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Title: Eve to the Rescue
Author: Hueston, Ethel, 1887-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Eve to the Rescue" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



EVE TO THE RESCUE

by

ETHEL HUESTON

Author of
Prudence of the Parsonage,
Prudence Says So,
Leave It to Doris, Etc.

Illustrated by Dudley Gloyme Summers



[Illustration: "You get nicer every day of your life."]



Grosset & Dunlap
Publishers New York

Made in the United States of America

Copyright 1920
The Bobbs-Merrill Company

Printed in the United States of America



To Carol

Who came to us in the form of Duty,
but who has brought us only Pleasure



CONTENTS

CHAPTER                                       PAGE
      I  In Defiance of Duty                    11
     II  The Cote in the Clouds                 21
    III  Everybody's Duty                       30
     IV  The Irish-American League              40
      V  Her Inheritance                        59
     VI  A Wrong Adjustment                     84
    VII  Painful Duty                           98
   VIII  She Meets a Demonstrator              112
     IX  Admitting Defeat                      124
      X  The Original Fixer                    137
     XI  The Germ Of Duty                      156
    XII  The Revolt Of The Seventh Step        175
   XIII  She Finds A Foreigner                 195
    XIV  New Light On Loyalty                  214
     XV  Service Of Joy                        226
    XVI  Marie Encounters The Secret Service   248
   XVII  Spontaneous Combustion                266
  XVIII  Converts Of Love                      282
    XIX  She Doubts Her Theory                 301
     XX  She Proves Her Principle              312
    XXI  Her One Exception                     332



                           EVE TO THE RESCUE



EVE TO THE RESCUE

CHAPTER I

IN DEFIANCE OF DUTY


"To-morrow being Saturday afternoon," began Eveley, deftly slipping a
dish of sweet pickles beyond the reach of the covetous fat fingers of
little niece Nathalie,--"to-morrow being Saturday afternoon--"

"Doesn't to-morrow start at sunrise as usual?" queried her brother-in-law
curiously.

"As every laborer knows," said Eveley firmly, "Saturday begins with the
afternoon off. And I am a laborer. Therefore, to-morrow being
Saturday-afternoon-off, and since I have trespassed on your hospitality
for a period of two months, it behooves me to find me a home and settle
down."

"Oh, Eveley," protested her sister in a soft troubled voice, "don't be
disagreeable. You talk as if we were strangers. Aren't we the only folks
you have? And aren't you my own and only baby sister? If you can't live
with us, where can you live?"

"As it says in the Bible," explained Eveley, truthfully if unscripturally,
"no two families are small enough for one house."

"But who calls you a family?" interrupted the brother-in-law.

"I do. And nice and sweet as you all are, and adorable as I am well aware
am I, all of you and all of me can not be confined to one house."

"But we have counted on it," persisted Winifred earnestly. "We have
looked forward to it. We have always said that you would come to us when
Aunt Eloise died,--and she did--and you must. We--we expect it."

"'England expects every man to do his duty,'" quoted Burton in a
sepulchral voice.

Then Eveley rose in her place, tall and formidable. "That is it,--duty.
Then let me announce right now, once and for all, Burton Raines and
Winifred, eternally and everlastingly, I do not believe in duty. No one
shall do his duty by me. I publicly protest against it. I won't have it.
I have had my sneaking suspicions of duty for a long time, and lately I
have been utterly convinced of the folly and the sin of it. Whenever any
one has anything hateful or disagreeable to do, he draws a long voice and
says it is his duty. It seems that every mean thing in the world is
somebody's duty. Duty has been the curse of civilization for lo, these
many years!" Then she sat down. "Please pass the jam."

"Oh, all right, all right," said Burton amiably, "have it your own way,
by all means. Henceforth and forever after, we positively decline to do
our duty by you. But what is our duty to you? Answer me that, and then I
guarantee not to do it."

"It is our duty to keep Eveley right here with us and take care of her,"
said Winifred, with as much firmness as her soft voice could master. "She
is ours, and we are hers, and it is our duty to stand between her and a
hard world."

"You can't. In the first place I am awfully stuck on the world, and want
to get real chummy with it. Any one who tries to stand between it and me,
shall be fired out bodily, head first."

"Oh, Eveley," came a sudden wail from Winifred, "you can't go off and
live by yourself. What will people think? They will say we could not get
along together."

"That is it,--just that and nothing more. It isn't duty that bothers
you--it is What-will-people-think? An exploded theory, nothing more."
Then she smiled at her sister winsomely. "You positively are the sweetest
thing, Winnie. And your Burton I absolutely love. And your babies are the
most irresistible angels that ever came to bless and--enliven--a sordid
world. But you are a family by yourselves. You are used to doing what you
want, and when you want, and how you want. I would be an awful nuisance.
When Burton would incline to a quiet evening, I should have a party. When
you and he would like to slip off to a movie, you would have to be polite
and invite me. Nobody could be crazier about nieces and nephews than I
am, but sometimes if I were tired from my work their chatter might make
me peevish. And you would punish them when I thought you shouldn't, and
wouldn't do it when I thought you should, and think of the arguments
there would be. And so we all agree, don't we, that it would be more fun
for me to move off by myself and then come to see you and be
company,--rather than stick around under your feet until you grow deadly
tired of me?"

"I do not agree," said Winifred.

"I do," said Burton.

"Then we are a majority, and it is all settled."

"But where in the world will you live, dear? You could not stand a
boarding-house."

"I could if I had to, but I don't have to. I have been favored with an
inspiration. I can't imagine how it ever happened, but perhaps it was a
special dispensation to save you from me. I am going to live in my own
house on Thorn Street. Of course it will be lonely there at first, since
Aunt Eloise is gone--but just listen to this. I shall rent the
down-stairs part to a small family and I shall live up-stairs. Part of
the furniture I am going to sell, use what I want to furnish my dove cote
in the clouds, and the rest that is too nice to sell but can't be used I
shall store in the east bedroom, which I won't use. That will leave me
three rooms and a bath--bedroom, sitting-room and dining-room. I can fix
up a corner of the dining-room into a kitchen with my electric percolator
and grills and things. Isn't it a glorious idea? And aren't you surprised
that I thought of anything so clever by myself?"

"Not half bad," said Burton approvingly,--for Burton had long since
learned that the pleasantest way of keeping friends with in-laws is by
perpetual approval.

"But you can never find a small family to take the down-stairs part of
the house," came pessimistically from Winifred.

"Oh, but I have found it, and they are in the house already. A bride and
groom. The cunningest things! She calls him Dody, and they hold hands.
And I sold part of the furniture yesterday, and had the rest moved
up-stairs. But there is one thing more."

"I thought so," said Burton grimly. "I remember the Saturday-afternoon-off.
I thought perhaps you had me in mind for your furniture-heaver. But since
that is done it is evident you have something far more deadly in store for
me. Let me know the worst, quickly."

"Well, you know, dearie," said Eveley in most seductively sweet tones,
"you know how the house is built. There is only one stairway, and it
rises directly from the west room down-stairs. Unfortunately, my bride
and groom wish to use that room for a bedroom. Now you can readily
perceive that a young and unattached female could not in conscience--not
even in my conscience--utilize a stairway emanating from the boudoir of a
bridal party. And there you are!"

"I am no carpenter," Burton shouted quickly, when Eveley's voice drifted
away into an apologetic murmur. "Get that idea out of your head right
away. I don't know a nail from a hammer."

"No, Burtie, of course you don't," she said soothingly. "But this will be
very simple. I thought of a rambling, rustic stairway outside the house,
in the back yard. You know the sun parlor was an afterthought, only one
story high with a flat roof. So the rustic stairway could go up to the
roof of the sun parlor, and I could make that up into a sort of roof
garden. Wouldn't it be picturesque and pretty?"

"But there is no door from your room to the roof of the sun parlor,"
objected Burton.

"No, but the window is very wide. I will just cover it with portières
and things, and I am quite active so I can get in and out very nicely.
And when I get around to it, and have the money, I may have a French
window put in."

"But, Eveley, I can't build a stairway. I don't know how to build
anything. I couldn't build a box."

"But you do not have to do this alone, Burtie. Just the foundation, that
is all I expect of you. You will have lots of assistance. Not experienced
help perhaps, but enthusiastic, and 'love goes in with every nail,'--that
sort of thing. I have sent invitations to all of my friends of the
masculine persuasion, and we have started a competition. Each admirer is
to build two steps according to his own design and plan, and the one who
builds most artistically is to receive, not my hand and heart, but a
lovely dinner cooked on my grill in my private dining-room. I have the
list here. I figured that twelve steps will be enough. Nolan Inglish,
two. Lieutenant Ames, two. Captain Hardin, two. Jimmy Weaver, two. Dick
Fairwether, two. Arnold Bender, two. Arnold is Kitty's beau, but she
guaranteed two steps for him. Won't it be lovely?"

"To-morrow being Saturday afternoon," said Burton bitterly.

"I ordered the rustic lumber last night, and it was delivered to-day."

"And you consider it my duty as the luckless husband of your
long-suffering sister, to lay the foundation for the wabbly, rattly
ramshackle stairs your pet assortment of moonstruck admirers will build
for you?"

"Not your duty, Burtie, certainly not your duty. But your pleasure and
your great joy. For without the stairway, I can not live there. And if I
do not live there, I must live here. And remember. When you want
vaudeville, I will incline to grand opera. When you would enjoy a movie,
I shall have a musicale here at home. When you are in the midst of a
novel, I shall insist on a three-handed game of bridge. When you are
ready to shave, I shall need the hot water. When your appetite calls for
corned beef and cabbage, my soul shall require lettuce sandwiches and
iced tea. Not your duty, dear, by any means. I do not believe in duty."

"Quite right, sweet sister," he said pleasantly. "It shall afford me
infinite pleasure, I assure you. And to-morrow being Saturday afternoon,
you shall have your stairway."



CHAPTER II

THE COTE IN THE CLOUDS


As Eveley had prophesied, what her carpenters lacked in experience and
skill was more than compensated by their ambition and their eagerness to
please. On Saturday afternoon her back yard was a veritable bee-hive of
industry. The foundation was in readiness for the handiwork of love, for
Burton Raines, feeling that he could not concentrate on business in such
sentimental environs, explained patiently that he was only an ordinary
married man and that love rhapsodies to the tune of temperamental
hammering upset him. So he had taken the morning off from his own
business, to lay the foundation for the rustic stairway.

Nolan Inglish, listed first because he was always listed first with
Eveley, appeared at eleven o'clock, having explained to the lofty members
of the law firm of which he was a junior assistant, that serious family
matters required his attention. This enabled him to have the two
bottom-most steps of the stairway, comprising his portion, erected and
ready for inspection by the time Eveley arrived home from her work. He
said he had felt it would be lonely for her to sit around by herself
while everybody else worked for her, and having provided against that
exigency by doing his labor in advance, he claimed the privilege of
officiating as entertainer-in-chief for the entire afternoon.

Arnold Bender appeared next, accompanied by Kitty Lampton, one of
Eveley's pet and particular friends. Although Kitty was extremely
generous in proffering the services of her friend in behalf of Eveley's
stairway, she frankly stated that she was not willing to expose any
innocent young man of her possession to the wiles and smiles of her
attractive friend, without herself on hand to counteract any untoward
influence.

Captain Hardin and Lieutenant Ames came together with striking military
éclat, accompanied, as became their rank, by two alert enlisted men.
After introducing their enlisted men in the curt official manner of the
army and having set them grandly to work on the rustic stairway, Captain
Hardin and Lieutenant Ames immediately took up a social position in the
tiny rose-bowered pergola, with Eveley and Kitty and Nolan and the
lemonade.

A little later, Jimmy Weaver rattled up in his small striped gaudy car,
followed presently by Dick Fairwether on a noisy motorcycle. They took
out their personal sets of tools from private recesses of their machines
and plunged eagerly into the contest.

So the afternoon started most auspiciously and all would doubtless have
gone well and peacefully, had not Captain Hardin most unfortunately
selected an exceptionally good-looking young soldier for his service,--a
tall, slender, dark-skinned youth, with merry melting eyes. Eveley never
attempted to deny that she could not resist merry melting eyes. So she
left the young officers and Kitty and Nolan and the lemonade in the
rose-bowered pergola on the edge of the canyon which sloped down abruptly
on the east side, and herself went up to superintend the building of her
stairway.

The handsome one required an inordinate amount of superintending. The
other soldier detailed by Lieutenant Ames, an ordinary young man with a
sensible face and eyes that saw only hammer and nails, got along very
well by himself. But the handsome youth, called Buddy Gillian, required
supervision on every point. He first consulted Eveley about the design of
the two steps entrusted to him for construction. He could think of as
many as two dozen different styles of rustic steps, and he explained and
illustrated them all to Eveley in great detail, drawing plans in the
gravel path. It took the two of them nearly an hour to make a selection,
and then it seemed the style they had chosen was the most difficult of
the entire assortment, and was practically impossible for any one to
construct alone. So Eveley perforce assisted, holding the rustic boughs
while he hammered, carrying the saw, and carefully picking out the proper
size of nails as he required them.

"Didn't you have more sense than to bring a good-looker?" Nolan asked
Captain Hardin in a fretful voice. "Don't you know that Eveley can't
resist good looks?"

"I told him he had no business to bring Gillian," put in the lieutenant.
"Look at Muggs, whom I brought. Nobody notices that Muggs needs any help.
See there now, he has finished and is ready to go. Can't you do something
to stop this, Miss Lampton?" he pleaded, turning to Kitty.

"As long as she leaves my Arnold alone, I shall mind my own business,"
said Kitty decidedly. "If I cut in on her affair with your Buddy, she
will try her hand on Arnold to get even. Captain Hardin got you into
this, it is up to him to get you out."

And Kitty heartlessly left the pergola and went up to the rustic steps to
hold the hammer for Arnold.

Then Captain Hardin, after rapidly drinking three glasses of iced
lemonade to drown his chagrin and to strengthen his flagging courage,
left the cozy pergola which had no attraction for any of them with Eveley
out at work on the rustic stairway, and went up to the corner where she
and Buddy Gillian were carefully and conscientiously matching bits of
rustic lumber.

"I do not think I should keep you any longer, Gillian, since Muggs is
ready to go," he said kindly. "I can finish this myself now, thank you."

"Yes, sir," said Buddy Gillian courteously, and stood up. Then to Eveley,
"Shall I gather up the scraps, Miss Ainsworth, and tidy the lawn for you?
It is pretty badly littered. Only too glad to be of service, if I may."

"Oh, thank you, Mr. Gillian, that is sweet of you," said Eveley
gratefully. "Suppose we begin down in that corner by the rose pergola,
and gather up the scraps as we come this way. I'll carry this basket, and
you can do the picking."

But even this humble field of usefulness was denied Private Gillian, for
Lieutenant Ames came out from the pergola and said with official
briskness, "Oh, never mind that, Gillian. I can help Miss Ainsworth with
it. You'd better run along with Muggs and enjoy your liberty period. Much
obliged to you, I am sure."

So the handsome Buddy looked deep into Eveley's eyes, and sighed. Eveley
held out her hand.

"You have done just beautifully," she said, "and helped me so much. And
when are you coming to tell me the rest of that thrilling story of your
life in the trenches?"

"The question is, when may I?"

"Well, Tuesday evening? Or can you get off on Tuesday?"

"Oh, yes, since the war is over we can get off any night. Tuesday will
suit me fine."

"Sorry, Gillian," put in Captain Hardin grimly. "But unfortunately I have
arranged for a company school on Tuesday night--to be conducted by
Lieutenant Carston."

Gillian turned his beautiful eyes on Eveley, eyes no longer merry but sad
and wistful.

"Let me see," puzzled Eveley promptly. "Could you come to-morrow night
then, Mr. Gillian? Captain won't mind changing with you, I know, and he
can come on Tuesday. Captains can always get away, can't they? Is that
all right?--Then to-morrow evening, about eight. And I will have a little
evening supper all ready for you. Good-by."

After he had gone she said to the captain apologetically, "Hasn't he
wonderful eyes? And I knew he must be quite all right for me to know, or
you would never have introduced him."

Taken all in all, only Kitty Lampton and Eveley considered the raising of
the rustic stairway an entire success, although there was much light talk
and laughter as they ate the dainty supper the girls had prepared for
them in the Cloud Cote, as Eveley had already christened her home above
the earth. But the men, with the exception of Nolan, were doomed to
disappointment.

When Dick Fairwether asked her to go to a movie with him in the evening,
and when Jimmy Weaver invited her to go for a night drive with him along
the beach, and when Captain Hardin suggested that she accompany him to
the Columbine dance at the San Diego, and when Lieutenant Ames wanted to
make a foursome with Kitty and Arnold to go boating, she said most
regretfully to each,--"Isn't it a shame? But my sister is having some
kind of a silly club there to-night, and I promised to go."

But to Nolan, very secretly she whispered: "Now you trot along to the
office and work and when I am ready to come home I will phone you to come
and get me. And we will initiate the Cloud Cote all by ourselves."

So the little party broke up almost immediately after supper, with deep
avowals of gratitude on the part of Eveley, and equally deep assurances
of pleasure and good will on the part of the others. After they had gone,
as Eveley inspected her stairway alone, she was comforted by the thought
that she could fairly smother it with vines and all sorts of creeping and
climbing things, and the casual comer would not notice how funny and
wabbly it was. But as she went gingerly down, clinging desperately to the
rail on both sides, she determined to take out an accident policy
immediately, with a special clause governing rustic stairways.



CHAPTER III

EVERYBODY'S DUTY


Due to the old-fashioned, rambling style of the house, the rustic
stairway did not really detract from its beauty. And as there were
already clambering vines and roses in profusion, an extra arbor more or
less, could, as Eveley claimed, pass without serious comment. Although
the house was old, it was still exquisitely beautiful, with its cream
white pillars and columns showing behind the mass of green. And the lawn,
which was no lawn but only a natural park running riot with foliage
coaxed into endless lovers' nooks and corners, was a fitting and
marvelously beautiful setting for it.

The gardens were in the shape of a triangle, with conventional paved
streets on the north and west, but on the east and south they drifted
away into the shadowy canyon which stretched down almost to the bay, and
came out on the lower streets of the water-front.

Eveley stood on her rustic stairway and gloated over it lovingly,--the
rambling house, the rambling gardens, the beautiful rambling canyon, and
then on below to the lights on the bay, clustered together in
companionable groups.

"Loma Portal, Fort Rosecranz, North Island, Coronado, and the boats in
the bay," she whispered softly, pointing slowly to the separate groups.
And her eyes were very warm, for she loved each separate light in every
cluster, and she was happy that she was at home again, in the place that
had been home to her since the days of her early memory.

Eveley's mother had been born in the house on Thorn Street, as had her
sister, Eloise, the aunt with whom the girls had lived for many years.
And after the death of her husband, when Eveley was a tiny baby, Emily
Ainsworth had taken her two girls and gone back to live with her sister
in the family home. There a few years later she too had passed away,
leaving her children in the tender, loving hands of Aunt Eloise. And the
years had passed until there came a time when Winifred was married, and
Eveley and her aunt lived on alone, though always happily.

But investments had gone badly, and returns went down as expenses went
up. So Eveley studied stenography, and took genuine pleasure in her
career as a business girl. With her salary, and their modest income, the
two had managed nicely. Then when Aunt Eloise went out to join her
sister, the Thorn Street house was left to Eveley, and other property
given to Winifred to compensate. So that to Eveley it was only coming
home to return to the big house and the rambling gardens. But to meet the
expenses of maintenance it was necessary that part of the large house
should be rented.

Eveley, always adaptable, moved serenely into her cote at the head of the
stairs, and felt that life was still kind and God was good, for this was
home, and it was hers, and she had come to stay.

She almost regretted the impulsive promise to her sister that drew her
out of her dwelling on the first night of her tenancy. Not only did she
begrudge the precious first-night hours away from her pretty cote in the
clouds, but she was not charmed with the arrangement for the evening. She
was an ardent devotee of clubs of action, rowing, tennis, country,
dancing and golf, but for that other type of club, which she described as
"where a lot of women sit around with their hats on, and drink tea, and
have somebody make speeches about things," she felt no innate tenderness.

It was really a trick on the part of Winifred that procured the promise
of attendance. For Eveley had been allowed to believe they were going to
play cards and that there would be regular refreshments of substance, and
perhaps a little dancing later on. All this had been submitted to by
inference, without a word of direct confirmation from Winifred, who had a
conscience.

So it was that Eveley Ainsworth, irreproachably attired in a new
georgette blouse and satin skirt, betook herself to her sister's home for
an evening meeting of the Current Club. And it was a decided shock to
find that neither a social game nor a soul-restoring midnight supper were
in store for her, but the proverbial tea and speeches. She resigned
herself, however, to the inevitable, and shrank back as obscurely as
possible into a dark corner where she might muse on the charms of Nolan,
the beauties of the new Buddy Gillian, the martial dignity of Captain
Hardin, and the appeals of all the rest, to her frivolous heart's
content.

In this manner, she passed through the first part of the evening very
comfortably, only dimly aware that she was floundering in the outskirts
of a perfect maze of big words dealing with Americanization, which Eveley
vaguely understood to be something on the order of standing up to _The
Star Spangled Banner_, and marching in parades with a flag and shouting
"Hurrah for the President," in the presence of foreigners.

The third speaker was a minister, and ministers are accustomed to
penetrating the blue mazes of mental abstraction. This minister did. He
began by telling three funny stories, and Eveley, who loved to exercise
her sense of humor, came back to the Current Club and joined their
laughter.

In the very same breath with which he ended the last funny story, he
began breezily discoursing on everybody's duty as a loyal American.
Eveley, to whom the word "duty" was the original red rag, sniffed
inaudibly but indignantly to herself. And while she was still sniffing
the speaker left "duty as American citizens" far behind, and was deep in
the intricacies of Americanization. Eveley found to her surprise that
this was something more than saluting the flag and shouting. She grew
quite interested. It seemed that ordinary, regular people were
definitely, determinedly working with little scraps of the foreign
elements, Chinese, Mexican, Russian, Italian, yes, even German,--though
Eveley considered it asking entirely too much, even of Heaven, to elevate
shreds of German infamy to American standards. At any rate, people were
doing this thing, taking the pliant, trusting mind of the foreigner,
petting it, training it, coaxing it,--until presently the flotsam and
jetsam of the Orient, of war-torn Europe, of the islands of the sea, of
all the world, should be Americanized into union, and strength, and
loyalty, and love.

It fascinated Eveley. She forgot that it was her duty as a patriotic
American. She forgot that nobody had any business doing anything but
minding one's own business. She fairly burned to have a part in the work
of assimilation. Her eyes glowed with eagerness, her cheeks flushed a
vivid scarlet, her lips trembled with the ecstatic passion of loyalty.

In the open discussion that followed after the last address, Eveley
suddenly, quite to her own surprise, found that she had something to say.

"But--isn't it mostly talk?" she asked, half shyly, anxious not to
offend, but unable to repress the doubt in her mind. "It does not seem
practical. You say we must assimilate the foreign element. But can one
assimilate a foreign element? Doesn't the fact that it is foreign--make
it impossible of assimilation? Oh, I know we have to do something, but as
long as we are foreigners, we to them, and they to us,--what can we do?"

The deadly silence that greeted her words frightened her, yet somehow
gave her courage to go on. She must be saying something rather sensible,
or they would not pay attention.

"We can not assimilate food elements that are foreign to the digestive
organs," she said. "Labor and capital have warred for years, and neither
can assimilate the other. Look at domestic conditions here,--in the home,
you know. People get married,--men and women, of opposing types and
interests and standards. And they can not assimilate each other, and the
divorce courts are running rampant. It does no good to say assimilation
is a duty, if it is impossible. And it seems to be."

"Your criticism is destructive, Miss Ainsworth," said a learned professor
who had spoken first, and Eveley was sorry now that she had not listened
to him. "Destructive criticism is never helpful. Have you anything
constructive to offer?"

"Well, maybe it is theoretic, also," said Eveley smiling faintly, and
although the smile was faint, it was Eveley's own, which could not be
resisted. "But duty isn't big enough, nor adaptable enough, nor winning
enough. There must be some stronger force to set in action. Nobody could
ever win me by doing his duty by me. It takes something very intimate,
very direct, and very personal really to get me. But if one says a word,
or gives me a look,--just because he understands me, and likes me,--well,
I am his friend for life. It takes a personal touch, a touch that is
guided not by duty but by love. So I think maybe the foreign element is
the same way. We've got to sort of chum up with it, and find out the nice
things in it first. They will find the nice things in us afterward."

"But as you say, Miss Ainsworth, isn't this only talk? How would you go
about chumming up with the foreign element?"

"I do not know, Professor," she said brightly. "But I think it can be
done. And I think it has to be done, or there can not be any
Americanization."

"Well, are you willing to try your own plan? We are conducting classes,
games, studies, among the foreigners, working with them, teaching them,
studying them. We call this our duty as loyal Americans. You say duty is
not enough, and you want to get chummy with them. Will you try getting
chummy and see where you come out?"

Eveley looked fearfully about the room, at the friendly earnest faces.
"I--I feel awfully quivery in my backbone," she faltered. "But I will try
it. You get me the foreigners, and I will practise on them. And if I
can't get chummy with them, and like them, why, I shall admit you are
right and I will help to teach them spelling, and things."



CHAPTER IV

THE IRISH-AMERICAN LEAGUE


Several days passed quietly. Eveley went serenely about her work, and
from her merry manner one would never have suspected the fires of
Americanization smoldering in her heart ready for any straying breeze of
opportunity to fan them into service.

She was finding it deliciously pleasant to live in a Cloud Cote above a
bride and groom. Mrs. Bride, as Eveley fondly called her, was the dainty,
flowery, fluttery creature that every bride should be. And Mr. Groom was
the soul of devotion and the spirit of tenderness. To the world in
general, they were known as Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Severs, but to Eveley,
they were Mrs. Bride and Mr. Groom. It served to keep their new and
shining matrimonial halo in mind.

She was newly glad every morning that the young husband had to start to
his work before she left home for hers. When she heard the front door
open down-stairs, she ran to her window, often with a roll or her coffee
cup in her hand, to witness the departure, which to her romantic young
eyes was a real event. Mrs. Bride always stood on the porch to watch him
on his way to the car until he was out of sight. Sometimes she ran with
him to the corner, and always before he made the turn he waved her a
final good-by.

It was very peaceful and serene. It seemed hard to believe that recently
there had been a tremendous war, and that even now the world was writhing
in the throes of political and social upheaval and change. In every
country, men and women were grappling with great industrial problems, and
there were ominous rumblings and threatening murmurs from society in
revolution. But in the rambling white house in the great green gardens at
the top of the canyon, one only knew that it was springtime in southern
California, that the world was full of gladness and peace and joy, and
that love was paramount.

Several days,--and then one evening there came the call of the
telephone--the reveille of Americanization in the person of Eveley
Ainsworth. A class of young foreign lads had been gathered and would meet
Eveley at the Service League that evening. No instructions were given, no
suggestions were forthcoming. Eveley had asked for foreigners with whom
she could get chummy and call it love. Here were the foreigners. The rest
of the plan was Eveley's own.

She was proud of her mature comprehension of the needs of reconstruction,
and of her utter gladness to assist. She felt that it signified something
rather fine and worth while in her character, and she took no little
pleasure in the prospect of active service. She went about her work that
day wrapped in a veil of mystery, her mind delving deep into the ideals
of American life. She carefully elaborated several short and spicy
stories, of strong moral and patriotic tone, emphasizing the nobility of
love of country. And that evening she stood before her mirror for a long
time, practising pretty flowery phrases to be spoken with a most winsome
smile. Remembering that her subjects were boys, and that boys are young
men in the making, she donned her daintiest, shimmeriest gown, and
carefully coaxed the enticing little curls into prominence. Then with a
final patriotic smile at herself in the mirror, she carefully climbed
through the window and crossed the roof garden to the rustic stairway.

As she walked briskly up Albatross to Walnut, then to Fourth where she
took the car, and all the way down-town she was carefully rehearsing her
stories and the most effective modes of presenting them. She knew the
rooms of the Service League well, having been there on many occasions
while there was still war and there were service men by the hundreds to
be danced with. Half a dozen men and boys were lounging at the curbstone,
and they eyed her curiously, grimly, Eveley thought. She wondered if they
knew she had come there to inspire them with love of the great America
which they must learn to call home. She straightened her slim shoulders
at the thought, and walked into the building with quite a martial air, as
became one on this high mission bent.

A keen-eyed, quick-speaking woman met her at the elevator, and led her back
into what she called "your corner" of the room. Evidently the room was
divided into countless corners, for several groups were clustered together
in different sections. But Eveley gave them only a fleeting glance. Her
heart and soul were centered on the group before her, eight boys,
dark-eyed, dark-skinned, of fourteen years or thereabouts. They looked at
Eveley appraisingly, as we always look on those who come to do us good.
Eveley looked upon them with tender solicitude, as philanthropists have
looked on their subjects since the world was born.

The introductions over, the keen-eyed one hurried away and Eveley faced
her sub-Americans.

Then she smiled, a winsome smile before which stronger men than they have
fallen. But they were curiously unsmiling in response. Their eyes
remained appraising almost to the point of open suspicion. Perhaps her
very prettiness aroused the inherent opposition of the male creature to
female uplift.

Eveley began, however, bravely enough, and told them her first and
prettiest story of sacrifice and country love. They listened gravely, but
they were not thrilled. Struggling against a growing sense of
incompetence, Eveley talked on and on, one story after another, pretty
word following pretty word. But each word fell alike on stony ground.
They sat like graven images, except for the bright suspicious gleam of
the dark eyes.

Finally Eveley stopped, and turned to them. "What do you think about it?"
she demanded. "You want to be Americans, don't you? You want to learn
what being an American means, don't you?" Her eyes were fastened
appealingly on a slender Russian lad, slouching in his chair at the end
of the row. "You want to be an American, I know."

Suddenly the slim lithe figure straightened, and the dark brows drew
together in a frown. "What are you getting at?" came in a sharp tone.
"I'm an American, ain't I? You don't take me for no German, do you?"

"No, no, of course not," she apologized placatingly. "Oh, certainly not.
I mean, you want to learn the things of America, so you can love this
country, and make it yours. Then you will forget that other land from
which you came, and know this for your own, now and forever."

Eveley was arrested by the steady gleam of a pair of eyes in the middle
of the row. There was open denial and disbelief written in every feature
and line of his face.

"Why?" came the terse query, as Eveley paused.

Eveley gazed upon him in wonderment. "Wh-what did you say?"

"I said, why?"

"Well, why not?" she countered nervously. "This is your country now. You
must love it best in all the world, and must grow to be like us,--one of
us,--America for Americans only, you know."

"You tell us to forget the land we came from," he said in an even
impersonal voice. "Is that patriotism,--to forget the land of your birth?
I thought patriotism was to remember your home-land,--holding it in your
heart,--hoping to return to it again,--and make it better."

"But--but that is not patriotism to this country," protested Eveley,
aghast. "That is--disloyalty. If you wish to be always of your own land,
and to love it best, you should stay there. If you come here, to get our
training, our education, our development, our riches,--then this must be
your country, and no other."

"Why?" he asked again. "Why should we not come here and get all the good
things you can give us, and learn what you can teach us, and take what
money we can earn, and then go back with all these good things to make
our own land bigger and better and richer? That is patriotism, I think."

"No, no," protested Eveley again. "That is not loyalty. If you choose
this country for your home, it must be first in your heart, and last
also. This is your home-land now,--the land you believe in, the land of
your love, America first."

"But America was not first. The home-land was first."

"Yes, it was first," she admitted pacifically. "But America is last.
America is the final touch. And so now you will learn our language, our
games, our business, our way of life. You will live here, work here, and
if war comes again you will die for America."

Then she went on very quickly, fearful of interruptions that were proving
so disastrous. "That is why we are organizing this little club, you boys
and I. We are going to talk together. We are going to play together. We
are going to study together. So you can learn American ways in all
things. Now what kind of club shall we have? That is the American way of
doing things. It is not my club, but yours. You are the people, and so
you must decide."

A long and profound silence followed, evidently indicative of deep
thought.

"A baseball club," at last suggested a small Jap with a bashful smile.

"That is a splendid idea," cried Eveley brightly. "Baseball is a good
American sport, a clean, lively game. Now what shall we call our baseball
club?"

Again deep thought, but in a moment from an earnest Jewish boy came the
suggestion, "The Irish-American Baseball League."

Eveley searched his face carefully, looking for traces of irony. But the
pinched thin features were earnest, the eyes alight with pleased
gratification at his readiness of retort.

A hum of approval indicated that the Irish-American League had met with
favor. But Eveley wavered.

"Why?" she asked in puzzled tone. "There is not an Irish boy here. You
are Italians, and Spanish, and Jewish, and Russian, so why call it
Irish-American?"

"My stepfather is an Irishman, his name is Mike O'Malley," said a small
Mexican. "So I'll be the captain."

"G'wan, ain't it enough to get the club named for you?" came the angry
retort. "What you know about baseball, anyhow?"

Eveley silenced them quickly. "Let's just call it the American League,"
she pleaded.

"The Irish-American League is well known, and gets its name in the
paper," was the ready argument in its favor.

And this fact, together with the strong appeal the words had made to
their sense of dignity, proved irresistible. They refused to give it up.
And when Eveley tried to reason with them, they told her slyly that the
proper way to decide was by putting it to vote.

Eveley swallowed hard, but conscientiously admitted the justice of this,
and put the question to vote. And as the club was unanimously in favor of
it, and only Eveley was opposed, her Americanization baseball club of
Italians and Mexicans and Orientals went down into history as the
Irish-American League.

When it came to voting for officers, she again met with scant success.
They flatly refused to have a president, stating that a captain could do
all the bossing necessary, and that baseball clubs always had a captain.
In the vote that followed the result was curiously impartial. Every boy
in the club voted for himself. Eveley, who had been won by the bright
face of a young Jewish boy sitting near her with keen eyes intent upon
her, voted for him, which gave him a fifty per cent. majority over the
nearest competitor, and Eveley declared him the captain.

A few moments later, Eveley was called away to the telephone by Nolan,
wishing to know what time he should call for her and the moment she was
out of hearing, the club went into noisy conference. Upon her return, the
argumentative Russian announced that the vote had been changed, and he
was unanimously elected captain.

"But how did that happen?" Eveley demanded doubtfully. "Did the rest of
you change your votes, and decide he should be captain?"

There was a rustle of hesitation, almost a dissenting murmur.

The newly elected captain lowered his brows ominously. "You did, didn't
you?" he asked, glaring around on his fellow members.

"Yes," came feebly though unanimously.

"Did--did you vote?" questioned Eveley tremulously.

"Sure, we voted," said the captain amiably. "We decided that I know the
game better than the rest of the guys, and I can lick any kid in this
gang with one hand, and we decided that I ought to be the captain. Ain't
that right?" Again he turned lowering brows on the Irish-American League.

No denial was forthcoming, and although Eveley felt assured that in some
way the American ideal of popular selection had been violently outraged,
it seemed the part of policy to overlook what might have occurred. Some
minor rules were agreed upon, and the club decided to meet for practise
every evening after school. Eveley could not attend except on Saturdays,
and a boy near her, whose features had seemed vaguely and bewilderingly
familiar, announced that he must withdraw as he worked and had no time
for baseball. The captain professed his ability to fill up the club to
the required number with exceptional baseball material, and the meeting
adjourned without further parley.

This one meeting sufficed unalterably to convince Eveley that she was
totally and helplessly out of her element. She was not altogether sure
those quick-witted boys needed Americanizing, but she was sure that she
was not the one to do it if they did require it. She realized that she
had absolutely no idea how to go about instilling principles of freedom
and loyalty in the hearts of young foreigners.

It was with great sadness that she began adjusting her hat and collar
ready to go home, leaving defeat and failure behind her, when a blithe
voice at her elbow broke into her despair.

"So long, Miss Ainsworth; see you in the morning."

Eveley whirled about and stared into the face of the small lad whose
features had seemed so curiously familiar.

"To-morrow?" she repeated.

"Surest thing you know, at the office," he said, grinning impishly at her
evident inability to place him. "I knew all the time you didn't know me.
I am Angelo Moreno, the Number Three elevator boy at the Rollo Building."

"Do--do you know who I am?"

"Sure, you're Miss Ainsworth, old Jim Hodgin's private secretary."

"How long have you been there?"

"About a year and a half."

"I never noticed," she said, and there was pain in her voice.

"Oh, well," he said soothingly, "there's always a jam going up and down
when you do, and you are tired evenings."

"But you are in the jam, too, and you are tired as well as I, but you
have seen."

"That's my job," he said complacently. "I got to know the folks in our
building."

"How much do you know about me?" she pursued with morbid curiosity.

He grinned at her again, companionably. "You're twenty-five years old,
and you're stuck on that fellow Inglish, with Morrow and Mayne over at
the Holland Building. You used to live with your aunt up on Thorn Street,
but she died and you got the house. B. T. Raines is your brother-in-law,
and he's got two kids, but his wife is not as good-looking as you are.
You stayed with them two months after your aunt died, but last week you
got a bunch of your beaux, soldiers and things, to build you some steps
up the outside of your house and now you live up there by yourself. Gee,
I'd think you'd be afraid of pirates and Greasers and things coming up
that canyon from the bay to rob you--you being just a woman alone up
there."

Eveley gazed upon him in blank astonishment. "Do--do you know that much
about everybody in our building?" she asked.

"Well, I know plenty about most of 'em, and some things that some of 'em
don't know I know, and wouldn't be keen on having talked around among
strangers. But of course I pays the most attention to the good-lookers,"
he admitted frankly.

"Thank you," said Eveley, with a faint smile. Then she flushed. "What
nerve for me to talk of assimilation," she said. "We don't know how to go
about it. We have been asleep and blind and careless and stupid, but
you--why, you will assimilate us, if we don't look out. You are a born
assimilator, Angelo, do you know that?"

"I guess so," came the answer vaguely, but politely. "I live about half a
mile below you, Miss Ainsworth, at the foot of the canyon on the bay
front. That's all the diff there is between us and you highbrows in
Mission Hills--about half a mile of canyon." He smiled broadly, pleased
with his fancy.

"That isn't much, is it, Angelo? And it will be less pretty soon, now
that we are trying to open our eyes. Good night, Angelo. I will see you
to-morrow--really see you, I mean. And please don't assimilate me quite
so fast--you must give me time. I--I am new to this business and progress
very slowly."

Then she said good night again, and went away. And Angelo swaggered back
to his companions. "Gee, ain't she a beaut?" he gloated. "All the swells
in our building is nuts on that dame. But she gives 'em all the go-by."

Then the Irish-American League, without the assimilator, went into a
private session with cigarettes and near-beer in a small dingy room far
down on Fifth Street--a session that lasted far into the night.

But Eveley Ainsworth did not know that. She was sitting in the dark
beside her window, staring out at the lights that circled the bay. But
she did not see them.

"Assimilate the foreign element," she whispered in a frightened voice. "I
am afraid we can't. It is too late. They got started first--and they are
so shrewd. But we've got to do something, and quickly, or--they will
assimilate us, beyond a doubt. And weren't they right about it, after
all? Isn't it patriotism and loyalty for them to go out to foreign
countries to pick up the finest and best of our civilization and take it
back to enrich their native land? It is almost--blasphemous--to teach
them a new patriotism to a new country. And yet we have to do it, to make
our country safe for us. But who has brains enough and heart enough to do
it? Oh, dear! And they do not call it duty that brings them here to take
what we can give them--they call it love--not love of us and of America,
but love of the little Wops and the little Greasers and the little Polaks
in their own home-land. Oh, dear, such a frightful mess we have got
ourselves into. And what a dunce I was to go to that silly meeting and
get myself mixed up in it."



CHAPTER V

HER INHERITANCE


The worries of the night never lived over into the sunny day with Eveley,
and when she arose the next morning and saw the amethyst mist lifting
into sunshine, when she heard the sweet ecstatic chirping of little Mrs.
Bride beneath, she smiled contentedly. The world was still beautiful, and
love remained upon its throne.

She started a little early for her work as she was curious to see Angelo
in the broad light of day. It seemed so unbelievable that those bright
eyes and smiling lips had been in the elevator with her many times a week
for many months, and that she had never even seen them.

So on the morning after her initiation into the intricacies of
Americanization, she beamed upon him with almost sisterly affection.

"Good morning, Angelo. Isn't this a wonderful day? Whose secrets have you
ferreted out in the night while I was asleep?"

Angelo flushed with pleasure, and shoved some earlier passengers back
into the car to make room for her beside him.

"I thought you'd be too sick to come this morning," he said, with his
wide smile that displayed two rows of white and even teeth. "I thought it
would take you twenty-four hours to get over us."

"Oh, not a bit of it," she laughed. "And I am equally glad to see that
you are recovering from your attack of me."

This while the elevator rose, stopping at each floor to discharge
passengers.

At the fifth floor Eveley passed out with a final smile and a light
friendly touch of her hand on Angelo's arm.

This was the beginning of their strange friendship, which ripened
rapidly. Her memory of that night in the Service League with the
Irish-American Club was very hazy and dim. Except for the tangible
presence and person of Angelo, she might easily have believed it was all
a dream.

In spite of her deep conviction that she was not destined to any slight
degree of success as an Americanizer, Eveley conscientiously studied
books and magazines and attended lectures on the subject, only to
experience deep grief as she realized that every additional book, and
article, and lecture, only added to her disbelief in her powers of
assimilation.

So deep and absolute was her absorption, that for some days she denied
herself to her friends, and remained wrapped in principles of
Americanization, which naturally caused them no pleasure. And when a
morning came and she called a hasty meeting of her four closest comrades,
voicing imperative needs and fervent appeals for help, she readily
secured four promises of attendance in the Cloude Cote that evening at
exactly seven-thirty.

At seven-forty-five Eveley sat on the floor beside the window impatiently
tapping with the absurd tip of an absurd little slipper. Nolan had not
come.

Kitty Lampton was there, balancing herself dangerously with two cushions
on the arm of a big rocker. Eveley called Kitty the one drone in her
circle of friendship, for Kitty was born to golden spoons and lived a
life of comfort and ease and freedom from responsibility in a great home
with a doting father, and two attentive maids. Eileen Trevis was there,
too, having arrived promptly on the stroke of seven-thirty. Eileen Trevis
always arrived promptly on the stroke of the moment she was expected. She
was known about town as a successful business woman, though still in the
early thirties. The third of the group was Miriam Landis, whose
inexcusable marriage to her handsome husband had seriously deranged the
morale of the little quartet of comrades.

Eveley looked around upon them. "It is a funny thing, a most remarkably
funny thing!" she said indignantly. "Every one says that girls are always
late, and you three, except Eileen, are usually later than the average
late ones. Yet here you are. And every one says that men are always
prompt, and Nolan is certainly worse than the average man in every
conceivable way. But Nolan, where is he?"

"Well, go ahead and tell us the news anyhow," said Kitty, hugging the
back of the chair to keep from falling while she talked. "But if it is
anything about that funny Americanization stuff, you needn't tell it. I
asked father about it, and he explained it fully, only he lost me in the
first half of the first sentence. So I don't want to hear anything more
about it. And you don't need to tell me any more ways of not doing my
duty, either, for I am not doing it now as hard as I can."

Miriam Landis leaned forward from the couch where she was lounging idly.
"What is this peculiar little notion of yours about duty, Eveley?" she
asked, smiling. "My poor child, all over town they are exploiting you and
your silly notions. Even my dear Lem uses your disbelief in duty to
excuse himself for being out five nights a week."

"That is absurd," said Eveley, flushing. "And they may laugh all they
like. I do believe that duty has wrecked more homes and ruined more lives
than--than vampires."

Miriam smiled tolerantly. "Wait till you get married, sweetest," she said
softly. "If married women did not believe in duty, and do it, no marriage
would last more than six months."

"Well, I qualify myself, you know," said Eveley excusingly. "I do think
everybody has one duty--but only one--and it isn't the one most people
think it is."

"For the sake of my immortal soul, tell me," pleaded Kitty. "It was you
who led me into the dutiless paths. Now lead me back."

"Get up, Kitty, and don't be silly," said Eveley loftily. "This is not a
driven duty, but a spontaneous one. And you don't need to know what it
is, for it comes naturally, or it doesn't come at all. Isn't that Nolan
the most aggravating thing that ever lived? Eight o'clock. And he
promised for seven-thirty."

"Go on and tell us, Eveley," said Eileen Trevis. "Maybe somebody is sick,
and has to make a will, and he won't be here all night."

"Oh, I can't tell it twice. You know how many questions Nolan always
asks, and besides I want to surprise you all in a bunch. Look, did I show
you the new blouse I got to-day? I needed a new one to Americanize my
Irish-Americans Saturday. It cost ten dollars, and perfectly plain--but I
look like a sad sweet dream in it."

Then the girls were absorbed in a discussion of the utter impossibility
of bringing next month's allowance or salary within speaking distance of
last month's bills, a subject which admitted of no argument but which
interested them deeply. So after all they did not hear the rumble and
creak of the rustic stairway, nor the quick steps crossing the garden on
the roof of the sun parlor for Nolan was forgotten until his sharp tap on
the glass was followed by the instant appearance of his head, and his
pleasant voice said in tones of friendly raillery:

"Every time I climb those wabbly rattly-bangs that you call rustic
stairs, I wonder that you have a friend to your name. Hello, Eveley."

"Inasmuch as you made the wabbliest pair of all, and since you climb them
more than anybody else, you haven't much room to talk," returned Eveley
tartly, drawing back the portières to admit his entrance, which was no
laughing matter for a large man.

"You positively are the latest thing that ever was," she went on, as he
landed with a heavy thud.

"Me? Why, I am the soul of punctuality."

"You may be the soul of it, but punctuality does not get far with a soul
minus willing feet."

"Anyhow, I am here, and that is something," he said, making the rounds of
the room to shake hands cordially with the other girls.

Eveley hopped up quickly on to the small desk--shoving the telephone off,
knowing Nolan would catch it, as indeed he did with great skill, having
been catching telephones and vases and books for Eveley for five full
years. She clasped her hands together, glowing, and her friends leaned
toward her expectantly.

"I have called you together," she began in a high, slightly imperious
voice, "my four best friends, counting Nolan, because I need advice."

"Do you wish to retain me as counsellor?" asked Nolan, with a strong
legal accent "My fee--"

"I do not wish to retain you in any capacity," Eveley interrupted
quickly. "My chief worry is how to dispose of you satisfactorily. And as
for fees--Pouf! Anyhow, I need advice, good advice, deep advice, loving
advice. So I have called you into solemn conclave, and because it is a
most exceptional occasion I have prepared refreshments, good ones,
sandwiches and coffee and cake--Did you bring the cake, Kit? And
ice-cream--the drug-store is going to deliver it at ten, only the boy
won't climb the stairs; you'll have to meet him at the bottom, Nolan. So
I hope you realize that it is an affair of some moment, and not--Miriam
Landis, are you asleep?"

Miriam flashed her eyes wide open, denial on her lips, but Kitty
forestalled her. "That is a pose," she explained. "Billy Ferris said, and
I told Miriam he said it, that with her eyes closed, she is the loveliest
thing in the world. And since then she walks around in her sleep half the
time."

Miriam turned toward her, still more indignant denial clamoring for
utterance, but Eveley, accepting the explanation as reasonable, went
quickly on.

"Now I want you to be very serious and thoughtful--can you concentrate
better in the dark, Kit? Because I know at seances and things they turn
off the lights, and--"

"Oh, let's do. And we'll all hold hands, and concentrate, and maybe we'll
scare up a ghost or something." Then she looked around the room--four
girls and Nolan--Nolan, who had edged with alacrity toward Eveley on the
telephone desk--and Kitty shrugged her shoulders. "Oh, what's the use?
Never mind. Go on with the gossip, Eveley. I can think with the lights
on."

"The ice-cream will be here before we get started," said Eileen Trevis
suddenly.

Eveley clasped her hands again and smiled. "I have received a fortune.
Somebody died--you needn't advise me to wear mourning, either, Miriam. I
never saw him in my life, and never even heard of him, and honestly I
think he got me mixed up with somebody else and left the fortune to the
wrong grand-niece, but anyhow it is none of my business, and since he is
dead and the money is here, I suppose there is no chance of his
discovering the mistake and making me refund it after it is spent."

"A fortune," gasped Kitty, tumbling off the arm of the chair and rushing
to fling herself on the floor beside Eveley, warm arms embracing her
knees.

"Root of all evil," murmured Miriam, gazing into space through
half-closed lids, and seeing wonderful visions of complexions and
permanent curls and a manicure every day.

"How fortunate," said Eileen in a voice pleased though still unruffled
and even. "A fortune means safety and protection and--"

"Who the dickens has been butting into your affairs now?" demanded Nolan
peevishly, and though the girls laughed, there was no laughter in his
eyes and no smile on his lips.

"Well, since he calls me his great-niece, I suppose he is my
grand-uncle."

"How much, lovey, how much?" gurgled Kitty, at her side.

"Twenty-five hundred dollars," announced Eveley ecstatically.

Nolan breathed again. "Oh, that isn't so bad. I thought maybe some simp
had left you a couple of millions or so."

Eveley fairly glared upon him. "What do you mean by that? Why a simp? Why
shouldn't I be left a couple of millions as well as anybody else? Maybe
you think I haven't sense enough to spend a couple of millions."

"And why did you require advice?" Eileen queried.

"Oh, yes." Eveley smiled again. "Yes, of course. Now you must all think
desperately for a while--I hate to ask so much of you, Nolan--but perhaps
this once you won't mind--I want you to tell me what to do with the
money."

This was indeed a serious responsibility. What to do with twenty-five
hundred dollars?

"You do not feel it is your duty to spend the twenty-five hundred
pounding Americanism into your Irish-American Wops?" asked Nolan
facetiously.

Eveley took this good-naturedly. "Oh, I got off from work at four-thirty
and went down to their field, and we had a celebration. We had ice-cream
and candy and chewing gum, and I spent twenty-five dollars equipping them
with balls and bats and since I was with them an hour and a quarter, I
feel that I am entitled to the rest of the fortune myself."

"Well, dearie," said Eileen, "it is really very simple. Put it in a
savings account, of course. Keep it for a rainy day. You may be ill. You
may get married--"

"Can't she get married without twenty-five hundred dollars?" asked Nolan,
with great indignation. "She doesn't expect to buy her own groceries when
she gets married, does she?"

"She may have to, Nolan," said Eileen gently. "One never knows what may
happen after marriage. Getting married is no laughing matter, and Eveley
should be prepared for any exigency."

"But, Eileen, she won't need her twenty-five hundred to get married. No
decent fellow would marry a girl unless he could support her, and do it
well, even luxuriously. You don't suppose I would let my wife spend her
twenty-five hundred--"

"If you mean me, I shall do whatever I like with my own money when I get
married," said Eveley quickly. "My husband will have nothing to say about
it. You needn't think for one minute--"

"I am not your husband, am I? I haven't exactly proposed to you yet, have
I?"

Eveley swallowed hard. "Certainly not. And probably never will. By the
time you get around to it, getting married will be out of date, and none
of the best people doing it any more."

"You may not have asked her, Nolan," said Eileen evenly. "And that is
your business, of course. She will probably turn you down when you do ask
her, just as she does everybody else. But--"

"Who has been asking her now?" he cried, with jealous interest.

"But while we are on the subject, I hope you will permit me to say that I
think your principles are all wrong, and even dangerous. You think a man
should wait a thousand years until he can keep a wife like a pet dog, on
a cushion with a pink ribbon around her neck--"

"The dog's neck, or the wife's?"

"The dog's--no, the wife's--both of them," she decided at last, with
never a ruffle. "You want to wait until she is tired of loving, and too
old to have a good time, and worn out with work. It isn't right. It is
not fair. It is unjust both to yourself, and to Eve--to the girl."

"But, my dear child," he said. Eileen was three years older than Nolan;
but being a lawyer he called all women "child." "My dear child, do you
realize that my salary is eighteen hundred a year, and I get only a few
hundred dollars in fees. Think of the cost of food these days, and of
clothes, and amusements, to say nothing of rent! Do you think I would
allow Eve--my wife, to go without the sweet things of--"

"You needn't bring me in," said Eveley loftily. "I have never accepted
you, have I?"

"No, not exactly, I suppose, but--"

"Eveley," said Miriam, suddenly sitting erect on the couch. "I have it."

"Sounds like the measles," said Kitty.

"I mean I know what to do with the money. Listen, dear. You do not want
to go on slaving in an office until you are old and ugly. And Nolan is
quite right, you certainly can not marry a grubby clerk in a law office."

Nolan laughed at that, but Eveley sat up very straight indeed and fairly
glowered at her unconscious friend on the couch.

"You must have the soft and lovely things of life, and the way to get
them is to marry them. Now, sweet, you take your twenty-five hundred, be
manicured and massaged and shampooed until you are glowing with beauty,
buy a lot of lovely clothes, trip around like a lady, dance and play, and
meet men--men with money--and there you are. You can look like a million
dollars on your twenty-five hundred--and your looks will get you the
million by marriage."

"Miriam Landis, that is shameful," said Nolan in a voice of horror. "It
is disgraceful. I never thought to hear a woman, a married woman, a nice
woman, utter such low and grimy thoughts. Could any such marriage be
happy?"

"Well, Nolan," said Miriam sadly, "I am not sure that any marriage can be
happy, or was ever supposed to be. But women are such that they have to
try it once. Eveley will be like all the rest. And if she has to try it,
she had better try it with a million, than with eighteen hundred a year."

"There is something in that, Miriam, certainly," said Eveley
thoughtfully. "What do you think, Eileen?"

"I think it is absurd. The notion that woman was born for marriage died
long ago. Ridiculous! Woman is born for life, for service, for action,
just as man is. Look at the married people you know. How many of them are
happy? I do not wish to be personal, but I know very few married people,
either men or women, who would not be glad to undo the marriage knot if
it could be done easily and quietly without notoriety. They are not
happy. But we are happy. Why? Because we work, we think, we feel, we
live. We are not slaves to the contentment of man. Go on working, my
dear. Keep your independence. But play safe. Put your money in the bank,
or in some good investment, and let it safeguard your future. Then you
can go your way serene."

"That is certainly sound. Marriage isn't the most successful thing in the
world."

"I should say not," chimed Kitty. "Husbands are always tired of wives,
their own, I mean, inside of five years."

"Well, if it comes to that," said Eveley honestly, "I suppose wives are
tired of their own husbands, too. But they are so stubborn they won't
admit it. In their hearts I suppose they are quite as sick of their
husbands as their husbands are of them."

"Eve," said Nolan anxiously, "where are you getting all these wicked
notions? Marriage is the most sacred--"

"Institution. I know it. Every one says marriage is a sacred institution,
and so is a church. But nobody wants to live with one permanently."

"But, Eveley, the sanctity of the--"

"Home. Sure, we know it is sanctified. But monotonous. Deadly
monotonous."

"Eve," and his voice was quite tragic, "don't you feel that the divine
sphere of--"

"Woman. You needn't finish it, Nolan; we know it as well as you do. The
divine sphere of woman is in the sanctified home keeping up the sacred
institution of marriage while her husband--oh, tralalalalalala."

"Yes, sir, I'll go you," cried Kitty suddenly, leaping up from the floor,
and waving her hand. "Europe! You and I together."

"She has come to," said Eileen resignedly. "There's an end of sensible
talk for this evening."

"Yes, Kit, what is it? I knew you would think of something good."

"We'll go to Europe, you and I. I think I can work dad to let me go. I
can pretend to fall in love with the plumber, or somebody, and he'll be
glad to trot me off for a while. And he likes you, Eveley. He thinks you
are so sensible."

"Why, he hardly knows me," cried Eveley, astonished.

"Yes, that is why. I tell him how sensible you are when you are not
there, and when he gets home I hustle you out of his sight in a hurry. He
likes me to have sensible friends."

"And what shall we do with the money?"

"Travel, travel, travel, and have a gay good time," said Kitty blithely.
"All over Europe. We'll get some handsome clothes, and have the time of
our lives as long as the money lasts, and then marry dukes or princes or
something like that."

"Two of you," shouted Nolan furiously. "Well, Eve, it is a good thing you
have one friend to give you really decent advice. Of all idiotic ideas.
Buy fine clothes and marry a millionaire. Save it to pay for potatoes
when you get a husband that can't support you. Travel to Europe and marry
some purple prince."

"Why purple?" asked Eveley curiously.

"Do you mean clothed in purple and fine linen?"

"If you mean blood, it is blue," said Kitty. "Blue-blooded princes.
Whoever heard of a purple-blooded prince?"

"What did you mean anyhow, Nolan?" asked Eileen.

Driven into a corner, Nolan hesitated. He had said purple on the spur of
the moment, chiefly because it sounded derogatory and went well with
prince.

"What I really mean," he began in a dispassionate legislative voice,
"what I really mean is--purple in the face. You know, purple, splotchy
skin, caused by eating too much rich food, drinking too much strong wine,
playing cards and dancing and flirting."

"Does flirting make you purple?" gasped Miriam. "It does not show on Lem
yet." And then she subsided quickly, hoping they had not noticed.

"Why, Nolan, I have danced for weeks and weeks at a stretch, evenings, I
mean, when the service men were here," said Kitty, "and I am not purple
yet."

"Oh, rats," said Nolan. Then he brightened. "You have never seen a
prince, so of course you do not understand. Wait till you see one. Then a
purple prince will mean something in your young life."

"I should not like to marry a purple creature," said Eveley, wrinkling
her nose distastefully. "I am too pink. And my blue eyes would clash with
a purple husband, too. But maybe the dukes and lords are a different
shade," she finished hopefully.

Nolan turned his back, and lit a cigarette.

"Yes, you may smoke, Nolan, by all means. I always like my guests to be
comfortable."

"What is your advice then, Nolan? You are so scornful about our
suggestions," said Eileen quietly.

"I know what Nolan would like," said Kitty spitefully. "He would advise
Eveley to give him the money and make him her executor and appoint him
her guardian. That would suit him to a T."

"My poor infant, Eveley can not use an executor and a guardian at the
same time. One comes in early youth, or old age, the other after death.
An executor--" he began, clearing his throat as for a prolonged technical
explanation.

Kitty plunged her fingers into her ears. "You stop that right now, Nolan
Inglish. We came here to advise Eveley, not for you to practise on. If
you begin that I shall go straight home--no, I mean I shall go out on the
steps and wait for the ice-cream."

"What do you advise, Nolan?" persisted Eileen.

"Well, my personal advice is, and I strongly urge it, and plead it, and
it will make me very happy, and--?"

"He wants to borrow it," gasped Kitty.

"Go on, Nolan," urged Eveley eagerly.

"Put it in the bank on your checking account."

"Put it--"

"Checking account?"

"Yes, indeed, right in your checking account."

A slow scornful light dawned in Eileen's eyes. "I see," she said coldly.
"Very selfish, very unprofessional, very unfriendly. He would have his
lady love absolutely bankrupt, that he may endow her with all the goods
of life."

"Why, Nolan," said Eveley weakly, lacking Eileen's sharper perception,
"don't you know me well enough to realize that if I put it into my
checking account it will be gone, absolutely and everlastingly gone,
inside of six months, and not a thing to show for it?"

"Yes, I know it," he admitted humbly.

"And still you advise it?"

"I do not advise it--I just want it," he admitted plaintively.

Eveley sat quietly for a while, counting her fingers, her lips moving
once in a while, forming such words as marriage, travel, princes and
banks. Then she clapped her hands and beamed upon them.

"Lovely," she cried. "Exquisite! Just what I wanted to do myself! You are
dear good faithful friends, and wise, too, and you will never know how
much your advice has helped me. Then it is all settled, isn't it? And I
shall buy an automobile."

In a flash, she caught up a pillow, holding it out sharply in front of
her, whirling it around like a steering wheel, while she pushed with both
feet on imaginary clutches and brakes, and honked shrilly.

But her friends leaned weakly back in their chairs and stared. Then they
laughed, and admitted it was what they had expected all the time.



CHAPTER VI

A WRONG ADJUSTMENT


Eveley's resolve to spend her fortune for an auto met with less
resistance than she had anticipated. It seemed that every one had known
all along that she would fool the money away on something, and a motor
was far more reasonable than some things.

"I said travel," said Kitty. "And we can travel in a car as well as on a
train--more fun, too. And though it may cut us off from meeting a purple
prince--a pretty girl with a car of her own is a combination no man can
resist. And maybe if we are very patient and have good luck, we may save
a millionaire from bandits, or rescue a daring aviator from capture by
Mexicans."

Miriam nodded, also, her eyes cloudy behind the dark lashes. "Very nice,
dear. Get a lot of stunning motor things and--irresistible, simply
irresistible. You must have a red leather motor coat. You will be
adorable in one. But you'll have to shake Nolan, dear. You stand no
chance in the world if you are constantly herded by a disagreeable young
lawyer, guardianing you from every truant glance."

"It isn't at all bad," quickly interposed Eileen. "I believe that more
than anything else in the world, a motor-car reconciles a woman to life
without a husband. She gets thrills in plenty, and retains her
independence at the same time."

"Eileen," put in Nolan sternly, "I am disappointed in you. A woman of
your ability and experience trying to prejudice a young and innocent girl
against marriage is--is--"

"You are awfully hard to suit, Nolan," complained Eveley gently. "You
shouted at Miriam and Kitty for advising a husband, and now you roar at
Eileen for advising against one."

"It isn't the husband I object to--it is their cold-blooded scheme to go
out and pick one up. Woman should be sought--"

"Well, when Eveley gets a car she'll be sought fast enough," said Kitty
shrewdly. "She hasn't suffered from any lack of admirers as it is, but
when she goes motoring on her own--_ach_, Louie."

"Then you approve of the car, do you, Nolan?"

"Well, since I can not think of any quicker or pleasanter way of spending
the money," he said slowly, "I may say that I do, unequivocally."

"Why unequivocally?"

"What's it mean, anyhow?" demanded Kitty.

"Can't you talk English, Nolan?" asked Eveley, in some exasperation. "You
started off as if you were in favor, but now heaven only knows what you
mean."

"Get your car, my poor child, by all means. Get your car. But a
dictionary is what you really need."

The rest of the evening they were enthusiastic almost to the point of
incoherency. Kitty was in raptures over an exquisite red racer she had
seen on the street. Miriam described Mary Pickford's rose-upholstered
car, and applied it to Eveley's features. Nolan developed a surprisingly
intimate knowledge of carburetors, horse-powers and cylinders.

When at last they braved the rustic stairway, homeward bound, with
exclamatory gasps and squeals, gradually drifting away into silence,
Eveley sat down on the floor to take off her shoes--a most childish habit
carried over into the years of age and wisdom--and was immediately
wrapped in happy thoughts where stunning motor clothes and whirring
engines and Nolan's pleasant eyes were harmoniously mingled. And when at
last she started up into active consciousness again, and rushed pellmell
to bed, mindful of her responsibility as a business girl, sleep came very
slowly. And when it came at last, it was a chaotic jumble of excited
dreams and tossings.

The life of the bride and groom in the nest beneath Eveley's Cloud Cote
had progressed so sweetly and smoothly that Eveley had come to feel it
was quite a friendly dispensation of Providence that permitted her to
live one story up from Honeymooning. So the next morning, in the midst of
the confusion that came from dressing and getting her breakfast and
reading motor ads in the morning paper at the same time, she was utterly
electrified to hear a sudden sharp cry of anguish from little Mrs. Bride
beneath--a cry accompanied by sounds caused by nothing in the world but a
passionate and hysterical pounding of small but violent feet upon the
floor.

"Oooooh, oooooh, don't talk to me, Dody, I can't bear it. I can't, I
can't. Ooooh, I wish I were dead. Go away, go away this instant and let
me die. Oh, I shall run away, I shall kill myself! Oooooh!"

"Dearie, sweetie, don't," begged Mr. Groom distractedly. "Lovie,
precious, please." And his voice faded off into tender inarticulate
whispers.

For a long second Eveley was speechless. Then she said aloud, very
grimly, "Hum. It has begun. I suppose I may look for flat-irons and
rolling-pins next. Hereafter they are Mr. and Mrs. Ordinary Married
People."

After long and patient, demonstrative pleading on his part, Mrs. Severs
was evidently restored to a semblance of reason and content, and quiet
reigned for a while until the slam of the door indicated that Mr. Severs
had heeded the call of business.

Almost immediately there came a quick creaking of the rustic stairs and a
light tap on Eveley's window.

"Come in," she called pleasantly. "I sort of expected you. You will
excuse me, won't you, for not getting up, but I have only fifteen minutes
to finish my breakfast and catch the car."

"You are awfully businesslike, aren't you?" asked Mrs. Severs admiringly.
"Yes, I will have a cup of coffee, thanks. I need all the stimulation I
can get."

She was pale, and her eyes were red-rimmed, Eveley noted commiseratingly.

"We are expecting an addition to our family this afternoon, Miss
Ainsworth," she began, her chin quivering childishly.

"Mercy!" gasped Eveley.

"Our father-in-law," added Mrs. Severs quickly. "Dody's father. He is
coming to live with us."

"Oh!" breathed Eveley. "Won't that be lovely?"

Mrs. Severs burst into passionate weeping. "It won't be lovely," she
sobbed. "It will be ghastly." She sat up abruptly and wiped her eyes. "He
is the most heart-breaking thing you ever saw, and he doesn't like me. He
doesn't approve of dimples, and he says I am soft. And he has the most
desperate old chum you ever saw, a perfect wreck with red whiskers, and
they get together every night and play pinochle and smoke smelly old
pipes, and he won't have curtains in his bedroom, and he is crazy about a
phonograph, and he won't eat my cooking."

"I should think you would like that," said Eveley. "Maybe he will cook
for himself."

"That is just it," wailed Mrs. Severs. "He does. He cooks the smelliest
kind of corn beef and cabbage, and eats liver by the--by the cow, and has
raw onions with every meal. And he drinks tea by the gallon. And he cooks
everything himself and piles it on his plate like a mountain and carries
it to the table and sits there and eats it right before company and
everybody."

"I don't see how Mr. Severs ever came to have a father like that," said
Eveley in open surprise.

"Well, the funny thing about it is that he would really be very nice if
he wasn't so outrageous. And he swears terribly. He says 'Holy Mackinaw'
at everything. But he loves Dody. They lived together for years, and it
nearly killed him when Dody got married. And Dody said, 'You will live
with us of course, father,' and so we expected it. But he went off for a
visit after we were married--he and the red-whiskered friend, and we sort
of thought--we kind of hoped--miracles do happen, you know--and so I just
kept believing that something would turn up to save us. But it didn't.
Dody got a letter this morning, and he will be here this afternoon. Oh, I
wish I were dead."

"Is he terribly poor?"

"Mercy, no! He's got plenty of money. Lots more than we have. Enough to
live anywhere he pleases."

"I see it all," said Eveley ominously. "You won't be happy with him, and
he won't be happy with you, but you are all putting up with it because it
is your--duty."

"Yes, that is it, of course."

Eveley poured herself another cup of coffee and drank it rapidly, without
cream, and only one lump of sugar. "I am upset," she said at last. "This
has simply shattered the day for me. Excuse me, you'll have to hurry, I
only have five minutes left. I haven't explained my belief and principles
to you--you being young and newly married and needing all the illusions
possible--but I do not believe in duty."

"Gracious," gasped the bride. "You don't?"

"Absolutely not. No human being should do his duty under any conceivable
circumstances. You see, there are two kinds, the pleasurable ones, and
the painful ones. Pleasurable duties are done, not because they are
duties, but because they are pleasurable. So they do not count. And a
painful duty can not be a duty or it would not be painful. My idea is,
that there must be a happy adjustment of every necessity, so when a duty
is painful, it is the wrong adjustment. You and your father-in-law are
giving yourselves pain because it is the wrong adjustment."

"It sounds very clever."

"It is the only beautiful plan of life," said Eveley modestly.

"And then we would not have to live with father at all?"

"Most certainly not."

"It certainly is a glorious theory," said the bride enthusiastically.
"You explain it to Dody, will you? He is positively death on duty,
especially when it is painful. He'd do his duty if it killed him and me,
burned the house down and started a revolution."

"I have to go now," said Eveley. "Excuse me for rushing you off, but I am
late already. I'll explain it to you another time."

Very skilfully she piloted her caller out the window and down the rustic
steps.

"Remember this," she said as they reached the bottom. "As long as duty is
painful, it is not a duty and can not be. Now find another adjustment.
That is the end of it." And she started on a quick trot for the corner.

"But father will be here this afternoon just the same," called Mrs.
Severs after her in mournful tones.

Being very businesslike, Eveley made a set of notes about the case on her
way down-town.

Liver and cabbage.

Raw onions.

Smelly pipe.

Red-whiskered friend.

Pinochle.

Hates dimples. (I'll keep my left side turned his way.)

Money enough to live on.

Crazy about Dody--christened Andrew.

Dody believes in duty.

"Of course it is up to me to save them," she decided cheerfully, and was
quite happy at the prospect of an engagement in her campaign. "But I
can't neglect getting my car, even to save human nature from its duty,"
she added. And then her mind wandered from the duties of brides, to the
pleasures of young motorists.

Her plan of expenditure was most lucid. She would invest eighteen hundred
dollars in a car, and spend two hundred for clothes "to sustain the
illusion." Nolan did not understand exactly what she meant by that, but
on general principles was convinced it was something reprehensible and
sneered at it. The other five hundred was to be deposited in the bank as
a guarantee for future tires and gasoline and repairs. Nolan said that
according to his information it would be wiser to buy a second-hand car
for five hundred, and keep the eighteen hundred for tires and gas and
repairs.

But Nolan was a struggling young lawyer--even more struggling than
young--and the girls were accustomed to his pessimistic murmurs, and gave
them no heed at all.

Although Eveley had determined to confine herself to eighteen hundred
dollars for the car, she was not morally above accepting demonstrations
of cars entailing twice, and even thrice, that expenditure. "For," she
said, "for all I know somebody else may die and leave me some more, and
then I can get an expensive one. And besides, I feel it is my duty--oh,
no, I mean I feel it would be lots of fun, as a conscientious and
enthusiastic motorist to know the good points of every car."

So Nolan assured her of his complete support and assistance in her
search, even to the detriment of his labors at the law office, where he
hoped one day to be a member of considerable standing. Nolan had two fond
dreams--to become a regular member of the firm, and to marry Eveley. They
were closely related, one to the other. If he could not marry Eveley, he
had no desire for a partnership nor anything else but speedy death. But
until he had the partnership, he felt himself morally obligated to deny
himself Eveley in the flesh. For he was one of those unique,
old-fashioned creatures who feels that man must offer position and
affluence as well as love to the lady of his choice. So it was no mere
mercenary madness on his own account that kept Nolan living a life of
gentle and economic obscurity, patient struggling for a foothold on the
ladder of fame in his profession.

He knew better than to propose to Eveley. He realized that if they were
once formally and blissfully engaged, he, being only mortal man with
human frailties, could never resist the charm of complete possession, and
he foresaw that betrothal would end in speedy marriage to the death of
his determination to bring his goddess glory.

Thus Nolan's lips were sealed--on the subject of marriage. "Though
goodness knows, he has plenty to say about everything else," Eveley
sometimes complained rather plaintively. And his attentions took the form
of a more or less pleasant watch-dog constancy, and an always more and
never less persistence in warding off other suitors not handicapped by
his own scruples in regard to matrimony.



CHAPTER VII

PAINFUL DUTY


When Eveley arrived home late that night she smiled to observe that all
the down-stairs windows were wide open to the breeze, and in the corner
bedroom, apportioned to Father-in-law, the curtains were down. At the
back of the house she found Father-in-law himself, with the proverbial
whiskered friend, critically inspecting her rustic steps through the
clouds of smoke from their pipes which they removed to facilitate their
interested stares as she approached.

"How do you do?" she cried brightly. "You are Mr. Severs, Senior, aren't
you? Welcome home! And this is your friend, I know." She shook hands with
them both, with great cordiality. She must disarm them, before she could
begin working them into a proper adjustment with life. "I am Eveley
Ainsworth. Are you admiring my steps? I am very eccentric and
temperamental and all that, and I have to live alone. I do not like being
crowded in with other folks. I like to do as I please, and not bother
with anybody else."

"Very sensible, I'm sure," said Father-in-law.

"Sure," echoed the whiskered one breezily.

"That was the first little seed," she chuckled to herself, as she ran
blithely up the stairs. Later, when she heard Mrs. Severs in the room
beneath, she went to the head of the inner stairway and called down to
her.

"Come up a minute. I want to see you."

Mrs. Severs lost no time. "My husband says it is simply absurd," she
began breathlessly. "He says people have to do their duty. He says a
thing is right or wrong, and that settles it. We are all father has in
the world, and Dody says it is plainly our duty to keep him with us. He
says a fellow would be taking an awful chance to marry you, if that is a
sample of your principles. Don't you believe in any duty, Miss
Ainsworth?"

"Only one," said Eveley with great firmness.

"Oh, what is that?" came the eager query.

"That," was the dignified reply, "is something that doesn't enter into
this case at all, and doesn't need to be discussed."

"Well, Dody says--"

"Dody may be a very sweet husband, but he is not progressive. His idea is
old, outworn and antedeluvian. Simply musty. Now, this is my plan--the
plan of progress according to new ideas which means happiness for all.
Father-in-law and the whiskered friend are born for each other. They are
affinities, and soul-mates, and everything. I saw it at the first glance.
We'll get them a little cottage off somewhere beyond the odor of onions,
and they can revel in liver and pipes to their hearts' content."

"Impossible! Whiskers has a wife of his own."

"What?" Eveley was much disconcerted. "Well, maybe she will get a divorce
so her husband can marry your father--I mean--maybe it won't stick, you
know."

"It's been sticking for forty years, and I suppose it will go on forever.
You see she doesn't have him around much and so she probably forgets how
he is. He is always out with father, and she is asleep when he gets
home."

"Well, don't worry about it. He had no business being married, for it was
a lovely plan--but it can't be helped now. Never mind."

"Listen," said Mrs. Severs suddenly. "Hear the sizzling. That's onions.
Didn't I tell you? I was going to have chicken croquettes and creamed
peas, with lettuce salad and fruit jello. But how can Dody and I sit down
to a decent meal with the whole house reeking with tobacco and onions?"

"Never mind, dear. We'll find the adjustment in time. Just try to be
patient."

For another night, and another day, Eveley puzzled and pondered--during
intervals of studying motor folders and reading advertisements. And the
next evening she found Mrs. Severs wringing her hands on the front porch.

"What is it?" she asked anxiously. "Did he kill himself?"

"No such luck," wailed Mrs. Severs. "He won't sleep in the bedroom
because he says it is too shady under all those vines, and he has moved
himself out into the living-room on the couch. He says there is no sense
having a house all cluttered up with rooms anyhow, he doesn't believe in
it. He says two rooms are enough for anybody. You can cook and eat in the
kitchen, and sit and sleep in the other room, and anything more is just
plain tony."

"I tell you what," suggested Eveley brightly. "Be mean to him. Be real
snippy and bossy. Don't let him have his own way. You just fire him right
back into the bedroom. Tell him you are head of this house, and he's got
to mind. Then he'll be only too glad to move out and then you'll have
some peace."

"I can't," moaned Mrs. Severs. "He's really kind of nice if he wasn't so
awful. I couldn't be mean to Dody's father. And Dody would not let me if
I wanted to."

"Well, don't worry," said Eveley automatically. "I am still working. We
will try every different adjustment, and in time we shall hit the right
one. Just keep happy and--"

"Keep happy," wailed Mrs. Severs. "Don't be sarcastic, Miss Ainsworth,
please. I never expect to be happy again."

Then she went home, and Eveley called Nolan on the telephone.

"You must come immediately and have supper with me. And stop on the way
and get a small steak, and ask the drug-store to deliver a pint of
ice-cream at six-thirty sharp. And you might bring a nice tomato if you
can remember, and I shall have everything else ready. We won't have much
to-night, just steak and salad and ice-cream. I need professional
advice."

Nolan never dreamed of refusing an invitation of any sort whatever from
Eveley, and he started immediately, gathering up the dinner on his way.
As he put his foot on the lowest step of the rustic stair, Eveley's head
thrust itself suddenly from between the curtains.

"There is a proper adjustment," she said, in a stern voice. "Just keep
your mind on that. Painful duty is no duty, and can not be. There is a
right adjustment--and we must find it."

Nolan continued warily up the rickety stair, greeting her at the top
cordially.

"Hello, Eveley. My, the coffee smells good. I am hungry as a bear, too. I
saw you out last night with that sad-eyed Buddy soldier, and I do not
approve of it. I shall deem it my duty to administer a proper adjustment
of his facial characteristics if he doesn't mind his own business. The
ice-cream will be here at six-thirty sharp. How is Kitty? You have flour
on your ears. Shall I fix the tomatoes?"

"I did not bring you here in a social capacity to discuss personal
matters," said Eveley coldly. "I told you yesterday that my home is
saddened by the grotesque figure of maladjustment stalking in our midst
under his usual guise of Duty. As I have explained so many times, there
is bound to be a happy adjustment. But this time I can not figure it out.
Now I call on you."

"Retainer's fee, one hundreds dollars. Payable, of course, in advance."

"Oh, well, it is not strictly legal. Let's just talk it over nicely as
dear good friends, and if you have an idea I can absorb it. Nolan, Eileen
said she saw you at lunch to-day with a woman."

"Eileen? How is Eileen? I haven't seen her for days. Let's have a party
soon, and invite Kitty and Eileen and Miriam and me, and you give us a
midnight supper here in the Cote, will you?"

"It was at the Grant."

"I did not see Eileen, but of course I was busy. Was she alone? We had a
nice luncheon--grilled pork chops and country gravy. The gravy was
good--no lumps. It made me think of yours."

"My gravy is not always lumpy," she said with a frown. "It just happened
that way the last two times because I was called to the telephone while I
was making it."

"Oh, sure, that's all right."

He carefully adjusted her chair at the table, and drew his own close
beside it, pulling his plate and silverware half-way around the table
from where Eveley had placed them.

"You look sweeter than ever, to-night, Eve. But I hope the gravy is not
lumpy."

"She wore a black dress and white gloves, and a black hat."

"Eileen did? Was it a new dress?"

"No, the one with you."

"Sure enough, I believe she did. A georgette dress, beaded in front.
Quite pretty. But there was a rip in her glove. She showed it to me
herself. She said she did it on the car, but it looked like an old rip to
me."

"And after luncheon you went away in her car, didn't you?"

"Her uncle's car. Just for a short run through the park, and then she
dropped me at the office. Quite a pleasant woman. She was so polite to
me, and treated me with such gentle deference. It was quite a change. It
made me think of you."

Eveley put down her fork. "Who was it?"

"Bartlett's niece from San Francisco. Visiting here. He had promised to
take her for luncheon, but at the last minute Graves came in and they
were busy, so he turned her over to me."

"I do not see why you are always the one to take their nieces and
daughters out for luncheon. This is the fourth time in two months. I
believe you do it on purpose. Why should they always pick on you?"

"Partly because of my beauty, perhaps, and my charming manners as well as
my generally winsome demeanor in the presence of ladies. I suppose Eileen
also informed you that this niece is Mrs. Harmon Delavan, and has three
children in addition to a husband."

"Oh, Nolan, how you do burble along. I didn't bring you here to discuss
Bartlett's relatives. Now get down to business. How can we adjust the
honeymooners and the father-in-law--though honestly I think he is great
fun myself, and would a whole lot rather live with him than with Dody.
Only he does not fit in with the honeymoon scheme of life."

"Well," said Nolan dreamily, "why don't you marry him, and bring him up
here?"

"Oh, Nolan, you are clever. I never thought of that."

At the evident delight in her voice, Nolan stared.

"Not to me, goosey, he would never consent, for I have a dimple and he
does not approve of them. So far I have kept it on the off side, and he
has not noticed, but I couldn't always turn the left side to a husband,
could I?"

"Well, then--"

"Marry him to somebody else, of course. I can't just decide who--but
there will be some one. You are such a help, Nolan. Now let's not bother
with the duties of our neighbors, but have a good time. To-morrow I shall
find him a wife." Then she leaned toward Nolan, refilling his cup, and
said gurglingly, "Was he working awfully hard at the stupid old office?"

"Eveley, just one thing, while we are on our duties," he said, catching
her hand. "You have made one exception, always, but you have never told
me what it is. And it is so unlike you to except anything when you get
started. What is the one duty that is justified and necessary?"

Eveley promptly pulled her hand away. "That," she said, "is purely
personal. It will not do any one any good to talk about it. So it is all
sealed up on the inside."

"And I shall never know what your one duty in life is?" he asked, with
mock pleading, but real curiosity.

"It may hit you sometime--harder than anybody else," she said, laughing.
"But in the meantime let's talk of other things."

As soon as Mr. Severs had started to work the next morning, without the
tender farewells, for the presence of Father-in-law placed an instinctive
veto on such demonstrations--Eveley kicked briskly on the floor as a
summons, and Mrs. Severs answered.

"Eveley?" she called up to the ceiling.

And Eveley shouted down to the floor of her room, "Come up--I've got it."

At that Mrs. Severs fairly flew up the stairs.

Eveley caught her on the landing, and whirled her around the room in a
triumphant dance, stopping at last so abruptly that Mrs. Severs was
almost precipitated to the floor.

"Now listen. I've got it. The proper adjustment, that will make you all
happy and prove my theory."

"Yes, yes, yes," chanted Mrs. Severs ecstatically.

"He must get married."

"But--"

"Now don't interrupt. Let me finish. Of course he has no notion of such a
thing, but leave it to me. We shall marry him off before he knows it. We
must find the woman first. Out at Chula Vista there are a lot of
beautiful elderly ladies in the Home who are all alone and would be only
too glad to have a cozy home and a--a--pleasant husband and--all that. So
we'll go out on Saturday afternoon and look them over and pick out a good
one. Then I'll invite her to visit me for a week, and you and I will both
be busy so Father-in-law will have to entertain her, and she'll cut out
old Whiskers in no time at all."

Eveley flung out her hands jubilantly.

Mrs. Severs showed no enthusiasm. "That is what I wanted to tell you. He
can't. He is already married."

Eveley dropped into a chair. "Married!" she stammered. "You told me
Dody's mother was dead."

"She is, of course. But what I did not tell you is this. Three years ago
while Dody was in France, father must have sort of lost his mind or
something, for without a minute's warning, he up and married somebody--a
woman, of course. When Dody got home from the war she was not there, and
when he asked about her, father just sort of laughed and looked sheepish,
and said, 'Oh, she's gone on a visit.' 'Where to?' Dody asked. 'Oh,
somewhere around,' said father. 'Is she coming back?' asked Dody. 'Holy
Mackinaw, I hope not,' said father, and that is the last we ever heard of
her. But of course he is still married."

It was a hard blow, but Eveley rallied at last, though slowly. "Don't
worry," she said monotonously. "There is another adjustment. Just keep
happy--and give me time."



CHAPTER VIII

SHE MEETS A DEMONSTRATOR


"You've simply got to sneak off on some pretext or another, and meet me
at the Doric agency at three o'clock for a demonstration. They say it is
perfectly wonderful--why, it hardly takes a look of gas to go a thousand
miles, and its tires are literally cast iron."

This was her summons by telephone. And Nolan, determined not to desert
trusting little Eveley to the tender mercies of motor sharks, went to the
Middle Member, whose position he confidently expected one day to possess,
and announced that important business of a personal nature required his
presence that afternoon. And because Nolan never abused privileges--or if
he did was never detected in the act--and because his firm was composed
of human beings and not the granite machines common to fiction, Nolan
encountered no difficulty.

And Eveley went to her own employer, and smiling seductively upon him,
said vaguely that some awfully important and unexpected things had come
up, and could she please get off at three, if she would work particularly
hard in the meantime to make up?

And because Eveley was very pretty, and withal very businesslike, and
pleasant about trifles like working after hours and special grinds and
such things, and because her employer was acutely conscious of her soft
voice and bright eyes, he smiled in return and said:

"Yes, indeed, Miss Ainsworth, I heard you phoning about it. Go, by all
means, but I do not think you will like the Doric. The tires are all
right, but the cylinders are under size, and this causes a constant
friction with the magneto which impairs the efficiency and makes the car
a poor climber and weak on endurance runs."

That is probably not what he said at all, but it is what Eveley
understood him to say, and from it she gathered that she might go at
three, but that there was something perfectly terrible about the Doric
that made it impossible for her to buy it, but of course she could not
disappoint the salesman with the deep blue eyes, and so she would have
the demonstration anyhow.

From three o'clock on, the afternoon was a perfect daze of magnetos and
batteries and gas feeders and real leather upholstery. But Eveley
interrupted once, to run into a drug-store to the public telephone, to
call Kitty, and when she had her friend on the wire she said eagerly:

"Oh, Kit, we are trying out the Doric. It is awfully good some ways, and
rotten some ways, and so of course I can't buy it, but the salesman has
the most irresistible eyes you ever saw in your life, and so I am wearing
my new blue veil, and I look a dream in it. Now you scoot up to the Cote,
will you, and have supper ready for us at six--Nolan and me. If Nolan
were not along I might bring the blue-eyed Doric man, but he is so
overbearing about those things--Nolan, I mean. Get a nice juicy steak, he
needs nourishment. I think if I could feed him constantly for a month and
save him from the restaurants he might develop enough animal magnetism
to--anyhow, he needs the steak, so get a good one at Hardy's and charge
it to me. And will you go by the cleaners, and get my motor gloves--they
said it would only be a quarter for the cleaning, so don't pay them a
cent more. Will you? That's a nice girl."

At six o'clock, wearily, happily, still discoursing earnestly of magnetos
and batteries, Eveley and Nolan climbed the rickety rustic steps,
brightening visibly as the odor of broiling steak and frying potatoes was
wafted out to them. Nolan went in first, carefully stepping out of the
way before he reached a hand to assist Eveley, for he knew that she would
fall headlong among the cushions she kept conveniently placed for that
purpose. "It is easy enough getting in, if you take your time," she
always said defensively to criticizing friends. "But I am usually in a
hurry myself, so I keep the cushions handy."

On this evening, being tired, she remained on the floor where she had
comfortably landed, and lazily removed her hat and veil, tossing them
lightly into a distant corner.

"If it wasn't for the carburetor rubbing on the spark plugs," she said
plaintively, "I'd get the Doric in spite of everything. Did you ever see
such blue eyes in your life, Nolan?"

"The Mason is a better car in every way," he said flatly. "Strongly
built, low hung, smart-looking, and the engine perfect."

Eveley frowned. "Isn't that like a man? The Mason! I wish you could have
seen him, Kitty. Fifty years old if he was a day, and bald, and two
double chins. And talked through his nose. And what do you suppose he
talked about? His wife--and how she loves the Mason. What do I care what
his wife thinks about the Mason? I wouldn't have the Mason if he offered
me one. I'll bet it is so easy riding that it fairly sprouts double
chins--on the drivers."

"You are buying a car, Eveley--not a driver," Nolan explained.

"But the Doric is rather light in weight, and very high in price. How I
wish you could have heard him tell about it, Kitty. When he said
carburetor it was just like running up a scale of music. And his
fingernails were manicured as nicely as my own."

"Is dinner ready?" Nolan interrupted furiously. "Come and eat. Great
Scott! That girl would buy a bum car and a costly one, because the
demonstrator has shined his nails."

"And, Kitty, he said if we could go to-morrow evening at five-thirty he
would take us to La Jolla to show us how she climbs the grades. She will
go up on high."

"When did he say that?" interrupted Nolan. "I can not go with you
to-morrow night. Don't you remember I told you we had a meeting--"

"I know, dear. I am so sorry. But Kitty will go with us, won't you?"

"Will I?" echoed Kitty ecstatically. "Won't I? Do you suppose they have
another one, with brown eyes, to go along to--to change tires, or
anything?"

"I don't know, but we can ask. He is going to phone me at the office
to-morrow to find out where to call for us. He is very respectable. He
goes to the Methodist Church, and his uncle is a banker in Philadelphia."

"Pass the potatoes, for heaven's sake," urged Nolan. "I feel sick." And
after a while he went on, persuasively: "There is no use to try that car
out again, Eveley. It is no good. Or if you insist on it put it off until
the next night, and I will go with you. We'll all three go. Make a
foursome if you like, with Kitty and the blue-eyed mutt."

"Kitty does not like blue eyes. And besides, I am the one to be
demonstrated to. And besides," she winked at Kitty drolly, "I am sure he
will be busy the rest of the week. For when I mentioned that you had an
appointment to-morrow he said most particularly that to-morrow was the
only free evening he had for weeks to come. And that reminds me, Nolan,
that your advice about Father-in-law was no good. He is married already,
and it is your fault, getting me buoyed up with hope, all to no purpose."

Nolan was properly regretful.

"Do you think the old man likes to live with them?" he asked.

"No, of course not. He hates it. He almost shudders when I tell him how
lovely it is to have a son and daughter to live with. But I suppose he
thinks it is his duty to stick, just as they think it is theirs to make
him stick. People are so absurd, aren't they?"

"Yes, very," he said soberly, his eyes intent on Eveley's hair curling so
tenderly about her ears. And he was really thinking how very absurd it
was that a rising young lawyer should find it so tempting to touch that
bit of curl, and to kiss it. Very absurd indeed!

"Are you thinking of something?" she asked hopefully, looking into his
earnest eyes.

"Yes, indeed." And he forced his eyes away from the distracting curls.
"Yes, indeed I am."

"What is it?" she begged, leaning toward him and slipping her fingers
with childish eagerness into his hand.

"Why--just tempt him," he stammered.

"Tempt him, Nolan. 'Holy Mackinaw,' as Father-in-law says, what do you
mean, tempt him?"

In this predicament, Nolan was forced to concentrate. Why in the world
had he said, "Tempt him?" The temptation of Eveley had nothing whatever
to do with father-in-laws and the adjustment of duty. But Eveley expected
him to produce a tangible and reasonable explanation.

"Why, just tempt him, Eveley. You know what temptation is, don't you?
Then do it." This was merely playing for time, seeking for illumination.
"Just--keep it always before him, you know--how nice it would be to get
off alone and be independent." Nolan was a lawyer, and having forced a
foothold, he made it secure. "Tempt him with freedom, talk to him about
the joys of privacy, unrestrained intercourse with his whiskered crony,
the delights of unlimited liver and onions, a bed in the sitting-room,
meals by the kitchen fire, and a jar of tobacco on every chair. See?
Tempt him until he can't stand it."

Eveley looked at him appraisingly. "Nolan Inglish, you are a whole lot
cleverer than I ever thought you were. That is real talent. You have
found the adjustment this time. I feel it."

Nolan, intoxicated with the warmth of her voice, the subtle flattery of
word and tone, rushed on.

"Let's find him a house, just a bit of a shack with a little garden and a
mangy dog, and then razzle him with the vision of independence, and show
him the house."

Then Eveley stood up. "Will you help me do this, Nolan? You get nicer
every day of your life."

And Nolan, except for the presence of Kitty, would surely have said what
he had no earthly business to say to Eveley yet--until circumstances and
the Senior Member made it justifiable.

He sat glowering and grim at the Important Meeting the next evening, when
he should have been gratified that his presence was desired--for Maley
wasn't there, nor Garland, nor Alverson. But in spite of the Honor, and
the Significance, Nolan's mind was wandering. He lost sight of the Truly
Greats, and saw only a cloudy picture of Eveley, soft, sweet and dimply,
sitting rapt by the side of the Darned Blue Eyes. And that night, at
eleven o'clock, on his way to his modest room, he suddenly started.
Coming demurely out of the Grant, he saw Eveley and the blue-eyed one,
and laughing beside them, Kitty and some other equally reprehensible
being. Nolan could hardly believe the evidence of his own eyes.

He fumed openly while he allowed them a decent interval for reaching
home, and then called Eveley by telephone.

"Eveley, I thought I saw you and Kitty coming out of the Grant with some
men a little while ago."

"Oh, did you?" Eveley's voice was vibrant with surprise.

"Yes."

"Isn't that funny?" she laughed a little, softly.

"Well, were you?"

"Were we what?"

"Were you there?"

"Why, yes, of course. We stopped for a sandwich. We missed our dinner.
The engine broke down on the Biological Grade, and held us up for quite a
while."

"Eveley--"

"Oh, it was perfectly all right. He found out to-day that he had a friend
who is a life-long friend of Kitty's and he brought him along, and we
were all nicely introduced and everything was as proper as you please."

"Did you buy the car?" he asked witheringly.

"Oh, no, he advised me, confidentially, not to. He is going to change to
the Bemis agency to-morrow, and he thinks he will find it much more
satisfactory. Wasn't it a lovely night? Did you have a nice time with the
High and Mighties? Kitty is going to stay all night with me, and we are
just making some hot chocolate. Won't you come for a cup?--Oh, just Kitty
and I, and it is quite early. Come along, and we'll tell you all the bad
points about the Doric. But they say the Bemis is a wonder."



CHAPTER IX

ADMITTING DEFEAT


The first Saturday after the organization of the Irish-American League
brought a blessed spring rain, especially heaven-sent on her account,
Eveley felt quite sure, for she was greatly worn from coping with motor
salesmen and the father-in-law situation. And this was a rain that not
even boys could stand, so she had a blissful afternoon alone, purring and
puttering about contentedly in her Cloud Cote.

But on the second Saturday, according to agreement, the League met in the
appointed field for a game. This was Eveley's first opportunity to
witness the development of American principles in her chosen flotsam. The
meeting had been called for one-thirty, and although Eveley arrived
fifteen minutes early she found the field occupied by fully twenty youths
of varying sizes, colors and brogues. She gazed upon the motley array in
helpless horror.

"Ern Swanson is going to be the captain," said John Hop, with his
ingratiating Oriental smile. "We just had an election and elected him."

"But we already have a captain," protested Eveley, looking not without
sympathy to the corner where Ivan Kerensky nursed his humiliation.

"We didn't know Ern was coming in," said Alfredo Masseno, who had hurried
up with half a dozen others to greet her. "Ern, he ought to be the
captain. He's awful rough; and baseball, why, he eats baseball alive! And
he won't come in unless he is the captain, and if he don't come with us
he'll join the Red Dogs on National Avenue, and we want him with us
because we have challenged them to a game and if they get Ern they'll
lick us."

Then the newly elected captain sauntered up, his good-natured face
reflecting the glory of his new command as well as his natural Swedish
temperament.

"He doesn't look rough," said Eveley critically.

"No'm, not when things suits him, but you ought to see him when he is
mad. Golly! Why, even the cops lets that kid alone."

"But it isn't parliamentary--I mean, it isn't proper to have one election
after another like this. We chose one captain, and we ought to stand by
him."

"That wasn't no quorum what elected him, ma'm," said Ern Swanson, smiling
broadly. "They was only eight in the club then, and now we got
twenty-three. That little bunch o' Greasers couldn't represent us. No,
ma'm. We want regular Americans at the head of this club, and so we had a
regular election."

Eveley knew this was dead against American principles, and she looked
once more toward the sulking ex-captain. Then she remembered that he had
won his own election in her absence by plain coercion, and decided to
pass this one irregularity, but never again.

"Very well, then," she said weakly, "have it your own way this time. But
there must be no more elections until the right time. Now, what are you
going to do? Have a practise game? Then suppose we let Ivan be captain of
the second team, anyhow, and you can pick your men and have a good game."

This seemed a simple proposition to Eveley in her innocence, but on a
sudden, pandemonium reigned. The whole crowd of boys propelled itself
violently into the air, and there was a shrieking of voices and a tossing
of bats and gloves, and a seemingly endless number of arms flying about.
From out the clamor Eveley could distinguish repeated hoarse roars of
"Pi-i-i-i-tcher," "Pi-i-i-i-tcher," "Ca-a-a-a-a-atcher," "Ca-a-a-a-atcher,"
and she retired to a remote spot to await the proper moment for gathering
up the remains. Being a lady, she could make no sense at all of the deadly
uproar, and she was quite thrilled and charmed when of a sudden the tumult
subsided, and she found that out of that apparently aimless clamor, two
teams had been selected and the players assigned to their various positions
on the field. It was black magic to her.

Eveley thought she knew baseball. She knew what a "foul" was, and she
knew what happened when one passed four balls, and she knew when one was
out. And she had often said fatuously that she loved baseball, because
she understood it. But she did not understand it. She understood a mild
respectable game that was played by scholarly young men in college.
Baseball as played by the wild creatures on that Saturday afternoon was a
sealed book to her. And she devoutly hoped and prayed it would remain
sealed. She felt that death would be preferable to a full working
knowledge of what went on in the Irish-American Club that afternoon.

For an interval of perhaps three minutes the thing progressed with some
degree of reason. Then issued a sudden roar from a dozen throats, every
one came tearing in from his proper location on the field, and there was
a yelling, huddled group in the center. Then Eveley crept timidly from
the corner where she was engaging in prayer for the safety of herself and
her club, and advanced cautiously toward the swaying pile of shrieking
boys.

She placed soft entreating hands on the outside layer, she even jumped up
and down and yelled "Boys," at the top of her healthy voice. But she was
only an atom in a world gone upside down. Presently, however, and from no
reason she could determine, the mob disentangled itself into distinct
entities, the roar subsided into a few threatening growls and murmurs,
and Captain Swanson hitched up his trousers and yelled "Play ball"
triumphantly. Then the game went on. This identical thing occurred at
intervals of about eight minutes during the entire afternoon.

Eveley hoped devoutly that she was by her very presence helping to
Americanize these particular bits of flotsam and jetsam--she trusted so.
She was quite confident that so much personal agonizing on her part ought
to be doing something to the wild beings. But there was no apparent
development.

She stood her ground bravely until four o'clock, and then, thanks to the
merciful Providence who protects the fools gone in where angels would not
dare, it seemed the whole club had to set about delivering papers. But as
there were important details to be attended to, such details as arranging
for a permanent place to play, and providing protection for the balls and
bats bought from Eveley's inheritance, and paying dues, it was decided to
have a meeting in the Service Hall that evening at seven.

Eveley went home, and to bed.

At six-thirty she got up, made a percolator full of strong coffee and
drank it all.

Then she went to the Service Hall to meet the Irish-American Bloodhounds,
as she irreverently called them in her inner heart.

Eveley was out of her element, and she knew it.

She was bent on Americanization, but not this kind. She would be glad to
assist in the development of quick and kind-eyed Angelo at the office, or
the courteous Jap in the tea garden, but for a baseball club she had no
talent. She explained her needs and her deficiencies to the manager of
the Recreation Center, and he finally agreed that the Bloodhounds needed
a young virile athlete as their director. "And for his own sake," said
Eveley almost tearfully, "he ought to be a pugilist. I say this for his
good. We need all our assimilators and should not expose them to sudden
and violent death."

Then Eveley talked to the boys, and told them how she had enjoyed and
liked them, but explained that being only a woman she was terribly
handicapped, and so would leave them to the discretion of one yet to be
selected. She hoped they would remember they were good Americans, that
they stood for honor and loyalty and right. Then she thanked God she was
free, took her coat and hat and went out.

"Why, Miss Ainsworth! Is it really you? What in the world are you doing
here?"

Eveley, startled on the threshold of the Service Club, looked up into the
face of the blue-eyed Bemis salesman.

"Oh, Mr. Hiltze," she said mysteriously. "It is a deadly secret. You must
never breathe a word of it. But since you have caught me in the act, I
may as well confess. I am an Americanizer."

"Great Scott!"

"You know what that is, don't you? Helping to sort out and assimilate the
flotsam and jetsam of the foreign element, and imbue it with sturdy
American principles, and all that."

Mr. Hiltze laughed.

"Perhaps you do not understand the new great movement of Americanization,"
she said with dignity. "It is the one immense fine movement of the day. It
is to effect the amalgamation of all the riff-raff of humanity into a new
America." Eveley did not mention the quotation marks which circled her
words.

"That is wonderful," he said warmly. "It is a great surprise and a great
pleasure, to find women of your type taking an interest in this
progressive movement."

Eveley leaned excitedly toward him. "Oh, Mr. Hiltze, are you interested
in it, too?"

"None more so, though like yourself I feel the best work is done silently
and unobtrusively, and I prefer not to be exploited from the housetops."

"Oh, this gives me courage again--and I had nearly lost it. Have you been
working to-night? Are you through for the evening?"

"Yes, and if your labors have been as exhaustive and soul-wracking as
mine, perhaps you can spare an hour for nourishment with me at the Grant.
Of all the jobs in the world! Selling motors is a game beside it."

"We agree again. I think it was rather foolish of me to tackle it in the
beginning. I haven't brains enough. Those boys may be flotsam and jetsam
and all that, but they know more about patriotism than I do. Why, one
little Italian, the cutest thing, with dimples and curly hair, told me
more about country-love than I could have thought up in a month. He says,
isn't it patriotic for them to come here and pick up all the good they
can, and take it back to enrich their own country? And when you come
right down to it, isn't it? Anyhow, the little Italians and Mexicans and
Jews and I have organized an Irish-American Baseball Team, and I suppose
we are amalgamating something into something. I think they are
amalgamating me. I feel terribly amalgamated right now."

"I am not in sympathy with the club idea," said Hiltze thoughtfully, as
they turned down Broadway toward the Grant. "It is such a treat to find
your kind of woman in this--I mean, the womanly kind--I abhor the
high-brow women that are so full of forward movement they can't settle
down to pal around comfortably and be human."

Eveley, too, was kindling with the charm of a common interest and
enthusiasm. Nolan took a very masculine stand on the subject. He said
bruskly that the growth of Americanization must come from Americans. He
said you couldn't cram American ideals into the foreign-born until the
home-born lived them. And he said the way to "teach Americanization was
by being a darned good American yourself inside and outside and all the
way through." Which may have been good sense, but was no help in the
forward movement.

So Eveley looked upon Mr. Hiltze with great friendliness and sympathy,
though she did glance up at the National Building as they went by,
noticing the light in Nolan's window, wondering if he was working
hard--and if the work necessitated the presence of the new, good-looking
stenographer the firm had lately acquired.

"Now, my idea of Americanization," Mr. Hiltze was saying when she finally
tore her thoughts away from the National Building, "is pure personal
effort. You take a club, and mix a lot of nationalities, and types, and
interests up together--they work upon one another, and work upon you, and
you get nowhere. But take an individual. Get chummy with him. Be with
him. Study him. Make him like you--interest him in your work, and your
sport, and your life--and there you have an American pretty soon. Club
work is not definite, not decisive. It is the personal touch that counts.
You could fritter away hours with a baseball club, and end at last just
where you began. But you put the same time into definite personal contact
with one individual foreigner--a girl, of course it would be in your
case--it is young men in mine. You take a girl--a foreigner--win her
confidence, then her interest, then her love--and you've made an
American. That is the only Americanization that will stick. Suppose in a
whole year you have won only one--still see what you have done. That one
will go out among her friends, her relatives, she will marry and have
children--and your Americanization is sown and re-sown, and goes on
multiplying itself--yes, forever."

"You are right," said Eveley. "And you find me a girl, and I will do it."

"It is a bargain," he said quickly, stopping in the street to grasp her
hand. "You are a little thoroughbred, aren't you? It may take time, but
as I go about among the young men I work with--well, I am pretty sure to
find a girl among them."



CHAPTER X

THE ORIGINAL FIXER


"Oh, Nolan," came Eveley's voice over the telephone, in its most
wheedling accent, "I am so sorry to spoil our little party for to-night,
but it is absolutely necessary just this once. The most utterly absurd
case of painful duty you ever heard of. And although you do not exactly
approve of my campaign, you would simply have to agree with me this time.
And--"

"Well, since I can't help it, I can stand it," he said patiently. "What
is it this time? Some silly woman finding it her duty to house and home
all straying and wounded cats, or a young girl determined to devote her
life to the salvation of blue-eyed plumbers, or--"

"It is a man," she interrupted, rather acidly.

"Ah," came in guarded accents.

There was silence for a tune.

"A man," he repeated encouragingly, though not at all approvingly.

"Yes. A long time ago he very carelessly engaged himself to a giddy
little butterfly in Salt Lake City, and he doesn't want to marry her at
all, but he feels it is his duty because they have been engaged for so
many years. Isn't it pitiful?"

"But it is none of your business," he began sternly.

"It is another engagement with the enemy in my campaign," she insisted.
"Oh, just think of it--the insult to love, the profanation of the
sacrament of marriage--the--the--the insult to womanhood--"

"You said insult before."

"Yes, but just think of it. I feel it is my duty to save him."

"Where did you come across him?"

"He is the new member of our firm. I told you about him long ago. The
good-looking one. He has been with us six months, but I am just getting
acquainted with him. We had luncheon together to-day, and he told me
about it. He doesn't like social butterflies at all, he likes clever,
practical girls, with high ideals, and--"

"Like you, of course."

"Yes, of course. I explained my theory to him, and he was perfectly
enchanted with it. But he could not quite grasp it all in those few
minutes--it is rather deep, you know--and so he is coming up to dinner
to-night to make a thorough study of it. He feels it is his one last
hope, and if it fails him, he is lost in the sea of a loveless marriage."

"I do not object to your fishing him out of the loveless sea," Nolan said
plaintively. "But I do object to his eating the steak you promised me."

"Think of the cause," she begged. "Think of the glory of winning another
duty-bound soul to the boundless principles of freedom. Think of--"

"I can't think of anything, Eveley," he said sadly, "except that
good-looking fellow eating my steak, cooked by the hands of my er--girl."

As a matter of fact, he took it very seriously. For while he was still
firmly wedded to his ideal of fame and fortune, he was unceasingly
haunted by the fearful nightmare of some interloper "beating his time,"
as he crudely but patently expressed it.

He spent a long and dreary evening, followed by other evenings equally
long and dreary, for the Good-Looking Young Member found great difficulty
in mastering the intricacies of a Dutiless Life, and Eveley continued his
education with the greatest patience, and some degree of pleasure.

Her interest in the pursuit of motors did not wane, however, and after
trying every known make of car, and investigating the advance reports of
all cars designed for manufacture in the early future, she blithely
invested her fortune in a sturdy blue Rollsmobile, and was immediately
enraptured with the sensation of absolute control of a throbbing engine.

She found it no trifling matter to attend to her regular duties as
private secretary, to keep her Cloud Cote dainty and sweet as of yore, to
be out in her little blue car on every possible occasion, and still not
neglect the Good-Looking Member and the Father-in-law in her campaign
against duty.

First of all, she invited the elder Mr. Severs to dinner, and forestalled
his refusal by saying: "Please. I have a perfectly wonderful calf's
liver, and I want you to cook it for me. The odor that comes up from the
kitchen below is irresistible."

No father-in-law who loved calf's liver and a kitchen could withstand
that invitation and he found he had accepted before he knew it. To his
boundless delight, the dinner was as though designed in Heaven, for his
delectation. Clam chowder, calves' liver and sliced onions, watermelon
preserves, and home made apple pie--made by Kitty, who had received rigid
orders to provide the richest and juiciest confection possible,
overflowing with apples and spice.

As they sat chummily together over a red table-cloth, which Eveley had
bought especially for this occasion, she said thoughtfully:

"I believe I am the only really happy person in the world. Do you know
why? It is because I am free. I am not dependent on the whims or fancies
of any one. I eat what I like, go where I like, sleep when I like. It is
the only life. I often think how remarkable it is that you can be so
happy living down there with those honeymooners, doing everything to
please them, eating what they like, going to bed when they get sleepy. It
is wonderfully unselfish of you--but I couldn't. I have to be free."

"You are a sensible girl," he said thoughtfully. "I never saw any one
more sensible. Don't you ever get married. You stay like you are. Holy
Mackinaw! Don't this liver melt in your mouth?"

"I do not really care for an apartment like this," Eveley went on. "I
prefer a cottage, off by itself, with a little garden, and a few chickens
in the back yard, just a tiny shack in a eucalyptus grove, a couple of
rooms where I can eat in the kitchen and sleep in the living-room."

"Oh, mama, it sounds like Heaven," and he rolled his eyes to the ceiling.

"I am looking for a cottage now. If I find exactly what I want, I may
move. I should think you would prefer something like that yourself--a
little rusty cot and a garden and a dog, where you could smoke all over
the house, and have your friend come in for pinochle every night. I do
not see how you can live as you do cooped up with a bride and groom."

He sighed dolorously.

"But I suppose some people like it. It wouldn't do for me. That is why I
am looking for a cottage. Do you drive a car?"

"A Ford. I wanted to buy a Ford, but daughter said no, they would not
have a Ford. They would wait till they could afford an electric. She
wouldn't let me buy a Ford for myself either. Said it looked too poor."

"Did you ever have one?"

"Me? Sure I did. But I accidentally drove off the road into the sand when
I was fishing once, and the tide was coming in and it washed the car
down. And when I got back with another car to tow mine out, it was gone.
Some said the tide carried it out to sea, and some said a thief stole it,
but it was gone, so it didn't matter how it went."

Then Eveley was content to talk of other things.

The next day she called up from the office, and asked to speak to
Father-in-law.

"I am going up to see a little cottage to-night," she said excitedly.
"And my car is in the garage for adjustment. I unfortunately hit a curb
and banged my fender. So I have rented a Ford for an hour or so, and want
you to come along and drive it for me. Will you? Good! I will be there at
five o'clock."

"She is a sensible girl," he said to his son's wife as he hung up the
receiver. "A nice sensible girl. She ought to help you a good lot."

Mrs. Severs only sniffed. She knew this was the working out of Eveley's
plot, though Eveley had not confided in her, knowing instinctively that
the bride would tell the groom, and that the groom would be sure to stop
it. So Mrs. Severs saw her father-in-law clamber into the little car at
five o'clock, with something like hope in her breast.

For a time, he was intensely absorbed in the manipulation of the gears,
and the brakes, his lower lip clutched tightly between his teeth,
breathing in full short gusts like a war horse champing for battle. But
when at last they were fully started and running with reasonable
smoothness, he said:

"Who says this isn't a car? You talk to daughter about it, will you? You
explain to her that this is a regular car like anything else."

"Some people are so funny, aren't they? How well you drive it! It is lots
of sport, isn't it? I should think it would be fine for you to have a car
to run around in. Then you and your friend could go to Ocean Beach, and
fish, and up to the mountains and shoot, and have a wonderful time."

"I hadn't thought of that. I--you talk to daughter, will you? Tell her
she won't have to ride in it."

"Turn to the right here," said Eveley suddenly. "The cottage is the
cunningest thing you ever saw, just two rooms, high on the hill
overlooking the bay. I am so tired of being cooped up in a house with a
whole crowd. I want to be absolutely free to do as I please."

He sighed heavily again. "It is the only life. The only way to live. But
shucks, folks can't always have what they want."

"There it is, that little white house, third from the corner," she said,
pointing eagerly, as he drew up the car to a spasmodic halt.

He looked critically at the small lawn and the tiny cottage. "Those
rose-bushes need trimming," he said, frowning. "There's a loose corner on
the porch, too. Bet that grass hasn't been watered for three weeks. Why
folks don't keep up their property is more than I can see."

"Look at the view," said Eveley suddenly. "See the ships out in the bay,
and the aeroplanes over North Island. Isn't it beautiful? If we had
field-glasses we could see the people walking around in Tent City, and
the lemon in the tea on the veranda at Coronado."

"I've got field-glasses at home," he said wistfully. "In my suit-case.
But I didn't unpack. Daughter does not like a lot of trash around the
house. I'll bet we could see the gobs on that battle-ship if we had the
glasses." He turned again to the yard. "It'll take a lot of work keeping
up this place. And you busy every day wouldn't have much time for it. I
reckon you'd be afraid alone nights, too. An apartment is better for a
woman by herself."

"But the freedom--"

"Women hadn't ought to have too much freedom. It spoils 'em. This is the
born place for a man--and a dog--and field-glasses--and a Ford."

"Let's go inside and look it over," said Eveley. "Did you ever see such a
place for chickens? Nice clean little coops all ready for them. Wouldn't
it be a paradise for half a dozen hens?"

"It's a lot of work raising chickens," said the old man. "It's a job for
a man, really. You wouldn't like it." Then, thoughtfully: "Half a day's
work would make that place fit for the king's pullets."

"And look at the cunning little garden," urged Eveley.

"Needs hoeing. All run over with weeds. Whole place going to rack and
ruin. Needs a man around here, anybody can see that."

"Come in, come in," cried Eveley, unlocking the kitchen door. "See the
little gas stove, and the tiny table--and the cooler. Isn't it fun?
Couldn't you have the time of your life here, reveling in liver and
cabbage and pinochle? Wouldn't your friend be crazy about it?"

The old man squirmed restlessly, and passed into the next room. Eveley
dropped down on the side of the bed, and set the springs bounding.

"It is a good bed. That table seems made for pinochle, doesn't it? I can
just see this place, with you and your friend, the room thick with
smoke--and no one to say, 'Oh, father, it's terribly late.'" Eveley put
up a very fair imitation of Mrs. Severs' ripply, bridal voice.

"A phonograph--there ought to be a phonograph, to play _Bonnie Sweet
Bessie_, and _Nelly Gray_."

"Just the thing. A phonograph. That is the one thing lacking. I knew
there was something needed."

Father-in-law was quiet after that. He walked about slowly, peering into
every nook and corner. But finally he went out to the car, and climbed
in. Eveley followed silently. He started the car with a bang and a tug,
and drove home swiftly, speaking not one word on the way. But Eveley was
content.

Quite late that evening he came up the rustic stairs and knocked on her
window.

"Say, Miss Ainsworth," he asked anxiously, "did you decide to take that
cottage and live alone? Pretty risky business, I'm afraid. And it's a
sight of work keeping up a garden like that--and chickens are a dickens
of a lot of trouble."

"I am afraid so," said Eveley wistfully. "I believe your advice is good.
It is a darling little place, but I suspect I'd better give up the idea
entirely."

"That's right. You're a sensible girl. Very sensible."

And he turned abruptly and went creaking down the stairs once more.

The next evening as she swung her car up to the curb, Eveley found him
waiting.

"I'm afraid I'll have to give it up," he said, and added apologetically,
"I thought since you didn't want it, I might take it myself. But if I
went away they'd think I was dissatisfied, and maybe they hadn't been
good to me or something. I wouldn't like to hurt their feelings."

"Can't you pretend you hate to leave, but you feel it is your duty?"
Eveley almost choked on the word, but she knew it would be only folly to
explain her advanced ideas to this kindly conscientious soul. "You tell
them that you think it is your solemn duty to go and leave them alone,
and that you can't be happy unless you are doing your duty. Tell them
that honeymooners need to be alone."

"That's a good idea. I'll try it on them right away."

When he timidly, then enthusiastically pressed his case, Mrs. Severs,
seeing in his sudden determination to do his duty the happy fruition of
Eveley's plan, voiced only a few polite words of mild protest, but her
husband was flat-footed and vociferous in his objections.

"Just cut out the nonsense, dad, and behave yourself. It is your duty to
stay here where you belong, and you can stick around and get used to it.
You can't go off by yourself, and that settles it."

"I wouldn't be lonesome," said his father meekly. "I could get along. And
I could come and visit you. I think--maybe--I'd like it pretty good."

"Oh, I'm on to you, dad. You just say that because you think it would be
better for us. Why, you'd be lonely as the deuce." And he went off into
the other room and considered the subject closed.

Late that night, Mrs. Severs ran up the stairs.

"Eveley, he really asked to go, but Dody wouldn't hear of it. And I do
feel ashamed of myself. We can't turn the poor old fellow out. It would
not be right. Just let it go, and I'll try to get used to it. He really
is a dear old thing."

"Listen here, Mrs. Severs, do you mean that you are selfish enough to
keep that poor old man here with you spooners when he really wants to be
off alone where he can fish and cook and roam around to his heart's
content? Can't you see it is your plain duty to make him go where he can
live his own life? I--I am surprised at you."

"Oh! You think--you mean--maybe he would be happier?"

"Why, of course he would. And it is your duty to deny yourselves in order
to make him happy."

"Oh, I see." Mrs. Severs was quite radiant. "Talk to Dody about it, will
you? He wants to do his duty, but he sees it the other way round."

"Leave him to me."

Some time later, Father-in-law himself crept softly up the stairway and
tapped on the window.

"Hist," he whispered. "It's no good. Andy won't hear of it. Can't you
think of something?"

"Leave him to me," she said again. "I am the original little fixer, and
I'll attend to Andrew Dody."

The next morning, quite willing to sacrifice her last nap in her desire
to crush all duty, she started for work half an hour earlier than usual,
and invited Mr. Severs to ride down-town with her. And as they started
off, Father and Daughter-in-law from separate windows of the house
watched their departure, and prayed that success might crown her efforts.

"I want to talk to you confidentially, Mr. Severs," she said softly.
"I--I think you misunderstand some things. I have been with your father
such a lot, and I have discovered that he really wants to live alone. He
likes to be free to do things when he likes, and how."

"He can do that in our home, Miss Ainsworth," Andy said stiffly.

"Of course he can, but he thinks he can't. He wants to do as Mrs. Severs
likes. He is only pretending it is his duty to go, because he thought it
would hurt your feelings if _you_ knew he wanted to leave you. He is just
crazy about both of you, but he is so used to doing every little thing in
his own sweet way. It almost seems your duty fairly to make him go,
because he would be happier."

"I am not one to shirk my duty, Miss Ainsworth. I will sacrifice anything
for my father."

"Of course it will be lonely for you when he goes, but think how happy he
will be following his every desire. I should think you would fairly force
him to be selfish enough to leave you."

"You may be right. He does not care for our way of living, I know, and he
does like messing around. And then, too, it upsets our plans a lot having
him there, but whatever is right for dad, is right for us."

"Then he must certainly have the little shack we saw the other day--he
adored it. You just tell him how lonely you will be, and how you will
miss him, Mr. Severs, and then make him take the little cottage."

Talking it over afterward with Nolan, Eveley admitted regretfully that
she could hardly call this a victory--because Father-in-law only moved to
do his duty, and the children only allowed him to go for the sake of
doing theirs--but since everything worked out right, she was satisfied,
though she alone knew that happiness came to the three because each one
followed his own desire to the exclusion of other considerations.



CHAPTER XI

THE GERM OF DUTY


The case of the Good-Looking Member strained Nolan's patience almost to
the breaking point, but after many days of fruitless chafing, his
forbearance was rewarded.

Eveley invited him to dinner.

"Have you rescued the good-looking one from the loveless sea?" he asked
sarcastically.

"I have sown the good seed," she said amiably.

"I never heard of sowing seeds in a loveless sea," he sneered.

"I have thought up a wonderful scheme. But you will have to help me out.
I always fall back on you in an emergency, don't I?" Eveley's voice was
sweetest honey. "So you must come to dinner."

"Is the Handsome Member to be among those present?"

"Oh, Nolan, this is our party--to talk things over all by ourselves. It
seems such ages since I saw you, and I've been so lonesome."

Nolan was fully aware that this was fabrication, but being totally male,
he found himself unable to resist.

"You do not know what lonesomeness is, Eveley. I nearly died. I almost
wished I would die. I shall come early, and please wear the blue dress,
and be good to me."

That evening, after a long and satisfying preamble, they sat before her
tiny grate with their coffee, and she broached the wonderful plan.

"He is the most utterly married-to-duty thing you ever saw. He says he
can not in common decency refuse to marry a girl who has been engaged to
him for five years. He hasn't even seen her for three, and isn't a bit
interested in her. Why, they only write once a month, or so. That's no
love-affair, anybody can see that. But he won't ask her to let him off,
and so we have thought up the most scientific scheme to work it. He is
inviting her to come here for a visit, and she is to stay with me. She
hates sensible businesslike men, and she adores scatter-brain, fussy
ones. So when she comes, he is going to be as poky as duty itself, and
wear old grimy clothes, and work day and night, and you are going to don
your sunshine apparel and blossom out like a rose, and beau her around in
great style. Result, she will fire him, hoping to ensnare you--but don't
you make any mistake and get yourself ensnared for keeps, will you?"

"He is going to work evenings, is he?"

"Yes, day times and night times and all times."

"And I am to cavalier the lady?"

"Not the lady," she denied indignantly. "Both of us. You shan't go out
with her alone. She is a terrible flirt, and very pretty. Where you and
she goeth, I shall goeth also."

"Well, I can stand it. But what is to become of my own future? Why should
I neglect my legal interests to beau another fellow's sweetheart about
the town?"

"Because you always help me out of a tight place," she said wheedlingly.
"And because you do not approve of my campaign. But if you are nice and
help me this time, I think I can everlastingly prove that I am right."

"If I do the work, seems to me I do the proving."

"Yes, but it is my theory, so I get the credit. Of course you must be
very gay and make quite a fuss over Miss Weldon, but don't you carry it
too far, or you'll be in bad with me."

Anything that meant the eclipse of the Handsome Member could not be other
than satisfactory to Nolan. He agreed with a great deal of enthusiasm,
only stipulating that all evenings previous to the arrival of the pretty
fiancée should be devoted to private rehearsal of his part under the
personal direction of the Dutiless Theorist.

So it was Nolan and Eveley who met Miss Weldon at the station upon her
arrival. They stood together beside the white columns, searching the
faces of the passengers as they alighted. When a slender, fair-haired
girl swung lightly down, they hurried to greet her.

"Miss Weldon?" asked Eveley, with her friendly smile. "I am Eveley
Ainsworth, and this is my friend, Mr. Inglish. Mr. Baldwin could not get
away to-night--'way up to his ears in work. But he is coming up to see
you later this evening."

If Miss Weldon was disappointed she gave no sign. Instead she turned to
Nolan with frankly approving eyes, remarking his tall slim build, his
thin clever face, his bright keen eyes.

"Are you so devoted to business, Mr. Inglish?" she asked, as she opened
her small bag and took out a solitaire, which she placed on the third
finger of her left hand. At the smiles in the eyes of Eveley and Nolan,
she only laughed. "Why flaunt your badge of servitude? But don't tell
Timmy, will you?"

She was indeed very pretty, with warm shining eyes, and a quick pleasant
voice. She was full of a bright wit, too, and the drive to Eveley's Cote
in the Clouds was only marred for Eveley by the fact that she, being
driver, had to sit in front alone.

"We shall not do much cavaliering in the car," she thought grimly. "Not
when there are only three of us. We'll walk--three abreast."

Miss Weldon was enchanted with the rustic steps, but a little fearful of
them as well, and appropriated Nolan as her personal bodyguard and
support. She squealed prettily at every creak and rumble.

"I shall never try these steps alone, Mr. Inglish," she said, clinging to
his not-unwilling hand. "I shall always wait for you."

"I'll roll her down, if she begins that," thought Eveley.

But in spite of her disapproval, even to her there was something very
attractive in the pretty girlish merriment and interest of her young
guest.

"I do not see why Nolan had to squeeze in on this," she said to herself
most unfairly.

Miss Weldon was charmed with the dainty apartment, and loved the cunning
electric fixtures in the tiny dining-room. She tucked an apron under her
belt, and appointed Nolan her assistant in making toast, while Eveley
finished the light details of serving dinner.

"It certainly is a silly business all the way around," Eveley decided.

After their coffee, and after Nolan had finished his second cigar, Miss
Weldon said, "Now since Miss Ainsworth got dinner, we must do the dishes.
I shall wash, and you must dry them, Mr. Inglish, and be sure you make
them shine, for I am very fussy about my dishes."

And Eveley had to sit down in a big chair and rest, though she did not
feel like sitting down and hated resting--and look quietly on while Miss
Weldon fished each separate dish from the hot suds and held it out
playfully for Nolan to wipe. It made a long and laborious task of the
dish washing for Eveley, and she was quite worn out at its conclusion.

"Funny that some people can't do their plain duty without getting the
whole neighborhood mixed up in it," she thought resentfully.

At nine o'clock, came Timothy Baldwin. Miss Weldon met him at the window,
looked at him, half curiously, half fearfully, and after lifting her lips
for a fleeting kiss, backed quickly away from him into a remote corner.

Then Nolan, according to prearranged plan, suggested that he and Eveley
run down and put the car in the garage. "And if there is a moon, we may
go for a joy-ride, so don't expect us back too soon."

And as they rode he spoke so unconcernedly of Sally's smiles and curls
and pretty hands, that Eveley was restored to her original enthusiasm for
the campaign.

"Won't she be wild?" she chuckled, snuggling close against Nolan's side,
but never forgetting that she was mistress of the wheel. "Tim is going to
talk business all the time, and at ten-thirty he is going to say he must
hurry home to rest up for a hard day's work to-morrow. We are not to get
in until eleven, so she will be utterly bored to distraction. Isn't it
fun?"

They drove slowly, happily around the park, over the bridge and under the
bridge, around the eucalyptus knoll above the lights on the bay, and then
went down-town for ice-cream. At exactly eleven o'clock, Nolan took her
hands as she stood on the bottom step of the rustic stair.

"I can't say it is your duty to--be good to me--but I hope it will make
you happy. And by the rules of your own game, I have a right selfishly to
insist on your being always sweet and wonderful to me, and to me alone."

"Just what do you mean by that, Nolan?"

"Nothing, of course, but can't you use your imagination?"

"No, I can't. That is for brides and fiancées, not for unattached
working girls like me."

Then she ran on up the stairs, and Nolan went home.

True to arrangement, Tim had gone at ten-thirty, and Miss Weldon in a
soft negligee was sitting alone pensively, before the fire.

"Tim has changed," she said briefly. "I think he has more sense, but a
little less--er--warmth, I might say."

"Do you think so? He works very hard. He is fearfully ambitious and they
think everything of him at the office."

"Yes? Then he must certainly have changed. He was not keen on business at
Salt Lake. He lost three jobs in eight weeks. That is why he came west.
And his father has financed half a dozen ventures for him. But perhaps he
has settled down, and will do all right. I love your little apartment,
and it is dear to call it a Cloud Cote, and Mr. Nolan is perfectly
charming. Timmy asked us to meet him at Rudder's for luncheon, you and me
and your Mr. Nolan, also."

"Oh, that is nice," said Eveley. "I'll come up for you in the car a few
minutes earlier. You won't mind being alone most of the day, will you? I
work, you know."

"No, I rather like being alone. I sew some, and I shall read, and there
are letters to write. I do not mind being alone."

Eveley found her really very agreeable, quite pleasant to entertain. And
after all Nolan had only done as she requested, and there was nothing
personal in it. It was lots of fun, but it must stop before Miss Weldon
had time to grow really fond of Nolan, for of course she could not have
him under any circumstances. Eveley absolutely disbelieved in any form of
duty, still she would not feel justified in carrying her animosity to the
point of wilfully breaking innocent hearts.

At twelve-thirty the next day, Eveley and Miss Weldon entered the small
waiting-room of Rudder's café. Nolan was already there. They waited
fifteen minutes for Timothy, and then a messenger came down to them with
a note. Mr. Baldwin was so sorry, but business was urgent, and they must
go right ahead and have luncheon without him. He would telephone them
later in the evening if he could come up.

Sally Weldon pursed her lips a little, but she smiled at Nolan. "Can you
beau us both, Mr. Inglish? We think we are mighty lucky to have half a
beau a piece on working days. Are you the only man in this whole town who
does not work like a slave?"

So they found a pleasant table in the café, and dawdled long over their
luncheon, laughing and chatting. Then they took Nolan back to his office,
and Eveley and Sally went for a drive on the beach to La Jolla.

"But don't you have to work?" asked Sally, observing that it was long
after two when they finally turned back toward the office.

Eveley shrugged her shoulders prettily.

"Oh, nobody works much but Mr. Baldwin," she said. "He does the grinding
for the whole force."

Miss Weldon frowned a little, but said nothing.

That evening she had the dinner nicely started when Eveley reached home,
and Eveley was loud in praise of her guest's skill and cleverness.

"It is just lovely, but you must not work. You are company."

"I rather like to cook. I took a long course in it four years ago when
Timmy and I were first engaged, and I have done all the housekeeping at
home since then. Daddy pays me double the salary we used to pay the cook,
and I provide better meals and more cheaply than she did. Daddy says so
himself."

"Why, Sally," cried Eveley warmly, "I think that is wonderful. I am
surprised. I thought--I supposed--"

"Oh, I know what you thought," laughed Sally brightly. "Everybody thinks
so, and it is true. I am very gay and frivolous. I love to dance and sing
and play. And I abhor solemn ugly grimy things, and I think the only
Christian duty in the world is being happy."

Eveley flushed at that, and turned quickly away.

Later Nolan joined them for dinner, and the little party was waxing very
gay long before Tim called. Then it was only to say that he would be
working late, but was sending them tickets for the theater and would join
them afterward for supper at the Grant.

"Does he always work as hard as this?" asked Sally, looking steadily into
Eveley's face.

"He always works pretty hard," said Eveley truthfully, "but he does seem
busier than usual right now."

Miss Weldon only laughed, and they talked of other things. Nolan went
down with them in the car, Eveley driving alone in front, but somehow she
felt her pretty guest to be less of a menace since she was guilty of
sensible things like cooking and sewing.

[Illustration: "Just what do you mean by that?"]

Eveley did not explain that Timothy had felt inclined to join them for
dinner and the show that night after disappointing them at luncheon, but
she had been firm with him.

"Not to-day," she insisted. "You can only have one hour with us to-night.
To-morrow you can join us for luncheon and a short drive afterward, if
you will fix it so I can get off."

He was at the Grant waiting when they arrived, and rather impatient.

"Did you have a pleasant time?" he asked, looking into Sally's bright
face.

"Lovely. And did you hurry terribly to meet us? We don't want to
interfere with your work, or bother you."

He searched her face for signs of guile, but her eyes were unclouded, and
her manner indicated only a friendly concern for his interests.

It was a very happy party that night. Both girls were merry, and Nolan
was really more solicitously attentive to Sally than was quite necessary
even in the interests of a campaign directed against her. When at a late
hour, they trooped out to the car, it was he who helped her carefully
into the machine, though, with seeming reluctance, he permitted Timothy
to sit with her while he joined Eveley in the front seat.

"Timmy is good-looking, don't you think?" Sally asked that night, as they
were preparing for bed.

"Yes, if he did not work so hard. Young men should not kill themselves
with labor."

"Your Nolan is handsomer, perhaps," said Sally pleasantly.

The next day Timothy did meet them for luncheon, after keeping them
waiting for twenty minutes, and later they went for a fast ride out Point
Loma. But that night he did not see them at all, though he told Eveley he
thought she was rather rubbing it in, cheating him out of so many
pleasant parties and good times.

"I may not want to marry her, but it is good sport chasing around," he
protested.

But Eveley was very stern. He had put himself in her hands, and he must
obey without argument, and that settled it. And when he suggested that it
would look better if he and Sally had one party by themselves without
Nolan tagging at their heels, she frowned it down.

"One private party can spoil a whole week of hard work," she decreed.

So the week passed. Once even Eveley pretended business, and Sally and
Nolan had luncheon together, and a drive later in Eveley's car. But
Timothy put a stop to that.

"She is my fiancée. And I may have to marry her after all. And if I do,
hanged if I want everybody in town thinking she was Nolan's sweetheart to
begin with."

So Eveley waived that part of her plan, and the parties were always of
three, and sometimes, but infrequently, of four. That Sally accepted
their arrangements so easily, and took so much pleasure in their
entertainment, argued well. One night she said:

"Of course, men have to work, but I shouldn't like my husband to dig away
like a servant, should you, Eveley?"

And Eveley felt the time was ripe. The next day she told Timothy he might
take Sally out alone in the car for a drive, and ask her if they should
not be married right away. Eveley was willing to wager that she would
reject him. Timothy consented with alacrity, seeming to feel the burden
of his semi-attached state.

That evening at six-thirty, when Nolan came up for dinner, Eveley met him
on the roof garden over the sun parlor.

"Nolan, something has happened. They went at two o'clock, and they aren't
home yet. What do you suppose is the matter? Maybe they had an accident.
Maybe she got mad and wouldn't ride home with him. He wouldn't put her
out, would he? Shall we notify the police?"

"I should say not. Don't worry. Let's have our dinner. They can eat the
leavings when they come. He has probably learned, as other and wiser men
have learned, that a pretty and pleasant girl is not half bad company.
I'll bet he is having the time of his life. My, it is nice to have you
alone again. She is very sweet, and it's been lots of fun, but after all
I am used to you, and this is nicer."

Nolan's prediction proved far from wrong. At ten-thirty, a messenger boy
shouted up from below, and Nolan ran down. When he came back he carried a
small yellow slip addressed to Eveley, which he promptly opened. And as
she peered over his shoulder, they read it aloud, together, in solemn
chorus.

  "Three cheers and a tiger. She has accepted me, and we were married
  at Oceanside this afternoon. On our way to Yosemite for honeymoon.
  I am the happiest man on earth. Tell Nolan to go to the dickens.
  Love from Sally and Timothy Baldwin."

Nolan lit a cigar and blew reflective rings into the air. "When a man is
bitten with the germ of duty," he began somberly.

For a moment Eveley was crushed. Then she rallied. "Just as I told you,
Nolan. As long as it was a painful duty, marriage between them was
impossible, and would have wrecked both their lives. But our campaign
brought about the proper adjustment and tuned them to love again. So it
was not duty, but love, and marriage is a joy. Now I hope you are
convinced that I am right, and won't argue with me any more. And if I
ever had any doubts about that one exception I make in regard to duty,
they are all gone now. I am dead sure of my one exception."

But when Nolan pressed her for an explanation, she begged him to smoke
again, and let her think.



CHAPTER XII

THE REVOLT OF THE SEVENTH STEP


The sharp tap on Eveley's window was followed by an impatient brushing
aside of the curtains, and Miriam Landis swung gracefully over the sill
in a cloud of chiffon and silk.

"Lem is waiting in the car," she began quickly, "but I came up to show
you my new gown. Are you nearly ready? Lem is so impatient, you know."
Fumbling with the fasteners of her wide cape she drew it back and
revealed a bewilderingly beautiful creation beneath.

Eveley went into instant and honest raptures.

"Do you like it, Eveley? Am I beautiful in it?" There was a curious
wistfulness in her voice, and Eveley studied her closely.

"Of course you are beautiful in it. You are a dream. You are irresistibly
heavenly."

"I wonder if Lem thinks so," said Miriam, half breathlessly.

"Why, you little goose," cried Eveley, forcing the laughter. "How could
he think anything else? There, he is honking for us already. We must
hurry--Why, Miriam, you silly, how could any one think you anything in
the world but matchlessly wonderful in anything--especially in a dream
like that?"

Miriam fastened her wrap again silently, and got carefully out through
the window.

"Twelve steps," cautioned Eveley. "You'd better count them, it is so
dark, or you may stumble at the bottom."

Miriam, clinging to the railing on one side, passed slowly down. "One,
two, three, four, five, six." Then she stopped and turned.

"Seven." Looking somberly up to Eveley, standing above her, her face
showing pale and sorry in the dim light, she said, "I have been married
five years, Eve. You do not know what it is to spend five years
struggling to maintain your charm for your husband. And never knowing
whether you have failed or won. Always wondering why he finds more
attraction in other women less beautiful and less clever. Always
wondering, always afraid, trying to cling to what ought to be yours
without effort. It isn't funny, Eveley." She turned slowly, to go on
down, but Eveley laid a restraining hand on her arm.

"Five years? That is a long time," she said in a tender voice. "It must
almost be his turn now. Five years seems very long to me."

Miriam passed on down the stairs, counting aloud, eight, nine, ten, and
on to the last. At the last step she turned again.

"He is my husband, Eveley. One must do what is right."

"Yes? Yet five years of duty does not seem to have brought you much
happiness. At least you should not be selfish. You ought not to deny him
the pleasure of doing his by you for the next five." Then she added
apologetically: "Forgive me, Miriam. You know I should never have
mentioned this if you hadn't spoken."

Miriam clung to her hand as they felt their way carefully around the
house, Lem in the machine still honking for them to hurry.

At the corner she paused again. "You are very clever, aren't you,
Eveley?"

"Well, yes, I rather think I am," admitted Eveley.

"How would you go about it?"

"The way Lem does," came the quick retort, and Miriam laughed, suddenly
and lightly.

She was very quiet as they drove down Fifth Street. Only once she spoke.

"It was the seventh step, wasn't it, Eveley?"

"Yes, the seventh."

"The Revolution of the Seventh Step," she said, laughing again.

This was nonsense to Lem Landis, but he did not ask questions. Women
always talked such rot to each other. And he was wondering if Mrs. Cartle
would surely be at the ball?

"The way Lem does."

The words were startlingly sufficient. From five years of painful
experience, Mrs. Landis knew how Lem did it. And so on this evening, as
she stood beside him in a corner of the ballroom after their first
greetings, and looked as he did with eager speculative eyes about the
wide room, seeking, seeking, she felt a curious sympathy and harmony
between herself and her husband. She knew without turning her head when
the sudden brightening in his eyes came; and then he slowly made his way
to the dim corner where Mrs. Cartle sat waiting.

But Miriam was not so quickly satisfied. There was Dan O'Falley, but his
was such fulsome effrontery. There was Clifford Eggleton, but he had been
a sweetheart of Miriam's in the old days before Lem came, and that seemed
hardly fair. There was Hal Jervis, but he was too utterly wax in woman's
hands to give her any semblance of thrill. Then her eyes rested on a
profile in another corner of the room--a dark sleek head, a dark thin
face, and the clear outline of one merry eye. Miriam appraised the head
speculatively. Who in the world could it be? That merry eye looked very
enticing. Ah, now she could see better--he was talking to the Merediths.
Then the merry-eyed one was a stranger--so much the better, the
uncertainty of him pleased her. She was very weary of those she knew so
well. She moved happily that way, suddenly surprised to know that she was
not at all concerned because her husband sat in the distant corner with
Mrs. Cartle. She felt for him to-night only a whimsical comradeship.
Stopping many times on her way to exchange a word and a smile, she
finally drew near the corner where the sleek dark head and the merry eye
had drawn her. Mrs. Meredith, seeing her, came to meet her, and drew her
forward impulsively.

"Oh, Miriam, you must meet our friend, Mr. Cameron. He has only just come
here to be with my husband in business, and we are going to love him, I
know." And so immediately Miriam found herself looking directly, and with
great pleasure, full into the merry eyes. The gown was beautiful upon
her, she knew it positively, whether Lem had been stirred by the vision
or not.

"Oh, she is lovely enough," said Billy Meredith plaintively. "But don't
be lured by her, Cameron. She is still in love with her husband."

Miriam smiled at her victim with disarming friendliness. "But I like to
be amused," she said. "And I have been married long enough now to feel
like playing again."

Cameron laughed at that, and the laughter fulfilled the promise of the
merry eye. Miriam was quite intoxicated with the game her husband had
taught her. That Eveley was a clever little thing, wasn't she?

"Suppose we dance then," Cameron suggested eagerly. "It is the approved
method of beginning to play."

"We resign you to your fate," sighed Billy Meredith once more. "I warned
you, you laughed me to scorn. Now plunge and die."

"He seems to think I am dangerous," said Miriam, as they stepped lightly
away to the call of the music.

"Well, far be it from me to say he is wrong. But I am sure you will prove
a charming playfellow. You seem fairly to match my own mood. I suppose we
can not climb trees and go nutting and fishing and wade in the creek as
we might have done together years ago, but if you will be patient and
teach me your way of playing in your ladyhood, I think you will find me
an apt, and certainly a willing playmate."

"Then let's begin to-morrow night. Come to my house, and let's play pool.
It is the most reckless thing we can do. I have a sweet little friend and
she has a deadly admirer, and they will come with us. She is very clever,
too, and full of fun. See, that is she there, dancing--the one with the
golden frock. Her name is Eveley Ainsworth and the solemn young man is
Nolan Inglish, and they are unannounced but accepted sweethearts. You are
not afraid of Friend Husband, then?"

"Not until Friend Husband gets afraid of me," he said.

Later in the evening, as they were having ices in a wonderful nook in the
ballroom, he said seriously, and with no laughter in the merry eyes:

"Are you trying to make a truant husband jealous? Just be frank with me,
and I will do my best. I know you wanted a pal to-night. Do you mind
telling me why?"

For a moment she hesitated. Then she smiled. "If my frankness loses me a
pleasant comrade I shall regret my candor. But I do want to play fairly
with you. So hear then the bitter truth. I have been married five years,
and I have worked like a common slave to make myself beautiful and
winsome and irresistible to my husband. And you know that a wife can't do
it, if the husband isn't in the mind for it. And so to-night I am
starting a revolution. I do not want to struggle forever. I want to play
and be happy. I have no notion of making my husband jealous. That has not
even occurred to me. I just want to be joyful--to learn to be
joyful--regardless of him."

"Then may I be a disagreeable old preacher, and say one thing? You know
this may be fun, but sometimes it is dangerous. Human beings are not
machines, and often they make mistakes and fall in love, when they had
only meant to play. You would not find it at all pleasant to be married
to one man, and in love with another. And maybe you would not enjoy
having a husband and a lover in two persons, I am not trying to foretell
the future, or make unpleasant predictions--I am only sounding the
warning note."

Miriam considered this very solemnly. Then she said: "Well, I think I
should not mind. It does not seem to bother Lem to be married to me, and
at the same time be involved in stirring friendships with other people."

"Just one more sermon then, and I am through," he said, laughing. "It is
this. Men and women are very different. A man can play his head off with
a dozen women, and still stay in love with his wife, and want no one but
her. But a really nice woman, and you are awfully nice, can not have
love-affairs without love. When she loves a man, she wants him, and will
not have any one else. Your husband can have a dozen affairs, and still
want you. But if you have a pleasant affair--you may not want your
husband."

"Well, of course, Mr. Preacher, one must take a chance. And it is to be
only play, you know. That must be understood right in the start. I am
really not a bit advanced nor modern, nor anything. I have no forward
ideas in my head. I am just tired of trying to please my husband; I want
some one to please me. It does not seem to offer you much for your pains,
does it? But you may find me fairly amusing."

"I am sure of it," he agreed warmly. "And it is all settled, and we are
going to play together. And if sometimes you get tired of me, and fire me
off, I shall bob up serenely the next day and start over, just as we
might have done when we were little children."

When Miriam reported her progress in revolution to Eveley the next day,
Eveley was greatly perturbed.

"You went too fast," she said with a frown. "And besides--it is not fair.
He isn't married. He will fall in love with you."

"Oh, no, we have a regular understanding," said Miriam confidently. "It
is all settled according to rules, and we are only going to play. Lem
goes to his club to-night, and you and Nolan are to come and play pool
with us. Doesn't it sound emancipated and free?"

"Almost bolshevistic," said Eveley grimly. "I do not approve of it--not
exactly--though I do think you are justified. But it is so risky--and
people talk--"

"Well, Eveley, I think it is better to have people say, 'What do you
think of the way Miriam Landis is carrying on?' than 'Isn't Miriam Landis
a little fool not to get next to her husband in all these years?'
Shouldn't you?"

"Well, we'll be there," said Eveley evasively. "We'll be right there. If
he just wasn't so good-looking, and sort of--decent? Why didn't you pick
out a roue? They are lots safer than these decent young chaps."

Nolan, always a willing sacrifice when Eveley bade, joined them without
demur, and a more rollickingly gay time they had never had. Even Eveley
admitted that things seemed innocent and harmless enough, but she shook
her head.

"He is too good," she whispered to Miriam. "When he falls, he will fall
hard. And if he is once in love, I have a feeling he will work like--like
the dickens--and you haven't much spinal column yourself, you know. And I
do not believe in home wreckers, and things."

Nolan, also, frankly disapproved.

"It doesn't make any difference what kind of husband she's got," he said
decidedly. "As long as he is her husband, it is her duty to stick to him
and leave other men alone."

"Don't say duty to me," said Eveley crossly. "Five years is long enough
for any woman to do her duty. I think she is quite justified in giving
Lem a good scare. Maybe he will wake up, and behave himself. But this
Gordon is too good-looking, and too desperately nice. How can they play
together like two children? You know what will happen."

"I think it has already happened. He is head over heels right now, and
she is not breaking her heart over Lem, either. I give them two weeks to
develop a first-rate rash."

"But Miriam believes in duty," said Eveley hopefully. "Maybe that will
save them. She would never elope with him, and I do not think he would
even ask her, he is so sort of respectable and set."

But Nolan was pessimistic. "Folks talk about duty until they fall in
love, and then they forget it and everything else. And Lem has acted
abominably. I thought she did not know it."

"So did I. But--"

"Well, no use to worry. We'll stick around with them and sort of boss the
job. I am glad you invited them to the Cote to-morrow night."

"And for supper, too. When Lem finds she is coming here for a supper
party and he is left out, he may begin to think."

"The trouble with Lem is, he can't help himself. He loves Miriam all
right, but women go to his head. He may get jealous and promise
everything on heaven and earth, but he can't keep his word."

"Then he shouldn't have married."

"She should never have married him. When women understand that a man who
can not look at a woman before marriage without making love to her--can't
do it afterward--they will save themselves a lot of trouble."

"Well," said Eveley hopefully. "No one can say you hurt yourself making
love."

So the playing went on, Nolan and Eveley acting as constant and merry
chaperons, and the little grouping grew more and more congenial. Lem
realized that a convulsion was going on in his home, and reformed
desperately for days at a time, but a secluded corner and a lovely woman
invariably set him pleading for forgiveness. Miriam always forgave him
promptly and said it did not bother her; and was at first frightened, and
then delighted, to know that it truly did not bother her any more.

Then one evening, Eveley had a mad telephone call from Lem, quickly
followed by a flying rush to her little Cote.

"See what you've done," he shouted, half-way through the window. "That is
what comes of your interference. Miriam was the most contented woman on
earth till you began feeding her up on this notion of revenge."

"You sit down and talk sense, Lem Landis, or get out," said Eveley.
"Contented! She hasn't known a contented day since she married you. You
have had five years of jollying with other women. Now because another man
smiles on her, you go into a rage and tear your hair. You make me sick."

"Look here, Eveley, you got me into this, and you've got to get me out. I
didn't care how much they smiled. I thought at first it was a put-up job
to make me jealous, and I laughed at it. But it has gone too far."

"Everything is all right," said Eveley soothingly. "They are just
playing. Nolan and I are with them all the time. There is nothing serious
between them."

"Don't be a fool," he said rudely. "You know that men and women can't
play like kids. Miriam wants a divorce."

Eveley sat down and swallowed hard.

"A divorce," he raged, champing wildly up and down the small room. "She
says there is nothing between them, and she does not love him, but she
can't stand me any more. Why can't she stand me? She stood me for five
years. What's come over her all of a sudden that she says it makes her
sick to kiss me? She won't even let me hold her hand. She says it is
blasphemous. Blasphemy to touch my own wife's hand! You know what that
means, don't you? She is in love with that--that--"

"You can't swear here," Eveley broke in quickly. "I won't have it. I
think you are mistaken, Lem. She doesn't want a divorce. Not really. She
wouldn't, you know."

"But she does, I tell you. She says it is sacrilege to live with me, and
so she is going off by herself to desert me, and says I've got to get a
divorce on those grounds when the time is up, or heaven only knows what
she'll do. Now, you got us into this mess, and you've got to stop it."

"I'll do what I can, Lem," she promised. "And so will Nolan. But between
you and me, I do not blame her. I wouldn't have lived with you two
months, myself."

"I have never wanted another woman in my life," he said brokenly. "It has
always been Miriam with me from the very minute I saw her. I have fooled
around a lot, I know, but it's always been Miriam for serious."

"Yes," she said bitterly. "That is it. It is just as Gordon says. A man
can fool around and still love his wife. But a nice woman can't. She is
strong for one man--at a time. When she falls for a new one, it is all
off with the last. You could love a dozen at a time, but Miriam is too
nice for that."

"But you promised--"

"Oh, yes, I'll do what I can, and I will advise her to stick it out, but
I think she will be very foolish if she takes my advice."

Nolan was immediately summoned, and a desperate struggle began with
Miriam. But it was really no struggle.

"Why, Eveley," she said reproachfully, "I am surprised at you. Can't you
see that a woman can not live with a man she dislikes? It makes the
shivers run down my back when he touches me. It--isn't nice. It--makes me
feel like--well, not at all right. You can see that, can't you, Nolan?"

"I am afraid I can."

"But he is your husband," protested Eveley. "Isn't it your place as his
wife to--to--"

"Do you mean my duty, dear?" asked Miriam, smiling faintly. "I am surprised
at you, Eve. No dear, it isn't. Your theory that duty is happiness is half
right. But a woman has one other duty also--self-respect. I am all packed
up, dear, and going to-morrow. You do not mind my not leaving my address,
do you? I want to go off very quietly by myself. I do not want Gordon to
know. I am afraid he will blame himself for it. You will make him see that
it was not he, at all, won't you? And after it is all over, I shall write,
or maybe come to see you. You will ask him not to look for me, won't you?
There has not been a thing serious between us, Eveley, you believe that,
don't you?"

"Of course I do. I know it. I've chaperoned you two till I am fairly sick
of it."

Miriam smiled again. "Be sure to tell him everything I said, will you?"

Nolan and Eveley were very quiet after she had gone. And Eveley cried a
little.

"I hope she will be happy," she said tearfully.

"She will be. Gordon will wait for her, and not crowd her. He is like me.
He can talk to a woman without loving her."

"You can, at least."

"At least, I do not talk about it all the time," he amended. "What I mean
is that his affection is for the one, and not for the sex."

"Do you think she did right, Nolan?"

"I do not think it is my duty to judge," he evaded cleverly. "She had one
chance for happiness, and she lost. Now she is to have one more. We are
her friends, and we love her. We can not begrudge her one more
opportunity, can we?"

"No indeed, and you put it very nicely," she said more comfortably.
"Isn't it nice that we do not believe in duty? But we shall miss them.
They were very nice playmates for us, as well as for each other--Nolan,
there was something sort of sweet about Lem, after all? Something very
human and lovable and--but of course it was Miriam's duty to be happy."



CHAPTER XIII

SHE FINDS A FOREIGNER


Eveley had very nearly lost faith in assimilation. She had thought it
over carefully, attempted it conscientiously and decided it could not be
done.

"One individuality can not be absorbed by another," she would say very
sagely. "Whether it is husbands and wives, or whether it is nations. The
theorists are right in stating that America is for Americans only, and
that it is the patriotic duty of those who come here to be Americanized
as rapidly as possible, and the duty of the regular Americans to
Americanize everybody else at top speed--but it can not be done. They are
they, and we are we. It may be our duty, but we are not big enough."

She did not call her friendship with Angelo Moreno by any such big and
formal term as assimilation. They had just grown to be enormously good
friends. She had forgotten about Americanizing him, but she found him
charming, with the fresh frank abandon of the unspoiled south-European.
She liked his open admiration, she enjoyed his mature cynicism, she
reveled in his buoyant enthusiasm. She had not believed that such
opposing elements could dwell in one small person. In Angelo, she found
them, and she found the combination good.

He was helpful to Eveley, as well as pleasing. He did endless small jobs
for her about the car and upon the lawn of her home. And when she noticed
that he quickly adopted some of her own little customs of speech and
manner, she was freshly pleased and interested.

Still she could not harden her heart to the clamorous call of the world
struggle. She lived so happily and so securely in her Cloud Cote, going
to business by day, doing her small bits of housework in between whiles,
frolicking with her friends, chumming with Angelo, playing with her
sister's babies, running about in her pretty car. It was like living in
the clouds indeed, with the world of chaos beneath. For there was the
struggle of reconstruction going on, the tremendous heave and pull of
masses seeking to dominate, the subtle writhe and twist of politics, a
whole world straining and sinewing to rise dominant out of the molten bed
of human lava left from the volcanic eruption of war.

And although Eveley still lived serene in her Cloud Cote, it was like
living on the edge of the crater of a volcano. The eruption would come,
must come. And when it came, her pretty Cloud Cote might be caught in the
upheaval. Sometimes in the evening she stood breathless in the little
pavilion on the edge of the canyon stretching down below her home, and
looked far into the shadows. Being a vivid imaginer, down in the darkness
she seemed to see the world in turmoil, and although she stood above it
on the heights, she knew that when the final reckoning came, there would
be no heights and no canyon.

"And the only thing that can stop it is Americanization, and it is
impossible," she would say helplessly. "And there you are."

But being of a light and happy heart, she tried to forget, and plunged
into her work and her play once more. The consciousness, however, of a
world in travail was always with her.

This was why, when Amos Hiltze came to her with an appeal for help in a
new phase of Americanization, he found such prompt and eager interest.

"It is not much, Miss Ainsworth," he said earnestly, "and to you it may
seem very aimless and trifling indeed. But it is something definite at
least, a real tangible piece of Americanization, and you are the only
woman I know who can help us out."

"Yes, yes, yes," she cried eagerly. "I will, of course. What is it?"

"It is a girl, a Spanish girl from Mexico. Her relatives joined the
revolutionists, and pouf,--were blown out. By rare good fortune she
escaped across the border. But what chance has she? No friends,--no
training. She has never learned to meet and mingle with people. And now
after the years of horror, she is afraid. She has lost her nerve. She
needs a place where she can be alone, and quiet, with no one to observe
or criticize. I can vouch for the girl, that she is all right. And I
wondered if your spirit of Americanization would carry you to the point
of temporarily adopting her."

"Oh, mercy!" gasped Eveley, thinking with great tenderness of her cozy
little Cloud Cote, her home, and hers alone.

"I know it is asking a great deal, but it will only be for a few weeks.
Just until some proper arrangements can be made for her. Unless she is
taken care of, and quickly, she will fall a prey to some anarchistic
Bolshevik, or something worse. She is living with a bunch of low Mexicans
away out in the country, and the Greasers come there from all
around,--and I am afraid for the girl. If she can be taken now, treated
kindly, shown the charm and wholesomeness of American customs and
principles, she will be won for America. A beautiful girl, educated,
talented, charming. Think what a power she can be in the Americanization
of her people, when she herself has been given love and tenderness and
confidence."

Eveley decided instantly. "Very well, bring her. I can move the extra
furniture out of the east bedroom, and store it in the garage, and she
may have that room. She will be alone and quiet all day. But I hardly
know a word of Spanish--"

"Oh, she speaks English perfectly. You are a wonderful girl, Miss
Ainsworth. Not one in a thousand would have risen to such a sacrifice.
If American women were all like you, there would be no need of
Americanization. A country stands or falls by its women-kind. And you
will not find her burdensome. She does not wish to meet people, her only
desire is to be quiet, and let alone. She will keep your little home tidy
for you, and she likes to cook and sew. She will not bother you much. How
soon can you have her come?"

"It will take about two hours to get ready. Can you come and help me
to-night? Angelo will help, too. We must move the furniture and boxes
out, and then the room will be ready for her."

"Then suppose we go for her to-night? She is about forty miles out in the
back country in a little shack a mile off the Viejas grade. If we could
leave about supper-time, we'd get there a little after dark. She wants to
slip away without attracting attention. She is a nervous wreck, literally
scared to death. It will take a long time to give her confidence again,
but if any one can do it, it is you. Her faith in humankind has been
bitterly shattered."

Eveley was fairly quivering with excitement and delight. Her faith in
herself had gone leaping skyward. She was not a slacker, not a quitter.
She was a regular American after all, making a real sacrifice for a
principle she believed in,--and oh, how she was going to assimilate this
pretty little Mexican! Poor child! Of course she was shattered and
stunned and shocked. Who wouldn't be? Things must have been ghastly in
Mexico. Eveley herself was rather vague on the subject, because her
philosophy was one of peace and joy, and she found that reading of
affairs in Mexico did not tend to increase either peace or joy. But she
was dimly aware that the spirit of unrest prevailing in all the world had
risen to open and bloody warfare across the Rio Grande.

Her work suffered very sadly that afternoon, and long before the
appointed hour she was ringing furiously for the elevator. From her
incoherent chatter on the way down, Angelo gathered that he was literally
to fly to her the very minute he was off duty, and then she was
clambering blindly into the car and rushing around for Mr. Hiltze.

She was quite in an ecstasy as they set about moving out the pieces of
furniture to be stored in the back of the big garage, and fitting up an
attractive home for the wounded little Mexican who was to be her
guest,--and her food for assimilation.

Amos Hiltze was a great help, and worked with enthusiasm.

"I do what I can, but men are helpless when it comes to women. And when I
knew of this child,--well, I thought of you. If you refused, I had no
notion where to turn. But you did not refuse."

"No, indeed," chirped Eveley. "I am only too happy. I want to do things,
real things, and be of use. It--it is right, I suppose, and lots of fun
besides."

At six o'clock Angelo came, and looked for a moment with speculative eyes
upon Mr. Hiltze. He was not enthusiastic,--rather he was frankly
pessimistic.

"Why don't you send her to a hotel?" he demanded aggressively. "You don't
want a dirty Greaser in here, messing things all up."

"Oh, Angelo, you mustn't," protested Eveley, deeply shocked. "She isn't a
Greaser. She is a high caste Mexican girl."

"There ain't no such thing," he said gloomily. "You'll see. She'll litter
the whole place up with a lot of smelly bandits, and they'll cut your
throat, and steal your money, and then where'll you be?"

Then Amos Hiltze turned on him, with something compelling in his eyes.
"Cut out that nonsense, and mind your own business. This is not your
affair."

So Angelo resigned himself to the inevitable, and fell to work, not with
good will, but with efficiency. And when the room was ready, while the
man and boy were carrying the extra furniture out to the garage for
storage, Eveley hastily prepared a light supper for the three of them. It
was eaten in utter silence. Eveley was excited almost to the point of
suffocation, and the others were immersed in their own thoughts. She
hastily cleared the dishes from the table, and put on her heavy coat and
a small hat.

"Where do you go to get your Spanish queen?" demanded Angelo.

"Oh, a long way out in the country," said Eveley nervously. "We must
hurry, Angelo. It is getting late."

"Are you going in your car?" he persisted.

"Yes. Now, please, Angelo, I hate to rush you off, but we must go."

"Take me along, Miss Eveley. Please--you've got plenty of room. Won't you
take me?"

"Nothing doing," cut in Amos Hiltze shortly. "We've got to keep the girl
quiet, and you would let out some rudeness that would spoil everything."

"Honest I won't, Miss Eveley. G'wan, be a sport. You promised to take me
for a night ride, and you never have. I won't say a word to the
Grea--lady, honest I won't. Be a sport, Miss Eveley, sure I can go
along."

"Let's take him," said Eveley. "He can sit in front with me coming back,
and you can ride with Marie. He won't say a word, will you, Angelo?"

Mr. Hiltze seemed not altogether satisfied, but Angelo was already
half-way down the rustic stairs and headed for the garage, so he
contented himself with one final word of warning.

"Just keep quiet," he said to Angelo. "Do not even look at her. There
must be no fuss or confusion, or she will be afraid to come."

There was a heavy fog rolling up through the canyons, and Eveley, in her
state of excitement, found the car prone to leap wildly through the misty
white darkness. There was a great ringing in her ears, and her pulses
were pounding. Hiltze at her side was silent and preoccupied, and Angelo
in the rear sat huddled in a corner, in the rug which Eveley had tucked
about him.

"We do not want any frozen passengers to bring home," she had said, with
a smile.

They spun swiftly along University, slowing for East San Diego where
there were officers with bad reputations among speeders, through La Mesa,
the cross on Mt. Helix showing faintly in the pale moonlight, through El
Capon, out beyond Flynn Springs where the pavement left off.

"Are you tired?" asked the man, stirring closer to Eveley's side.

"No," she said, with a laugh that was really a sob. "But I am so out of
breath, and thrilled, and--all stirred up, like a silly little
schoolgirl. I believe I am frightened."

"Do not be frightened, Miss Eveley," said Angelo suddenly, reassuringly.
"I'll look after you. If we do not like the little Greaser, we'll just
ditch her."

"You must not be afraid," said Hiltze, pressing his arm companionably
against her elbow. "You know I will take care of you. And you will like
the girl. She is just a timid, nerve-racked child. You will love her in
time. But this is not a question of love, only of service,--one phase of
the scheme of Americanization that is sweeping the country. It has to
come through the women, Eveley, you know that. It has to be born into the
babies of the next generation."

An audible sniff came from the back seat, but Angelo was lustily clearing
his throat.

"You sound like a stump speaker," he said critically. "Did you get that
way selling autos, or did you used to be an agitator or something?"

Mr. Hiltze made no reply. He was leaning forward now, anxiously scanning
the road. "We turn soon. Drive slowly, please. I do not know the road
very well. Oh,--there it is,--I see it now. Just beyond the little clump
of trees, this side of the big rock. Turn to the right,--the road is safe
enough, but a little rough. We only go a little farther,--yes, to the
right a little more,--down-grade, but it is not very steep. Now, pull off
a little and stop. Yes, you wait here now, will you, while I go on to the
shack? The road does not lead up to it. You need not be afraid, you are
close to the main road though you can not see it for the shrubs and
rocks. She does not want the Mexicans to know where nor how she goes."

"Will you be gone long?" asked Eveley, gazing somewhat fearfully into the
black shadows about her.

"Oh, just a few minutes. It is only a little bit of a way, and Marie is
ready to come at once."

"How does she know you are coming after her?" asked Angelo.

"I told her I would come to-night if I could make arrangements for her,
and she said she would be ready. She has only a small bag, so her
preparations are simple. Now, don't be frightened, Eveley. You know I
would not leave you if there were any danger. Angelo will be with you."

"You bet I will. Beat it, Mister, and cop the lady."

Eveley and Angelo listened in silence, as Hiltze strode quickly away.
When the last sound had echoed to silence, Angelo leaned over the seat,
his thin dark face close to Eveley's.

"Say, Miss Eveley, where did you pick up that guy?"

"He was the salesman who sold me my car, but he has many friends who are
my friends also, so I have met him often. He was only selling autos
temporarily, and is making plans now to go into business for himself."

"I'll bet your friend Inglish ain't stuck on him."

"Not unnaturally," admitted Eveley, laughing. "He is not."

"Well, he's a smart guy, Inglish is," said Angelo shrewdly. "You can
pretty well put it down he's on the level about folks."

"You do not seem partial to Mr. Hiltze, Angelo. But he is most kind and
sympathetic, and no one works harder for the Americanization of the
foreign element than he does."

"Lots of folks work hard for something to keep the real things dark. I
guess he's got a mash on this dame."

Eveley was silent.

"Don't you think so?"

"No, I hardly think so."

"Oh, you can't tell. Some guys can have mashes on two or three at a time,
you know."

"Angelo, please, let's not talk this way. I do not like it. And I do not
wish my friends to criticize my other friends. I know you like Mr.
Inglish best of all, and that is why you try to underrate the others--but
please don't."

"Oh, I think he is smart enough," said Angelo ingratiatingly. "It ain't
that. I just don't like his wishing foreign dames off on to you because
you are easy and will stand for it."

"Listen--they are coming."

Angelo got out then and clambered in beside her, and they both peered
into the darkness whence footsteps came. The two were walking slowly,
Hiltze leading the girl carefully. She walked shrinkingly, her face
showing deathly pale in the shadowy night.

Eveley got out at once and went to meet them, surprised at the great wave
of tenderness sweeping over her. She felt somehow that it was a daughter
of hers, coming back to her out of suffering and sorrow. She put her arms
protectingly about the girl, and kissed her cheek.

"Marie," she said softly, "you are going to be my sister. I--I think I
love you already. I felt it when I saw you come out of the darkness."

The girl did not speak, but her slender fingers closed convulsively about
Eveley's, and there was a catch like a little sob in her throat.

Eveley herself helped her into the car, and pulled the rugs and blankets
about her.

"It is very foggy, and the air is cold. We do not want a little sick girl
on our hands. Pull them close about you. Oh, your cape is very light--you
must take my furs. It is much warmer in front, and I do not need them.
Now, are you all ready? This is my little pal Angelo Moreno with me, but
don't pay any attention to him to-night. You will see him again. Now, all
ready and off we go."

Angelo sat silently musing in his corner during the long ride back to
town, and Eveley sang softly almost beneath her breath. In the back seat
there was silence, too. Only once Eveley turned to call to them blithely:

"I was frightened and anxious at first, but now I feel happy and full of
hope. I think you are going to bring me great good fortune, Sister
Marie."

"You are--most heavenly kind," said Marie, in slow soft English, with the
exquisite toning of her Spanish tongue.

"Oh, Marie," cried Eveley rapturously. "Those are the first words I ever
heard you say--such kind and loving words. I shall never forget them."

The rest of the ride was taken in absolute silence, and at the door of
her cottage when she ran the car into the garage, Angelo carried Marie's
bag up the steps silently, and Hiltze helped her, while Eveley ran
hospitably in front to have the window open and the lights on. She thrust
out an eager hand to help Marie through the window, and then she gaily
faced their escorts.

"Not to-night," she cried. "You can not come in even for a minute. Sister
Marie and I are going to have hot chocolate all by ourselves, and--and
find out how we like each other's looks. Many thanks--good night."

Then she closed the window and turned to the slender shrinking figure at
her side, drawing back the heavy hood that shielded the girl's face to
look into the features of the little foreign waif she had taken to her
heart.



CHAPTER XIV

NEW LIGHT ON LOYALTY


A quick thrill of pleasure swept over Eveley as she looked into the face
of her young guest.

"Duty?" No, it would be a joy to teach this soft and lovely creature the
glorious principles of freedom, justice and equality. This was Eveley's
sphere--she felt it--she knew it. She took Marie's slender hands in both
of hers, and squeezed them rapturously.

"Oh, I am so happy," she cried ecstatically. "I think you are adorable."

For Marie's soft dark eyes, the soft waves of dark hair drooping over the
low forehead, the slender oval of the olive tinted face, the crimson
curving lips, the shrinking figure presented such a picture of exquisite
helplessness that Eveley's brave and buoyant soul rose leaping to the
appeal.

She removed the dark cape from Marie's shoulders, and took her bag,
leading her into the small east bedroom which had been so charmingly
dressed for her.

"This is your home now, Marie, I hope for a long, long time. It is your
home, and you are as free as a bird. You are not my servant, but my
sister and my friend. I want you to be happy. You are to think as you
like, do as you like, go or stay as you like. You are mistress of your
own life, now and all the time."

"It is very lovely," said Marie softly. "And you are an angel from
Heaven."

"Not a bit of it," laughed Eveley. "You do not know me. I am the humanest
thing you ever saw in your life." She lifted Marie's bag lightly to a low
table. "Now, this door opens to the bath--my bedroom door leads into it
from the opposite side. And this is your closet, and these drawers are
all empty, so use them as you wish. Why don't you put on a negligee, now,
and rest? And while you are alone for a minute, to collect yourself and
unpack your bag, I shall run out and put on the chocolate. We must have a
hot luncheon after our cold ride. Are you very cold? I think I'd better
light the fire in your grate--it is all ready. There, that is better now.
If I ever do get married I must certainly have wonderful luck, if there
is any faith in signs, for I do build the fieriest fires. Now, do not
hurry, I'll come back in a few minutes. I think I shall put on a negligee
too," she added, as Marie drew a silk gown from her bag. "And then we'll
be surely settled down and right at home together."

With a warm and dazzling smile, she ran out to put the chocolate on the
grill, and arrange the sandwiches and fruit and cake on the table around
the bowl of drooping roses, and then, humming blithely, hurried into her
own room to change from her heavy dress to a soft house gown.

When, a few moments later, she returned to Marie, she found her standing
pensively in the center of the room, the heavy folds of a dark red gown
falling about her graceful figure, her head sunk on her breast in
reverie. Eveley put her arms around her tenderly.

"You are beautiful," she said. "Don't worry, dear. You are going to be
very happy, even yet. Just trust me--and--do you know the song of the
Belgian girl--Well, we shall make an American Beauty of you, sure enough.
Just try to be happy, and have confidence in me, Marie. I shall never go
back on you. My, how quick you were! Your bag is all unpacked, isn't it?"
She glanced with quickly appraising eyes at the heavy silver articles of
toilet laid out on the dressing-table, and at the gowns swinging from the
pole in the closet.

"Come along, baby sister," she said affectionately, "or the chocolate
will run all over the grill."

There was deep if unvoiced appreciation in Marie's eyes as she observed
the fine heavy furniture of the little dining-room, the lace doilies on
the mahogany table, the fine pieces of china, and the drooping roses.
Eveley led her gaily to her place at the table, and sat down beside her.

"We really ought to ask a blessing," she said. "I feel such a fountain of
gratitude inside of me. My own sister was ten years older than I, and
there were no babies afterward for me to make a fuss over. This is a
brand-new experience, and I am just bubbling over."

"But I am no baby," said Marie, smiling the wistful smile that suggested
tears and heartaches. "I think I am quite as old as you."

"Oh, impossible," gasped Eveley. "Why, I am twenty-five years old."

"Really!" mocked Marie, and she laughed--and Eveley realized it was the
first time Marie had laughed. "Well, I am twenty-three and a half."

"Oh, you can't be. Mr. Hiltze said you were a child, and you are so
little and slim and young."

"You have been a woman, living a woman's life, with all a woman's
interests. But our women are sheltered, kept away from life, and that is
why I am like a child in facing the world--because I have never faced it.
I look young, and act young, because--well, with us, our women marry
early. If they do not, they must retain the charm of youth until they do.
That is what we are taught, it is our business as women to be young and
lovely until we marry."

"I love to hear you talk," said Eveley irrelevantly. "You are just like a
chapter out of a new and thrilling story--See, I have let my chocolate
grow cold just looking at you, and listening. I am very glad you are
nearly as old as I--we can not only be sisters, but twins if you like."

Marie sipped her chocolate, daintily, dreamily. Then she looked at Eveley
searchingly.

"Is this your patriotism?" she asked at last. "To throw open your home on
a moment's notice, to a stranger from a strange land?"

"We call it Americanization," said Eveley. "We call it the assimilation
of--of--" She hesitated, not wishing to speak of "flotsam and jetsam" to
this soft and pliant creature. "We call it the assimilation of the whole
world into American ideals."

"Then," said Marie slowly, dark eyes still searching Eveley's face, "I
suppose, having this vision of patriotism yourself, you can understand
patriotism of others from other lands? You can understand why people
plot, and steal, and kill--for love of country? My own land, for
instance--so many call us bloody butchers because we fight for our
country and for freedom. But you--you know what patriotism is. And you
can understand, can you not?"

"Of course I understand," said Eveley rather confusedly, for the Mexican
business was a terrible muddle to her. "I understand that your men must
fight to save their country from the rebels and anarchists who would
wreck and ruin her."

"Yes, but--it is the rebels and anarchists who would save her," said
Marie, with childish earnestness. "I--we--I am of the revolutionists. My
father was killed. My brothers were killed. My sisters were made captive.
But still the struggle goes on. The best of our men must fight and die.
Poor Mexico must struggle and blunder on from one disaster to another,
until at last she rises triumphant and free among the nations of the
world. It is those in power in her own land from whom Mexico has most to
fear--those who would sell her, body and soul, land and loyalty, to
foreign devils for gold. It is not against the outside world we fight--it
is the vile, the treacherous ones inside our borders."

"But how can you tell who is for, and who against?" asked Eveley
bewildered. "They all promise so much--and peace is assured--but there is
no peace. And who can tell where freedom really lies?"

"Alas, it is true," said Marie sadly. "But those with eyes that see and
hearts that love, know that Mexico is still in the hands of traitors, and
that the spirit of revolution must live."

"Of course you know more about it than I do," admitted Eveley. "We--we do
not understand the situation at all. I--think perhaps they are too shrewd
for us. Let's not talk of it--it excites you, dear. I want you to rest
and be quiet. I did not know that any one could love--Mexico--like that."

"Have you seen Mexico? Oh, not the dry, barren border country, but my
Mexico, rich with jewels and gold, studded with magnificent cities,
flowering with rare fruits and spices, a mellow, golden, matchless land,
peopled by those who are skilled in arts and science, lovers of beauty,
and--Ah, you do not know Mexico. You know only the half-breed savages who
run the borderland, preying on Mexican and American alike. You do not
know the real Mexico of beautiful women, and brave and gallant men. How
could you know?"

Then her voice became soft and dreamy again. "I visited here long years
ago. I was out in your Old Town, where the Indian maid Ramona lived. I
stood in the square there. Do you know the story, Eveley, of the early
days when your Captain Fremont and his band of soldiers stood there,
ready to lower the flag of Mexico and to raise in its place your Stars
and Stripes? As your soldier stepped forward to tear down our flag, a
little girl of Mexico, another Marie like me, who was watching with
aching heart from the window of the 'dobe house on the other side,
shocked at the outrage, leaped from the casement forgetting her fear of
the foreign soldiers, and with one tug of her sharp knife cut the rope.
As the flag of Mexico fell, she caught it in her bare hands, and pressed
it against her lips, her little form shaken with sobs. 'Forgive me,' she
said to the soldiers, but it is the flag of my country, I could not see
it dragged in the dust.'"

Eveley leaned over and put her hand on Marie's arm. "I have heard the
story many times, but I never caught the glory of it before. It was the
feeling in her that is in me now--that is in all America--only ours is
for America, and hers was for Mexico--as yours is."

"When I look at you, and know the tenderness of you, and the great heart
of you, I feel that America must be the heaven of all the world, and
Americans the angels." Then Marie's face darkened, and her lips became a
scarlet line. "But who then has stood heartlessly by, and watched the
writhing and anguish of my Mexico, withholding the hand of power that
could bring peace? Who has stood by and smiled while Mexico lay crushed
and bleeding beneath the heel of despotism and treachery?"

"We haven't understood, Marie," begged Eveley. "We could not understand.
We--we naturally trust people, we are like that, you know, and--"

"And whom can one trust? My faith has been as my faith in God--yet when
so many falter, and then turn back in betrayal--how can one trust?
Perhaps we are all deceived--perhaps every faction in my country is
seeking only to despoil and enslave." Then her face grew bright and
luminous as she said, "But there are those who are princes of sacrifice
and love, risking all their world, their lives, their honor, for my
Mexico. If there be any faith, it is in them. You call them bandits--Yes?
I call them sons of God."

Eveley changed the subject as quickly as she could. The bandits who had
been driven desperately from crag to cranny, berated in the press,
denounced in the pulpit, deprecated on the platform--were these the
princes of Marie's Mexico, the idols of their women's hearts, the saviors
of their faith, their hope of freedom? It was very confusing.

She told Marie how she worked every day down-town, and how the little
Cloud Cote would be her own all day, how she had friends coming often in
the evening, friends who would love Marie, but whom she never need to see
except when her heart desired. And she told of the lovely lawn, with its
pavilions and pergolas and crevices and vines, and of the canyon drifting
away down to the bay.

And Marie sat with her chin in her hands, her eyes soft and humble,
dog-like, on Eveley's face.



CHAPTER XV

SERVICE OF JOY


It was not often that Eileen Trevis, who was manifestly born for
business, waxed hysterically enthusiastic. And so one morning a few days
later, when an incoherent summons came from her over the telephone,
Eveley was astonished almost to the point of speechlessness.

"What is it?" she gasped. "What has happened? Is it bad news?"

"Good, good, good," exulted Eileen. "Wonderful, delicious, thrilling.
Please hurry. It is nearly lunch-time, isn't it? I have been trying to
get you all morning,--come quickly.--Never mind about your luncheon.--Are
you coming?"

"I am on the way," shouted Eveley, crashing the receiver on to its hook,
and flying with scant ceremony from the office, hoping it was truly the
luncheon hour, but scorning to waste the time to look.

"She is in love," she said aloud as she ran down the stairs, spurning a
tardy elevator. "She is in love, and she is engaged, or maybe she has
eloped and is already married. Eileen Trevis,--of all people in the
world. Whoever would have thought it?"

Only the absence of traffic officers in that part of the city kept Eveley
from arrest that day, and only the protection of Heaven itself saved her
from total wreckage, for she spun around corners, and dodged traffic
warts at a rate that was positively neck-breaking. The last block before
she reached Eileen's home was one long coast, and she drew up sharply
with a triumphant honk.

Eileen was on the steps before she had time to turn off the engine.

"Is it a husband?" cried Eveley.

"No, babies," chortled Eileen.

Eveley put her fingers over her lips, and swallowed painfully.

"It isn't your turn," she said disapprovingly. "You have to do these
things in proper order. You can't run backward. It isn't being done."

"Don't be silly," said Eileen. "Hop out, and come in. I am having a
nursery made out of the maid's bedroom that has never been used. It is
perfectly dear, with blue Red-Riding-Hoods, and blue wolves and blue
Jacks-and-Jills on a white background."

"There is something wrong about this," said Eveley solemnly, as she
followed Eileen into the house, and up the two flights of stairs to her
apartment.

"It is Ida's babies, stupid," explained Eileen at last. "I am to have
them after all. Poor Jim's sister is ill, and I must say, it almost
serves her right,--she was so snippy about the children."

"Oh, Ida's babies! And has the Aunt-on-the-Other-Side-of-the-House had a
change of heart?"

"Yes, a regular one. Heart failure, they call it. I tried so hard to get
them when Ida died, but Agnes flatly refused to give them up and since
her brother was their daddy and he was alive, I could not do much. I
asked for them again, you know, when Jim died, and she was ruder than
ever. But since the dispensation of heart failure, she can not keep them.
I got a letter this morning, and wired for them to start immediately and
I just got an answer that they will be here to-morrow afternoon. Then I
sent for the decorators."

"You aren't any mother for small children," protested Eveley, with an
argumentative wave of her hand. "You are born for business. Everybody
says so. You do not know anything about babies."

"Oh, yes I do," cried Eileen ecstatically. "They have fat legs and
dimples, and Betty sucks her thumb and has to be scolded, and Billy
shouts 'More jam' and smudges it on his knees."

"Are you giving up your position?"

"Oh, mercy, no. We have to live. Poor Jim only left them insurance and
nothing else, and that did not last very long. I sent the other aunt a
small check every month to help along and sort of heap coals of fire on
her head at the same time. No, I shall have to work harder than ever now.
But I get one seventy-five a month now,--and lots of families live on
less."

"Who will keep house then--Betty?"

"Don't ask silly questions, Eveley, I am so nervous anyhow I hardly know
what I am saying. You remember my laundress, don't you? She is so nice
and motherly and a Methodist and respectable and all that,--only old and
hard up. She is coming to live with us,--she will have the den for her
room, and is closing her cottage. She is to keep house and look after the
babies while I am at work. She only charges twenty-five a month, so I can
manage. The rent does seem high, fifty dollars,--but we need the room,
though you all thought it was so extravagant for me to have such a large
apartment to myself. But you know how I am, Eveley,--I like lots of
space,--a place for everything, and everything where it belongs. So I was
willing to stand the expense, and now it is a good thing I did. Come and
see the baby room."

Eveley duly admired the blue Red-Riding-Hoods and Jacks-and-Jills,
exclaimed over the tiny white beds, and tiny white tables and chairs, and
then said:

"You seem to be enjoying this experience, so I suppose you do not feel it
is your duty, nor anything sordid like that?"

"Oh, no," laughed Eileen. "I am doing it because I am just crazy about
those babies, and I am sort of lonely, Eveley, though I have never
realized it before. And when I think of coming home to a frolic with fat
little babies in white dresses and blue ribbons,--well, I am so happy I
could fairly cry."

So Eveley put her arms around her, and kissed her, and offered a few
suggestions about appropriate food for angel babies,--feeling very wise
from her recent experience with Nathalie and Dan, and invited them all to
go driving with her on Saturday afternoon, and mentally planned to send
them an enormous box of candy in the morning after their arrival, and
then said she must hurry back to work.

"Oh, you poor thing," cried Eileen in contrition. "You did not have any
luncheon at all, did you? Wait until I fix a sandwich and you can slip
into the dressing-room and eat it. It will only take a minute. You may
have some of these animal cookies too,--I got a dollar's worth,--I knew
the babies would love them. Now, Eveley, won't you come to dinner
to-morrow night and meet my little blesseds? The train comes at six-ten,
and Mrs. Allis, I mean, Aunt Martha,--we have decided to call her Aunt
Martha,--will have dinner all ready for us."

"Certainly I'll come," said Eveley promptly. "I shall love it. And I'll
come for you in the car and take you to the station."

After work that night, Eveley went into the ten-cent store, and bought a
startling array of drums and horns and small shovels, and sent them out
to Eileen's for the babies. And that night she insisted that Nolan must
come to dinner with her to hear the great good news.

"It is just because she wants to do it," she said happily. "That is why
she is so full of joy. It is plain selfishness,--she has no thought of
doing her Christian duty nor any such nonsense. And--well, you would
hardly know Eileen. Her eyes are like stars, and her voice runs up and
down stairs in beautiful trills, and she forgot to wear her hair net."

"Wait till Billy gets jam on her lace bedspread, and Betty cuts up her
new bonnet to get the pretty flowers, and wait till they both get mad and
yowl at once,--she'll be lucky if she remembers her Christian duty then."

"Isn't he crabbish, Marie?" asked Eveley plaintively. "He doesn't like to
see people happy and thrilled and throbbing."

"Oh, yes, I do. I am thrilled and happy and throbbing myself right now.
There is something about this Cote in the Clouds that--"

"And dear Eileen has lived alone so long, poor thing."

"I can sympathize with her all right. I have, too."

"And now she will have a home, a real home--"

"My own dream for years."

"Sweet companionship--"

"Heaven on earth, Eveley, heaven on earth."

"Something to live for--"

"Alas, how I envy her."

"Nolan, if you do not keep still and pay attention, I shall stop talking
and let you propose,--right before Marie,--and then where will you be?"

"Married, I hope."

So Eveley decided there was no use to try to talk sense with Nolan, but
she arranged to call for him at eight o'clock the next morning to take
him to Eileen's and show him the blue Red-Riding-Hoods and the toys.

As she left the house to keep her engagement with Nolan, she was
surprised to see Mrs. Severs starting out, for Mrs. Severs was not used
to being out so early.

"Why, little Bride, whither away?" laughed Eveley.

Mrs. Severs flushed. "I am going to spend the day with father," she
admitted, rather shyly. "It is sort of lonesome here alone all the
time,--and we have lots of fun in the little cottage on the hill. And
sometimes we go out on the beach and lie on the sand,--he takes me in his
jitney. He thinks I need more sunshine and fresh air."

"He is great, isn't he?" said Eveley warmly.

"He is dear," cried Mrs. Severs, the quick color surging her face. "I am
not very well, and he is so gentle and sweet to me. I--wish I had been
more patient,--I am very lonely now. But we are great chums. He has
taught me to play pinochle, and I fill his pipe for him. And onions
aren't so bad."

"Hum," thought Eveley, as she drove down-town. "You can't suit some
people, no matter how finely you adjust their difficulties." Then she
brightened. "Still, it is better to love each other in two houses, than
to be bad friends in one,--as they were."

That evening, she and Eileen stood at the station impatiently
waiting,--having arrived at five-thirty, fearing the train might come
ahead of time.

"Oh, Eveley," Eileen wailed. "Suppose they should not like me?"

Eveley laughed at that. "Suppose you do not like them?" she parried.

"I do. I haven't seen them for over two years, but they are adorable.
They are seven now. The prettiest things,--long yellow curls, and--"

"Billy will probably be shaved by this time,--I mean barbered."

"Oh, never. No one would cut off curls like his. Their hair will be
longer I suppose, probably darker,--and Betty lisps and swallows while
she is talking,--"

"Oh, she will be over that now."

"In two years? Why, certainly not. They will be just the same, only more
so."

Eveley began to experience a curious internal sinking. Eileen was too
deliriously optimistic about those children. They were angel babies, of
course, for Eileen said so, but Eveley remembered Nathalie and Dan,
angels, too,--but how they shouted and tore through the house. And they
were always exhibiting fresh cuts and bruises, and Dan had insisted on
the confiscation of his curls at four years. If Billy was still wearing
curls at seven, he needed a tonic for he was not regular.

"Eileen," she began very gently, "you--you mustn't expect too many
dimples and curls. Children are angels,--but they are funny, too. They
are always bleeding, you know, and--"

"Bleeding!" gasped Eileen. "Agnes never mentioned bleeding! Do they
always do it?"

"Always. They are always getting themselves smashed and scratched, and
blood runs all over them, and gets matted in their hair, and their hands
are constitutionally dirty, and--they always have at least one finger
totally and irrevocably smashed. Some times it is two fingers, and once
in a while a whole hand, but the average is one finger."

Eileen looked at her friend in a most professional manner.

"I do not know if you are trying to be insulting, or just amusing, but I
saw those children. I was right there for three weeks only two years ago,
and they were always clean, they had curls, and they were certainly not
smashed or I should have noticed it."

"They shout, too, Eileen," Eveley went on wretchedly, determined to
prepare Eileen for the shock that was sure to follow. "They--they just
whoop. And--"

"If you can not be a little pleasanter, dear, suppose you go and wait for
me in the car. I am too nervous. I simply can not stand it."

"I do not want to be unpleasant, and I shall not say another word. I just
wanted to remind you of--of the shouting--and the blood."

"One would think they were savages, Eveley, instead of my own sister's
little babies."

"Here comes the train," cried Eveley, and added in a soft whisper that
Eileen could not hear, "Oh, please, for Eileen's sake, let 'em have
dimples and curls, and don't get 'em smashed before the train stops."

Hand in hand, with eager shining eyes, the girls ran along the platform,
and when the porter put down his stool beneath the steps, the first thing
that appeared was a small dimpled girl with golden curls, and a
flower-like face beneath a flower-laden bonnet.

Eileen leaped upon her, catching her in her arms, and in her rapturous
delight, she did not hear a small brusk voice exclaiming, "Oh, pooh, I
don't need your old stool."

And she did not notice Eveley's gasp,--for Eveley had seen a small
sailor-clad form hurtle itself from the step and fall flat upon the
gravel platform. It was not until a sudden lusty roar went up that Eileen
remembered she had two babies en route. She dropped Betty like a flash,
and turned.

The porter very grimly picked up the child, and held him out, and Eileen
saw with horror that his face was fairly sandpapered from the fall, and
blood was starting from a dozen tiny pricks.

"If this is yourn, for Gawd's sake, take 'im," begged the porter. "He's
fell off'n everything and into everything between here and Seattle."

Eileen clung desperately to Betty's moist hand.

"Don't get scared, Auntie," chirped the small bright voice. "Billy always
falls into things, and he ain't never broke anything yet,--himself, I
mean, arms or legs or necks,--he breaks lots of dishes and vases and
things like that."

Eileen was stricken dumb, but Eveley took the writhing roaring boy from
the porter's hand, and dusted him lightly with her handkerchief.

"Why, where are your curls, Billy?" she demanded, hoping to distract his
attention. And she succeeded only too well, for he stopped so suddenly in
the midst of a loud wail that he almost choked. When he finally recovered
his breath, he snorted derisively.

"Curls! Huh! I ain't no girl. I ain't got any curls. I never did have
curls."

"Oh, yes, you did," she argued. "Two years ago you had beautiful, long
golden curls just like Betty's."

Billy hunched up his shoulders and clenched a small brown fist.

"You got to say, 'Excuse me for them words,'" he said belligerently.
"Ain't so, and you got to say it."

Scenting battle, Eveley hastily muttered the desired words, and passed
him over to Eileen.

Billy thrust out a sturdy hand, but to Eileen's evident delight he
refused to be kissed.

"Betty's got to be whipped, Aunt Eileen," he announced. "Aunt Agnes told
me to tell you all she did on the train, and you would whip her. She
stuck a pin in a fat man that was asleep,--that's the man right
there,--Say, didn't Betty stick a pin in you?"

But the fat man gave them a venomous glare, and hurried away. "And she
pulled the beads off of that blonde lady's coat,--and if you don't
believe it, you can look in her pocket 'cause she's got 'em yet. And she
swiped a box of candy from that lady in the yellow suit, and the lady
said the porter did it, and they had an awful fight. And she sang _The
Yanks Are Coming_ in the middle of the night and everybody swore
something awful. And she wouldn't eat anything but ice-cream at the
table, and one meal she had five dishes."

Eveley and Eileen had listened in fascinated silence during this recital
of his sister's wrongdoing. But Betty stuck a fat thumb between rosy
lips, and drooped her eyes demurely behind her curling lashes.

"Did--you do all that, Betty?" demanded Eileen at last, very faintly.

"I did more than that," she said proudly. "I put the pink lady's bedroom
slippers in a man's traveling bag, and they haven't found it out yet. And
I slipped Billy's wriggly lizard down the black lady's neck, and she said
a naughty word. And--"

"And what did Billy do?"

Betty's lips curled with scorn. "Billy? He didn't do anything. He's too
good. He don't ever do anything."

Billy advanced with the threatening hunch of his shoulders and clench of
the brown fists.

"You say, 'Excuse me for them words,'" he said in a low voice. "And say
it quick."

Betty jerked her finger from her mouth and mumbled rapidly in a voice of
frightened nervousness, "Excuse me for them words, please excuse me for
them words." And then, as her brother's shoulders relaxed, she sidled up
to him, rubbing herself affectionately against his arm, and whispered,
"Aw, Billy, I was only joking. You ain't mad at me, are you?"

"Let's go," said Eileen. "I feel--faint."

"Sticking pins is good for faintness," said Betty hopefully. "I did it to
Aunt Agnes twice when she nearly fainted, and she came to right away."

"And she gave Betty a good whipping."

"Yes, she did, and I only did it to cure her," said Betty in an aggrieved
voice.

"Let's go fast," begged Eileen. "Take your handkerchief, Billy, and see
if you can wipe a little of the dirt and blood off your face."

"He mustn't do that," interrupted Betty promptly. "Handkerchiefs is full
of germs, and if he gets the germs in his scratches he gets blood poison
and dies. You got to wait till you get home, Billy, and then lie on your
back on Aunt Eileen's bed, and she'll take clean gauze and soak 'em off
in cold water. If you haven't got any gauze handy you can use mine, but
you'd better buy some. Billy uses as much as a dollar's worth of gauze in
no time."

Eileen put her hand over her face, and turned away. The children
followed, looking about them in frank interest and pleasure.

"Is that a palm tree?" asked Betty. "Billy says God never made 'em grow
like that. He says men just tie those fins on top to make 'em look funny.
Did God do it, Aunt Eileen? What did He do it for?--Oh, is this your car,
Aunt Eileen? Billy knows how to start a car so you better not let him in
it by himself." Then as the small boyish shoulders assumed the dreadful
hunch, she cried excitedly, "Oh, no, he can't either, honest he can't. He
doesn't know what to turn, nor anything. I was joking. You ain't mad at
me, are you, Billy?"

Eveley slipped silently into her place behind the wheel, and Billy opened
the door for his aunt and sister, banged it smartly after their entrance,
and climbed in front with Eveley.

"They oughtn't to let women drive cars," he said in a judicial tone.
"Women is too nervous. There ought to be a law against it."

Eveley laughed. "I think so, too," she agreed pleasantly. "But until
there is such a law, I think I shall keep on driving."

Billy stared at her suspiciously. "You don't need to agree with me to be
polite," he said. "It won't hurt my feelings any. I ain't used to it,
anyhow."

Betty, in the rear seat, cuddled cozily against her rigid aunt and kept
up a constant flow of conversation in her pretty chirpy voice.

"Are you an old maid? Aunt Agnes said you were. Did you do it on purpose,
or couldn't you help yourself? I am not going to be an old maid. I am
engaged now. Billy tried to be engaged, too, but Freckle Harvey cut him
out."

Billy suddenly squared about in his seat, and Betty shivered into a small
and terrified heap. "Aw, no, he didn't either. Billy didn't like her
worth a cent. He thinks she is just hideous, don't you, Billy? You ain't
mad at me, are you, Billy?"

When Eveley drew the car up before the big apartment-house on Sixth
Street, Billy forgot his temporary burst of manners. With a hoarse shout
he slid deftly over the door and dashed up the steps. Shrieking
gleefully, Betty followed swiftly in his wake.

"Oh, Eveley," faltered Eileen, "I am afraid they scratched the car." She
got out hastily, and caught her lips between her teeth as she saw the
long jagged scratch on the door where Betty's sharp heel had passed.

"Never mind," said Eveley bravely. "It doesn't make a bit of difference.
We all know how children are."

"I--I didn't," said Eileen weakly. "I--guess I am an old maid. I hadn't
realized it."

In Betty's extravagant delight over the new room, and Billy's quiet but
equally sincere pleasure, something of Eileen's own enthusiasm returned,
and although her ministrations upon Billy's marred countenance, performed
under the critical and painstaking eye of Sister Betty, left her
weak-kneed and pale, she took her place at the table with something very
much akin to pleasure, if it were not the jubilant delight she had
anticipated.

Eveley went home immediately after dinner, stopping on her way for Nolan.
They spent an uproarious hour over her account of the twins and their
reception. And at last, weak with laughter, Eveley wiped her eyes, and
said with deep sympathy:

"Poor Eileen! And the twins are adorable. But I believe one needs to be
born with children and grow up with them gradually. For when they spring
upon you full grown they are--well, they are certainly a shock."



CHAPTER XVI

MARIE ENCOUNTERS THE SECRET SERVICE


In the beginning Eveley had hesitated to leave her newly adopted sister
alone in the Cloud Cote in the evening, but as Marie seemed absolutely to
know no fear, and as time did not hang at all heavily upon her hands,
Eveley was soon running about among her friends as she had always done.
But with this change: there was always a light in the window at the top
of the rustic stairs when she came home, and a warm and tender welcome
awaiting her.

Marie had come to be charmingly useful in the Cloud Cote. She prepared
breakfast while Eveley dressed, and did the light bit of housework nicely
and without effort. Eveley usually had her luncheon down-town, but in the
evening dinner was well started before she reached home. Her mending was
always exquisitely done, even before she knew that mending was necessary,
and among her lingerie she often came upon fine bits of lace she had not
seen before.

After long and loving persuasion, Marie had consented to meet Eveley's
sister and brother-in-law, and Eveley had them in for dinner. Marie was
quiet that night, scarcely speaking except now and then to the babies.
The next week, however, when Winifred asked both girls to dinner, Marie
went without argument, and seemed to take a great deal of quiet
satisfaction in the visit.

Kitty and Eileen she met often in the Cloud Cote, but always withdrew as
quickly as possible to her own room to leave Eveley alone with her
friends. With Nolan, Eveley openly insisted that Marie should develop a
friendship.

"Why, he will very likely be my husband one of these days, when he gets
around to it," she explained frankly.

"Your husband," echoed Marie. "I thought Mr. Hiltze--"

"Oh, no," denied Eveley, flushing a little. "He is just a pleasant
in-between-whiles. We are fellow-Americanizers, that is all."

"Does Mr. Hiltze know that?" queried Marie.

"Oh, everybody knows that I belong to Nolan when the time comes," said
Eveley, laughing.

Nolan, urgently warned by Eveley, met Marie with friendly ease and asked
no questions. He took her hand cordially and said in his pleasant voice.
"Well, if you are Eveley's sister, I have a half-way claim upon you
myself, and you must count me in." And then he promptly began mashing
potatoes for their dinner, and Marie did not mind him at all.

When Amos Hiltze came to the Cloud Cote she joined serenely with them,
very easy and comfortable, always careful to go to her room before he
left, that he might have a little while alone with Eveley. For she saw
plainly that while he interested Eveley only in his enthusiasm for
Americanization, for him Eveley had a deeper and sweeter charm.

One Saturday afternoon when Nolan was busy, the two girls went out for a
picnic on the beach, a well-filled basket in the car for their dinner. On
a sudden impulse, Eveley turned to Marie and cried:

"Oh, little sister, how would you like to learn to drive? Then you can
take me to the office and have the car yourself to play with while I am
busy."

"Eveley," came the ecstatic gasp, "would you--let me?"

"Would I let you?" laughed Eveley. "Should you like it? Why, you have
been wanting to, haven't you? Why didn't you ask me, Marie?"

"Oh, I couldn't."

"Yes, you should have," said Eveley gravely. "I would have told you
honestly if I did not wish it. I said you must feel free to ask me for
anything, didn't I. And don't I always mean what I say--to you, at
least?"

"Does your love for Americanization carry you so far?" asked Marie
curiously.

Eveley was silent a moment. "I can not exactly count you Americanization,"
she said honestly. "I do not believe Americanizing you could add anything
to your sweetness, anyhow. You are just fun, and--You may not believe it,
Marie," she added rather shyly, for she was not a demonstrative girl, "but
I--really I love you."

Quick tears leaped to Marie's dark eyes, and she placed her head softly
against Eveley's shoulder, though she did not speak. Almost instantly
Eveley brushed away the wave of sentiment and gave her quick bright
laugh.

"Now listen, sweetness," she said. "It is like this. This is the clutch
that controls the gears. When it wabbles like this it is in neutral and
the car will not run. When you shove down with your left foot, and pull
the clutch to the left and backward, it is in low gear, and the car will
go forward when you let your foot back. You must do it very slowly, so
there will be no pull nor jerk. Like this."

So the afternoon wore away, the two girls laughing gaily as Marie made
her first bungling attempts to drive; but later, Marie was aglow with
exultation and Eveley with deep pride, because the little foreigner
showed real aptitude for handling the car.

Then in a lovely quiet part of the beach a little beyond La Jolla, they
had an early supper and drove home, Eveley at the wheel, singing love
songs, Marie humming softly with her.

"This is almost like sweethearting, isn't it?" asked Eveley turning to
look into the dark eyes fixed adoringly upon her. "Next to Nolan you
satisfy me more than anything else in the world. But don't tell Nolan. He
is jealous of you,--he thinks I like you better than I do him."

"You say you love me, Eveley. But do you? Is it the kind of love that can
understand and sympathize and forgive--yes, and keep on loving even
when--things are wrong?"

"Nothing could change my feeling for you, Marie," said Eveley positively.

"But if things were wrong?" came the insistent query.

"Well, I am no angel myself," answered Eveley, laughing again. "If you
are a naughty girl, I shall say, 'I will forgive you if you will forgive
me,' and there you are." She stopped again, to laugh. "But I can't think
of any wrong you could do, Marie. You just naturally do not associate
with wrong things."

"And you will always remember, won't you, what you have said about love
of one's country? That it excuses and glorifies everything in the world?"

But Eveley was singing again.

Eveley had made an arrangement to call for Nolan at the office at eight,
as they were going to Kitty's for a late supper with her and Arnold
Bender, so she kissed Marie good night when they reached home, and said:

"Will you be lonesome without your big sister, and boss?"

"I think I shall go down and watch the dark shadows in your beautiful
canyon," said Marie, clinging to Eveley's hand, and looking deeply into
her eyes.

"Aren't you afraid down there at night?" wondered Eveley. "I have lived
on top of the canyon all my life, and we played hide-and-seek there when
we were children, and I love it,--and yet when night comes, I do not even
go so far as the rose pergola unless Nolan is there to hold my hand and
shoo away the ghosts and things."

"That is our difference. You are afraid of the world and the night, I am
afraid only of men and women. I have lived alone, and have had wide dark
gardens to wander in. They have never harmed me. Only men have injured
me, and my family. So I love to slip down into the soft fragrant darkness
of the canyon and sit on the big stones or on the velvet grass, and see
my future in the shadows."

"But do not stay long. The whole canyon is yours to dream in, if it makes
you happy. But wear a heavy wrap and do not get chilled."

Then with a hasty kiss she ran down the steps to the car.

Eveley was tired that night. The first lesson in driving, the lazy supper
on the beach, and the long ride, left her listless and indolent. So after
their merry dinner, and a dance or two around the Victrola, she said she
had a headache and wanted to go home.

They drove very slowly along the winding road, and were quietly content.
Nolan opened the doors of the garage and Eveley ran the car into place;
then, as she was really tired, at the foot of the rustic stairs he said
good night, while she crept slowly up the steps.

For the first time, there was no Marie to welcome her. The room, though
lighted, looked dreary and forlorn without the pretty adopted girl.

"The little goosie," said Eveley, with a tender smile. "I suppose she is
still dreaming down in that spooky canyon. Maybe she has fallen asleep. I
shall have to go after her."

She took a small flash-light, and hurried down the rustic stairs and the
well-known path beyond the rose pergola, where she hoped to find Marie.

But Marie was not there.

Eveley knew every foot of the canyon by heart; she went surely and
without hesitation along the twisting, winding, rocky path, half-way down
the narrow slope.

"Marie," she called softly, "Marie."

But there was no answer.

"Maybe she is behind the live oak in the Rambler's Retreat," she thought,
and climbed up the steep bank from the path, clinging to bits of
shrubbery and foliage. But Marie was not there. And then as Eveley
turned, she heard quick running steps in the pathway under the swinging
bridge that spanned the canyon lower down.

Eveley sighed aloud in her relief,--then her breath caught in her
throat,--a gasp of fear.

For sounding clear and distinct above the light steps came a pounding of
heavier feet. Some one was following Marie up the path,--no, there were
two for there was another pounding a little fainter, farther away. Now
Eveley could hear the frightened intake of Marie's breath as she ran. Two
girls alone in the dark canyon.

Eveley clung desperately to the heavy shrubbery among which she was
crouching. She was about three feet above the path on the steep bank.
Clinging for support with one hand, she reached noiselessly about for a
stone, but there was nothing upon which she could lay her hand.

Below the path, the canyon dropped sharply for a long way, fifty or sixty
feet perhaps, not a precipice, but with a decided drop that could only be
descended with care. If Marie would only lie down and roll, she might be
able to hide among the bushes at the bottom. But Marie did not think of
that. Her one idea was to run faster and faster, in the hope of escaping
her pursuers.

"Marie," whispered Eveley sharply as the girl came up the path near her,
and Marie, hearing the faint sound, stopped suddenly in her tracks,
swaying, more frightened than ever.

"Lie down, lie down," urged Eveley, but Marie did not hear, and before
she could gather her wits to run on, a man leaped toward her, both arms
outstretched.

"I got you," he panted.

Marie, following the terrified instinct of every hunted animal, swung her
lithe body and ducked beneath his arm. And at that moment, Eveley,
tightening her hold upon the branches of the bush, drew up her feet,
braced herself against the bank for a moment, and then sprang heavily
against the man with both feet and sent him reeling head-first down the
canyon.

[Illustration: "Marie," whispered Eveley sharply.]

Like a flash, Marie flattened herself against the bank--one more dark
shadow among the others--and none too soon, for the second man was close
upon them, so close they could hear the heavy rasp of his breathing.
Eveley had not time to raise herself for another spring, so she crouched
against the bank in terror, hoping in his haste that he might pass them
by. But as he came near he paused suddenly, his attention attracted by
the sound of tearing brush, and the incoherent cries of his companion as
he rolled down the canyon. Taking it as an indication that the chase was
in that direction, he turned blindly to follow, and not knowing the lay
of the land, lost his footing at once and fell headlong.

Eveley was upon her feet in an instant.

"Run, Marie," she whispered, and in less than a moment they were hurrying
up the path behind the rose pergola under the magnolias and beneath the
light from their Cloud Cote.

"Wait," whispered Marie. "Let's hide a moment. They might see us going up
the stairs. Wait beneath the roses until they are gone."

Only faint sounds came up to them as the two men, bruised and sore,
painfully picked themselves up from the rocks and the prickly shrubs.
Evidently they realized there was no hope of further pursuit, for in a
short while the girls could hear the faint echo of their heavy footsteps
as they retraced their way down the canyon.

Eveley held Marie in her arms until the last sound had echoed away, and
then silently they climbed the stairs, crossed the little garden on the
roof, and crawled through the window into the safety of the Cote.

"Are you hurt, Marie?" asked Eveley, the first to break the tense silence
that fell upon them when they were conscious of shelter and security.

Marie shook her head. Then she moved one step toward Eveley, and asked in
a pleading whisper: "Are you angry with me? Do you hate me?"

"Oh, Marie, don't talk so," cried Eveley, nervous tears springing to her
eyes. "How could I be angry with you? But I was so frightened and
shocked. I did not know how very much I loved you. You must never go into
the canyon again at night. Never once,--for one minute. Will you promise
me?"

"I will promise whatever you wish, Eveley, you know."

Eveley smiled at her weakly, and turning to take off her wraps saw with
surprise that the sleeves were torn almost from her coat.

"I must have come down with quite a bang," she said faintly, suddenly
aware that her shoulders were quivering with pain.

With a little cry of pity, Marie ran to her, and tenderly helped to
remove her blouse. The tears ran down her face when she saw the red and
swollen shoulders beneath.

"Oh, my poor angel," she mourned. "All bruised and sore like that. For
me. You never should have done it."

Very sweetly she bathed the shoulders, and when Eveley crept painfully
into bed, she arranged soft compresses of cotton and oil for her to lie
upon. And she asked, shyly, if she might sit by the bed.

"Until you fall asleep," she pleaded. "I can not leave you like this,
when you are in such pain,--for me."

"Come and sleep with me, then," said Eveley. "I do not want to let you go
off alone, either, when--something so terrible might have happened to
you."

Eagerly and with great joy Marie availed herself of the privilege, and
slipped into her place beside Eveley.

"If you suffer in the night, please ask me to help you," she begged. "I
will not sleep, but I do not wish to speak until I know you are awake."

"You must sleep," said Eveley.

But Marie did not sleep. Sometimes Eveley would moan a little, turning
heavily, and then, without a sound, Marie was out of bed, replacing the
bandages with fresh ones, crooning softly over Eveley as a mother over a
suffering child.

Fortunately the next day was Sunday, and Eveley remained quietly on a
couch, with Marie waiting upon her like a tender Madonna. Nolan came up,
too, and insisted upon the full story of what had happened.

"I fell," said Eveley positively.

"You did not fall on your shoulder-blades," he said. "You girls have been
up to some monkey business, and I want to know."

After long insistence, Eveley told him of the night's adventure, Marie
sitting erect and rigid during the recital.

"Where did you go, Marie?" he asked, in deep concern.

"I went too far," she confessed regretfully. "But it was an exquisite
night, and I was happy. I went down farther and farther, and did not
realize it. Suddenly I looked up, and knew I was far, far down. I turned
at once.--Then some one called. A man's voice. I ran, and the steps came
pounding after me."

"You must not go into the canyon at night again, please, Marie. You are
too young. And--the canyon goes away down to the water-front where there
are a lot of Greasers and--I mean, half-breeds," he stammered quickly,
"all kinds of foreigners along the road down there! You must stay on top
of your canyon and be good."

The next morning, although Eveley knew her arms were too stiff and sore
for work, she decided to go to the office anyhow to see the day well
started.

"They will send me home, and I shall be here for luncheon with you. I can
not drive yet, so I'll just cross the bridge and go on the street-car."

As she stood on the swinging bridge, looking down into the lovely canyon,
it seemed impossible that there in the friendly shadows such horrible
dangers had menaced them. Of a sudden impulse, she ran back, and climbed
carefully down to where she had clung so grimly to the tangled vines and
had knocked Marie's assailant from the path.

No, it was no dream. The vines were torn and mangled and on the path were
the marks of trampling feet, and peering down the canyon she could
discern two distinct trails where the men had tumbled and reeled. She
slowly followed the trails, picking her way carefully, clinging to bits
of shrub. Her lips curved into a grim smile as she pictured their
surprise and pain. At the foot of the canyon she saw something shining
among the rocks.

She lifted it curiously, and turned it in her hand. It was clean and
shining,--a small steel badge marked Secret Service.

Eveley's eyes clouded, and her brows took on a troubled frown, as she put
the badge carefully into her purse.

"I shall never tell Marie," she said. "It would not help much with the
Americanization of a sweet and trusting foreign girl to know she had been
followed at night by a steel badge marked Secret Service."

And Eveley followed the path back to the bridge again with a grieved and
troubled air.



CHAPTER XVII

SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION


As the weeks passed, Eveley noticed a change in the conduct of the
honeymoon home beneath her. Many times in the early morning, she saw Mrs.
Severs going out with a covered basket and wearing an old long coat and a
tight-fitting small hat. And sometimes she met her in the evening, coming
home, dusty, tired and happy.

"I am going to father's," she would explain lightly. Or, "I have been out
with father to-day."

And at the quizzical laughter in Eveley's eyes, she would add defiantly:
"He is a darling, Eveley, and I was very silly. Why didn't you bring me
to my senses?"

For Mrs. Severs was feeling less well than usual, and in the long absence
of her husband every day, she was learning to depend on the brusk,
kindly, capable father-in-law. And many days, when she was not well
enough to leave home, he came himself, and the girls up-stairs could hear
him in the kitchen below, preparing dinner for Andy and his ailing bride.

"Whatever should I do without him, Miss Ainsworth?" she sometimes asked.
"He does everything for me. And I think he likes me pretty well, now he
is getting used to me. He is good to me,--his little funny ways are not
really funny any more, but rather sweet. I spoiled everything with my
selfishness, and he will never try to live with us again."

One evening, when Father-in-law had been particularly tender and helpful,
she looked at Eveley with brooding eyes, and said, "You are such a nice
girl, but I sort of blame you because father is not with us. You are so
much cleverer than I,--couldn't you have opened my eyes before it was too
late?"

And Eveley ran up the stairs shaking her slender fists in the air.
"Deliver me from brides," she said devoutly to the rose in the corner of
her roof garden. "Grooms are bad enough, but brides are utterly
impossible. I would not live with one for anything on earth. To think of
the wretched life they were living until I helped them to a proper
adjustment,--and now she holds me responsible. I always said
Father-in-law was the most desirable member of the family."

But even he disappointed her.

"Well, are you getting enough freedom?" she asked him pleasantly one
evening as she met him coming in.

He looked about cautiously before he answered. "Excuse me, miss," he said
apologetically, "but you are away off on some things. Freedom is all
right, but a little of it goes a long ways. Sometimes folks like company.
She," he said, with an explanatory wave of his thumb toward the house,
"she is a pretty fair sort. I've got so danged sick of having my own way
that, Holy Mackinaw, I'd try living with an orphan asylum for a change.
You see, I was just getting used to her, and so I kind of miss her
cluttering around under foot."

Eveley was quite annoyed at this turn of events, and her feeling of
perturbation lasted fully half-way up the rustic stairs. But by the time
she had crossed the roof garden and swung through the window she was
herself again. She caught Marie about the shoulders and danced her
through the room with a spinning whirl.

"Such a lark," she cried. "The most fun we are going to have. Listen,
sweetest thing in the world, we are going to have a party to-night, you
and I, and Nolan and Jimmy Ames. They are coming here, Jimmy for you of
course, for I always get Nolan if he is in the party."

"Oh, Eveley," gasped Marie, paling a little. "I can't. I--Mr. Hiltze said
I should not meet men, you know."

"Well, he is not the head of our family. And besides, he will not know a
thing about this. You will love Jimmy Ames. I nearly do myself. He is so
big and blond and boyish,--you know, the slow, good, lovey kind."

"But he'll ask--"

"Don't worry. I know Jimmy Ames. After one look at you, he will not be
able to ask questions for a month. Come, let's hurry. You must wear that
exquisite little yellow thing, and I'll wear black to bring you out
nicely."

"Oh, Eveley, you mustn't--"

"Well, Nolan likes me in black, anyhow. He says it makes me look
heavenly, and of course one ought to sustain an illusion like that if
possible. Now do not argue, Marie. We are going to have a perfectly
wonderful time, and you will be as happy as a lark."

For a moment longer Marie hesitated, frowning into space. Then she
suddenly brightened, and a wistful eagerness came into her eyes.

"Eveley, I am going to do whatever you tell me. If you wish me to be of
your party, I will. And if you say, 'Do not tell Mr. Hiltze,' I shall
never tell him. And if you say, 'Like Mr. Ames,' I shall adore him."

"That's a nice girl," cried Eveley, happily whirling into her chair at
the table and dropping her hat upon the floor at her side. "I couldn't
have planned anything nicer than this. Kitty and Arnold often have
parties with us, but it will be much better having you and Jimmy. He
looks very smart in his uniform."

"Uniform," faltered Marie suddenly.

"Yes,--Lieutenant Ames, you know,--Jimmy Ames."

"Lieutenant? Oh, Eveley, please, let's not. I--am not fond of the
military. I am afraid of soldiers. Let me--Have some one else dear,
please. Get Kitty this time, won't you? I am afraid."

"Wait till you see Jimmy. He isn't the snoopy overbearing kind that you
are used to. Can't you trust me yet, Marie? I wouldn't have you meet any
one who would be unpleasant or suspicious. You have found the rest of my
friends all right, haven't you?"

"Well, never mind," Marie decided suddenly. "I will come to the party,
but do not ever let Mr. Hiltze know, will you? He would be raging."

"Marie, do you love Amos Hiltze?"

"Love him! I hate him."

"Hate him? Then why in the world are you so afraid of him? You obey every
word he says, and follow every suggestion he makes. I thought you were
great friends."

Marie flushed and paled swiftly. "It is because I am grateful to him,"
she said at last, not meeting Eveley's eyes. "He brought me to you,--and
he helps me,--and I am, willing to do whatever he tells me except when
you wish something else. But I do not like him personally by any means,
and I wish he did not come here so much."

"I thought you were friends," Eveley repeated confusedly.

"He is in love with you--don't you know that?"

"Yes,--perhaps so. But Angelo says men can love two women simultaneously.
Angelo says there is something strange about his bringing--I mean," she
interrupted herself quickly, "Angelo wondered where he found you, or--or
something."

"Angelo is a good friend to you, Eveley. You might pay better heed to his
suggestions, to your own good," said Marie faintly.

"I thought,--oh, I do not know what I thought. Well, we can shunt Mr.
Hiltze off a little, if you wish. But you should not dislike him. He is
greatly interested in you, and so full of enthusiasm and eagerness for
this Americanization idea. He has been a great help to me, and he is very
clever. And since he brought us together we should love him a little. Any
one who struggles with Americanization deserves my patriotic and
sympathetic interest, at least."

"Yes, I know." And she added slowly: "One can show enthusiasm for the
things one hates worst in the world,--if there is a secret reason."

"You do not mean Mr. Hiltze, do you?" asked Eveley, with quiet loyalty.

"No, to be sure not. I only said one could."

"Mr. Hiltze is nothing to us. Toss him away. Come now, let's doll up for
our party."

They were two radiantly lovely girls who stood in the little garden on
the roof of the sun parlor, waiting for the men who ran up the wavering
rustic stairs to join them.

"Oh, girls," cried Nolan plaintively, as he saw them in their beauty. "It
is not fair of you to look like this. Marie, you are exquisite. Eveley,
you ought to be ashamed of yourself."

"Yes, we are," said Eveley pleasantly. "Jimmy, I want you to meet my
darling and adorable little friend, Marie Ledesma. This is Lieutenant
Ames, Marie."

Lieutenant Ames stood very tall and slim and straight as he looked into
Marie's face. Then he saw the soft appeal in her eyes.

"Be good to me," they seemed to beg, "be generous, and kind."

It was in answer to this plea of the limpid eyes that he held out his
hand with sudden impulse, and said:

"Miss Ledesma, when Eveley speaks like that, I know your friendship is a
priceless boon, and I want my share of it. I am receiving a sort of
psychic message that you and I are destined to be good comrades."

A sudden wave of light swept over her lovely face, and her lips parted in
a happy smile.

"Lieutenant Ames," she whispered in her soft voice, "do you really feel
so? And then you also are my friend?"

"Jimmy Ames, you stop that," cried Eveley. "Marie belongs to me, and you
must not even try to supplant me. I won't have it. Come on in, everybody,
and let's play, play, play to our heart's content."

Marie went through the window first, with a light slender swing of her
feet. But Eveley, as always plunging impulsively, lost her balance and
fell among the cushions. Nolan and the lieutenant followed laughing.

"We must take a day off and teach Eveley the approved method of making
entrance to a social gathering," said Nolan. "Are you all black and blue,
you poor child?" he asked, helping her up, for she had waited patiently
for his assistance.

It was a wonderfully happy party. They played the Victrola, and danced
merrily through the two rooms, around the reading table, through the
archway, winding among the chairs in the dining-room. When they were
tired, Marie brought her mandolin,--for having remarked once idly that
she could play it, Eveley that night had brought her one as a little gift
of love. And she played soft Spanish love-songs, singing in her pretty
lilting voice. Then altogether they prepared their supper and because the
night was still young and lovely, and they were happy and free from
pressing care, they decided suddenly for a drive. They crossed the bay on
the ferry to Coronado, and went down on the sands of the beach for a
while, standing quietly to watch the silver tips of the waves shining in
the pale moonlight. Then they drove out the Silver Strand and so home
once more.

Before they parted, they arranged for another party, two nights later,
and after long discussion agreed that it should be an evening swimming
party in the bay at Coronado, with a hot supper afterward in the Cloud
Cote.

"How did you like our Lieutenant Jimmy?" Eveley demanded, as soon as they
were alone.

"He is incomparable," said Marie simply.

"I knew it," cried Eveley ecstatically. "Nolan and I both said so.
Spontaneous combustion, that is what it was. Come and sleep with me again
to-night. It is such fun to go to bed and turn out the light and talk.
Did you ever do it?"

"No, my life has not been of that kind."

"But you will learn. I never saw any one learn as quickly as you
do,--especially things about men.--Now I shall begin by telling you how
adorable Nolan is, and you must interrupt me to say how wonderful Jimmy
is.--Did you ever have a sweetheart, Marie?"

Then she added quickly: "Wait, wait. I--I did not mean to ask
questions,--Excuse me, I am sorry. Let's talk of something else."

"No, let's talk of lovers," said Marie, snuggling close to Eveley, her
head lying against her shoulder. "I have never had the regular kind of a
lover,--your kind,--the kind that women want. My life was full of war and
horrors, and I had not time for the thrills of love. And the men I knew
were not the men that one would wish to love one."

"Then, this is your chance," said Eveley happily. "Now I am positively
sure that one of these days you will be a matchless American woman. You
are just ripe and ready for love. You can't escape it, you sweet thing,
even if you could wish. War and horrors were left behind in your old
home. Here in your new home you will know only peace and contentment and
love. Aren't you glad I adopted you? We must give Mr. Hiltze credit for
that anyhow, mustn't we?"

There was a sudden tension in the slender figure at her side. "Eveley,
are you so innocent? Do you never attribute evil motives to any one? Do
you always believe only good and beautiful and lovely things of those you
meet?"

"Well, I have no real reason for thinking mean or ugly things of any
one--not really. I never had any horrors in my life until the war came. I
have just lived along serenely and contentedly, and being fairly nice and
kind, I have no guilty conscience to trouble me, and no one has ever been
hateful or mean to me--not in anything that really counted."

Both were silent a moment, thinking, each in her different way, of the
contrast in their lives. Then Eveley went on, more slowly:

"I feel sometimes that we are living on the crest of a terrible
upheaval--that we are on the edge of a seething volcano which is
threatening and rumbling beneath us, each day growing fiercer and more
ominous, and that presently may come chaos, and we on the crater of life
will be dragged down into the furnace with the rest. I suppose," she
added apologetically, "it is because of the conditions that always follow
a war, the political unrest, the social chaos, the anarchistic tendencies
of every one. I am not in the midst of things enough to understand them,
but even up here on the top of our canyon, we sometimes get a blast of
the hot air from below, and it troubles us. Then we try to forget, and go
on with our playing. But the volcano still rumbles beneath."

Eveley slipped her hand out to take Marie's and found it icy cold.

"Did--did you ever feel so before?" asked Marie in a low strange voice.
"That you were living on the rim of a volcano, ready to catch and crush
you?"

"No, not before. It is just now--after the war. Conditions were never the
same before."

Then Marie burst into a passion of tears. "It is my fault," she sobbed.
"It is because I am here. All my life I have lived in the crater of a
volcano, and I have brought it upon you. It is a curse I carry with me.
It is the chaos from which I have come, and to which I must go again when
I leave you--it is that which destroys your peace."

Frightened and astonished, Eveley soothed her, cradling her in her arms.
"You little silly," she said tenderly. "You dear little goose. Don't you
believe any such nonsense as that. We are in a condition of turmoil, our
United States and all the rest of the world. It is not the affairs of
your Mexico that worry me--it is the tempest in my own country. And don't
you ever talk any more about going back. You shall never go back. You are
to stay here with me forever and ever, world without end, amen. You will,
won't you?"

Marie only stirred a little, and did not answer.

"Marie," cried Eveley, her voice sharp with fear. "Do you ever think
really of going back to--that? Answer me." And she gripped Marie's soft
shoulder with strong fingers.

"I do not think any more," said Marie gently. "But one always has a
feeling that one must return whence one has come, do you not think? It is
only that. It seems incredible that I, alone out of our struggling
thousands, should be let to come away and live serenely in a cloud cote,
does it not? And the struggle in Mexico goes on."

"The same kind of peace and contentment will come to all your country
when the world is settled down to law and order once more," said Eveley,
with the sublime faith of the young and the unsuffering. "It just takes
time. And God was good enough to carry you away before the end of the
conflict. Just wait. When our country is thoroughly Americanized, and
returns to joyful work and love and life again, the contagion will spread
to your people, and peace will reign there also. So do not talk any more
nonsense about leaving me. Now let's go back to the beginning, and talk
about--the men."



CHAPTER XVIII

CONVERTS OF LOVE


A very warm intimacy developed rapidly between the four friends, and
every evening for nearly two weeks found them joyfully, even riotously,
making merry together in the Cloud Cote. As Eveley had prophesied,
Lieutenant Ames was hopelessly lost from the first, and Marie yielded
herself very readily to the charm of an ardent wooing.

But with Eveley, Marie was different, more quiet, less demonstrative,
sometimes plainly listless and absent-minded. Eveley ascribed the change
to her newly developed interest in Lieutenant Ames, and patiently awaited
the outcome of the ripening romance. For Eveley had a deep-seated
sympathy with every appeal of love.

For many weeks she had received no word from Miriam Landis. Although she
had passed in an hour from all connection with their daily plans, yet she
was never far from their thought. Even without their tender and
sympathetic memories, they could not have forgotten her, for her husband
was a frequent and always tumultuous visitor in the Cote.

He invariably began talking before he was through the window, and his
first words were unfailingly the same.

"I can't stand it, Eveley, I simply can't stand it. You've got to do
something about it."

Again and again he came with this appeal, always overlooking the fact
that Eveley had no faintest idea of Miriam's whereabouts, for, true to
her word, she had kept her hiding-place unknown to them all.

Then for several weeks he did not come, and Eveley felt that perhaps he
was reconciled, and had returned to his old pursuit of secluded ballroom
corners. But Nolan assured her of the injustice of this. Lem had forsaken
all his former haunts, and had become a recluse, brooding alone in his
deserted home.

"It will do him good, even if it does not last," Nolan said. "Almost any
one would grieve for a woman like Miriam for a few months."

"Perhaps it is permanent this time, and there will be a reconciliation,
and both live happily ever after," said Eveley, with her usual buoyant
faith in the cheerful outcome.

Gordon Cameron she had seen only once since Miriam's departure, and that
was when he came at her request to receive Miriam's message. He had
listened quietly, while she repeated the words of her friend.

"I expected it, of course," he said at last gravely. "The pity of it is
that her little revolution was so hopeless from the beginning. As long as
a woman loves her husband, she can not hope for happiness, nor even for
forgetfulness."

"Oh, she does not love her husband any more," said Eveley confidently.
"Not a bit. She is over that long ago."

"That was the whole trouble," he insisted. "If she had not loved him, she
could have stood it and gone her way. But loving him, the situation was
impossible for a woman of spirit and pride. Well, there is always one to
pay in every triangle, and this time the bill comes to me. But I had
anticipated that from the beginning. She is a wonderful woman."

"Do you think she will go back to her husband?" asked Eveley
breathlessly.

"I hardly think so. She might as well, though; perhaps it would be
better. She can not be happy without him, and she was certainly not happy
with him. It is only a choice of miseries. As long as she loves him, she
will suffer for it. I begin to think that one who loves can not be
happy."

"Oh, yes, one can. One is," asserted Eveley positively.

"Perhaps I should say, when one is married to it," he added, with a sober
smile for her assurance.

Then he had gone away, and when Lem's pleadings had suddenly ceased,
Eveley felt that the little tempest would live its life, and die its
death, and perhaps Miriam at least would find happiness in the lull that
followed.

So it was something of a shock to have her pleasant Sunday morning nap
disturbed by Lem pounding briskly upon her window.

"Get up, immediately," he said in an assertive voice quite different from
his futile and inane pleadings of a short while before. "Hurry, Eveley, I
want you. Dress for motoring, my car is here. I shall wait in the
garden--give you ten minutes."

"He must want me for a bridesmaid for his second wedding," thought Eveley
resentfully, as she hurriedly dressed. But accustomed to obey the calls
of friendship, she put on a heavy sport skirt and sweater, and had even
pulled her soft hat over her curls before she went to the window.

"I am ready, but I do not approve of it," she began rather unpleasantly.

"You'd better take a doughnut, or a roll, or an orange, or something, for
we have no time for breakfast," he said in the same assertive voice. "She
will not be back until afternoon, Miss Ledesma. Sorry if it interferes
with any of your plans, but it can not be helped. Get your coat, quickly,
Eveley."

"It does interfere with our plans," she said crossly. "We were going up
to the mountains for a beefsteak fry with Jimmy and Nolan."

"Never mind," said Marie softly. "It may come another Sunday. Mr. Landis
seems to need you."

"All ready, Eveley? Let me help you. Good-by, Miss Ledesma."

And Eveley found herself marching briskly down the rustic steps away from
her own plan and her own desire, and with no knowledge of what lay before
her.

"You might at least tell me where we are going," she said at last, after
he had hurried her into the car and started away.

"To see Miriam," he answered.

"Oh!" Eveley's voice was a long gasp. She was content to wait after that
for his explanation, although it was very slow in coming.

"She is at a ranch up in the mountains," he said finally. "About fifty
miles. We just located her last night. I have been looking, for her all
the time. You are going to talk to her for me."

"Oh, am I?"

"Yes. I was afraid to come alone for fear she would not see me. She will
not refuse to see you."

"Do you mind telling me what I am going to say to her?"

He was silent a while, thinking. "She refused to take any money from me,"
he said, presently. "And she has very little. If she persists in this,
she will have to work for her living. Miriam can not do that."

"No," said Eveley softly.

"She does not want me for a husband yet," he said humbly. "And that is
right. But I must have Miriam, and she shall never have any one else but
me--not that I think she would ever want anybody else. You are to tell
Miriam she must come home, and live her life just as she wishes and do as
she pleases in everything, and allow me to be a servant for her, to
provide what she wants and needs, to take care of her if she is sick.
Tell her she may have any friends she likes, lovers even if she wishes,
but that she must let me work for her."

Eveley laid her hand affectionately upon his arm. "I have never done you
justice, Lem; forgive me. I think Miriam will come home. I hope she
will."

"She has to. And after a while, when she sees in me what she used to
think was there, she will love me again. But in the meantime, I shall ask
nothing and expect nothing. But Miriam has got to be in the house."

Eveley only spoke once after that.

"If she will not come?"

He turned upon her then, a sudden grim smile lighting his face. "I know
what I shall do then," he said. "But you will think it is madness. If she
refuses to come, I shall make the necessary arrangements, and kidnap her.
She's got to come."

Eveley burst into quick laughter at the picture that came to her--a
picture of the old-time, immaculate Lem of the ballrooms, carrying his
wife away into the mountains to live a cave-man life.

He laughed with her, but the dead-set of his face remained. "It sounds
like a joke," he admitted. "But I have made up my mind. Miriam is mine,
and I am going to have her. We'll just go up into the mountains for a few
months, and she will see that I am cured."

Mile after mile they drove in silence up the steep mountain grades, and
after a long time he drew the car off beside the road under a cluster of
trees.

"That is the ranch, but I will not drive in. If she saw us coming she
would not talk to us, so you must catch her unawares. I shall wait here
for you. You'd better not tell her I am going to kidnap her, I think I
would rather take her by surprise. She has to come, Eve, now make her see
it. Just a servant that is all I want to be to her for a while. But she
did love me, and she will again."

So Eveley walked swiftly up the drive to the house, keeping in the shadow
as much as possible, surprised to know that after all the years of her
disgust for the husband of her friend, her sympathies now were all with
him.

At the kitchen door she assumed her most winsome and disarming smile and
asked for Mrs. Landis.

"She does not wish to see any one," said the woman quickly. "She said
particularly that she would not see any callers."

"But she will see me, I am sure," said Eveley coaxingly. "You ask her.
Tell her it is Eveley Ainsworth. She always sees me."

"But she told me particularly," repeated the woman. "And she is not here
anyhow. She has gone over the hill. She likes to be among the pines. She
is not well, either. I am sorry, miss, but she is not here, and she would
not see you if she were."

"How far is it to the hill? And does she stay long?"

"It is not far," said the woman, with a wave of her hand toward the east.
"But she will not come home for luncheon. She has no appetite. And the
boys are out, so I have no one to send for her. I am sorry, miss."

"You think there is no use to wait, then?"

"Oh, no use at all, miss. She will be gone for hours, and she would not
see you if she were here."

"Tell her I came, won't you? Eveley Ainsworth. Thank you."

And with another disarming smile Eveley turned back to the path. But as
soon as she was out of sight of the house, she slipped off through the
trees, and started on a light run for the pine grove on the hill to the
east.

"As Lem says, poor thing, she has to," she said to herself, with a smile.
And very soon she was among the big pines, looking eagerly back and
forth, quite determined not to return to Lem until she had seen Miriam
and talked her into reason. And so at last she came upon her, sitting
somberly under the big trees, her back against a huge boulder, staring
away down the mountains into the haze of the sea in the west, where her
husband lived in the city by the bay.

"Miriam," Eveley called in a ringing voice, and ran joyously down the
path.

Miriam sprang up to meet her. "Eveley!" she cried, catching her hands
eagerly. And then, "Have you seen--Lem? Is he--all right?"

Eveley held her hands a moment, looking searchingly into the thin face
and the shadowy eyes.

"Revolutions are hard work, aren't they?" she asked with deep sympathy.

"Oh, Eveley, they are killing, heart-breaking, soul-wracking," she cried.
"And yet of course it was right and best for me to come," she added
gravely. "Does Lem seem to--miss me?" And there was wistfulness in her
voice.

"He is out there now," said Eveley, waving her hand toward the road. "He
brought me up."

At the first word, Miriam had turned quickly, ready to run down--not to
the house for shelter, but to the car for comfort. But she stopped in a
moment, and came back.

"I shall not see him, of course," she said quietly.

"I brought a message from him. He says you must come home, Miriam, he
says his madness is all purged away, and that you are his and he must
have you. But he wants you to come and live your own life and do as you
wish, only allowing him, to stay in the home not as your husband, but as
your servant until you learn to love and trust him again. He says you
must come, and let him work for you, and take care of you."

Miriam's face was very white, and her eyes deep wells of pain.

"Poor Lem!" she said tenderly. "So sweet--and so weak."

"I think he is finding strength," said Eveley.

For a long time, the two girls stood there, side by side, Eveley looking
into the haze of the sea miles below, Miriam staring down through the
pines to where she knew a car might be waiting in the shadows.

"We must not keep him waiting," she said at last.

Without a word, they turned, hand in hand and started down to the road
again. When she saw the little, well-known car beneath the trees, and Lem
standing rigid beside it, she caught her breath suddenly. Eveley would
have hung back, to let her greet her husband alone, but Miriam clung to
her hand and pulled her forward.

He came to meet them, awkwardly, a gleam of hope in his eyes, but
meekness in his manner. He held out his hand, and Miriam with a little
flutter dropped her own into it, pulling it quickly away again.

"Are you--all right, Lem? You look--thin," she said with shy solicitude.

"I feel thin," he replied grimly. "Are--you coming with us?"

"Yes, of course," said Eveley.

"Yes, of course," Miriam echoed faintly.

"Shall I drive?" suggested Eveley, anticipating complete reconciliation
for the two in their first moment of privacy.

"I will drive," said Lem. "You girls sit in the back. Did Eveley explain
that I only expect to be--your driver, and your valet, and your
servant--for a while."

Tears brightened in Miriam's eyes. "Oh, Lem," she cried, holding out her
hands. "How can people talk of servants who have loved--as we have
loved?"

Eveley immediately went into a deep and concentrated study of the rear
tires, for Miriam was close in her husband's arms, and his tears were
falling upon her fragrant curls.

After a while, he held her away from him and looked into her tender face.

"It isn't--you aren't coming, then, just because it is your duty to give
me every chance," he whispered.

"Oh, no, dear, just because I love you."

Eveley was still utterly immersed in the condition of the tires.

"We'll try it again, Lem--"

"Oh, Miriam," he broke in, "it isn't any trial this time. This is
marriage."

Eventually they got started toward home and had driven many miles before
Miriam noticed that her uncovered hair was blowing in the wind, and
remembered that she had left the ranch without notice and that all her
things were there. But what were simple things and formal notices when
human hearts were finding happiness and faith?

In the Cloud Cote, Eve's friends were patiently awaiting her return.
Nolan was reading poetry aloud to himself in the roof garden, and
Lieutenant Ames was laboriously picking chords on the piano, with Marie
near him strumming on the mandolin.

The first creak of the rustic stair brought them all to the landing to
greet her.

"Reconciliation," shouted Nolan, before she was half-way up. "Miriam is
home, and they have already lived happily ever after."

Eveley began immediately to give an account of the day's happenings
standing motionless on the third step from the top until she finished her
recital.

Then she went back down, and gave an impatient tap on the seventh stair.

"Well, you started something," she said to it solemnly. "And you ought to
be satisfied now, if anybody is. To-morrow I shall crown you with a
wreath of laurel."

Then she went up again. "Does this do anything to your theory about
duty?" asked Nolan. "Does it prove it, or disprove it, or what? I can not
seem to get any connection."

"But there is a connection," she said, with a smile. "It absolutely and
everlastingly proves the Exception."

"Eveley Ainsworth, don't ever say exception again until you can explain
it," cried Nolan. "I dream of exceptions by night, and I legalize them by
day. Be a nice girl, and do a good deed this Sabbath Day by expounding
the virtues of the One Exception."

But Eveley was hungry, and said she could not expound anything when her
system clamored for tea.

Eveley's Sabbath, however, was not yet ended. While she was blissfully
sipping her tea, the three she loved best in the world about her, there
came a gentle tap upon her window, and Mrs. Severs walked in.

"So sorry to bother you, Miss Ainsworth," she began apologetically, "but
I want to ask a favor. Father is moving back with us to-day, and--"

"What!"

"Yes, indeed he is," she cried blithely. "I was so lonesome, and some
days I am so ill, that I asked him as a personal favor if he wouldn't
come and try me just once more, and he said, Holy Mackinaw! he had been
aching to do that very thing."

"Well," Eveley said judiciously, "I suppose you will all be satisfied now
that you are back in your old rut wretchedly doing your duty by each
other."

"I should say not," denied Mrs. Severs promptly. "I asked father to come
because I--like him awfully much, and it is so lonely without him, and he
is coming because he missed us and is fond of us, and there isn't any
duty about it. You have converted us. We do not believe in duty."

"And the favor?"

"Yes--father is bringing the flivver of course--and the garage is so big.
Do you mind if we keep it there with your car? We will pay any extra
rent, of course."

"Keep it there by all means," said Eveley generously. "And there is no
rent. And when I get stuck anywhere I shall expect you to tow me home for
love." And when Mrs. Severs had gone, Eveley said: "Make another pot of
tea, please, Marie. Make two pots--three if you like."

"Pretty hard to keep some people properly adjusted, isn't it?" asked
Nolan soberly, but with laughter in his eyes.

"What is proved by the case of Father-in-law and the Bride, Eveley?"
asked Marie with a soft teasing smile as she refilled Eveley's cup.

But Eveley went into a remote corner of the room, and brandished the
bread knife for protection, before she cried triumphantly:

"The Exception. It is another positive proof of the utter efficacy of my
One Exception."



CHAPTER XIX

SHE DOUBTS HER THEORY


One morning Eveley telephoned from the office to Marie that she would not
be home for dinner that night, as she was going with Kitty to hear the
minute details of her engagement, and the plans of her coming marriage
with Arnold. She assured Marie that she would be home early, begged her
not to be lonesome, cautioned her once more not to venture into the
canyon after nightfall, and went serenely on her way.

At ten o'clock that night she guided her car into the garage whistling
boyishly, and ran up the rustic stairs, stopping with painful suddenness
on the landing as she observed there was no light in the Cote.

"Marie," she called, "Marie!"

She looked anxiously over the little roof garden, and peered down to the
canyon. Twice she went up to the window, and each time drew back again,
afraid to enter.

She leaned over the railing on the roof, calling aimlessly and
hopelessly.

"Marie, Marie!"

A moment later she heard a light step below, "Oh, Marie," she cried and
her voice was a sob.

"It's me, Miss Eveley, what's the matter?"

It was only Angelo running up the steps to her.

"Angelo, what are you doing here?" she demanded sharply, her nerves on
edge.

"Oh, I was just fooling around," he said evasively. "I thought I heard
you calling."

But Eveley's nerves were too highly strung this night to brook an idle
answer. She caught him by the shoulder.

"Tell me where you have been and what you were doing," and there was
something like suspicion in her voice.

And then suddenly the little bit of foreign flotsam became a man, to give
her courage.

"Come inside and sit down," he said authoritatively. "I'll tell you what
I've been doing, but don't stand out here like this and get yourself all
worked up for nothing."

He threw up the window, and went in first, turning on the light, and
Eveley followed him numbly.

"Now sit down and I'll tell you. I have been sleeping in the garage ever
since you got mixed up with that bunch of Bolshevists and--er Greasers. I
thought something might happen and I've sort of stuck around. I had a key
made to the garage, and I've got a nice bed fixed up in the attic."

Eveley held out her hand with a faint smile. "You are a good friend,
Angelo, sure enough. But there was no danger. And oh, where can my Marie
have gone?"

"Are her things here?"

Acting instantly upon the suggestion, Eveley ran into the other room
followed closely by Angelo. Every slightest scrap and shred that had been
Marie's had disappeared.

"Maybe she left a note somewhere," said Angelo.

Frantically Eveley flashed through the small rooms, searching eagerly for
some final word or token. But there was nothing to be found.

"Some one has kidnapped her," she cried, wringing her hands. "We must
phone the police."

"I wouldn't do that--not yet. I'd phone for Mr. Nolan first. Let me do
it. And why don't you go down-stairs and ask them if they saw any one
around here to-day, or saw her leaving?"

"Oh, Angelo, that is fine," she cried. "I'll go--and you phone Nolan
quickly."

By the time she returned, Nolan was on his way to the Cote.

"She--she left herself--just walked away with her bag--alone," said
Eveley faintly. "I am afraid she did not--care for me." And there was
sorrow in her voice.

"Oh, sure she did," said Angela reassuringly. "That's why she left I
guess. She may be in bad in some way, and so she went off not to get you
mixed up in it."

"Do you think that, Angelo? Do you really? But she should not have gone
for that. I would have stood by Marie through any kind of trouble."

Angelo walked impatiently about the room, fingering endless little
objects, puzzling in his mind what to say and what to do.

"He could be here if he had taken a taxi," he said restlessly. "I told
him to beat it."

"We might phone Mr. Hiltze," said Eveley suddenly. "He may know where to
find her."

Angelo smiled scornfully at that. "Aw gee, Miss Eveley, ain't you on to
them yet? Sure they are working in cahoots."

Eveley sat down at once and folded her hands. "Now, Angelo, tell me
everything you know, or suspect about them. Begin at the beginning. You
may be wrong, but let me hear it."

But before Angelo could begin his little story, Nolan came springing up
the steps, and knew in a word all they had to tell.

"Sit down now, Nolan, and listen. Angelo thinks he knows something."

"Well, when Carranza got in, a lot of Mexicans had to get out. Political
refugees they call them. Marie is one of them."

"That is no secret," said Eveley. "She told me that herself. And it is
nothing to her discredit--rather the opposite I should think."

"Yes, but they are looking ahead to the next election. That guy Obregon
has promised to let all the refugees come back free and easy if he is
elected, and no questions asked. But they've got such a lot running for
president, that maybe they won't elect anybody and then Carranza will
stick on himself. And so the refugees on this side are working up a new
little revolution of their own, to spring on Carranza the day after the
election. And that is against the law, and the Secret Service is on to
it, and after them hot and heavy."

"The Secret Service," said Eveley slowly. "The Secret Service."

She crossed the room, and from her bag took out a small bit of steel
which she had carried there for weeks.

"The Secret Service," she said again, and held the badge tightly in her
hand.

"What have you there, Eveley?" asked Nolan.

"Nothing," she said, gripping it so tightly the sharp edges cut into her
hand. "Just a little souvenir--of Marie. That is all."

"Well, is there anything else, Angelo?"

"That guy Hiltze is a crook, too. He's what you call a Red. He's mixed up
with all the funny business going on."

"Are you sure, Angelo? You must only tell us what you really know."

"Well, they've got a lot of crazy shacks around town, and they hold
meetings. My dad goes to 'em. So a few times I went, too. This guy Hiltze
does the talking. He's got enough money. He don't have to sell autos for
a living, he does that for a blind, just like he strings Miss Eveley on
the Americanization hot-air stuff."

"Did you ever hear him speak?" asked Nolan.

"Sure. He says they are chasing him from cellar to garret, from mountain
to desert. He says they are the damned rich, and they got to keep him
harried to earth so they can grind the laborers under their heel. He
gives 'em all money for doing things, and hauling stuff, and getting
things across the border. I was there. He says they must pray God to
strengthen them to fight to the last ditch. He says the army and navy are
the slaves of the God of Money."

"I know he had rather--advanced ideas," said Eveley gravely. "But these
are such troublous times. Every one feels the lack, and the need in the
social life. He may have gone too far--but these are the days that try
one's soul. If it was only talk--"

"Aw gee," interrupted Angelo. "They ain't got no room to talk. I know all
about that stuff. I was over there with the rest of 'em, and I know. We
slept on straw, and dressed in rags, and lived like dogs. And they come
to a decent country, and get soured because they ain't fed up on chicken
and wine like a lord. It's a darn' sight more than they ever had before,
and the Secret Service needs to watch 'em. For they're the ones that did
for Russia--yes, and they're doing it for Germany now, and trying it on
Italy."

The Secret Service--the diagnostician of social unrest, with professional
finger on the pulse of the foreign element--had that finger touched the
wrist of Marie?

"But this isn't finding my Marie," said Eveley. "I want her."

"Let's call Lieutenant Ames," said Nolan suddenly. "I rather imagine this
will hit him."

"Oh, poor Jimmy," cried Eveley. "He told me he wanted to marry her."

Far into the night, they puzzled and pondered, not knowing which way to
turn, but all in their love of Marie resolved that she must be found and
saved again from the chaos. The next day, against the advice of all the
others, Eveley sent word to Amos Hiltze and seemed to feel some comfort
in his evident surprise and perturbation.

"I can not understand it," he said. "She was so happy, and loved you so
much. I will look for her. She may have taken fright at something--but
what could it possibly have been?"

"Tell her I do not care what has happened, nor what she fears. She must
come to me and I will help her."

In spite of the insistence of Nolan, Angelo and Jimmy Ames, Eveley would
have given the matter into the hands of the police, trusting to her own
promises and her own standing to save Marie from whatever they held
against her. But at her first suggestion of this to Amos Hiltze, he took
a most positive stand against it.

"If you do that, you have lost her forever. It is the police she fears.
She would never forgive you for putting her into their hands, even if you
could afterward extricate her. You must not dream of such a thing."

So Eveley gave it up and tried to reconcile herself to patient waiting,
and to prayers of faith, determined to believe that the persistent search
going on in all sections of the town would be effective, and believing
still more fervently that God must return to her again the sister she had
learned to love.

This time, because Eveley was suffering no one connected the
disappearance of Marie with Eveley's theory of duty. And to herself
Eveley made no claims, not even for her favorite Exception.

For if Marie had loved her, would she not have left at least one word of
sympathy, and affection, in farewell? Indeed, if she had loved her, would
she not have preferred the investigation of the Secret Service to
separation? For Eveley would have braved every court in the country for
her little foreign sister.

She tried to interest herself in the affairs of her friends, as of old.
She tried to return to her old whimsical routine of living alone in her
Cloud Cote, but from being a little nook of laughter and love, it became
ineffably dreary and dull. And Eveley was suffering not only because her
love had been slighted and her hospitality abused, but because everything
she had undertaken had failed. Americanization--what was it? For to Marie
she had given every good thing in her power--and Marie had used her as
long as she could be of service, and then had gone back to her own life,
to her own people.



CHAPTER XX

SHE PROVES HER PRINCIPLE


All of Eveley's friends, realizing the loneliness and the sickness of
heart which possessed her, united to plan little entertainments and bits
of amusement for her. And Eveley accepted their plans gratefully, and
acted upon their suggestions gladly, but the bitterness remained in her
heart.

"I loved that girl," she would say to herself. "How could she do such a
thing to any one who loved her? It isn't as if I had only tried to do
what was right and kind by her. She owed me something for all that love."

One evening she went to Eileen's for a rollicking dinner with the twins
in clamorous evidence. Eileen's home was a new creation; every day, she
said frankly, was a new cycle of life. Her years of sober, studied
business had not at all prepared her for the raptures and the
uncertainties and the annoyances and the thrills of a household that had
young twins in it.

"Billy bosses Betty unmercifully, and I do not believe in the dominance
of men," she told Eveley. "And Betty charms Billy into submission, and I
do not approve of the blandishments of woman upon man. And yet my
sympathies are with both of them, and I adore them both. And I can never
find anything when I want it, and when I do find it there is something
wrong with it, and they both talk at once and I have to talk at the same
time or I never get anything said, and yet we have wonderful times."

"You are certainly doing your duty by those babies," said Eveley
tentatively.

Eileen took it quickly. "Um, not a bit of it. I am just fulfilling the
desire of my heart. So you may take it that I am proving your theory if
you like."

"At least you are proving my exception," said Eveley, with a smile.

"What is the exception?" Eileen questioned eagerly. "It seems to get all
the proving, doesn't it?"

"It used to," said Eveley gravely. "But I have lost faith in it for
myself. It worked for everybody else, but it failed for me. Now let's
talk of something else."

They were in the midst of a merry game with the children, when the bell
rang, and Eveley was called to the door, to look into the face of Amos
Hiltze.

"You have found Marie," she cried out at once.

"Yes. She is at the ranch in the mountains where we found her first. She
is in trouble, and sick. I told her I would come for you, but I suppose
you can not leave yet?"

"Not leave--when Marie is sick and wants me? Wait until I get my wraps.
Shall we go in my car?"

"Yes, please. I was up at the Cote for you, and Mrs. Severs said you were
here. I let the taxi go."

Eveley's face was alight with joy, and her heart sang with happiness.
Marie had been sick--it had not been cold neglect that kept her away and
silent. And she had sent for Eveley.

"You are certainly a wonder," said Amos Hiltze, as she slipped into her
place behind the wheel, and he took his seat at her side.

"You do not know how happy I am," she cried, turning the car toward the
country. "You--do get so awfully fond of a girl like Marie, don't you?"

"Yes, of course."

"Is she very sick?"

"Not very. She will be better when she sees you."

"Why did she really leave me?"

"Oh, she was afraid the Secret Service would locate her, and it would get
you into trouble."

"I might have known it was her duty. Wait till I get my hands on that
girl. I'll tell her a few things about duty that will astonish her."

Already they were wheeling rapidly through East San Diego, and when a
motorcycle pulled up beside them, Eveley stopped with a gasp. Of course
she had been speeding--a thousand miles an hour, probably, though it had
seemed like crawling.

"I am so sorry, Officer," she began quickly. "But I have to hurry. I have
a little friend in the country who is sick and needs me."

"Oh, is it you, Miss Ainsworth?" And the officer smiled. "I did not
recognize you. That is all right. Your car is a Rolls, isn't it? We are
looking for a man in a Rolls--but I can hardly hold you." He turned his
pocket flash upon Amos Hiltze.

"This is my friend, Mr. Hiltze," she explained. "I think you do not want
him, either."

"No, I think not. Yet our man is supposed to have come this way. If you
see any men on foot, or any one in trouble, better not stop. We'll have a
man out that way pretty soon."

"Thank you," said Eveley. "Good night." And again they were on their way.

"Poor Mr. Man in the Rolls," she said after a while. "I wonder what
mischief he has been into."

"I wonder."

"I hope he gets away. Perhaps he is not so bad as they think, and may do
better next time. Or maybe he had a reason."

"I am sure of that," said Hiltze with some earnestness. "There is always
a reason, I think."

Through La Mesa, through El Cajon, they drove in silence as they had
driven once before, when they went for Marie the first time. Only then
Eveley had been quivering with anxiety and nervousness--and now it was
only hope and joy. But was it only hope and joy? For she realized
suddenly that her hands were gripping the wheel with nervous intensity,
and that she was shivering.

"Are you cold?"

"I do not know," she faltered.

He turned slightly in his seat, and reached for a rug.

"A disorderly pile on the floor as usual," he said with a slight smile.
"Don't your friends ever put the rugs back on the rack, Eveley?"

"No, never," she replied, smiling, too, but gravely.

He tucked the rug closely about her, but she still shivered, and a sense
of dread was heavy upon her.

When they came at last to the branch in the road, he looked carefully
about in every direction, and then told her to drive quickly. Under his
direction she took the car far back from the road in a sheltered place,
and stopped the engine.

"Please hurry, will you? I have not Angelo with me this time, and I am
afraid."

"Eveley, I must talk to you first. You know I love you, you must know it.
You have tried to discourage me, but I will not take discouragement. I
shall never go away without you."

"Are you going away?"

"Yes, to-night. Business takes me away. I am going to South America. I
have money--lots of money, and we can start afresh and do well. But I can
not go without you."

"Mr. Hiltze, it is impossible. I do not love you. I told you that
before."

"But you will love me. If you come away with me, and take time, you can
love me. I will be good to you, and not hurry you. You must let yourself
go, and try."

"But I do not wish to. Love should not be forced. It ought to come
spontaneously of itself. And I love Nolan."

"Damn Nolan! Oh, I don't mean that, but--Eveley, you will forget him.
Just come with me, and give yourself time. Marie will go with us--"

"Marie."

"Yes, she has promised to go with us, to help make you happy."

"Then she is not sick?"

"No, not sick."

"You only brought me here to--"

"Yes, Eveley. I am sorry, but I had to. We are going out by aeroplane
to-night, and there is a fishing fleet at sea waiting to pick us up. I
hated to trick you, but it was my love that forced it. I can not give you
up. I will not. Did you think I was a fool to be with you, and know your
loving lovely ways, and--and--"

Suddenly he crushed her in his arms, and for a moment she was helpless.
Then he released her.

"Your bag is here--yes, in the back of the car."

"My bag?"

"Yes, I took Marie to the Cote this afternoon and she packed it for
you--things necessary until you can shop again."

"Marie did that?"

"Oh, I told her to. I told her you wished it. Oh, yes, I lied, but I
would do worse than that for you, yes, I would kill for you. Now be
reasonable, Eveley, and come with us nicely. You shall have all the time
you wish. I know you will love me."

"Love you. Love you after this! I hate you, I despise you. Do not say you
love me."

"Eveley, be quiet, this will do no possible good."

"Then it was you they were looking for, in the car? You are a common
criminal."

"Not a criminal, no," he cried furiously. "Yes, they wanted me, of
course. You should have known there was a reason why a man like myself
should live as I have done here. But we are not criminals--we are advance
agents of freedom."

"Anarchists," she interrupted, in a cutting voice.

"Some time there must be justice and equality in the world--"

"And you have got rich by preaching lawlessness."

"Eveley, do not talk like that. I--I lose my head--and I do not wish to
frighten you. Sit quietly, and let me tell you. Peace can come only
through warfare--and out of the death throes of an old world, a new world
of peace will--"

"You are traitors."

"Eveley, you know I was in the service, but there must be a union of the
free men of the world against oppression--"

"Do not make stump speeches to me. I will not stand for it. Justice and
freedom will come to the world, but not through lying and trickery and
bloodshed. Justice must come through sympathy and love and comradeship."

"It did not get you far with Marie, though, did it?"

"Marie."

"Certainly. That was my interest in her. Marie was working with us, doing
what she could for us, for what we could do for her in Mexico. She is a
regular traitor if you like, putting things over in great style, on you
and Nolan and Ames--the whole bunch of you. She is a slick little devil.
But I fell--because I loved you."

Sudden illumination came to Eveley. "Then that is why she left me. When
she learned to love me, she would not profane our friendship. That is why
she left."

"She left because the cops were getting wise, and she had to get out in a
hurry or get pinched."

"And she is going with you--"

"Sure. She will be the idol of the revolutionists for what she has
done--they will carry her about on a tin platter."

"You will let me go now, Mr. Hiltze, please. But tell Marie that I
understand everything, and when she wishes to come back to me, the Cote
is open. It was only a mistaken loyalty to a wrong principle. Please go,
I want to hurry home."

He laughed a little. "Eveley, you are going to South America with me."

In a sudden panic she turned, flinging open the door of the car, hoping
to rush away into the darkness, but his arm held her.

"You will love me. I may not care for your Americanization, but I love
you. I am going to be good to you. Don't be a fool, Eveley, it will do
you no good. You've got to go."

Struggling was in vain, as Eveley realized at once, and she subsided
quickly, trying to think. The thing was impossible. It could not be. Such
things did not happen any more--not in real life in the United States. It
was cruel, preposterous, unbelievable.

"Please let me go," she pleaded. "I shall not try to report you, you can
get away without trouble. But let me go home, please. I could never
change toward you--I am not the kind that changes."

"I shall have to tie you for a few minutes. I am sorry, but I do not wish
you to go to the shack. I have wasted a lot of time trying to reason with
you. Put out your hands--yes yes, that way, and let me tie them to the
wheel. I hate to do this--there is no use for you to yell, Eveley, for no
one can hear, so I shall not gag you. Let me wrap the blanket about you;
it is very cold. Sit still, dear, and do not shake it off. I love you
very much. We are going to start the world afresh with a clean slate, and
leave the past behind. The future shall be of your choosing, only it must
be with me."

Then he went away, and Eveley began a valiant tugging on the straps that
bound her.

"Wait a minute, Eveley, I'll cut them," came a friendly whisper, and
Eveley with a cry turned to look into Angelo's face.

"Sure, I come along," he said. "I saw him up at the house, and when he
came down for you, I followed his taxi on my bike. And when he went in to
get you, I got into the back under the rugs. Lucky he only took one rug
for you, or he'd got hold of my legs. Gee, he uses good straps."

All this, while Angelo was sawing on the straps with his rusty knife, and
almost before he finished talking, Eveley was free.

Like a flash she was starting the engine.

"Suppose you get out and hide a while, and let me scout around," he said.
"I hate to leave a decent sort like your Marie with those cutthroats.
Maybe I can get hold of her."

"Yes, do try. I'll hide among the bushes for fear they come while you are
gone. Be careful, Angelo. We are going to need you."

Eveley waited what seemed an endless length of time, crouching almost
breathless under the shrubs. But finally she heard light running steps,
and in a moment Marie was in her arms.

"Oh, my poor child, they told me you wanted to go. And did they tie
you--the cruel straps? You are free now, and you will go back to your
Cote and be happy. But do not forget your poor Marie. And never play with
fire again, sweet; in the end it always burns. American women never know
what a tempest love can be. Now, kiss Marie, and say your forgive her,
and then go quickly."

"Marie, come with me," begged Eveley, clinging to her. "You must not go
with them. They are treacherous, selling their honor for money. Do not
trust them. Come with me. Nolan and I will take care of you, and Nolan
will straighten out your tangles with the law. And Jimmy is wild for you,
raging all over town trying to find you. Please, dear, let all the ugly
past lie dead, and live a new life with us here. Oh, I can not let you
go."

"For them I care nothing," Marie cried, with a smart snap of her fingers.
"They are dogs. They only help us for money, and they wish only to
embroil the world in war. It is no love for us--but they are cheap--we
buy them. When the time comes, we tramp them under our feet. Eveley, if
you wish me, I will come."

Then in a moment they were away, the car swinging dizzily down the steep
grade rocking from side to side.

"How did you get Marie, Angelo--you angel?" asked Eveley, after a while.

"They were all running around moving things, and Marie was helping. So I
pitched in and helped too. When I walked by Marie she understood and
came. And they did not notice. There isn't much difference between a Wop
and a Greaser."

"And you will never leave me again, Marie?"

"I am all through with hatred and strife, now. I want only a home, where
I can be happy, and live as you and I have lived. That is the only
Americanization. Talk is nothing. Social service is a game. But when one
makes living so fine that every one in the world wants to live that
way--then it is Americanization. I am satisfied now."

"Say, you'd better cut the talk and watch the road," said Angelo
suddenly. "You've been half over the grade a dozen times."

"Yes, I will," promised Eveley. "But I must hurry. They will follow
us--will they follow us, Marie?"

"Oh, surely, when they miss us. They have motorcycles. Listen. Hear them
far back? Of course they would follow."

"Sit tight, Marie, and do not worry. I know this road all right."

"They are gaining on us, dear. Can you do better?"

But Eveley was afraid to go faster on those sharp curves, though she
strained her eyes to see the road before them.

"We are nearly to Flynn Springs," she said. "We must be. We can stop
there."

"They will soon be up with us," said Angelo, looking back.

"We must leave the car, and hide in the woods," said Marie.

"Oh, I am afraid to leave the car."

"The woods will not hurt us. It is only men who harm. Come, we must. If
they catch us, we are lost. Pull out here to the left, and turn off the
lights. They may pass us in the darkness. Take the key with you. And
hurry."

Acting upon this plan, they were soon slipping over the small stones and
pebbles down a shallow gully and up among the rocks and shrubs of a
little cliff.

Already the tremendous roar of the motorcycles was close upon them.

"Quick, Eveley, behind this bush.--Lie down flat. Yes, all right, Angelo.
Sh, quiet now."

[Illustration: "Please let me go," she pleaded.]

At that instant the motorcycles whirled past--a sudden call from the
familiar voice of Amos Hiltze, and with a great tearing and crashing of
brakes, the cycles stopped and the men ran back to the car.

"It is her car," cried Amos Hiltze. "They have deserted it. They must be
very close, we shall find them quickly. You go--"

"We can not find them," said a new authoritative voice. "The cops may be
here any moment. We've got to get away to-night, or it is everlastingly
too late. You have lost the girl--lost them both. Now make the best of
it."

And one motorcycle was started again.

"I'll slash their tires for luck," said Amos Hiltze. "And we can send a
couple of men to look for them. Then we can send back for them later on
if they find them."

Eveley ground her teeth at the ripping of the tires, for the rubber is to
a motorist as a baby to a loving mother. But in a moment came the sputter
and roar of the motors, and the men had gone again back the road they had
come.

"We'll just have to crawl into Flynn Springs on the rims, and phone for
Nolan. It can not be far."

But even that was impossible, for with devilish foresight, Amos Hiltze
had taken the timer from the carburetor, and the little Rolls was
powerless.

"We'll walk then," said Eveley bravely, and hand in hand, the three of
them set out on the rocky winding road to Flynn Springs.

"Nolan will not waste any time coming for us," said Eveley confidently.

"And perhaps Lieutenant Ames is in town and can come also," suggested
Marie softly.

Some time later, wearily, weakly, they limped into Flynn Springs, and
Eveley hurriedly put in her call.

"Nolan? It is Eveley. I am at Flynn Springs. You must come for me, and
bring Jimmy Ames. Yes, Marie is with me, and Angelo.--Yes, we are all
right. And have a man from the garage with extra tires and a timer for
the carburetor. No, we do not need the police. No guns either. Nolan,
your voice is sweeter than any angel's."

Then they went into a small room where there was a bed, and Eveley took
off her ruined pumps, and bathed her burning feet, and they fixed their
hair, and had hot coffee, always looking at each other with tender eyes.

"Will you never go back on me again, little sister?"

And Marie kissed her in answer.

So they waited patiently for the men breaking all known speed laws to
come to them, and the time did not seem long, for they lay on the bed
together, each with an arm across the other's shoulder. And in the small
dark hallway outside, Angelo sat before their door, his arms clasped
around his knees, his head sunk upon his breast, sound asleep. But even
in his sleep keeping guard over his Americanizer and the "little
Greaser."



CHAPTER XXI

HER ONE EXCEPTION


All evening Kitty had been trying to get Nolan by telephone, always being
told that he was not at the hotel and had gone to the office, and then
hearing that the office line was busy. It was after eight when she
finally got him on the wire.

"Nolan, whoever have you been talking to? If it was anybody else besides
Eveley, I am going to tell. I have been trying to get you all evening. I
want you to come over here immediately. Something terrible is about to
happen, and you must stop it."

Nolan hesitated. "I am to be at Eveley's at nine, but if you promise to
talk fast I will come."

Receiving her fervent assurance, he immediately closed his desk, and in
ten minutes Kitty was drawing him feverishly into her favorite corner of
the living-room.

"Nolan, you could never guess what is going on."

"No," he admitted, with a reminiscent smile. "So many odd things have
been going on lately that I confess my inability as a guesser."

"Listen to this. Eveley's sister has fallen in love with some crazy
aviator, and is going to elope with him. And she wants Burton to get a
divorce so she can marry him."

Nolan was plainly dumfounded at this revelation.

"And that is not the worst. She is going to desert those two children,
and Eveley--You know Eve. She says she will be the willing sacrifice to
save the honor of the family, and has decided to marry Burton herself, to
be a mother to Winifred's children."

"Preposterous!" gasped Nolan, looking into her flushed face for symptoms
of delirium.

"True," came the grim answer. "But we must never allow such a
bloodcurdling thing to happen. It wouldn't be right. I want you to go
right over to Eveley's as fast as you can, and make her marry you. You
can pretend you do not know anything about this, and sweep her right off
her feet. Get her promise before she knows what is going on, and marry
her before she realizes it. Then perhaps Winifred will come to her senses
and not do this outrageous thing."

"But, Kitty--"

"You love Eveley, don't you?"

"Yes, of course, but--"

"Then do you call yourself a man, and yet stand idly by and see the woman
you love sacrifice her life for her sister's honor--and--er babies--and--"

"And husband," he said gloomily. "I could stand the honor and the babies,
but I object to the husband."

"Of course you do. I have my car here, and I will take you right over to
Eveley's and you can settle it immediately."

"I do not believe I could propose before you, Kitty," he objected shyly.
"I could not think of the words."

"I shall wait in the car until it is over. Then I shall come sauntering
up later on and wish you joy, etc., and Eveley need not know I had a
thing to do with it. Just you get her promise, and I shall be witness for
you. If she tries to back out we shall sue her for breach of promise."

"All right," he decided suddenly. "We certainly can not submit to any
such nonsense as this. Let's go."

All the way to the Cloud Cote they kept up hearty agreement that the idea
was utterly wild and preposterous, and that Nolan should never stand for
it. As she stopped the car, two doors down where Eveley could not see
from her window, Kitty said:

"Arnold and I want to take a honeymoon trip to Yosemite after we are
married, and we want you and Eveley to get married in time to go along.
It is so much more fun when everybody's married."

"Now, you fix it up with Eveley, and when you are through pull back the
shade in the living-room, and I'll take it for a sign and come up to make
my call."

So Nolan went up the rustic steps to Eveley, and Kitty settled down in a
corner of the car. For thirty minutes she chuckled gleefully to herself,
but after half an hour she began to feel that he was decidedly slow.

"I could be engaged to a dozen people in that time," she thought
impatiently, "Oh, the poky thing. But I suppose they are waxing
demonstrative, and he has forgotten me."

She toyed restlessly with the keys and screws on the car, still watching
the black window in the Cloud Cote with only the faint gleam of light
from behind.

"An hour," she cried at last furiously. "If that isn't the limit! I have
a notion to go right home, and let him settle it as best he can--but I do
want to see how Eveley takes it. Oh, well, I shall give him fifteen
minutes more, and then if he has not signaled I'll go up and see for
myself."

So she waited another uneasy quarter of an hour, and then banged stormily
out of the car and up the rustic steps. Her sharp tap brought a sudden
scurry and scramble from within, but Kitty did not wait for a summons.
She drew back the portières and climbed in, uninvited.

Eveley was standing flushed and brilliant in the center of the room,
trying to tuck up badly straying curls, and Nolan was adjusting himself
to the davenport with an air of studied ease.

"Well, Kitty," cried Eveley nervously. "Why didn't you phone you were
coming over?"

"You do not seem any too glad to see me," said Kitty rather peevishly,
and then at their flushed and shining faces, she laughed. "My, how happy
you look! Just like newlyweds--or something."

"Yes--something," said Eveley. She flashed a questioning look at Nolan,
and received a reassuring nod. "Nolan and I are engaged, Kitty."

"Really," cried Kitty. "After all these years. How surprising." She put
her arms around Eveley lovingly. "When did all this happen?"

"Last night, coming down from Flynn Springs," said Eveley. "We--we had a
whole car full of it."

"Last night!" Kitty quickly disengaged herself from Eveley's arm and
looked sharply at Nolan, smiling in great contentment on the davenport.
"Last night?"

"Yes, last night. It was an awfully big night all around, wasn't it,
Nolan?"

"It was for me," he said, coming over and taking Eveley's hand in his.

"Last night," Kitty repeated again, glaring intently at Nolan.

He nodded.

"Then you knew I was lying all the time."

"Well, since Eveley and I had luncheon with Winifred and Burton to-day to
announce our engagement,--yes, I may say that I was fairly well assured
you were lying. They seemed on their usual tender terms at noon."

"What are you two talking about?" wondered Eveley.

Kitty drew her small hat over her ears with a vicious tug.

"But we shall be glad to motor to Yosemite with you and Arnold this
summer," Nolan went on pacifically, "we think it will be great sport. We
asked Marie and Jimmy Ames to go along. They are going to be married
to-morrow. They are in Marie's room now, so go in and congratulate them
if you like. But do not bring them out here, because we are a crowd
already."

"I am going home, anyhow, if you mean me," she said pettishly. She looked
at Eveley. "I suppose you think it is very clever for you to be engaged
to Nolan twenty-four hours without notifying me, after all the trouble I
have taken in the last five years to bring it about. And as for you,
Nolan, I think you have a lot of courage to marry a woman who openly and
notoriously refuses to do her duty in any shape, size or form. I call it
a pretty big risk, myself." She clambered crossly through the window.
"Congratulations," she called back snappily. And again, from half-way
down the stairs: "And we shall hold you to the Yosemite bargain, too."

Then Nolan took Eveley in his arms again and kissed her. "It may be
pretty risky," he said tenderly. "A wife who steels her heart against her
duty--"

Eveley smiled into his eyes. "Don't worry. The One Exception will save
you. I still claim that duty isn't the biggest thing in the world. And
hasn't my theory held good? Patriotic duty could not Americanize Angelo
nor Marie, nor anybody else. And filial duty could not make the Severs
live happily with the Father-in-law. And domestic duty could not bring
Miriam and Lem Landis into harmony. But there was something else big
enough to work all the miracles, and it was the Big Exception."

"Yes, tell me, Eveley--the Big Exception that is Everybody's Duty--what
is it?"

"Well," she said, snuggling a little closer into his arms, "I believe it
is everybody's duty to love somebody else with all his heart and mind and
soul and body. And that is what has worked all the transformations for
our friends. And it will protect you, Nolan--for I do."

Nolan kissed her again. "Then it is no risk at all," he whispered,
laughing tenderly. "Don't try to do your duty by me--just go on loving me
like this."

THE END


      *      *      *      *      *      *


                      FLORENCE L. BARCLAY'S NOVELS
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THROUGH THE POSTERN GATE

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The lovely young Lady Ingleby, recently widowed by the death of a husband
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THE FOLLOWING OF THE STAR

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GREATHEART

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OH, MONEY! MONEY!

Stanley Fulton, a wealthy bachelor, to test the dispositions of his
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DAWN

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THE BEST MAN

Through a strange series of adventures a young man finds himself
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A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS

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LO, MICHAEL!

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PHOEBE DEANE

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DAWN OF THE MORNING

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THE RIVER'S END

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THE GOLDEN SNARE

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NOMADS OF THE NORTH

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KAZAN

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BAREE, SON OF KAZAN

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ISOBEL

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marriage.

THE STORY OF JULIA PAGE. Frontispiece by C. Allan Gilbert.

A sympathetic portrayal of the quest of a normal girl, obscure and
lonely, for the happiness of life.

SATURDAY'S CHILD. Frontispiece by F. Graham Cootes.

Can a girl, born in rather sordid conditions, lift herself through sheer
determination to the better things for which her soul hungered?

MOTHER. Illustrated by F. C. Yohn.

A story of the big mother heart that beats in the background of every
girl's life, and some dreams which came true.

   Ask for Complete free list of G. & D. Popular Copyrighted Fiction
                 Grosset & Dunlap, Publishers, New York

      *      *      *      *      *      *

                       BOOTH TARKINGTON'S NOVELS
  May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list.

SEVENTEEN. Illustrated by Arthur William Brown.

No one but the creator of Penrod could have portrayed the immortal young
people of this story. Its humor is irresistible and reminiscent of the
time when the reader was Seventeen.

PENROD. Illustrated by Gordon Grant.

This is a picture of a boy's heart, full of the lovable, humorous, tragic
things which are locked secrets to most older folks. It is a finished,
exquisite work.

PENROD AND SAM. Illustrated by Worth Brehm.

Like "Penrod" and "Seventeen," this book contains some remarkable phases
of real boyhood and some of the best stories of juvenile prankishness
that have ever been written.

THE TURMOIL. Illustrated by G. E. Chambers.

Bibbs Sheridan is a dreamy, imaginative youth, who revolts against his
father's plans for him to be a servitor of big business. The love of a
fine girl turns Bibb's life from failure to success.

THE GENTLEMAN FROM INDIANA. Frontispiece.

A story of love and politics,--more especially a picture of a country
editor's life in Indiana, but the charm of the book lies in the love
interest.

THE FLIRT. Illustrated by Clarence F. Underwood.

The "Flirt," the younger of two sisters, breaks one girl's engagement,
drives one man to suicide, causes the murder of another, leads another to
lose his fortune, and in the end marries a stupid and unpromising suitor,
leaving the really worthy one to marry her sister.

   Ask for Complete free list of G. & D. Popular Copyrighted Fiction
                 Grosset & Dunlap, Publishers, New York

      *      *      *      *      *      *

                  THE NOVELS OF MARY ROBERTS RINEHART
  May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list.

DANGEROUS DAYS.

A brilliant story of married life. A romance of fine purpose and stirring
appeal.

THE AMAZING INTERLUDE. Illustrations by The Kinneys.

The story of a great love which cannot be pictured--an interlude--amazing,
romantic.

LOVE STORIES.

This book is exactly what Its title indicates, a collection of love
affairs--sparkling with humor, tenderness and sweetness.

"K." Illustrated.

K. LeMoyne, famous surgeon, goes to live in a little town where beautiful
Sidney Page lives. She is in training to become a nurse. The joys and
troubles of their young love are told with keen and sympathetic
appreciation.

THE MAN IN LOWER TEN. Illustrated by Howard Chandler Christy.

An absorbing detective story woven around the mysterious death of the
"Man in Lower Ten."

WHEN A MAN MARRIES. Illustrated by Harrison Fisher and Mayo Bunker.

A young artist, whose wife had recently divorced him, finds that his aunt
is soon to visit him. The aunt, who contributes to the family income,
knows nothing of the domestic upheaval. How the young man met the
situation is entertainingly told.

THE CIRCULAR STAIRCASE. Illustrated by Lester Ralph.

The occupants of "Sunnyside" find the dead body of Arnold Armstrong on
the circular staircase. Following the murder a bank failure is announced.
Around these two events is woven a plot of absorbing interest.

THE STREET OF SEVEN STARS. (Photoplay Edition.)

Harmony Wells, studying in Vienna to be a great violinist, suddenly
realizes that her money is almost gone. She meets a young ambitious
doctor who offers her chivalry and sympathy, and together with world-worn
Dr. Anna and Jimmie, the waif, they share their love and slender means.

                 Grosset & Dunlap, Publishers, New York

      *      *      *      *      *      *

                           ZANE GREY'S NOVELS
  May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list.

THE MAN OF THE FOREST
THE DESERT OF WHEAT
THE U. P. TRAIL
WILDFIRE
THE BORDER LEGION
THE RAIBOW TRAIL
THE HERITAGE OF THE DESERT
RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE
THE LIGHT OF WESTERN STARS
THE LAST OF THE PLAINSMEN
THE LONE STAR RANGER
DESERT GOLD
BETTY ZANE

LAST OF THE GREAT SCOUTS

The life story of "Buffalo Bill" by his sister Helen Cody Wetmore, with
Foreword and conclusion by Zane Grey.

                       ZANE GREY'S BOOKS FOR BOYS

KEN WARD IN THE JUNGLE
THE YOUNG LION HUNTER
THE YOUNG FORESTER
THE YOUNG PITCHER
THE SHORT STOP
THE RED-HEADED OUTFIELD AND OTHER BASEBALL STORIES

                 Grosset & Dunlap, Publishers, New York

      *      *      *      *      *      *

             STORIES OF RARE CHARM BY GENE STRATTON-PORTER
  May be had wherever books are sold. Ask for Grosset & Dunlap's list.

MICHAEL O'HALLORAN. Illustrated by Frances Rogers.

Michael is a quick-witted little Irish newsboy, living in Northern
Indiana. He adopts a deserted little girl, a cripple. He also assumes the
responsibility of leading the entire rural community upward and onward.

LADDIE. Illustrated by Herman Pfeifer.

This is a bright, cheery tale with the scenes laid in Indiana. The story
is told by Little Sister, the youngest member of a large family, but it
is concerned not so much with childish doings as with the love affairs of
older members of the family. Chief among them is that of Laddie and the
Princess, an English girl who has come to live in the neighborhood and
about whose family there hangs a mystery.

THE HARVESTER. Illustrated by W. L. Jacobs.

"The Harvester," is a man of the woods and fields, and if the book had
nothing in it but the splendid figure of this man it would be notable.
But when the Girl comes to his "Medicine Woods," there begins a romance
of the rarest idyllic quality.

FRECKLES. Illustrated.

Freckles is a nameless waif when the tale opens, but the way in which he
takes hold of life; the nature friendships he forms in the great
Limberlost Swamp; the manner in which everyone who meets him succumbs to
the charm of his engaging personality; and his love-story with "The
Angel" are full of real sentiment.

A GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST. Illustrated.

The story of a girl of the Michigan woods; a buoyant, loveable type of
the self-reliant American. Her philosophy is one of love and kindness
towards all things; her hope is never dimmed. And by the sheer beauty of
her soul, and the purity of her vision, she wins from barren and
unpromising surroundings those rewards of high courage.

AT THE FOOT OF THE RAINBOW. Illustrations in colors.

The scene of this charming love story is laid in Central Indiana. The
story is one of devoted friendship, and tender self-sacrificing love. The
novel is brimful of the most beautiful word painting of nature, and its
pathos and tender sentiment will endear it to all.

THE SONG OF THE CARDINAL. Profusely illustrated.

A love ideal of the Cardinal bird and his mate, told with delicacy and
humor.

                 Grosset & Dunlap, Publishers, New York





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