The Project Gutenberg EBook of Under the Law, by Edwina Stanton Babcock

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most
other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of
the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at  If you are not located in the United States, you'll have
to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.

Title: Under the Law

Author: Edwina Stanton Babcock

Illustrator: Ralph P. Coleman

Release Date: January 18, 2015 [EBook #48009]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Alan and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


[Pg 1]





Frontispiece by


[Pg 2]
1922 BY

Under the Law

Made in the U. S. A.
[Pg 3]
Inscribed to the
Sards, Mingas and Dunstans
of this age

[Pg 4]

"But if ye be led of the Spirit ye are not under the law."
Galatians 5:18.

[Pg 5]


[Pg 6]

II.Under the Law15
IV.Other Laws                    26
V.For Life32
VI.Minga's Laws43
VII.The Organ Builder's House55
IX.Whooping It Up79
X.The Expedition92
XII.The Man on the Place120
XIII.Pears and Poetry131
XIV.Pink Pearls147
XVII.A Good Name194
XVIII.The Tawny Troop Method210
XIX.Old Letters233
XX.Explosive Dust249
XXIII.The Perceptions of Minga305
XXV.The Mede and the Persian326
XXVII.The Judge is Impressed347

[Pg 7]

Under the Law



The streets between Willow Roads and the little town of Morris on the Hudson were still corrugated with March thaw. But the sun shone warmly and there was the wet smell of oncoming spring in the air. Women flung open their coats at the neck; children skipped lightly to school. The river took on an ethereal light that to the shadmen meant the time when their soggy boats would be moored to the long lines of stakes near the channel. The country highways were less hopeless with mud, and the spring tramp began appearing at back doors.

A girl, driving her car rather absently through the unimaginative streets of Morris, stopped suddenly at sight of a ring of loafers gathered by the curb in a side street, jeering mildly and apparently baiting a tumbled heap of something in the gutter. What was it? A dog? A child? Sard Bogart, her brown eyes alert, sprang from her car and went over to see.

As the girl approached the group, one or two of the older and better dressed townspeople edged rather shamefacedly away. The village postman, hailing the girl loquaciously, explained, "Just one of them[Pg 8] Gloomy Guses. They come out like turtles this time of the year. This feller has likely stole a ride on a freight car and been dumped off at West Morris. Seems he's trying to pertend he don't know who he is. That ain't hard for a tramp; ain't nobody anyhow." The postman scratched his head, wishing to cover all aspects of the matter. "Ef he's drunk, it's a new kind of drunk. Vanilla extract, they tell me, is what this kind boozes on nowadays." To the girl's indignant question, "Oh, they ain't doing him no harm; just worrying him a little to see him act funny. The authorities?" the postman looked a little vague. "Well, I should say, it being about noon, that the authorities has gone home to their dinners."

The young figure crossed the street and approached the jeering loafers absorbed in prodding the helpless bundle of humanity in the gutter. They shoved it from side to side as they demanded, "Say, where's yer wife? Where'd ye come from? We'll tell yer where to get off! Say, Jack, where do you keep the stuff? You tell me, I won't let anybody know."

More comments of a humorous nature were made for the benefit of the girl approaching. "He ain't so handsome when ye come close up." One wag hushed the others elaborately. "No, mebbe it's some friend of this young lady's. Say, take him for a ride, Miss. I'll bet he ain't never had one."

"Give him a shave first," urged one gum-chewing youth. There was violent nudging from a rather stout woman in the group. "Shut up! Ain't you got no sense? That's Judge Bogart's daughter." Then[Pg 9] to railing unbelief, "Sure it is. Ain't I washed down to her house a hundred times? Hullo, Miss Bogart, ain't it terrible how these fellers is treating that poor drunk?"

At the voice, the girl lifted her concerned gaze from the sight of the wretched figure sitting now on the curbstone, both bleeding shoe-wrecked feet in the gutter.

"Mrs. Croyder, this is pitiful. Why doesn't someone do something? Why do the authorities permit people to be tormented like this?"

Mrs. Croyder, as one not accustomed to question the vagaries of the authorities, was a little vague.

"Well, now, Mr. Snowgen, that's the policeman, wouldn't never hear to anything like it, but he's gone home to his dinner."

"Then the traffic police?" The girl looked about her eagerly.

"They've gone home to their dinners,"

"But surely——" With an impatient exclamation the girl bent down in the middle of the awed circle and looked keenly into the face of the vagabond on the curb. She examined the bleeding feet and pale, distraught face and spoke very gently. "Can I help you?"

The soft girlish tones seemed hardly to penetrate to the consciousness of the tramp. He did not look up nor try to answer. At last, in response to the prodding toe of a village gamin and his challenge, "Say, ain't you got no manners? The lady is speakin' to yer," the head, sunk between the shivering shoulders,[Pg 10] was raised with a sodden, uncomprehending look. Then the man, ragged, unshaven, with an unspeakable look of abandoned misery, did a strange thing. He struggled, shaking as with palsy, to his feet. There was a week's reddish growth of beard on his white face; his voice, very feeble, stammered and was lost in places, but he replied slowly, "Can—can you read that name in my hat? Perhaps there is an address there, I don't know. I can't remember." With a hand like a claw, the tramp pointed to a wrinkled cap lying in the gutter.

Sard, seeing him sway as though he would pitch forward, put out an arm to steady him. At this, a passer-by came up to her and, without a word, supported the collapsing man on the other side. This youth smiled sympathetically.

"Is there anything I can do, Miss Bogart?"

The girl turned sharply. "Mr. Lowden," then with a little air of relief, "this man seems dazed, sick. Oughtn't we get help? Oughtn't we to do something?"

"Wait till Snowgen gets back from his dinner," bawled the chorus of loafers. A dozen voices advised, "Snowgen will put him in the lock-up, and if he can't prove anything, they'll send him up for vagrancy. Here's his hat. No, ma'am, I wouldn't touch it if I was you; that ain't no hat fer a lady to hold." One of the group, with effects of delicate shrinking, held the wretched headgear so that the girl could read a name written with ink on a piece of tape stitched inside on the lining. There were two initials smutted[Pg 11] beyond recognition, but she could distinguish the surname "Colter." With a curious little gesture of courtesy, she bent to the pitiful figure she was helping support, asking gravely and distinctly, "Mr. Colter, you are in trouble. Can we help you? Is there anything we can do for you?"

This courtesy to the forlorn scarecrow the crowd found vastly amusing. The thing brought laughter and the inevitable double entente of small-town comprehension. At last someone said wrathfully, "Shut up! Don't you know nothing? That there's the Judge's daughter. She ain't no fool!" The crowd, now avid for more sensation, watched to see how the wastrel tottering there would take this thing.

The shaking hand was held out for the cap. Some bystander with rough hand jammed it on the tumbled head of thick auburn hair, but the tramp feebly removed it. He turned slowly, staring into the girl's face. His eyes, of a very intense blue, were large and unnaturally bright, as from fever.

"Thank you," he said weakly. Then with a swift glance full of unnameable shame, "Please don't worry about me. I am only going to find work—somewhere," The man closed his eyes, muttering,

"When I can forget—when I can remember——"

Sard Bogart turned to the youth who was helping her. "Will you come with me?" she appealed. He nodded.

"I am going to drive this poor thing to that little boarding-house on Norman Street. I know the woman who keeps it. It is quiet and clean."

[Pg 12]

The circle of loafers tittered. "Say, lady, wait till Snowgen gets back from his dinner. Snowgen can take the feller to the right boarding-house, all right."

The girl, for answer, smiled good-humoredly. "Mr. Snowgen can interview this man after he has been fed and can speak for himself. Just at present, Mr. Lowden and I will take charge."

Lowden, the young assistant of the Morris Bank, frowned on any more suggestions, and together the man and girl supported the wretched figure to the car. Together they somehow got it to a seat. Then the young fellow watched Sard with admiration as she calmly drove with her rather dubious-looking passenger through the staring streets of Morris.

The girl was silent, and the young banker made but one observation. "Small town life breeds a thirst for sensation, doesn't it? It never gets mentally to the economic questions lying back of the sensation."

"It is still the Binet Test, fourteen-year-old mind," laughed the girl.

As the car halted before the little boarding-house on Norman Street, Lowden begged, "I wish you'd let me handle all the rest."

The girl turned her eyes on him. "You think I may meet with awkward things?"

The young banker was evasive. "Let's remember we are rather a mean little town," he said simply. "Please leave it all to me. I'll do exactly as you say."

The girl's grave look rested on the wreck of a man[Pg 13] sitting in a heap beside her, his head sunk on his chest, his ragged coat open and showing his bare, famished-looking chest, his white lips muttering feebly.

"I want him put to bed and fed—very lightly at first. I want him bathed and shaved, after a doctor has seen him. I want him either sent to the hospital here at my expense or, when he is strong enough, to come to my father for work. I want him to be sure, sure, he has friends. I want him," the quick tears came into her young eyes, "to feel that he has another chance."

The youth nodded, his eyes on hers. This was Sard Bogart, the Judge's daughter, who had been back from college only a few months. It was understood in the villages of Morris and Willow Roads that Miss Bogart was a "queer," lonely girl, impatient of many things, apt to be impulsive and to do impolitic and "unpopular" things. This was one of the things—pulling a muddy gutter-snipe out of the gutter. Yet the light in the girl's clear brown eyes was a new and grateful thing to the young bank officer. Somehow he felt as if he had never looked into a fine woman's eyes before. He took his orders gladly and with sober admiration. "And keep me in touch, won't you?" The girl leaned from the car, laying her commands on him. He lifted his hat gravely.

Lowden alighted and helped down the ragged vagrant. His gentleness was like Sard's own. The girl, watching this gentleness, saw the broken figure of the man try to turn once—try to look back at her. "Yes?" said the girl "Yes?" Then her eyes,[Pg 14] warm with pity, "Wait a moment, please, Mr. Lowden. Yes, Colter, what is it you want to say?"

But she could not understand. She saw only a shaken, shivering man muttering, "I can't remember," and again the stammering sentence, "I can't remember."

[Pg 15]



The house faced on the river. The massive hills that turned bronze in the setting sun were irregular background for the white castle-like buildings on the eastern banks. But the western shore of the Hudson had set between small mountains little, hilly-looking villages; among them were the Dutch towns, Morris and Willow Roads, whose old roofs, slowly giving way to factories and churches of one period, were at last disappearing before the real estate man's idea of a suburban development. At the edge of this development were the far-apart homes of the well-to-do and the long lines of green lawns; the rich trees and tinted shrubberies were illumined and laced with a thousand lovely colors of massed iris and waving tulips set, like the gardens on the river, against royal purple of opposite shores.

Sard's room was in the square tower of the house her father had built in his more grandiloquent days. If the Judge's wife had lived, they might have lengthened and strengthened the home into something like a practical sunny house of our day, but as it was, the curious construction of red sandstone and black and white Tudor retained its perplexed conglomerate air, only saved from freakishness by the soft mantle of vines that ruffled the chimney and girdled its windows.[Pg 16] All around to the sloping banks of the river were the trees that the Judge's father had planted and tended into maturity. It was a League of Nations in Trees! English maples, Norway spruces, lindens, horse-chestnuts from Versailles, Japanese maples and Greek planes and orange trees from along the Mediterranean. To Sard, since her very first party dress, those trees had seemed a sort of litany; the noble forms of every clime and country raised their mysterious crests, sought with yearning roots, were full of the first murmur of June-bee days; waved like women the soft undulations of their shapes, bathed in blue morning or loomed in formless grandeur on the night.

It was a puzzle to Sard that these trees kept to the laws of their growth in one soil.

The windows of Sard's room opened to the four winds and gave on the tree-fringed expanse of water. At night those tower panes were literally dashed with stars. As a little girl she had lain watching their fairy dance like fire-flies; later her clear brown eyes became fixed thoughtfully on what seemed strings of jasmine-like blossoms. Coming home from boarding-school, the stars half thrilled her with mystical trailing blossoms of a home-sky, but now of late, after college and a new sense of values, these stars had suddenly ceased throwing their soft lights across the panes. East, west, north and south, they now stood in an awful order like knights leaning on spears. They were challenging in their geometry, severe in their puzzling fixity; they seemed to say—"Well, Sard, you are grown up now; you make your own choices;[Pg 17] what is your law? We have our law—have you discovered yours?"

During two years at college Sard had thought little about "law." The stars there had asked few questions. They had seemed companionable, dashing confidently, shining over the campus with capricious groups of girls; they had shone on bright camp-fires and twinkled at the saucy songs shouted into their very eyes. The college stars had seemed to vibrate like sleigh-bells to such defiant songs as "Where, oh death, is thy stingalingaling?" and they thrilled to a thousand funny whistles and calls of a rather self-consciously emphasized youth. But here they were back with their spell and their question. Knights with spears, they rode softly past the window-panes, keeping their geometric order, saying, insistently—"This is our law; we obey always. What is your law?"

At first the thing had awed Sard, then saddened her. So after all, the world physical went on this grand orderly, terrible sort of way, and so did the spiritual world seem to, no matter how much one wanted to change things; but the world of people and purpose? how about that?

What should be the laws of one's life? The books on Sard's shelves gleamed in the moonlight. Here and there they had helped and suggested and one or two men or women Sard had met seemed to have an idea. Then this thing they called "Love"—Sard, lying in bed, pondered; did love do what people said it did, sweeten, make deeper, wiser? Well, Sard had seen girls at college who became engaged, said they[Pg 18] were in love, certainly were changed and made queer by a force bigger than themselves; and yet it all seemed to end trivially. One or two children, a little house not very well kept, a tired husband, not "enough" money ... and there were other girls who mocked at love and played with it and coquetted until their faces became cynical, hard and horrible.... If there were things that swept people so they rose bigger and finer than they had ever dreamed themselves to be, that might count some way, but how did they start becoming bigger and finer? One couldn't go down-stairs and announce to one's family—"From now on I am going to be bigger and finer." So, tossing away from the star inquiry, turning penitently back to it, the young form fought out the thing. A sense of awful loneliness and youth came to Sard, an awful sense of not knowing herself, not working from the most inward of her. She stretched out appealing arms—"What are my laws?" she asked softly. "Oh, what are my laws?" For Sard knew, and knew with feelings of awe that for every life that counted there must be laws.

[Pg 19]



The Judge opened the door and propelled himself into the room in a finicking, faultfinding way, peculiarly inappropriate to his massive shoulders and head. He grunted something to Sard's "Good-morning, Dad," picked up his paper and flapped it into a fold. His slow eyes, seeming like ground glass set in front of the remorseless deliberations of his mind, paused at the coffee-urn, as he made inquiry:

"Dunstan not down yet?"

For answer Dunstan Bogart shuffled down the broad stairs and, slipping on a rug, entered the dining-room with an operatic air of being in extreme haste. Half tumbling into the room, he halted, dramatically, appearing to remind himself that the breakfast-room was holy ground. "Greeting to thee, fellow sufferers," he announced cheerfully. He made passes at his father's back, stared his aunt solemnly in the face, ruffled Sard's hair and finally took his seat.

"Frogs in the finger-bowls again?" he questioned sepulchrally. "Else why all this gloom?"

The Judge, unnoticing, motioned his finished grapefruit away. No one appearing to effect this transfer, he indicated the butler's pantry back of him and Sard felt anew for the electric bell.

[Pg 20]

"I wonder if this thing works—it doesn't seem to ring in the kitchen."

"It is at present ringing in the chicken-coop and the garage," announced Dunstan; "I heard it as I dressed—it is ringing in the furnace and in the fountain; it is ringing in Heaven, it is ringing—in—excuse me."

The Judge, twitching the paper, looked at his son. "She ought to hear it," he growled; "ring it again."

Dunstan suddenly dived under the table, feeling for the button.

"Blame not the damsel," came the lad's voice, this time near Sard's feet.

"Cuss the battery if you must cuss." He emerged from under the table and catapulted into the kitchen, where he nearly upset the cook, entering with a tray of smoking Sally Lunn. His father followed him with a cold eye of disgust.

"Does he think that sort of thing amusing?" he inquired. The sacks under the Judge's dull eyes had a slightly swelled, feverish look. The eyes themselves were leaden gooseberry and boiled hard in the pupil. The Judge's nose, aristocratic and sharp, held a fearful look of pride, and the grizzled hair, scant on his head, was heavy on ears and eyebrows. Sard had often thought that the men and women brought before her father must have had dread long before the slightly nasal voice deliberately twanged out the sentence. But as a little girl she remembered her mother always said to her, "Baby, we love Foddie, don't we? Foddie won't send us with the naughty pwisoners to[Pg 21] pwison. Foddie won't take away all our nice toys and put us in dungeons." There was invariably a smell of cologne and little soft tickles of curls that went with this, and a rustle of spreading ruffled silks and laces. With these things, part of their pretty feminine play, Sard could hear the whisper, that strange mother whisper, the whisper which is back of the building of the whole world, the whisper which is responsible for the best men and the best women, for all greatness and heroism and sometimes for the weakness and foolishness and decadence—The Mother-whisper.

"We love Foddie, little Sard, don't we? We aren't afraid of him—he won't send us to pwison." Then over their own clasping had come the man's bear hug and little laughs and screams from her pretty mother. Then Sard had always gone gravely and happily away to play.

Dunstan returned from the kitchen with the air of news. "Cook hath secured the main part of the breakfast booty, but thy maiden hath left—she answers not to her name in the scullery."

Miss Aurelia Bogart, the Judge's sister, sighed deeply. "Poor Dora, she never came in at all last night—she—I—you—well, she is taking this thing very hard—I suppose," with another sigh, "it is natural."

Dunstan grinned. "You are right, Aunt Reely; right, delicate nun! It is not unnatural to be sad when your only brother is indicted for murder. So the fair nymph never came in at all last night? Queer about these women." Dunstan winked at his sister,[Pg 22] then stared blankly into his father's equally blank face.

"I say, Pop, are you really going to jug him for life, meaning the tow-headed murderer brother of our esteemed waitress?"

The Judge turned. It might have been a veritable mask of implacability that met the young brown faun-like gaze turned toward it, except that plaster is tenderer and softer than the human face devoid of the emotions of the human heart. A human face controlled by machine action is a terrible thing to see. The Judge had for years been a machine.

Dunstan's own face reddened and turned away. Sticking out his cup in the direction of the breakfast urn, the Judge remarked curtly, "More sugar." Then to his son, "I rather fancy your sort of levity is not as amusing as you seem to think. It is merely underbred and oafish, a sort of nigger minstrel's buffoonery." The Judge paused a moment and then added coolly, "As for what you wish to know, I am always ready to talk with you on any subject that is not pure meddling on your part."

"Ah——" remarked Dunstan, with reverent aplomb. "I heard the kitchen door bang; she's back. 'Tis well; ring for hot muffins." With a curious glint of the brown eyes, Dunstan looked back into the cold gaze fixed upon him. But pure animal joy cannot long survive the mortal ice of the glacial human spirit. The dark eyes fell and the youth murmured thoughtfully, "and be hanged by the neck till you are dead".

Then the Judge rose and after they had heard the[Pg 23] whine of his car swinging out of the drive, Sard and her brother looked at each other. Together they had noted the red eyes of the maid who, high-heeled of shoe and extravagant of dark hair, had replenished the muffins and brought back the coffee-urn.

"I don't envy you your job, Sard," Dunstan rose, went to the glass and settled his tie. "You were a gump not to go on with college and get a 'kayrear' like the other flappers. 'Father needs you'—poof! He needs nothing but that ice-box he calls himself. By heck!" Dunstan turned suddenly. "Do you know I believe it is sentencing people to death and the Can that makes him like that? It—it does something to him, don't you see?" But from his interest in the idea Dunstan went to concern for his sister. "Aunt Reely could run this joint. You go in for a career, Sard, and get out from under."

His sister laughed. "After all, he's the only father we've got, Dunce. Maybe after I've been around home a bit—it seemed dreadful when Father wanted me here not to come—for him to have nothing that belonged to him." Sard frowned a little. "Don't you think parents do an awful lot for us, and what do we do for them? Look at poor little mother. I used to visit for months at a time and leave her. She must have been lonely—she never said so—and then those two years at college and then—she went——" Sard's eyes widened with the sense of what those lonely months had been—of the companionship she herself had lost.

"Well," Dunstan loomed over her gloomily,[Pg 24] "you'll turn into an old maid, a wall flower, a sort of solemn crow." He stood on his heels, hands in his pockets, surveying her. "It's all of a piece," he said fretfully. "You took down those bally chromos of Paw's and you got pretty chintz for the chairs and put around bright candles—and he hated it. You begged him to let you cut windows into the hall and he squashed you. You can't get sun and joy into this house, and you can't get sun and human warmth into that jellyfish." With a sudden squirm Dunstan struck a match. "Oh, he's so plaguy sure," he growled. "Law? law?—a lot of stuff in books brought down from the funny old bigwigs in England—all scared of their king; all hanging on to rotten things they called 'precedents' for fear somebody would get something away from them; charters, burning of witches, dungeons, strait-jackets, ducking-stools; Father belongs to those days! Well," the young fellow turned upon his sister fiercely, "they know no better, but you and I do know better. We belong to a different age, and we sit here comfortable and happy while our smug parent does for a young fellow, a young blood-and-bone man, full of grit and sap and dreams, a fellow that could sail a boat and cut down a tree! We send him to a filthy, smelly hell of a prison with a lot of awful men!" Dunstan stopped. "I went through State prison once, and the smell of it alone would rot a man's soul—keep him hating good forever—you realize it? A curly-headed fellow, a man younger than I!"

The girl sitting soberly behind the silver coffee-urn[Pg 25] looked wistfully at her brother. Dunstan's brown face was long, and his ears just a trifle pointed like a faun's; his voice was young and crackling, like a tongue of young flame trying to push up through heaped-up brush. He smoked silently, staring down at his sister. "It's good-bye for him," he said slowly, "good-bye to green trees and swimming in the pools and climbing mountains and hearing a girl's voice. Oh! to just being a man! Good-bye forever to everything but smells and rats and the minds of decayed men and we—you, Sard, and my father are doing this thing."

Dunstan suddenly pushed back a chair. "Drat parents!" he said fiercely, "drat law, drat the system," then he laughed. "Aunt Reely, don't shudder; if a man on the stage talked that way, you'd think it was lovely. Did you see my tennis racket?" demanded Dunstan in his usual voice. "Oh, I guess I jammed it in the rack of the car. Well, so long; don't grieve for me if I don't turn up for lunch. I guess I'll mess with Prudy Anterp and her bunch."

Sard and her aunt watched the light reedy figure swing around the little footpath to the garage, and in a few minutes Dunstan's car had glided out of sight.

[Pg 26]



Two years of college had done little to affect Sard Bogart's life. True, those two years she had trodden the athletic-social paths of the American academic experience gaily, then the death of her mother called her home. Her father's appeal made on the stark, lonely night after the funeral had created circumstances she had met four-square. From that time on, Sard, with youthful heroism, had seen her life cut out for her. She was to run the home and "keep things bright" for her father.

There was also the Judge's sister, Miss Aurelia, of the age always in conjecture, and of a curious beauty that made poetry of an otherwise ineffective personality. Miss Aurelia's small head was covered with swathes of vital auburn hair, her delicate skin had porcelain pinks and whites, and her soft eyes and slim frame were of a curious suggestive quality that only needed force and will to make her a vibrant, seductive human creature. But this force and will were lacking. Miss Aurelia had been reared altogether on the "ladylike" plan. So while there was no look of wear and tear on her, no wrinkles on her face, no gray in her hair, and while her teeth were even, with the effect of crowding her pursy mouth, yet all these signs and colors of her spoke of untried, untested things;[Pg 27] there was an eternal insecurity in her rabbity chin, her soft apologetic voice, the tentatives of her conversational method.

It was said in the village that Miss Aurelia "presided" over her brother's house, and that Sard "ran" it. However, there was no friction between the two. Sard accepted Miss Aurelia with the same devotion that she tended her mother's giant fuchsia, an unnecessary trellised crime of thousands of purple and red flowers, and refrained from sending away the chromos that her father loved.

"The—er—telephone, my dear," Miss Aurelia came softly up to Sard's tower room, "sorry to call you but the—er—person—long distance—don't you ever find it confusing?—I—they—she—the operator."

"Did you get the name?" asked Sard. "Is it Minga Gerould?"

Miss Aurelia wondered if it was, paused, hesitated, then, "Your curtains certainly do need freshening. I never noticed it before. Yes, I think it may be Minga. She—it—sounded husky, long distance, perhaps, I—they seldom speak distinctly; the—er—operator was extraordinarily uncivil,"—Miss Reely pursed her rabbity mouth, "She—I——"

"Thanks, Aunt Reely, yes, the curtains do need laundering." Sard was out of the room and down the stairs, the receiver at her ear. "Minga! you rascal! Well, I am glad! Why didn't you write me, you little trimmer—— No, ma'am, I did not—did you? Was it nice? No, but I saw Cynthia and Gertrude, they're back, bobbed hair and golf-sticks, bloom of youth is[Pg 28] their line this year. What are you laughing at? No—is he?—to Cora Bland? Wasn't that like Cora—she's going to finish? I wish I were—why? Oh, that'll keep! Well, Cora is a good all 'round sport, don't you think? She'll make Alpha, you see if she doesn't—— What? Oh, Minga, don't ring off! That's so, of course you have to pack; all right then—see you to-night—so glad you are coming, don't forget to sit on the right-hand side of the train coming up, the river's wonderful as you come over the hill. Bye-bye."

Sard, smiling, hung up the receiver. Not until this, the first visit of a college pal since her mother's death, had she felt her hunger for real companionship. Now as she had done the first day she had left off her simple mourning, she looked up at the portrait of her mother hanging in the hall. She kissed her hand to that curly, ear-ringed little lady. "Dear little dead Mother," said Sard tenderly. "Dear little dead Mother!" Instinctively she thought about the mothers of the other girls of the town. Mrs. Bradon, Cynthia's mother, fat, stupid and conventional. Gertrude's mother, a hard practical woman with ambitions, the other mothers as Sard knew them seemed too girlish, crude, trivial, beside the little soft, curly, ear-ringed lady that Sard had only just begun to look at with woman eyes. "Would we have gotten on, Mother dear, would we?" whispered Sard, wistfully. "The other girls don't with their mothers."

Often Sard had been troubled by the guilty feeling that had her mother lived—well, there might not have[Pg 29] been so much comradeship between them. Sard, clad in her crisp, clean linen, with white low-cut shoes and the plain little pin at her trim collar, remembered with a sense of tender wonder all her mother's little fripperies and gewgaws, the chains, the laces, and little sets of jewelry and pins and dewdabs—how quickly two years of camp and college had taught one of how small account were these things!

It needed tenderness and humor, even that of a very young girl, to get any real human life into a home like the Bogart home. It had a stodgy gloom of its own, a solemn, gloomy importance like the Judge's step, his way of entering a room. The hall was dark, the wainscoting was dark, the ceilings were gummy with queer medallions and heavy, gemmy Georgian ornaments. Of late years there had been extra electric lights put in the hall and a fireplace added to the living-room. These things gave a little cheer, as did the brass candlesticks with the soft tawny or mellow colored candles of Sard's own choosing. There was distinguished silver in the dining-room and rows of heavenly blue and pink willow plates in the cupboards, just as there were graceful pieces of Majolica that burned their hot color into the dull respectability of the living and tea rooms, but these didn't help much. Sard often shook her head over it all. She would turn away from her mother's portrait to that of her father when a young man. The then unbearded face had a cold kind of virtue and strength, the uncovered mouth was prim and uncompromising. Could it be that Sard's home had somehow taken its color from[Pg 30] that prim mouth, those hard gooseberry colored eyes? The girl went slowly to a mirror over the large fireplace in the living-room. She pushed into the sunlight a vase full of daffodils, the better to see her own face.

"Funny! Where did you come from?" she asked the girl in the mirror, then softly, as if it were almost shameful to ask this question, "What are your laws?"

The dark brown eyes looked wistfully at Sard; the forehead, a little high but square and harmonious, was swept with a wave of golden brown hair that crisped with vitality. The face seemed not interesting to the girl who questioned it. "If I had more of Mother I could do things with Father," she thought; "if I had little curls and earrings that shook, and dimples and queer little pudgy, patting hands. These do things to men—and women, too. I've seen it happen."

Sard thought of girls she knew, girls grown up with the new law, girls who finished at college, graduated into doctors, lawyers, landscape gardeners, statisticians, economists. She looked at her own hands, long, thin, strong in the wrists, broadened and browned from tennis, boating and golf and driving of machines. Sard, however, did not see in the mirror the thing that held the mystery of her life, the gift that would bring all that was rightfully hers to her. Do people ever think of this one gift of personality—for instance, the mouth that your pirate uncle sent down to you, that brought you the husband whom you had to leave to save your children; there is the shrug of your shoulders that came from your father's side—[Pg 31]they did that, those people back of your father, and thus were able to throw off whole loads of care; that curved little finger goes with the sensitiveness of your mother's family. You will be hurt and raw from things all your life with that finger! Yes, but you will be also exultant, drunken, wild with the quintessence of beauty, of the mystery and wonder that is all through the dull, daily grind. Sard's unique gift was the poise of her head. Here was an imperious quality like that of a princess, here a curve of chin and backset of the shoulders which was at the same time elastic and defiant and challenging. A girl like this, of indomitable pride, curious nerve, wonders at some of the insults she receives from the thing this pride and nerve bring to life in others; also she is sometimes touched and wondering to find how others believe in and trust her.

Oh! our ancestors!—brave, struggling, dreaming, pathetic ancestors! How you struggled, how you prayed and agonized, or were wild and wanton to send your strange gifts down to us! Here's to you, Ancestors, all of you! May we send you the best and bravest of you on and as far as we can, we will do the best we can with your gifts!

[Pg 32]



The kitchen of the Bogart House was a pleasant room whose two doors opened out into a tidy latticed vegetable garden and whose outer arrangement of entry and drying yard were of the "save steps" description. Sard and her mother had worked these things out together, for at college, under one of the few strong souls and true brains that are still left unmartyred in American colleges, the girl had learned practical ideals of what should be the attitude of the employer to those who toil for his comfort. It was Sard who had the kitchen walls painted a sunshiny yellow, selected pretty rag rugs and placed bookshelves and good reading lights in the room; it was she who had insisted upon the lattices and ladyslippers and morning-glory vines. All with the sense of her own pleasure in them, though none of the people the Bogarts employed seemed to care much for these things. The young daughter of the house soon began to realize that any bright sport-hat she herself wore, the set of her skirts, the make of her shoes, interested Dora and Maggie better than the books she tried to discuss with them. The name of Edith Cavell did not thrill them as did the name of the most recent screen actress. They cared only, it seemed, to catch up with the joy and pleasure of the life ahead of them. They seemed[Pg 33] always to feel that the very stuff of life was arrayed against them—and sometimes they had reason.

Now as the girl pushed aside the swinging door of the old-fashioned "butler's pantry," she was half prepared for the interrupted Irish sentences, the hot questions and answers.

"Is it justice, I ask you; is it justice? To take him now—only nineteen. When he's sort of wild and notional by nature and traps set for him? Maybe he dunnit—maybe he dunnit, but he keeps saying he ain't done it. Oh, my God, my God, I don't know."

The girl stood before the two women in the kitchen, the cook who, like Sard, wiped her hands and silently handed her the ordering list.

"Thank you, Maggie," said Sard; then, her forehead drawing together, "Dora, is there anything new?"

The waitress with a gesture of dumb inability to answer, turned away, and Sard, no asperity in her voice, saw that it was to a resolutely turned back that she was speaking.

"She blames me, somehow," the girl sighed, "as if I could help it!"

"Please put the north room to air. Miss Gerould arrives late in the afternoon—I think there isn't a waste-paper basket in the room, so, Dora, will you hunt one up, and see to all the electric bulbs, won't you? And towels, the little embroidered ones——" Sard waited, half contemplating, thinking of reproof for the back turned so rudely and obstinately toward her direction, then she looked at the slight, slender fig[Pg 34]ure in its gray gown, the apron tied so carefully and delicately, the capless, pretty hair, and was conscious suddenly of someone young like herself. Through this veil of youth she saw what kind of sorrow it was that bowed the head of the woman standing there; something that she did not know was the most glorious passion in the world beat up through Sard's heart into her brain; it was the passion for humanity, for justice and fairness for all. "Why should I be giving orders to her when she is suffering? Supposing Dunstan were in trouble and—and shame, and I had to take orders from the very people that——Dora—Dora," the girl persisted, "is there nothing I can do?"

There was no answer, only dry coughing sobs. The cook turned. "Ah, don't bother your head with it all, dear. It ain't nothing to you—only, Gawd help the poor thing! Er course," said the cook somewhat bitterly, "we're all under this law; the boy done wrong; he done awful, and they'll be able to prove it against him, and your papa—well," the cook sighed, "only he's young, a rill smart curly-headed young feller and his chanst is gorn."

Then cook, with a curious rising howl, turned away herself.

Wiping her eyes, the young waitress stonily piling up the silver on the tray, let drop a fork. The girl stood there looking at it. Sard tried to comfort her.

"It—it is Human Sorrow," she said awkwardly. "I think we—we don't understand sorrow as well as we ought to and I am quite powerless but Miss Aurelia and I care, Dora."

[Pg 35]

The girl said it tremulously; already she was feeling the awful gulf between a person who suffers tragedy and that other who stands by longing to help. Also Sard knew a kind of shame—for it seemed treachery to her father and the equity he maintained, to say more. What could words do? It was Sard's first experience of the great naked fact of human sorrow and shame; she knew that the only person who could help Dora would be someone who had been through a wave of tragedy like hers.

"Words," thought Sard hotly, "are disgusting. We bandy them about and pile them up like money. We exchange them like coin of the realm." The young girl, clean and defiant of emotion as a young animal, had no mature power, that amazing power borne through sorrow and sympathy, the strange power of the healing touch, else she would have touched Dora's bowed head, put a comforting hand on the heaving shoulder. She stood silent, then once more said, helplessly, "Dora, don't you believe me, that I do truly care?"

Suddenly there was a curious half shriek, the terrible leap of human emotion through the breaking discipline of lips and eyes—"Oh, I know you care——Oh, Miss Sard—but they'll jug him just the same—for life—for life! His chanst is gorn."

Dora's voice then sank to a kind of moaning soliloquy. "Oh, yes, that's what they all tell me; he's killed a man, or they say he has "—the woman shot a haggard look into the girl's face. "I've thought and thought and I know from reading the papers and all[Pg 36] that almost any rich man's son would get off," she said it bitterly, "but that isn't it—it's something else, it's that he's only done wrong once, and now he's got to live and die with the worst—oh," moaned Dora passionately, "they'd ought to be laws to save them that's got wrong into them, not to smash 'em. For life, for life!"

No great poet could have crammed into one sentence the thing that the weeping girl crammed into these words—"for life." Gently Sard closed the door and, hardly knowing what she did, tiptoed back toward the front of the house. She looked out on the late spring foliage, on the tulips and Japanese maples a-quiver with June, on the purple fleur de lis and peonies, dewy with color against the long sparkling ribbon of the morning river ... against all that virginal clean growth with its rapturous aspiration toward the sky that feeds it, the girl heard the poor human cry, "For life—for life!"

So this was actually happening! Life, a smooth velvet delicious thing was going on in the front of Sard's home—music, pleasure, ease and beauty, while in the back part of it life was labor and anguish and shame! This was the law under which Sard's parents and their friends had lived contentedly, it was the law under which she was expected to live contentedly. "I never will," whispered the girl fiercely, "I never, never will; these are not my laws, I am not 'under' the law."

Sard, slowly leaving the kitchen, came upon her aunt. Miss Aurelia, with the finest and lightest of dusters, was performing various rituals with the legs[Pg 37] of table and chairs; now she moved one thin hand in swirls over the piano top. "A piano collects dust so strangely," she explained, as if the piano were a sentient thing that made dust-collecting its object. "I've always been so glad to do the dusting," remarked Miss Aurelia for the hundredth time, "he—your father, of course, never notices but she—we—not that I want to criticise your mother, that would be impossible, only she-we—at that time—that is to say—in any emergency I would naturally; of course, some servants were careful and others not. I had once," said Miss Aurelia, with the air of beginning a new subject, "I had an—an aunt," she whispered the thing mysteriously, "she—er—hated dust —— Sard, you're twisting your ring—you look—is anything wrong?"

Sard, motioning toward the kitchen, spoke in a low voice. "Aunt Reely, that boy, Terence O'Brien, is Dora's only brother; she helped educate him; there isn't anyone but those two —— Isn't it too terrible?"

Miss Aurelia lifted a lamp off the table, dusted where it had been and put it back again; in doing so the silk shade toppled and fell. Miss Aurelia, frowning and gasping, treated the incident like a catastrophe, something to be met with firmness and an intake of breath. When she had solemnly adjusted all as it had been again, she took up the subject of dust. "It's the open fires," she remarked gloomily; "sometimes I think we should never have—a land where there is no dust, that is how I always think of Heaven! Yes, Sard, I know that—er—she—he, of[Pg 38] course, it was a regular murder, such as you read about, he is, you see, a criminal, my dear, and that, of course, makes you—me—us feel a natural revulsion." Miss Aurelia stood up; the sunlight fell upon her gown of a rather sentimental blue with white ruffles, her fair white skin was noticeable even in the bald morning light, her rabbity mouth somehow too full of teeth, paused unctuously, with drama on the subject in hand.

Sard, strumming a few chords on the piano, looked thoughtfully at her aunt. "Shall I bring in some of those big Japanese iris?" she asked. "Minga's coming to-night, did I tell you? I want things to look jolly. The old dear hasn't been here since that holiday week before Mother" —Sard never could finish the sentence— "Mother died. Do you suppose Father will let us have the small sedan altogether? Minga is used to her own car; she fusses with any machine they've got."

Something that had been hanging on Miss Aurelia's mind hung there still; this slangy sort of talk, the planning for Minga Gerould's visit Aunt Aurelia hailed with delight. This was more as it should be, better than Sard's behavior since she had remained home from college after her mother's death. It was the kind of thing, some of it, that Miss Aurelia had grown to believe in while she deprecated it. American young girls, of course, came of a nobly material race, everyone avowed that America was very great and the fact of the young people having no manners and no respect for age and no morals and no loyalty[Pg 39] to life—well, Miss Aurelia thought it was only the other countries who were jealous who said such things. American young girls came of a nobly material race. Americans were so practical, so anxious to get ahead—everyone seemed so anxious that the young people shouldn't be high-brow. But then Sard had a queer, Miss Aurelia thought almost common, way of noticing servants and poor people, their troubles and all that. It wasn't good or even religious to think too much. For instance, the new man on the place. Miss Aurelia didn't think it quite nice or "young" to be interested in him. Miss Aurelia had often spoken to a fat, calm friend, Mrs. Spoyd, about these things, and Mrs. Spoyd had sighed, "I know what you mean, dear. Did you hear about the little Gringlon girl? Well, of course, it may not be true. I heard it from their dressmaker, but it seems she noticed everything and—er—was crazy for all kinds of information. No, dear, of course, Sard ought not to be noticing anything but a good time at her age. Girls should only be interested in a good time. They shouldn't be interested in—er—unpleasant things."

So Miss Aurelia overlooked the slang. It was all right for Sard to be a little slangy; so much better than sitting up in that tower room and thinking about murderers. It would make her more "popular" to have Minga Gerould go to dances and such things with her. "America is a wonderful country," said Miss Aurelia to herself, "and I think it is our 'popularity.' Have you ever noticed," to Mrs. Spoyd, "how awful it is for an American girl or man not to[Pg 40] be popular? Don't you think that our great men like Theodore Roosevelt and—er—Barnum, are just as popular in Heaven as here?

"I think God meant us to be—er—popular, don't you? Just see," added Miss Aurelia with a flash of insight, "how unpopular all of our statesmen have been who have been in any way unique or—er—unusual. Americans, the good, patriotic kind, have always been very popular."

"Yes, I always feel so sorry for a young girl who isn't popular," purred Mrs. Spoyd.

"I wouldn't worry about that boy, dear, now," advised Miss Aurelia, with all the mature effects of voice and manner of the person who is not truly grown up. "We do all we can to make the prisoners what they should be, and I have heard that many tramps—er—like to go to prison." She stood up, sighing. "There—this room at last looks respectable;" her narrow, rather smoky-dull eyes roved over Sard. "Why don't you put on your turquoise sweater and tam, the pretty one with the blue pompom? I will look after everything. No, dear, I don't think you'd better use the car without asking Brother."

"Will you ask him?" said Sard shyly.

"I ask?" Miss Aurelia said nervously. "Why—you—he—I—don't you think, Sard,"—with a kind of reproachful righteousness—"don't you think it ought to come from you, his daughter? Now I must see about the laundry."

Sard was accustomed to these cheerful little exits made with the bustling manner of one with much business [Pg 41]on hand. When Miss Aurelia wanted to evade anything——Suddenly it flashed over the girl, "Why, she's always like that, she—she—never meets anything; she wouldn't discuss it with me that morning I tried to talk with her about Colter. She has pretended all along she didn't know about Colter, and now, with Dora crying there, red-eyed while she serves the meals, she tried not to know that—why," Sard's eyes opened, "I'm old, she's young."

"I ought to be her aunt," said the young girl to herself. "I ought to be sending her in a picture hat with an organdy dress and blue sash to meet Minga."

The girl stood motionless in the center of the floor, thinking. When youth begins to think and to think clearly and hard with its brave young mind, it is time for the world to take notice—Sard frowning at the floor, spoke aloud:

"Yes—that's living Under the Law," she said slowly, "I see what Dora meant; we live under a made law, we don't build up on it, away from it, to a better law; we just live, cramped, confined, ignorant, stupid, under it—Under the Law, that's it!!!" Sard laughed a little wonderingly. "I shall meet Minga this afternoon and we will go motoring and laughing over the country roads and Dunce will come home and we'll all eat fudge and dance to the Victrola to-night, and one or two of the bunch will come in and we'll play Rookie and Cheat and Toddle Top, and then at nine o'clock Minga will want a nut sundae, and we'll all pile into a machine and slew around to Dingman's and eat sundaes and then hoot along the[Pg 42] roads until a tire pops and we think it time to go to bed, because under the law that is our privilege.

"But in that little top room Dora will wake up and think about her brother, who, she says, is Under the Law——" Sard looked out of the open house door toward the fleur de lis and the peonies, massed purple and crimson against the silver sparkle of the river. She stood gazing at the wealth and the shimmer of spring leaves. "Why," said Sard slowly, "those laws were only made for people who haven't grown up; surely," said the girl to herself, "surely we were meant to bring out of them other, better laws; why," said Sard, a deep light came into her long eyes with their straight clear brown, "surely there are other Laws! We can build above the Law, we don't need to stay Under the Law."

[Pg 43]



Minga arrived in a spasm of long thin legs, short skimpy skirt, a fluff of bobbed curls, a rather unnatural whiteness of face, lugging a suitcase, golf sticks and tennis racket with the independent gestures of an experienced baggagesmasher. It was an effect calculated to impress a girl's camp or a parcel of immigrants, but as that of the arrival of a maiden of eighteen summers at a quiet house in the little center of Willow Roads, it was hardly distinguished.

The meeting of the two girls was a curious clinched clasp done technically and punctuated by gasps, long, over-emphasized kisses and such half-shrieked protests as: "Oh, you dear brute, you're squeezing the life out of me—You silly old darned duck—Oh, Honey, isn't this great?" Then they fell apart, and with mutual cool glance of appraisement took each other in. As they turned talking and went up the long stairs, Sard's look was laughingly interrogative.

"Minga, you've bobbed your hair."

"Yes, you like it? The Mede and Persian don't! I had an awful row with the Mede, meaning Dad, but he came around, of course."

Sard looked lovingly at the little curly head; she felt of the thick knot at the back of her own young[Pg 44] head and felt somehow old; she tossed it like an impatient colt.

"It must feel nice."

"It feels like October wind blowing over the pink heather," Minga laughed; she passed an arm around the older girl. "Let's go up town and get yours done right away. What do you want with hammocks of long hair? Why, if Absalom had only had his hair bobbed, the whole Bible would have been changed."

The voices of the girls had a curious cadence of indolence, also a rising sense of potential shriek, yet they were not raucous.

This was, however, merely cultivation that was unconscious; other girls of their age who copied their ways of wearing their sport-hats and "rolled" stockings had not attained to the cool middle register of these young tones, the pleasantly insistent quality of the aimless dialogue. Yet all their movements, restless and ungainly with curiously athletic emphasis, seemed to correspond to their sentences, over-stressed yet indifferent, while their young eyes, particularly Minga's, under long-lashed, artificially penciled brows, had hardness and clearness under which lay an everlasting watchfulness.

It is with this watchfulness that the youth of to-day betrays itself. Free from restrictions, from cares and responsibilities, it yet has within it the potentialities of these things. It unconsciously needs standards, longs for them and has them not; therefore, it unconsciously is seeking these standards, if only in the wearing of clothes, in the foot work of[Pg 45] a tennis match, in new swimming strokes, in the use of new words. Poor little youth of to-day longing for values, saying with its strange wistful little face: "Does she bob her hair?—then, I'll bob my hair. Does she drink?—well then, I'll drink; does she sprawl over and maul her young men friends?—well, then I'll sprawl and maul."—Poor babies, not one of them strong enough to carve a path of his or her own, all led by the nose, trotting around after each other, all with hats, neckties, turned-down stockings, bathing suits, conventional stencils, voices and ignorance exactly alike. Pathetic, wistful, funny, hungry little American youth.

At the head of the stairs stood Miss Bogart. "My dear!" she held out two hands to Minga, who resolutely seized them and with calm effect of masculinity, gripped them until the lady's mouth twitched with pain.

"This is nice," almost shrieked Miss Reely—she also tried to put her arms around the young form, but she might as well have tried to embrace the string of a toy balloon. Minga, wafting along, recited some sentences, with the rather easy-going cadence which for a better name might be called "the chewing-gum accent."

"Awfully nice to see you, Miss Bogart; Mother and Father sent love. Isn't this great, though? You and Sard were ducks to ask me. My faith, what a jolly room." Minga peered into the adjacent bathroom. "Swell mirror, some towels; do I use these embroidered ones for cold cream?"

[Pg 46]

"Did you notice the view, dear, coming over the hill—the river—the dogwoods?" asked Sard's aunt complacently.

"The—er—view——? Oh, yes, I remember now, Sard said something; was it where they built that new garage? Say, Sard, did you know that garage is a big thing, the nippiest thing along the Hudson River—this shore anyway? A lot of money went into it. I know, because Father coughed up a few shekels, to help the man out, you know, and he says they are piling up coin already. He'll realize, all right!"

Miss Reely, rather ignored by the two girls, fussed about the room, settling a pillow sham, plumping up a cushion. She turned back to the new arrival, who, tossing her small provocative hat on the bed, turned with an anxious frown to the mirror. "Girls," announced Minga, unfastening her wrist-watch, "I'm pale." From a small leather case in her pocketbook she produced a tiny golden box of color, dabbed a bit of it on each young cheek and as she stood talking to her hostess calmly smoothed it in. Minga's eyes, wide open, cool as purple morning-glories, surveyed them. She stood, a trim, insignificant little figure of modernity, suggesting nothing, giving promise of nothing, dreaming of nothing, but curiously capable of anything and everything.

Miss Aurelia, primming her mouth, turned to the door; she paused with the immemorial formula of the hostess,

"Dinner is announced at a quarter of seven, dear;[Pg 47] will you let us know if you want anything?" Irresolutely she drifted away; they heard the soft pat of her low-heeled slippers, the swish of her starched skirt, looked at each other and smiled.

"Exactly the same! What?" Minga giggled. "Does she still think it's awful to say 'Darn'?" Then, conscious of Sard's restraint, "Well, she's a sweet old sport. I'd like to take her up in an airplane. Now," apologetically, "you know very well I think she's a perfect dearrrrrr, so sort of picturesque and everything—where do you keep your hairpins?"

It was part of the enigmatic expression of Minga that with bobbed hair she should demand hairpins with as anguished an intonation as a woman with long tresses. When Sard produced the box, she deftly pinned a pretty lock nearer to her cool deep-set eyes. "It's this rotten high forehead of mine," she explained to her friend now perched in the window-seat watching her. "I'm determined I won't be high-brow if I have to cut my head off to avoid it. Don't you dread, somehow, becoming high-brow? It's so unpopular—the men have always hated it, and now the women do. Do you remember Sara Findlay at college?"

"Sara Findlay," they breathed the name through gusts of laughter—"Sara Findlay; do you remember her room, books everywhere, and her awful spectacles, and the way she haunted the library and the solemn look she turned on you when you asked her anything? I remember one question we doped out, 'Sara, how do you define the infinite?'"

[Pg 48]

"Sara's engaged," said Sard, "married, for all I know; did you hear about it?"

Minga turned a face of incredulous horror. Marriage as she viewed it was the device of screen actresses and various feature fans to change horizons; when things got a little monotonous or there was a chance of improving finance, one married. "That high-brow wench, not a bit of pep, not a rag of style—to who?"

"To whom, did you say?" said Sard mischievously. The other girl, falling heavily upon the divan, now buried her curly head in Sard's lap.

"To who," she repeated carelessly—"I won't say it right; why should I? If the Prince of Wales or Charlie Chaplin said 'to who' for a few weeks, we'd all follow suit. Who invented grammar, anyway?" Minga stretched herself, laughing up into her friend's face.

"Ouf! Isn't this like the old times? You, the stuck-up grammarian—me, the gypsy vagabond. Woof, what an awful thing it must be to be 'the Judge's daughter' in a little place like 'Willows-on-the-Hudson'."

Sard laughed a little; her face grew grave. "It's lots of troublous things to be the Judge's daughter, I know that," then swiftly, as if something occurred to her, "Minga, will you do something for me?"

"Yep," yawned the recumbent Minga; "all right; anything that doesn't interfere with my present position. Sard, do you think my nails are nicer this year?" she held up a very delicately tinted row of[Pg 49] little curved shelly fingers. "In spite of golf," said Minga, "I think that's a sweet attractive little hand, don't you?" The fact that Sard had asked her to do something seemed to her unimportant, and she went on—"Notice anything?" She waved a very pretty ring on the slender finger.

"Minga—you're not," now it was Sard who was really breathless, her brown eyes shimmered with light.

"Engaged, darrrrrling," drawled Minga. "Yep, to the most idiotic little Willy you can imagine. A perfect lady, Tawny Troop, you know Troop, the big moving-picture man? We're all crazy about Tawny, he's such a fool—and dance—he dances like a bubble on the fountain. Papa Troop is worth oodles, so they say. Mother, the Persian, doesn't know it—yet; Father, the Mede—well, I guess we'd better postpone that!"

Something careless and contemptuous in Minga's voice kept Sard from asking any of the questions that flew to her lips. She caught the little hand and examined the ring. "Why, it's exquisite," she breathed. "These are brown diamonds, aren't they, and pearls? Oh!" The fairy beauty of the thing moved her.

"You see, Ducky, another girl picked it out—my predecessor." Minga threw out the word with a curiously mature drawl. She yawned, raised up her head, reached out for a handglass and examined her pretty teeth in the mirror. Suddenly she rose, her figure, slender and reedy, bent backward and did a few striding, strutting steps of a modern dance, humming[Pg 50] the while with curious catlike nasal tremolo a popular air.

"Do you know this step—to the Paradise whistle and ukulele and that new instrument, the Shiverskin, it's just great." Around the room strode Minga, solemnly expounding the simple steps. "You like my ring," hummed Minga, "well, Tawny's first girl picked it out. I saw it on her aristocratic hand and I had to have it; also, you see, I needed Tawny to dance with—he goes my gait—she hated to let him go; Sard, that girl is a Moth, she eats men, eats 'em alive, but I snitched this one," Minga giggled. "Tawny's coming out for your first spring dance at the Club while I'm here, but it's not announced," warned Minga, "so don't talk bassinets."

It was the old Minga, only, Sard could not keep herself from admitting this; more so, and well, there really need not have been any more of the original Minga. Sard, who was exactly a year older than her friend, felt somehow centuries older. Also she had to confess again as she had confessed to herself before, there was something in Minga that both shamed and hurt, while it fascinated. However, with all the hunger of a lonely girl for a chum, Sard readily overlooked jarring things. She reached out and drew Minga to her, hanging an arm over the thin little shoulder. Minga took it all coolly. "Are you letting yourself get fat, Sard?" she criticised. Then added caressingly, "Poor solemn Sard, we've got to whoop things up for you now I'm here. What? I mean it! Can't we run up a few men and some jazz and stuff[Pg 51] on the telephone for to-night? Would Judgie and Aunt Reely care? Who does your jazz this year? We've got an angel band home, three cornets, a paradise whistle and a drum, it's divine—well? Wait till I get hold of that old Dunce," said Minga, "I'll choke all the news out of him. My hat—there comes your father's car around the drive, and I haven't got on evening duds! What do you wear for night-eats? Will Judgie care if I go down as I am?"

This was Sard's chance. She kept her arm around the restless, pacing little figure. "Minga, will you do something for me? Put on your prettiest dress, that rose-colored one, talk music to Father, let him play his new records for you." Minga made a face, but Sard was insistent. "Get him to tell you about Terence O'Brien—only don't you start the subject, Minga—and—and—and ask him if he is pleased with the new man on the place."

Then Sard, at a loss just how to drill her impulsive guest, stared at Minga thoughtfully, frowning. "No, don't ask him that," she said. "I've changed my mind, don't ask him that."

Then said Minga, "I'm to ask him about Terence O'Brien without his knowing it?"

"Yes, his sister works here."

"Terence O'Brien," repeated Minga, "who—oh, yes, that fellow that killed the old man, ran away with the money, did it all just like a movie—awfully exciting! My gracious!" Minga was awed.

Sard nodded. "Hush, his sister is our waitress, and she—oh, it's pretty dreadful to see her. Father[Pg 52] thinks he's just a criminal, but don't you see, Minga, he's only a boy, only eighteen."

Minga looked very cold and decided. The two spots of color stood out high on her little sobered face.

"But a murderer," said she solemnly. "He must pay the penalty." Minga pronounced the word "peenulty," but her dignity was superb. She was very sure about justice as she was very sure about patriotism. If you did wrong you must not be found out, if you cared for your country you must say so very loudly with strong dramatic effects; the idea of caring for one's country to the extent of having a better kind of women and men live in it had not occurred to Minga. It does not occur to the men and women Mingas of this world. But they are very sure of their "patriotism." They have quite a little patriotic strut and they imagine patriotism to consist in a long hate of some other nation. And that it is based forever and ever on the machinery of killing.

"Minga," said Sard passionately, "do you and I always do right? Isn't it our ease and good fortune that keep continually pulling us back from very wrong things? How about that time on the bacon-bat up at Divens Lake when we stole the firewood and the corn, did we pay any fines—did the county follow us up? Just a private letter to the faculty and old Pressy and the Dean talking to us and that was all—yet," Sard looked thoughtfully out of the window, "that was crime, stealing and trespassing, but we are so[Pg 53] pampered and petted and taken care of that we—well, we don't need to murder."

"Oh, don't we need to murder? Well, I can tell you, Sard Bogart, that I need to murder Marjorie Atboon every time I look at her." Minga's face was injured. "Her father gave her a new car if she'd stop smoking. Well, Marjorie has the car." Minga paused and remarked drily, "Her bedroom smells queerly—she says she likes lots of air, she burns a good deal of incense, but you ought to see the car, lovely long thing, eight-cylinder, blue, cooooooooly—oilllly—olly. Oh! how a good machine turns your dark little world to white velvet!"

Sard giggled. "Minga, you always make me laugh," she protested, "when I'm most in earnest you're crazy and dreadful, but you're an everlasting dear."

Minga whirled them both about the pretty cretonned room.

"You know you love it," she chanted, "you know you love it, you've been having too much Aunt Aurelley." Minga putting her arms akimbo swayed neatly pumped feet back and forth. "Did you see Auntie stare at my rouge?" she whispered. "She knows the worst now, doesn't she, Sard? She knows I know there ain't no Santa Claus." With a burst of laughter, Minga released her friend. "Wait till I get a bath." She ripped off her little frilled blouse, her short skirt fell to the floor. Minga stood a pretty figure in dark knickers and white chemise. "For the tub!" she chanted, and dove into the bathroom.

[Pg 54]

Amid the gushing of the faucet, Sard saw the little figure stripped and dancing in the white porcelain bath.

"Stop in on your way to the dining-car," called Minga.

[Pg 55]



The Hudson River has not only the opulence that Washington Irving portrayed, not only the swelling of soft hills and majesty of toppling mountains and slopes that spell fecundity of farmland but it has, along palisade and headland, another opulence. Under those mountains that throw down thunder-storms, and along the rocky walls climbed by winding roads magnificent homes testify to the imperialism that has not yet been cleansed from the heart of man. The instinct for choosing imposing sites for impressive homes would be difficult to trace to its beginning. Robber barons built their castles inaccessibly for very good reasons; the prelates' palaces were on the hills that all might see and be reminded of Mother Church. The Roman Roads, unlike the furtive sunken roads of the cavemen, were built high because of fearlessness and pride. But the American who builds his home, or one of his homes, on the Hudson does not do so just because he longs to feast his eyes on sumptuous natural terrace and broad natural waterway; he does so because in his instinctive choice of surroundings, he selects an expressive background for his own dignity and his own importance.

All night long the great steamers of the Hudson River glide majestically up and down, the long white[Pg 56] fingers of their search-lights pointing to this and that lordly residence. The Oil King, the Copper King, the Pill King, and the Shoe King, whose white palaces and miles of stocked and fruited domain are gated and avenued away from the public, are silently indicated to such humble travelers as care to look. One can hardly travel the Hudson River nowadays and worship the great Creator, for the great Creator is a little overshadowed by the aforesaid King of Commerce, the great Producer. But in spite of the sleepiness and lethargic atmosphere that the Dutch traditions have strangely imparted to the strings of villages, there are in certain moods superb freedoms and freshnesses along the Hudson. There are still spiritual emphasis and quests along red sandstone shores, where the green hemlocks gather. The sunrises in the Westchester Hills are like black tents with banners streaming. The waters of the Tappan Zee are then a great glittering field of cloth of gold, and at sunset when the houses on the Irvington Hills are all ablaze with sunstruck window glass, the bold, black breasts of Palisades and Hook Mountain front the river like African slaves guarding some inner mystery of valley, some clean, unspoiled fastness of forest and field and stream.

To a man who sat at his table in a bleak old wooden house high up on the western range, these night and morning scenes spelled only two things, the Human Will, as yet absorbed only in the passions of an aggressive aggrandizement, and the proud subservience of nature to the little schemes of men. Nature, ly[Pg 57]ing down like a great beast of destiny, to let the little shapes and enterprises swarm and crowd over her! "Only," thought Watts Shipman, "only when the great beast starts to rise and take new positions, look out then, little shapes. Either you will be raised on some great mountain of Nature's mysterious changes or you will slip into some new uncharted sea or who knows, you may spill altogether out of the world!"

It was this wistful attitude toward nature, the great mystery, the great Book of Worship and Wonder that had taken Watts Shipman from his clubs and cliques and corporations, away from success and "putting it over" and their accompanying shiftiness and meanness, and had taken him for the season of a summer into the country, to think.

Yes, just that—"to think," was what he replied to complaining letters and telegrams—"Watts, what are you doing, stuck up there on the rim of nowhere?" His confrères laughed at the curt answer "Thinking." For a lawyer so able, so successful, there could be no comment of "queer" or "crazy"; Watts' partners shrugged their shoulders and went on with the business which, as he had denied them telephone access, they had sometimes to refer to him by long night letters. "Drat your thinking," writes the senior partner, "don't I think?" To which came the teasing telegram by code, "You don't think, you calculate."

Watts' house, planted high on the spur of the mountain a few miles above Willow Roads, the little Dutch village where Sard lived, had been owned by an or[Pg 58]gan builder about whom the Willow Roaders liked to say "nobody knew anything." The Willow Roaders, complacent in the usual village life where everyone thinks he knows "everything about everyone" disdained knowing anything about a mere organ builder. The house, surrounded as it was by hanging boulders and pine trees, looked gravely down on the big field of river and on all the little steeples and turrets and gingerbread conservativeness of Willow Roads. Watts liked to commune with the spirit of the man who had once lived here.

"I'll bet he stole some notes out of the Dawn," the man thought, "and think of nights here—like last evening, with the hermit thrush and the sky gold through the trees. 'The Organ Builder'—I can just see him, a seedy chap, possibly with too many children, probably half starving, working up here with the village below curious and gossiping, thinking maybe an organ builder was immoral."

It was a soft yet cool spring night. The little frogs in mountain rain pools kept up a croaking like rusty wheels; the pungent smells of earth and leaf mould came through the window. Fire burned quietly and soft lamplight fell on books and rugs and flickered over the cast of the Winged Victory, over the dingy chimneypiece. Watts' eyes, through the smoke of his pipe, went to this. "Nice girl," he grunted in approval, "nice girl—afraid of nothing—ready for anything, yet somehow all woman, true to type but not crystallized by type." The man, rising, walked up and down the rather bare room where one or two fine[Pg 59] rugs caught the warm fire colors. "I can say this for the Greeks, they, themselves, fastened nothing upon civilization but healthy ideals for men and women; harvest making, home keeping, child bearing, strong bodies, imaginative minds, it wasn't until their æsthetics and the Roman plutocrats got hold of all they gave the world that their philosophies were debased." The lawyer's eyes, sombre in strength and depth, looked fixedly at the gracious woman figure; he compared it with the figures on Fifth Avenue, tripping in affected coquettishness or striding in callous mannishness. "Not clever of you, ladies, to find no middle path," he considered. "Who made you as you are to-day, Paris—the war? That's what you and the newspapers and magazines say, but come now, didn't you make yourselves? You wanted to be 'popular,' you want to be 'in' things, behold the result." Watts' mouth curled with slow mockery on his pipe.

"The Winged Victory didn't want to be popular," he decided. "She didn't want to be in things.

"She wanted to live. Who fastened the modern woman on us, anyway?" Watts demanded sternly of his dog. "Why have we got to stand for her?" The silken-haired, electric-muscled beast came over to him softly. Friar Tuck, with tail tossing, laid a devoted head on the brown golf-trousered knee. Watts tousled the long ears. "Always the henchman, aren't you, you old brute—why do you play that game?" The lawyer looked long and questioningly into his dog's eyes. "Why don't you get up and give me an[Pg 60] order; how do you know I'm superior to you? You are probably equal to me."

He considered the bowl of his pipe then rubbed it on Friar Tuck's head.

"Just as I suppose, if men only knew it, they could be equal to Christ and the angels. Say, look here." Watts lifted the dog by his forefeet. He put the two forepaws against his breast. "How do you know I'm superior to you? Why do you play this game—do you just want to be 'popular' with me?"

Not to accept dogma—to be ready for the new light, to trim one's mental sails for the breeze from a fresh quarter, it had given the great criminal lawyer a profound insight into the human heart, an almost awful power over the souls of men. Wastrel after wastrel had tried to look Watts Shipman in the eye, and had known that some strange God of Equity sat watchful in this man—that only in proportion to their actual guilt would they be dealt with. Men and women had broken down and told him all, only because of the unendurable patience and remorseless gravity of his uncondemning gaze. He had fathered many a boy and stood many a woman on her own feet, and yet Life, the Great Mother, had held back from him what he, as human, knew must be the ultimate and only gift. Women had angled for Watts Shipman because of his fame; they had tried to use him politically; they had trusted him, feared him and been penitent before him. No woman had ever loved him.

Staring at the Victory, the man smoked silently.[Pg 61] Half ruefully he passed his hand over the russet head on his knee, he threw back his own great black-haired head with its dapple of white spots; he stretched his long limbs and his deep-lined humorous face saddened. "Women want to play," he said softly, "uncertain, funny little things, they want to play"—tenderly, "and, not necessarily, to play fair—and I'm no plaything, although," he waved his pipe toward the bas-relief over the fire piece, "I could play with you, Miss Victory."

The word play made him think of something; pushing away the dog, Watts rose and went to a table drawer, taking out, with a smile, a little envelope with "Pudge" scrawled on it. The lawyer, still smiling, slid out the contents, two Indian arrow-heads, one white, the other gray flint. Thoughtfully he turned them over in his large palm. "Poor good little Indians," he murmured, "we're still teaching our children that you were devils, aren't we? Aren't we funny? We rather owe you an apology, you strange, mysterious men who never knew fulfilment—who ranged these Hudson River shores and thronged New Jersey and New England and were mighty hunters and happy until you came up against the white man and gunpowder and tobacco and whiskey! Well"—Watts chuckled, "Pudgy shan't be prejudiced. I'll write you a good character for him."

Knocking his pipe out, laying it tenderly on the mantel, the big man sprawled like a schoolboy over the table writing in long hand the letter that was to accompany the arrow-heads.

[Pg 62]

"Dear Pudge—How are you? What are you doing, helping Mother or raising the roof with noise and destruction. How are the guinea pigs? I often think of them. Well, Pudge, I rather hope you are helping Mother a lot, because she's such a good friend of yours and mine and she looks so pretty and seems so wise, though perhaps you and I are sometimes wiser. I'm sending you two arrow-heads I found in a field up North in Rockland County. I was fishing up near the Ramapo Mountains where the stone walls run like great serpents up and down the hills. There's a lot of history lying around loose near here, Major André and Washington and the Dutch and the Indians. I'll show you these places some day. The Indians, to my way of thinking, were fine fellows. They took long steps when they walked and knew how to set traps and hunt and fish, and they were for the most part real religious men. But men who knew how to make war just to get more money, came and took their land away from them, and then the Indians turned naughty the way you and I do sometimes, Pudge. My! my! how they tore around and howled and took scalps, which were not nice to keep. No gentleman would ever scalp a lady, it is so uncomfortable, and yet these Indians scalped many ladies!

"It's a pity the Indians were bad and forgot their manners, for if they could have remembered to be polite and gentlemanly they could have stayed here and they would have been the real Americans and you and I would have probably tried to imitate them and never used anything but wampum, which means shells; same as money to buy ice-cream cones with. I think it would have been a heap more sensible if the white man had made lasting friends of the Indians and learned a lot of things that the Indians knew but which the white men have since been too stupid to learn. But you see, the white men had a new machine[Pg 63] called a 'gun,' and there was nothing to do with it but shoot it at somebody, and that made trouble. And the Indians, eager to learn, got guns too, and thought it was funny to point them at people. And their guns went off all right and there was the dickens to pay. Machines are nice things, Pudgy, but the men who make the machines must be sure to have their minds go ahead of the machines, or some day the machines will just get up and smash the world.

"Good-night, Pudgy, old chap—I wish you could hear all the funny sounds up on this mountain. Friar Tuck smells, besides hearing; he reads the night with his nose, the same way we would read a book—and he smells out such stories! Here are the arrow-heads; I'm sending them to you as if you were my own little boy, for see, Pudge—big man as I am, I have no little boy of my own—and that sometimes happens to big men ..."

Suddenly the man's head dropped. The pen rolled to the floor, and Friar Tuck nosed at it a moment then tucked his head into his folded paws. Watts Shipman sat at the table, his own face buried in his arms.

[Pg 64]



The first evening at the Bogarts' was a trying one for Minga. Her life, the restless, high-strung, half-bred and wholly careless life of her age, had kept her taut as a little bowstring for sensation. It was a life formed, not so much on its own desires, as on highly colored superficial presentments in the moving pictures and theatre posters, also on those remarkably insinuating sheets, the "Society" Fashion Magazines, where the cut of one's coat and the number of one's pockets are prophesied between photographs of the important Mrs. So-and-So, or the gossiping and not too scrupulous Madame X.

The rather uninspired family dinner ended amid the soft perfunctory observances of Miss Aurelia, punctuating the indifferent curt ejaculations of the young people and the moody silence of the Judge; then Minga took a hand. She sat at the table humming a little air. "Know that?" she inquired of Dunstan; "that's 'Don't take off another thing, Polly, my dear.' Piggy Purse-proud sings it in 'The Other Pair of Stockings.'"

These statements were received in silence. Sard and Dunstan, mindful of the Judge's preferences in dinner conversation, looked askance at each other, but Minga glanced brightly around the table. To this[Pg 65] young person there were no inhibitions, no reserves; above all, she was no respecter of persons. A man who had just completed a new up-to-date garage or aeroplane would win her casual interest, but a mere upholder of the laws of the country seemed to her hardly to have outline. Curiously enough, however, her insouciance and matter-of-fact pertness sometimes reached to that buried stream of human sensation that underlay the granite of Bogart's surface. As he looked at the little figure, now rising from the table, he noted the color of her dress and spoke of it.

"Let me see, that's rose color, isn't it?" remarked the Judge, stiffly. His wrinkled square-nailed hand was on the back of the chair, and his eyes, gooseberry and hard, yet had the sort of deference a man gives some charming face and figure that refreshes him. Minga's head, bent back, looked coolly up into his face.

"That color, Judgie"—it was her absurd intimate title for him—"that color is called 'Sauce Box.'"

"Well named." The Judge had for a second a glint in his eyes.

"Isn't it?" asked Minga. She turned her bobbed head with the lively shake of a young animal and asked suavely: "Now what, for instance, is the name of the cloth of your coat?"

"Ha!" ... Dunstan, prowling about, looking for cigarettes, upset a pile of books and arrested a plundering hand. He winked at Sard over Minga's unconscious head, saying meanwhile plaintively, "Why can't I find any matches? This family sinks[Pg 66] lower every day!" Dunstan watched to see how his father was taking Minga's innocent question.

"What kind of cloth does a Chief Justice wear, anyhow; something impenetrable, I suppose, calculated to endure, impervious to shouts and howls and woman's tears," he ventured.

Miss Aurelia, waving the maid with the coffee service out on the western veranda, looked at her nephew approvingly. "That's a very interesting idea of yours, Dunstan." The timid lady, intent on keeping the conversation in a calm backwater, went on to supply that as nearly as she could remember there was no mention of "the cloth" judicially, but only for the clergy, and when one thought of it, went on the rising muffled voice, serenely unconscious—"The coats of the clergy were blacker and smoother and—er—more dignified than anyone's else—I've often been struck by it at weddings—and—er—funerals," said Miss Aurelia.

"I shall look for it at the next—er—execution," said Dunstan as he rolled his eyes at Minga.

"Now Bishop Cravanette while dining here wore a velvet Oxford coat, I remember," Miss Aurelia thrilled to her topic, "he dined here—it was at the time of the laying of the corner-stone of the—er—church—they—he——"

Dunstan, winding a long arm around Sard's neck, another around Minga's shoulders, reeled the two girls out of the room. "She's off, Bishop Cravanette!" he murmured. "That means the rest of the evening; all on your account, Minga, unless some[Pg 67]body chokes her. Bishop Cravanette," Dunstan's mouth modeled on Miss Aurelia's pursy one, too full of its white teeth. "Seems to me the most ideal man for his—er—very high calling. His wife less so. The qualifications of a bishop's wife should be—er—she—he, I remember they—er—I had an aunt——"

Sard put her hand over his mouth, but the boy murmured through his sister's punishing fingers, "Minga, get Aunt Reely to tell the story of Sard's name to-night. Then that will be over!"

Sard took his cigarette case out of his pocket. "That will do for you," she lovingly tweaked his ear; "now light up, put up, shut up; you're getting facetious at your own vulgarity, as Father says."

But Dunstan, imitating Miss Aurelia's fussy ways, was dusting off his chair preparatory to sitting down. In spite of his long, awkward, muscular form this imitation of soft settling and sighing was ludicrously exact. Dora, bringing in the coffee tray, put an end to it, however, and the Judge and Miss Reely joined the young people. Sard rose till her aunt and father were seated, but Minga and Dunstan coolly sat, the former smoking until the waitress disappeared. Then Minga, behind her curved hand, grew confidential. She leaned toward Judge Bogart like a woman of the world.

"Tell me about that new murderer of yours," she begged. She had forgotten Sard's instructions "don't you start the subject."

Miss Aurelia interrupted nervously. She waved the sugar tongs.

[Pg 68]

"Two lumps, Minga, dear?"

"I don't take coffee, thank you," returned Minga imperturbably. She put her hand on the august knee of Sard's father. "Tell me all about that murderer, Dora's brother."

It was an unwritten law in the Bogarts' household that the affairs of his judicial calling should never be mentioned to the Judge. He took his cigar from his mouth and slowly turned his head; the hard old eyes, the mouth set in two gray lines under the crisply trimmed mustache, revealed the iron rigors of the human face set to the inexorable, for it was through the inexorable power of decision that the Judge had risen to his fame locally and abroad. These things suddenly confronted with that most amazing audacity, that marvelous magnet, the unwitting bold, clear-eyed face of woman-youth, softened perceptibly. The two gray lines of lip moved slightly. Minga's little pink cheeks, curly hair, her rosy dress, the little inconsequent hand on the Judge's knee, these things had a flavor and power, the depth of which the girl could not possibly guess. Yet Minga did most things very deliberately. Now she naughtily twisted her mouth at Sard.

"Ah, come on now, Judgie," turning her quizzical head to one side. "You can't have all the fun of jugging bad boys. After all, you only represent the people—that's us—let us in on it!"

Dunstan, blowing smoke in the air, almost held his breath. Sard, staring, put down her coffee cup. They both saw the queer gleam come into the concentrated[Pg 69] eyes. A big hand steely with golf came down hard on Minga's indolent little fist. "Young lady!" said Judge Bogart, slowly and decisively, "you ought to be spanked."

"Oh, brother," purred Miss Reely, "I don't think—it doesn't seem——" Then to Minga, "Why, I am sure you didn't mean—why, George—I don't think you ever said a thing like that. I feel that Minga was only asking for information." Sard and Dunstan quivered with silent laughter; but the Judge rose in quick displeasure. Minga passed her hand slowly down his sleeve. "Ah, Judgie, dear," she pouted, "I didn't mean anything. I didn't know that judges took the Hippocratic oath and everything." One would have thought that there were tears of vexation and embarrassment in the girl's voice, but she turned a naughty stare on Dunstan. "Well, your father is a crab, a perfect crab!" Minga's tone somehow had nothing that could be modernly recognized as rudeness. It was merely spoiled privilege that made her snap her fingers decisively and look revengefully at the retreating judicial back—perhaps Judge Bogart felt what is true of the Mingas of this world, that they have an amazing power of removing the solemn humbug of prestige from its intrenchment and are therefore dangerous. The Judge heard the petulant, "I'll get even with you," but he did not smile or turn the disapproving back, so the little guest turned rather drearily to Miss Aurelia. This sort of evening for Minga was incredibly dull; it must be enlivened in some way. Stifling a yawn, not too cleverly, Minga[Pg 70] remarked: "Dunstan says maybe you'll tell us how Sard got her queer name."

Sard, herself, had followed her father into the library to put records on his talking machine. The Judge's favorite way of spending a spring evening was to deny all callers and to sit by the window in front of the square refrigerator-looking instrument while Sard, like a slave, drew forth and deposited the records of his choice. Through the windows of the unlighted room showed squares of black sky with one or two stars hanging. A young vine tapped against the wire netting or beckoned with leaf fingers. The Judge never looked at his daughter standing straight and ready for his signal of approval or displeasure. She chose the more sentimental and romantic of airs and sometimes when they pleased him, he softened; his eyes closed at the finale of La Sonnambula or Donna e Mobile; he would sometimes snort, clear his throat and say, "Very pretty, very pretty." Sard would smile a little, looking rather wistfully at him. Perhaps when her father heard this music he wandered down the paths of youth, paths of wistfulness and wanting to do right, paths such as hers must be: what had been his laws? What had at last made him this curt, severe, unapproachable man? "What were your laws, Father?" the girl almost whispered. "Did you always live under the law?"

"Very pretty—very pretty," snapped the Judge. "The best machines are accurate, that's the idea, accurate; no banging, tinpanning; accuracy, that's the test of music."

[Pg 71]

The girl, gravely obedient to him, listened to those comments. At college Sard had heard all the New Testament in modern music, the superb ranges, the exquisite far countries of sound and rhythm. For her the Russian compositions had spelled the awful darkness of a dark land, through which in splendid bursts came the hope of full golden wheat fields, the piteous tragic faces of a people longing to rise and walk from the shackles of years into their own souls' birthright. The Spanish gravity and witchery as of dancing lights in the mountains, the French stringing of water pearls and culling of moonlit flowers; the exquisite question of modern unresolved chords, or the striding rhythms and deep chests of the masculine Bach fugues. Frolicking rural joy of the old gigues and morrices and the sombre human pathos of old folk songs—the girl harking back over those rich immemorial afternoons and evenings of the music at college, wondered at herself, putting on the records, setting the needles, half shrinking from the automatic preliminary whir. "The heart bowed down with weight of woe," she looked at the grizzled head of the man whose name she bore. Was his heart "bowed down with weight of woe," was there some sore spot in his heart where, if she might win, she might see him as he was in the old days of youth and his love; had he ever agonized, cared about the tragic injustices of life? Or, did he just coddle a sense of personal loss and woe?

"We love Foddie, don't we, little Sard, we aren't afraid of him? He won't put us in[Pg 72] prison," the curious little sweet-smelling whispers came back to Sard; she felt the soft touch of curls on her face, all the flummery and subtle trappings of the lacy little mother. These people were Sard's parents and yet they were lost to her, as remote as if they had both died! Over and over the longing had come to Sard to put her arms around her father's neck and say, "Are you thinking of her too—these days?" but she could as soon have put her arms around the kitchen chimney.

On the east veranda as the moon rose the soft voice of Miss Aurelia was placidly relating:

"Yes, Sard's name is strange. Her father, however, has allowed her to keep it—we—your mother, Dunstan—they, well, it was thought that your father preferred a boy, but afterward you—er—came, Dunstan, and that, of course——"

"Yes, of course," drawled Minga. "You—er—came, Dunstan." The girl was delicately smoking, enjoying Miss Aurelia's horror and considering the diamond on her engagement finger. It flickered in the moonlight like a wicked eye. Miss Aurelia somewhat stiffly continued:

"Sardonyx was your mother's favorite stone—she—er—wore the Sardonyx signet ring of an ancestor."

"By Jove! you don't say," ejaculated Dunstan. He stuck his heels higher on the rail and struck a match; he leaned over the terrace to flick some ashes into a jardinière. "And so I suppose—at that time—because of that—she—he—I—er——"

[Pg 73]

"Stop it, you demon, stop it," murmured Minga; "you'll spoil the whole thing; it's wonderful, it's like knitting, knit two, purl two, turn——"

"So that Mrs. Bogart," recommenced Miss Aurelia with dignity, but being plunged into the enormous detail of her story, she floundered, helpless. "So that after little Sard, the—er—baby, you know—er—came—Mrs. Bogart believing—that is—or rather having been told—er—no—well, having expected a boy—got the idea of not being able to choose an appropriate name for a girl—and in consequence—afterward you understand."

Dunstan and Minga helpfully nodded—"afterward" they prompted!

"That is, when Sard was three days old, Mrs. Bogart suddenly said, that is, I have always understood that she said it suddenly—my brother would know accurately—she said, 'She's to be called Sardonyx'—'Sardonyx' like that."

"Really," drawled Minga.

"But Sardonyx was—er—quite masculine, as you see," continued Miss Aurelia with zest; the narrator turned her face somewhat eagerly and the pursy mouth, too full of teeth, continued: "This feminization of it was Mrs. Bogart's own—quite original, we thought. She made it Sardonice, very clever, everyone said—there was no opposition. I remember," added Miss Aurelia, "that at that time, for certain reasons, they were anxious not to have the—er—brain—too active—and we—er—tried in every way to distract her thought—but that is how Sard got her name[Pg 74] 'Sardonice'—most unusual," concluded Miss Aurelia a trifle apologetically.

"Why, she could have been named Jezebel, under the circumstances," remarked Dunstan. "But—er—as it is—we—er—call her 'Sardine' for short." The lad, lazily smoking, rolled one eye 'round on Minga.

"Dunstan——" reproved Miss Aurelia.

"Really?" Minga drawled the easy little word again, then with some recollection of the archaic thing called "manners," "Thanks ever so much, Miss Aurelia—I'm sure it was awfully clever of Mrs. Bogart; I always wondered how Sard got her name. Wouldn't it be fun to have a lot of girls with names like that—Emerald, Diamond, Sapphire, Jade—I could have been the Jade," remarked Minga with a demure chuckle.

"You've got your wish," observed Dunstan with emphasis. "A little red Jade, what?" He finished his cigarette, lingeringly pinned down the butt, extinguished it, then rose, stretching. "Well," with a look of sweet seriousness, "I'm off to have a whack at those old conditions."

"You mean you're off to bed because you're bored," said Minga scornfully. "You mean you're going to work out poker hands."

"Good-night, Polly Prunella," the lad bent over and kissed the top fluff of curls. The girl reached out a punishing hand and he drew back, chuckling. "You used to let me last year," he explained.

"Say," Minga demanded, boyishly, "what do you think I am? You do that again and see what will[Pg 75] happen." "Bing" with a heavy slap, the little rose-frocked figure pushed him backward. "My jiu jitsu," explained Minga modestly to the horrified Miss Aurelia. "I took Self-Defense all last year—I could tackle any New York gunman with that special undercut."

"Dunstan!" said Miss Aurelia, severely, to her nephew—"how ungentlemanly. Never—never let me see you do such a thing again."

"I won't," said Dunstan, penitently. He was looking at Minga with liking, friendly boyish eyes. "I shan't want to do it again, not just there. Hey, Minga, I'll kiss you better next time, what?"

"Go to bed, you big Swede," retorted that lady, but the little figure in rose-color now leaned over and patted Miss Aurelia's hand. "Do I seem awful?" she asked anxiously. "Mother says I do; I don't want you to dislike me—you don't like my smoking? The Persian hates it!"

"Oh, my dear," breathed kind Miss Aurelia, "I dislike you? But aren't the girls nowadays very lacking in manners, smoking and all?"

Minga consoled her. "We have to act like this nowadays, you know; that's why we don't need chaperones but, of course, there is a good deal of rough stuff if a boy doesn't know you're nice, and of course some girls aren't. Now you take any stag line at any dance; sometimes the fellows get silly and, well, they drink sometimes and, believe me, that needs some handling." Minga, head down, considered her slippers gravely.

[Pg 76]

Miss Aurelia stared...."The—er—stag line—why, Sard never——"

"Oh—well," Minga leaned her head back against the wall, her little feet beating time to the music within, "Sard doesn't go in so much for that kind of thing, all the boys really want to dance with her and she knows it and doesn't hit it up and she won't allow cut-ins and that kind of thing—but most of us like the excitement, the being grabbed, you know, and so the boys like to show each other what cavemen they are, and, well, they do get silly and rough-house and you have to handle them like a mother—I've grown old," said Minga, in a burst of confidence, "I've grown old just keeping some of these lads where they belong." The girl rose and pecked at Miss Aurelia's sagging cheek. "Isn't your hair lovely," she observed, "and what pretty feet you've got. Why don't you get married?"

"My—dear"—Miss Aurelia kept hold of the little brown hand and gasped, her eyes were wide with astonishment—"at—er—my age?"

"Sure," said Minga with conviction—"you're feminine and all that, you know—a lot of men stand for that still—take some old blasé clubman and stuff him into a husband."

Miss Aurelia, stunned, let go of the hand; she was as one paralyzed.

"Nighty night," said Minga lightly. "Do you care if I steal an orange? I shan't say good-night to Judgie, I've committed him to bread and water for three days." The girl laughed. "What's that thing[Pg 77] they're playing?" She hesitated, nodding her head toward the music-room.

Miss Aurelia thought it must be Dvorak's "New World. The Largo...."

Minga, curly head to one side, listened a moment, then she shivered. "A little too weird and woozy for me," she announced. "I hate Sard's taste in music; I want everything calcium-colored—Fizz," said Minga explanatorily, "and jazz and dizz!" She stood there, a little undetermined, listening and staring at the white moonlight on the water of the river stretched far out below the terrace.

Then Minga looked solemnly at Miss Aurelia. "Do you believe that love is divine?" she asked casually.

"Why," said Miss Aurelia, "why, my dear child, of course I do—it's—I always thought—I—we—sometimes—it is said to be."

But Minga, with a queer little self-conscious laugh, broke away from the gentle detaining hand. She walked up-stairs, whistling; as she passed Dunstan's door, she gave it a decided thump.

Later Sard slowly climbed the stairs to the tower room. The moonlight shone in patches and blocks of shimmering glamor on the floor and across the white bed. The girl stood looking out. She stared strangely with a look of concealed curiosity out to the seat under the enormous shadow of the great flowering horse-chestnut outside of the room where the music had been. All that evening Sard, soberly putting on records, had been conscious of a tall gaun[Pg 78]t figure sitting on the rustic seat under the horse-chestnut, its head buried in its arms. Now the seat was empty, but Sard could see a man standing out on the lawn amid a ring of Norway spruce spreading on the sky. It was Colter.

[Pg 79]



Life these days expressed itself in a ring of automobiles around the drive of Sard's home. Minga's coming stimulated the activities of a certain set known as the "Bunch," and the various hulking sedans or little roadsters lurching in the gutters were like so many beads on the rosary of her "popularity." In the village the prestige of the maidens was read by these signs. "Peggy Martin can't be very popular. I never see but one car in front of her house." "The Fairs must be very dull people. One never sees any parking on their driveway."

These machines, groomed and glossy, or in some cases dilapidated and frankly dirty, driven by a youth never contented to stay long in one place, had their own individual swan-songs and Iliads, their maladies, their insides, their prowess in speed and climbing, and furnished food for much of the conversation of Minga's associates. A tall, red-headed lad would inquire of his feminine neighbor, lolling in the canvas hammocks on the Judge's terrace of an evening, "Did you see her buck coming over the hill? The old maid! Didn't want to do the stunt on first, so I kicked her into second and she climbed it, the old girl, spitting and blowing. Well, I thought the cranky thing would bust a valve or something."

[Pg 80]

Then would follow serious dissertation on spark plugs and gas tanks, the new fuels, graded lubricating oils and service fuses.

"Where do you garage now, Dave?" inquired one tan-shirted hedonist.

"Oh, I garage on the front lawn," replied the careless Dave. "Mother hates it, says it spoils the grass, you know, but why bother about grass? Grass isn't fashionable any more—out of date, I tell her, to have grass and flowers and things. Cut all that out, I say, old stuff!"

Another youth, dapper, with the long-boned face of the manipulator of social things, deftly drew attention to his own brand new roadster. "Got Mother to jog the old gentleman some. Went out and played golf with him a couple of times. Result!" With negligent cigarette he indicated the graceful powerful shape. "Like that color? Not too loud, what?" The youth appealed to the girls sitting on the stone coping that swept the river-ward side of the house. "I don't want 'em to think I'm Mary Pickford or anything," was his modest suggestion.

The girls, swinging their feet encased in the flat, practical tennis shoes of the period, looked their usual momentary cold interest. Their heads, impertinently bobbed, or spectacularly "bunned," had abundant hair that covered bright enough little brains, but their mouths, trained into machine talk, dealt machine-like with little well-worn screws and cogs and belts of words, so that what they turned out was machine like; not related thought or challenging conversation, but[Pg 81] trite sentences and inferences and ejaculations that made small circles of thought.

Gertrude, the leader of the village girls, smiled dreamily at the car in question. "It's a good make, isn't it?" she said, then—"That firm's worth millions of dollars, they say, even in these after-the-war days." Minga nodded authoritatively, as one who knew. They all looked at her respectfully.

"The Mede says that to drive that car is to drive molten gold," said Minga—it was understood that Minga spoke of her father as the Mede. No one knew exactly what the allusion meant, but it showed somehow that Minga was no slave to parental authority and that she "knew" history.

"I want Dad to get a new car instead of a new piano," said Cynthia. "With the talking machine and George's cornet we don't really need a piano—but I do need a good roadster to—to get to the library and—and church," Cynthia inclined her head demurely.

"Yah—Yah!" they all jeered. "To get to the library and church! Some getting, I'll say!"

Dunstan looked up. "Whew!" he whistled, "to get to the beauty parlor, to the hashish joint, to the ice-cream palace, to the hooch chapel."

"Yah!" they all laughed, Gertrude a little more spitefully than the others. Cynthia Bradon, a lithe, ripe blonde of sixteen, had had experiences with many things. It was known that she had had a few "shots" of morphine and would swallow, for a wager, many hectic and sulphuric beverages. She had run away and been unaccounted for for a week, she had been[Pg 82] photographed in a bathing suit by a moving picture man. Cynthia was not sensitive, and her beauty, peach-like and of a glowing dewiness, seemed about the most harmless beauty in the world, because it covered so empty and so trivial a soul. Among the elders, she was considered a lost character. Among those who knew her she was known to be merely silly, lazy and untidy.

Cynthia's own group accepted her without enthusiasm or criticism. She was regarded as one who was no obstructionist and who by sheer triviality added much to the gayety of nations. Her "line" was silliness. Long education by the sensational type of moving picture had removed from these young people any morbid sensitiveness. "Cinny," and "Cinema" as they called her, wanted to find out about morphine—let her. "Fancy," so named from Frances, was a fine swimmer, always diving against her mother's command. She had saved a child once—moral—if Fancy hadn't disobeyed her mother she couldn't have saved the child! Marjorie, who was fat and too evidently made up, was a good sport and awfully nice at picnics and sailed a boat well and was jolly and fair in all games. Gertrude, dubbed facetiously "the road-hog," had nearly killed an old man by running over him in breaking speed laws; but this fact instead of making her in any way taboo, only served to add to her interest as a rather tragic saturnine young person in extremely abbreviated skirts.

They were all far away from the tradition and early training of the parents who had borne them,[Pg 83] spent incalculable money on them, scoured the realm for the best food for them; added to their youthful desires, their green sloths, given them leisure and opportunity and crammed them with diversion but neglected to set them an unswerving example of strong, frank, fearless, reverent and purposeful life. The young people of to-day analyzed like a sort of mischievous ivy or burdock burr, growing rank in the pure garden of our purpose, have become what they are merely by feeding on the soil around them. They are the curious sports of a few rather shameful vines and fruits of our own negligence.

When they speak flippantly of love and marriage, they do so with a very accurate knowledge of the percentage of divorces and the reasons for these divorces. When they reveal all that is legally possible of their fine young bodies, they do so after a war which placed the highest percentage on physical superiority and challenged the needs for privacy, and they do so impelled by frankness and a healthy Narcissism that is much better than our old time reticence, our concealment of deformity and weakness, our æsthetic half-revealing and suggesting that made so strong a desire for full revelation.

It would be rather a joke to find that in these ways youth may surpass us one day in virtue and purity. It is quite possible that Don Juan, about whom we whispered so much behind our hands, would make no impression at all upon the young men and women of Minga's group. Walt Whitman's great biologic, physiologic roaring they would frown over, puzzled.[Pg 84] That one man, old, too, with a white beard, should speak familiarly of prostitutes and be so anxious to specify and catalogue arms and legs and thighs and bones and blood and bone-sockets, they would think "queer." But if one were to step out and say to a group like that on the Judge's loggia, "Don Juan was over-sexed. His amours were silly and maudlin because his great creator was an embittered and sensitive and suffering man" there would be a low understanding comment of "Uh, huh?—that so?" and a general cold-blooded note-taking as to Don Juan.

To go on about Whitman and suggest that Walt was a great human comrade who at a time when there were no "legs" and no "spades" spoken of in the world believed in men and women recognizing the glory of sex and helping each other; believed in something divine inside of each that works its way through, no matter how low we sink; believed that we must struggle and overcome, yet be honest while conquering, sincere about life while controlled with it, that would be to receive the casual answer, "Say, that's some little Walt. Where did he tend bar?" But these things would strike little fire. There would be no real interest until one mentioned a new machine, a scientific discovery, a sporting champion or a unique crime. Then keen faces would be bent upon you, keen eyes would interrogate—Facts, facts, facts! So youth pushes by all your dreams, all your virtues, all your sentimentalities and theories for its true meat—facts!

The light, the casual, the cynical, the flippant, the[Pg 85] pondering of rather gross realities and in the cases of the girls a very destructive, squalid and ignorant playing with the great laws of life as given into the hands of men and women is the expression of America to-day. To deplore is futile, to try to train any group of children away from these general lines of license and freedom, impossible. It belongs to the age; that age is the aftermath of crazy luxury and wealth. There is some great biologic secret behind it all, and this biologic secret may be that such wealth, such leisure, such exhibition, as opposed to inhibition, as we once deemed desirable is undesirable, unendurable, in that it affects life with a kind of sponginess, a sort of quicksand whereon nothing may grow or be built. It may be that such surroundings as we have tried to give our children have made their bodies fine, but have shrunken and vitiated their souls, that their use of our hard-earned materialism has been to deny all our insistence upon worth and solidity and virtue but it bears one sure portent. To the observer of the "Minga group" all over America to-day it is apparent that this Youth will some day take itself in hand, that it will create a new ethic of worth and virtue that will bear more acute scanning than does ours. That, though they must stop and go back to hard things and solemn things, above all to recreate the things they have wasted; they are preparing for some enormous new Scheme, some great rational universalism; they will perform that duty ultimately, with a greater measure of understanding than our precepts could have given them. They will be free of all tan[Pg 86]gle and rot of the Seeming, they will know! They will go forward, keen, fearless, open-eyed, fit to help carry on the destiny of the whole world.

Soon the general restlessness on the terrace communicated itself in expression. "Where do we go from here?" asked one chap—he rose and did a short shuffling step, the others clapping their hands and whistling an air which ended with the plaintive refrain: "And the reason he didn't marry me, was his four merry wives across the sea." Minga stepped inside and slipped on the phonograph a record of Honolulu Jazz and to this brassy whistling clangor the couples clinched, and young, long, canvas-shoed, thin legs stepped about in one of the curious walking dances of the time. This over, they stopped and dawdled, staring at each other. There were a few personal sallies, one or two lazy whoops, and then the old thirst for sensation: "Where do we go from here?"

"I know," suggested the youth with the new car—"Dunce, listen to my hunch, love me for my bright ideas. All hike out to Lovejoy's for hot dogs and then back to Billy's for sundaes. Come on, be a sport, everybody, what matter if you've got no coin? I'm cahoots with you, I'll stand the multitude. Got me gold mine with me."

"I can't go," complained Dunstan moodily, "got a quizz coming at eight-thirty, the infernal Latin rooster. I'd like to choke him."

"Cut it out, cut it out!" came a chorus of stern voices.... "Say, Dunce, what's the matter with[Pg 87] yah, gettin' queer? Hey? They only put Latin in the cirickulum to please the wives of the trustees. Yah! cut it out, man—say, if yuh don't have any fun, you'll go batty; the doctors all say so. Sure they do! Everybody does go batty that's high-brow and studies and all that drool. Say, cut it out, whoop it up if yuh want to keep from suicide. By heck! you'll do sumpin desperate if you keep up with this Latin, like that feller your old man is going to put in the Can. How about that trial; when is it coming off?"

"Chuck that," muttered Dunstan, a grave significant look in the direction of the house—"Governor is inside. Sard's coming out——"

"Sard's coming out," they chanted gibingly.

"Oh, the Mermaid Lady came out, you bet,
She was not fully dressed:
The pretty curls of her hair were wet
I leave you to guess the rest."

This gem started by the young chap with the new car was taken up and chanted by his associates, all beating time and clapping in imitation of negro minstrels. It was done by way of changing an unwelcome subject and Sard, appearing at the door, put her finger on her lips. "If you want to sing," she said laughingly, "you'll have to go in swimming or something; Father's in his den and I'm sworn to keep things quiet."

"Getting up the data for the great day?" asked one boy saucily.

Sard shook her head at him, but Minga giggled.[Pg 88] "Wouldn't it be fun to go right in now, stand in a row in front of Judgie and say, 'We, the under-signed, beg for the freedom of Terence O'Brien, given into our hands,' you know the way they used to do in—in Bret Harte and places," finished Minga a little vaguely. "Get him out from under the law."

The group brightened; here was something to do, something unusual and racy and like the movies; they saw the drama of it.

"You'd have to have a writ of habeas corpus," said one young fellow. He wore large round glasses and looked solemn. "Who's his counsel?" he demanded of Sard, professionally.

She gave the name of a village lawyer—"I'm afraid it's only a form, though poor Dora's wages go for it, for I—I don't believe there is much defense," Sard bent her brows. "It's all wrong, you know; one of us would have the best counsel money could buy; if our own families couldn't afford it, some rich relative would come forward to save the name."

"That's right, she's dead right." The young faces ranged along the terrace wall looked solemnly on Sard; from trifling, aimless pleasure-seekers they became suddenly sober, filled with the sense of human tragedy of inequality and unfairness.

"Well, then, come on." Minga stood on audacious toes; she bowed like a preening butterfly. "Who'll follow? I'll lead!"

Lounging to their feet they made ready to follow her but Sard, older and steadier, restrained them. "That's idiotic," the girl said abruptly—"you don't[Pg 89] know what a rage it would put Dad in, Minga! You've never seen him when he's really angry."

"Does he carry on some?" asked one of the boys.

Sard was silent for a moment, then, "He is quite terrible," she said quietly; "it would make things worse in every way to go to Dad now—besides you know as well as I do that he could officially do nothing, but," Sard, looking at them all, spoke low, "I have an idea, I've been thinking."

They always listened respectfully to Sard. She was the stuff of which leaders are made. Indifferent to popularity, caring only for the enterprise in which she was engaged, cool, controlled, just as she was in card games or swimming and tennis, now she took charge of the group as she had done a hundred times before.

"There's that famous lawyer who is spending the summer in the organ builder's house on the mountain; you know about him."

"Don't I," spoke up Minga, eagerly. "He's a great friend of my Cousin Eleanor Ledyard and her little Pudge; he writes Pudge the funniest letters.... My!" sighed Minga. "He's frightfully important; he's been counsel for all the millionaires and magnates, he has eyes like X-rays, they look you through and through. Wow! I'm afraid of him."

The other girl hesitated. "He's famous and all that," she said slowly. "Father knows him well, but I've read things he has written in the magazines and—and—he isn't—well, you know how things are done?" The group, curiously enough, in spite of no reading at all, did know how things are done. How fatally the[Pg 90] lies, the subsidizing, the political trickery and chicanery persist in spite of the smug assumptions of virtues; the falsity of the effort to push the world back to an age where just the title of "Christian" would suffice instead of the more recent challenge which insists that the Christian be like Christ. They knew, these little sated, over-indulged, inexperienced sprouts of materialism, somehow or other, they knew.

"The loss of innocence" which their elders so much deplored has given them a cool fatal knowledge of the rottenness hitherto hidden from them; they know the failures and compromises upon which that æsthetic dream of "innocence" has been dreamed. They will have none of it.

Minga chasséd to the terrace steps; she pinned a scarf around her head turban-fashion and her eyes shone with adventurous gleam. "Say, listen," she said in the vernacular—"Say—listen—let's all pile in the machines and go up there on the mountain and stand in a row before Watts Shipman. Let's ask him to take Terence's case; let's ask him if he could get Terry off from a life's sentence. All of us—Yes. What? Serve Judgie right," added Minga, indignantly, "for not being willing to talk to me about it."

"Whew!" breathed a young chap in white flannels. The youth, in large horn-rimmed spectacles, went solemnly over to Sard and held out his hand, "I'm with you. It will make a sensation, anyway; maybe we couldn't get much out of Shipman but I'm with you, only what will Papa say?"

Sard had been thinking about that; a curious look in[Pg 91] her eyes, she faced the boy. "Father's law is one thing," the girl said it without a trace of disrespect or rebellion, "but mine is another and I want to be true to mine! I don't know how you feel," she looked soberly at the owlish one, "but I can't be happy and know that there is so much tragedy in the world. I can't live under that law."

It was the old sad cry of youth, "Must my happiness, then, be bought at the expense of so much human frustration and misery?" But the owlish-eyed one repudiated this notion.

"You'll have to," he said oracularly—"somebody's always hurting somebody—someone is always getting happiness out of someone's else misery." The horn-rimmed eyes looked very mature and bitter.

But several of the group jumped down from the terrace and were now tinkering with the machines in the drive. Jeering cries came from one to another as the engines started up. "Minga goes with me!" "Aw! go on, you animal, she does not; she goes with me; right here, Minga, where there's a looking-glass and rouge and sachet powder and everything—Sard goes with Thorny Croft. Hey, Nonny, Nonny, the two nuts, the two high-brows! Cinny'll catch cold; she hasn't got enough clothes on; Cinny never has enough clothes on. How about the dance the other night? Well—well—well, we saw a good deal of Cinny!" Not delicate, not pretty, not dignified, not inspiring. But it belongs to the age, Messieur et Mesdames; what part have you had in making the age what it is?

[Pg 92]



Dear Watts:

Pudge wants me to write and thank you for your letter. He was fascinated with the arrow-heads and listened with his accustomed solemnity to your remarks about "minding mother." An hour afterward I found him putting cold cream, which I have expressly forbidden him to touch, all over the kitten. Upon remonstrance he said blandly, "You didn't tell me not to put cold cream on the kitten, Mother, and she didn't say anything." It was all so funny and he was so naughty afterward! It opened up strange thoughts of all the responsibilities I shall have with him. I wondered if when Pudge grows up the first thing he will hear will be all the sad and ugly stories that are told of his father and if he will believe that they cast an irrevocable shadow on his own life. I have known young fellows who went steadily to the bad because their fathers were weak in some way. They thought they were foredoomed!

I don't even know whether to go on letting him have his own name, his father's name, now disgraced and tragic, but how can I stop things? He is his father, he has his mouth, the beautiful, fateful mouth that always made me feel as if I were a ship, wrecked on it, and he has his hair and his voice and his reckless and beseeching ways. Oh, Watts, you saved my husband, all there was to save, brought him back home; though you couldn't save him from himself.

Thanks for the arrow-heads, Watts, and please write me when you like. You seem to think I might not[Pg 93] care to hear. I have known why it was always Pudge you wrote to, but I have grown a little stronger, a little less like a wounded animal that wants to bite the hand held out to it. I hope your mountain top still holds the peace you first found there.

It was this letter that Watts Shipman saved until after his dinner, cooked by himself on a camp-fire out under the trees and served deftly and frugally with a sort of hermit cleanliness and economy. His pipe lit, the russet head of Friar Tuck on his knee, the man read and reread the pages. The deep eyes with their curiously grave and faithful look were puzzled, the long hands gripped once or twice on the paper, and the mouth curled down on the pipe-stem with a look of bafflement and grim disappointment.

"Pshaw!" Watts kicked away a twig. He changed his position on the log upon which he sat. Putting the letter safely in an inside pocket, he got out his knife and cut rather restlessly into a long smear of yellow lichen on a tree. "It's rather queer that a woman can talk like that, hold out her signal of distress and then not tell you she needs you—it's a queer thing," said Watts solemnly to his dog. "It's a queer thing, only a good woman can withhold her self; a bad woman can be subtle and elusive, a funny little beast, plotting, dreaming greedy, little clawing dreams and setting out her little poison traps for you, but a good woman merely draws the veil and you—well, Tuck, all you can do is to go home!"

Watts spoke the last words so loudly that Friar Tuck rose once. "Woof, woof," he barked loudly[Pg 94] into his master's face. Watts laughed. "Hush, you baby, I know I said 'go home,' but I'm not going home, Tuck, no sir, not to those comfortable, luxurious bachelor apartments, not until I've roughed it a little longer and get the wisdom and rightness of the woods into me. For we can't take another whole summer off like this, boy, for a long time. We've got to make it last, you old blasé clubman."

The evening grew late. A very light breeze moved the tops of the hemlocks and their pointed heads moved darkly like nodding cowls, their brooding spell took the restlessness out of Shipman and he gazed lovingly up into their fronded gloom. "Thank God for trees, the great brotherhood of the woodland priests," he murmured. Watts filled his pipe, gazing affectionately at those dark brothers, saying softly, "The Greeks got you better than we do, the souls and conscience of you; they trained their minds to regard you as some great principle connected with man and woman and so it was easy for them to imagine you as gods and goddesses. But we," grumbled the lawyer, "we with our superb logic and 'practical' minds have crystallized you into just 'trees,' things that we plant for our shade and cut down for our fuel and on which we grow fruit. Friends," said the man softly, as he went to one tree trunk and laid his arm around it, "walk with us like teachers; be one with us, take us farther and farther into your counsels and your mysteries and your reticences." Watts Shipman laughed a little, then a guttural sound from Friar Tuck roused him from his revery.

[Pg 95]

"You did that before," pointing his pipe at the russet head and solemn eyes. "You," accusingly, "did that before." Friar Tuck groveled and whined. Watts, leaning over to pat him, laughed.

"Tuck, old chap, why do you cringe so? I've never hit you, nor as far as I know has any other man. Why do you act so humbly? You know as much as I do, the only difference is that you don't know you know, and I do; but, after all, I only think I know, and that doesn't prove anything, so cheer up, mon vieux;" but at a distinctly menacing growl from the dog, Watts walked to the edge of the cliff to where his lamp was placed, and stared into the darkness.

"Shut up, you old barometer, no one can be coming up the mountain road at this hour, anyway not on this spur." The man peered at his leather-cased wrist-watch. "After eleven o'clock, and no one uses that mountain road at night; the driving's rotten and the walking's too craggy and storm-bitten for anything but snakes and foxes. Unless——" Watts thought of the mysterious ways of moving-picture campers. Going to the edge of the height on which the organ builder's house stood, he peered down to the road curving far underneath. "By all that's American!" he breathed; "by the Great Original Flapper!"

For a long line of cars was ascending the steep mountain road, winding in and out of the turns. The young drivers, leaning out, cheered to each other, calling challenges, experimenting with different gears, and bawling advice and congratulations on the climbing power of their machines. The lateness of the hour[Pg 96] seemed no curb to their haste or their assurance, nor did the impassable road rouse a feeling of insecurity. They were merely interested in the one car that should reach the top first.

In Dunstan's roadster Minga was advocating a swift rush that should pass the car ahead and gain the summit speedily. Sard and the young lawyer tried by their own prudence to communicate that saving quality to the others; here a driver shook his fist at some dare-devil brother, who passed him close to the ledge, thereby badly crowding his neighbors, who in turn swished into the road gutter until passed by one or two speed cranks trying to beat each other.

When at last every car had reached the summit there were confident giggles, little gasps from the girls and a catcall of triumph, a harassed ejaculation from the masculine drivers.

As they parked the machines in an orderly row on the mountain top, the great lights glared and the black forms crouched in powerful bulk on the uneven roadway, while the short-skirted, jaunty figures alighted with mingled sighs and stretches of relief.

"Moon's doing pretty well to-night," said Dunstan. He kissed his hand to it, calling up to the sky, "All right, Mr. God, we like your little old scout moon. Some sky-dynamo, what? Savez? We like it!"

They moved about, pawing with their feet, seeking out the path over the mountain top. Their shadows were elongated in the moonlight, for them there were adventure and mystery in the bushes all about; scents[Pg 97] of spearmints and bay and the curious smell of rocky plants came to them.

One lad sniffed the air. "I smell chewing-gum," he announced.

"I smell home brew stills," shouted another youth, as he leaped up and grasped a branch like a young monkey. "Right-o, lead on to your treasure cave and your fair women slaves."

"We got the fair women slaves right here," insisted another cub person; "all we need now is a cave and the cavemen will proceed to register. Look your prettiest, maidens. Put on your skins, your other skins, and your necklaces."

The hilarity, rather artificial, was the organized hilarity of the "young" groups of the day; like the cheers of the colleges, the competitive "rah-rahs" of directed "sides," the "fun" was stimulated by rather jaded fun-leaders; so, as they entered the wooded plateau where the organ builder's house stood, they were fairly howling and bawling with self-conscious youth and the sense of "whooping it up."

"Oh, Watts Shipman," shouted a Yale sophomore. "Oh, Watts Shipman, put out your head."

"Oh, you criminal lawyer," howled another boy, "free the slaves, burn the Bastille, burn the pastilles—Rah—Rah—Rah! We want Terence, the great cut-throat of the Hudson," and so in the pale sanctity of the moonlight the group stumbled on, plunging, exhilarated, a little uncertain and undecided and becoming increasingly silly. At some not very emphatic shrieks, giggles and rather over-done kissing sounds,[Pg 98] Sard turned sharply. The girl, hatless, a little glint in her eyes, faced them. "I don't like this; you know it's—it's not sensible."

"Ah," they said, "ah, the lady doesn't like it."

"I think we ought to take this thing more seriously," Sard continued with a little short breath of indignation, adding more gently, "We don't really know what we're up against. I've heard that Watts Shipman is terribly reserved. We don't want to antagonize him."

"I shan't antagonize him," came a fresh high voice. "I shall vamp him. I shall twine around him like the ivy in the snow."

They all chuckled. Minga, clad in scarlet sweater and skirt, with the orange silk handkerchief bound around her curls, suddenly slid into a bright patch of moonlight where the trees were thinnest, making a natural stage setting.

"I am terribly reserved," shrieked Minga in high falsetto. "I am the primmest little prune in the county. But I am some little dancer and don't you forget it, and I will dance his eyes out of his head. Ladies and gents," announced Minga, "the Pocahontas Pep. Watch me!"

They stood there watching her prowling paces and archly bold postures. The slender form bent almost backward, the eyes filled with imaginary passion and adventure and fear. When she ended with a lovely fantastic rush and stampede, it is quite certain that that grave Indian maiden, the estimable Pocahontas, would have been as much fascinated as anyone else. [Pg 99]At the catcalls and whoops of applause, Sard again held up her hand.

"Minga," she pleaded, "Dunce, please, all of you." Sard was very positive.

The solemn lawyer youth in the background, silently adoring her, brightened as her voice took on asperity and decision.

"This is really silly," she scolded; "it's—it's not the way to do things. Didn't we come up here to try to save Terence O'Brien?" she demanded.

"Sure," soothed one of the boys. "Right-o!" added one or two more.

"Well then," said Sard, "if I know a thing of Watts Shipman from what I've heard Father say," she dropped her voice to persuasive entreaty. "No, really, Minga! Dunce! we won't get a thing out of that man if we act like this; he's very hard to deal with; he's cold and aloof and——"

"An altogether haughty and disagreeable person," said a deep voice.

The group turned quickly, and there in the moonlight, his hand on the suspicious Friar Tuck's collar, stood the lawyer.

There was a moment's silence; a sort of shiver ran through the young people. It was a sensation they quickly recognized, but to which they could give no name; the voice and presence of spiritual poise, the calm, inexorable deliberation of assured authority.

"How do you do, everybody?" said Watts quietly, as quietly as he stood there waiting.

That "everybody," grave as it was, contained an[Pg 100] informal welcome that Minga was quick to recognize. She, who took hurdles as soon as they were presented, now tried to jump the barrier of this stranger's powerful personality. She stepped forward, a funny little figure in scarlet, opposite to the tall khaki-clad repose of the man.

"How do you do, Mr. Shipman?" came the little voice in the moonlight.

Minga was glib at these numbers. "I've—we've heard so much about you, awfully glad to meet you; you know my cousin, Mrs. Ledyard, she's told me just lots about you."

Watts swept a swift glance at the girl.... "Yes," he took Minga in and smiled, not unsympathetically, "I know Mrs. Ledyard well; I am glad to meet a cousin of hers. It's Miss Gerould, isn't it? I am so glad to see you."

"Well," Minga, even before his indulgence, felt an unaccountable awkwardness; the erstwhile Pocahontas shifted from one foot to another while she dug both hands in the patch pockets of her tennis skirt. "I—we—er—just came up," she began; "we all sort of—thought we'd like to know you."

Now the owl-eyed youth stepped forward with the grand manner of the college debater.

"We come on behalf of Terence O'Brien," he began. At the superior manner and the name, the great lawyer stiffened ever so imperceptibly, but suddenly the owl-eyed also lost courage, so that it was Sard who was forced to lucidify things.

"We hope we aren't intruding." The girl's voice[Pg 101] was even and poised. Watts looked at her with interest.

"We are in great distress and trouble about something and we believed that you could—that you would help us."

"This is Judge Bogart's daughter," announced one of the boys with the society drawl of the "important" introduction.

The lawyer, standing there, bowed. The moonlight disguised the look of curiosity, of humor, in his eyes; he scanned this awed group in rather fantastic outdoor get-up.

"It's a little late for calling, isn't it?" he suggested; then, seeing a slight resentment on the part of the owl-eyed, whom he instantly recognized as a struggler along his own difficult path of the law, he relented.

"But delightful of you to climb way up here. Rather wicked roads, I'm afraid; some able driving." With a hospitable gesture he led the way to the clearing in front of his house. Few of the young people had been up here before; there were looks of frank curiosity and expressions of wonder that a modern clubman should choose to live in the organ builder's old rookery.

"Well, it has its charm," explained Watts, his grim mouth was humorous, "but I shan't ask you in; not while the moon's like this! Now, if you fellows will drag out rugs and some cushions for the girls——" He was busy receiving his midnight guests, as if all were quite usual.

And quite usual it seemed to the young night hawks.[Pg 102] The boys, sitting on stumps, rolled cigarettes or filled pipes; Minga and Gertrude also lit cigarettes, but the former, at Sard's amused glance, tossed hers away; the thing, still smouldering, dropped on some dried pine needles. Shipman slowly turned from the owl-eyed and his look went directly to the little wisp of smoke.

"Your cigarette is still burning," he gestured toward it, then courteously, "I am fire warden here; won't you please put it out?"

It was as if he assumed that a modern girl would prefer to do this herself, but Minga wilfully misunderstood him. The little scarlet figure seated on the log resented the authority back of the deep kind gaze bent upon her. It was a stinging new experience for Minga to be reminded of a duty, an experience like a smart blow on the lithe little body, only it had none of the brutality a blow must have; perhaps that was why it stung. Minga hunched one shoulder; her eyes snapped as she turned away.

"You can put it out yourself," was her pert remark.

There was a nervous giggle, then a sudden silence. The scene in the moonlight was significant. The loafing, negligent forms of the smoking youths, Sard standing vibrant, clear, but irresolute and waiting. Dunstan, the charmed faun look in his eyes, prone at Minga's feet. The culprit flushed and annoyed, the girls frankly open-mouthed and uncomprehending. Again the owlish-eyed tried to take command.

"Allow me," with opera bouffe effect. He started toward the smoking cigarette, but, bowing very slightly[Pg 103] with an almost curt gesture of refusal, Watts prevented him.

"I am sorry, but in the capacity of fire warden, it is my duty to see that an ordinary camp regulation is obeyed." He turned to the provoked girl and, with very slight but intentional irony, asked, "Do you know the meaning of that word 'obey,' Miss Minga?"

Slowly the girl rose and stared into his face. Deciding to say nothing, she gradually stiffened and a hard look came into her eyes. "I—refuse—to—I," she tried for a lofty tone, but her voice was flat and childish, "I—I am not accustomed——"

"Exactly," said Watts quietly. "The Mede and the Persian haven't been successful with you in that, have they?—though they've let you become so charming. You see," he smiled, "I've heard of you, Miss Minga."

At this the group writhed; one or two giggled a little uncertainly.

"Insulting," breathed one lad dramatically. He put his hand first into one pocket and then the other; another cub person solemnly took out and considered a revolver but their host took little notice.

"You see," said Watts, with an air of imparting information, "I believe in obedience—of course, I shan't order you to put out the cigarette, Miss Gerould, but obliged as I am to you all for this—er—interest, yet after all you are my guest and, well, guests, even in America, still like to consider the preferences of the host and my preference is to observe forest laws."

[Pg 104]

There was an indeterminate silence. Loyalty to Minga, and their quick moving picture sense of outrage, made them wish to murder this man, who was so quiet and so direct. "Who," thought the owl-eyed, "was this stranger to command them all, order them around?" Yet the thought Watts had just expressed seemed to them rather obvious; they had come uninvited into this man's camp. It seemed only decency to observe the rules. As they stood uncomfortably irresolute, they saw with wide-open eyes a strange thing happen.

Watts Shipman stood in front of their little friend in scarlet, not touching her, only looking at her. Very slowly and calmly the man motioned toward the cigarette smouldering on the turf; very quietly, almost imperceptibly, he motioned the girl toward it. Minga rose like one in a trance, her eyes fixed unwillingly on those of the lawyer. Putting out one little canvas-shod foot, at first irresolutely, then with sudden vehemence she rubbed the burning cigarette into the ground till all saw that it was extinguished. The girl turned her face in the moonlight. It was broken with rage. "I hate you. I hate you," she breathed. Her teeth seemed to chatter with her sudden fury.

Watts held out both hands. "I'm sorry," he said simply, "but I think you know that I have done right."

The group of youngsters stood silent and amazed in the moonlight. They had beheld a thing as rare in America as lions and tigers; they had witnessed the power of just, quiet and inexorable spiritual authority, compelling obedience. Minga, looking around for[Pg 105] sympathy, read no answering rebellion in their eyes. With a strange, an almost animal cry, the girl darted over to Dunstan Bogart. "Oh, Dunce," she choked, almost screaming, "get me away from here—get me away, I tell you!"

She turned and dashed out of the circle into the rough mountain road, where they saw her stumbling like a driven thing; Dunstan Bogart, without an instant's hesitation, following her. The boy's eyes were glittering, his head held high in a sort of pride of championship. In a moment their car, tightly braked, was edging cautiously down the rock-hewn road.

When at last they reached the levels, the boy suddenly reaching over, put his hand on his companion's, who sat rigid, immovable beside him. Minga looked at him fiercely a second time, with eyes that were hot with tears; she sobbed, "Oh, I'm wild." When they pulled up at the Bogarts' garage she drew a long, shuddering breath, and her champion, staring amazedly at her, saw her face drenched with angry crying.

"Pshaw!" said Dunstan. "What do you care—that old granny on the mountain top! Why should you care?"

"I wish I was home," said Minga, fiercely. "Oh, I wish I was home." The sheltering tenderness of the Mede and Persian would have been very grateful just then to their little daughter.

"Minga," said Dunce earnestly, "I could have brained that brute; so could the other chaps. What business had he to—- He'll get his yet."

"I hate him, I hate him," repeated the girl viciously.[Pg 106] She twisted her handkerchief in her hands and her eyes grew wide with something now unaccountable. While she fought for self-possession, the boy beside her, with a tenderness he hardly understood, stroked the soft, curly head; he uttered clumsy words of comfort.

"Any man," said Dunstan, "any man who would do such a thing is a pretty low sort of cur."

"He isn't just a cur," objected Minga miserably; "a cur could—couldn't make me f-feel like this."

"Well, he's a comic supplement,"—Dunce snapped his teeth viciously, "he's a—an Egyptian obelisk," raged the boy, "and I'd like to cut some more hieroglyphics on him."

So the two sat in the little roadster, arrested in their impulsive pampered lives by one of the greatest laws that has ever been laid on humanity, the Law of Obedience, incoherent in their inner warrings of hurt pride, they tried to sustain each other. Dunstan's awkward arm went once around Minga's little red-clad figure; he strove in a callow way to be tender, but only for a moment.

For a tempestuous Minga stood up straight in the car.

"For Heaven's sa-sake," she demanded with a slight sob, "For Heaven's sake,"—gulp—"what do you think this is, Dunce Bogart, one of those petting parties? Do you think I'm a park lady or one of those Sunday-school picnic vamps?"

Dunce looked sheepishly determined. "You remember what I said that first night," he said solemnly,[Pg 107] "that I'd kiss you again—and better—that's what you'll—you'll feel, some day."

To her disdainful silence he went on, "Well, I haven't yet, but I'm going to; you wait." He wagged his head.

But there was a little distressed quiver in her voice, and the essential manhood in Dunstan answered it with gentleness. He himself rose and the two climbed soberly down out of the car. Through the great trees they saw the cathedral moonlight still silvering all the world and the sleep and quiet, the majesty of the night, touched them. They saw depths of life that they had never fathomed; depths that saddened and frightened them. Together they softly closed the garage doors, together they entered the dark house and crept slowly up-stairs.

"Good-night, Minga," said Dunstan softly. "Do you care that—that I was there——" The boy looked solemnly at her.

The girl, pausing at the door of her room, lifted her head and looked at him. "You were the only decent person on the whole trip," she said softly. She put her hand in his; it was cold and little. Dunstan, wondering, felt it tremble.

When a boy goes to bed remembering a girl's trembling hand does he ever ask himself who made that hand tremble, or does he always feel sure that it was he who stirred the young life to quivering?

[Pg 108]



The sudden abandonment of the Terence O'Brien crusade by Minga and Dunstan cast a chill over the other plotters and a sort of obstinate silence settled down on the young intruders on Watts Shipman's privacy. One of the boys got up, put his hands in his pockets and walked aimlessly about, kicking at pebbles and whistling; the girls' voices took on drawling inflections of careless indifference. The young lawyer tried some professional small talk that sounded oddly in the poetic surroundings of forest moonlight to which the senior listened without much interest. Shipman, with an amused sense of liking to see these calm young persons at a disadvantage, wondered if they would not under the awkward stress of the thing develop a few sensibilities, but he allowed the moment to remain as clumsy as it might be.

The only one who realized the man's inner comment was Sard; she it was who had fretted helplessly at the inopportune behavior of her girl friend; nettled, she now resolved that the meeting should be opened and she moved a little on the log where she sat.

Watts rose and gravely motioned her to take his abandoned seat. "You see the river better from there," he urged. "Rather nice in the moonlight, don't you think? You know Drake's 'Culprit Fay'?[Pg 109] Of course, such a delicate poem, made of shells and straws and fairies' wings with this monster stream for background"—he shrugged, scanning the girl's face, saying lightly,—"Do you suppose all this beauty really got through the Dutchman's skin, or did it lie dormant till Irving brought it to life? A pity, after those 'historic fires of liberty,' and a young woman's college adorning it, and all the tremendous striking events of its history, that this river's chief ornaments should be a prison, a military academy and a lot of rich men's homes! Have you ever thought," went on Shipman purposefully, "what a marvelous thing it would be if we could have heroic statuary all along our river banks, really heroic statuary, sculpture of the great deeds of discovery, the statues of men who invented things for human good, great inventors, great mothers, great scientists, great writers, great explorers; not a single statue that should spell wars or the glory of wars, but all the superb names that bear witness to the everlasting wonder and glory and forward looking of Human Life."

Of course, this exhortation was to put her at her ease. The girl recognized this, and while she hardly heard the words of the man standing there, she thanked him mentally. As Sard met Shipman's eyes she tried to look as if she, at least, had completely forgotten the Minga incident. Anyway, Sard had seen things like that happen to Minga before. Only, in all those two years at college, reflected the girl, Minga had never been so completely, so lamentably driven from her accustomed aplomb. The thing did[Pg 110] not make Sard like the great man any too well, but the memory of the figure of poor Dora at her work, the sense of a boy of Dunce's age going to prison "for life," these things spurred her on to what she had to say.

"Perhaps we ought to apologize for coming up here like this," began the girl tentatively, "but," she laughed a little, "I don't think we will."

"I cannot imagine your having ever to apologize." Watts' eyes were upon her, the expression in them very different from that with which he had subdued Minga. He looked a sort of wondering admiration, as a man may at the young face and figure so exquisitely balanced in so complete a dignity. To Watts' keen knowledge of human personality, Sard spelled clarity, essential purity; but it was not ignorant purity nor insulated clarity. It was the healthy nerve and sparkle of an original daring nature, something direct and vigorous that went straight to its interests and issues in a direct, fresh way, that looked things in the face and tackled them in front.

"We,"—Sard looked around at her rather ineffectual supporters,—"we believe that you can help us about something—someone—Terence O'Brien," the girl blurted it out to the famous lawyer with a little catch of the breath. Her voice, naturally liquid, was a little husky, but she held herself admirably.

"The man who is held for murder?" the lawyer's voice was grave.

"The boy,"—with ever so slight an insistence on "the boy,"—"who killed that old cobbler." Sard[Pg 111] glanced eagerly into Watts' face. "We have been talking about it, all of us, a great deal; all Willow Roads is excited over it because he is so young." The girl hesitated a moment, then she said simply, "I haven't been able to discuss it with my father but——" Sard paused; something she had not reckoned with of embarrassment seemed to thicken her throat, but she plunged bravely on. "Life sentence is what everyone thinks he will get, life sentence." Her hand went out with a curious despairing little gesture that Watts noted with concern. She turned on him dark eyes, womanly, tragic. "Life! Have we—has anyone the right to take from anyone so young the chance to try again?"

The lawyer instinctively admired the girl for her directness, and he met her with equal directness. "No," he said, "we haven't, no one has, under any circumstances, the right to take life but in such cases we choose a lesser evil instead of a perfect good. Here the problem is that this boy, for a small amount of money, wantonly killed an old man, who had befriended him, trusted him; 'murder,'" said Watts emphatically, "is on his soul—do you think he would have strength to live again?"

It was stated very simply, but with such unadorned clearness that Sard shivered. Shipman, without speaking, got up and went into the house, presently emerging with some light steamer rugs and Italian blankets, one of which he drew around Sard's shoulders. He motioned in a big brotherly way to the somewhat subdued girls of the party, "I'm afraid[Pg 112] you're all cold. Shall we go in? Haven't you sweaters or something?"

But something stiff in this little party made them refuse to enter the house; it might almost have been that this strange man who lived in the organ builder's house had so impressed them by a sense of inherent personal power that they felt actually safer outdoors. Anyway, Minga, the little scarlet leader of all their pranks and escapades, their rather elaborately planned defiances and simulated viciousness, had been shamed by this man. Sard, it seemed, also remembered it; however, she did not refuse the Italian blanket, though she let it slip to her knees. The lawyer noted this, and the corners of his mouth moved slightly.

He turned to the younger practitioner of his profession. "It is an ugly case," he remarked gravely. "The way it was done," he made a gesture of disgust, "the boy must have something essentially sneaky and cold in him. There are natures like that," he turned to Sard, "natures that you could hardly, with all your imagination, realize or comprehend."

So the group sat in the moonlight discussing the thing. One by one the lawyer drew the young philanthropists out. Under the rather marked paucity of expression he found the same impulse, the broad human wish to give this boy, caught like a fly in the net of the law, "another chance." Watts quietly relaxed, sat there in the moonlight, studying the sober young faces. Finally he spoke the thing that had first of all come into his mind.

"Perhaps I ought not to ask this," turning to Sard,[Pg 113] "but your father, in this county, is the Law and Prophets. The country people dote on his judgments; they trust him; somehow I should think no lawyer would influence his decision, no jury's verdict interfere with his sentence. He, I should think in talking with you, would be able to make you feel the essential inevitability of the thing."

There was silence as the group faced him, such deep solemnity on the young faces that Shipman all but laughed; the lawyer, accustomed as he was to studying all phases of human conduct, found himself amazed at the unanimity of serious purposes underlying this group that he knew to be the most unruly, unpromising of all unpromising small-town groups.

"Judge Bogart is an infallible man," he repeated softly. "His suggestions——" It was evident that the lawyer expected a "suggestion" from Judge Bogart's daughter.

But it was as if Sard had hardly heard him. At last: "My father prefers not to discuss these things with us." The girl said it very quietly and there was no hint of criticism of her father, but she went on thoughtfully, "Perhaps, though, he belongs to something that is becoming worn out," again she made the curious despairing little gesture, "mightn't it be possible that some day all these things will be changed, that there will be no more 'life sentences,' that we who come after will see the way to make things better, fairer?"

Shipman laughed a little ironically; he turned to the young lawyer. "How would Miss Bogart like it[Pg 114] if she had to give the life sentences?" he asked lightly, but the girl had her answer ready and she gave it with a powerful conviction that arrested him.

"I should not want to live myself," she said in low, distinct tones. "I should not want to live if I thought we should always have to have crime in the world." Sard faced him a little defiantly; she was remembering the voice of poor Dora in the kitchen. "Is it justice," I ask you, "is it justice to take a young boy like that, take him for life, never give him another chance?"

Another of the group now spoke up. "Lots of men and women are at large who ought to be in prison."

Watts smiled. "Lots of boats do sink on the sea, but that is no reason why we should build our boats so that they will sink. Law, you see, is society's effort to protect its best from its worst." He looked interestedly at the young speaker. "You couldn't marry and have a home without law," curiously studying the boy.

"And I couldn't get a divorce without law, some kinds," grinned the cub. It was a technical retort, the typical "smart" answer of the up-to-date youngster. It gave his group courage; there were various asides among the members of the circle, a few titters and smothered witticisms.

Shipman rather enjoyed the little drama being enacted before him; he smoked imperturbably while he appeared to give this answer thought. "I suppose we ought to remember that the law that makes divorce possible rose first in the minds of men and women,"[Pg 115] he said evenly. "But we must ask ourselves how well those minds are instructed. In any case, I take it, the law, no matter how badly interpreted, is society's weapon against itself! New laws put upon paper and framed by act of Legislature or of Congress are to counteract certain old laws which were inadequate. When I insisted that your little friend extinguish her cigarette," the lawyer gravely searched the darkening faces in the moonlight, "it was merely to enforce a law which makes forest fires less probable. When I enact a law that separates a good woman from a bad man or vice versa, I protect the weaker against the stronger; when I support a law that insists that a boy's liberty be taken from him, after a dastardly murder, I make it possible for people to move about with varying degrees of safety from like murder. It is not my affair if these laws are not modified. It is for you and people like you to keep laws and by keeping them gain the power to make better ones."

The circle, a little daunted by his calm willingness to discuss, were disposed to receive this without comment. The little lawyer in the owl glasses kicked rather disconsolately at a bunch of turf, the other lads fidgeted. Somehow the crusade to intercede on behalf of Terence O'Brien had lost its moving-picture sensationalism. They realized that they had run up against a quiet man of steel and iron, who was more or less amused and not very impressed by them; there were murmurings and half-formed suggestions that they should leave until Sard, with a kind of resolution, rose suddenly from her seat and stood in front of[Pg 116] Shipman. She looked directly into his face and he saw determination in her; the sort that does and dies, but does not abandon its object.

"I—I believe you are kind," said the girl, in a low questioning tone.

The man, a little surprised, waited gravely.

Sard spoke rather timidly. "I understand how you and other lawyers look at these things, by rote, sort of, isn't it? And you forget it is men and women you deal with; only 'cases' and knotty 'points,' isn't that true?"

Watts, rather piqued, bowed in answer.

"And I know," said Sard quickly—"it seems queer to ask it, but you, a man of your power, could influence a country jury, couldn't you, from your way of putting a thing, from your knowledge of how to speak to the point? Would you," the girl looked eagerly into the half-shadowed face, "would you be willing to appear for Terry's defense if—we—we paid you any fee you asked? I think we could get the money some way." The girl was clearly nervous now; her breath came a little quicker as she stood her ground, saying simply, helplessly, "Would you?"

Watts marveled at her. This man knew the way a person with a deep conviction always acted, and no one more solemnly respected conviction. It was the steady return to the subject in hand, the resolute persistence, in spite of every objection and obstacle, that won the great lawyer's respect and admiration. Suddenly a gleam came over his face and he rose, standing as Sard stood, answering her as simply. "You[Pg 117] have interested me," he said quietly; "it is true that I am here for a season of rest, but if the trial comes off, as I think you said, in the early fall, I believe it will be held in your father's jurisdiction."

Sard nodded, her eyes fixed upon him.

The lawyer stood, his hands in his coat pockets, his eyes on the ground, considering. Suddenly he looked up and addressed the wide-eyed circle. "I should ask one sort of fee only."

This consent of itself was so sudden, so unhoped for, that a thrill went around the group; someone in the circle fairly gasped. Casual, indulged, the young people had hardly tackled the question of a great lawyer's fee; the youngsters waited, jaws dropping to hear the spokesman's answer.

"From you," Shipman turned to Sard, "I should only ask coöperation along lines which we will work out together; from you," turning to the little lawyer, "I must beg the privilege of an occasional conference."

The little owl-eyed bowed a solemn and somewhat puffed-up acknowledgment. But Shipman, with eyes enigmatic, turned upon the rest of the group, "I feel that to obtain a—er—certain solidarity, that my fee should come from all of you. Taxing each one of you a certain percentage per month would, of course, make a hole in your allowances——"

Instantly the curious derisive protest went up. The group had grown gradually less in awe of the great man. Now they openly rebelled while they were half agreed. Those whose murmurings were in earnest[Pg 118] were smothered by their companions who bade them be "sports." At last someone stepped forward gracefully, offering his hand. It was the youth with the new blue car. Watts gripped his young paw with liking. The others then followed in rapid succession. "Good-bye, chocolate sundaes," said somebody with a groan. "Where do we get off, at the poorhouse?" asked another cub. "Farewell, my wrist-watch, good-bye, golf caddies; me for the lessening waistband," they giggled and shuffled and hooted their dismay, knowing well that what the man before them asked was no real hardship, yet making their reluctance very evident. Watts noted with wonder, however, that in this, as in everything else, they kept to their squad formation, one man having agreed, all agreed. Someone then suggested gruffly that it was time to depart. With awkward leave-taking and self-conscious thanks they finally took themselves away.

All but Sard, who hesitated in the lull occasioned by the departing group, again callow, vociferous, with a sense of restraint removed.

Shipman, an enigmatic expression on his face, turned to her and held out his hand. "Will you forgive me?"

The girl, wondering, hesitated, but Shipman, the fine cool hand once in his, did not let it go too quickly. "I have treated your friends pretty meanly," he said, "but I wanted to see if they really mean anything."

The girl returned his gaze; for the first time he saw challenge in the fine young eyes, and his own leaped to their full power.

[Pg 119]

"You saw?" asked Sard coolly.

Shipman threw back his head, but his laugh was not quite as assured as usual.

"You haven't forgiven me!" He pretended amusement.

"Perhaps," said the girl, a little bitterly, remembering his earlier remarks, "I have to protect society from you." The lawyer winced; his hand quickly relinquished hers and dropped to his side.

"You mean?" he said quickly; the man took a step forward, staring into her face—"I wonder what you do mean."

"Good-night," said Sard, her voice quivered a little, but she made the effort to be businesslike, "you will let me know what you can in connection with the case, with Terence," then a sudden little impulsive softening, "I do thank you. I know that you have been kind and patient with us." She motioned to the solemn-eyed one waiting at a little distance for her. "I must hurry. Good-night!"

They shook hands again, this time a something of liking between them, and Shipman watched the girl step confidently out of his wondering observation.

Car after car curved away down the steep road, young voice after young voice died on the midnight mountain echoes, but until very late indeed a man stood looking out upon the moonlit Hudson, and it seemed to Watts Shipman that the whole mountain said, that all the trees and rocks and stars and ripples said to each other one significant word and that word was "Youth."

[Pg 120]



"Will you do something for me?" Sard had asked Minga on the day of her friend's arrival. Later she had made the request that Minga lead up to the subject of Terence O'Brien; only because she had lost the courage to speak of the thing that those days was continually in her mind; namely, the mystery of the new man Colter. He, who busied himself quietly all day about the drives and shrubberies and caring for the cars, and who, at night, she saw strolling around to the garden seat to listen to the music of the Judge's pet records. But now, after a comradeship of two weeks, much of Sard's restraint had vanished, so that as the two girls glided in the little roadster out of Bogart's drive one morning and Minga asked curiously, "What was that thing, Sardy, that you were going to tell me?" her friend's answering laugh was less conscious than it might have been.

"Oh, I want you to pass on a discovery of mine; something I've got out in the garage."

"A pup?" Minga was politely interrogative.

Sard bent to shift gears; she smiled cryptically. "No, no, not a dog; but I picked it up and brought it home the way one would a badly used dog. It's partly Aunt Reely's pet, too," added Sard gravely; "she gives him advice, but I found him."

[Pg 121]

"A turtle," guessed Minga idly; "one doesn't give a turtle advice, though, does one? Oh," she turned an accusing face on her friend, "I'll bet it is just that horrid old man, a plain, dirty tramp." Immediately the little figure in scarlet lost interest, and as the car glided softly along the river road and up toward the little valley village of Morris, Sard frowned thoughtfully. "Just the same, I want you to pass on him," said the older girl; "he's rather a strange specimen, Minga." Asked her friend abruptly, "Have you ever seen a case of amnesia?"

Minga, wrinkling her brows, remembered that there was a girl who studied too hard at college and she had amnesia and couldn't remember to put her clothes on properly. "That," said Minga, with emphasis, "made me decide right then that I would never study too hard. But I never saw any amnesia," added Minga. "Is it anything like asthma?"

"It's like the light going out of your head, I guess," said Sard, "and the paths of your mind don't lead home; don't lead to the You that knows you; and it will make all the yous suddenly run into each other, and you are suddenly lost. For instance, I could have amnesia so that I could see you, but there wouldn't be any me. You know, the recognition part of me would be all thin air, and objects stuck in it like houses and men and women that meant nothing. I've been reading it up," explained Sard.

Minga shivered. "Don't describe such awful things," she begged.

"But it's interesting." There was a reflective light[Pg 122] in the other's eyes. "I was born to be a psychologist, I guess, because such things interest me. Think, for instance, of not knowing who one is, or one's own people! Or perhaps standing right in front of one's home and not recognizing it! Such things happen. Like doors closing on the room where the mind used to live, and turning the mind out into a cold new world where it can't take hold, where it has words and intelligence, but no recognitions."

"Wow!" Minga twisted an unwilling shoulder. "Stop talking about it. Shut up!"

"Well," argued Sard, "that's what I think is the matter with that man we've got right before our eyes. Dad and Aunt Reely say it isn't so, of course; they say I imagine too much." A very slight irritation crept into the sober young face that scanned the road ahead. "Older people go in for peace and comfort more than anything else, don't they?"

"I think maybe it's more just public opinion," said Minga, rather penetratingly for her rattle brain. "Older people get used to what their set says and does, and it just becomes sort of home life for them and they don't want anything else. They refuse to get out and think outside of what that set thinks and does, because it wouldn't be cosy; it's like going out on a winter trail when everybody is home sitting by the fire. They want to sit by the fire. They don't want to progress."

"It wouldn't be 'popular,' I suppose." Sard avoided a bump. "It's funny, but I keep thinking that if any[Pg 123] good things are to be accomplished we'll have to get rid of popularity."

"Well, I shan't," said Minga. "Popularity? You can't get anywhere in America unless you are popular; but," the little philosopher added solemnly, "isn't it queer, Sard, that—that we all, you and I and all of us, have got to run the world some day whether we want to or not? Everybody else will be dead—all the aunts and fathers and mothers," Minga shivered a little—"and we, we shall have to sign the bills and give the sentences and be responsible." Minga looked dreamingly at the wind-shield and at the cars flashing by them. She clearly did not like the prospect.

The older girl nodded. Sard guided her car up to the curb in front of the little Morris bank.

"What are you going in for?"

Sard flashed a smile. "Well, I—I am going in to pay Mr. Lowden, that's the cashier, some money I borrowed the day I found this man Colter. You see," added Sard casually, "I found him in the gutter up here in Morris and I had no place to take him to nor any money and Mr. Lowden managed for me. He seemed to know what to do." Sard got out and leaned against the car. Her straight, slim personality in its turquoise blue cap and scarf was a lively bit of poised youth; she stood twinkling into Minga's perturbed eyes as she said:

"Oh, you'll have to get used to my queer people that I try to rescue," then, "when we go back I'm going to take you to the garage and show Colter to[Pg 124] you and then you've got to put on your thinking cap and tell me what has happened to him and what he is!"

"Of all things," breathed little Minga with disgust, "and there's a rip in your sleeve, too," she added in tones of injury. "Sard, don't go and get queer and interested in things that awful way that some girls do." Minga was clearly aggrieved.

But Sard had run up the bank steps and turned in the direction of the cashier's office. Through the plate glass window she bowed to the president; his massive head and broad low brow and deep-set eyes emphasized a rather unusual type of the quiet country gentleman. Stepping into the partitioned consulting-room the girl found someone already in conference with the cashier. It was Watts Shipman. Sard drew back. "Oh, I'm intruding." She was hesitant.

"No, indeed;" both men rose with cordial insistence. "I was just going," said Shipman reassuringly.

The girl flushed. "I can come back again," then something steadying her, to the cashier, "I wanted to settle with you, Mr. Lowden, about our man Colter. You were so kind that day, you helped me so wonderfully." She smiled a little shyly. "For a moment I didn't know what to do."

The man made courteous deprecation. "I was so glad to be of service." Anticipating the girl's wish, he put a slip of paper into her hand, and Sard read it interestedly, her brows raised.

"This can't be all. He was two nights at that[Pg 125] boarding-house, I think, and his clothes were pressed and laundered—and—someone got him shoes——"

"Just the same," the young fellow laughed, "that's all it is. I strongly suspect, Miss Bogart, that the village philanthropists were as much interested in your case as you were, only," he sighed a little, "you took the lead. You were the real Samaritan; the rest of us might—well, it is just possible we could have passed that man day after day until he dropped dead from neglect and exhaustion. The doctor said it was only a question of a few hours more without food."

"You would have believed he was a tramp," excused Sard. Though she knew it was no excuse.

"But you knew that he was not a tramp," said the man quietly. Then as he gravely acknowledged the sum Sard laid on the desk, "Does he grow more coherent?"

Sard looked grateful for this intelligent interest, so different from the sensational kind manifested by other acquaintances. "He just works," she said thoughtfully, "works and reads and says very little. He almost never goes to the kitchen as the other men we employ do, and he reads a great deal and takes long walks. He knows the countryside thoroughly and if you ask him questions about flowers, he tells you queer scientific things, and—and——" she hesitated.

The look of interest on the face of the lawyer sitting here made the girl pause; an inherent reticence in Sard was a noticeable characteristic. Before Shipman [Pg 126]she was on her guard; with a little nod she turned and was gone.

The two men, admiring, noted the quick decision, the arrest of confidence, and smiled at each other.

"It was Miss Bogart who headed my cavalcade last night," said Shipman, "and she was spokeswoman for the O'Brien matter. Has she, do you think, much influence with her father?"

The young cashier put his finger-tips together. "With Bogart? Did you ever know anyone who ever had any influence with Bogart? You don't know the man; he's not modern in any sense. He has the hard and fixed ideas of crime and punishment. He believes in the Example. Punishment is his fetich. From his point of view, if he gives this young chap a life sentence, fewer old men will get shot in the back. That's Bogart's point of view." The cashier ruminated for a few moments, then added, "any jury knows it and plays upon it."

His visitor nodded, then smiled a rather dry smile. "It might, however, eventually mean more old men shot in the back," he said. Then rising, "Well, I've enjoyed our talk and thanks for helping me out with this scheme of the ransoming of Terence, by that young crowd. It is funny, but it is significant, and they mean business. They will pay a certain sum per head into your hands Saturday nights, and it goes into the O'Brien fund." The lawyer hesitated, adding in a low voice, "I need not tell you that I cannot save the chap. I know that he did the thing, but I mean to try and get a shorter sentence, twenty years perhaps," [Pg 127]he shrugged his shoulders, adding, "and you and I know precisely what a man's life is worth after twenty years in prison."

"How about a game of golf on the Wedgewood course to-morrow? You want to get your revenge?"

They shook hands on it; the younger man looked into the dark eyes, so full of human kindness, yet so austere and lonely.

"Watts Shipman," the young cashier said slowly, "what are you doing up there on that mountain? Anything you shouldn't—home brew,—sirens?"

The lawyer laughed; he caught up his riding crop. "Come up and see; walk up, do you good to climb that far; no wine, no women, not even some of our best suppressed literature. I'm—I'm just trying," the lawyer threw back his head and drew a deep breath, "to get hold of life, real life, the kind of thing that eludes men until too late they turn and clutch for it."

The other laughed. "And so you saw wood and wash your own dishes? Wonderful realization of life!"

Shipman's mouth twisted into appreciation of the thing. "I've got a vegetable garden—raise nearly all my own produce. I've planted it in terraces half down the mountainside the way the Greeks do in Thessaly. That's a wonderful scheme for natural irrigation. Anyway," the lawyer squared away and delivered a teasing punch on his friend's chest, "I've got back a good digestion and can stretch like a tiger and feel the morning sun along my bare flanks[Pg 128] and—and I can laugh heartily, and I've forgotten the smell of money and I've gone back to a boyish repugnance for dirty things and lying things and under-handed things." The older man cast a penetrating look into the very stuff of his friend. "Isn't it up to us to create new standards?" he asked squarely; "are you satisfied with the old? I'm not! I want clean standards, but I want 'em built on facts, not on calendar mottoes."

The other shook his head. "So do I," he said in a low tone, "but," he waved his hand to the street outside, "do you see much out there that looks like new standards? It's the calendar motto still." For a moment the two men stood in the window reading the street like a book on which figures of men and women like words told the story of the vicinity. Morris's mild, plainly-dressed women doing the morning's marketing, face, features and walk betokening a certain niggardliness with life; a complacent adjustment to the best that has been instead of an insistence upon the best that shall be. Occasional handsome cars holding peevish city faces come to the country for a great poison herb, Novelty. Young people flitting about in droves driven by insatiability and their peculiar disease, leisure and unapplied brains. One or two old forms tottering in the sunshine, pleased, interested with little trivial occurrences, yet powerful, holding the power of prestige. The usual village types, the static parson, the elastic politician, the loafers on the corner, the nameless village woman, the scoundrel village man, the sanctimonious gossips,[Pg 129] the schools at twelve pouring out of their hoppers the little victims of all whatever good or ill might be; up and down the streets, these forms, symbols of life, moved and went about their business. But no matter what they spelled in between they wrote irrevocably on the pavements, Greed, and also Fear, and Popularity. They did not write Progress.

Watts, his dark face turned on the others, looked inquiringly. "The same as Athens under Pericles, I suppose?" he questioned. "The great souls come and go and agonize and cry in the wilderness, and the little souls determine what shall be." He held out his hand once more and the other gripped it.

"You talk like a man-Cassandra," the cashier grumbled, "but I'm coming up on your old mountain top to hear some more of your wild stuff."

As Shipman passed down the bank steps he saw the Bogart car sail by and the two tams, the red and the blue, bobbed gaily at him. "See you at the dance next Saturday." It was Minga who called this carelessly. It was the same Minga who a few nights ago on the mountain top had told Watts Shipman she hated him. Now her vivid face framed in its blowing curls looked calm appreciation. The Bunch were "for" Watts; also the big club dance was in the air; her instinct for collecting partners bade her forget the cigarette episode. Watts, while he raised his eyebrows, gestured enthusiastically. Sard also waved her hand, and the flash of her deep eyes got to the man in a way she might not have intended. For a moment he stood and looked after them down the principal[Pg 130] little street of Morris. It was the blue tam-o'-shanter that still filled his vision.

"Blue ran the flash across," he quoted thoughtfully. But it was not of blue violets that the great lawyer was thinking; it was of personality, of personality that was like a flame, flashing across dullness and smugness and cheap pride, to what cost? Watts Shipman, climbing to his mountain top, questioned, for no man knew better than he the painful cost of honest personality.

[Pg 131]



Out toward the rear of the Judge's place there were garden paths set about with horny fruit trees. A small plot of low-growing vegetables; a strip of turf and a square of bean poles, made a jungle of kitchen produce. As the season advanced, early summer pears of a soft yellow, rosy-cheeked sort, began to hang in globules on the gray-flaked trees. Here Colter sometimes worked under the Judge's snapped comments, or sat at luncheon hour, preferring to eat here rather than in the comfortable kitchen; and here, because of its almost jungle-like inaccessibility, Sard, wandering from the house, would sometimes sit in the long slumberous grasses and read. No one else cared much for the vegetable plot nor for the yellow pears. Miss Aurelia stayed away on the ground of wasps; the Judge found that the grass ruined his highly polished boots; the cook and the waitresses had prejudices connected with snakes, but Sard wondered if the "man on the place" ever saw, as she, lying on her back, sometimes saw, the romance of this nook. The tent of the blue sky, the silken whir of birds winging through, the syncopatic throb of life in the grass all around, the Dervish-like attitude of the old trees[Pg 132] holding in faithful remembrance of youth and blossoms their honey-filled pots of gold.

It was at the noon hour that the two girls came to pick up windfalls. They waded through the long grass lamenting the great dark bruises on the soft pear shapes.

"One smashing fall, and a whole lovely pear is spoiled," complained Minga.

"Something like people," Sard thought; "one bruise makes us say a pear is 'spoiled.' A person does some one thing that isn't right, and then as it has with Terence, it spreads out and out and we think of him not as having his other good qualities, but of just that one thing. Terence might have been a good horse trainer or a good pianist or a ship's captain or anything that needs recklessness and short swift purpose, but he has done the one great awful thing that blots out all those other qualities and that makes him for all time just a murderer."

The girl thoughtfully stood, her head drooping and her face deep with a curious shadow of tragedy that was partly inherited. Sard felt sure that somewhere in her ancestry were people who cared in some deep way for humanity, who agonized and were sorry as she was for all the sadness and madness of the world. The thought comforted her. Now, as she picked up pear after pear and caught sight of Colter kneeling, busy putting ashes around the roots of blackberry vines, she called to him.

"Are the blackberries ripening?"

Colter slowly rose. Minga, standing lost in a stare[Pg 133] of curiosity, saw the tall, straight, loosely-built figure and finely modeled face with its thin and curiously yearning line from cheek to jaw. The eyes of a hot blue were very intense, and the curious backward swath of deep chestnut hair made an unusual setting for the chiseling of a face that, while it was still young, was curiously marred with suffering, yet had something of debonair quality that the girl was too immature to analyze. Minga, hardly knowing why she did so, looked at the hands closed easily on the garden rake. Even to her crude perception they were disciplined hands with the signs of other than coarse toil upon them.

Colter, in answering the question, advanced toward them. Both girls were conscious of the clean, trim set effect of the working shirt on his well-built frame; the tie was exact under his soft collar. His voice when he spoke was low, with a weak, shaky emphasis, but he answered Sard's question interestedly, "I think these berries could be greatly improved. The vines have grown full of dead wood. I've done a little cutting away, and perhaps with better soil treatment," he nodded to the pears, "they're very fine just now. Judge Bogart wants me to take a basket of them up to Mrs. Ralling. She lives on the upper road, I think."

Perhaps there is nothing so surely indicative of certain training and breeding as the pronunciation of proper names, particularly names that have R and L in them. The foreigner in our country slurs these letters with childlike confidence. The badly-bred per[Pg 134]son, ear untrained to niceties of speech, furs the R and gobbles the L and chews his vowels. These are the curious unconscious ways by which the American shows his contempt of all distinguished nuances. Colter, so the two young girls observed, did none of these things. Neither did he employ the over-stressed nicety, the too careful method of the person who has not always spoken correctly. What he had to say he said gently, half thoughtfully. He stood looking at the girls without familiarity, but he showed no constraint.

"I found your book, Miss Bogart." Colter drew the volume out of his coat hanging on a pear tree.

Sard reached eagerly for it. "Then I did leave it out here!"

She turned to Minga. "I was reading it here the day before you came—all this time in the grass, my 'Oxford Book of Verse,'" Sard, a true book-lover, examined the little volume affectionately. "The leaves don't seem to be hurt, and yet it rained two nights ago." She looked at Colter. "You took care of it?"

He smiled in a pleased sort of way. "It was pretty well dampened, but I found a way to dry it without streaking. I," he hesitated, "I know a little about the treatment of wet paper." Colter looked off, knitting his brows thoughtfully.

Minga, uninterested, was turning away, but the gardener nodded at the book. "I've been reading some things in there I like. I wonder if you would let me have it a little longer?"

[Pg 135]

There was dignity in the man's voice, yet a curious pleading note as if he asked to be allowed to hold on to something very necessary to him.

"I—I once owned this book," he explained, then stood seemingly plunged in thought, hardly noticing the two girls who stared at him.

"Surely." Sard made her free gesture as she handed him back the little volume. "Keep it as long as you like," said the girl in friendly fashion, "and, Colter——"

The man paused, respectfully attentive.

"Don't you want some other things to read?" Sard's eyes, friendly with interest, were upon him. She was unconscious, sympathetic. "I know Father would let you have anything in his library."

"I'll bet anything Judgie would not," was Minga's inner comment.

A curious look came over the man's face. As he stood there, the sunlight on the russet hair, there came into his eyes a quality of pleasure and bright response, of good will and courteous deference that was the unmistakable look of personality. But it was momentary. The two girls, young, not very well versed in subtle shades of breeding, stood staring curiously at him. Then suddenly they saw the look transform; a dull expression, a sort of hunted suspicion settled on the sensitive features; and it was only a garden hand in baggy trousers and sun-faded gray shirt that stood before them; something had faded out of the man.

Faltering at the mystery of it, Sard tried to repeat[Pg 136] her offer. "I meant," she said awkwardly, "you seemed to care so for books."

"Thank you," said Colter quietly. "I will leave your book in the kitchen."

It was done with so final an air that there was nothing for the girl to do but follow Minga out of the orchard, but before she left the garden she raised her eyes with a swift inquiring look into the strong blue ones fixed upon her. What she saw there puzzled and dismayed her. A sudden thought set her heart to beating quickly. "Minga," called Sard suddenly, "Minga, wait for me!" Startled like a bird, the girl sped out of the little garden patch. The two hurried toward the house.

Minga put her hand on Sard's shoulder; a look of frank curiosity and inquiry was on her face. "Where did he get that name Colter?" she demanded.

"It was printed in the old wreck of a cap he wore, but he says it is not his name. But he can't remember his name. Well," asked Sard breathlessly, "well, what do you think?"

Minga faced the older girl solemnly. "Look here," she demanded, "what is that creature—who is it—where did you pick it up?"

"Then you felt it, too," Sard demanded triumphantly. "You know he isn't a common person?"

Minga shook her head solemnly. "I don't know what I know," obstinately, "only it can't be the President of the United States, you know, and it isn't any kind of foreigner and yet—yet he seems to feel as if he were some punkins."

[Pg 137]

"Then you do see it, too?" Sard was exultant. She grasped the arm of the other girl. "Come on up to my room in the tower and we can talk. Don't let Aunt Reely join us."

"Are you girls making any arrangements for the Saturday night club dance?" demanded that lady. Miss Aurelia was fresh in a white dress with cuffs and collar of intricate embroidery. She wore a chain of colorless coral beads. "This dance will not be like the others 'in sweaters and tennis shoes,'" she warned them. "Mrs. Spoyd has been working very hard to get the young people to appear well at the dances. Now your frock, Sard, needs certain things done to it. Mrs. Spoyd thinks you dress too old."

"Oh, gracious!" Sard threw out her hands in impatience. "My yellow frock is good for a year yet. Don't bother, dear," she begged.

"Now, Sard, I'm not sure," Miss Aurelia demurred. "Last time you wore it I thought—they wear them so short now. Shouldn't you take it up a little? But I don't know. Of course, Mrs. Spoyd thinks—I—she—you——" Minga interfered.

"Come in and look at my pretty little robe," she invited sweetly. "Such a jazzy little affair! Straight off the Avenue."

Minga held up a small bunch of color. "Perky, isn't it?" she wanted to know. "A little daring, as the lady said, but of course, if that's what people are wearing——" Minga made a face of sweet inquiry.

The twin-petaled blue tunic with its girdle and shoulder straps of flame color had two jeweled butter[Pg 138]flies, one planted below Minga's little thin chest, the other at the base of her supple back. This confection could have been blown away with a sigh. Miss Aurelia heaved that sigh.

"Of course, nowadays that cut under the arm is what they all wear—very popular. Dearest," asked Miss Aurelia plaintively, "if it should grow cold and you wanted an—er—under body or guimpe of any kind, I'm sure I could lend you one. And you wear so little underneath——"

Minga, holding the dress close up to her, hung her dark curly head on one side. "Rather nippy," she remarked with satisfaction. "You think it shows too much of me? Oh, no," comforted Minga, "there's really quite a good deal of me that doesn't show, but don't worry, Miss Aurelia, nobody will be thinking about that. People aren't as curious about how we're made as they used to be. We all know that we've got arms and legs and chests and shoulders and ribs and things. It isn't interesting any more!"

Saying this Minga unwittingly put her finger on what is half truth, that is, that it is the Puritanical people of the world who emphasize the harm that is done by vulgar thinking and dressing. The prudish people think more about vulgarity than the vulgar themselves. The way to kill such things is to ignore. The fashion, when it has become a fashion, ceases to be notable, or even challenging. But its dubious life is prolonged by those who seek to curb it.

Miss Aurelia, with many murmured doubts and misgivings, now took Sard's frock out of its tissue[Pg 139] paper and pasteboard box. With it went a violet sash and violet slippers that Minga scrutinized rather disparagingly. "She ought to have scarlet slippers and scarlet stockings with that yellow."

"It wouldn't be good taste," said Sard shortly.

"But it would be noticed," replied her friend archly, "and you have nice legs, Sard. Now, Aunt Reely," Minga held up an accusing finger, "don't pretend you don't know that. You do know that Sard has nice legs; so does Judgie, so does Dunstan. Why shouldn't the world know?"

So the conference on evening dress broke up amid Miss Aurelia's doubts and fears and distressed sense of legs. Minga leading, the girls climbed the tower room stairs, half restraining their giggles.

"If I come down to dinner in that frock Judgie will send me to bed without my supper," Minga prophesied; "just the same, he will take several long looks to be sure he is right." The restless tongue wagged on until Minga became conscious that her comrade was not listening to her. She glanced at Sard staring out of the window and remembered what they had climbed up here for. "Now tell me about this queer critter you've got out there. You call him Colter. I'd have been willing to bet my engagement ring that was not his real name. His real name," said Minga, "is Lancelot Humbug."

Sard, twisting the shade cord, slowly shook her head. "How do we know?" she murmured. "He isn't anything we think he is. I mean what he's supposed to be, but," she looked quickly at Minga, then away,[Pg 140] "I've come to the point where I'd rather not know anything. There might be something awful." The girl shivered slightly. "How do I know?" she repeated.

Sard turned eagerly to her friend. "Minga, do you get things, have them come to you, without thinking? Do you ever just know things through and through without being told, you know, sort of sense a thing?"

Minga, going to the dressing-table and taking the ivory-backed nail buffer, searched about for some polishing powder. "When you start off like that," the girl remarked, "I always find some light hand labor. Go on, Sard, honey; I can get my nails beautifully done while you give me the last Sard-slush."

"Oh, you fuss so over your nails," said the other girl irritably. "I think it's bad taste, somehow. I can't bear these women who take every moment they get to compare their hair and teeth and nails and fingers; there's something monkey-like about it, sort of like savages. I suppose," Sard laughed a little ironically, "if I had nothing else to do but sit on the sand and smear oil on my skin I'd be interested in such things, too."

"Whew!" whistled Minga imperturbably, "you are all rubbed up! You foam, you fairly sizzle!" She went over to her friend and archly explained.

"It's only my sweet womanly concern for my lover—dearrrest—Tawny has telephoned; only engaged six dances. I think he's slipping away from me, and I don't want to lose him, not when they're doing that[Pg 141] queer 'bubble and squeak step' and he's the only man who can do it. Tawny," explained Minga, "must see his ring glittering upon the most feminine little hand in the world. You see I have a feeling that he wants to pass me up for Cynthia or Gertrude; these two have been corresponding with him, and he sent them candy last week—Blaaaaaa!"

Minga, with a gesture of disgust, dropped her eyes. She waved her buffer in the air, fastening her eyes on her friend. "Does he think he can fool me that way? Ahem, I'm talking." The other girl's head was turned away, the eyes staring in troubled fixity at the river. "If anyone were to fall out of the hearse and ask me," said Minga with tender solemnity, "I should reply that I did not think you were interested."

It was the quality of essential good nature in this girl that made her loved. All Minga's idle words, her flippancies and inconsistencies seemed to conceal some sound core of being that made her not willing to wound. Now, she went over and brought her hand down on Sard's back.

"Minga!" The other started irritably and edged away.

"Oh, pshaw!" said the little person with bobbed hair. "Sard, don't be silly; you act like Mannikin Maude, the Temperamental Tempest. Now in good, plain American what's the matter?" Minga, turning her friend's head to meet her eyes, pronounced her verdict.

"Say, look here, you've—you've been no good since that night on the mountain with Watts Shipman; he[Pg 142] snubbed you, I suppose, the way he snubbed us all. Well, what do you care? He's only a silly old bachelor. Pooh!" Minga addressed her finger nails, "I could eat into his heart like a maggot if I only wanted to——" She slapped Sard on the back again. "Ooooo—but you're gloomy. Brace up, cheer up, swell up, the worst is yet to come!"

No one could withstand this absurd rallying. The girl at the window smiled in spite of herself, but she shook her head.

"Minga," in a low voice, "that man out there is somebody!"

"Bllllaaaaa." Minga rolled in despairing disapprobation on the couch. "I know it, but it's not my affair. I knew that was what was going on in your head. Lawrence Multimillionaire, the missing heir of Deepcroft Manor—Oh!" Minga wailed, "to think of you, Sard, the steady, the highbrow, the blessed Damosel, to come to a thing like this! Honest, I do think the movies turn our heads when—when we least expect it. I thought I noticed that the garbage man wore a fraternity pin," she jeered, "and surely the iceman quoted from the 'Rubaiyat' yesterday morning."

But Sard would not catch at this mood, she only put aside the teasing hand that tweaked her hair and fussed over her belt buckle. At last, she said half under her breath, "If it is amnesia, if he himself doesn't know who he is, where he belongs, think of the horror of that!"

There was a whir and chug of an arrested car on[Pg 143] the drive under the window. Dunstan with klaxon and voice hailed them. "Oh, you Minga, put out your head. Say, goils, we've got a notion. The Gertrude bunch is going to pull off that canoe trip up the Hackensack River this afternoon—supper and a few ghost stories, toasted marshmallows, wit, laughter, and moonlight. Want to go?"

Minga looked out, eyeing him critically. "Dunce, why do you wear a sweater that color? It's awful for you; you should wear nothing but soft tans and yellow to go with your doggy eyes."

"Humph!" said Dunstan, "that'll do for my doggy eyes." He got out and went around to the back of the car and took out a kit of tools. "Now I don't want to be bothered with the drool of an engaged flapper," he declared; "but I say, do you want to go on this joy jump? I mean it."

The girls leaning out consulted each other with their eyes. "We were going to wash our hair," demurred Sard, "and then we promised to make fudge for Aunt Reely, and then," said Minga solemnly, "I promised to show Aunt Reely a knitting stitch."

"Ha," the youth below looked up and grinned—"in other words you don't want to go, or in still other words you don't like the Gertrude and Cin combination. Oh, Sard, you're so noble and literary," the brother said in mock admiration, "you express things so well. You—she—I—they—it—he—she," Dunstan dropped the rôle of Aunt Aurelia and concluded shortly, "Well, why should you go? Who[Pg 144] wants a couple of old hens washing their hair? The road-hog Gert and Cin'll do all right."

Minga thought the thing over. "There's nothing to see on the Hackensack," she misdoubted, "just old water and moss and trees and things."

"Oh, ain't there?" said Dunstan, airily. "Well, I don't tell everything to ladies who don't care for my society or my friends. I don't speak of pink pearls, and here I raced all the way home and punctured a tire to get you two old crones because I thought you'd like to go."

The two crones, slightly crestfallen, once more surveyed each other.

"Which men did you pick out for us?" at last inquired Sard.

Dunstan pushed back his cap; his brow was hot with his philanthropic offer to promote a picnic.

"Well," he divulged, a little unwillingly, "of course, Gertrude wanted me, and Cinny had a chap coming out on an afternoon train, dunno who, and then we thought, well, the girls thought, that Sperry, the owl-eyed lawyer, would do for you, Sard, and Minga, well, Balky Popham sort of butted in and chose Minga."

"That settles it, you see." Minga grinned politely with all her little teeth. "We're going to wash our hair!"

"Oh, my faith!" groaned the youth below. "Say, you two are a couple of Convent Coolies." Looking up wrath fully he tried to face them down with this epithet, but to face a person down while looking up[Pg 145]ward is difficult: at last he gave it up. "Right-o!" he said bitterly. "Right-o! Then I get the fair Cynthia with her little bag of dope and Gertrude with her gloomy gaze, and we side-track the others and pass on to our own private funeral."

There was something in the young fellow's tone as he said this that roused both girls; half protesting, half laughing, they leaned out. "No, wait, Dunce!" they pleaded, "let's talk it over. Perhaps—wait—Dunce—Dunce——" but there was the angry whir of the car and Dunce was gone.

Minga's face was scarlet, her eyes gleamed. She turned to Sard. "Well, now you see what we've done. We were idiots. He was asking us because—because——Sard, you know what those girls are!"

Sard, brows knitted, was self-conscious. "I ought to have realized," she said slowly, "but perhaps it's just——Oh, dear, Minga, what were we thinking of? Dunstan has done his best to sort of good-naturedly keep away from Cinny and Gertrude! My, she's horrible for a nice boy."

"And they'll work up a stag line with him for to-morrow night," said Minga. "Oh, oh, oh!" she stamped her foot. "They'll have the pick of the dances and all the extras. You know how they'll work it, Sard. Why didn't you think quickly?"

The other girl ran her hand lovingly over the curly head. "Such a little pepper-pot; why didn't you think? I thought you didn't want to go, Minga; you're so funny, nobody will ever know what you want."

"Well, I will," asserted Minga vehemently, "that[Pg 146] is, I'll know what I want when I want it and now I want everlastingly to keep that Gertrude thing from our nice boys and from Tawny, don't you see, Sard?" Minga's eyes widened virtuously. "She's setting traps for my fiancé."

Sard threw back her head. "Oh," she pealed, "oh, you are too dreadful. I give you up. Come on down to lunch."

The luncheon gong sounded its three soft ascending vibrations. The girls, consulting, went down arm-in-arm. At the table they talked of the large chrysanthemums they had seen at a flower show and of a new way to serve butter, and Aunt Aurelia thought, "I am so glad to see them getting interested in ladylike things. It is fortunate they did not go on with college; they have just enough ideas, I think."

[Pg 147]



People who like to dream geologic dreams of the figures and forms that moved in the long night of ancient Chaos are fond of tracing out some connection between the Hudson River and its neighbor, the woodland winding Hackensack. Not much narrower than the Tiber, and certainly wider than the little trickles that are left of the classic rivers of Greece, it has little personality for the general inhabitants of New York or New Jersey. Only to those who make friends of the hidden and search out the obscure is revealed the romance of the little river. The Hudson, grown conventional and well turned out, like a handsome mother, accustomed to hotel life, has a daughter, always at her side, yet elusive and wayward. These two, separated by mountain walls and palisade doors and lovely stretches of dreaming hills, meadows and road-crossed flats, have some common secret origin that they cannot alter nor disguise.

The nobler river is, however, destined to become the Path of Commerce, the trail of the great white Foot of Civilization, while the little Hackensack, punctuated here and there with history of the Colonials and with midnight escapes and sorties, winding by old sandstone houses with ancient roofs, still keeps reticence, a lovely inaccessibility. Screened[Pg 148] by maples, green hemlocks and alders in some haunts, in others she is a broad tranquil sheet of green crystal or a copper sunset path that leads into vine-hung bowers or spreads out into bare flats where the reeds rear tasseled heads.

Here the blue herons keep their silent vigils, the eagles have nests; here the muskrats drag blue mussel shells along the mossy banks and scatter the tiny pink pearls that sometimes reward hunters, who follow the azure iridescence. The cardinal flower and blue gentian blaze their quiet little trails along the sedges and Indian pipe glimmers in the back thicket. Pitcher plant and sundew, a thousand tiny lanterns of multi-colored berries, all the lush tenting and blossomy fragrance of grapes and hazelnut, and a hundred secret water plants—these are the things that go on living, where the birds bathe and the snakes lie languid and the turtles meet for their boggy conferences.

Sard's plan was to make the trip up the Hackensack by themselves. After lunch she stole out to the garage to find Colter, who was washing the depot car.

"Anyone using this this afternoon?" Sard indicated the long black body.

The man paused. He shut off the hose. "I think not. Judge Bogart has gone off with a friend for golf; Mr. Dunce took the roadster." There were invariably long pauses between Colter's sentences. "You wish to use it?"

"Yes." Sard thought a moment. "We want to[Pg 149] join Mr. Dunstan's party up the Hackensack. You spoke of having been up that stream once, and said you knew where we could get a canoe. Would you, could you take us up?"

Squeezing out a sponge, Colter stood there without answering. He looked at the dripping sponge so dazedly that Sard thought he had not heard. "You know how to manage a canoe?" she asked. "We could get along with one boat, going up-stream toward the big race above West Morris. Why, Colter, what is the matter?"

"Going up-stream in a boat," repeated Colter thickly. "That's all over; going up a woodland stream in a boat. No—coming down—with him—dead!" The man did not look at her. "Where—where was it?" he asked. He stood clenching his hands, his eyes staring; he turned, not seeing the girl, though his deep fire-blue eyes burnt into hers. "Where was it?" he asked tensely.

The thing was so strange in its utter irrelevance that Sard, though she had seen him like this before, could hardly keep from rubbing her eyes. As in a dream she saw Colter's hand go out; it was as if he tried to push something away. "A boat," he muttered, "a boat and a stream that was walled with vines. Wait—wait!" He breathed rapidly, his head lifted as if he desperately tried to recall something; then he suddenly turned his eyes on the girl, shook his head and groaned. He passed his hand over his eyes and looked at her, smiling very gently.

"I couldn't get it," he said simply, half apologetic[Pg 150]ally; "sometimes a little of it comes in parts. Did I startle you?" he asked with a look of concern.

"No—no——" she stammered. He had been like that the day she had found him sitting with his feet in the gutter muttering to himself. She waited with self-possession that surprised her, then asked quietly, "Was it something you wanted to tell me, something that you remembered?"

The man looked at her, his eyes now clear and rational. "No," gently, "I did not remember. You see that is my trouble, I do not know. I can remember nothing, nothing connected, not even who I am."

"You do not know who you are?" asked the girl awed. "Isn't there a book or a watch or something with your name?"

But he seemed not to hear her. He stood there lost in thought; finally, with a sigh, he seemed to give it up and turned to her. "What time shall I have the car around, Miss Bogart?"

"At four." The girl watched him for a moment and she said, "We wanted you to go with us. We wanted you to take charge of the expedition." She was a little uncertain.

"Certainly, Miss Sard." Colter said it gravely, cheerfully, with the machine-like acquiescence of the trained gardener or chauffeur. Sard turned and walked away, and he as quietly went back to his work, but through the young being, in that strange phase of a woman's mind and body that we call "intuition," went the baffling cadence of a man's voice,[Pg 151] a cadence of doubt, terror and then the patient and controlled, "Very well, Miss Sard."

Something of tradition in the girl tried to drown it. Dismayed, she realized how this thing possessed her, how this voice rang in her physical being, "Very well, Miss Sard." She drew herself up. Was she, then, a woman of birth, a girl of two years' college training to be affected by the mere voice of a vagabond, a tramp, an unshaven ne'er-do-well?

As the two girls got into their camping things, Sard outlined the afternoon's programme. "And I want to suggest—let's see what you think—I don't suppose we should treat Colter quite like a common person; well, one can see that he's not exactly a man of all work."

Minga pinned back the flap of her scarlet tam-o'-shanter. "It would be improper to treat him otherwise," Minga decided with what for her was rather austere decision. "He isn't common exactly, but queer, and that's worse; Sard," went on Minga with an air of superiority, "I don't see how you could have picked him up like that and carted him in your nice clean car to that boarding-house place; Dunce says you all but helped carry him and gave directions and all—Ugh—and then lied to your father, pretending all this about a common workman."

Sard's face darkened. "I didn't lie," she said in a low voice. "I picked him up because I had seen him there sitting, hour after hour, with that queer dazed look, so wretched, shaken and awful. I'll admit he looked dreadful, but somehow his eyes didn't look[Pg 152] dirty; something that was awfully clean spoke through all his wretchedness, and when I heard him tell those stupid policemen that he 'couldn't remember,' his voice got to me—got to me——" Sard restlessly wandered about the room unable to express what she meant. "I suddenly felt that I, well, I knew him, and," announced the girl defiantly, "I've somehow felt that way ever since. I just knew. I admit it's queer, Minga."

"It's queer, all right," Minga said succinctly, "and so are you." She stuck her scarf inside her boyish little jacket and struck an attitude in her boots and knickerbockers.

"Fluffy Fiddlestick, the film heroine, is now going to give the Hackensack the once-over," she announced. "Talk about screen stuff; all this that you say about this tramp man, Sard, is worse than any screen story I ever saw, and you so demure! It isn't lying, but it's letting things lie for you; you got that bank person at Morris to suggest Colter to Judgie. Does Aunt Reely know you're responsible for his being here? A regular Gentleman John, and nobody but you in the secret." Minga, with quite an injured air, picked up her wrist-watch and fastened it on; she eyed herself in the mirror. "Do I need lipstick, no? Would the turtles appreciate red lips?"

"Well, you do know he's not a common man?" Sard asked, obstinately.

"Mercy, I don't know anything," retreated Minga easily. "Now, how do we get by Auntie's bower in these knickers?"

[Pg 153]

As they slipped together down the back stairs, Sard chuckled. "The funny part of it is Aunt Reely is reconciled to knickers; so is that queer Mrs. Spoyd. You see, they know that the English countesses and princesses wear them, and they sit studying all the different women's knickers in the fashion sheets and secretly wonder if they couldn't wear them themselves. I heard Mrs. Spoyd say, dreamingly, 'Well, my dearrrrr, I suppose we shall soon have stylish Stouts in the—er—camping trousers also,' and Aunt Reely sighed, 'We must try to adapt ourselves.' They are getting to be very popular!"

The girls went giggling down the steps and out the kitchen way, Sard glancing at the kitchen clock. "We ought to be able to get up-stream before Dunce and his party; they're starting way down-stream back of Spencerville. I'm going to embark above the West Morris station; here's supper and the tea basket, and I've told Maggie and Dora to have something hot in case we come in late."

It was like college days, like bacon bats and beach parties and Saturday hikes, and the girls' spirits rose. They bowed brightly to Colter, appearing with the depot car. In some way the man, clean and shaven, long limbed, clad neatly in faded old shirt and khaki trousers with dark tie carefully tied, was not a disagreeable figure as he gathered up the luncheon things and thermos bottles and waited for Sard's signal. The girl herself took the wheel, and Minga perched beside her. The novelty of the thing worked on the restless mind of the girl under the scarlet tam-o'-[Pg 154]shanter. "Wait till Cinny sees this," Minga murmured nervously, "and—and Gertrude! How'll they take the Colter addition to a party—he really looks all right, doesn't he? Those queer clothes set right, and his hair is brushed back like other people's, and his hands look good and kind, somehow. How old do you suppose he is?" she whispered. "About twice as old as Dunce?"

"Hush!" Sard turned a sharp corner carefully. "About thirty-seven, maybe forty." The eyes of both the girls widened at this antique possibility, but Sard remembered that there had been a professor at college who had seemed like a boy, almost as young as Dunce, and he was thirty-five.

There was a curious lift in Sard's head, in her eyes a flying look of adventure; her figure, light, alert, sat at the steering gear with a look of power and repose; her wistful profile had lines that were resolute and composed, as if waiting for some stuff of life on which to try their power; all about her in the windy press of their speed was the buoyant look of physical action, green trees, brown vital roads like veins full of the blood of Wanderlust and adventure; like them, the girl was ardent, fresh, a thing pure and intense as fire, yet sober and clean as water. In her belted coat and rough hat and the flying strands of hair, she drove in confident direction, over the damp woodland roads, over the swamps and bridges of the Morris turnpike, a very figure of Advance, so thought a man, who stood to let them pass, then let his arm fly up in hasty flourish. "Winged Victory!" he breathed.

[Pg 155]

"Hello!" Watts' hand flew to his hat and he waved it; then as the girls, with friendly greeting, slowed down, he turned back to parley. "Hold up your hands," he ordered gruffly. "Give me your wristwatches; no quarter."

It was all part of their feeling of quest and adventure, and they liked the tall lawyer for the little highway gesture as he stood there, his face lined with dust and sunburn, his costume showing rents and wrinkles of cross-country walking. The two wideawake faces smiled at him as he glanced tentatively at the gray-clad figure at the back of the car, but there was no introduction, though the lawyer paused for it. The man sitting there did not turn, but had a quiet position of relaxation. Sard reddened slightly.

"We're off on a lark," they explained. "Have you seen Dunce and his gang? We hope we've stolen a march on them; we're further up the river, we think."

"Going for some of those little pink pearls," explained Minga, "and we want to get ahead of 'em."

Shipman's amused eyes ran over the outfit. The excited girls, the silent man with tea basket and the thermos bottles; he looked sympathetic.

"Little pink pearls?" eyeing Minga teasingly, "are you going to pick them off the trees, or take them out of the turtles' mouths? How much food have you there, anything substantial?"

"Loads," they assured him; "we're stocked up for the Bible multitude; we have loaves and fishes and everything."

[Pg 156]

Still the older man hesitated. It was a little audacious, but he tried his luck at playing "young."

"Take me with you?" glancing at the averted face of Colter and questioningly raising his eyebrows.

The two girls accepted his self-invitation gaily. "Take you, won't we though? We need another man." Sard glanced back at the figure in the back. "This is Colter, whom we brought to help us with the boat and all that; he knows the Hackensack."

Watts Shipman nodded in his usual friendly way, and Minga, wide-eyed, observed that Colter's recognition was of the same order, a quiet, courteous friendliness. The little figure in the scarlet cap leaned eagerly toward the famous lawyer. Shipman and Minga seemed on surprisingly good terms. Purposely the lawyer kept any memory of their last encounter out of his manner and eyes.

"Do you really know where the pink pearls are?"

For answer Watts, standing in the road, took a little phial from his pocket and displayed it. On a bed of cotton were four or five tiny seed pearls of cream color and soft rose. The two girls opened their eyes with delight.

"Goodness," the worldly Minga was impressed. "Why don't Tiffany or somebody come up and get these? There might be a fortune in the Hackensack."

"They've had men up here," interposed Colter quietly, "but there wasn't enough in it for them."

The party turned and looked at him questioningly; Colter took the phial Shipman handed him. "You[Pg 157] see, they never grow very large," he explained, examining a pearl that rolled into his hand. "There is some substance lacking, but whatever it is, the reason isn't known, I think."

"Just the same, it will be fun to hunt for them." Shipman was as eager as a boy. "I have an extra skiff at that little house you see by the bridge up yonder; suppose I bring that; we can have a flotilla," he nodded to Colter, who nodded back.

"Surely," he agreed.

The voice, courteous of inflection, assured in enunciation, arrested the lawyer's attention as it had arrested Sard's. As the girls slipped to the ground, moving about the car, captivating in their trim camping costumes, the lawyer, his eye taking in their assured grace, the lithe precision of their movements, swept a curious eye over their companion.

The newly-shaven chin, the dark red hair brushed back and hands with nails that had once been well-shaped and cared for, mystified him with the sense of hidden identity, and yet he got no sense of purposeful concealment. Somehow the man seemed like a person who moved in a dream; what he said and did was done automatically, as if the Self had no abiding interest in his activities. The lawyer was conscious of a certain sense of mystery as he turned to assist with the tea basket and things.

"Can I help?"

"Thanks, if you'll bear a hand with those bottles." As Shipman grasped the things held out to him he looked for a moment full into the other's eyes, eyes[Pg 158] that met his quite quietly, too, but with an awful look of question.

"I am a gentleman," said those eyes—"do you know me, have you ever seen me—who am I?"

[Pg 159]



The two skiffs, now paddled, now poled, glided along the green-bronze waters of the woodland shores; the girls, sitting in the stern, were silent, this partly from Shipman's suggestion. Minga had started her customary chatter, but the lawyer laid his big hand on her shoulder. She looked up to find him, finger on lips, dark eyes smiling into hers. "If you want to see things," he whispered, "you'll have to be as dumb as a silent policeman." Minga, remembering the night on South Mountain, gave a slight involuntary shiver which the man noticed.

"Child!" exclaimed Shipman suddenly. He looked long and intently into the little face; he must have seen something rare like the blue shell of an eager little soul-bird, a little shell that must not be broken too roughly. "Forgive me for everything," he said contritely; "you must think me an awful sort of brute. Talk as much as you like, you rosebud. I only meant, well, there are things to see if one is quiet, you know!"

Minga smiled back into his face. It was an uncertain little smile, shorn of her usual gay sparkle and challenge or the repartee of what was known as "the Minga line." Seeing this, the lawyer removed his hand from her shoulder quickly; he reached for his[Pg 160] pipe and tobacco and lighted up for his abstemious afternoon smoke. Minga idly watched his deliberate movements, the curious impression that he gave of inherent remorseless power, of so physical and dynamic a kind fed by so enormous a reservoir of understanding and self-control that the girl might well feel in awe of it.

Paddle in hand, Shipman stood in the bow of the boat. He dug softly into the deep flow of the water; they turned the slow curve of an island, rounding afresh into long avenues of alders and elderberry and toward the purple gloom of hanging swamp maples. Colter's boat, Sard leaning eagerly forward, followed. Now and then the two men would halt and point to some half distinguished object, a great gray hornet's nest whorled like a ball of paper cinders in the thicket, a blue heron standing motionless, a mud hen sitting heavily in a dead tree. The long line of empty mussel shells was strung like big beads over the cushions of soft moss; a muskrat swam across the stream; a chipmunk, sitting on his haunches and munching like a cooky, a dark-brown mushroom—here and there clusters of scarlet amanita, yellow fungus like sponges, the delicate hanging Clintonia bells, or a thousand filmy patches of moss, where little trumpets blew and coral lights glowed, and little banners and transparencies marked the tiny march of plant progress.

Colter, steadily sculling his flat-bottomed craft, looked with evident delight on these things—his gaunt form stood steadily on its long legs, there was determined, practiced deliberation in his movements and[Pg 161] his were the eyes that first discovered this and that rarity. The intense gaze of the man seemed to burn into the dim forest walls of summer, his ears caught every subdued note, he peered like a sort of necromancer at a spider web, at a snail lethargically climbing the mud bank or a patch of sun dew, all its little gummy tentacles alert for fly-capture.

Minga, turning once, heard him mutter something under his breath; she stole a startled glance at him as her own boat sped along, and leaned forward.

"Don't go too fast, we mustn't get too far ahead of Sard; I don't like to leave her alone with that—that man."

Shipman raised his eyebrows. "Why," using her undertones, "isn't he the chauffeur? He's all right, isn't he?"

Minga was mysterious; a curious womanly accent of responsibility sat strangely on this little figure, with pretty legs in trim knickerbockers and puttees, and dark head of bobbed hair.

"He's just plain queer," objected Minga. "You'd never guess that the Judge and Miss Reely know nothing about him; that man, you see, is one of Sard's pickups."

"Pickups." Shipman frowned, while he smiled.

Minga luxuriated in the irregularity of the thing. "Oh," she protested, "you may think you know Sard, but you don't—nobody," said Minga solemnly, "knows her as I do. Of course," the little bobbed head shook wisely, "Sard wouldn't do anything—er—well, you know."

[Pg 162]

Shipman tried to control his humor. "Of course not," he echoed.

"Just the same," Minga was dramatic, "she goes around picking up queer people and sick dogs and babies and spending her money on them and getting them into hospitals and oh, awful things," said Minga, darkly. "She knows girls that haven't husbands and well——" she gave a gesture which though vague was eloquent.

The lawyer led her on. "So Miss Sard picked up this vagabond."

"Well, maybe not a vagabond," Minga looked over her shoulder warily, "a tramp, sort of, and he might be crazy. I heard him," she went on mysteriously, "use Latin words a moment ago and then look around, oh, so strangely."

"Sure thing," Shipman, with equal solemnity, nodded; "anyone who uses Latin or Greek these days is mad, of course; but it's a divine madness. I use it myself. I'm a little mad, you know." He bent amused eyes on his companion. "How did you know it was Latin?"

Minga looked back a little exultantly; the coquette in her never very far away from the surface, rose to his teasing. "I know some," announced this young person with a toss; "for instance," Minga became rather glib at the game they were playing, this was her "line," "I know all the conjugations of the verb 'amo.'"

"Well done," said Shipman idly. He smiled perfunctorily, but the great lawyer did not seem par[Pg 163]ticularly anxious to take up this gay little gauntlet; he was thoughtful, prodding the creek water rather viciously. "You think Colter might be a college man in disguise," he said abruptly, "wandering around studying sociological problems, no? That sort of thing is a fad these days, isn't it?" Just then Sard hailed them.

"I hear the Gertrude-bunch down-stream," she called in laughing triumph. "We've beat them to it; that's Dunce's queer yelp. Now," said the girl briskly, "suppose we get out on the shores of this big 'race' ahead here and make a fire and have our supper and wait until they turn up, then we can give them coffee, and we can all go down-stream in a procession and slam home in the machines together."

Minga nodded approvingly; the youngster had been a little overawed by the society of a man so much older than herself; now the prospect of a few young howlers and slangers of her own set revived her. "The very thing," she said. At the same time Minga realized that it would impress Gertrude and Cinny to see her being propelled in a skiff by the well-known barrister, Watts Shipman. All her funny little appreciations of life were concentrated upon keeping Shipman apparently her slave until these ladies should appear. They would think him awfully old, of course, but then, he was a famous lawyer and "popular," or as Minga construed him, "important," and that would be good for Gertrude and Cinny. The small intriguer waited in a highly feminine manner for Shipman to assist her out of the skiff.

[Pg 164]

Suddenly there was an exclamation from Colter, who had found a large mussel hanging on a half-submerged tree trunk. He methodically opened it with his knife and had just cut out from the jelly-like substance within a smooth oval as big as a grain of barley. "A beauty," breathed Colter, as he bent soberly down to the water to wash it. The group watched him take a bit of chamois from his pocket and polish it; somehow Sard was not surprised to see the long sensitive hand go into another pocket and produce a magnifying glass. The girl, who had been watching him gravely, felt a curious exultation that the other man should see her protégé so detached and calm in his movements. She looked curiously into his face, noting with a kind of pang, a wonder, all the lines of sweetness and self-control, laid over with a strange patience. She felt triumphant—suddenly Colter turned toward her, and with a little bow, put in her hand the little misshapen pearl. "A shape like folded light, embodied air," he murmured.

Sard stared. "Why, that is Emerson." Then wonderingly, "You read that in my little book?"

He smiled. Colter's smile was pleasant, with a row of not too regular, but very white teeth. "I used to know it by heart," he confessed; he seemed to forget Shipman and Minga, standing there observing. Once more the strange look came over his face, and he said rather eagerly, "For a time it seemed to open a door, but I——" Suddenly the man turned sharply, so sharply that the girl was startled. "Where was that?" he demanded thickly. "When did it happen? What[Pg 165] was it that made my head cloud and the long illness? Who was I before that? Where was I then?"

With a furious blush he shook his head as though to shake off a fatal spell; he turned to Shipman and Minga. "I—I beg your pardon; I shouldn't have spoken. It comes over me like that; I forgot for the moment."

Watts Shipman stood strangely quiet. The lawyer's look was that of a man who himself gropes for a clue and yet is suspicious. "But, yes," he said quietly, not without a slight touch of patronage, "if there is anything you want to straighten out, speak out, don't be afraid of us."

But Colter groaned. His look first of horror was altered to that of great mental struggle. The hands clenching at his side, the fine face blunted and torn by some doubt and fear; it was all too much for the girl who had rescued him. Sard started toward him; she put out her hand as to protect. "Hush!" she said, "you must not try to remember;" then, soothingly, "try to keep your mind just where it is now. Here! With us!"

The man turned slowly toward her; he straightened up obediently, looking from face to face, then all around the scene where they stood; the clear "race" murmuring about them, the little sandy shore, the tea baskets and shawls tumbled on the ground; he passed his hand over his face and, half-groaning, a baffled expression as of a half-formed word broke from his lips. "Did I frighten you?" he asked piteously. "I am afraid I frightened you. I—I[Pg 166] was——" He groaned, and it was a groan like human tears.

Sard, who was trembling now in every limb, denied it stoutly, but Minga looked resentful and suspicious. The older girl who had originally guessed what was the matter with Colter, that complete forgetfulness had swept his mind blank of vital things, felt her own sense of dismay. That the man was not playing at this thing, that he had altogether lost his sense of personal identity, she was sure, but back of that, what lay back of that? Then with a hot shame she remembered the tenderness that had come into her voice as she said, "Hush," to this man; as if she had spoken to a child.

But now the voices down the river were coming closer. There was much far-off shouting and singing in unfinished snatches of songs; the sound of a ukulele and a mandolin played, the one with tripping assured fingers, the other very much out of tune with clumsy effort to produce harmonies. The staccato chatter and gabble of two girl voices sounded oddly in the dense woods of swamp maple; now and then shrill laughter or an artificial scream jarred on the ears of the up-stream party. Minga, still absorbed in her search for possible pearls, hardly noticed this, but Shipman, with a face as immovable as an Indian's, gave it some inquiry.

"Who are in your brother's party?" he asked at last. "Our friend Dunce of the repartee and—er—who else?"

"Oh, Cynthia Bradon," Minga returned, "and[Pg 167] Gertrude, the girl we call the 'road hog,' you know. She's about the most modern girl I know," said Minga with an air of congratulation; "nothing stops her—she's sort of impulsive, you know, and yet crafty; it's quite a queer combination."

Shipman thought it might be a very queer combination. "There's a whopper, that mussel down there," he bared his hairy arm and reached down for it. "Looks as if there might be a whole pearl necklace in that."

But when they cut it open the pearl was too small to be of much account, so they scooped about in the dark water for others. As they worked, Minga poured out a good deal about Cynthia and Gertrude. The lively scarlet-capped girl had forgotten how all the way down South Mountain that night she had sworn to Dunstan that she hated Shipman and had called him a murderer and a man who would for sheer joy commit Terence O'Brien and any other fugitive to the electric chair for the glee of watching him done to death. Now, on her knees, she turned her sparkling blue eyes on the lawyer's dark face; they rested there like flowers magnetized by the deep stream of his being.

"If you get a big pearl like Sard's, I'll love you—all my life," she said softly. Minga was trying the little iridescent antennæ with which a woman tests the toughness of a man's surface, but something genuine stirred in her, and when the great lawyer turned to look more closely into her face she had the grace to wince a little.

[Pg 168]

"That's an engagement ring you wear, isn't it?" Watts asked cheerfully. "Some nice little cub spending his lunch money on flowers and candy for you."

Minga tried to blush, but the time-honored suffusion somehow would not work; the girl's own consciousness, her involuntary registry as of something "wrong with the mechanism" did not escape the lawyer; he threw back his head and the forest rang with his glee.

"No, that's something you've lost, you modern girls, you don't know how to blush. It was a wonderful thing your mothers laid up just the way they used to store up old wine, and it worked. Ye Gods! how it worked! But you—a little bit too much soul-enamel, Mademoiselle, to say nothing of these other things you put on your lovely little faces."

Minga bent her head; if she couldn't blush she could, at least, simulate shyness, and girls who hope to be moving-picture actresses know how to simulate most things; many of them are perfectly satisfied with simulation for reality. Shipman went on teasing about the engagement ring. "Tawny Troop," said he, "was a very good name, an excellent name, something like a wandering singer, didn't Minga think, or an acrobat; and did the good Tawny make enough money to support a wife?"

"His father is a big motion picture producer," said Minga with dignity. She became calm and explanatory, "and he dances my line of dancing. I work up my line, you know, and so to keep him from the other girls I am engaged to him; but we don't either of[Pg 169] us want to make it public," said Minga; "we know too much of life," with a world-wearied air. "I think one should be sure of a person, don't you? But Tawny is a good dancer," and, with an indescribable complacence, "this is a rather nice ring."

"I shall congratulate the son of the Producer," said Watts mockingly. "Does Prince Tawny go so far as to plan to produce anything himself? By Jove! Here's your big pearl, a hummer! Well, now," the lawyer was triumphant, "I've made good, anyway."

But an older man attracted for a moment by a vivid little face always makes the mistake of speaking to depths that do not exist behind that face while he blunders on little vanities that do exist. Watts had seemed too irreverent about the engagement. He had not treated Minga as a valuable person to envy another man the possession of; this by all the books and plays that Minga knew anything about, was the proper way to treat an engaged girl—there must be envy from both men and women, heart-burning and backbiting jealousies, else why be engaged? As the lawyer practically cut the pearl out of its bed, washed it and with a mock ceremonious bow handed it to her with the disrespectful suggestion: "My wedding present," Minga tingled in a way that he had made her tingle before. With a slight, bored gesture, the girl took the tiny treasure, held it a moment in her hand, then with a sudden curl of the lip, and an unlovely mocking in the eyes tossed it far from her, back into the forest. Minga stood there smiling at[Pg 170] the man who had given it to her. She had a look of diablerie older than the history of woman.

"Why, you little——" for a moment the dark brows beetled, then Shipman laughed, while Minga stared insolently into his face. She glanced over her shoulder.

"Oh, I wish we could have supper," she fretted. "I'm so fed up with this place. Sard, have we got to stay here all night? It's getting dark. Oh! I wish the Bunch would come along. I'm tired of old people!"

There was no doubt but that the Bunch were coming; the catcalls, the yelps of laughter and frantic strumming of instruments came nearer and nearer. Watts, sitting idly on the bank watching Sard and Colter set out the supper, winced once or twice. There was something blatant and raw in the voices of the girls that even at that distance suggested squalid things. The great lawyer had heard maudlin women under many circumstances. Watts, like many another professional man, knew that there was nothing more awful in its debauchery and spiritual nakedness than a civilized woman under drugs or loose emotion.

"What are these girls like?" he inquired sharply of Sard.

The girl for a moment did not answer; Minga giggled.

"Like Paprika and Chutney," she burst into a half-laugh, looking meaningly at Sard.

"Sounds a good deal like one of Cinny's jags; now where would she get anything——"

[Pg 171]

"Hush." The other girl's worried look stopped Minga. But the rebuke in it seemed to nettle the restless little creature, who jumped to her feet stamping her foot. "Oh, I'm half dead with this old place," said Minga. "I'm cold, too. I'm going to explore the forest; want to come?" looking over her shoulder at Shipman.

At his smiling negative, Minga pouted. "All right, then I'll go by myself." She made as if to burst through the wall of swamp-maples, looking tantalizingly back at the lawyer; but Colter, glancing up, interfered.

"There are bogs around here," he warned, "quick-sands; one can't go very far without trouble."

Minga, shaking her head, started forward, half laughing back at the two men who with concern watched her. "Catch me if you can, anybody," she called to them. "I'm the Lewis and Clark Expedition, I'm Marco Polo, I'm going to explore, I tell you. Who follows?"

One of the most interesting things of the decade is that the coolest, most blasé girl of the time will under the right combination of circumstances play exactly the same game of sex that all her cave ancestors played before her. Minga, the emancipated, the independent and wilful, the haughty and undisciplined, was now courting a very special thrill, the old cave-woman thrill of expectancy to be captured and mastered. Modern women of maturer age realize that in asserting their superiority in general biological ascent they are losing this thrill. It is extremely edifying to[Pg 172] study the devices by which they seek to experience while they theoretically disclaim it; a sort of eat-your-cake-and-have-it idea that must necessarily result in some very queer psychoses.

The little scarlet figure, peering through the bushes, deliberately grinned her challenge at Shipman; the tall, composed man, looking on with appreciation, deliberately grinned back, but the more mature grin was a little forced. Watts Shipman understood, he understood very perfectly, he therefore did not pursue; it was Colter who with a worried exclamation darted after the girl rapidly disappearing in the swamp brush.

Sard, also standing up, suddenly noticed that it was growing toward twilight.

She stood there looking so lovely, with her worried eyes, the fine toss of her head, the lips parted, that Shipman instinctively drew near to her. "I wish we had gone with Dunstan," said the girl half to herself. Sard looked over to the lawyer. "You remember my brother?" she asked simply. "It was he who took Minga home that night," blushing a little in this new comradeship, to remember her own stiffness and aloofness that night.

"You're very fond of him?" Watts asked.

"Yes," Sard sighed. "I wish I could steer him right, but," the girl drew her brows together, "none of us seem able to help each other much." She looked at the lawyer smiling. "Sometimes," she confessed, "I worry."

"Of course you worry," said Watts softly. The[Pg 173] lawyer liked being near her. He felt her clear honesty pouring all over him. Soft, pellucid, like the refreshment of clean water: "Of course you worry, but you will get tired if we keep on standing here. Sit down; let me take care of you."

The girl smiled; she very gladly let him take care of her. Sard, every inch of her capable and alert, had yet the power of those really powerful among women, that of letting a man show toward her his own best, the thing bred in him by his muscular superiority, the mother-taught sacred thing of his chivalry.

Watts, marveling at the grace of the girl, at her lovely calmness and steadiness, spread out the shawls on the bank. He piled the cushions back of her; he collected twigs and lighted a little fire. "It will be a beacon for them to find their way back," he said. "I rather fancy that little witch, Minga, will put your man through his paces; but he seems resourceful."

"They will be back soon," agreed Sard dubiously.

The lawyer looked at her at last. "I don't care if they don't come back too soon," he said in a curious voice. Shipman felt suddenly young, and it was twilight and there were bird notes in the woods.

"Oh, but we must have supper and get back before Aunt Reely begins to worry."

"But," he said, "this is the time to talk to you, the time I've been waiting for." Then as he saw her little questioning glance, "It's been on my mind to talk to you about Terence O'Brien. The trial comes off next week. I have got to tell you, Miss Bogart, that his chances are very slim. But let's not talk about[Pg 174] that. What I really want is," said Shipman slowly, his eyes fixed steadily on hers, "what I really want is to have you tell me all about this mystery man of yours. Tell me," he begged, "all about Colter!"

[Pg 175]



Telling Shipman "all about Colter" was, Sard found, not so easy. To eyes fixed upon hers with inscrutable powers of judgment, it was difficult to find words for the story. Yet, as the girl, her forehead slightly knotted, described the half-bent figure of the vagabond, surrounded by a curious little ring of village loafers, half prodded, half jeered into mumbled answers to questions as to what he was doing there, Shipman responded easily to the passion for decency and justice that had swept over her who had driven her car close up to the group. The picture of Sard dominating the half respectful, half resentful loafers, getting them to lift the dazed man into the car, was vivid. Shipman could see the calm young ascendency, the smiling way of giving directions, ignoring comments. The lawyer could visualize the whole thing, country smirks and all, as she related how she and Lowden had driven Colter to the little boarding-house, arranged for a room and the attendance of a physician and finally left her own visiting card and address and the sentence scribbled, "Come to this address when you are able to work."

There was something so divine in this unconscious recital of pure humanity that the man, sitting there, had no droll look of question, nor raised eyebrow of[Pg 176] inexpediency. The fresh eyes of the girl sought his for comment.

"I don't approve," he said slowly, "but I admire."

"But why don't you approve?"

Shipman looked into the young eyes, wondering at their brown brook-like centers, slightly tremulous with tiny shifting lights of gold. As the girl laughed, they deepened into a curious maternal gleam, a hint of motherliness. Fascinated by the clear purity of her, realizing how little she could grasp of the hundred cheap misinterpretations of her acts, he kept silent.

"Wouldn't you have 'approved' if you had been in Colter's place?"

The lawyer straightened. After all, he was years older than she, even winged victories could come to grief; there were draggled wings and things that could not be victories. He saw the saucy inference and became somber, so somber that he had no answer to match his mood. Sard chose to be glibly interrogative.

"You must have seen that he is not a common man?" determinedly.

"You couldn't have known that when you picked him up," was the slightly testy reply. "People can't do these things; the world is slimy, putrid, about all such things. The only thing that keeps the Augean stables livable is people like you that don't know the slimy things exist. I'm not at all sure," said the lawyer, with a big brotherly air, "that you had any right to carry the thing so far without your father's knowl[Pg 177]edge. Suppose this man had been a stool-pigeon, one of the bands that tour the country with plans for house-breaking." As Shipman said the words he was tearing stray leaves in his hands, watching the drooping face, hating himself for casting a shadow on it.

"You have seen that he is a gentleman," returned Sard steadily. If she had been an older woman she would have played lightly with the thing, half caressing the man in his chivalrous disapproval of her. But the lovely thing about Sard was that she took no such ways. While youth is youth it plays the game squarely, directly, standing outside of its own little fortress of personality, demanding, "Who goes there—friend or foe?" and unhesitatingly letting down the portcullis for those who show the right colors even though they keep their visors down.

"I don't like to butt in," said Shipman, "but—but I'd rather have you think a little more, yet. I don't know; if you did think you wouldn't be you and you are——" The man muttered the end of the sentence; he suddenly recollected himself, rose restlessly and walked over toward the line of swamp maples walling the inner woods back of the stream. He peered a little anxiously into the rapidly glooming vistas. "I think, Miss Girl, that you had better go a little slow," was all he said.

Shipman, himself, had been making a surreptitious study of Colter, and had to admit that the man, though apparently aged through some kind of exposure and deathless sorrow, had every evidence of good breeding and clean life. There had been a curious muscular[Pg 178] thinness to the long body that had spelled fundamental good health, though his cheeks were sunken and his hands nervous. Shipman had seen from the very beginning that Judge Bogart's man of all work at one time had physical training: riding, perhaps, cross-country walking; very much of a man, yet undoubtedly some ne'er do well who for reasons best known to himself had been willing to put himself under a girl's protection and affect so silly a disease as amnesia. Shipman balked at the amnesia theory. The lawyer half grimaced at the possibilities of Sard's awakening and disappointment. He cast about for some way in which he could warn the impulsive girl at his side yet help her in what she believed.

"People talk about training girls for the home," said Sard. She was standing close by him now. "Why don't they see that the World is our home? All our own separate little homes are just so many leaves and petals on the great World-Flower. It isn't enough to know how to run a little house with two floors and a bathroom and a kitchen," said the girl. "We must train our minds and our muscles to be ready to help anywhere; in foreign countries—to make homes in Hell, if need be."

It was said not recklessly or rantingly, but with a New Conviction, the conviction of clean, honest youth awake to the larger demand of the future and anxious not to be surprised or appalled, but to meet those demands. Shipman, something young and aching in his own breast, something that had not been touched for years, looked down upon the tawny head so close to[Pg 179] his shoulder; he caught his breath, "Winged Victory," he murmured.

"What?" asked practical Sard.

For answer the lawyer growled, "Nothing." He wandered restlessly about pulling back the low screening maple branches, peering into the depths of the woods where low sunset bird notes sounded over the wild geraniums and the ferns sent out strange bracken scents.

"Miss Bogart, do you know the character of the swamps through this section? Are there quick-sands?"

The girl stared. "I don't know," then suddenly startled, "Why?"

"Just because,"—the man was listening intently—"H'm! Yes, that's your man Colter's voice. I thought I heard it once before. Do you suppose he needs us?" He looked smilingly at her, anxious not too greatly to disturb her. "Would Miss Minga take chances with a bog or whatever? She'd do almost any fool thing, wouldn't she?"

"Chances—Minga!" Sard laughed while she frowned. "That's all Minga ever takes—chances; her life is like a little patchwork quilt, full of queer little bright pieces that don't match." Now the girl herself listened, staring into her companion's face, noting its strength and grimness. "I—I like him, sort of," admitted Sard to herself. Aloud she said, "Why, that's funny; just now I thought I heard someone too, but it was down there," indicating the direction of the canoes that could be heard farther[Pg 180] down the creek. The sound of the mandolins and ukuleles had stopped, but wrangling voices sounded from time to time and once more came the raucous screams that Shipman had noted earlier in the afternoon.

"That's Cinny," said Sard, frowning in good earnest. "Ugh!" said the girl irritatedly, "I wish she wouldn't be so queer. I wish——"

"What do you wish?" asked Shipman quietly. He had the quality of the man whom she had seen that first night at the organ builder's house, a quality of control and strength that a woman might lean on. Half unconsciously Sard did lean on it; a worried look had come over her face. "I feel responsible for Minga," she admitted, "for all of them; they're so queer, so almost horrid sometimes. I get fussed wondering how they'll turn out—they—they seem to have no Law."

"They have the Law-of-the-Pack, apparently," said Shipman, laughing. He, too, remembered that night at the organ builder's house. He recalled the defiant young faces fixed upon him as he had disciplined one of their number. Shipman recalled the incident with some satisfaction. He thought particularly of Minga. "Little fiend, I'd like to—but that was just it—what did one do to little fiends like Minga?"

His own frown was puzzled as he realized that it was getting late and that Minga and Colter were missing, yet what to do? Wait for the young lady to conclude her vagaries, or go forth after her and so pander to the vain little thing who had hidden herself in order[Pg 181] to force him to search for her. Shipman half laughed at the unaccountable thoughts that had stolen into his mind; all Minga needed was to be well kissed, kissed very hard indeed. The lawyer, standing straight, drew a short breath. "H'm, perhaps it was time to get back to the mountain top, to Friar Tuck, to a plaster cast and a few old books and a pipe and some memories. By Jove, it was time to get back!"

Suddenly Sard reached out and grasped the lawyer's arm. "Listen," she said eagerly. "There!"

The touch, vigorous and arresting, sobered while it thrilled him; he flushed like a guilty boy. The lawyer, lost in cases and evidence and books, had not had companionship with a woman like this for years; it was like being with a young wind-blown tree or a sun-spangled fountain. It was so fresh and spontaneous and unconscious that it made him feel clumsy, lost, like some uncouth being that must find a new soul or else miss out on this companionship. The touch brought back things, college day things that were vital, almost Pagan in their care-free élan, so that his eyes deepened, almost snapped as he, in his turn, grasped the girl's hand. "There!" He mocked her. His hand closed on her fingers.

But Sard seemed not to notice; she was listening intently; suddenly her eyes widened and she turned toward him. "That was Colter," she said decisively. "Hark! Yes—he needs help—he is calling; we must go."

Pausing, her face flushed and earnestly fixed upon him, the famous lawyer suddenly realized untram[Pg 182]meled girlhood in all its essence of fineness and freedom; what he did not notice was that at the sound of the far-off voice of the man in the forest, her whole being had expanded like a light and that she stood for a moment like a young mother whose child cries.

"Coming!" she called.

Turning, they plunged through the green walls of the swamp. Sard put her brown hands to her mouth.

"Coming!" she called.

Meanwhile two canoes rounded the little green promontory that walled in the "race" and floated in toward the small beach where Sard's party were encamped. One of these, propelled by Dunstan Bogart, moved slowly, halted now and then by the movements of a girl leaning in the stern. This girl's idea of humor seemed to be to lean forward and grasp the paddle as it went in the water. From side to side the two leaned, Dunstan trying to evade the paddle-grasper amid the snorts and chuckles of them both. Suddenly the paddle was arrested in mid-air.

"Pshaw! somebody has been here ahead of us! Look at those traps on the bank there."

Dunstan, his face unlike its usual merry self, a somewhat sodden look to his faun eyes, looked about for the advance pearl hunters. Jumping out, he kicked the empty mussel shells about, he reached forward and inspected the picnic trappings and thermos bottles. "Sandwiches!" he called out to the others. "They haven't had supper, whoever they are; look, there's a pile of driftwood for their fire," then with a whistle, "Holy Cat—I say, Gert, here's my sister's thermos[Pg 183] bottle; look at the monogram, S. B. And that's Minga's plaid steamer rug. I know, because I got her a pillow to match. Say, for heaven's sake! Let's get out of here; we don't want to piggy-mix in their party. Pshaw! they've beat us to it, pearls and all!"

Gertrude, lying back in the canoe, smoking, raised her head. There was a gold serpent bracelet around one of her brown arms, and around the waist of her thin green jersey another huge gold serpent twined. She made a strange exotic picture in the leafy dimness of the late afternoon. Her dark hair, brilliant cheeks and lips suggested Eastern things; one instinctively put her against some background of pyramids and sphinxes. When she spoke, however, the illusion vanished; Gertrude employed the "chewing gum" accent in all its undiscipline of inflections and jawful mouthings. She had only to open her mouth and one knew that however subtle and old the soul that lay within her, the brain that controlled that soul had only one idea, to get things, and to get them quickly.

"Why get out?" she asked indolently. "I thought we were booked till midnight." Gertrude had prepared her golden snakes for a forest moonlight.

"Well, if you think it's fair to Cinny." At this the girl in the second boat sat up staring about her. Her fair hair was tousled, her eyes were dull, and her mouth hung loosely.

"What's the matter with Cinny?" she demanded. "I'm all right—I'm a li'l' slipp—sleepy, that's all. Dunce, who's got the chawclets? I want some more." With a burst of silly laughter the girl lay down again,[Pg 184] her eyelids drooping heavily, the young, full lips pushed out in a coarse way, hateful to see.

The other youth brought his boat with this burden alongside the bank where the first campers had piled their belongings. "Wouldn't it be more fun to hang around?" this youth asked. "The fair lady can sleep there and we can just say she's tired out, sunburn and all—y' know. Whassay we sort of stay and watch the fun?" this fellow asked. The speaker, resplendent in a white college sweater, with its ostentatious chest letter, had a curious old man's look of importance and prestige. On his hands were two extremely ornate rings of cabalistic designs drawn by himself. His tie was prodded with a gold nugget, his wrist-watch was a sort of disease of jewels, he had in every motion he made the self-conscious assurance of the fop, the sort of man who is trained in boyhood by silly women to "appear well" in hotels. "I don't care when I meet my fiancée," he winked at Gertrude.

Tawny Troop, Minga's betrothed, well up in the essential attitudes of good sportsmanship, yet now by his very way of handling his paddle, showed the Miss Nancy, the jeunesse dorée spirit that one felt would take him a certain successful distance and then with some untimely revelation utterly betray him.

"I think we should remain here." Tawny spoke as one accustomed to being obeyed; his voice was soft and his inflection pampered, but his tones had all the assurance that is given by a large bank account.

Dunce looked at the man irritably. "All right," he growled, "remain then." Dunstan was thinking of the[Pg 185] general mess of things should Minga return. Instinctively downright himself, the lad could not bear the suggestion of intrigue that he knew Gertrude gloried in. There was something so worried and resentful in the deep brown eyes that the girl still in the boat beckoned to him. Gertrude reached up a long, well-shaped arm, sleeve rolled to the elbow. She plucked at Dunstan, trying to pull him down to her. "Poor little boy, come and be petted," she laughed. It was the laugh of an old soul in a young body. All the manner and experience of the woman of the low lights and intimate perfumes was in Gertrude's gesture. For answer the boy, standing on shore, kicked the bow of the boat away from him; he sent it slanting into the center of the "race," where it wobbled about; the girl, eyebrows raised, took up the paddle and lazily shoved it back.

"You beast! Why did you do that?" Gertrude's mouth was large and apt to be a little over-delicious in some of her planned scenes; but now it was hard bitted, twitching, like the mouth of a wicked horse; her eyes, long and liquid, were artificially enhanced with violet shadows and her face set between great rolls of lacquered hair, had moments of extreme craft seen under a curious mask of self-indulgent ease and gluttony. She reached over and, taking a chocolate, bit into it with white teeth that seemed to have a meaning of their own, her mocking eyes fixed on the sulky boy on the bank.

"Have some delirium tremens?" Gertrude waved the box of chocolates. It was a gift from Tawny and[Pg 186] contained three pounds of candy filled with varying liquors, French and Greek condensations that were rather intense for the American head.

Dunstan glowered scornfully down on the girl. "Ah! Why don't you stop eating that rat poison?" he demanded fretfully. He turned to Tawny Troop, now tickling Cinny's sleepy face with a grass blade. "You thing in the bath-towel sweater, you thought it was funny to bring doped candy, I suppose. They like that at the Chinamen's balls and the other festivities you frequent, hey? Aw, old stuff, old stuff!"

The tones were purposely insulting, but at first the Troop merely chuckled for answer. Then he leaned forward and kissed Cinny lightly. At this, something latent in Dunstan seemed to take fire—he turned and muttered things uncomplimentary. "Aw," he snarled, "aw, cut it out."

"Now, Dunce, now, Tiger!" this from Gertrude. But the boy turned to her with an ugly look in his eyes. "Well, Gertrude Farum," said Dunstan slowly and impressively, "now that we're here where decent girls are, don't you think you'd better take a day off, clean up, burn up the trash—y' know?"

Disgust was quivering all over the boy's face, but his own accent was also thick, his eyes heavy; he had had his share of the doped candy and something else from the absurd gold flask that Tawny sported. Dunstan, to his shame, had also had his share of such diversion as this frivolous society afforded. Suddenly at sight of the things belonging to his sister and the girl staying with her, all the clean gentleman in him rose[Pg 187] up and accused him, and he suddenly found himself entangled with things which he did not know how to unravel.

But Troop, the exquisite, now spoke up. He appealed to the girls.

"By heck! the darned lobster. Say, I think he ought to apologize. Gert—Cin—don't yew? Yep, by heck, I do. Say, man, you're, by heck, you're rotten insulting. I'll tell the world you ought to be crowned. You're rotten insulting, I'll tell the little old world!"

Dunstan heard the squeaking voice in silence. The afternoon had been long and hot. Things had risen in him that made his veins seem full of fire. He looked this way and that, like a trapped creature that smells clean water and wants to get to it. His ears were singing, his eyes burning, and he dreaded both the return of the two decent girls whom he loved and a possible evening spent with the two girls before him. He tried to speak but he knew that his own accent was thick and uncertain, and he could have burst into tears. There was Cinny lying abandoned, disheveled, her small beautiful form too well revealed by the large meshed transparent jersey she wore, her white face soggy and debauched, her corn-silk hair dampened and matted. A sense of degradation came to Dunstan. The fact that the other two could not and would not feel this obsessed him. Cinny was such a little fool. He stood on the bank and raged childishly.

"We couldn't be commoner if we were wharf rats! I've seen Chinatown people behaving better than—than we have. We're a lot of vile pigs." It was[Pg 188] characteristic of Dunstan that he included himself in the indictment. He turned toward the snake-wreathed Gertrude.

"You knew that stuff was drugged, and you fed it to us all," the boy, staring disgustedly on the three, half sobbed in his frenzy. He went to the bank's edge nervously, gesticulating. "It was a rotten trick, and I—well, I know that we've behaved like swine, and I'll say so. Yes, I don't care, I'll bawl us out. I'll bawl myself out—I'll——" Poor Dunstan flung out his arms in a passionate gesture.

"Aw!" they jeered. "Aw, say!" But the beringed Tawny also rose. He stood wobbling his canoe, stabbing at the water aimlessly, and the oratorical manner he maintained would have been funny, had not his very words revealed his befuddled condition.

"Well, I can tell you," he swore solemnly, "that you insult these ladies. Yes, sir! That's it, you insult 'em. If I had a gun I'd crown you—yes. That's it, you insult these ladies." Tawny's tongue seemed to cleave to the roof of his mouth; he wet his lips. With a surly squint of the eyes, he faced the youth on the bank.

"These ladies" did not seem particularly resentful on their own account. But the squalidness of it all, the silly and disgusting company in which he found himself, burned up into Dunstan's head. The boy almost hopped as he strode toward Tawny.

"Why, you hound!" he shrieked. "Who are you to say that, you moving-picture Polly. I insult 'em, do I? What did you do, you rotter? You brought[Pg 189] that infernal gold tank of yours and this sick stuff; you knew those girls couldn't—couldn't—" Suddenly Dunstan, with long arm, reached forward to the seat by Gertrude. Snatching the candy box he tossed it into the creek, all its remaining chocolate-covered contents avalanching forth. He turned on the aghast Troop. "Aw," he breathed, "aw, you worsted monkey, you'll not bring candy like that again to nice girls. When you come here again leave your cute candy with the Chinks where it belongs."

But Tawny was now aroused. This was an attack on a sensitive point. Getting all his jewelry straight, pulling down his monogrammed white sweater, he rose, as one towering on the rostrum and stood feet planted wide apart in the wobbling craft. He met Dunstan's scorn with answering derision. "Yah—nice girls?" he queried in his turn. "Nice, what? Oh, come on! Nice girls, I'll say!" mimicked the sarcastic Tawny. He regarded his suave finger-nails and over them cast one eye on the recumbent Cinny, the other on the snake-wreathed Gertrude. He sneered back at his antagonist. "Nice girls; root for 'em by your lonesome. Nobody else'll help you. Nice girls, nothing!"

This was too much for Dunstan. The trip for him had been miserable anyway. He had found the party which he had entered with a slight measure of distrust to be entirely dominated by the Exquisite, and the subsequent unwholesome revelations of Cinny the lackadaisical, and Gertrude the importunate, had beguiled him into that dubious activity known as "being a good[Pg 190] sport." Dunstan, out of a very clean straightforward heritage, felt somehow vulgarized, degraded. Perspiring, he waited like a crouching panther for the other man to meet him on shore.

"Cinny!" shrieked Gertrude, with her hard laugh. "Wake up, Honey, here's something worth while! Dunstan, the great chewing-gum champion, is going to meet Tawny Troop, the cutest little evader in the Hackensack Backwaters. Who holds the odds?" Cinny put up an indifferent hand to her fair hair, one of the cushions fell overboard, also a ukulele. Gertrude, with an exclamation, paddled over and rescued these; she leaned over to Cinny, saying sharply:

"What's the matter with you? Why can't you sit up and behave? Don't you realize that Sard and Minga are around here somewhere?" Gertrude leaned close over to the other girl, whispering very distinctly. "Cinny, we'll have to see that we are not any sportier than they are. Of course, no one knows what they've been doing. Dunce is really mad, and if he gets talking—you know that Minga is engaged to Tawny." But she spoke to deaf ears.

"Leave me alone," murmured Cinny.

Dunstan, seeing the whole squalid meaning of his party, burst into flames. He strode to the other boy now getting out and meeting him on the shore. With a grip like that of a young gorilla, Dunstan seized the Exquisite Troop by his silken shirt collar. "Come out, you sissy," he snarled, "come out here, you piece of pallid pie-crust. You feed girls drugged candy, do you? Well, you'll get fed, fed up nicely."

[Pg 191]

But Tawny Troop was not the son of a moving-picture producer for nothing. After all there was a grand stand with two ladies in it. The Troop gesture meant something; with a sound as much like an answering snarl as he could make it, Tawny drew up in magnificent hauteur. This attitude greatly irritated the other. "Ah! Come on, you marionette," he muttered. Dunstan cast about for something that should rouse the other. "You paid escort, you Messenger Boy." It was cub rage, but it was adolescent cub, and it was somehow significant.

The girl Cinny rose slowly on her elbow staring at them with heavy eyes. Gertrude clapped her hand over her mouth to keep back a howl. The two boys clinched, and it was an ugly clinch.

Dunstan's hand went straight to the throat of the other. Here they met and the lad seemed to forget all fair rules of fighting. A look of crazy joy came into the hot brown eyes. Oh, this was a man's size job! a good thing to do. Then Dunce saw the horrible look of Tawny's face changing under his hands; yes, but was this the way? Suddenly by some strange underground channel of thought awakened by emotion, Dunstan remembered the morning in the dining-room his own jeering aside under his father's sternness and "be hanged by the neck till you are dead"—that was what his father had said when—men—when men were sentenced for murder. Terence O'Brien, poor Terry, young, young! Dunstan looked again at the face under his hands; it was colored dark; this was the right way!—to throttle like this!

[Pg 192]

Then the boy looked about at the trees, at the white faces of the girls, voiceless, and his hands, flaccid, suddenly fell away. "We'll stop," he said thickly, "we'll stop. I don't want to fight. Oh! I don't want to, don't want to fight!"

Tawny, a look of relief hiding some other look, staggered against a tree, where he gasped wretchedly. "You, you coward!" he shrieked, choking. Something like a frightened sob gulped out of him; then there was a sound of footsteps in the thicket behind them. Four forms emerged. Sard first, alert and making straight for the ready built fire, which she quickly and deftly lighted; Shipman next, and after them Colter with a small form held in his arms, covered with mud and soaked in black ooze, Minga with face and hair a mass of slime.

There was very little explanation. The fire blazed up and the little figure wrapped in rugs given something hot to drink. The others stood around and watched her. Gertrude, with a hard stare, turned in the firelight to Tawny. The girl was one cold glitter of gold snakes and swamp dark eyes. "Your fiancée?" she questioned, smiling. She was ironical. While the other party waited for Minga's resuscitation, the quartette started to get under way. But on the down-creek trip it was Tawny who paddled Gertrude's boat, and they soon outstripped Dunstan, who came more slowly with Cinny asleep at his feet.

The moon spotted the black of the forest and spread silver on the waterways. All around the slow-moving[Pg 193] canoes were the waiting ones, the little wood creatures who come out innocently for their pure trysts and unwitting obediences to the great laws they honestly serve. These stayed cleanly apart from the canoes with their human freight, the strange mystical human beings who are torn between their two great allegiances, the animal and the spiritual. But only Dunstan saw these things, and paddled solemnly and felt like crying and wondered what serene wisdom the summer night withheld.

[Pg 194]



The Judge had come in to dinner in a bad temper. For one thing he had been badly beaten at golf by a man who could not speak good English. This thing seemed to the Judge insufferable, a thing that should not be allowed. Fancy being beaten by the long drives and careful calculation of a hooked-nose oaf who shambled in his walk and said "acrost" and "bee-hind" and "I was to New York."

The Judge was beginning to feel his age in many ways. His complete absorption in his calling made him sometimes aghast at how differently life went from what he stipulated. A nightmarish sense of suddenly awaking in an unfamiliar milieu, in surroundings peopled with beings he did not understand, who did nothing he had willed, oppressed him.

The very weather was more progressive than the Judge wanted it to be. The late June, lush and rich with vegetation, seemed to impinge on his conception of a world neatly outlined in flower borders and garden paths. The weeds around his rose gardens had accumulated! Colter had not yet removed them. The man was clearly a shirker, endeavoring to impress people with his superiority to work. Where was he at this moment? The Judge had not been able to locate him on the place. Then the whole attitude of the[Pg 195] immediate world toward the Terence O'Brien affair affected the Judge. "In the good old days," thought that gentleman, "men committed crime and we hung 'em and that was the end of it. Nowadays a man does wrong, and what happens? First, the women all over the country begin howling; then the newspapers run amuck because some smart politician sees capital in it; then the fool letter writers, E Pluribus Unum, Veritas, and Uncle Felix, begin gassing; then some lawyer sees a chance for notoriety and takes the defense, first thing you know"—the Judge was almost awed at it,—"the Bench itself, the Bench itself, is put into the wrong!"

Miss Aurelia, amid accustomed twitters about hot water, the instability of cooking gas, the fact that the cream wasn't good and her other daily anguishes, yet found time for soft demurring.

"But Mr. Shipman, brother, surely he couldn't need notoriety. Why he—they—I remember the Ledyard affair. Mr. Shipman got George Ledyard completely exonerated, at least it was said so, though he did commit suicide afterward. The thing ran through the country like wild-fire. Mr. Shipman must be very well known. Not that I quite understand, but there was a famous scientist, brother to Mr. Ledyard, I believe, whom they scoured the country for——"

The Judge moved prohibitively and Miss Aurelia ran down. "Women's clack," came the judicial sentence on her remarks. "Women's clack, Shipman's game is to take some mucker and put him on top; it gets him well known and keeps the people for him.[Pg 196] He'll run for something some day. Don't like the man, never did." The Judge, having passed sentence on Shipman, looked around in a manner of swelled grandeur. Then his hard-boiled eyes becoming suddenly conscious of the two empty seats at the table, he asked abruptly, "Where are the girls? Hey? What? What did you say? Where are they?"

Miss Aurelia, when cornered this sudden way by the bushy brows of concentrated inquiry, invariably straightened things on the table while her remarks became more tangled and confused. The setting to rights movement invariably gave her away. When she accurately replaced a salt-cellar the Judge, perfectly aware what uneasiness this connoted, followed her up as a dog would a scared rabbit. He stopped chewing to corner her.

"Hey? What! Why don't you want to tell? Hey? Where are the girls? Can you answer a straight question? Yes or no?" The Judge was sarcastic.

Miss Aurelia, taking up a tumbler, looked at it reproachfully, then put it down with an air of gentle resignation. "Why, brother, of course I can. Do I ever do anything else?" The smoky, soft eyes had an air of surprise and inquiry. "When you think of all the questions that are asked me in the house and the pains that I am put to in order to answer them fully and plainly—that is"—Miss Aurelia caught her brother's eye—"if I understand, or they, you—I—er—why do you ask?"

The magistrate, now being sure of deceit and evasion in the stammering lady opposite, played what was[Pg 197] usually a very strong card with her. In fact, the Judge almost loved Miss Aurelia because she was the only person of his household who regarded this as a strong card. With an air of majesty, a thing that in his young days he had practised until he believed in it, a thing that would have made him a marvelous model for a moving-picture photographer, he brought down his fist until the lunch table rattled. Miss Aurelia, well trained in her part, jumped. It was the thing to do. Dora, bringing in the custards, looked nervous, quite proper of Dora. The hard-boiled eyes seeing all this took on a curious top film of complacency. The Judge leaned forward.

"Now, if you can speak the truth," the Judge shook impressively that thick forefinger which had so long been unwittingly the little coffin nail of dead oratory, "if you are capable of speaking the truth, where are the girls? Did they ask your permission to go? Did they take the depot car without my permission? Did they ask that sneak Colter to go with them, also without my permission?"

The curious something that sleeps in the frailest and feeblest woman now rose in Miss Aurelia. She seized a pepper-pot and violently shook it. "Stopped up again," said she with a sepulchral voice. The lady faced her magistrate brother. "I'm sure you have no right to address me as if I were a shoplifter, for I presume that is the way you do address shoplifters, though it is true that I might be, that is, that you, anyone, might be a shoplifter." Suddenly the poor lady paused, for the hard-boiled gooseberry eyes,[Pg 198] steadily fixed upon her, at last had their wonted effect. Miss Aurelia felt guilty, and that was what the Judge wanted. It was his great pride that he could make anyone feel guilty; he exulted.

"They've gone off somewhere," burst out Miss Aurelia defiantly. "Why didn't you ask me before? I'm sure you can't see anything wrong in that. Dunstan had gone with—with some other girls. I presume Sard and Minga have joined them. Dora and Maggie say that Colter drove them in the depot car."

The lady made as if to rise and leave the table. Her knees trembled, her stiffly starched white skirts rustled, she was the old-time picture of femininity swimming on the seas of its own emotions and expecting to be rescued by the very man who had stirred up the storm. But Miss Aurelia, with her flutter of defiance and tears, had to pass the inexorable judicial eyes.

"You are sure the man Colter accompanied them?" asked the Judge in the low tones he reserved for hardened offenders.

But now that screeching, protesting thing that is intrenched in the soul and body of every woman burst forth. Miss Aurelia was no longer early Victorian. She was late—Margot-Tennant, the pent-up protester, the savage that sleeps under the threshold. She rose and shrieked defiance.

"Sure?" demanded Miss Aurelia, ruffling, "sure? That's what you wanted to know all along! Well then, why didn't you forbid it, if you were afraid? You know how Sard does things. How could I help[Pg 199] it? Have you ever told Sard not to be seen with this man? I have worried about it all day. Not that I fear for Sard," poor Miss Aurelia saw too late the curious gleam in the Judge's eyes, "only she doesn't realize that people will talk. The men in the Morris bank—and all—why, only yesterday——" but the reminiscence trailed off like a whiff of smoke in the blue haze of Miss Aurelia's mind. "Why should you ask me such a thing?" she said. Her inflection was enough to damn the entire expedition.

Judge Bogart sat back in his chair. He raised his eyes to the ceiling with the air of registering an important bit of evidence. "Umph," he said slowly, "just what I thought." He pulled down his lower lip, and looked at his sister. "Precisely what I thought. It seems that I," repeated the Judge, staring, "must take my own daughter in hand."

"Now, now," said Miss Aurelia, with a frightened attempt to palliate; "nobody needs to take Sard in hand. Why, she, they——" But her brother waved her to some strange dungeon existing in his own mind.

"You are acting in the capacity of Sard's mother," he said grandiloquently; "you have failed. It was for you to have watched over her and to have kept her from entangling matters, the sort of thing a hot-headed girl gets into. You ought to know——" The Judge grimly paused.

But Miss Reely felt that it was not entirely discreet to understand this inference that she "ought to know."

"How should I know?" She tossed her head. "I never thought about such things, but," suddenly her[Pg 200] old manner returned, "you are mistaken about Sard. It is only the under-dog she is interested in. Look at her about Terence O'Brien, and she has never even seen him. She's been interested in under-dogs ever since she came home from college. I never realized it," confessed Miss Aurelia with a nervous cough, "until Dunstan gave her that box at Christmas labeled 'Under-dog Biscuits,' and it had twenty-five dollars in it for Sard to give to tramps." Miss Aurelia, in spite of her perturbation, could not help the slight tremor of a smile, but she sought to propitiate her brother. "Of course," she confessed, "Sard isn't exactly my idea of a lady, not a bit like her mother. But she may grow more like her."

The man and woman in the Bogart dining-room instinctively conjured up this possible resemblance to Sard's mother, to the little curls and rows of buttons, the little rings and chains and bracelets, the tiny web of handkerchief and the sweet smell of scented lace over a tightly corseted little bosom. Poor Miss Aurelia, standing timidly back of her brother's chair, tried faithfully to see her niece formed on this pattern and utterly failed.

"The girls seem different nowadays. I don't know what it is," she complained, "they take long steps. They are—um—healthier. Don't you know how they shake hands with you as if they said, 'Well, what are you good for?'" Miss Aurelia pondered. "I was so different in my own youth," she sighed; "you remember, brother, I spent much of my time in bed taking medicine."

[Pg 201]

"Well, it kept you a lady, and a fool," snapped Judge Bogart. Now he rose from his luncheon chair with the effect of charging the jury.

"You can tell Sard if you don't want me to; my time—my time," emphasized Judge Bogart impressively, "may come later, that she is to drop all association with this Gentleman-John tramp of hers. Make her ashamed. Make her see the vulgarity of the thing. If she rebels, why then——" said Judge Bogart darkly, as he stood there pulling down his lip, looking at his sister. "There's just one thing I won't have," he said emphatically, "a taste for low company. Sard has that." He turned, surveying his relative narrowly. "Even that little poll-parrot Minga has more pride. The girl will have to learn that she's my daughter, not the friend of Tom, Dick and Harry, but my daughter. Tell her that, do you understand, my daughter!" The Judge stood staring; he finished in the voice he used so successfully in the court-room. "If she can't take your advice, she'll take my orders." At some thoughts of the girl, clear, steady, the Judge's lower lip snarled. His legs seemed not to hold him up well. He became a curious, insecure mass of anger.

Somehow after that the whole house looked different to Miss Aurelia. She suddenly saw things through the eyes of youth, youth trying to lift itself up and away on broad paths of sympathy and justice. She saw a common condition of things where the parent forgets to grow but stands stiffly like a mile-post, pointing proudly to a road that has long been choked with weeds.

[Pg 202]

The tall, thin lady went slowly up the stairs feeling somehow curiously young and chastened, like one sent to bed on bread and water, as if she herself were found guilty before this narrow tribunal.

"Oh!" she panted. "Oh, how did he ever grow to be like this, so terrible? He was such a good young man—such a good young man." Then the thought that had once come to Dunstan came to his aunt. Perhaps no one human being ought to have power of life and death over other human beings; for this was what happened to them. This hardness and cold self-sufficiency, this was what happened to men who condemned other men to everlasting dooms. So when the hours waxed late and the young people had not returned the good lady wandered from room to room like a banshee. At last she went rather desperately to the kitchen.

"Maggie, it seems late for the girls, doesn't it? You saw them go. Were they—er—warmly dressed?"

"Yes," grinned Maggie. She turned from bread mixing, a dab of flour on her red, kind face. "I seen 'em in their pants and all."

"Their camp costumes," observed Miss Aurelia, with dignity.

"Camp or no camp," observed Maggie, with the privilege of a good cook who knows her value, "them pants is something terrible. That Minga! such things will bring one doom or another onto her."

Maggie turned to Dora. "Look at them actresses," she observed, "and where do they end? It ain't no way for a lady to dress, them pants."

[Pg 203]

But the waitress, with some sense of her mistress' anxiety, tried to soothe. "It ain't so late, Miss Bogart, and they had their steamer rugs. The girls is always careful; at least, Miss Sard is, drivin' the car and all. And then, too, they've took that there Colter with them."

Both women were evidently curious, and Cook paused, anxious to see how Miss Aurelia would receive this bit of news. Birth and breeding, however, still accomplish certain reserves with the observing ones of the kitchen. There was no further inquiry on Miss Aurelia's part.

"It must be tire trouble," concluded that lady worriedly. "I—they—that little depot car is rather uncertain. I have often heard Miss Sard speak of it. I wish——" But what she wished Miss Aurelia forbore to say. She started to go out of the kitchen, hesitated and turned back again. "Have plenty of hot water for chocolate, and the electric toaster and jam. They might be hungry."

As the lady of the house departed, the two serving-women looked significantly at each other.

"So, she's begun to worry already?" said Maggie, her own red face troubled. "She's seen what we seen. Oh, my! Wouldn't it be awful if Miss Sard was to take up with such a one, poor, motherless child? Wouldn't it be terrible, the Judge and all?"

But Dora shook her head. The girl, deepened by her own worries, read things more clearly in the great Human Book of which she was part. Mechanically she drifted around the kitchen in her absent-minded[Pg 204] way of the last month. "It ain't that, it ain't that," she said doggedly. "It's that she's the New Kind of girl. Look how she's treated me. Look how she's cared about my Terry. It's the New Way, and now if that Colter feller is anything to her, it's that she's all caught up with pity for him. Down on his luck and all. She ain't thinking of nothing. It's the New Kind of girl! They don't keep thinkin' of fellers for marriage and all."

At a sound on the driveway, Dora went to the window.

"Automobiles," she announced. "That's them! My! but I'm glad." Both women breathed dramatic sighs of relief, and opened the kitchen door gladly to see Sard's hatless flying figure.

"Maggie—Dora," Sard was breathless, "don't fuss or make any noise, but run up and turn down Miss Minga's bed and get hot-water bottles and hot drinks. You see, she got into a bog and fainted. She may still be a little chilled. Anyway, she might have drowned, but for Colter. Here, this way, Colter."

Down the garden path from the garage came the little group: Colter, the man on the place, bearing the small figure, eyes languidly fluttering, drenched in clammy camping things. Dunstan, stony and snappish, was carrying the picnic impedimenta. Shipman, an amused look in his eyes, stood about wondering whether he hadn't better get out, yet taking curious pleasure in watching Sard's selfless efficiency. On encountering Miss Aurelia in the dim hall, he pulled himself together.

[Pg 205]

"Oh!" gasped the rabbity mouth, "you will tell me, perhaps. There is no danger. You are a doctor?" Sard had brushed by her aunt, refusing to answer the torrents of questions. Miss Aurelia was now almost in tears.

"No danger." Shipman's voice, full of his controlled human tenderness, always influenced people at once. It surrounded Miss Aurelia like a wall against which the shaky lady leaned like a slender wandering vine of femininity. She now leaned some more, and inquired, "I thought they—you see, we know very little about the man Colter—was it—did he attack her?" Miss Aurelia, with sick tremulousness, put the question and Shipman's eyes half gleamed with amusement. The lawyer knew what a curious charnel house the mind of a good country woman could be. He knew the horrors this poor lady had visualized and tried to relieve her anxiety. His polished concern soothed her enormously.

"Your man Colter was very clever," he observed quietly, "and resourceful. Quite a superior person, I should say. He got to Miss Gerould first. The rest of us had not heard her screams. She had floundered into a deep bog and then fainted from fear, so that the thing might have been pretty nasty. Then Colter got stuck himself and we had to pry them both out. Rather muddy work." Shipman held out his hands, on which the swamp muck still left traces. His clothes were stained with boggy ooze.

"You—you are telling me the truth?" gasped Miss Aurelia excitedly. "The Judge will demand the ex[Pg 206]act truth, and you—you are a stranger. I can't be sure." She was shaking quite pitifully.

Shipman looked soberly down on her. "H'm!" he breathed. "H'm, hysteria, and not all from the anxiety, either." What had gotten this flabby little soul with the pretty complexion and hair into this state? Surely not five hours' absence on the part of two strong, independent girls. Had the Judge been fulminating? Suddenly the lawyer grasped something, something that he thought might become serious trouble for Sard. Shipman stood silent for a moment thinking. He asked, "By the way, is Judge Bogart in? Would this be a stupidly inconvenient time to see him? He is to try the case, I believe, in the O'Brien matter. I am counsel for the boy. I wonder——"

Miss Aurelia, enjoying her vine-like repose on the strength of the personality of the "strange man," quivered a little. "I could find out," she said. She faltered. "I assume that you are telling me the truth, that you have no—no dreadful news to give my brother?"

Shipman's tenderness was a natural and beautiful thing. It went out instinctively to troubled men and women. He took the thin, fluttering hands in his.

"Miss Bogart, it has been jolly to meet you in this informal way. I want to know you better. Please don't be troubled, please! Let me find Judge Bogart myself. You go to bed and rest."

"But—I—you—he—they," began Miss Aurelia, her color glowing, her hysteria vanishing. She was fairly thrilled with flutters.

[Pg 207]

He stood over her, and shook a warning finger.

"You go to bed," he commanded sternly, "you go to bed."

With a sigh of relief, Miss Aurelia obeyed him. She led him first to the door of the Judge's study and Shipman stood watching her slender figure mount the stairs. Then he knocked. The "Come in" was snapped in the voice the Judge kept for his family, and Watts Shipman, with a shrug, entered.

Dunstan was standing on the hearth rug. The boy had rings under his eyes; his mouth was eager and breathless, as he had evidently felt the failure of some protest to his father.

"All I say is," concluded the Judge drily, "is that I want no more of this Colter rot. When your sister wants to go on expeditions similar to to-day, you accompany her!"

The lad stood there silent. The Judge recognized the famous lawyer with a curt gesture. "Sit down, sit down. I'm trying to make this young man understand that he is responsible for his sister's character and behavior; that they both live under one law, the law of a good name."

Dunstan's face was afire. He stood facing his father. "You call it a good name to suggest that my sister needs my protection?" asked the lad ironically. "Ah, a good name," the boy choked. "A name that means finicking and fussing and being afraid and continually thinking of evil. Well, I don't believe either Sard or I want that kind of good name."

He finished with a curious gesture of despair, a[Pg 208] gesture that Shipman, standing soberly by, understood at once. He loved the young fellow for it, for it was Sard's own gesture. "Give us realities, realities of sympathy and help and cleanness and good will. Do not ask us to bow our heads under your standards of what appears well." That was what the gesture said.

"Leave the room," commanded the Judge, "leave the room." Dunstan, with a strange little look at the lawyer, went out. Judge Bogart turned; in his hand was a box of cigars. "I don't know what's come over the young people of to-day." His voice was brassy with anger.

Shipman took a cigar, held it lightly, then with a gleam of eyes, half closed, to watch the match. "Young people," he said, "must often wonder what has come over us." The two men deliberately measured each other. Then the talk turned to the O'Brien case. What they said was purely superficial, but the lawyer, raising interesting questions of technicality, wondered if he was not perhaps the means of saving Sard a lecture. A Winged Victory must have gotten to bed by this time. Watts smiled. When at last he rose to go he gestured toward the disheveled condition of his walking things.

"I ought to have apologized. We got caught in a bog looking for pink pearls." He was mirthful at his own share in the escapade. "Quite a youthful time," he laughed.

"Humph!" Judge Bogart eyed the other man curiously. "You found some fine pearls?"

"Your man Colter picked up one. Seemed to know[Pg 209] how to look; he seems rather well informed." The lawyer paused. Perhaps this was an opening.

Judge Bogart reached up to snap out the light. "If you're going to walk up the mountain," he remarked curtly, "the back door is your best exit."

[Pg 210]



The dance at the Willow Roads Country Club took place the night before Terry O'Brien's trial. Watts, with some feeling of wanting the life pulses of the Minga Bunch about him, went leisurely down the mountain road clad in the golf tweeds against which a club dance would not discriminate. As he looked in through the long windows that opened on the river, the lawyer was thinking that the indiscretions and bold franchises of the youth of the day were somehow, though coarser, a less harmful thing than the evasions and concealments of earlier days. One thing the man, staring in upon the throngs watching the little cubs of the "stag line" with their important faces, noting the calm, inexpressive faces of the girls, would have asked for—enthusiasm. Watts reviewed the whole history of the dance, Bacchante and stately minuet and folk dance, gigue and morrice, and wondered what good the dance was without the laughing lips, the light of the eyes, the merry face. He saw the young figures of the girls coming down the staircase, faces washed of all human expression, calm, subtle, in some instances of a Cleopatra-like Eastern subtlety, but never gay. The tall, dark man, accustomed to reading faces, wondered if indeed gayety had gone out of the world. "Gayety," thought Watts, "means inno[Pg 211]cence. Perhaps in a machine-run world there can be no innocence."

Down the staircase they came, scarlet and white satin, blue tulle, black tulle, pretty gold and silver slippers. Little necks filmy with powder, smooth heads, coiled, puffed and banded, long white arms, smooth white sides visible to the waist. Feet and legs devoid of grace, thickened by athletics and crudely pushed and planted in the unlovely strutting dances, yet not so unnatural, not so different, just young things pushed about by the great Energy—Life.

Any ballroom, the lawyer knew, spells but one thing. In spite of its protected, assured air, its look of flowered convention and jeweled dames playing propriety, it is, in all truth, the scene of the play of young blood, the attraction of young creatures. Since the days of the excitement over Byron's "Waltz" the eternal comment of men and women, wall-flowers and chaperons evades this evident truth and registers the same objection to all that is not sentimental convention.

But ballrooms go on existing. Watts, with a smile, wondered how many dances were in full blast along the Hudson River, so many fields of flower-pollen flying that Friday night. His mind wandered back over the fair old stately days of the great mansions of the early Americans. He thought about Colonial dances up and down this river, visualized homes along the great stream, the time of Cooper's "Satanstoe," of Irving's homesteads, of belles of the Revolution and the days of Lincoln. Shipman, with his own peculiar imagination, reviewed the youth and beauty of[Pg 212] those days when, we are told, youth was so pure and innocent, beauty so lovely and soft and mild and biddable.

Yet the lawyer, staring at the purple night of river, pondered. If old pictures and old letters told the truth there was always, even in those crinolines, in those little cream and rouge pots and dainty curls and fichus, Revolt. Who, dear indignant Mama, wore those exceedingly décolleté ball gowns where half the bosom was exposed? Does not old poetry hint at delicious skins, and curves and fragrances and coiled enticements? Watts grinned. "Funny," the man thought, "it was all a heap more sensuous than those skinny little muscular worldlings in there, only it was unconscious. The Victorian tradition was somehow able to have kisses stolen and little ankles noted and a fervid, tight clasping waltz danced without for one moment facing what the thing meant; so mid-Victorians got by with little censure; but it was far away from frankness and honesty and truth."

The tall, dark man staring through the windows caught sight of Minga, standing alone near the entrance, and he hastened toward her. The girl in the blue gown with its orange butterflies had a curious look of defiance and of being at bay that the lawyer instantly noticed. Watts bent over her with real tenderness. The little bobbed head was held very high.

"All alone?" The lawyer was no habitué of stag lines; he did not know that this was a fatal thing to say to a girl of Minga's group. But the music struck up, and he, a lover of music and dancing, felt the an[Pg 213]swering striking up of his being. "Will you dance?" he asked her, a little awkwardly.

To the man's surprise, Minga, with a curious little catch of the breath, almost flung herself into his clasp. Considering the difference in their height, they went well together. Watts, with a sort of boyish pride, saw the wondering, derisive glance of the important "stag line" as they slid by. The room rapidly filled; the babel and clash of the regulation dance was on.

Shipman loved dancing almost childishly. His head, dappled dark, was picturesque; the curious grim look of his dark face made him conspicuous among the couples that interlaced each other in pacing, gliding, backing measures. Miss Aurelia, seated in a row of commenting elders, noticed Minga, her vivid face laid not too restrainedly along the dark line of the lawyer's arm; she indicated this to Sard, who had brought Tawny Troop up to introduce him.

"My dear!" Miss Aurelia in gray satin and lace was pontifical, "Isn't Minga too familiar, a little conspicuous? Mr. Shipman is such a dignified man. I'm sure he doesn't like it; but, of course, he doesn't know what to do. What man would?"

Sard smiled. "Mr. Shipman always does know what to do. If he thinks Minga oughtn't to do that, he'll tell her so; but I don't believe he thinks so."

"Oh!" breathed Miss Aurelia; she spoke behind her handkerchief to the friend on the other side. "Happy little Sard," she said sentimentally, "so loyal; she quite spoils Minga Gerould," breathed Miss Aurelia.

[Pg 214]

It was the regular ballroom twaddle. Oceans of this stuff is talked by watching, waiting chaperons, who believe each other's statements with credulity and an unoriginality quite wonderful in the face of what is actually happening before them. Miss Reely turned back to Sard. "I wish you girls,"—she dropped her handkerchief; the exquisite Tawny restored it—"I wish you girls understood what charm delicacy and—er—modesty have for a man." Tawny nodded. "I'm for it myself," he remarked sympathetically.

"But Minga doesn't want to charm a man, especially," said Sard gaily. "She just likes to dance that way because everybody's doing it; she's probably sorry she doesn't reach farther up Shipman's arm because that would look more like the picture in 'Vogue.'" Sard, motioning to the other cheek-to-cheek couples, nodded mischievously at Shipman. Her own first dance had been instantly taken and with a lively glow of color and enthusiasm she was somehow glad to have the lawyer see it to be so. She cast an appreciative eye on Minga's little azure form with its butterfly corsage, the soft arms bare and free.

"Isn't she a darling?" she turned to Tawny Troop. "You don't know how lucky you are."

To her astonishment the youth swept her with raised eyebrows, eyes of nonchalance. "Oh, I say, didn't you know that was off?" said Troop with his best hotel accent.

To his suggestion that they should dance again she took her easy position. Sard was the instinctively high-bred dancer, the kind of a girl who without af[Pg 215]fectation can give herself and her partner instant distinction, with a poise, an éclat of rhythmic motion that is very rare. Now as they circled the room she looked up to the smooth face of the elegant Tawny.

"What did you mean about yours and Minga's engagement? Surely you haven't quarreled?"

"I've broken it," announced the youth distastefully. Tawny drew himself up with an air. "I couldn't stand that last fandango of hers," said young Tawny. "Don't want to marry a tough."

The music stopped with a splurge. Sard stood staring at the young fellow. "You've broken it?" her glance went quickly to Minga, who was leaving the ballroom with Shipman,—the dark head bent down to the little curly bob. "Oh-h!" Sard accused him mockingly. "You're jealous! you couldn't mean that about Minga! She's everybody's sweetheart; she always will be. Why, even my father——"

Young Troop stiffened. "I don't mind ordinary things, the game, you know—I——" Tawny had the grace to hesitate, then snapped, quite finally for one of his youth—"I like any line that's decent, but when you see your fiancée in the arms of a hired man, a tramp she's spent the whole afternoon with, why you——"

"What do you mean?" asked Sard.

Tawny Troop, a young person of not very fine instinct, had forgotten or did not know the mettle of the girl to whom he spoke.

"Oh, it's nothing against Minga; she can do what she likes, but," with insufferable American swagger,[Pg 216] "she's forfeited the Troop jewels; she doesn't wear my brown diamonds any more, that's all." He laid a hand on Sard's arm. "Don't eat the air," he suggested.

Sard switched away from his hand; her eyes hotly repudiated him. "Do you care to explain?" the girl asked coldly. "Minga Gerould is my friend, you understand, visiting me; if you have anything to say I will hear it."

Tawny stood irresolute. He had a grudge against Dunstan Bogart; it was well to make this girl, Dunstan's sister, feel something. The alert young bantam figure of the unformed boy-of-the-world took an unlovely attitude of assured insolence. Tawny smiled, his thick lower lip in a sneer. "I've got the Gang with me," he said in a low tone. "We all know you and Minga hunt in couples; you hang together because you're peculiar in your tastes—what? Only, when that hired man of yours shows his preference for one of you, the lovey-dovey business will crack! See what I mean?"

They stood on the piazza that overhung the river. The night boat, like a great caterpillar, set with golden jewels, forged up midstream. The search-lights with their white eyes probed the bank, moving over palisade and promontory. Now a white ray picked out some millionaire's home on the east bank, now some white temple-like building on the west, now it shot up to the sky, now it rested like the long honey-sucking tube of a great moth on some arbored, flower-like cottage along the rocky shore.

[Pg 217]

The music had begun again; this time it had an Indian plaint, a long skirling cadence that might have been sung in days gone by among the rocks and trees of these very shores by a red maiden standing wrapped in her blanket on a moonlit crest or staring with great burning eyes into the rising sun. Sard saw Watts and Minga go back into the ballroom; the rose-colored light played over the little face lifted to the man's dark tenderness, Sard looked after them uneasily. "Everyone looks like that at Minga, but—but it would be different if Watts Shipman——" Sard suddenly realized the power of the personality that was shadowing Minga. Before this, the girl had seen Shipman dominate things; did he then guess the thing she herself was just learning? Were there protection and care in the grim face with its look of power and divining? Sard's eyes suddenly filled with quick tears. "I could kill Tawny," the girl told herself. "I could kill him if——" but the "if" that dwelt in her heart Sard would not allow herself to say. She looked out on the river and spoke gently to the boy at her side. She thought suddenly of Colter sitting up there in the room over the garage with his books and magnifying glass. It made her quiet. To be like Colter, calm and patient with things, that was what she must try.

"You mustn't mistake," she said with almost womanly kindness. "Shan't we sit here and talk instead of dancing? I'd like," Sard spoke with her curious motherly little air of concern, "I'd like to know precisely what you meant by that last speech.[Pg 218] You mustn't say things like that, you know, it's not done. If you apologize, I can explain to you about Colter, but not unless," said Sard with girlish dignity, "not unless."

Then Troop, the product of unlimited wealth, unlimited license, turned and showed his true blood. All his essential commonness, his cheap values and squalid assumptions leaped to life. Sard looked with the loathing of her true aristocracy of the spirit on the shoddy training of this boy, who had the assurance and ease of a young prince.

"I wasn't born yesterday," Tawny insisted spitefully; the sensuous lines from his nose down to his lip deepened. "What I saw on the Hackensack was enough for me," said Tawny. "My faith! what a girl will do nowadays! Of course—Cinny," he laughed viciously, "but Minga Gerould, who could go anywhere!"

Sard almost giggled; the words gave Tawny away. Young Troop thought still of "going to" places other people were born to. The girl, instinctively disliking him, yet instinctively parleyed with him. Sard, alive to her world, to the quick back-action of the Minga group, thought she could see Gertrude's hand in this. That young person who schemed, who desired things, who had unknown to Minga invited Tawny to the house and to the Hackensack picnic and to this ball. Gertrude was a young person who desired things. Gertrude knew the history of the famous Troop engagement ring and saw no reason why she should not add it to the golden snake collection. Also, there had[Pg 219] undoubtedly been aspects of the day on the Hackensack that Gertrude must turn to other than their rightful conclusions. Sard remembered the shrill screaming, the maudlin sounds of gayety; she had questioned Dunstan, who had flushed and turned away growling. "Well,—we didn't find any pearls, that's all; no, I'll say we didn't find any pearls," this with saturnine inflection. Sard sat looking at the opposite river shore strung with blue-gold lights, fruited like long lines of orchards. Suddenly the girl saw the world as in the old days court ladies must have seen it, wanting to cry and bite out their little tongues or the little tongues of other women. The spiteful small messes of intrigue, the contemptible inference and origins of personal slander.

"As far as I can see," came Tawny's drawling, slightly nasal tones, "the girl was off with your hired man chasing around those swamps; why she wanted to jump into a bog with him I don't know, or was it to get away from him? Any old boy would have done, I dare say." Tawny laughed his cracked, old man's laugh. "Of course, you all covered the thing up pretty well. She's vamping that lawyer now! Well, I must say she likes 'em old."

Sard, utterly generous, utterly untainted of mind, could hardly take this fellow in. She leaned forward anxiously. "You mean," she said gravely, "oh, what are you trying to say?"

Young Troop had risen; something craven in him made him aware that it might not be best to stay and face such real emotion. Anger in Sard might be a[Pg 220] difficult thing to laugh off. He admired her while he feared her. Now a breezy, heated throng spilled out of the long doors onto the piazza; the girls perched upon the rails and let the river breeze cool their hot faces, while the boys leaned against pillars, hands in pockets, getting off the time-honored persiflage of the young dancing swain. Tawny saw Gertrude, in black net, still entwined by the golden serpents and with a green jade circlet round her dark hair. The great dramatic eyes summoned him. "Thanks, awfully much," he drawled in the silly parlance of the "star" dancer. "I'll say I enjoyed it; that was some little fox trot, what?" Tawny was edging away when Sard Bogart, with a curious gesture of command, stopped him.

"You mustn't think you—you can go on with this sort of thing," the girl said in a low voice. "That inference of yours stops right here; no matter what there is between you and Minga—you—you can't go on saying things." The now rather dismayed Tawny found himself once more against the Bogart directness, and squirmed uncomfortably.

"Oh, forget it—I've 'destroyed the papers,'" he quoted with dramatic raillery. "Minga won't get shown up by me." Again Gertrude looking over her partner's shoulder summoned him.

"Say, but isn't Gert a looker?" breathed Tawny. "I guess she wants to be rushed next dance, things getting a little slow for Gert; I promised to look up a new crowd of cut-ins for her; well, so long!" Tawny bowed with a curious half cross-eyed look of[Pg 221] sneaking amusement. His eyes were smouldering with a caddish kind of excitement; he could afford to be good humored.

"Say, I'll cut it out," he pledged. "I'll drop the story; I can't speak for the girls, Cinny and Gert and all, they've been having a lot of fun with Minga in the dressing-room; she took a good deal of guying, they say. Of course," advised Tawny patronizingly, "you ought to let her know it has made a difference in her popularity."

Just then Dunstan came up. He shoved past Troop, ignoring him while he elbowed him. "Sard," he said clearly, "I must ask you to stop talking to this—er—cad. He has been discussing a friend of yours, our friend,—well, I think we don't need him in our vicinity."

"Your friend will need you both all right," muttered Tawny vindictively; "she'll need you both for dance partners and—and everything else!"

As the groups on the piazza filtered back to the ballroom, Sard seized her brother's coat sleeve. "Go and get Minga quickly," she said, "and Mr. Shipman if you can. Oh, quick, before she realizes."

Dunstan looked at her, his eyes quick with passionate fire. "So you've heard," he said wonderingly. "Well, that chap is about the lowest skunk; they don't have hells for that kind," said the boy bitterly, "they just let them stew in their own juice." But his sister would not listen; she was thinking quickly.

"Go get them, dear; tell them to come out here[Pg 222] and then order some ice-cream and we'll make a little party of our own."

Hastily Sard devised a way to shield Minga; instinctively she thought of Shipman. "Get Watts, too," she urged. Dunstan saw how dark her eyes were and wondered. He half smiled. "Old Doomsday book and Sard," he half chuckled under his perturbation. "What a couple of old nuts, yet not so bad, either." Then he thought of Colter and bit his lips.

But Dunstan, hurrying for the door and seizing Minga where she stood proud, bewildered, and alone, grabbed her in true "cutting-in" fashion. "Gee, I've been waiting for this chance," he breathed. "I say, Minga, don't you dance with your host even once in the evening?"

She shot a swift look at him. "Dunce," in a low voice, "the Bunch think I'm—not—nice—they've been saying things; it was Gertrude, I think," Minga mocked with her little face. Her red lips quivered, and Dunstan, with a curious look of man determination, steered her into an increasing velocity and brilliancy of step. "Bing! this is good music," breathed the boy. "All right, Minga, old sport, eyes right, head up, what? The rest of them are caterpillars and worms, what? And Tawny Troop is—is—is a butterlion—not even a chocolate pussy in a Christmas stocking!"

The gay rallying brought the bright blood to the vivid little face. Minga threw back her head and her gay laugh pealed out, which was what Dunce wanted.[Pg 223] "Where's Shipman?" he asked, lips close to the fluttering little head. Again the face clouded and poor Dunstan, his resources at an end, gave her Sard's message. "Say!" he tried to challenge the girl, tried to help her keep the sweet gay insouciance, the so-called "pep" that was Minga's greatest asset....

"Once more around the room," said Dunce, "once more past Gertrude, the great Human Vampire-steady—once more past the gang of glarers," meaning the chaperons, "steady; and then out that little door to the right. See? and then find old Sard, see? and then a nice long spin out in the moonlight. Who wants to dance this sizzling night?"

"All—right," breathed Minga, "all right. Say, Dunce," but while she smiled and shook her head at him for the benefit of the observing Bunch, Minga's voice was trembling, "say, Dunce, you aren't a good—good sort—or anything like that, are you?"

The boyish arm tightened. "I'm any old thing you want," he said gruffly. "I'm any old thing you need, Minga."

Meanwhile Sard sat waiting for them, the soft summer night cooling the cheeks Tawny had made feverish.

"So that's the way Minga's law works out," thought the girl slowly, "and the law of Minga's Bunch! She never even fancied this Tawny Troop. She took him away from another girl just for the fun of wearing his ring, and now Gertrude plays the same game. And Gertrude, because she works for it, has more power than Minga." Sard, leaning forward,[Pg 224] looking into the ballroom, watched Minga and Dunce finish the dance; she saw them throw back their heads and laugh together.

As Dunstan and his partner joined her, Sard rose. "Did you ask Mr. Shipman if he would join us?" she questioned her brother; "where is he?" But Watts, it seemed, could not be found, and to Sard's surprise Minga seemed nearly frenzied as she stood there trembling like a frightened child.

"Sard," the girl urged breathlessly, "the music isn't very good, is it? Do you want to stay very much? Mr. Shipman has g-gone up the mountain; he wanted to—to turn in early on account of the case to-morrow. Sard," Minga gulped, "I think this is a stupid dance, don't you? Shall we go—— Come on!"

Minga's eyes had deep shadows under them; her face, under its not too well put on color, was piteous and woebegone. Dunstan chafed helplessly; no one had ever before seen Minga like this. It was insufferable that any stranger should see it. The youth tucked her arm under his and called up all his powers of gay loquacity.

"You aren't all fed up, Minga—not you. Oh, you little worn out society dame! Music not jazzy enough, and she says 'the floor is gritty'; we'll have to fix that. What!" Dunstan, looking over his partner's head, raised his eyebrows at his sister. He nodded violently and said with deaf-mute's emphasized lips, "Take her home!"

Suddenly Sard understood. Gertrude's propaganda[Pg 225] had had its deadly effect. Neither she nor Minga had their usual eager partners. The Tawny Troop stag line of "cut-ins" was being marshaled for Gertrude and one or two cronies. Curiously enough the "Minga Bunch," the devil-may-care, unrestrained crowd had turned and rended its gay little leader. The usual way had been taken. It was not a very new way; the way of gray-haired men and women for other more devoted and more highly inspired leaders, that of unanswerable personal slander.

The girl stood there aghast. Then she smiled a little disdainfully and turned to her brother. "Will you drive us, Dunce?" she asked, "or shall we call a taxi?"

"I had a dance with Cinny," said Dunce, "but she's sitting under the trees with that fellow with the spook glimmers; she's vamping him for his new tennis racket. I'll drive you. But," Dunce shut his teeth hard, "when I leave this bunch I leave it for good and all, you understand; you do too, Sard? You do too, Minga?"

All the way home the three young things were silent. They saw the dark trees slide by, half piteously, wanting to run to them and hide their heads in their soft branches and tell them things. All the kind earth, the hills and the river, seemed maternal, strong to their hot hearts, burning with scorn and contempt. Dunstan knew painfully his own part in the miserable intrigue. Tawny and Gertrude merely revenged themselves, and they had taken it out on little, jolly, happy Minga. As the girls got out, Dunstan stopped[Pg 226] his car in a kind of blare of cut-out and racing engine; it was like getting off the blast of his own feelings. The boy groaned "good-bye" and was gone.

Sard undressed in the moonlight. There was no other light in her room, and so she had not pulled the shades down. The trees towered into the white moonlit sky and she saw the orange-colored glow over the garage where Colter sat reading. The man's curious calm life of books and plants, the way he kept aloof yet was ready and effective, above all his patient helplessness before the awful dark of his memory, swept over the girl. Sard looked at her bed. "I can't sleep to-night," she said. "I want to talk, to talk to someone—I want——" Sard went slowly and looked up at the mountain where the organ builder's house loomed back of the sky. She thought of Shipman and smiled a little but lightly shook her head. "No," she said, "he's kind, kind, wonderfully kind and strong, but——" The girl, a white crepe wrapper over her nightgown, looked long and solemnly at Colter's light; suddenly the orange square darkened.... The man was lying now on his narrow bed, the sweep of hair off that forehead Sard knew so well, the long, fine hands lying careless and relaxed, the fine sensitive face swept with its look of suffering, perhaps already drowned in the great black waves of sleep. Did sleep ever bring back to Colter his birthright, did he ever see in dreams familiar faces or hear voices? Sard found herself kneeling at the window watching the dark window, her face flushed.[Pg 227] "I wonder, who he is," breathed the girl, "oh, if I could only tell him who he is. If I could bring Light to him!" Sard knelt, staring out into the dark, her face hot, her heart pounding.

"I can't stand this," she muttered. "I—I feel desperate, queer to-night. I might run out into the night, anywhere, to anyone. I wonder! oh, I wonder——"

Suddenly she got up from her crouching position; with tawny hair falling, tossing back from her forehead, she caught up a little pocket flash and holding it before her carefully felt her way down the tower-room stairs to Minga's room. Sard knocked softly. "May I come in? You aren't asleep?"

There was no answer. The older girl gently turned the knob and looked in. The room was in moonlit whiteness. There, still in her rumpled blue and orange, the little butterfly back bare, the arms tossed frantically out, she lay, the whole figure prey to sweeping and tearing things. Minga was curled up on the bed. There was no doubt about the little shivers and shakes, she was sobbing.

"Minga—precious!" Something big and devastating tore through the older girl's senses. She felt suddenly old, like Minga's mother. This motherliness, though Sard did not know it, was a keystone to her being; it was the thing Shipman had half seen, it was the beautiful balance of the Winged Victory. The girl sat quietly down on the bed; so this was another Law for her then; she must know keenly and helplessly the sorrow of others, she must blindly strive to[Pg 228] learn how to help. Dora, Colter, and now little gay Minga.

"Minga," urged the girl, pitifully, "don't cry like that—why, it's not that silly Bunch, is it? We don't care for them, we have other friends. Watts Shipman and—and—-" Sard went a little vaguely over a possible list of "other friends." There was no answer, and she leaned down, trying to raise the buried face. "Honey, can't I know?" then urgently, "Minga, don't cry like that, it's—it's self-pity, isn't it?" Sard groped about to give expression to a thought that was hardly formed in her. "I suppose self-pity's one thing we must never, never let ourselves have," the girl said softly.

There was a sudden cessation of sobs, and Minga slowly raising on her elbows turned up in the half light a broken face.

"I can't help ... pitying myself.... I've been so—so crazy; and now," shuddering, "I can't play any more."

"You poor little thing, poor little thing," Sard paused, her hand passed over the tousled head. This young face and hand were inexperienced, but Sard was like a pilot trying to pierce mists. "I guess we've always got to play," she said, "even when we—well, that Punchinello idea, you know. But anyway, Minga, you mustn't cry like that because it's wrong; it does something to your nerves. I remember they said it in the psychology class."

"But I've done an awful thing," wept Minga. She sat up suddenly. "Sard, you don't know what I did[Pg 229] to-night," Minga lifted her hand and passed it swiftly over her face as if she would brush away some new look of shame and repeated:

"I've done the awful thing; I wouldn't have cared if it had been anyone else, but I felt wild after I had given Tawny back his ring and I thought I'd take a chance and so, oh, Sard, while we were dancing I told Watts Shipman I loved him, and told him in a silly way, a Cinny, Gertrude way, and that's the awful thing; for you see, Sard, I do love him. Oh, I do, I do," cried poor little Minga. "But I told him in that way, and he doesn't respect me."

Sard, rocked by a surprise that bordered very nearly on hysterical laughter, crept up closer to the little sufferer.

"My hat!" she said in awed tones. Her hair swept over her leaning face; she pushed it back. "My hat!"

Minga fell on her friend, burying her face in this long veil of hair. "I did—I did—I couldn't seem to help it—I was wild, you see, and I needed a friend, a sort of fatherly person, don't you know." Minga lifted her face and looked at her chum helplessly. "He is the only person that ever scolded me and made me mind, and so, you see, I loved him." There was a long silence, then, "I think he's wonderful. I thought maybe he could make me—make me—better."

Sard, with a rush of understanding, threw her arms around the forlorn figure.

"Poor little thing," she crooned.

"No," said Minga with a kind of shudder, "not that any more, Sard. I guess I'm different now; I[Pg 230] guess I've got to be a nut or high-brow or something. I've got to grow bigger, you see," with a piteous gesture. "I thought he might grow to care if he knew I did, and I told him. It was out by that fountain, you know, and the—the water seemed like tears." Minga's eyes widened over her own poetic thought. "My goodness," she ejaculated, "I'll always think of that now when I see that fountain." Then she went on, "But when I told him," the young voice broke a little piteously, "he just took my two hands as if he was going to sort of hold me from myself and himself. Oh, a terrible way and then he said ... he just said, 'You are a very dear little thing, you are a very dear little thing'—and it was finished," said Minga with her childish gulp. "I couldn't screech or howl and make him come back. I—I didn't even try. He just walked away from me. It was like a play, only awful; he walked right straight toward the mountain—I saw him in the moonlight and now," said Minga, "I—I have this awful ache."

There was a long silence, Sard trying to understand this change in her friend. She began suddenly to see as if unrolled on a flaming scroll another great law of lives like Minga's, that whoever tries to control them will lose them, but whoever knows how to control them and does not try has them bound fast and submissive. In the new days of the rapid rising of women this fact contains a new challenge for men. There is no reason why women should not rise but there also is no reason why men, once superior, now rapidly being rated as inferior, at least by women,[Pg 231] should not look into this challenge. If woman grows more fine, why should not a man also rise and create a new fineness that shall still dominate her and make her happy in that mastery for which she will forever ask.

The moonlight shone through the long luxurious rooms, the silver patterns threw their strange symbols on the floor until almost morning, and the dawn became a steadiness of gray and rose.

When at last they parted, Sard looked thoughtfully at her friend. "The trial's on to-day," she said slowly, "and the Bunch are all mad, so they won't go; and I don't think you ought to go, Minga."

"Just the same, I shall," whispered Minga doggedly. "I'm going with Dunce." Then a thought struck her. "Oh, Sard, did Dunce tell you what Judgie is going to do to Colter?"

The other girl started. "Do to Colter!" Sard paused at the door, her face scared inquiry through the dawn-light.

"Well," Minga was sleepily yawning, "I think Dunce said that Judgie had heard some of all this mess and so he had told Colter to get out. He seems to think it doesn't do to have a gentleman—well, you know what I mean, for a hired man, anyway." Minga, seeing her friend's face, was a little nervous. "That's what Dunce said; you'd better ask him. Imagine!" said little heavy-eyed Minga. "Imagine!"

Something slow, defined, inevitable crept around Sard's heart, with a shiver; the girl tried to face it, tried with her ardent and alert soul to know it for[Pg 232] what it was. It was hate, and it was hate of her father. She trembled slightly, for as she looked into her heart and saw that dark shape of Hate lying at its door, she heard a soft whisper again in her ear; little curls tickled her ears, soft whispering came to her and her head was laid on a soft pulsating little breast.

"We aren't afraid of Foddy, little Sard; we love him; he won't put us in prison."

Softly closing the door, softly stumbling up the steps to the tower-room, the girl tried to put these things against that dark shape lying across the threshold of her heart. "Oh, but he has put me in prison," she sobbed, "he has put me in prison—I—I—could never make him understand." Sard threw herself face downward on her bed. The birds were all singing, the sun came with bright morning over the happy sparkle of the river. A girl lay tearless before the dark shape of hate and the memory of love and before a slow dawning of a new feeling she could not name, the old cry came:

"Oh, Mother!" whispered Sard. "Oh, Mother! Mother!"

[Pg 233]



The week before Terence O'Brien's trial Watts had gone for one of his rare visits to Eleanor Ledyard's home in its low valley of the Ramapos. He found Pudge's home a tangle of lovely flowers, rich in smears of gaudy color, and the long waves of canterbury bells bowed to him in many tints as he paused at the white gate. Pudge, himself, ran down the paved garden path, a small turtle in one hand, a little willow whistle in the other. Both of these were proudly exhibited to his friend; also, mysterious news, the guinea pigs had now several little guinea pigs of their own and the doings of these piebald sacks of fur and ears were rehearsed. Watts listened with interest.

"Mother's up in the garret," said Pudge. "She's looking at letters—they make her cry."

Watts frowned. "They do, do they?"

"Yes, some more," the little fellow heaved a great sigh and took hold of Watts' trouser leg. "I'm glad you've come; when you come Mother doesn't cry as much; sometimes she looks in the glass and smiles."

"H'm," said the lawyer. "I say, Pudge, do you ever look in the glass?"

Pudge nodded. "When I'm playing Jack the Giant[Pg 234] Killer, first I'm Jack and then I look in the glass; and then I'm the two-headed giant and then I look in the glass and try to see two heads on me."

Watts was interested. "A great game," he agreed. "Now suppose you shin up my leg as far as my vest pocket and see what's in it."

Pudge immediately essayed the shin, his little fat form clinging and groping. The vest pocket and its candy trove having been achieved, his friend put him on a shoulder and galloped around the garden with him.

"I'm sailing," crowed Pudge with delight, "I'm flying through the air, I'm a pigeon." The little hands ran into Watts' neck. "I like fathers," said Pudge with satisfaction.

"What!" gasped the lawyer. They paused by the water barrel and Watts, looking in the smooth surface, saw himself with the little face looking over his head.

"I like fathers," repeated Pudge; "they come and play with you like this. Greddy Martin's father, he comes and plays with him like this."

"But, old scout, I'm not your father." Watts looked at himself in the rain barrel, and a thought came to him. Guiltily he peered to see if it was in his face.

"Oh, my father's dead," said little Pudge, practically. "But you are something like Greddy's father, and so I don't care."

The rain barrel image wavered a little; the lawyer chuckled slightly. "Huh!" he growled, "I'm not a[Pg 235] father, I am a camel. I'm carrying you on my back across the Algerian desert. Do you know what that is, Pudge?"

"Yes," said Pudge, "we have it for dinner."

"Well," smiled the "Camel," "I've carried you all across the Algerian desert and this rain barrel is an oasis where you stop and pick a date off this little peach tree." The two gravely picked imaginary dates and drank out of the spring. "But you must be careful when I drink out of the spring not to fall off my back into the rain barrel." The camel pretended to drink from the oasis rain barrel with dramatic effects of allowing the small rider to fall into it, and only by a miracle as it seemed did Pudge escape that awful fate.

The little boy, his eyes shining, looked into his friend's face. "Oh! we're having fun," he cried, "fun like other boys with their fathers. I wish you'd come every day! I like you."

"Supposing," said Watts, "I was to pitch my tent just outside your gate here, would Mother let me stay?"

Pudge deliberated. "She might, perhaps. I could ask her," and hopefully, "Maybe she wouldn't say no; maybe she would say, 'We'll see.'"

Watts smiled to himself. "How about food; my black horse and Friar Tuck, my big dog, would you bring us things to eat every morning?"

Now Pudge was slightly taken back. "You could have half my breakfast," he promised as man to man, "and one graham cracker," but the thing grew to[Pg 236] present difficulties to Pudge; "and one baked apple on Sundays," he faltered slowly.

"Nothing more?" The man standing there squeezed the fat legs hungrily. "Why," said Watts, "you'd surely let me have a little milk"; this camel was becoming a responsibility.

Now the desert rider hedged a little. "Well, you see," urged Pudge, "Mother wants me to drink all my milk; you see," he explained, "the more good milk I drink the more good boy I am."

"Sure." Watts slid him down to terra firma. "Well, I guess we can fix it up some way. Now about this mother of yours; let's stand down here and call up all sorts of nice names to her and see which one she'll answer, which one will make her come down to us."

Together they stood, the tall man with the dark dappled hair and the little shaver in blue linen, shouting such names as occurred to them up to the little garret window.

"Lady of Shalot," called Watts; he cast an eye about the sweet summer garden at a seat under a big horse-chestnut, "Lady of Shalot, come down and speak to Pudge's Camel."

"Oh, Mrs. Pudge's mother," sang out the little fellow, "come down and see my Watts Shipman."

"Blessed Damosel," Watts liked this game; his voice held something whimsically tender.

"Dearest Honey-bug," this with a masculine swagger from Pudge. But there was silence; no one appeared at the little window. Could the lawyer have[Pg 237] known it Eleanor Ledyard had stopped reading the letters; an instinctive feminine hand went to her hair, then a curious look of restlessness came to her face; she did not, however, go at once to the window, though the calling voice of her little son drew her away from the trunk full of letters.

"That doesn't bring her." Watts' voice, purposely raised, held the note of injury. "Why, I don't believe she wants to see us," the lawyer spoke distinctly. "I think she knows I've come around with my tiresome questions. I say, Pudge, you know some people don't care for me the way you do."

"But Mother does," came the little voice eagerly. "She has your picture and she tells me long stories about——" A hand must have gone over Pudge's mouth. Up-stairs listening, Eleanor Ledyard felt the slow color burn in her face.

"Darling," she whispered softly—"you mustn't." Pudge's mother quailed.

Watts, holding the little fat hand, squeezed it; he looked up at the window steadily and something mounted in his throat. He felt the desolate sense of that trunk full of letters, of the woman patiently trying to read and destroy and—forget. "Our names don't seem to mean anything to that mother of yours. Let's try others, let's call her—well—just the dearest ones we know."

"I have," said Pudge stoutly. "Mrs. Honey-bug is my dearest; I haven't any more dear names."

"Well, I have," said the lawyer decidedly. "I haven't used up mine, not all the dearest ones I could[Pg 238] think of, only if I called up some," Watts was eyeing the window, "your mother might scold me."

Pudge looked serious, then he clasped anew the hand that held his.

"I don't believe she would," encouragingly; "you try it."

As they stood thus hand in hand, Watts, knowing that every word was heard, essayed his mischievous worst.

"Dear Know-not-thine-own-heart," he called, "Lady of Denial"—"Heart's Sorrow."

Her head, shining with its coils of brown hair, appeared at the little oriel opening. Eleanor Ledyard smiled down her reproof. "Watts, how am I to keep at this thing which you know I must do if you two don't go away and amuse yourselves quietly; have I two children instead of one?"

"I wish you had——" murmured the man. He let something come into his eyes that Eleanor had often seen there; the deep blue eyes with the black lashes tried to meet this with womanly severity. Somehow this morning the look failed. Watts Shipman had come far to see a fair woman, and a spark of the tradition of the cavaliers and men of romance was in his blood. A lady at an oriel window was a person who must ultimately do one thing. Come down! The lawyer, his head bared, looked belligerently back, and something in his gaze had made Eleanor turn from the window quickly.

"I guess my mother is coming down," said little Pudge.

[Pg 239]

"She'd better," said Watts grimly, "or I'd have had to go and get her."

"But you couldn't," said Pudge earnestly, "not if she didn't want you to." Watts turned and looked at the small, earnest face.

"Dear lamb, I know that," groaned the man. "I know that; don't rub it in."

He called up to the empty window. "I say, Eleanor, please bring that letter stuff down and read it here; if you've got to do the deadly thing, let me help!"

So the morning ended by her coming down, and they sat very contentedly with Pudge making paper dolls out of the envelopes his mother gave him. Eleanor, with a sort of desperate haste, tore packet after packet of letters. All those relating to her husband's early life she had said she would set aside, "something for Pudge to have." Others she tore up so vehemently, into such small pieces, that the lawyer, a mere man, wondered, and little Pudge, carrying baskets of fragments to the trash-box, thought how much Hop-o'-My-Thumb would have liked these paper fragments for his trail back to his mother. That the fragments were in reality part of the trail of a weak man, father to her sturdy little boy, made a drift like falling snow in Eleanor's heart. One letter she had saved to show to Watts, and as the lawyer read it his eyebrows went up.

When at last Shipman put down the closely written sheets he bent his deep gaze on her.

"Well, that does look as if——" he turned ques[Pg 240]tioningly. "You surely don't believe Ledyard is alive," incredulously, "Martin Ledyard, the great scientific adventurer, alive and the world not know it!"

Eleanor nodded. "I've always believed it." Her eyes wandered to the bloomy-purple of the line of mountains back of them. "Of course, I never could understand why, if he was anywhere in the world, why, when that happened he didn't come to us, to George and me. And after George went, I wondered more but I've always felt him alive, in the world, somewhere."

Watts was thoughtful. "He might have been afraid; he might have thought it would hurt him some way, do you think that?"

"No," the woman lifted her head decidedly. "That's not a Ledyard trait. Martin was as devoted to George as I—almost——" She shivered a little on the word and the lawyer sadly watching her realized that that word "almost" regulated the great gulf between the deep faith of a man's loving, and the shattering blasts of a woman's power of sorrow. Eleanor was silent a moment; then she said dreamily, "They adored each other at college, camping, on expeditions, everywhere. Martin might have been crushed by George's trouble, saddened beyond words, but he wouldn't have deserted; he would have come to us if he could have!"

"But," the lawyer turned to the letter in his hand, "this chap says that nearly all of the men in that West African expedition died of smallpox. I re[Pg 241]member that year; it was fearful along the Niger; there was a lot of red tape and the Entente governments fought over whose job it was to stamp the thing out. It swept the Congo, I know. They all died, this chap Morrow says."

Eleanor Ledyard assented. "Nearly all, but they never accounted for all. Tarrant, the man Martin loved so, went first; and after that McCall, their surgeon; very bravely, I believe. Then the Southerner who partly financed the thing, did you read that awful part where they had to send them down the Niger in the canoes made of hollowed out trees? Well, they and the natives say that six canoes came down and that they burned all the smallpox victims in quick-lime. But, you see, there was one letter from Martin himself, very distressed, out of West Africa, at Monrovia, I think, as he waited to embark for England, and he says—this letter, dated long after, sounds pretty nearly out of his head—'they are all gone but me, and I was taken from the same canoe as Tarrant. I was trying to paddle him down to a village for burial; he had been dead four days when we got there, a putrid corpse! Tarrant, my friend, my beloved brother-in-science.'"

For a long time there was silence. The man and woman sat staring at the blue Ramapo as the strange scenes of the stricken men in the tropical river drifted through their minds. At last Eleanor spoke: "And then came 'George's Trial.'" Watts saw the terrible effort it was to her to say the words, how she glanced at Pudge at her feet, and then, "George went[Pg 242] and Martin never came to me. Nobody came to me."

Watts sat there, the letter in his hand. "I came to you," he said simply. She flashed him a look of passionate gratitude.

"As Christ might have," she said with equal simplicity.

The lawyer, half irritably, turned away. "I wish you'd drop that Christ idea," he muttered. "I'm a man, I'm not a god. I am a man, and I want a dear woman who doesn't want me."

She looked at him; her hands went out, her eyes soft, pleading. "Watts, dear, I am always ready to come from gratitude; indeed, dear friend, I would come trustingly ... in memory of what you did."

"No," he said firmly, "I want love, I don't want your trust and gratitude, not even your dear hands and lips." His soul leaped into his eyes, and he faced her implacably. "I want the thing I don't believe George got, but which you won't let me have. I want you. Your whole being, you, Eleanor."

She sat there like a person stunned. The thing that he had said went to some hidden place in her and pulled aside a temple curtain; for a moment her eyes flashed, outrage stiffened her form; then with a dignity the man could not fathom, the woman who had been a wife looked at him.

"I think," she said gently, "that you could not have meant to say that, that you have forgotten yourself."

[Pg 243]

It was the veiled woman of ice. Watts knew her well. The man got up, paced back and forth, his passionate heart pounding. Then he stood before her. "I'm sorry," he said, "order me out of here if you want to; I know I'm a cad." Watts, the self-controlled man of the world, felt his lips tremble. "Order me out," he blurted clumsily. "I'm—I'm——"

But she looked up, smiling gravely, and took his hand. "Sit down, Watts dear, don't be impatient and try," her dark blue eyes filled with tears, "try to understand."

"I do," said the man miserably, "I do understand. I'm a hound, Eleanor."

With a sigh the lawyer turned back to the letter. "There ought to be a search for Martin," he said thoughtfully. "What clues have you? Did he wear any one ring or anything; was there any peculiarity about him, scars or blemishes? Have you a photo of him?"

Eleanor could remember a very slight defect, a front tooth slightly broken. "He had fine teeth," she said, "and that break was teasingly noticeable." George Ledyard's widow took from the chain about her neck a rather large old-fashioned locket which she drew up from beneath her lace collar and silently she handed the thing to him. Its slight warmth came to the man's fingers in a way that made him glance suddenly at her, wondering at the calm, unconscious face. Keeping his thoughts down as best he might, Shipman opened the side opposite from the reckless face of George Ledyard, that face he had seen go through, at[Pg 244] the trial, every swift change of the reckless speculator and desperate trapped man; he glanced for an instant upon the lips that Ledyard's own wife had said, "Lured one until one was wrecked upon them." "With such a face," thought Watts bitterly, "a man can beckon a woman down to hell or up to heaven." Watts dared not look again at the wife drooping there, her little boy's head against her knee. He turned to the other side of the locket. Something, as he looked, rose like a finger post in his heart; it pointed to a set of conditions, a tangled net of human things he had recently known; but the lawyer did not instantly recognize it, only slowly came the gradual shaping of curious mists, and these settled in his mind like fog settling around the tops of houses.

The other face was younger than George's, finer and firmer, singularly a tempered man's face, free from recklessness, but with the look of adventure and an illumined look of pure kindness and intelligence, very unusual in a face so dominant and assured. The eyes, a little wide apart, were set under brows of resolution; the build of chin and cheek were of a spare sobriety; the lips, mobile and gracious, were a scholar's lips.

"Do you suppose he's gray now, if he's alive? Same hair as George's? No?"

Eleanor shook her head. "I don't believe hair like that can change, the curious red chestnut; we used to think that the birds and animals he tamed so easily came to him because he had that crest, a fine glittering plumage like their own."

[Pg 245]

"He must have seen strange birds in West Africa," Watts said dreamily, "strange men and things." The lawyer looked at her. "He might have gone crazy," he said suddenly. "He may be shut up somewhere; have you thought of that? The man's rotten cowardly, else why should he have left you to face this alone?"

Her eyes, deep and misty, looked at him. "He loved George," she said quietly; "he would have come if he could have; he loved George. Even you," she looked at him a little childishly, "never did that."

Watts smiled at the feminine pettishness.

"No," he said gravely, "I just loved George's wife, and I do still, God help me!"

She half rose; but his look held her. "I hoped not," she said almost defiantly. "I hoped that that girl might have——"

Watts, however, steadily met her glance. "Sard Bogart," he said, "is, well, she's——" he broke off, looking earnestly at his friend. "That girl is going to need friends," said the lawyer decidedly. He handed the locket back to Eleanor, and with a curious look, half awe, half ache, saw it slip into its place. He stopped, something trivial on his lips. He was glad at Eleanor's next remark.

"I wish I might help her." Her voice was calm, sympathetic.

The lawyer was a little dubious, a little uncertain. "I don't know; I've told her about you," he hesitated. Eleanor half shrank and Watts added coolly, "That you are my dearest friend." He stood up[Pg 246] thoughtfully. "Unless you are going to ask me to lunch, I must go. Are you going to ask me to lunch?" he asked her.

The old drama began instantly between them. The masterful, pursuing man and the retreating, doubting woman. The thing itself took hold of them, but resolutely, like people tempered to the grave concerns of life, they put it aside.

Eleanor shook her head. "I am not going to ask you," she said gently.

"Punishment, I suppose," murmured Watts.

There was a moment's silence. She also rose and he thought that in her white gown with the rows of blue larkspur and the canterbury bells as background she was a wondrous fair thing that had almost too much power over him. The man's mind flew to the bright impulse of the girl they spoke of. Eleanor saw this and her hand went out to his. "Bring Sard to see me," she said it very kindly, "and that funny little Cousin Minga. I used to see a good deal of the 'Mede and the Persian'; they are dears." She looked at him, casting about for something that should give him comfort. "Next week you take up the O'Brien case, don't you? Tell me, has the boy any chance? Can you save him? Is it to be for life?"

Watts turned; he looked long and silently at the sun descending, at all the colors and life of the flowers about them, at the mountains standing like great blocks of sapphire beyond the green fields awash with daisies. Suddenly, he pointed to a little cedar tree reaching its infant head close by their side.

[Pg 247]

"How long do you think that little thing has been there?"

Mrs. Ledyard thought about two years. "It's so cunning; it's planted itself. I haven't had the heart to have it taken out."

"When it is a big tree," said Shipman slowly, "and when his bones are brittle and when only images of sin and failure and disease are graven on his soul, Terence O'Brien will be called 'free.'"

"Free," she murmured; her eyes, fixed on her friend's, read anew that greatest and deepest thing in him, the passion for humanity.

She saw him fighting for a boy as she had seen him fight for her own husband; saw his stern face and iron gray head raised in its superb appeal to the pity and understanding of the so-called "good" who control the so-called "bad." Something surged up in the woman, a deep something that was a triumph and a shame. "I could make this man happy," her soul said. "I could make him happy!" Then into the strange quietude of a wife's memory, she withdrew even as she gave him her hand and eyes. She was a cold statue, a gracious being, a woman who had known.

Pudge ran up. "Mother," the little blue figure shouted, "I've caught a butterfly. He wiggles his wings; he doesn't like it; he wants to get away."

The man and woman smiled. They showed Pudge the meaning of wings, the reason things want to get away and in showing, they were tender of each other. When the little orange and black fans again wavered[Pg 248] against the great wall, the blue vast of the morning sky, Pudge himself got the sense of your true liberator!

"My, I like to let him go!" he breathed. He gazed a little wistfully after his silken-fanned treasure, insisting stoutly, "I like to let him go!" Pudge looked earnestly up into the two faces, smiling at him. "I want everything to go free," said Pudge, "except guinea pigs!"

Watts waited a moment; then he took Eleanor's hand in both of his. He waited until she lifted her eyes to him. "I shall not come again," he said very gently, "until—you send for me."

She was silent. "If I am ever to come," said the man, "send me only the message that you need me."

He turned and was gone.

[Pg 249]



Every place has its own peculiar odor, from the flower and candle-smoke scent of a graceful woman's sitting-room to the tarry ropes and fish-net and canvas sails of a boat-house; from the dried earth, rustling bulb and flower-seed smell of a tool bin to the paint tubes and mustiness of old draperies and cigarette smoke of an atelier. Sunning mattresses, hot milk bottles, warming squares and talcum powders, the delicious smell of bathed baby flesh; scent of wooden pews and velvet cushions, camphored furs and stale incense of a church: every department of life, every living thing, has its haunting, significant odor.

A country court-room smells of unaired dust, of wet umbrellas and muddy rubbers, of onlookers who have handled horses and gasoline, of doctors who have come from operations. Smells of the coarse perfumes of the criminal's lady friends, the bay rum of the shining country lawyer, lemon peel and cloves chewed by such persons as even in the most stringent times of the Volstead Act appear always to have something to conceal.

When the man-of-straw of outraged community virtue is dislodged the court-room is redolent of prejudice and policy and pedantry and plausibility; of[Pg 250] many things that lie on each other in layers like morning griddle cakes. But it seldom suggests atmosphere of health and light and true cleanliness and earnest religious progressiveness; of the earnest desire to administer true justice, of the earnest wish to analyze specific examples of crime, to conserve all goodness, to see straighter, more freely, with greater charity and more modern scientific accuracy. Of these things few court-rooms smell.

It may have been the stale, dreary, intrenched and pompous atmosphere of the Trout County court-room that finally drove the Minga Bunch from their original intention of following Terence O'Brien to the last ditch of his trial. Youthful enthusiasm and curiosity had long since died out, leaving only a grudging sense of clan obligation, and the long hours of reviewing circumstantial evidence, the cross-questioning of this and that dull witness, the peering faces of the family of the murdered man and the grim and relentless attitude of the jury, these things had somehow robbed the circumstances of all their dramatic values. The sight of Terry standing day after day in the pen, his tow-colored hair always brushed the same way, his eyes always nervously blinking the same way, and his dry mouth unable to testify in his own defense, nettled the group of young people who had interested themselves in his behalf. They had supposed the young accused would rise suddenly and pelt the people with polemics. They had looked for dynamics; they found only musty, fusty technique, sour looks of old men, rigidities of convention and a bewildered[Pg 251] effect of vital issues lost in a grand tea-party of form and precedent.

Also, Watts Shipman disappointed them. Not experienced enough to comprehend the poise and power that lay behind Shipman's calm, his deferential giving way to his "distinguished opponent," his punctilious observance of every known courtesy and tradition of the bar, they found him tepid and unconvincing. They saw their great man as rather a simple soul, apparently a negligible factor in the trial, apparently dominated by the sleek, shining country counsel for the prosecution, and did not know that those very simplicities were the earnest of his greatness. The Bunch did not know the modern function of the lawyer to hold himself rigidly from emphasis until all of the case has been digested. To work out by the slow sifting of evidence the four sides of his construction, the meticulous dotting of I's and crossing of T's, the subterfuge of the trained, technical response of witness when asked certain specific questions; in short, the suave chicanery and subtle craft that has been slowly built up around the narrowing arena where two brains tourney for the life or honor of a prisoner—these things were so much mortification of the flesh for the restive "Bunch."

One by one the slow summer mornings of the trial dragged out. One by one the "Bunch" dwindled down. Dora, trim in costume, desperate in eyes and manner, might have noticed this defection; Sard, rather listless and weary, saw it with scorn; Shipman, a slight glimmer in his eyes, observed it. But Minga[Pg 252] and Dunstan, coming religiously together every day, both noted and registered it.

These two young people sat solemnly aloof in some communion of spirit, waiting for some revelation, what, they hardly knew. But to an imaginative onlooker they might have seemed slowly in their young hope to dim; their vaulting belief might have appeared to such an onlooker to become slowly filmed over by the long, long dust and dinginess, the hanging cobwebs, the old parchments and papers, the pomps and vanities, the emptiness and scaly dead skin of the Law.

But Dust is capable of explosion, and the two youngsters solemnly sitting there on the last day of the case gradually felt themselves slow fuses in some strange emotional bomb of their own planning. This was somewhat heightened by a note that Dunstan carried in his pocket. Once during the trial the lad took this out and showed it to his companion; the two heads bent over it, two brown hands clasped in solemn vow. Two solemn pairs of young eyes swore some consecration to a so far half-planned venture.

Minga seemed restless and scornful. She kept her eyes on the proceedings with the air of one who should say, "And this is what you call 'justice'!"

At last came the summing up for the defense, and the great lawyer rose and made his plea for the youth, who, sullen of eyes and unbelieving of spirit, sat there. The court-room was full. Watts' fame had been passed from mouth to mouth among the Trout County inhabitants and all up and down the little[Pg 253] villages of the Hudson the lawyer's mission had been told. Private automobiles bumped along the country roads, jitneys from the ferries and from other counties deposited their loads of citizens. The country people, secure in their sense of collective virtue, untroubled with modern analyses of crime and punishment, unhampered with any passion for an adjustment of punishment to environment and education, and keen for the Roman Holiday, came to see severe sentence of imprisonment passed upon one who had forfeited his right to live among them. The jury, clean as to shave, ostentatious as to watch chain, some perfumed, some begoggled, one in hip boots, another in pearl spats, all with an expression of wisdom and virtue rather droll to anyone who knew the hidden chapters of their separate lives; in fact, the Spoon River Anthology, numbering twelve picked verses, filed into the jury box, and "twelve good men and true" mopped their foreheads and tried to look unconscious.

Outside, the summer morning was rich with promise. Butterflies sailed two and two past the branches and down into the deep grass. The leaves, turning over like little green babies on their backs, warmed their little stomachs in the sun.

The summing up was short. Terry, his half-formed young ears pricking up, heard it, only half understanding. Sard, Dunstan and Minga heard it rebelliously. Dora, like a person in a trance, heard it stonily.

The criminal had done murder, so the evidence had shown, to obtain money for adventure and to further[Pg 254] schemes for his advancement. No motive of personal hatred or self-defense or vengeance could be found. The testimony had been full, accurate and to the point. Terry's curly, well-brushed head was on his chest. Later it was raised and the boy was staring defiantly around him like a young bull at bay and desperately knowing only one thing, how joyous, how magnificent it would be to charge!

Sard, sitting back in the court-room, looked from the boy, all the muscles of his young back taut, to her father. It was to her suddenly as if the whole court-room, all of them were, under the Judge's power of punishment, and that somehow his whole life, all the whetted flavor of his existence was to mete punishment. To the girl's daunted eyes, her father was as powerful here as he was at the breakfast table. The gray head was pompous and rawly defined against the background of the American flag; the hard-boiled eyes looked with a peculiar fixity, a muscular invariability on every witness; the nasal voice with its few comments, swift interruption and rebuke, its lifeless adjustments and refereeship of the proceedings were of an inflexible quality that the girl felt was not of convention but of a hard, unimaginative, self-secure and characteristic conceit.

So that when the counsel for the defense rose, three young hearts in the assemblage arose with him. Yet to their passionate wish, Watts seemed, standing in the court-room here, to fall short. The distinguished figure, the face tanned with a summer of outdoor work and horseback riding, sobered with long, lonely[Pg 255] vigils of thought, had, it seemed, great respect for this country court-room, for its judiciary, for the foreman of the jury and for his opponent in the matter of the trial. Watts carried himself like a man who had been impressed by the firmness and sobriety of the proceedings. The lawyer let the court-room know that he had had many personal talks with the prisoner. It was his skilful way of assuring them that they shared his passion for reforms.

Terry's head lifted, looking at him curiously. The young fellow remembered revelations, tears, of one night in particular when Watts had stayed with him until dawn came and his hysteria was over. The boy wondered what his friend would reveal of this. But the great lawyer went calmly on with unemotional emphasis to state that he had found the criminal's mind vague, perhaps not properly educated, unformed and in ignorance of the many physical facts that at his age induce crime.

"And we know," remarked the speaker calmly, "that there is an age in young manhood when a youth is hardly responsible. The law, I feel, should invariably in its adjustments reckon with the physiological fact of that age. He had," he said, "talked with the prisoner as he would have liked to be given the wisdom at crises to talk to a son of his own, and as"—here the man looked about the court-room into the rows of dull and complacent faces—"it seems to me it is absolutely incumbent on all of us to talk to sons and daughters of our own frankly, giving them truth and the clear analysis of all that makes in our[Pg 256] bodies and environment and heritage for crime; for sins against ourselves and the body politic."

The lawyer then reviewed some mitigating circumstances, touched lightly on some of the more interesting technical aspects of the case and addressed the jury on behalf of the commutation of the sentence. Finally, with curious simple tenderness, a thing that the court-room did not understand, at which Judge Bogart looked displeased and drummed impatiently with his fingers, at which the country lawyers openly squirmed and yawned, but at which Dora sat tense and straight, and Terry's young head went down into his arms, he finished.

"If, Gentlemen of the Jury, you should still feel that you must bring in the verdict of intentional and deliberate guilt, then I appeal, your Honor, for the commutation of sentence. I appeal in the name of Humanity, of struggling, sinning, ignorant Humanity, and by that new spirit which makes us disbelieve nowadays in the 'pound of flesh.' I appeal, your Honor, by my own youth's ignorance, its mistakes and struggles and by the ignorances and mistakes and struggles of those I have tried to help; by yours, Gentlemen of the Jury, who take your solemn part in the decision after the trial. I appeal to Terence O'Brien, the accused, to take your decision, whatever it may be, and apply it as a test of his own character and what he may still make of that character; and I appeal to his sister, sitting there, to make her grief and sorrow noble, a test by which she may grow stronger and braver.

[Pg 257]

"I appeal," said Watts, looking down toward his three young friends who sat with hot cheeks watching him, "to all intelligence and sweetness and honesty of women, all strength and cleanness and courage of men to help Terence O'Brien and all such as he. I ask, your Honor, that his sentence may be mitigated, so that he may finally go back to a world acknowledged the better by his punishment, and be received by the world with respect and helpfulness. I ask these things," said the lawyer in a low voice, "as I know my own human soul and its potentialities, as I know yours, sir," turning to the prosecutor, "as I know yours, gentlemen," turning to the somewhat confused jury, "and as I know yours," with a half smile at the unimaginative audience eyeing him.

"For we are all somewhere, sometime, through some guilt or ignorance or weakness and mistake, guilty of punishable things. That is why we must forever demand of our Law that it shall be administrated with hope, must forever inculcate and advocate the higher, healthier judgments of analysis, understanding, temperance and mercy. There is no glory in punishing predestined guilt; there is glory in shielding and protecting potential criminals from guilt."

The speech fell painfully flat, as Watts must have known it would. It left the court-room cold. These country people, trained to the less analytical, more emotional attitude toward crime and punishment, felt somehow defrauded. The great lawyer had robbed them of their Roman Holiday, of the raging and tearing oratory to which by his very greatness they felt[Pg 258] they were entitled. There is an unconquerable love among the half-baked for flourishes and figures, for verbal fireworks and Mosaic utterances. No country audience feels that it has been fairly dealt with in a criminal trial unless it has been seized roughly by the orator and dragged willingly over the entire gamut of the prisoner's shame, contrition, despair, rage, vindictiveness, and given a delicious peep at the unspeakable and the unprintable.

The rest was technical. The judge dryly charged the jury, commending, coldly, a consideration for the youth of the prisoner. The jury filed out; the crowd filtered forth.

Minga and Dunstan leaped from their seats and fled forth under the trees. Minga's small face was pale. She stood staring unseeingly at the crowds straggling out of the little country court-house of Trout County.

People were already settling down with lunch boxes or hurrying away to eat before the jury should return. It was prophesied from mouth to mouth that the jury would not be "out" long. Groups standing about discussed the case with relish. The comments were bald, stereotyped and pharisaical. The tiresome, assumed impeccability of this crowd discussing one boy's misdoings got on Minga's nerves. Who were these people, some of them mean of face, too evidently underhand, tricky and foul-mouthed, to condemn a boy, only twenty, who had had them for example and no mature chance to estimate the essential stuff of life?

The girl, with unreasoning resentment and little[Pg 259] understanding of the enormous values of the collective sense of equity, watched Judge Bogart with slow pomp, making formal gestures of greeting and dismissal. She saw the two lawyers exchanging deprecating amenities, and wanted to laugh. What a play it all was! What mummery!

She watched Sard talking to Shipman and her heart was hot with rage as the two exchanged what seemed to her inadequate remarks.

"How's Winged Victory?"

Sard's hands went eagerly out.

"I'm still thinking of your speech. It's what I've always wanted to say—to have said."

"You didn't exact more pyrotechnics!" He met her glance quizzically.

"Ah," the girl breathed, "you spoke to their intelligences, not to their emotions. You made people think!"

"Did I?" Smiling doubtfully.

"Oh, it must do some good!" she insisted. "It must influence them some way or other, if not for Terry"—the young, hopeful face clouded, "then for someone else. Colter says——" The girl hesitated then went on quickly, "You made them use their minds, you showed the relation of society to crime; they saw that they were guilty of the Terrys of this world!"

Lovely in her enthusiasm she added, "I was watching. Old Mr. Fetherfew wiped his eyes and the garage man coughed, and that young drug clerk looked so curious and interested. More young people looked[Pg 260] interested than old ones," said Sard rather acutely. "I think that some of them really understood what you meant."

"You're too encouraging." Watts, smiling, stood with one foot on the runner of her car. He was noting the traces of worry on the girl's face. His good news, that he believed the jury would bring in a modified verdict and Terry's sentence would not necessarily be for life, had not changed this look of worry. He had seen Sard hesitate and flush consciously after that arrested "Colter says."

Shipman had had his mind upon this girl and her problem ever since the club dance. So Sard's little world had already "made her ashamed." It had, with its tawdry assumption, already begun to pass judgment upon her. These were the things that sent young people running amuck. What chance was there in a community like this for the fine idealisms of youth? Shipman thought. How much more stringent and vindictive are the unwritten laws of so-called society against the bold spirit that seeks to transcend it than the concise preventive inhibitions of the state statute.

Watts had heard rumors of the Tawny Troop canard and of the general village interpretation of Colter's presence in this girl's vicinity. How commonplace, how vulgar it was; how it could hurt her!

The seasoned man winced at the thought of that pure spirit smirched with the stupid and bestial mouthings of the ordinary community. He shrank to think of his Winged Victory before the essential squalidness of the minds with which she was surrounded. But[Pg 261] he asked no questions, he only looked thoughtfully into the resolute fresh eyes, and there he seemed to read a page newly turned in Sard's heart.

This girl, he saw, was slowly growing conscious about the man, Colter. Jove, it was a pity! But with the buzzings of the country community and her father's cold isolation from the problem there could be only one result: she would grow more and more sure of this one personality whose cause she had espoused. That was the way her kind met what it had to meet. Watts thought of what things Sard might have to meet. His dark eyes tried to read hers. "Courage!" they said to her, and again, "Courage!"

"The Minga Group deserted, after all," the lawyer teased. "A little inharmony there, I'm afraid." Then, as he saw two young figures morosely eating sandwiches under the shade of an elm, he went forward.

"Well, worshipful clients——"

The lawyer was anxious to get Minga past all shyness and some painful memories. There was nothing in his face but the look of one who greets an old comrade.

"How am I to spend my ill-gotten gains?" The man asked it with purposeful lightness. "There's about three hundred dollars that you contributed; shall we give it to Dora?"

The two faces darkened. Minga threw away her sandwich. She turned and faced him, impudently looking him up and down. Her dark blue eyes glittered with a cold dislike that almost startled the man.[Pg 262] He regarded her with puzzled concern, amazed at the variability of this little creature whom he had already seen under so many different phases of emotion. Now, Watts thought, Minga looked really dangerous; something was added to her usual rebelliousness.

"Oh," said the girl flippantly, "let's do something for Dora by all means, buy her a grand piano."

He did not answer. She went on bitterly: "That will make you more comfortable anyway."

"I've disappointed you?" the man questioned gently. Then trying again for lightness, "I was not worthy of my hire."

"Ah," with quick dislike, "disappointed us? You've been treacherous to us."

He was quiet, waiting to hear what she had further to say.

"With your power," contemptuously, "with your prestige, to just talk, to sermonize and philosophize and make no appeal for him, for Terry. Oh," said the girl excitedly, "it was like going past a drowning person in a boat, telling all the while how to make the boat safer for all the safe people, letting the person drown——" She caught her breath with a sob.

Sard and Dunstan looked wonderingly on this sudden eloquence. It was not Minga's way to vibrate to the sorrow of the under-dog. Only Watts' shrewd brain guessed at the emotions that underlay the girl's present scorn. The trained eyes perceived what was the dynamo that augmented this passion. With something very tender in the gesture he tried to take Minga's hand but she swerved from him.

[Pg 263]

She did not, however, abandon the discussion, and Dunstan, his lace masked and suspicious, stood back of her. The youth scowled as Shipman asked slowly, "If you had what you call my power, just what would you do? Open all the prisons and turn out all the criminals? Use it to protect one poor lad or to protect many lads and old men and women and children? Do you know that Terry's mind is psychologically the kind of mind that naturally resorts to violence to get what it wants?"

"But you have never believed that Terry would be pardoned or you might have gotten pardon, or a fine, or something," vaguely. "That was what we wanted. You never really tried!" the girl passionately insisted. "Nothing that you have said this morning but acknowledged that you believed him guilty. You didn't insist on his having another chance!"

The man standing there bareheaded, the lines strong on his kind face, his dark, white dappled head conspicuous under the low hanging elm branches, looked wonderingly at her, seeing the tears cloud her eyes. He longed, as he had longed before, to meet this defiant little spirit with a passion of tenderness, yet an old discipline controlled him. With his sober grasp of life he sought to help her.

"You mean," the lawyer said slowly, "that I have never believed him guiltless! No, I haven't; we all heard his guilt proved. You expected him to be freed because of his youth; you thought that possible. I never did. Child," said the man, "there is always punishment for wrong-doing; it is automatic. Whether[Pg 264] it comes of the courts or of life, it comes! Don't you realize that even a life-sentence might be merciful; a deterrent, to keep Terry from the worse crimes to which his inheritance and environment might lead him? Try to have patience!"

Shipman held out his hand; he tried to make her meet his eyes. He laid the power of his spirit on her. "You want better, more intelligent human laws, more enlightened justice," he said gravely; "so do I. But, do you know how best to get freedom and justice for all peoples——? By obeying such law as there is!"

Watts smiled at them, shaking his head. "Oh, I know it's a slow way, a tedious way, a tame way, but unless we all want to stay forever 'under the law' with all the slavery and lack of progress that connotes, we must be better disciplined, better educated and more intelligent people. We must stay 'under the law' until slowly and painfully and all together we shall come to a consciousness of more Christian and more intelligent laws to which we can all subscribe."

Minga drove her hands into her front pockets.

"I want justice," said the girl, crisply.

"So do I," was the lawyer's prompt reply. "I want it, but I seldom see it."

"I want the justice that would give Terry another chance."

"I want justice for the old cobbler whom Terry killed."

[Pg 265]

He considered her. "There's only just one way to keep the Terrys of the world out of jail."

She faced him, held by his magnetism, yet unbelieving. Watts dominated her as he had that night on the mountain. "Just by being better men and women ourselves. The criminal is the man or woman who analyzes and defies society, and in some cases his arraignment of society is just." Then, with a voice that thrilled with conviction, Shipman said to them:

"Never lose your passion for justice, for the under-dog; never cease hating smug, secure, complacent things, and never relax in your efforts to be more intelligent men and women. I am willing to grant you that there can be no essential justice in life as long as there is no proper understanding of Terry's temptations, his mental and bodily defects. To that extent we, as much as he, are to blame for his crime and we must never cease to agonize for him and for such as he. It is our duty to raise ourselves through education and our civilized dreams of justice to enact laws that shall protect all the Terrys from themselves, give them safety against their wayward impulses; understanding of the disease of their crime; until that time comes," finished Watts, "we are all under the law."

It was with a wistfulness the others could not understand that the man said these things. Manfully, he tried to curb this young despair while he gloried in and respected it. Some day Watts knew they would forget this noble passion. They, like him, would grow old, mature in worldly wisdom, willing to throw much[Pg 266] into the terrible human discard, where so much youth, beauty, hope and honor die in order that the artificial fabric, called society, may be statically preserved!

Minga turned to Dunstan. "Then Terry," she said under her breath, "has no friends but us." The two looked at each other meaningly. They turned slowly toward their roadster. They sprang in; the long shape backed and snorted and left an angry trail of dust on the summer highway.

[Pg 267]



It was late when the jury returned. The dusty end of day completed their dusty deliberations. They settled down in their seats mopping faces, adjusting waistcoats, casting plausible eyes to the ceiling or doubtful ones to the floor. The foreman, it was evident, felt his brief authority. He was clearly sorry that the waiting crowd had perceptibly diminished. He stood, dyed of mustache, mottled of necktie, his hair brushed in the country barber's idea of integrity and truth. The rendering of the verdict was given with his laborious elegance of diction.

And, suddenly, under even his smug sternness, the dimly lighted building became surcharged with fatal things! The old drama of youth and society, the old tragedy was as evident here as in any Greek theatre set in a hillside. Those who waited greedily for the sentence felt a certain awe as it was given. The Judge's machine-like voice had a cold inexorability, very impressive. It was like a clock ticking out the final words evenly:

"Twenty years at hard labor!"

There was a general intake of breath. To some the sentence was disgracefully light; to others gratifyingly merciful. There was a slow rumble of satisfied[Pg 268] country virtue. They looked at the prisoner at the bar. Well, did Terry now know what the law was?

Twenty years at hard labor! Something torturing made Sard's heart careen like a badly ballasted boat. She got her first vision of the enigma of life. But with Terry's sentence were they not all sentenced?

Twenty years at hard labor! Watts working for human betterment, for clearer vision in legal things, yet still under the law. Twenty years at hard labor! Dora, working in the kitchen, always shadowed by her brother's fate. Twenty years at hard labor! Colter patiently striving to piece together his lost puzzled life. Twenty years at hard labor! All the patient workers, thinkers, teachers and trail blazers of the great world! Was Terry in such poor company? Were they not all condemned, all held down, suffocated, frustrated, held back by the blind significance of crystallized laws?

Sard stumbled over to the little group near Terry. Dora, now passionately crying, caught at her hand.

"Dora," Sard's voice weakened in her throat, "Dora, don't cry like that. It isn't only you and Terry, don't you see we are all—all under the law?"

And then the little country court-house became something very terrible to her; she stumbled blindly out of it.

For Sard, poor child, knew that the chief issue, the chief point of all the struggle would be missed. How the trial of Terry O'Brien would be turned by the countryside merely into a compliment for itself! How it would be said that Watts Shipman, the great[Pg 269] continental lawyer, had been so impressed by the splendid and inexorable quality of the Trout County Justice, that he had tried one of its most sensational cases himself! How the little country paper would gloat over the thing and fairly tumble over its type as it abandoned its usual clipped stories and boiler press jokes about the mother-in-law, the old maid, the unwelcome twins and the absent husband to flare into three sticks of local felicitations! Veritas, Uncle Felix and E Pluribus Unum would write their usual letters. The Grand Old Man of the town would make a speech and everything he said would later be corrected and contradicted by the three Grand Old Women.

The Roman Holiday furnished by Terry's ruined life would obtain, but there would be no sober effort for the understanding and education of future Terrys.

On the way home Sard and her father drove in silence.

The country roads were leafy tunnels through which the lights of their automobile rayed mysteriously. Owls and bats whirred away from them, mists arose from the flats or filtered through the woods. The Judge held his portfolio of carefully fitted papers. In the dusk Sard saw him heavy, immovable, his cigar in the corner of his mouth. Once or twice he turned to his daughter as if expecting her comment on the day's events. But there was no talk between them and the Judge's face grew harder.

As they entered the drive he waved toward the[Pg 270] garage. There gleamed no patch of orange-colored light in the window of the room above; the girl's heart suddenly stood still. As she took her hands from the wheel they trembled.

Again the Judge pointed to the garage. "Leave the car here, don't drive it around; a new man will wash the cars to-morrow. I dismissed Colter this morning."

The Judge did not get down from the car, but sat there smoking and turning his cigar. His gray lips closing on it seemed to be the only thing the girl could look at; she could not look as far as his eyes and the Judge knew that her face became slowly and suffocatingly a scarlet consciousness. He gave a short grunt.

"Exactly; you're not to see him again," he said. Then, "I all but kicked that fellow off the place." As the wild tears rushed to the young eyes: "It's your own behavior, young lady. I've never limited you nor held you back," the Judge said grimly. "I thought you were a lady; I thought you lived under the right laws."

Under the laws——!

Her father did not move from beside her in the seat and Sard dared not press by him out of the driver's seat. She sat, her straight figure dilating, her hands clenched, the red stain on her face seeming to burn down into her body and to make another sort of woman of her—What sort? She could see what sort her father thought she was. The piteous eyes were dense with shame.

[Pg 271]

At first she thought she could not, must not speak, then a man's kind eyes, understanding, compassionate, rallying, looked again into hers. "Courage!" came Watts' voice. He must have known. The lawyer with his priest's habit of the confessional of reading storm and stress back of faces must have read the new strange agony back of hers.

To do honor to Shipman's belief in her, she must meet this thing calmly and without disrespect or passion. The girl swallowed once; with lifted face, turned on her father a look that might, had he noted it, made him wonder. For the uplifted features were swept clean of resentment. Sard was recognizing the parent's claim on her, trying reasonably to meet it, but the Judge saw only one thing; his hard, old eyes told him he had made his decision just in time and that he must act quickly.

"You—you're letting yourself care for this man." The tones, though not loud, lashed on her; the Judge was deliberately making her ashamed. "I should have thought as my daughter, even if not for yourself, you would have had more pride."

Sard, slowly turning the watch on her wrist round and round, listened. There was only one thing to do, to try to meet the eyes, to meet the accusation with respect. But—but where was the respect due her, to her motives and actions? Had not this man, her own father, been willing to degrade her in her own estimation without hearing her, taking counsel with her?

"Dad," she gave a little helpless shiver, "I don't[Pg 272] think you know; you don't understand, or you couldn't say such a thing—as—as that!"

But Bogart, taking out the cigar, smiled at it with a shrewd squint. Well, of course, he did know, and she, this untutored young thing, didn't, that was all!

Sard's father knew what would be the plans of a ne'er-do-well who could make an ardent, indulged young person fall in love with him. "Pah!" The Judge's gorge rose at it, also at what he called Sard's "deceit," it being the means of having him employ this man, rose up and condemned her.

He saw her bowed head in the dusk, the girl's cheek white on her blue scarf, and cleared his throat. "It isn't pleasant," he admitted; then with a rasp, "I never expected to speak to you like this any more than I should expect to thrash Dunstan, but," went on the Judge grimly, "under some circumstances I should take pleasure in doing that very thing. Now stop all this nonsense," he assumed that Sard was crying. "I've had a hard morning," the Judge always saw himself as unnerved by his court-room experiences, "but I'm going to be obeyed."

His hand went out; it clenched on the girl's arm; it was not hurtful, only hard, arresting and cold. "You're to have self-control," said the Judge sharply, "and you're to obey me! Understand?"

But she turned a set and stern face on him. That soft echo of Shipman's "Courage!" had sent the flame of all her ancestors in her. "You are not fair," she stammered. "I am ready to—to"—Sard quivered over the hard word, "obey, but I can't be cut off,[Pg 273] dried up, stopped in all that I really care about." She stiffened suddenly, flaring on him with hot mouth. "Oh, you can't be my father, not in spirit, or you wouldn't stand off and judge me, condemn me, like this; you'd help me, you'd be," the tortured girl caught her breath, "a friend; you wouldn't be willing to——"

For answer the Judge rose. He cast an eye to the sky and took out his watch. "You have an aunt," he said sententiously, "a woman, and a lady, to talk things over with." He saw the curling lip of rebellion, adding, "Of course, if you have no use for the society of ladies and social equals, if you care only for gutter snipes and wharf rats, that's your own loss. My business," said the Judge, getting heavily down from the car, "my business is to see that you remember you're my daughter, even if I have to use pretty severe means to make you.... My daughter, flirting with a tramp, making herself the comment of the town and the clubs, is a thing I will not allow!" said the magistrate. "That is a little too low!"

The cheap word "flirting," its hopeless connotation, the inhuman density and commonplace acceptance of the whole matter, seemed to goad Sard into a frenzy.

"Ah, I'm not your daughter," burst out the girl wildly. "I'm not the daughter of coarse, narrow, cruel, smug things."

With the familiar eyes slowly turning on her, with their awful arraignment of her as something vulgar,[Pg 274] unworthy, she quivered like a frightened animal. "I don't feel like you—I couldn't! Such disgusting thoughts couldn't stay in my mind—I couldn't be so—so common as you."

It was out now, her condemnation of him. They were pitted against each other, and Sard with a feminine prophetic pang knew to what extent. The only way to influence the Judge would have been her mother's way, the little helpless scented timid lady's way, and the girl knew miserably that hers could never be that way. Yet here she was fighting, not only for her integrity as a dignified woman, but for—for someone who until now, but for her, had been helpless, dazed, a fine sensitive being shut out of all human contacts by his ignorance of what contacts were normally his.

The man turned and faced his daughter; something remorseless came into his eyes. His mouth gripped the cigar. "Either," said the Judge slowly, "either you are my daughter and do as I say, or you don't do as I say—and go——" he muttered doggedly, adding, "I don't care where!"

Then, his eyes professionally piercing, he remarked coolly, over his cigar, "There, that'll do, you've worked yourself up enough, you don't need to be theatrical! Your duty," said the Judge pompously, "is to drop all this poppy-cock about unfortunates, the under-dogs and gutter snipes, whom you affect. Be natural, be normal," said the Judge largely. "Go around with your kind and your own age, though, as far as I can see, they're as addle-pated as yourself. Drop all this nonsense, I say, and don't see [Pg 275]Colter again—do you hear?" For the girl, now that he was out of the car, could turn her face from him.

The Judge slowly fulminated, gradually bulged with authority. He seemed solemn even to himself as he laid down his final command. He took the cigar from his mouth. "Don't see Colter again!" His eyes, reading his daughter's, he was looking mercilessly on her young agony, making it naked and flaying it, saw the writhings of her as she took the lash.

Sard made a slow desperate gesture; she had winced, half shrunk from him, but she seemed resolved now to meet the thing in its entirety.

"I'm sorry," said the girl in a low voice, "I can't promise that. Last week, perhaps, but"—with a strange little sigh of inevitability, "not now, Dad. I'm sorry," Sard looked sadly into his face, "I can't promise."

The Judge was stupefied. "Can't promise?" he queried. "Can't promise? But I gave you my orders! Do you realize what you're saying?"

"Courage!" Shipman's low voice, pleading for human understanding, came to her. And another voice, the calm, thoughtful voice of Colter. She saw and recognized instantly her kinship with this soul that had come to her so strangely; she knew that she read it right and that no matter what its oblivion and dismay, it had come to her, belonged to her. Yet with all youth's insecurity and doubt she realized, too, that she could hardly trust herself. Her eyes widened, deepened; with a sudden strange, wild gesture she threw herself forward. Her arms went half-way[Pg 276] about her father's neck. "Oh, help me," she begged, "help me! Don't you see that I can't promise? Oh, Father," wept Sard, "why should we two be like this?"

It was perhaps the truest sign, had the girl but known it, of the depth of feeling that had been born in her. When a woman truly loves, her heart goes out to all those with whom she has a relationship under the great new trouble; for her there must be no small meanness, no stabbing dislikes, no impatience. When a woman truly loves, she is tender to the world.

"I can't promise that," the girl wept desperately; "won't you help me, Dad?"

But she might as well have asked help from the automobile. With a strange gesture of disgust and spurning the Judge held her coldly off. What he said was reiterated with majesty. He slowly raised the cigar in his hand and looked at it. Suddenly, with a bitter ejaculation, a short wry shake of the whole body, he flung it away. He passed the slender figure that had thrown itself miserably on the turf at his side and walked rapidly toward the house.

No one saw the Judge that long summer evening; his study was vacant. The talking-machine was silent, his goldfish pool, where he often sat feeding the fishes, was deserted; and yet the whole place, forbidding and shadowed, seemed full of his personality.

So Sard could not go to the house, she could not see Miss Aurelia, discuss the trial, conjecture as to Minga's and Dunstan's whereabouts. The girl, her body aching, her eyes half blind with surging[Pg 277] thoughts, wandered to the little fruit orchard. It seemed to her that the gray ancient trees, like good little crones, welcomed her, and that the long grass and the rifts of leaves and patches of starred sky spoke to her. "You are part of us, Sard; we have struggled and fought, too; we have followed instincts and been smitten and wounded. You are like us, Sard, you have come into our laws."

The part of the orchard where the girl threw herself down was dense and deep and its dimness cooled her heart and mind. Concealed from the murmurings of the house and garden, she lay pondering. The kind little old trees mothered her; she opened young eyes and stared pitifully at them, now clenching her hands and softly crying, now softly opening them and shuddering.

"As if I had done something wrong! As if I had done something wrong!"

Her own sentence beat and hammered into Sard's brain until it seemed as if she had done something wrong. So, sometimes, suspicion and influence can put guilt on a clean creature! Under the strange half-awakeness, the half-conscious struggles of a full-grown woman coming to life, before her there suddenly rose the Gorgon face of Society, of the thing called actual life. It turned her young heart and body to stone. The looks and words of Sard's father had been unmistakable; they had made her warm-hearted interest in the Man on the Place, the slow sense of delighted companionship, the mysterious attraction and trust, something shameful!

[Pg 278]

"As if I had done something wrong! As if I had done something wrong!"

Sard turned miserably, staring up at the sky. With the fairness, the willingness to face things peculiar to her, she could in a measure understand her father's anger and sense of outrage. The girl hardly rebelled against this, unjust as it was, but her helplessness with her own problem, the impossibility of proceeding on this strange and rare path without shame and mud-flinging, for the very path itself became evident to her.

She remembered Miss Aurelia's twittering and misgivings when once or twice she had gone to read with Colter on a bench under the horse-chestnut tree. She remembered Tawny Troop's cheap scorn; she had been "made ashamed."

Even Watts Shipman, it seemed, had had misgivings. He, too, had endeavored to "make her think," and now it was out. There was no hiding it, no possible explanation; she cared for Colter, cared for him with the marvelous gleaming tide, the dewy garden-like rapture, the vivid, etched, romantic stir and storm of a girl's first feeling. It was out; known, discussed, condemned and made shameful. The scarlet flame that had stained Sard's face brought a blazing fire of pride into her heart. Boldly she cast imagination and self-will on this fire of pride.

"I care," she breathed. "I care. It is my life, not theirs! I will go before them all with Colter and say—'I care'!"

The gray twilight grew darker in its language and[Pg 279] breathed down to sleep. Roses emptied tiny jars of scent on the night. Lilies burned tall pastilles. Leaves pressed their little hands together in some prayer of darkness. Now and then some small thing like a clock stirred in the long grass near Sard and tried to remind her of time and obligations, but the woe of the whole youthful frame meant nothing to them. They went on in their little ticking way, busy and inevitable.

These things did, however, mean unutterable emotions to the man who came suddenly upon them, who viewed them pitifully in the long grass where long ago the fire-flies had begun to rise and glimmer. To the startled, half-rising girl's face, Colter half groaned. Quickly he tempered his voice and manner. He, it seemed, was in no passion of resentment, and he sought to quell hers.

"I thought I saw you go in here—I waited a long time for you to come out." Colter hesitated. "I wanted to say 'good-bye' before I went. Do you know how late it is?"

For answer she gave a long sigh of relief. "I thought you had gone!" she said. "Is it late?"

The man looked at the girl lying there in the long grass. It was a different Sard Bogart from any he had seen and known since the early spring, since that March day when she had rescued him. He could not look at her thus. Something instinctive and delicate made Colter turn his head away and remain standing. Under the trees he stood immovable, like a statue, thinking with utmost concern upon this prostrate,[Pg 280] abandoned grief of youth. He stood, his back to her, looking out toward the slow gathering stars.

His quiet, the absolute calm of him, made Sard wonder. Suddenly she sat up; her hands went to her hair. She was glad he could not see her eyes and wondered if he could have heard her sobbing. Again, inquiringly, she looked at the tall thin form with its broad shoulders and the head, nobly poised, set to a listening attitude.

"If we are very quiet," said Colter at last, "we can hear the wind freshening down the river." Somehow, she knew it was the way he took to quiet her. She was hushed like a storming child.

After a few seconds: "I did not hear you come." She tried to say it naturally, but her relief, the long shuddering sigh, struck into him. The man, his face still turned away, murmured something.

"I did not hear you." Sard rose and went toward him in the dark.

"Perhaps I should not have come," he said. He carefully kept the senses of mistress and employed between them. "But I was very anxious. Shall I go?"

"No." The girl's voice, under his steady leadership, grew clearer. Sard began to get herself together. Here was someone who understood, who needed few words and who, she was convinced, cared. Sard only thought that word "cared." She dared not think the word "love," with its overwhelming waves.

She stood there twisting a piece of grass in nervous[Pg 281] fingers. "Father told me!" She said it with a kind of helpless shame. "I am so sorry that you are going, Colter. You seemed so happy lately—and I—I believed that we could help you, take you back to yourself, give you life again."

For answer the man turned and gave her one swift look.

In the summer night Sard saw with wonder that there was a curious competency, a serene purpose in those eyes. In some dumb moment of wild joy she realized that her instinct had taught her true. This was no perplexed "hired man" with no friends nor employment. This was—this was—

"You have helped me more than you know." His voice was grave and restoring. "I have come back further to my own than I dare think of now, and I came by a beautiful path, your sympathy and pure faith. So you must not sorrow like this. You must not distress yourself like this. Things will be clearer."

In the night his clear voice of authority moved the girl strangely. It was an authority and assurance of high character that in her desperately clouded spirit she reached out for. Instinctively, like a wilting plant, the young form straightened and freshened until the man stopped looking at the stars.

He turned toward her and looked long upon the face that had become his star. Colter made a little sorrowful gesture. "I have brought you such pain, and—I can't help!" His hands clenched for a second, the low voice for a second caressed her. "But[Pg 282] I will come back if you wish me to. I can promise you to come back."

Her eyes darkened. "Promise!" she bade him fiercely. "Promise——!"

But he was silent. It seemed that he was determined to get Sard out of this mood, to hold her to her best self, the steady clear-sighted self he had seen.

"I do want you to," breathed Sard without shame. "I have grown used to you——" stammering. There was no immediate answer.

She peered at the tall form standing in the summer night almost curiously. They had seemed to change places, Colter and she. Once she had protected, reassured, stimulated and encouraged a weak and sickly man. Now, what was it that encircled, that from his gentle but firmly disciplined presence, dominated her?

"I think you must have grown better, stronger," faltered the girl. She had a kind of childish awe. "You seem different!"

The dark figure moved toward her. "I am different!" He breathed a little more rapidly. "I found a letter—an old letter stuck into a small Greek book I had, and there were names, places that I remembered. It brought back things—people."

The man's voice suddenly sank into a bottomless pit of thronging memories. He stirred, and took a step toward her, holding out his hand. She put hers quickly into it. The ardent, generous action seemed again to make him a man of inflexible control, for he[Pg 283] held the hand only a moment, raised it to his lips, kissed it and then gently put it down.

"You have always trusted me? You have always known me?" he asked in a sort of wonder.

"I have always known what you were inside your soul better than you knew yourself," she returned vividly. And as the sensitive long face turned on her, "I knew that you were you."

"If there were time," he answered, "I could tell you what that letter has brought back,—names, events, associations, a college, but which college I don't know, and outside, some sorrowful things, some shadow that brought my Night. What that shadow is I don't know, and until I am sure it is no shadow on my own life I must not come to you, my dear. I mustn't come to you——"

She was silent.

Colter, an indescribable strength on his face, added, "But outside of that, your father thinks, naturally, that I am unworthy, but I am sure I am worthy of you, as worthy as any man may be! Oh, things keep coming back, coming back!"

From the man's voice one could see that these things that came back were a veritable tide of joy and anguish, but that in any case they were life and sanity.

Suddenly, with uncontrolled tenderness, he moved to her side. "Sard, child, you belong to me," he said gently. She could hear this man's breath, his heart plunging in his chest. She almost waited to be swept to him, to be lost in him, but that did not come. Un[Pg 284]der his voice and look lay judgment, a guidance that calmed all their passion.

Colter took both her hands; he looked into her quivering face. "I was hungry and ye took me in," he said brokenly, "a stranger and ye ministered unto me."

There was a long silence. The crickets clicked their little time devices; the stars were long ropes of flowers; the trees, in great shapes of withheld tenderness, shadowed and shut them in; and in the little gray fruit orchard a girl's spirit felt its wings brush against another spirit. A girl's courage and fineness leaned with a great gratitude against a firmness and fineness greater than its own.

[Pg 285]



Shipman, after the conclusion of the trial of Terry O'Brien, spent most of the time chopping wood. Trees that had been felled during the spring he sawed into lengths. Splitting and piling into neat kindling not only kept his muscles elastic, but somehow, as the wood piles mounted, gave him a primal sense of the old pioneers' fight against the cold and winter. That this wood found its way to the house of a needy widow with a little peaked boy about Pudge's age was one of Shipman's satisfactions. Long afterward, in the winter, the lawyer would wake of cold nights and think of the wind howling around the little valley house and of the center of heat that fed by his hands made it possible for two helpless people to escape that other awful Hand of Cold.

To souls like Watts, intent upon some high conception of honor and goodness, bent upon making themselves into a fit home for the Spirit or some part of Spirit that possesses them, there come moments of awful despair and groping. The lawyer, sawing until his back burned with sore muscles, was knowing this despair to its utmost, for the golden currents, the flowered tides of the Hudson River summer had nearly swamped him. The last weeks on the mountain top had been as those of a starving man sur[Pg 286]rounded with fruits and delicious spicy drinks—the bleak sense of failure, of dusty loneliness, of hurrying years and barren paths—his dry desert had opened out before him!

The man, with unutterable sense of hungry flesh and spirit, knew himself as one who inevitably had gotten into a barren trail. His inner eyes, panic stricken, got the strange vision of an ending—a going-out-of-the-world with no continuing strain of him left behind. No eyes that should be torched from his eyes; no lips that should turn his stuff of life into better words; no hand that like his should seek in darkness to find the keys to human breasts; no wife-comrade to speak comrade-words in the dark of loneliness and bafflement; no home that should make the abiding spot in a shifting world; no child; no race; no blood sent forward; no continuing city.

Shipman, halting with the perspiration streaming down his bare back, drew on a sweater. "Dear old Bowwow"—the lawyer sat down on his usual log. He pulled the dog over to him. "Tuck, let me pour this last howl into your comfortable and safe ear, and then I'm done. I'm haunted, old chap, haunted with a horrible feeling of ending—and—and—I want to go on——

"You see, Tuck, old beggar, I'm getting old, and when I die there will be no little chap or little sister Shipman to carry on the soul of me, yes, even the foolishnesses of me; I suppose," Watts inquired of his dog, "I suppose you have lots of little puppies somewhere, some blue-ribboned and with kennel de[Pg 287]grees that make you pretty proud? But me, Tuck, I don't leave anything, not even a little adopted puppy. Nothing can laugh and say, 'My father was an awful duffer, but he made good salad dressing,' or 'My father licked me once, but we used to go fishing together.' Tuck," whispered the man fiercely, "I want a son, a little young 'un to keep alive the things I dream and hope and believe. I want another me."

The strong fingers in the dog's shaggy hair gripped upon the hateful idea of utter cessation of being, as many another has gripped. Let those who rage against Birth Control face rather this mystery of the man or woman who because of an ideal in the matter of human love dies without issue! Here is a Birth Control of much larger and more significant reach.

"The strange part of it is, Tuck, it's easy enough to get children, but to get children who shall, no matter what befalls them, be parented by high human love and faith, that is another thing." The deep eyes stared into the shallow dog eyes. "Well," sighed Shipman, "it's very seldom that I care like this. It's the beginning of autumn, that's all. You don't suppose, Tuck, that I really care?"

Yet the man knew remorselessly that in the past week things had happened about which he unutterably cared. The chance mingling with the young life of the Willow Roads had shown him to himself in a way that he could not ignore or brush aside. He was a human man, a soul and body undeveloped, unrealized, inorientate in the great human plan. He had blown, like life seed, down the dry roads of philosophy and in[Pg 288]trospection, and had lain for a while by the springs of youth and action until some hidden principle within him had germinated. Now he craved direction, fruition!

There floated through the mind of the lawyer the pictures of Minga, with her vivid capricious demands on him, her unwitting tempting of him; what would another man have done? Of what worth were his hesitations and restraints, Sard, with her high compulsions and swift fires? Why should he, Shipman, have let these fresh wonders of womanhood flit by like shadows? He groaned, knowing why—because do what he would, think what he would, Eleanor Ledyard held him. The woman of ice, the enshrined mystery of woman whom another man had called "wife," but who, Shipman believed, had never been true soul-wife, controlled his, Shipman's, deepest, most inaccessible self.

Of course, what had come to him was his own choice. There were many ways a man might take to come to grips with active life. Cowardly men, sly men or men who had not thought the thing out had taken these ways. Cynical men took them and then wondered why their lives were forever hurt by smirched and bleared life pictures, pictures that stayed in their minds. The ways of such men were not for him. Passion in its highest, most superb moments, Shipman knew himself to be capable of, but devotion, tenderness, the fair way of the approach of men and women to each other's mystery was what his nature craved. His love principle was not that of a hot[Pg 289] moment of gratification. It was of the long, slow endeared proving of devotion. Plunged in thought, driven to his body's uttermost endurance with the sense of stirred, hungry, unsatisfied, uncompleted things, the lawyer at a footfall angrily raised his head.

"Curse it, can't I be alone?" demanded Watts unreasonably. "Get out, will you?" He did not turn his head. "Get out," he called curtly. "This is private property; can't you read the signs?"

The footfall paused and a voice came quietly, "I am Colter, Judge Bogart's man. Could you see me a few moments?"

With a smothered word the lawyer turned, smiling at his own rudeness, and held out his hand.

"I thought it was some Curiosity Bump climbing up here. I'm not at all sure this sort of life is good for one. It makes one want to hog the very air." Watts, still smiling, looked keenly into the eyes of his visitor. Suddenly he glanced about him for Friar Tuck. "Well, by all pedigreed pups," he breathed, "Tuck viséd you, did he? Let you pass? If he barked, I didn't hear him."

Colter, taking the cigarette from the case held out to him, returned the searching gaze straightly. It was Shipman's method to put any who sought him out instantly on a harmonious social ground. This was Judge Bogart's hired man. It was also Sard's protégé, but more than that it was Shipman's private enigma. The situation was tense with possibilities for both men. Colter answered without self-consciousness.

"Dogs don't always bark at everyone." He was[Pg 290] thoughtful for a moment. Lighting the cigarette and pushing the match end under his worn canvas shoe, he remarked simply, "The only dogs I can remember barking at me are the shepherd dogs of Greece. And," laughingly indicating the little village up the river, "the dogs of Morris when I was tramping it."

Watts, rolling his own cigarette, looked up idly.

"You've been in Greece?" As he asked the question, the lawyer, by what process of intuition he himself could not understand, anticipated the answer. "Excavating?"

Colter nodded. "I think I was with the American School at Athens for a year or two. It would seem that I had some little knowledge about soils." He hesitated in the curious way with which all who had known him had grown familiar. The intense fire-blue eyes concentrated on the placid river as on some clouded crystal of his opaque past. He seemed curiously like a fisherman watching for some bite of memory on his tremulous reaching line, lifting the empty hook time and again.

"Soils," remarked the regardful lawyer, "must have their own poetry."

The other hesitated, then as if quite forgetful where he was or on what errand he had come, Colter responded evenly, "They have an interest like that of a profound book, quite outside of what one assays or digs for. There are enough adventures in soils right around this Hudson River section back through the states of New York and New Jersey to make an Iliad."

[Pg 291]

"Hum." Shipman inhaled his cigarette smoke, which flowed through his deep nostrils; with a curious lowering of the eyelids over the profound dark of his eyes, he let one hand drop loosely over his knee. It was the lawyer's instinctive relaxed indifferent pose of listening and watching; listening for false voice tones, watching for shifting glimmers and lights of evasion and deceit, for the curious betrayal in eyelids and lip muscles.

"Soils, however, would hardly recommend themselves as exciting to the average man."

The other man smiled for a second and glanced at the lawyer with a free relish of the subject. "They say young men need occasional wars to stimulate their sense of adventure." The quiet voice was ironical, and Colter waved a disparaging hand. "This river," he said; "think of the poetry and adventure of the great minds born on its banks. Think of the poetry and adventure for science and enterprise still to come along its banks as a great Water Road," he indicated a slow train of freight cars on the opposite shore, "and as one of the great verses in the Odyssey of Trade. Why, leaving out the Poem of Hauling, I suspect that back of these hills there are important contributions to history and geology and art. There must be Indian burying grounds filled with the half ossified Indian chiefs, their pottery and tribal implements." Colter, leaning on his arms, apparently lost in some pleasant fancy of his own, smoked dreamily. "To find these things is better adventure than plunging a bayonet into another man's stomach," he smiled.

[Pg 292]

Shipman's eyes, however, remained half closed. This was all very pretty. The chap had perhaps been a soldier, and attended a military school. He might have taken courses as a war engineer. Yet a clever cracksman or modern safe technician would get up a long lingo like this, especially if he wanted to "put something over," to sound the mental habits, resources and association of the other man, catalogue them for some confidence scheme of his own. Watts crossed one leg over the other and smoked at the sky. His back was to the river which the other man sat facing. His frequent sharp looks were swift and incisive. So far the lawyer had made no effort to find out Colter's errand. There was all the time in the world; meanwhile there was a girl down there with a girl's romantic sense of faith and belief in this man, probably a farceur and trickster. It might be his, Shipman's, bitter job to have to go to this girl as her friend and tell her the truth.

"I can see that you take a good deal of interest in such things." Then, not without some marveling on the part of the lawyer, the two plunged into an absorbed discussion of seeps and sheds, of green marl and sandstone, of clay gravel and sand, of mineral waters and sources of potash and phosphates, the problems of tunneling and boring, the opening up of this and that manufacture and industry, the prophecies of latent oils and resins and cements.

The lawyer, thoroughly enjoying it, yet obstinately fancied that he sensed some insecurity, some too-varied mingling of knowledge back of it. So, he told[Pg 293] himself, might any high-powered confidence man give the right answers and take the right cues. There were books nowadays, compendiums of knowledge. Just reading modern advertisements made a man's mind agile and slick.

"So you've been in Greece." Shipman was watchful, at the same time smoothly disarming. He gently flicked the ashes from his cigarette. "You must know Gnossus, Crete, Andritsena, and, let's see," warily, "the name of that mountain temple that the French-man discovered."

Colter's face lightened enthusiastically. "Bassae." He looked interestedly into the lawyer's face. The other paused a few moments.

"You remember such things?" remarked the lawyer significantly.

"Yes," with eagerness, "I do. The Greek hasn't gotten away from me." Colter looked almost happily into Shipman's face. "A great deal comes back along academic lines," he faltered.

"Um!" Shipman tossed away his cigarette. He did not light another. He loafed against the back of the tree, his fingers lightly and speculatively tapping on his little silver match-box, his lips half whistling while his mind ran over possible and probable things. He reviewed everything he had ever seen of Colter, particularly the man's eyes that day on the Hackensack, looking into his own with their look of appeal, "Who am I?" Very gently, without turning his head, with voice unemotional, undramatic, the lawyer now asked his own question.

[Pg 294]

"Who are you? Why do you conceal who you are?"

Colter, who had as he talked been dreamily staring at the river, sprang quickly back to an attitude of attention. Every motion he made, every slightest movement of hand or eyelash or the corners of lips, was under a remorseless observation, that of a genius for reading human beings.

"Who are you?" The question was repeated very quietly, but now it had the note of inexorable authority. It was asked on behalf of Sard, whose trusting face and figure made it on Shipman's lips, stern, uncompromising.

Colter, his face flushing, rose. The man had changed in a deadly sort of way. His head from which he had removed the cap sunk suddenly forward as if his face could not look into that old enigma "Who am I?" The hair, swept back in its curious boy-like wave, was of vital copper under which Shipman noted a very few gray hairs which seemed curiously premature for the face opposite. The white skin, slightly freckled, had a youthful, good modeling; the face bones made it of pure English build. Shipman, puzzled, tried to analyze the curious look of sorrow and patient suffering on it. His gaze went to one or two very small scars as of smallpox.

One or two very small scars, as of smallpox! The lawyer stared at the white teeth showing under a mustached lip set to a gaunt look of bravery and mental struggle.

"I beg your pardon," said the other, "I had for[Pg 295]gotten—forgotten myself. You treated me like a friend, and I went along easily. Things came easily—I was remembering," Colter sat up, his hands working at his belt. "Things came to me, but," he shook his head, "you ask who I am."

The man turned the old mask of suffering on his interlocutor and shook his head. If the thing was acting, it was prodigious acting. Shipman told himself that such acting had gotten Sard's soul away from her. It should not, however, have her entire! That face with its strange look of sorrow suddenly maddened the lawyer. He straightened. This mask must be torn off. This charlatan must be shown up. Now an old vulpine habit of the court-room came on the legal face.

"Who are you?" Shipman thrust his chin forward in a curious wolfish way; his mouth grinned while his eyes stared implacably. It was the old terrorizing third degree method. The method of which the lawyer in his better moments was secretly ashamed, but on which he knew any human reserve could be broken. Watts Shipman, with a kind of battle scent, felt himself to be pitted against something too shrewd, too delicately perceptive and elusive, to respond to other methods. And, well, the lawyer was not accustomed to being beaten at his own game! His glance, like a look of dreadful night, a look of knowledge of all human hiding, turned on the man. It was as if with incandescent power he would trace the very vitals, sift the fugitive thought and judgment, drive to the wall all subterfuges, snap handcuffs on the very shadow in[Pg 296] the eyes, see the very juices and chemistry of the living, breathing soul and body before him.

"Who are you?"

The other man, with a man's defiance, some dignity and assurance as of bygone things, had risen. "Of course, you had a right to ask that," he said slowly. "But I wish you had not because—because——" He passed his hand wearily over his forehead. "It is hard for me to keep things clear, to go straight ahead. I came up to you here to ask for work."

"To ask for work?"

"I hoped," said Colter simply, "that you could give me some suggestion. Judge Bogart has asked me to leave."

In the silence that followed the lawyer tried to keep intense curiosity and anxiety from his eyes. Involuntarily Sard's name came to his lips. Stealing a look at the other man, he felt that Colter would also lock his uncertain lips on that name.

On the pause the flood of intelligence that swept through the lawyer brought obstinate anger and resentment. "Hog," he breathed as once before, "hog!" He could see Sard's wild dismay, her sense of shame as of someone who had been untrustworthy, the poor child's friendlessness. "Hog," said the lawyer in the bitter back room of his mind, "animal!"

Yet was not the Judge, the father of the girl, right? Could a man who knew the world allow a thing so radiantly impulsive her instinctive freedoms with an interloper, a rapscallion, someone who dodged on his tracks, played a worn-out game of ignorance as to[Pg 297] his own identity, the responsibility he had in the world?

"Who are you?" repeated Shipman steadily. Then as a thought struck him, "Why did Judge Bogart ask you to leave?" The lawyer bethought himself of the "word test" in psycho-analysis. What word would make this fellow change, cringe, become maudlin, explanatory?

There was a short silence until the other man replied calmly, "I should prefer not going into that."

Suddenly, to the lawyer's enormous surprise, a curious thing happened. Colter, after taking a few nervous steps back and forth, came up to him, holding out his hand, and with an air almost winning in its friendliness, said, "Good-bye, I'm sorry I bothered. You see, I hoped you could help me to get work. If not, I must go."

The lawyer studied him. "What kind of work?" he asked curtly.

"Any kind to get food and lodging while I wait."

"Wait for what?"

"For things to come back to me," said Colter simply. "I think things are beginning to get clearer. Just now when we talked," he waved his hand, "doors opened all around me. I felt myself back in myself. The true me—I—you see, I am in much better health."

The man stood there irresolute, the eyes wavering in their intensity of attempted remembrance, some look of assurance and confidence alternating with the old shifting look of dread and dismay that at moments still swept the fine drawn face. It was this look of[Pg 298] shifting dread that had always kept the lawyer suspicious. What had this man done that could give to strong eyes like that the averted haunted look they sometimes held? His manner changing with a half apologetic smile, he turned to his visitor.

"I take it you've been a scientific man, college-bred. Have you by any chance a degree?" Shipman almost laughed as he asked it.

The other knit his brows, and returned the look earnestly.

"Would you believe me if—if I tell you what I have come to believe, what I think is possible, would you think me crazy?"

Then a slow sense of what had been of the man's horror dawned on the lawyer. "If amnesia were true, if one were dimly conscious of one's life paths and had somehow, somewhere been swept out of these paths, and there were no landmark to help one go back, why then," the grim mouth shut on the doubts. Shipman nodded. There was something in the nod that the other man in his helpless gentleness comprehended. The nod said, "I don't believe you. I don't trust you, but I won't take advantage of you." It was hardly akin to Sard's whole-souled trust.

One arm crossed behind him, Colter began pacing restlessly up and down the small space where the tree-chopping and wood-sawing had made a little theatre. He spoke rapidly, disconnectedly. "I have come to believe that I have been a college man. I even believe that I have had certain honors. There have been achievements along scientific lines. I can so far re[Pg 299]member nothing in sequence back of the day Miss Bogart found me. Since that I have a perfect power of memory." The man halted and seemed to wait with a strained patience for things to pour in on the open sensitive plate of his healing memory. At last, fishing in an inner pocket, he held out a little book bound in green vellum. It was very worn and had evidently been constantly read. "I have always had this book, wherever I have been. For months it was the one real thing. It was here, tucked back in a sort of envelope in the cover, that a week ago I found an old letter from a man I once knew. When I try to connect my memories with this man something profoundly horrible sweeps me, and—and I grow full of panic."

Watts, with suspicions he could not control, reached out for the book. At the same time he looked for anything that might further identify this mysterious Colter. He peered almost with anger into a face so fine and tempered in its sad look of opaque visions. Turning the opening leaves, Shipman read in the little book, "Oxford, December 25, 19—to M. L. from his fellow gypsy, Tarrant."

"Tarrant. Tarrant," the name arrested the lawyer. He turned sobered eyes upon Colter. "Who is Tarrant?" he asked. Watts, with an annoyed expression, wrinkled his brows. Where in thunder had he heard that name Tarrant?

"I do not know," said Colter, "yet somehow, I believe it is someone I have known."

Suddenly, as in a lovely picture, the man saw a June garden with the Ramapo Mountains back of it.[Pg 300] He saw distant daisy fields, a little white gate, the tall wands of purple and blue canterbury bells; a little boy sat cutting out paper dolls and a woman, whose dark blue eyes were shy with him and whose voice had faltered as she had told him a story and who had shown him a picture in a locket that she had drawn up warm from her white breast. The woman's voice was always dreamily in Shipman's memory. Now it told him a story.

The story of a West African expedition that had ended fatally, disastrously, where the men died like sheep of smallpox, where George Ledyard's brother, the famous biologist, Martin Ledyard, had striven for the lives of the men, but had only been able to save three. Then Dr. Ledyard had rowed down the tropical river with the body of his dearest friend, the surgeon, Tarrant, in a canoe made from a hollow tree. The natives, having deserted them, had left the scientific party without canoes. Tarrant, Martin Ledyard's dearest friend, his brother-in-science!

There was a long silence before the lawyer looked up into the face of that man who walked up and down, his russet head erect, one arm crossed behind him on his back. Colter's face, absorbed, earnest, rational, had yet that curious look of hesitancy and bafflement that the lawyer began to know was the thing in which he had always disbelieved, the thing he had scouted, amnesia. The lawyer's knowledge of shell-shock, of trance, of the results of profound and tragic sorrow, served him now. He could no longer repudiate this evident spiritual and mental submersion.

[Pg 301]

But what would cause amnesia, apart from trying physical conditions? Not even horrible experiences in West African jungles with one's friends dying consecutively of smallpox. The loss of a man's friend? Not altogether. Illness, exposure? Not altogether. Shock? Shock?

Watts Shipman, plunged in thought, searched in his imagination for the one shock that might have shut the doors of memory. Colter, looking patiently at him, hazarded a suggestion.

"That book," motioning to it, "that book is a sort of talisman. Sometimes it brings back whole sequences of memory, and then that letter that you see speaks of men of science, who are living to-day, as if I and the writer had known them together."

Watts laughed, and turned away with something like a sneer.

"Awfully clever, old chap. I've no doubt you've done this successfully many times, but," the lawyer turned abruptly, "I have seen a good deal, you know." Sharply, "Now drop all this memory-camouflage. Tell me who you are, why you're here, what knocked you out, and I'll give you any old job you want—come," said Watts authoritatively. "You've been a cultivated man, no doubt about that. You've traveled; you're a 'has-been'! You've come a cropper some way—drink, dope, women," he looked narrowly into the still white face. "Some disgrace, perhaps some tragedy—you're ashamed of something."

It was so brutal, so abrupt, that it had its immediate result. There was a long and very curious si[Pg 302]lence. It was as if the two men staring at each other had been fighting a secret fight under the open one of incredulity and effort to reveal. Both of them under the threshold of intelligence knew what that secret fight was. It was Sard! All harmony had vanished. Something hard and unlovely had taken its place. It was as if the two worked desperately to create a wall between them and the wall was now finished. It was an inevitable wall of a girl's fresh vibrant personality.

But Colter, without emotion, with a murmured apology for having intruded, turned to go. "Perhaps I was mistaken," he said, his face and voice controlled as usual. He had the usual and somewhat helpless courtesy of one unable to fight with another man's weapons of prestige and tradition. But on the riven, sorrow-lined face was an expression of forbearance and pure masculine sweetness such as only fine habits and lofty associations can create. He held out his hand. "Thank you for giving me your time," he said gravely.

Friar Tuck came nosing along the ground, following up some poem of scent of which he had begun the first verse at five A. M. Shipman, his hand reaching out for the dog's devoted head, dug deep into the heavy neck fur. Something on the lawyer's face was torn and of queer struggle. He stood there tousling the dog, letting his own body be half swayed this way and that by the slight playful fracas. Suddenly the dark-browed lawyer looked up at the retreating[Pg 303] figure. He scowled horribly. "Damn it!" he called out explosively, "damn it! Stay where you are!"

At the other's surprised pause, his look of inquiry, Shipman strode forward. He held out his own hand. "Shake." He made the strange awkward picture of ultimate manhood, of the true warrior type who vanquishes himself before any other enemy. The man who will not stand out against the assault of a finer soul. "Colter," said the lawyer sharply, "I'm an ass, a cad, and you are a gentleman."

At the slight quick color on the other's face, Shipman stumbled doggedly on. "Yes, sir, I'll be hanged if I can believe that about the amnesia. I never saw any and I never had any, and I haven't got in all the evidence yet, but I know one thing. You are a gentleman—curse it!" said the lawyer standing there. "If you mustn't think me a yellow dog—now," said Shipman, standing straight, his professional manner returning, his hands on Tuck's neck, "I've been observing something and remembering some things and I can't help wondering——"

There was very little answering interest in the other's face. The wall was still between them, and Colter, some idea driving him, was for getting away. Seeing this, the lawyer, with an inevitable boyish sense of coup, hastily pulled a wallet from the pocket of his coat lying on a log. Taking a long newspaper clipping from it, he placed it before the other's eyes. "Do you know that face?" he asked eagerly. There was a cut of a man's head in the article.

Colter gravely took the clipping. Then, as he read[Pg 304] the headline, he seemed to shrink. His intense blue eyes in awful inquiry went to Shipman's.

"George Ledyard Forges and Embezzles." The man stood there a long while, the paper dropping in his hand. He read no more; his dry lips worked; once or twice he passed his hand over his face. At last, "That is what I saw on the steamer," he muttered slowly. "I saw this heading on the wireless bulletin on the steamer in which I was coming home. It made me ill. I was already weak, had fever. I went to my cabin and can remember no more." Suddenly Colter looked at the lawyer. "You will have to help me," he began in a firm voice; "things are rushing in on me. Tarrant; my brother's death, dishonor, the hospital. I got away from the hospital—I—I—help me," beseeched Colter thickly. He staggered, both hands out toward the lawyer. "I must keep my head clear. I can't let things sweep in too fast. I must keep my head clear," groaned the man. "Oh, for her sake, for her sake," he muttered. "Don't you see—for her sake!"

The man stared with silent appeal. The strong tides of memory poured through his eyes. With hands desperately tossed up, with a body that seemed to snap under one groan, he fell unconscious at Shipman's feet.

[Pg 305]



The "explosive dust" of the Trout County court-room had not yet subsided. Two young heads had not yet bowed before the final judgments of the law. After a week of mysterious communings, sudden hidings of and exchanges of letters, a series of hidden glances and specially planned conferences, Dunstan and Minga announced at the breakfast table one morning that they would take the green car and be gone all day. They carefully did not state where they were going and no one dreamed the dramatic character of their plans.

The rest of the family received the news without comment, the Judge merely remarking:

"Wash the car before you use it, and pay for your own gas."

Dunstan received these orders with benevolent understanding. "Well said," he approved his father impudently; with lifted eyebrows he grimaced at Sard.

"We miss our good friend Colter," he murmured. "There was a fine literary washer of cars. I mind me of the splendid hexameters that rolled from the amnesian lips while he applied himself to the mud-guards." The dancing eyes questioned his sister's[Pg 306] face. The Judge's watchful look went also to this face, but there was no book for the world to read.

At whatever cost to her own hunger for sympathy the girl, sitting at the coffee urn, in Miss Aurelia's temporary absence, had the absorbed air of the knight who prays beside armor. For Sard was devising pathetic, youthful armors of self-control and wisdom. Her world could not share her belief nor be with her in her ardent things, therefore she would keep these ardent things bright and enshrined in her own lonely heart.

Colter had said, "I will come back." Sard, her being thrilling at the words, had dared to whisper, "Promise—promise!" She was so ashamed, so thankful for that daring now! Want him? The silent girl there dared not tell herself how she wanted him, could not put even into secret words the tremulous ecstasy of this wanting. Outside of her, curious faces like Dunstan's and Minga's and Miss Aurelia's and the Judge's looked at her own absorbed face and disapproved or were tolerant. It was nothing. Sard saw them as a person standing in a soft firelit, flower-bright room sees faces passing in profile on a cold street.

Dunstan's comment was made sotto voce, from the Arabian nights:

"'Fish, Fish, art thou in thy duty?' The fishes raised their heads and said, 'If you reckon, we reckon—'" The youth looked around the breakfast table amiably as if he expected to be answered in kind. Receiving no like sallies he pushed his chair[Pg 307] and sauntered forth, followed in a few discreet seconds by Minga. As the two fussed over the car-washing, low voices discussed beside their own plan the whole problem of the Man on the Place.

"It's the real thing for Con Sordino, I guess," Dunstan sighed. "Gosh, suppose the duffer is a confidence man or a bigamist? The papers have such every day; their kind always gets amnesia when convenient," the boy sighed; "sort of rotten to have your own sister go nuts on a Wandering Willy. I wonder." The lad turning on the hose, softly whistled. Minga giggled.

"It's so funny," she declared, "as if Sard sort of thought Colter would turn to a prince if you only waved the right wand."

"No, it's not that; she really saw a prince or something like that in him," the brother declared. "Sard's like that when she looks at anybody, Minga; she doesn't see an ordinary flapper, like you; she sees a future stateswoman, a fearless fighter for the good, the true, the pure, the thing that might be." Dunstan was only half flippant.

"My goodness!" Minga was awed. "But say, about Colter. I went up to that room after he left, the room over the garage, and will you believe it, I found Sard there. She was sitting queer and still and in her hand she had a book she'd lent him. Well, my word," said Minga violently, "it was the awfulest old scientific flubdub, first causes, amœbas and protoplasms, all those out-of-date things."

"Yep, all the hogwash; they still print it," said[Pg 308] Dunstan. "That was the old fellow's line, always chewing at those bones the old guy was; self-made-man-stuff, y' know."

The girl groaned. "Don't I hate it! We had it at college, so of course I'm through it all. You going to cram your two last years with that sawdust?" inquired Minga.

The washer of automobiles ceased his sponging of the long green body. Dunstan stood, brown-shirted sleeves rolled up, young head hot and tumbled, eye bright and discriminating.

"No, Grandma," he turned promptly, "I am not. I cram on facts. See? I cut out all the frills and monkey and snail lore, and I root around just enough Latin and mathematics to look good to the old-timers. All I want is a diploma. See, so's I can walk into any chap's office and call him Bill and look him in his Pie Rooky Beta Kipper eye and say, 'Now then, my young Arabian Nights Oil Pasha, I may look like the One-eyed Calendar, but I've got the same world-series, all-American learning you've got, and I don't propose to be kicked out of this office till I get what I came for, see?' That," said Dunstan mopping his brow, "is my idea of education."

Minga nodded. "You sure do need an education in business," the girl agreed thoughtfully. "I know the Mede keeps saying that if he had his choice he'd give up his income and keep his brains, but not me," said serious Minga. "What use would my brains be to me if I hadn't an income?"

"You gotter have brains all right," said Dunstan;[Pg 309] "and then you've gotter forget you got 'em or that anybody else has 'em. Look at the after-dinner speeches, you know that rot, and the political ones, all done by famous men; don't they prove that brains are only a side-show? You just have 'em, but when you get there you don't use 'em. That's the idea."

The bobbed head leaning seriously by the side of the cropped one to swab the runners considered seriously these things.

Finally Minga announced, "Say, while I'm speaking of deep things and all, I'm going home next week. After we snitch Terry from jail I'm done!"

Dunstan looked at her sagely. He stood up, stretched, and eyed his friend with increasing disapproval. "Pshaw, that's a new kind of slush; what have you got, indigestion? Go home, nothing. Why, after the Terry rescue——"

Minga rubbed solemnly on the running-board; her friend looked alarmed.

"You have not got to go home! What do the Mede and Persian care as long as you're where they can send you day-letters and telephones. No, ma'am, you've got to stay here in this house of the seven sleepers and nobody-to-wash-cars, you've got to stay here and sass the governor and shock Aunt Reely and keep Sard from eloping with the iceman and once in a while, for deviltry, hold my hand. That's what you've got to do."

The boyish faun-like face smiled belligerently, but Dunstan's eyes had subtle anxiety. "You haven't really to go?" he inquired. "Aw come on, can't you[Pg 310] start a new sweater and say you can't go home till you've finished it? I've seen many a girl work that dodge," remarked Dunstan. "On account of this being the only place you can match the wool," he nodded acutely.

Minga stood pulling down her belt. She gave the bobbed head a resolute shake. "I'm going," she said. She stood there, a curious little picture of untried resolution. "I don't know exactly what's come over me," the girl confessed. "I've nothing against you, Dunce; you've been a real sweet idiot, and I'm going to see us through the Terry rescue, but after the Terry rescue," said Minga in a solemn tone, "home I've got to go." She hesitated a moment adding, "Anyway, after that, you see, Judgie will hate me and turn me out and Aunt Reely will be nervous and Sard will be queer and gloomy and you——"

"Anyway I'll be annoying," said Dunstan obstinately, "the way I've been right along."

There was a long silence for this talkative pair. At last:

"Anyway," said Minga, "I sort of see things different. I can't seem to want to visit around as much as I used. I'm going home to be a daughter, that sort of thing."

"Oh, deliver us!" groaned Dunstan. "Oh my soul! Say, what's the matter, girl, didn't your last allowance come? Nobody's a daughter nowadays; it isn't done. Say, Minga, this is awful! Anyway—don't go!"

Minga stood first on one foot, then on the other. In[Pg 311] her mind, a little dazed and haunted by recent events, still rang Shipman's summing up of her after their various encounters, and the final night at the dance. The lawyer had held the two tantalizing hands very tightly and murmured, "You are a very dear little thing, a very dear little thing." He had said it with a sort of tortured groan. Minga was beginning to realize with a good deal of slow pain how a man might resolutely hold a girl like her away from himself and herself, from something to which, the girl was clever enough to know, she had half unconsciously tried to lure him. The sentence with its tender repudiation of her had penetrated to something honest in her heart. Then had come the morning outside the court-house when Shipman had defined life to them. The older man's power, his penetrating analysis, had somehow reached to the soul that lay dormant, the little butterfly character had sleepily stirred, the little blue egg had broken, and Minga, a scared soul, looked forth upon a universe that had a spiritual endlessness. Some new dim sense of men came to her, not as strong creatures that must be made silly slaves to women or played upon by light motives, but as loyal brothers who had enormous power of strength or suffering through women. Watts Shipman's world of standards and honor stood out to her like a strange austere country of mountains and looming towers as to which she was supremely curious, but into which her feet hardly knew how to tread.

Minga looked earnestly at Dunstan's back. "You see," she worked this out as she had once worked it[Pg 312] out with Sard, "you see, Dunce, whether we like it or not, we've got to get busy, us young ones. It's queer," said little Minga with an omniscience not to be despised, "but though the grown-ups try all they can to discourage us when we do take hold, they know as well as we do that we've got to take hold. We," said Minga, with awed prophecy, "our kind, the Bunches, don't you know, all over the world. The French Bunch, like us, the Italian Bunch, the English Bunch, the flappers of the world. Our Bunches have got to run the world; it's awful, it's queer, but," the little bobbed head nodding violently, "it's true; so we ought to be preparing. The fathers and mothers and aunts and uncles and things hate to have us take hold before they tell us what to do. Though you can see," said Minga solemnly, "that they don't half of them know what to do themselves. So we have got to take hold." The bobbed maiden was sober to a terrifying degree. Dunstan stared at the little mouth that summed up, "And I suppose for this reason we ought to sort of brace up and begin to take notice. Now, for instance," said Minga with a sudden virtuous decision, "I've made up my mind that love is divine; I'm not going to fool any more. Love is divine," announced Minga.

"Wow!" said Dunstan, "don't hit me there again, as the lady said."

"Yes, it is," returned his car-washing companion determinedly. "I—I—I've grown sick of these petting parties and all this silly stuff. When you really don't care you—you just don't do it, so I'm going to cut[Pg 313] out these fake engagements just to wear different kinds of rings—I—I—if love is really divine," said Minga, she looked half timidly off to the mountain where the organ builder's house stood, "why, those petting parties are kind of common; do you get me?"

"Do I get you?" ejaculated Dunstan. "Say," he straightened up, "if you knew what I knew. Say, I could tell you things, Minga."

Minga, her resolutions almost overcoming her, sat down on an upturned box. "I really feel different," she said solemnly. "After that night Tawny Troop bawled me out, and—and something else happened, well, I got a sort of different feeling. Now, for instance," said Minga, "old people; I don't want to make fun of them any more. Isn't that queer? I want to sort of study 'em and see what they mean. Imagine! I really want," went on Minga in an awed voice, "to hang around and talk seriously to Judgie, and—and queer unnatural things like that. I'm going to be a daughter and sort of get interested; isn't it awful?"

Dunstan walked lovingly around his car, trying all its functions, and cast an appreciative eye on his comrade. "Good stuff," he commended. "The old birds must have some sense packed away somewhere. The old-timers like to beat the air and say things, but they ain't so low in the grave but what they see a few facts too.

"Well," the youth stood up straight, hands in pockets, whistling softly, "the 'Green Bottle' is herself again, cleaned, curried and coddled. Got that let[Pg 314]ter? I'll go in and change my duds, and then I guess we're ready. What? You got Terry's letter all right?"

Minga produced the letter; with one eye on the distant house, the two rereading it together, enjoying the sense of secrecy, half giggling at the queer spelling and altogether excited over their plan. The black round script ran thus:

"The gang stops work at five. The guards goes first to git the truck ready to take us bak to the pen! If you come threw about that time, I will beat it to your car and take the chance. Go slow till I jump; if I catch on, go like hell; go like hell anyways. There is a curve ahead to the right, but that is what you want, as the guards got motorcycles. So no more at present. Give the duck that brings this fifty cents and oblige

"You Know Who."

As Minga read, the two young faces suffused with a thrilled fire; weeks ago at the trial Minga and Dunce had decided to abduct Terry. The legal aspects of the thing hardly occurred to them. This sort of thing was done in the movies successfully, why not in actual life? Their plan was to snatch the boy from the road-building gang sent out by the state's prison to the stone crusher on the Western Shore where road-making was in progress. Terry was then to be conveyed in their automobile to the deserted Stone Oven of Revolutionary fame near Bear Mountain. Here, where a little stream wandered through the bracken, he could be driven to every day and supplied with[Pg 315] food until it should be safe to convey him to a night train and ship him to the West. Minga and Dunce had worked out the thing with dime novel detail, with dramatic appreciation of its flavor and dash, until the project ceased to have its original motive of saving Terry and gradually became their own twentieth century private automobile adventure. They had a charmed sense of thrill and a pleasant feeling of outwitting such staid and sober folk as Watts Shipman. It was not at all uncharacteristic of young persons, not at all uncharacteristic of the time, not at all uncharacteristic of the laughable enigma of human nature that at the very moment that the two were starting out to do something entirely discreditable, inevitably wrong, that they should be resolving with all the power and imagination of their young souls to adjust themselves better to the world they lived in. If it occurred to Minga and Dunce that as a first step in their new resolutions the Terry abduction was hardly judicious, they put the idea aside; each felt committed to the thing; neither knew how to withdraw.

It was the early July that is still reminiscently June. Orioles and tanagers were still flashing through the Hudson River green, rose-breasted grosbeaks and indigo birds had only just moved on to other mysterious leafage. The fields and hills were dusted with silver daisies and amid slopes of feathery grass coreopsis began to toss golden crowns. Out on the country roads the deep woods began to show, through their mystical vistas, tall towered carillons of speckled lily bells, and mountain laurel tossed pink shells on clumps[Pg 316] of foam-lit dark. The car whirled along rocky bits of road where tall plantains, and milkweed and fireweed, things of orange and rose and scarlet plume burned along the ditches of water-worn gravel, or by the lichened gray of ranging stone walls. It all spelled myriad fecundities, ripe gay plant life, a thousand dusts and washes of seed, a thousand marchers of hidden atoms, a thousand caravans and progression of strange mysterious pollen. The rich Chord of Summer was resolving throughout the countryside, played by a hand that goes lovingly back each year to the old hymn of begetting, and birth, and death! The old, old hymn of creation that sings us all in and out of being.

A gypsy camp on a rocky hillside back of the road showed dingy tents, and the tethered horses and empty hooded wagons stood in a sea of wild roses and buttercups. The gypsies, rather modern, with a decided tendency to fireless cookers and hair-nets and graphophones, were brown and smiling in indolent gypsy leisure. Minga stared upon them with awe; she dimly got their Pagan raison d'être, their rising to sunrise, their sleeping in cold stars and dew; the girl looked delightedly upon the strong bodies of little, half-naked children, and though daintily clad herself, she got a sense of the primal poetry and rags of the vagabond women who looked not too respectfully out to the showy car.

"Pretty lady, have your fortune told," called out one old hag. The gleaming lawless faces said impertinent lawless things, the teeth glittered, and the eyes were saucy. Minga was for halting the car and climb[Pg 317]ing down for this experience, but her companion restrained her.

"Ah, don't!" begged Dunstan disgustedly. "Say, they're fresh. Don't monkey with 'em, they have diseases, they're always horribly dirty. Don't go near them," shuddered the boy; "they make me crawl, somehow."

The old crone sitting by a steaming kettle swung on a pole looked out to them leeringly. That she could have heard their comments seemed incredible to the two in the automobile, but the black gaze seemed to read their very souls.

"Ah—Mates," the old woman called out teasingly, meaningly, with a curious warning.

"Mates," then as the impudent curious eyes surveyed them, this woman made a strange gesture, pagan, clairvoyant and authoritative. "Mates," she screamed after them, "there's a dead body between ye; it joins ye, Mates, Mates."

This was too much for Miss Gerould. She of the pampered and sheltered life. "Oh, my goodness," the girl gasped. The face under the pretty hat paled. Minga, who had never before come up against the raw things of life, grew suddenly faint. The face of his friend peered up into Dunstan's. "Say, would you call that a curse?" inquired Minga. "It—it sounded awful, Dunce; I believe it was a curse. It sort of scares me."

The boy laughed. He changed gears. "These people are awful queer," he admitted; "they do know things; they're good to keep away from, I think."

[Pg 318]

Minga shivered. "But could she make up such wild things? 'a dead body between ye, joining ye,' how do they know? They can't know, can they?"

Dunstan shook his head solemnly and the two young heads for a time cast nervous glances behind them, for it was a strange happening for a summer day; it would seem to cast a curious shadow on their adventure. The boy driver of the "Green Bottle" was thoughtful for a long time before he said ruminatingly, slowly, to his companion, "Just the same, they do know things. Minga, if we slept outdoors always and found our roads by the stars and noticed the way bushes grew, and tides, and the moon, and stayed with just animals and just took life as it is, you know, without the elevators and cosmetics and electric lights and hotels and the things that keep us away from life, just took it straight like a big drink of something powerful, why, wouldn't we be like that? Wouldn't we look directly at big things and see them straight, not wrapped up in tissue paper?"

Dunstan swept his free hand to the fields flowing by them. "Colter, well, Colter told me an awful lot of funny things about life and the great laws under it. Just being good, for instance, you have no idea, Minga, the great natural laws that lie under just being good." Dunstan paused. "There were a lot of old guys, priests and mystics and things that knew these laws, but we get lost from them, getting rich and all. The old kind of science got ahead of them and didn't believe them, but science, nowadays, Colter says——"

Dunstan after a few moments' reflection looked[Pg 319] around at his companion. "Did you hear the old tent-toad call us 'Mates'?" he asked soberly, "just 'Mates'—I think she saw something."

Minga was silent.

"Maybe we are mates," said the boy soberly; "maybe we are, Minga."

The girl at his side bit her lip and her foot tapped impatiently on the floor. "Now," said Minga, "now I am not going to be bothered with that stuff." Then, the vivid color flying into her face, "Dunce, oh, I will not have it; such nonsense, from a wrinkled old gypsy." Minga was silent a moment before she added, "I should think you'd want to forget what she said, 'a dead body between us, uniting us,' all that."

But Dunstan was looking far ahead along the vista of the leafy road. He said no more, only as Minga, sitting back, tried to start up some of their old rallying songs and sallies the boy kept repeating dreamily, "She called us mates and it seems queer, for somehow I've always thought—you heard? She called us 'Mates,' Minga."

Perhaps it was the gypsy's prophecy making them conscious, perhaps it was the green world surrounding them like a round egg surrounding primal man and woman. But they grew silent and awed as though they walked toward a large surcharged destiny, so as they halted the car and took out their lunch basket they felt constrained; the rescue of Terence O'Brien would not take place until nearly five o'clock; they must pass the time alone together in this cathedral solemnity of summer. They tried not to look at each[Pg 320] other for fear they should see in each other's eyes things that would snatch away their control. They stood a little away from each other, troubled, questioning, half afraid, yet curious.

[Pg 321]



Evening came heavily, the river, flattened to an unearthly yellow calm, had thrown back all day field-heaviness, the prolific scent of grasses. The house was hot, the trees held lax droop of layered leaves. Languidly in the tepid air moved hundreds of unseen little ships of pollen, bringing to human breathing a thickness as of a new element. The fire-flies carrying their lanterns slowly up from dark grass, clotted beneath a shrub, or hung in tiny constellations by a tree; while out on the roadways the black automobiles rolled pompously like haughty monsters whose eyes, scornful and contemptuous, looked far ahead past all poetry of tree and water toward future summer nights when all the world should be a shattering brilliance of moving engines.

The house seemed to ache with loneliness and the desolation of souls at variance. There was no noisy gathering of the Bunch on the porch of the Judge's home. Miss Aurelia worried over the absence of Minga and Dunstan. She had retired early to "collect her thoughts," she told herself, supporting this enterprise by taking with her a novel by which her friend, Mrs. Spoyd, set great store and which, so its owner told Miss Aurelia, contained "not one unpleasant thing."[Pg 322] Miss Aurelia who read a chapter out of "Something" every night, now read a blissful chapter out of this novel. Here there were such minute descriptions of crockery and curtains as delighted her soul; here married people all "got on" well; in this book the children arrayed in fresh pinks and blues played happily with clean spools or pretty blocks against backgrounds of hollyhocks. The little brooks ran without roiling, mad dogs kept away from villages and arranged their lives to be killed when convenient by intrepid lads educated for the purpose. The minister was handsome, good and healthy, and said what was expected, the doctor cured all fractures whether of skull or mind, the tax collector sent in his bills only when people had the money, and the young people sprang up together in couples like Noah's ark and married and started on a wonderful advertisement-perfected housekeeping.

"Why?" asked Miss Aurelia, yawning and settling down for the night. "Why don't more people write pleasant books and plays like this? I think all writers who write disagreeable things should be snubbed and made to feel uncomfortable, they should not be asked to dinner nor treated politely in any way until they stop writing about slums and dirty people and of unpleasant married problems. That," said Miss Aurelia, putting out the light, "would soon discourage them from writing horrid books, and then life would become normal and we should forget the things we don't want to think about. I should think," soliloquized Miss Aurelia, putting her handkerchief under her pillow,[Pg 323] "that writers should realize that unless they write only about normal things that they will never be popular."

It was after ten, but Sard had not gone up-stairs, yet the figure of the Judge, sitting aloof in one corner of the piazza, smoking and staring at the river, magnetized while it antagonized her. Her father had not spoken to her since the day Colter went away. The girl believed that he knew in some way that she had met Colter after his forbidding it. She could explain the seeming disobedience of this final interview. She wanted to explain it. With all the misery of her young heart she wanted to explain.

Sard, moving wistfully under the great trees, looked up into the branches spread over her. "What are your laws?" she asked as of old. The girl, hot with surging new things, with new blind impulses and passions, asked but one thing, to be true to a law, to the highest laws of all, yet the great law that called men and women fiercely, insistently to each other seemed to be set forever at variance with other laws, laws that those same men and women themselves had made and sustained. What should one be faithful to, what repudiate?

"What shall be my laws?" whispered the girl. She felt trembling that fierce law of blood and ardent spirit that bade her follow Colter now, get to him if she could, this night! Sard looked up, her eyes wide, her body swept on the tidal streams of summer night, her tremulous being still vibrated to the remembered clasp of a man's hand, of the sense of mystery surrounding[Pg 324] that man, his unuttered call to her.... His truth for her truth.

The isolation of youth, such as Sard's, is very great. No human hand can help it. It walks a way of loneliness that glimmers and is drenched with strange lights that bewilder and if it comes to any help at all it is the knowledge of the glory of loneliness, the glory of the fighter, who at last prefers the sense of ambush and the hazard of the wrong trail. Who prefers to pierce the jungle and fight his way out into a clearing—alone.

Yet to those who question the night, that time when the earth is abandoned by its one angel, the sun, there comes inevitably out of the dreaming quiet the one word, Patience.

"Our law is Patience," said the trees to Sard. The girl, a swift hand passed over her eyes, went in by way of the terrace; she passed the dark form sitting there; half pushing herself, half afraid she tiptoed toward it, to make peace, to ask forgiveness. Then, as softly, she tiptoed back; for deep in her heart Sard knew that there would be only one condition of forgiveness, that she repudiate the best and dearest thing that had come into her life, she must give up Colter.

Now passion swept over against any calm she could win, the girl saw vehemently that one man's face with the look of gentleness and dumb pain. "I can't give him up," she said fiercely. Sard drew a long breath; she began climbing slowly up-stairs to bed.

As she stood at the foot of the tower room stairs the hall clock struck eleven; there was a sudden whir of[Pg 325] wheels and lights on the drive outside; she heard indistinctly lowered voices of men, some long thing, covered, was taken to the kitchen, sudden stir and commotion ran like wild fire through the house.

Like a spell the summer night was breathless and Sard was aware of heat and suffocation in her own throat; the telephone began ringing, a man's voice speaking with the Judge. Her father's questions and commands were issued curt, annoyed, angry and then finally hushed and with a knife-like anxiety the girl flew to the head of the lower stair; there were slow footsteps coming up into the upper hall. The light fell upon a stretcher,—Dunstan—his boyish head bloody, his mouth slightly open. Two men climbing gently with something collapsed and, stricken in their arms, the little huddled form of Minga. Suddenly from the kitchen Dora's piercing wail, "Terry! Terry!"

[Pg 326]



The handsome man and woman that drove up to the great door of the Bogarts' home got out with a leisureliness that seemed the result of good nerve structure rather than deliberate intention. Whatever the anxiety in their hearts they did not show it in gestures or voices. Mrs. Gerould, however, kept rather intent eyes upon the electric bell; her gloved finger pushed; she pulled the scarf around her shoulders with a little nervous twitch. Her husband flicked some dust from his shoes. The two talked in low voices until the Bogarts' cook opened the door; as they realized the absence of pretty Dora, their grave faces grew more apprehensive.

Cook was expansive; she smoothed the sleeve of Mrs. Gerould's silk motor coat. "Ye ain't been worried about Minga, Mrs. Gerould? There's nothing the matter with her, Praise be God!—only the fright, and they've given her somethin' to sleep on. But him! Oh, it seems that I can hear him callin' me now—Mr. Dunstan—our bye—it was me he was always teasin' and raisin' the divil wit." The cook trembled; she burst out again:

"Gawd love him, the poor child wanted to save our Terry, poor bye—now that wasn't no way to help,[Pg 327] was it? Now, Mr. Dunstan's gone and got the law onto himself, he's under arrest! But them two," the cook wiped her streaming eyes, "their little hearts was broke over Terry bein' in the jug, and now look at it—Terry's dead! Yes'm," cook's motherly heart broke over it, her head went down into her red hands. "The guards was after them when they got him in the car, and fired. Yes'm, the poor boy's gorn. Well, he's better aff, that's what I tell Dora, he's better aff! I keep tellin' her that," blubbered cook.

The Mede and Persian looked increasingly grave. The telegram had been telephoned to them and they had stepped into a car and driven out at once without much sense of tragedy—before this the two had been hurried to scenes of Minga's dénouements, expecting some result of physical rashness, of too much dancing, or a bad sore throat and fever, some predicament of finance easy of rescue, but here was a prank with more serious development and one tragic result. Minga and Dunce had played for high stakes this time; perhaps their playing was forever over!

"Where's her room?" the two parents were at the door before cook could get the directions out of her mouth. On the way they encountered Miss Aurelia carrying a hot-water bottle in her hand, a flask of aromatic spirits of ammonia in the other. The lady had been wandering about with these for hours; now like a fountain of tears with fireworks of explanations round it, she began sending up hysterical rockets.

"Oh, Mrs. Gerould, Minga will be glad—I don't suppose I—you should talk to her now ... and[Pg 328] Mr. Gerould, how do you do? Sard will know; she is with Minga—but our Dunstan, did you know? Had you heard the—er particulars?—he—they, under arrest!" Sobbing, Miss Aurelia, with that superb power of tears that some people possess, talked through a steady sliding of drops that ran down sluices of pale cheeks until the two Geroulds in spite of anxiety looked on admiringly—"the poor—er—criminal, Terry—is dead—one can—er"—sniff,—"hardly grieve—but our boy, our Dunstan"—sob—"is gravely injured—the shoulders and head—fractures—they fear for his life——" To the gentle soothing of the Mede and Persian, Miss Aurelia leaned like a wind-blown branch, but the gusts of weeping came anew and the branch merely swayed; the two newcomers after a while detached themselves; with a sense of relief they stepped into Minga's room.

Sard rose swiftly out of the dark; Mrs. Gerould caught her two hands. "Minga's all right," the girl whispered. "They gave her something quieting because she was so horrified—Terry, you see—Terry is dead." The young form straightened; Sard spoke with grave calmness.

"Terry's troubles are over."

The Geroulds took her hands—together they spoke encouragingly to her. "Dear, you've been such a brick, we're proud of you; Eleanor Ledyard has told us how you worked to save Terry, and you've done our little Minga so much good." The big-hearted man and woman longed to take the strained look of tragedy from this young face. There were other[Pg 329] things they knew that had turned Sard grave and old in this one summer. They scanned her anxiously, wishing she were not so set and stern. "When Dunstan gets out of the woods,"—they patted her hands—"you come to us for a while and—and—well, we want to help."

This kind man and woman, understanding her, standing by her, shook the girl to her depths. Sard's lips trembled.

"I'd like to," she said, her eyes thrilled—"I'd like," Sard said simply, "to earn my own living; maybe you would help me do that." Her eyes deepened and thrilled, and in them the Geroulds read the old story, Youth at bay, yet they heard her words, "But I mustn't leave my father now—not now." Sard, with a curious little gesture, motioned in the direction of Dunstan's room.

"Of course not." Mrs. Gerould looked at her understandingly; the tall, graceful woman went softly over to the little bed and turned the night-light to see her daughter's sleeping face. The little bobbed head was deep in the pillows. Minga opened her eyes slightly and drowsily closed them. "Sard," she spoke with the curious distinctness of a person speaking under a drug, "I thought the Mede and the Persian were here—they are so dear—if they were here, you know"—Minga spoke drowsily, "Dunstan would get all right and Terry would come alive, the Mede and the Persian would fix it. They—they are hummers."

The man and the woman looked long and lovingly at her; then they looked at each other, shaking their[Pg 330] heads, the little figure on the bed was so dear to them, yet they, absorbed in their love for each other, seemed to have so little power, so little direction over her. This was their only child; she had had all the care and love they could lavish on her, yet she seemed as remote as an alien to all they believed and felt. They, the Mede and Persian, were deliberate, slow-thinking people of the agricultural age; Minga, the one child of their union, was the strange electric vivacious spirit of a machine age. It was this simple fact that the couple hardly realized that made it impossible for them to train their little daughter in the way they thought she should go. Minga must train herself in the way she would go. Somehow, they believed, she would train herself right.

Sard, at last, remembered her duties as daughter of the house. "Your room is all ready," she whispered; "there's a nurse coming in here at about four and then I shall go to bed." She led them down the hall, halting ever so slightly outside Dunstan's door, half pausing to hear the footsteps of the nurse on guard there, explaining:

"The fracture isn't fatal, but it's a horrid splintered one, and they must torture him some more to-morrow, the car upset; it threw Minga free, but it fell on him—and Terry's body——" Sard drew a long shuddering sigh.

Somewhat bewildered the two parents waited to hear more. "But Terry," asked Mr. Gerould rather desperately, "how was it he was with Dunstan and Minga?"

[Pg 331]

"They had stolen him from a prison gang working on the highway." It was curious that these three desperately anxious people half smiled with appreciation of Dunstan's and Minga's method, while they realized its deadly solemnity. The two Geroulds looked aghast.

"The prison guard shot him like a rabbit." The girl turned a look of intense bitterness on the kindly man and woman standing there. "You see," said Sard, and her face and eyes were a mask of hardness, "Terry was sentenced to twenty years in prison at hard labor; it was thought to be a kind sentence; he was under the law, and the law must not be cheated." The girl's face was bitter in a way not good to see. The Mede and the Persian did not, however, meet it with cold logic. This was not a time for that.

When they were alone in their room the Geroulds locked the door and commenced talking to each other. As the Persian slipped into a frilly dressing-robe and groped in her bag for a flashlight, she cautioned the Mede, "You turn in and sleep a lot, dear; the long drive tired you. I'll come back in a few hours. I want to relieve Sard and watch Minga and see how she comes out of this."

The Mede acquiesced. Taking off his collar, he sought for his tooth paste. "Apparently your daughter is a body-snatcher," he remarked. "I'm glad I sold that stock last week and that call money is improving. I expect we'll have a lot of legal stuff on our hands. It will be Minga's Christmas present keeping[Pg 332] her out of jail. I'll try to see Shipman to-morrow and find out what he thinks. Under arrest! your daughter, Madam, is—ahem—exceptional."

"Your daughter when she is in trouble," remarked the Persian blandly,—"I'm glad I have a permanent wave; your daughter's activities make it necessary for me to look my best at all times."

"Your daughter when she's discreditable, you know," returned the Mede with decision. They laughed. The Persian went over and rested her head against the Mede's arm. "No wonder I want Minga to be happy always," she said; "no wonder I've spoiled her so. I've always been so ridiculously happy and spoiled by you."

"You've been ridiculous, all right," said the Mede with conviction. "I've been the happy one—well," he kissed her, then bit off the end of a cigar, "we've got to pull Minga out of this scrape and read her the riot act and make her sit up and face her iniquities, by Jove!"

"You," the Persian looked back at him from the door, "must scold her terribly, cut half her allowance and forbid her to accept any more invitations for a year. You remember, I always wanted you to punish her when she was little."

"Oh, you did?" The Mede rummaged in the bathroom for his safety razor; he now fitted this instrument together, standing in dressing-gown surveying a blue chin. "I am to put on the thumbscrews, am I? Madam, I do not interfere with your peculiar offspring——" The Mede, looking in the glass, drew a[Pg 333] ruminative thumb over his chin. "I am for helping that poor child, Sard; she's a tigress in a crate here—I'm going to help uncrate her."

The Persian, lingering by the door, laughed a little helplessly. "Sard," she said in a low voice, "gives me the shivers; that fearful kind of girl who wants to reform the whole world before six o'clock, get life laundered before dinner, you know."

"I do know," said the thoughtful Mede, "and it's the kind I like; the kind that gets busy and doesn't wait for George to do it. I was like that myself. I mean, at Sard's age I wanted to reform the world. I began by marrying you."

"You didn't let George do that! Do you want to be pinched?" asked the Persian viciously.

"Come—come," said the Mede, "where are the matches? After I have a smoke—Patty," he looked toward the pretty rose-frilled figure at the door—"you can't suppose our little duck is hurt anyway, do you? They're not fooling us?" Mr. Gerould paused, turning a rather worried face on his wife. He waved the safety razor solemnly. That lady, to allay his fears, came close up to him.

"Minga Gerould is my child," she said emphatically; "she is made of rubber, the rest of her is steel, her mind is a duck's back. Her will is a kite, her imagination is fireproof, her humor is Charlie Chaplin and her heart is sound."

"I believe you." The Mede tinkered with his razor and looked about the room. "Rather comfy here," he remarked. "Who took the car to the garage,[Pg 334] anybody? I didn't lock it. Well, I guess there's no need to worry; that fellow Colter is here yet, isn't he? Eleanor Ledyard heard a lot about him from Watts; thinks he may be her husband's brother. What rot you women invent and you call it intuition. I keep worrying about Sard's face. I'd like to get a look at the fellow. Did you say you wanted to kiss me again?"

"I did not," said the Persian, her soft eyes challenging him. "But I could give Minga another kiss for you when she wakes up. I am willing to do that," said the Persian with an air of benevolence.

"You will do what I tell you," said the Mede belligerently. He pulled the tall rosy lady toward him and lifted her face to his. "My life," said the Mede, "is a wreck between the two demons, wife and daughter." He pressed a second kiss on a face that seemed the rosier by something in that second kiss.

The two looked at each other with a sudden deep look of laughing devotion. Such things do sometimes happen!

[Pg 335]



Sard came into Dunstan's room with the mail. The nurse, a calm-faced, serious woman of mature years, smiled at her. "I'm glad you've come; we're getting a little sick of each other."

The haggard face of the boy looked out from the surgeon's trestlework of the fractured arm and shoulder. "Drool!" said the weak voice querulously. "Drool! she means that I've been nagging her until she's half crying." The lad looked his sick mortification; he knew he could not control his peevishness, not just yet. He tried to cover it with the old impishness. "Never mind, Miss Crayden, try to imagine I'm your husband; let me, the tender partner of your life, wipe up the floor with you."

In spite of the humorous quirk around the mouth, the nurse seemed glad to get away. She did not deny his self-accusation. "If you're going to be around for a while," to the sister, "I think I'll just take a brisk walk."

"Take a brisk walk" after the all-night vigil, "take a brisk walk" that late August day with its breathless depths of dusty overgrowth, its sultry world of tapestried leaf hangings. The thing made the youthful ones smile. Dunce looked after the retreating form, firm and crisp in its white uniform, murmuring—"A brisk walk—at ninety-two in the shade."

[Pg 336]

"She kids herself along pretty well, doesn't she?" demanded the invalid; then as his weak voice went into a squeak,—"Say, how long I got to hang here like a dry worm on the end of a fish-hook? Oh, Sard, when does this rotten weakness end? Say, why don't you get me some dog poison and put me out of my misery?"

There was a haunted look in the boy's eyes that tried to smile listlessly as he pawed over his mail. "Letter from Bumpy Dodge asking about college. Well, I guess I don't get back to college—— No, Bumpy, old sport, I guess I do a turn in jail, what?" He looked questioningly at his sister. "Nothing from Minga, I suppose? Well, I don't blame her; I did get her into a mess, the newspaper rot and all. I wonder," said Dunstan soberly, "what I was thinking of," he looked at Sard curiously, "I wonder if I thought at all. I don't believe I did think—I just felt, and feeling isn't the whole show, I guess. Well, Minga and I certainly gummed the game." The figure lying trussed in a bower of splints and bandages was silent a moment. "Gimme a cigarette, Sardine," then, at her denying look, "Why, haven't they lifted the ban yet? Say, when does this surgeon Sunday-school end, anyway? You'd think those tinkering old 'Docs' were women the way they go on. Why, in the war they gave the chaps cigarettes in their very coffins, and me with just a cracked rib and a little allegro adrumata medulla medusa Madonna crackiosis—can't have a smoke."

It was not the old Dunce so much as his determined[Pg 337] imitation of the Dunce that had been. A young chap of nineteen cannot go through the experience of having a man of his own age shot to death across his knees without some changes which, in spite of modern science, we will assume are more than chemical. With the sinking down of Terence O'Brien's fair, curly head, his gasping, his blood sprinkled over the car in its crazy speed, the crash, their own capture, and in his own mortal pain seeing the fugitive lying beside him, blood pouring out of his mouth, his eyes closing on the warm summer sunset—with this picture, Dunstan's inner youth closed. His boy's body, badly cracked and shaken, could be mended, made almost perfect again, but his soul with the one great wound in it now stood up and commanded strong meat for its sustenance. Under the law! Dunstan must now stand face to face with law!

In his first interview with his father, with his knowledge of the process of this law, came the sense of rising to punishment that he felt able, nay, glad to meet. After almost twenty years, and twenty years did not seem long against the years Terry had lost, after twenty years of glad life Dunstan instead of bringing freedom had brought death to the wild, young Irish lad; he, who had had the advantages of education, of some measured temperate views of life; he, who for a reckless impulse had not considered what it is a man or woman puts in motion when they start out to defy the accepted law, now saw reasons for law.

Such parts of the long frame as were not pinned in plaster writhed. Dunstan's thoughts went to Minga[Pg 338]—what did she think of it all? Did she feel the same way, like one carrying a great burden? The bullet of the guard who had shot Terry had barely escaped Minga's head before the car had overturned and he, Dunstan, who ought by his very man's nature to have protected her, had brought her into all this. Oh, he was a nice chap, a splendid fellow. Ah, well, civilization was a trap anyway, a scheme, a plan to defeat frank square things. The thing to do was to cast off the whole silly rot, get off somewhere, where a man got out of the cheap lying pattern of things, where a man really lived, realized himself, rode, killed, loved, hated without a pink worsted design to remind him that he had "broken the law."

Sard looked over at him. "Stop squirming!" she ordered sternly, then—"Dear old Pirate, don't you know that convalescing is the hardest time of all?" She went over to the bed, scrutinizing her brother. "Is the light in your eyes?" she asked anxiously. "Shall I read to you? Do you want a fresh drink?"

"I want a fresh Hades," growled the invalid. "I want——" All of a sudden Dunstan's face broke; he could not move, but lay here shaking. The girl, looking away from him, was silent.

"If Minga would only write," at last he groaned.

"Perhaps she doesn't know what to say," comforted the sister.

"Dunce," said Sard thoughtfully; she stood by the bed. "Dunce," in a mild patience unlike her, "I guess you and I are up against it, aren't we? We must have, somewhere, ancestors not like Dad and lit[Pg 339]tle Mother and Aunt Aurelia, race-horse ancestors that wanted things to happen and to happen quick bang, right off, and they don't, they just won't. No matter what we do, we have to wait, no matter how much we care," said Sard slowly, "we just have to wait; everybody has to wait, I guess. It's a sort of law."

"Terry didn't wait," said Dunce bitterly; "he, thank God, got out."

"I've been reading," she returned thoughtfully, she was trying to draw him out of this mood, "a book that tells how Venice grew up out of the sea; and it seems like life somehow. The streams came down from the mountains carrying grains, just grains, Dunce, of sand, and the ice and snow rolled down more clay and sand, all the currents of the sea kept carrying deposits to one spot until," absorbedly the girl recounted the dreamy geologic tale, her eyes fixed on distance. Dunstan heard her through patiently.

"Sounds like the rags old Colter used to chew," he said, not uninterestedly. "By the way, Sard, what became of that mucker; turned out to be a ne'er-do-well, after all? What?"

His companion was silent. Something in her face contracted as she tried to answer lightly. "Oh, I guess he's all right. Mr. Shipman has been following him up. He was ill after he left here. Then he went to work somewhere, and then I don't exactly know," said Sard. "Mr. Shipman is keeping his eye on him. I don't exactly know——"

The invalid tried to change his position. "That so?[Pg 340] Got him work, did he?" he asked. "Say, ain't Shipman the dear old prophet? By Gad, Sardine, what makes a gray-headed chap like that and what makes an old spinny like Miss Crayden homely, you know, and out of the game, what makes 'em do all they can for you and not cuss you back when you cuss and not let you get the blue devils, but hold umbrellas of hope over you and keep reminding you of another You that's back of you, sort of, and ringing up your good deeds like spiritual fares and everything. Say," said Dunstan earnestly, "I want to know. These old-timers, there ain't much in it for them. They must know it. Why in thunder do they keep making everybody on the Merry-go-round think they are going to get the Gold Ring?"

His sister laughed. Sard, perching on Dunstan's bed, thoughtfully traced out the pattern of the white counterpane. The girl, thinner, with a look of limpid patience in the brook-clear eyes, tried to answer the question to herself. What, indeed, had made Shipman, who she had guessed was a baffled, lonely man, turn from his own concerns to help and encourage her? Why should he, to whom she could give nothing, keep the dark eyes with their look of "courage" so fixed upon her that even when he was not there she saw the look, heard the words and knew that the lawyer's strength and help were hers to call upon? Sard did not know that Watts Shipman, after Colter's collapse and his subsequent recovery and revelations, had been to Judge Bogart's with astounding news. The lawyer had sat in the Judge's library giving fact[Pg 341] after fact of the distinction, nay, the actual academic fame of the Judge's hired man.

"He's chipper enough now," he placidly told the Judge; "he's enormously improved! Last time I saw him he was walking up and down the campus at a reunion, laughing and talking with old comrades." The lawyer fixed rather scrutinizing eyes on his superior. "You wouldn't," he said tentatively, "I beg your pardon if I interfere, but your daughter is so noble, so superb a little fighter. You wouldn't stand in the way now—of anything?"

There was a long silence. The Judge, some obstinacy in his throat, sat staring ahead of him. The new sense of Sard, a girl, a young unformed girl, having somehow gotten at the fine intelligence and soul that had dwelt concealed in this man, staggered him.

Meticulously Shipman had given him every detail. Dr. Martin Ledyard's heroic effort to save his friends from the terrible scourge of Congo smallpox, the desertion of the natives with canoes, the subsequent shock of learning of his brother's trouble and suicide, the fever in the hospital, his sudden rising and escape with only the clothes he wore from the beginning of convalescence, the tale of his long wandering from farm to farm, the half sustained body and mind a blank, the exposure and terror of a partial memory, were things that Shipman had gotten from Ledyard's own lips bit by bit, and they had been confirmed by the specialist to whom the lawyer had taken Colter. That the eminent scientist had completely recovered, a recovery that had begun the very hour that Sard had recognized him as[Pg 342] he sat on the village curb for what he was, was an established medical fact. "Surely," Watts Shipman leaned forward, the face he bent on the Judge was solemn, "you could not interfere with your daughter's happiness now. Ledyard," said the lawyer mildly, "is not likely to come to her until he has your permission."

"Sard," said the Judge, his eyes had a light of the book of Moses in them, "Sard is to come to her father and acknowledge her impatience and disrespect."

"Pshaw!" The lawyer rose. He walked to the window and looked out. Then, his mouth torn between rage and amusement, he said politely, "Ahem! I don't exactly see how she could under the circumstances do that exact thing."

"That is all I ask," said the Judge finally. No sense of the ridiculous came to his rescue. He got up, went to a bookshelf and took down book after book, examined its cover for dust and blemish, and returned it without opening to the shelf. It was a curious habit of the Judge's to do this when deep in thought. Somehow it was like his treatment of human beings, thought Shipman.

"As for my son," remarked the gray-lipped mouth, "he will learn, he will learn something about the Law." Judge Bogart went back to his chair. He sat down, stretched out his legs and fixed his look upon the other man. "He will learn something about the Law," said he implacably. "I have done nothing to spare him," said the Judge with an air of satisfaction.

Yet Dunstan's first interview with his father had[Pg 343] not had all this quality of implacability. The boy's fever over, his limbs lightened of certain casts and the eyes deep and haunted, were things to meet which the older man had braced, things from which the Judge, with all his hardness, had shrunk; even the judicial habit could not overlook the danger the Judge had been in, of losing his son, the man who bore his name. With a curious sense of pride he, himself, could not understand, a perception of the absurd gallantry, the chivalry underlying the actions of a fool breaker of laws, the old man, his own prerogatives negatived, had fairly to screw up his courage to begin the interview as he determined it should be begun.

"You know that you will have to meet the penalty," he rasped.

The dark eyes met the gooseberry ones squarely.

"Yes, sir, I've looked the thing up."

"It is likely," said the Judge dryly, "that you will have to give up college and go into business, if indeed you are spared incarceration. The fine is very heavy; you are, in spite of bail, under arrest."

At the word "incarceration" a swift gleam in Dunstan's eyes gave his father absurd hope. He was not injured, then—he was—all right—that was the old impudence, curse it.

"I shall be glad," said the young fellow slowly, "to take any penalty that is rightfully mine, that would come to any man that did what I did, that had," the boy gulped a moment, "that had broken the law he lived under."

"Ah," the old gray face, the hard-boiled eyes, looked[Pg 344] watchfully upon the young face with its fierce pride—"then you realize that you were a fool, that you risked my name, your own honor, to save from just punishment a ruffian who had broken the law?"

Something wild, desperate, leaped into the face on the pillows; it was a hurt, appealing look, different from Sard's fiery pride and steady intention; it was not so defiant, it was the more helpless and miserable, as who would say, "I am punished enough." The Judge's eyes on the thin young face at sight of this look felt a sudden strange pang. It reminded him of—

"We love Foddy—Foddy won't put us in prison with the naughty prisoners."

Oh, little woman lips; oh, soft little hands and sweet voice; oh, hundred innocent tendernesses and faiths and needs——

The Judge stared at his son; the dark eyes closed and Dunstan lay there like death, only one long, thin hand clenched and unclenched on his chest.

They rise up sometimes, these who were our forbears and become our good angels; when we need them and call sincerely they rise up in our eyes and hearts and speak for us. If we have kept the house garnished and clean only the best of them will come to us bearing in their hands lamps to light our paths; when we call out in sheer agony for light and leading, all the noblest and fairest of our line rise up for a hundred comforting and strengthening ministries, to lead us on our blind path. Dunstan's mother, standing in his lad's eyes, had risen once and looked at her[Pg 345] husband. "Dearest," said the little timid voice, "what are you doing with my son—our boy? Treat our little Dunstan fairly."

For a long time the old Judge stood at the window, the gray lips trembling, the gooseberry eyes desperately blinking. "The heart bowed down with weight of woe," thought the Judge, "I will go down and play that record—she—she was fond of it."

At last he turned toward his son's bed. "There," said the Judge. He cleared his throat with a rasp that could have been heard in the garage. "Hum—I—I guess I've been breaking a law, too, hey?" He glanced up at the nurse who had just entered. "I don't want to disobey the doctor's laws." He stood for a moment looking down at his son. "I have a letter from that little vixen Minga," said Dunstan's father; then as he saw the slow red creep into the boy's cheek, "I think—ahem—I think she shows character—she seems to realize that her conduct was—I'll send it up to you," said the Judge. He held out his hand. "You and I must protect Minga," he said slowly; "we must keep her out of this thing. Hey, What? Have her out here, hey? Cheer us up some—hey—What?"

The two men looked at each other; under their differing ages was the same cool facing of facts. Dunstan did not turn from his knowledge of himself, a man who had incurred the penalty of the law; neither did the Judge as father turn from that fact. Facts are sometimes the most wholesome curative things of life. When two people resolutely face them together, with[Pg 346] the same degree of earnestness and honesty, they construct a bridge over great abysses of distrust, misunderstanding and heart-break.

The Judge started for the door. "Take care of yourself," he said as he looked wistfully at those dark eyes that had held just for one moment the dear wife's look. Then the Judge remembered Dunstan's love of a joke. "If you ever steal a murderer again," he said, "I'll thrash you within an inch of your life."

It was a joke! It was made with an effort; the very machinery creaked and the finished product looked dusty and wizened, but it was a joke! Dunstan, the dark-eyed humorist, saw it and grinned. The Judge returned to the bed. Two hands went spontaneously out, a grim, dry, purple one and a slim, thin, weak one. They clinched—then the door closed and the Judge went down-stairs.

Late that evening Miss Bogart heard the phonograph circling forth the "heart bowed down with weight of woe."... She turned another page in the "pleasant" book. "My poor brother," said Miss Aurelia to herself; "he seems to turn naturally to the—er—melancholy—but I should think," the lady thought sleepily, "that now that Colter isn't Colter at all, but the celebrated scientist Dr. Ledyard, that he, she, they——"

[Pg 347]



It was late September; the yellow maples threw gold on sky and ground; oaks and hickories were mantled in ruddy purples. Along the banks of the river the solemn procession of outgoing summer was begun; on dry nights mountain fires spread crackling smoky fringes. The Westchester hills, the hills of Pocantico, were trailed in grape-colored mists; bloom was on the Ramapos; amethystine smokes along the Highlands and the Palisades.

There was drowse and arrest in the air, a kind of heat that was different from summer, more dazing, more intensely keyed, with greater power to make one restless. Sard, lying on her couch in the tower-room, felt as if a world was closing in on her, as if the sky pressed and the hills leaned to smother. She had been reading to Dunstan, for the first time sitting up in his wheeled chair, had seen him drift off to sleep, and had then put down her book with an unconquerable sense of listlessness, of lack of purpose that had somehow closed in on her.

The girl, her body and mind built for action, for creative and progressive things, found herself victimized by a slowly narrowing circle of life, static, unimaginative, unprogressive; she was the fiery center of[Pg 348] a wooden wheel of existence that revolved in accustomed sameness with no effort, to no purpose.

"When Dunstan gets well," thought Sard desperately, "when Dunstan doesn't need me, what shall I do then? Aunt Aurelia doesn't really need me, Father will have nothing to do with me unless I—just—just capitulate. And I can't do that. What shall I do?"

The girl's mind, shrinking from her father's idea of her, went over the situation; the only way to clear up that situation was to say she had been mistaken in Colter, that she proudly told herself she could never do. But supposing Colter never came back, never—came—back to Willow Roads? Life would go on the same and, of course, one could adapt one's self to anything; with a shiver the girl tried to think what this adaptation would mean.

As far as those of her own group were concerned, there was no life. All mingling with the Bunch was over. Life, then, would mean social cliques and women's clubs, more or less boss controlled, politically influenced, "run" by one or two personalities, powerful in prestige but prejudiced and limited as to opportunity or progress. In such gatherings the girl instinctively felt there could be nothing constructive for her; the chemistry of these organizations was controlled by the acids of personal dislike or preference, or jealousy. Little careful nothings of possessions or dress were the intellectual meat of these associations, the inhibitions of the mentally torpid or the censorious attitude of the unimaginative virtuous. None of these things attracted a girl of Sard's impulse, a soul that[Pg 349] demanded fine contacts, the eager mingling of men and women in associations of tolerance and forward looking, the stimulus of persons of vivid experience. Sard mentally said "No" to it all.

Yet it was characteristic of her inherent nobility that she should attempt to force herself to an interest in these home matters, to attempt to form herself humbly on that narrow model. "It isn't nice to be choosy and exclusive," thought the girl; "real people are never that. I mustn't be 'superior,' whatever I do." She bent puzzled brows. "What would Colter have thought to be the right thing, to stay here and grow smaller and more timid and with less fresh impulse, or to break away, earn my own living, and, from Father's point of view, forfeit my right to my home?" "Ah! what would Colter think?" That was the sentence that dominated all Sard's life now.

From under her pillow the girl drew a letter from Watts Shipman—eagerly her eye sought one passage—one she had read and reread:

"I must not tell you all the circumstances, they are not mine to tell. Colter will want to tell you himself, but I have been able to help a little and I am rejoiced for the man you helped to save. Our friend Colter has surely come into his own, Miss Sard, and it is rather a magnificent Own. I do congratulate you on your discrimination in tramps. I suspect you have created a tradition that will some day be like a final degree. 'In 19— he was discovered by Miss Sard Bogart, which justified his previous achievements in a blaze of glory. Forgive me for being enigmatic. Courage! Miss Winged Victory, that you may be[Pg 350] happy in a parlous world is the deep wish of your true friend, "Watts Shipman."

Sard went over it hungrily for the hundredth time. She knew this paragraph by heart; it swept her with impatient excitement. Why was it all so obscure? Why was so little told her? Had Colter really found himself? What was that real self? The girl's heart stood still; perhaps since Watts wrote this something had happened....

The afternoon wore on; the girl, with an ejaculation, sprang up. "What do I mean by loafing around like this?" Sard inquired hotly. "Colter never loafed, he was always busy mending, rearranging, working, studying. I can't stand this lazy life, I won't, I won't just drift; I will be like Colter."

She went into the little dressing-room and bathed her face, looking with wonder into the eyes grown so dark and wide, so strangely listening and startled. She flung open a drawer and lifted out a clean white dimity, a frock with fresh frills and a soft sash. Sard rustled into it with a little winged sense of pining for the air, to be moving, going somewhere, experiencing something. But the soft white seemed vapid to the serious brown eyes so unaware of their own vitality. Sard, frowning upon this absence of color, opened a casket and took out a long rope of cut amber beads. Her mother's necklace, a thing honey-like with sun-color, quivering with golden lights. "Funny," thought the girl, ruminatively, "I never cared to wear these[Pg 351] before." She ran the smooth clicking morsels of amber through caressing fingers. "Little Mother," she thought tenderly, "I suppose these reached almost to your knees; they hardly come to my waist. I'm not a bit like you."

With yearning face, the girl turned to her bookshelves. Sard vaguely thought of going down to the river edge to read. The young fingers paused over "The Sonnets from the Portuguese"; not until this summer had Sard understood these exquisite verses. Now, almost with reverence she drew the volume forth. It was a girl's way to evade all the cold questions, all the sneering comments, the Gorgon stare of "practical life." With some sense of being companioned by the little book, Sard gave a touch here and there to her pretty room, patted a pillow, pulled down a shade and started to leave it.

Miss Aurelia's flat heels clapped up the stairs; the face that met Sard's look was mystified and potential. Her aunt, taking a chair, gasped a little.

"Aunt Reely," scolded Sard, "how you pant; you take these stairs too fast. I do believe you get more tired than you let us see; you've got to go easier," said Sard in gentle bullying.

The girl these days had been wistfully tender of her aunt. Sard had great need to be tender to someone. Miss Aurelia exulted in the solicitude. "Sard and I are very much alike," she had told Mrs. Spoyd; "we are congenial." The timid lady exulted in what seemed to her like the opening of a new régime. To have Sard's companionship in all her little flutters and[Pg 352] wonderings and excitements! Miss Aurelia had carefully swept up Sard's heart for her. Everything to the aunt's perception was neatly ticketed and put away; all reminiscence of that er—unfortunate—er, infatuation for the "Man on the Place." Now, however, the rabbity mouth looked awed. Miss Aurelia was more uncertain than usual; she eyed Sard irresolutely.

"Someone has er—called—could you go down at once—I see you are presentable. I—you see," said Miss Aurelia with elaboration, "I am very untidy."

Miss Bogart was invariably perfectly groomed and arranged; Sard giggled in derision.

"Aunt Reely, what more could you do to be 'presentable,' as you call it?"

"My—er—hands," explained Miss Aurelia, with curious firmness—"I have been polishing those little Chinese brasses on my desk and they——" She displayed fingers that looked immaculate, but which she insisted smelled of brass polish. "It takes so long to get off. Now, if you could run down," insisted the lady mildly.

"Of course." The girl ran a comb through her tawny hair. "Don't you know who it is?"

"Dora said some name like the minister's, I thought. Or was it a lady? I did not pay attention." Miss Aurelia sniffed violently at her fingers. "Phew, phew! Sometimes I think they should invent a brass polish that is odorless. You never know when you've got rid of it. Could you go down at once? It seems so rude to keep them—him—waiting, and I always[Pg 353] think," said Miss Aurelia nervously, "that when one is not sure the living-room is dusted, it is better to give him—her—them—less time to look about."

It was not different from her aunt's usual incoherence. Sard hardly noticed the tremor, the little excited pat. She went slowly down the stairs across the hall, pushing back the heavy portière of the living-room.

The man who turned from the window and came toward her did not wear an old gray flannel shirt and khaki trousers. He was clad in the white flannels that make a man look taller, lighter, of a cooler vigor and grace. The hair that swept back from his forehead was a bright chestnut, and his face was——

Sard stood half turning for flight. The man did not yet take her hand, but he looked swiftly into her eyes.

"Was it unfair to come like this?" he demanded. It was evident that he could hardly leash the note of gladness in his voice. "Miss Aurelia thought it better not to tell you, that if you knew you might not come down." There was unutterable tenderness in the light of those eyes. "I could not wait," the man admitted quickly.

There was a moment's silence, in which she stood staring at him. This was Colter, the Man on the Place. This was not Colter. This was a glad, confident person, who, something came into Sard's throat, was sure—sure of everything. Much younger, much more buoyant than that one she had known! And, too sure!

[Pg 354]

The tall man looked at her, his expression changing slightly. Then as he glanced at the hand she had not offered him, "I—I have been talking with your father," he said quietly.

Sard tried to smile back, tried to smile in greeting, sympathy, but her heart pounded. She was instinct for flight, a thing suddenly confronted with strangeness, facing someone who was—too eager! Slight as the hesitation was, the man saw it. He did not move except with great gentleness to draw her to a chair. He stood speaking tranquilly, with a curious authority Sard had never seen before. It made her thrill. "I have been talking to Judge Bogart," this triumphant man in white flannels said easily; "he gave me permission to see you. I have told him about myself; you see," he smiled, "I have found out who I am! Sard, aren't you glad? Don't you care?"

"You have found out—who you are?" said the girl thickly, childishly. Her gaucherie was painful to her and evident and very dear to the man perceiving it. The deep fire-blue eyes rested on hers a moment. An indefinable softness crept into them, replacing that look of confidence and power. The tall frame bent a little toward her, and she was aware as of a curious tenseness of resolution—a self-control such as she had felt that night in the little fruit orchard. Colter, who looked at her with understanding, knew that for the moment his chiefest hold on Sard was gone. Drinking her down with a thirst born of his knowledge of her, yet this triumphant man before her realized that now that he no longer had need of her compassion she[Pg 355] had as yet no other kind of passion for him! The dark days being over, Martin Ledyard, the scientific adventurer, whose name was famous all over the world, was standing irresolute, abashed, not able, it seemed, to win back the bright look of pity from the brook-clear eyes, the little maternal cadence in a girl's voice. He saw her disturbed, at bay.

If, however, he felt taken aback, disappointed, there was no hint of it. He looked at her with unutterable tenderness, the kind of look Sard had never before seen on a man's face. "I see," he said simply, "you don't care for me—so much—in my triumph. You think that now I do not need you, Sard? Not need you, my Happiness? Sard," she quivered at her name on his lips, "are you sorry you saved me, sorry I came—back?"

She shook her head. She had risen. It was like them both that they should take it standing, trying to be square with each other, striving to get to the thing that lay between them. The Judge, passing through the hall, on an uneasy excited walk, coughed gruffly. Hearing this cough, with a strange feeling of unreality, Sard tried to realize what had happened. There was her father outside, not caring that she was with this man. Why—then—then—the Judge knew then that she had read true!

"You say you have talked with Father?" A wild wave of relief tore through the girl; she tried once more to lift her eyes to the face, reading the wistful look dwelling on it, loving it, yet coming no nearer to it. Ah, there would be no more Gorgon[Pg 356] "practical life" now. She had seen true, she had known, known—and with a curious effort the girl tried to look smilingly and frankly back at this man. On "Colter's" own face there was left only a trace of the old baffled sadness; new triumph tore through her, "Colter" had won out, won out! As in a dream, she listened to his voice.

"I hoped you and I might care for all the 'under-dogs' in the world—together."

Then after another short silence:

"You remember the night in the little fruit orchard? I think you cared for me then, and I," the man's voice faltered, "I adored you. You remember other times, I think," he said gently, "that you did care and I wanted you to know that that was what cured me, brought things back. I didn't frighten you then, did I, Sard? You put your hand in mine, but," hesitatingly, "I seem to frighten you now; you wouldn't come to me now?"

She stood pulling at the amber chain, and after a moment "Colter" also touched the chain. He followed her hand on the golden rope. It seemed to them both that something rather terrible might happen. To Sard, it was as if in this pause some wonderful gate might close, some beautiful thing might pass out, never to return. But the woman that rose up in the girl asserting with vehemence her right to this man frightened that other untried creature, the Winged Victory of freedom and innocent impulses. Things had changed!

Oh, how could Sard prevent the gate from closing,[Pg 357] the lovely thing from ending, unless she did the thing that it seemed to her she could not do? Instinctively the girl looked to him for help; but he, it seemed, either could not or would not help. No, "Colter" would not make it easy for her.

"I came too suddenly," said he decisively; there was a stern note of self-condemnation. "Dear, I wasn't fair to you; I should have thought things out," stammered the man. A swift look of sorrow swept over his face. "Things aren't quite the same, are they?" He hesitated.

Oh, no, they were not the same; they were not the same! The girl's heart, plunging, recognized this. It has been so easy to be tender to a baffled, helpless man, someone in trouble; it was so hard to meet this strange, glad, powerful person who attracted her like fatal fire, who, some way, had mastery of her.

The gruff cough sounded again outside, the curtain was pulled aside and the Judge entered. He had a furtive air of curiosity and exultation. It was plain he could not keep his hands off. "Hum—ha——" he said. "I've been comparing your—um—papers with Mr. Shipman's—very strange experiences, very strange experiences! Well, sir, I'm glad you came out as you have." The Judge, realizing that he addressed Martin Ledyard, a man whose name ranked high in universities all over the world, was almost humble. He stood straighter, his gooseberry eyes shot honest congratulation. Down deep in his heart, like all men, he honored the man of adventure, more[Pg 358] than the man of science. He could not, however, keep the ring of pride from his voice as he turned benevolently to his daughter.

"I congratulate you." The Judge blew his nose; he pushed his handkerchief back in his pocket. He stared rather nervously at Sard. "Hum—you've made a distinguished friend."

The blunt, carefully-concealed apology went home. Sard drew a long, fluttering breath. This was the man who had stood between her and the world all her life; this was the hard, stern man who had made life possible and impossible for her, who had hindered and ignored and indulged and scouted her; who had insulted and protected her! Some sense of the conflicting laws of parenthood got to Sard's heart, something new and keen leaped to life, this man's blood ran through her veins, something mysterious, a great bond, connected them. Ah! it was the Law. In spite of everything it was the Law! "We love Foddy, little Sard." It was the Law!

"Dad," said the girl breathlessly, "you—you know now?"

Sard sobbed just once. It was like her to fly to this stern man, to bury her tawny head on his breast. The Judge detached himself, resolutely, with decision. Women did these things, they were to all logic absurd. What did another man, under such circumstances, do? The gooseberry eyes rather shamefacedly consulted the quiet eyes of "Colter." "There," said the Judge to his daughter, "there, I don't know what all this is about!"

[Pg 359]

But the other man knew, and he knew that when the Judge made his embarrassed exit that there was no one for Sard to turn to but him! Therefore, when she, with that little desperate sob, did turn, she did not see his face, for he, somehow, contrived that her own could be hidden. "Colter's" arms tightened about her and his lips whispered on her hair. "I think," said the man softly, "that if we are very quiet we can hear the river freshening." It was the old remembered voice, like a quieting hand laid on her. It was the voice that had spoken that midsummer night in the orchard. Sard, with a little quivering sigh, gave herself to it.

No one saw the Judge that evening, but afar off the phonograph could be heard playing, "The Heart Bowed Down With Weight of Woe." Miss Aurelia paused to say "Good-night" to Dunstan. "I always feel relieved when I hear your father playing that tune," she remarked. "It is an indication that he is feeling better, that his mind is relieved. This, ahem, affair of Sard's is—er—very interesting; Mrs. Spoyd, now that she knows the particulars, says that to her it is—er—most affecting!"

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Under the Law, by Edwina Stanton Babcock


***** This file should be named 48009-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Alan and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions will
be renamed.

Creating the works from print editions not protected by U.S. copyright
law means that no one owns a United States copyright in these works,
so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United
States without permission and without paying copyright
royalties. Special rules, set forth in the General Terms of Use part
of this license, apply to copying and distributing Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
concept and trademark. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark,
and may not be used if you charge for the eBooks, unless you receive
specific permission. If you do not charge anything for copies of this
eBook, complying with the rules is very easy. You may use this eBook
for nearly any purpose such as creation of derivative works, reports,
performances and research. They may be modified and printed and given
away--you may do practically ANYTHING in the United States with eBooks
not protected by U.S. copyright law. Redistribution is subject to the
trademark license, especially commercial redistribution.



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full
Project Gutenberg-tm License available with this file or online at

Section 1. General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works

1.A. By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement. If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or
destroy all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your
possession. If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a
Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound
by the terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the
person or entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph

1.B. "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark. It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement. There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement. See
paragraph 1.C below. There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this
agreement and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works. See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C. The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the
Foundation" or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection
of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works. Nearly all the individual
works in the collection are in the public domain in the United
States. If an individual work is unprotected by copyright law in the
United States and you are located in the United States, we do not
claim a right to prevent you from copying, distributing, performing,
displaying or creating derivative works based on the work as long as
all references to Project Gutenberg are removed. Of course, we hope
that you will support the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting
free access to electronic works by freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm
works in compliance with the terms of this agreement for keeping the
Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with the work. You can easily
comply with the terms of this agreement by keeping this work in the
same format with its attached full Project Gutenberg-tm License when
you share it without charge with others.

1.D. The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries are
in a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States,
check the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this
agreement before downloading, copying, displaying, performing,
distributing or creating derivative works based on this work or any
other Project Gutenberg-tm work. The Foundation makes no
representations concerning the copyright status of any work in any
country outside the United States.

1.E. Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1. The following sentence, with active links to, or other
immediate access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear
prominently whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work
on which the phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed,
performed, viewed, copied or distributed:

  This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and
  most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no
  restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it
  under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this
  eBook or online at If you are not located in the
  United States, you'll have to check the laws of the country where you
  are located before using this ebook.

1.E.2. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is
derived from texts not protected by U.S. copyright law (does not
contain a notice indicating that it is posted with permission of the
copyright holder), the work can be copied and distributed to anyone in
the United States without paying any fees or charges. If you are
redistributing or providing access to a work with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the work, you must comply
either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 or
obtain permission for the use of the work and the Project Gutenberg-tm
trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.3. If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any
additional terms imposed by the copyright holder. Additional terms
will be linked to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works
posted with the permission of the copyright holder found at the
beginning of this work.

1.E.4. Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5. Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6. You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including
any word processing or hypertext form. However, if you provide access
to or distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format
other than "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official
version posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site
(, you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense
to the user, provide a copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means
of obtaining a copy upon request, of the work in its original "Plain
Vanilla ASCII" or other form. Any alternate format must include the
full Project Gutenberg-tm License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7. Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8. You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
provided that

* You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
  the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
  you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. The fee is owed
  to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he has
  agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the Project
  Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. Royalty payments must be paid
  within 60 days following each date on which you prepare (or are
  legally required to prepare) your periodic tax returns. Royalty
  payments should be clearly marked as such and sent to the Project
  Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the address specified in
  Section 4, "Information about donations to the Project Gutenberg
  Literary Archive Foundation."

* You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
  you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
  does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
  License. You must require such a user to return or destroy all
  copies of the works possessed in a physical medium and discontinue
  all use of and all access to other copies of Project Gutenberg-tm

* You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of
  any money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
  electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days of
  receipt of the work.

* You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
  distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9. If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work or group of works on different terms than
are set forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing
from both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and The
Project Gutenberg Trademark LLC, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm
trademark. Contact the Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1. Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
works not protected by U.S. copyright law in creating the Project
Gutenberg-tm collection. Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may
contain "Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate
or corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or
other medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage or
cannot be read by your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from. If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium
with your written explanation. The person or entity that provided you
with the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in
lieu of a refund. If you received the work electronically, the person
or entity providing it to you may choose to give you a second
opportunity to receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund. If
the second copy is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing
without further opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4. Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO

1.F.5. Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of
damages. If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement
violates the law of the state applicable to this agreement, the
agreement shall be interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or
limitation permitted by the applicable state law. The invalidity or
unenforceability of any provision of this agreement shall not void the
remaining provisions.

1.F.6. INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in
accordance with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the
production, promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works, harmless from all liability, costs and expenses,
including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any of
the following which you do or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this
or any Project Gutenberg-tm work, (b) alteration, modification, or
additions or deletions to any Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any
Defect you cause.

Section 2. Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of
computers including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers. It
exists because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations
from people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come. In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future
generations. To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation and how your efforts and donations can help, see
Sections 3 and 4 and the Foundation information page at

Section 3. Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service. The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541. Contributions to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by
U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is in Fairbanks, Alaska, with the
mailing address: PO Box 750175, Fairbanks, AK 99775, but its
volunteers and employees are scattered throughout numerous
locations. Its business office is located at 809 North 1500 West, Salt
Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887. Email contact links and up to
date contact information can be found at the Foundation's web site and
official page at

For additional contact information:

    Dr. Gregory B. Newby
    Chief Executive and Director

Section 4. Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment. Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States. Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements. We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance. To SEND
DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any particular
state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States. U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses. Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations. To
donate, please visit:

Section 5. General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works.

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project
Gutenberg-tm concept of a library of electronic works that could be
freely shared with anyone. For forty years, he produced and
distributed Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of
volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as not protected by copyright in
the U.S. unless a copyright notice is included. Thus, we do not
necessarily keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.