A HYPNOTIC STORY
ALBERT BIGELOW PAINE
ARENA PUBLISHING CO.
A. B. PAINE
To HENRY J. FLETCHER.
While engaged in writing the story of Evelin Delorme it was my good
fortune to make the acquaintance of Dr. Herbert L. Flint, the well-known
hypnotist briefly referred to in chapter three. The science of Hypnotism
being a theme of absorbing interest to me, I eagerly availed myself of
the opportunity thus offered for exhaustive investigation of the
subject, and was accorded frequent and prolonged interviews with Dr.
Flint. During one of these I reviewed to him briefly the outline of my
story and the strange mystery of Evelin Delorme which had given rise to
the plot. I saw at once that he was unusually moved and interested. At
my conclusion he arose hastily and left the room, returning a moment
later with a quantity of papers which proved to be an unpublished memoir
which he was then preparing. From this he hurriedly separated several
sheets and placed them in my hand, remarking with suppressed feeling,
"Here is the missing link in your narrative."
He has allowed me to publish it here in his own words.
EXTRACT FROM THE UNPUBLISHED MEMOIRS OF DR. FLINT.
"The following is a brief account of a very curious case of hypnotic
suggestion, and one which, because of the mystery surrounding its final
outcome, has caused me no little anxiety.
"On the 9th of July, 1878, there came to my office in St. Louis a
strikingly beautiful young woman of evident wealth and aristocratic
breeding, who gave her name as Eva Delorme. Her dress indicated recent
bereavement, and her face impressed me as being that of one whom death
had deprived of all those near and beloved. She stated her errand at
once, and briefly. She had been pursuing the study of Mesmeric Sciences,
and, believing herself a good hypnotic subject, desired that I make a
trial with that end in view. A simple test convinced me that she was
susceptible to hypnotic suggestion, and further experiment revealed to
me that she was one of the most perfect subjects I have ever known. She
called again the day following and asked me if it were possible, through
the aid of hypnotism, to give to her a double personality; adding that
she desired to become for a few hours a heartless, haughty, gay woman of
the world—precisely opposite, in fact, to what she really appeared.
Believing that she wished to forget her sorrow for a time, I assured
her that I thought this might be accomplished and that it would
probably obliterate all knowledge of a previous existence for the time
being. To this she eagerly consented, and after some further
conversation concerning the details I asked her what name she desired to
assume in her new character. She replied that her full name was Evelin
March Delorme, of which, in her assumed personality, she would retain
the first two. She likewise gave me a memorandum of a street and number
to which she was to be directed; this being, doubtless, one of several
of her dwelling properties, for she impressed me always as a person of
abundant wealth. With a few passes I then placed her under the hypnotic
influence, and while in this state I impressed upon her earnestly the
fact that she would awaken a haughty and heartless woman of the world,
dashing and gay, free from past regrets and future misgivings, as she
had told me to do. That her name would be Evelin March; and I repeated
to her the street and number, and some minor details which she had given
to me. That she would retain this personality for twelve hours. This I
repeated to her several times, then bade her awaken.
"The change in her was complete and startling. Her whole
expression—even her very features—appeared altered. Accustomed as I am
to such things I could not avoid feeling somewhat nervous at this
wonderful transformation. In her new character she was as beautiful and
imperious as a queen, with a supercilious, almost coarse, expression of
countenance. She seemed much mortified at the somber simpleness of her
dress, and I judge went immediately to make changes.
"I did not see her again until a week later, when she came to my office,
apparently restored to her true character. She had a vague
semi-recollection of what had been her experience in the other state and
desired a second trial, to which I somewhat reluctantly consented,
though I must confess I was by this time deeply interested in the case.
"These transformations were frequently repeated, during the next few
months; then her visits ceased and I did not see her until a year later,
when I was astounded one day to meet her riding in Forest Park in her
assumed character, evidently having taken on the condition unaided,
either unconsciously or of her own volition.
"I never saw her again, and as I had mislaid the memorandum of her
address and the number had slipped my memory, I lost trace of her
entirely. I have always felt a great and somewhat guilty curiosity as to
the final result of this strange experiment."
Julian Paul Goetze died December 21st, 1885. This event removed the
final reason for concealment of that strange story whose dark reality
flung a shadow about his later years.
At his death Goetze was in his thirty-fifth year, and for more than a
decade previous had been considered one of the foremost portrait
painters of the younger school. I knew him intimately—was a frequent
visitor at his studio, and, I believe, the only confidant he was ever
known to have.
As I recall those years there is an unreality about them that I am
unable to dispel. The problems discussed—the theories maintained of
life, death, art, poetry, and any number of other unfathomed subjects,
appear to me now so preternatural—the conceptions of his wonderful
brain so startling, that I can hardly realize having ever been a part,
even though but a faint reflex, of that dazzling and unsated life.
In appearance he was no less remarkable. His figure was rather slight
than otherwise, and of medium height. His features, though greatly
modified, were distinctly those of the American Indian. High cheek
bones, slightly aquiline nose, dark olive skin. His eyes and hair were a
blue black. You would hardly have called him handsome, but there was
something in that fiercely intense face, in the lithe grace of movement,
in the small and exquisitely shaped hands and feet, that made him a
fascinating, if not a dangerous, companion for the other sex. All of
these had been bequeathed him by his mother, in whose veins ran the
French and Indian blood in equal parts. From his father, a fair-haired
German, he had inherited only his name.
His nature was a strange blending of opposing forces, forever at civil
war and each swaying him in turn. He had few friends, but those few
adored him for his splendid genius and prodigal generosity, pitying his
When, as not unfrequently happened, he locked his studio and plunged for
days into abject depravity, they sought him out and led him back to his
better self. After the culmination of that singular affair narrated in
these papers, and for which he doubtless felt himself greatly to blame,
these lapses became more and more frequent and protracted. The facts
which I have collected relating to this period of his life were many of
them gathered bit by bit as the events occurred, and later from brief
interviews during temporary periods of consciousness just prior to his
It was in one of these that he apprised me of the existence of certain
private papers, the contents of which would make the chain of
circumstances complete. Then the fires that had blazed forever within
him burned out his life.
St. Louis, Nov. 4th, 1890.
Note by the Author.—The above, accompanied by a manuscript
roll of considerable size, a crumpled, and yellow letter
torn in halves, and a number of loose pages covered with
peculiar writing (unsigned, though evidently the work of the
unhappy artist) lie before me. It is with hesitating and
unsteady hands that I separate these silent voices of the
past, and gather them at last together into a living though
unworthy echo of my own.
"A little more to the light, please—so, that is better." The artist
worked rapidly; now and then letting his eyes rest for a moment on his
sitter, then returning to the face on the canvas, that was rapidly
growing under his hands.
The studio, a small Swiss cottage some distance from the business center
of St. Louis, was rather richly, though plainly, furnished. The walls
were tinted a neutral gray, an occasional piece of sober-hued drapery
hung here and there, while a heavily curtained arch at the back
connected with the artist's private apartments beyond.
On the opposite side of the room a door opened to the little entrance
hall, and near to this doorway was a carved oaken mantel, above which
were grouped together a number of curious weapons, evidently gathered
here and there as bric-a-brac, and used, perhaps, now and then, as
properties, in the arrangement of some picture.
There was the long-barreled and elaborately ornamented gun of the
Arab—the scimitar of the Turk—the blow-gun of the South American
Indian—the bow and arrow of his northern brother. At the bottom of this
array was a pair of French rapiers of the seventeenth century. The
blades were crossed and rested upon a brass-headed nail, and upon this
nail there hung, point downward, a jewel-hilted Italian stiletto or
dagger, suspended by a silken cord.
The room was lighted by a sky-light and one window—only the light of
the former falling upon the sitter—a large Japanese screen diverting
all other direct rays. Through the half-open casement a light breath of
summer crept in, from the little garden outside, freighted with the
mingled odors of sweet-briar and white flowering locust. A yellow
butterfly flitted in and out, now and then making a circuit of the room,
resting here and there for a moment to fan noiselessly with its bloomy
wings. A stray bee buzzed drowsily in, but, finding nothing so
attractive as the sweets without, hastily retreated, striking heavily
against the window-pane, where it sputtered and fumed for a time, and
gladly escaped. Then all was silent in the room save for the light
chafing sound made by the artist's brush against the hitherto untouched
He at the easel was a man of about thirty years—Julian Paul Goetze, a
name already ranked high among his profession. His sitter was a woman of
perhaps twenty-three. Her figure was somewhat above medium height and
perfectly developed. She was clad in a plain, trimly fitting dress of
silver gray, with a neat white collar at the throat. Her face was a
perfect oval in its contour, her complexion almost childish in its
delicacy. Her hair, a silky brown in color, was fastened in a knot at
the back of her shapely head, while in front it was a fluffy mass that
partially concealed the forehead, and softly shadowed what seemed to the
artist to be the sweetest face in all the world. The features were as
delicately chiseled as one would expect to find them in a statue of
Purity. The eyes were a deep gray, inclining to hazel, and the coloring
of the cheek and lips so tender that the artist looked a little
despairingly at the tints upon his palette; while through all there
pervaded such an expression of absolute innocence and freedom from the
world's taint, as to find expression in but the one word, saintliness.
And yet there was something about the face of his sitter that brought a
troubled expression to that of the artist. As with bold, rapid strokes
he laid in the ground-work for the hair he looked puzzled. As he traced
the exquisite outline of the ear his look was almost one of vexation.
Once he left his easel, and, going to another canvas that rested on the
floor, face to the wall, he turned it partly about and looked at it
intently for a few moments. Then he resumed his work, evidently in deep
thought. For awhile he painted on in silence. He was inclined by nature
to be diffident at first with his sitters, and with this fair being the
beginning of a conversation seemed to him a thing as difficult as it was
desirable. There was a suggestion of weariness in her face, too, which
he felt would disappear with awakened interest.
"I—I beg pardon," he said, somewhat abruptly at length; "have you ever
had a portrait before?"
His voice was rich and musical, and the face before him brightened.
"Oh, no! And it is only by accident that I am having one now. I was
passing and saw your name; I knew it by reputation, and it occurred to
me all at once that I would sit for my picture. Perhaps I should have
waited and worn a different dress. It was only a passing impulse. It
never occurred to me before; I cannot tell why it did now."
The animation and the faint blush that had crept over her face while she
spoke were enchanting. The artist was delighted.
"Your dress could not have been better chosen, and the impulse was
surely an inspiration," he said, smiling, "and perhaps," he added, "you
may have a friend or—a—a relative who has had, or is having a
portrait, which suggested the idea."
As he paused he looked at her inquiringly. The look of weariness had
returned to her face.
"No; I have no relatives, and"—she blushed deeply and was silent.
"Forgive me," he said, earnestly; "I did not intend to be inquisitive."
She did not reply in words, but as she lifted her eyes there was a
tenderness there that awakened within him all the sympathy, the
nobleness and the affection of his purer and better nature. Their eyes
met, and in a single moment there was formed between them an invisible
bond which both felt and neither sought to conceal. No word was spoken.
The artist painted on in silence; but a new light had come into his
sitter's face, and a new source of inspiration into his own heart.
For a long time neither spoke. A dreamy hush seemed to creep in with the
sweet odors from the garden, and, with them, a summer restfulness and
peace. The yellow butterfly that had been hovering about them, flitting
this way and that, came closer and closer, and at last settled
fearlessly upon one of the gloved hands that lay folded in the sitter's
lap. She watched it for a moment, then looked up at the painter with a
"The insect has a true instinct," he said, gently; "it has no fear of
"No; I should only hurt it and destroy its beauty."
"Butterflies," said the artist, "are like beautiful thoughts. They hover
mistily about us, flitting away whenever we attempt to capture them; and
if at last we are successful we find only too often that their wings
have lost the delicacy of their bloom."
"Yes; I have felt that many times."
While she spoke the insect rose hastily in the air as if frightened,
and, circling about for a moment above them, darted out through the open
"I have heard they are emblems of inconstancy, too," she said,
thoughtfully, as it disappeared.
A faint glow of crimson suffused for an instant the olive face before
her, but he forced a smile and did not reply.
The rest of the afternoon slipped away with but little interchange of
words between artist and sitter. When either spoke the words were few
and simple, but there was a tenderness in their voices that uttered more
than the spoken syllables.
The face on the canvas was growing rapidly. He had already worked longer
than he usually did at the first sitting, and yet he could not bear to
let her go. He had seen her for the first time less than two hours
before; he did not even know her name. The little white card which she
had given him he had glanced at without reading. He had only seen her
features, and heard only the gentle voice that had made known her
errand. And now he wondered if it were possible that only a few hours
before she had had no part in his life; a life wherein there had been
many lights and shadows, and the shadows had been ever as broad and
somber as the lights had been bold and brilliant.
An hour later Julian Goetze was standing alone in his studio. The sketch
fresh from his brush was before him, and beneath it, resting upon the
floor, was another somewhat farther advanced.
He had painted until the light had begun to grow yellow and dim, then he
had reluctantly told his sitter that he could do no more for that day.
"And when shall I come again?" she had asked.
He would have said, "Come to-morrow," had he dared; but remembering
other engagements, and knowing that the work could not be continued so
soon, he had hesitated before replying.
"I can go on with the picture in two or three days; come as soon after
that as—as you wish," he said, softly.
Their eyes met for a moment; the delicate color deepened in her cheeks,
her lips murmured a half inaudible word of adieu, and she was gone.
Julian left alone had flung himself into a large chair that stood near
the window, and looked out upon the little garden beyond. It was June.
The days were long and the sun was still touching the tops of the locust
trees. He was away from the bustle of the city, and an atmosphere of
peace almost like that of the country was about him. All at once he
covered his face with his hands, pressing his fingers hard into his
"I love her, I love her," he groaned; "she is an angel from heaven, and
I—oh, my God! if she knew she would hate me."
He rose and stood before the face on the easel; then, as if suddenly
recollecting, he approached the canvas that was turned face to the wall,
and which once before that day had claimed his attention, and, facing it
nervously about, placed it beneath the other.
It was the portrait of a woman. Like the one above her, she was fair and
beautiful; but here all resemblance apparently ceased. Nothing could be
more widely different than the characters that had stamped themselves
upon the faces of these two.
The picture on the floor was that of a woman whose age might be anywhere
from twenty-five to thirty-five; a woman of the great world of fashion,
of folly, of intrigue, perhaps of vice. Her dress was a rich ball
costume, exposing the white flesh of her beautiful arms, her perfect
shoulders, and her pearly tinted throat and bosom. Like the other, her
face was oval in shape, but seemed less perfect in its contour. There
was a certain lack of delicacy and softness about the outline that
suggested the fierce chase after the sham pleasures of the great social
The rest of the features were in harmony with this idea. The beautiful
mouth was hard and cruel. The lips and cheeks were bright as if
artificially tinted, or flushed with wine. The eyes were bold and the
pupils seemed expanded as with belladonna. The nostrils of the finely
shaped nose were full and sensual. Her luxuriant brown hair, singularly
like that of the portrait above her in color, she wore in the late
French mode, combed back from her high, broad forehead and twisted into
a massive device at the top. Her eyebrows were unnaturally dark. An
artificial air pervaded the entire picture—one felt that she had an
artificial soul. A perfect prototype of Folly's feverish and heartless
As the artist stood gazing from one to the other, the curious vexed and
puzzled expression that had come into his face once before that day
returned. He approached closely to the work as if to examine it more
minutely. As he bent low over the face on the easel he heard the street
door open. He started guiltily, and hastily turned both pictures to the
wall. A moment later a tall, fair-haired man of about his own age
entered without knocking. It was Harry Lawton, the artist's most
"Julian, old boy, how goes it?" he said, cheerily.
"Pretty well, Harry; come in."
"Yes, I should do that any way. I don't seem to be any too welcome,
"Nonsense, Harry, of course you are welcome; I am very glad, in fact, to
see you, just now.
"Well, that's better; although I must say your face doesn't indicate
"Sit down; not there—here by the door; I want to show you something."
"Oh, some new and wonderful work of your transcendent genius, I suppose.
By the way, how is the picture for the Salon getting along?"
"Tediously, Harry; I seem to have lost the spirit of the thing."
"Found too much spirit of another kind, perhaps."
"No, not that. I have been a model of abstinence of late."
"And the heavens do not fall?
"No—yes—that is—let your tongue rest for a moment, please, and use
While the artist had been speaking he had taken the large screen from
before the window and moved his easel into a stronger light. Upon it he
now placed the two portraits in their former position. The effect upon
the other was vigorous and immediate.
"Heavens! Julian, where did you get that angel and that dev—I beg
pardon, that extraordinary pair of beauties? Oh, I see!—why, of course!
a new idea for the Salon. A modern Guinevere and Elaine; Siren and
Saint; Sense and Innocence. I congratulate you, old boy; they are
"Please be quiet for a moment, Harry; they are not for the Salon. They
are two sitters of mine. The one beneath has been here twice—the first
time about a week ago; the second time day before yesterday. The other
came for the first time to-day."
"And they are real, live women, then?"
"Yes. I was in hopes you might recognize one or both of them."
The other shook his head, and gazed from one to the other in silence.
"Do you see any—any resemblance between them?" asked the artist, after
"Resemblance! Good Lord, no! Why? Are they related in any way?"
"Not that I am aware of; in fact, I am quite sure they are not. She told
me she had no relatives."
"Um—and which do you refer to as she?"
"Oh, the upper one, of course."
"Well, I don't see any 'of course' about it. She was here to-day for
the first time. I don't see why she should begin by exchanging family
confidences. All things considered, I should have thought it more than
likely you referred to the other. However, I suppose you are familiar
with her family history, too."
"Don't be sarcastic, Harry. I know nothing of either of them; at least
not in that way. The one who came first gave her name as Evelin March.
She came in suddenly, one morning last week, and asked for a sitting.
She had on a light wrap, which she laid off and stood before me as you
see her. During the sitting she was inclined to be lively and talkative.
Her voice is just a trifle harsh, but she is a remarkably brilliant
talker and a very fascinating woman. I had not met the other, then, and
foolishly allowed myself to say some rather silly things to her. When
she came again I did more. You know what a rash fool I am, Harry. Well,
I made love to her, off-hand. She stirred me up terribly for some
reason. Of course, there was nothing of real love in what I felt for
her; it was a brief madness of the head. You know about what I would say
under the circumstances."
"Oh, perfectly. You swore that her eyes were as are lights in a midnight
desert; that her tints would rival the roseate pearl of a June sunset;
that her smiles would be your only diet henceforth and forever; that her
frown would be as terrible as the day of judgment. And now what has the
other one to do with it?"
"Lawton, you will think I am crazy, and I am, perhaps—but I love her;
and more than that, I believe she loves me. No word of it has passed
between us, but—we understand."
"Oh, we do, eh? We—we understand," imitated Lawton. "Well, this is
exceedingly interesting, I must say, although quite the thing to be
expected from one of your temperament. How very fortunate you are in the
choice of subjects, too."
"What do you mean, Harry?"
"Well, I should judge you might divide up your affections on those two
without any serious confliction of sentiments."
"You are mistaken, though; I do not care for Evelin March at all, now. I
am sorry I ever met her. I shall stop this foolish flirtation with her,
"Quite likely. And when does Evelin come again?"
"So; well, I'll just drop in to-morrow evening for the latest. Evelin
seems to be a trifle outclassed just at present."
"Harry, you are unkind. I tell you I love that innocent girl on the
easel there and mean to marry her."
"Oh, of course; I haven't the least doubt of it. And now, what about the
"Why, look! do you see their hair? The shade of each is exactly the
same—the same silkiness and glow through it; it is very peculiar. And
notice the ear; the outline and formation of each is identical. You may
not have noticed these things as I have, but it is very rare that the
ear is anatomically the same in two people. There is a similarity, too,
about the oval of the face, although less marked and not unusual; and
there is a faint suggestion of something else, which I feel but cannot
locate. I noticed these things, and they struck me at once as being a
tie of kinship. I hinted, in a miserably awkward manner, as to relatives
who might be having their portraits painted. It was then she told me
that she had no relatives, and I believe started to tell me she had no
friends, but she hesitated and was near bursting into tears. From that
moment I loved her; I shall love her always."
"Charming, Julian. And yet I fancy she is not wholly alone in the world.
A beautiful and affluent maiden is not calculated to be friendless; and
you will admit that one who is able to gratify a passing impulse for one
of Julian Paul Goetze's justly celebrated portraits is not likely to be
destitute. Still, I will allow that there are cases, even among the
wealthy, that are not entirely undeserving of sympathy; and, if I may
judge from this incipient work of your magic brush, I think I should be
willing to lavish any amount of that article on its original. However,
you haven't told me her name as yet; I trust it is not disappointing."
"I do not even know it myself. She gave me her card; I laid it down and
haven't thought of it since."
"Well, really, if your love is no greater than your curiosity, your case
does not present any very alarming features, as yet."
The artist had approached a small table in the center of the room, from
which he now picked up a slip of white pasteboard and held it to the
light, then he started a little and was silent.
"Well?" said his friend, inquiringly; "is it Mary Mullally or Nancy
The artist turned to the table again and selected another card, somewhat
larger, from a little silver tray; then he returned to Lawton and held
them before him, one above the other, like the pictures. On the lower
one, written in a bold, dashing hand, were the words:
And on the other, in a neat and beautiful penmanship:
"Capital, old fellow!" exclaimed Lawton. "There is an air of harmony
about the name, the handwriting, and the face of your charmer that is
delightful. What a blessing she has no relatives."
"But do you notice nothing strange about these names, Harry?"
"Nothing, except that both are strangely bewitching. What more is
"Why, the similarity of the first names. Eva—Evelin; one is frequently
a contraction of the other. I don't like this, Harry; it troubles me."
"Now, Julian, you are positively absurd. Here are two women of natures
manifestly as different as light and darkness. By a coincidence, or a
distant family tie, or both, their hair happens to be the same color
(not a very unusual one, either, by the way); a similarity in their
names; also, perhaps, one or two other trifling resemblances, more or
less marked. I will admit, myself, that there is something in the face
of that siren that had she kept herself unspotted from the world might
have suggested the other—that rare being there on the easel who told
you she had no relatives or friends, and for which reason you are deeply
troubled. It is probable she told you the exact truth. I have seen
people who were almost counterparts of each other between whom there
existed no known tie of kinship. There was once a man in New York who
resembled Jay Gould so strikingly as to deceive their best friends. And
besides, the girl may have relatives of whom she knows nothing. Most of
us have cousins whom we have never seen, or even heard of. Should
Guinevere prove to be the unknown cousin of Elaine, I cannot see that
the purity and charm of Elaine is in any manner affected thereby."
"Yes, Harry; that is so. Besides"—
"Besides, the resemblance is positively trivial. No one but an artist
would think of it. I should never have suspected it without your
assistance. In the one face there is written all that is good, and
pure, and holy; in the other, all that is reckless, unscrupulous,
soulless, and if not vicious might easily become so. It does not take a
physiognomist to see that. I beg pardon for saying so, Julian, but it
seems to me that there is no more similarity between the two than there
is between the opposing elements of your own strange nature. The one all
that is good, and the other, well—not all that is bad, but very
different, you know, old boy. And it is probably these forces within you
that answer to the charms of these two beings who are so manifestly
opposites. The one inspiring only the nobleness of a blameless love; the
other suggesting the abandonment of a reckless passion."
The light in the studio was growing dim. Goetze had risen to his feet
and was walking back and forth in front of the portraits. When he spoke
he seemed to have forgotten them, except as the representation of an
abstract principle; or, perhaps, he was thinking of his own nature, and
what his friend had said of it.
"Good and bad are relative terms only," he said, as one pronouncing a
text. Every man fulfills his purpose. I can put a stroke of paint on my
canvas, and you will call it white. I put another beside it, and by
contrast the first appears gray. Still another, and the second has
become gray, and the first still darker. And so on, until I have
reached the purest white we know. It is the same with humanity. Men are
only dark or light as they are contrasted with others; nor can they
avoid the place they occupy on God's canvas any more than my colors can
choose their places on mine. The world is a great picture. God is the
greatest of all artists. His is the master hand—the unerring touch that
lays on the lights, the half-tones and the shadows. Each fulfills its
purpose. Without the shadows there would be no lights.
"What is true of masses is likewise true of individuals," he continued,
after a moment's pause. "In a landscape, every blade of grass, every
pebble, has its light and its dark side. If you see only the light side
of an object, it is only because the shadow is turned from you. It is so
with men; one side is sun, the other shadow. Sometimes the light, only,
is presented to view, but the darker side is none the less there because
unseen. Nature is never unbalanced. Whatever of brightness there is
toward the sun there must be an equal amount of shadow opposing, with
all the intergradations between. If the light is dim the shadow is soft;
if the light is brilliant the shadow is black. Some of us are turned
white side to the world, some the reverse; some show the white and the
The man in the chair settled himself comfortably to listen. He liked
nothing better than to see the artist in his present mood, offering a
word now and then that was likely to draw out his peculiar ideas.
"You believe in fate, then, and the absence of moral freedom," he said
"I believe nothing. Belief is not the word. What is, is right. To assert
otherwise is an insult to the Supreme. He is all powerful, hence—wrong
"I should be glad to hear your argument in support of that position."
"Argument! It is a self-evident truth! Argument is not necessary!
Argument is never necessary! If an assertion is not true no amount of
discussion will make it so, while the truth requires no support."
The other had lighted a pipe, and was smoking lazily.
"Well," he said, as the artist paused; "at least those who have crossed
over have solved the mystery."
"Oh, they have! And how do you know that anyone has crossed over? You do
not believe in the mortality nor the slumber of the soul; no more do I;
but time exists only with life. A man dies and in the same instant opens
his eyes upon eternity, and yet a million of years may have been swept
away in that instant. As a tired child you have fallen asleep. A moment
later you have been called by your mother to breakfast. And yet, in that
moment of dreamless sleep, the long winter night had passed. Adam, the
first man, closing his eyes in death; you and I, who will do the same
ten, twenty, forty years hence, and the generations who will follow us
for a million years, perhaps, will waken to eternity, if there be a
waking, in one and the same instant of time, without a knowledge of the
intervening years. There were no years. Eternity has no beginning, no
end, no measurement."
He paused a moment, then suddenly burst out again.
"Nothing in life is real—it is all a dream. You think your being is
reality and that you hear my voice speaking. I tell you it is but fancy.
We are the figures—the mimes in some vast hypnotic exhibition—the
shadows in some gigantic spirit's disordered dream. Hypnotism," he
continued, pursuing a line of thought which his impulsive words had
suggested, "has, in fact, proven that no one can distinguish the real
from the unreal. You remember, when we went to see Flint, the great
hypnotist, how his subjects passed from one condition to another and
took on any personality at the operator's will; capering and grimacing
about the stage with all the characteristics and even the facial
expression of monkeys, one minute, and simpering as silly school-girls
the next; and to them it was all real—as real as this room, these
bodies, these pictures are to us. I read some lines once that seemed to
express the idea:
"I sometimes think life but a dream
Of some great soul in some great sphere,
And what appear as truths but seem,
And what seem truths do but appear."
He repeated these words with slow earnestness, adding solemnly, "Who
knows? Who knows?"
The man who sat listening drew a long breath. He was a rich idler with a
good deal of worldly wisdom, but he loved and admired his erratic
friend. He felt that much of what he said was sophistry, wholly or in
part; but there was a charm about the earnest manner, the musical voice,
and the flashing brevity of statement, more pleasing to his ear than
sounder logic from a surer reasoner.
It was nearly dark now in the studio. The artist halted in his march,
and offered to light the gas.
"Not for the world, Julian; I am far too happy in the dark. I was just
thinking what a glorious agitator you would make; you would carry all
before you. I wonder you have never dabbled in politics or socialism.
Now I think of it, I have never heard you mention these things. I
suppose you belong to one or the other of the great parties, however."
"Politics? Party? Good heavens, no! I never meddle with such things; it
is one step lower than I have ever gone."
"But a man must stand somewhere. He that stands nowhere stands upon
The artist paused before the open window and stood looking out upon the
dusk of the little scented garden. A faint reflected glimmer from some
far-away lamp dimly illuminated one side of his face, silhouetting his
striking profile sharply against a ground of blackness.
"If you mean," he began, slowly, "that I should have some opinions, then
I will tell you what they are.
"I believe neither in tariff nor trade. Currency nor coin. Traffic nor
toil. I believe in nothing—but the absolute freedom of every living
being. Freedom!—freedom from the curse of creeds, the blight of
bigotry, and the leprosy of the law. Freedom to go and to come, to live
and to die. Life without loathing, love without bondage. To live in some
sunlit valley, where the bud is ever bursting into flower, the flower
fading to fruit, and the fruit ripening to sustenance. The untouched
bosom of Nature would yield enough for her children had not the curse of
greed been implanted in their bosoms."
Goetze had turned away from the window and was again striding up and
down the floor in the dark.
"A beautiful poem, Julian," said the other, dreamily; "but a sort of
delightful barbarism, I'm afraid."
"Barbarism? No! A higher, purer intellectuality than we have ever yet
known—a civilization that knows not the curse of avarice nor the
miseries of crime—the weariness of wealth nor the pangs of poverty. The
garden of Eden is still about us, but we have torn up the flowers, and
desecrated it with the lust of gain. Man was never driven out of that
garden. Greed was planted in his heart and he destroyed it."
"Come," he continued, suddenly changing the subject, "I have made you
tired and hungry; let us go out, somewhere, to supper."
"Thanks," said the other, laughing; "I supposed a man in your condition
had no need of bodily sustenance. You are comfortably situated here,
Julian," he added, as they passed out into the street.
"Yes, it is quiet here—no bother with servants nor landladies. Once a
week my washerwoman comes and stays to put my establishment in order;
the rest of the time I am disturbed only by my sitters."
"You forget me."
"Yes, Harry," said the artist, taking his arm affectionately; "and by
you, of course."
When Julian Goetze arose the next morning he felt strong within himself
to withstand and conquer those fierce impulses of his savage heritage
that had answered to the blandishments of Evelin March. And yet he was
greatly troubled. He felt that in a large measure he had been to blame.
He blushed hotly as he recalled some of the things he had said to this
woman whom Harry had called a siren.
"Men are all scoundrels," he said, savagely; "I wonder if there are
really any who are not so at heart."
He rapidly formulated his plan of action, and even the sentences with
which he was to meet and conquer this modern Circe.
"I will keep Eva's face before me," he thought, "and I will treat her
coldly. She is high-spirited and keen; she will notice the change at
once and resent it. She is too proud to demand an explanation."
He felt himself equal to the ordeal. He was anxious now for her to come
that it might be safely passed. As the hours went by he grew impatient;
he placed her portrait on the easel and fancied the original was before
him. He went through an imaginary dialogue with it in which he was
wholly victorious. He no longer felt any emotion for this woman.
"I will begin a new life," he said, as he strode rapidly up and down the
room; "a new life." But there was a feverishness in his voice that did
not bode well for his resolution.
"I wish she would come," he muttered, fretfully.
His cheeks were hot and flushed, and his hands were like ice, and
trembling. And the result was—that he failed—failed miserably and
completely. When, an hour later, Evelin March entered the studio and,
throwing off her wrap, stood before him, imperious, soulless and
beautiful—a delicate odor, as of pansies, from her white flesh,
stealing into his brain—his pledges of faith and his fair resolves
melted away like walls of mist, and the face of Eva Delorme shrank back
into the silent recesses of his heart, and only a small voice within him
She glanced at him sharply.
"Something troubles you, mon ami. You are not overjoyed at my coming.
I have been fancying to myself how impatiently you were waiting."
His hands were no longer trembling. He was calm enough, now, but it was
the calmness of defeat—of having yielded to the inevitable.
"I have indeed been waiting impatiently," he said, smiling. "You see
that I have been even consoling myself with your picture," and he
pointed to the easel.
"From an artistic point of view, only, I fancy."
"That is unkind. I have been holding a conversation with it that I fear
I should hesitate to repeat—with the original."
"How interesting! A rehearsal, perhaps."
"Perhaps; and I was testing the powers of my work as compared to those
of the original."
"And with the result"—
"That my work is a failure."
"How humiliating! May I ask in what way?"
"I could withstand the charms of the picture, but with the original"—
"Well, and with the original?"
The face before him was radiant; but down in his heart the small voice,
growing very faint, still whispered, "Coward—traitor—fool."
That evening Harry Lawton found him sitting gloomily before the window
looking out upon the shadows that were gathering in the little garden
beneath. As the door opened he glanced up and nodded without speaking.
Again the artist nodded.
"Did you suppose for a moment that she wouldn't?"
Lawton assumed a dignified attitude, and began with mock earnestness:
"Oh, wise man—thou who knowest so well the heart and the face of
Nature—how little thou knowest of thine own soul!"
A shade of anguish swept over the artist's face, but he made no reply.
"Most gentle and gifted man! Last night I listened long and patiently to
the scintillating wisdom of your wonderful brain. Let me now speak,
while you, in turn, give ear.
"When, last night, you showed me the portraits and told me their
history, I foresaw this moment. You are plunged into despair at the
contemplation of your own weakness. You have been abusing your soul
with hard names. Now, I would whisper to you with great gentleness that
what you observed to me last night, about the sunlight and shadow of
every life, is true; and that the brightness of the sun cannot
illuminate, but only intensifies the blackness of the shade. Pursuing
the same line of reasoning, I add that flowers bloom in the sunlight,
while mushrooms thrive in the darkness. That because man is fond of
mushrooms is no reason why he should be deprived of flowers. That
because your purer and spiritual self reaches out for the stainless
lily, is no reason why your material and grosser nature should be left
starving. Because you are for a time intoxicated with Evelin March is no
reason why, in your calmer and nobler existence, you should not love
truly and sinlessly, Eva Delorme.
"I am aware that my logic is not wholly in accord with generally
accepted theory. It accords much more nearly, perhaps, with universal
practice—of course I refer only to men in the single walks of life. It
is well known that all men after marriage are irreproachable. And when
you have plucked your stainless lily, you, like the rest, will subsist
only upon its fragrance. But really, for the present, I cannot see that
your affair with Miss March in any way conflicts with your sentiments
for Miss Delorme; and especially as you have known the latter but a few
hours in all—hardly sufficient, I should think, to inspire a lifelong
devotion. Truly, Julian, I would advise you not to take matters quite so
seriously, and let the tide drift as it will for the present."
Throughout this long harangue Julian Goetze had listened in silence.
"Oh, Harry," he groaned, as the other paused, "you don't know what a
traitor I am!"
"Well, possibly my sensibilities are not over fine, but I think you will
be more comfortable for taking my advice."
Without replying, the artist rose and going into the adjoining room
returned a moment later with a decanter and glasses.
"I am tired," he said, apologetically, as he caught the look of
disapproval in his friend's eye; "it will do me good."
"None for me, Julian, before supper, and—I don't think, if—if I were
you, I would take any, either."
"I am exhausted, Harry; I am not going to supper and I need it," he
The other sighed and did not reply. Goetze filled one of the glasses and
drank it off, then he resumed his seat by the window. A little later his
friend took leave of him; reaching the street door he hesitated as if
about to turn back, then he lifted the latch, and passed slowly out into
the lighted street, closing the door gently behind him.
The next morning the studio of Julian Goetze was locked. It remained
locked all day, and within, stretched upon the floor, unconscious, lay
the gifted man, and by his side was an empty flask.
Perhaps Julian Goetze did not willingly abide by the somewhat fallacious
reasoning of his friend. It is more than probable that each time he
succumbed to the savage elements of his nature, he did so with
reluctance and shame, with subsequent remorse, and good resolutions
formed a score of times, perhaps, to be as often broken.
As the weeks went by he became more and more involved in this singular
affair. In a way he had found it possible, as his friend had once
suggested, to be in love with two women at one time.
When he was with Eva Delorme his love for the pure, beautiful girl
seemed to take entire possession of his life. Evelin March, for the
time, was as hateful to him as his own weakness, or was wholly
When in the presence of Evelin March his better self shrank away before
the fierce heredity within him, and the face of Eva Delorme became only
a dim, haunting ghost that taunted him with his treachery.
Of the lives of these two he knew absolutely nothing. The evident
distress which his reference to relatives and friends had occasioned Eva
during their first meeting, had caused him carefully to avoid the
subject afterward; and the other, who had never referred to her family,
he had not cared to know. He had never even considered whether she was
wife, maid or widow, until he suddenly became aware that the sentiment
he had awakened within her was not, as he had at first supposed, a
passing fancy, but a fierce passion of jealous and tyrannical love. She
no longer rallied him, and parried his compliments with her light,
pointed sarcasm, as she had done at first, but assumed an unmistakable
bearing of ownership and possession—questioning him closely regarding
other sitters and female acquaintances—while he writhed helplessly in
the exquisite misery of a spell which he felt himself powerless to
Thus far he had never surrendered himself entirely to this passion. More
than once he had hesitated on the very brink of the precipice. Whether
it was the haunting face of Eva Delorme that stayed him, or something in
the manner of the other, he could not tell.
One day he suddenly caught her in his arms. She suffered his embrace
for a moment, then drew away from him.
"When we are married, Paul," she said, tenderly, "I will take you to
Italy, where in some beautiful villa we will give ourselves up wholly to
our love. I am rich, Paul, rich; and it is all yours, but we must wait."
He turned white and was silent. The thought of marriage with this woman
had never entered his head. He had already asked Eva Delorme to be his
wife. She had long since confessed her love for him, but had deferred
her answer from week to week, and with such evident distress of mind
that the young artist felt that a secret sorrow lay heavily upon her
life. He longed to fly with her to some far country, away from it all,
and from the dark shadows that encompassed his own.
The similarity of features which he had at first noticed in his two
sitters was at times almost forgotten; at others it had recurred to him
and haunted him like a nightmare. More than once he had imagined he saw
the fleeting something in one woman that reminded him of the other. He
had dallied over the portraits, making them photographically minute for
comparison. He had hesitated guiltily about showing either of these to
the other woman. He had sometimes longed, and always dreaded, to see
them side by side in person. They did not always come at their appointed
time, and he was in constant terror lest they should meet in the studio;
and yet the thought had in it a fascination for him that made him
feverish for its realization. It was strange that they had never met in
his rooms—he did not realize, perhaps, how strange.
As the months slipped away, and he had become more and more distracted
by the contending forces that were eating deeply into his life, he had
grown almost indifferent to his curiosity and only dreaded their
It was now October. The portraits had been practically finished long
since. Day after day he had resolved to send that of Evelin March to the
dealer for framing. He felt that he could then break away from her. But
still he had hesitated and lingered, and now, when in a moment of
recklessness he had taken a step nearer the brink of the precipice, she
had spoken to him of their marriage. The idea stunned him; he could not
reply. She believed his emotion had been caused by her rebuff, and laid
her hand gently on his arm.
"Don't be angry, Paul," she whispered.
He had never seen her so subdued and beautiful as she was at that
moment. He was nearer to loving her than he had ever been.
"Yes," he said, with some agitation, "we must—wait."
That night after supper he sought Harry Lawton, and unburdened himself.
"What shall I do, Harry?" he said, piteously; "what must I do?"
"Marry Eva Delorme and take a year's trip to Europe."
"But Eva hesitates—she has never yet given me a decided answer."
"Insist upon it. Then take her to the preacher at once, and fly."
"Oh, Harry, what a villain I am! Evelin is really in love with me, and I
have given her just cause. I never saw her look as she did to-day."
"Nonsense! She is a schemer and an actress. I did not suppose she wanted
to marry you, but since that is her idea I can see right through her.
This being the case, and your determination to marry the other fixed,
the sooner you do it and get away, the better."
"I am afraid you are right, Harry; there seems to be no other course. I
haven't the moral courage to tell her the truth."
"No need of it, whatever. It wouldn't help matters in the least. Just
marry and go away quietly, and don't return until you get ready. If you
need money draw on me at sight."
"Thank you, Harry. I expect Eva soon. I am going to put the final
touches on her picture, and I will urge my suit. If she accepts me I
will take her away at once. Evelin's picture is ready for framing; I
will send it to the dealer's to-morrow. I wish to God I could get away
before she comes again!"
"Why not? You have nothing to keep you. If the girl really loves you she
will marry you out of hand, and be only too glad to cut loose from all
unpleasant associations. And now let's take a last look at the
pictures," he said.
They had been walking slowly in the direction of Goetze's cottage. They
entered now, and the artist lighted the gas. Then he arranged the
portraits of the two women as he had done for his friend's inspection
nearly a half-year previous. Both were thinking of that evening now. How
long ago it seemed. Harry sat silent before them for a long time.
"They are wonderful portraits, Goetze," he said, at length; "but, do you
know, it doesn't seem to me that they have quite the artistic value of
the first sketches."
"You are right, Harry; they are too minute. I shall destroy some of that
The other was silent. After a long pause he said, thoughtfully, "There
is something— I can't tell where it is, either; but it is certainly
"You refer to the resemblance?"
"Yes; it is hardly that, however."
"I have thought very little about it lately. It troubled me terribly for
"Well, good-night, Julian," said Lawton, rising. "If there are to be any
orange-blossoms, I suppose I am best man."
"Yes, Harry. Good-night!"
Two days later, when Eva Delorme came to the studio, the artist thought
he had never seen her so beautiful.
And now the whiteness of his own soul was turned to view. He resembled
as little the man who had trembled before Evelin March, as Evelin March
was like this beautiful being before him.
With all the ardor and fervid eloquence of his nature he urged his suit;
and she, tearful and trembling before him, half consented. He caught her
to his breast and covered her face with kisses.
"My darling—my darling," he murmured, "we will leave this smoky, dingy
city; I will take you to a beautiful land where the flowers never fade
and the air is forever filled with their fragrance. Where the blue skies
of an eternal summer are above us, and the blue waves of a whispering
sea shall lull us to peace. There is a tiny island in the Mediterranean
on the coast of France. I was there once; it is like heaven. I will take
you there. Say that you will go, sweetheart; we will start to-day."
The girl lifted her face to his, and kissed him on the forehead.
"It would be heaven, indeed, Julian; but—we must wait."
The artist started and grew pale. Her final words had been the same as
those used by Evelin March. She did not seem to notice his emotion, or
mistook its cause.
"You know that I love you, Julian," she continued, "and I will do
anything for your happiness; but—oh, Julian"—
She burst into tears and hid her face on his shoulder. He felt that some
mystery of grief weighed upon her, and he longed to urge her
confidence, but refrained. He soothed her gently with tender words and
caresses. By and by she grew calm.
"Julian," she said, "I am in no condition to-day to give you a sitting.
I will come to-morrow, and then—I will give you a final answer,
and—oh, my love, do not urge me further to-day; I—I cannot endure it."
Then suddenly throwing her arms about his neck she pressed one fierce
kiss upon his lips and hurried from the room.
After she was gone the artist walked up and down the studio for a long
time in deep thought. He was wildly happy in her love, and yet he was
troubled. It was strange that her words should have been the same as
those of Evelin March. Her manner, too, during the last moment had been
unusual. Something about it had jarred him—almost reminded him of the
other woman. What was it between these two?
By and by, he noticed something white lying on the floor. It was a
woman's handkerchief—a bit of cambric and lace exhaling the delicate
odor of violets. He pressed it to his lips repeatedly, and whispered her
name over and over, then hid it away in his bosom. He had not noticed,
in the dim light, that in one corner, in small, delicate letters, were
the initials, E. M. D.
The next morning was bright and crisp, and the artist felt better than
he had for many weeks. He arose happy in the thought that he should
again see Eva Delorme so soon, and in the confidence that she would
accept his offer of marriage. He was happier still in the prospect of
cutting free from all the feverish torture of the past few months; of
leaving behind all the unpleasant associations that clouded both their
lives, along with the soot, and fumes, and temptations of this grimy
city; and of dreaming away the winter with Eva on the coast of France.
He rose early and set out for a morning walk. His favorite restaurant
was near the heart of the city; he would go there for breakfast. The
distance was considerable, but the brisk exercise was in harmony with
his thoughts. The blood was circulating rhythmically through his veins;
he threw back his shoulders and breathed in the fresh frosty air. He
wanted to sing. In another week he would be away from all that was
disagreeable and disgraceful—perhaps to-morrow. They would spend a
whole year in Europe; may be they would not come back at all.
After breakfast he met two or three acquaintances; they remarked his
"You must have made a big strike, Goetze; can't you tell us?"
"Yes, by and by; not now—later."
"Congratulations are in order, of course."
"Hardly yet; pretty soon."
He returned to his studio. Eva had named no hour, but he hoped she would
come early. As he opened the street door he saw a long, thin, delicately
tinted envelope that had been pushed beneath it in his absence. He knew
instinctively that it was from Eva, and hastened into the studio to read
it. It was not sealed and there was no address. Trembling with agitation
he tore off the covering and read:
"I am feeling badly this morning, so will not come for my
sitting to-day, and since my portrait is so nearly finished
I suppose there is really no need of my coming again for
that purpose. I should have come, however, as I promised,
had it been possible. And now, my dear friend, as regards
the decision which so concerns us both, I will ask your
kind patience until to-morrow eve.
"On West L—— Street, between 18th and 19th, near the park,
there is a large, old-fashioned, brick mansion. It is No.
74, east side—you cannot miss it. There is an arc electric
light directly in front of it.
"Go to this place to-morrow night, exactly at six o'clock.
If the door is fastened, ring, and the servant will admit
you. There wait in the hall-way until I come. If the door is
unlocked, enter and wait likewise, unless I am already
within to meet you. Then I will give you my answer; and oh,
my friend, if it be possible I will unfold to you the
history and sad mystery of my poor life, which you have so
kindly never sought to know.
Julian read this note again and again now with pleasure, again with
anxiety. Surely she meant to accept him or she would not have written
thus; she would not have appointed a meeting with him at this old
mansion. And why at this old mansion? Was it her home? No, that was not
likely, or why was he to wait until she came? If her home, she would be
waiting there for him. Probably the home of some friend of whom she had
made a confidant, and who was in sympathy with her love affair. Yes, it
must be this; and the mystery of her life, what could that be but some
pre-natal pledge of marriage with one whom she despised, or tyrannical
guardians, or both. She would probably be disinherited if she disobeyed.
What did he care; money was not the end of God's judgment. He would take
her away from it all; his precious darling, and she was ill, too; she
was in pain and he could not go to her. He longed to sit by her side,
and hold her hand and pour out his love. He was bitterly disappointed
at not seeing her to-day, but he almost forgot that, now, as he thought
of her ill and suffering. He read and re-read the lines of her letter,
and tried to comfort himself with the thought that it was no more than a
headache brought on by her mental strain.
By and by, something else about this letter began to puzzle him. He had
not thought of it at first, but gradually it dawned upon him that the
handwriting was not exactly like that upon the card of Eva Delorme. It
seemed to him that it was less delicate and more irregular. He took her
card from the little tray on the table, and compared them. He decided
that they were the same, after all. The letter was written hurriedly and
she was ill; but the formation of the characters was much the same. As
he replaced the card his eye fell upon that of Evelin March. There was
no similarity between the writing on the two cards, but as he glanced
now from that of Evelin March to the letter he fancied one suggested
faintly the nervous, dashing style of the other. The haunting curiosity
that had once possessed him returned for a moment. There was a strange
fear in his heart which he could not name. He compared the two more
closely, and as he did so the fancy disappeared. It was like certain
faint odors that are only perceptible at a distance. He heaved a sigh of
"I am a consummate ass, among other things," he muttered.
His mind reverted to Eva. How would he get through the time until
to-morrow? To-morrow there would be a sitting with Evelin. As he thought
of her his face flushed with shame, and a feeling of dread came upon
him. He would send her portrait to the dealer to-day—it was
finished—then there would be no excuse for her staying. No, he would go
away and lock the studio all day. What a fool he had been to allow
himself to be fascinated by her dashing beauty. What a traitor he had
been to make even a semblance of love to this bold, flashy woman of the
world—a woman who, until recently, had not even commanded his respect.
"I have been a villain," he muttered, to himself; "a villain and a
traitor, but I will be so no more. I will curb this savage nature within
me. I will abstain from drink. I will be a new man."
He sealed his resolution with a kiss pressed upon the little, tinted
letter, then placing it in an inner pocket he arranged the canvas of Eva
Delorme on the easel before him and walked backward and forward in front
of it thinking, pausing now and then to gaze long upon the beautiful,
"It does not do her justice," he said, at last; "there is something
about the lips and the expression that I have not caught. It is too
minute; I must darken the ground; there is not enough relief—not enough
Hastily removing his coat and the wide felt hat which he always wore on
the street, he hung them on a rack in the adjoining room, and donning
his velvet studio jacket, returned to the easel. Seizing his palette and
brushes he fell to work rapidly, and with the enthusiasm of one who is
in love with his task.
As he dashed on the broad sweeps of color from his palette, the
background gradually assumed the effect of having faded away, and the
rare face before it to have become a thing of flesh and blood. It was a
marvel of skill. He had never done anything like this before. He became
so absorbed in his work that he forgot the passing hours. The background
of the portrait complete, he began adding touches of light and shadow
and color to the drapery, to the hair, to the perfect features. He felt
that he had never painted half so well. It seemed to him that he was
inspired. He remembered the story of the artist who had painted the
portrait of his beloved, drawing the tints so truly from her life, that
when he had finished and turned to look at her with an exclamation of
triumph on his lips, she was dead. It seemed to him at this moment that
he was drawing his tints from her very life. That the intense workings
of his brain must in some manner affect her own. He paused and his hand
trembled. She was ill; what if she were to die! Pshaw! it was but a
fable. He would paint the picture as truly, but only that the world
might bow before the beauty of his mistress. He would exhibit it in
Paris, and the multitude would worship the beautiful face that should
win him a world-wide fame. Then he would take it away from the gaping
throng and lay it, with the fame it brought him, at her feet.
The little clock on the mantel had long since chimed noon, and the hour
hand had crept around the circle nearly to five before he finally laid
aside his brushes and palette, and stepped back to view his finished
"It is wonderful—wonderful," he said, aloud. "Oh, my precious darling!"
There was a sound behind him as of some one choking. He turned and stood
face to face with Evelin March. She was very pale, and her eyes burned
like two stars.
"Who is that woman?" she said, fiercely.
He knew that she had overheard him, but he endeavored to address her
calmly. He felt the cowardliness of his nature rising, and he cursed
"I—I was not expecting you to-day, Evelin," he stammered; "to-morrow,
you know, is the day for your sitting."
She did not take her eyes from the portrait; she had gone very close to
it and as she turned upon him to reply there was a mingled look of
terror and ferocity in her face.
"No, it is quite evident that you did not expect me, and that you were
too much absorbed to remember or care when my sitting was due. And now
you will please to answer my question. Who is that woman?"
What would he not have given, at that moment, to have had courage to
say, "She is to be my wife;" but the magnificent fury of the woman
before him, and the recollection of the shameful words of love he had
spoken to her, overwhelmed him.
"She is a—a Miss Delorme, I believe; a sitter of mine," he managed to
say at last.
"You believe! You lie! You know who she is, and you love her! You love
that nun-faced baby! I heard your words. You believe—you"—
"Don't speak to me, you traitor! 'Your precious darling.' Oh, I could
kill her! I will kill her!"
He could not understand this wild fury, that seemed to be half inspired
by a sort of terror. She had turned to the portrait again and was
examining it, oblivious, for the moment, to all else. Then suddenly she
turned upon him again with blazing eyes.
"I will kill her!" she hissed. "I could kill her with that," and she
pointed to the jeweled stiletto on the wall.
She was so magnificent in her rage that he could not help admiring her
through it all. The love for him which had aroused this tempest was so
fierce that he felt his savage blood beginning to throb with an
answering glow. He felt that once more he was about to be a traitor to
all that was good within him. The ground was slipping from under his
feet. The glamour of her voluptuous beauty was ruling his brain like the
fumes of liquor. His eyes, too, were beginning to shine fiercely, but
not with anger.
"Evelin," he said, "listen. You know I love you and have from the first.
She is nothing to me. The words that you overheard were addressed only
to the picture. It is my masterpiece. I was not thinking of the
original." And down in his heart the small voice was whispering,
But the hot blood of passion was sweeping through his veins, and he
heeded it not. He put out his hand and laid it upon her arm.
"Don't touch me!" she said, angrily, but the expression in her eyes
softened. He saw his advantage and followed it up.
"Evelin," he said, huskily, "I love you— I love you!" Again he laid his
hand upon her and this time she allowed it to remain. They were standing
near the curtained arch of the adjoining room. He parted back the heavy
draperies, and gently drew her within.
The savage blood was rioting fiercely within him. He caught both her
hands in his and drew her to his embrace. She hid her face upon his
shoulder, and would not let him touch her lips. Other than this she made
no further resistance. Half dragging, and half carrying her he
approached a large divan that stood in a little alcove on the opposite
side of the room. Suddenly he took her bodily in his arms and they sank
down upon it together. For a second, only; then, with a quick powerful
effort she threw him backward and sprang to her feet, staring about her
with a wild, startled look in her eyes.
Goetze, wholly at a loss to account for the suddenness and fierceness of
the resistance, was for a moment stunned. As he recovered himself and
made a movement toward her, she gave him one quick, piteous look—a look
that recalled to him suddenly and strangely the beautiful, innocent girl
whom he had wronged and forgotten—the face of Eva Delorme—then, as
if seized with sudden panic she sped from the room, out through the dim
studio and into the dusky hall-way beyond.
He heard the opening and closing of the outside door, and knew that she
was gone. Then the tide of reaction swept over him. The glamour of
conquest had passed, and there remained only the shame, the treachery
and the remorse.
With a curse of anguish he flung himself down upon the floor, and lay
groveling with his face in the dust. The moments flew by unheeded. An
hour passed. The electric lamps were turned on, and a white ray of light
shot in through the half-curtained window. The little clock on the
mantel chimed the hour.
The sound roused him. Starting to his feet he gazed stupidly about him
for a moment as if undecided what to do, then seizing his hat from the
wall rack he hurried out through the studio and the dark hall-way
without pausing to remove his working jacket, or to lock the door. Out
into the street where people were hurrying home, chattering and
laughing, and glancing only for a second at the figure in the velvet
studio coat and broad hat, wondering a little at the dark, intense face
that flashed so swiftly past them toward the glare and confusion of the
He did not know where he was going. He did not care. He was trying to
get away from himself. He walked faster and faster; twice he started to
He was drawing nearer to the bustle of the city. Small shops were
scattered along between the rows of brick dwellings, and at one corner
the light of a saloon flared out upon the pavement. Entering, he called
for brandy. The bar-keeper stared at him and set out a bottle and a
glass. Twice he filled it to the brim and drank it off with hardly a
pause between. Then, throwing down a silver dollar, he hastened out
without waiting for change.
The shops were getting thicker and larger. Dwelling-houses were fewer
and more old fashioned. Here and there newsboys were crying the evening
papers. Street-cars, filled with lights and faces, rolled swiftly by him
and in front of him, jangling their bells. The buzz and whirl of the
city was around him. He was drawing near to its great, throbbing heart.
Splendid shop windows threw a flood of light upon the pavement, making
it like day. The shouts of the newsboys and street venders, the jangling
of the car-bells, the rushing cabs and carriages, the hurrying crowds,
the brilliant lights, the liquor in his brain, all whirled together and
sent the blood racing through his arteries, tingling to the surface now
and again in burning waves of misery and shame.
People paused for a moment to look at the strange figure, and hurried
on. Everybody was hurrying—hurrying somewhere. He, too, was hurrying,
as one pursued by furies; but where?
Suddenly, in front of an illuminated window, he paused; why, he did not
know. There was nothing there to attract him. It was a place where they
sold shoes. Numberless shoes were arranged for display, and in the midst
of them a little white lamp-globe revolving by clock-work with two words
painted on it in black letters:
He read the words over and over as the little globe came round, and
round, and round. "Gentlemen's shoes—Gentlemen's shoes—Gentlemen's
shoes." The thing fascinated him. It was such a funny little globe. It
reminded him of a merry-go-round he had once ridden on as a child. He
wondered how many times a day it spelled out the words, and if it kept
on going, there in the dark, after the place was closed. Then he hurried
on, but the little white globe and its black, flying letters were still
before him. They had impressed their image upon his brain. More than
once he repeated the words aloud. They seemed to have blended themselves
into his whirling senses and become a monotonous undertone.
"Gentlemen's shoes—Gentlemen's shoes—Gentlemen's shoes."
Here and there he stopped at a saloon and drank. He drank deeply and
the liquor was strong.
The lights were beginning to grow fewer. He had turned in his walk, and
was leaving the whirl and glare behind him. He did not know what
direction he had taken. He only knew that he was going, going, going, in
a mad effort to get away from himself.
The people that passed him he did not see. He saw only the white face of
Eva Delorme, and that piteous look in the eyes of the other, that had,
in one instant, revived within him, and with ten-fold vigor, all the
strange, torturing suspicions he had once felt regarding these two
mysterious lives. The faces that turned to look at him, he did not
notice; he saw only these two, and mingled with them, and whirling
round, and round, and round, the little white globe with its black
letters, "Gentlemen's shoes—Gentlemen's shoes—Gentlemen's shoes."
After a long time he noticed that he was passing a small suburban
railway station. There was a bustle of preparation as though a train was
expected to arrive. He crossed the shining steel tracks and entered. A
number of people were inside, chattering, laughing and waiting. Waiting
to go somewhere. Everybody was going somewhere—everybody but him.
Suddenly a group in one corner attracted him as had the lighted window
and the revolving globe.
A hatchet-faced woman, wearing a faded straw hat of antique pattern, a
cloak to match, and a soiled and largely plaided dress, was vainly
endeavoring to still the cries of a miserable babe swaddled in an
assortment of dirty garments.
Two children, of ages evidently beginning at prompt and regular
intervals from the one in her arms, extended from her at right-angles on
the bench, their legs straddled about with a childish disregard of
modesty. They were asleep—at least one of them was, and the other was
By and by, the woman arose and walked the floor with the babe. At this,
the child who was not asleep arose also and stared at its mother with
wide, round eyes. Then, as she approached it and turned in her march, it
began to follow her, keeping close behind and in step.
The other slept on unconsciously. The lamps flared and flickered; the
babe, partially soothed, sobbed and moaned, and the squalid pair marched
Begotten in bliss—brought forth in suffering—retired in privation.
Suddenly there is a prolonged, shrill shriek in the night, a trampling
of many feet, a shouting of discordant voices, and the midnight train is
snorting at the platform.
Hastily the mother gathers up the sleeping child, and bidding the other
cling close to her skirts, hurries out into the night, past the
fiery-eyed Polyphemus, on toward the coaches behind.
The people that are going somewhere jostle against her in their haste to
get into the coaches and secure seats. Mechanically the artist follows.
Everybody is going somewhere; he will go, too.
The monster ahead begins to puff and grunt, and the bell that is
fastened to its back, to ring wildly.
The men who are loading baggage shout and swear and hurl coarse jokes at
each other, and the midnight train begins to move. The bell still clangs
frantically, the demon puffs and grunts faster and faster, and the light
from its one fearful eye penetrates farther and farther into the
Faster, and faster, and faster—the sound of the wheels falling into a
regular measure, until it has become a weird, rhythmical monotone.
"Gentlemen's shoes—Gentlemen's shoes—Gentlemen's shoes."
Then there is a momentary flare of light, a final, blood-curdling
scream, and the one-eyed demon—the faded and soiled woman—the sobbing
baby—the sleeping child—the marching child with the big, round
eyes—the people who are going somewhere, and the artist who is going
nowhere, are on their way.
He has taken a seat facing the faded woman, and is unconsciously
studying her face. She is still hushing the babe to rest. On one side
the sleeper is huddled up against her. On the other, next to the window
and resting upon its knees, the child with the big, round eyes stares
out into the darkness.
The coach is warm. The heat and the strong liquor are beginning to tell
on him. The face before him begins to mingle with all sorts of
impossible fancies. The roar of the flying train is in his ears, but it
seems the roar of some mighty sea that is about to overwhelm him. The
conductor, coming through, shakes his arm to rouse him.
"Oh, yes!"—he forgot. He thrusts a bill into the conductor's hand.
"Keep the change, I will ride it out."
The drowsiness is again stealing upon him. He still sees the wretched
face before him and is studying it; but always between them are those
other faces—the face of Eva Delorme and of Evelin March—and the
piteous, frightened look that rests now upon one, now upon the
other,—and now the two are melting—melting into one, like the
blending outlines of a dissolving view—and both fade out into the
little white globe with its whirling black words, that the hum of the
train flying through the night keeps repeating over, and over, and
over,—"Gentlemen's shoes—Gentlemen's shoes—Gentlemen's shoes."
The sky was beginning to get gray with morning when the night express,
more than a hundred and fifty miles from its starting point, rushed into
a little station and halted a moment for water, panting and fretting to
be on its way. A figure stepped from it to the platform, staggering a
little as from the motion of the train. It was a young man. His eyes
were bloodshot, his face stained with the grime of travel. His soft felt
hat and his short, velvet coat were covered with cinders and dust. One
would hardly have recognized the artist, Julian Goetze.
The station agent stood a few feet away with a lantern. He looked up
somewhat astonished as this odd figure approached him. "Some drunken
showman," he thought.
The man came closer, as if to speak to him.
"How far back to Saint Louis?" he asked, anxiously.
"One hundred and fifty-three miles."
"When can I get a train?"
"At eleven-thirty, if it's on time."
"Is it usually on time?"
"Hardly ever; four hours late yesterday."
"Good God! Is there no other train?"
"There's a cattle train lying up there on the switch now. Pulls out soon
as this one leaves."
"And what time will that reach Saint Louis?"
"No telling, depends upon what luck it has; possibly by four or five
The artist did not wait to hear more. Anything was better than remaining
here on an uncertainty. He sped away up the track to where lay the long
line of waiting cars.
He had been awakened by the stopping of the train, and a realization of
affairs had flashed over him like lightning. He was far away from Saint
Louis, and at six o'clock that night he had an appointment with Eva
The effects of his self-abasement and the strong liquor had worn away.
The fever and the delirium of last night were as a bad dream. He would
hasten back to Eva. He had sinned—fallen almost to the lowest
depth—but it was over now. He would see Evelin March no more. If Eva
accepted him they would go away at once. Oh, if kind Providence would
but help him to reach the appointment in time!
The conductor whom he asked, noting his anxiety, assured him that it was
quite probable they would reach the city by five o'clock.
It was growing light rather slowly. The sky was overcast with clouds,
and the air had the feeling of a storm. It seemed to Julian that the
train crept along like a farm wagon. For a long time he looked out at
the gray monotonous landscape, then he lay down on the cushioned benches
of the caboose and tried to sleep. Now and then he would doze a little,
but his mind was too full of anxiety and impatience to obtain rest.
Terrifying dreams forced themselves upon him, and he awoke often, sick
And so through that dreary autumn day the heavy train rumbled along
across the wide stretch of country that divided him from that which fate
was at that moment busily preparing—an experience as strange, as weird,
as terribly fantastic as was ever accorded to human being before.
The little Swiss cottage of Julian Goetze was very silent that day. All
through the forenoon no one entered, although the street door was
unlocked and the studio door was open. As the afternoon wore away, the
clouds and smoke that hung heavily over the city seemed to settle lower
and lower, until within the narrow hall-way it was almost dark.
Just after the clock on the mantel of the inner room had chimed three, a
cloaked figure passed through the hall and entered the studio. It was
Evelin March. Her eye fell upon the portrait of Eva Delorme still
resting upon the easel, and she glanced about hastily for the artist. He
was not there. For some reason she did not remove her wrap, but stood
still, listening. A wagon rattled by outside, but within all was silent.
"Paul!" she called, softly.
There was no reply.
"He has stepped out for a moment," she thought; "he will be back
She approached the face on the easel, cautiously, as though it were
"I wonder who she is," she muttered; "I have seen her somewhere
before—or I have dreamed it. He said it was his masterpiece. I hate
She seated herself before the picture, studying it silently. Little by
little a fear invaded her bosom—a strange fear, such as she had never
known before. A fear of this portrait, of the lonely room, of the
weapons upon the wall. It seemed to her that something horrible was
about to happen.
She started up and began to pace up and down the room to drive away this
feeling. Why did the artist not come? She parted back the draperies and
looked into the room beyond. He could not have gone far; his coat was
hanging upon the rack, and his velvet studio jacket was gone. Entering,
she approached the coat and put her hand against it in a sort of caress.
How she loved him! She seemed to have forgotten or forgiven the offered
insult of yesterday. Turning back the garment she touched her lips to
the silk lining where it had covered his heart. As she did so she
noticed the tinted edge of a narrow envelope in the inner pocket. In an
instant she was seized with a passion of curiosity. All her jealousy and
suspicions of the sweet-faced girl in gray came rushing back. She
listened at the curtained arch for a moment, but there was no sound of
approaching footsteps; then, her eyes flashing, and her cheeks flaming
guiltily, she snatched the delicate missive from its concealment, and
with trembling hands tore it from its covering. In another instant her
suspicions were verified. The woman reading seemed suddenly to have
"Coward!—liar!—cur!" she screamed.
She tore the letter in halves, crumpled it in her hands, and flung it
upon the floor. Then suddenly becoming calm she gathered up the pieces
hastily and concealed them in her bosom. A look of peculiar cunning had
come into her eyes.
"So he is going to meet her," she muttered, savagely; "but they will not
meet alone. I, too, will go to No. 74 West L—— Street, east side."
Then she hesitated. "Perhaps I would not be admitted," she thought.
Plans for overcoming this obstacle flashed through her brain like
lightning. She seized upon what appeared to her the most feasible.
"If I will counterfeit her," she said, feverishly; "I will disguise
She hurried back into the studio and stood for a moment before the
easel. Yes, yes; she could do it. Her figure was much the same, dress
gray and plain, hair low upon the forehead—a veil would make it
"Oh," she muttered, "how I hate your baby face! Look! I will kill you,
you fool—you fool!"
Again that sickening, fascinating terror of this unknown woman came upon
her. Hastily turning from the portrait she listened a second for the
artist's step. As she did so her eye caught the weapons on the wall.
Without a moment's hesitation she plucked the jewel-hilted stiletto from
its place, and concealing it beneath her cloak hurried from the house.
An hour later the artist burst into the studio. His bloodshot eyes, and
face blackened with travel, made him almost unrecognizable. Hurrying
through to his room beyond he glanced eagerly at the clock. It was on
the stroke of five.
"Just time to make myself presentable and reach the place by six," he
Then, turning, he surveyed himself in a mirror.
"Good heavens, what a spectacle I am! People must have thought I was a
maniac—and they were not far from wrong—but I am all right now. I am
going to Eva and confess my villainy, and ask her forgiveness. I will
swear my faith to her. She will forgive me—she must forgive me. And as
for Evelin, all is over with her after what passed last night. Last
night! was it only last night? It seemed an age."
He made a quick motion as if to drive away an unpleasant memory, then
throwing off his outer garments he opened the door of a little
"I will bathe, and confess, and be born again," he said, with a little
Twenty minutes afterward he emerged a new man in reality—as far as
outward appearances were concerned. Cleanly shaven and scrupulously
attired, no one would have recognized in him the dusty, wild-looking
figure of an hour before. He glanced at the clock.
"Yes—I have plenty of time," he thought. "No. 74 West L——Street, east
side; I will look at her letter again to make sure. Bless her sweet
face! I can hardly wait until I see it again. If she only is not ill,
but—good God, it is gone!"
He had looked in the breast pocket of his street coat, that still hung
on the rack; it was empty. He stood holding the coat, with a puzzled
expression on his face, trying to think.
"I know I put it in that pocket—I recollect it distinctly," he said,
aloud; "perhaps it fell out when I took off my coat."
He looked hastily about the floor, then hurried out into the studio,
searching rapidly and carefully. His face grew more and more troubled.
Could anyone have come in during his absence and picked it up? Perhaps
Harry had been here; if so, it was safe. As he stood there reflecting,
trying to solve the mystery, he was looking directly at the weapons upon
the wall. All at once he noticed that there was something different
about their arrangement. Something was missing. It was the dagger! Then
it all came to him. "Evelin!" he shouted. "Good God!"
He had wasted valuable time searching for the letter. He could hardly
reach the place of appointment by six unless he could catch some kind of
"My God—my God! she will kill her—she will kill her! and all through
He had fled from the house and was now speeding wildly westward. No cab
was in sight and he could not wait to find one.
"She will kill her—she will kill her!" he groaned, over and over. "Oh,
my God—my God!"
At a quarter before six, a woman ascended the marble steps of the old
mansion at No. 74 West L—— Street, east side. She wore a plain dress
of silver-gray material, a rich Persian shawl, a neat walking hat, her
face thickly veiled. Reaching the door, she laid her gloved hand on the
knob, then hesitated, as if undecided whether to enter at once or ring.
The heavy clouds hung oppressively low, and it was already dusk. A few
flakes of snow were falling, but it was not cold.
All at once the woman removed her hand from the door, slipped off her
shawl and threw it across her arm. As she did so some thing glittered
bright, which she hastily concealed beneath the shawl. As she stood now
she was the exact counterpart of Eva Delorme. Then without further
hesitation she laid hold of and turned the heavy knob of the massive
black door. It yielded noiselessly, and she entered, closing it as
noiselessly behind her.
Within all was dark. A faint ray of light crept in through the transom,
penetrating a few feet into the blackness. She stood almost against the
door, listening and hardly breathing. All was silent. She had expected
the other to be there before her, waiting for his coming. She put out
her hand and felt about her. She touched a chair at her left and softly
laid her shawl upon it, keeping firm hold upon the keen weapon she had
carried beneath it. She listened again; still no sound. She was growing
impatient. She took a few steps forward, keeping one hand extended in
front of her to avoid collision. Then she turned and retraced her steps.
She had been very cool, thus far, but she was losing control of herself.
Why did she not come? She had said in her letter that she was
ill—pshaw! it was but a trick to arouse his sympathy. She must
come—she must come!
She paced back and forth in the small space which she had explored and
found free from obstruction. Three steps forward and turn—three steps
back and turn; pausing each time to hold her breath and listen, while
the fingers of her left hand involuntarily crept down and pressed
against the keen point of the dagger until it pierced through her glove
and entered the tender flesh.
Suddenly a white ray of light shot through the transom above her,
falling at an angle against a projection in the wall at her left, and
dimly illuminating the entire place. It was six o'clock, and the large
arc light just outside was turned on. Then, as she reached the door and
whirled quickly in her march, she saw her for whom she waited standing
at the extreme farther end of the long hall. Between them was what
appeared to be a narrow and ornamented archway.
She could dimly distinguish the figure clad in gray. The face, like her
own, was veiled. She noticed with quick satisfaction that her disguise
was perfect—the counterpart was exact even to the smallest detail.
Without hesitation, and concealing the dagger in the folds of her dress,
she advanced quickly and silently toward her rival, who, somewhat to
her surprise, instead of fleeing or crying out, also advanced. She was
going to try strength with her.
"I will kill her with a blow," she muttered.
They were now within a few feet of each other—the ornamented arch
exactly between them. Suddenly Evelin March snatched the dagger from its
concealment and raised it aloft to strike. As she did so her rival made
precisely the same movement, and something glittered in her hand also.
Both took a quick, forward step, and each, at the same instant, struck
fiercely with a swinging, downward blow.
A hissing metallic report, a low moan and the sound of a falling
A moment later the hall door burst open for a second time, and in the
flood of electric light that poured in, Julian Paul Goetze saw a gray,
veiled figure, stretched upon the floor, the gloved hand clasping a
jeweled hilt, the blade of which was buried in her bosom. A stream of
crimson was discoloring the fabric of her dress, and spreading in a dark
pool on the rich carpet.
Rushing forward he caught up the prostrate form and tore away the veil.
Then, as if by magic, a revelation swept over him in one mighty wave of
horror. The strange, piteous look he had once seen on the face of
Evelin March was again before him, and while he gazed he saw it
melting—melting, almost insensibly, like the blending outlines of a
dissolving view—into the saintly loveliness of Eva Delorme.
The mists of doubt, the shadows of suspicion, and the fever of
curiosity that had troubled him during those feverish months, were
suddenly swept away. Eva Delorme—Evelin March—one and the same. One
body, one soul, one heart; by some strange freak of nature—some wild
mental vagary or devilish witchery of which he could not know—made two
in life, but only one in death.
Above her was a heavy French-plate mirror, in an ornamented frame,
cracked entirely across. From its polished surface the self-aimed,
glancing dagger had found its way to the one troubled heart of those two
strange lives, and brought to it silence and restfulness forever.