THE SCARLET CAR
RICHARD HARDING DAVIS
THE SCARLET CAR
For a long time it had been arranged they all should go to the Harvard
and Yale game in Winthrop's car. It was perfectly well understood.
Even Peabody, who pictured himself and Miss Forbes in the back of the
car, with her brother and Winthrop in front, condescended to approve.
It was necessary to invite Peabody because it was his great good
fortune to be engaged to Miss Forbes. Her brother Sam had been
invited, not only because he could act as chaperon for his sister, but
because since they were at St. Paul's, Winthrop and he, either as
participants or spectators, had never missed going together to the
Yale-Harvard game. And Beatrice Forbes herself had been invited
because she was herself.
When at nine o'clock on the morning of the game, Winthrop stopped the
car in front of her door, he was in love with all the world. In the
November air there was a sting like frost-bitten cider, in the sky
there was a brilliant, beautiful sun, in the wind was the tingling
touch of three ice-chilled rivers. And in the big house facing Central
Park, outside of which his prancing steed of brass and scarlet chugged
and protested and trembled with impatience, was the most wonderful girl
in all the world. It was true she was engaged to be married, and not
to him. But she was not yet married. And to-day it would be his
privilege to carry her through the State of New York and the State of
Connecticut, and he would snatch glimpses of her profile rising from
the rough fur collar, of her wind-blown hair, of the long, lovely
lashes under the gray veil.
"'Shall be together, breathe and ride, so, one day more am I deified;'"
whispered the young man in the Scarlet Car; "'who knows but the world
may end to-night?'"
As he waited at the curb, other great touring-cars, of every speed and
shape, in the mad race for the Boston Post Road, and the town of New
Haven, swept up Fifth Avenue. Some rolled and puffed like tugboats in
a heavy seaway, others glided by noiseless and proud as private yachts.
But each flew the colors of blue or crimson.
Winthrop's car, because her brother had gone to one college, and he had
played right end for the other, was draped impartially. And so every
other car mocked or cheered it, and in one a bare-headed youth stood
up, and shouted to his fellows: "Look! there's Billy Winthrop! Three
times three for old Billy Winthrop!" And they lashed the air with
flags, and sent his name echoing over Central Park.
Winthrop grinned in embarrassment, and waved his hand. A bicycle cop,
and Fred, the chauffeur, were equally impressed.
"Was they the Harvoids, sir?" asked Fred.
"They was," said Winthrop.
Her brother Sam came down the steps carrying sweaters and steamer-rugs.
But he wore no holiday countenance.
"What do you think?" he demanded indignantly. "Ernest Peabody's inside
making trouble. His sister has a Pullman on one of the special trains,
and he wants Beatrice to go with her."
In spite of his furs, the young man in the car turned quite cold. "Not
with us?" he gasped.
Miss Forbes appeared at the house door, followed by Ernest Peabody. He
wore an expression of disturbed dignity; she one of distressed
amusement. That she also wore her automobile coat caused the heart of
Winthrop to leap hopefully.
"Winthrop," said Peabody, "I am in rather an embarrassing position. My
sister, Mrs. Taylor Holbrooke"—he spoke the name as though he were
announcing it at the door of a drawing-room—"desires Miss Forbes to go
with her. She feels accidents are apt to occur with motor cars—and
there are no other ladies in your party—and the crowds——"
Winthrop carefully avoided looking at Miss Forbes. "I should be very
sorry," he murmured.
"Ernest!" said Miss Forbes, "I explained it was impossible for me to go
with your sister. We would be extremely rude to Mr. Winthrop. How do
you wish us to sit?" she asked.
She mounted to the rear seat, and made room opposite her for Peabody.
"Do I understand, Beatrice," began Peabody in a tone that instantly
made every one extremely uncomfortable, "that I am to tell my sister
you are not coming?"
"Ernest!" begged Miss Forbes.
Winthrop bent hastily over the oil valves. He read the speedometer,
which was, as usual, out of order, with fascinated interest.
"Ernest," pleaded Miss Forbes,
"Mr. Winthrop and Sam planned this trip for us a long time ago—to give
us a little pleasure——"
"Then," said Peabody in a hollow voice, "you have decided?"
"Ernest," cried Miss Forbes, "don't look at me as though you meant to
hurl the curse of Rome. I have. Jump in. Please!"
"I will bid you good-by," said Peabody; "I have only just time to catch
Miss Forbes rose and moved to the door of the car.
"I had better not go with any one," she said in a low voice.
"You will go with me," commanded her brother. "Come on, Ernest."
"Thank you, no," replied Peabody. "I have promised my sister."
"All right, then," exclaimed Sam briskly, "see you at the game.
Section H. Don't forget. Let her out, Billy."
With a troubled countenance Winthrop bent forward and clasped the
"Better come, Peabody," he said.
"I thank you, no," repeated Peabody. "I must go with my sister."
As the car glided forward Brother Sam sighed heavily.
"My! but he's got a mean disposition," he said. "He has quite spoiled
He chuckled wickedly, but Winthrop pretended not to hear, and his
sister maintained an expression of utter dejection.
But to maintain an expression of utter dejection is very difficult when
the sun is shining, when you are flying at the rate of forty miles an
hour, and when in the cars you pass foolish youths wave Yale flags at
you, and take advantage of the day to cry: "Three cheers for the girl
in the blue hat!"
And to entirely remove the last trace of the gloom that Peabody had
forced upon them, it was necessary only for a tire to burst. Of course
for this effort, the tire chose the coldest and most fiercely windswept
portion of the Pelham Road, where from the broad waters of the Sound
pneumonia and the grip raced rampant, and where to the touch a steel
wrench was not to be distinguished from a piece of ice. But before the
wheels had ceased to complain, Winthrop and Fred were out of their fur
coats, down on their knees, and jacking up the axle.
"On an expedition of this sort," said Brother Sam, "whatever happens,
take it as a joke. Fortunately," he explained, "I don't understand
fixing inner tubes, so I will get out and smoke. I have noticed that
when a car breaks down, there is always one man who paces up and down
the road and smokes. His hope is to fool passing cars into thinking
that the people in his car stopped to admire the view."
Recognizing the annual football match as intended solely to replenish
the town coffers, the thrifty townsfolk of Rye, with bicycles and red
flags, were, as usual, and regardless of the speed at which it moved,
levying tribute on every second car that entered their hospitable
boundaries. But before the Scarlet Car reached Rye, small boys of the
town, possessed of a sporting spirit, or of an inherited instinct for
graft, were waiting to give a noisy notice of the ambush. And so,
fore-warned, the Scarlet Car crawled up the main street of Rye as
demurely as a baby-carriage, and then, having safely reached a point
directly in front of the police station, with a loud and ostentatious
report, blew up another tire.
"Well," said Sam crossly, "they can't arrest US for speeding."
"Whatever happens," said his sister, "take it as a joke."
Two miles outside of Stamford, Brother Sam burst into open mutiny.
"Every car in the United States has passed us," he declared. "We won't
get there, at this rate, till the end of the first half. Hit her up,
can't you, Billy?"
"She seems to have an illness," said Winthrop unhappily. "I think I'd
save time if I stopped now and fixed her."
Shamefacedly Fred and he hid themselves under the body of the car, and
a sound of hammering and stentorian breathing followed. Of them all
that was visible was four feet beating a tattoo on the road. Miss
Forbes got out Winthrop's camera, and took a snap-shot of the scene.
"I will call it," she said, "The Idle Rich."
Brother Sam gazed morosely in the direction of New Haven. They had
halted within fifty yards of the railroad tracks, and as each special
train, loaded with happy enthusiasts, raced past them he groaned.
"The only one of us that showed any common sense was Ernest," he
declared, "and you turned him down. I am going to take a trolley to
Stamford, and the first train to New Haven."
"You are not," said his sister; "I will not desert Mr. Winthrop, and
you cannot desert me."
Brother Sam sighed, and seated himself on a rock.
"Do you think, Billy," he asked, "you can get us to Cambridge in time
for next year's game?"
The car limped into Stamford, and while it went into drydock at the
garage, Brother Sam fled to the railroad station, where he learned that
for the next two hours no train that recognized New Haven spoke to
"That being so," said Winthrop, "while we are waiting for the car, we
had better get a quick lunch now, and then push on."
"Push," exclaimed Brother Sam darkly, "is what we are likely to do."
After behaving with perfect propriety for half an hour, just outside of
Bridgeport the Scarlet Car came to a slow and sullen stop, and once
more the owner and the chauffeur hid their shame beneath it, and
attacked its vitals. Twenty minutes later, while they still were at
work, there approached from Bridgeport a young man in a buggy. When he
saw the mass of college colors on the Scarlet Car, he pulled his horse
down to a walk, and as he passed raised his hat.
"At the end of the first half," he said, "the score was a tie."
"Don't mention it," said Brother Sam.
"Now," he cried, "we've got to turn back, and make for New York. If we
start quick, we may get there ahead of the last car to leave New Haven."
"I am going to New Haven, and in this car," declared his sister. "I
must go—to meet Ernest."
"If Ernest has as much sense as he showed this morning," returned her
affectionate brother, "Ernest will go to his Pullman and stay there.
As I told you, the only sure way to get anywhere is by railroad train."
When they passed through Bridgeport it was so late that the electric
lights of Fairview Avenue were just beginning to sputter and glow in
the twilight, and as they came along the shore road into New Haven, the
first car out of New Haven in the race back to New York leaped at them
with siren shrieks of warning, and dancing, dazzling eyes. It passed
like a thing driven by the Furies; and before the Scarlet Car could
swing back into what had been an empty road, in swift pursuit of the
first came many more cars, with blinding searchlights, with a roar of
throbbing, thrashing engines, flying pebbles, and whirling wheels. And
behind these, stretching for a twisted mile, came hundreds of others;
until the road was aflame with flashing Will-o'-the-wisps, dancing
fireballs, and long, shifting shafts of light.
Miss Forbes sat in front, beside Winthrop, and it pleased her to
imagine, as they bent forward, peering into the night, that together
they were facing so many fiery dragons, speeding to give them battle,
to grind them under their wheels. She felt the elation of great speed,
of imminent danger. Her blood tingled with the air from the wind-swept
harbor, with the rush of the great engines, as by a handbreadth they
plunged past her. She knew they were driven by men and half-grown
boys, joyous with victory, piqued by defeat, reckless by one touch too
much of liquor, and that the young man at her side was driving, not
only for himself, but for them.
Each fraction of a second a dazzling light blinded him, and he swerved
to let the monster, with a hoarse, bellowing roar, pass by, and then
again swept his car into the road. And each time for greater
confidence she glanced up into his face.
Throughout the mishaps of the day he had been deeply concerned for her
comfort, sorry for her disappointment, under Brother Sam's indignant
ironies patient, and at all times gentle and considerate. Now, in the
light from the onrushing cars, she noted his alert, laughing eyes, the
broad shoulders bent across the wheel, the lips smiling with excitement
and in the joy of controlling, with a turn of the wrist, a power equal
to sixty galloping horses. She found in his face much comfort. And in
the fact that for the moment her safety lay in his hands, a sense of
pleasure. That this was her feeling puzzled and disturbed her, for to
Ernest Peabody it seemed, in some way, disloyal. And yet there it was.
Of a certainty, there was the secret pleasure in the thought that if
they escaped unhurt from the trap in which they found themselves, it
would be due to him. To herself she argued that if the chauffeur were
driving, her feeling would be the same, that it was the nerve, the
skill, and the coolness, not the man, that moved her admiration. But
in her heart she knew it would not be the same.
At West Haven Green Winthrop turned out of the track of the racing
monsters into a quiet street leading to the railroad station, and with
a half-sigh, half-laugh, leaned back comfortably.
"Those lights coming up suddenly make it hard to see," he said.
"Hard to breathe," snorted Sam; "since that first car missed us, I
haven't drawn an honest breath. I held on so tight that I squeezed the
hair out of the cushions."
When they reached the railroad station, and Sam had finally fought his
way to the station master, that half-crazed official informed him he
had missed the departure of Mrs. Taylor Holbrooke's car by just ten
Brother Sam reported this state of affairs to his companions.
"God knows we asked for the fish first," he said; "so now we've done
our duty by Ernest, who has shamefully deserted us, and we can get
something to eat, and go home at our leisure. As I have always told
you, the only way to travel independently is in a touring-car."
At the New Haven House they bought three waiters, body and soul, and,
in spite of the fact that in the very next room the team was breaking
training, obtained an excellent but chaotic dinner; and by eight they
were on their way back to the big city.
The night was grandly beautiful. The waters of the Sound flashed in
the light of a cold, clear moon, which showed them, like pictures in
silver print, the sleeping villages through which they passed, the
ancient elms, the low-roofed cottages, the town hall facing the common.
The post road was again empty, and the car moved as steadily as a watch.
"Just because it knows we don't care now when we get there," said
Brother Sam, "you couldn't make it break down with an axe."
From the rear, where he sat with Fred, he announced he was going to
sleep, and asked that he be not awakened until the car had crossed the
State line between Connecticut and New York. Winthrop doubted if he
knew the State line of New York.
"It is where the advertisements for Besse Baker's twenty-seven stores
cease," said Sam drowsily, "and the billposters of Ethel Barrymore
In the front of the car the two young people spoke only at intervals,
but Winthrop had never been so widely alert, so keenly happy, never
before so conscious of her presence.
And it seemed as they glided through the mysterious moonlit world of
silent villages, shadowy woods, and wind-swept bays and inlets, from
which, as the car rattled over the planks of the bridges, the wild duck
rose in noisy circles, they alone were awake and living.
The silence had lasted so long that it was as eloquent as words. The
young man turned his eyes timorously, and sought those of the girl.
What he felt was so strong in him that it seemed incredible she should
be ignorant of it. His eyes searched the gray veil. In his voice
there was both challenge and pleading.
"'Shall be together,'" he quoted, "'breathe and ride. So, one day more
am I deified; who knows but the world may end to-night?'"
The moonlight showed the girl's eyes shining through the veil, and
regarding him steadily.
"If you don't stop this car quick," she said, "the world WILL end for
all of us."
He shot a look ahead, and so suddenly threw on the brake that Sam and
the chauffeur tumbled awake. Across the road stretched the great bulk
of a touring-car, its lamps burning dully in the brilliance of the
moon. Around it, for greater warmth, a half-dozen figures stamped upon
the frozen ground, and beat themselves with their arms. Sam and the
chauffeur vaulted into the road, and went toward them.
"It's what you say, and the way you say it," the girl explained. She
seemed to be continuing an argument. "It makes it so very difficult
for us to play together."
The young man clasped the wheel as though the force he were holding in
check were much greater than sixty horse-power.
"You are not married yet, are you?" he demanded.
The girl moved her head.
"And when you are married, there will probably be an altar from which
you will turn to walk back up the aisle?"
"Well?" said the girl.
"Well," he answered explosively, "until you turn away from that altar,
I do not recognize the right of any man to keep me quiet, or your right
either. Why should I be held by your engagement? I was not consulted
about it. I did not give my consent, did I? I tell you, you are the
only woman in the world I will ever marry, and if you think I am going
to keep silent and watch some one else carry you off without making a
fight for you, you don't know me."
"If you go on," said the girl, "it will mean that I shall not see you
"Then I will write letters to you."
"I will not read them," said the girl. The young man laughed defiantly.
"Oh, yes, you will read them!" He pounded his gauntleted fist on the
rim of the wheel. "You mayn't answer them, but if I can write the way
I feel, I will bet you'll read them."
His voice changed suddenly, and he began to plead. It was as though
she were some masculine giant bullying a small boy.
"You are not fair to me," he protested. "I do not ask you to be kind,
I ask you to be fair. I am fighting for what means more to me than
anything in this world, and you won't even listen. Why should I
recognize any other men! All I recognize is that I am the man who
loves you, that 'I am the man at your feet.' That is all I know, that
I love you."
The girl moved as though with the cold, and turned her head from him.
"I love you," repeated the young man.
The girl breathed like one who has been swimming under water, but, when
she spoke, her voice was calm and contained.
"Please!" she begged, "don't you see how unfair it is. I can't go
away; I HAVE to listen."
The young man pulled himself upright, and pressed his lips together.
"I beg your pardon," he whispered.
There was for some time an unhappy silence, and then Winthrop added
bitterly: "Methinks the punishment exceeds the offence."
"Do you think you make it easy for ME?" returned the girl.
She considered it most ungenerous of him to sit staring into the
moonlight, looking so miserable that it made her heart ache to comfort
him, and so extremely handsome that to do so was quite impossible. She
would have liked to reach out her hand and lay it on his arm, and tell
him she was sorry, but she could not. He should not have looked so
Sam came running toward them with five grizzly bears, who balanced
themselves apparently with some slight effort upon their hind legs.
The grizzly bears were properly presented as: "Tommy Todd, of my
class, and some more like him. And," continued Sam, "I am going to
quit you two and go with them. Tom's car broke down, but Fred fixed
it, and both our cars can travel together. Sort of convoy," he
His sister signalled eagerly, but with equal eagerness he retreated
"Believe me," he assured her soothingly, "I am just as good a chaperon
fifty yards behind you, and wide awake, as I am in the same car and
fast asleep. And, besides, I want to hear about the game. And, what's
more, two cars are much safer than one. Suppose you two break down in
a lonely place? We'll be right behind you to pick you up. You will
keep Winthrop's car in sight, won't you, Tommy?" he said.
The grizzly bear called Tommy, who had been examining the Scarlet Car,
answered doubtfully that the only way he could keep it in sight was by
tying a rope to it.
"That's all right, then," said Sam briskly, "Winthrop will go slow."
So the Scarlet Car shot forward with sometimes the second car so far in
the rear that they could only faintly distinguish the horn begging them
to wait, and again it would follow so close upon their wheels that they
heard the five grizzly bears chanting beseechingly
Oh, bring this wagon home, John,
It will not hold us a-all.
For some time there was silence in the Scarlet Car, and then Winthrop
broke it by laughing.
"First, I lose Peabody," he explained, "then I lose Sam, and now, after
I throw Fred overboard, I am going to drive you into Stamford, where
they do not ask runaway couples for a license, and marry you."
The girl smiled comfortably. In that mood she was not afraid of him.
She lifted her face, and stretched out her arms as though she were
drinking in the moonlight.
"It has been such a good day," she said simply, "and I am really so
"I shall be equally frank," said Winthrop. "So am I."
For two hours they had been on the road, and were just entering
Fairport. For some long time the voices of the pursuing grizzlies had
been lost in the far distance.
"The road's up," said Miss Forbes.
She pointed ahead to two red lanterns.
"It was all right this morning," exclaimed Winthrop.
The car was pulled down to eight miles an hour, and, trembling and
snorting at the indignity, nosed up to the red lanterns.
They showed in a ruddy glow the legs of two men.
"You gotta stop!" commanded a voice.
"Why?" asked Winthrop.
The voice became embodied in the person of a tall man, with a long
overcoat and a drooping mustache.
"'Cause I tell you to!" snapped the tall man.
Winthrop threw a quick glance to the rear. In that direction for a
mile the road lay straight away. He could see its entire length, and
it was empty. In thinking of nothing but Miss Forbes, he had forgotten
the chaperon. He was impressed with the fact that the immediate
presence of a chaperon was desirable. Directly in front of the car,
blocking its advance, were two barrels, with a two-inch plank sagging
heavily between them. Beyond that the main street of Fairport lay
steeped in slumber and moonlight.
"I am a selectman," said the one with the lantern. "You been exceedin'
our speed limit."
The chauffeur gave a gasp that might have been construed to mean that
the charge amazed and shocked him.
"That is not possible," Winthrop answered. "I have been going very
slow—on purpose—to allow a disabled car to keep up with me."
The selectman looked down the road.
"It ain't kep' up with you," he said pointedly.
"It has until the last few minutes."
"It's the last few minutes we're talking about," returned the man who
had not spoken. He put his foot on the step of the car.
"What are you doing?" asked Winthrop.
"I am going to take you to Judge Allen's. I am chief of police. You
are under arrest."
Before Winthrop rose moving pictures of Miss Forbes appearing in a
dirty police station before an officious Dogberry, and, as he and his
car were well known along the Post road, appearing the next morning in
the New York papers. "William Winthrop," he saw the printed words,
"son of Endicott Winthrop, was arrested here this evening, with a young
woman who refused to give her name, but who was recognized as Miss
Beatrice Forbes, whose engagement to Ernest Peabody, the Reform
candidate on the Independent ticket——"
And, of course, Peabody would blame her.
"If I have exceeded your speed limit," he said politely, "I shall be
delighted to pay the fine. How much is it?"
"Judge Allen'll tell you what the fine is," said the selectman gruffly.
"And he may want bail."
"Bail?" demanded Winthrop. "Do you mean to tell me he will detain us
"He will, if he wants to," answered the chief of police combatively.
For an instant Winthrop sat gazing gloomily ahead, overcome apparently
by the enormity of his offence. He was calculating whether, if he
rammed the two-inch plank, it would hit the car or Miss Forbes. He
decided swiftly it would hit his new two-hundred-dollar lamps. As
swiftly he decided the new lamps must go. But he had read of guardians
of the public safety so regardless of private safety as to try to
puncture runaway tires with pistol bullets. He had no intention of
subjecting Miss Forbes to a fusillade.
So he whirled upon the chief of police:
"Take your hand off that gun!" he growled. "How dare you threaten me?"
Amazed, the chief of police dropped from the step and advanced
"Me?" he demanded. "I ain't got a gun. What you mean by——"
With sudden intelligence, the chauffeur precipitated himself upon the
"It's the other one," he shouted. He shook an accusing finger at the
selectman. "He pointed it at the lady."
To Miss Forbes the realism of Fred's acting was too convincing. To
learn that one is covered with a loaded revolver is disconcerting.
Miss Forbes gave a startled squeak, and ducked her head.
Winthrop roared aloud at the selectman.
"How dare you frighten the lady!" he cried. "Take your hand off that
"What you talkin' about?" shouted the selectman. "The idea of my
havin' a gun! I haven't got a——"
"All right, Fred!" cried Winthrop. "Low bridge."
There was a crash of shattered glass and brass, of scattered barrel
staves, the smell of escaping gas, and the Scarlet Car was flying
drunkenly down the main street.
"What are they doing now, Fred?" called the owner.
Fred peered over the stern of the flying car.
"The constable's jumping around the road," he replied, "and the long
one's leaning against a tree. No, he's climbing the tree. I can't
make out WHAT he's doing."
"I know!" cried Miss Forbes; her voice vibrated with excitement.
Defiance of the law had thrilled her with unsuspected satisfaction; her
eyes were dancing. "There was a telephone fastened to the tree, a hand
telephone. They are sending word to some one. They're trying to head
Winthrop brought the car to a quick halt.
"We're in a police trap!" he said. Fred leaned forward and whispered
to his employer. His voice also vibrated with the joy of the chase.
"This'll be our THIRD arrest," he said. "That means——"
"I know what it means," snapped Winthrop. "Tell me how we can get out
"We can't get out of here, sir, unless we go back. Going south, the
bridge is the only way out."
"The bridge!" Winthrop struck the wheel savagely with his knuckles. "I
forgot their confounded bridge!" He turned to Miss Forbes. "Fairport
is a sort of island," he explained.
"But after we're across the bridge," urged the chauffeur, "we needn't
keep to the post road no more. We can turn into Stone Ridge, and
strike south to White Plains. Then——"
"We haven't crossed the bridge yet," growled Winthrop. His voice had
none of the joy of the others; he was greatly perturbed. "Look back,"
he commanded, "and see if there is any sign of those boys."
He was now quite willing to share responsibility. But there was no
sign of the Yale men, and, unattended, the Scarlet Car crept warily
forward. Ahead of it, across the little reed-grown inlet, stretched
their road of escape, a long wooden bridge, lying white in the
"I don't see a soul," whispered Miss Forbes.
"Anybody at that draw?" asked Winthrop. Unconsciously his voice also
had sunk to a whisper.
"No," returned Fred. "I think the man that tends the draw goes home at
night; there is no light there."
"Well then," said Winthrop, with an anxious sigh, "we've got to make a
dash for it."
The car shot forward, and, as it leaped lightly upon the bridge, there
was a rapid rumble of creaking boards.
Between it and the highway to New York lay only two hundred yards of
track, straight and empty.
In his excitement the chauffeur rose from the rear seat.
"They'll never catch us now," he muttered. "They'll never catch us!"
But even as he spoke there grated harshly the creak of rusty chains on
a cogged wheel, the rattle of a brake. The black figure of a man with
waving arms ran out upon the draw, and the draw gaped slowly open.
When the car halted there was between it and the broken edge of the
bridge twenty feet of running water.
At the same moment from behind it came a patter of feet, and Winthrop
turned to see racing toward them some dozen young men of Fairport.
They surrounded him with noisy, raucous, belligerent cries. They were,
as they proudly informed him, members of the Fairport "Volunteer Fire
Department." That they might purchase new uniforms, they had arranged
a trap for the automobiles returning in illegal haste from New Haven.
In fines they had collected $300, and it was evident that already some
of that money had been expended in bad whiskey. As many as could do so
crowded into the car, others hung to the running boards and step,
others ran beside it. They rejoiced over Winthrop's unsuccessful
flight and capture with violent and humiliating laughter.
For the day, Judge Allen had made a temporary court in the clubroom of
the fire department, which was over the engine house; and the
proceedings were brief and decisive. The selectman told how Winthrop,
after first breaking the speed law, had broken arrest and Judge Allen,
refusing to fine him and let him go, held him and his companions for a
hearing the following morning. He fixed the amount of bail at $500
each; failing to pay this, they would for the night be locked up in
different parts of the engine house, which, it developed, contained on
the ground floor the home of the fire engine, on the second floor the
clubroom, on alternate nights, of the firemen, the local G. A. R., and
the Knights of Pythias, and in its cellar the town jail.
Winthrop and the chauffeur the learned judge condemned to the cells in
the basement. As a concession, he granted Miss Forbes the freedom of
the entire clubroom to herself.
The objections raised by Winthrop to this arrangement were of a nature
so violent, so vigorous, at one moment so specious and conciliatory,
and the next so abusive, that his listeners were moved by awe, but not
In his indignation, Judge Allen rose to reply, and as, the better to
hear him, the crowd pushed forward, Fred gave way before it, until he
was left standing in sullen gloom upon its outer edge. In imitation of
the real firemen of the great cities, the vamps of Fairport had cut a
circular hole in the floor of their clubroom, and from the engine room
below had reared a sliding pole of shining brass. When leaving their
clubroom, it was always their pleasure to scorn the stairs and, like
real firemen, slide down this pole. It had not escaped the notice of
Fred, and since his entrance he had been gravitating toward it.
As the voice of the judge rose in violent objurgation, and all eyes
were fixed upon him, the chauffeur crooked his leg tightly about the
brass pole, and, like the devil in the pantomime, sank softly and
swiftly through the floor.
The irate judge was shaking his finger in Winthrop's face.
"Don't you try to teach me no law," he shouted; "I know what I can do.
Ef MY darter went gallivantin' around nights in one of them
automobiles, it would serve her right to get locked up. Maybe this
young woman will learn to stay at home nights with her folks. She
ain't goin' to take no harm here. The constable sits up all night
downstairs in the fire engine room, and that sofa's as good a place to
sleep as the hotel. If you want me to let her go to the hotel, why
don't you send to your folks and bail her out?"
"You know damn well why I don't," returned Winthrop. "I don't intend
to give the newspapers and you and these other idiots the chance to
annoy her further. This young lady's brother has been with us all day;
he left us only by accident, and by forcing her to remain here alone
you are acting outrageously. If you knew anything of decency, or law,
"I know this much!" roared the justice triumphantly, pointing his
spectacle-case at Miss Forbes. "I know her name ain't Lizzie Borden
and yours ain't Charley Ross."
Winthrop crossed to where Miss Forbes stood in a corner. She still
wore her veil, but through it, though her face was pale, she smiled at
His own distress was undisguised.
"I can never forgive myself," he said.
"Nonsense!" replied Miss Forbes briskly. "You were perfectly right.
If we had sent for any one, it would have had to come out. Now, we'll
pay the fine in the morning and get home, and no one will know anything
of it excepting the family and Mr. Peabody, and they'll understand.
But if I ever lay hands on my brother Sam!"—she clasped her fingers
together helplessly. "To think of his leaving you to spend the night
in a cell——"
Winthrop interrupted her.
"I will get one of these men to send his wife or sister over to stay
with you," he said.
But Miss Forbes protested that she did not want a companion. The
constable would protect her, she said, and she would sit up all night
and read. She nodded at the periodicals on the club table.
"This is the only chance I may ever have," she said, "to read the
"You ready there?" called the constable.
"Good-night," said Winthrop.
Under the eyes of the grinning yokels, they shook hands.
"Good-night," said the girl.
"Where's your young man?" demanded the chief of police.
"My what?" inquired Winthrop.
"The young fellow that was with you when we held you up that first
The constable, or the chief of police as he called himself, on the
principle that if there were only one policeman he must necessarily be
the chief, glanced hastily over the heads of the crowd.
"Any of you holding that shoffer?" he called.
No one was holding the chauffeur.
The chauffeur had vanished.
The cell to which the constable led Winthrop was in a corner of the
cellar in which formerly coal had been stored. This corner was now
fenced off with boards, and a wooden door with chain and padlock.
High in the wall, on a level with the ground, was the opening, or
window, through which the coal had been dumped. This window now was
barricaded with iron bars. Winthrop tested the door by shaking it, and
landed a heavy kick on one of the hinges. It gave slightly, and
emitted a feeble groan.
"What you tryin' to do?" demanded the constable. "That's town
In the light of the constable's lantern, Winthrop surveyed his cell
with extreme dissatisfaction.
"I call this a cheap cell," he said.
"It's good enough for a cheap sport," returned the constable. It was
so overwhelming a retort that after the constable had turned the key in
the padlock, and taken himself and his lantern to the floor above,
Winthrop could hear him repeating it to the volunteer firemen. They
received it with delighted howls.
For an hour, on the three empty boxes that formed his bed, Winthrop
sat, with his chin on his fists, planning the nameless atrocities he
would inflict upon the village of Fairport. Compared to his tortures,
those of Neuremberg were merely reprimands. Also he considered the
particular punishment he would mete out to Sam Forbes for his desertion
of his sister, and to Fred. He could not understand Fred. It was not
like the chauffeur to think only of himself. Nevertheless, for
abandoning Miss Forbes in the hour of need, Fred must be discharged.
He had, with some regret, determined upon this discipline, when from
directly over his head the voice of Fred hailed him cautiously.
"Mr. Winthrop," the voice called, "are you there?"
To Winthrop the question seemed superfluous. He jumped to his feet,
and peered up into the darkness.
"Where are YOU?" he demanded.
"At the window," came the answer. "We're in the back yard. Mr. Sam
wants to speak to you."
On Miss Forbes's account, Winthrop gave a gasp of relief. On his own,
one of savage satisfaction.
"And I want to speak to HIM!" he whispered.
The moonlight, which had been faintly shining through the iron bars of
the coal chute, was eclipsed by a head and shoulders. The comfortable
voice of Sam Forbes greeted him in a playful whisper.
"Hullo, Billy! You down there?"
"Where the devil did you think I was?" Winthrop answered at white heat.
"Let me tell you if I was not down here I'd be punching your head."
"That's all right, Billy," Sam answered soothingly. "But I'll save you
just the same. It shall never be said of Sam Forbes he deserted a
"Stop that! Do you know," Winthrop demanded fiercely, "that your
sister is a prisoner upstairs?"
"I do," replied the unfeeling brother, "but she won't be long. All the
low-comedy parts are out now arranging a rescue."
"Who are? Todd and those boys?" demanded Winthrop. "They mustn't think
of it! They'll only make it worse. It is impossible to get your
sister out of here with those drunken firemen in the building. You
must wait till they've gone home. Do you hear me?"
"Pardon ME!" returned Sam stiffly, "but this is MY relief expedition.
I have sent two of the boys to hold the bridge, like Horatius, and two
to guard the motors, and the others are going to entice the firemen
away from the engine house."
"Entice them? How?" demanded Winthrop. "They're drunk, and they won't
leave here till morning."
Outside the engine house, suspended from a heavy cross-bar, was a steel
rail borrowed from a railroad track, and bent into a hoop. When hit
with a sledge-hammer it proclaimed to Fairport that the "consuming
element" was at large.
At the moment Winthrop asked his question, over the village of Fairport
and over the bay and marshes, and far out across the Sound, the great
steel bar sent forth a shuddering boom of warning.
From the room above came a wild tumult of joyous yells.
"Fire!" shrieked the vamps, "fire!"
The two men crouching by the cellar window heard the rush of feet, the
engine banging and bumping across the sidewalk, its brass bell clanking
crazily, the happy vamps shouting hoarse, incoherent orders.
Through the window Sam lowered a bag of tools he had taken from
"Can you open the lock with any of these?" he asked.
"I can kick it open!" yelled Winthrop joyfully. "Get to your sister,
He threw his shoulder against the door, and the staples flying before
him sent him sprawling in the coal-dust. When he reached the head of
the stairs, Beatrice Forbes was descending from the clubroom, and in
front of the door the two cars, with their lamps unlit and numbers
hidden, were panting to be free.
And in the North, reaching to the sky, rose a roaring column of flame,
shameless in the pale moonlight, dragging into naked day the sleeping
village, the shingled houses, the clock-face in the church steeple.
"What the devil have you done?" gasped Winthrop.
Before he answered, Sam waited until the cars were rattling to safety
across the bridge.
"We have been protecting the face of nature," he shouted. "The only
way to get that gang out of the engine house was to set fire to
something. Tommy wanted to burn up the railroad station, because he
doesn't like the New York and New Haven, and Fred was for setting fire
to Judge Allen's house, because he was rude to Beatrice. But we
finally formed the Village Improvement Society, organized to burn all
advertising signs. You know those that stood in the marshes, and hid
the view from the trains, so that you could not see the Sound. We
chopped them down and put them in a pile, and poured gasolene on them,
and that fire is all that is left of the pickles, fly-screens, and
It was midnight when the cars drew up at the door of the house of
Forbes. Anxiously waiting in the library were Mrs. Forbes and Ernest
"At last!" cried Mrs. Forbes, smiling her relief; "we thought maybe Sam
and you had decided to spend the night in New Haven."
"No," said Miss Forbes, "there WAS some talk about spending the night
at Fairport, but we pushed right on."
With a long, nervous shudder, the Scarlet Car came to a stop, and the
lamps bored a round hole in the night, leaving the rest of the
encircling world in a chill and silent darkness.
The lamps showed a flickering picture of a country road between high
banks covered with loose stones, and overhead, a fringe of pine boughs.
It looked like a colored photograph thrown from a stereopticon in a
From the back of the car the voice of the owner said briskly: "We will
now sing that beautiful ballad entitled 'He Is Sleeping in the Yukon
Vale To-night.' What are you stopping for, Fred?" he asked.
The tone of the chauffeur suggested he was again upon the defensive.
"For water, sir," he mumbled.
Miss Forbes in the front seat laughed, and her brother in the rear
seat, groaned in dismay.
"Oh, for water?" said the owner cordially. "I thought maybe it was for
Save a dignified silence, there was no answer to this, until there came
a rolling of loose stones and the sound of a heavy body suddenly
precipitated down the bank, and landing with a thump in the road.
"He didn't get the water," said the owner sadly.
"Are you hurt, Fred?" asked the girl.
The chauffeur limped in front of the lamps, appearing suddenly, like an
actor stepping into the limelight.
"No, ma'am," he said. In the rays of the lamp, he unfolded a road map
and scowled at it. He shook his head aggrievedly.
"There OUGHT to be a house just about here," he explained.
"There OUGHT to be a hotel and a garage, and a cold supper, just about
here," said the girl cheerfully.
"That's the way with those houses," complained the owner. "They never
stay where they're put. At night they go around and visit each other.
Where do you think you are, Fred?"
"I think we're in that long woods, between Loon Lake and Stoughton on
the Boston Pike," said the chauffeur, "and," he reiterated, "there
OUGHT to be a house somewhere about here—where we get water."
"Well, get there, then, and get the water," commanded the owner.
"But I can't get there, sir, till I get the water," returned the
He shook out two collapsible buckets, and started down the shaft of
"I won't be more nor five minutes," he called.
"I'm going with him," said the girl, "I'm cold."
She stepped down from the front seat, and the owner with sudden
alacrity vaulted the door and started after her.
"You coming?" he inquired of Ernest Peabody. But Ernest Peabody being
soundly asleep made no reply. Winthrop turned to Sam. "Are YOU
coming?" he repeated.
The tone of the invitation seemed to suggest that a refusal would not
necessarily lead to a quarrel.
"I am NOT!" said the brother. "You've kept Peabody and me twelve hours
in the open air, and it's past two, and we're going to sleep. You can
take it from me that we are going to spend the rest of this night here
in this road."
He moved his cramped joints cautiously, and stretched his legs the full
width of the car.
"If you can't get plain water," he called, "get club soda."
He buried his nose in the collar of his fur coat, and the odors of
camphor and raccoon skins instantly assailed him, but he only yawned
luxuriously and disappeared into the coat as a turtle draws into its
shell. From the woods about him the smell of the pine needles pressed
upon him like a drug, and before the footsteps of his companions were
lost in the silence he was asleep. But his sleep was only a review of
his waking hours. Still on either hand rose flying dust clouds and
twirling leaves; still on either side raced gray stone walls, telegraph
poles, hills rich in autumn colors; and before him a long white road,
unending, interminable, stretching out finally into a darkness lit by
flashing shop-windows, like open fireplaces, by street lamps, by
swinging electric globes, by the blinding searchlights of hundreds of
darting trolley cars with terrifying gongs, and then a cold white mist,
and again on every side, darkness, except where the four great lamps
blazed a path through stretches of ghostly woods.
As the two young men slumbered, the lamps spluttered and sizzled like
bacon in a frying-pan, a stone rolled noisily down the bank, a white
owl, both appalled and fascinated by the dazzling eyes of the monster
blocking the road, hooted, and flapped itself away. But the men in the
car only shivered slightly, deep in the sleep of utter weariness.
In silence the girl and Winthrop followed the chauffeur. They had
passed out of the light of the lamps, and in the autumn mist the
electric torch of the owner was as ineffective as a glow-worm. The
mystery of the forest fell heavily upon them. From their feet the dead
leaves sent up a clean, damp odor, and on either side and overhead the
giant pine trees whispered and rustled in the night wind.
"Take my coat, too," said the young man. "You'll catch cold." He spoke
with authority and began to slip the loops from the big horn buttons.
It was not the habit of the girl to consider her health. Nor did she
permit the members of her family to show solicitude concerning it. But
the anxiety of the young man, did not seem to offend her. She thanked
him generously. "No; these coats are hard to walk in, and I want to
walk," she exclaimed.
"I like to hear the leaves rustle when you kick them, don't you? When
I was so high, I used to pretend it was wading in the surf."
The young man moved over to the gutter of the road where the leaves
were deepest and kicked violently. "And the more noise you make," he
said, "the more you frighten away the wild animals."
The girl shuddered in a most helpless and fascinating fashion.
"Don't!" she whispered. "I didn't mention it, but already I have seen
several lions crouching behind the trees."
"Indeed?" said the young man. His tone was preoccupied. He had just
kicked a rock, hidden by the leaves, and was standing on one leg.
"Do you mean you don't believe me?" asked the girl, "or is it that you
are merely brave?"
"Merely brave!" exclaimed the young man. "Massachusetts is so far north
for lions," he continued, "that I fancy what you saw was a grizzly
bear. But I have my trusty electric torch with me, and if there is
anything a bear cannot abide, it is to be pointed at by an electric
"Let us pretend," cried the girl, "that we are the babes in the wood,
and that we are lost."
"We don't have to pretend we're lost," said the man, "and as I remember
it, the babes came to a sad end. Didn't they die, and didn't the birds
bury them with leaves?"
"Sam and Mr. Peabody can be the birds," suggested the girl.
"Sam and Peabody hopping around with leaves in their teeth would look
silly," objected the man, "I doubt if I could keep from laughing."
"Then," said the girl, "they can be the wicked robbers who came to kill
"Very well," said the man with suspicious alacrity, "let us be babes.
If I have to die," he went on heartily, "I would rather die with you
than live with any one else."
When he had spoken, although they were entirely alone in the world and
quite near to each other, it was as though the girl could not hear him,
even as though he had not spoken at all. After a silence, the girl
said: "Perhaps it would be better for us to go back to the car."
"I won't do it again," begged the man.
"We will pretend," cried the girl, "that the car is a van and that we
are gypsies, and we'll build a campfire, and I will tell your fortune."
"You are the only woman who can," muttered the young man.
The girl still stood in her tracks.
"You said—" she began.
"I know," interrupted the man, "but you won't let me talk seriously, so
I joke. But some day——"
"Oh, look!" cried the girl. "There's Fred."
She ran from him down the road. The young man followed her slowly, his
fists deep in the pockets of the great-coat, and kicking at the
The chauffeur was peering through a double iron gate hung between
square brick posts. The lower hinge of one gate was broken, and that
gate lurched forward leaving an opening. By the light of the electric
torch they could see the beginning of a driveway, rough and weed-grown,
lined with trees of great age and bulk, and an unkempt lawn, strewn
with bushes, and beyond, in an open place bare of trees and illuminated
faintly by the stars, the shadow of a house, black, silent, and
"That's it," whispered the chauffeur. "I was here before. The well is
The young man gave a gasp of astonishment.
"Why," he protested, "this is the Carey place! I should say we WERE
lost. We must have left the road an hour ago. There's not another
house within miles." But he made no movement to enter. "Of all
places!" he muttered.
"Well, then," urged the girl briskly, "if there's no other house, let's
tap Mr. Carey's well and get on."
"Do you know who he is?" asked the man.
The girl laughed. "You don't need a letter of introduction to take a
bucket of water, do you?" she said.
"It's Philip Carey's house. He lives here." He spoke in a whisper,
and insistently, as though the information must carry some special
significance. But the girl showed no sign of enlightenment. "You
remember the Carey boys?" he urged. "They left Harvard the year I
entered. They HAD to leave. They were quite mad. All the Careys have
been mad. The boys were queer even then, and awfully rich. Henry ran
away with a girl from a shoe factory in Brockton and lives in Paris,
and Philip was sent here."
"Sent here?" repeated the girl. Unconsciously her voice also had sunk
to a whisper.
"He has a doctor and a nurse and keepers, and they live here all the
year round. When Fred said there were people hereabouts, I thought we
might strike them for something to eat, or even to put us up for the
night, but, Philip Carey! I shouldn't fancy——"
"I should think not!" exclaimed the girl.
For, a minute the three stood silent, peering through the iron bars.
"And the worst of it is," went on the young man irritably, "he could
give us such good things to eat."
"It doesn't look it," said the girl.
"I know," continued the man in the same eager whisper. "But—who was
it was telling me? Some doctor I know who came down to see him. He
said Carey does himself awfully well, has the house full of bully
pictures, and the family plate, and wonderful collections—things he
picked up in the East—gold ornaments, and jewels, and jade."
"I shouldn't think," said the girl in the same hushed voice, "they
would let him live so far from any neighbors with such things in the
house. Suppose burglars——"
"Burglars! Burglars would never hear of this place. How could
they?—Even his friends think it's just a private madhouse."
The girl shivered and drew back from the gate.
Fred coughed apologetically.
"I'VE heard of it," he volunteered. "There was a piece in the Sunday
Post. It said he eats his dinner in a diamond crown, and all the walls
is gold, and two monkeys wait on table with gold——"
"Nonsense!" said the man sharply. "He eats like any one else and
dresses like any one else. How far is the well from the house?"
"It's purty near," said the chauffeur.
"Pretty near the house, or pretty near here?"
"Just outside the kitchen; and it makes a creaky noise."
"You mean you don't want to go?"
Fred's answer was unintelligible.
"You wait here with Miss Forbes," said the young man. "And I'll get
"Yes, sir!" said Fred, quite distinctly.
"No, sir!" said Miss Forbes, with equal distinctness. "I'm not going
to be left here alone—with all these trees. I'm going with you."
"There may be a dog," suggested the young man, "or, I was thinking if
they heard me prowling about, they might take a shot—just for luck.
Why don't you go back to the car with Fred?"
"Down that long road in the dark?" exclaimed the girl. "Do you think I
have no imagination?"
The man in front, the girl close on his heels, and the boy with the
buckets following, crawled through the broken gate, and moved
cautiously up the gravel driveway.
Within fifty feet of the house the courage of the chauffeur returned.
"You wait here," he whispered, "and if I wake 'em up, you shout to 'em
that it's all right, that it's only me."
"Your idea being," said the young man, "that they will then fire at me.
Clever lad. Run along."
There was a rustling of the dead weeds, and instantly the chauffeur was
swallowed in the encompassing shadows.
Miss Forbes leaned toward the young man.
"Do you see a light in that lower story?" she whispered.
"No," said the man. "Where?"
After a pause the girl answered: "I can't see it now, either. Maybe I
didn't see it. It was very faint—just a glow—it might have been
"It might," said the man. He gave a shrug of distaste. "The whole
place is certainly old enough and decayed enough."
For a brief space they stood quite still, and at once, accentuated by
their own silence, the noises of the night grew in number and
distinctness. A slight wind had risen and the boughs of the pines
rocked restlessly, making mournful complaint; and at their feet the
needles dropping in a gentle desultory shower had the sound of rain in
springtime. From every side they were startled by noises they could
not place. Strange movements and rustlings caused them to peer sharply
into the shadows; footsteps, that seemed to approach, and, then, having
marked them, skulk away; branches of bushes that suddenly swept
together, as though closing behind some one in stealthy retreat.
Although they knew that in the deserted garden they were alone, they
felt that from the shadows they were being spied upon, that the
darkness of the place was peopled by malign presences.
The young man drew a cigar from his case and put it unlit between his
"Cheerful, isn't it?" he growled. "These dead leaves make it damp as a
tomb. If I've seen one ghost, I've seen a dozen. I believe we're
standing in the Carey family's graveyard."
"I thought you were brave," said the girl.
"I am," returned the young man, "very brave. But if you had the most
wonderful girl on earth to take care of in the grounds of a madhouse at
two in the morning, you'd be scared too."
He was abruptly surprised by Miss Forbes laying her hand firmly upon
his shoulder, and turning him in the direction of the house. Her face
was so near his that he felt the uneven fluttering of her breath upon
"There is a man," she said, "standing behind that tree."
By the faint light of the stars he saw, in black silhouette, a shoulder
and head projecting from beyond the trunk of a huge oak, and then
quickly withdrawn. The owner of the head and shoulder was on the side
of the tree nearest to themselves, his back turned to them, and so
deeply was his attention engaged that he was unconscious of their
"He is watching the house," said the girl. "Why is he doing that?"
"I think it's Fred," whispered the man. "He's afraid to go for the
water. That's as far as he's gone." He was about to move forward when
from the oak tree there came a low whistle. The girl and the man stood
silent and motionless. But they knew it was useless; that they had
been overheard. A voice spoke cautiously.
"That you?" it asked.
With the idea only of gaining time, the young man responded promptly
and truthfully. "Yes," he whispered.
"Keep to the right of the house," commanded the voice.
The young man seized Miss Forbes by the wrist and moving to the right
drew her quickly with him. He did not stop until they had turned the
corner of the building, and were once more hidden by the darkness.
"The plot thickens," he said. "I take it that that fellow is a keeper,
or watchman. He spoke as though it were natural there should be
another man in the grounds, so there's probably two of them, either to
keep Carey in, or to keep trespassers out. Now, I think I'll go back
and tell him that Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of
water, and that all they want is to be allowed to get the water, and
"Why should a watchman hide behind a tree?" asked the girl. "And
She ceased abruptly with a sharp cry of fright. "What's that?" she
"What's what?" asked the young man startled. "What did you hear?"
"Over there," stammered the girl. "Something—that—groaned."
"Pretty soon this will get on my nerves," said the man. He ripped open
his greatcoat and reached under it. "I've been stoned twice, when
there were women in the car," he said, apologetically, "and so now at
night I carry a gun." He shifted the darkened torch to his left hand,
and, moving a few yards, halted to listen. The girl, reluctant to be
left alone, followed slowly. As he stood immovable there came from the
leaves just beyond him the sound of a feeble struggle, and a strangled
groan. The man bent forward and flashed the torch. He saw stretched
rigid on the ground a huge wolf-hound. Its legs were twisted horribly,
the lips drawn away from the teeth, the eyes glazed in an agony of
pain. The man snapped off the light. "Keep back!" he whispered to the
girl. He took her by the arm and ran with her toward the gate.
"Who was it?" she begged.
"It was a dog," he answered. "I think——"
He did not tell her what he thought.
"I've got to find out what the devil has happened to Fred!" he said.
"You go back to the car. Send your brother here on the run. Tell him
there's going to be a rough-house. You're not afraid to go?"
"No," said the girl.
A shadow blacker than the night rose suddenly before them, and a voice
asked sternly but quietly: "What are you doing here?"
The young man lifted his arm clear of the girl, and shoved her quickly
from him. In his hand she felt the pressure of the revolver.
"Well," he replied truculently, "and what are you doing here?"
"I am the night watchman," answered the voice. "Who are you?"
It struck Miss Forbes if the watchman knew that one of the trespassers
was a woman he would be at once reassured, and she broke in quickly:
"We have lost our way," she said pleasantly. "We came here——"
She found herself staring blindly down a shaft of light. For an
instant the torch held her, and then from her swept over the young man.
"Drop that gun!" cried the voice. It was no longer the same voice; it
was now savage and snarling. For answer the young man pressed the
torch in his left hand, and, held in the two circles of light, the men
surveyed each other. The newcomer was one of unusual bulk and height.
The collar of his overcoat hid his mouth, and his derby hat was drawn
down over his forehead, but what they saw showed an intelligent, strong
face, although for the moment it wore a menacing scowl. The young man
dropped his revolver into his pocket.
"My automobile ran dry," he said; "we came in here to get some water.
My chauffeur is back there somewhere with a couple of buckets. This is
Mr. Carey's place, isn't it?"
"Take that light out of my eyes!" said the watchman.
"Take your light out of my eyes," returned the young man. "You can see
we're not—we don't mean any harm."
The two lights disappeared simultaneously, and then each, as though
worked by the same hand, sprang forth again.
"What did you think I was going to do?" the young man asked. He
laughed and switched off his torch.
But the one the watchman held in his hand still moved from the face of
the girl to that of the young man.
"How'd you know this was the Carey house?" he demanded. "Do you know
"No, but I know this is his house." For a moment from behind his mask
of light the watchman surveyed them in silence. Then he spoke quickly:
"I'll take you to him," he said, "if he thinks it's all right, it's all
The girl gave a protesting cry. The young man burst forth indignantly:
"You will NOT!" he cried. "Don't be an idiot! You talk like a
Tenderloin cop. Do we look like second-story workers?"
"I found you prowling around Mr. Carey's grounds at two in the
morning," said the watchman sharply, "with a gun in your hand. My job
is to protect this place, and I am going to take you both to Mr. Carey."
Until this moment the young man could see nothing save the shaft of
light and the tiny glowing bulb at its base; now into the light there
protruded a black revolver.
"Keep your hands up, and walk ahead of me to the house," commanded the
watchman. "The woman will go in front."
The young man did not move. Under his breath he muttered impotently,
and bit at his lower lip.
"See here," he said, "I'll go with you, but you shan't take this lady
in front of that madman. Let her go to her car. It's only a hundred
yards from here; you know perfectly well she——"
"I know where your car is, all right," said the watchman steadily, "and
I'm not going to let you get away in it till Mr. Carey's seen you."
The revolver motioned forward. Miss Forbes stepped in front of it and
appealed eagerly to the young man.
"Do what he says," she urged. "It's only his duty. Please! Indeed, I
don't mind." She turned to the watchman. "Which way do you want us to
go?" she asked.
"Keep in the light," he ordered.
The light showed the broad steps leading to the front entrance of the
house, and in its shaft they climbed them, pushed open the unlocked
door, and stood in a small hallway. It led into a greater hall beyond.
By the electric lights still burning they noted that the interior of
the house was as rich and well cared for as the outside was miserable.
With a gesture for silence the watchman motioned them into a small room
on the right of the hallway. It had the look of an office, and was
apparently the place in which were conducted the affairs of the estate.
In an open grate was a dying fire; in front of it a flat desk covered
with papers and japanned tin boxes.
"You stay here till I fetch Mr. Carey, and the servants," commanded the
watchman. "Don't try to get out, and," he added menacingly, "don't
make no noise." With his revolver he pointed at the two windows. They
were heavily barred. "Those bars keep Mr. Carey in," he said, "and I
guess they can keep you in, too. The other watchman," he added, "will
be just outside this door." But still he hesitated, glowering with
suspicion; unwilling to trust them alone. His face lit with an ugly
"Mr. Carey's very bad to-night," he said; "he won't keep his bed and
he's wandering about the house. If he found you by yourselves, he
The young man, who had been staring at the fire, swung sharply on his
"Get-to-hell-out-of-here!" he said. The watchman stepped into the hall
and was cautiously closing the door when a man sprang lightly up the
front steps. Through the inch crack left by the open door the
trespassers heard the newcomers eager greeting.
"I can't get him right!" he panted. "He's snoring like a hog."
The watchman exclaimed savagely:
"He's fooling you." He gasped. "I didn't mor' nor slap him. Did you
throw water on him?"
"I drowned him!" returned the other. "He never winked. I tell You we
gotta walk, and damn quick!"
"Walk!" The watchman cursed him foully. "How far could we walk? I'LL
bring him to," he swore. "He's scared of us, and he's shamming." He
gave a sudden start of alarm. "That's it, he's shamming. You fool!
You shouldn't have left him."
There was the swift patter of retreating footsteps, and then a sudden
halt, and they heard the watchman command: "Go back, and keep the
other two till I come."
The next instant from the outside the door was softly closed upon them.
It had no more than shut when to the surprise of Miss Forbes the young
man, with a delighted and vindictive chuckle, sprang to the desk and
began to drum upon it with his fingers. It were as though he were
practising upon a typewriter.
"He missed THESE," he muttered jubilantly. The girl leaned forward.
Beneath his fingers she saw, flush with the table, a roll of little
ivory buttons. She read the words "Stables," "Servants' hall." She
raised a pair of very beautiful and very bewildered eyes.
"But if he wanted the servants, why didn't the watchman do that?" she
"Because he isn't a watchman," answered the young man. "Because he's
robbing this house."
He took the revolver from his encumbering greatcoat, slipped it in his
pocket, and threw the coat from him. He motioned the girl into a
corner. "Keep out of the line of the door," he ordered.
"I don't understand," begged the girl.
"They came in a car," whispered the young man. "It's broken down, and
they can't get away. When the big fellow stopped us and I flashed my
torch, I saw their car behind him in the road with the front off and
the lights out. He'd seen the lamps of our car, and now they want it
to escape in. That's why he brought us here—to keep us away from our
"And Fred!" gasped the girl. "Fred's hurt!"
"I guess Fred stumbled into the big fellow," assented the young man,
"and the big fellow put him out; then he saw Fred was a chauffeur, and
now they are trying to bring him to, so that he can run the car for
them. You needn't worry about Fred. He's been in four smash-ups."
The young man bent forward to listen, but from no part of the great
house came any sign. He exclaimed angrily.
"They must be drugged," he growled. He ran to the desk and made
vicious jabs at the ivory buttons.
"Suppose they're out of order!" he whispered.
There was the sound of leaping feet. The young man laughed nervously.
"No, it's all right," he cried. "They're coming!"
The door flung open and the big burglar and a small, rat-like figure of
a man burst upon them; the big one pointing a revolver.
"Come with me to your car!" he commanded. "You've got to take us to
Boston. Quick, or I'll blow your face off."
Although the young man glared bravely at the steel barrel and the
lifted trigger, poised a few inches from his eyes, his body, as though
weak with fright, shifted slightly and his feet made a shuffling noise
upon the floor. When the weight of his body was balanced on the ball
of his right foot, the shuffling ceased. Had the burglar lowered his
eyes, the manoeuvre to him would have been significant, but his eyes
were following the barrel of the revolver.
In the mind of the young man the one thought uppermost was that he must
gain time, but, with a revolver in his face, he found his desire to
gain time swiftly diminishing. Still, when he spoke, it was with
"My chauffeur—" he began slowly.
The burglar snapped at him like a dog. "To hell with your chauffeur!"
he cried. "Your chauffeur has run away. You'll drive that car
yourself, or I'll leave you here with the top of your head off."
The face of the young man suddenly flashed with pleasure. His eyes,
looking past the burglar to the door, lit with relief.
"There's the chauffeur now!" he cried.
The big burglar for one instant glanced over his right shoulder.
For months at a time, on Soldiers Field, the young man had thrown
himself at human targets, that ran and dodged and evaded him, and the
hulking burglar, motionless before him, was easily his victim.
He leaped at him, his left arm swinging like a scythe, and, with the
impact of a club, the blow caught the burglar in the throat.
The pistol went off impotently; the burglar with a choking cough sank
in a heap on the floor.
The young man tramped over him and upon him, and beat the second
burglar with savage, whirlwind blows. The second burglar, shrieking
with pain, turned to fly, and a fist, that fell upon him where his bump
of honesty should have been, drove his head against the lintel of the
At the same instant from the belfry on the roof there rang out on the
night the sudden tumult of a bell; a bell that told as plainly as
though it clamored with a human tongue, that the hand that rang it was
driven with fear; fear of fire, fear of thieves, fear of a mad-man with
a knife in his hand running amuck; perhaps at that moment creeping up
the belfry stairs.
From all over the house there was the rush of feet and men's voices,
and from the garden the light of dancing lanterns. And while the smoke
of the revolver still hung motionless, the open door was crowded with
half-clad figures. At their head were two young men. One who had
drawn over his night clothes a serge suit, and who, in even that garb,
carried an air of authority; and one, tall, stooping, weak of face and
light-haired, with eyes that blinked and trembled behind great
spectacles and who, for comfort, hugged about him a gorgeous kimono.
For an instant the newcomers stared stupidly through the smoke at the
bodies on the floor breathing stertorously, at the young man with the
lust of battle still in his face, at the girl shrinking against the
wall. It was the young man in the serge suit who was the first to move.
"Who are you?" he demanded.
"These are burglars," said the owner of the car. "We happened to be
passing in my automobile, and——"
The young man was no longer listening. With an alert, professional
manner he had stooped over the big burglar. With his thumb he pushed
back the man's eyelids, and ran his fingers over his throat and chin.
He felt carefully of the point of the chin, and glanced up.
"You've broken the bone," he said.
"I just swung on him," said the young man. He turned his eyes, and
suggested the presence of the girl.
At the same moment the man in the kimono cried nervously: "Ladies
present, ladies present. Go put your clothes on, everybody; put your
For orders the men in the doorway looked to the young man with the
He scowled at the figure in the kimono.
"You will please go to your room, sir," he said. He stood up, and
bowed to Miss Forbes. "I beg your pardon," he asked, "you must want to
get out of this. Will you please go into the library?"
He turned to the robust youths in the door, and pointed at the second
"Move him out of the way," he ordered.
The man in the kimono smirked and bowed.
"Allow me," he said; "allow me to show you to the library. This is no
place for ladies."
The young man with the stern face frowned impatiently.
"You will please return to your room, sir," he repeated.
With an attempt at dignity the figure in the kimono gathered the silk
robe closer about him.
"Certainly," he said. "If you think you can get on without me—I will
retire," and lifting his bare feet mincingly, he tiptoed away. Miss
Forbes looked after him with an expression of relief, of repulsion, of
The owner of the car glanced at the young man with the stern face, and
raised his eyebrows interrogatively.
The young man had taken the revolver from the limp fingers of the
burglar and was holding it in his hand. Winthrop gave what was half a
laugh and half a sigh of compassion.
"So, that's Carey?" he said.
There was a sudden silence. The young man with the stern face made no
answer. His head was bent over the revolver. He broke it open, and
spilled the cartridges into his palm. Still he made no answer. When
he raised his head, his eyes were no longer stern, but wistful, and
filled with an inexpressible loneliness.
"No, I am Carey," he said.
The one who had blundered stood helpless, tongue-tied, with no presence
of mind beyond knowing that to explain would offend further.
The other seemed to feel for him more than for himself. In a voice low
and peculiarly appealing, he continued hurriedly.
"He is my doctor," he said. "He is a young man, and he has not had
many advantages—his manner is not—I find we do not get on together.
I have asked them to send me some one else." He stopped suddenly, and
stood unhappily silent. The knowledge that the strangers were
acquainted with his story seemed to rob him of his earlier confidence.
He made an uncertain movement as though to relieve them of his presence.
Miss Forbes stepped toward him eagerly.
"You told me I might wait in the library," she said. "Will you take me
For a moment the man did not move, but stood looking at the young and
beautiful girl, who, with a smile, hid the compassion in her eyes.
"Will you go?" he asked wistfully.
"Why not?" said the girl.
The young man laughed with pleasure.
"I am unpardonable," he said. "I live so much alone—that I forget."
Like one who, issuing from a close room, encounters the morning air, he
drew a deep, happy breath. "It has been three years since a woman has
been in this house," he said simply. "And I have not even thanked
you," he went on, "nor asked you if you are cold," he cried
remorsefully, "or hungry. How nice it would be if you would say you
The girl walked beside him, laughing lightly, and, as they disappeared
into the greater hall beyond, Winthrop heard her cry: "You never
robbed your own ice-chest? How have you kept from starving? Show me
it, and we'll rob it together."
The voice of their host rang through the empty house with a laugh like
that of an eager, happy child.
"Heavens!" said the owner of the car, "isn't she wonderful!" But
neither the prostrate burglars, nor the servants, intent on strapping
their wrists together, gave him any answer.
As they were finishing the supper filched from the ice-chest, Fred was
brought before them from the kitchen. The blow the burglar had given
him was covered with a piece of cold beef-steak, and the water thrown
on him to revive him was thawing from his leather breeches. Mr. Carey
expressed his gratitude, and rewarded him beyond the avaricious dreams
even of a chauffeur.
As the three trespassers left the house, accompanied by many pails of
water, the girl turned to the lonely figure in the doorway and waved
"May we come again?" she called.
But young Mr. Carey did not trust his voice to answer. Standing erect,
with folded arms, in dark silhouette in the light of the hall, he bowed
Deaf to alarm bells, to pistol shots, to cries for help, they found her
brother and Ernest Peabody sleeping soundly.
"Sam is a charming chaperon," said the owner of the car.
With the girl beside him, with Fred crouched, shivering, on the step,
he threw in the clutch; the servants from the house waved the emptied
buckets in salute, and the great car sprang forward into the awakening
day toward the golden dome over the Boston Common. In the rear seat
Peabody shivered and yawned, and then sat erect.
"Did you get the water?" he demanded, anxiously.
There was a grim silence.
"Yes," said the owner of the car patiently. "You needn't worry any
longer. We got the water."
During the last two weeks of the "whirlwind" campaign, automobiles had
carried the rival candidates to every election district in Greater New
During these two weeks, at the disposal of Ernest Peabody—on the
Reform Ticket, "the people's choice for Lieutenant-Governor—"
Winthrop had placed his Scarlet Car, and, as its chauffeur, himself.
Not that Winthrop greatly cared for Reform, or Ernest Peabody. The
"whirlwind" part of the campaign was what attracted him; the crowds,
the bands, the fireworks, the rush by night from hall to hall, from
Fordham to Tompkinsville. And, while inside the different Lyceums,
Peabody lashed the Tammany Tiger, outside in his car, Winthrop was
making friends with Tammany policemen, and his natural enemies, the
bicycle cops. To Winthrop, the day in which he did not increase his
acquaintance with the traffic squad, was a day lost.
But the real reason for his efforts in the cause of Reform, was one he
could not declare. And it was a reason that was guessed perhaps by
only one person. On some nights Beatrice Forbes and her brother Sam
accompanied Peabody. And while Peabody sat in the rear of the car,
mumbling the speech he would next deliver, Winthrop was given the
chance to talk with her. These chances were growing cruelly few. In
one month after election day Miss Forbes and Peabody would be man and
wife. Once before the day of their marriage had been fixed, but, when
the Reform Party offered Peabody a high place on its ticket, he asked,
in order that he might bear his part in the cause of reform, that the
wedding be postponed. To the postponement Miss Forbes made no
objection. To one less self-centred than Peabody, it might have
appeared that she almost too readily consented.
"I knew I could count upon your seeing my duty as I saw it," said
Peabody much pleased, "it always will be a satisfaction to both of us
to remember you never stood between me and my work for reform."
"What do you think my brother-in-law-to-be has done now?" demanded Sam
of Winthrop, as the Scarlet Car swept into Jerome Avenue. "He's
postponed his marriage with Trix just because he has a chance to be
Lieutenant-Governor. What is a Lieutenant-Governor anyway, do you
know? I don't like to ask Peabody."
"It is not his own election he's working for," said Winthrop. He was
conscious of an effort to assume a point of view both noble and
"He probably feels the 'cause' calls him. But, good Heavens!"
"Look out!" shrieked Sam, "where you going?"
Winthrop swung the car back into the avenue.
"To think," he cried, "that a man who could marry—a girl, and then
would ask her to wait two months. Or, two days! Two months lost out
of his life, and she might die; he might lose her, she might change her
mind. Any number of men can be Lieutenant-Governors; only one man can
He broke off suddenly, coughed and fixed his eyes miserably on the
road. After a brief pause, Brother Sam covertly looked at him. Could
it be that "Billie" Winthrop, the man liked of all men, should love his
sister, and—that she should prefer Ernest Peabody? He was deeply,
loyally indignant. He determined to demand of his sister an immediate
and abject apology.
At eight o'clock on the morning of election day, Peabody, in the
Scarlet Car, was on his way to vote. He lived at Riverside Drive, and
the polling-booth was only a few blocks distant. During the rest of
the day he intended to use the car to visit other election districts,
and to keep him in touch with the Reformers at the Gilsey House.
Winthrop was acting as his chauffeur, and in the rear seat was Miss
Forbes. Peabody had asked her to accompany him to the polling-booth,
because he thought women who believed in reform should show their
interest in it in public, before all men. Miss Forbes disagreed with
him, chiefly because whenever she sat in a box at any of the public
meetings the artists from the newspapers, instead of immortalizing the
candidate, made pictures of her and her hat. After she had seen her
future lord and master cast his vote for reform and himself, she was to
depart by train to Tarrytown. The Forbes's country place was there,
and for election day her brother Sam had invited out some of his
friends to play tennis.
As the car darted and dodged up Eighth Avenue, a man who had been
hidden by the stairs to the Elevated, stepped in front of it. It
caught him, and hurled him, like a mail-bag tossed from a train,
against one of the pillars that support the overhead tracks. Winthrop
gave a cry and fell upon the brakes. The cry was as full of pain as
though he himself had been mangled. Miss Forbes saw only the man
appear, and then disappear, but, Winthrop's shout of warning, and the
wrench as the brakes locked, told her what had happened. She shut her
eyes, and for an instant covered them with her hands. On the front
seat Peabody clutched helplessly at the cushions. In horror his eyes
were fastened on the motionless mass jammed against the pillar.
Winthrop scrambled over him, and ran to where the man lay. So,
apparently, did every other inhabitant of Eighth Avenue; but Winthrop
was the first to reach him and kneeling in the car tracks, he tried to
place the head and shoulders of the body against the iron pillar. He
had seen very few dead men; and to him, this weight in his arms, this
bundle of limp flesh and muddy clothes, and the purple-bloated face
with blood trickling down it, looked like a dead man.
Once or twice when in his car, Death had reached for Winthrop, and only
by the scantiest grace had he escaped. Then the nearness of it had
only sobered him. Now that he believed he had brought it to a fellow
man, even though he knew he was in no degree to blame, the thought
sickened and shocked him. His brain trembled with remorse and horror.
But voices assailing him on every side brought him to the necessity of
the moment. Men were pressing close upon him, jostling, abusing him,
shaking fists in his face. Another crowd of men, as though fearing the
car would escape of its own volition, were clinging to the steps and
Winthrop saw Miss Forbes standing above them, talking eagerly to
Peabody, and pointing at him. He heard children's shrill voices
calling to new arrivals that an automobile had killed a man; that it
had killed him on purpose. On the outer edge of the crowd men shouted:
"Ah, soak him," "Kill him," "Lynch him."
A soiled giant without a collar stooped over the purple, blood-stained
face, and then leaped upright, and shouted: "It's Jerry Gaylor, he's
killed old man Gaylor."
The response was instant. Every one seemed to know Jerry Gaylor.
Winthrop took the soiled person by the arm.
"You help me lift him into my car," he ordered. "Take him by the
shoulders. We must get him to a hospital."
"To a hospital? To the Morgue!" roared the man. "And the police
station for yours. You don't do no get-away."
Winthrop answered him by turning to the crowd. "If this man has any
friends here, they'll please help me put him in my car, and we'll take
him to Roosevelt Hospital."
The soiled person shoved a fist and a bad cigar under Winthrop's nose.
"Has he got any friends?" he mocked. "Sure, he's got friends, and
they'll fix you, all right."
"Sure!" echoed the crowd.
The man was encouraged.
"Don't you go away thinking you can come up here with your buzz wagon
and murder better men nor you'll ever be and——"
"Oh, shut up!" said Winthrop.
He turned his back on the soiled man, and again appealed to the crowd.
"Don't stand there doing nothing," he commanded. "Do you want this man
to die? Some of you ring for an ambulance and get a policeman, or tell
me where is the nearest drug store."
No one moved, but every one shouted to every one else to do as Winthrop
Winthrop felt something pulling at his sleeve, and turning, found
Peabody at his shoulder peering fearfully at the figure in the street.
He had drawn his cap over his eyes and hidden the lower part of his
face in the high collar of his motor coat. "I can't do anything, can
I?" he asked.
"I'm afraid not," whispered Winthrop. "Go back to the car and don't
leave Beatrice. I'll attend to this."
"That's what I thought," whispered Peabody eagerly. "I thought she and
I had better keep out of it."
"Right!" exclaimed Winthrop. "Go back and get Beatrice away."
Peabody looked his relief, but still hesitated.
"I can't do anything, as you say," he stammered, "and it's sure to get
in the 'extras,' and they'll be out in time to lose us thousands of
votes, and though no one is to blame, they're sure to blame me. I
don't care about myself," he added eagerly, "but the very morning of
election—half the city has not voted yet—the Ticket——"
"Damn the Ticket!" exclaimed Winthrop. "The man's dead!"
Peabody, burying his face still deeper in his collar, backed into the
crowd. In the present and past campaigns, from carts and automobiles
he had made many speeches in Harlem, and on the West Side, lithographs
of his stern, resolute features hung in every delicatessen shop, and
that he might be recognized, was extremely likely.
He whispered to Miss Forbes what he had said, and what Winthrop had
"But you DON'T mean to leave him," remarked Miss Forbes.
"I must," returned Peabody. "I can do nothing for the man, and you
know how Tammany will use this—They'll have it on the street by ten.
They'll say I was driving recklessly; without regard for human life.
And, besides, they're waiting for me at headquarters. Please hurry. I
am late now."
Miss Forbes gave an exclamation of surprise.
"Why, I'm not going," she said.
"You must go! I must go. You can't remain here alone."
Peabody spoke in the quick, assured tone that at the first had
convinced Miss Forbes his was a most masterful manner.
"Winthrop, too," he added, "wants you to go away."
Miss Forbes made no reply. But she looked at Peabody inquiringly,
steadily, as though she were puzzled as to his identity, as though he
had just been introduced to her. It made him uncomfortable.
"Are you coming?" he asked.
Her answer was a question.
"Are you going?"
"I am!" returned Peabody. He added sharply: "I must."
"Good-by," said Miss Forbes.
As he ran up the steps to the station of the elevated, it seemed to
Peabody that the tone of her "good-by" had been most unpleasant. It
was severe, disapproving. It had a final, fateful sound. He was
conscious of a feeling of self-dissatisfaction. In not seeing the
political importance of his not being mixed up with this accident,
Winthrop had been peculiarly obtuse, and Beatrice, unsympathetic.
Until he had cast his vote for Reform, he felt distinctly ill-used.
For a moment Beatrice Forbes sat in the car motionless, staring
unseeingly at the iron steps by which Peabody had disappeared. For a
few moments her brows were tightly drawn. Then, having apparently
quickly arrived at some conclusion, she opened the door of the car and
pushed into the crowd.
Winthrop received her most rudely.
"You mustn't come here!" he cried.
"I thought," she stammered, "you might want some one?"
"I told—" began Winthrop, and then stopped, and added—"to take you
away. Where is he?"
Miss Forbes flushed slightly.
"He's gone," she said.
In trying not to look at Winthrop, she saw the fallen figure,
motionless against the pillar, and with an exclamation, bent fearfully
"Can I do anything?" she asked.
The crowd gave way for her, and with curious pleased faces, closed in
again eagerly. She afforded them a new interest.
A young man in the uniform of an ambulance surgeon was kneeling beside
the mud-stained figure, and a police officer was standing over both.
The ambulance surgeon touched lightly the matted hair from which the
blood escaped, stuck his finger in the eye of the prostrate man, and
then with his open hand slapped him across the face.
"Oh!" gasped Miss Forbes.
The young doctor heard her, and looking up, scowled reprovingly.
Seeing she was a rarely beautiful young woman, he scowled less
severely; and then deliberately and expertly, again slapped Mr. Jerry
Gaylor on the cheek. He watched the white mark made by his hand upon
the purple skin, until the blood struggled slowly back to it, and then
He ignored every one but the police officer.
"There's nothing the matter with HIM," he said. "He's dead drunk."
The words came to Winthrop with such abrupt relief, bearing so
tremendous a burden of gratitude, that his heart seemed to fail him.
In his suddenly regained happiness, he unconsciously laughed.
"Are you sure?" he asked eagerly. "I thought I'd killed him."
The surgeon looked at Winthrop coldly.
"When they're like that," he explained with authority, "you can't hurt
'em if you throw them off the Times Building."
He condescended to recognize the crowd. "You know where this man
Voices answered that Mr. Gaylor lived at the corner, over the saloon.
The voices showed a lack of sympathy. Old man Gaylor dead was a
novelty; old man Gaylor drunk was not.
The doctor's prescription was simple and direct.
"Put him to bed till he sleeps it off," he ordered; he swung himself to
the step of the ambulance. "Let him out, Steve," he called. There was
the clang of a gong and the rattle of galloping hoofs.
The police officer approached Winthrop. "They tell me Jerry stepped in
front of your car; that you wasn't to blame. I'll get their names and
where they live. Jerry might try to hold you up for damages."
"Thank you very much," said Winthrop.
With several of Jerry's friends, and the soiled person, who now seemed
dissatisfied that Jerry was alive, Winthrop helped to carry him up one
flight of stairs and drop him upon a bed.
"In case he needs anything," said Winthrop, and gave several bills to
the soiled person, upon whom immediately Gaylor's other friends closed
in. "And I'll send my own doctor at once to attend to him."
"You'd better," said the soiled person morosely, "or, he'll try to
shake you down."
The opinions as to what might be Mr. Gaylor's next move seemed
From the saloon below, Winthrop telephoned to the family doctor, and
then rejoined Miss Forbes and the Police officer. The officer gave him
the names of those citizens who had witnessed the accident, and in
return received Winthrop's card.
"Not that it will go any further," said the officer reassuringly.
"They're all saying you acted all right and wanted to take him to
Roosevelt. There's many," he added with sententious indignation, "that
knock a man down, and then run away without waiting to find out if
they've hurted 'em or killed 'em."
The speech for both Winthrop and Miss Forbes was equally embarrassing.
"You don't say?" exclaimed Winthrop nervously. He shook the
policeman's hand. The handclasp was apparently satisfactory to that
official, for he murmured "Thank you," and stuck something in the
lining of his helmet. "Now, then!" Winthrop said briskly to Miss
Forbes, "I think we have done all we can. And we'll get away from this
place a little faster than the law allows."
Miss Forbes had seated herself in the car, and Winthrop was cranking
up, when the same policeman, wearing an anxious countenance, touched
him on the arm. "There is a gentleman here," he said, "wants to speak
to you." He placed himself between the gentleman and Winthrop and
whispered: "He's 'Izzy' Schwab, he's a Harlem police-court lawyer and
a Tammany man. He's after something, look out for him."
Winthrop saw, smiling at him ingratiatingly, a slight, slim youth, with
beady, rat-like eyes, a low forehead, and a Hebraic nose. He wondered
how it had been possible for Jerry Gaylor to so quickly secure counsel.
But Mr. Schwab at once undeceived him.
"I'm from the Journal," he began, "not regular on the staff, but I send
'em Harlem items, and the court reporter treats me nice, see! Now
about this accident; could you give me the name of the young lady?"
He smiled encouragingly at Miss Forbes.
"I could not!" growled Winthrop. "The man wasn't hurt, the policeman
will tell you so. It is not of the least public interest."
With a deprecatory shrug, the young man smiled knowingly.
"Well, mebbe not the lady's name," he granted, "but the name of the
OTHER gentleman who was with you, when the accident occurred." His
black, rat-like eyes snapped. "I think HIS name would be of public
To gain time Winthrop stepped into the driver's seat. He looked at Mr.
"There was no other gentleman," he said. "Do you mean my chauffeur?"
Mr. Schwab gave an appreciative chuckle.
"No, I don't mean your chauffeur," he mimicked. "I mean," he declared
theatrically in his best police-court manner, "the man who to-day is
hoping to beat Tammany, Ernest Peabody!"
Winthrop stared at the youth insolently.
"I don't understand you," he said.
"Oh, of course not!" jeered "Izzy" Schwab. He moved excitedly from
foot to foot. "Then who WAS the other man," he demanded, "the man who
Winthrop felt the blood rise to his face. That Miss Forbes should hear
this rat of a man, sneering at the one she was to marry, made him hate
Peabody. But he answered easily:
"No one ran away. I told my chauffeur to go and call up an ambulance.
That was the man you saw."
As when "leading on" a witness to commit himself, Mr. Schwab smiled
"And he hasn't got back yet," he purred, "has he?"
"No, and I'm not going to wait for him," returned Winthrop. He reached
for the clutch, but Mr. Schwab jumped directly in front of the car.
"Was he looking for a telephone when he ran up the elevated steps?" he
He shook his fists vehemently.
"Oh, no, Mr. Winthrop, it won't do—you make a good witness. I
wouldn't ask for no better, but, you don't fool 'Izzy' Schwab."
"You're mistaken, I tell you," cried Winthrop desperately. "He may
look like—like this man you speak of, but no Peabody was in this car."
"Izzy" Schwab wrung his hands hysterically.
"No, he wasn't!" he cried, "because he run away! And left an old man
in the street—dead, for all he knowed—nor cared neither. Yah!"
shrieked the Tammany heeler. "HIM a Reformer, yah!"
"Stand away from my car," shouted Winthrop, "or you'll get hurt."
"Yah, you'd like to, wouldn't you?" returned Mr. Schwab, leaping,
nimbly to one side. "What do you think the Journal'll give me for that
story, hey? 'Ernest Peabody, the Reformer, Kills an Old Man, AND RUNS
AWAY.' And hiding his face, too! I seen him. What do you think that
story's worth to Tammany, hey? It's worth twenty thousand votes!" The
young man danced in front of the car triumphantly, mockingly, in a
frenzy of malice. "Read the extras, that's all," he taunted. "Read
'em in an hour from now!"
Winthrop glared at the shrieking figure with fierce, impotent rage;
then, with a look of disgust, he flung the robe off his knees and rose.
Mr. Schwab, fearing bodily injury, backed precipitately behind the
"Come here," commanded Winthrop softly. Mr. Schwab warily approached.
"That story," said Winthrop, dropping his voice to a low whisper, "is
worth a damn sight more to you than twenty thousand votes. You take a
spin with me up Riverside Drive where we can talk. Maybe you and I can
'make a little business.'"
At the words, the face of Mr. Schwab first darkened angrily, and then,
lit with such exultation that it appeared as though Winthrop's efforts
had only placed Peabody deeper in Mr. Schwab's power. But the rat-like
eyes wavered, there was doubt in them, and greed, and, when they turned
to observe if any one could have heard the offer, Winthrop felt the
trick was his. It was apparent that Mr. Schwab was willing to
He stepped gingerly into the front seat, and as Winthrop leaned over
him and tucked and buckled the fur robe around his knees, he could not
resist a glance at his friends on the sidewalk. They were grinning
with wonder and envy, and as the great car shook itself, and ran easily
forward, Mr. Schwab leaned back and carelessly waved his hand. But his
mind did not waver from the purpose of his ride. He was not one to be
cajoled with fur rugs and glittering brass.
"Well, Mr. Winthrop," he began briskly. "You want to say something?
You must be quick—every minute's money."
"Wait till we're out of the traffic," begged Winthrop anxiously "I
don't want to run down any more old men, and I wouldn't for the world
have anything happen to you, Mr.—" He paused politely.
"How did you know MY name?" asked Winthrop.
"The card you gave the police officer"
"I see," said Winthrop. They were silent while the car swept swiftly
west, and Mr. Schwab kept thinking that for a young man who was afraid
of the traffic, Winthrop was dodging the motor cars, beer vans, and
iron pillars, with a dexterity that was criminally reckless.
At that hour Riverside Drive was empty, and after a gasp of relief, Mr.
Schwab resumed the attack.
"Now, then," he said sharply, "don't go any further. What is this you
want to talk about?"
"How much will the Journal give you for this story of yours?" asked
Mr. Schwab smiled mysteriously.
"Why?" he asked.
"Because," said Winthrop, "I think I could offer you something better."
"You mean," said the police-court lawyer cautiously, "you will make it
worth my while not to tell the truth about what I saw?"
"Exactly," said Winthrop.
"That's all! Stop the car," cried Mr. Schwab. His manner was
commanding. It vibrated with triumph. His eyes glistened with wicked
"Stop the car?" demanded Winthrop, "what do you mean?"
"I mean," said Mr. Schwab dramatically, "that I've got you where I want
you, thank you. You have killed Peabody dead as a cigar butt! Now I
can tell them how his friends tried to bribe me. Why do you think I
came in your car? For what money YOU got? Do you think you can stack
up your roll against the New York Journal's, or against Tammany's?"
His shrill voice rose exultantly. "Why, Tammany ought to make me judge
for this! Now, let me down here," he commanded, "and next time, don't
think you can take on 'Izzy' Schwab and get away with it."
They were passing Grant's Tomb, and the car was moving at a speed that
Mr. Schwab recognized was in excess of the speed limit.
"Do you hear me?" he demanded, "let me down!"
To his dismay Winthrop's answer was in some fashion to so juggle with
the shining brass rods that the car flew into greater speed. To "Izzy"
Schwab it seemed to scorn the earth, to proceed by leaps and jumps.
But, what added even more to his mental discomfiture was, that Winthrop
should turn, and slowly and familiarly wink at him.
As through the window of an express train, Mr. Schwab saw the white
front of Claremont, and beyond it the broad sweep of the Hudson. And,
then, without decreasing its speed, the car like a great bird, swept
down a hill, shot under a bridge, and into a partly paved street. Mr.
Schwab already was two miles from his own bailiwick. His surroundings
were unfamiliar. On the one hand were newly erected, untenanted flat
houses with the paint still on the window panes, and on the other side,
detached villas, a roadhouse, an orphan asylum, a glimpse of the Hudson.
"Let me out," yelled Mr. Schwab, "what you trying to do? Do you think
a few blocks'll make any difference to a telephone? You think you're
damned smart, don't you? But you won't feel so fresh when I get on the
long distance. You let me down," he threatened, "or, I'll——"
With a sickening skidding of wheels, Winthrop whirled the car round a
corner and into the Lafayette Boulevard, that for miles runs along the
cliff of the Hudson.
"Yes," asked Winthrop, "WHAT will you do?"
On one side was a high steep bank, on the other many trees, and through
them below, the river. But there were no houses, and at half-past
eight in the morning those who later drive upon the boulevard were
still in bed.
"WHAT will you do?" repeated Winthrop.
Miss Forbes, apparently as much interested in Mr. Schwab's answer as
Winthrop, leaned forward. Winthrop raised his voice above the whir of
flying wheels, the rushing wind and scattering pebbles.
"I asked you into this car," he shouted, "because I meant to keep you
in it until I had you where you couldn't do any mischief. I told you
I'd give you something better than the Journal would give you, and I am
going to give you a happy day in the country. We're now on our way to
this lady's house. You are my guest, and you can play golf, and
bridge, and the piano, and eat and drink until the polls close, and
after that you can go to the devil. If you jump out at this speed, you
will break your neck. And, if I have to slow up for anything, and you
try to get away, I'll go after you—it doesn't matter where it is—and
break every bone in your body."
"Yah! you can't!" shrieked Mr. Schwab. "You can't do it!" The madness
of the flying engines had got upon his nerves. Their poison was
surging in his veins. He knew he had only to touch his elbow against
the elbow of Winthrop, and he could throw the three of them into
eternity. He was travelling on air, uplifted, defiant, carried beyond
"I can't do what?" asked Winthrop.
The words reached Schwab from an immeasurable distance, as from another
planet, a calm, humdrum planet on which events moved in commonplace,
orderly array. Without a jar, with no transition stage, instead of
hurtling through space, Mr. Schwab found himself luxuriously seated in
a cushioned chair, motionless, at the side of a steep bank. For a mile
before him stretched an empty road. And, beside him in the car, with
arms folded calmly on the wheel there glared at him a grim, alert young
"I can't do what?" growled the young man.
A feeling of great loneliness fell upon "Izzy" Schwab. Where were now
those officers, who in the police courts were at his beck and call?
Where the numbered houses, the passing surface cars, the sweating
multitudes of Eighth Avenue? In all the world he was alone, alone on
an empty country road, with a grim, alert young man.
"When I asked you how you knew my name," said the young man, "I thought
you knew me as having won some races in Florida last winter. This is
the car that won. I thought maybe you might have heard of me when I
was captain of a football team at—a university. If you have any idea
that you can jump from this car and not be killed, or, that I cannot
pound you into a pulp, let me prove to you you're wrong—now. We're
quite alone. Do you wish to get down?"
"No," shrieked Schwab, "I won't!" He turned appealingly to the young
lady. "You're a witness," he cried. "If he assaults me, he's liable.
I haven't done nothing."
"We're near Yonkers," said the young man, "and if you try to take
advantage of my having to go slow through the town, you know now what
will happen to you."
Mr. Schwab having instantly planned on reaching Yonkers, to leap from
the car into the arms of the village constable, with suspicious
alacrity, assented. The young man regarded him doubtfully.
"I'm afraid I'll have to show you," said the young man. He laid two
fingers on Mr. Schwab's wrist; looking at him, as he did so, steadily
and thoughtfully, like a physician feeling a pulse. Mr. Schwab
screamed. When he had seen policemen twist steel nippers on the wrists
of prisoners, he had thought, when the prisoners shrieked and writhed,
they were acting.
He now knew they were not.
"Now, will you promise?" demanded the grim young man.
"Yes," gasped Mr. Schwab. "I'll sit still. I won't do nothing."
"Good," muttered Winthrop.
A troubled voice that carried to the heart of Schwab a promise of
protection, said: "Mr. Schwab, would you be more comfortable back here
Mr. Schwab turned two terrified eyes in the direction of the voice. He
saw the beautiful young lady regarding him kindly, compassionately;
with just a suspicion of a smile. Mr. Schwab instantly scrambled to
safety over the front seat into the body of the car. Miss Forbes made
way for the prisoner beside her and he sank back with a nervous,
apologetic sigh. The alert young man was quick to follow the lead of
"You'll find caps and goggles in the boot, Schwab," he said hospitably.
"You had better put them on. We are going rather fast now." He
extended a magnificent case of pigskin, that bloomed with fat black
cigars. "Try one of these," said the hospitable young man. The
emotions that swept Mr. Schwab he found difficult to pursue, but he
raised his hat to the lady. "May I, Miss?" he said.
"Certainly," said the lady.
There was a moment of delay while with fingers that slightly trembled,
Mr. Schwab selected an amazing green cap and lit his cigar; and then
the car swept forward, singing and humming happily, and scattering the
autumn leaves. The young lady leaned toward him with a book in a
leather cover. She placed her finger on a twisting red line that
trickled through a page of type.
"We're just here," said the young lady, "and we ought to reach home,
which is just about there, in an hour."
"I see," said Schwab. But all he saw was a finger in a white glove,
and long eyelashes tangled in a gray veil.
For many minutes, or for all Schwab knew, for many miles, the young
lady pointed out to him the places along the Hudson, of which he had
read in the public school history, and quaint old manor houses set in
glorious lawns; and told him who lived in them. Schwab knew the names
as belonging to down-town streets, and up-town clubs. He became
nervously humble, intensely polite, he felt he was being carried as an
honored guest into the very heart of the Four Hundred, and when the car
jogged slowly down the main street of Yonkers, although a policeman
stood idly within a yard of him, instead of shrieking to him for help,
"Izzy" Schwab looked at him scornfully across the social gulf that
separated them, with all the intolerance he believed becoming in the
"Those bicycle cops," he said confidentially to Miss Forbes, "are too
The car turned in between stone pillars, and under an arch of red and
golden leaves, and swept up a long avenue to a house of innumerable
roofs. It was the grandest house Mr. Schwab had ever entered, and when
two young men in striped waistcoats and many brass buttons ran down the
stone steps and threw open the door of the car, his heart fluttered
between fear and pleasure.
Lounging before an open fire in the hall were a number of young men,
who welcomed Winthrop delightedly and, to all of whom Mr. Schwab was
formally presented. As he was introduced he held each by the hand and
elbow and said impressively, and much to the other's embarrassment,
"WHAT name, please?"
Then one of the servants conducted him to a room opening on the hall,
from whence he heard stifled exclamations and laughter, and some one
saying "Hush." But "Izzy" Schwab did not care. The slave in brass
buttons was proffering him ivory-backed hair-brushes, and obsequiously
removing the dust from his coat collar. Mr. Schwab explained to him
that he was not dressed for automobiling, as Mr. Winthrop had invited
him quite informally. The man was most charmingly sympathetic. And
when he returned to the hall every one received him with the most
genial, friendly interest. Would he play golf, or tennis, or pool, or
walk over the farm, or just look on? It seemed the wish of each to be
his escort. Never had he been so popular.
He said he would "just look on." And so, during the last and decisive
day of the "whirlwind" campaign, while in Eighth Avenue voters were
being challenged, beaten, and bribed, bonfires were burning, and
"extras" were appearing every half hour, "Izzy" Schwab, the Tammany
henchman, with a secret worth twenty thousand votes, sat a prisoner, in
a wicker chair, with a drink and a cigar, guarded by four young men in
flannels, who played tennis violently at five dollars a corner.
It was always a great day in the life of "Izzy" Schwab. After a
luncheon, which, as he later informed his friends, could not have cost
less than "two dollars a plate and drink all you like," Sam Forbes took
him on at pool. Mr. Schwab had learned the game in the cellars of
Eighth Avenue at two and a half cents a cue, and now, even in Columbus
Circle he was a star. So, before the sun had set, Mr. Forbes, who at
pool rather fancied himself, was seventy-five dollars poorer, and Mr.
Schwab just that much to the good. Then there followed a strange
ceremony called tea, or, if you preferred it, whiskey and soda; and the
tall footman bent before him with huge silver salvers laden down with
flickering silver lamps, and bubbling soda bottles, and cigars, and
"You could have filled your pockets with twenty-five cent Havanas, and
nobody would have said nothing!" declared Mr. Schwab, and his friends
who never had enjoyed his chance to study at such close quarters the
truly rich, nodded enviously.
At six o'clock Mr. Schwab led Winthrop into the big library and asked
for his ticket of leave.
"They'll be counting the votes soon," he begged. "I can't do no harm
now, and I don't mean to. I didn't see nothing, and I won't say
nothing. But it's election night, and—and I just GOT to be on
"Right," said Winthrop, "I'll have a car take you in, and if you will
accept this small check——"
"No!" roared "Izzy" Schwab. Afterward he wondered how he came to do
it. "You've give me a good time, Mr. Winthrop. You've treated me
fine, all the gentlemen have treated me nice. I'm not a blackmailer,
Mr. Winthrop." Mr. Schwab's voice shook slightly.
"Nonsense, Schwab, you didn't let me finish," said Winthrop, "I'm
likely to need a lawyer any time; this is a retaining fee. Suppose I
exceed the speed limit—I'm liable to do that——"
"You bet you are!" exclaimed Mr. Schwab violently.
"Well, then, I'll send for YOU, and there isn't a police magistrate,
nor any of the traffic squad, you can't handle, is there?"
Mr. Schwab flushed with pleasure.
"You can count on me," he vowed, "and your friends too, and the
ladies," he added gallantly. "If ever the ladies want to get bail,
tell 'em to telephone for 'Izzy' Schwab. Of course," he said
reluctantly, "if it's a retaining fee——"
But when he read the face of the check he exclaimed in protest. "But,
Mr. Winthrop, this is more than the Journal would have give me!"
They put him in a car belonging to one of the other men, and all came
out on the steps to wave him "good-by," and he drove magnificently into
his own district, where there were over a dozen men who swore he tipped
the French chauffeur a five dollar bill "just like it was a cigarette."
All of election day since her arrival in Winthrop's car, Miss Forbes
had kept to herself. In the morning, when the other young people were
out of doors, she remained in her room, and after luncheon when they
gathered round the billiard table, she sent for her cart and drove off
alone. The others thought she was concerned over the possible result
of the election, and did not want to disturb them by her anxiety.
Winthrop, thinking the presence of Schwab embarrassed her, recalling as
it did Peabody's unfortunate conduct of the morning, blamed himself for
bringing Schwab to the house. But he need not have distressed himself.
Miss Forbes was thinking neither of Schwab nor Peabody, nor was she
worried or embarrassed. On the contrary, she was completely happy.
When that morning she had seen Peabody running up the steps of the
Elevated, all the doubts, the troubles, questions, and misgivings that
night and day for the last three months had upset her, fell from her
shoulders like the pilgrim's heavy pack. For months she had been
telling herself that the unrest she felt when with Peabody was due to
her not being able to appreciate the importance of those big affairs in
which he was so interested; in which he was so admirable a figure. She
had, as she supposed, loved him, because he was earnest, masterful,
intent of purpose. His had seemed a fine character. When she had
compared him with the amusing boys of her own age, the easy-going
joking youths to whom the betterment of New York was of no concern, she
had been proud in her choice. She was glad Peabody was ambitious. She
was ambitious for him. She was glad to have him consult her on those
questions of local government, to listen to his fierce, contemptuous
abuse of Tammany. And yet early in their engagement she had missed
something, something she had never known, but which she felt sure
should exist. Whether she had seen it in the lives of others, or read
of it in romances, or whether it was there because it was nature to
desire to be loved, she did not know. But long before Winthrop
returned from his trip round the world, in her meetings with the man
she was to marry, she had begun to find that there was something
lacking. And Winthrop had shown her that this something lacking was
the one thing needful. When Winthrop had gone abroad he was only one
of her brother's several charming friends. One of the amusing merry
youths who came and went in the house as freely as Sam himself. Now,
after two years' absence, he refused to be placed in that category.
He rebelled on the first night of his return. As she came down to the
dinner of welcome her brother was giving Winthrop, he stared at her as
though she were a ghost, and said, so solemnly that every one in the
room, even Peabody, smiled: "Now I know why I came home." That he
refused to recognize her engagement to Peabody, that on every occasion
he told her, or by some act showed her, he loved her; that he swore she
should never marry any one but himself, and that he would never marry
any one but her, did not at first, except to annoy, in any way impress
But he showed her what in her intercourse with Peabody was lacking. At
first she wished Peabody could find time to be as fond of her, as
foolishly fond of her, as was Winthrop. But she realized that this was
unreasonable. Winthrop was just a hot-headed impressionable boy,
Peabody was a man doing a man's work. And then she found that week
after week she became more difficult to please. Other things in which
she wished Peabody might be more like Winthrop, obtruded themselves.
Little things which she was ashamed to notice, but which rankled; and
big things, such as consideration for others, and a sense of humor, and
not talking of himself. Since this campaign began, at times she had
felt that if Peabody said "I" once again, she must scream. She assured
herself she was as yet unworthy of him, that her intelligence was weak,
that as she grew older and so better able to understand serious
affairs, such as the importance of having an honest man at Albany as
Lieutenant-Governor, they would become more in sympathy. And now, at a
stroke, the whole fabric of self-deception fell from her. It was not
that she saw Peabody so differently, but that she saw herself and her
own heart, and where it lay. And she knew that "Billy" Winthrop,
gentle, joking, selfish only in his love for her, held it in his two
For the moment, when as she sat in the car deserted by Peabody this
truth flashed upon her, she forgot the man lying injured in the street,
the unscrubbed mob crowding about her. She was conscious only that a
great weight had been lifted. That her blood was flowing again,
leaping, beating, dancing through her body. It seemed as though she
could not too quickly tell Winthrop. For both of them she had lost out
of their lives many days. She had risked losing him for always. Her
only thought was to make up to him and to herself the wasted time. But
throughout the day the one-time welcome, but now intruding, friends and
the innumerable conventions of hospitality required her to smile and
show an interest, when her heart and mind were crying out the one great
It was after dinner, and the members of the house party were scattered
between the billiard-room and the piano. Sam Forbes returned from the
"Tammany," he announced, "concedes the election of Jerome by forty
thousand votes, and that he carries his ticket with him. Ernest
Peabody is elected his Lieutenant-Governor by a thousand votes.
Ernest," he added, "seems to have had a close call." There was a
tremendous chorus of congratulations in the cause of Reform. They
drank the health of Peabody. Peabody himself, on the telephone,
informed Sam Forbes that a conference of the leaders would prevent his
being present with them that evening. The enthusiasm for Reform
An hour later Winthrop came over to Beatrice and held out his hand.
"I'm going to slip away," he said. "Good-night."
"Going away!" exclaimed Beatrice. Her voice showed such apparently
acute concern that Winthrop wondered how the best of women could be so
deceitful, even to be polite.
"I promised some men," he stammered, "to drive them down-town to see
Beatrice shook her head.
"It's far too late for that," she said. "Tell me the real reason."
Winthrop turned away his eyes.
"Oh! the real reason," he said gravely, "is the same old reason, the
one I'm not allowed to talk about. It's cruelly hard when I don't see
you," he went on, slowly dragging out the words, "but it's harder when
I do; so I'm going to say 'good-night' and run into town."
He stood for a moment staring moodily at the floor, and then dropped
into a chair beside her.
"And, I believe, I've not told you," he went on, "that on Wednesday I'm
running away for good, that is, for a year or two. I've made all the
fight I can and I lose, and there is no use in my staying on here
to—well—to suffer, that is the plain English of it. So," he
continued briskly, "I won't be here for the ceremony, and this is
'good-by' as well as 'good-night.'"
"Where are you going for a year?" asked Miss Forbes.
Her voice now showed no concern. It even sounded as though she did not
take his news seriously, as though as to his movements she was
possessed of a knowledge superior to his own. He tried to speak in
"To Uganda!" he said.
"To Uganda?" repeated Miss Forbes. "Where is Uganda?"
"It is in East Africa; I had bad luck there last trip, but now I know
the country better, and I ought to get some good shooting."
Miss Forbes appeared indifferently incredulous. In her eyes there was
a look of radiant happiness. It rendered them bewilderingly beautiful.
"On Wednesday," she said. "Won't you come and see us again before you
sail for Uganda?"
"I'll stop in and say 'good-by' to your mother if she's in town, and to
thank her. She's been awfully good to me. But you—I really would
rather not see you again. You understand, or rather, you don't
understand, and," he added vehemently, "you never will understand." He
stood looking down at her miserably.
On the driveway outside there was a crunching on the gravel of heavy
wheels and an aurora-borealis of lights.
"There's your car," said Miss Forbes. "I'll go out and see you off."
"You're very good," muttered Winthrop. He could not understand. This
parting from her was the great moment in his life, and although she
must know that, she seemed to be making it unnecessarily hard for him.
He had told her he was going to a place very far away, to be gone a
long time, and she spoke of saying "good-by" to him as pleasantly as
though it was his intention to return from Uganda for breakfast.
Instead of walking through the hall where the others were gathered, she
led him out through one of the French windows upon the terrace, and
along it to the steps. When she saw the chauffeur standing by the car,
"I thought you were going alone," she said.
"I am," answered Winthrop. "It's not Fred; that's Sam's chauffeur; he
only brought the car around."
The man handed Winthrop his coat and cap, and left them, and Winthrop
seated himself at the wheel. She stood above him on the top step. In
the evening gown of lace and silver she looked a part of the moonlight
night. For each of them the moment had arrived. Like a swimmer
standing on the bank gathering courage for the plunge, Miss Forbes gave
a trembling, shivering sigh.
"You're cold," said Winthrop, gently. "You must go in. Good-by."
"It isn't that," said the girl. "Have you an extra coat?"
"It isn't cold enough for——"
"I meant for me," stammered the girl in a frightened voice. "I thought
perhaps you would take me a little way, and bring me back."
At first the young man did not answer, but sat staring in front of him,
then, he said simply:
"It's awfully good of you, Beatrice. I won't forget it."
It was a wonderful autumn night, moonlight, cold, clear and brilliant.
She stepped in beside him and wrapped herself in one of his
great-coats. They started swiftly down the avenue of trees.
"No, not fast," begged the girl, "I want to talk to you."
The car checked and rolled forward smoothly, sometimes in deep shadow,
sometimes in the soft silver glamour of the moon; beneath them the
fallen leaves crackled and rustled under the slow moving wheels. At
the highway Winthrop hesitated. It lay before them arched with great
and ancient elms; below, the Hudson glittered and rippled in the
"Which way do you want to go?" said Winthrop. His voice was very
grateful, very humble.
The girl did not answer.
There was a long, long pause.
Then he turned and looked at her and saw her smiling at him with that
light in her eyes that never was on land or sea.