirps. The wind was rising, blowing in
quick, sharp gusts and sweeping the forest of rain spears, rank
upon rank, in mad dashes against the glass-roofed studio.
Gethryn, curled up in a corner of his sofa, listlessly
watched the showers of pink and white blossoms which whirled
and eddied down from the rocking chestnuts, falling into the
windy court in little heaps. One or two stiff-legged flies
crawled rheumatically along the window glass, only to fall on
their backs and lie there buzzing.
The two bull pups had silently watched the antics of these
maudlin creatures, but their interest changed to indignation
when one sodden insect attempted a final ascent and fell
noisily upon the floor under their very noses. Then they rose
as one dog and leaped madly upon the intruder, or meant to; but
being pups, and uncertain in their estimation of distances,
they brought up with startled yelps against the wall. Gethryn
took them in his arms, where they found consolation in chewing
the buttons off his coat. The parrot had driven the raven
nearly crazy by turning upside down and staring at him for
fifteen minutes of insulting silence. Mrs Gummidge was engaged
in a matronly and sedate toilet, interrupting herself now and
then to bestow a critical glance upon the parrot. She heartily
approved of his attitude toward the raven, and although the old
cynic cared nothing for Mrs Gummidge's opinion, he found a sour
satisfaction in warning her of her enemy's hostile intentions.
This he always did with a croak, causing Mrs Gummidge to look
up just in time, and the raven to hop back disconcerted.
The rain beat a constant tattoo on the roof, and this,
mingling with the drowsy purr of the cat, who was now marching
to and fro with tail erect in front of Gethryn, exercised a
soothing influence, and presently a snore so shocked the parrot
that he felt obliged to relieve his mind by a series of
intricate gymnastics upon his perch.
Gethryn was roused by a violent hammering on his door. The
room had grown dark, and night had come on while he slept.
``All right -- coming,'' he shouted, groping his way across
the room. Slipping the bolt, he opened the door and looked out,
but could see nothing in the dark hallway. Then he felt himself
seized and hugged and dragged back into his studio, where he
was treated to a heavy slap on the shoulder. Then someone
struck a match and presently, by the light of a candle, he saw
Clifford and Elliott, and farther back in the shade another
form which he thought he knew.
Clifford began, ``Here you are! We thought you were dead --
killed through my infernal fooling.'' He turned very red, and
stammered, ``Tell him, Elliott.''
``Why, you see,'' said Elliott, ``we've been hunting for you
high and low since the fight yesterday afternoon. Clifford was
nearly crazy. He said it was his fault. We went to the Morgue
and then to the hospitals, and finally to the police -- '' A
knock interrupted him, and a policeman appeared at the
Clifford looked sheepish.
``The young gentleman who is missing -- this is his room?''
inquired the policeman.
``Oh, he's found -- he's all right,'' said Clifford,
hurriedly. The officer stared.
``Here he is,'' said Elliott, pointing to Rex.
The man transferred his stare to Gethryn, but did not offer
``I am the supposed deceased,'' laughed Rex, with a little
``But how am I to know?'' said the officer.
``Why, here I am.''
``But,'' said the man, suspiciously, ``I want to know how I
am to know?''
``Nonsense,'' said Elliott, laughing.
``But, Monsieur,'' expostulated the officer, politely.
``This is Reginald Gethryn, artist, I tell you!''
The policeman shrugged his shoulders. He was noncommittal
and very polite.
``Messieurs,'' he said, ``my orders are to lock up this
``But it's my room, I can't spare my room,'' laughed
Gethryn. ``From whom did you take your orders?''
``From Monsieur the Prefect of the Seine.''
``Oh, it is all right, then,'' said Gethryn. ``Take a
He went to his desk, wrote a hasty note, and then called the
man. ``Read that, if you please, Monsieur Sergeant de
The man's eyes grew round. ``Certainly, Monsieur, I will
take the note to the Prefect,'' he said; ``Monsieur will pardon
``Don't mention it,'' said Rex, smiling, and slipped a franc
into his big red fist. The officer pocketed it with a demure
``Merci, Monsieur,'' and presently the clank of his bayonet
died away on the stairs.
``Well,'' said Elliott, ``you're found.'' Clifford was
beginning again with self-reproaches and self-abasement, but
Rex broke in: ``You fellows are awfully good -- I do assure you
I appreciate it. But I wasn't in any more danger than the rest
of you. What about Thaxton and the Colossus and Carleton?'' He
grew anxious as he named them.
``We all got off with no trouble at all, only we missed you
-- and then the troops fired, and they chased us over the
bridge and scattered us in the Quarter, and we all drifted one
by one into the Café des Écoles. And then you
didn't come, and we waited till after dinner, and finally came
here to find your door locked -- ''
``Oh!'' burst out Clifford, ``I tell you, Rex -- damn it! I
will express my feelings!''
``No, you won't,'' said Rex; ``drop 'em, old boy, don't
express 'em. Here we are -- that's enough, isn't it,
The bird had climbed to Gethryn's shoulder and was cocking
his eye fondly at Clifford. They were dear friends. Once he had
walked up Clifford's arm and had grabbed him by the ear, for
which Clifford, more in sorrow than in anger, soaked him in
cold water. Since that, their mutual understanding had been
``Where are you going to, you old fiend?'' said Clifford,
tickling the parrot's throat.
``Hell!'' shrieked the bird.
``Good Heavens! I never taught him that,'' said Gethryn.
Clifford smiled, without committing himself.
``But where were you, Rex?'' asked Elliott.
Rex flushed. ``Hullo,'' cried Clifford, ``here's Reginald
blushing. If I didn't know him better I'd swear there's a woman
in it.'' The dark figure at the end of the room rose and walked
swiftly over, and Rex saw that it was Braith, as he had
``I swear I forgot him,'' laughed Elliott. ``What a queer
bird you are, Braith, squatting over there as silent as a
``He has been walking his legs off after you,'' began
Clifford, but Braith cut him short with a brusque --
``Where were you, Rex?''
Gethryn winced. ``I'd rather -- I think'' -- he began,
``Excuse me -- it's not my business,'' growled Braith,
throwing himself into a seat and beginning to rub Mrs Gummidge
the wrong way. ``Confound the cat!'' he added, examining some
red parallel lines which suddenly decorated the back of his
``She won't stand rubbing the wrong way,'' said Rex, smiling
``Like the rest of us,'' said Elliott.
``More fool he who tries it,'' said Braith, and looked at
Gethryn with an affectionate smile that made him turn redder
``Rex,'' began Clifford again, with that fine tact for which
he was celebrated, ``own up! You spent last night warbling
under the windows of Lisette.''
``Or Frisette,'' said Elliott, ``or Cosette.''
``Or Babette, Lisette, Frisette, Cosette, Babette!'' chanted
the two young men in a sort of catch.
Braith so seldom swore, that the round oath with which he
broke into their vocal exercises stopped them through sheer
astonishment. But Clifford, determined on self-assertion and
loving an argument, especially out of season, turned on Braith
``Why should not Youth love?''
``Love! Bah!'' said Braith.
``Why Bah?'' he persisted, stimulated by the disgust of
Braith. ``Now if a man -- take Elliott, for example -- ''
``Take yourself,'' cried the other.
``Well -- myself, for example. Suppose when my hours of
weary toil are over -- returning to my lonely cell, I encounter
the blue eyes of Ninette on the way, or the brown eyes of
Cosette, or perhaps the black eyes of -- ''
Braith stamped impatiently.
``Lisette,'' said Clifford, sweetly. ``Why should I not
refresh my drooping spirits by adoring Lisette -- Cos--- ''
``Oh, come, you said that before,'' said Gethryn. ``You're
getting to be a bore, Clifford.''
``You at least can no longer reproach me,'' said the other,
with a quick look that increased Gethryn's embarrassment.
``Let him talk his talk of bewitching grisettes, and gay
students,'' said Braith, more angry than Rex had ever seen him.
``He's never content except when he's dangling after some fool
worse than himself. Damn this `Bohemian love' rot! I've been
here longer than you have, Clifford,'' he said, suddenly
softening and turning half apologetically to the latter, who
nodded to intimate that he hadn't taken offense. ``I've seen
all that shabby romance turn into such reality as you wouldn't
like to face. I've seen promising lives go out in ruin and
disgrace -- here in this very street -- in this very house --
lives that started exactly on the lines that you are finding so
mighty pleasant just now.''
Clifford was in danger of being silenced. That would never
``Papa Braith,'' he smiled, ``is it that you too have been
through the mill? Shall I present your compliments to the
miller? I'm going. Come, Elliott.''
Elliott took up his hat and followed.
``Braith,'' he said, ``we'll drink your health as we go
through the mill.''
``Remember that the mill grinds slowly but surely,'' said
``He speaks in parables,'' laughed Clifford, halfway
downstairs, and the two took up the catch they had improvised,
singing, ``Lisette -- Cosette -- Ninette -- '' in thirds more
or less out of tune, until Gethryn shut the door on the last
echoes that came up from the hall below.
Gethryn came back and sat down, and Braith took a seat
beside him, but neither spoke. Braith had his pipe and Rex his
When the former was ready, he began to speak. He could not
conceal the effort it cost him, but that wore away after he had
been talking a while.
``Rex,'' he began, ``when I say that we are friends, I mean,
for my own part, that you are more to me than any man alive;
and now I am going to tell you my story. Don't interrupt me. I
have only just courage enough; if any of it oozes out, I may
not be able to go on. Well, I have been through the mill.
Clifford was right. They say it is a phase through which all
men must pass. I say, must or not, if you pass through it you
don't come out without a stain. You're never the same man
after. Don't imagine I mean that I was brutally dissolute. I
don't want you to think worse of me than I deserve. I kept a
clean tongue in my head -- always. So do you. I never got drunk
-- neither do you. I kept a distance between myself and the
women whom those fellows were celebrating in song just now --
so do you. How much is due in both of us to principle, and how
much to fastidiousness, Rex? I found out for myself at last,
and perhaps your turn will not be long in coming. After
avoiding entanglements for just three years -- '' He looked at
Rex, who dropped his head -- ``I gave in to a temptation as
coarse, vulgar and silly as any I had ever despised. Why?
Heaven knows. She was as vulgar a leech as ever fastened on a
calf like myself. But I didn't think so then. I was wildly in
love with her. She said she was madly in love with me.'' Braith
made a grimace of such disgust that Rex would have laughed,
only he saw in time that it was self-disgust which made
Braith's mouth look so set and hard.
``I wanted to marry her. She wouldn't marry me. I was not
rich, but what she said was: `One hates one's husband.' When I
say vulgar, I don't mean she had vulgar manners. She was as
pretty and trim and clever -- as the rest of them. An artist,
if he sees all that really exists, sometimes also sees things
which have no existence at all. Of these were the qualities
with which I invested her -- the moral and mental
correspondencies to her blonde skin and supple figure. She
justified my perspicacity one day by leaving me for a loathsome
little Jew. The last time I heard of her she had been turned
out of a gambling hell in his company. His name is Emanuel
Pick. Is not this a shabby romance? Is it not enough to make a
self-respecting man hang his head -- to know that he has once
found pleasure in the society of the mistress of Mr Emanuel
A long silence followed, during which the two men smoked,
looking in opposite directions. At last Braith reached over and
shook the ashes out of his pipe. Rex lighted a fresh cigarette
at the same time, and their eyes met with a look of mutual
confidence and goodwill. Braith spoke again, firmly this
``God keep you out of the mire, Rex; you're all right thus
far. But it is my solemn belief that an affair of that kind
would be your ruin as an artist; as a man.''
``The Quarter doesn't regard things in that light,'' said
Gethryn, trying hard to laugh off the weight that oppressed
``The Quarter is a law unto itself. Be a law unto yourself,
Rex -- Good night, old chap.''
``Good night, Braith,'' said Gethryn slowly.
Thirion's at six pm. Madame Thirion, neat and demure, sat
behind her desk; her husband, in white linen apron and cap,
scuttled back and forth shouting, ``Bon! Bon!'' to the orders
that came down the call trumpet. The waiters flew crazily
about, and cries went up for ``Pierre'' and ``Jean'' and
``green peas and fillet.''
The noise, smoke, laughter, shouting, rattle of dishes, the
penetrating odor of burnt paper and French tobacco, all
proclaimed the place a Latin Quarter restaurant. The English
and Americans ate like civilized beings and howled like
barbarians. The Germans, when they had napkins, tucked them
under their chins. The Frenchmen -- well! they often agreed
with the hated Teuton in at least one thing; that knives were
made to eat with. But which of the four nationalities exceeded
the others in turbulence and bad language would be hard to
Clifford was eating his chop and staring at the blonde
adjunct of a dapper little Frenchman.
``Clifford,'' said Carleton, ``stop that.''
``I'm mesmerizing her,'' said Clifford. ``It's a case of
The girl, who had been staring back at Clifford, suddenly
shrugged her shoulders, and turning to her companion, said
``How like a monkey, that foreigner!''
Clifford withdrew his eyes in a hurry, amid a roar of
laughter from the others. He was glad when Braith's entrance
caused a diversion.
``Hullo, Don Juan! I see you, Lothario! Drinking
Braith took it all as a matter of course, but this time
failed to return as good as they gave. He took a seat beside
Gethryn and said in a low tone:
``I've just come from your house. There's a letter from the
Salon in your box.''
Gethryn set down his wine untasted and reached for his
``What's the matter, Reggy? Has Lisette gone back on you?''
asked Clifford, tenderly.
``It's the Salon,'' said Braith, as Gethryn went out with a
hasty ``Good night.''
``Poor Reggy, how hard he takes it!'' sighed Clifford.
Gethryn hurried along the familiar streets with his heart in
his boots sometimes, and sometimes in his mouth.
In his box was a letter and a note addressed in pencil. He
snatched them both, and lighting a candle, mounted the stairs,
unlocked his door and sank breathless upon the lounge. He tore
open the first envelope. A bit of paper fell out. It was from
Braith and said:
I congratulate you either way. If you are successful I shall
be as glad as you are. If not, I still congratulate you on
the manly courage which you are going to show in turning
defeat into victory.
``He's one in a million,'' thought Gethryn, and opened the
other letter. It contained a folded paper and a card. The card
was white. The paper read:
You are admitted to the Salon with a No. 1. My compliments.
He ought to have been pleased, but instead he felt weak and
giddy, and the pleasure was more like pain. He leaned against
the table quite unstrung, his mind in a whirl. He got up and
went to the window. Then he shook himself and walked over to
his cabinet. Taking out a bunch of keys, he selected one and
opened what Clifford called his ``cellar.''
Clifford knew and deplored the fact that Gethryn's
``cellar'' was no longer open to the public. Since the day when
Rex returned from Julien's, tired and cross, to find a row of
empty bottles on the floor and Clifford on the sofa conversing
incoherently with himself, and had his questions interrupted by
a maudlin squawk from the parrot -- also tipsy -- since that
day Gethryn had carried the key. He now produced a wine glass
and a dusty bottle, filled the one from the other and emptied
it three times in rapid succession. Then he took the glass to
the washbasin and rinsed it with great slowness and precision.
Then he sat down and tried to think. Number One meant a
mention, perhaps a medal. He would telegraph his aunt tomorrow.
Suddenly he felt a strong desire to tell someone. He would go
and see Braith. No, Braith was in the evening class at the
Beaux Arts; so were the others, excepting Clifford and Elliott,
and they were at a ball across the river.
Whom could he see? He thought of the garçon. He would
ring him up and give him a glass of wine. Alcide was a good
fellow and stole very little. The clock struck eleven.
``No, he's gone to bed. Alcide, you've missed a glass of
wine and a cigar, you early bird.''
His head was clear enough now. He realized his good fortune.
He had never been so happy in his life. He called the pups and
romped with them until an unlucky misstep sent Mrs Gummidge,
with a shriek, to the top of the wardrobe, whence she glared at
Gethryn and spit at the delighted raven.
The young man sat down fairly out of breath, but the pups
still kept making charges at his legs and tumbled over
themselves with barking. He gathered them up and carried them
into his bedroom to their sleeping box. As he stooped to drop
them in, there came a knock at his studio door. But when he
hastened to open it, glad of company, there was no one there.
Surprised, he turned back and saw on the floor before him a
note. Picking it up, he took it to the lamp and read it. It was
signed, ``Yvonne Descartes.''
When he had read it twice, he sat down to think. Presently
he took something out of his waistcoat pocket and held it close
to the light. It was a gold brooch in the shape of a
fleur-de-lis. On the back was engraved ``Yvonne.'' He held it
in his hand a while, and then, getting up, went slowly towards
the door. He opened the door, closed it behind him and moved
toward the stairs. Suddenly he started.
``Braith! Is that you?''
There was no answer. His voice sounded hollow in the tiled
``Braith,'' he said again. ``I thought I heard him say
`Rex.''' But he kept on to the next floor and stopped before
the door of the room which was directly under his own. He
paused, hesitated, looking up at a ray of light which came out
from a crack in the transom.
``It's too late,'' he muttered, and turned away
A clear voice called from within, ``Entrez donc,
He opened the door and went in.
On a piano stood a shaded lamp, which threw a soft yellow
light over everything. The first glance gave him a hasty
impression of a white lace-covered bed and a dainty toilet
table on which stood a pair of tall silver candlesticks; and
then, as the soft voice spoke again, ``Will Monsieur be
seated?'' he turned and confronted the girl whom he had helped
in the Place de la Concorde. She lay in a cloud of fleecy
wrappings on a lounge that was covered with a great white
bearskin. Her blue eyes met Gethryn's, and he smiled faintly.
She spoke again:
``Will Monsieur sit a little nearer? It is difficult to
speak loudly -- I have so little strength.''
Gethryn walked over to the sofa and half unconsciously sank
down on the rug which fell on the floor by the invalid's side.
He spoke as he would to a sick child.
``I am so very glad you are better. I inquired of the
concierge and she told me.''
A slight color crept into the girl's face. ``You are so
good. Ah! what should I have done -- what can I say?'' She
stopped; there were tears in her eyes.
``Please say nothing -- please forget it.''
``Forget!'' Presently she continued, almost in a whisper,
``I had so much to say to you, and now you are really here, I
can think of nothing, only that you saved me.''
``Mademoiselle -- I beg!''
She lay silent a moment more; then she raised herself from
the sofa and held out her hand. His hand and eyes met hers.
``I thank you,'' she said, ``I can never forget.'' Then she
sank back among the white fluff of lace and fur. ``I only
learned this morning,'' she went on, after a minute, ``
who sat beside me all that night and bathed my arm,
and gave me cooling drinks.''
Gethryn colored. ``There was no one else to take care of
you. I sent for my friend, Doctor Ducrot, but he was out of
town. Then Dr Bouvier promised to come, and didn't. The
concierge was ill herself -- I could not leave you alone. You
know, you were a little out of your head with fright and fever.
I really couldn't leave you to get on by yourself.''
``No,'' cried the girl, excitedly, ``you could not leave me
after carrying me out of that terrible crowd; yourself hurt,
exhausted, you sat by my side all night long.''
Gethryn laid his hand on her. ``Hélène,'' he
said, half jesting, ``I did what anyone else would have done
under the circumstances -- and forgotten.''
She looked at him shyly. ``Don't forget,'' she said.
``I couldn't forget your face,'' he rashly answered, moved
by the emotion she showed.
``Did you know me when you first saw me in the crowd?'' She
expected him to say ``Yes.''
``No,'' he replied, ``I only saw you were a woman and in
danger of your life.''
The brightness fell from her face. ``Then it was all the
same to you who I was.''
He nodded. ``Yes -- any woman, you know.''
``Old and dirty and ugly?''
His hand slipped from hers. ``And a woman -- yes.''
She shrugged her pretty shoulders. ``Then I wish it had been
``So do I, for your sake,'' he answered gravely.
She glanced at him, half frightened; then leaning swiftly
``Forgive me; I would not change places with a queen.''
``Nor I with any man!'' he cried gayly. ``Am I not
``You are Hélène,'' he said, laughing. ``Let
me see -- Paris and Hélène would not have changed
She interrupted him impatiently. ``Words! you do not mean
them. Nor do I, either,'' she added, hastily. After that
neither spoke for a while. Gethryn, half stretched on the big
rug, idly twisting bits of it into curls, felt very
comfortable, without troubling to ask himself what would come
next. Presently she glanced up.
``Paris, do you want to smoke?''
``You don't think I would smoke in this dainty nest?''
``Please do, I like it. We are -- we will be such very good
friends. There are matches on that table in the silver
He shook his head, laughing. ``You are too indulgent.''
``I am never indulgent, excepting to myself. But I have
caprices and I generally die when they are not indulged. This
is one. Please smoke.''
``Oh, in that case, with Hélène's
She laughed delightedly as he blew the rings of fragrant
smoke far up to the ceiling. There was another long pause, then
she began again:
``Paris, you speak French very well.''
He came from where he had been standing by the table and
seated himself once more among the furs at her feet.
``Do I, Hélène?''
``Yes -- but you sing it divinely.''
Gethryn began to hum the air of the dream song, smiling,
``Yes 'tis a dream -- a dream of love,'' he repeated, but
Yvonne's temples and throat were crimson.
``Please open the window,'' she cried, ``it's so warm
``Hélène, I think you are blushing,'' said he,
She turned her head away from him. He rose and opened the
window, leaning out a moment; his heart was beating violently.
Presently he returned.
``It's one o'clock.''
``Hélène, it's one o'clock in the
``Are you tired?'' she murmured.
``Nor I -- don't go.''
``But it's one o'clock.''
``Don't go yet.''
He sank down irresolutely on the rug again. ``I ought to
go,'' he murmured.
``Are we to remain friends?''
``That is for Hélène to say.''
``And Hélène will leave it to Homer!''
``To whom?'' said Gethryn.
``Monsieur Homer,'' said the girl, faintly.
``But that was a tragedy.''
``But they were friends.''
``In a way. Yes, in a way.''
Gethryn tried to return to a light tone. ``They fell in
love, I believe.'' No answer. ``Very well,'' said Gethryn,
still trying to joke, ``I will carry you off in a boat,
``To Troy -- when?''
``No, to Meudon, when you are well. Do you like the
``I love it,'' she said.
``Well, I'll take my easel and my paints along too.''
She looked at him seriously. ``You are an artist -- I heard
that from the concierge.''
``Yes,'' said Gethryn, ``I think I may claim the title
And then he told her about the Salon. She listened and
brightened with sympathy. Then she grew silent.
``Do you paint landscapes?''
``Figures,'' said the young man, shortly.
``Of course,'' he answered, still more drily.
``Draped,'' she persisted.
``I hate models!'' she cried out, almost fiercely.
``They are not a pleasing set, as a rule,'' he admitted.
``But I know some decent ones.''
She shivered and shook her curly head. ``Some are very
pretty, I suppose.''
``Do you know Sarah Brown?''
``Yes, I know Sarah.''
``Men go wild about her.''
``I never did.''
Yvonne was out of humor. ``Oh,'' she cried, petulantly,
``you are very cold -- you Americans -- like ice.''
``Because we don't run after Sarah?''
``Because you are a nation of business, and -- ''
``And brains,'' said Gethryn, drily.
There was an uncomfortable pause. Gethryn looked at the
girl. She lay with her face turned from him.
``Hélène!'' No answer. ``Yvonne --
Mademoiselle!'' No answer. ``It's two o'clock.''
A slight impatient movement of the head.
``Good night.'' Gethryn rose. ``Good night,'' he repeated.
He waited for a moment. ``Good night, Yvonne,'' he said, for
the third time.
She turned slowly toward him, and as he looked down at her
he felt a tenderness as for a sick child.
``Good night,'' he said once more, and, bending over her,
gently laid the little gold clasp in her open hand. She looked
at it in surprise; then suddenly she leaned swiftly toward him,
rested a brief second against him, and then sank back again.
The golden fleur-de-lis glittered over his heart.
``You will wear it?'' she whispered.
``Then -- good night.''
Half unconsciously he stooped and kissed her forehead; then
went his way. And all that night one slept until the morning
broke, and one saw morning break, then fell asleep.
It was the first day of June. In the Luxembourg Gardens a
soft breeze stirred the tender chestnut leaves, and blew
sparkling ripples across the water in the Fountain of Marie de
The modest little hothouse flowers had quite recovered from
the shock of recent transplanting and were ambitiously pushing
out long spikes and clusters of crimson, purple and gold,
filling the air with spicy perfume, and drawing an occasional
battered butterfly, gaunt and seedy, from his long winter's
sleep, but still remembering the flowery days of last season's
Through the fresh young leaves the sunshine fell, dappling
the glades and thickets, bathing the gray walls of the Palais
du Sénat, and almost warming into life the queer old
statues of long departed royalty, which for so many years have
looked down from the great terrace to the Palace of the
Through every gate the people drifted into the gardens, and
the winding paths were dotted and crowded with
brightly-colored, slowly-moving groups.
Here a half dozen meager, black-robed priests strolled
silently amid the tender verdure; here a noisy crowd of
children, gamboling awkwardly in the wake of a painted rubber
ball, made day hideous with their yells.
Now a slovenly company of dragoons shuffled by, their big
shapeless boots covered with dust, and their whalebone plumes
hanging in straight points to the middle of their backs; now a
group of strutting students and cocottes passed noisily, the
girls in spotless spring plumage, the students vying with each
other in the display of blinking eyeglasses, huge bunchy
neckties, and sleek checked trousers. Policemen, trim little
grisettes (for whatever is said to the contrary, the grisette
is still extant in Paris), nurse girls with turbaned heads and
ugly red streamers, wheeling ugly red babies; an occasional
stray zouave or turco in curt Turkish jacket and white
leggings; grave old gentlemen with white mustache and military
step; gay, baggy gentlemen from St Cyr, looking like
newly-painted wooden soldiers; students from the Ecole
Polytechnique; students from the Lycée St Louis in blue
and red; students from Julien's and the Beaux Arts with a
plentiful sprinkling of berets and corduroy jackets; and group
after group of jingling artillery officers in scarlet and
black, or hussars and chasseurs in pale turquoise, strolled and
idled up and down the terrace, or watched the toy yachts
braving the furies of the great fountain.
Over by the playgrounds, the Polichinel nuisance drummed and
squeaked to an appreciative audience of tender years. The ``Jeu
de paume'' was also in full swing, a truly exasperating
spectacle for a modern tennis player.
The old man who feeds the sparrows in the afternoon, and
beats his wife at night, was intent on the former cheerful
occupation, and smiled benevolently upon the little children
who watched him, open mouthed. The numerous waterfowl --
mallard, teal, red-head, and dusky -- waddled and dived and
fought the big mouse-colored pigeons for a share of the
A depraved and mongrel pointer, who had tugged at his chain
in a wild endeavor to point the whole heterogeneous mass of
feathered creatures from sparrow to swan, lost his head and
howled dismally until dragged off by the lean-legged student
who was attached to the other end of the chain.
Gethryn, sprawling on a bench in the sunshine, turned up his
nose. Braith grunted scornfully.
A man passed in the crowd, stopped, stared, and then hastily
advanced toward Gethryn.
``You?'' said Rex, smiling and shaking hands. ``Mr Clifford,
this is Mr Bulfinch; Mr Braith,'' -- but Mr Bulfinch was
already bowing to Braith and offering his hand, though with a
curious diminution of his first beaming cordiality. Braith's
constraint was even more marked. He had turned quite white.
Bulfinch and Gethryn, who had risen to receive him, remained
standing side by side, stranded on the shoals of an awkward
situation. The little Mirror man made a grab at a
topic which he thought would float them off, and laid hold
instead on one which upset them altogether.
``I hope Mrs Braith is well. She met you all right at
Braith bowed stiffly, without answering.
Rex gave him a quick look, and turning on his heel, said
``I see you and Mr Braith are old acquaintances, so I won't
scruple to leave you with him for a moment. Bring Mr Bulfinch
over to the music stand, Braith.'' And smiling, as if he were
assisting at a charming reunion, he led Clifford away. The
latter turned, as he departed, an eye of delighted intelligence
To renew his acquaintance with Mr Bulfinch was the last
thing Braith desired, but since the meeting had been thrust
upon him he thanked Gethryn's tact for removing such a witness
of it as Clifford would have been. He had no intention,
however, of talking with the little Mirror man, and
maintained a profound silence, smoking steadily. This conduct
so irritated the other that he determined to force an
explanation of the matter which seemed so distasteful to his
ungracious companion. He certainly thought he had his own
reasons for resenting the sight of Braith upon a high horse,
and he resumed the conversation with all the jaunty ease which
the calling of newspaper correspondent is said to
``I hope Mrs Braith found no difficulty in meeting you in
``Madame was not my wife, and we did not meet in Vienna,''
said Braith shortly.
Bulfinch began to stare, and to feel a little less at
``She told me -- that is, her courier came to me and --
``Her courier? Mr Bulfinch, will you please explain what you
are talking about?'' Braith turned square around and looked at
him in a way that caused a still further diminution of his
jauntiness and a proportionate increase of respect.
``Oh -- I'll explain, if I know what you want explained. We
were at Brindisi, were we not?''
``On our way to Cairo?''
``In the same hotel?''
``But I had no acquaintance with madame, and had only
exchanged a word or two with you, when you were suddenly
summoned to Paris by a telegram.''
Braith bowed. He remembered well the false dispatch that had
drawn him out of the way.
``Well, and when you left you told her you would be obliged
to give up going to Cairo, and asked her to meet you in Vienna,
whither you would have to go from Paris?''
``Oh, did I?''
``And you recommended a courier to her whom you knew very
well, and in whom you had great confidence.''
``Ah! And what was that courier's name?''
``Emanuel Pick. I wasn't fond of Emanuel myself,'' with a
sharp glance at Braith's eyes, ``but I supposed you knew
something in his favor, or you would not have left -- er -- the
lady in his charge.''
Braith was silent.
``I understood him to be your agent,'' said the little man,
``He was not.''
A long silence followed, during which Mr Bulfinch sought and
found an explanation of several things. After a while he said
``I should like to meet Mr Pick again.''
``Why should you want to meet him?''
``I wish to wring his nose two hundred times, one for each
franc I lent him.''
``How was that?'' said Braith, absently.
``It was this way. He came to me and told me what I have
repeated to you, and that you desired madame to go on at once
and wait for you in Vienna, which you expected to reach in a
few days after her arrival. That you had bought tickets -- one
first class for madame, two second class for him and for her
maid -- before you left, and had told her you had placed plenty
of money for the other expenses in her dressing case. But this
morning, on looking for the money, none could be found. Madame
was sure it had not been stolen. She thought you must have
meant to put it there, and forgotten afterwards. If she only
had a few francs, just to last as far as Naples! Madame was
well known to the bankers on the Santa Lucia there! etc. Well,
I'm not such an ass that I didn't first see madame and get her
to confirm his statement. But when she did confirm it, with
such a charming laugh -- she was very pretty -- I thought she
was a lady and your wife -- ''
In the midst of his bitterness, Braith could not help
smiling at the thought of Nina with a maid and a courier. He
remembered the tiny apartment in the Latin Quarter which she
had been glad to occupy with him until conducted by her courier
into finer ones. He made a gesture of disgust, and his face
burned with the shame of a proud man who has received an
affront from an inferior -- and who knows it to be his own
``I can at least have the satisfaction of setting that
right,'' he said, holding two notes toward the little
Mirror man, ``and I can't thank you enough for giving
me the opportunity.''
Bulfinch drew back and stammered, ``You don't think I spoke
for that! You don't think I'd have spoken at all if I had known
``I do not. And I'm very glad you did not know, for it gives
me a chance to clear myself. You must have thought me strangely
forgetful, Mr Bulfinch, when the money was not repaid in due
``I -- I didn't relish the manner in which you met me just
now, I confess, but I'm very much ashamed of myself. I am
``Shake hands,'' said Braith, with one of his rare
The notes were left in Mr Bulfinch's fingers, and as he
thrust them hastily out of sight, as if he truly was ashamed,
he said, blinking up at Braith, ``Do you -- er -- would you --
may I offer you a glass of whiskey?'' adding hastily, ``I don't
``Why, yes,'' said Braith, ``I don't mind, but I won't drink
``Coffee is my tipple,'' said the other, in a faint
``All right; suit yourself. But I should think that rather
hot for such a day.''
``Oh, I'll take it iced.''
``Then let us walk over to the Café by the bandstand.
We shall find the others somewhere about.''
They strolled through the grove, past the music-stand, and
sat down at one of the little iron tables under the trees. The
band of the Garde Republicaine was playing. Bulfinch ordered
sugar and Eau de selz for Braith, and iced coffee for
Braith looked at the program: No. 1, Faust; No. 2, La Belle
``Rex ought to be here, he's so fond of that.''
Mr Bulfinch was mixing, in a surprisingly scientific manner
for a man who didn't drink himself, something which the French
call a ``coquetelle''; a bit of ice, a little seltzer, a slice
of lemon, and some Canadian Club whiskey. Braith eyed the
``I see you don't trust to the Café's supplies.''
``I only keep this for medicinal purposes,'' said the other,
blinking nervously, ``and -- and I don't usually produce it
when there are any newspapermen around.''
``But you,'' said Braith, sipping the mixture with relish,
``do you take none yourself?''
``I don't drink,'' said the other, and swallowed his coffee
in such a hurry as to bring on a fit of coughing. Beads of
perspiration clustered above his canary-colored eyebrows as he
set down the glass with a gasp.
Braith was watching the crowd. Presently he exclaimed:
``There's Rex now,'' and rising, waved his glass and his
cane and called Gethryn's name. The people sitting at adjacent
tables glanced at one another resignedly. ``More crazy
``Rex! Clifford!'' Braith shouted, until at last they heard
him. In a few moments they had made their way through the crowd
and sat down, mopping their faces and protesting plaintively
against the heat.
Gethryn's glance questioned Braith, who said, ``Mr Bulfinch
and I have had the deuce of a time to make you fellows hear.
You'd have been easier to call if you knew what sort of drink
he can brew.''
Clifford was already sniffing knowingly at the glass and
turning looks of deep intelligence on Bulfinch, who responded
gayly, ``Hope you'll have some too,'' and with a sidelong blink
at Gethryn, he produced the bottle, saying, ``I don't drink
myself, as Mr Gethryn knows.''
Rex said, ``Certainly not,'' not knowing what else to say.
But the fondness of Clifford's gaze was ineffable.
Braith, who always hated to see Clifford look like that,
turned to Gethryn. ``Favorite of yours on the program.''
``Oh,'' he cried, ``Belle Hélène.'' Next
moment he flushed, and feeling as if the others saw it,
crimsoned all the deeper. This escaped Clifford, however, who
was otherwise occupied. But he joined in the conversation,
hoping for an argument.
``Braith and Rex go in for the Meistersinger, Walküre,
and all that rot -- but I like some tune to my music.''
``Well, you're going to get it now,'' said Braith; ``the
band are taking their places. Now for La Belle
Hélène.'' He glanced at Gethryn, who had turned
aside and leaned on the table, shading his eyes with his
The leader of the band stood wiping his mustache with one
hand while he turned the leaves of his score with the other.
The musicians came in laughing and chattering, munching their
bit of biscuit or smacking their lips over lingering
reminiscences of the intermission.
They hung their bayonets against the wall, and at the
rat-tat of attention, came to order, standing in a circle with
bugles and trombones poised and eyes fixed on the little
A slow wave of the white-gloved hand, a few gentle tips of
the wand, and then a sweep which seemed to draw out the long,
rich opening chord of the Dream Song and set it drifting away
among the trees till it lost itself in the rattle and clatter
of the Boulevard St Michel.
Braith and Bulfinch set down their glasses and listened.
Clifford silently blew long wreaths of smoke into the branches
overhead. Gethryn leaned heavily on the table, one hand shading
Oui c'est un rêve;
Un rêve doux d'amour --
The music died away in one last throb. Bulfinch sighed and
blinked sentimentally, first on one, then on the other of his
Suddenly the little Mirror man's eyes bulged out,
he stiffened and grasped Braith's arm; his fingers were like
``What the deuce!'' began Braith, but, following the other's
eyes, he became silent and stern.
``Talk of the devil -- do you see him -- Pick?''
``I see,'' growled Braith.
``And -- and excuse me, but can that be madame? So like, and
yet -- ''
Braith leaned forward and looked steadily at a couple who
were slowly moving toward them in deep conversation.
``No,'' he said at last; and leaning back in his seat he
refused to speak again.
Bulfinch chattered on excitedly, and at last he brought his
fist down on the table at his right, where Clifford sat drawing
a caricature on the marble top.
``I'd like,'' cried Bulfinch, ``to take it out of his
``Hello!'' said Clifford, disturbed in his peaceful
occupation, ``whose hide are you going to tan?''
``Nobody's,'' said Braith, sternly, still watching the
couple who had now almost reached their group.
Clifford's start had roused Gethryn, who stirred and slowly
looked up; at the same moment, the girl, now very near, raised
her head and Rex gazed full into the eyes of Yvonne.
Her glance fell and the color flew to her temples. Gethryn's
face lost all its color.
``Pretty girl,'' drawled Clifford, ``but what a dirty little
beggar she lugs about with her.''
Pick heard and turned, his eyes falling first on Gethryn,
who met his look with one that was worse than a kick. He
glanced next at Braith, and then he turned green under the
dirty yellow of the skin. Braith's eyes seemed to strike fire;
his mouth was close set. The Jew's eyes shifted, only to fall
on the pale, revengeful glare of T. Hoppley Bulfinch, who was
half rising from his chair with all sorts of possibilities
written on every feature.
``Let him go,'' whispered Braith, and turned his back.
Bulfinch sat down, his eyes like saucers. ``I'd like -- but
not now!'' he sputtered in a weird whisper.
Clifford had missed the whole thing. He had only eyes for
Gethryn sat staring after the couple, who were at that
moment passing the gate into the Boulevard St Michel. He saw
Yvonne stop and hastily thrust something into the Jew's hand,
then, ignoring his obsequious salute, leave him and hurry down
the Rue de Medicis.
The next Gethryn knew, Braith was standing beside him.
``Rex, will you join us at the Golden Pheasant for dinner?''
was what he said, but his eyes added, ``Don't let people see
you look like that.''
``I -- I -- don't know,'' said Gethryn. ``Yes, I think so,''
with an effort.
``Come along, then!'' said Braith to the others, and hurried
Rex sat still till they were out of sight, then he got up
and turned into the Avenue de l'Observatoire. He stopped and
drank some cognac at a little café, and then started on,
but he had no idea where he was going.
Presently he found himself crossing a bridge, and looked up.
The great pile of Notre Dame de Paris loomed on his right. He
crossed the Seine and wandered on without any aim -- but
passing the Tour St Jacques, and wishing to avoid the
Boulevard, he made a sharp detour to the right, and after long
wandering through byways and lanes, he crossed the foul, smoky
Canal St Martin, and bore again to the right -- always
Twilight was falling when his steps were arrested by
fatigue. Looking up, he found himself opposite the gloomy mass
of La Roquette prison. Sentinels slouched and dawdled up and
down before the little painted sentry boxes under the great
Over the archway was some lettering, and Gethryn stopped to
Prison of the Condemned
He looked up and down the cheerless street. It was deserted
save by the lounging sentinels and one wretched child, who
crouched against the gateway.
``Fiche moi le camp! Allons! En route!'' growled one of the
sentinels, stamping his foot and shaking his fist at the bundle
Gethryn walked toward him.
``What's the matter with the little one?'' he asked.
The soldier dropped the butt of his rifle with a ring, and
``Pardon, Monsieur, but the gamin has been here every day
and all day for two weeks. It's disgusting.''
``Is he hungry?''
``Ma foi? I can't tell you,'' laughed the sentry, shifting
his weight to his right foot and leaning on the cross of his
``Are you hungry, little one?'' called Gethryn,
The child raised his head, with a wolfish stare, then sank
it again and murmured: ``I have seen him and touched him.''
Gethryn turned to the soldier.
``What does he mean by that?'' he demanded.
The sentry shrugged his shoulders. ``He means he saw a
hunchback. They say when one sees a hunchback and touches him,
it brings good luck, if the hunchback is neither too old nor
too young. Dame! I don't say there's nothing in it, but it
can't save Henri Rigaud.''
``And who is Henri Rigaud?''
``What! Monsieur has not heard of the affair Rigaud? Rigaud
who did the double murder!''
``Oh, yes! In the Faubourg du Temple.''
The sentry nodded. ``He dies this week.''
``And the child?''
Gethryn looked at the dirty little bundle of tatters.
``No one knows the exact day set for the affair, but,'' the
sentry sank his voice to a whisper, ``between you and me, I saw
the widow going into the yard just before dinner, and Monsieur
de Paris is here. That means tomorrow morning -- click!''
``The -- the widow?'' repeated Gethryn.
``The guillotine. It will be over before this time tomorrow
and the gamin there, who thinks the bossu will give him back
his father -- he'll find out his mistake, all in good time --
all in good time!'' and shouldering his rifle, the sentry
laughed and resumed his slouching walk before the gateway.
Gethryn nodded to the soldier's salute and went up to the
child, who stood leaning sullenly against the wall.
``Do you know what a franc is?'' he asked.
The gamin eyed him doggedly.
``But I saw him,'' he said.
``Saw what?'' said Gethryn, gently.
``The bossu,'' repeated the wretched infant vacantly.
``See here,'' said Gethryn, ``listen to me. What would you
do with twenty francs?''
``Eat, all day long, forever!''
Rex slipped two twenty-franc pieces into the filthy little
``Eat,'' he murmured, and turned away.
Next morning, when Clifford arrived at the Atelier of MM.
Boulanger and Lefebvre, he found the students more excited than
usual over the advent of a ``Nouveau.''
Hazing at Julien's has assumed, of late, a comparatively
mild form. Of course there are traditions of serious trouble in
former years and a few fights have taken place, consequent upon
the indignant resistance of new men to the ridiculous demands
forced upon them by their ingenious tormentors. Still, the
hazing of today is comparatively inoffensive, and there is not
much of it. In the winter the students are too busy to notice a
newcomer, except to make him feel strange and humble by their
lofty scorn. But in the autumn, when the men have returned from
their long out-of-door rest, with brush and palette, a certain
amount of friskiness is developed, which sometimes expends
itself upon the luckless ``nouveau.'' A harmless search for the
time-honored ``grand reflecteur,'' an enforced song and dance,
a stern command to tread the mazes of the shameless quadrille
with an equally shameless model, is usually the extent of the
infliction. Occasionally the stranger is invited to sit on a
high stool and read aloud to the others while they work, as he
would like to do himself. But sometimes, if a man resists these
reasonable demands in a contumacious manner, he is
``crucified.'' This occurs so seldom, however, that Clifford,
on entering the barn-like studios that morning, was surprised
to see that a ``crucifixion'' was in progress.
A stranger was securely strapped to the top rungs of a
twenty-foot ladder which a crowd of Frenchmen were preparing to
raise and place in a slanting position against the wall.
``Who is it that those fellows are fooling with?'' he
``An Englishman, and it's about time we put a stop to it,''
When Americans or Englishmen are hazed by the French
students, they make common cause in keeping watch that the
matter does not go too far.
``How many of us are here this morning?'' said Clifford.
``Fourteen who can fight,'' said Elliott; ``they only want
someone to give the word.''
Clifford buttoned his jacket and shouldered his way into the
middle of the crowd. ``That's enough. He's been put through
enough for today,'' he said coolly.
A Frenchman, who had himself only entered the Atelier the
week previous, laughed and replied, ``We'll put you
on, if you say anything.''
There was an ominous pause. Every old student there knew
Clifford to be one of the most skillful and dangerous boxers in
They looked with admiration upon their countryman. It didn't
cost anything to admire him. They urged him on, and he didn't
need much urging, for he remembered his own recent experience
as a new man, and he didn't know Clifford.
``Go ahead,'' cried this misguided student, ``he's a
nouveau, and he's going up!''
Clifford laughed in his face. ``Come along,'' he called, as
some dozen English and American students pushed into the circle
and gathered round the prostrate Englishman.
``See here, Clifford, what's the use of interrupting?''
urged a big Frenchman.
Clifford began loosening the straps. ``You know, Bonin, that
we always do interfere when it goes as far as this against an
Englishman or an American.'' He laughed good naturedly.
``There's always been a fight over it before, but I hope there
won't be any today.''
Bonin grinned and shrugged his shoulders.
After vainly fussing with the ropes, Clifford and the others
finally cut them and the ``nouveau'' scrambled to his feet and
took an attitude which may be seen engraved in any volume of
instruction in the noble art of self-defense. He was an
Englishman of the sandy variety. Orange-colored whiskers
decorated a carefully scrubbed face, terminating in a red-brown
mustache. He had blue eyes, now lighted to a pale green by the
fire of battle, reddish-brown hair, and white hands spattered
with orange-colored freckles. All this, together with a well
made suit of green and yellow checks, and the seesaw accent of
the British Empire, answered, when politely addressed, to the
name of Cholmondeley Rowden, Esq.
``I say,'' he began, ``I'm awfully obliged, you know, and
all that; but I'd jolly well like to give some of these cads a
jolly good licking, you know.''
``Go in, my friend, go in!'' laughed Clifford; ``but next
time we'll leave you to hang in the air for an hour or two,
``Damn their cheek!'' began the Englishman.
``See here,'' cried Elliott sharply, ``you're only a
nouveau, and you'd better shut up till you've been here long
enough to talk.''
``In other words,'' said Clifford, ``don't buck against
``But I cahn't see it,'' said the nouveau, brushing
his dusty trousers. ``I don't see it at all, you know. Damn
At this moment the week-weaned Frenchman shoved up to
``What did you mean by interfering? Eh! You English
Clifford looked at him with contempt. ``What do you want, my
``Nouveau!'' spluttered the Gaul, ``Nouveau, eh!'' and he
made a terrific lunge at the American, who was sent stumbling
backward, and slipping, fell heavily.
The Frenchman gazed around in triumph, but his grin was not
reflected on the faces of his compatriots. None of them would
have changed places with him.
Clifford picked himself up deliberately. His face was calm
and mild as he walked up to his opponent, who hurriedly put
himself into an attitude of self-defense.
``Monsieur Nouveau, you are not wise. But some day you will
learn better, when you are no longer a nouveau,'' said
Clifford, kindly. The man looked puzzled, but kept his fists
``Now I am going to punish you a little,'' proceeded
Clifford, in even tones, ``not harshly, but with firmness, for
your good,'' he added, walking straight up to the
The latter struck heavily at Clifford's head, but he ducked
like a flash, and catching his antagonist around the waist,
carried him, kicking, to the water-basin, where he turned on
the water and shoved the squirming Frenchman under. The scene
was painful, but brief; when one of the actors in it emerged
from under the water-spout, he no longer asked for anybody's
``Go and dry yourself,'' said Clifford, cheerfully; and
walking over to his easel, sat down and began to work.
In ten minutes, all trace of the row had disappeared,
excepting that one gentleman's collar looked rather limp and
his hair was uncommonly sleek. The men worked steadily.
Snatches of song and bits of whistling rose continuously from
easel and taboret, all blending in a drowsy hum. Gethryn and
Elliott caught now and then, from behind them, words of wisdom
which Clifford was administering to the now subdued Rowden.
``Yes,'' he was saying, ``many a man has been injured for
life by these Frenchmen for a mere nothing. I had two
brothers,'' he paused, ``and my golden-haired boy -- '' he
ceased again, apparently choking with emotion.
``But -- I say -- you're not married, you know,'' said the
``Hush,'' sighed Clifford, ``I -- I -- married the daughter
of an African duke. She was brought to the States by a slave
trader in infancy.''
``Black?'' gasped Mr Rowden.
``Very black, but beautiful. I could not keep her. She left
me, and is singing with Haverley's Minstrels now.''
Like the majority of his countrymen, Mr Rowden was ready to
believe anything he heard of social conditions in the States,
but one point required explanation.
``You said the child had golden hair.''
``Yes, his mother's hair was red,'' sighed Clifford.
Gethryn, glancing round, saw the Englishman's jaw drop, as
he said, ``How extraordinary!'' Then he began to smile as if
suspecting a joke. But Clifford's eye met his in gentle
``C'est l'heure! Rest!'' Down jumped the model. The men
leaned back noisily. Clifford rose, bowed gravely to the
Englishman, and stepped across the taborets to join his
Gethryn was cleaning his brushes with turpentine and black
``Going home, Rex?'' inquired Clifford, picking up a brush
and sending a fine spray of turpentine over Elliott, who
promptly returned the attention.
``Quit that,'' growled Gethryn, ``don't ruin those
``What's the nouveau like, Clifford?'' asked Elliott. ``We
heard you instructing him a little. He seems to have the true
Englishman's sense of humor.''
``Oh, he's not a bad sort,'' said Clifford. ``Come and be
introduced. I'm half ashamed of myself for guying him, for he's
really a very decent, plucky fellow, a bit stiff and
pig-headed, as many of 'em are at first, and as for humor, I
suppose they know their own kind, but they do get a little
confused between fact and fancy when they converse with
The two strolled off with friendly intent, to seek out and
ameliorate the loneliness of Cholmondeley Rowden, Esq.
Gethryn tied up his brushes, closed his color box and,
flinging on his hat, hurried down the stairs and into the
court, nodding to several students who passed with canvas and
paint-boxes tucked under their arms. He reached the street,
and, going through the Passage Brady, emerged upon the
A car was passing and he boarded it, climbing up to the
imperiale. The only vacant seat was between a great, red-faced
butcher, and a market woman from the Halles, and although the
odors of raw beef and fish were unpleasantly perceptible, he
settled himself back and soon became lost in his own thoughts.
The butcher had a copy of the Petit Journal and every
now and then he imparted bits of it across Gethryn, to the
market woman, lingering with relish over the criminal
``Dites donc,'' he cried, ``here is the affair Rigaud!''
Gethryn roused up and listened.
``This morning, I knew it,'' cackled the woman, folding her
fat hands across her apron. ``I said to Sophie, `Voyons
Sophie,' I said -- ''
``Shut up,'' interrupted the butcher, ``I'm going to
``I was sure of it,'' said the woman, addressing Gethryn,
```Voyons, Sophie,' said -- '' but the butcher interrupted her,
again reading aloud:
``The condemned struggled fearfully, and it required the
united efforts of six gendarmes -- ''
``Cochon!'' said the woman.
``Listen, will you!'' cried the man. ``Some disturbance was
caused by a gamin who broke from the crowd and attacked a
soldier. But the miserable was seized and carried off,
screaming. Two gold pieces of 20 francs each fell from some
hiding-place in his ragged clothes and were taken charge of by
The man paused and gloated over the column. ``Here,'' he
cried, ``Listen -- `Even under the knife the condemned --
Gethryn rose roughly and, crowding past the man, descended
the steps and, entering the car below, sat down there.
``Butor!'' roared the butcher. ``Cochon! He trod on my
``He is an English pig!'' sneered the woman, reaching for
the newspaper. ``Let me read it now,'' she whined.
``Hands off,'' growled the man, ``I'll read you what I think
``But it's my paper.''
``It's mine now -- shut up.''
The first thing Gethryn did on reaching home was to write a
note to his friend, the Prefect of the Seine, telling him how
the child of Rigaud came by the gold pieces. Then he had a
quiet smoke, and then he went out and lunched at the
Café des Écoles, frugally, on a sandwich and a
glass of beer. After that he returned to his studio and sat
down to his desk again. He opened a small memorandum book and
examined some columns of figures. They were rather straggling,
not very well kept, but they served to convince him that his
accounts were forty francs behind, and he would have to
economize a little for the next week or two. After this, he sat
and thought steadily. Finally he took a sheet of his best cream
laid note paper, dipped his pen in the ink, and began to write.
The note was short, but it took him a long while to compose it,
and when it was sealed and directed to ``Miss Ruth Deane, Lung'
Arno Guicciardini, Florence, Italy,'' he sat holding it in his
hand as if he did not know what to do with it.
Two o'clock struck. He started up, and quickly rolling up
the shades from the glass roof and pulling out his easel, began
to squeeze tube after tube of color upon his palette. The
parrot came down and tiptoed about the floor, peering into
color boxes, pastel cases, and pots of black soap, with all the
curiosity of a regulation studio bore. Steps echoed on the
Gethryn opened the door quickly. ``Ah, Elise! Bon jour!'' he
said, pleasantly. ``Entrez donc!''
``Merci, Monsieur Gethryn,'' smiled his visitor, a tall,
well-shaped girl with dark eyes and red cheeks.
``Ten minutes late,'' Elise, said Gethryn, laughing, ``my
time's worth a franc a minute; so prepare to pay up.''
``Very well,'' retorted the girl, also laughing and showing
her pretty teeth, ``but I have decided to charge twenty francs
an hour from today. Now, what do you owe me, Monsieur?''
Gethryn shook his brushes at her. ``You are spoiled, Elise
-- you used to pose very well and were never late.''
``And I pose well now!'' she cried, her professional pride
piqued. ``Monsieur Bonnat and Monsieur Constant have praised me
all this week. Voila,'' she finished, throwing off her waist
and letting her skirts fall in a circle to her feet.
``Oh, you can pose if you will,'' answered Gethryn,
pleasantly. ``Come, we begin?''
The girl stepped daintily out of the pile of discarded
clothes, and picking her way across the room with her bare
feet, sprang lightly upon the model stand.
``The same as last week?'' she asked, smiling frankly.
``Yes, that's it,'' he replied, shifting his easel and
glancing up at the light; ``only drop the left elbow a bit --
there, that's it; now a little to the left -- the knee -- that
The girl settled herself into the pose, glanced at the
clock, and then turning to Gethryn said, ``And I am to look at
you, am I not?''
``Where could you find a more charming object?'' murmured
he, sorting his brushes.
``Thank you,'' she pouted, stealing a glance at him; ``than
``Except Mademoiselle Elise. There, now we begin!''
The rest of the hour was disturbed only by the sharp rattle
of brushes and the scraping of the palette knife.
``Are you tired?'' asked Gethryn, looking at the clock;
``you have ten minutes more.''
``No,'' said the girl, ``continue.''
Finally Gethryn rose and stepped back.
``Time,'' he said, still regarding his work. ``Come and give
me a criticism, Elise.''
The girl stretched her limbs, and then, stepping down,
trotted over to Gethryn.
``What do you say?'' he demanded, anxiously.
Artists often pay more serious attention to the criticisms
of their models than to those of a brother artist. For,
although models may be ignorant of method -- which, however, is
not always the case -- from seeing so much good work they
acquire a critical acumen which often goes straight to the
It was for one of these keen criticisms that the young man
was listening now.
``I like it very much -- very much,'' answered the girl,
slowly; ``but, you see -- I am not so cold in the face -- am
``Hit it, as usual,'' muttered the artist, biting his lip;
``I've got more greens and blues in there than there are in a
peacock's tail. You're right,'' he added, aloud, ``I must warm
that up a bit -- there in the shadows, and keep the high lights
pure and cold.''
Elise nodded seriously. ``Monsieur Chaplain and I have
finished our picture,'' she announced, after a pause.
It is a naïve way models have of appropriating work in
which, truly enough, they have no small share. They often speak
of ``our pictures'' and ``our success.''
``How do you like it?'' asked the artist, absently.
``Good,'' -- she shrugged her shoulders -- ``but not
``Right again,'' murmured Gethryn.
``I prefer Dagnan,'' added the pretty critic.
``So do I -- rather!'' laughed Gethryn.
``Or you,'' said the girl.
``Come, come,'' cried the young man, coloring with pleasure,
``you don't mean it, Elise!''
``I say what I mean -- always,'' she replied, marching over
to the pups and gathering them into her arms.
``I'm going to take a cigarette,'' she announced,
``All right,'' said Gethryn, squeezing more paint on his
palette, ``you'll find some mild ones on the bookcase.''
Elise gave the pups a little hug and kiss, and stepped
lightly over to the bookcase. Then she lighted a cigarette and
turned and surveyed herself in the mirror.
``I'm thinner than I was last year. What do you think?'' she
demanded, studying her pretty figure in the glass.
``Perhaps a bit, but it's all the better. Those corsets
simply ruined you as a model last year.''
Elise looked serious and shook her head.
``I do feel so much better without them. I won't wear them
``No, you have a pretty, slender figure, and you don't want
them. That's why I always get you when I can. I hate to draw or
paint from a girl whose hips are all discolored with ugly red
creases from her confounded corset.''
The girl glanced contentedly at her supple, clean-limbed
figure, and then, with a laugh, jumped upon the model
``It's not time,'' said Gethryn, ``you have five minutes
``Go on, all the same.'' And soon the rattle of the brushes
alone broke the silence.
At last Gethryn rose and backed off with a sigh.
``How's that, Elise?'' he called.
She sprang down and stood looking over his shoulder.
``Now I'm like myself!'' she cried, frankly; ``it's
delicious! But hurry and block in the legs, why don't
``Next pose,'' said the young man, squeezing out more
And so the afternoon wore away, and at six o'clock Gethryn
threw down his brushes with a long-drawn breath.
``That's all for today. Now, Elise, when can you give me the
next pose? I don't want a week at a time on this; I only want a
day now and then.''
The model went over to her dress and rummaged about in the
``Here,'' she said, handing him a notebook and diary.
He selected a date, and wrote his name and the hour.
``Good,'' said the girl, reading it; and replacing the book,
picked up her stockings and slowly began to dress.
Gethryn lay back on the lounge, thoroughly tired out. Elise
was humming a Normandy fishing song. When, at last, she stood
up and drew on her gloves, he had fallen into a light
She stepped softly over to the lounge and listened to the
quiet breathing of the young man.
``How handsome -- and how good he is!'' she murmured,
She opened the door very gently.
``So different, so different from the rest!'' she sighed,
and noiselessly went her way.
Although the sound of the closing door was hardly
perceptible, it was enough to wake Gethryn.
``Elise!'' he called, starting up, ``Elise!''
But the girl was beyond earshot.
``And she went away without her money, too; I'll drop around
tomorrow and leave it; she may need it,'' he muttered, rubbing
his eyes and staring at the door.
It was dinner time, and past, but he had little
``I'll just have something here,'' he said to himself, and
catching up his hat ran down stairs. In twenty minutes he was
back with eggs, butter, bread, a paté, a bottle of wine
and a can of sardines. The spirit lamp was lighted and the
table deftly spread.
``I'll have a cup of tea, too,'' he thought, shaking the
blue tea canister, and then, touching a match to the
well-filled grate, soon had the kettle fizzling and spluttering
The wind had blown up cold from the east and the young man
shivered as he closed and fastened the windows. Then he sat
down, his chin on his hands, and gazed into the glowing grate.
Mrs Gummidge, who had smelled the sardines, came rubbing up
against his legs, uttering a soft mew from sheer force of
habit. She was not hungry -- in fact, Gethryn knew that the
concierge, whose duty it was to feed all the creatures, overdid
it from pure kindness of heart -- at Gethryn's expense.
``Gummidge, you're stuffed up to your eyes, aren't you?'' he
At the sound of his voice the cat hoisted her tail, and
began to march in narrowing circles about her master's chair,
making gentle observations in the cat language.
Gethryn placed a bit of sardine on a fork and held it out,
but the little humbug merely sniffed at it daintily, and then
rubbed against her master's hand.
He laughed and tossed the bit of fish into the fire, where
it spluttered and blazed until the parrot woke up with a croak
of annoyance. Gethryn watched the kettle in silence.
Faces he could never see among the coals, but many a time he
had constructed animals and reptiles from the embers, and just
now he fancied he could see a resemblance to a shark among the
bits of blazing coal.
He watched the kettle dreamily. The fire glowed and flashed
and sank, and glowed again. Now he could distinctly see a
serpent twisting among the embers. The clock ticked in measured
unison with the slow oscillation of the flame serpent. The wind
blew hard against the panes and sent a sudden chill creeping to
Bang! Bang! went the blinds. The hallway was full of strange
noises. He thought he heard a step on the threshold; he
imagined that his door creaked, but he did not turn around from
his study of the fire; it was the wind, of course.
The sudden hiss of the kettle, boiling over, made him jump
and seize it. As he turned to set it down, there was a figure
standing beside the table. Neither spoke. The kettle burnt his
hand and he set it back on the hearth; then he remained
standing, his eyes fixed on the fire.
After a while Yvonne broke the silence -- speaking very low:
``Are you angry?''
``I don't know,'' said the girl, with a sigh.
The silence was too strained to last, and finally Gethryn
said, ``Won't you sit down?''
She did so silently.
``You see I'm -- I'm about to do a little cooking,'' he
said, looking at the eggs.
The girl spoke again, still very low.
``Won't you tell me why you are angry?''
``I'm not,'' began Gethryn, but he sat down and glanced
moodily at the girl.
``For two weeks you have not been to see me.''
``You are mistaken, I have been -- '' he began, but
``And I was not at home?''
``And you were at home,'' he said grimly. ``You had a caller
-- it was easy to hear his voice, so I did not knock.''
She winced, but said quietly, ``Don't you think that is
``Yes,'' said Gethryn, ``I beg pardon.''
Presently she continued: ``You and -- and he -- are the only
two men who have been in my room.''
``I'm honored, I'm sure,'' he answered, drily.
The girl threw back her mackintosh and raised her veil.
``I ask your pardon again,'' he said; ``allow me to relieve
you of your waterproof.''
She rose, suffering him to aid her with her cloak, and then
sat down and looked into the fire in her turn.
``It has been so long -- I -- I -- hoped you would
``Whom were you with in the Luxembourg Gardens?'' he
suddenly broke out.
She did not misunderstand or evade the question, and
Gethryn, watching her face, thought perhaps she had expected
it. But she resented his tone.
``I was with a friend,'' she said, simply.
He came and sat down opposite her.
``It is not my business,'' he said, sulkily; ``excuse
She looked at him for some moments in silence.
``It was Mr Pick,'' she said at length.
Gethryn could not repress a gesture of disgust.
``And that -- Jew was in your rooms? That Jew!''
``Yes.'' She sat nervously rolling and unrolling her gloves.
``Why do you care?'' she asked, looking into the fire.
There was a pause.
``Rex,'' she said, very low, ``will you listen?''
``Yes, I'll listen.''
``He is a -- a friend of my sister's. He came from her to --
to -- ''
``To -- borrow a little money. I distrusted him the first
time he came -- the time you heard him in my room -- and I
refused him. Saturday he stopped me in the street, and, hoping
to avoid a chance of meeting -- you, I walked through the
``And you gave him the money -- I saw you!''
``I did -- all I could spare.''
``Is he -- is your sister married?''
``No,'' she whispered.
``And why -- '' began Gethryn, angrily, ``Why does that
scoundrel come to beg money -- '' He stopped, for the girl was
in evident distress.
``Ah! You know why,'' she said in a scarce audible
The young man was silent.
``And you will come again?'' she asked timidly.
She moved toward the door.
``We were such very good friends.''
Still he was silent.
``Is it au revoir?'' she whispered, and waited for a moment
on the threshold.
``Then it is adieu.''
``Yes,'' he said, huskily, ``that is better.''
She trembled a little and leaned against the doorway.
``Adieu, mon ami -- '' She tried to speak, but her voice
broke and ended in a sob.
Then, all at once, and neither knew just how it was, she was
lying in his arms, sobbing passionately.
``Rex,'' said Yvonne, half an hour later, as she stood
before the mirror arranging her disordered curls, ``are you not
the least little bit ashamed of yourself?''
The answer appeared to be satisfactory, but the curly head
was in a more hopeless state of disorder than before, and at
last the girl gave a little sigh and exclaimed, ``There! I'm
all rumpled, but its your fault. Will you oblige me by
regarding my hair?''
``Better let it alone; I'll only rumple it some more!'' he
``You mustn't! I forbid you!''
``But I want to!''
``Not now, then -- ''
``Yes -- immediately!''
``Rex -- you mustn't. O, Rex -- I -- I -- ''
``What?'' he laughed, holding her by her slender wrists.
She flushed scarlet and struggled to break away.
``Shall I let you go?''
``Yes,'' she said, but catching sight of his face, stopped
He dropped her hands with a laugh and looked at her. Then
she came slowly up to him, and flushing crimson, pulled his
head down to hers.
``Yvonne, do you love me? Truthfully?''
``Rex, can you ask?'' Her warm little head lay against his
throat, her heart beat against his, her breath fell upon his
cheek, and her curls clustered among his own.
``Yvonne -- Yvonne,'' he murmured, ``I love you -- once and
``Once and forever,'' she repeated, in a half whisper.
``Forever,'' he said.
An hour later they were seated tete-à-tete at
Gethryn's little table. She had not permitted him to poach the
eggs, and perhaps they were better on that account.
``Bachelor habits must cease,'' she cried, with a little
laugh, and Gethryn smiled in doubtful acquiescence.
``Do you like grilled sardines on toast?'' she asked.
``I seem to,'' he smiled, finishing his fourth; ``they are
delicious -- yours,'' he added.
``Oh, that tea!'' she cried, ``and not one bit of sugar.
What a hopelessly careless man!''
But Gethryn jumped up, crying, ``Wait a moment!'' and
returned triumphantly with a huge mass of rock-candy -- the
remains of one of Clifford's abortive attempts at
They each broke off enough for their cups, and Gethryn,
tasting his, declared the tea ``delicious.'' Yvonne sat,
chipping an egg and casting sidelong glances at Gethryn, which
were always met and returned with interest.
``Yvonne, I want to tell you a secret.''
``I love you.''
``No -- not at all!'' cried the girl, shaking her pretty
head. Presently she gave him a swift glance from beneath her
``I want to tell you a secret.''
``If you eat so many sardines -- ''
``Oh!'' cried Gethryn, half angrily, but laughing, ``you
must pay for that!''
``What?'' she said, innocently, but jumped up and kept the
table between him and herself.
``You know!'' he cried, chasing her into a corner.
``We are two babies,'' she said, very red, following him
back to the table. The paté was eaten in comparative
``Now,'' she said, with great dignity, setting down her
glass, ``behave and get me some hot water.''
Gethryn meekly brought it.
``If you touch me while I am washing these dishes!''
``But let me help?''
``No, go and sit down instantly.''
He fled in affected terror and ensconced himself upon the
sofa. Presently he inquired, in a plaintive voice: ``Have you
``No,'' said the girl, carefully drying and arranging the
quaint Egyptian tea-set, ``and I won't for ages.''
``But you're not going to wash all those things? The
concierge does that.''
``No, only the wine-glasses and the tea-set. The idea of
trusting such fragile cups to a concierge! What a boy!''
But she was soon ready to dry her slender hands, and caught
up a towel with a demure glance at Gethryn.
``Which do you think most of -- your dogs, or me?''
``That parrot, or me?''
``The raven, or me? The cat, or me?''
``Bird and puss.''
She stole over to his side and knelt down.
``Rex, if you ever tire of me -- if you ever are unkind --
if you ever leave me -- I think I shall die.''
He drew her to him. ``Yvonne,'' he whispered, ``we can't
always be together.''
``I know it -- I'm foolish,'' she faltered.
``I shall not always be a student. I shall not always be in
Paris, dear Yvonne.''
She leaned closer to him.
``I must go back to America someday.''
``And -- and marry?'' she whispered, chokingly.
``No -- not to marry,'' he said, ``but it is my home.''
``I -- I know it, Rex, but don't let us think of it. Rex,''
she said, some moments after, ``are you like all
``How do you mean?''
``Have you ever loved -- before -- a girl, here in Paris --
``There are none -- like you.''
``Answer me, Rex.''
``No, I never have,'' he said, truthfully. Presently he
added, ``And you, Yvonne?''
She put her warm little hand across his mouth.
``Don't ask,'' she murmured.
``But I do!'' he cried, struggling to see her eyes, ``won't
you tell me?''
She hid her face tight against his breast.
``You know I have; that is why I am alone here, in
``You loved him?''
``Yes -- not as I love you.''
Presently she raised her eyes to his.
``Shall I tell you all? I am like so many -- so many others.
When you know their story, you know mine.''
He leaned down and kissed her.
``Don't tell me,'' he said.
But she went on.
``I was only seventeen -- I am nineteen now. He was an
officer at -- at Chartres, where we lived. He took me to
``And left you.''
``He died of the fever in Tonquin.''
``Three weeks ago.''
``And you heard?''
``Then he did leave you.''
``Don't, Rex -- he never loved me, and I -- I never really
loved him. I found that out.''
``When did you find it out?''
``One day -- you know when -- in a -- a cab.''
``Dear Yvonne,'' he whispered, ``can't you go back to -- to
``I don't wish to, now. No, don't ask me why! I can't tell
you. I am like all the rest -- all the rest. The Paris fever is
only cured by death. Don't ask me, Rex; I am content -- indeed
Suddenly a heavy rapping at the door caused Gethryn to
spring hurriedly to his feet.
It was Braith's voice.
``What!'' cried Gethryn, hoarsely.
There was a pause.
``Aren't you going to let me in?''
``I can't, old man; I -- I'm not just up for company
tonight,'' stammered Gethryn.
``Company be damned -- are you ill?''
There was a silence.
``I'm sorry,'' began Gethryn, but was cut short by a
``All right; good night!'' and Braith went away.
Yvonne looked inquiringly at him.
``It was nothing,'' he murmured, very pale, and then threw
himself at her feet, crying, ``Oh, Yvonne -- Yvonne!''
Outside the storm raged furiously.
Presently she whispered, ``Rex, shall I light the candle? It
``Yes,'' he said.
She slipped away, and after searching for some time, cried,
``the matches are all gone, but here is a piece of paper -- a
letter; do you want it? I can light it over the lamp.''
She held up an envelope to him.
``I can light it over the lamp,'' she repeated.
``What is the address?''
``It is very long; I can't read it all, only `Florence,
``Burn it,'' he said, in a voice so low she could scarcely
Presently she came over and knelt down by his side. Neither
spoke or moved.
``The candle is lighted,'' she whispered, at last.
``And the lamp?''
Cholmondeley Rowden had invited a select circle of friends
to join him in a ``petit diner a la stag,'' as he expressed
Eight months of Paris and the cold, cold world had worked a
wonderful change in Mr Rowden. For one thing, he had shaved his
whiskers and now wore only a mustache. For another, he had
learned to like and respect a fair portion of the French
students, and in consequence was respected and liked in
He had had two fights, in both of which he had contributed
to the glory of the British Empire and prize ring.
He was a better sparrer than Clifford and was his equal in
the use of the foils. Like Clifford, he was a capital banjoist,
but he insisted that cricket was far superior to baseball, and
this was the only bone of contention that ever fell between the
Clifford played his shameless jokes as usual, accompanied by
the enthusiastic applause of Rowden. Clifford also played ``The
Widow Nolan's Goat'' upon his banjo, accompanied by the
intricate pizzicatos of Rowden.
Clifford drank numerous bottles of double X with Rowden, and
Rowden consumed uncounted egg-flips with Clifford. They were
inseparable; in fact, the triumvirate, Clifford, Elliott and
Rowden, even went so far as to dress alike, and mean-natured
people hinted that they had but one common style in painting.
But they did not make the remark to any of the triumvirate.
They were very fond of each other, these precious triumvirs,
but they did not address each other by nicknames, and perhaps
it was because they respected each other enough to refrain from
familiarities that this alliance lasted as long as they
It was a beautiful sight, that of the three youths, when
they sallied forth in company, hatted, clothed, and gloved
alike, and each followed by a murderous-looking bulldog. The
animals were of the brindled variety, and each was garnished
with a steel spiked collar. Timid people often crossed to the
other side of the street on meeting this procession.
Braith laughed at the whole performance, but secretly
thought that a little of their spare energy and imagination
might have been spent to advantage upon their artistic
Braith was doing splendidly. His last year's picture had
been hung on the line and, in spite of his number three, he had
received a third class medal and had been praised -- even
generously -- by artists and critics, including Albert Wolff.
He was hard at work on a large canvas for the coming
International Exhibition at Paris; he had sold a number of
smaller studies, and besides had pictures well hung in Munich
and in more than one gallery at home.
At last, after ten years of hard work, struggles, and
disappointments, he began to enjoy a measure of success. He and
Gethryn saw little of each other this winter, excepting at
Julien's. That last visit to the Rue Monsieur le Prince was
never mentioned between them. They were as cordial when they
met as ever, but Braith did not visit his young friend any
more, and Gethryn never spoke to him of Yvonne.
``Good-bye, old chap!'' Braith would say when they parted,
gripping Rex's hand and smiling at him. But Rex did not see
Braith's face as he walked away.
Braith felt helpless. The thing he most dreaded for Rex had
happened; he believed he could see the end of it all, and yet
he could prevent nothing. If he should tell Rex that he was
being ruined, Rex would not listen, and -- who was he that he
should preach to another man for the same fault by which he had
wasted his own life? No, Rex would never listen to him, and he
dreaded a rupture of their friendship.
Gethryn had made his debut in the Salon with a certain
amount of éclat. True, he had been disappointed in his
expectations of a medal, but a first mention had soothed him a
little, and, what was more important, it proved to be the
needed sop to his discontented aunt. But somehow or other his
new picture did not progress rapidly, or in a thoroughly
satisfactory manner. In bits and spots it showed a certain
amount of feverish brilliancy, yes, even mature solidity; in
fact, it was nowhere bad, but still it was not Gethryn and he
``Confound it!'' he would mutter, standing back from his
canvas; but even at such times he could hardly help wondering
at his own marvelous technique.
``Technique be damned! Give me stupidity in a pupil every
time, rather than cleverness,'' Harrington had said to one of
his pupils, and the remark often rang in Gethryn's ears even
when his eyes were most blinded by his own wonderful
``Some fools would medal this,'' he thought; ``but what
pleasure could a medal bring me when I know how little I
Perhaps he was his own hardest critic, but it was certain
that the old, simple honesty, the subtle purity, the almost
pathetic effort to tell the truth with paint and brush, had
nearly disappeared from Gethryn's canvases during the last
eight months, and had given place to a fierce and almost
startling brilliancy, never, perhaps, hitting, but always
threatening some brutal note of discord.
Even Elise looked vaguely troubled, though she always smiled
brightly at Gethryn's criticism of his own work.
``It is so very wonderful and dazzling, but -- but the color
seems to me -- unkind.''
And he would groan and answer, ``Yes, yes, Elise, you're
right; oh, I can never paint another like the one of last
``Ah, that!'' she would cry, ``that was delicious -- '' but
checking herself, she would add, ``Courage, let us try again; I
am not tired, indeed I am not.''
Yvonne never came into the studio when Gethryn had models,
but often, after the light was dim and the models had taken
their leave, she would slip in, and, hanging lightly over his
shoulder, her cheek against his, would stand watching the
touches and retouches with which the young artist always eked
out the last rays of daylight. And when his hand drooped and
she could hardly distinguish his face in the gathering gloom,
he would sigh and turn to her, smoothing the soft hair from her
forehead, saying: ``Are you happy, Yvonne?'' And Yvonne always
answered, ``Yes, Rex, when you are.''
Then he would laugh, and kiss her and tell her he was always
happy with La Belle Hélène, and they would stand
in the gathering twilight until a gurgle from the now
well-grown pups would warn them that the hour of hunger had
The triumvirate, with Thaxton, Rhodes, Carleton, and the
rest, had been frequent visitors all winter at the
``Ménagerie,'' as Clifford's bad pun had named Gethryn's
apartment; but, of late, other social engagements and,
possibly, a small amount of work, had kept them away. Clifford
was a great favorite with Yvonne. Thaxton and Elliott she
liked. Rowden she tormented, and Carleton she endured. She
captured Clifford by suffering him to play his banjo to her
piano. Rowden liked her because she was pretty and witty,
though he never got used to her quiet little digs at his own
respected and dignified person. Clifford openly avowed his
attachment and spent many golden hours away from work,
listening to her singing. She had been taught by a good master
and her voice was pure and pliant, although as yet only half
developed. The little concerts they gave their friends were
really charming -- with Clifford's banjo, Gethryn's guitar,
Thaxton's violin, Yvonne's voice and piano. Clifford made the
programs. They were profusely illustrated, and he spent a great
deal of time rehearsing, writing verses, and rehashing familiar
airs (he called it ``composing'') which would have been as well
devoted to his easel.
In Rowden, Yvonne was delighted to find a cultivated
musician. Clifford listened to their talk of chords and keys,
went and bought a ``Musical Primer'' on the Quai d'Orsay, spent
a wretched hour groping over it, swore softly, and closed the
But neither the triumvirate nor the others had been to the
``Ménagerie'' for over a fortnight, when Rowden, feeling
it incumbent upon him to return some of Gethryn's hospitality,
issued very proper cards -- indeed they were very swell cards
for the Latin Quarter -- for a ``dinner,'' to be followed by a
``quiet evening'' at the Bal Masqué at the Opera.
The triumvirate had accordingly tied up their brindled
bulldogs, ``Spit,'' ``Snap'' and ``Tug''; had donned their
white ties and collars of awful altitude, and were fully
prepared to please and to be pleased. Although it was nominally
a ``stag'' party, the triumvirate would as soon have cut off
their tender mustaches as have failed to invite Yvonne. But she
had replied to Rowden's invitation by a dainty little note,
and I am sure that you will understand when I say that this
time I will leave you gentlemen in undisturbed possession of
the evening, for I know how dearly men love to meet and
behave like bears all by themselves. But I shall see you all
afterward at the Opera. Au revoir then -- at the Bal
The first sensation to the young men was one of
disappointment. But the second was that Mademoiselle Descartes'
tact had not failed her.
The triumvirate were seated upon the sideboard swinging
their legs. Rowden cast a satisfied glance at the table laid
for fifteen and flicked an imaginary speck from his immaculate
``I think it's all right,'' said Elliott, noticing his look,
``Is there enough champagne?'' asked that youth, calculating
four quart bottles to each person.
``Of course there is. What are you made of?''
``Human flesh,'' acknowledged the other meekly.
At eleven the guests began to arrive, welcomed by the
triumvirs with great state and dignity. Rowden, looking about,
missed only one -- Gethryn, and he entered at the same
``Just in time,'' said Rowden, and made the move to the
table. As Gethryn sat down, he noticed that the place on
Rowden's right was vacant, and before it stood a huge bouquet
of white violets.
``Too bad she isn't here,'' said Rowden, glancing at Gethryn
and then at the vacant place.
``That's awfully nice of you, Rowden,'' cried Gethryn, with
a happy smile; ``she will have a chance to thank you
He leaned over and touched his face to the flowers. As he
raised his head again, his eyes met Braith's.
``Hello!'' cried Braith, cordially.
Rex did not notice how pale he was, and called back,
``Hello!'' with a feeling of relief at Braith's tone. It was
always so. When they were apart for days, there weighed a cloud
of constraint on Rex's mind, which Braith's first greeting
always dispelled. But it gathered again in the next interval.
It rose from a sullen deposit of self-reproach down deep in
Gethryn's own heart. He kept it covered over; but he could not
prevent the ghost-like exhalations that gathered there and
showed where it was hidden.
Speeches began rather late. Elliott made one -- and offered
a toast to ``la plus jolie demoiselle de Paris,'' which was
drunk amid great enthusiasm and responded to by Gethryn, ending
with a toast to Rowden. Rowden's response was stiff, but most
correct. The same could not be said of Clifford's answer to the
toast, ``The struggling Artist -- Heaven help him!''
Towards 1 am Mr Clifford's conversation had become
incoherent. But he continued to drink toasts. He drank Yvonne's
health five times, he pledged Rowden and Gethryn and everybody
else he could think of, down to Mrs Gummidge and each separate
kitten, and finally pledged himself. By that time he had
reached the lachrymose state. Tears, it seemed, did him good. A
heart-rending sob was usually the sign of reviving
``Well,'' said Gethryn, buttoning his greatcoat, ``I'll see
you all in an hour -- at the Opera.''
Braith was not coming with them to the Ball, so Rex shook
hands and said ``Good night,'' and calling ``Au revoir'' to
Rowden and the rest, ran down stairs three at a time. He
hurried into the court and after spending five minutes shouting
``Cordon!'' succeeded in getting out of the door and into the
Rue Michelet. From there he turned into the Avenue de
l'Observatoire, and cutting through into the Boulevard, came to
Yvonne was standing before the mirror, tying the hood of a
white silk domino under her chin. Hearing Gethryn's key in the
door, she hurriedly slipped on her little white mask and
``Why, who is this?'' cried Gethryn. ``Yvonne, come and tell
me who this charming stranger is!''
``You see before you the Princess Hélène,
Monsieur, she said, gravely bending the little masked
``Oh, in that case, you needn't come, Yvonne, as I have an
engagement with the Princess Hélène of
``But you mustn't kiss me!'' she cried, hastily placing the
table between herself and Gethryn; ``you have not yet been
presented. Oh, Rex! Don't be so -- so idiotic; you spoil my
dress -- there -- yes, only one, but don't you dare to try --
Oh Rex! Now I am all in wrinkles -- you -- you
``Bears hug -- that's a fact,'' he laughed. ``Come, are you
ready -- or I'll just -- ''
``Don't you dare!'' she cried, whipping off her mask and
attempting an indignant frown. She saw the big bunch of white
violets in his hand and made a diversion by asking what those
were. He told her, and she declared, delightedly, that she
should carry them with Rex's roses to the Ball.
``They shall have the preference, Monsieur,'' she said,
teasingly. ``Oh, Rex! don't -- please -- '' she entreated.
``All right, I won't,'' he said, drawing her wrap around
her; and Yvonne, replacing the mask and gathering up her fluffy
skirts, slipped one small gloved hand through his arm and
danced down the stairs.
On the corner of the Vaugirard and the Rue de Medicis one
always finds a line of cabs, and presently they were bumping
and bouncing away down the Rue de Seine to the river.
Je fais ce que sa fantaisie
Et je puis, s'il lui faut ma vie
La lui donner
sang Yvonne, deftly thrusting tierce and quarte with her fan
to make Gethryn keep his distance.
``Do you know it is snowing?'' he said presently, peering
out of the window as the cab rattled across the Pont Neuf.
``Tant mieux!'' cried the girl; ``I shall make a snowball --
a -- '' she opened her blue eyes impressively, ``a very, very
large one, and -- ''
``Drop it on the head of Mr Rowden,'' she announced, with
``I'll warn poor Rowden of your intention,'' he laughed, as
the cab rolled smoothly up the Avenue de l'Opera, across the
Boulevard des Italiens, and stopped before the glittering pile
of the great Opera.
She sprang lightly to the curbstone and stood tapping her
little feet against the pavement while Gethryn fumbled about
for his fare.
The steps of the Opera and the Plaza were covered with
figures in dominoes, blue, red or black, many grotesque and
bizarre costumes, and not a few sober claw hammers. The great
flare of yellow light which bathed and flooded the shifting,
many-colored throng, also lent a strangely weird effect to the
now heavily falling snowflakes. Carriages and cabs kept
arriving in countless numbers. It was half past two, and nobody
who wanted to be considered anybody thought of arriving before
that hour. The people poured in a steady stream through the
portals. Groups of English and American students in their
irreproachable evening attire, groups of French students in
someone else's doubtful evening attire, crowds of rustling
silken dominoes, herds of crackling muslin dominoes, countless
sad-faced Pierrots, fewer sad-faced Capuchins, now and then a
slim Mephistopheles, now and then a fat, stolid Turk, 'Arry,
Tom, and Billy, redolent of plum pudding and Seven Dials,
Gontran, Gaston and Achille, savoring of brasseries and the
Sorbonne. And then, from the carriages and fiacres:
Mademoiselle Patchouli and good old Monsieur Bonvin,
Mademoiselle Nitouche and bad young Monsieur de Sacrebleu,
Mademoiselle Moineau and Don Cæsar Imberbe; and the pink
silk domino of ``La Pataude'' -- mais n'importe!
Allons, Messieurs, Mesdames, to the cloak room -- to the
foyer! To the escalier! or you, Madame la Comtesse, to your
box, and smooth out your crumpled domino; as for ``La
Pataude,'' she is going to dance tonight.
Gethryn, with Yvonne clinging tightly to his arm, entered
the great vestibule and passed through the railed lanes to the
broad inclined aisle which led to the floor.
``Do you want to take a peep before we go to our box?'' he
asked, leading her to the doorway.
Yvonne's little heart beat faster as she leaned over and
glanced at the dazzling spectacle.
``Come, hurry -- let us go to the box!'' she whispered,
dragging Gethryn after her up the stairway.
He followed, laughing at her excitement, and in a few
minutes they found the door of their lodge and slipped in.
Gethryn lighted a cigarette and began to unstrap his field
``Take these, Yvonne,'' he said, handing them to her while
he adjusted her own tiny gold ones.
Yvonne's cheeks flushed and her eyes sparkled under the
little mask, as she leaned over the velvet railing and gazed at
the bewildering spectacle below. Great puffs of hot, perfumed
air bore the crash of two orchestras to their ears, mixed with
the distant clatter and whirl of the dancers, and the shouts
and cries of the maskers.
At the end of the floor, screened by banks of palms, sat the
musicians, and round about, rising tier upon tier, the
glittering boxes were filled with the elite of the demimonde,
who ogled and gossiped and sighed, entirely content with the
material and social barriers which separate those who dance for
ten francs from those who look on for a hundred.
But there were others there who should not by any means be
confounded with their sisters of the ``half-world.''
The Faubourg St Germain, the Champs Elysées, and the
Parc Monceau were possibly represented among those muffled and
disguised beauties, who began the evening with their fans so
handy in case of need. Ah, well -- now they lay their fans down
quite out of reach in case of emergency, and who shall say if
disappointment lurks under these dainty dominoes, that there is
so little to bring a blush to modest cheeks -- alas! few
And you over there -- you of the ``American Colony,'' who
are tossed like shuttlecocks in the social whirl, you, in your
well-appointed masks and silks, it is all very new and exciting
-- yes, but why should you come? American women, brought up to
think clean thoughts and see with innocent eyes, to exact a
respectful homage from men and enjoy a personal dignity and
independence unknown to women anywhere else -- why do you want
to come here? Do you not know that the foundations of that
liberty which makes you envied in the old world are laid in the
respect and confidence of men? Undermine that, become wise and
cynical, learn the meaning of doubtful words and gestures whose
significance you never need have suspected, meet men on the
same ground where they may any day meet fast women of the
continent, and fix at that moment on your free limbs the same
chains which corrupt society has forged for the women of
Yvonne leaned back in her box with a little gasp.
``But I can't make out anyone at all,'' she said; ``it's all
a great, sparkling sea of color.''
``Try the field glasses,'' replied Gethryn, giving them to
her again, at the same time opening her big plumy fan and
waving it to and fro beside the flushed cheek.
Presently she cried out, ``Oh, look! There is Mr Elliott and
Mr Rowden, and I think Mr Clifford -- but I hope not.''
He leaned forward and swept the floor with the field
``It's Clifford, sure enough,'' he muttered; ``what on earth
induces him to dance in that set?''
It was Clifford.
At that moment he was addressing Elliott in pleading, though
``Come 'long, Elliott, don't be so -- so uncomf't'ble 'n'
p'tic'lar! W't's use of be'ng shnobbish?'' he urged, clinging
hilariously to his partner, a pigeon-toed ballet girl. But
Elliott only laughed and said:
``No; waltzes are all I care for. No quadrille for me --
The crash of the orchestra drowned his voice, and Clifford,
turning and bowing gravely to his partner, and then to his
vis-à-vis, began to perform such antics and cut such
pigeonwings that his pigeon-toed partner glared at him through
the slits of her mask in envious astonishment. The door was
dotted with numerous circles of maskers, ten or fifteen deep,
all watching and applauding the capers of the hilarious couples
in the middle.
But Clifford's set soon attracted a large and enthusiastic
audience, who were connoisseurs enough to distinguish a
voluntary dancer from a hired one; and when the last thundering
chords of Offenbach's ``March into Hell'' scattered the throng
into a delirious waltz, Clifford reeled heavily into the side
scenes and sat down, rather unexpectedly, in the lap of
Mademoiselle Nitouche, who had crept in there with the Baron
Silberstein for a nice, quiet view of a genuine cancan.
Mademoiselle did not think it funny, but the Baron did, and
when she boxed Clifford's ears he thought it funnier still.
Rowden and Elliot, who were laboriously waltzing with a twin
pair of flat-footed Watteau Shepherdesses, immediately ran to
his assistance; and later, with a plentiful application of cold
water and still colder air, restored Mr Clifford to his usual
``You're not a beauty, you know,'' said Rowden, looking at
Clifford's hair, which was soaked into little points and curls;
``you're certainly no beauty, but I think you're all right now
-- don't you, Elliott? ''
``Certainly,'' laughed the triumvir, producing a little
silver pocket-comb and presenting it to the woebegone Clifford,
who immediately brought out a hand glass and proceeded to
construct a ``bang'' of wonderful seductiveness.
In ten minutes they sallied forth from the dressing room and
wended their way through the throngs of masks to the center of
the floor. They passed Thaxton and Rhodes, who, each with a
pretty nun upon his arm, were trying to persuade Bulfinch into
taking the third nun, who might have been the Mother Superior
or possibly a resuscitated 14th century abbess.
``No,'' he was saying, while he blinked painfully at the
ci-devant abbess, ``I can't go that; upon my word, don't ask
me, fellows -- I -- I can't.''
``Oh, come,'' urged Rhodes, ``what's the odds?''
``You can take her and I'll take yours,'' began the wily
little man, but neither Rhodes nor Thaxton waited to argue
``No catacombs for me,'' growled Bulfinch, eyeing the
retreating nuns, but catching sight of the triumvirate, his
face regained its bird-like felicity of expression.
``Glad to see you -- indeed I am! That Colossus is too
disinterested in securing partners for his friends; he is, I
assure you. If you're looking for a Louis Quatorze partner,
warranted genuine, go to Rhodes.''
``Rex ought to be here by this time,'' said Rowden; ``look
in the boxes on that side and Clifford and I will do the same
``No need,'' cried Elliott, ``I see him with a white domino
there in the second tier. Look! he's waving his hand to us and
so is the domino.''
``Come along,'' said Clifford, pushing his way toward the
foyer, ``I'll find them in a moment. Let me see,'' -- a few
minutes later, pausing outside a row of white and gilt doors --
``let me see, seventh box, second tier -- here we are,'' he
added, rapping loudly.
Yvonne ran and opened the door.
``Bon soir, Messieurs,'' she said, with a demure curtsy.
Clifford gallantly kissed the little glove and then shook
hands with Gethryn.
``How is it on the floor?'' asked the latter, as Elliott and
Rowden came forward to the edge of the box. ``I want to take
Yvonne out for a turn and perhaps a waltz, if it isn't too
``Oh, it's pretty rough just now, but it will be better in
half an hour,'' replied Rowden, barricading the champagne from
``We saw you dancing, Mr Clifford,'' observed Yvonne, with a
wicked glance at him from under her mask.
``I -- I don't make an ass of myself but once a year, you
know,'' he said, with a deprecatory look at Elliott.
``Oh,'' murmured the latter, doubtfully, ``glad to hear
Clifford gazed at him in meek reproof and then made a flank
movement upon the champagne, but was again neatly foiled by
Yvonne looked serious, but presently leaned over and filled
one of the long-stemmed goblets.
``Only one, Mr Clifford; one for you to drink my health, but
you must promise me truthfully not to take any more wine this
Clifford promised with great promptness, and taking the
glass from her hand with a low bow, sprang recklessly upon the
edge of the box and raised the goblet.
``A la plus belle demoiselle de Paris!'' he cried, with all
the strength of his lungs, and drained the goblet.
A shout from the crowd below answered his toast. A thousand
faces were turned upward, and people leaned over their boxes,
and looked at the party from all parts of the house.
Mademoiselle Nitouche turned to Monsieur de Sacrebleu.
``What audacity!'' she murmured.
Mademoiselle Goujon smiled at the Baron Silberstein.
``Tiens!'' she cried, ``the gayety has begun, I hope.''
Little Miss Ducely whispered to Lieutenant Faucon:
``Those are American students,'' she sighed; ``how jolly
they seem to be, especially Mr Clifford! I wonder if she
is so pretty!''
Half a dozen riotous Frenchmen in the box opposite jumped to
their feet and waved their goblets at Clifford.
``A la plus jolie femme du monde!'' they roared.
Clifford seized another glass and filled it.
``She is here!'' he shouted, and sprang to the edge again.
But Gethryn pulled him down.
``That's too dangerous,'' he laughed; ``you could easily
``Oh, pshaw!'' cried Clifford, draining the glass, and
shaking it at the opposite box.
Yvonne put her hand on Gethryn's arm.
``Don't let him have any more,'' she whispered.
``Give us the goblet!'' yelled the Frenchmen.
``Le voila!'' shouted Clifford, and stepping back, hurled
the glass with all his strength across the glittering gulf. It
fell with a crash in the box it was aimed at, and a howl of
applause went up from the floor.
Yvonne laughed nervously, but coming to the edge of the box
buried her mask in her bouquet and looked down.
``A rose! A rose!'' cried the maskers below; ``a rose from
the most charming demoiselle in Paris!''
She half turned to Gethryn, but suddenly stepping forward,
seized a handful of flowers from the middle of the bouquet and
flung them into the crowd.
There was a shout and a scramble, and then she tore the
bouquet end from end, sending a shower of white buds into the
``None for me?'' sighed Clifford, watching the
She laughed brightly as she tossed the last handful below,
and then turned and leaned over Gethryn's chair.
``You destructive little wretch!'' he laughed, ``this is not
the season for the Battle of Flowers. But white roses mean
nothing, so I'm not jealous.''
``Ah, mon ami, I saved the red rose for you,'' she
whispered; and fastened it upon his breast.
And at his whispered answer her cheeks flushed crimson under
the white mask. But she sprang up laughing.
``I would so like to go onto the floor,'' she cried, pulling
him to his feet, and coaxing him with a simply irresistible
look; ``don't you think we might -- just for a minute, Mr
Rowden?'' she pleaded. ``I don't mind a crowd -- indeed I
don't, and I am masked so perfectly.''
``What's the harm, Rex?'' said Rowden; ``she is well
``And when we return it will be time for supper, won't
``Yes, I should think so!'' murmured Clifford.
``Where do we go then?''
``Come along, then, Mademoiselle Destructiveness!'' cried
Gethryn, tossing his mask and field glass onto a chair, where
they were appropriated by Clifford, who spent the next half
hour in staring across at good old Colonel Toddlum and his
frisky companion -- an attention which drove the poor old
gentleman almost frantic with suspicion, for he was a married
man, bless his soul! -- and a pew-holder in the American
``My love,'' said the frisky one, ``who is the gentleman in
the black mask who stares?''
``I don't know,'' muttered the dear old man, in a cold
sweat, ``I don't know, but I wish I did.''
And the frisky one shrugged her shoulders and smiled at the
``What are they looking at?'' whispered Yvonne, as she
tripped along, holding very tightly to Gethryn's arm.
``Only a quadrille -- `La Pataude' is dancing. Do you want
to see it?''
She nodded, and they approached the circle in the middle of
which `La Pataude' and `Grille d'Egout' were holding high
carnival. At every ostentatious display of hosiery the crowd
``Brava! Bis!'' cried an absinthe-soaked old gentleman;
``vive La Pataude!''
For answer the lady dexterously raised his hat from his head
with the point of her satin slipper.
The crowd roared again. ``Brava! Brava, La Pataude!''
Yvonne turned away.
``I don't like it. I don't find it amusing,'' she said,
Gethryn's hand closed on hers.
``Nor I,'' he said.
``But you and your friends used to go to the students' ball
at `Bullier's,''' she began, a little reproachfully.
``Only as Nouveaux, and then, as a rule, the high-jinks are
pretty genuine there -- at least, with the students. We used to
go to keep cool in spring and hear the music; to keep warm in
winter; and amuse ourselves at Carnival time.''
``But -- Mr Clifford knows all the girls at `Bullier's.' Do
-- do you?''
``How many?'' she said, pettishly.
``None -- now.''
A pause. Yvonne was looking down.
``See here, little goose, I never cared about any of that
crowd, and I haven't been to the Bullier since -- since last
She turned her face up to his; tears were stealing down from
under her mask.
``Why, Yvonne!'' he began, but she clung to his shoulder, as
the orchestra broke into a waltz.
``Don't speak to me, Rex -- but dance! Dance!''
They danced until the last bar of music ceased with a
``Tired?'' he asked, still holding her.
She smiled breathlessly and stepped back, but stopped short,
with a little cry.
``Oh! I'm caught -- there, on your coat!''
He leaned over her to detach the shred of silk.
``Where is it? Oh! Here!''
And they both laughed and looked at each other, for she had
been held by the little golden clasp, the fleur-de-lis.
``You see,'' he said, ``it will always draw me to you.''
But a shadow fell on her fair face, and she sighed as she
gently took his arm.
When they entered their box, Clifford was still tormenting
the poor Colonel.
``Old dog thinks I know him,'' he grinned, as Yvonne and Rex
came in. Yvonne flung off her mask and began to fan
``Time for supper, you know,'' suggested Clifford.
Yvonne lay back in her chair, smiling and slowly waving the
great plumes to and fro.
``Who are those people in the next box?'' she asked him.
``They do make such a noise.''
``There are only two, both masked.''
``But they have unmasked now. There are their velvets on the
edge of the box. I'm going to take a peep,'' she whispered,
rising and leaning across the railing.
``Don't; I wouldn't -- '' began Gethryn, but he was too
Yvonne leaned across the gilded cornice and instantly fell
back in her chair, deathly pale.
``My God! Are you ill, Yvonne?''
``Oh, Rex, Rex, take me away -- home -- ''
Then came a loud hammering on the box door. A harsh,
strident voice called, ``Yvonne! Yvonne!''
Clifford thoughtlessly threw it open, and a woman in evening
dress, very decolletée, swept by him into the box, with
a waft of sickly scented air.
Yvonne leaned heavily on Gethryn's shoulder; the woman
stopped in front of them.
``Ah! here you are, then!''
Yvonne's face was ghastly.
``Nina,'' she whispered, ``why did you come?''
``Because I wanted to make you a little surprise,'' sneered
the woman; ``a pleasant little surprise. We love each other
enough, I hope.'' She stamped her foot.
``Go,'' said Yvonne, looking half dead.
``Go!'' mimicked the other. ``But certainly! Only first you
must introduce me to these gentlemen who are so kind to
``You will leave the box,'' said Gethryn, in a low voice,
holding open the door.
The woman turned on him. She was evidently in a prostitute's
tantrum of malicious deviltry. Presently she would begin to
lash herself into a wild rage.
``Ah! this is the one!'' she sneered, and raising her voice,
she called, ``Mannie, Mannie, come in here, quick!''
A sidling step approached from the next box, and the face of
Mr Emanuel Pick appeared at the door.
``This is the one,'' cried the woman, shrilly. ``Isn't he
Mr Pick looked insolently at Gethryn and opened his mouth,
but he did not say anything, for Rex took him by the throat and
kicked him headlong into his own box. Then he locked the door,
and taking out the key, returned and presented it to the
``Follow him!'' he said, and quietly, but forcibly, urged
her toward the lobby.
``Mannie! Mannie!'' she shrieked, in a voice choked by rage
and dissipation, ``come and kill him! He's insulting me!''
Getting no response, she began to pour forth shriek upon
shriek, mingled with oaths and ravings. ``I shall speak to my
sister! Who dares prevent me from speaking to my sister! You --
'' she glared at Yvonne and ground her teeth. ``You, the good
one. You! the mother's pet! Ran away from home! Took up with an
Yvonne sprang to her feet again.
``Leave the box,'' she gasped.
``Ha! ha! Mais oui! leave the box! and let her dance while
her mother lies dying!''
Yvonne gave a cry.
``Ah! Ah!'' said her sister, suddenly speaking very slowly,
nodding at every word. ``Ah! Ah! go back to your room and see
what is there -- in the room of your lover -- the little letter
from Vernon. She wants you. She wants you. That is
because you are so good. She does not want me. No, it is you
who must come to see her die. I -- I dance at the
Then, suddenly turning on Gethryn with a devilish grin,
``You! tell your mistress her mother is dying!'' She laughed
hatefully, but preserved her pretense of calm, walked to the
door, and as she reached it swung round and made an insulting
gesture to Gethryn.
``You! I will remember you!''
The door slammed and a key rattled in the next box.
Clinging to Gethryn, Yvonne passed down the long corridor to
the vestibule, while Elliott and Rowden silently gathered up
the masks and opera glasses. Clifford stood holding her crushed
and splintered fan. He looked at Elliott, who looked gloomily
back at him, as Braith entered hurriedly.
``What's the matter? I saw something was wrong from the
floor. Rex ill?''
``Ill at ease,'' said Clifford, grimly. ``There's a sister
turned up. A devil of a sister.''
Braith spoke very low. ``Yvonne's sister?''
``Yes, a she-devil.''
``Did you hear her name?''
Braith went quietly out again. Passing blindly down the
lobby, he ran against Mr Bulfinch. Mr Bulfinch was in charge of
``Hello, Braith!'' he called, hilariously.
Braith was going on with a curt nod when the other man
``I've taken it out of Pick,'' and he stopped short. ``I got
my two hundred francs worth,'' the artist of the London
Mirror proceeded, ``and now I shall feel bound to return
you yours -- the first time I have it,'' he ended, vaguely.
Braith made an impatient gesture.
``Are you under arrest?''
``Yes, I am. He couldn't help it,'' smiling agreeably at the
Sergeant de Ville. ``He saw me hit him.''
The policeman looked stolid.
``But what excuse?'' began Braith.
``Oh! none! Pick just passed me, and I felt as if I couldn't
stand it any longer, so I pitched in.''
``Well, and now you're in for fine and imprisonment.''
``I suppose so,'' said Bulfinch, beaming.
``Have you any money with you?''
``No, unless I have some in your pocket?'' said the little
man, with a mixture of embarrassment and bravado that touched
Braith, who saw what the confession cost him.
``Lots!'' said he, cordially. ``But first let us try what we
can do with Bobby. Do you ever drink a petit verre, Monsieur le
Sergeant de Ville?'' with a winning smile to the wooden
The latter looked at the floor.
``No,'' said he.
``Well, I was only thinking that over on the Corner of the
Rue Taitbout one finds excellent wine at twenty francs.''
The officer now gazed dreamily at the ceiling.
``Mine costs forty,'' he said.
And a few minutes later the faithful fellow stood in front
of the Opera house quite alone.
The cab rolled slowly over the Pont au Change, and the
wretched horse fell into a walk as he painfully toiled up the
hill of St Michel. Yvonne lay back in the corner; covered with
all her own wraps and Gethryn's overcoat, she shivered.
``Poor little Yvonne!'' was all he said as he leaned over
now and then to draw the cloak more closely around her. Not a
sound but the rumble of the wheels and the wheezing of the old
horse broke the silence. The streets were white and deserted. A
few ragged flakes fell from the black vault above, or were
shaken down from the crusted branches.
The cab stopped with a jolt. Yvonne was trembling as Rex
lifted her to the ground, and he hurried her into the house, up
the black stairway and into their cold room.
When he had a fire blazing in the grate, he looked around.
She was kneeling on the floor beside a candle she had lighted,
and her tears were pouring down upon the page of an open
letter. Rex stepped over and touched her.
``Come to the fire.'' He raised her gently, but she could
not stand, and he carried her in his arms to the great soft
chair before the grate. Then he knelt down and warmed her icy
hands in his own. After a while he moved her chair back, and
drawing off her dainty white slippers, wrapped her feet in the
fur that lay heaped on the hearth. Then he unfastened the cloak
and the domino, and rolling her gloves from elbow to wrist,
slipped them over the helpless little hands. The firelight
glanced and glowed on her throat and bosom, tingeing their
marble with opalescent lights, and searching the deep shadows
under her long lashes. It reached her hair, touching here and
there a soft, dark wave, and falling aslant the knots of ribbon
on her bare shoulders, tipped them with points of white
``Is it so bad, dearest Yvonne?''
``Then you must go?''
Gethryn rose and went toward the door; he hesitated, came
back and kissed her once on the forehead. When the door closed
on him she wept as if her heart would break, hiding her head in
her arms. He found her lying so when he returned, and, throwing
down her traveling bag and rugs, he knelt and took her to his
breast, kissing her again and again on the forehead. At last he
had to speak.
``I have packed the things you will need most and will send
the rest. It is getting light, dearest; you have to change your
dress, you know.''
She roused herself and sat up, looking desolately about
``Forever!'' she whispered.
``No! No!'' cried Gethryn.
``Ah! oui, mon ami!''
Gethryn went and stood by the window. The bedroom door was
Day was breaking. He opened the window and looked into the
white street. Lamps burned down there with a sickly yellow; a
faint light showed behind the barred windows of the old gray
barracks. One or two stiff sparrows hopped silently about the
gutters, flying up hurriedly when the frost-covered sentinel
stamped his boots before the barracks gate. Now and then a
half-starved workman limped past, his sabots echoing on the
frozen pavement. A hooded and caped policeman, a red-faced
cabman stamping beside his sleepy horse -- the street was empty
but for them.
It grew lighter. The top of St Sulpice burned crimson. Far
off a bugle fluttered, and then came the tramp of the morning
guard mount. They came stumbling across the stony court and
leaned on their rifles while one of them presented arms and
received the word from the sentry. Little by little people
began to creep up and down the sidewalks, and the noise of
wooden shutters announced another day of toil begun. The point
of the Luxembourg Palace struck fire as the ghastly gas-lamps
faded and went out. Suddenly the great bell of St Sulpice
clashed the hour -- Eight o'clock!
Again a bugle blew sharply from the barracks, and a troop of
cavalry danced and pawed through the gate, clattering away down
the Rue de Seine.
Gethryn shut the window and turned into the room. Yvonne
stood before the dying embers. He went to her, almost timidly.
Neither spoke. At last she took up her satchel and wrap.
``It is time,'' she whispered. ``Let us go.''
He clasped her once in his arms; she laid her cheek against
The train left Montparnasse station at nine. There was
hardly anyone in the waiting room. The Guard flung back the
``Vernon, par Chartres?'' asked Gethryn.
``Vernon -- Moulins -- Chartres -- direct!'' shouted the
Guard, and stamped off down the platform.
Gethryn showed his ticket which admitted him to the
platform, and they walked slowly down the line of
``This one?'' and he opened a door.
She stood watching the hissing and panting engine, while
Gethryn climbed in and placed her bags and rugs in a window
corner. The car smelt damp and musty, and he stepped out with a
choking sensation in his chest. A train man came along, closing
doors with a slam.
``All aboard -- ladies -- gentlemen -- voyageurs?'' he
growled, as if to himself or some familiar spirit, and jerked a
sullen clang from the station bell. The engine panted
Rex struggled against the constraint that seemed to be
``Yvonne, you will write?''
``I don't know!''
``You don't know! Yvonne!''
``I know nothing except that I am wicked, and my mother is
dying!'' She said it in low, even tones, looking away from
The gong struck again, with a startling clash.
The engine shrieked; a cloud of steam rose from under the
wheels. Rex hurried her into the carriage; there was no one
else there. Suddenly she threw herself into his arms.
``Oh! I love you! I love you! One kiss, no; no; on the lips.
Good-bye, my own Rex!''
``You will come again?'' he said, crushing her to him.
Her eyes looked into his.
``I will come. I love you! Be true to me, Rex. I will come
Her lover could not speak. Doors slamming, and an impatient
voice -- ``Descendez donc, M'sieu!'' -- roused him; he sprang
from the carriage, and the train rolled slowly out of the
How heavy the smoke was! Gethryn could hardly breathe --
hardly see. He walked away and out into the street. The city
was only half awake even yet. After, as it seemed, a long time,
he found himself looking at a clock which said a quarter past
ten. The winter sunshine slanted now on roof and pane, flooding
the western side of the shabby boulevard, dappling the snow
with yellow patches. He had stopped in the chilly shadow of a
gateway and was looking vacantly about. He saw the sunshine
across the street and shivered where he was, and yet he did not
leave the shadow. He stood and watched the sparrows taking bold
little baths in the puddles of melted snow water. They seemed
to enjoy the sunshine, but it was cold in the shade, cold and
damp -- and the air was hard to breathe. A policeman sauntered
by and eyed him curiously. Rex's face was haggard and pinched.
Why had he stood there in the cold for half an hour, without
ever changing his weight from one foot to the other?
The policeman spoke at last, civilly:
Gethryn turned his head.
``Is it that Monsieur seeks the train?'' he asked,
Rex looked up. He had wandered back to the station. He
lifted his hat and answered with the politeness dear to French
``Merci, Monsieur!'' It made him cough to speak, and he
moved on slowly.
Gethryn would not go home yet. He wanted to be where there
was plenty of cool air, and yet he shivered. He drew a deep
breath which ended in a pain. How cold the air must be -- to
pain the chest like that! And yet, there were women wheeling
handcarts full of yellow crocus buds about. He stopped and
bought some for Yvonne.
``She will like them,'' he thought. ``Ah!'' -- he turned
away, leaving flowers and money. The old flower-woman crossed
No -- he would not go home just yet. The sun shone brightly;
men passed, carrying their overcoats on their arms; a steam was
rising from the pavements in the Square.
There was a crowd on the Pont au Change. He did not see any
face distinctly, but there seemed to be a great many people,
leaning over the parapets, looking down the river. He stopped
and looked over too. The sun glared on the foul water eddying
in and out among the piles and barges. Some men were rowing in
a boat, furiously. Another boat followed close. A voice close
by Gethryn cried, angrily:
``Dieu! who are you shoving?''
Rex moved aside; as he did so a gamin crowded quickly
forward and craned over the edge, shouting, ``Vive le
``Chut!'' said another voice.
``Vive la Mort! Vive la Morgue!'' screamed the wretched
A policeman boxed his ears and pulled him back. The crowd
laughed. The voice that had cried, ``Chut!'' said lower, ``What
a little devil, that Rigaud!''
Rex moved slowly on.
In the Court of the Louvre were people enough and to spare.
Some of them bowed to him; several called him to turn and join
them. He lifted his hat to them all, as if he knew them, but
passed on without recognizing a soul. The broad pavements were
warm and wet, but the air must have been sharp to hurt his
chest so. The great pigeons of the Louvre brushed by him. It
seemed as if he felt the beat of their wings on his brains. A
shabby-looking fellow asked him for a sou -- and, taking the
coin Rex gave him, shuffled off in a hurry; a dog followed him,
he stooped and patted it; a horse fell, he went into the street
and helped to raise it. He said to a man standing by that the
harness was too heavy -- and the man, looking after him as he
walked away, told a friend that there was another crazy
Soon after this he found himself on the Quai again, and the
sun was sinking behind the dome of the Invalides. He decided to
go home. He wanted to get warm, and yet it seemed as if the air
of a room would stifle him. However, once more he crossed the
Seine, and as he turned in at his own gate he met Clifford, who
said something, but Rex pushed past without trying to
understand what it was.
He climbed the dreary old stairs and came to his silent
studio. He sat down by the fireless hearth and gazed at a long,
slender glove among the ashes. At his feet her little white
satin slippers lay half hidden in the long white fur of the
He felt giddy and weak, and that hard pain in his chest left
him no peace. He rose and went into the bedroom. Her ball dress
lay where she had thrown it. He flung himself on the bed and
buried his face in the rustling silk. A faint odor of violets
pervaded it. He thought of the bouquet that had been placed for
her at the dinner. Then the flowers reminded him of last
summer. He lived over again their gay life -- their excursions
to Meudon, Sceaux, Versailles with its warm meadows, and cool,
dark forests; Fontainebleau, where they lunched under the
trees; St Cloud -- Oh! he remembered their little quarrel
there, and how they made it up on the boat at Suresnes
He rose excitedly and went back into the studio; his cheeks
were aflame and his breath came sharp and hard. In a corner,
with its face to the wall, stood an old, unfinished portrait of
Yvonne, begun after one of those idyllic summer days.
When Braith walked in, after three times knocking, he found
Gethryn painting feverishly by the last glimmer of daylight on
this portrait. The room was full of shadows, and while they
spoke it grew quite dark.
That night Braith sat by his side and listened to his
incoherent talk, and Dr White came and said
``Pleuro-pneumonia'' was what ailed him. Braith had his traps
fetched from his own place and settled down to nurse him.
C arnival was over. February had passed, like January, for
most of the fellows, in a bad dream of unpaid bills. March was
going in much the same way. This is the best account Clifford,
Elliott and Rowden could have given of it. Thaxton and Rhodes
were working. Carleton was engaged to a new pretty girl -- the
sixth or seventh.
Satan found the time passing delightfully. There was no one
at present to restrain him when he worried Mrs Gummidge. The
tabby daily grew thinner and sadder-eyed. The parrot grew daily
more blasé. He sneered more and more bitterly, and his
eyelid, when closed, struck a chill to the soul of the
At first the pups were unhappy. They missed their master.
But they were young, and flies were getting plentiful in the
For Braith the nights and the days seemed to wind themselves
in an endless chain about Rex's sickbed. But when March had
come and gone Rex was out of danger, and Braith began to paint
again on his belated picture. It was too late, now, for the
Salon; but he wanted to finish it all the same.
One day, early in April, he came back to Gethryn after an
unusually long absence at his own studio.
Rex was up and trying to dress. He turned a peaked face
toward his friend. His eyes were two great hollows, and when he
smiled and spoke, in answer to Braith's angry exclamation, his
jaws worked visibly.
``Keep cool, old chap!'' he said, in the ghost of a
``What are you getting up for, all alone?''
``Had to -- tired of the bed. Try it yourself -- six
``You want to go back there and never quit it alive --
that's what you want,'' said Braith, nervously.
``Don't, either. Come and button this collar and stop
``I suppose you're going back to Julien's the day after
tomorrow,'' said Braith, sarcastically, after Rex was dressed
and had been helped to the lounge in the studio.
``No,'' said he, ``I'm going to Arcachon tomorrow.''
``Arca--- twenty thousand thunders!''
``Not at all,'' smiled Rex -- a feeble, willful smile.
Braith sat down and drew his chair beside Gethryn.
``Wait a while, Rex.''
``I can't get well here, you know.''
``But you can get a bit stronger before you start on such a
``I thought the doctor told you the sooner I went south the
That was true; Braith was silent a while.
At last he said, ``I have all the money you will want till
your own comes, you know, and I can get you ready by the end of
this week, if you will go.''
Rex was no baby, but his voice shook when he answered.
``Dear old, kind, unselfish friend! I'd almost rather remain
poor, and let you keep on taking care of me, but -- see here --
'' and he handed him a letter. ``That came this morning, after
Braith read it eagerly, and looked up with a brighter face
than he had worn for many a day.
``By Jove!'' he said. ``By Jupiter!''
Rex smiled sadly at his enthusiasm.
``This means health, and a future, and -- everything to you,
``Health and wealth, and happiness,'' said Gethryn
``Yes, you ungrateful young reprobate -- that's exactly what
it means. Go to your Arcachon, by all means, since you've got a
fortune to go on -- I say -- you -- you didn't know your aunt
very well, did you? You're not cut up much?''
``I never saw her half a dozen times in my whole life. But
she's been generous to me, poor old lady!''
``I should think so. Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars
is a nice sum for a young fellow to find in his pocket all on a
sudden. And now -- you want to go away and get well, and come
back presently and begin where you left off -- a year ago. Is
``That is it. I shall never get well here, and I mean to get
well if I can,'' -- he paused, and hesitated. ``That was the
only letter in my box this morning.''
Braith did not answer.
``It is nearly two months now,'' continued Rex, in a low
``What are your plans?'' interrupted Braith, brusquely.
``I'm going first'' -- he answered rather drily, ``to
Arcachon. You see by the letter my aunt died in Florence. Of
course I've got to go and measure out a lot of Italian red tape
before I can get the money. It seems to me the sooner I can get
into the pine air and the sea breezes at Arcachon, the better
chance I have of being fit to push on to Florence, via the
Riviera, before the summer heat.''
``I don't know.''
``You will come back?''
``When I am cured.''
There was a long silence. At last Gethryn put a thin hand on
Braith's shoulder and looked him lovingly in the face.
``You know, and I know, how little I have ever done to
deserve your goodness, to show my gratitude and -- and love for
you. But if I ever come back I will prove to you -- ''
Braith could not answer, and did not try to. He sat and
looked at the floor, the sad lines about his mouth deeply
marked, his throat moving once or twice as he swallowed the
lump of grief that kept rising.
After a while he muttered something about its being time for
Rex's supper and got up and fussed about with a spirit lamp and
broths and jellies, more like Rex's mother than a rough young
bachelor. In the midst of his work there came a shower of blows
on the studio door and Clifford, Rowden and Elliott trooped in
without more ado.
They set up a chorus of delighted yells at seeing Rex
dressed and on the studio lounge. But Braith suppressed them
``Don't you know any better than that?'' he growled. ``What
did you come for, anyway? It's Rex's supper time.''
``We came, Papa,'' said Clifford, ``to tell Rex that I have
reformed. We wanted him to know it as soon as we did
``Ah! he's a changed man! He's worked all day at Julien's
for a week past,'' cried Elliott and Rowden together.
``And my evenings?'' prompted Clifford sweetly.
``Are devoted to writing letters home!'' chanted the
``Get out!'' was all Rex answered, but his face brightened
at the three bad boys standing in a row with their hats all
held politely against their stomachs. He had not meant to tell
them, dreading the fatigue of explanations, but by an impulse
he held out his hand to them.
``I say, you fellows, shake hands! I'm going off
Their surprise having been more or less noisily and
profusely expressed, Braith stepped decidedly in between them
and his patient, satisfied their curiosity, and gently
signified that it was time to go.
He only permitted one shake apiece, foiling all Clifford's
rebellious attempts to dodge around him and embrace Gethryn.
But Rex was lying back by this time, tired out, and he was glad
when Braith closed the studio door. It flew open the next
minute and an envelope came spinning across to Rex.
``Letter in your box, Reggy -- good-bye, old chap!'' said
The door did not quite close again and the voices and steps
of his departing friends came echoing back as Braith raised a
black-edged letter from the floor. It bore the postmark:
R ound about the narrow valley which is cut by the rapid
Trauerbach, Bavarian mountains tower, their well timbered
flanks scattered here and there with rough slides, or opening
out in long green alms, and here at evening one may sometimes
see a spot of yellow moving along the bed of a half dry
Miss Ruth Dene stood in front of the Forester's lodge at
Trauerbach one evening at sunset, and watched such a spot on
the almost perpendicular slope that rose opposite, high above
her head. Some Jaegers and the Forester were looking, too.
``My glass, Federl! Ja! 's ist'n gams!''
``Gems?'' inquired Miss Dene, excited by her first view of a
``Ja! 'n Gams,'' said the Forester, sticking to his
The sun was setting behind the Red Peak, his last rays
pouring into the valley. They fell on rock and alm, on pine and
beech, and turned the silver Trauerbach to molten gold.
Mr Isidor Blumenthal, sitting at a table under one of the
windows, drinking beer, beheld this phenomenon, and putting
down his quart measure, he glared at the waste of precious
metal. Then he lighted the stump of a cigar; then he looked at
his watch, and it being almost supper time, he went in to
secure the best place. He liked being early at table; he liked
the first cut of the meats, hot and fat; he loved plenty of
gravy. While waiting to be served he could count the antlers on
the walls and estimate ``how much they would fetch by an
antiquar,'' as he said to himself. There was nothing else
marketable in the large bare room, full of deal tables and
furnished with benches built against the wall. But he could
pick his teeth demonstratively -- toothpicks were not charged
in the bill -- and he could lean back on two legs of his chair,
with his hands in his pockets, and stare through the windows at
The Herr Förster and the two Jaegers had gone away.
Miss Dene stood now with her slender hands clasped easily
behind her, a Tam O'Shanter shading her sweet face. She was
tall, and so far as Mr Blumenthal had ever seen, extremely
grave for her years. But Mr Blumenthal's opportunities of
observing Miss Dene had been limited.
The ``gams'' had disappeared. Miss Dene was looking down the
road that leads to Schicksalsee. There was not much visible
there except a whirl of dust raised by the sudden evening
Sometimes it was swept away for a moment; then she saw a
weather-beaten bridge and a bend in the road where it
disappeared among the noble firs of a Bavarian forest.
The sun sank and left the Trauerbach a stream of molten
lead. The shadows crept up to the Jaeger's hut and then to the
little chapel above that. Gusts of whistling martins swept
A silk-lined, Paris-made wool dress rustled close beside
her, and she put out one of the slender hands without turning
``Mother, dear,'' said she, as a little silver-haired old
lady took it and came and leaned against her tall girl's
shoulder, ``haven't we had enough of the `Först-haus zu
``Not until a certain girl, who danced away her color at
Cannes, begins to bloom again.''
Ruth shrugged, and then laughed. ``At least it isn't so --
so indigestible as Munich.''
``Oh! Absurd! Speaking of digestion, come to your Schmarn
und Reh-braten. Supper is ready.''
Mother and daughter walked into the dingy ``Stube'' and took
their seats at the Forester's table.
Mr Blumenthal's efforts had not secured him a place there
after all; Anna, the capable niece of the Frau Förster,
having set down a large foot, clad in a thick white stocking
and a carpet slipper, to the effect that there was only room
for the Herr Förster's family and the Americans.
``I also am an American!'' cried Mr Blumenthal in
Hebrew-German. Nevertheless, when Ruth and her mother came in
he bowed affably to them from the nearest end of the next
``Mamma,'' said Ruth, very low, ``I hope I'm not going to
begin being difficult, but do you know, that is really an
``Yes, I do know,'' laughed her easy-tempered mother, ``but
what is that to us?''
Mr Blumenthal was reveling in hot fat. After he had bowed
and smiled greasily, he tucked his napkin tighter under his
chin and fell once more upon the gravy. He sopped his bread in
it and scooped it up with his knife. But after there was no
more gravy he wished to converse. He scrubbed his lips with one
end of the napkin and called across to Ruth, who shrank behind
her mother: ``Vell, Miss Dene, you have today a shammy seen,
Ruth kept out of sight, but Mrs Dene nodded,
``Ja! soh! and haf you auch dose leetle deer mit der mamma
seen? I haf myself such leetle deer myself many times shoot, me
and my neffe. But not here. It is not permitted.'' No one
answered. Ruth asked Anna for the salt.
``My neffe, he eats such lots of salt -- '' began Mr
``Herr Förster,'' interrupted Mrs Dene -- ``Is the room
ready for our friend who is coming this evening?''
``Your vriendt, he is from New York?''
``Ja, ja, Gnädige Frau!'' said the Forester,
``I haf a broader in New York. Blumenthal and Cohen, you
know dem, yes?''
Mrs Dene and her daughter rose and went quietly out into the
porch, while the Frau Förster, with cold, round gray eyes
and a tight mouth, was whispering to her frowning spouse that
it was none of his business, and why get himself into trouble?
Besides, Mrs Dene's Herr Gemahl, meaning the absent colonel,
would come back in a day or two; let him attend to Mr
Outside, under the windows, were long benches set against
the house with tables before them. One was crowded with
students who had come from everywhere on the foot-tours dear to
Their long sticks, great bundles, tin botanizing boxes, and
sketching tools lay in untidy heaps; their stone krugs were
foaming with beer, and their mouths were full of black bread
Underneath the other window was the Jaeger's table. There
they sat, gossiping as usual with the Forester's helpers, a
herdsman or two, some woodcutters on their way into or out from
the forest, and a pair of smart revenue officers from the Tyrol
border, close by.
Ruth said to the nearest Jaeger in passing:
``Herr Loisl, will you play for us?''
``But certainly, gracious Fraulein! Shall I bring my zither
to the table under the beech tree?''
Miss Dene was a great favorite with the big blond
``Ja freili! will I play for the gracious Fraulein!'' said
Loisl, and cut slices with his hunting knife from a large white
radish and ate them with black bread, shining good-humor from
the tip of the black-cock feather on his old green felt hat to
his bare, bronzed knees and his hobnailed shoes.
At the table under the beech trees were two more great
fellows in gray and green. They rose promptly and were moving
away; Mrs Dene begged them to remain, and they sat down again,
diffidently, but with dignity.
``Herr Sepp,'' said Ruth, smiling a little mischievously,
``how is this? Herr Federl shot a stag of eight this morning,
and I hear that yesterday you missed a Reh-bock!''
Sepp reddened, and laughed. ``Only wait, gracious Fraulein,
next week it is my turn on the Red Peak.''
``Ach, ja! Sepp knows the springs where the deer drink,''
``And you never took us there!'' cried Ruth, reproachfully.
``I would give anything to see the deer come and drink at
Sepp felt his good breeding under challenge. ``If the
gracious Frau permits,'' with a gentlemanly bow to Mrs Dene,
``and the ladies care to come -- but the way is hard -- ''
``You couldn't go, dearest,'' murmured Ruth to her mother,
``but when papa comes back -- ''
``Your father will be delighted to take you wherever there
is a probability of breaking both your necks, my dear,'' said
``Griffin!'' said Ruth, giving her hand a loving little
squeeze under the table.
Loisl came up with his zither and they all made way before
him. Anna placed a small lantern on the table and the light
fell on the handsome bearded Jaeger's face as he leaned
lovingly above his instrument.
The incurable ``Sehnsucht'' of humanity found not its only
expression in that great Symphony where ``all the mightier
strings assembling, fell a trembling.'' Ruth heard it as she
leaned back in the deep shade and listened to those silvery
melodies and chords of wonderful purity, coaxed from the little
zither by Loisl's strong, rough hand, with its tender touch. To
all the airs he played her memory supplied the words. Sometimes
a Sennerin was watching from the Alm for her lover's visit in
the evening. Sometimes the hunter said farewell as he sprang
down the mountainside. Once tears came into Ruth's eyes as the
simple tune recalled how a maiden who died and went to Heaven
told her lover at parting:
``When you come after me I shall know you by my ring which
you will wear, and me you will know by your rose that rests on
Loisl had stopped playing and was tuning a little, idly
sounding chords of penetrating sweetness. There came a noise of
jolting and jingling from the road below.
Mrs Dene spoke softly to Ruth. ``That is the Mail; it is
time he was here.'' Ruth assented absently. She cared at that
moment more for hearing a new folk-song than for the coming of
her old playmate.
Rapid wheels approaching from the same direction overtook
and passed the ``Post'' and stopped below. Mrs Dene rose,
drawing Ruth with her. The three tall Jaegers rose too,
touching their hats. Thanking them all, with a special
compliment to Loisl, the ladies went and stood by some stone
steps which lead from the road to the Först-haus, just as
a young fellow, proceeding up them two at a time, arrived at
the top, and taking Mrs Dene's hand began to kiss it
``At last!'' she cried, ``and the very same boy! after four
years! Ruth!'' Ruth gave one hand and Reginald Gethryn took
two, releasing one the next moment to put his arm around the
little old lady, and so he led them both into the house, more
at home already than they were.
``Shall we begin to talk about how we are not one bit
changed, only a little older, first, or about your supper?''
said Mrs Dene.
``Oh! supper, please!'' said Rex, of the sun-browned face
and laughing eyes. Smiling Anna, standing by, understood, aided
by a hint from Ruth of ``Schmarn und Reh-braten'' -- and
clattered away to fetch the never-changing venison and fried
batter, with which, and Schicksalsee beer, the Frau
Förster sustained her guests the year round, from
``Georgi'' to ``Michaeli'' and from ``Michaeli'' to ``Georgi,''
reasoning that what she liked was good enough for them. The
shapeless cook was ladling out dumplings, which she called
``Nudel,'' into some soup for a Munich opera singer, who had
just arrived by the stage. Anna confided to her that this was a
``feiner Herr,'' and must be served accordingly. The kind Herr
Förster came up to greet his guest. Mrs Dene introduced
him as Mr Gethryn, of New York. At this Mr Blumenthal bounced
forward from a corner where he had been spying and shook hands
hilariously. ``Vell! and how it goes!'' he cried. Rex saw
Ruth's face as she turned away, and stepping to her side, he
whispered, ``Friend of yours?'' The teasing tone woke a
thousand memories of their boy and girl days, and Ruth's young
lady reserve had changed to the frank camaraderie of former
times when she shook her head at him, laughing, as he looked
back at them from the stairs, up which he was following Grethi
and his portmanteau to the room prepared for him.
Half an hour later Mrs Dene and her daughter were looking
with approval at Rex and his hearty enjoyment of the Frau
Förster's fare. The cook, on learning that this was a
``feiner Herr,'' had added trout to the regulation dishes; and
although she was convinced that the only proper way to cook
them was ``blau gesotten'' -- meaning boiled to a livid bluish
white -- she had learned American tastes from the Denes and
sent them in to Gethryn beautifully brown and crisp.
Rex turned one over critically. ``Good little fish. Who is
``Oh! angler! They were caught with bait,'' said Ruth,
wrinkling her nose.
Rex gave her a quick look. ``I suppose you have forgotten
how to cast a fly.''
``No, I think not,'' she answered quietly.
Mrs Dene opened her mouth to speak, and then discreetly
closed it again in silence, reflecting that whatever there was
to come on that point would get itself said without any
assistance from her.
``I had a look at the water as I came along,'' continued
Rex. ``It seemed good casting.''
``I never see it but I think how nice it would be to whip,''
``No! really? Not outgrown the rod and fly since you grew
into ball dresses?''
``Try me and see.''
``Now, my dearest child! -- ''
``Yes, my dearest mother! -- ''
``Yes, dearest Mrs Dene! -- ''
``Oh! nonsense! listen to me, you children. Ruth danced
herself ill at Cannes; and she lost her color, and she had a
little cough, and she has it still, and she is very easily
tired -- ''
``Only of not fishing and hunting, dearest, most
perfect of mothers! You won't put up papa to forbid my going
with him and Rex!''
``Your mother is incapable of such an action. How little you
know her worth! She is only waiting to be assured that you are
to have my greenheart, with a reel that spins fifty yards of
silk. She shall have it, Mrs Dene.''
``Is it as good as the hornbeam?'' asked Ruth, smiling.
``The old hornbeam! do you remember that? I say, Ruth, you
spoke of shooting. Really, can you still shoot?''
``Could I ever forget after such teaching?''
``Well, now, I call that a girl!'' cried Rex,
``Let us hope some people won't call it a hoyden!'' said Mrs
Dene, with the tender pride that made her faultfinding like a
caress. ``The idea of a girl carrying an absurd little
breech-loading rifle all over Europe!''
``What! the one I had built for her?''
``I suppose so,'' said Mrs Dene, with a shade more of
``Miss Dene, you shall kill the first chamois that I
``I fear, Mr Gethryn, the Duke Alfons Adalbert Maximilian in
Baiern will have something to say about that!''
``Yes, indeed, preserved!''
``But they told me I might shoot on the Sonnewendjoch.''
``Ah! But that's in Tyrol, just across the line. You can see
it from here. Austrian game laws aren't Bavarian game laws,
``How much of this country does your duke own?''
``Just half a dozen mountains, and half a dozen lakes, and
half a hundred trout streams, with all the splendid forests
belonging to them.''
``Lucky duke! And is the game preserved in the whole region?
Can't one get a shot?''
``One cannot even carry a gun without a permit.''
Rex groaned. ``And the trout -- I suppose they are
``Yes, but the Herr Förster has the right to fish and
so have his guests. There are, however, conditions. The fish
you take are not yours. You must buy as many of them as you
want to keep, afterward. And they must be brought home alive --
or as nearly alive as is consistent with being shut up in a
close, round, green tin box, full of water which becomes tepid
as it is carried along by a peasant boy in the heat. They
usually die of suffocation. But to the German mind that is all
right. It is only not right when one kills them instantly and
lays them in a cool creel, on fresh wet ferns and moss.''
``Nevertheless, I think we will dispense with the boy and
the green box, in favor of the ferns and moss, assisted by a
five franc piece or two.''
``It isn't francs any more; you're not in France. It's marks
here, you know.''
``Well, I have the same faith in the corrupting power of
marks as of francs, or lire, or shillings, or dollars.''
``And I think you will find your confidence justified,''
said Mrs Dene, smiling.
``Mamma trying to be cynical!'' said Ruth, teasingly.
``Isn't she funny, Rex!''
A thoughtful look stole over her mother's face. ``I can be
terrible, too, sometimes -- '' she said in her little, clear,
high soprano voice; and she gazed musingly at the edge of a
letter, which just appeared above the table, and then sank out
of sight in her lap.
``A letter from papa! It came with the stage! What does he
``He says -- several things; for one, he is coming back
tomorrow instead of the next day.''
``Delightful! But there is more?''
Mrs Dene's face became a cheerful blank. ``Yes, there is
more,'' she said. A pause.
``Mamma,'' began Ruth, ``do you think Griffins desirable as
``Very, for bad children!'' Mrs Dene relapsed into a
pleasant reverie. Ruth looked at her mother as a kitten does in
a game of tag when the old cat has retired somewhere out of
reach and sits up smiling through the barrier.
``You find her sadly changed!'' she said to Gethryn, in that
silvery, mocking tone which she had inherited from her
``On the contrary, I find her the same adorable gossip she
always was. Whatever is in that letter, she is simply dying to
tell us all about it.''
``Suppose we try not speaking, and see how long she can
Rex laid his repeater on the table. Two pairs of laughing
eyes watched the dear little old lady. At the end of three
minutes she raised her own; blue, sweet, running over with fun
``The colonel has a polite invitation from the duke for
himself, and his party, to shoot on the Red Peak.''
In July the sun is still an early riser, but long before he
was up next day a succession of raps on the door woke Gethryn,
and a voice outside inquired, ``Are you going fishing with me
today, you lazy beggar?''
``Colonel!'' cried Rex, and springing up and throwing open
the door, he threatened to mingle his pajamas with the natty
tweeds waiting there in a loving embrace. The colonel backed
away, twisting his white mustache. ``How do, Reggy! Same boy,
eh? Yes. I drove from Schicksalsee this morning.''
``This morning? Wasn't it last night?'' said Rex, looking at
the shadows on the opposite mountain.
``And I am going to get some trout,'' continued the colonel,
ignoring the interruption. ``So's Daisy. See my new waterproof
``Beautiful! but -- is it quite the thing to wear a flower
in one's fishing coat?''
``I'm not aware -- '' began the other stiffly, but broke
down, shook his seal ring at Rex, and walking over to the
glass, rearranged the bit of wild hyacinth in his buttonhole
``And now,'' he said, ``Daisy and I will give you just three
quarters of an hour.'' Rex sent a shower from the water basin
across the room.
``Look out for those new waterproof clothes, Colonel.''
``I'll take them out of harm's way,'' said the colonel, and
Before the time had expired Rex stood under the beech tree
with his rod case and his creel. The colonel sat reading a
novel. Mrs Dene was pouring out coffee. Ruth was coming down a
path which led from a low shed, the door of which stood wide
open, suffering the early sunshine to fall on something that
lay stretched along the floor. It was a stag, whose noble head
and branching antlers would never toss in the sunshine
``Only think!'' cried Ruth breathlessly, ``Federl shot a
stag of ten this morning at daybreak on the Red Peak, and he's
frightened out of his wits, for only the duke has a right to do
that. Federl mistook it for a stag of eight. And they're in the
velvet, besides!'' she added rather incoherently. ``
What luck! Poor Federl! I asked him if that meant
strafen, and he said he guessed not, only
``What's `strafen' and what's `zanken,' Daisy?'' asked the
Colonel, pronouncing the latter like ``z'' in buzz.
Ruth went up to her father and took his face between her
hands, dropping a light kiss on his eyebrow.
`` Strafen is when one whips bad boys and t--s--
zanken is when one only scolds them. Which shall we do
to you, dear? Both?''
``We'll take coffee first, and then we'll see which there's
time for before we leave you hemming a pocket handkerchief
while Rex and I go trout fishing.''
``Such parents!'' sighed Ruth, nestling down beside her
father and looking over her cup at Rex, who gravely nodded
After breakfast, as Ruth stood waiting by the table where
the fishing tackle lay, perfectly composed in manner, but
unable to keep the color from her cheek and the sparkle of
impatience from her eye, Gethryn thought he had seldom seen
anything more charming.
A soft gray Tam crowned her pretty hair. A caped coat,
fastened to the throat, hung over the short kilt skirt, and
rough gaiters buttoned down over a wonderful little pair of
``I say! Ruth! what a stunner you are!'' cried he with
enthusiasm. She turned to the rod case and began lifting and
arranging the rods.
``Rex,'' she said, looking up brightly, ``I feel about
``Or less, judging from your costume,'' said her mother.
``Schicksalsee isn't Rangely, you know. I only hope the good
people in the little ducal court won't call you
``A theatrical stunner!'' mused Ruth, in her clearest tones.
``It is good to know how one strikes one's friends.''
``The disciplining of this young person is to be left to
me,'' said the colonel. ``Daisy, everything else about you is
all wrong, but your frock is all right.''
``That is simple and comprehensive and reassuring,''
murmured Ruth absently, as she bent over the fly-book with
After much consultation and many thoughtful glances at the
bit of water which glittered and dashed through the narrow
meadow in front of the house, they arranged the various colored
lures and leaders, and standing up, looked at Colonel Dene,
reading his novel.
``What? Oh! Come along, then!'' said he, on being made aware
that he was waited for, and standing up also, he dropped the
volume into his creel and lighted a cigar.
``Are you going to take that trash along, dear?'' asked his
``What trash? The work of fiction? That's literature, as the
gentleman said about Dante.''
``Rex,'' said Mrs Dene, buttoning the colonel's coat over
his snowy collar, ``I put this expedition into your hands. Take
care of these two children.''
She stood and watched them until they passed the turn beyond
the bridge. Mr Blumenthal watched them too, from behind the
curtains in his room. His leer went from one to the other, but
always returned and rested on Rex. Then, as there was a
mountain chill in the morning air, he crawled back into bed,
hauling his night cap over his generous ears and rolling
himself in a cocoon of featherbeds, until he should emerge
about noon, like some sleek, fat moth.
The anglers walked briskly up the wooded road, chatting and
laughing, with now and then a sage and critical glance at the
water, of which they caught many glimpses through the trees.
Gethryn and Ruth were soon far ahead. The colonel sauntered
along, switching leaves with his rod and indulging in bursts of
``Papa,'' called Ruth, looking back, ``does your hip trouble
you today, or are you only lazy?''
``Trot along, little girl; I'll be there before you are,''
said the colonel airily, and stopped to replace the wild
hyacinth in his coat by a prim little pink and white daisy.
Then he lighted a fresh cigar and started on, but their voices
were already growing faint in the distance. Observing this, he
stopped and looked up and down the road. No one was in sight.
He sat down on the bank with his hand on his hip. His face
changed from a frown to an expression of sharp pain. In five
minutes he had grown from a fresh elderly man into an old man,
his face drawn and gray, but he only muttered ``the devil!''
and sat still. A big bronze-winged beetle whizzed past him,
z--z--ip! ``like a bullet,'' he thought, and pressed both hands
now on his hip. ``Twenty-five years ago -- pshaw! I'm not so
old as that!'' But it was twenty-five years ago when the
blue-capped troopers, bursting in to the rescue, found the
dandy ``---th,'' scorched and rent and blackened, still reeling
beneath a rag crowned with a gilt eagle. The exquisite
befeathered and gold laced ``---th.'' But the shells have
rained for hours among the ``Dandies'' -- and some are dead,
and some are wishing for death, like that youngster lying there
with the shattered hip.
Colonel Dene rose up presently and relighted his cigar; then
he flicked some dust from the new tweeds, picked a stem of wild
hyacinth, and began to whistle. ``Pshaw! I'm not so old as all
that!'' he murmured, sauntering along the pleasant wood-road.
Before long he came in sight of Ruth and Gethryn, who were
waiting. But he only waved them on, laughing.
``Papa always says that old wound of his does not hurt him,
but it does. I know it does,'' said Ruth.
Rex noted what tones of tenderness there were in her cool,
clear voice. He did not answer, for he could only agree with
her, and what could be the use of that?
They strolled on in silence, up the fragrant forest road.
Great glittering dragonflies drifted along the river bank, or
hung quivering above pools. Clouds of lazy sulphur butterflies
swarmed and floated, eddying up from the road in front of them
and settling down again in their wake like golden dust. A fox
stole across the path, but Gethryn did not see him. The mesh of
his landing net was caught just then in a little gold clasp
that he wore on his breast.
``How quaint!'' cried Ruth; ``let me help you; there! One
would think you were a French legitimist, with your
``Thank you'' -- was all he answered, and turned away, as he
felt the blood burn his face. But Ruth was walking lightly on
and had not noticed. The fleur-de-lis, however, reminded her of
something she had to say, and she began again, presently --
``You left Paris rather suddenly, did you not, Rex?''
This time he colored furiously, and Ruth, turning to him,
saw it. She flushed too, fearing to have made she knew not what
blunder, but she went on seriously, not pausing for his
``The year before, that is three years ago now, we waited in
Italy, as we had promised to do, for you to join us. But you
never even wrote to say why you did not come. And you haven't
explained it yet, Rex.''
Gethryn grew pale. This was what he had been expecting. He
knew it would have to come; in fact he had wished for nothing
more than an opportunity for making all the amends that were
possible under the circumstances. But the possible amends were
very, very inadequate at best, and now that the opportunity was
here, his courage failed, and he would have shirked it if he
could. Besides, for the last five minutes, Ruth had been
innocently stirring memories that made his heart beat
And now she was waiting for her answer. He glanced at the
clear profile as she walked beside him. Her eyes were raised a
little; they seemed to be idly following the windings of a path
that went up the opposite mountainside; her lips rested one
upon the other in quiet curves. He thought he had never seen
such a pure, proud looking girl. All the chivalry of a generous
and imaginative man brought him to her feet.
``I cannot explain. But I ask your forgiveness. Will you
grant it? I won't forgive myself!''
She turned instantly and gave him her hand, not smiling, but
her eyes were very gentle. They walked on a while in silence,
then Rex said:
``Ever since I came, I have been trying to find courage to
ask pardon for that unpardonable conduct, but when I looked in
your dear mother's face, I felt myself such a brute that I was
only fit to hold my tongue. And I believed,'' he added, after a
pause, ``that she would forgive me too. She was always better
to me than I deserved.''
``Yes,'' said Ruth.
``And you also are too good to me,'' he continued, ``in
giving me this chance to ask your pardon.'' His voice took on
the old caressing tone in which he used to make peace after
their boy and girl tiffs. ``I knew very well that with you I
should have a stricter account to settle than with your
mother,'' he said, smiling.
``Yes,'' said Ruth again. And then with a little effort and
a slight flush she added:
``I don't think it is good for men when too many excuses are
made for them. Do you?''
``No, I do not,'' answered Rex, and thought, if all women
were like this one, how much easier it would be for men to lead
a good life! His heart stopped its heavy beating. The memories
which he had been fighting for two years faded away once more;
his spirits rose, and he felt like a boy as he kept step with
Ruth along the path which had now turned and ran close beside
``Now tell me something of your travels,'' said Ruth. ``You
have been in the East.''
``Yes, in Japan. But first I stopped a while in India with
some British officers, nice fellows. There was some pheasant
``Pheasants! No tigers?''
``You shot him! Oh! tell me about it!''
``No, I only saw him.''
``In a jungle.''
``Did you fire?''
``No, for he was already dead, and the odor which pervaded
his resting place made me hurry away as fast as if he had been
``You are a provoking boy!''
Rex laughed. ``I did shoot a cheetah in China.''
``A dead one?''
``No, he was snarling over a dead buck.''
``Then you do deserve some respect.''
``If you like. But it was very easy. One bullet settled him.
I was fined afterward.''
``Fined! for what?''
``For shooting the Emperor's trained cheetah. After that I
always looked to see if the game wore a silver collar before I
Ruth would not look as if she heard.
Rex went on teasingly: ``I assure you it was embarrassing,
when the pheasants were bursting cover, to be under the
necessity of inquiring at the nearest house if those were
really pheasants or only Chinese hens.''
``Rex,'' exclaimed Ruth, indignantly, ``I hope you don't
think I believe a word you are saying.''
They had stopped to rest beside the stream, and now the
colonel sauntered into view, his hands full of wild flowers,
his single eyeglass gleaming beside his delicate straight
``Do you know,'' he asked, strolling up to Ruth and tucking
a cluster of bluebells under her chin, ``do you know what old
Hugh Montgomery would say if he were here?''
``He'd say,'' she replied promptly, ``that `we couldn't take
no traout with the pesky sun a shinin' and a brilin' the hull
``Yes,'' said Rex. ``Rise at four, east wind, cloudy
morning, that was Hugh. But he could cast a fly.''
``Couldn't he!'' said the colonel. ```I cal'late ter chuck a
bug ez fur ez enny o' them city fellers, 'n I kin,' says Hugh.
Going to begin here, Rex?''
``What does Ruth think?''
``She thinks she isn't in command of this party,'' Ruth
``It will take us until late in the afternoon to whip the
stream from here to the lowest bridge.'' Rex smiled down at her
and pushed back his cap with a boyish gesture.
She had forgotten it until that moment. Now it brought a
perfect flood of pleasant associations. She had seen him look
that way a hundred times when, in their teens, they two had
lingered by the Northern Lakes. Her whole face changed and
softened, but she turned away, nodding assent, and went and
stood by her father, looking down at him with the bantering air
which was a family trait. The lively colonel had found a sunny
log on the bank, where he was sitting, leisurely joining his
``Hello!'' he cried, glancing up, ``what are you two
amateurs about? As usual, I'm ready to begin before Rex is
awake!'' and stepping to the edge he landed his flies with a
flourish in a young birch tree. Rex came and disengaged them,
and he received the assistance with perfect
``Now see the new waterproof rig wade!'' said Ruth,
``Go and wade yourself and don't bully your old father!''
cried the colonel.
``Old! this child old!''
``Oh! come along, Ruth!'' called Rex, waiting on the shore
and falling unconsciously into the tone of sixteen speaking to
For answer she slipped the cover from her slender rod and
dexterously fitted the delicate tip to the second joint.
``Hasn't forgotten how to put a rod together! Wonderful
``Oh, I knew you were waiting to see me place the second
joint in the butt first!'' She deftly ran the silk through the
guides, and then scientifically knotting the leader, slipped on
a cast of three flies and picked her way daintily to the river
bank. As she waded in the sudden cold made her gasp a little to
herself, but she kept straight on without turning her head, and
presently stepped on a broad, flat rock over which the water
was slipping smoothly.
Gethryn waited near the bank and watched her as she sent the
silk hissing thirty feet across the stream. The line swished
and whistled, and the whole cast, hand fly, dropper and
stretcher settled down lightly on the water. He noticed the
easy motion of the wrist, the boyish pose of the slender
figure, the serious sweet face, half shaded by the soft woolen
Swish--h--h! Swish--h--h! She slowly spun out forty feet,
glancing back at Gethryn with a little laugh. Suddenly there
was a tremendous splash, just beyond the dropper, answered by a
turn of the white wrist, and then the reel fairly shrieked as
the line melted away like a thread of smoke. Gethryn's eyes
glittered with excitement, and the colonel took his cigar out
of his mouth. But they didn't shout, ``You have him! Go easy on
him! Want any help!'' They kept quiet.
Cautiously, and by degrees, Ruth laced her little gloved
fingers over the flying line, and presently a quiver of the rod
showed that the fish was checked. She reeled in, slowly and
steadily for a moment, and then, whiz--z--z! off he dashed
again. At seventy feet the rod trembled and the trout was
still. Again and again she urged him toward the shore, meeting
his furious dashes with perfect coolness and leading him
dexterously away from rocks and roots. When he sulked she gave
him the butt, and soon the full pressure sent him flying, only
to end in a furious full length leap out of water, and another
The colonel's cigar went out.
At last she spoke, very quietly, without looking back.
``Rex, there is no good place to beach him here; will you
net him, please?'' Rex was only waiting for this; he had his
landing net already unslung and he waded to her side.
``Now!'' she whispered. The fiery side of a fish glittered
just beneath the surface. With a skillful dip, a splash, and a
spatter the trout lay quivering on the bank.
Gethryn quickly ended his life and held him up to view.
``Beautiful!'' cried the colonel. ``Good girl, Daisy! but
don't spoil your frock!'' And picking up his own rod he
relighted his cigar and essayed some conscientious casting on
his own account. But he soon wearied of the paths of virtue and
presently went in search of a grasshopper, with evil
Meanwhile Ruth was blushing to the tips of her ears at
``I never saw a prettier sight!'' he cried. ``You're --
you're splendid, Ruth! Nerve, judgment, skill -- my dear girl,
you have everything!''
Ruth's eyes shone like stars as she watched him in her turn
while he sent his own flies spinning across a pool. And now
there was nothing to be heard but the sharp whistle of the silk
and the rush of the water. It seemed a long time that they had
stood there, when suddenly the colonel created a commotion by
hooking and hauling forth a trout of meagre proportions.
Unheeding Rex's brutal remarks, he silently inspected his prize
dangling at the end of the line. It fell back into the water
and darted away gayly upstream, but the colonel was not in the
least disconcerted and strolled off after another
``Papa! are you a bait fisherman!'' cried his daughter
The colonel dropped his hat guiltily over a lively young
cricket, and standing up said ``No!'' very loud.
It was no use -- Ruth had to laugh, and shortly afterward he
was seated comfortably on the log again, his line floating with
the stream, in his hands a volume with yellow paper covers, the
worse for wear, bearing on its back the legend ``Calman Levy,
Rex soon struck a good trout and Ruth another, but the first
one remained the largest, and finally Gethryn called to the
colonel, ``If you don't mind, we're going on.''
``All right! take care of Daisy. We will meet and lunch at
the first bridge.'' Then, examining his line and finding the
cricket still there, he turned up his coat collar to keep off
sunburn, opened his book, and knocked the ashes from his
``Here,'' said Gethryn two hours later, ``is the bridge, but
no colonel. Are you tired, Ruth? And hungry?''
``Yes, both, but happier than either!''
``Well, that was a big trout, the largest we shall take
today, I think.''
They reeled in their dripping lines, and sat down under a
tree beside the lunch basket, which a boy from the lodge was
``I wish papa would come,'' said Ruth, with an anxious look
up the road. ``He ought to be hungry too, by this time.''
Rex poured her a cup of red Tyroler wine and handed her a
sandwich. Then, calling the boy, he gave him such a generous
``Viertel'' for himself as caused him to retire precipitately
and consume it with grins, modified by boiled sausage. Ruth
looked after him and smiled in sympathy. ``I wonder how papa
got rid of the other one with the green tin water-box.''
``I know; I was present at the interview,'' laughed Rex.
``Your father handed him a ten mark piece and said, `Go away,
you superfluous Bavarian!'''
``Yes, and he must have understood, for he grinned and
It was good to hear the ring of Ruth's laugh. She was so
happy that she found the smallest joke delightful, and her
voice was very sweet. Rex lighted a cigarette and leaned back
against a tree, in great comfort. Ruth, perched on a log,
watched the smoke drift and curl. Gethryn watched her. They
each cared as much for the hours they had spent in the brook,
and for their wet clothing, as vigorous, happy, and imprudent
youth ever cares about such things.
``So you are happy, Ruth?''
``Perfectly. And you? -- But it takes more to make a spoiled
young man happy than -- ''
``Than a spoiled young woman? I don't know about that. Yes,
I -- am -- happy.'' Was the long puff of smoke ascending slowly
responsible for the pauses between his words? A slight shadow
was in his eyes for one moment. It passed, and he turned on her
his most charming smile, as he repeated, ``Perfectly
``Still no colonel!'' he went on; ``when he comes he will be
tired. We don't want any more trout, do we? We have eighteen,
all good ones. Suppose we rest and go back all together by the
road?'' Ruth nodded, smiling to see him fondle the creel full
of shining fish, bedded on fragrant leaves.
Rex's cap lay beside him, his head leaned back against the
tree, his face was turned up to the bending branches. Presently
he closed his eyes.
It might have been one minute, or ten. Ruth sat and watched
him. He had grown very handsome. He had that pleasant air of
good breeding which some men retain under any and all
circumstances. It has nothing to do with character, and yet it
is difficult to think ill of a man who possesses it. When she
had seen him last, his nose was too near a snub to inspire much
respect, and his mustache was still in the state of colorless
scarcity. Now his hair and mustache were thick and tawny, and
his features were clear and firm. She noticed the pleasant line
of the cheek, the clean curve of the chin, the light on the
crisp edges of his close-cut hair -- the two freckles on his
nose, and she decided that that short, straight nose, with its
generous and humorous nostrils, was wholly fascinating. As
girls always will, she began to wonder about his life -- idly
at first, but these speculations lead one sometimes farther
than one was prepared to go at the start. How much of his
delightful manner to them all was due to affection, and how
much to kindliness and good spirits? How much did he care for
those other friends, for that other life in Paris? Who were the
friends? What was the life? She looked at him, it seemed to
her, a long time. Had he ever loved a woman? Was he still in
love, perhaps, with someone? Ruth was no child. But she was a
lady, and a proud one. There were things she did not choose to
think about, although she knew of their existence well enough.
She brought herself up at this point with a sharp pull, and
just then Gethryn, opening his eyes, smiled at her.
She turned quickly away; to her perfect consternation her
cheeks grew hot. Bewildered by her own confusion, she rose as
she turned, and saying how lovely the water looked, went and
stood on the bridge, leaning over. Rex was on his feet in an
instant, so covered with confusion too, that he never saw
``I say, Ruth, I haven't been such a brute as to fall
asleep! Indeed I haven't! I was thinking of Braith.''
``And if you had fallen asleep you wouldn't be a brute, you
tired boy! And who is Braith?''
Ruth turned smiling to meet him, restored to herself and
thankful for the diversion.
``Braith,'' said Rex earnestly. ``Braith is the best man in
this wicked world, and my dearest friend. To whom,'' he added,
``I have not written one word since I left him two ears
Ruth's face fell. ``Is that the way you treat your dearest
friends?'' -- and she thought: ``No wonder one is neglected
when one is only an old playmate!'' -- but she was instantly
ashamed of the little bitterness, and put it aside.
``Ah! you don't know of what we are capable,'' said Gethryn;
and once more a shadow fell on his face.
A familiar form came jauntily down the road. Ruth hastened
to meet it. ``At last, Father! You want your luncheon, poor
``I do indeed, Daisy!''
The colonel came as gallantly up as if he had thirty pounds
of trout to show instead of a creel that contained nothing but
a novel by the newest and wickedest master of French fiction.
He made a mild attempt to perjure himself about a large fish
that had somehow got away from him, but desisted and merely
added that a caning would be good for Rex.
Tired he certainly was, and when he was seated on the log
and Ruth was bringing him his wine, he looked sharply at her
and said, ``You too, Daisy; you've done enough for the first
day. We'll go home by the road.''
``It is what I was just proposing to her,'' said Rex.
``Yes, you are both right,'' said Ruth. ``I am tired.''
``And happy?'' laughed Rex. But perhaps Ruth did not hear,
for she spoke at the same time to her father.
``Dear, you haven't told Rex yet how you got the invitation
``Oh, yes! It was at an officers' dinner in Munich. The duke
was there and I was introduced to him. He spoke of it as soon
as they told him we were stopping here.''
``He's a brick,'' said Rex, rising. ``Shall we start for
home, Colonel? Ruth must be tired.''
When they turned in at the Forester's door, the colonel
ordered Daisy to her room, where Mrs Dene and their maid were
waiting to make her luxuriously comfortable with dry things,
and rugs, and couches, and cups of tea that were certainly not
drawn from the Frau Förster's stores. Tea in Germany being
more awful than tobacco, or tobacco more awful than tea,
according as one cares most for tea or tobacco.
The colonel and Rex sat after supper under the big beech
tree. Ruth, from her window, could see their cigars alight,
and, now and then, hear their voices.
Rex was telling the colonel about Braith, of whom he had not
ceased thinking since the afternoon. He went to his room early
and wrote a long letter to him.
It began: ``You did not expect to hear from me until I was
cured. Well, you are hearing from me now, are you not?''
And it ended: ``Only a few more weeks, and then I shall
return to you and Paris, and the dear old life. This is the
middle of July. In September I shall come back.''
After the colonel's return, Mr Blumenthal found many
difficulties in the way of that social ease which was his
ideal. The ladies were never to be met with unaccompanied by
the colonel or Gethryn; usually both were in attendance. If he
spoke to Mrs Dene, or Ruth, it was always the colonel who
answered, and there was a gleam in that trim warrior's single
eyeglass which did not harmonize with the grave politeness of
his voice and manner.
Rex had never taken Mr Blumenthal so seriously. He called
him ``Our Bowery brother,'' and ``the Gentleman from West
Brighton,'' and he passed some delightful moments in observing
his gruesome familiarity with the maids, his patronage of the
grave Jaegers, and his fraternal attitude toward the head of
the house. It was great to see him hook a heavy arm in an arm
of the tall, military Herr Förster, and to see the latter
But there came an end to Rex's patience.
One morning, when they were sitting over their coffee out of
doors, Mr Blumenthal walked into their midst. He wore an old
flannel shirt, and trousers too tight for him, inadequately
held up by a strap. He displayed a tin bait box and a red and
green float, and said he had come to inquire of Rex ``vere to
dig a leetle vorms,'' and also to borrow of him ``dot feeshpole
mitn seelbern ringes.''
The request, and the grossness of his appearance before the
ladies, were too much for a gentleman and an angler.
Rex felt his gorge rise, and standing up brusquely, he
walked away. Ruth thoughtlessly slipped after him and murmured
over his shoulder:
``Friend of yours?''
Gethryn's fists unclenched and came out of his pockets and
he and Ruth went away together, laughing under the trees.
Mr Blumenthal stood where Rex had left him, holding out the
bait-box and gazing after them. Then he turned and looked at
the colonel and his wife. Perspiration glistened on his pasty,
pale face and the rolls of fat that crowded over his flannel
collar. His little, dead, white-rimmed, pale gray eyes had the
ferocity of a hog's which has found something to rend and
devour. He looked into their shocked faces and made a bow.
``Goot ma--a--rnin, Mister and Missess Dene!'' he said, and
turned his back.
The elderly couple exchanged glances as he disappeared.
``We won't mention this to the children,'' said the gentle
That was the last they saw of him. Nobody knew where he kept
himself in the interval, but about a week later he came running
down with a valise in his hand and jumped into a carriage from
the ``Green Bear'' at Schicksalsee, which had just brought some
people out and was returning empty. He forgot to give the usual
``Trinkgeld'' to the servants, and a lively search in his room
discovered nothing but a broken collar button and a crumpled
telegram in French. But Grethi had her compensation that
evening, when she led the conversation in the kitchen and Mr
Blumenthal was discussed in several South German dialects.
By this time August was well advanced, but there had been as
yet no ``Jagd-partie,'' as Sepp called the hunting excursion
planned with such enthusiasm weeks before. After that first day
in the trout stream, Ruth not only suffered more from fatigue
than she had expected, but the little cough came back, causing
her parents to draw the lines of discipline very tight
Ruth, whose character seemed made of equal parts of good
taste and reasonableness, sweet temper and humor, did not offer
the least opposition to discipline, and when her mother
remarked that, after all, there was a difference between a
schoolgirl and a young lady, she did not deny it. The colonel
and Rex went off once or twice with the Jaegers, but in a
halfhearted way, bringing back more experience than game. Then
Rex went on a sketching tour. Then the colonel was suddenly
called again to Munich to meet some old army men just arrived
from home, and so it was not until about a week after Mr
Blumenthal's departure that, one evening when the Sennerins
were calling the cows on the upper Alm, a party of climbers
came up the side of the Red Peak and stopped at ``Nani's
Sepp threw down the green sack from his shoulders to the
bench before the door and shouted:
``Nani! du! Nani!'' No answer.
``Mari und Josef!'' he muttered; then raising his voice,
again he called for Nani with all his lungs.
A muffled answer came from somewhere around the other side
of the house. ``Ja! komm glei!'' And then there was nothing to
do but sit on the bench and watch the sunset fade from peak to
peak while they waited.
Nani did not come ``glei'' -- but she came pretty soon,
bringing with her two brimming milk-pails as an excuse for the
She and Sepp engaged at once in a conversation, to which the
colonel listened with feelings that finally had to seek
``I believe,'' he said in a low voice, ``that German is the
language of the devil.''
``I fancy he's master of more than one. And besides, this
isn't German, any more than our mountain dialects are English.
And really,'' Ruth went on, ``if it comes to comparing
dialects, it seems to me ours can't stand the test. These are
harsh enough. But where in the world is human speech so ugly,
so poverty-stricken, so barren of meaning and feeling, and
shade and color and suggestiveness, as the awful talk of our
rustics? A Bavarian, a Tyroler, often speaks a whole poem in a
single word, like -- ''
``Do you think one of those poems is being spoken about our
supper now, Daisy?''
``Sybarite!'' cried Ruth, with that tinkle of fun in her
voice which was always sounding between her and her parents;
``I won't tell you.'' The truth was she did not dare to tell
her hungry companions that, so far as she had been able to
understand Sepp and Nani, their conversation had turned
entirely on a platform dance -- which they called a
``Schuh-plattl'' -- and which they proposed to attend together
on the following Sunday.
But Sepp, having had his gossip like a true South German
hunter-man, finally did ask the important question:
``Ach! supper! du lieber Himmel!'' There was little enough
of that for the Herrschaften. There was black bread and milk,
and there were some Semmel, but those were very old and
``Yes, but no sugar.''
When Sepp delivered this news to his party they all laughed
and said black bread and milk would do. So Nani invited them
into her only room -- the rest of the ``Hütterl'' was
kitchen and cow-shed -- and brought the feast.
A second Sennerin came with her this time, in a costume
which might have startled them, if they had not already seen
others like it. It consisted of a pair of high blue cotton
trousers drawn over her skirts, the latter bulging all round
inside the jeans. She had no teeth and there was a large goiter
on her neck.
``Good Heavens!'' muttered the colonel, setting down his
bowl of milk and twisting around to stare out of the window
``Poor thing! she can't help it!'' murmured Ruth.
``No more she can, you dear, good girl!'' said Rex, and his
eyes shone very kindly. Ruth caught her breath at the sudden
beating of her heart.
What was left of daylight came through the little window and
fell upon her face; it was as white as a flower, and very
Dusk was setting in when Sepp made his appearance. He stood
about in some hesitation, and finally addressed himself to Ruth
as the one who could best understand his dialect. She listened
and then turned to her father.
``Sepp doesn't exactly know where to lodge me. He had
thought I could stay here with Nani -- ''
``Not if I can help it!'' cried the colonel.
``While,'' Ruth went on -- ``while you and Rex went up to
the Jaeger's hut above there on the rocks. He says it's very
rough at the Jagd-hütte.''
``Is anyone else there? What does Sepp mean by telling us
now for the first time? '' demanded the colonel sharply.
``He says he was afraid I wouldn't come if I knew how rough
it was -- and that -- '' added Ruth, laughing -- ``he says
would have been such a pity! Besides, he thought Nani was alone
-- and I could have had her room while she slept on the hay in
the loft. I'm sure this is as neat as a mountain shelter could
be,'' said Ruth -- looking about her at the high piled feather
beds, covered in clean blue and white check, and the spotless
floor and the snow white pine table. ``I'd like to stay here,
only the -- the other lady has just arrived too!''
``The lady in the blue overalls?''
``Yes -- and -- '' Ruth stopped, unwilling to say how little
relish she felt for the society of the second Sennerin. But Rex
and her father were on their feet and speaking together.
``We will go and see about the Jagd-hütte. You don't
mind being left for five minutes?''
``The idea! go along, you silly boys!''
The colonel came back very soon, and in the best of
``It's all right, Daisy! It's a dream of luxury!'' and
carried her off, hardly giving her time to thank Nani and to
say a winningly kind word to the hideous one, who gazed back at
her, pitchfork in hand, without reply. No one will ever know
whether or not she felt any more cheered by Ruth's pleasant
ways than the cows did who were putting their heads out from
the stalls where she was working.
The dream of luxury was a low hut of two rooms. The outer
one had a pile of fresh hay in one corner and a few blankets.
Some of the dogs were already curled up there. The inner room
contained two large bunks with hay and rugs and blankets; a
bench ran where the bunks were not, around the sides; a shelf
was above the bunks; there was a cupboard and a chest and a
``Why, this is luxury!'' cried Ruth.
``Well -- I think so, too. I'm immensely relieved. Sepp says
artists bring their wives up here to stay over for the sunrise.
You'll do? Eh?''
``I should think so!''
``Good! then Rex and I and Sepp and the Dachl'' -- he always
would say ``Dockles'' -- ``will keep guard outside against any
wild cows that may happen to break loose from Nani. Good night,
little girl! Sure you're not too tired?''
Rex stood hesitating in the open door. Ruth went and gave
him her hand. He kissed it, and she, meaning to please him with
the language she knew he liked best, said, smiling, ``Bonne
nuit, mon ami!'' At the same moment her father passed her, and
the two men closed the door and went away together. The last
glimmer of dusk was in the room. Ruth had not seen Gethryn's
``Bonne nuit, mon ami!'' Those tender, half forgotten -- no!
never, never forgotten words! Rex threw himself on the hay and
lay still, his hands clenched over his breast.
The kindly colonel was sound asleep when Sepp came in with a
tired but wagging hound, from heaven knows what scramble among
the higher cliffs by starlight. The night air was chilly. Rex
called the dog to his side and took him in his arms. ``We will
keep each other warm,'' he said, thinking of the pups. And
Zimbach, assenting with sentimental whines, was soon asleep.
But Gethryn had not closed his eyes when the Jaeger sprang up
as the day broke. A faint gray light came in at the little
window. All the dogs were leaping about the room. Sepp gave
himself a shake, and his toilet was made.
``Colonel,'' said Rex, standing over a bundle of rugs and
hay in which no head was visible, ``Colonel! Sepp says we must
hurry if we want to see a `gams.'''
The colonel turned over. What he said was: ``Damn the
Gomps!'' But he thought better of that and stood up, looking
``Come and have a dip in the spring,'' laughed Rex.
When they took their dripping heads out of the wooden trough
into which a mountain spring was pouring and running out again,
leaving it always full, and gazed at life -- between rubs of
the hard crash towel -- it had assumed a kinder aspect.
Half an hour later, when they all were starting for the top,
Ruth let the others pass her, and pausing for a moment with her
hand on the lintel, she looked back into the little
smoke-blackened hut. The door of the inner room was open. She
had dreamed the sweetest dream of her life there.
Before the others could miss her she was beside them, and
soon was springing along in advance, swinging her alpenstock.
It seemed as if she had the wings as well as the voice of a
Der Jaeger zieht in grünem Wald
Mit frölichem Halloh!
Sepp laughed from the tip of his feather to the tip of his
``Wie's gnädige Fraulein hat G'müth!'' he said to
``What's that?'' asked the colonel.
``He says,'' translated Rex freely, ``What a lot of every
delightful quality Ruth possesses!''
But Ruth heard, and turned about and was very severe with
him. ``Such shirking! Translate me Gemüth at
once, sir, if you please!''
``Old Wiseboy at Yarvard confessed he couldn't, short of a
treatise, and who am I to tackle what beats Wiseboy?''
``Can you, Daisy?'' asked her father.
``Not in the least, but that's no reason for letting Rex
off.'' Her voice took on a little of the pretty bantering tone
she used to her parents. She was beginning to feel such a happy
confidence in Rex's presence.
They were in the forest now, moving lightly over the wet,
springy leaves, probing cautiously for dangerous, loose
boulders and treacherous slides. When they emerged, it was upon
a narrow plateau; the rugged limestone rocks rose on one side,
the precipice plunged down on the other. Against the rocks lay
patches of snow, grimy with dirt and pebbles; from a cleft the
long greenish white threads of ``Peter's beard'' waved at them;
in a hollow bloomed a thicket of pink Alpen-rosen.
They had just reached a clump of low firs, around the corner
of a huge rock, when a rush of loose stones and a dull sound of
galloping made them stop. Sepp dropped on his face; the others
followed his example. The hound whined and pulled at the
On the opposite slope some twenty Hirsch-cows, with their
fawns, were galloping down into the valley, carrying with them
a torrent of earth and gravel. Presently they slackened and
stopped, huddling all together into a thicket. The Jaeger
lifted his head and whispered ``Stück''; that being the
complimentary name by which one designates female deer in
``All?'' said Rex, under his breath. At the same moment Ruth
touched his shoulder.
On the crest of the second ridge, only a hundred yards
distant, stood a stag, towering in black outline, the sun just
coming up behind him. Then two other pairs of antlers rose from
behind the ridge, two more stags lifted their heads and
shoulders and all three stood silhouetted against the sky. They
tossed and stamped and stared straight at the spot where their
enemies lay hidden.
A moment, and the old stag disappeared; the others followed
``If they come again, shoot,'' said Sepp.
Rex passed his rifle to Ruth. They waited a few minutes;
then the colonel jumped up.
``I thought we were after chamois!'' he grumbled.
``So we are,'' said Rex, getting on his feet.
A shot rang out, followed by another. They turned, sharply.
Ruth, looking half frightened, was lowering the smoking rifle
from her shoulder. Across the ravine a large stag was swaying
on the edge; then he fell and rolled to the bottom. The hound,
loosed, was off like an arrow, scrambling and tumbling down the
side. The four hunters followed, somehow. Sepp got down first
and sent back a wild Jodel. The stag lay there, dead, and his
splendid antlers bore eight prongs.
When Ruth came up she had her hand on her father's arm. She
stood and leaned on him, looking down at the stag. Pity mingled
with a wild intoxicating sense of achievement confused her. A
rich color flushed her cheek, but the curve of her lips was
Sepp solemnly drew forth his flask of Schnapps and, taking
off his hat to her, drank ``Waidmann's Heil!'' -- a toast only
drunk by hunters to hunters.
Gethryn shook hands with her twenty times and praised her
until she could bear no more.
She took her hand from her father's arm and drew herself up,
determined to preserve her composure. The wind blew the little
bright rings of hair across her crimson cheek and wrapped her
kilts about her slender figure as she stood, her rifle poised
across her shoulder, one hand on the stock and one clasped
below the muzzle.
``Are you laughing at me, Rex?''
``You know I am not!''
Never had she been so happy in her whole life.
The game drawn and hung, to be fetched later, they resumed
their climb and hastened upward toward the peak.
Ruth led. She hardly felt the ground beneath her, but sprang
from rock to moss and from boulder to boulder, till a gasp from
Gethryn made her stop and turn about.
``Good Heavens, Ruth! what a climber you are!''
And now the colonel sat down on the nearest stone and flatly
refused to stir.
``Oh! is it the hip, Father?'' cried Ruth, hurrying back and
kneeling beside him.
``No, of course it isn't! It's indignation!'' said her
father, calmly regarding her anxious face. ``If you can't go up
mountains like a human girl, you're not going up any more
mountains with me.''
``Oh! I'll go like a human snail if you want, dear! I've
been too selfish! It's a shame to tire you so!''
``Indeed, it is a perfect shame!'' cried the colonel.
Ruth had to laugh. ``As I remarked to Rex, early this
morning,'' her father continued, adjusting his eyeglass, ``hang
the Gomps!'' Rex discreetly offered no comment. ``Moreover,''
the colonel went on, bringing all the severity his eyeglass
permitted to bear on them both, ``I decline to go walking any
longer with a pair of lunatics. I shall confide you both to
Sepp and will wait for you at the upper Shelter.''
``But it's only indignation; it isn't the hip, Father?''
said Ruth, still hanging about him, but trying to laugh, since
he would have her laugh.
He saw her trouble, and changing his tone said seriously,
``My little girl, I'm only tired of this scramble, that's
She had to be contented with this, and they separated, her
father taking a path which led to the right, up a steep but
well cleared ascent to a plateau, from which they could see the
gable of a roof rising, and beyond that the tip-top rock with
its white cross marking the highest point. The others passed to
the left, around and among huge rocks, where all the hollows
were full of grimy snow. The ground was destitute of trees and
all shrubs taller than the hardy Alpen-rosen. Masses of rock
lay piled about the limestone crags that formed the summit. The
sun had not yet tipped their peak with purple and orange, but
some of the others were lighting up. No insects darted about
them; there was not a living thing among the near rocks except
the bluish black salamanders, which lay here and there, cold
They walked on in silence; the trail grew muddy, the ground
was beaten and hatched up with small, sharp hoof prints. Sepp
kneeled down and examined them.
``Hirsch, Reh, and fawn, and ja! ja! Sehen Sie? Gams!''
After this they went on cautiously. All at once a peculiar
shrill hiss, half whistle, half cry, sounded very near.
A chamois, followed by two kids, flashed across a heap of
rocks above their heads and disappeared. The Jaeger muttered
something, deep in his beard.
``You wouldn't have shot her?'' said Ruth, timidly.
``No, but she will clear this place of chamois. It's useless
to stay here now.''
It was an hour's hard pull to the next peak. When at last
they lay sheltered under a ledge, grimy snow all about them,
the Jaeger handed his glass to Ruth.
``Hirsch on the Kaiser Alm, three Reh by Nani's
Hütterl, and one in the ravine,'' he said, looking at
Gethryn, who was searching eagerly with his own glass. Ruth
balanced the one she held against her alpenstock.
``Yes, I see them all -- and -- why, there's a
Sepp seized the glass which she held toward him.
``The gracious Fraülein has a hunter's eyesight; a
chamois is feeding just above the Hirsch.''
``We are right for the wind, but is this the best place?''
``We must make the best of it,'' said Sepp.
The speck of yellow was almost imperceptibly approaching
their knoll, but so slowly that Ruth almost doubted if it moved
Sepp had the glass, and declining the one Rex offered her,
she turned for a moment to the superb panorama at their feet.
East, west, north and south the mountain world extended. By
this time the snow mountains of Tyrol were all lighted to gold
and purple, rose and faintest violet. Sunshine lay warm now on
all the near peaks. But great billowy oceans of mist rolled
below along the courses of the Alp-fed streams, and, deep under
a pall of heavy, pale gray cloud, the Trauerbach was rushing
through its hidden valley down to Schicksalsee and Todtstein.
There was perfect silence, only now and then made audible by
the tinkle of a distant cowbell and the Jodel of a Sennerin.
Ruth turned again toward the chamois. She could see it now
without a glass. But Sepp placed his in her hand.
The chamois was feeding on the edge of a cliff, moving here
and there, leaping lightly across some gully, tossing its head
up for a precautionary sniff. Suddenly it gave a bound and
stood still, alert. Two great clumsy ``Hirsch-kühe'' had
taken fright at some imaginary danger, and, uttering their
peculiar half grunt, half roar, were galloping across the alm
in half real, half assumed panic with their calves at their
The elderly female Hirsch is like a timorous granny who
loves to scare herself with ghost stories, and adores the
sensation of jumping into bed before the robber under it can
catch her by the ankle.
It was such an alarm as this which now sent the two fussy
old deer, with their awkward long legged calves, clattering
away with terror-stricken roars which startled the delicate
chamois, and for one moment petrified him. The next, with a
bound, he fairly flew along the crest, seeming to sail across
the ravine like a hawk, and to cover distances in the flash of
an eye. Sepp uttered a sudden exclamation and forgot everything
but what he saw. He threw his rifle forward, there was a sharp
click! -- the cartridge had not exploded. Next moment he
remembered himself and turned ashamed and deprecating to
Gethryn. The latter laid his hand on the Jaeger's arm and
pointed. The chamois' sharp ear had caught the click! -- he
swerved aside and bounded to a point of rock to look for this
new danger. Rex tried to put his rifle in Ruth's hands. She
pressed it back, resolutely. ``It is your turn,'' she motioned
with her lips, and drew away out of his reach. That was no time
for argument. The Jaeger nodded, ``Quick!'' A shot echoed among
the rocks and the chamois disappeared.
``Is he hit? Oh, Rex! did you hit him?''
``Ei! Zimbach!'' Sepp slipped the leash, the hound sprang
away, and in a moment his bell-like voice announced Rex's good
Ruth flew like the wind, not heeding their anxious calls to
be careful, to wait for help. It was not far to go, and her
light, sure foot brought her to the spot first. When Rex and
Sepp arrived she was kneeling beside the dead chamois, stroking
the ``beard'' that waved along its bushy spine. She sprang up
and held out her hand to Gethryn.
``Look at that beard -- Nimrod!'' she said. Her voice rang
with an excitement she had not shown at her own success.
``It is a fine beard,'' said Rex, bending over it.
His voice was not quite steady. ``Herrlich!'' cried Sepp, and
drank the ``Waidmann's Heil!'' toast to him in deep and serious
draughts. Then he took out a thong, tied the four slender hoofs
together and opened his game sack; Rex helped him to hoist the
chamois in and onto his broad shoulders.
Now for the upper Shelter. They started in great spirits, a
happy trio. Rex was touched by Ruth's deep delight in his
success, and by the pride in him which she showed more than she
knew. He looked at her with eyes full of affection. Sepp was
assuring himself, by all the saints in the Bavarian Calendar,
that here was a ``Herrschaft'' which a man might be proud of
guiding, and so he meant to tell the duke. Ruth's generous
heart beat high.
Their way back to the path where they had separated from
Colonel Dene was long and toilsome. Sepp did his best to
beguile it with hunter's yarns, more or less true, at any rate
just as acceptable as if they had been proved and sworn to.
Like a good South German he hated Prussia and all its works,
and his tales were mostly of Berliners who had wandered thither
and been abused; of the gentleman who had been told, and
believed, that the ``gams'' slept by hooking its horns into
crevices of the rock, swinging thus at ease, over precipices;
of another whom Federl once deterred from going on the
mountains by telling how a chamois, if enraged, charged and
butted; of a third who went home glad to have learned that the
chamois produced their peculiar call by bringing up a hind leg
and whistling through the hoof.
It was about half past two in the afternoon and Ruth began
to be very, very tired, when a Jodel from Sepp greeted the
``Hütte'' and the white cross rising behind it. As they
toiled up the steep path to the little alm, Ruth said, ``I
don't see Papa, but there are people there.'' A man in a summer
helmet, wound with a green veil, came to the edge of the wooden
platform and looked down at them; he was presently joined by
two ladies, of whom one disappeared almost immediately, but
they could see the other still looking down until a turn in the
path brought them to the bottom of some wooden steps, close
under the platform. On climbing these they were met at the top
by the gentleman, hat in hand, who spoke in French to Gethryn,
while the stout, friendly lady held out both hands to Ruth and
cried, in pretty broken English:
``Ah! dear Mademoiselle! ees eet possible zat we meet
``Madame Bordier!'' exclaimed Ruth, and kissed her cordially
on both cheeks. Then she greeted the husband of Madame, and
``But we know heem!'' smiled Madame; and her quiet,
gentlemanly husband added in French that Monsieur the colonel
had done them the honor to leave messages with them for Miss
Dene and Mr Gethryn.
``Papa is not here?'' said Ruth, quickly.
Monsieur the colonel, finding himself a little fatigued, had
gone on to the Jaeger-hütte, where were better
Ruth's face fell, and she lost her bright color.
``But no! my dear!'' said Madame. ``Zere ees nossing ze
mattaire. Your fazzer ees quite vell,'' and she hurried her
Rex and Monsieur Bordier were left together on the platform.
The amiable Frenchman did the honors as if it were a private
salon. Monsieur the colonel was perfectly well. But perfectly!
It was really for Mademoiselle that he had gone on. He had
decided that it would be quite too fatiguing for his daughter
to return that day to Trauerbach, as they had planned, and he
had gone on to secure the Jagd-hütte for the night before
any other party should arrive.
``He watched for you until you turned into the path that
leads up here, and we all saw that you were quite safe. It is
only half an hour since he left. He did us the honor to say
that Mademoiselle Dene could need no better chaperon than my
wife -- Monsieur the colonel was a little fatigued, but badly,
Monsieur Bordier led the way to the usual spring and wooden
trough behind the house, and, while Rex was enjoying a
refreshing dip, he continued to chat.
Yes, as he had already had the honor to inform Rex,
Mademoiselle had been his wife's pupil in singing, the last two
winters, in Paris. Monsieur Gethryn, perhaps, was not wholly
unacquainted with the name of Madame Bordier?
``Madame's reputation as an artist, and a professor of
singing, is worldwide,'' said Rex in his best Parisian,
``And you, then, Monsieur, are the celebrated manager of `La
The manager replied with a politely gratified bow.
``The most charming theater in Paris,'' added Rex.
``Ah! murmured the other, Monsieur is himself an artist,
though not of our sort, and artists know.''
``Colonel Dene has told you that I am studying in Paris,''
said Rex modestly.
``He has told me that Monsieur exhibited in the salon with a
Rex scrubbed his brown and rosy cheeks with the big
Monsieur Bordier went on: ``But the talent of Mademoiselle!
Mon Dieu! what a talent! What a voice of silver and crystal!
And today she will meet another pupil of Madame -- of ours -- a
genius. My word!''
``Yes, she is with us here. She makes her debut at the
Fauvette next autumn.''
Rex concealed a frown in the ample folds of the towel. It
crossed his mind that the colonel might better have stayed and
taken care of his own daughter. If he, Rex, had had a sister,
would he have liked her to be on a Bavarian mountaintop in a
company composed of a gamekeeper, the manager of a Paris
theater and his wife, and a young person who was about to make
her debut in opera-bouffe, and to have no better guardian than
a roving young art student? Rex felt his unfitness for the post
with a pang of compunction. Meantime he rubbed his head, and
Monsieur Bordier talked tranquilly on. But between vexation and
friction Gethryn lost the thread of Monsieur's remarks for a
The first word which recalled his wandering attention was
``Chamois?'' and he saw that Monsieur Bordier was pointing to
the game bag and looking amiably at Sepp, who, divided between
sulkiness at Monsieur's native language and goodwill toward
anyone who seemed to be accepted by his ``Herrschaften,'' was
in two minds whether to open the bag and show the game to this
smiling Frenchman, or ``to say him a Grobheit'' and go away.
Sepp's ``Grobheit'' could be very insulting indeed when he
cared to make it so. Rex hastened to turn the scale.
``Yes, Herr Director, this is Sepp, one of the duke's best
gamekeepers -- Monsieur speaks German?'' he interrupted himself
to ask in French.
``Parfaitement! Well,'' he went on in Sepp's native tongue,
``Herr Director, in Sepp you see one of the best woodsmen in
Bavaria, one of the best shots in Germany. Sepp, we must show
the Herr Director our Gems.''
And there was nothing for Sepp but to open the bag,
sheepish, beaten, laughing in spite of himself, and before he
knew it they all three had their heads together over the game
in perfect amity.
A step sounded along the front platform, and Madame looked
round the corner of the house, saying that lunch was ready. Her
husband and Rex joined her immediately. ``Ze young ladees are
wizin,'' she said, and led the way.
The sun-glare on the limestone rocks outside made the little
room seem almost black at first, and all Rex could distinguish
as he followed the others was Ruth's bright smile as she stood
near the door and a jumble of dark figures farther back.
``Permit me,'' said Monsieur, ``to introduce you to our
Belle Hélène.'' Rex had already bowed low, seeing
nothing. ``Mademoiselle Descartes -- Monsieur Gethryn -- '' Rex
raised his head and looked into the white face of Yvonne.
``Ah, yes! as I was saying,'' gossiped Monsieur while they
were taking their places at table, ``I shoot when I can, but
merely the partridge and rabbit of the turnip. Bah! a man may
not boast of that!''
Rex kept his eyes fixed on the speaker and forced himself to
understand what was being said.
``But the sanglier?'' His voice sounded in his ears like
noises one hears with the head under water.
``Mon Dieu! the sanglier! yes, that is also noble game. I do
not deny it.'' Monsieur talked on evenly and quietly in his
self-possessed, reasonable voice, about the habits and the hunt
of the wild boar.
Ruth, sitting opposite, forcing herself to swallow the food,
to answer Madame gaily and look at her ease, felt her heart
settle down like lead in her breast.
What was this? Oh! what was it? She looked at Mademoiselle
Descartes. This young, gentle stranger with the dark hair and
the face like marble, this girl whom she had never heard of
until an hour ago, was hiding from Rex behind the broad
shoulders of Madame Bordier. The pupils of her blue eyes were
so dilated that the sad, frightened eyes themselves looked
black. Ruth turned to Gethryn. He was listening and answering.
About his nostrils and temples the hollows showed; the flush of
sunburn was gone, leaving only a pallid brown over the ashen
grey of his face; his expression varied between a strained
smile and a fixed stare. The cold weight at her heart melted
and swelled in a passion of pity.
``Someone must keep up! Someone must keep up!'' she said to
herself; and turned to assure Madame in tones which deserved
the name of ``crystal and silver,'' that, Yes, for her part she
had not been able to see any reason why hearing Parsifal at
Bayreuth should make one forget that Bizet was also a great
But the strain became too great, and at the first possible
moment she said brightly to Rex, ``I'm going to feed Zimbach.
Sepp said I might.'' She collected some scraps on a plate and
went out. The hound rose wagging as she approached. Ruth stood
a moment looking down at him. Then she knelt and took his brown
head in her arms. Her eyes were full of tears. Zimbach licked
her face, and then wrenching his head away began to dance about
her, barking and running at the platter. She took a bone and
gave it to him; it went with a snap; so bit by bit she fed him
with her own hands, and the tears dried without one
She heard Rex come out and stood up to meet him with clear
grey eyes that seemed to see nothing but a jest.
``Look at this dog, Rex! He hasn't a word to say about the
bones he's eaten already; he merely remarks that there don't
seem to be any more at present!''
Rex was taking down his gun. ``Monsieur wants to see this,''
he said in a dull, heavy voice. ``And Ruth -- when you are
ready -- your father, perhaps -- ''
``Yes, I really would like to join him as soon as possible
-- '' They went in together.
An hour later they were taking leave. All the usual
explanations had been made; everyone knew where the others were
stopping, and why they were there, and how long they meant to
stay, and where they intended to go afterward.
The Bordiers, with Yvonne, were at a lake on the opposite
side of the mountain, but a visit to the Forester's house at
Trauerbach was one of the excursions they had already
It only remained now, as Ruth said, to fix upon an early day
The hour just past had been Ruth's hour.
Without effort, or apparent intention, she had taken and
kept the lead from the moment when she returned with Rex. She
it was who had given the key, who had set and kept the pitch,
and it was due to her that not one discordant note had been
struck. Vaguely yet vividly she felt the emergency. Refusing to
ask herself the cause, she recognized a crisis. Something was
dreadfully wrong. She made no attempt to go beyond that. Of all
the deep emotions which she was learning now so suddenly, for
the first time, the dominant one with her at present was a
desire to help and to protect. All her social experience, all
her tact, were needed to shield Rex and this white-faced,
silent stranger, who, without her, must have betrayed
themselves, so stunned, so dazed they were. And the courage of
her father's daughter kept her fair head erect above the dead
weight at her heart.
And now, having said ``Au revoir'' to Monsieur and Madame,
and fixed upon a day for their visit to the Försthaus, she
turned to Yvonne and took her hand.
``Mademoiselle, I regret so much to hear that you are not
quite strong. But when you come to Trauerbach, Mama and I will
take such good care of you that you will not mind the
The sad blue eyes looked into the clear grey ones, and once
more Ruth responded with a passion of grief and pity.
How Rex made his adieux Ruth never knew.
When he overtook her, she and Sepp were well started down
the path to the Jagd-hütte. They seemed to be having a
duet of silence, which Rex turned into a trio when he joined
For such walkers as they all were the distance they had to
go was nothing. Soft afternoon lights were still lying
peacefully beside the long afternoon shadows as they approached
the little hut, and Sepp answered the colonel's abortive
attempt at a Jodel with one so long and complicated that it
seemed as if he were taking that means to express all he should
have liked to say in words. The spell broken, he turned about
``Also! what did the French people,'' -- he wouldn't call
them Herrschaft -- ``say to the gracious Fraulein's splendid
Ruth stopped and looked absently at him, then flushed and
recovered herself quickly. It was the first time she had
remembered her stag.
``I fear,'' said she, ``that French people would disapprove
a young lady's shooting. I did not tell them.''
Sepp went on again with long strides. The four little black
hoofs of the chamois stuck pitifully up out of the bag on his
broad back. When he was well out of hearing he growled
``Hab' 's schon g' wusst! Jesses, Marie and Josef! was is
That evening, when Rex and the Jaeger were fussing over the
chamois' beard and dainty horns inside the Hütte, Ruth and
her father stood without, before the closed door. The skies
were almost black, and full of stars. Through the wide fragrant
stillness came up now and then a Jodel from some Bursch going
to visit his Sennerin. A stamp, and a comfortable sigh, came at
times from Nani's cows in their stall below.
Ruth put both arms around her father's neck and laid her
head down on his shoulder.
Supper was over, evening had fallen; but there would be no
music tonight under the beech tree; the sky was obscured by
clouds and a wet wind was blowing.
Mrs Dene and Ruth were crossing the hall; Gethryn came in at
the front door and they met.
``Well?'' said Rex, forcing a smile.
``Well,'' said Ruth. ``Mademoiselle Descartes is better.
Madame will bring her down stairs by and by. It appears that
wretched peasant who drove them has been carrying them about
for hours from one inn to another, stopping to drink at all of
them. No wonder they were tired out with the worry and his
``It appears Miss Descartes has had attacks of fainting like
this more than once before. The doctor in Paris thinks there is
some weakness of the heart, but forbids her being told,'' said
Ruth interposed quickly, not looking at Gethryn:
``Papa and Monsieur Bordier, where are they?''
``I left them visiting Federl and Sepp in their
``Well, you will find us in that dreadful little room
yonder. It's the only alternative to sitting in the Bauernstube
with all the woodchoppers and their bad tobacco, since out of
doors fails us. We must go now and make it as pleasant as we
Ruth made a motion to go, but Mrs Dene lingered. Her kind
eyes, her fair little faded face, were troubled.
``Madame Bordier says the young lady tells her she has met
you before, Rex.''
``Yes, in Paris''; for his life he could not have kept down
the crimson flush that darkened his cheeks and made his temples
Mrs Dene's manner grew a little colder.
``She seems very nice. You knew her people, of course.''
``No, I never met any of her people,'' answered Rex, feeling
like a kicked coward. Ruth interposed once more.
``People!'' said Ruth, impatiently. ``Of course Rex only
knows nice people. Come, mother!''
Putting her arm around the old lady, she moved across the
hall with decision. As they passed into the cheerless little
room, Rex held open the door. Ruth, entering after her mother,
looked in his face. It had grown thinner; shadows were deep in
the temples; from the dark circles under the eyes to the chin
ran a line of pain. She held out her hand to him. He bent and
He went and stood in the porch, trying to collect his
thoughts. The idea of this meeting between Ruth and Yvonne was
insupportable. Why had he not taken means -- any, every means
to prevent it? He cursed himself. He called himself a coward.
He wondered how much Ruth divined. The thought shamed him until
his cheeks burned again. And all the while a deep undercurrent
of feeling was setting toward that drooping little figure in
black, as he had seen it for a moment when she alighted from
the carriage and was supported to a room upstairs. Heavens! How
it reminded him of that first day in the Place de la Concorde!
Why was she in mourning? What did the doctor mean by ``weakness
of the heart''? What was she doing on mountaintops, and on the
stage of a theater if she had heart disease? He started with a
feeling that he must go and put a stop to all this folly. Then
he remembered the letter. She had told him another man had the
right to care for her. Then she was at this moment deserted for
the second time, as well as faithless to still another lover!
-- to how many more? And it was through him that a woman of
such a life was brought into contact with Ruth! And Ruth's
parents had trusted him; they thought him a gentleman. His
The surging waves of shame and self-contempt subsided, were
forgotten. He heard the wind sough in the Luxembourg trees, he
smelled the pink flowering chestnuts, a soft voice was in his
ear, a soft touch on his arm, her breath on his cheek, the old,
old faces came crowding up. Clifford's laugh rang faintly,
Braith's grave voice; odd bits and ends of song floated out
from the shadows of that past and through the troubled dream of
face and laugh and music, so long, so long passed away, he
heard the gentle voice of Yvonne: ``Rex, Rex, be true to me; I
will come back!''
``I loved her!'' he muttered.
There was a stir, a door opened and shut, voices and steps
sounded in the room on his left. He leaned forward a little and
looked through the uncurtained window.
It was a bare and dingy room containing only a table, some
hard chairs, and an old ``Flügel'' piano with a long
They sat together at the table. Ruth's back was toward him;
she was speaking. Yvonne was in the full light. Her eyes were
cast down, and she was nervously plaiting the edge of her
little black-bordered handkerchief. All at once she raised her
eyes and looked straight at the window. How blue her eyes
Rex dropped his face in his hands.
``Oh God! I love her!'' he groaned.
``Gute Nacht, gnädige Herrn!''
Sepp and Federl stood in their door with a light. Two
figures were coming down from the Jaeger's cottage. Gethryn
recognized the colonel and Monsieur Bordier.
At the risk of scrutiny from those cool, elderly, masculine
eyes, Rex's manhood pulled itself together. He went back to
meet them, and presently they all joined the ladies in the
apology for a parlor, where coffee was being served.
Coming in after the older men, Rex found no place left in
the little, crowded room, excepting one at the table close
beside Yvonne. Ruth was on the other side. He went and took the
place, self-possessed and smiling.
Yvonne made a slight motion as if to rise and escape. Only
Rex saw it. Yes, one more: Ruth saw it.
``Mademoiselle has studied seriously since I had the honor
Her faint voice and timid look were more than Ruth could
bear. She leaned forward so as to shield the girl as much as
possible, and entered into the lively talk at the other end of
Rex spoke again: ``Mademoiselle is quite strong, I trust --
the stage -- Sugar? Allow me! -- As I was saying, the stage is
a calling which requires a good constitution.'' No answer.
``But pardon. If you are not strong, how can you expect to
succeed in your career?'' persisted Rex. His eyes rested on one
frail wrist in its black sleeve. The sight filled him with
``I would make my debut if I knew it would kill me.'' She
spoke at last, low but clearly.
``But why? Mon Dieu!''
``Madame has set her heart on it. She thinks I shall do her
credit. She has been good to me, so good!'' The sad voice
fainted and sank away.
``One is good to one's pupils when they are going to bring
one fame,'' said Rex bitterly.
``Madame took me when she did not know I had a voice -- when
she thought I was dying -- when I was homeless -- two years
``What do you mean?'' said Rex sternly, sinking his voice
below the pitch of the general conversation. ``What did you
tell me in your letter? Homeless!''
``I never wrote you any letter.'' Yvonne raised her blue
eyes, startled, despairing, and looked into his for the first
``You did not write that you had found a -- a home which you
preferred to -- to -- any you had ever had? And that it would
be useless to -- to offer you any other?''
``I never wrote. I was very ill and could not. Afterward I
went to -- you. You were gone.'' Her low voice was
heartbreaking to hear.
``When?'' Rex could hardly utter a word.
``In June, as soon as I left the hospital.''
``The hospital? And your mother?''
``She was dead. I did not see her. Then I was very ill, a
long time. As soon as I could, I went to Paris.''
``And the letter?''
``Ah!'' cried Yvonne with a shudder. ``It must have been my
sister who did that!''
The room was turning round. A hundred lights were swaying
about in a crowd of heads. Rex laid his hand heavily on the
table to steady himself. With a strong effort at self-control
he had reduced the number of lights to two and got the people
back in their places when, with a little burst of French
exclamations and laughter, everyone turned to Yvonne, and Ruth,
bending over her, took both her hands.
The next moment Monsieur Bordier was leading her to the
A soft chord, other chords, deep and sweet, and then the
Oui c'est un rêve,
Un rêve doux d'amour,
La nuit lui prête son mystére
The chain is forged again. The mists of passion rise
thickly, heavily, and blot out all else forever.
Hélène's song ceased. He heard them praise
her, and heard ``Good nights'' and ``Au revoirs'' exchanged. He
rose and stood near the door. Ruth passed him like a shadow.
They all remained at the foot of the stairs for a moment,
repeating their ``Adieus'' and ``Remerciements.'' He was
utterly reckless, but cool enough still to watch for his chance
in this confusion of civilities. It came; for one instant he
could whisper to her, ``I must see you tonight.'' Then the
voices were gone and he stood alone on the porch, the wet wind
blowing in his face, his face turned up to a heavy sky covered
with black, driving clouds. He could hear the river and the
moaning of the trees.
It seemed as if he had stood there for hours, never moving.
Then there was a step in the dark hall, on the threshold, and
Yvonne lay trembling in his arms.
The sky was beginning to show a tint of early dawn when they
stepped once more upon the silent porch. The wind had gone
down. Clouds were piled up in the west, but the east was clear.
Perfect stillness was over everything. Not a living creature
was in sight, excepting that far up, across the stream, Sepp
and Zimbach were climbing toward the Schinder.
``I must go in now. I must you -- child!'' said Yvonne in
her old voice, smoothing her hair with both hands. Rex held her
``My wife?'' he said.
``Yes!'' She raised her face and kissed him on the lips,
then clung to him weeping.
``Hush! hush! It is I who should do that,'' he murmured,
pressing her cheek against his breast.
Once more she turned to leave him, but he detained her.
``Yvonne, come with me and be married today!''
``You know it is impossible. Today! what a boy you are! As
if we could!''
``Well then, in a few days -- in a week, as soon as
``Oh! my dearest! do not make it so hard for me! How could I
desert Madame so? After all she has done for me? When I know
all her hopes are set on me; that if I fail her she has no one
ready to take my place! Because she was so sure of me, she did
not try to bring on any other pupil for next autumn. And last
season was a bad one for her and Monsieur. Their debutante
failed; they lost money. Behold this child!'' she exclaimed,
with a rapid return to her old gay manner, ``to whom I have
explained all this at least a hundred times already, and he
asks me why we cannot be married today!''
Then with another quick change, she laid her cheek tenderly
against his and murmured:
``I might have died but for her. You would not have me
desert her so cruelly, Rex?''
``My love! No!'' A new respect mingled with his passion.
Yes, she was faithful!
``And now I will go in! Rex, Rex, you are quite as bad as
ever! Look at my hair!'' She leaned lightly on his shoulder,
her old laughing self.
He smiled back sadly.
``Again! After all! You silly, silly boy! And it is such a
little while to wait!''
``Belle Hélène is very popular in Paris. The
piece may run a long time.''
``Rex, I must. Don't make it so hard for me!'' Tears filled
He kissed her for answer, without speaking.
``Think! think of all she did for me; saved me; fed me,
clothed me, taught me when she believed I had only voice and
talent enough to support myself by teaching. It was half a year
before she and Monsieur began to think I could ever make them
any return for their care of me. And all that time she was like
a mother to me. And now she has told everyone her hopes of me.
If I fail she will be ridiculed. You know Paris. She and
Monsieur have enemies who will say there never was any pupil,
nor any debut expected. Perhaps she will lose her prestige. The
fashion may turn to some other teacher. You know what malice
can do with ridicule in Paris. Let me sing for her this once,
make her one great success, win her one triumph, and then
never, never sing again for any soul but you -- my
Her voice sank at the last words, from its eager pleading,
to an exquisite modest sweetness.
``But -- if you fail?''
``I shall not fail. I have never doubted that I should have
a success. Perhaps it is because for myself I do not care, that
I have no fear. When I had lost you -- I only thought of that.
And now that I have found you again -- !''
She clung to him in passionate silence.
``And I may not see your debut?''
``If you come I shall surely fail! I must forget you. I must
think only of my part. What do I care for the house full of
strange faces? I will make them all rise up and shout my name.
But if you were there -- Ah! I should have no longer any
courage! Promise me to come only on the second night.''
``But if you do fail, I may come and take you immediately
before Monsieur the Maire?''
``If you please!'' she whispered demurely.
And they both laughed, the old happy-children laugh of the
``I suppose you are bad enough to hope that I will fail,''
added she presently, with a little moue.
``Yvonne,'' said Rex earnestly, ``I hope that you will
succeed. I know you will, and I can wait for you a few weeks
``We have waited for our happiness two years. We will make
the happiness of others now first, n'est ce pas?'' she
The sky began to glow and the house was astir. Rex knew how
it would soon be talking, but he cared for nothing that the
world could do or say.
``Ah! we will be happy! Think of it! A little house near the
Parc Monceau, my studio there, Clifford, Elliott, Rowden --
Bra--- all of them coming again! And it will be my wife who
will receive them!''
She placed a little soft palm across his lips.
``Taisez-vous, mon ami! It is too soon! See the morning! I
must go. There! yes -- one more! -- my love, Adieu!''
Fewer tourists and more hunters had been coming to the Lodge
of late; the crack of the rifle sounded all day. There was
great talk of a hunt which the duke would hold in September,
and the colonel and Rex were invited. But though September was
now only a few days off, the colonel was growing too restless
After Yvonne's visit, he and Ruth were much together. It
seemed to happen so. They took long walks into the woods, but
Ruth seemed to share now her father's aversion to climbing, and
Gethryn stalked the deer with only the Jaegers for company.
Ruth and her father used to come home with their arms full
of wild flowers -- the fair, lovely wild blossoms of Bavaria
which sprang up everywhere in their path. The colonel was great
company on these expeditions, singing airs from obsolete operas
of his youth, and telling stories of La Grange, Brignoli and
Amodio, of the Strakosches and Maretzeks, with much liveliness.
Sometimes there would be a silence, however, and then if Ruth
looked up she often met his eyes. Then he would smile and
``Well, Daisy!'' and she would smile and say:
But this could not last. About a week after Yvonne's visit,
the colonel, after one of these walks, instead of joining Rex
for a smoke, left him sitting with Ruth under the beech tree
and mounted the stairs to Mrs Dene's room.
It was an hour later when he rose and kissed his wife, who
had been sitting at her window all the time of their quiet
talk, with eyes fixed on the young people below.
``I never dreamed of it!'' said he.
``I did, I wished it,'' was her answer. ``I thought he was
-- but they are all alike!'' she ended sadly and bitterly. ``To
think of a boy as wellborn as Rex -- '' But the colonel, who
possibly knew more about wellborn boys than his wife did,
``Hang the boys! It's Ruth I'm grieved for!''
``My daughter needs no one's solicitude, not even ours!''
said the old lady haughtily.
``Right! Thank God!'' said the veteran, in a tone of relief.
``Good night, my dear!''
Two days later they left for Paris.
Rex accompanied them as far as Schicksalsee, promising to
follow them in a few days.
The handsome, soldierly-looking Herr Förster stood by
their carriage and gave them a ``Glück-liche Reise!'' and
a warm ``Auf Wiedersehen!'' as they drove away. Returning up
the steps slowly and seriously, he caught the eye of Sepp and
Federl, who had been looking after the carriage as it turned
out of sight beyond the bridge:
``Schade!'' said the Herr Förster, and went into the
``Schade!'' said Federl.
``Jammer-schade!'' growled Sepp.
On the platform at Schicksalsee, Rex and Ruth were walking
while they waited for the train. ``Ruth,'' said Rex, ``I hope
you never will need a friend's life to save yours from harm;
but if you do, take mine.''
``Yes, Rex.'' She raised her eyes and looked into the
distance. Far on the horizon loomed the Red Peak.
The clumsy mail drew up beside the platform. It was the year
when all the world was running after a very commonplace
Operetta with one lovely stolen song: a Volks-song. One heard
it everywhere, on both continents; and now as the postillion,
in his shiny hat with the cockade, his light blue jacket and
white small clothes, and his curly brass horn, came rattling
down the street, he was playing the same melody:
Es ist im Leben häßlich eingerichtet --
The train drew into the station. When it panted forth again,
Gethryn stood waving his hand, and watched it out of sight.
Turning at last to leave the platform, he found that the
crowd had melted away; only a residue of crimson-capped
officials remained. He inquired of one where he could find an
expressman and was referred to a mild man absorbing a bad
cigar. With him Gethryn arranged for having his traps brought
from Trauerbach and consigned to the brothers Schnurr at the
``Gasthof zur Post,'' Schicksalsee, that inn being close to the
This settled, he lighted a cigarette and strolled across to
his hotel, sitting down on a stone bench before the door, and
looking off at the lake.
It was mid-afternoon. The little place was asleep. Nothing
was stirring about the inn excepting a bandy Dachshund, which
came wheezing up and thrust a cold nose into the young man's
hand. High in the air a hawk was wheeling; his faint, querulous
cry struck Gethryn with an unwonted sense of loneliness. He
noticed how yellow some of the trees were on the slopes across
the lake. Autumn had come before summer was ended. He leaned
over and patted the hound. A door opened, a voice cried, ``Ei
Dachl! du! Dachl!'' and the dog made off at the top of his
The silence was unbroken except for the harsh cries of the
hawk, sailing low now in great circles over the lake. The sun
flashed on his broad, burnished wings as he stooped; Gethryn
fancied he could see his evil little eyes; finally the bird
rose and dwindled away, lost against the mountainside.
He was roused from his reverie by angry voices.
``Cochon! Kerl! Menteur!'' cried someone.
The other voice remonstrated with a snarl.
``Bah!'' cried the first, ``you lie!''
``Alsatians,'' thought Rex; ``what horrible French!''
The snarling began again, but gradually lapsed into whining.
Rex looked about him.
The quarreling seemed to come from a small room which opened
out of the hotel restaurant. Windows gave from it over the
front, but the blinds were down.
``No! No! I tell you! Not one sou! Starve? I hope you
will!'' cried the first voice, and a stamp set some bottles and
``Alsatians and Jews!'' thought Rex. One voice was
unpleasantly familiar to him, and he wondered if Mr Blumenthal
spoke French as he did English. Deciding with a careless smile
that of course he did, Rex ceased to think of him, not feeling
any curiosity to go and see with whom his late fellow-lodger
might be quarreling. He sat and watched instead, as he lounged
in the sunshine, some smart carriages whirling past, their
horses stepping high, the lackeys muffled from the mountain air
in winter furs, crests on the panels.
An adjutant in green, with a great flutter of white cock's
feathers from his chapeau, sitting up on the box of an
equipage, accompanied by flunkies in the royal blue and white
of Bavaria, was a more agreeable object to contemplate than Mr
Blumenthal, and Gethryn felt as much personal connection with
the Prince Regent hurrying home to Munich, from his little
hunting visit to the emperor of Austria, as with the wrangling
Jews behind the close-drawn blinds of the coffee-room at his
The sun was slowly declining. Rex rose and idled into the
smoking-room. It was deserted but for the clerk at his desk, a
railed enclosure, one side of which opened into the
smoking-room, the other side into the hall. Across the hall was
a door with ``Café -- Restaurant,'' in gilt letters
above it. Rex did not enter the café; he sat and dreamed
in the empty smoking-room over his cigarette.
But it was lively in the café, in spite of the waning
season. A good many of the tables were occupied. At one of them
sat the three unchaperoned Miss Dashleighs, in company with
three solemn, high-shouldered young officers, enjoying
something in tall, slender tumblers which looked hot and
smelled spicy. At another table Mr Everett Tweeler and Mrs
Tweeler were alternately scolding and stuffing Master Irving
Tweeler, who expressed in impassioned tones a desire for
``Ur--r--ving!'' remonstrated Mr Tweeler.
``Dahling!'' argued Mrs Tweeler. ``If oo eats too many
'ittle cakies then oo tant go home to Salem on the puffy, puffy
Old Sir Griffin Damby overheard and snorted.
When Master Tweeler secured his tarts, Sir Griffin blessed
the meal with a hearty ``damn!''
He did not care for Master Tweeler's nightly stomach aches,
but their rooms adjoined. When ``Ur--r--ving'' reached
unmolested for his fourth, Sir Griffin rose violently, and
muttering, ``Change me room, begad!'' waddled down to the door,
glaring aggressively at the occupants of the various tables.
Near the exit a half suppressed squeal caused him to swing
round. He had stepped squarely on the toe of a meager
individual, who now sat nursing his foot in bitter
``Pardon -- '' began Sir Griffin, then stopped and glared at
the sallow-faced person.
Sir Griffin stared hard at the man he had stepped on, and at
his female companion.
``Damn it!'' he cried. ``Keep your feet out of the way, do
you hear?'' puffed his cheeks, squared his shoulders and
snorted himself out of the café.
The yellow-faced man was livid with rage.
``Don't be a fool, Mannie,'' whispered the woman; ``don't
make a row -- do you know who that is?''
``He's an English hog,'' spluttered the man with an oath;
``he's a cursed hog of an Englishman!''
``Yes, and he knows us. He was at Monaco a few summers ago.
Don't forget who turned us out of the Casino.''
Emanuel Pick turned a shade more sallow and sank back in his
Neither spoke again for some moments. Presently the woman
began to stir the bits of lemon and ice in her empty tumbler.
Pick watched her sulkily.
``You always take the most expensive drinks. Why can't you
order coffee, as others do?'' he snarled.
She glanced at him. ``Jew,'' she sneered.
``All right; only wait! I've come to the end of my rope.
I've got just money enough left to get back to Paris -- ''
``You lie, Mannie!''
He paid no attention to this compliment, but lighted a cigar
and dropped the match on the floor, grinding it under his
``You have ten thousand francs today! You lie if you say you
Mr Pick softly dropped his eyelids.
``That is for me, in case of need. I will need it too, very
His companion glared at him and bit her lip.
``If you and I are to remain dear friends,'' continued Mr
Pick, ``we must manage to raise money, somehow. You know that
as well as I do.''
Still she said nothing, but kept her eyes on his face. He
glanced up and looked away uneasily.
``I have seen my uncle again. He knows all about your sister
and the American. He says it is only because of him that she
refuses the handsome offer.''
The woman's face grew tigerish, and she nodded rapidly,
muttering, ``Ah! yes! Mais oui! the American. I do not forget
``My dear uncle thinks it is our fault that your sister
refuses to forget him, which is more to the purpose,'' sneered
Pick. ``He says you did not press that offer he made Yvonne
with any skill, else she would never have refused it again --
that makes four times,'' he added. ``Four times she has refused
an establishment and -- ''
``Pst! what are you raising your voice for?'' hissed the
woman. ``And how is it my fault?'' she went on.
``I don't say it is. I know better -- who could wish more
than we that your sister should become the mistress of my dear
rich uncle? But when I tried to tell him just now that we had
done our best, he raved at me. He has guessed somehow that they
mean to marry. I did not tell him that we too had guessed it.
But he said I knew it and was concealing it from him. I asked
him for a little money to go on with. Curse him, he would not
lend me a sou! Said he never would again -- curse him!''
There was a silence while Pick smoked on. The woman did not
smoke too because she had no cigarette, and Pick did not offer
her any. Presently he spoke again.
``Yes, you certainly are an expensive luxury, under the
circumstances. And since you have so mismanaged your fool of a
sister's affair, I don't see how the circumstances can
She watched him. ``And the ten thousand francs? You will
throw me off and enjoy them at your ease?''
He cringed at her tone. ``Not enjoy -- without you -- ''
``No,'' she said coolly, ``for I shall kill you.''
Mr Pick smiled uncomfortably. ``That would please the
American,'' he said, trying to jest, but his hand trembled as
he touched the stem of his cigar-holder to shake off the
A sudden thought leaped into her face. ``Why not please --
me -- instead?'' she whispered.
Their eyes met. Her face was hard and bold -- his, cowardly
and ghastly. She clenched her hands and leaned forward; her
voice was scarcely audible. Mr Pick dropped his oily black head
``He turned me out of his box at the Opera; he struck you --
do you hear? he kicked you!''
The Jew's face grew chalky.
``Today he stands between you and your uncle, you and
wealth, you and me! Do you understand? Cowards are stupid. You
claim Spanish blood. But Spanish blood does not forget insults.
Is yours only the blood of a Spanish Jew? Bah! Must I talk? You
saw him? He is here. Alive. And he kicked you. And he stands
between you and riches, you and me, you and -- life!''
They sat silent, she holding him fascinated with her little
black eyes. His jaw fallen, the expression of his loose mouth
was horrible. Suddenly she thrust her face close to his. Her
eyes burned and the blood surged through the distended veins
under the cracking rouge. Her lips formed the word,
Without a word he crept from his seat and followed her out
of the room by a side door.
Gethryn, lounging in the smoking-room meanwhile, was
listening with delight to the bellowing of Sir Griffin Damby,
who stood at the clerk's desk in the hall.
``Don't contradict me!'' he roared -- the weak-eyed clerk
had not dreamed of doing so -- ``Don't you contradict me! I
tell you it's the same man!''
``But Excellence,'' entreated the clerk, ``we do not know --
``What! Don't know! Don't I tell you?''
``We will telegraph to Paris -- ''
``Telegraph to hell! Where's my man? Here! Dawson! Do you
remember that infernal Jew at Monaco? He's here. He's in
there!'' jerking an angry thumb at the café door. ``Keep
him in sight till the police come for him. If he says anything,
kick him into the lake.''
The clerk tried to say that he would telegraph instantly,
but Sir Griffin barked in his face and snorted his way down the
hall, followed by the valet.
Rex, laughing, threw down his cigarette and sauntered over
to the clerk.
``Whom does the Englishman want kicked out?''
The clerk made a polite gesture, asking Rex to wait until he
had finished telegraphing. At that moment the postillion's horn
heralded the coming of the mail coach, and that meant the
speedy arrival of the last western train. Rex forgot Sir
Griffin and strolled over to the post office to watch the
distribution of the letters and to get his own.
A great deal of flopping and pounding seemed to be required
as a preliminary to postal distribution. First the mail bags
seemed to be dragged all over the floor, then came a long
series of thumps while the letters were stamped, finally the
slide was raised and a face the color of underdone pie crust,
with little angry eyes, appeared. The owner had a new and
ingenious insult for each person who presented himself. The
Tweelers were utterly routed and went away not knowing whether
there were any letters for them or not. Several valets and
ladies' maids exchanged lively but ineffectual compliments with
the face in the post office window. Then came Sir Griffin. Rex
looked on with interest. What the ill-natured brute behind the
grating said, Rex couldn't hear, but Sir Griffin burst out with
a roar, ``Damnation!'' that made everybody jump. Then he stuck
his head as far as he could get it in at the little window and
shouted -- in fluent German, awfully pronounced -- ``Here! You!
It's enough that you're so stupid you don't know what you're
about. Don't you try to be impudent too! Hand me those
letters!'' The official bully handed them over without a
Rex took advantage of the lull and stepped to the window.
``Any letters for Mr Gethryn?''
``How you spell him?'' Rex spelled him.
``Yet once again!'' demanded the intelligent person. Rex
wrote it in English and in German script.
``From Trauerbach -- yes?''
The man went away, looked through two ledgers, sent for
another, made out several sets of blanks, and finally came back
to the window, but said nothing.
``Well?'' said Rex, pleasantly.
``Well,'' said the man.
``Anything for me?''
``Nothing for you.''
``Kindly look again,'' said Rex. ``I know there are letters
In about ten minutes the man appeared again.
``Well?'' said Gethryn.
``Well,'' said the man.
``Nothing for me?''
``Something.'' And with ostentatious delay he produced three
letters and a newspaper, which Rex took, restraining an impulse
to knock him down. After all, the temptation was not very
great, presenting itself more as an act of justice than as a
personal satisfaction. The truth was, all day long a great
gentleness tinged with melancholy had rested on Gethryn's
spirit. Nothing seemed to matter very much. And whatever
engaged his attention for a moment, it was only for a moment,
and then his thoughts returned where they had been all day.
Yvonne, Yvonne! She had not been out of his thoughts since
he rose that morning. In a few steps he reached his room and
read his letters by the waning daylight.
The first began:
My Darling -- in three more days I shall stand before a Paris
audience. I am not one bit nervous. I am perfectly happy.
Yesterday at rehearsal the orchestra applauded and Madame
Bordier kissed me. Some very droll things happened. Achilles
was intoxicated and chased Ajax the Less with a stick. Ajax
fled into my dressing room, and although I was not there I
told Achilles afterward that I would never forgive him. Then
The letter ran on for a page more of lively gossip and then,
with a sudden change, ended:
But why do I write these foolish things to you? Ah! you know
it is because I am too happy! too happy! and I cannot say
what is in my heart. I dare not. It is too soon. I dare not!
If it is that I am happy, who but you knows the reason?
And now listen to my little secret. I pray for you, yes,
every morning and every evening. And for myself too --
God forgives. It is in my faith. Oh! my husband, we will
Gethryn's eyes blurred on the page and he sat a long time,
very still, not offering to open his remaining letters.
Presently he raised his head and looked into the street. It was
dusk, and the lamps along the lake side were lighted. He had to
light his candles to read by.
The next was from Braith -- a short note.
Everything is ready, Rex, your old studio cleaned and dusted
until you would not know it.
I have kept the key always by me, and no one but myself
has ever entered it since you left.
I will meet you at the station -- and when you are really
here I shall begin to live again.
It seemed as if Gethryn would never get on with his
correspondence. He sat and held this letter as he had done the
other. A deep melancholy possessed him. He did not care to
move. At last, impatiently, he tore the third envelope. It
contained a long letter from Clifford.
``My blessed boy,'' it said.
We learn from Papa Braith that you will be here before long,
but the old chump won't tell when. He intends to meet you all
alone at the station, and wishes to dispense with a gang and
a brass band. We think that's deuced selfish. You are our
prodigal as well as his, and we are considering several plans
for getting even with Pa.
One is to tell you all the news before he has a chance.
And I will begin at once.
Thaxton has gone home, and opened a studio in New York.
The Colossus has grown two more inches and hates to hear me
mention the freak museums in the Bowery. Carleton is a hubby,
and wifey is English and captivating. Rowden told me one day
he was going to get married too. When I asked her name he
said he didn't know. Someone with red hair.
When I remarked that he was a little in that way himself,
he said yes, he knew it, and he intended to found a race of
that kind, to be known as the Red Rowdens. Elliott's brindle
died, and we sold ours. We now keep two Russian bloodhounds.
When you come to my room, knock first, for ``Baby'' doesn't
like to be startled.
Braith has kept your family together, in your old studio.
The parrot and the raven are two old fiends and will live
forever. Mrs Gummidge periodically sheds litters of kittens,
to Braith's indignation. He gives them to the concierge who
sells them at a high price, I don't know for what purpose; I
have two of the Gummidge children. The bull pups are pups no
longer, but they are beauties and no mistake. All the same,
wait until you see ``Baby.''
I met Yvonne in the Louvre last week. I'm glad you are all
over that affair, for she's going to be married, she told me.
She looked prettier than ever, and as happy as she was
pretty. She was with old Bordier of the Fauvette, and his
wife, and -- think of this! she's coming out in Belle
Hélène! Well! I'm glad she's all right, for she
was too nice to go the usual way.
Poor little Bulfinch shot himself in the Bois last June.
He had delirium tremens. Poor little chap!
There's a Miss Dene here, who knows you. Braith has met
her. She's a beauty, he says, and she's also a stunning girl,
possessing manners, and morals, and dignity, and character,
and religion and all that you and I have not, my son. Braith
says she isn't too good for you when you are at your best;
but we know better, Reggy; any good girl is too good for the
likes of us.
Hasten to my arms, Reginald! You will find them at No. 640
Rue Notre Dame des Champs, chez,
Foxhall Clifford, Esq.
Leaving Clifford's letter and the newspapers on the table,
Rex took his hat, put out the light, and went down to the
street. As he stood in the door, looking off at the dark lake,
he folded Yvonne's letter and placed it in his breast. He held
Braith's a moment more and then laid it beside hers.
The air was brisk; he buttoned his coat about him. Here and
there a moonbeam touched the lapping edge of the water, or
flashed out in the open stretch beyond the point of pines. High
over the pines hung a cliff, blackening the water all around
with fathomless shadow.
A waiter came lounging by, his hands tucked beneath his
coattails. ``What point is that? The one which overhangs the
pines there?'' asked Rex.
``Gracious sir!'' said the waiter, ``that is the
``Has the gracious gentleman never heard the legend of the
`Rock of Fate'?''
``No, and on second thoughts, I don't care to hear it now.
Another time. Good night!''
``Ah! the gentleman is too good! Thousand thanks! Gute
Nacht, gnädiger Herr!''
Gethryn remained looking at the crags.
``They cannot be half a mile from here,'' he thought. ``I
suppose the path is good enough; if not, I can turn back. The
lake will look well from there by moonlight.'' And he found
himself moving up a little footpath which branched below the
It was pleasant, brisk walking. The air had a touch of early
frost in it. Gethryn swung along at a good pace, pulling his
cap down and fastening the last button of his coat. The trees
threw long shadows across the path, hiding it from view, except
where the moonlight fell white on the moist gravel. The moon
herself was past the full and not very bright; a film of mist
was drawing over the sky. Gethryn, looking up, thought of that
gentle moon which once sailed ghostlike at high noon through
the blue zenith among silver clouds while a boy lay beside the
stream with rod and creel; and then he remembered the dear old
yellow moon that used to flood the nursery with pools of light
and pile strange moving shades about his bed. And then he saw,
still looking up, the great white globe that hung above the
frozen river, striking blue sparks from the ringing skates.
He felt lonely and a trifle homesick. For the first time in
his life -- he was still so young -- he thought of his
childhood and his boyhood as something gone beyond recall.
He had nearly reached his destination; just before him the
path entered a patch of pine woods and emerged from it,
shortly, upon the flat-topped rock which he was seeking. Under
the first arching branches he stopped and looked back at the
marred moon in the mist-covered sky.
``I am sick of this wandering,'' he thought. ``Wane quickly!
Your successor shall shine on my home: Yvonne's and mine.''
And, thinking of Yvonne, he passed into the shadows which
the pines cast upon the Schicksalfels.
Paris lay sparkling under a cold, clear sky. The brilliant
streets lay coiled along the Seine and stretched glittering
from bank to bank, from boulevard to boulevard; cafés,
brasseries, concert halls and theaters in the yellow blaze of
gas and the white and violet of electricity.
It was not late, but people who entered the lobby of the
Theater Fauvette turned away before the placard ``Standing room
Somewhere in the city a bell sounded the hour, and with the
last stroke the drop curtain fell on the first act of ``La
It fell amidst a whirlwind of applause, in which the
The old leader of the violins shook his head, however. He
had been there twenty years, and he had never before heard of
such singing in comic opera.
``No, no,'' he said, ``she can't stay here. Dame! she
Madame Bordier was pale and happy; her good husband was weak
with joy. The members of the troupe had not yet had time to be
jealous and they, too, applauded.
As for the house, it was not only conquered, it was wild
with enthusiasm. The lobbies were thronged.
Braith ran up against Rowden and Elliott.
``By Jove!'' they cried, with one voice, ``who'd have
thought the little girl had all that in her? I say, Braith,
does Rex know about her? When is he coming?''
``Rex doesn't know and doesn't care. Rex is cured,'' said
Braith. ``And he's coming next week. Where's Clifford?'' he
added, to make a diversion.
``Clifford promised to meet us here. He'll be along
The pair went out for refreshments and Braith returned to
The wait between the acts proved longer than was agreeable,
and people grumbled. The machinery would not work, and two
heavy scenes had to be shifted by hand. Good Monsieur Bordier
flew about the stage in a delirium of excitement. No one would
have recognized him for the eminently reasonable being he
appeared in private life. He called the stage hands ``Prussian
pigs!'' and ``Spanish cattle!'' and expressed his intention to
dismiss the whole force tomorrow.
Yvonne, already dressed, stood at the door of her room,
looking along the alley of dusty scenery to where a warm glow
revealed the close proximity of the footlights. There was
considerable unprofessional confusion, and not a little
skylarking going on among the company, who took advantage of
the temporary interruption.
Yvonne stood in the door of her dressing room and dreamed,
Her pretty figure was draped in a Grecian tunic of creamy
white, bordered with gold; her soft, dark hair was gathered in
a simple knot.
Presently she turned and entered her dressing room, closing
the door. Then she sat down before the mirror, her chin resting
on her hands, her eyes fixed on her reflected eyes, a faint
smile curving her lips.
``Oh! you happy girl!'' she thought. ``You happy, happy
girl! And just a little frightened, for tomorrow he will come.
And when he says -- for he will say it -- `Yvonne must we
wait?' I shall tell him, No! take me now if you will!''
Without a knock the door burst open. A rush of music from
the orchestra came in. Yvonne thought ``So they have begun at
last!'' The same moment she rose with a faint, heartsick cry.
Her sister closed the door and fastened it, shutting out all
sound but that of her terrible voice. Yvonne blanched as she
looked on that malignant face. With a sudden faintness she
leaned back, pressing one hand to her heart.
``You received my letter?'' said the woman.
Yvonne did not answer. Her sister stamped and came nearer.
``Speak!'' she cried.
Yvonne shrank and trembled, but kept her resolute eyes on
the cruel eyes approaching hers.
``Shall I tear an answer from you?'' said the woman, always
coming nearer. ``Do you think I will wait your pleasure,
``He is here -- Mr Blumenthal; he is waiting for you. You
dare not refuse him again! You will come with us now, after the
opera. Do you hear? You will come. There is no more time. It
must be now. I told you there would be time, but there is none
Yvonne's maid knocked at the door and called:
``Mademoiselle, c'est l'heuer!''
``Answer!'' hissed the woman.
Yvonne, speechless, holding both hands to her heart, kept
her eyes on her sister's face. That face grew ashen; the eyes
had the blank glare of a tiger's; she sprang up to Yvonne and
grasped her by the wrists.
``Mademoiselle! Mademoiselle! c'est l'heure!'' called the
maid, shaking the door.
``Fool!'' hissed her sister, ``you think you will marry the
``Mademoiselle Descartes! mais Mademoiselle Descartes!''
cried Monsieur's voice without.
``Let me go!'' panted Yvonne, struggling wildly.
``Go!'' screamed the woman, ``go, and sing! You cannot marry
him! He is dead!'' and she struck the girl with her clenched
The door, torn open, crashed behind her and immediately
swung back again to admit Madame.
``My child! my child! What is it? What ails you? Quick, or
it will be too late! Ah! try, try, my child!''
She was in tears of despair.
Taking her beseeching hand, Yvonne moved toward the
``Oui, chère Madame!'' she said.
The chorus swelled around her.
Oh! reine en ce jour!
rose, fell, ebbed away, and left her standing alone.
She heard a voice -- ``Tell me, Venus -- '' but she hardly
knew it for her own. It was all dark before her eyes -- while
the mad chorus of Kings went on, ``For us, what joy!'' --
thundering away along the wings.
``Let Calchas fear!''
And then she began to sing -- to sing as she had never sung
before. Sweet, thrilling, her voice poured forth into the
crowded auditorium. The people sat spellbound. There was a
moment of silence; no one offered to applaud. And then she
Oui c'est un réve,
Un réve doux d'amour --
She faltered --
La nuit lui préte son mystère,
Il doit finir avec le jour --
the voice broke. Men were standing up in the audience. One
``Il -- doit -- finir -- ''
The music clashed in one great discord.
Why did the stage reel under her? What was the shouting?
Her heavy, dark hair fell down about her little white face
as she sank on her knees, and covered her as she lay her
slender length along the stage.
The orchestra and the audience sprang to their feet. The
great blank curtain rattled to the ground. A whirlwind swept
over the house. Monsieur Bordier stepped before the
``My friends!'' he began, but his voice failed, and he only
added, ``C'est fini!''
With hardly a word the audience moved to the exits. But
Braith, turning to the right, made his way through a long, low
passage and strode toward a little stage door. It was flung
open and a man hurried past him.
``Monsieur!'' called Braith. ``Monsieur!''
But Monsieur Bordier was crying like a child, and kept on
his way, without answering.
The narrow corridor was now filled with hurrying, excited
figures in gauze and tinsel, sham armor, and painted faces.
They pressed Braith back, but he struggled and fought his way
to the door.
A Sergeant de Ville shouldered through the crowd. He was
dragging a woman along by the arm. Another policeman came
behind, urging her forward. Somehow she slipped from them and
sank, cowering against the wall. Braith's eyes met hers. She
cowered still lower.
A slender, sallow man had been quietly slipping through the
throng. A red-faced fellow touched him on the shoulder.
``Pardon! I think this is Mr Emanuel Pick.''
``No!'' stammered the man, and started to run.
Braith blocked his way. The red-faced detective was at his
``So, you are Mr Emanuel Pick!''
``No!'' gasped the other.
``He lies! He lies!'' yelled the woman, from the floor.
The Jew reeled back and, with a piercing scream, tore at his
handcuffed wrists. Braith whispered to the detective:
``What has the woman done? What is the charge?''
``Charge? There are a dozen. The last is murder.''
The woman had fainted and they carried her away. The light
fell a moment on the Jew's livid face, the next Braith stood
under the dark porch of the empty theater. The confusion was
all at the stage entrance. Here, in front, the deserted street
was white and black and silent under the electric lamps. All
the lonelier for two wretched gamins, counting their dirty sous
and draggled newspapers.
When they saw Braith they started for him; one was ahead in
the race, but the other gained on him, reached him, dealt him a
merciless blow, and panted up to Braith.
The defeated one, crying bitterly, gathered up his scattered
papers from the gutter.
``Curse you, Rigaud! you hound!'' he cried, in a passion of
tears. ``Curse you, son of a murderer!''
The first gamin whipped out a paper and thrust it toward
``Buy it, Monsieur!'' he whined, ``the last edition, full
account of the Boulangist riot this morning; burning of the
Prussian flags; explosion on a warship; murder in Germany,
discovered by an English Milord -- ''
Braith was walking fast; the gamin ran by his side for a
moment, but soon gave it up. Braith walked faster and faster;
he was almost running when he reached his own door. There was a
light in his window. He rushed up the stairs and into his
Clifford was sitting there, his head in his hands. Braith
touched him, trying to speak lightly.
``Are you asleep, old man?''
Clifford raised a colorless face to his.
``What is it? Can't you speak?''
But Clifford only pointed to a crumpled telegram lying on
the table, and hid his face again as Braith raised the paper to