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Title: The "Genius"
Author: Dreiser, Theodore, 1871-1945
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 "The "Genius"" ***

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  3. * * * * * * * *









Press of
J. J. Little & Ives Company
New York, U. S. A.

"Eugene Witla, wilt thou have this woman to thy wedded wife, to live
together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt
thou love her, comfort her, honour her, and keep her in sickness and in
health; and forsaking all others, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye
both shall live?"

"I will."




This story has its beginnings in the town of Alexandria, Illinois,
between 1884 and 1889, at the time when the place had a population of
somewhere near ten thousand. There was about it just enough of the air
of a city to relieve it of the sense of rural life. It had one
street-car line, a theatre,--or rather, an opera house, so-called (why
no one might say, for no opera was ever performed there)--two railroads,
with their stations, and a business district, composed of four brisk
sides to a public square. In the square were the county court-house and
four newspapers. These two morning and two evening papers made the
population fairly aware of the fact that life was full of issues, local
and national, and that there were many interesting and varied things to
do. On the edge of town, several lakes and a pretty stream--perhaps
Alexandria's most pleasant feature--gave it an atmosphere not unakin to
that of a moderate-priced summer resort. Architecturally the town was
not new. It was mostly built of wood, as all American towns were at this
time, but laid out prettily in some sections, with houses that sat back
in great yards, far from the streets, with flower beds, brick walks, and
green trees as concomitants of a comfortable home life. Alexandria was a
city of young Americans. Its spirit was young. Life was all before
almost everybody. It was really good to be alive.

In one part of this city there lived a family which in its character and
composition might well have been considered typically American and
middle western. It was not by any means poor--or, at least, did not
consider itself so; it was in no sense rich. Thomas Jefferson Witla, the
father, was a sewing machine agent with the general agency in that
county of one of the best known and best selling machines made. From
each twenty, thirty-five or sixty-dollar machine which he sold, he took
a profit of thirty-five per cent. The sale of machines was not great,
but it was enough to yield him nearly two thousand dollars a year; and
on that he had managed to buy a house and lot, to furnish it
comfortably, to send his children to school, and to maintain a local
store on the public square where the latest styles of machines were
displayed. He also took old machines of other makes in exchange,
allowing ten to fifteen dollars on the purchase price of a new machine.
He also repaired machines,--and with that peculiar energy of the
American mind, he tried to do a little insurance business in addition.
His first idea was that his son, Eugene Tennyson Witla, might take
charge of this latter work, once he became old enough and the insurance
trade had developed sufficiently. He did not know what his son might
turn out to be, but it was always well to have an anchor to windward.

He was a quick, wiry, active man of no great stature, sandy-haired, with
blue eyes with noticeable eye-brows, an eagle nose, and a rather radiant
and ingratiating smile. Service as a canvassing salesman, endeavoring to
persuade recalcitrant wives and indifferent or conservative husbands to
realize that they really needed a new machine in their home, had taught
him caution, tact, savoir faire. He knew how to approach people
pleasantly. His wife thought too much so.

Certainly he was honest, hard working, and thrifty. They had been
waiting a long time for the day when they could say they owned their own
home and had a little something laid away for emergencies. That day had
come, and life was not half bad. Their house was neat,--white with green
shutters, surrounded by a yard with well kept flower beds, a smooth
lawn, and some few shapely and broad spreading trees. There was a front
porch with rockers, a swing under one tree, a hammock under another, a
buggy and several canvassing wagons in a nearby stable. Witla liked
dogs, so there were two collies. Mrs. Witla liked live things, so there
were a canary bird, a cat, some chickens, and a bird house set aloft on
a pole where a few blue-birds made their home. It was a nice little
place, and Mr. and Mrs. Witla were rather proud of it.

Miriam Witla was a good wife to her husband. A daughter of a hay and
grain dealer in Wooster, a small town near Alexandria in McLean County,
she had never been farther out into the world than Springfield and
Chicago. She had gone to Springfield as a very young girl, to see
Lincoln buried, and once with her husband she had gone to the state fair
or exposition which was held annually in those days on the lake front in
Chicago. She was well preserved, good looking, poetic under a marked
outward reserve. It was she who had insisted upon naming her only son
Eugene Tennyson, a tribute at once to a brother Eugene, and to the
celebrated romanticist of verse, because she had been so impressed with
his "Idylls of the King."

Eugene Tennyson seemed rather strong to Witla père, as the name of a
middle-western American boy, but he loved his wife and gave her her way
in most things. He rather liked the names of Sylvia and Myrtle with
which she had christened the two girls. All three of the children were
good looking,--Sylvia, a girl of twenty-one, with black hair, dark eyes,
full blown like a rose, healthy, active, smiling. Myrtle was of a less
vigorous constitution, small, pale, shy, but intensely sweet--like the
flower she was named after, her mother said. She was inclined to be
studious and reflective, to read verse and dream. The young bloods of
the high school were all crazy to talk to Myrtle and to walk with her,
but they could find no words. And she herself did not know what to say
to them.

Eugene Witla was the apple of his family's eye, younger than either of
his two sisters by two years. He had straight smooth black hair, dark
almond-shaped eyes, a straight nose, a shapely but not aggressive chin;
his teeth were even and white, showing with a curious delicacy when he
smiled, as if he were proud of them. He was not very strong to begin
with, moody, and to a notable extent artistic. Because of a weak stomach
and a semi-anæmic condition, he did not really appear as strong as he
was. He had emotion, fire, longings, that were concealed behind a wall
of reserve. He was shy, proud, sensitive, and very uncertain of himself.

When at home he lounged about the house, reading Dickens, Thackeray,
Scott and Poe. He browsed idly through one book after another, wondering
about life. The great cities appealed to him. He thought of travel as a
wonderful thing. In school he read Taine and Gibbon between recitation
hours, wondering at the luxury and beauty of the great courts of the
world. He cared nothing for grammar, nothing for mathematics, nothing
for botany or physics, except odd bits here and there. Curious facts
would strike him--the composition of clouds, the composition of water,
the chemical elements of the earth. He liked to lie in the hammock at
home, spring, summer or fall, and look at the blue sky showing through
the trees. A soaring buzzard poised in speculative flight held his
attention fixedly. The wonder of a snowy cloud, high piled like wool,
and drifting as an island, was like a song to him. He had wit, a keen
sense of humor, a sense of pathos. Sometimes he thought he would draw;
sometimes write. He had a little talent for both, he thought, but did
practically nothing with either. He would sketch now and then, but only
fragments--a small roof-top, with smoke curling from a chimney and birds
flying; a bit of water with a willow bending over it and perhaps a boat
anchored; a mill pond with ducks afloat, and a boy or woman on the bank.
He really had no great talent for interpretation at this time, only an
intense sense of beauty. The beauty of a bird in flight, a rose in
bloom, a tree swaying in the wind--these held him. He would walk the
streets of his native town at night, admiring the brightness of the
store windows, the sense of youth and enthusiasm that went with a crowd;
the sense of love and comfort and home that spoke through the glowing
windows of houses set back among trees.

He admired girls,--was mad about them,--but only about those who were
truly beautiful. There were two or three in his school who reminded him
of poetic phrases he had come across--"beauty like a tightened bow,"
"thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face," "a dancing shape, an image
gay"--but he could not talk to them with ease. They were beautiful but
so distant. He invested them with more beauty than they had; the beauty
was in his own soul. But he did not know that. One girl whose yellow
hair lay upon her neck in great yellow braids like ripe corn, was
constantly in his thoughts. He worshiped her from afar but she never
knew. She never knew what solemn black eyes burned at her when she was
not looking. She left Alexandria, her family moving to another town, and
in time he recovered, for there is much of beauty. But the color of her
hair and the wonder of her neck stayed with him always.

There was some plan on the part of Witla to send these children to
college, but none of them showed any great desire for education. They
were perhaps wiser than books, for they were living in the realm of
imagination and feeling. Sylvia longed to be a mother, and was married
at twenty-one to Henry Burgess, the son of Benjamin C. Burgess, editor
of the _Morning Appeal_. There was a baby the first year. Myrtle was
dreaming through algebra and trigonometry, wondering whether she would
teach or get married, for the moderate prosperity of the family demanded
that she do something. Eugene mooned through his studies, learning
nothing practical. He wrote a little, but his efforts at sixteen were
puerile. He drew, but there was no one to tell him whether there was any
merit in the things he did or not. Practical matters were generally
without significance to him. But he was overawed by the fact that the
world demanded practical service--buying and selling like his father,
clerking in stores, running big business. It was a confusing maze, and
he wondered, even at this age, what was to become of him. He did not
object to the kind of work his father was doing, but it did not interest
him. For himself he knew it would be a pointless, dreary way of making a
living, and as for insurance, that was equally bad. He could hardly
bring himself to read through the long rigamarole of specifications
which each insurance paper itemized. There were times--evenings and
Saturdays--when he clerked in his father's store, but it was painful
work. His mind was not in it.

As early as his twelfth year his father had begun to see that Eugene was
not cut out for business, and by the time he was sixteen he was
convinced of it. From the trend of his reading and his percentage marks
at school, he was equally convinced that the boy was not interested in
his studies. Myrtle, who was two classes ahead of him but sometimes in
the same room, reported that he dreamed too much. He was always looking
out of the window.

Eugene's experience with girls had not been very wide. There were those
very minor things that occur in early youth--girls whom we furtively
kiss, or who furtively kiss us--the latter had been the case with
Eugene. He had no particular interest in any one girl. At fourteen he
had been picked by a little girl at a party as an affinity, for the
evening at least, and in a game of "post-office" had enjoyed the wonder
of a girl's arms around him in a dark room and a girl's lips against
his; but since then there had been no re-encounter of any kind. He had
dreamed of love, with this one experience as a basis, but always in a
shy, distant way. He was afraid of girls, and they, to tell the truth,
were afraid of him. They could not make him out.

But in the fall of his seventeenth year Eugene came into contact with
one girl who made a profound impression on him. Stella Appleton was a
notably beautiful creature. She was very fair, Eugene's own age, with
very blue eyes and a slender sylph-like body. She was gay and debonair
in an enticing way, without really realizing how dangerous she was to
the average, susceptible male heart. She liked to flirt with the boys
because it amused her, and not because she cared for anyone in
particular. There was no petty meanness about it, however, for she
thought they were all rather nice, the less clever appealing to her
almost more than the sophisticated. She may have liked Eugene originally
because of his shyness.

He saw her first at the beginning of his last school year when she came
to the city and entered the second high school class. Her father had
come from Moline, Illinois, to take a position as manager of a new
pulley manufactory which was just starting. She had quickly become
friends with his sister Myrtle, being perhaps attracted by her quiet
ways, as Myrtle was by Stella's gaiety.

One afternoon, as Myrtle and Stella were on Main Street, walking home
from the post office, they met Eugene, who was on his way to visit a boy
friend. He was really bashful; and when he saw them approaching he
wanted to escape, but there was no way. They saw him, and Stella
approached confidently enough. Myrtle was anxious to intercept him,
because she had her pretty companion with her.

"You haven't been home, have you?" she asked, stopping. This was her
chance to introduce Stella; Eugene couldn't escape. "Miss Appleton, this
is my brother Eugene."

Stella gave him a sunny encouraging smile, and her hand, which he took
gingerly. He was plainly nervous.

"I'm not very clean," he said apologetically. "I've been helping father
fix a buggy."

"Oh, we don't mind," said Myrtle. "Where are you going?"

"Over to Harry Morris's," he explained.

"What for?"

"We're going for hickory nuts."

"Oh, I wish I had some," said Stella.

"I'll bring you some," he volunteered gallantly.

She smiled again. "I wish you would."

She almost proposed that they should be taken along, but inexperience
hindered her.

Eugene was struck with all her charm at once. She seemed like one of
those unattainable creatures who had swum into his ken a little earlier
and disappeared. There was something of the girl with the corn-colored
hair about her, only she had been more human, less like a dream. This
girl was fine, delicate, pink, like porcelain. She was fragile and yet
virile. He caught his breath, but he was more or less afraid of her. He
did not know what she might be thinking of him.

"Well, we're going on to the house," said Myrtle.

"I'd go along if I hadn't promised Harry I'd come over."

"Oh, that's all right," replied Myrtle. "We don't mind."

He withdrew, feeling that he had made a very poor impression. Stella's
eyes had been on him in a very inquiring way. She looked after him when
he had gone.

"Isn't he nice?" she said to Myrtle frankly.

"I think so," replied Myrtle; "kind o'. He's too moody, though."

"What makes him?"

"He isn't very strong."

"I think he has a nice smile."

"I'll tell him!"

"No, please don't! You won't, will you?"


"But he _has_ a nice smile."

"I'll ask you round to the house some evening and you can meet him

"I'd like to," said Stella. "It would be a lot of fun."

"Come out Saturday evening and stay all night. He's home then."

"I will," said Stella. "Won't that be fine!"

"I believe you like him!" laughed Myrtle.

"I think he's awfully nice," said Stella, simply.

The second meeting happened on Saturday evening as arranged, when he
came home from his odd day at his father's insurance office. Stella had
come to supper. Eugene saw her through the open sitting room door, as he
bounded upstairs to change his clothes, for he had a fire of youth which
no sickness of stomach or weakness of lungs could overcome at this age.
A thrill of anticipation ran over his body. He took especial pains with
his toilet, adjusting a red tie to a nicety, and parting his hair
carefully in the middle. He came down after a while, conscious that he
had to say something smart, worthy of himself, or she would not see how
attractive he was; and yet he was fearful as to the result. When he
entered the sitting room she was sitting with his sister before an open
fire-place, the glow of a lamp with a red-flowered shade warmly
illuminating the room. It was a commonplace room, with its blue
cloth-covered center table, its chairs of stereotyped factory design,
and its bookcase of novels and histories, but it was homey, and the
sense of hominess was strong.

Mrs. Witla was in and out occasionally, looking for things which
appertained to her functions as house-mother. The father was not home
yet; he would get there by supper-time, having been to some outlying
town of the county trying to sell a machine. Eugene was indifferent to
his presence or absence. Mr. Witla had a fund of humor which extended to
joking with his son and daughters, when he was feeling good, to noting
their budding interest in the opposite sex; to predicting some
commonplace climax to their one grand passion when it should come. He
was fond of telling Myrtle that she would one day marry a horse-doctor.
As for Eugene, he predicted a certain Elsa Brown, who, his wife said,
had greasy curls. This did not irritate either Myrtle or Eugene. It even
brought a wry smile to Eugene's face for he was fond of a jest; but he
saw his father pretty clearly even at this age. He saw the smallness of
his business, the ridiculousness of any such profession having any claim
on him. He never wanted to say anything, but there was in him a burning
opposition to the commonplace, a molten pit in a crater of reserve,
which smoked ominously now and then for anyone who could have read.
Neither his father nor his mother understood him. To them he was a
peculiar boy, dreamy, sickly, unwitting, as yet, of what he really

"Oh, here you are!" said Myrtle, when he came in. "Come and sit down."

Stella gave him an enticing smile.

He walked to the mantel-piece and stood there, posing. He wanted to
impress this girl, and he did not quite know how. He was almost lost for
anything to say.

"You can't guess what we've been doing!" his sister chirped helpfully.

"Well--what?" he replied blankly.

"You ought to guess. Can't you be nice and guess?"

"One guess, anyhow," put in Stella.

"Toasting pop-corn," he ventured with a half smile.

"You're warm." It was Myrtle speaking.

Stella looked at him with round blue eyes. "One more guess," she

"Chestnuts!" he guessed.

She nodded her head gaily. "What hair!" he thought. Then--"Where are

"Here's one," laughed his new acquaintance, holding out a tiny hand.

Under her laughing encouragement he was finding his voice. "Stingy!" he

"Now isn't that mean," she exclaimed. "I gave him the only one I had.
Don't you give him any of yours, Myrtle."

"I take it back," he pleaded. "I didn't know."

"I won't!" exclaimed Myrtle. "Here, Stella," and she held out the few
nuts she had left, "take these, and don't you give him any!" She put
them in Stella's eager hands.

He saw her meaning. It was an invitation to a contest. She wanted him to
try to make her give him some. He fell in with her plan.

"Here!" He stretched out his palm. "That's not right!"

She shook her head.

"One, anyhow," he insisted.

Her head moved negatively from side to side slowly.

"One," he pleaded, drawing near.

Again the golden negative. But her hand was at the side nearest him,
where he could seize it. She started to pass its contents behind her to
the other hand but he jumped and caught it.

"Myrtle! Quick!" she called.

Myrtle came. It was a three-handed struggle. In the midst of the contest
Stella twisted and rose to her feet. Her hair brushed his face. He held
her tiny hand firmly. For a moment he looked into her eyes. What was it?
He could not say. Only he half let go and gave her the victory.

"There," she smiled. "Now I'll give you one."

He took it, laughing. What he wanted was to take her in his arms.

A little while before supper his father came in and sat down, but
presently took a Chicago paper and went into the dining room to read.
Then his mother called them to the table, and he sat by Stella. He was
intensely interested in what she did and said. If her lips moved he
noted just how. When her teeth showed he thought they were lovely. A
little ringlet on her forehead beckoned him like a golden finger. He
felt the wonder of the poetic phrase, "the shining strands of her hair."

After dinner he and Myrtle and Stella went back to the sitting room. His
father stayed behind to read, his mother to wash dishes. Myrtle left the
room after a bit to help her mother, and then these two were left alone.
He hadn't much to say, now that they were together--he couldn't talk.
Something about her beauty kept him silent.

"Do you like school?" she asked after a time. She felt as if they must

"Only fairly well," he replied. "I'm not much interested. I think I'll
quit one of these days and go to work."

"What do you expect to do?"

"I don't know yet--I'd like to be an artist." He confessed his ambition
for the first time in his life--why, he could not have said.

Stella took no note of it.

"I was afraid they wouldn't let me enter second year high school, but
they did," she remarked. "The superintendent at Moline had to write the
superintendent here."

"They're mean about those things," he cogitated.

She got up and went to the bookcase to look at the books. He followed
after a little.

"Do you like Dickens?" she asked.

He nodded his head solemnly in approval. "Pretty much," he said.

"I can't like him. He's too long drawn out. I like Scott better."

"I like Scott," he said.

"I'll tell you a lovely book that I like." She paused, her lips parted
trying to remember the name. She lifted her hand as though to pick the
title out of the air. "The Fair God," she exclaimed at last.

"Yes--it's fine," he approved. "I thought the scene in the old Aztec
temple where they were going to sacrifice Ahwahee was so wonderful!"

"Oh, yes, I liked that," she added. She pulled out "Ben Hur" and turned
its leaves idly. "And this was so good."


They paused and she went to the window, standing under the cheap lace
curtains. It was a moonlight night. The rows of trees that lined the
street on either side were leafless; the grass brown and dead. Through
the thin, interlaced twigs that were like silver filigree they could see
the lamps of other houses shining through half-drawn blinds. A man went
by, a black shadow in the half-light.

"Isn't it lovely?" she said.

Eugene came near. "It's fine," he answered.

"I wish it were cold enough to skate. Do you skate?" She turned to him.

"Yes, indeed," he replied.

"My, it's so nice on a moonlit night. I used to skate a lot at Moline."

"We skate a lot here. There're two lakes, you know."

He thought of the clear crystal nights when the ice of Green Lake had
split every so often with a great resounding rumble. He thought of the
crowds of boys and girls shouting, the distant shadows, the stars. Up to
now he had never found any girl to skate with successfully. He had never
felt just easy with anyone. He had tried it, but once he had fallen with
a girl, and it had almost cured him of skating forever. He felt as
though he could skate with Stella. He felt that she might like to skate
with him.

"When it gets colder we might go," he ventured. "Myrtle skates."

"Oh, that'll be fine!" she applauded.

Still she looked out into the street.

After a bit she came back to the fire and stood before him, pensively
looking down.

"Do you think your father will stay here?" he asked.

"He says so. He likes it very much."

"Do you?"


"Why _now_?"

"Oh, I didn't like it at first."


"Oh, I guess it was because I didn't know anybody. I like it though,
now." She lifted her eyes.

He drew a little nearer.

"It's a nice place," he said, "but there isn't much for me here. I think
I'll leave next year."

"Where do you think you'll go?"

"To Chicago. I don't want to stay here."

She turned her body toward the fire and he moved to a chair behind her,
leaning on its back. She felt him there rather close, but did not move.
He was surprising himself.

"Aren't you ever coming back?" she asked.

"Maybe. It all depends. I suppose so."

"I shouldn't think you'd want to leave yet."


"You say it's so nice."

He made no answer and she looked over her shoulder. He was leaning very
much toward her.

"Will you skate with me this winter?" he asked meaningly.

She nodded her head.

Myrtle came in.

"What are you two talking about?" she asked.

"The fine skating we have here," he said.

"I love to skate," she exclaimed.

"So do I," added Stella. "It's heavenly."


Some of the incidents of this courtship that followed, ephemeral as it
was, left a profound impression on Eugene's mind. They met to skate not
long after, for the snow came and the ice and there was wonderful
skating on Green Lake. The frost was so prolonged that men with horses
and ice-saws were cutting blocks a foot thick over at Miller's Point,
where the ice houses were. Almost every day after Thanksgiving there
were crowds of boys and girls from the schools scooting about like water
skippers. Eugene could not always go on week evenings and Saturdays
because he had to assist his father at the store. But at regular
intervals he could ask Myrtle to get Stella and let them all go together
at night. And at other times he would ask her to go alone. Not
infrequently she did.

On one particular occasion they were below a group of houses which crept
near the lake on high ground. The moon was up, its wooing rays reflected
in the polished surfaces of the ice. Through the black masses of trees
that lined the shore could be seen the glow of windows, yellow and
homey. Eugene and Stella had slowed up to turn about, having left the
crowd of skaters some distance back. Stella's golden curls were covered,
except for a few ringlets, with a French cap; her body, to below the
hips, encased in a white wool Jersey, close-fitting and shapely. The
skirt below was a grey mixture of thick wool and the stockings were
covered by white woolen leggings. She looked tempting and knew it.

Suddenly, as they turned, one of her skates came loose and she hobbled
and exclaimed about it. "Wait," said Eugene, "I'll fix it."

She stood before him and he fell to his knees, undoing the twisted
strap. When he had the skate off and ready for her foot he looked up,
and she looked down on him, smiling. He dropped the skate and flung his
arms around her hips, laying his head against her waist.

"You're a bad boy," she said.

For a few minutes she kept silent, for as the center of this lovely
scene she was divine. While he held her she pulled off his wool cap and
laid her hand on his hair. It almost brought tears to his eyes, he was
so happy. At the same time it awakened a tremendous passion. He clutched
her significantly.

"Fix my skate, now," she said wisely.

He got up to hug her but she would not let him.

"No, no," she protested. "You mustn't do like that. I won't come with
you if you do."

"Oh, Stella!" he pleaded.

"I mean it," she insisted. "You mustn't do like that."

He subsided, hurt, half angry. But he feared her will. She was really
not as ready for caresses as he had thought.

Another time a sleighing party was given by some school girls, and
Stella, Eugene and Myrtle were invited. It was a night of snow and
stars, not too cold but bracing. A great box-wagon had been dismantled
of its body and the latter put on runners and filled with straw and warm
robes. Eugene and Myrtle, like the others, had been picked up at their
door after the sleigh had gone the rounds of some ten peaceful little
homes. Stella was not in yet, but in a little while her house was

"Get in here," called Myrtle, though she was half the length of the box
away from Eugene. Her request made him angry. "Sit by me," he called,
fearful that she would not. She climbed in by Myrtle but finding the
space not to her liking moved farther down. Eugene made a special effort
to have room by him, and she came there as though by accident. He drew a
buffalo robe around her and thrilled to think that she was really there.
The sleigh went jingling around the town for others, and finally struck
out into the country. It passed great patches of dark woods silent in
the snow, little white frame farmhouses snuggled close to the ground,
and with windows that gleamed in a vague romantic way. The stars were
countless and keen. The whole scene made a tremendous impression on him,
for he was in love, and here beside him, in the shadow, her face palely
outlined, was this girl. He could make out the sweetness of her cheek,
her eyes, the softness of her hair.

There was a good deal of chatter and singing, and in the midst of these
distractions he managed to slip an arm about her waist, to get her hand
in his, to look close into her eyes, trying to divine their expression.
She was always coy with him, not wholly yielding. Three or four times he
kissed her cheek furtively and once her mouth. In a dark place he pulled
her vigorously to him, putting a long, sensuous kiss on her lips that
frightened her.

"No," she protested, nervously. "You mustn't."

He ceased for a time, feeling that he had pressed his advantage too
closely. But the night in all its beauty, and she in hers made a lasting


"I think we ought to get Eugene into newspaper work or something like
that," Witla senior suggested to his wife.

"It looks as though that's all he would be good for, at least now,"
replied Mrs. Witla, who was satisfied that her boy had not yet found
himself. "I think he'll do something better later on. His health isn't
very good, you know."

Witla half suspected that his boy was naturally lazy, but he wasn't
sure. He suggested that Benjamin C. Burgess, the prospective
father-in-law of Sylvia and the editor and proprietor of the _Morning
Appeal_, might give him a place as a reporter or type-setter in order
that he might learn the business from the ground up. The _Appeal_
carried few employees, but Mr. Burgess might have no objections to
starting Eugene as a reporter if he could write, or as a student of
type-setting, or both. He appealed to Burgess one day on the street.

"Say, Burgess," he said, "you wouldn't have a place over in your shop
for that boy of mine, would you? He likes to scribble a little, I
notice. I think he pretends to draw a little, too, though I guess it
doesn't amount to much. He ought to get into something. He isn't doing
anything at school. Maybe he could learn type-setting. It wouldn't hurt
him to begin at the bottom if he's going to follow that line. It
wouldn't matter what you paid him to begin with."

Burgess thought. He had seen Eugene around town, knew no harm of him
except that he was lackadaisical and rather moody.

"Send him in to see me some day," he replied noncommittally. "I might do
something for him."

"I'd certainly be much obliged to you if you would," said Witla. "He is
not doing much good as it is now," and the two men parted.

He went home and told Eugene. "Burgess says he might give you a position
as a type-setter or a reporter on the _Appeal_ if you'd come in and see
him some day," he explained, looking over to where his son was reading
by the lamp.

"Does he?" replied Eugene calmly. "Well, I can't write. I might set
type. Did you ask him?"

"Yes," said Witla. "You'd better go to him some day."

Eugene bit his lip. He realized this was a commentary on his loafing
propensities. He wasn't doing very well, that was certain. Still
type-setting was no bright field for a person of his temperament. "I
will," he concluded, "when school's over."

"Better speak before school ends. Some of the other fellows might ask
for it around that time. It wouldn't hurt you to try your hand at it."

"I will," said Eugene obediently.

He stopped in one sunny April afternoon at Mr. Burgess' office. It was
on the ground floor of the three-story _Appeal_ building in the public
square. Mr. Burgess, a fat man, slightly bald, looked at him quizzically
over his steel rimmed spectacles. What little hair he had was gray.

"So you think you would like to go into the newspaper business, do you?"
queried Burgess.

"I'd like to try my hand at it," replied the boy. "I'd like to see
whether I like it."

"I can tell you right now there's very little in it. Your father says
you like to write."

"I'd like to well enough, but I don't think I can. I wouldn't mind
learning type-setting. If I ever could write I'd be perfectly willing

"When do you think you'd like to start?"

"At the end of school, if it's all the same to you."

"It doesn't make much difference. I'm not really in need of anybody, but
I could use you. Would you be satisfied with five a week?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, come in when you are ready. I'll see what I can do."

He waved the prospective type-setter away with a movement of his fat
hand, and turned to his black walnut desk, dingy, covered with
newspapers, and lit by a green shaded electric light. Eugene went out,
the smell of fresh printing ink in his nose, and the equally aggressive
smell of damp newspapers. It was going to be an interesting experience,
he thought, but perhaps a waste of time. He did not think so much of
Alexandria. Some time he was going to get out of it.

The office of the _Appeal_ was not different from that of any other
country newspaper office within the confines of our two hemispheres. On
the ground floor in front was the business office, and in the rear the
one large flat bed press and the job presses. On the second floor was
the composing room with its rows of type cases on their high racks--for
this newspaper was, like most other country newspapers, still set by
hand; and in front was the one dingy office of the so-called editor, or
managing editor, or city editor--for all three were the same person, a
Mr. Caleb Williams whom Burgess had picked up in times past from heaven
knows where. Williams was a small, lean, wiry man, with a black pointed
beard and a glass eye which fixed you oddly with its black pupil. He was
talkative, skipped about from duty to duty, wore most of the time a
green shade pulled low over his forehead, and smoked a brown briar pipe.
He had a fund of knowledge, piled up in metropolitan journalistic
experience, but he was anchored here with a wife and three children,
after sailing, no doubt, a chartless sea of troubles, and was glad to
talk life and experiences after office hours with almost anybody. It
took him from eight in the morning until two in the afternoon to gather
what local news there was, and either write it or edit it. He seemed to
have a number of correspondents who sent him weekly batches of news from
surrounding points. The Associated Press furnished him with a few minor
items by telegraph, and there was a "patent insides," two pages of
fiction, household hints, medicine ads. and what not, which saved him
considerable time and stress. Most of the news which came to him
received short shrift in the matter of editing. "In Chicago we used to
give a lot of attention to this sort of thing," Williams was wont to
declare to anyone who was near, "but you can't do it down here. The
readers really don't expect it. They're looking for local items. I
always look after the local items pretty sharp."

Mr. Burgess took care of the advertising sections. In fact he solicited
advertising personally, saw that it was properly set up as the
advertiser wanted it, and properly placed according to the convenience
of the day and the rights and demands of others. He was the politician
of the concern, the handshaker, the guider of its policy. He wrote
editorials now and then, or, with Williams, decided just what their
sense must be, met the visitors who came to the office to see the
editor, and arbitrated all known forms of difficulties. He was at the
beck and call of certain Republican party-leaders in the county; but
that seemed natural, for he was a Republican himself by temperament and
disposition. He was appointed postmaster once to pay him for some useful
services, but he declined because he was really making more out of his
paper than his postmastership would have brought. He received whatever
city or county advertising it was in the power of the Republican leaders
to give him, and so he did very well. The complications of his political
relationships Williams knew in part, but they never troubled that
industrious soul. He dispensed with moralizing. "I have to make a living
for myself, my wife and three children. That's enough to keep me going
without bothering my head about other people." So this office was really
run very quietly, efficiently, and in most ways pleasantly. It was a
sunny place to work.

Witla, who came here at the end of his eleventh school year and when he
had just turned seventeen, was impressed with the personality of
Mr. Williams. He liked him. He came to like a Jonas Lyle who worked at
what might be called the head desk of the composing room, and a certain
John Summers who worked at odd times--whenever there was an extra rush
of job printing. He learned very quickly that John Summers, who was
fifty-five, grey, and comparatively silent, was troubled with weak lungs
and drank. Summers would slip out of the office at various times in the
day and be gone from five to fifteen minutes. No one ever said anything,
for there was no pressure here. What work was to be done was done. Jonas
Lyle was of a more interesting nature. He was younger by ten years,
stronger, better built, but still a character. He was semi-phlegmatic,
philosophic, feebly literary. He had worked, as Eugene found out in the
course of time, in nearly every part of the United States--Denver,
Portland, St. Paul, St. Louis, where not, and had a fund of
recollections of this proprietor and that. Whenever he saw a name of
particular distinction in the newspapers he was apt to bring the paper
to Williams--and later, when they became familiar, to Eugene--and say,
"I knew that fellow out in ----. He was postmaster (or what not) at
X----. He's come up considerably since I knew him." In most cases he did
not know these celebrities personally at all, but he knew of them, and
the echo of their fame sounding in this out-of-the-way corner of the
world impressed him. He was a careful reader of proof for Williams in a
rush, a quick type-setter, a man who stayed by his tasks faithfully. But
he hadn't got anywhere in the world, for, after all, he was little more
than a machine. Eugene could see that at a glance.

It was Lyle who taught him the art of type-setting. He demonstrated the
first day the theory of the squares or pockets in a case, how some
letters were placed more conveniently to the hand than others, why some
letters were well represented as to quantity, why capitals were used in
certain offices for certain purposes, in others not. "Now on the Chicago
_Tribune_ we used to italicize the names of churches, boats, books,
hotels, and things of that sort. That's the only paper I ever knew to do
that," he remarked. What slugs, sticks, galleys, turnovers, meant, came
rapidly to the surface. That the fingers would come to recognize weights
of leads by the touch, that a letter would almost instinctively find its
way back to its proper pocket, even though you were not thinking, once
you became expert, were facts which he cheerfully communicated. He
wanted his knowledge taken seriously, and this serious attention,
Eugene, because of his innate respect for learning of any kind, was only
too glad to give him. He did not know what he wanted to do, but he knew
quite well that he wanted to see everything. This shop was interesting
to him for some little time for this reason, for though he soon found
that he did not want to be a type-setter or a reporter, or indeed
anything much in connection with a country newspaper, he was learning
about life. He worked at his desk cheerfully, smiling out upon the
world, which indicated its presence to him through an open window, read
the curious bits of news or opinion or local advertisements as he set
them up, and dreamed of what the world might have in store for him. He
was not vastly ambitious as yet, but hopeful and, withal, a little
melancholy. He could see boys and girls whom he knew, idling in the
streets or on the corner squares; he could see where Ted Martinwood was
driving by in his father's buggy, or George Anderson was going up the
street with the air of someone who would never need to work. George's
father owned the one and only hotel. There were thoughts in his mind of
fishing, boating, lolling somewhere with some pretty girl, but alas,
girls did not apparently take to him so very readily. He was too shy. He
thought it must be nice to be rich. So he dreamed.

Eugene was at that age when he wished to express himself in ardent
phrases. He was also at the age when bashfulness held him in reserve,
even though he were in love and intensely emotional. He could only say
to Stella what seemed trivial things, and look his intensity, whereas it
was the trivial things that were most pleasing to her, not the
intensity. She was even then beginning to think he was a little strange,
a little too tense for her disposition. Yet she liked him. It became
generally understood around town that Stella was _his_ girl. School day
mating usually goes that way in a small city or village. He was seen to
go out with her. His father teased him. Her mother and father deemed
this a manifestation of calf love, not so much on her part, for they
were aware of her tendency to hold lightly any manifestation of
affection on the part of boys, but on his. They thought his
sentimentalism would soon be wearisome to Stella. And they were not far
wrong about her. On one occasion at a party given by several high school
girls, a "country post office" was organized. That was one of those
games which mean kissing only. A system of guessing results in a series
of forfeits. If you miss you must be postmaster, and call someone for
"mail." _Mail_ means to be kissed in a dark room (where the postmaster
stands) by someone whom you like or who likes you. You, as postmaster,
have authority or compulsion--however you feel about it--to call whom
you please.

In this particular instance Stella, who was caught before Eugene, was
under compulsion to call someone to kiss. Her first thought was of him,
but on account of the frankness of the deed, and because there was a
lurking fear in her of his eagerness, the name she felt impelled to
speak was Harvey Rutter. Harvey was a handsome boy whom Stella had met
after her first encounter with Eugene. He was not as yet fascinating to
her, but pleasing. She had a coquettish desire to see what he was like.
This was her first direct chance.

He stepped gaily in, and Eugene was at once insane with jealousy. He
could not understand why she should treat him in that way. When it came
to his turn he called for Bertha Shoemaker, whom he admired, and who was
sweet in a way, but who was as nothing to Stella in his estimation. The
pain of kissing her when he really wanted the other girl was great. When
he came out Stella saw moodiness in his eyes, but chose to ignore it. He
was obviously half-hearted and downcast in his simulation of joy.

A second chance came to her and this time she called him. He went, but
was in a semi-defiant mood. He wanted to punish her. When they met in
the dark she expected him to put his arms around her. Her own hands were
up to about where his shoulders should be. Instead he only took hold of
one of her arms with his hand and planted a chilly kiss on her lips. If
he had only asked, "Why did you?" or held her close and pleaded with her
not to treat him so badly, the relationship might have lasted longer.
Instead he said nothing, and she grew defiant and she went out gaily.
There was a strain of reserve running between them until the party broke
up and he took her home.

"You must be melancholy tonight," she remarked, after they had walked
two blocks in complete silence. The streets were dark, and their feet
sounded hollowly on the brick pavement.

"Oh, I'm feeling all right," he replied moodily.

"I think it's awfully nice at the Weimers', we always have so much fun

"Yes, lots of fun," he echoed contemptuously.

"Oh, don't be so cross!" she flared. "You haven't any reason for

"Haven't I?"

"No, you haven't."

"Well if that's the way you feel about it I suppose I haven't. I don't
see it that way."

"Well, it doesn't make any difference to me how you see it."

"Oh, doesn't it?"

"No, it doesn't." Her head was up and she was angry.

"Well I'm sure then it doesn't to me."

There was another silence which endured until they were almost home.

"Are you coming to the sociable next Thursday?" he inquired. He was
referring to a Methodist evening entertainment which, although he cared
very little about it, was a convenience as it enabled him to see her and
take her home. He was prompted to ask by the fear that an open rupture
was impending.

"No," she said. "I don't think I will."

"Why not?"

"I don't care to."

"I think you're mean," he said reprovingly.

"I don't care," she replied. "I think you're too bossy. I don't think I
like you very much anyhow."

His heart contracted ominously.

"You can do as you please," he persisted.

They reached her gate. It was his wont to kiss her in the shadow--to
hold her tight for a few minutes in spite of her protests. Tonight, as
they approached, he thought of doing it, but she gave him no chance.
When they reached the gate she opened it quickly and slipped in.
"Good-night," she called.

"Good-night," he said, and then as she reached her door, "Stella!"

It was open, and she slipped in. He stood in the dark, hurt, sore,
oppressed. What should he do? He strolled home cudgelling his brain
whether never to speak to or look at her again until she came to him, or
to hunt her up and fight it all out with her. She was in the wrong, he
knew that. When he went to bed he was grieving over it, and when he
awoke it was with him all day.

He had been gaining rather rapidly as a student of type-setting, and to
a certain extent of the theory of reporting, and he worked diligently
and earnestly at his proposed trade. He loved to look out of the window
and draw, though of late, after knowing Stella so well and coming to
quarrel with her because of her indifference, there was little heart in
it. This getting to the office, putting on an apron, and starting in on
some local correspondence left over from the day before, or some
telegraph copy which had been freshly filed on his hook, had its
constructive value. Williams endeavored to use him on some local items
of news as a reporter, but he was a slow worker and almost a failure at
getting all the facts. He did not appear to know how to interview
anybody, and would come back with a story which needed to be filled in
from other sources. He really did not understand the theory of news, and
Williams could only make it partially clear to him. Mostly he worked at
his case, but he did learn some things.

For one thing, the theory of advertising began to dawn on him. These
local merchants put in the same ads. day after day, and many of them did
not change them noticeably. He saw Lyle and Summers taking the same ads.
which had appeared unchangingly from month to month in so far as their
main features were concerned, and alter only a few words before
returning them to the forms. He wondered at the sameness of them, and
when, at last, they were given to him to revise he often wished he could
change them a little. The language seemed so dull.

"Why don't they ever put little drawings in these ads?" he asked Lyle
one day. "Don't you think they'd look a little better?"

"Oh, I don't know," replied Jonas. "They look pretty good. These people
around here wouldn't want anything like that. They'd think it was too
fancy." Eugene had seen and in a way studied the ads. in the magazines.
They seemed so much more fascinating to him. Why couldn't newspaper ads.
be different?

Still it was never given to him to trouble over this problem.
Mr. Burgess dealt with the advertisers. He settled how the ads were to
be. He never talked to Eugene or Summers about them, not always to Lyle.
He would sometimes have Williams explain just what their character and
layout was to be. Eugene was so young that Williams at first did not pay
very much attention to him, but after a while he began to realize that
there was a personality here, and then he would explain things,--why
space had to be short for some items and long for others, why county
news, news of small towns around Alexandria, and about people, was much
more important financially to the paper than the correct reporting of
the death of the sultan of Turkey. The most important thing was to get
the local names right. "Don't ever misspell them," he once cautioned
him. "Don't ever leave out a part of a name if you can help it. People
are awfully sensitive about that. They'll stop their subscription if you
don't watch out, and you won't know what's the matter."

Eugene took all these things to heart. He wanted to see how the thing
was done, though basically it seemed to be a little small. In fact
people seemed a little small, mostly.

One of the things that did interest him was to see the paper put on the
press and run off. He liked to help lock up the forms, and to see how
they were imposed and registered. He liked to hear the press run, and to
help carry the wet papers to the mailing tables and the distributing
counter out in front. The paper hadn't a very large circulation but
there was a slight hum of life about that time and he liked it. He liked
the sense of getting his hands and face streaked and not caring, and of
seeing his hair tousled, in the mirror. He tried to be useful and the
various people on the paper came to like him, though he was often a
little awkward and slow. He was not strong at this period and his
stomach troubled him. He thought, too, that the smell of the ink might
affect his lungs, though he did not seriously fear it. In the main it
was interesting but small; there was a much larger world outside, he
knew that. He hoped to go to it some day; he hoped to go to Chicago.


Eugene grew more and more moody and rather restless under Stella's
increasing independence. She grew steadily more indifferent because of
his moods. The fact that other boys were crazy for her consideration was
a great factor; the fact that one particular boy, Harvey Rutter, was
persistently genial, not insistent, really better looking than Eugene
and much better tempered, helped a great deal. Eugene saw her with him
now and then, saw her go skating with him, or at least with a crowd of
which he was a member. Eugene hated him heartily; he hated her at times
for not yielding to him wholly; but he was none the less wild over her
beauty. It stamped his brain with a type or ideal. Thereafter he knew in
a really definite way what womanhood ought to be, to be really

Another thing it did was to bring home to him a sense of his position in
the world. So far he had always been dependent on his parents for food,
clothes and spending money, and his parents were not very liberal. He
knew other boys who had money to run up to Chicago or down to
Springfield--the latter was nearer--to have a Saturday and Sunday lark.
No such gaieties were for him. His father would not allow it, or rather
would not pay for it. There were other boys who, in consequence of amply
provided spending money, were the town dandies. He saw them kicking
their heels outside the corner book store, the principal loafing place
of the elite, on Wednesdays and Saturdays and sometimes on Sunday
evenings preparatory to going somewhere, dressed in a luxury of clothing
which was beyond his wildest dreams. Ted Martinwood, the son of the
principal drygoods man, had a frock coat in which he sometimes appeared
when he came down to the barber shop for a shave before he went to call
on his girl. George Anderson was possessed of a dress suit, and wore
dancing pumps at all dances. There was Ed Waterbury, who was known to
have a horse and runabout of his own. These youths were slightly older,
and were interested in girls of a slightly older set, but the point was
the same. These things hurt him.

He himself had no avenue of progress which, so far as he could see, was
going to bring him to any financial prosperity. His father was never
going to be rich, anybody could see that. He himself had made no
practical progress in schoolwork--he knew that. He hated
insurance--soliciting or writing, despised the sewing machine business,
and did not know where he would get with anything which he might like to
do in literature or art. His drawing seemed a joke, his writing, or wish
for writing, pointless. He was broodingly unhappy.

One day Williams, who had been watching him for a long time, stopped at
his desk.

"I say, Witla, why don't you go to Chicago?" he said. "There's a lot
more up there for a boy like you than down here. You'll never get
anywhere working on a country newspaper."

"I know it," said Eugene.

"Now with me it's different," went on Williams. "I've had my rounds.
I've got a wife and three children and when a man's got a family he
can't afford to take chances. But you're young yet. Why don't you go to
Chicago and get on a paper? You could get something."

"What could I get?" asked Eugene.

"Well, you might get a job as type-setter if you'd join the union. I
don't know how good you'd be as a reporter--I hardly think that's your
line. But you might study art and learn to draw. Newspaper artists make
good money."

Eugene thought of his art. It wasn't much. He didn't do much with it.
Still he thought of Chicago; the world appealed to him. If he could only
get out of here--if he could only make more than seven or eight dollars
a week. He brooded about this.

One Sunday afternoon he and Stella went with Myrtle to Sylvia's home,
and after a brief stay Stella announced that she would have to be going;
her mother would be expecting her back. Myrtle was for going with her,
but altered her mind when Sylvia asked her to stay to tea. "Let Eugene
take her home," Sylvia said. Eugene was delighted in his persistent,
hopeless way. He was not yet convinced that she could not be won to
love. When they walked out in the fresh sweet air--it was nearing
spring--he felt that now he should have a chance of saying something
which would be winning--which would lure her to him.

They went out on a street next to the one she lived on quite to the
confines of the town. She wanted to turn off at her street, but he had
urged her not to. "Do you have to go home just yet?" he asked,

"No, I can walk a little way," she replied.

They reached a vacant place--the last house a little distance
back--talking idly. It was getting hard to make talk. In his efforts to
be entertaining he picked up three twigs to show her how a certain trick
in balancing was performed. It consisted in laying two at right angles
with each other and with a third, using the latter as an upright. She
could not do it, of course. She was not really very much interested. He
wanted her to try and when she did, took hold of her right hand to
steady her efforts.

"No, don't," she said, drawing her hand away. "I can do it."

She trifled with the twigs unsuccessfully and was about to let them
fall, when he took hold of both her hands. It was so sudden that she
could not free herself, and so she looked him straight in the eye.

"Let go, Eugene, please let go."

He shook his head, gazing at her.

"Please let go," she went on. "You mustn't do this. I don't want you



"Because why?"

"Well, because I don't."

"Don't you like me any more, Stella, really?" he asked.

"I don't think I do, not that way."

"But you did."

"I thought I did."

"Have you changed your mind?"

"Yes, I think I have."

He dropped her hands and looked at her fixedly and dramatically. The
attitude did not appeal to her. They strolled back to the street, and
when they neared her door he said, "Well, I suppose there's no use in my
coming to see you any more."

"I think you'd better not," she said simply.

She walked in, never looking back, and instead of going back to his
sister's he went home. He was in a very gloomy mood, and after sitting
around for a while went to his room. The night fell, and he sat there
looking out at the trees and grieving about what he had lost. Perhaps he
was not good enough for her--he could not make her love him. Was it that
he was not handsome enough--he did not really consider himself good
looking--or what was it, a lack of courage or strength?

After a time he noticed that the moon was hanging over the trees like a
bright shield in the sky. Two layers of thin clouds were moving in
different directions on different levels. He stopped in his cogitations
to think where these clouds came from. On sunny days when there were
great argosies of them he had seen them disappear before his eyes, and
then, marvel of marvels, reappear out of nothingness. The first time he
ever saw this it astonished him greatly, for he had never known up to
then what clouds were. Afterward he read about them in his physical
geography. Tonight he thought of that, and of the great plains over
which these winds swept, and of the grass and trees--great forests of
them--miles and miles. What a wonderful world! Poets wrote about these
things, Longfellow, and Bryant, and Tennyson. He thought of
"Thanatopsis," and of the "Elegy," both of which he admired greatly.
What was this thing, life?

Then he came back to Stella with an ache. She was actually gone, and she
was so beautiful. She would never really talk to him any more. He would
never get to hold her hand or kiss her. He clenched his hands with the
hurt. Oh, that night on the ice; that night in the sleigh! How wonderful
they were! Finally he undressed and went to bed. He wanted to be
alone--to be lonely. On his clean white pillow he lay and dreamed of the
things that might have been, kisses, caresses, a thousand joys.

One Sunday afternoon he was lying in his hammock thinking, thinking of
what a dreary place Alexandria was, anyhow, when he opened a Chicago
Saturday afternoon paper, which was something like a Sunday one because
it had no Sunday edition,--and went gloomily through it. It was as he
had always found, full of a subtle wonder, the wonder of the city, which
drew him like a magnet. Here was the drawing of a big hotel someone was
going to build; there was a sketch of a great pianist who was coming to
play. An account of a new comedy drama; of a little romantic section of
Goose Island in the Chicago river, with its old decayed boats turned
into houses and geese waddling about; an item of a man falling through a
coal hole on South Halstead street fascinated him. This last was at
sixty-two hundred and something and the idea of such a long street
seized on his imagination. What a tremendous city Chicago must be. The
thought of car lines, crowds, trains, came to him with almost a yearning

All at once the magnet got him. It gripped his very soul, this wonder,
this beauty, this life.

"I'm going to Chicago," he thought, and got up.

There was his nice, quiet little home laid out before him. Inside were
his mother, his father, Myrtle. Still he was going. He could come back.
"Sure I can come back," he thought. Propelled by this magnetic power he
went in and upstairs to his room, and got a little grip or portmanteau
he had. He put in it the things he thought he would immediately need. In
his pocket were nine dollars, money he had been saving for some time.
Finally he came downstairs and stood in the door of the sitting room.

"What's the matter?" asked his mother, looking at his solemn
introspective face.

"I'm going to Chicago," he said.

"When?" she asked, astonished, a little uncertain of just what he meant.

"Today," he said.

"No, you're joking." She smiled unbelievingly. This was a boyish prank.

"I'm going today," he said. "I'm going to catch that four o'clock

Her face saddened. "You're not?" she said.

"I can come back," he replied, "if I want to. I want to get something
else to do."

His father came in at this time. He had a little work room out in the
barn where he sometimes cleaned machines and repaired vehicles. He was
fresh from such a task now.

"What's up?" he asked, seeing his wife close to her boy.

"Eugene's going to Chicago."

"Since when?" he inquired amusedly.

"Today. He says he's going right now."

"You don't mean it," said Witla, astonished. He really did not believe
it. "Why don't you take a little time and think it over? What are you
going to live on?"

"I'll live," said Eugene. "I'm going. I've had enough of this place. I'm
going to get out."

"All right," said his father, who, after all, believed in initiative.
Evidently after all he hadn't quite understood this boy. "Got your trunk

"No, but mother can send me that."

"Don't go today," pleaded his mother. "Wait until you get something
ready, Eugene. Wait and do a little thinking about it. Wait until

"I want to go today, ma." He slipped his arm around her. "Little ma." He
was bigger than she by now, and still growing.

"All right, Eugene," she said softly, "but I wish you wouldn't." Her boy
was leaving her--her heart was hurt.

"I can come back, ma. It's only a hundred miles."

"Well, all right," she said finally, trying to brighten. "I'll pack your

"I have already."

She went to look.

"Well, it'll soon be time," said Witla, who was thinking that Eugene
might back down. "I'm sorry. Still it may be a good thing for you.
You're always welcome here, you know."

"I know," said Eugene.

They went finally to the train together, he and his father and Myrtle.
His mother couldn't. She stayed to cry.

On the way to the depot they stopped at Sylvia's.

"Why, Eugene," she exclaimed, "how ridiculous! Don't go."

"He's set," said Witla.

Eugene finally got loose. He seemed to be fighting love, home ties,
everything, every step of the way. Finally he reached the depot. The
train came. Witla grabbed his hand affectionately. "Be a good boy," he
said, swallowing a gulp.

Myrtle kissed him. "You're so funny, Eugene. Write me."

"I will."

He stepped on the train. The bell rang. Out the cars rolled--out and on.
He looked out on the familiar scenes and then a real ache came to
him--Stella, his mother, his father, Myrtle, the little home. They were
all going out of his life.

"Hm," he half groaned, clearing his throat. "Gee!"

And then he sank back and tried, as usual, not to think. He must
succeed. That's what the world was made for. That was what he was made
for. That was what he would have to do....


The city of Chicago--who shall portray it! This vast ruck of life that
had sprung suddenly into existence upon the dank marshes of a lake
shore. Miles and miles of dreary little houses; miles and miles of
wooden block-paved streets, with gas lamps placed and water mains laid,
and empty wooden walks set for pedestrians; the beat of a hundred
thousand hammers; the ring of a hundred thousand trowels! Long,
converging lines of telegraph poles; thousands upon thousands of
sentinel cottages, factory plants, towering smoke stacks, and here and
there a lone, shabby church steeple, sitting out pathetically upon
vacant land. The raw prairie stretch was covered with yellow grass; the
great broad highways of the tracks of railroads, ten, fifteen, twenty,
thirty, laid side by side and strung with thousands upon thousands of
shabby cars, like beads upon a string. Engines clanging, trains moving,
people waiting at street crossings--pedestrians, wagon drivers, street
car drivers, drays of beer, trucks of coal, brick, stone, sand--a
spectacle of new, raw, necessary life!

As Eugene began to draw near it he caught for the first time the sense
and significance of a great city. What were these newspaper shadows he
had been dealing with in his reading compared to this vivid, articulate,
eager thing? Here was the substance of a new world, substantial,
fascinating, different. The handsome suburban station at South Chicago,
the first of its kind he had ever seen, took his eye, as the train
rolled cityward. He had never before seen a crowd of foreigners--working
men--and here were Lithuanians, Poles, Czechs, waiting for a local
train. He had never seen a really large factory plant, and here was one,
and another, and another--steel works, potteries, soap-factories,
foundries, all gaunt and hard in the Sunday evening air. There seemed to
be, for all it was Sunday, something youthful, energetic and alive about
the streets. He noted the streetcars waiting; at one place a small river
was crossed on a draw,--dirty, gloomy, but crowded with boats and lined
with great warehouses, grain elevators, coal pockets--that architecture
of necessity and utility. His imagination was fired by this for here was
something that could be done brilliantly in black--a spot of red or
green for ship and bridge lights. There were some men on the magazines
who did things like this, only not so vivid.

The train threaded its way through long lines of cars coming finally
into an immense train shed where arc lights were spluttering--a score
under a great curved steel and glass roof, where people were hurrying to
and fro. Engines were hissing; bells clanging raucously. He had no
relatives, no soul to turn to, but somehow he did not feel lonely. This
picture of life, this newness, fascinated him. He stepped down and
started leisurely to the gate, wondering which way he should go. He came
to a corner where a lamp post already lit blazoned the name Madison. He
looked out on this street and saw, as far as the eye could reach, two
lines of stores, jingling horse cars, people walking. What a sight, he
thought, and turned west. For three miles he walked, musing, and then as
it was dark, and he had arranged for no bed, he wondered where he should
eat and sleep. A fat man sitting outside a livery stable door in a
tilted, cane-seated chair offered a possibility of information.

"Do you know where I can get a room around here?" asked Eugene.

The lounger looked him over. He was the proprietor of the place.

"There's an old lady living over there at seven-thirty-two," he said,
"who has a room, I think. She might take you in." He liked Eugene's

Eugene crossed over and rang a downstairs bell. The door was opened
shortly by a tall, kindly woman, of a rather matriarchal turn. Her hair
was gray.

"Yes?" she inquired.

"The gentleman at the livery stable over there said I might get a room
here. I'm looking for one."

She smiled pleasantly. This boy looked his strangeness, his wide-eyed
interest, his freshness from the country. "Come in," she said. "I have a
room. You can look at it."

It was a front room--a little bed-room off the one main living room,
clean, simple, convenient. "This looks all right," he said.

She smiled.

"You can have it for two dollars a week," she proffered.

"That's all right," he said, putting down his grip. "I'll take it."

"Have you had supper?" she asked.

"No, but I'm going out soon. I want to see the streets. I'll find some

"I'll give you something," she said.

Eugene thanked her, and she smiled. This was what Chicago did to the
country. It took the boys.

He opened the closed shutters of his window and knelt before it, leaning
on the sill. He looked out idly, for it was all so wonderful. Bright
lights were burning in store windows. These people hurrying--how their
feet sounded--clap, clap, clap. And away east and away west it was all
like this. It was all like this everywhere, a great big, wonderful city.
It was nice to be here. He felt that now. It was all worth while. How
could he have stayed in Alexandria so long! He would get along here.
Certainly he would. He was perfectly sure of that. He knew.

Chicago at this time certainly offered a world of hope and opportunity
to the beginner. It was so new, so raw; everything was in the making.
The long lines of houses and stores were mostly temporary
make-shifts--one and two story frame affairs--with here and there a
three and four story brick building which spoke of better days to come.
Down in the business heart which lay between the lake and the river, the
North Side and the South Side, was a region which spoke of a tremendous
future, for here were stores which served the buying public, not only of
Chicago, but of the Middle West. There were great banks, great office
buildings, great retail stores, great hotels. The section was running
with a tide of people which represented the youth, the illusions, the
untrained aspirations, of millions of souls. When you walked into this
area you could feel what Chicago meant--eagerness, hope, desire. It was
a city that put vitality into almost every wavering heart: it made the
beginner dream dreams; the aged to feel that misfortune was never so
grim that it might not change.

Underneath, of course, was struggle. Youth and hope and energy were
setting a terrific pace. You had to work here, to move, to step lively.
You had to have ideas. This city demanded of you your very best, or it
would have little to do with you. Youth in its search for something--and
age--were quickly to feel this. It was no fool's paradise.

Eugene, once he was settled, realized this. He had the notion, somehow,
that the printer's trade was all over for him. He wanted no more of
that. He wanted to be an artist or something like that, although he
hardly knew how to begin. The papers offered one way, but he was not
sure that they took on beginners. He had had no training whatever. His
sister Myrtle had once said that some of his little thumb-nail sketches
were pretty, but what did she know? If he could study somewhere, find
someone who would teach him.... Meanwhile he would have to work.

He tried the newspapers first of course, for those great institutions
seemed the ideal resort for anyone who wanted to get up in the world,
but the teeming offices with frowning art directors and critical
newspaper workers frightened him. One art director did see something in
the three or four little sketches he showed, but he happened to be in a
crusty mood, and did not want anybody anyway. He simply said no, there
was nothing. Eugene thought that perhaps as an artist also, he was
destined to be a failure.

The trouble with this boy was really that he was not half awake yet. The
beauty of life, its wonder, had cast a spell over him, but he could not
yet interpret it in line and color. He walked about these wonderful
streets, gazing in the windows, looking at the boats on the river,
looking at the ships on the lake. One day, while he was standing on the
lake shore, there came a ship in full sail in the offing--the first he
had ever seen. It gripped his sense of beauty. He clasped his hands
nervously and thrilled to it. Then he sat down on the lake wall and
looked and looked and looked until it gradually sank below the horizon.
So this was how the great lakes were; and how the great seas must
be--the Atlantic and the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Ah, the sea! Some
day, perhaps he would go to New York. That was where the sea was. But
here it was also, in miniature, and it was wonderful.

One cannot moon by lake shores and before store windows and at bridge
draws and live, unless one is provided with the means of living, and
this Eugene was not. He had determined when he left home that he would
be independent. He wanted to get a salary in some way that he could at
least live on. He wanted to write back and be able to say that he was
getting along nicely. His trunk came, and a loving letter from his
mother, and some money, but he sent that back. It was only ten dollars,
but he objected to beginning that way. He thought he ought to earn his
own way, and he wanted to try, anyhow.

After ten days his funds were very low, a dollar and seventy-five cents,
and he decided that any job would have to do. Never mind about art or
type-setting now. He could not get the last without a union card, he
must take anything, and so he applied from store to store. The cheap
little shops in which he asked were so ugly they hurt, but he tried to
put his artistic sensibilities aside. He asked for anything, to be made
a clerk in a bakery, in a dry goods store, in a candy store. After a
time a hardware store loomed up, and he asked there. The man looked at
him curiously. "I might give you a place at storing stoves."

Eugene did not understand, but he accepted gladly. It only paid six
dollars a week, but he could live on that. He was shown to a loft in
charge of two rough men, stove fitters, polishers, and repairers, who
gruffly explained to him that his work was to brush the rust off the
decayed stoves, to help piece and screw them together, to polish and
lift things, for this was a second hand stove business which bought and
repaired stoves from junk dealers all over the city. Eugene had a low
bench near a window where he was supposed to do his polishing, but he
very frequently wasted his time here looking out into the green yards of
some houses in a side street. The city was full of wonder to him--its
every detail fascinating. When a rag-picker would go by calling "rags,
old iron," or a vegetable vender crying "tomatoes, potatoes, green corn,
peas," he would stop and listen, the musical pathos of the cries
appealing to him. Alexandria had never had anything like this. It was
all so strange. He saw himself making pen and ink sketches of things, of
the clothes lines in the back yards and of the maids with baskets.

On one of the days when he thought he was working fairly well (he had
been there two weeks), one of the two repairers said, "Hey, get a move
on you. You're not paid to look out the window." Eugene stopped. He had
not realized that he was loafing.

"What have you got to do with it?" he asked, hurt and half defiant. He
was under the impression that he was working with these men, not under

"I'll show you, you fresh kid," said the older of the two, who was an
individual built on the order of "Bill Sykes." "You're under me. You get
a move on you, and don't give me any more of your lip."

Eugene was startled. It was a flash of brutality out of a clear sky. The
animal, whom he had been scanning as an artist would, as a type, out of
the corner of his eye, was revealing himself.

"You go to the devil," said Eugene, only half awake to the grim reality
of the situation.

"What's that!" exclaimed the man, making for him. He gave him a shove
toward the wall, and attempted to kick him with his big, hob-nailed
boot. Eugene picked up a stove leg. His face was wax white.

"Don't you try that again," he said darkly. He fixed the leg in his hand

"Call it off, Jim," said the other man, who saw the uselessness of so
much temper. "Don't hit him. Send him down stairs if you don't like

"You get to hell out of here, then," said Eugene's noble superior.

Eugene walked to a nail where his hat and coat were, carrying the stove
leg. He edged past his assailant cautiously, fearing a second attack.
The man was inclined to kick at him again because of his stubbornness,
but forebore.

"You're too fresh, Willie. You want to wake up, you dough face," he said
as Eugene went.

Eugene slipped out quietly. His spirit was hurt and torn. What a scene!
He, Eugene Witla, kicked at, and almost kicked out, and that in a job
that paid six dollars a week. A great lump came up in his throat, but it
went down again. He wanted to cry but he could not. He went downstairs,
stovepolish on his hands and face and slipped up to the desk.

"I want to quit," he said to the man who had hired him.

"All right, what's the matter?"

"That big brute up there tried to kick me," he explained.

"They're pretty rough men," answered the employer. "I was afraid you
wouldn't get along. I guess you're not strong enough. Here you are." He
laid out three dollars and a half. Eugene wondered at this queer
interpretation of his complaint. He must get along with these men? They
musn't get along with him? So the city had that sort of brutality in it.

He went home and washed up, and then struck out again, for it was no
time now to be without a job. After a week he found one,--as a house
runner for a real estate concern, a young man to bring in the numbers of
empty houses and post up the "For Rent" signs in the windows. It paid
eight dollars and seemed to offer opportunities of advancement. Eugene
might have stayed there indefinitely had it not failed after three
months. He had reached the season of fall clothes then, and the need of
a winter overcoat, but he made no complaint to his family. He wanted to
appear to be getting along well, whether he was or not.

One of the things which tended to harden and sharpen his impressions of
life at this time was the show of luxury seen in some directions. On
Michigan Avenue and Prairie Avenue, on Ashland Avenue and Washington
Boulevard, were sections which were crowded with splendid houses such as
Eugene had never seen before. He was astonished at the magnificence of
their appointments, the beauty of the lawns, the show of the windows,
the distinction of the equipages which accompanied them and served them.
For the first time in his life he saw liveried footmen at doors: he saw
at a distance girls and women grown who seemed marvels of beauty to
him--they were so distinguished in their dress; he saw young men
carrying themselves with an air of distinction which he had never seen
before. These must be the society people the newspapers were always
talking about. His mind made no distinctions as yet. If there were fine
clothes, fine trappings, of course social prestige went with them. It
made him see for the first time what far reaches lay between the
conditions of a beginner from the country and what the world really had
to offer--or rather what it showered on some at the top. It subdued and
saddened him a little. Life was unfair.

These fall days, too, with their brown leaves, sharp winds, scudding
smoke and whirls of dust showed him that the city could be cruel. He met
shabby men, sunken eyed, gloomy, haggard, who looked at him, apparently
out of a deep despair. These creatures all seemed to be brought where
they were by difficult circumstances. If they begged at all,--and they
rarely did of him, for he did not look prosperous enough, it was with
the statement that unfortunate circumstances had brought them where they
were. You could fail so easily. You could really starve if you didn't
look sharp,--the city quickly taught him that.

During these days he got immensely lonely. He was not very sociable, and
too introspective. He had no means of making friends, or thought he had
none. So he wandered about the streets at night, marveling at the sights
he saw, or staying at home in his little room. Mrs. Woodruff, the
landlady, was nice and motherly enough, but she was not young and did
not fit into his fancies. He was thinking about girls and how sad it was
not to have one to say a word to him. Stella was gone--that dream was
over. When would he find another like her?

After wandering around for nearly a month, during which time he was
compelled to use some money his mother sent him to buy a suit of clothes
on an instalment plan, he got a place as driver of a laundry, which,
because it paid ten dollars a week, seemed very good. He sketched now
and then when he was not tired, but what he did seemed pointless. So he
worked here, driving a wagon, when he should have been applying for an
art opening, or taking art lessons.

During this winter Myrtle wrote him that Stella Appleton had moved to
Kansas, whither her father had gone; and that his mother's health was
bad, and that she did so want him to come home and stay awhile. It was
about this time that he became acquainted with a little Scotch girl
named Margaret Duff, who worked in the laundry, and became quickly
involved in a relationship which established a precedent in his
experiences with women. Before this he had never physically known a
girl. Now, and of a sudden, he was plunged into something which awakened
a new, and if not evil, at least disrupting and disorganizing propensity
of his character. He loved women, the beauty of the curves of their
bodies. He loved beauty of feature and after a while was to love beauty
of mind,--he did now, in a vague, unformed way,--but his ideal was as
yet not clear to him. Margaret Duff represented some simplicity of
attitude, some generosity of spirit, some shapeliness of form, some
comeliness of feature,--it was not more. But, growing by what it fed on,
his sex appetite became powerful. In a few weeks it had almost mastered
him. He burned to be with this girl daily--and she was perfectly willing
that he should, so long as the relationship did not become too
conspicuous. She was a little afraid of her parents, although those two,
being working people, retired early and slept soundly. They did not seem
to mind her early philanderings with boys. This latest one was no
novelty. It burned fiercely for three months--Eugene was eager,
insatiable: the girl not so much so, but complaisant. She liked this
evidence of fire in him,--the hard, burning flame she had aroused, and
yet after a time she got a little tired. Then little personal
differences arose,--differences of taste, differences of judgment,
differences of interest. He really could not talk to her of anything
serious, could not get a response to his more delicate emotions. For her
part she could not find in him any ready appreciation of the little
things she liked--theater jests, and the bright remarks of other boys
and girls. She had some conception of what was tasteful in dress, but as
for anything else, art, literature, public affairs, she knew nothing at
all, while Eugene, for all his youth, was intensely alive to what was
going on in the great world. The sound of great names and great fames
was in his ears,--Carlyle, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman. He read of great
philosophers, painters, musicians, meteors that sped across the
intellectual sky of the western world, and he wondered. He felt as
though some day he would be called to do something--in his youthful
enthusiasm he half-thought it might be soon. He knew that this girl he
was trifling with could not hold him. She had lured him, but once lured
he was master, judge, critic. He was beginning to feel that he could get
along without her,--that he could find someone better.

Naturally such an attitude would make for the death of passion, as the
satiation of passion would make for the development of such an attitude.
Margaret became indifferent. She resented his superior airs, his
top-lofty tone at times. They quarreled over little things. One night he
suggested something that she ought to do in the haughty manner customary
with him.

"Oh, don't be so smart!" she said. "You always talk as though you owned

"I do," he said jestingly.

"Do you?" she flared. "There are others."

"Well, whenever you're ready you can have them. I'm willing."

The tone cut her, though actually it was only an ill-timed bit of
teasing, more kindly meant than it sounded.

"Well, I'm ready now. You needn't come to see me unless you want to. I
can get along."

She tossed her head.

"Don't be foolish, Margy," he said, seeing the ill wind he had aroused.
"You don't mean that."

"Don't I? Well, we'll see." She walked away from him to another corner
of the room. He followed her, but her anger re-aroused his opposition.
"Oh, all right," he said after a time. "I guess I'd better be going."

She made no response, neither pleas nor suggestions. He went and secured
his hat and coat and came back. "Want to kiss me good-bye?" he inquired.

"No," she said simply.

"Good-night," he called.

"Good-night," she replied indifferently.

The relationship was never amicably readjusted after this, although it
did endure for some time.


For the time being this encounter stirred to an almost unbridled degree
Eugene's interest in women. Most men are secretly proud of their triumph
with woman--their ability to triumph--and any evidence of their ability
to attract, entertain, hold, is one of those things which tends to give
them an air of superiority and self-sufficiency which is sometimes
lacking in those who are not so victorious. This was, in its way, his
first victory of the sort, and it pleased him mightily. He felt much
more sure of himself instead of in any way ashamed. What, he thought,
did the silly boys back in Alexandria know of life compared to this?
Nothing. He was in Chicago now. The world was different. He was finding
himself to be a man, free, individual, of interest to other
personalities. Margaret Duff had told him many pretty things about
himself. She had complimented his looks, his total appearance, his taste
in the selection of particular things. He had felt what it is to own a
woman. He strutted about for a time, the fact that he had been dismissed
rather arbitrarily having little weight with him because he was so very
ready to be dismissed, sudden dissatisfaction with his job now stirred
up in him, for ten dollars a week was no sum wherewith any
self-respecting youth could maintain himself,--particularly with a view
to sustaining any such relationship as that which had just ended. He
felt that he ought to get a better place.

Then one day a woman to whom he was delivering a parcel at her home in
Warren Avenue, stopped him long enough to ask: "What do you drivers get
a week for your work?"

"I get ten dollars," said Eugene. "I think some get more."

"You ought to make a good collector," she went on. She was a large,
homely, incisive, straight-talking woman. "Would you like to change to
that kind of work?"

Eugene was sick of the laundry business. The hours were killing. He had
worked as late as one o'clock Sunday morning.

"I think I would," he exclaimed. "I don't know anything about it, but
this work is no fun."

"My husband is the manager of The People's Furniture Company," she went
on. "He needs a good collector now and then. I think he's going to make
a change very soon. I'll speak to him."

Eugene smiled joyously and thanked her. This was surely a windfall. He
was anxious to know what collectors were paid but he thought it scarcely
tactful to ask.

"If he gives you a job you will probably get fourteen dollars to begin
with," she volunteered.

Eugene thrilled. That would be really a rise in the world. Four dollars
more! He could get some nice clothes out of that and have spending money
besides. He might get a chance to study art. His visions began to
multiply. One could get up in the world by trying. The energetic
delivery he had done for this laundry had brought him this. Further
effort in the other field might bring him more. And he was young yet.

He had been working for the laundry company for six months. Six weeks
later, Mr. Henry Mitchly, manager of the People's Furniture, wrote him
care of the laundry company to call at his home any evening after eight
and he would see him. "My wife has spoken to me of you," he added.

Eugene complied the same day that he received the note, and was looked
over by a lean, brisk, unctuous looking man of forty, who asked him
various questions as to his work, his home, how much money he took in as
a driver, and what not. Finally he said, "I need a bright young man down
at my place. It's a good job for one who is steady and honest and
hardworking. My wife seems to think you work pretty well, so I'm willing
to give you a trial. I can put you to work at fourteen dollars. I want
you to come to see me a week from Monday."

Eugene thanked him. He decided, on Mr. Mitchly's advice, to give his
laundry manager a full week's notice. He told Margaret that he was
leaving and she was apparently glad for his sake. The management was
slightly sorry, for Eugene was a good driver. During his last week he
helped break in a new man in his place, and on Monday appeared before
Mr. Mitchly.

Mr. Mitchly was glad to have him, for he had seen him as a young man of
energy and force. He explained the simple nature of the work, which was
to take bills for clocks, silverware, rugs, anything which the company
sold, and go over the various routes collecting the money due,--which
would average from seventy five to a hundred and twenty-five dollars a
day. "Most companies in our line require a bond," he explained, "but we
haven't come to that yet. I think I know honest young men when I see
them. Anyhow we have a system of inspection. If a man's inclined to be
dishonest he can't get very far with us."

Eugene had never thought of this question of honesty very much. He had
been raised where he did not need to worry about the matter of a little
pocket change, and he had made enough at the _Appeal_ to supply his
immediate wants. Besides, among the people he had always associated with
it was considered a very right and necessary thing to be honest. Men
were arrested for not being. He remembered one very sad case of a boy he
knew being arrested at Alexandria for breaking into a store at night.
That seemed a terrible thing to him at the time. Since then he had been
speculating a great deal, in a vague way as to what honesty was, but he
had not yet decided. He knew that it was expected of him to account for
the last penny of anything that was placed in his keeping and he was
perfectly willing to do so. The money he earned seemed enough if he had
to live on it. There was no need for him to aid in supporting anyone
else. So he slipped along rather easily and practically untested.

Eugene took the first day's package of bills as laid out for him, and
carefully went from door to door. In some places money was paid him for
which he gave a receipt, in others he was put off or refused because of
previous difficulties with the company. In a number of places people had
moved, leaving no trace of themselves, and packing the unpaid for goods
with them. It was his business, as Mr. Mitchly explained, to try to get
track of them from the neighbors.

Eugene saw at once that he was going to like the work. The fresh air,
the out-door life, the walking, the quickness with which his task was
accomplished, all pleased him. His routes took him into strange and new
parts of the city, where he had never been before, and introduced him to
types he had never met. His laundry work, taking him from door to door,
had been a freshening influence, and this was another. He saw scenes
that he felt sure he could, when he had learned to draw a little better,
make great things of,--dark, towering factory-sites, great stretches of
railroad yards laid out like a puzzle in rain, snow, or bright sunlight;
great smoke-stacks throwing their black heights athwart morning or
evening skies. He liked them best in the late afternoon when they stood
out in a glow of red or fading purple. "Wonderful," he used to exclaim
to himself, and think how the world would marvel if he could ever come
to do great pictures like those of Doré. He admired the man's tremendous
imagination. He never thought of himself as doing anything in oils or
water colors or chalk--only pen and ink, and that in great, rude
splotches of black and white. That was the way. That was the way force
was had.

But he could not do them. He could only think them.

One of his chief joys was the Chicago river, its black, mucky water
churned by puffing tugs and its banks lined by great red grain elevators
and black coal chutes and yellow lumber yards. Here was real color and
life--the thing to draw; and then there were the low, drab, rain-soaked
cottages standing in lonely, shabby little rows out on flat prairie
land, perhaps a scrubby tree somewhere near. He loved these. He would
take an envelope and try to get the sense of them--the feel, as he
called it--but it wouldn't come. All he did seemed cheap and
commonplace, mere pointless lines and stiff wooden masses. How did the
great artists get their smoothness and ease? He wondered.


Eugene collected and reported faithfully every day, and had managed to
save a little money. Margaret was now a part of his past. His landlady,
Mrs. Woodruff, had gone to live with a daughter in Sedalia, Missouri,
and he had moved to a comparatively nice house in East Twenty-first
Street on the South Side. It had taken his eye because of a tree in a
fifty foot space of ground before it. Like his other room it cost him
little, and he was in a private family. He arranged a twenty cent rate
per meal for such meals as he took there, and thus he managed to keep
his bare living expenses down to five dollars a week. The remaining nine
he spent sparingly for clothes, car-fare, and amusements--almost nothing
of the latter. When he saw he had a little money in reserve he began to
think of looking up the Art Institute, which had been looming up in his
mind as an avenue of advancement, and find out on what condition he
could join a night class in drawing. They were very reasonable, he
heard, only fifteen dollars a quarter, and he decided to begin if the
conditions were not too severe. He was beginning to be convinced that he
was born to be an artist--how soon he could not tell.

The old Art Institute, which preceded the present impressive structure,
was located at Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street, and presented an
atmosphere of distinction which was not present in most of the
structures representing the public taste of the period. It was a large
six storey building of brown stone, and contained a number of studios
for painters, sculptors, and music teachers, besides the exhibition
rooms and the rooms for the classes. There were both day and evening
classes, and even at that time a large number of students. The western
soul, to a certain extent, was fired by the wonder of art. There was so
little of it in the life of the people--the fame of those who could
accomplish things in this field and live in a more refined atmosphere
was great. To go to Paris! To be a student in any one of the great
ateliers of that city! Or of Munich or Rome, to know the character of
the artistic treasures of Europe--the life of the Art quarter--that was
something. There was what might have been termed a wild desire in the
breast of many an untutored boy and girl to get out of the ranks of the
commonplace; to assume the character and the habiliments of the artistic
temperament as they were then supposed to be; to have a refined,
semi-languorous, semi-indifferent manner; to live in a studio, to have a
certain freedom in morals and temperament not accorded to the ordinary
person--these were the great things to do and be. Of course, art
composition was a part of this. You were supposed ultimately to paint
great pictures or do noble sculptures, but in the meanwhile you could
and should live the life of the artist. And that was beautiful and
wonderful and free.

Eugene had long had some sense of this. He was aware that there were
studios in Chicago; that certain men were supposed to be doing good
work--he saw it in the papers. There were mentions now and then of
exhibitions, mostly free, which the public attended but sparingly. Once
there was an exhibition of some of the war pictures of Verestchagin, a
great Russian painter who had come West for some purpose. Eugene saw
them one Sunday afternoon, and was enthralled by the magnificence of
their grasp of the elements of battle; the wonder of color; the truth of
character; the dramatic quality; the sense of force and danger and
horror and suffering which was somehow around and in and through
everything that was shown. This man had virility and insight; stupendous
imagination and temperament. Eugene stood and stared, wondering how such
things could be done. Ever afterward the name of Verestchagin was like a
great call to his imagination; that was the kind of an artist to be if
you were going to be one.

Another picture came there once, which appealed to another side of his
nature, although primarily the basis of its appeal was artistic. It was
a great, warm tinted nude by Bouguereau, a French artist who was
startling his day with his daring portrayal of the nude. The types he
depicted were not namby-pamby little slim-bodied women with spindling
qualities of strength and passion, but great, full-blown women whose
voluptuous contour of neck and arms and torso and hip and thigh was
enough to set the blood of youth at fever heat. The man obviously
understood and had passion, love of form, love of desire, love of
beauty. He painted with a sense of the bridal bed in the background; of
motherhood and of fat, growing babies, joyously nursed. These women
stood up big in their sense of beauty and magnetism, the soft lure of
desire in their eyes, their full lips parted, their cheeks flushed with
the blood of health. As such they were anathema to the conservative and
puritanical in mind, the religious in temperament, the cautious in
training or taste. The very bringing of this picture to Chicago as a
product for sale was enough to create a furore of objection. Such
pictures should not be painted, was the cry of the press; or if painted,
not exhibited. Bouguereau was conceived of by many as one of those
dastards of art who were endeavoring to corrupt by their talent the
morals of the world; there was a cry raised that the thing should be
suppressed; and as is always the case in all such outbursts of special
class opposition, the interest of the general public was aroused.

Eugene was one of those who noted the discussion. He had never seen a
picture by Bouguereau or, indeed, an original nude by any other artist.
Being usually at liberty after three o'clock, he was free to visit some
of these things, and having found it possible to do his work in good
clothes he had come to wear his best suit every day. He was a fairly
presentable youth with a solemn mien, and his request to be shown
anything in any art store would have aroused no surprise. He looked as
though he belonged to the intellectual and artistic classes.

Not being sure of what reception would be accorded one so young--he was
now nearing twenty--he nevertheless ventured to stop at the gallery
where the Bouguereau was being exhibited and ask to see it. The
attendant in charge eyed him curiously, but led him back to a room hung
in dark red, and turning on a burst of incandescent bulbs set in the
ceiling of a red plush hung cabinet, pulled back the curtain revealing
the picture. Eugene had never seen such a figure and face. It was a
dream of beauty--his ideal come to life. He studied the face and neck,
the soft mass of brown, sensuous hair massed at the back of the head,
the flowerlike lips and soft cheeks. He marveled at the suggestion of
the breasts and the abdomen, that potentiality of motherhood that is so
firing to the male. He could have stood there hours dreaming,
luxuriating, but the attendant who had left him alone with it for a few
minutes returned.

"What is the price of this?" Eugene asked.

"Ten thousand dollars," was the reply.

He smiled solemnly. "It's a wonderful thing," he said, and turned to go.
The attendant put out the light.

This picture, like those of Verestchagin, made a sharp impression on
him. Curiously he had no longing to paint anything of this kind. He only
rejoiced to look at it. It spoke to him of his present ideal of
womanhood--physical beauty, and he longed with all his heart to find a
creature like that who would look on him with favor.

There were other exhibitions--one containing a genuine Rembrandt--which
impressed him, but none like these that had definitely stirred him. His
interest in art was becoming eager. He wanted to find out all about
it--to do something himself. One day he ventured to call at the Art
Institute building and consult the secretary, who explained to him what
the charges were. He learned from her, for she was a woman of a
practical, clerical turn, that the classes ran from October to May, that
he could enter a life or antique class or both, though the antique alone
was advisable for the time, and a class in illustration, where costumes
of different periods were presented on different models. He found that
each class had an instructor of supposed note, whom it was not necessary
for him to see. Each class had a monitor and each student was supposed
to work faithfully for his own benefit. Eugene did not get to see the
class rooms, but he gained a sense of the art of it all, nevertheless,
for the halls and offices were decorated in an artistic way, and there
were many plaster casts of arms, legs, busts, and thighs and heads. It
was as though one stood in an open doorway and looked out upon a new
world. The one thing that gratified him was that he could study pen and
ink or brush in the illustration class, and that he could also join a
sketch class from five to six every afternoon without extra charges if
he preferred to devote his evening hours to studying drawing in the life
class. He was a little astonished to learn from a printed prospectus
given him that the life class meant nude models to work from--both men
and women. He was surely approaching a different world now. It seemed
necessary and natural enough, and yet there was an aloof atmosphere
about it, something that suggested the inner precincts of a shrine, to
which only talent was admitted. Was he talented? Wait! He would show the
world, even if he was a raw country boy.

The classes which he decided to enter were first a life class which
convened Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings at seven in one of the
study rooms and remained in session until ten o'clock, and second a
sketch class which met from five to six every afternoon. Eugene felt
that he knew little or nothing about figure and anatomy and had better
work at that. Costume and illustration would have to wait, and as for
the landscapes, or rather city-scapes, of which he was so fond, he could
afford to defer those until he learned something of the fundamentals of

Heretofore he had rarely attempted the drawing of a face or figure
except in miniature and as details of a larger scene. Now he was
confronted with the necessity of sketching in charcoal the head or body
of a living person, and it frightened him a little. He knew that he
would be in a class with fifteen or twenty other male students. They
would be able to see and comment on what he was doing. Twice a week an
instructor would come around and pass upon his work. There were honors
for those who did the best work during any one month, he learned from
the prospectus, namely: first choice of seats around the model at the
beginning of each new pose. The class instructors must be of
considerable significance in the American art world, he thought, for
they were N. A.'s, and that meant National Academicians. He little knew
with what contempt this honor was received in some quarters, or he would
not have attached so much significance to it.

One Monday evening in October, armed with the several sheets of paper
which he had been told to purchase by his all-informing prospectus, he
began his work. He was a little nervous at sight of the brightly lighted
halls and class rooms, and the moving crowd of young men and women did
not tend to allay his fears. He was struck at once with the quality of
gaiety, determination and easy grace which marked the different members
of this company. The boys struck him as interesting, virile, in many
cases good looking; the girls as graceful, rather dashing and confident.
One or two whom he noted were beautiful in a dark way. This was a
wonderful world.

The rooms too, were exceptional. They were old enough in use to be
almost completely covered, as to the walls, with the accumulation of
paint scraped from the palettes. There were no easels or other
paraphernalia, but simply chairs and little stools--the former, as
Eugene learned, to be turned upside down for easels, the latter for the
students to sit on. In the center of the room was a platform, the height
of an ordinary table, for the model to pose on, and in one corner a
screen which constituted a dressing room. There were no pictures or
statuary--just the bare walls--but curiously, in one corner, a piano.
Out in the halls and in the general lounging center were pictures of
nude figures or parts of figures posed in all sorts of ways which
Eugene, in his raw, youthful way, thought suggestive. He secretly
rejoiced to look at them but he felt that he must not say anything about
what he thought. An art student, he felt sure, must appear to be
indifferent to such suggestion--to be above such desire. They were here
to work, not to dream of women.

When the time came for the classes to assemble there was a scurrying to
and fro, conferring between different students, and then the men found
themselves in one set of rooms and the women in another. Eugene saw a
young girl in his room, sitting up near the screen, idly gazing about.
She was pretty, of a slightly Irish cast of countenance, with black hair
and black eyes. She wore a cap that was an imitation of the Polish
national head-dress, and a red cape. Eugene assumed her to be the class
model and secretly wondered if he was really to see her in the nude. In
a few minutes all the students were gathered, and then there was a stir
as there strolled in a rather vigorous and picturesque man of thirty-six
or thereabouts, who sauntered to the front of the room and called the
class to order. He was clad in a shabby suit of grey tweed and crowned
with a little brown hat, shoved rakishly over one ear, which he did not
trouble to take off. He wore a soft blue hickory shirt without collar or
tie, and looked immensely self-sufficient. He was tall and lean and
raw-boned, with a face which was long and narrow; his eyes were large
and wide set, his mouth big and firm in its lines; he had big hands and
feet, and an almost rolling gait. Eugene assumed instinctively that this
was Mr. Temple Boyle, N. A., the class instructor, and he imagined there
would be an opening address of some kind. But the instructor merely
announced that Mr. William Ray had been appointed monitor and that he
hoped that there would be no disorder or wasting of time. There would be
regular criticism days by him--Wednesdays and Fridays. He hoped that
each pupil would be able to show marked improvement. The class would now
begin work. Then he strolled out.

Eugene soon learned from one of the students that this really was
Mr. Boyle. The young Irish girl had gone behind the screen. Eugene could
see partially, from where he was sitting, that she was disrobing. It
shocked him a little, but he kept his courage and his countenance
because of the presence of so many others. He turned a chair upside down
as he saw the others do, and sat down on a stool. His charcoal was lying
in a little box beside him. He straightened his paper on its board and
fidgeted, keeping as still as he could. Some of the students were
talking. Suddenly he saw the girl divest herself of a thin, gauze shirt,
and the next moment she came out, naked and composed, to step upon the
platform and stand perfectly erect, her arms by her side, her head
thrown back. Eugene tingled and blushed and was almost afraid to look
directly at her. Then he took a stick of charcoal and began sketching
feebly, attempting to convey something of this personality and this pose
to paper. It seemed a wonderful thing for him to be doing--to be in this
room, to see this girl posing so; in short, to be an art student. So
this was what it was, a world absolutely different from anything he had
ever known. And he was self-called to be a member of it.


It was after he had decided to enter the art class that Eugene paid his
first visit to his family. Though they were only a hundred miles away,
he had never felt like going back, even at Christmas. Now it seemed to
him he had something definite to proclaim. He was going to be an artist;
and as to his work, he was getting along well in that. Mr. Mitchly
appeared to like him. It was to Mr. Mitchly that he reported daily with
his collections and his unsatisfied bills. The collections were checked
up by Mr. Mitchly with the cash, and the unpaid bills certified.
Sometimes Eugene made a mistake, having too much or too little, but the
"too much" was always credited against the "too little," so that in the
main he came out even. In money matters there was no tendency on
Eugene's part to be dishonest. He thought of lots of things he wanted,
but he was fairly well content to wait and come by them legitimately. It
was this note in him that appealed to Mitchly. He thought that possibly
something could be made of Eugene in a trade way.

He left the Friday night preceding Labor Day, the first Monday in
September, which was a holiday throughout the city. He had told
Mr. Mitchly that he thought of leaving Saturday after work for over
Sunday and Monday, but Mr. Mitchly suggested that he might double up his
Saturday's work with Thursday's and Friday's if he wished, and go Friday

"Saturday's a short day, anyhow," he said. "That would give three days
at home and still you wouldn't be behind in your work."

Eugene thanked his employer and did as suggested. He packed his bag with
the best he had in the way of clothes, and journeyed homeward, wondering
how he would find things. How different it all was! Stella was gone. His
youthful unsophistication had passed. He could go home as a city man
with some prospects. He had no idea of how boyish he looked--how much
the idealist he was--how far removed from hard, practical judgment which
the world values so highly.

When the train reached Alexandria, his father and Myrtle and Sylvia were
at the depot to greet him--the latter with her two year old son. They
had all come down in the family carryall, which left one seat for
Eugene. He greeted them warmly and received their encomiums on his looks
with a befitting sense of humility.

"You're bigger," his father exclaimed. "You're going to be a tall man
after all, Eugene. I was afraid you had stopped growing."

"I hadn't noticed that I had grown any," said Eugene.

"Ah, yes," put in Myrtle. "You're much bigger, Gene. It makes you look a
little thinner. Are you good and strong?"

"I ought to be," laughed Eugene. "I walk about fifteen or twenty miles a
day, and I'm out in the air all the time. If I don't get strong now I
never will."

Sylvia asked him about his "stomach trouble." About the same, he told
her. Sometimes he thought it was better, sometimes worse. A doctor had
told him to drink hot water in the morning but he didn't like to do it.
It was so hard to swallow the stuff.

While they were talking, asking questions, they reached the front gate
of the house, and Mrs. Witla came out on the front porch. Eugene, at
sight of her in the late dusk, jumped over the front wheel and ran to
meet her.

"Little ma," he exclaimed. "Didn't expect me back so soon, did you?"

"So soon," she said, her arms around his neck. Then she held him so,
quite still for a few moments. "You're getting to be a big man," she
said when she released him.

He went into the old sitting room and looked around. It was all quite
the same--no change. There were the same books, the same table, the same
chairs, the same pulley lamp hanging from the center of the ceiling. In
the parlor there was nothing new, nor in the bed rooms or the kitchen.
His mother looked a little older--his father not. Sylvia had changed
greatly--being slightly "peaked" in the face compared to her former
plumpness; it was due to motherhood, he thought. Myrtle seemed a little
more calm and happy. She had a real "steady" now, Frank Bangs, the
superintendent of the local furniture factory. He was quite young,
good-looking, going to be well-off some day, so they thought. "Old
Bill," one of the big horses, had been sold. Rover, one of the two
collies, was dead. Jake the cat had been killed in a night brawl

Somehow, as Eugene stood in the kitchen watching his mother fry a big
steak and make biscuits and gravy in honor of his coming, he felt that
he did not belong to this world any more. It was smaller, narrower than
he had ever thought. The town had seemed smaller as he had come through
its streets, the houses too; and yet it was nice. The yards were sweet
and simple, but countrified. His father, running a sewing machine
business, seemed tremendously limited. He had a country or small town
mind. It struck Eugene as curious now, that they had never had a piano.
And Myrtle liked music, too. As for himself, he had learned that he was
passionately fond of it. There were organ recitals in the Central Music
Hall, of Chicago, on Tuesday and Friday afternoons, and he had managed
to attend some after his work. There were great preachers like Prof.
Swing and the Rev. H. W. Thomas and the Rev. F. W. Gunsaulus and Prof.
Saltus, liberal thinkers all, whose public services in the city were
always accompanied by lovely music. Eugene had found all these men and
their services in his search for life and to avoid being lonely. Now
they had taught him that his old world was no world at all. It was a
small town. He would never come to this any more.

After a sound night's rest in his old room he went down the next day to
see Mr. Caleb Williams at the _Appeal_ office, and Mr. Burgess, and
Jonas Lyle, and John Summers. As he went, on the court house square he
met Ed Mitchell and George Taps and Will Groniger, and four or five
others whom he had known in school. From them he learned how things
were. It appeared that George Anderson had married a local girl and was
in Chicago, working out in the stock yards. Ed Waterbury had gone to San
Francisco. The pretty Sampson girl, Bessie Sampson, who had once gone
with Ted Martinwood so much, had run away with a man from Anderson,
Indiana. There had been a lot of talk about it at the time. Eugene

It all seemed less, though, than the new world that he had entered. Of
these fellows none knew the visions that were now surging in his brain.
Paris--no less--and New York--by what far route he could scarcely tell.
And Will Groniger had got to be a baggage clerk at one of the two depots
and was proud of it. Good Heavens!

At the office of the _Appeal_ things were unchanged. Somehow Eugene had
had the feeling that two years would make a lot of difference, whereas
the difference was in him only. He was the one who had undergone
cataclysmic changes. He had a been a stove polisher, a real estate
assistant, a driver and a collector. He had known Margaret Duff, and
Mr. Redwood, of the laundry, and Mr. Mitchly. The great city had dawned
on him; Verestchagin, and Bouguereau, and the Art Institute. He was
going on at one pace, the town was moving at another one--a slower, but
quite as fast as it had ever gone.

Caleb Williams was there, skipping about as of yore, cheerful,
communicative, interested. "I'm glad to see you back, Eugene," he
declared, fixing him with the one good eye which watered. "I'm glad
you're getting along--that's fine. Going to be an artist, eh? Well, I
think that's what you were cut out for. I wouldn't advise every young
fellow to go to Chicago, but that's where you belong. If it wasn't for
my wife and three children I never would have left it. When you get a
wife and family though--" he paused and shook his head. "I gad! You got
to do the best you can." Then he went to look up some missing copy.

Jonas Lyle was as portly, phlegmatic and philosophic as ever. He greeted
Eugene with a solemn eye in which there was inquiry. "Well, how is it?"
he asked.

Eugene smiled. "Oh, pretty good."

"Not going to be a printer, then?"

"No, I think not."

"Well, it's just as well, there're an awful lot of them."

While they were talking John Summers sidled up.

"How are you, Mr. Witla?" he inquired.

Eugene looked at him. John was certainly marked for the grave in the
near future. He was thinner, of a bluish-grey color, bent at the

"Why, I'm fine, Mr. Summers," Eugene said.

"I'm not so good," said the old printer. He tapped his chest
significantly. "This thing's getting the best of me."

"Don't you believe it," put in Lyle. "John's always gloomy. He's just as
good as ever. I tell him he'll live twenty years yet."

"No, no," said Summers, shaking his head, "I know."

He left after a bit to "go across the street," his customary drinking

"He can't last another year," Lyle observed the moment the door was
closed. "Burgess only keeps him because it would be a shame to turn him
out. But he's done for."

"Anyone can see that," said Eugene. "He looks terrible."

So they talked.

At noon he went home. Myrtle announced that he was to come with her and
Mr. Bangs to a party that evening. There were going to be games and
refreshments. It never occurred to him that in this town there had never
been dancing among the boys and girls he moved with, and scarcely any
music. People did not have pianos--or at least only a few of them.

After supper Mr. Bangs called, and the three of them went to a typical
small town party. It was not much different from the ones Eugene had
attended with Stella, except that the participants were, in the main,
just that much older. Two years make a great deal of difference in
youth. There were some twenty-two young men and women all crowded into
three fair sized rooms and on a porch, the windows and doors leading to
which were open. Outside were brown grass and some autumn flowers. Early
crickets were chirping, and there were late fire-flies. It was warm and

The opening efforts to be sociable were a little stiff. There were
introductions all around, much smart badinage among town dandies, for
most of them were here. There were a number of new faces--girls who had
moved in from other towns or blossomed into maturity since Eugene had

"If you'll marry me, Madge, I'll buy you a nice new pair of seal skin
earrings," he heard one of the young bloods remark.

Eugene smiled, and the girl laughed back. "He always thinks he's so

It was almost impossible for Eugene to break through the opening sense
of reserve which clogged his actions at everything in the way of social
diversion. He was a little nervous because he was afraid of criticism.
That was his vanity and deep egotism. He stood about, trying to get into
the swing of the thing with a bright remark or two. Just as he was
beginning to bubble, a girl came in from one of the other rooms. Eugene
had not met her. She was with his prospective brother-in-law, Bangs, and
was laughing in a sweet, joyous way which arrested his attention. She
was dressed in white, he noticed, with a band of golden brown ribbon
pulled through the loops above the flounces at the bottom of her dress.
Her hair was a wonderful ashen yellow, a great mass of it--and laid in
big, thick braids above her forehead and ears. Her nose was straight,
her lips were thin and red, her cheek-bones faintly but curiously
noticeable. Somehow there was a sense of distinction about her--a faint
aroma of personality which Eugene did not understand. It appealed to

Bangs brought her over. He was a tight, smiling youth, as sound as oak,
as clear as good water.

"Here's Miss Blue, Eugene. She's from up in Wisconsin, and comes down to
Chicago occasionally. I told her you ought to know her. You might meet
up there sometime."

"Say, but that's good luck, isn't it?" smiled Eugene. "I'm sure I'm glad
to know you. What part of Wisconsin do you come from?"

"Blackwood," she laughed, her greenish-blue eyes dancing.

"Her hair is yellow, her eyes are blue, and she comes from Blackwood,"
commented Bangs. "How's that?" His big mouth, with its even teeth, was
wide with a smile.

"You left out the blue name and the white dress. She ought to wear white
all the time."

"Oh, it does harmonize with my name, doesn't it?" she cried. "At home I
do wear white mostly. You see I'm just a country girl, and I make most
of my things."

"Did you make that?" asked Eugene.

"Of course I did."

Bangs moved away a little, looking at her as if critically. "Well,
that's really pretty," he pronounced.

"Mr. Bangs is such a flatterer," she smiled at Eugene. "He doesn't mean
any thing he says. He just tells me one thing after another."

"He's right," said Eugene. "I agree as to the dress, and it fits the
hair wonderfully."

"You see, he's lost, too," laughed Bangs. "That's the way they all do.
Well, I'm going to leave you two. I've got to get back. I left your
sister in the hands of a rival of mine."

Eugene turned to this girl and laughed his reserved laugh. "I was just
thinking what was going to become of me. I've been away for two years,
and I've lost track of some of these people."

"I'm worse yet. I've only been here two weeks and I scarcely know
anybody. Mrs. King takes me around everywhere, but it's all so new I
can't get hold of it. I think Alexandria is lovely."

"It is nice. I suppose you've been out on the lakes?"

"Oh, yes. We've fished and rowed and camped. I have had a lovely time
but I have to go back tomorrow."

"Do you?" said Eugene. "Why I do too. I'm going to take the

"So am I!" she laughed. "Perhaps we can go together."

"Why, certainly. That's fine. I thought I'd have to go back alone. I
only came down for over Sunday. I've been working up in Chicago."

They fell to telling each other their histories. She was from Blackwood,
only eighty-five miles from Chicago, and had lived there all her life.
There were several brothers and sisters. Her father was evidently a
farmer and politician and what not, and Eugene gleaned from stray
remarks that they must be well thought of, though poor. One
brother-in-law was spoken of as a banker; another as the owner of a
grain elevator; she herself was a school teacher at Blackwood--had been
for several years.

Eugene did not realize it, but she was fully five years older than
himself, with the tact and the superior advantage which so much
difference in years brings. She was tired of school-teaching, tired of
caring for the babies of married sisters, tired of being left to work
and stay at home when the ideal marrying age was rapidly passing. She
was interested in able people, and silly village boys did not appeal to
her. There was one who was begging her to marry him at this moment, but
he was a slow soul up in Blackwood, not actually worthy of her nor able
to support her well. She was hopefully, sadly, vaguely, madly longing
for something better, and as yet nothing had ever turned up. This
meeting with Eugene was not anything which promised a way out to her.
She was not seeking so urgently--nor did she give introductions that
sort of a twist in her consciousness. But this young man had an appeal
for her beyond anyone she had met recently. They were in sympathetic
accord, apparently. She liked his clear, big eyes, his dark hair, his
rather waxen complexion. He seemed something better than she had known,
and she hoped that he would be nice to her.


The rest of that evening Eugene spent not exactly with, but near Miss
Blue--Miss Angela Blue, as he found her name to be. He was interested in
her not so much from the point of view of looks, though she was charming
enough, but because of some peculiarity of temperament which lingered
with him as a grateful taste might dwell on the palate. He thought her
young; and was charmed by what he considered her innocence and
unsophistication. As a matter of fact she was not so much young and
unsophisticated as an unconscious simulator of simplicity. In the
conventional sense she was a thoroughly good girl, loyal, financially
honest, truthful in all commonplace things, and thoroughly virtuous,
moreover, in that she considered marriage and children the fate and duty
of all women. Having had so much trouble with other peoples' children
she was not anxious to have any, or at least many, of her own. Of
course, she did not believe that she would escape with what seemed to be
any such good fortune. She fancied that she would be like her sisters,
the wife of a good business or professional man; the mother of three or
four or five healthy children; the keeper of an ideal middle class home;
the handmaiden of her husband's needs. There was a deep current of
passion in her which she had come to feel would never be satisfied. No
man would ever understand, no man at least whom she was likely to meet;
but she knew she had a great capacity to love. If someone would only
come along and arouse that--be worthy of it--what a whirlwind of
affection she would return to him! How she would love, how sacrifice!
But it seemed now that her dreams were destined never to be fulfilled,
because so much time had slipped by and she had not been courted by the
right one. So here she was now at twenty-five, dreaming and longing--the
object of her ideals thus accidentally brought before her, and no
immediate consciousness that that was the case.

It does not take sexual affinity long to manifest itself, once its
subjects are brought near to each other. Eugene was older in certain
forms of knowledge, broader in a sense, potentially greater than she
would ever comprehend; but nevertheless, swayed helplessly by emotion
and desire. Her own emotions, though perhaps stronger than his, were
differently aroused. The stars, the night, a lovely scene, any exquisite
attribute of nature could fascinate him to the point of melancholy. With
her, nature in its largest aspects passed practically unnoticed. She
responded to music feelingly, as did Eugene. In literature, only realism
appealed to him; for her, sentiment, strained though not necessarily
unreal, had the greatest charm. Art in its purely æsthetic forms meant
nothing at all to her. To Eugene it was the last word in the matter of
emotional perception. History, philosophy, logic, psychology, were
sealed books to her. To Eugene they were already open doors, or, better
yet, flowery paths of joy, down which he was wandering. Yet in spite of
these things they were being attracted toward each other.

And there were other differences. With Eugene convention meant nothing
at all, and his sense of evil and good was something which the ordinary
person would not have comprehended. He was prone to like all sorts and
conditions of human beings--the intellectual, the ignorant, the clean,
the dirty, the gay, the sorrowful, white, yellow, black. As for Angela,
she had a distinct preference for those who conducted themselves
according to given standards of propriety. She was brought up to think
of those people as best who worked the hardest, denied themselves the
most, and conformed to the ordinary notions of right and wrong. There
was no questioning of current standards in her mind. As it was written
socially and ethically upon the tables of the law, so was it. There
might be charming characters outside the pale, but they were not
admitted to association or sympathy. To Eugene a human being was a human
being. The ruck of misfits or ne'er-do-wells he could laugh joyously
with or at. It was all wonderful, beautiful, amusing. Even its grimness
and tragedy were worth while, although they hurt him terribly at times.
Why, under these circumstances, he should have been so thoroughly
attracted to Angela remains a mystery. Perhaps they complemented each
other at this time as a satellite complements a larger luminary--for
Eugene's egoism required praise, sympathy, feminine coddling; and Angela
caught fire from the warmth and geniality of his temperament.

On the train next day Eugene had nearly three hours of what he deemed
most delightful talk with her. They had not journeyed far before he had
told her how he had traveled this way, on this train, at this hour, two
years before; how he had walked about the streets of the big city,
looking for a place to sleep, how he had got work and stayed away until
he felt that he had found himself. Now he was going to study art and
then to New York or Paris, and do magazine illustrating and possibly
paint pictures. He was truly your flamboyant youth of talent when he got
to talking--when he had a truly sympathetic ear. He loved to boast to
someone who really admired him, and he felt that he had admiration here.
Angela looked at him with swimming eyes. He was really different from
anything she had ever known, young, artistic, imaginative, ambitious. He
was going out into a world which she had longed for but never hoped to
see--that of art. Here he was telling her of his prospective art
studies, and talking of Paris. What a wonderful thing!

As the train neared Chicago she explained that she would have to make an
almost immediate connection with one which left over the Chicago
Milwaukee and St. Paul, for Blackwood. She was a little lonely, to tell
the truth, a little sick at heart, for the summer vacation was over and
she was going back to teach school. Alexandria, for the two weeks she
had been there visiting Mrs. King (formerly a Blackwood girl and
school-day chum of hers), was lovely. Her girlhood friend had tried to
make things most pleasant and now it was all over. Even Eugene was over,
for he said nothing much of seeing her again, or had not so far. She was
wishing she might see more of this world he painted in such glowing
colors, when he said:

"Mr. Bangs said that you come down to Chicago every now and then?"

"I do," she replied. "I sometimes come down to go to the theatres and
shop." She did not say that there was an element of practical household
commercialism in it, for she was considered one of the best buyers in
the family and that she was sent to buy by various members of the family
in quantities. From a practical household point of view she was a
thoroughbred and was valued by her sisters and friends as someone who
loved to do things. She might have come to be merely a family pack
horse, solely because she loved to work. It was instinct to do
everything she did thoroughly, but she worked almost exclusively in
minor household matters.

"How soon do you expect to come down again?" he asked.

"Oh, I can't tell. I sometimes come down when Opera is on in the winter.
I may be here around Thanksgiving."

"Not before that?"

"I don't think so," she replied archly.

"That's too bad. I thought maybe I'd see you a few times this fall. When
you do come I wish you could let me know. I'd like to take you to the

Eugene spent precious little money on any entertainment, but he thought
he could venture this. She would not be down often. Then, too, he had
the notion that he might get a rise one of these days--that would make a
difference. When she came again he would be in art school, opening up
another field for himself. Life looked hopeful.

"That's so nice of you," she replied. "And when I come I'll let you
know. I'm just a country girl," she added, with a toss of her head, "and
I don't get to the city often."

Eugene liked what he considered the guileless naïveté of her
confessions--the frankness with which she owned up to simplicity and
poverty. Most girls didn't. She almost made a virtue out of these
thing--at least they were charming as a confession in her.

"I'll hold you to that," he assured her.

"Oh, you needn't. I'll be glad to let you know."

They were nearing the station. He forgot, for the moment that she was
not as remote and delicate in her beauty as Stella, that she was
apparently not as passionate temperamentally as Margaret. He saw her
wonderfully dull hair and her thin lips and peculiar blue eyes, and
admired her honesty and simplicity. He picked up her grip and helped her
to find her train. When they came to part he pressed her hand warmly,
for she had been very nice to him, so attentive and sympathetic and

"Now remember!" he said gaily, after he had put her in her seat in the

"I won't forget."

"You wouldn't mind if I wrote you now and then?"

"Not at all. I'd like it."

"Then I will," he said, and went out.

He stood outside and looked at her through the train window as it pulled
out. He was glad to have met her. This was the right sort of girl,
clean, honest, simple, attractive. That was the way the best women
were--good and pure--not wild pieces of fire like Margaret; nor
unconscious, indifferent beauties like Stella, he was going to add, but
couldn't. There was a voice within him that said that artistically
Stella was perfect and even now it hurt him a little to remember. But
Stella was gone forever, there was no doubt about that.

During the days that followed he thought of the girl often. He wondered
what sort of a town Blackwood was; what sort of people she moved with,
what sort of a house she lived in. They must be nice, simple people like
his own in Alexandria. These types of city bred people whom he
saw--girls particularly--and those born to wealth, had no appeal for him
as yet. They were too distant, too far removed from anything he could
aspire to. A good woman such as Miss Blue obviously was, must be a
treasure anywhere in the world. He kept thinking he would write to
her--he had no other girl acquaintance now; and just before he entered
art school he did this, penning a little note saying that he remembered
so pleasantly their ride; and when was she coming? Her answer, after a
week, was that she expected to be in the city about the middle or the
end of October and that she would be glad to have him call. She gave him
the number of an aunt who lived out on the North Side in Ohio Street,
and said she would notify him further. She was hard at work teaching
school now, and didn't even have time to think of the lovely summer she
had had.

"Poor little girl," he thought. She deserved a better fate. "When she
comes I'll surely look her up," he thought, and there was a lot that
went with the idea. Such wonderful hair!


The succeeding days in the art school after his first admission revealed
many new things to Eugene. He understood now, or thought he did, why
artists were different from the rank and file of mankind. This Art
Institute atmosphere was something so refreshing after his days rambling
among poor neighborhoods collecting, that he could hardly believe that
he, Eugene Witla, belonged there. These were exceptional young people;
some of them, anyhow. If they weren't cut out to be good artists they
still had imagination--the dream of the artist. They came, as Eugene
gradually learned, from all parts of the West and South, from Chicago
and St. Louis--from Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa--from Texas and California
and Minnesota. One boy was in from Saskatchewan of the Canadian north
west, another from the then territory of New Mexico. Because his name
was Gill they called him the Gila monster--the difference in the
pronunciation of the "G's" not troubling them at all. A boy who came
down from Minnesota was a farmer's son, and talked about going back to
plow and sow and reap during the next spring and summer. Another boy was
the son of a Kansas City millionaire.

The mechanics of drawing interested Eugene from the first. He learned
the first night that there was some defect in his understanding of light
and shade as it related to the human form. He could not get any
roundness or texture in his drawings.

"The darkest shadow is always closest to the high light," observed his
instructor laconically on Wednesday evening, looking over his shoulder.
"You're making everything a dull, even tone." So that was it.

"You're drawing this figure as a bricklayer who isn't an architect might
start to build a house. You're laying bricks without having a plan.
Where's your plan?" The voice was that of Mr. Boyle looking over his

Eugene looked up. He had begun to draw the head only.

"A plan! A plan!" said his instructor, making a peculiar motion with his
hands which described the outline of the pose in a single motion. "Get
your general lines first. Then you can put in the details afterward."

Eugene saw at once.

Another time his instructor was watching him draw the female breast. He
was doing it woodenly--without much beauty of contour.

"They're round! They're round! I tell you!" exclaimed Boyle. "If you
ever see any square ones let me know."

This caught Eugene's sense of humor. It made him laugh, even though he
flushed painfully, for he knew he had a lot to learn.

The cruelest thing he heard this man say was to a boy who was rather
thick and fat but conscientious. "You can't draw," he said roughly.
"Take my advice and go home. You'll make more money driving a wagon."

The class winced, but this man was ugly in his intolerance of futility.
The idea of anybody wasting his time was obnoxious to him. He took art
as a business man takes business, and he had no time for the misfit, the
fool, or the failure. He wanted his class to know that art meant effort.

Aside from this brutal insistence on the significance of art, there was
another side to the life which was not so hard and in a way more
alluring. Between the twenty-five minute poses which the model took,
there were some four or five minute rests during the course of the
evening in which the students talked, relighted their pipes and did much
as they pleased. Sometimes students from other classes came in for a few

The thing that astonished Eugene though, was the freedom of the model
with the students and the freedom of the students with her. After the
first few weeks he observed some of those who had been there the year
before going up to the platform where the girl sat, and talking with
her. She had a little pink gauze veil which she drew around her
shoulders or waist that instead of reducing the suggestiveness of her
attitudes heightened them.

"Say, ain't that enough to make everything go black in front of your
eyes," said one boy sitting next to Eugene.

"Well, I guess," he laughed. "There's some edge to that."

The boys would sit and laugh and jest with this girl, and she would
laugh and coquette in return. He saw her strolling about looking at some
of the students' drawings of her over their shoulders, standing face to
face with others--and so calmly. The strong desire which it invariably
aroused in Eugene he quelled and concealed, for these things were not to
be shown on the surface. Once, while he was looking at some photographs
that a student had brought, she came and looked over his shoulder, this
little flower of the streets, her body graced by the thin scarf, her
lips and cheeks red with color. She came so close that she leaned
against his shoulder and arm with her soft flesh. It pulled him tense,
like a great current; but he made no sign, pretending that it was the
veriest commonplace. Several times, because the piano was there, and
because students would sing and play in the interludes, she came and sat
on the piano stool herself, strumming out an accompaniment to which some
one or three or four would sing. Somehow this, of all things, seemed
most sensuous to him--most oriental. It set him wild. He felt his teeth
click without volition on his part. When she resumed her pose, his
passion subsided, for then the cold, æsthetic value of her beauty became
uppermost. It was only the incidental things that upset him.

In spite of these disturbances, Eugene was gradually showing improvement
as a draughtsman and an artist. He liked to draw the figure. He was not
as quick at that as he was at the more varied outlines of landscapes and
buildings, but he could give lovely sensuous touches to the human
form--particularly to the female form--which were beginning to be
impressive. He'd got past the place where Boyle had ever to say "They're
round." He gave a sweep to his lines that attracted the instructor's

"You're getting the thing as a whole, I see," he said quietly, one day.
Eugene thrilled with satisfaction. Another Wednesday he said:--"A little
colder, my boy, a little colder. There's sex in that. It isn't in the
figure. You ought to make a good mural decorator some day, if you have
the inclination," Boyle went on; "you've got the sense of beauty." The
roots of Eugene's hair tingled. So art was coming to him. This man saw
his capacity. He really had art in him.

One evening a paper sign pasted up on the bulletin board bore the
significant legend: "Artists! Attention! We eat! We eat! Nov. 16th. at
Sofroni's. All those who want to get in give their names to the

Eugene had heard nothing of this, but he judged that it originated in
one of the other classes. He spoke to the monitor and learned that only
seventy-five cents was required of him. Students could bring girls if
they wished. Most of them would. He decided that he would go. But where
to get a girl? Sofroni's was an Italian restaurant in lower Clark
Street, which had originally started out as an eating place for Italian
laborers, because it was near an Italian boarding house section. It was
located in an old house that was not exactly homely. A yard in the back
had been set with plain wooden tables, and benches had been placed for
use in the summer time and, later, this had been covered with a mouldy
tent-cloth to protect the diners from rain. Still later this became
glass and was used in winter. The place was clean and the food good.
Some struggling craftsman in journalism and art had found it and by
degrees Signor Sofroni had come to realize that he was dealing with a
better element. He began to exchange greetings with these people to set
aside a little corner for them. Finally he entertained a small group of
them at dinner--charging them hardly more than cost price--and so he was
launched. One student told another. Sofroni now had his yard covered in
so that he could entertain a hundred at dinner, even in winter. He could
serve several kinds of wines and liquors with a dinner for seventy-five
cents a piece. So he was popular.

The dinner was the culmination of several other class treats. It was the
custom of a class, whenever a stranger, or even a new member appeared,
to yell "Treat! Treat!" at which the victim or new member was supposed
to produce two dollars as a contribution to a beer fund. If the money
was not produced--the stranger was apt to be thrown out or some
ridiculous trick played upon him--if it was forthcoming, work for the
evening ceased. A collection was immediately taken up. Kegs of beer were
sent for, with sandwiches and cheese. Drinking, singing, piano playing,
jesting followed. Once, to Eugene's utter astonishment, one of the
students--a big, good natured, carousing boy from Omaha--lifted the nude
model to his shoulders, set her astride his neck and proceeded around
the room, jigging as he went--the girl meantime pulling his black hair,
the other students following and shouting uproariously. Some of the
girls in an adjoining room, studying in an evening life class, stopped
their work to peep through a half dozen small holes which had been
punched in the intervening partition. The sight of Showalter carrying
the girl so astonished the eavesdroppers that the news of it was soon
all over the building. Knowledge of the escapade reached the Secretary
and the next day the student was dropped. But the Bacchic dance had been
enacted--its impression was left.

There were other treats like this in which Eugene was urged to drink,
and he did--a very little. He had no taste for beer. He also tried to
smoke, but he did not care for it. He could become nervously intoxicated
at times, by the mere sight of such revelry, and then he grew witty,
easy in his motions, quick to say bright things. On one of these
occasions one of the models said to him: "Why, you're nicer than I
thought. I imagined you were very solemn."

"Oh, no," he said, "only at times. You don't know me."

He seized her about the waist, but she pushed him away. He wished now
that he danced, for he saw that he might have whirled her about the room
then and there. He decided to learn at once.

The question of a girl for the dinner, troubled him. He knew of no one
except Margaret, and he did not know that she danced. There was Miss
Blue, of Blackwood--whom he had seen when she made her promised visit to
the city--but the thought of her in connection with anything like this
was to him incongruous. He wondered what she would think if she saw such
scenes as he had witnessed.

It chanced that one day when he was in the members' room, he met Miss
Kenny, the girl whom he had seen posing the night he had entered the
school. Eugene remembered her fascination, for she was the first nude
model he had ever seen and she was pretty. She was also the one who had
come and stood by him when she was posing. He had not seen her since
then. She had liked Eugene, but he had seemed a little distant and, at
first, a little commonplace. Lately he had taken to a loose, flowing tie
and a soft round hat which became him. He turned his hair back loosely
and emulated the independent swing of Mr. Temple Boyle. That man was a
sort of god to him--strong and successful. To be like that!

The girl noted a change for what she deemed the better. He was so nice
now, she thought, so white-skinned and clear-eyed and keen.

She pretended to be looking at the drawing of a nude when she saw him.

"How are you?" he asked, smiling, venturing to speak to her because he
was lonely and because he knew no other girl.

She turned gaily, and returned the question, facing him with smiling
lips and genial eyes.

"I haven't seen you for some time," he said. "Are you back here now?"

"For this week," she said. "I'm doing studio work. I don't care for
classes when I can get the other."

"I thought you liked them!" he replied, recalling her gaiety of mood.

"Oh, I don't dislike it. Only, studio work is better."

"We've missed you," he said. "The others haven't been nearly as nice."

"Aren't you complimentary," she laughed, her black eyes looking into his
with a twinkle.

"No, it's so," he returned, and then asked hopefully, "Are you going to
the dinner on the 16th?"

"Maybe," she said. "I haven't made up my mind. It all depends."

"On what?"

"On how I feel and who asks me."

"I shouldn't think there'd be any trouble about that," he observed. "If
I had a girl I'd go," he went on, making a terrific effort to reach the
point where he could ask her. She saw his intention.

"Well?" she laughed.

"Would you go with me?" he ventured, thus so shamelessly assisted.

"Sure!" she said, for she liked him.

"That's fine!" he exclaimed. "Where do you live? I'll want to know
that." He searched for a pencil.

She gave him her number on West Fifty-seventh Street.

Because of his collecting he knew the neighborhood. It was a street of
shabby frame houses far out on the South Side. He remembered great mazes
of trade near it, and unpaved streets and open stretches of wet prairie
land. Somehow it seemed fitting to him that this little flower of the
muck and coal yard area should be a model.

"I'll be sure and get you," he laughed. "You won't forget, will you,

"Just Ruby," she interrupted. "Ruby Kenny."

"It's a pretty name, isn't it?" he said. "It's euphonious. You wouldn't
let me come out some Sunday and see just where it is?"

"Yes, you may," she replied, pleased by his comment on her name. "I'm
home most every Sunday. Come out next Sunday afternoon, if you want to."

"I will," said Eugene.

He walked out to the street with her in a very buoyant mood.


Ruby Kenny was the adopted child of an old Irish laborer and his wife
who had taken her from a quarrelling couple when they had practically
deserted her at the age of four years. She was bright, good natured, not
at all informed as to the social organization of the world, just a
simple little girl with a passion for adventure and no saving insight
which would indicate beforehand whither adventure might lead. She began
life as a cash girl in a department store and was spoiled of her virtue
at fifteen. She was rather fortunate in that her smartness attracted the
rather superior, capable, self-protecting type of man; and these were
fortunate too, in that she was not utterly promiscuous, appetite with
her waiting on strong liking, and in one or two cases real affection,
and culminating only after a period of dalliance which made her as much
a victim of her moods as were her lovers. Her foster parents provided no
guidance of any intelligent character. They liked her, and since she was
brighter than they were, submitted to her rule, her explanations of
conduct, her taste. She waved aside with a laughing rejoinder any slight
objections they might make, and always protested that she did not care
what the neighbors thought.

The visits which Eugene paid, and the companionship which ensued, were
of a piece with every other relationship of this character which he ever
entered into. He worshiped beauty as beauty, and he never wholly missed
finding a certain quality of mind and heart for which he longed. He
sought in women, besides beauty, good nature and sympathy; he shunned
criticism and coldness, and was never apt to select for a sweetheart
anyone who could outshine him either in emotion or rapidity or
distinction of ideas.

He liked, at this time, simple things, simple homes, simple
surroundings, the commonplace atmosphere of simple life, for the more
elegant and imposing overawed him. The great mansions which he saw, the
great trade structures, the great, significant personalities, seemed
artificial and cold. He liked little people--people who were not known,
but who were sweet and kindly in their moods. If he could find female
beauty with anything like that as a background he was happy and settled
down near it, if he could, in comfort. His drawing near to Ruby was
governed by this mood.

The Sunday Eugene called, it rained and the neighborhood in which she
lived was exceedingly dreary. Looking around here and there one could
see in the open spaces between the houses pools of water standing in the
brown, dead grass. He had crossed a great maze of black cindered car
tracks, where engines and cars were in great masses, and speculated on
the drawings such scenes would make--big black engines throwing up
clouds of smoke and steam in a grey, wet air; great mazes of
parti-colored cars dank in the rain but lovely. At night the switch
lights in these great masses of yards bloomed like flowers. He loved the
sheer yellows, reds, greens, blues, that burned like eyes. Here was the
stuff that touched him magnificently, and somehow he was glad that this
raw flowering girl lived near something like this.

When he reached the door and rang the bell he was greeted by an old
shaky Irish-American who seemed to him rather low in the scale of
intelligence--the kind of a man who would make a good crossing guard,
perhaps. He had on common, characterful clothes, the kind that from long
wear have taken the natural outlines of the body. In his fingers was a
short pipe which he had been smoking.

"Is Miss Kenny in?" Eugene inquired.

"Yus," said the man. "Come in. I'll git her." He poked back through a
typical workingman's parlor to a rear room. Someone had seen to it that
almost everything in the room was red--the big silk-shaded lamp, the
family album, the carpet and the red flowered wall paper.

While he was waiting he opened the album and looked at what he supposed
were her relatives--commonplace people, all--clerks, salesmen,
store-keepers. Presently Ruby came, and then his eye lighted, for there
was about her a smartness of youth--she was not more than
nineteen--which captivated his fancy. She had on a black cashmere dress
with touches of red velvet at the neck and elsewhere, and she wore a
loose red tie, much as a boy might. She looked gay and cheerful and held
out her hand.

"Did you have much trouble in getting here?" she asked.

He shook his head. "I know this country pretty well. I collect all
through here week days. I work for the Peoples' Furniture Company, you

"Oh, then it's all right," she said, enjoying his frankness. "I thought
you'd have a hard time finding it. It's a pretty bad day, isn't it?"

Eugene admitted that it was, but commented on the car tracks he had
seen. "If I could paint at all I'd like to paint those things. They're
so big and wonderful."

He went to the window and gazed out at the neighborhood.

Ruby watched him with interest. His movements were pleasing to her. She
felt at home in his company--as though she were going to like him very
much. It was so easy to talk to him. There were the classes, her studio
work, his own career, this neighborhood, to give her a feeling of
congeniality with him.

"Are there many big studios in Chicago?" he asked when they finally got
around to that phase of her work. He was curious to know what the art
life of the city was.

"No, not so very many--not, at least, of the good ones. There are a lot
of fellows who think they can paint."

"Who are the big ones?" he asked.

"Well, I only know by what I hear artists say. Mr. Rose is pretty good.
Byam Jones is pretty fine on _genre_ subjects, so they say. Walter Low
is a good portrait painter, and so is Manson Steele. And let's
see--there's Arthur Biggs--he does landscapes only; I've never been in
his studio; and Finley Wood, he's another portrait man; and Wilson
Brooks, he does figures--Oh! I don't know, there are quite a number."

Eugene listened entranced. This patter of art matters was more in the
way of definite information about personalities than he had heard during
all the time he had been in the city. The girl knew these things. She
was in the movement. He wondered what her relationship to these various
people was?

He got up after a time and looked out of the window again. She came
also. "It's not very nice around here," she explained, "but papa and
mamma like to live here. It's near papa's work."

"Was that your father I met at the door?"

"They're not my real parents," she explained. "I'm an adopted child.
They're just like real parents to me, though, I certainly owe them a

"You can't have been posing in art very long," said Eugene thoughtfully,
thinking of her age.

"No; I only began about a year ago."

She told how she had been a clerk in The Fair and how she and another
girl had got the idea from seeing articles in the Sunday papers. There
was once a picture in the Tribune of a model posing in the nude before
the local life class. This had taken her eye and she had consulted with
the other girl as to whether they had not better try posing, too. Her
friend, like herself, was still posing. She was coming to the dinner.

Eugene listened entranced. It reminded him of how he was caught by the
picture of Goose Island in the Chicago River, of the little tumble-down
huts and upturned hulls of boats used for homes. He told her of that and
of how he came, and it touched her fancy. She thought he was sentimental
but nice--and then he was big, too, and she was so much smaller.

"You play?" he asked, "don't you?"

"Oh, just a little. But we haven't got a piano. I learned what I know by
practising at the different studios."

"Do you dance?" asked Eugene.

"Yes, indeed," she replied.

"I wish I did," he commented ruefully.

"Why don't you? It's easy. You could learn in no time. I could teach you
in a lesson."

"I wish you would," he said persuasively.

"It isn't hard," she went on, moving away from him. "I can show you the
steps. They always begin with the waltz."

She lifted her skirts and exposed her little feet. She explained what to
do and how to do it. He tried it alone, but failed; so she got him to
put his arm around her and placed her hand in his. "Now, follow me," she

It was so delightful to find her in his arms! And she was apparently in
no hurry to conclude the lesson, for she worked with him quite
patiently, explaining the steps, stopping and correcting him, laughing
at her mistakes and his. "You're getting it, though," she said, after
they had turned around a few times.

They had looked into each other's eyes a number of times and she gave
him frank smiles in return for his. He thought of the time when she
stood by him in the studio, looking over his shoulder. Surely, surely
this gap of formalities might be bridged over at once if he tried if he
had the courage. He pulled her a little closer and when they stopped he
did not let go.

"You're mighty sweet to me," he said with an effort.

"No, I'm just good natured," she laughed, not endeavoring to break away.

He became emotionally tense, as always.

She rather liked what seemed the superiority of his mood. It was
different, stronger than was customary in the men she knew.

"Do you like me?" he asked, looking at her.

She studied his face and hair and eyes.

"I don't know," she returned calmly.

"Are you sure you don't?"

There was another pause in which she looked almost mockingly at him and
then, sobering, away at the hall door.

"Yes, I think I do," she said.

He picked her up in his arms. "You're as cute as a doll," he said and
carried her to the red settee. She spent the rest of the rainy afternoon
resting in his arms and enjoying his kisses. He was a new and peculiar
kind of boy.


A little while before, Angela Blue at Eugene's earnest solicitation had
paid her first Fall visit to Chicago. She had made a special effort to
come, lured by a certain poignancy of expression which he could give to
any thought, particularly when it concerned his desires. In addition to
the art of drawing he had the gift of writing--very slow in its
development from a structural and interpretative point of view, but
powerful already on its descriptive side. He could describe anything,
people, houses, horses, dogs, landscapes, much as he could draw them and
give a sense of tenderness and pathos in the bargain which was moving.
He could describe city scenes and the personal atmosphere which
surrounded him in the most alluring fashion. He had little time to
write, but he took it in this instance to tell this girl what he was
doing and how he was doing it. She was captivated by the quality of the
world in which he was moving, and the distinction of his own
personality, which he indicated rather indirectly than otherwise. By
contrast her own little world began to look very shabby indeed.

She came shortly after his art school opened, and at her invitation he
went out to the residence of her aunt on the North Side, a nice,
pleasant brick house in a quiet side street, which had all the airs of
middle class peace and comfort. He was impressed with what seemed to him
a sweet, conservative atmosphere--a fitting domicile for a girl so
dainty and refined as Angela. He paid his respects early Saturday
morning because her neighborhood happened to be in the direction of his

She played for him--better than anyone he had ever known. It seemed to
him a great accomplishment. Her temperament attracted her to music of a
high emotional order and to songs and instrumental compositions of
indefinable sweetness. In the half hour he stayed she played several
things, and he noted with a new pleasure her small shapely body in a
dress of a very simple, close fitting design; her hair hung in two great
braids far below her waist. She reminded him the least bit of Marguerite
in "Faust."

He went again in the evening, shining and eager, and arrayed in his
best. He was full of the sense of his art prospects, and happy to see
her again, for he was satisfied that he was going to fall in love with
her. She had a strong, sympathetic attitude which allured him. She
wanted to be nice to this youth--wanted him to like her--and so the
atmosphere was right.

That evening he took her to the Chicago Opera House, where there was
playing an extravaganza. This fantasy, so beautiful in its stage-craft,
so gorgeous in its show of costumes and pretty girls, so idle in its
humor and sweet in its love songs, captivated both Eugene and Angela.
Neither had been to a theatre for a long time; both were en rapport with
some such fantastic interpretation of existence. After the short
acquaintance at Alexandria it was a nice coming together. It gave point
to their reunion.

After the performance he guided her through the surging crowds to a
North Division Street car--they had laid cables since his arrival--and
together they went over the beauties and humor of the thing they had
seen. He asked permission to call again next day, and at the end of an
afternoon in her company, proposed that they go to hear a famous
preacher who was speaking in Central Music Hall evenings.

Angela was pleased at Eugene's resourcefulness. She wanted to be with
him; this was a good excuse. They went early and enjoyed it. Eugene
liked the sermon as an expression of youth and beauty and power to
command. He would have liked to be an orator like that, and he told
Angela so. And he confided more and more of himself to her. She was
impressed by his vivid interest in life, his selective power, and felt
that he was destined to be a notable personality.

There were other meetings. She came again in early November and before
Christmas and Eugene was fast becoming lost in the meshes of her hair.
Although he met Ruby in November and took up a tentative relation on a
less spiritual basis--as he would have said at the time--he nevertheless
held this acquaintanceship with Angela in the background as a superior
and more significant thing. She was purer than Ruby; there was in her
certainly a deeper vein of feeling, as expressed in her thoughts and
music. Moreover she represented a country home, something like his own,
a nice simple country town, nice people. Why should he part with her, or
ever let her know anything of this other world that he touched? He did
not think he ought to. He was afraid that he would lose her, and he knew
that she would make any man an ideal wife. She came again in December
and he almost proposed to her--he must not be free with her or draw too
near too rapidly. She made him feel the sacredness of love and marriage.
And he did propose in January.

The artist is a blend of subtleties in emotion which can not be
classified. No one woman could have satisfied all sides of Eugene's
character at that time. Beauty was the point with him. Any girl who was
young, emotional or sympathetic to the right degree and beautiful would
have attracted and held him for a while. He loved beauty--not a plan of
life. He was interested in an artistic career, not in the founding of a
family. Girlhood--the beauty of youth--was artistic, hence he craved it.

Angela's mental and emotional composition was stable. She had learned to
believe from childhood that marriage was a fixed thing. She believed in
one life and one love. When you found that, every other relationship
which did not minister to it was ended. If children came, very good; if
not, very good; marriage was permanent anyhow. And if you did not marry
happily it was nevertheless your duty to endure and suffer for whatever
good might remain. You might suffer badly in such a union, but it was
dangerous and disgraceful to break it. If you could not stand it any
more, your life was a failure.

Of course, Eugene did not know what he was trifling with. He had no
conception of the nature of the relationship he was building up. He went
on blindly dreaming of this girl as an ideal, and anticipating eventual
marriage with her. When that would be, he had no idea, for though his
salary had been raised at Christmas he was getting only eighteen dollars
a week; but he deemed it would come within a reasonable time.

Meanwhile, his visits to Ruby had brought the inevitable result. The
very nature of the situation seemed to compel it. She was young,
brimming over with a love of adventure, admiring youth and strength in
men. Eugene, with his pale face, which had just a touch of melancholy
about it, his sex magnetism, his love of beauty, appealed to her.
Uncurbed passion was perhaps uppermost to begin with; very shortly it
was confounded with affection, for this girl could love. She was sweet,
good natured, ignorant of life from many points of view. Eugene
represented the most dramatic imagination she had yet seen. She
described to him the character of her foster parents, told how simple
they were and how she could do about as she pleased. They did not know
that she posed in the nude. She confided to him her particular
friendship for certain artists, denying any present intimacies. She
admitted them in the past, but asserted that they were bygones. Eugene
really did not believe this. He suspected her of meeting other
approaches in the spirit in which she had met his own. It aroused his
jealousy, and he wished at once that she were not a model. He said as
much and she laughed. She knew he would act like that, it was the first
proof of real, definite interest in her on his part.

From that time on there were lovely days and evenings spent in her
company. Before the dinner she invited him over to breakfast one Sunday.
Her foster parents were to be away and she was to have the house to
herself. She wanted to cook Eugene a breakfast--principally to show him
she could cook--and then it was novel. She waited till he arrived at
nine to begin operations and then, arrayed in a neat little lavender,
close fitting house dress, and a ruffled white apron, went about her
work, setting the table, making biscuit, preparing a kidney ragout with
strong wine, and making coffee.

Eugene was delighted. He followed her about, delaying her work by taking
her in his arms and kissing her. She got flour on her nose and he
brushed it off with his lips.

It was on this occasion that she showed him a very pleasing little dance
she could do--a clog dance, which had a running, side-ways motion, with
frequent and rapid clicking of the heels. She gathered her skirts a
little way above her ankles and twinkled her feet through a maze of
motions. Eugene was beside himself with admiration. He told himself he
had never met such a girl--to be so clever at posing, playing and
dancing, and so young. He thought she would make a delightful creature
to live with, and he wished now he had money enough to make it possible.
At this high-flown moment and at some others he thought he might almost
marry her.

On the night of the dinner he took her to Sofroni's, and was surprised
to find her arrayed in a red dress with a row of large black leather
buttons cutting diagonally across the front. She had on red stockings
and shoes and wore a red carnation in her hair. The bodice was cut low
in the neck and the sleeves were short. Eugene thought she looked
stunning and told her so. She laughed. They went in a cab, for she had
warned him beforehand that they would have to. It cost him two dollars
each way but he excused his extravagance on the ground of necessity. It
was little things like this that were beginning to make him think
strongly of the problem of getting on.

The students who had got up this dinner were from all the art classes,
day and night. There were over two hundred of them, all of them young,
and there was a mixed collection of girl art students, artist's models
and girl friends of various grades of thought and condition, who were
brought as companions. The big dining-room was tempestuous with the
rattling of dishes, the shouting of jests, the singing of songs and the
exchange of greetings. Eugene knew a few of these people outside his own
classes, enough to give him the chance to be sociable and not appear
lonely or out of it.

From the outset it was apparent that she, Ruby, was generally known and
liked. Her costume--a little bold--made her conspicuous. From various
directions there were cries of "Hey! Rube!" which was a familiar
interpretation of her first name, Ruby.

Eugene was surprised at this--it shocked him a little. All sorts of boys
he did not know came and talked to her, exchanging familiar gossip. She
was called away from him a dozen times in as many minutes. He saw her
laughing and chatting at the other end of the hall, surrounded by half a
dozen students. It made him jealous.

As the evening progressed the attitude of each toward the other and all
toward anyone became more and more familiar. When the courses were over,
a space was cleared at one end and a screen of green cloth rigged up in
one corner as a dressing room for _stunts_. Eugene saw one of the
students called with much applause to do an Irish monologue, wearing
green whiskers, which he adjusted in the presence of the crowd. There
was another youth who pretended to have with him an immense roll of
verse--an epic, no less--wound in so tight a manner that it looked as
though it might take all night to read it. The crowd groaned. With
amazing savoir faire he put up one hand for silence, dropped the roll,
holding, of course, to the outer end and began reading. It was not bad
verse, but the amusing part was that it was really short, not more than
twenty lines. The rest of the paper had been covered with scribbling to
deceive the crowd. It secured a round of applause. There was one
second-year man who sang a song--"Down in the Lehigh Valley"--and
another who gave imitations of Temple Boyle and other instructors at
their work of criticising and painting for the benefit of the class.
These were greatly enjoyed. Finally one of the models, after much
calling by the crowd of "Desmond! Desmond!"--her last name--went behind
the green cloth screen and in a few moments reappeared in the short
skirt of a Spanish dancer, with black and silver spangles, and
castanets. Some friendly student had brought a mandolin and "La Paloma"
was danced.

Eugene had little of Ruby's company during all these doings. She was too
much sought after. As the other girl was concluding her dance he heard
the cry of "Hey, Rube! Why don't you do your turn?" Someone else, eager
to see her dance, called "Come on, Ruby!" The rest of the room, almost
unthinkingly took it up. Some boys surrounding her had started to push
her toward the dancing space. Before Eugene knew it she was up in
someone's arms being passed from group to group for a joke. The crowd
cheered. Eugene, however, having come so close to her, was irritated by
this familiarity. She did not appear to belong to him, but to the whole
art-student body. And she was laughing. When she was put down in the
clear space she lifted her skirts as she had done for him and danced. A
crowd of students got very close. He had to draw near to see her at all.
And there she was, unconscious of him, doing her gay clog dance. When
she stopped, three or four of the more daring youths urged her, seizing
her by the hands and arms, to do something else. Someone cleared a table
and someone else picked her up and put her on it. She did still other
dances. Someone cried, "Hey, Kenny, do you need the red dress?" So this
was his temporary sweetheart.

When she was finally ready to go home at four o'clock in the morning, or
when the others were agreed to let her go, she hardly remembered that
she had Eugene with her. She saw him waiting as two students were asking
for the privilege of taking her home.

"No," she exclaimed, seeing him, "I have my escort. I'm going now.
Good-bye," and came toward him. He felt rather frozen and out of it.

"Are you ready?" she asked.

He nodded gloomily, reproachfully.


From drawing from the nude, which Eugene came to do very successfully
that winter, his interest switched to his work in the illustration class
where costume figures were used. Here, for the first time, he tried his
hand at wash drawings, the current medium for magazine work, and was
praised after a time for his execution. Not always, however; for the
instructors, feeling that harsh criticism would make for steadier
effort, pooh-poohed some of his best work. But he had faith in what he
was destined to do, and after sinking to depths of despair he would rise
to great heights of self-confidence.

His labor for the Peoples' Furniture Company was becoming a rather
dreary grind when Vincent Beers, the instructor in the illustration
class, looking over his shoulder one Wednesday afternoon said:--"You
ought to be able to make a little money by your work pretty soon,

"Do you think so?" questioned Eugene.

"It's pretty good. There ought to be a place on one of the newspapers
here for a man like you--an afternoon newspaper possibly. Did you ever
try to get on?"

"I did when I first came to the city, but they didn't want anyone. I'm
rather glad they didn't now. I guess they wouldn't have kept me very

"You draw in pen and ink pretty well, don't you?"

"I thought I liked that best of all at first."

"Well, then, they ought to be able to use you. I wouldn't stay very long
at it though. You ought to go to New York to get in the magazine
illustration field--there's nothing out here. But a little newspaper
work now wouldn't hurt you."

Eugene decided to try the afternoon papers, for he knew that if he got
work on one of these he could still continue his night classes. He could
give the long evening session to the illustration class and take an
occasional night off to work on the life studies. That would make an
admirable arrangement. For several days he took an hour after his work
to make inquiry, taking with him some examples of his pen and inks.
Several of the men he saw liked what he had to show, but he found no
immediate opening. There was only one paper, one of the poorest, that
offered him any encouragement. The editor-in-chief said he might be in
need of a man shortly. If Eugene would come in again in three or four
weeks he could tell him. They did not pay very much--twenty-five dollars
to beginners.

Eugene thought of this as a great opportunity, and when he went back in
three weeks and actually secured the place, he felt that he was now
fairly on the road to prosperity. He was given a desk in a small back
room on a fourth floor where there was accidentally west and north
light. He was in a department which held two other men, both several
years older than himself, one of whom posed as "dean" of the staff.

The work here was peculiar in that it included not only pen and ink but
the chalk plate process which was a method of drawing with a steel point
upon a zinc plate covered with a deposit of chalk, which left a design
which was easily reproduced. Eugene had never done this, he had to be
shown by the "dean," but he soon picked it up. He found it hard on his
lungs, for he had constantly to keep blowing the chalk away as he
scratched the surface of the plate, and sometimes the dust went up into
his nostrils. He hoped sincerely there would not be much of this work,
but there was rather an undue proportion at first owing to the fact that
it was shouldered on to him by the other two--he being the beginner. He
suspected as much after a little time, but by that time he was beginning
to make friends with his companions and things were not so bad.

These two, although they did not figure vastly in his life, introduced
him to conditions and personalities in the Chicago newspaper world which
broadened him and presented points of view which were helpful. The elder
of the two, the "dean," was dressy and art-y; his name was Horace Howe.
The other, Jeremiah Mathews, Jerry for short, was short and fat, with a
round, cheerful, smiling countenance and a wealth of coarse black hair.
He loved chewing tobacco, was a little mussy about his clothes, but
studious, generous and good natured. Eugene found that he had several
passions, one for good food, another for oriental curios and a third for
archæology. He was alive to all that was going on in the world, and was
utterly without any prejudices, social, moral or religious. He liked his
work, and whistled or talked as he did it. Eugene took a secret like for
him from the beginning.

It was while working on this paper that Eugene first learned that he
really could write. It came about accidentally for he had abandoned the
idea that he could ever do anything in newspaper work, which was the
field he had originally contemplated. Here there was great need for
cheap Sunday specials of a local character, and in reading some of
these, which were given to him for illustration, he came to the
conclusion that he could do much better himself.

"Say," he asked Mathews, "who writes the articles in here?" He was
looking over the Sunday issue.

"Oh, the reporters on the staff--anyone that wants to. I think they buy
some from outsiders. They only pay four dollars a column."

Eugene wondered if they would pay him, but pay or no pay he wanted to do
them. Maybe they would let him sign his name. He saw that some were
signed. He suggested he believed he could do that sort of thing but
Howe, as a writer himself, frowned on this. He wrote and drew. Howe's
opposition piqued Eugene who decided to try when the opportunity
offered. He wanted to write about the Chicago River, which he thought he
could illustrate effectively. Goose Island, because of the description
he had read of it several years before, the simple beauties of the city
parks where he liked to stroll and watch the lovers on Sundays. There
were many things, but these stood as susceptible of delicious, feeling
illustration and he wanted to try his hand. He suggested to the Sunday
Editor, Mitchell Goldfarb, with whom he had become friendly, that he
thought something nice in an illustrative way could be done on the
Chicago River.

"Go ahead, try your hand," exclaimed that worthy, who was a vigorous,
robust, young American of about thirty-one, with a gaspy laugh that
sounded as if someone had thrown cold water down his back. "We need all
that stuff. Can you write?"

"I sometimes think I might if I practiced a little."

"Why not," went on the other, who saw visions of a little free copy.
"Try your hand. You might make a good thing of it. If your writing is
anything like your drawing it will be all right. We don't pay people on
the staff, but you can sign your name to it."

This was enough for Eugene. He tried his hand at once. His art work had
already begun to impress his companions. It was rough, daring, incisive,
with a touch of soul to it. Howe was already secretly envious, Mathews
full of admiration. Encouraged thus by Goldfarb Eugene took a Sunday
afternoon and followed up the branches of the Chicago River, noting its
wonders and peculiarities, and finally made his drawings. Afterward he
went to the Chicago library and looked up its history--accidentally
coming across the reports of some government engineers who dwelt on the
oddities of its traffic. He did not write an article so much as a
panegyric on its beauty and littleness, finding the former where few
would have believed it to exist. Goldfarb was oddly surprised when he
read it. He had not thought Eugene could do it.

The charm of Eugene's writing was that while his mind was full of color
and poetry he had logic and a desire for facts which gave what he wrote
stability. He liked to know the history of things and to comment on the
current phases of life. He wrote of the parks, Goose Island, the
Bridewell, whatever took his fancy.

His real passion was for art, however. It was a slightly easier medium
for him--quicker. He thrilled to think, sometimes, that he could tell a
thing in words and then actually draw it. It seemed a beautiful
privilege and he loved the thought of making the commonplace dramatic.
It was all dramatic to him--the wagons in the streets, the tall
buildings, the street lamps--anything, everything.

His drawing was not neglected meantime, but seemed to get stronger.

"I don't know what there is about your stuff, Witla, that gets me,"
Mathews said to him one day, "but you do something to it. Now why did
you put those birds flying above that smokestack?"

"Oh, I don't know," replied Eugene. "It's just the way I feel about it.
I've seen pigeons flying like that."

"It's all to the good," replied Mathews. "And then you handle your
masses right. I don't see anybody doing this sort of thing over here."

He meant in America, for these two art workers considered themselves
connoisseurs of pen and ink and illustration generally. They were
subscribers to _Jugend_, _Simplicissimus_, _Pick-Me-Up_ and the radical
European art journals. They were aware of Steinlen and Cheret and Mucha
and the whole rising young school of French poster workers. Eugene was
surprised to hear of these men and these papers. He began to gain
confidence in himself--to think of himself as somebody.

It was while he was gaining this knowledge--finding out who was who and
what and why that he followed up his relationship with Angela Blue to
its logical conclusion--he became engaged to her. In spite of his
connection with Ruby Kenny, which continued unbroken after the dinner,
he nevertheless felt that he must have Angela; partly because she
offered more resistance than any girl since Stella, and partly because
she appeared to be so innocent, simple and good hearted. And she was
altogether lovely. She had a beautiful figure, which no crudity of
country dressmaking could conceal. She had her wonderful wealth of hair
and her large, luring, water-clear blue eyes. She had colorful lips and
cheeks, a natural grace in walking, could dance and play the piano.
Eugene looked at her and came to the conclusion after a time that she
was as beautiful as any girl he had ever seen--that she had more soul,
more emotion, more sweetness. He tried to hold her hand, to kiss her, to
take her in his arms, but she eluded him in a careful, wary and yet half
yielding way. She wanted him to propose to her, not because she was
anxious to trap him, but because her conventional conscience told her
these things were not right outside a definite engagement and she wanted
to be engaged first. She was already in love with him. When he pleaded,
she was anxious to throw herself in his arms in a mad embrace, but she
restrained herself, waiting. At last he flung his arms about her as she
was sitting at the piano one evening and holding her tight pressed his
lips to her cheek.

She struggled to her feet. "You musn't," she said. "It isn't right. I
can't let you do that."

"But I love you," he exclaimed, pursuing her. "I want to marry you. Will
you have me, Angela? Will you be mine?"

She looked at him yearningly, for she realized that she had made him do
things her way--this wild, unpractical, artistic soul. She wanted to
yield then and there but something told her to wait.

"I won't tell you now," she said, "I want to talk to papa and mamma. I
haven't told them anything as yet. I want to ask them about you, and
then I'll tell you when I come again."

"Oh, Angela," he pleaded.

"Now, please wait, Mr. Witla," she pleaded. She had never yet called him
Eugene. "I'll come again in two or three weeks. I want to think it over.
It's better."

He curbed his desire and waited, but it made all the more vigorous and
binding the illusion that she was the one woman in the world for him.
She aroused more than any woman yet a sense of the necessity of
concealing the eagerness of his senses--of pretending something higher.
He even tried to deceive himself into the belief that this was a
spiritual relationship, but underneath all was a burning sense of her
beauty, her physical charm, her passion. She was sleeping as yet, bound
in convention and a semi-religious interpretation of life. If she were
aroused! He closed his eyes and dreamed.


In two weeks Angela came back, ready to plight her faith; and Eugene was
waiting, eager to receive it. He had planned to meet her under the smoky
train shed of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul depot, to escort her
to Kinsley's for dinner, to bring her some flowers, to give her a ring
he had secured in anticipation, a ring which had cost him seventy-five
dollars and consumed quite all his savings; but she was too regardful of
the drama of the situation to meet him anywhere but in the parlor of her
aunt's house, where she could look as she wished. She wrote that she
must come down early and when he arrived at eight of a Saturday evening
she was dressed in the dress that seemed most romantic to her, the one
she had worn when she first met him at Alexandria. She half suspected
that he would bring flowers and so wore none, and when he came with pink
roses, she added those to her corsage. She was a picture of rosy youth
and trimness and not unlike the character by whose name he had
christened her--the fair Elaine of Arthur's court. Her yellow hair was
done in a great mass that hung sensuously about her neck; her cheeks
were rosy with the elation of the hour; her lips moist; her eyes bright.
She fairly sparkled her welcome as he entered.

At the sight of her Eugene was beside himself. He was always at the
breaking point over any romantic situation. The beauty of the idea--the
beauty of love as love; the delight of youth filled his mind as a song
might, made him tense, feverish, enthusiastic.

"You're here at last, Angela!" he said, trying to keep hold of her
hands. "What word?"

"Oh, you musn't ask so soon," she replied. "I want to talk to you first.
I'll play you something."

"No," he said, following her as she backed toward the piano. "I want to
know. I must. I can't wait."

"I haven't made up my mind," she pleaded evasively. "I want to think.
You had better let me play."

"Oh, no," he urged.

"Yes, let me play."

She ignored him and swept into the composition, but all the while she
was conscious of him hovering over her--a force. At the close, when she
had been made even more emotionally responsive by the suggestion of the
music, he slipped his arms about her as he had once before, but she
struggled away again, slipping to a corner and standing at bay. He liked
her flushed face, her shaken hair, the roses awry at her waist.

"You must tell me now," he said, standing before her. "Will you have

She dropped her head down as though doubting, and fearing familiarities;
he slipped to one knee to see her eyes. Then, looking up, he caught her
about the waist. "Will you?" he asked.

She looked at his soft hair, dark and thick, his smooth pale brow, his
black eyes and even chin. She wanted to yield dramatically and this was
dramatic enough. She put her hands to his head, bent over and looked
into his eyes; her hair fell forward about her face. "Will you be good
to me?" she asked, yearning into his eyes.

"Yes, yes," he declared. "You know that. Oh, I love you so."

She put his head far back and laid her lips to his. There was fire,
agony in it. She held him so and then he stood up heaping kisses upon
her cheeks, her lips, her eyes, her neck.

"Good God!" he exclaimed, "how wonderful you are!"

The expression shocked her.

"You mustn't," she said.

"I can't help it. You are so beautiful!"

She forgave him for the compliment.

There were burning moments after this, moments in which they clung to
each other desperately, moments in which he took her in his arms,
moments in which he whispered his dreams of the future. He took the ring
he had bought and put it on her finger. He was going to be a great
artist, she was going to be an artist's bride; he was going to paint her
lovely face, her hair, her form. If he wanted love scenes he would paint
these which they were now living together. They talked until one in the
morning and then she begged him to go, but he would not. At two he left,
only to come early the next morning to take her to church.

There ensued for Eugene a rather astonishing imaginative and emotional
period in which he grew in perception of things literary and artistic
and in dreams of what marriage with Angela would mean to him. There was
a peculiar awareness about Eugene at this time, which was leading him
into an understanding of things. The extraordinary demands of some
phases of dogma in the matter of religion; the depths of human
perversity in the matter of morality; the fact that there were worlds
within worlds of our social organism; that really basically and actually
there was no fixed and definite understanding of anything by
anybody. From Mathews he learned of philosophies--Kant, Hegel,
Schopenhauer--faint inklings of what they believed. From association
with Howe he heard of current authors who expressed new moods, Pierre
Loti, Thomas Hardy, Maeterlinck, Tolstoi. Eugene was no person to
read--he was too eager to live,--but he gained much by conversation and
he liked to talk. He began to think he could do almost anything if he
tried--write poems, write plays, write stories, paint, illustrate, etc.
He used to conceive of himself as a general, an orator, a
politician--thinking how wonderful he would be if he could set himself
definitely to any one thing. Sometimes he would recite passages from
great speeches he had composed in his imagination as he walked. The
saving grace in his whole make-up was that he really loved to work and
he would work at the things he could do. He would not shirk his
assignments or dodge his duties.

After his evening class Eugene would sometimes go out to Ruby's house,
getting there by eleven and being admitted by an arrangement with her
that the front door be left open so that he could enter quietly. More
than once he found her sleeping in her little room off the front room,
arrayed in a red silk dressing gown and curled up like a little
black-haired child. She knew he liked her art instincts and she strove
to gratify them, affecting the peculiar and the exceptional. She would
place a candle under a red shade on a small table by her bed and pretend
to have been reading, the book being usually tossed to one side on the
coverlet where he would see it lying when he came. He would enter
silently, gathering her up in his arms as she dozed, kissing her lips to
waken her, carrying her in his arms into the front room to caress her
and whisper his passion. There was no cessation of this devotion to Ruby
the while he was declaring his love for Angela, and he really did not
see that the two interfered greatly. He loved Angela, he thought. He
liked Ruby, thought she was sweet. He felt sorry for her at times
because she was such a little thing, so unthinking. Who was going to
marry her eventually? What was going to become of her?

Because of this very attitude he fascinated the girl who was soon ready
to do anything for him. She dreamed dreams of how nice it would be if
they could live in just a little flat together--all alone. She would
give up her art posing and just keep house for him. He talked to her of
this--imagining it might possibly come to pass--realizing quite fully
that it probably wouldn't. He wanted Angela for his wife, but if he had
money he thought Ruby and he might keep a separate place--somehow. What
Angela would think of this did not trouble him--only that she should not
know. He never breathed anything to either of the other, but there were
times when he wondered what they would think each of the other if they
knew. Money, money, that was the great deterrent. For lack of money he
could not marry anybody at present--neither Angela nor Ruby nor anyone
else. His first duty, he thought, was so to place himself financially
that he could talk seriously to any girl. That was what Angela expected
of him, he knew. That was what he would have to have if he wanted Ruby.

There came a time when the situation began to grow irksome. He had
reached the point where he began to understand how limited his life was.
Mathews and Howe, who drew more money, were able to live better than he.
They went out to midnight suppers, theatre parties, and expeditions to
the tenderloin section (not yet known by that name). They had time to
browse about the sections of the city which had peculiar charms for them
as Bohemians after dark--the levee, as a certain section of the Chicago
River was called; Gambler's Row in South Clark Street; the Whitechapel
Club, as a certain organization of newspaper men was called, and other
places frequented by the literati and the more talented of the newspaper
makers. Eugene, first because of a temperament which was introspective
and reflective, and second because of his æsthetic taste, which was
offended by much that he thought was tawdry and cheap about these
places, and third by what he considered his lack of means, took
practically no part in these diversions. While he worked in his class he
heard of these things--usually the next day--and they were amplified and
made more showy and interesting by the narrative powers of the
participants. Eugene hated coarse, vulgar women and ribald conduct, but
he felt that he was not even permitted to see them at close range had he
wanted to. It took money to carouse and he did not have it.

Perhaps, because of his youth and a certain air of unsophistication and
impracticability which went with him, his employers were not inclined to
consider money matters in connection with him. They seemed to think he
would work for little and would not mind. He was allowed to drift here
six months without a sign of increase, though he really deserved more
than any one of those who worked with him during the same period. He was
not the one to push his claims personally but he grew restless and
slightly embittered under the strain and ached to be free, though his
work was as effective as ever.

It was this indifference on their part which fixed his determination to
leave Chicago, although Angela, his art career, his natural restlessness
and growing judgment of what he might possibly become were deeper
incentives. Angela haunted him as a dream of future peace. If he could
marry her and settle down he would be happy. He felt now, having fairly
satiated himself in the direction of Ruby, that he might leave her. She
really would not care so very much. Her sentiments were not deep enough.
Still, he knew she would care, and when he began going less regularly to
her home, really becoming indifferent to what she did in the artists'
world, he began also to feel ashamed of himself, for he knew that it was
a cruel thing to do. He saw by her manner when he absented himself that
she was hurt and that she knew he was growing cold.

"Are you coming out Sunday night?" she asked him once, wistfully.

"I can't," he apologized; "I have to work."

"Yes, I know how you have to work. But go on. I don't mind, I know."

"Oh, Ruby, how you talk. I can't always be here."

"I know what it is, Eugene," she replied. "You don't care any more. Oh,
well, don't mind me."

"Now, sweet, don't talk like that," he would say, but after he was gone
she would stand by her window and look out upon the shabby neighborhood
and sigh sadly. He was more to her than anyone she had met yet, but she
was not the kind that cried.

"He is going to leave me," was her one thought. "He is going to leave

Goldfarb had watched Eugene a long time, was interested in him, realized
that he had talent. He was leaving shortly to take a better
Sunday-Editorship himself on a larger paper, and he thought Eugene was
wasting his time and ought to be told so.

"I think you ought to try to get on one of the bigger papers here,
Witla," he said to him one Saturday afternoon when things were closing
up. "You'll never amount to anything on this paper. It isn't big enough.
You ought to get on one of the big ones. Why don't you try the
_Tribune_--or else go to New York? I think you ought to do magazine

Eugene drank it all in. "I've been thinking of that," he said. "I think
I'll go to New York. I'll be better off there."

"I would either do one or the other. If you stay too long in a place
like this it's apt to do you harm."

Eugene went back to his desk with the thought of change ringing in his
ears. He would go. He would save up his money until he had one hundred
and fifty or two hundred dollars and then try his luck in the East. He
would leave Ruby and Angela, the latter only temporarily, the former for
good very likely, though he only vaguely confessed this to himself. He
would make some money and then he would come back and marry his dream
from Blackwood. Already his imaginative mind ran forward to a poetic
wedding in a little country church, with Angela standing beside him in
white. Then he would bring her back with him to New York--he, Eugene
Witla, already famous in the East. Already the lure of the big eastern
city was in his mind, its palaces, its wealth, its fame. It was the
great world he knew, this side of Paris and London. He would go to it
now, shortly. What would he be there? How great? How soon?

So he dreamed.


Once this idea of New York was fixed in his mind as a necessary step in
his career, it was no trouble for him to carry it out. He had already
put aside sixty dollars in a savings bank since he had given Angela the
ring and he decided to treble it as quickly as possible and then start.
He fancied that all he needed was just enough to live on for a little
while until he could get a start. If he could not sell drawings to the
magazines he might get a place on a newspaper and anyhow he felt
confident that he could live. He communicated to Howe and Mathews his
intention of going East pretty soon and aroused in their respective
bosoms the emotions which were characteristic of each. Howe, envious
from the start, was glad to have him off the paper, but regretful of the
stellar career which his determination foreboded. He half suspected now
that Eugene would do something exceptional--he was so loose in his
moods--so eccentric. Mathews was glad for Eugene and a little sorry for
himself. He wished he had Eugene's courage, his fire, his talent.

"You'll make good when you get down there," Mathews said to him one
afternoon when Howe was out of the room, for he realized that the latter
was jealous. "You've got the stuff. Some of the work you have done here
will give you a fine introduction. I wish I were going."

"Why don't you?" suggested Eugene.

"Who? me? What good would it do me? I'm not ready yet. I can't do that
sort of stuff. I might go down some time."

"I think you do good work," said Eugene generously. He really did not
believe it was good art, but it was fair newspaper sketching.

"Oh, no, you don't mean that, Witla," replied Mathews. "I know what I
can do."

Eugene was silent.

"I wish when you get down there," went on Mathews, "you would write us
occasionally. I would like to know how you are getting along."

"Sure, I'll write," replied Eugene, flattered by the interest his
determination had aroused. "Sure I will." But he never did.

In Ruby and Angela he had two problems to adjust which were not so easy.
In the one case it was sympathy, regret, sorrow for her helplessness,
her hopelessness. She was so sweet and lovely in her way, but not quite
big enough mentally or emotionally for him. Could he really live with
her if he wanted to? Could he substitute her for a girl like Angela?
Could he? And now he had involved Angela, for since her return to tell
him that she accepted him as her affianced lover, there had been some
scenes between them in which a new standard of emotion had been set for
him. This girl who looked so simple and innocent was burning at times
with a wild fire. It snapped in her eyes when Eugene undid her wonderful
hair and ran his hands through its heavy strands. "The Rhine Maiden," he
would say. "Little Lorelei! You are like the mermaid waiting to catch
the young lover in the strands of her hair. You are Marguerite and I
Faust. You are a Dutch Gretchen. I love this wonderful hair when it is
braided. Oh, sweet, you perfect creature! I will put you in a painting
yet. I will make you famous."

Angela thrilled to this. She burned in a flame which was of his fanning.
She put her lips to his in long hot kisses, sat on his knee and twined
her hair about his neck; rubbed his face with it as one might bathe a
face in strands of silk. Finding such a response he went wild, kissed
her madly, would have been still more masterful had she not, at the
slightest indication of his audacity, leaped from his embrace, not
opposition but self protection in her eyes. She pretended to think
better of his love, and Eugene, checked by her ideal of him, tried to
restrain himself. He did manage to desist because he was sure that he
could not do what he wanted to. Daring such as that would end her love.
So they wrestled in affection.

It was the fall following his betrothal to Angela that he actually took
his departure. He had drifted through the summer, pondering. He had
stayed away from Ruby more and more, and finally left without saying
good-bye to her, though he thought up to the last that he intended to go
out and see her.

As for Angela, when it came to parting from her, he was in a depressed
and downcast mood. He thought now that he did not really want to go to
New York, but was being drawn by fate. There was no money for him in the
West; they could not live on what he could earn there. Hence he must go
and in doing so must lose her. It looked very tragic.

Out at her aunt's house, where she came for the Saturday and Sunday
preceding his departure, he walked the floor with her gloomily, counted
the lapse of the hours after which he would be with her no more,
pictured the day when he would return successful to fetch her. Angela
had a faint foreboding fear of the events which might intervene. She had
read stories of artists who had gone to the city and had never come
back. Eugene seemed such a wonderful person, she might not hold him; and
yet he had given her his word and he was madly in love with her--no
doubt of that. That fixed, passionate, yearning look in his eyes--what
did it mean if not enduring, eternal love? Life had brought her a great
treasure--a great love and an artist for a lover.

"Go, Eugene!" she cried at last tragically, almost melodramatically. His
face was in her hands. "I will wait for you. You need never have one
uneasy thought. When you are ready I will be here, only, come soon--you
will, won't you?"

"Will I!" he declared, kissing her, "will I? Look at me. Don't you

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" she exclaimed, "of course I know. Oh, yes! yes!"

The rest was a passionate embrace. And then they parted. He went out
brooding over the subtlety and the tragedy of life. The sharp October
stars saddened him more. It was a wonderful world but bitter to endure
at times. Still it could be endured and there was happiness and peace in
store for him probably. He and Angela would find it together living in
each other's company, living in each other's embrace and by each other's
kisses. It must be so. The whole world believed it--even he, after
Stella and Margaret and Ruby and Angela. Even he.

The train which bore him to New York bore a very meditative young man.
As it pulled out through the great railroad yards of the city, past the
shabby back yards of the houses, the street crossings at grade, the
great factories and elevators, he thought of that other time when he had
first ventured in the city. How different! Then he was so green, so raw.
Since then he had become a newspaper artist, he could write, he could
find his tongue with women, he knew a little something about the
organization of the world. He had not saved any money, true, but he had
gone through the art school, had given Angela a diamond ring, had this
two hundred dollars with which he was venturing to reconnoitre the great
social metropolis of the country. He was passing Fifty-seventh Street;
he recognized the neighborhood he traversed so often in visiting Ruby.
He had not said good-bye to her and there in the distance were the rows
of commonplace, two family frame dwellings, one of which she occupied
with her foster parents. Poor little Ruby! and she liked him. It was a
shame, but what was he to do about it? He didn't care for her. It really
hurt him to think and then he tried not to remember. These tragedies of
the world could not be healed by thinking.

The train passed out into the flat fields of northern Indiana and as
little country towns flashed past he thought of Alexandria and how he
had pulled up his stakes and left it. What was Jonas Lyle doing and John
Summers? Myrtle wrote that she was going to be married in the spring.
She had delayed solely because she wanted to delay. He thought sometimes
that Myrtle was a little like himself, fickle in her moods. He was sure
he would never want to go back to Alexandria except for a short visit,
and yet the thought of his father and his mother and his old home were
sweet to him. His father! How little he knew of the real world!

As they passed out of Pittsburgh he saw for the first time the great
mountains, raising their heads in solemn majesty in the dark, and great
lines of coke ovens, flaming red tongues of fire. He saw men working,
and sleeping towns succeeding one another. What a great country America
was! What a great thing to be an artist here! Millions of people and no
vast artistic voice to portray these things--these simple dramatic
things like the coke ovens in the night. If he could only do it! If he
could only stir the whole country, so that his name would be like that
of Doré in France or Verestchagin in Russia. If he could but get fire
into his work, the fire he felt!

He got into his berth after a time and looked out on the dark night and
the stars, longing, and then he dozed. When he awoke again the train had
already passed Philadelphia. It was morning and the cars were speeding
across the flat meadows toward Trenton. He arose and dressed, watching
the array of towns the while, Trenton, New Brunswick, Metuchen,
Elizabeth. Somehow this country was like Illinois, flat. After Newark
they rushed out upon a great meadow and he caught the sense of the sea.
It was beyond this. These were tide-water streams, the Passaic and the
Hackensack, with small ships and coal and brick barges tied at the water
side. The thrill of something big overtook him as the brakeman began to
call "Jersey City," and as he stepped out into the vast train shed his
heart misgave him a little. He was all alone in New York. It was
wealthy, cold and critical. How should he prosper here? He walked out
through the gates to where low arches concealed ferry boats, and in
another moment it was before him, sky line, bay, the Hudson, the Statue
of Liberty, ferry boats, steamers, liners, all in a grey mist of fierce
rain and the tugs and liners blowing mournfully upon great whistles. It
was something he could never have imagined without seeing it, and this
swish of real salt water, rolling in heavy waves, spoke to him as music
might, exalting his soul. What a wonderful thing this was, this
sea--where ships were and whales and great mysteries. What a wonderful
thing New York was, set down by it, surrounded by it, this metropolis of
the country. Here was the sea; yonder were the great docks that held the
vessels that sailed to the ports of all the world. He saw them--great
grey and black hulls, tied to long piers jutting out into the water. He
listened to the whistles, the swish of the water, saw the circling
gulls, realized emotionally the mass of people. Here were Jay Gould and
Russell Sage and the Vanderbilts and Morgan--all alive and all here.
Wall Street, Fifth Avenue, Madison Square, Broadway--he knew of these by
reputation. How would he do here--how fare? Would the city ever acclaim
him as it did some? He looked wide eyed, with an open heart, with
intense and immense appreciation. Well, he was going to enter, going to
try. He could do that--perhaps, perhaps. But he felt lonely. He wished
he were back with Angela where her soft arms could shut him safe. He
wished he might feel her hands on his cheeks, his hair. He would not
need to fight alone then. But now he was alone, and the city was roaring
about him, a great noise like the sea. He must enter and do battle.


Not knowing routes or directions in New York, Eugene took a Desbrosses
Street ferry, and coming into West Street wandered along that curious
thoroughfare staring at the dock entrances. Manhattan Island seemed a
little shabby to him from this angle but he thought that although
physically, perhaps, it might not be distinguished, there must be other
things which made it wonderful. Later when he saw the solidity of it,
the massed houses, the persistent streams of people, the crush of
traffic, it dawned on him that mere humanity in packed numbers makes a
kind of greatness, and this was the island's first characteristic. There
were others, like the prevailing lowness of the buildings in its old
neighborhoods, the narrowness of the streets in certain areas, the
shabbiness of brick and stone when they have seen an hundred years of
weather, which struck him as curious or depressing. He was easily
touched by exterior conditions.

As he wandered he kept looking for some place where he might like to
live, some house that had a yard or a tree. At length he found a row of
houses in lower Seventh Avenue with an array of iron balconies in front
which appealed to him. He applied here and in one house found a room for
four dollars which he thought he had better take for the present. It was
cheaper than any hotel. His hostess was a shabby woman in black who made
scarcely any impression on him as a personality, merely giving him a
thought as to what a dreary thing it was to keep roomers and the room
itself was nothing, a commonplace, but he had a new world before him and
all his interests were outside. He wanted to see this city. He deposited
his grip and sent for his trunk and then took to the streets, having
come to see and hear things which would be of advantage to him.

He went about this early relationship to the city in the right spirit.
For a little while he did not try to think what he would do, but struck
out and walked, here, there and everywhere, this very first day down
Broadway to the City Hall and up Broadway from 14th to 42nd street the
same night. Soon he knew all Third Avenue and the Bowery, the wonders of
Fifth Avenue and Riverside Drive, the beauties of the East River, the
Battery, Central Park and the lower East Side. He sought out quickly the
wonders of metropolitan life--its crowds at dinner and theatre time in
Broadway, its tremendous throngs morning and afternoon in the shopping
district, its amazing world of carriages in Fifth Avenue and Central
Park. He had marveled at wealth and luxury in Chicago, but here it took
his breath away. It was obviously so much more fixed, so definite and
comprehensible. Here one felt intuitively the far reaches which separate
the ordinary man from the scion of wealth. It curled him up like a
frozen leaf, dulled his very soul, and gave him a clear sense of his
position in the social scale. He had come here with a pretty high
estimate of himself, but daily, as he looked, he felt himself crumbling.
What was he? What was art? What did the city care? It was much more
interested in other things, in dressing, eating, visiting, riding
abroad. The lower part of the island was filled with cold commercialism
which frightened him. In the upper half, which concerned only women and
show--a voluptuous sybaritism--caused him envy. He had but two hundred
dollars with which to fight his way, and this was the world he must

Men of Eugene's temperament are easily depressed. He first gorged the
spectacle of life and then suffered from mental indigestion. He saw too
much of it too quickly. He wandered about for weeks, looking in the shop
windows, the libraries, the museums, the great streets, growing all the
while more despondent. At night he would return to his bare room and
indite long epistles to Angela, describing what he had seen and telling
her of his undying love for her--largely because he had no other means
of ridding himself of his superabundant vitality and moods. They were
beautiful letters, full of color and feeling, but to Angela they gave a
false impression of emotion and sincerity because they appeared to be
provoked by absence from her. In part of course they were, but far more
largely they were the result of loneliness and the desire for expression
which this vast spectacle of life itself incited. He also sent her some
tentative sketches of things he had seen--a large crowd in the dark at
34th Street; a boat off 86th Street in the East River in the driving
rain; a barge with cars being towed by a tug. He could not think exactly
what to do with these things at that time, but he wanted to try his hand
at illustrating for the magazines. He was a little afraid of these great
publications, however, for now that he was on the ground with them his
art did not appear so significant.

It was during the first few weeks that he received his only letter from
Ruby. His parting letter to her, written when he reached New York, had
been one of those makeshift affairs which faded passion indites. He was
so sorry he had to leave without seeing her. He had intended to come out
but the rush of preparation at the last moment, and so forth; he hoped
to come back to Chicago one of these days and he would look her up. He
still loved her, but it was necessary for him to leave--to come where
the greatest possibilities were. "I remember how sweet you were when I
first saw you," he added. "I shall never forget my first impressions,
little Ruby."

It was cruel to add this touch of remembrance, but the artist in him
could not refrain. It cut Ruby as a double edged sword, for she
understood that he cared well enough that way--æsthetically. It was not
her but beauty that he loved, and her particular beauty had lost its

She wrote after a time, intending to be defiant, indifferent, but she
really could not be. She tried to think of something sharp to say, but
finally put down the simple truth.

"Dear Eugene:" she wrote, "I got your note several weeks ago, but I
could not bring myself to answer it before this. I know everything is
over between us and that is all right, for I suppose it has to be. You
couldn't love any woman long, I think. I know what you say about your
having to go to New York to broaden your field is true. You ought to,
but I'm sorry you didn't come out. You might have. Still I don't blame
you, Eugene. It isn't much different from what has been going on for
some time. I have cared but I'll get over that, I know, and I won't ever
think hard of you. Won't you return me the notes I have sent you from
time to time and my pictures? You won't want them now.


There was a little blank space on the paper and then:--

"I stood by the window last night and looked out on the street. The
moon was shining and those dead trees were waving in the wind. I saw the
moon on that pool of water over in the field. It looked like silver. Oh,
Eugene, I wish I were dead."

He jumped up as he read these words and clenched the letter in his
hands. The pathos of it all cut him to the quick, raised his estimate of
her, made him feel as if he had made a mistake in leaving her. He really
cared for her after all. She was sweet. If she were here now he could
live with her. She might as well be a model in New York as in Chicago.
He was on the verge of writing this, when one of the long, almost daily
epistles Angela was sending arrived and changed his mood. He did not see
how, in the face of so great and clean a love as hers, he could go on
with Ruby. His affection had obviously been dying. Should he try to
revive it now?

This conflict of emotions was so characteristic of Eugene's nature, that
had he been soundly introspective, he would have seen that he was an
idealist by temperament, in love with the æsthetic, in love with love,
and that there was no permanent faith in him for anybody--except the
impossible she.

As it was, he wrote Ruby a letter breathing regret and sorrow but not
inviting her to come. He could not have supported her long if she had,
he thought. Besides he was anxious to secure Angela. So that affair

In the meantime he visited the magazine offices. On leaving Chicago he
had put in the bottom of his trunk a number of drawings which he had
done for the _Globe_--his sketches of the Chicago River, of Blue Island
Avenue, of which he had once made a study as a street, of Goose Island
and of the Lake front. There were some street scenes, too, all forceful
in the peculiar massing of their blacks, the unexpected, almost
flashing, use of a streak of white at times. There was emotion in them,
a sense of life. He should have been appreciated at once, but, oddly,
there was just enough of the radically strange about what he did to make
his work seem crude, almost coarse. He drew a man's coat with a single
dash of his pen. He indicated a face by a spot. If you looked close
there was seldom any detail, frequently none at all. From the praise he
had received at the art school and from Mathews and Goldfarb he was
slowly coming to the conclusion that he had a way of his own. Being so
individual he was inclined to stick to it. He walked with an air of
conviction which had nothing but his own belief in himself to back it
up, and it was not an air which drew anybody to him. When he showed his
pictures at the _Century_, _Harper's_, _Scribner's_, they were received
with an air of weary consideration. Dozens of magnificent drawings were
displayed on their walls signed by men whom Eugene now knew to be
leaders in the illustration world. He returned to his room convinced
that he had made no impression at all. They must be familiar with
artists a hundred times better than himself.

As a matter of fact Eugene was simply overawed by the material face of
things. These men whose pictures he saw displayed on the walls of the
art and editorial rooms of the magazines were really not, in many
instances, any better than himself, if as good. They had the advantage
of solid wood frames and artistic acceptance. He was a long way as yet
from magazine distinction but the work he did later had no more of the
fire than had this early stuff. It was a little broader in treatment, a
little less intolerant of detail, but no more vigorous if as much so.
The various art directors were weary of smart young artists showing
drawings. A little suffering was good for them in the beginning. So
Eugene was incontinently turned away with a little faint praise which
was worse than opposition. He sank very low in spirits.

There were still the smaller magazines and the newspapers, however, and
he hunted about faithfully, trying to get something to do. From one or
two of the smaller magazines, he secured commissions, after a time,
three or four drawings for thirty-five dollars; and from that had to be
extracted models' fees. He had to have a room where he could work as an
artist, receiving models to pose, and he finally found one in West 14th
Street, a back bedroom, looking out over an open court and with a public
stair which let all come who might without question. This cost him
twenty-five dollars a month, but he thought he had better risk it. If he
could get a few commissions he could live.


The art world of New York is peculiar. It was then and for some time
after, broken up into cliques with scarcely any unity. There was a world
of sculptors, for instance, in which some thirty or forty sculptors had
part--but they knew each other slightly, criticised each other severely
and retired for the most part into a background of relatives and
friends. There was a painting world, as distinguished from an
illustrating world, in which perhaps a thousand alleged artists, perhaps
more, took part. Most of these were men and women who had some
ability--enough to have their pictures hung at the National Academy of
Design exhibition--to sell some pictures, get some decorative work to
do, paint some portraits. There were studio buildings scattered about
various portions of the city; in Washington Square; in Ninth and Tenth
Streets; in odd places, such as Macdougal Alley and occasional cross
streets from Washington Square to Fifty-ninth Street, which were filled
with painters, illustrators, sculptors and craftsmen in art generally.
This painting world had more unity than the world of sculptors and, in a
way, included the latter. There were several art clubs--the Salmagundi,
the Kit-Kat and the Lotus--and there were a number of exhibitions, ink,
water color, oil, with their reception nights where artists could meet
and exchange the courtesies and friendship of their world. In addition
to this there were little communal groups such as those who resided in
the Tenth Street studios; the Twenty-third Street Y. M. C. A.; the Van
Dyck studios, and so on. It was possible to find little crowds, now and
then, that harmonized well enough for a time and to get into a group,
if, to use a colloquialism, one _belonged_. If you did not, art life in
New York might be a very dreary thing and one might go a long time
without finding just the particular crowd with which to associate.

Beside the painting world there was the illustrating world, made up of
beginners and those who had established themselves firmly in editorial
favor. These were not necessarily a part of the painting or sculpture
worlds and yet, in spirit, were allied to them, had their clubs also,
and their studios were in the various neighborhoods where the painters
and sculptors were. The only difference was that in the case of the
embryo illustrators they were to be found living three or four in one
studio, partly because of the saving in expense, but also because of the
love of companionship and because they could hearten and correct one
another in their work. A number of such interesting groups were in
existence when Eugene arrived, but of course he did not know of them.

It takes time for the beginner to get a hearing anywhere. We all have to
serve an apprenticeship, whatever field we enter. Eugene had talent and
determination, but no experience, no savoir faire, no circle of friends
and acquaintances. The whole city was strange and cold, and if he had
not immediately fallen desperately in love with it as a spectacle he
would have been unconscionably lonely and unhappy. As it was the great
fresh squares, such as Washington, Union and Madison; the great streets,
such as Broadway, Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue; the great spectacles,
such as the Bowery at night, the East River, the water front, the
Battery, all fascinated him with an unchanging glamor.

He was hypnotized by the wonder of this thing--the beauty of it. Such
seething masses of people! such whirlpools of life! The great hotels,
the opera, the theatres, the restaurants, all gripped him with a sense
of beauty. These lovely women in magnificent gowns; these swarms of
cabs, with golden eyes, like monstrous insects; this ebb and surge of
life at morning and evening, made him forget his loneliness. He had no
money to spend, no immediate hope of a successful career, he could walk
these streets, look in these windows, admire these beautiful women;
thrill at the daily newspaper announcements of almost hourly successes
in one field or another. Here and there in the news an author had made a
great success with a book; a scientist with a discovery; a philosopher
with a new theory; a financier with an investment. There was news of
great plays being put on; great actors and actresses coming from abroad;
great successes being made by débutantes in society; great movements
forwarded generally. Youth and ambition had the call--he saw that. It
was only a question of time, if you had talent, when you would get your
hearing. He longed ardently for his but he had no feeling that it was
coming to him quickly, so he got the blues. It was a long road to

One of his pet diversions these days and nights was to walk the streets
in rain or fog or snow. The city appealed to him, wet or white,
particularly the public squares. He saw Fifth Avenue once in a driving
snowstorm and under sputtering arc lights, and he hurried to his easel
next morning to see if he could not put it down in black and white. It
was unsuccessful, or at least he felt so, for after an hour of trying he
threw it aside in disgust. But these spectacles were drawing him. He was
wanting to do them--wanting to see them shown somewhere in color.
Possible success was a solace at a time when all he could pay for a meal
was fifteen cents and he had no place to go and not a soul with whom to

It was an interesting phase of Eugene's character that he had a passion
for financial independence. He might have written home from Chicago at
times when he was hard pressed; he might have borrowed some money from
his father now, but preferred to earn it--to appear to be further along
than he was. If anyone had asked him he would have said he was doing
fine. Practically he so wrote to Angela, giving as an excuse for further
delay that he wanted to wait until he had ample means. He was trying all
this time to make his two hundred dollars go as far as possible and to
add to it by any little commissions he could get, however small. He
figured his expenses down to ten dollars a week and managed to stay
within that sum.

The particular building in which he had settled was really not a studio
building but an old, run-down boarding and apartment house turned
partially to uses of trade. The top floor contained three fair sized
rooms and two hall bedrooms, all occupied by lonely individuals plying
some craft or other. Eugene's next door neighbor chanced to be a hack
illustrator, who had had his training in Boston and had set up his easel
here in the hope of making a living. There were not many exchanges of
courtesies between them at first, although, the door being open the
second day he arrived, he saw that an artist worked there, for the easel
was visible.

No models applying at first he decided to appeal to the Art Students'
League. He called on the Secretary and was given the names of four, who
replied to postal cards from him. One he selected, a young Swedish
American girl who looked somewhat like the character in the story he had
in mind. She was neat and attractive, with dark hair, a straight nose
and pointed chin, and Eugene immediately conceived a liking for her. He
was ashamed of his surroundings, however, and consequently diffident.
This particular model was properly distant, and he finished his pictures
with as much expedition and as little expense as he possibly could.

Eugene was not given to scraping odd acquaintances, though he made
friends fast enough when the balance of intellect was right. In Chicago
he had become friendly with several young artists as a result of working
with them at the Institute, but here he knew no one, having come without
introductions. He did become acquainted with his neighbor, Philip
Shotmeyer. He wanted to find out about local art life from him, but
Shotmeyer was not brilliant, and could not supply him with more than
minor details of what Eugene desired to know. Through him he learnt a
little of studio regions, art personalities; the fact that young
beginners worked in groups. Shotmeyer had been in such a group the year
before, though why he was alone now he did not say. He sold drawings to
some of the minor magazines, better magazines than Eugene had yet had
dealings with. One thing he did at once for Eugene which was very
helpful: he admired his work. He saw, as had others before him,
something of his peculiar distinction as an artist, attended every show
and one day he gave him a suggestion which was the beginning of Eugene's
successful magazine career. Eugene was working on one of his street
scenes--a task which he invariably essayed when he had nothing else to
do. Shotmeyer had drifted in and was following the strokes of his brush
as he attempted to portray a mass of East Side working girls flooding
the streets after six o'clock. There were dark walls of buildings, a
flaring gas lamp or two, some yellow lighted shop windows, and many
shaded, half seen faces--bare suggestions of souls and pulsing life.

"Say," said Shotmeyer at one point, "that kind o' looks like the real
thing to me. I've seen a crowd like that."

"Have you?" replied Eugene.

"You ought to be able to get some magazine to use that as a
frontispiece. Why don't you try _Truth_ with that?"

"Truth" was a weekly which Eugene, along with many others in the West,
had admired greatly because it ran a double page color insert every week
and occasionally used scenes of this character. Somehow he always needed
a shove of this kind to make him act when he was drifting. He put more
enthusiasm into his work because of Shotmeyer's remark, and when it was
done decided to carry it to the office of _Truth_. The Art Director
approved it on sight, though he said nothing, but carried it in to the

"Here's a thing that I consider a find in its way."

He set it proudly upon the editorial desk.

"Say," said the Editor, laying down a manuscript, "that's the real
thing, isn't it? Who did that?"

"A young fellow by the name of Witla, who has just blown in here. He
looks like the real thing to me."

"Say," went on the Editor, "look at the suggestion of faces back there!
What? Reminds me just a little of the masses in Doré stuff--It's good,
isn't it?"

"It's fine," echoed the Art Director. "I think he's a comer, if nothing
happens to him. We ought to get a few centre pages out of him."

"How much does he want for this?"

"Oh, he doesn't know. He'll take almost anything. I'll give him
seventy-five dollars."

"That's all right," said the Editor as the Art Director took the drawing
down. "There's something new there. You ought to hang on to him."

"I will," replied his associate. "He's young yet. He doesn't want to be
encouraged too much."

He went out, pulling a solemn countenance.

"I like this fairly well," he said. "We may be able to find room for it.
I'll send you a check shortly if you'll let me have your address."

Eugene gave it. His heart was beating a gay tattoo in his chest. He did
not think anything of price, in fact it did not occur to him. All that
was in his mind was the picture as a double page spread. So he had
really sold one after all and to _Truth_! Now he could honestly say he
had made some progress. Now he could write Angela and tell her. He could
send her copies when it came out. He could really have something to
point to after this and best of all, now he knew he could do street

He went out into the street treading not the grey stone pavement but
air. He threw back his head and breathed deep. He thought of other
scenes like this which he could do. His dreams were beginning to be
realized--he, Eugene Witla, the painter of a double page spread in
_Truth_! Already he was doing a whole series in his imagination, all he
had ever dreamed of. He wanted to run and tell Shotmeyer--to buy him a
good meal. He almost loved him, commonplace hack that he was--because he
had suggested to him the right thing to do.

"Say, Shotmeyer," he said, sticking his head in that worthy's door, "you
and I eat tonight. _Truth_ took that drawing."

"Isn't that fine," said his floor-mate, without a trace of envy. "Well,
I'm glad. I thought they'd like it."

Eugene could have cried. Poor Shotmeyer! He wasn't a good artist, but he
had a good heart. He would never forget him.


This one significant sale with its subsequent check of seventy-five
dollars and later the appearance of the picture in color, gave Eugene
such a lift in spirit that he felt, for the time being, as though his
art career had reached a substantial basis, and he began to think of
going to Blackwood to visit Angela. But first he must do some more work.

He concentrated his attention on several additional scenes, doing a view
of Greeley Square in a sopping drizzle, and a picture of an L train
speeding up the Bowery on its high, thin trestle of steel. He had an eye
for contrasts, picking out lights and shadows sharply, making wonderful
blurs that were like colors in precious stones, confused and suggestive.
He took one of these after a month to _Truth_, and again the Art
Director was his victim. He tried to be indifferent, but it was hard.
The young man had something that he wanted.

"You might show me anything else you do in this line," he said. "I can
use a few if they come up to these two."

Eugene went away with his head in the air. He was beginning to get the
courage of his ability.

It takes quite a number of drawings at seventy-five and one hundred
dollars each to make a living income, and artists were too numerous to
make anyone's opportunity for immediate distinction easy. Eugene waited
months to see his first drawing come out. He stayed away from the
smaller magazines in the hope that he would soon be able to contribute
to the larger ones, but they were not eagerly seeking new artists. He
met, through Shotmeyer, two artists who were living in one studio in
Waverly Place and took a great liking to them. One of them, McHugh, was
an importation from Wyoming with delicious stories of mountain farming
and mining; the other, Smite, was a fisher lad from Nova Scotia. McHugh,
tall and lean, with a face that looked like that of a raw yokel, but
with some gleam of humor and insight in the eyes which redeemed it
instantly, was Eugene's first choice of a pleasing, genial personality.
Joseph Smite had a sense of the sea about him. He was short and stout,
and rather solidly put together, like a blacksmith. He had big hands and
feet, a big mouth, big, bony eye sockets and coarse brown hair. When he
talked, ordinarily, it was with a slow, halting air and when he smiled
or laughed it was with his whole face. When he became excited or gay
something seemed to happen distinctly to every part of his body. His
face became a curious cross-hatch of genial lines. His tongue loosened
and he talked fast. He had a habit of emphasizing his language with
oaths on these occasions--numerous and picturesque, for he had worked
with sea-faring men and had accumulated a vast vocabulary of picturesque
expressions. They were vacant of evil intent so far as he was concerned,
for there was no subtlety or guile in him. He was kindly and genial all
through. Eugene wanted to be friendly and struck a gay relationship with
these two. He found that he got along excellently well with them and
could swap humorous incidents and character touches by the hour. It was
some months before he could actually say that he was intimate with them,
but he began to visit them regularly and after a time they called on

It was during this year that he came to know several models passingly
well, to visit the various art exhibitions, to be taken up by Hudson
Dula, the Art Director of _Truth_ and invited to two or three small
dinners given to artists and girls. He did not find anyone he liked
exceptionally well barring one Editor of a rather hopeless magazine
called _Craft_, devoted to art subjects, a young blond, of poetic
temperament, who saw in him a spirit of beauty and tried to make friends
with him. Eugene responded cheerfully and thereafter Richard Wheeler was
a visitor at his studio from time to time. He was not making enough to
house himself much better these days, but he did manage to buy a few
plaster casts and to pick up a few nice things in copper and brass for
his studio. His own drawings, his street scenes, were hung here and
there. The way in which the exceptionally clever looked at them
convinced him by degrees that he had something big to say.

It was while he was settling himself in this atmosphere--the spring of
the second year--that he decided to go back and visit Angela and
incidentally Alexandria and Chicago. He had been away now sixteen
months, had not seen anyone who had won his affections or alienated him
from his love of Angela. He wrote in March that he thought he would be
coming in May or June. He did get away in July--a season when the city
was suffering from a wave of intense heat. He had not done so
much--illustrated eight or ten stories and drawn four double page
pictures for _Truth_, one of which had appeared; but he was getting
along. Just as he was starting for Chicago and Blackwood a second one
was put on the news-stand and he proudly carried a copy of it with him
on the train. It was the Bowery by night, with the L train rushing
overhead and, as reproduced, it had color and life. He felt intensely
proud and knew that Angela would also. She had written him such a
glowing appreciation of the East Side picture called "Six O'clock."

As he rode he dreamed.

He reached it at last, the long stretch between New York and Chicago
traversed; he arrived in the Lake city in the afternoon, and without
pausing to revisit the scenes of his earlier efforts took a five o'clock
train for Blackwood. It was sultry, and on the way heavy thunder clouds
gathered and broke in a short, splendid summer rain. The trees and grass
were thoroughly wet and the dust of the roads was laid. There was a
refreshing coolness about the air which caressed the weary flesh. Little
towns nestling among green trees came into view and passed again, and at
last Blackwood appeared. It was smaller than Alexandria, but not so
different. Like the other it was marked by a church steeple, a saw mill,
a pretty brick business street and many broad branching green trees.
Eugene felt drawn to it at sight. It was such a place as Angela should
live in.

It was seven o'clock and nearing dusk when he arrived. He had not given
Angela the definite hour of his arrival and so decided to stay over
night at the little inn or so-called hotel which he saw up the street.
He had brought only a large suit case and a traveling bag. He inquired
of the proprietor the direction and distance of the Blue house from the
town, found that he could get a vehicle any time in the morning which
would take him over, as the phrase ran, for a dollar. He ate his supper
of fried steak and poor coffee and fried potatoes and then sat out on
the front porch facing the street in a rocking chair, to see how the
village of Blackwood wagged and to enjoy the cool of the evening. As he
sat he thought of Angela's home and how nice it must be. This town was
such a little place--so quiet. There would not be another train coming
up from the city until after eleven.

After a time he rose and took a short walk, breathing the night air.
Later he came back and throwing wide the windows of the stuffy room sat
looking out. The summer night with its early rain, its wet trees, its
smell of lush, wet, growing things, was impressing itself on Eugene as
one might impress wet clay with a notable design. Eugene's mood was soft
toward the little houses with their glowing windows, the occasional
pedestrians with their "howdy Jakes" and "evenin' Henrys." He was
touched by the noise of the crickets, the chirp of the tree toads, the
hang of the lucent suns and planets above the tree tops. The whole night
was quick with the richness of fertility, stirring subtly about some
work which concerned man very little or not at all, yet of which he was
at least a part, till his eyelids drooped after a time and he went to
bed to sleep deeply and dreamlessly.

Next morning he was up early, eager for the hour to arrive when he might
start. He did not think it advisable to leave before nine o'clock, and
attracted considerable attention by strolling about, his tall, spare,
graceful figure and forceful profile being an unusual sight to the
natives. At nine o'clock a respectable carryall was placed at his
disposal and he was driven out over a long yellow road, damp with the
rain of the night before and shaded in places by overhanging trees.
There were so many lovely wild flowers growing in the angles of the rail
fences--wild yellow and pink roses, elder flower, Queen Anne's lace,
dozens of beautiful blooms, that Eugene was lost in admiration. His
heart sang over the beauty of yellowing wheatfields, the young corn,
already three feet high, the vistas of hay and clover, with patches of
woods enclosing them, and over all, house martens and swallows scudding
after insects and high up in the air his boyhood dream of beauty, a
soaring buzzard.

As he rode the moods of his boyhood days came back to him--his love of
winging butterflies and birds; his passion for the voice of the
wood-dove (there was one crying in the still distance now)--his
adoration for the virile strength of the men of the countryside. He
thought as he rode that he would like to paint a series of country
scenes that would be as simple as those cottage dooryards that they now
and then passed; this little stream that cut the road at right angles
and made a drinking place for the horses; this skeleton of an old
abandoned home, doorless and windowless, where the roof sagged and
hollyhocks and morning glories grew high under the eaves. "We city
dwellers do not know," he sighed, as though he had not taken the country
in his heart and carried it to town as had every other boy and girl who
had gone the way of the metropolis.

The Blue homestead was located in the centre of a rather wide rolling
stretch of country which lay between two gently rising ridges of hill
covered with trees. One corner of the farm, and that not so very far
from the house, was cut by a stream, a little shallow thing, singing
over pebbles and making willows and hazel bushes to grow in profusion
along its banks, and there was a little lake within a mile of the house.
In front of it was a ten acre field of wheat, to the right of it a
grazing patch of several acres, to the left a field of clover; and near
the house by a barn, a well, a pig pen, a corn crib and some smaller
sheds. In front of the house was a long open lawn, down the centre of
which ran a gravel path, lined on either side by tall old elm trees. The
immediate dooryard was shut from this noble lawn by a low picket fence
along the length of which grew lilac bushes and inside which, nearer the
house, were simple beds of roses, calycanthus and golden glow. Over an
arbor leading from the backdoor to a rather distant summer kitchen
flourished a grapevine, and there was a tall remnant of a tree trunk
covered completely with a yellow blooming trumpet vine. The dooryard's
lawn was smooth enough, and the great lawn was a dream of green grass,
graced with the shadows of a few great trees. The house was long and of
no great depth, the front a series of six rooms ranged in a row, without
an upper storey. The two middle rooms which had originally, perhaps
seventy years before, been all there was of the house. Since then all
the other rooms had been added, and there was in addition to these a
lean-to containing a winter kitchen and dining room, and to the west of
the arbor leading to the summer kitchen, an old unpainted frame
storehouse. In all its parts the place was shabby and run down but
picturesque and quaint.

Eugene was surprised to find the place so charming. It appealed to him,
the long, low front, with doors opening from the centre and end rooms
direct upon the grass, with windows set in climbing vines and the lilac
bushes forming a green wall between the house and the main lawn. The
great rows of elm trees throwing a grateful shade seemed like sentinel
files. As the carryall turned in at the wagon gate in front he thought
"What a place for love! and to think Angela should live here."

The carryall rattled down the pebble road to the left of the lawn and
stopped at the garden gate. Marietta came out. Marietta was twenty-two
years old, and as gay and joyous as her elder sister Angela was sober
and in a way morbid. Light souled as a kitten, looking always on the
bright side of things, she made hosts of friends everywhere she went,
having a perfect swarm of lovers who wrote her eager notes, but whom she
rebuffed with good natured, sympathetic simplicity. Here on this farm
there was not supposed to be so much opportunity for social life as in
town, but beaux made their way here on one pretext and another. Marietta
was the magnet, and in the world of gaiety which she created Angela

Angela was now in the dining room--easy to be called--but Marietta
wanted to see for herself what sort of lover her sister had captured.
She was surprised at his height, his presence, the keenness of his eyes.
She hardly understood so fine a lover for her own sister, but held out
her hand smilingly.

"This is Mr. Witla, isn't it?" she asked.

"The same," he replied, a little pompously. "Isn't it a lovely drive
over here?"

"We think it nice in nice weather," she laughed. "You wouldn't like it
so much in winter. Won't you come in and put your grip here in the hall?
David will take it to your room."

Eugene obeyed, but he was thinking of Angela and when she would appear
and how she would look. He stepped into the large, low ceiled, dark,
cool parlor and was delighted to see a piano and some music piled on a
rack. Through an open window he saw several hammocks out on the main
lawn, under the trees. It seemed a wonderful place to him, the substance
of poetry--and then Angela appeared. She was dressed in plain white
linen. Her hair, braided as he liked it in a great rope, lay as a band
across her forehead. She had picked a big pink rose and put it in her
waist. At sight of her Eugene held out his arms and she flew to them. He
kissed her vigorously, for Marietta had discreetly retired and they were
left alone.

"So I have you at last," he whispered, and kissed her again.

"Oh, yes, yes, and it has been so long," she sighed.

"You couldn't have suffered any more than I have," he consoled. "Every
minute has been torture, waiting, waiting, waiting!"

"Let's not think of that now," she urged. "We have each other. You are

"Yes, here I am," he laughed, "all the virtues done up in one brown
suit. Isn't it lovely--these great trees, that beautiful lawn?"

He paused from kissing to look out of the window.

"I'm glad you like it," she replied joyously. "We think it's nice, but
this place is so old."

"I love it for that," he cried appreciatively. "Those bushes are so
nice--those roses. Oh, dear, you don't know how sweet it all seems--and
you--you are so nice."

He held her off at arm's length and surveyed her while she blushed
becomingly. His eager, direct, vigorous onslaught confused her at
times--caused her pulse to beat at a high rate.

They went out into the dooryard after a time and then Marietta appeared
again, and with her Mrs. Blue, a comfortable, round bodied mother of
sixty, who greeted Eugene cordially. He could feel in her what he felt
in his own mother--in every good mother--love of order and peace, love
of the well being of her children, love of public respect and private
honor and morality. All these things Eugene heartily respected in
others. He was glad to see them, believed they had a place in society,
but was uncertain whether they bore any fixed or important relationship
to him. He was always thinking in his private conscience that life was
somehow bigger and subtler and darker than any given theory or order of
living. It might well be worth while for a man or woman to be honest and
moral within a given condition or quality of society, but it did not
matter at all in the ultimate substance and composition of the universe.
Any form or order of society which hoped to endure must have individuals
like Mrs. Blue, who would conform to the highest standards and theories
of that society, and when found they were admirable, but they meant
nothing in the shifting, subtle forces of nature. They were just
accidental harmonies blossoming out of something which meant everything
here to this order, nothing to the universe at large. At twenty-two
years of age he was thinking these things, wondering whether it would be
possible ever to express them; wondering what people would think of him
if they actually knew what he did think; wondering if there was
anything, anything, which was really stable--a rock to cling to--and not
mere shifting shadow and unreality.

Mrs. Blue looked at her daughter's young lover with a kindly eye. She
had heard a great deal about him. Having raised her children to be
honest, moral and truthful she trusted them to associate only with those
who were equally so. She assumed that Eugene was such a man, and his
frank open countenance and smiling eyes and mouth convinced her that he
was basically good. Also, what to her were his wonderful drawings, sent
to Angela in the form of proofs from time to time, particularly the one
of the East Side crowd, had been enough to prejudice her in his favor.
No other daughter of the family, and there were three married, had
approximated to this type of man in her choice. Eugene was looked upon
as a prospective son-in-law who would fulfill all the conventional
obligations joyfully and as a matter of course.

"It's very good of you to put me up, Mrs. Blue," Eugene said pleasantly.
"I've always wanted to come out here for a visit--I've heard so much of
the family from Angela."

"It's just a country home we have, not much to look at, but we like it,"
replied his hostess. She smiled blandly, asked if he wouldn't make
himself comfortable in one of the hammocks, wanted to know how he was
getting along with his work in New York and then returned to her
cooking, for she was already preparing his first meal. Eugene strolled
with Angela to the big lawn under the trees and sat down. He was
experiencing the loftiest of human emotions on earth--love in youth,
accepted and requited, hope in youth, justified in action by his success
in New York; peace in youth, for he had a well earned holiday in his
grasp, was resting with the means to do so and with love and beauty and
admiration and joyous summer weather to comfort him.

As he rocked to and fro in the hammock gazing at the charming lawn and
realizing all these things, his glance rested at last upon Angela, and
he thought, "Life can really hold no finer thing than this."


Toward noon old Jotham Blue came in from a cornfield where he had been
turning the earth between the rows. Although sixty-five and with snowy
hair and beard he looked to be vigorous, and good to live until ninety
or a hundred. His eyes were blue and keen, his color rosy. He had great
broad shoulders set upon a spare waist, for he had been a handsome
figure of a man in his youth.

"How do you do, Mr. Witla," he inquired with easy grace as he strolled
up, the yellow mud of the fields on his boots. He had pulled a big
jackknife out of his pocket and begun whittling a fine twig he had
picked up. "I'm glad to see you. My daughter, Angela, has been telling
me one thing and another about you."

He smiled as he looked at Eugene. Angela, who was sitting beside him,
rose and strolled toward the house.

"I'm glad to see you," said Eugene. "I like your country around here. It
looks prosperous."

"It is prosperous," said the old patriarch, drawing up a chair which
stood at the foot of a tree and seating himself. Eugene sank back into
the hammock.

"It's a soil that's rich in lime and carbon and sodium--the things which
make plant life grow. We need very little fertilizer here--very little.
The principal thing is to keep the ground thoroughly cultivated and to
keep out the bugs and weeds."

He cut at his stick meditatively. Eugene noted the chemical and physical
knowledge relative to farming. It pleased him to find brain coupled with
crop cultivation.

"I noticed some splendid fields of wheat as I came over," he observed.

"Yes, wheat does well here," Blue went on, "when the weather is
moderately favorable. Corn does well. We have a splendid apple crop and
grapes are generally successful in this state. I have always thought
that Wisconsin had a little the best of the other valley states, for we
are blessed with a moderate climate, plenty of streams and rivers and a
fine, broken landscape. There are good mines up north and lots of
lumber. We are a prosperous people, we Wisconsiners, decidedly
prosperous. This state has a great future."

Eugene noted the wide space between his clear blue eyes as he talked. He
liked the bigness of his conception of his state and of his country. No
petty little ground-harnessed ploughman this, but a farmer in the big
sense of the word--a cultivator of the soil, with an understanding of
it--an American who loved his state and his country.

"I have always thought of the Mississippi valley as the country of the
future," said Eugene. "We have had the Valley of the Nile and the Valley
of the Euphrates with big populations, but this is something larger. I
rather feel as though a great wave of population were coming here in the

"It is the new paradise of the world," said Jotham Blue, pausing in his
whittling and holding up his right hand for emphasis. "We haven't come
to realize its possibilities. The fruit, the corn, the wheat, to feed
the nations of the world can be raised here. I sometimes marvel at the
productivity of the soil. It is so generous. It is like a great mother.
It only asks to be treated kindly to give all that it has."

Eugene smiled. The bigness of his prospective father-in-law's feelings
lured him. He felt as though he could love this man.

They talked on about other things, the character of the surrounding
population, the growth of Chicago, the recent threat of a war with
Venezuela, the rise of a new leader in the Democratic party, a man whom
Jotham admired very much. As he was telling of the latter's exploits--it
appeared he had recently met him at Blackwood--Mrs. Blue appeared in the
front door.

"Jotham!" she called.

He rose. "My wife must want a bucket of water," he said, and strolled

Eugene smiled. This was lovely. This was the way life should
be--compounded of health, strength, good nature, understanding,
simplicity. He wished he were a man like Jotham, as sound, as hearty, as
clean and strong. To think he had raised eight children. No wonder
Angela was lovely. They all were, no doubt.

While he was rocking, Marietta came back smiling, her blond hair blowing
about her face. Like her father she had blue eyes, like him a sanguine
temperament, warm and ruddy. Eugene felt drawn to her. She reminded him
a little of Ruby--a little of Margaret. She was bursting with young

"You're stronger than Angela," he said, looking at her.

"Oh, yes, I can always outrun Angel-face," she exclaimed. "We fight
sometimes but I can get things away from her. She has to give in.
Sometimes I feel older--I always take the lead."

Eugene rejoiced in the sobriquet of Angel-face. It suited Angela, he
thought. She looked like pictures of Angels in the old prints and in the
stained glass windows he had seen. He wondered in a vague way, however,
whether Marietta did not have the sweeter temperament--were not really
more lovable and cosy. But he put the thought forcefully out of his
mind. He felt he must be loyal to Angela here.

While they were talking the youngest boy, David, came up and sat down on
the grass. He was short and stocky for his years--sixteen--with an
intelligent face and an inquiring eye. Eugene noted stability and quiet
force in his character at once. He began to see that these children had
inherited character as well as strength from their parents. This was a
home in which successful children were being reared. Benjamin came up
after awhile, a tall, overgrown, puritanical youth, with western
modifications and then Samuel, the oldest of the living boys and the
most impressive. He was big and serene like his father, of brown
complexion and hickory strength. Eugene learned in the conversation that
he was a railroad man in St. Paul--home for a brief vacation, after
three years of absence. He was with a road called the Great Northern,
already a Second Assistant Passenger Agent and with great prospects, so
the family thought. Eugene could see that all the boys and girls, like
Angela, were ruggedly and honestly truthful. They were written all over
with Christian precept--not church dogma--but Christian precept, lightly
and good naturedly applied. They obeyed the ten commandments in so far
as possible and lived within the limits of what people considered sane
and decent. Eugene wondered at this. His own moral laxity was a puzzle
to him. He wondered whether he were not really all wrong and they all
right. Yet the subtlety of the universe was always with him--the mystery
of its chemistry. For a given order of society no doubt he was out of
place--for life in general, well, he could not say.

At 12.30 dinner was announced from the door by Mrs. Blue and they all
rose. It was one of those simple home feasts common to any intelligent
farming family. There was a generous supply of fresh vegetables, green
peas, new potatoes, new string beans. A steak had been secured from the
itinerant butcher who served these parts and Mrs. Blue had made hot
light biscuit. Eugene expressed a predilection for fresh buttermilk and
they brought him a pitcherful, saying that as a rule it was given to the
pigs; the children did not care for it. They talked and jested and he
heard odd bits of information concerning people here and there--some
farmer who had lost a horse by colic; some other farmer who was
preparing to cut his wheat. There were frequent references to the three
oldest sisters, who lived in other Wisconsin towns. Their children
appeared to be numerous and fairly troublesome. They all came home
frequently, it appeared, and were bound up closely with the interests of
the family as a whole.

"The more you know about the Blue family," observed Samuel to Eugene,
who expressed surprise at the solidarity of interest, "the more you
realize that they're a clan not a family. They stick together like

"That's a rather nice trait, I should say," laughed Eugene, who felt no
such keen interest in his relatives.

"Well, if you want to find out how the Blue family stick together just
do something to one of them," observed Jake Doll, a neighbor who had

"That's sure true, isn't it, Sis," observed Samuel, who was sitting next
to Angela, putting his hand affectionately on his sister's arm. Eugene
noted the movement. She nodded her head affectionately.

"Yes, we Blues all hang together."

Eugene almost begrudged him his sister's apparent affection. Could such
a girl be cut out of such an atmosphere--separated from it completely,
brought into a radically different world, he wondered. Would she
understand him; would he stick by her. He smiled at Jotham and Mrs. Blue
and thought he ought to, but life was strange. You never could tell what
might happen.

During the afternoon there were more lovely impressions. He and Angela
sat alone in the cool parlor for two hours after dinner while he
restated his impressions of her over and over. He told her how charming
he thought her home was, how nice her father and mother, what
interesting brothers she had. He made a genial sketch of Jotham as he
had strolled up to him at noon, which pleased Angela and she kept it to
show to her father. He made her pose in the window and sketched her head
and her halo of hair. He thought of his double page illustration of the
Bowery by night and went to fetch it, looking for the first time at the
sweet cool room at the end of the house which he was to occupy. One
window, a west one, had hollyhocks looking in, and the door to the north
gave out on the cool, shady grass. He moved in beauty, he thought; was
treading on showered happiness. It hurt him to think that such joy might
not always be, as though beauty were not everywhere and forever present.

When Angela saw the picture which _Truth_ had reproduced, she was beside
herself with joy and pride and happiness. It was such a testimony to her
lover's ability. He had written almost daily of the New York art world,
so she was familiar with that in exaggerated ideas, but these actual
things, like reproduced pictures, were different. The whole world would
see this picture. He must be famous already, she imagined.

That evening and the next and the next as they sat in the parlor alone
he drew nearer and nearer to that definite understanding which comes
between a man and woman when they love. Eugene could never stop with
mere kissing and caressing in a reserved way, if not persistently
restrained. It seemed natural to him that love should go on. He had not
been married. He did not know what its responsibilities were. He had
never given a thought to what his parents had endured to make him worth
while. There was no instinct in him to tell him. He had no yearnings for
parenthood, that normal desire which gives visions of a home and the
proper social conditions for rearing a family. All he thought of was the
love making period--the billing and cooing and the transports of delight
which come with it. With Angela he felt that these would be super-normal
precisely because she was so slow in yielding--so on the defensive
against herself. He could look in her eyes at times and see a swooning
veil which foreshadowed a storm of emotion. He would sit by her stroking
her hands, touching her cheek, smoothing her hair, or at other times
holding her in his arms. It was hard for her to resist those significant
pressures he gave, to hold him at arm's length, for she herself was
eager for the delights of love.

It was on the third night of his stay and in the face of his growing
respect for every member of this family, that he swept Angela to the
danger line--would have carried her across it had it not been for a
fortuitous wave of emotion, which was not of his creation, but of hers.

They had been to the little lake, Okoonee, a little way from the house
during the afternoon for a swim.

Afterward he and Angela and David and Marietta had taken a drive. It was
one of those lovely afternoons that come sometimes in summer and speak
direct to the heart of love and beauty. It was so fair and warm, the
shadows of the trees so comforting that they fairly made Eugene's heart
ache. He was young now, life was beautiful, but how would it be when he
was old? A morbid anticipation of disaster seemed to harrow his soul.

The sunset had already died away when they drew near home. Insects
hummed, a cow-bell tinkled now and then; breaths of cool air, those
harbingers of the approaching eve, swept their cheeks as they passed
occasional hollows. Approaching the house they saw the blue smoke curls
rising from the kitchen chimney, foretelling the preparation of the
evening meal. Eugene clasped Angela's hand in an ecstasy of emotion.

He wanted to dream--sitting in the hammock with Angela as the dusk fell,
watching the pretty scene. Life was all around. Jotham and Benjamin came
in from the fields and the sound of their voices and of the splashing
water came from the kitchen door where they were washing. There was an
anticipatory stamping of horses' feet in the barn, the lowing of a
distant cow, the hungry grunt of pigs. Eugene shook his head--it was so
pastoral, so sweet.

At supper he scarcely touched what was put before him, the group at the
dining table holding his attention as a spectacle. Afterwards he sat
with the family on the lawn outside the door, breathing the odor of
flowers, watching the stars over the trees, listening to Jotham and
Mrs. Blue, to Samuel, Benjamin, David, Marietta and occasionally Angela.
Because of his mood, sad in the face of exquisite beauty, she also was
subdued. She said little, listening to Eugene and her father, but when
she did talk her voice was sweet.

Jotham arose, after a time, and went to bed, and one by one the others
followed. David and Marietta went into the sitting room and then Samuel
and Benjamin left. They gave as an excuse hard work for the morning.
Samuel was going to try his hand again at thrashing. Eugene took Angela
by the hand and led her out where some hydrangeas were blooming, white
as snow by day, but pale and silvery in the dark. He took her face in
his hands, telling her again of love.

"It's been such a wonderful day I'm all wrought up," he said. "Life is
so beautiful here. This place is so sweet and peaceful. And you! oh,
you!" kisses ended his words.

They stood there a little while, then went back into the parlor where
she lighted a lamp. It cast a soft yellow glow over the room, just
enough to make it warm, he thought. They sat first side by side on two
rocking chairs and then later on a settee, he holding her in his arms.
Before supper she had changed to a loose cream colored house gown. Now
Eugene persuaded her to let her hair hang in the two braids.

Real passion is silent. It was so intense with him that he sat
contemplating her as if in a spell. She leaned back against his shoulder
stroking his hair, but finally ceased even that, for her own feeling was
too intense to make movement possible. She thought of him as a young
god, strong, virile, beautiful--a brilliant future before him. All these
years she had waited for someone to truly love her and now this splendid
youth had apparently cast himself at her feet. He stroked her hands, her
neck, cheeks, then slowly gathered her close and buried his head against
her bosom.

Angela was strong in convention, in the precepts of her parents, in the
sense of her family and its attitude, but this situation was more than
she could resist. She accepted first the pressure of his arm, then the
slow subtlety with which he caressed her. Resistance seemed almost
impossible now for he held her close--tight within the range of his
magnetism. When finally she felt the pressure of his hand upon her
quivering limbs, she threw herself back in a transport of agony and

"No, no, Eugene," she begged. "No, no! Save me from myself. Save me from
myself. Oh, Eugene!"

He paused a moment to look at her face. It was wrought in lines of
intense suffering--pale as though she were ill. Her body was quite limp.
Only the hot, moist lips told the significant story. He could not stop
at once. Slowly he drew his hand away, then let his sensitive artists'
fingers rest gently on her neck--her bosom.

She struggled lamely at this point and slipped to her knees, her dress
loosened at the neck.

"Don't, Eugene," she begged, "don't. Think of my father, my mother. I,
who have boasted so. I of whom they feel so sure. Oh, Eugene, I beg of

He stroked her hair, her cheeks, looking into her face as Abélard might
have looked at Héloïse.

"Oh, I know why it is," she exclaimed, convulsively. "I am no better
than any other, but I have waited so long, so long! But I mustn't! Oh,
Eugene, I mustn't! Help me!"

Vaguely Eugene understood. She had been without lovers. Why? he thought.
She was beautiful. He got up, half intending to carry her to his room,
but he paused, thinking. She was such a pathetic figure. Was he really
as bad as this? Could he not be fair in this one instance? Her father
had been so nice to him--her mother--He saw Jotham Blue before him,
Mrs. Blue, her admiring brothers and sisters, as they had been a little
while before. He looked at her and still the prize lured him--almost
swept him on in spite of himself, but he stayed.

"Stand up, Angela," he said at last, pulling himself together, looking
at her intensely. She did so. "Leave me now," he went on, "right away! I
won't answer for myself if you don't. I am really trying. Please go."

She paused, looking at him fearfully, regretfully.

"Oh, forgive me, Eugene," she pleaded.

"Forgive me," he said. "I'm the one. But you go now, sweet. You don't
know how hard this is. Help me by going."

She moved away and he followed her with his eyes, yearningly, burningly,
until she reached the door. When she closed it softly he went into his
own room and sat down. His body was limp and weary. He ached from head
to foot from the intensity of the mood he had passed through. He went
over the recent incidents, almost stunned by his experience and then
went outside and stood under the stairs, listening. Tree toads were
chirping, there were suspicious cracklings in the grass as of bugs
stirring. A duck quacked somewhere feebly. The bell of the family cow
tinkled somewhere over near the water of the little stream. He saw the
great dipper in the sky, Sirius, Canopus, the vast galaxy of the Milky

"What is life anyway?" he asked himself. "What is the human body? What
produces passion? Here we are for a few years surging with a fever of
longing and then we burn out and die." He thought of some lines he might
write, of pictures he might paint. All the while, reproduced before his
mind's eye like a cinematograph, were views of Angela as she had been
tonight in his arms, on her knees. He had seen her true form. He had
held her in his arms. He had voluntarily resigned her charms for
tonight; anyhow, no harm had come. It never should.


It would be hard to say in what respect, if any, the experiences of this
particular night altered Eugene's opinion of Angela. He was inclined to
like her better for what he would have called her humanness. Thus
frankly to confess her weakness and inability to save herself was
splendid. That he was given the chance to do a noble deed was fortunate
and uplifting. He knew now that he could take her if he wished, but once
calm again he resolved to be fair and not to insist. He could wait.

The state of Angela's mind, on the contrary, once she had come out of
her paroxysm and gained the privacy of her own room, or rather the room
she shared with Marietta at the other extreme of the house, was
pitiable. She had for so long considered herself an estimable and
virtuous girl. There was in her just a faint trace of prudery which
might readily have led to an unhappy old maid existence for her if
Eugene, with his superiority, or non-understanding, or indifference to
conventional theories and to old-maidish feelings, had not come along
and with his customary blindness to material prosperity and age
limitations, seized upon and made love to her. He had filled her brain
with a whirlwind of notions hitherto unfamiliar to her world and set
himself up in her brain as a law unto himself. He was not like other
men--she could see that. He was superior to them. He might not make much
money, being an artist, but he could make other things which to her
seemed more desirable. Fame, beautiful pictures, notable friends, were
not these things far superior to money? She had had little enough money
in all conscience, and if Eugene made anything at all it would be enough
for her. He seemed to be under the notion that he needed a lot to get
married, whereas she would have been glad to risk it on almost anything
at all.

This latest revelation of herself, besides tearing her mind from a
carefully nurtured belief in her own virtuous impregnability, raised at
the same time a spectre of disaster in so far as Eugene's love for her
was concerned. Would he, now that she had allowed him those precious
endearments which should have been reserved for the marriage bed only,
care for her as much as he had before? Would he not think of her as a
light minded, easily spoiled creature who was waiting only for a
propitious moment to yield herself? She had been lost to all sense of
right and wrong in that hour, that she knew. Her father's character and
what he stood for, her mother's decency and love of virtue, her
cleanly-minded, right-living brothers and sisters,--all had been
forgotten and here she was, a tainted maiden, virtuous in technical
sense it is true, but tainted. Her convention-trained conscience smote
her vigorously and she groaned in her heart. She went outside the door
of her own room and sat down on the damp grass in the early morning to
think. It was so cool and calm everywhere but in her own soul. She held
her face in her hands, feeling her hot cheeks, wondering what Eugene was
thinking now. What would her father think, her mother? She wrung her
hands more than once and finally went inside to see if she could not
rest. She was not unconscious of the beauty and joy of the episode, but
she was troubled by what she felt she ought to think, what the
consequences to her future might be. To hold Eugene now--that was a
subtle question. To hold up her head in front of him as she had, could
she? To keep him from going further. It was a difficult situation and
she tossed restlessly all night, getting little sleep. In the morning
she arose weary and disturbed, but more desperately in love than ever.
This wonderful youth had revealed an entirely new and intensely dramatic
world to her.

When they met on the lawn again before breakfast, Angela was garbed in
white linen. She looked waxen and delicate and her eyes showed dark
rings as well as the dark thoughts that were troubling her. Eugene took
her hand sympathetically.

"Don't worry," he said, "I know. It isn't as bad as you think." And he
smiled tenderly.

"Oh, Eugene, I don't understand myself now," she said sorrowfully. "I
thought I was better than that."

"We're none of us better than that," he replied simply. "We just think
we are sometimes. You are not any different to me. You just think you

"Oh, are you sure?" she asked eagerly.

"Quite sure," he replied. "Love isn't a terrible thing between any two.
It's just lovely. Why should I think worse of you?"

"Oh, because good girls don't do what I have done. I have been raised to
know better--to do better."

"All a belief, my dear, which you get from what has been taught you. You
think it wrong. Why? Because your father and mother told you so. Isn't
that it?"

"Oh, not that alone. Everybody thinks it's wrong. The Bible teaches that
it is. Everybody turns his back on you when he finds out."

"Wait a minute," pleaded Eugene argumentatively. He was trying to solve
this puzzle for himself. "Let's leave the Bible out of it, for I don't
believe in the Bible--not as a law of action anyhow. The fact that
everybody thinks it's wrong wouldn't necessarily make it so, would it?"
He was ignoring completely the significance of _everybody_ as a
reflection of those principles which govern the universe.

"No-o-o," ventured Angela doubtfully.

"Listen," went on Eugene. "Everybody in Constantinople believes that
Mahomet is the Prophet of God. That doesn't make him so, does it?"


"Well, then, everyone here might believe that what we did last night was
wrong without making it so. Isn't that true?"

"Yes," replied Angela confusedly. She really did not know. She could not
argue with him. He was too subtle, but her innate principles and
instincts were speaking plainly enough, nevertheless.

"Now what you're really thinking about is what people will do. They'll
turn their backs on you, you say. That is a practical matter. Your
father might turn you out of doors--"

"I think he would," replied Angela, little understanding the bigness of
the heart of her father.

"I think he wouldn't," said Eugene, "but that's neither here nor there.
Men might refuse to marry you. Those are material considerations. You
wouldn't say they had anything to do with real right or wrong, would

Eugene had no convincing end to his argument. He did not know any more
than anyone else what was right or wrong in this matter. He was merely
talking to convince himself, but he had enough logic to confuse Angela.

"I don't know," she said vaguely.

"Right," he went on loftily, "is something which is supposed to be in
accordance with a standard of truth. Now no one in all the world knows
what truth is, no one. There is no way of telling. You can only act
wisely or unwisely as regards your personal welfare. If that's what
you're worrying about, and it is, I can tell you that you're no worse
off. There's nothing the matter with your welfare. I think you're better
off, for I like you better."

Angela wondered at the subtlety of his brain. She was not sure but that
what he said might be true. Could her fears be baseless? She felt sure
she had lost some of the bloom of her youth anyhow.

"How can you?" she asked, referring to his saying that he liked her

"Easily enough," he replied. "I know more about you. I admire your
frankness. You're lovely--altogether so. You are sweet beyond compare."
He started to particularize.

"Don't, Eugene," she pleaded, putting her finger over her lips. The
color was leaving her cheeks. "Please don't, I can't stand it."

"All right," he said, "I won't. But you're altogether lovely. Let's go
and sit in the hammock."

"No. I'm going to get you your breakfast. It's time you had something."

He took comfort in his privileges, for the others had all gone. Jotham,
Samuel, Benjamin and David were in the fields. Mrs. Blue was sewing and
Marietta had gone to see a girl friend up the road. Angela, as Ruby
before her, bestirred herself about the youth's meal, mixing biscuit,
broiling him some bacon, cleaning a basket of fresh dewberries for him.

"I like your man," said her mother, coming out where she was working.
"He looks to be good-natured. But don't spoil him. If you begin wrong
you'll be sorry."

"You spoiled papa, didn't you?" asked Angela sagely, recalling all the
little humorings her father had received.

"Your father has a keen sense of duty," retorted her mother. "It didn't
hurt him to be spoiled a little."

"Maybe Eugene has," replied her daughter, turning her slices of bacon.

Her mother smiled. All her daughters had married well. Perhaps Angela
was doing the best of all. Certainly her lover was the most
distinguished. Yet, "well to be careful," she suggested.

Angela thought. If her mother only knew, or her father. Dear Heaven! And
yet Eugene was altogether lovely. She wanted to wait on him, to spoil
him. She wished she could be with him every day from now on--that they
need not part any more.

"Oh, if he would only marry me," she sighed. It was the one divine event
which would complete her life.

Eugene would have liked to linger in this atmosphere indefinitely. Old
Jotham, he found, liked to talk to him. He took an interest in national
and international affairs, was aware of distinguished and peculiar
personalities, seemed to follow world currents everywhere. Eugene began
to think of him as a distinguished personality in himself, but old
Jotham waved the suggestion blandly aside.

"I'm a farmer," he said. "I've seen my greatest success in raising good
children. My boys will do well, I know."

For the first time Eugene caught the sense of fatherhood, of what it
means to live again in your children, but only vaguely. He was too
young, too eager for a varied life, too lustful. So its true import was
lost for the time.

Sunday came and with it the necessity to leave. He had been here nine
days, really two days more than he had intended to stay. It was farewell
to Angela, who had come so close, so much in his grasp that she was like
a child in his hands. It was farewell, moreover, to an ideal scene, a
bit of bucolic poetry. When would he see again an old patriarch like
Jotham, clean, kindly, intelligent, standing upright amid his rows of
corn, proud to be a good father, not ashamed to be poor, not afraid to
be old or to die. Eugene had drawn so much from him. It was like sitting
at the feet of Isaiah. It was farewell to the lovely fields and the blue
hills, the long rows of trees down the lawn walk, the white and red and
blue flowers about the dooryard. He had slept so sweetly in his clean
room, he had listened so joyously to the voices of birds, the wood dove
and the poet thrush; he had heard the water in the Blue's branch
rippling over its clean pebbles. The pigs in the barnyard pen, the
horses, the cows, all had appealed to him. He thought of Gray's
"Elegy"--of Goldsmith's "Deserted Village" and "The Traveller." This was
something like the things those men had loved.

He walked down the lawn with Angela, when the time came, repeating how
sorry he was to go. David had hitched up a little brown mare and was
waiting at the extreme end of the lawn.

"Oh, Sweet," he sighed. "I shall never be happy until I have you."

"I will wait," sighed Angela, although she was wishing to exclaim: "Oh,
take me, take me!" When he was gone she went about her duties
mechanically, for it was as if all the fire and joy had gone out of her
life. Without this brilliant imagination of his to illuminate things,
life seemed dull.

And he rode, parting in his mind with each lovely thing as he went--the
fields of wheat, the little stream, Lake Okoonee, the pretty Blue
farmhouse, all.

He said to himself: "Nothing more lovely will ever come again. Angela in
my arms in her simple little parlor. Dear God! and there are only
seventy years of life--not more than ten or fifteen of true youth, all


Eugene carried home with him not only a curiously deepened feeling for
Angela, due to their altered and more intimate relationship, but
moreover a growing respect for her family. Old Jotham was so impressive
a figure of a man; his wife so kindly and earnest. Their attitude toward
their children and to each other was so sound, and their whole
relationship to society so respectable. Another observer might have been
repelled by the narrowness and frugality of their lives. But Eugene had
not known enough of luxury to be scornful of the material simplicity of
such existence. Here he had found character, poetry of location, poetry
of ambition, youth and happy prospects. These boys, so sturdy and
independent, were sure to make for themselves such places in the world
as they desired. Marietta, so charming a girl, could not but make a good
marriage. Samuel was doing well in his position with the railroad
company; Benjamin was studying to be a lawyer and David was to be sent
to West Point. He liked them for their familiar, sterling worth. And
they all treated him as the destined husband of Angela. By the end of
his stay he had become as much en rapport with the family as if he had
known it all his life.

Before going back to New York he had stopped in Chicago, where he had
seen Howe and Mathews grinding away at their old tasks, and then for a
few days in Alexandria, where he found his father busy about his old
affairs. Sewing machines were still being delivered by him in person,
and the long roads of the country were as briskly traversed by his light
machine-carrying buggy as in his earliest days. Eugene saw him now as
just a little futile, and yet he admired him, his patience, his
industry. The brisk sewing machine agent was considerably impressed by
his son's success, and was actually trying to take an interest in art.
One evening coming home from the post office he pointed out a street
scene in Alexandria as a subject for a painting. Eugene knew that art
had only been called to his father's attention by his own efforts. He
had noticed these things all his life, no doubt, but attached no
significance to them until he had seen his son's work in the magazines.
"If you ever paint country things, you ought to paint Cook's Mill, over
here by the falls. That's one of the prettiest things I know anywhere,"
he said to him one evening, trying to make his son feel the interest he
took. Eugene knew the place. It was attractive, a little branch of
bright water running at the base of a forty foot wall of red sandstone
and finally tumbling down a fifteen foot declivity of grey mossy stones.
It was close to a yellow road which carried a good deal of traffic and
was surrounded by a company of trees which ornamented it and sheltered
it on all sides. Eugene had admired it in his youth as beautiful and

"It is nice," he replied to his father. "I'll take a look at it some

Witla senior felt set up. His son was doing him honor. Mrs. Witla, like
her husband, was showing the first notable traces of the flight of time.
The crow's-feet at the sides of her eyes were deeper, the wrinkles in
her forehead longer. At the sight of Eugene the first night she fairly
thrilled, for he was so well developed now, so self-reliant. He had come
through his experiences to a kind of poise which she realized was
manhood. Her boy, requiring her careful guidance, was gone. This was
someone who could guide her, tease her as a man would a child.

"You've got so big I hardly know you," she said, as he folded her in his

"No, you're just getting little, ma. I used to think I'd never get to
the point where you couldn't shake me, but that's all over, isn't it?"

"You never did need much shaking," she said fondly.

Myrtle, who had married Frank Bangs the preceding year, had gone with
her husband to live in Ottumwa, Iowa, where he had taken charge of a
mill, so Eugene did not see her, but he spent some little time with
Sylvia, now the mother of two children. Her husband was the same quiet,
conservative plodder Eugene had first noted him to be. Revisiting the
office of the _Appeal_ he found that John Summers had recently died.
Otherwise things were as they had been. Jonas Lyle and Caleb Williams
were still in charge--quite the same as before. Eugene was glad when his
time was up, and took the train back to Chicago with a light heart.

Again as on his entrance to Chicago from the East, and on his return to
it from Blackwood, he was touched keenly by the remembrance of Ruby. She
had been so sweet to him. His opening art experiences had in a way been
centred about her. But in spite of all, he did not want to go out and
see her. Or did he? He asked himself this question with a pang of
sorrow, for in a way he cared. He cared for her as one might care for a
girl in a play or book. She had the quality of a tragedy about her.
She--her life, her surroundings, her misfortune in loving him,
constituted an artistic composition. He thought he might be able to
write a poem about it some time. He was able to write rather charming
verse which he kept to himself. He had the knack of saying things in a
simple way and with feeling--making you see a picture. The trouble with
his verse was that it lacked as yet any real nobility of thought--was
not as final in understanding as it might have been.

He did not go to see Ruby. The reason he assigned to himself was that it
would not be nice. She might not want him to now. She might be trying to
forget. And he had Angela. It really wasn't fair to her. But he looked
over toward the region in which she lived, as he travelled out of the
city eastward and wished that some of those lovely moments he had spent
with her might be lived again.

Back in New York, life seemed to promise a repetition of the preceding
year, with some minor modifications. In the fall Eugene went to live
with McHugh and Smite, the studio they had consisting of one big working
room and three bed-rooms. They agreed that they could get along
together, and for a while it was good for them all. The criticism they
furnished each other was of real value. And they found it pleasant to
dine together, to walk, to see the exhibitions. They stimulated each
other with argument, each having a special point of view. It was much as
it had been with Howe and Mathews in Chicago.

During this winter Eugene made his first appearance in one of the
leading publications of the time--_Harper's Magazine_. He had gone to
the Art Director with some proofs of his previous work, and had been
told that it was admirable; if some suitable story turned up he would be
considered. Later a letter came asking him to call, and a commission
involving three pictures for $125 was given him. He worked them out
successfully with models and was complimented on the result. His
associates cheered him on also, for they really admired what he was
doing. He set out definitely to _make Scribner's_ and the _Century_, as
getting into those publications was called, and after a time he
succeeded in making an impression on their respective Art Directors,
though no notable commissions were given him. From one he secured a
poem, rather out of his mood to decorate, and from the other a short
story; but somehow he could not feel that either was a real opportunity.
He wanted an appropriate subject or to sell them some of his scenes.

Building up a paying reputation was slow work. Although he was being
mentioned here and there among artists, his name was anything but a
significant factor with the public or with the Art Directors. He was
still a promising beginner--growing, but not yet arrived by a long

There was one editor who was inclined to see him at his real worth, but
had no money to offer. This was Richard Wheeler, editor of _Craft_, a
rather hopeless magazine in a commercial sense, but devoted sincerely
enough to art. Wheeler was a blond young man of poetic temperament,
whose enthusiasm for Eugene's work made it easy for them to become

It was through Wheeler that he met that winter Miriam Finch and
Christina Channing, two women of radically different temperaments and
professions, who opened for Eugene two entirely new worlds.

Miriam Finch was a sculptor by profession--a critic by temperament, with
no great capacity for emotion in herself but an intense appreciation of
its significance in others. To see her was to be immediately impressed
with a vital force in womanhood. She was a woman who had never had a
real youth or a real love affair, but clung to her ideal of both with a
passionate, almost fatuous, faith that they could still be brought to
pass. Wheeler had invited him to go round to her studio with him one
evening. He was interested to know what Eugene would think of her.
Miriam, already thirty-two when Eugene met her--a tiny, brown haired,
brown eyed girl, with a slender, rather cat-like figure and a suavity of
address and manner which was artistic to the finger tips. She had none
of that budding beauty that is the glory of eighteen, but she was
altogether artistic and delightful. Her hair encircled her head in a
fluffy cloudy mass; her eyes moved quickly, with intense intelligence,
feeling, humor, sympathy. Her lips were sweetly modelled after the
pattern of a Cupid's bow and her smile was subtly ingratiating. Her
sallow complexion matched her brown hair and the drab velvet or corduroy
of her dress. There was a striking simplicity about the things she wore
which gave her a distinctive air. Her clothes were seldom fashionable
but always exceedingly becoming, for she saw herself as a whole and
arrayed herself as a decorative composition from head to foot, with a
sense of fitness in regard to self and life.

To such a nature as Eugene's, an intelligent, artistic, self-regulating
and self-poised human being was always intensely magnetic and
gratifying. He turned to the capable person as naturally as a flower
turns toward the light, finding a joy in contemplating the completeness
and sufficiency of such a being. To have ideas of your own seemed to him
a marvellous thing. To be able definitely to formulate your thoughts and
reach positive and satisfying conclusions was a great and beautiful
thing. From such personalities Eugene drank admiringly until his thirst
was satiated--then he would turn away. If his thirst for what they had
to give returned, he might come back--not otherwise.

Hitherto all his relationships with personages of this quality had been
confined to the male sex, for he had not known any women of distinction.
Beginning with Temple Boyle, instructor in the life class in Chicago,
and Vincent Beers, instructor in the illustration class, he had
encountered successively Jerry Mathews, Mitchell Goldfarb, Peter McHugh,
David Smite and Jotham Blue, all men of intense personal feeling and
convictions and men who had impressed him greatly. Now he was to
encounter for the first time some forceful, really exceptional women of
the same calibre. Stella Appleton, Margaret Duff, Ruby Kenny and Angela
Blue were charming girls in their way, but they did not think for
themselves. They were not organized, self-directed, self-controlled
personalities in the way that Miriam Finch was. She would have
recognized herself at once as being infinitely superior intellectually
and artistically to any or all of them, while entertaining at the same
time a sympathetic, appreciative understanding of their beauty, fitness,
equality of value in the social scheme. She was a student of life, a
critic of emotions and understanding, with keen appreciative
intelligence, and yet longing intensely for just what Stella and
Margaret and Ruby and even Angela had--youth, beauty, interest for men,
the power or magnetism or charm of face and form to compel the impetuous
passion of a lover. She wanted to be loved by someone who could love
madly and beautifully, and this had never come to her.

Miss Finch's home, or rather studio, was with her family in East
Twenty-sixth Street, where she occupied a north room on the third floor,
but her presence in the bosom of that family did not prevent her from
attaining an individuality and an exclusiveness which was most
illuminating to Eugene. Her room was done in silver, brown and grey,
with a great wax-festooned candlestick fully five feet high standing in
one corner and a magnificent carved chest of early Flemish workmanship
standing in another. There was a brown combination writing desk and
book-shelf which was arrayed with some of the most curious
volumes--Pater's "Marius the Epicurean," Daudet's "Wives of Men of
Genius," Richard Jefferies' "Story of My Heart," Stevenson's "Aes
Triplex," "The Kasidah" of Richard Burton, "The House of Life" by Dante
Gabriel Rossetti, "Also sprach Zarathustra" by Friedrich Nietzsche. The
fact that they were here, after he had taken one look at the woman and
the room, was to Eugene sufficient proof that they were important. He
handled them curiously, reading odd paragraphs, nosing about, looking at
pictures, and making rapid notes in his mental notebook. This was
someone worth knowing, he felt that. He wanted to make a sufficiently
favorable impression to be permitted to know her better.

Miriam Finch was at once taken with Eugene. There was such an air of
vigor, inquiry, appreciation and understanding about him that she could
not help being impressed. He seemed somewhat like a lighted lamp casting
a soft, shaded, velvety glow. He went about her room, after his
introduction, looking at her pictures, her bronzes and clays, asking
after the creator of this, the painter of that, where a third thing came

"I never heard of one of these books," he said frankly, when he looked
over the small, specially selected collection.

"There are some very interesting things here," she volunteered, coming
to his side. His simple confession appealed to her. He was like a breath
of fresh air. Richard Wheeler, who had brought him in, made no objection
to being neglected. He wanted her to enjoy his find.

"You know," said Eugene, looking up from Burton's "Kasidah" and into her
brown eyes, "New York gets me dizzy. It's so wonderful!"

"Just how?" she asked.

"It's so compact of wonderful things. I saw a shop the other day full of
old jewelry and ornaments and quaint stones and clothes, and O Heaven! I
don't know what all--more things than I had ever seen in my whole life
before; and here in this quiet side street and this unpretentious house
I find this room. Nothing seems to show on the outside; everything seems
crowded to suffocation with luxury or art value on the inside."

"Are you talking about this room?" she ventured.

"Why, yes," he replied.

"Take note, Mr. Wheeler," she called, over her shoulder to her young
editor friend. "This is the first time in my life that I have been
accused of possessing luxury. When you write me up again I want you to
give me credit for luxury. I like it."

"I'll certainly do it," said Wheeler.

"Yes. 'Art values' too."

"Yes. 'Art values.' I have it," said Wheeler.

Eugene smiled. He liked her vivacity. "I know what you mean," she added.
"I've felt the same thing about Paris. You go into little unpretentious
places there and come across such wonderful things--heaps and heaps of
fine clothes, antiques, jewels. Where was it I read such an interesting
article about that?"

"Not in _Craft_ I hope?" ventured Wheeler.

"No, I don't think so. _Harper's Bazaar_, I believe."

"Oh, pshaw!" exclaimed Wheeler. "_Harper's Bazaar!_ What rot!"

"But that's just what you ought to have. Why don't you do it--right?"

"I will," he said.

Eugene went to the piano and turned over a pile of music. Again he came
across the unfamiliar, the strange, the obviously distinguished--Grieg's
"Arabian Dance"; "Es war ein Traum" by Lassen; "Elegie" by Massenet;
"Otidi" by Davydoff; "Nymphs and Shepherds" by Purcell--things whose
very titles smacked of color and beauty. Gluck, Sgambati, Rossini,
Tschaikowsky--the Italian Scarlatti--Eugene marvelled at what he did not
know about music.

"Play something," he pleaded, and with a smile Miriam stepped to the

"Do you know 'Es war ein Traum'?" she inquired.

"No," said he.

"That's lovely," put in Wheeler. "Sing it!"

Eugene had thought that possibly she sang, but he was not prepared for
the burst of color that came with her voice. It was not a great voice,
but sweet and sympathetic, equal to the tasks she set herself. She
selected her music as she selected her clothes--to suit her capacity.
The poetic, sympathetic reminiscence of the song struck home. Eugene was

"Oh," he exclaimed, bringing his chair close to the piano and looking
into her face, "you sing beautifully."

She gave him a glittering smile.

"Now I'll sing anything you want for you if you go on like that."

"I'm crazy about music," he said; "I don't know anything about it, but I
like this sort of thing."

"You like the really good things. I know. So do I."

He felt flattered and grateful. They went through "Otidi," "The
Nightingale," "Elegie," "The Last Spring"--music Eugene had never heard
before. But he knew at once that he was listening to playing which
represented a better intelligence, a keener selective judgment, a finer
artistic impulse than anyone he had ever known had possessed. Ruby
played and Angela, the latter rather well, but neither had ever heard of
these things he was sure. Ruby had only liked popular things; Angela the
standard melodies--beautiful but familiar. Here was someone who ignored
popular taste--was in advance of it. In all her music he had found
nothing he knew. It grew on him as a significant fact. He wanted to be
nice to her, to have her like him. So he drew close and smiled and she
always smiled back. Like the others she liked his face, his mouth, his
eyes, his hair.

"He's charming," she thought, when he eventually left; and his
impression of her was of a woman who was notably and significantly


But Miriam Finch's family, of which she seemed so independent, had not
been without its influence on her. This family was of Middle West
origin, and did not understand or sympathize very much with the artistic
temperament. Since her sixteenth year, when Miriam had first begun to
exhibit a definite striving toward the artistic, her parents had guarded
her jealously against what they considered the corrupting atmosphere of
the art world. Her mother had accompanied her from Ohio to New York, and
lived with her while she studied art in the art school, chaperoning her
everywhere. When it became advisable, as she thought, for Miriam to go
abroad, she went with her. Miriam's artistic career was to be properly
supervised. When she lived in the Latin Quarter in Paris her mother was
with her; when she loitered in the atmosphere of the galleries and
palaces in Rome it was with her mother at her side. At Pompeii and
Herculaneum--in London and in Berlin--her mother, an iron-willed little
woman at forty-five at that time, was with her. She was convinced that
she knew exactly what was good for her daughter and had more or less
made the girl accept her theories. Later, Miriam's personal judgment
began to diverge slightly from that of her mother and then trouble

It was vague at first, hardly a definite, tangible thing in the
daughter's mind, but later it grew to be a definite feeling that her
life was being cramped. She had been warned off from association with
this person and that; had been shown the pitfalls that surround the
free, untrammelled life of the art studio. Marriage with the average
artist was not to be considered. Modelling from the nude, particularly
the nude of a man, was to her mother at first most distressing. She
insisted on being present and for a long time her daughter thought that
was all right. Finally the presence, the viewpoint, the intellectual
insistence of her mother, became too irksome, and an open break
followed. It was one of those family tragedies which almost kill
conservative parents. Mrs. Finch's heart was practically broken.

The trouble with this break was that it came a little too late for
Miriam's happiness. In the stress of this insistent chaperonage she had
lost her youth--the period during which she felt she should have had her
natural freedom. She had lost the interest of several men who in her
nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first years had approached her
longingly, but who could not stand the criticism of her mother. At
twenty-eight when the break came the most delightful love period was
over and she felt grieved and resentful.

At that time she had insisted on a complete and radical change for
herself. She had managed to get, through one art dealer and another,
orders for some of her spirited clay figurines. There was a dancing
girl, a visualization of one of the moods of Carmencita, a celebrated
dancer of the period, which had caught the public fancy--at least the
particular art dealer who was handling her work for her had managed to
sell some eighteen replicas of it at $175 each. Miss Finch's share of
this was $100, each. There was another little thing, a six-inch bronze
called "Sleep," which had sold some twenty replicas at $150 each, and
was still selling. "The Wind," a figure crouching and huddling as if
from cold, was also selling. It looked as though she might be able to
make from three to four thousand dollars a year steadily.

She demanded of her mother at this time the right to a private studio,
to go and come when she pleased, to go about alone wherever she wished,
to have men and women come to her private apartment, and be entertained
by her in her own manner. She objected to supervision in any form, cast
aside criticism and declared roundly that she would lead her own life.
She realized sadly while she was doing it, however, that the best was
gone--that she had not had the wit or the stamina to do as she pleased
at the time she most wanted to do so. Now she would be almost
automatically conservative. She could not help it.

Eugene when he first met her felt something of this. He felt the
subtlety of her temperament, her philosophic conclusions, what might be
called her emotional disappointment. She was eager for life, which
seemed to him odd, for she appeared to have so much. By degrees he got
it out of her, for they came to be quite friendly and then he understood
clearly just how things were.

By the end of three months and before Christina Channing appeared,
Eugene had come to the sanest, cleanest understanding with Miss Finch
that he had yet reached with any woman. He had dropped into the habit of
calling there once and sometimes twice a week. He had learned to
understand her point of view, which was detachedly æsthetic and rather
removed from the world of the sensuous. Her ideal of a lover had been
fixed to a certain extent by statues and poems of Greek youth--Hylas,
Adonis, Perseus, and by those men of the Middle Ages painted by Millais,
Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Ford Madox Brown. She had hoped
for a youth with a classic outline of face, distinction of form,
graciousness of demeanor and an appreciative intellect. He must be manly
but artistic. It was a rather high ideal, not readily capable of
attainment by a woman already turned thirty, but nevertheless worth
dreaming about.

Although she had surrounded herself with talented youth as much as
possible--both young men and young women--she had not come across _the
one_. There had been a number of times when, for a very little while,
she had imagined she had found him, but had been compelled to see her
fancies fail. All the youths she knew had been inclined to fall in love
with girls younger than themselves--some to the interesting maidens she
had introduced them to. It is hard to witness an ideal turning from
yourself, its spiritual counterpart, and fixing itself upon some mere
fleshly vision of beauty which a few years will cause to fade. Such had
been her fate, however, and she was at times inclined to despair. When
Eugene appeared she had almost concluded that love was not for her, and
she did not flatter herself that he would fall in love with her.
Nevertheless she could not help but be interested in him and look at
times with a longing eye at his interesting face and figure. It was so
obvious that if he loved at all it would be dramatically, in all
probability, beautifully.

As time went on she took pains to be agreeable to him. He had, as it
were, the freedom of her room. She knew of exhibitions, personalities,
movements--in religion, art, science, government, literature. She was
inclined to take an interest in socialism, and believed in righting the
wrongs of the people. Eugene thought he did, but he was so keenly
interested in life as a spectacle that he hadn't as much time to
sympathize as he thought he ought to have. She took him to see
exhibitions, and to meet people, being rather proud of a boy with so
much talent; and she was pleased to find that he was so generally
acceptable. People, particularly writers, poets, musicians--beginners in
every field, were inclined to remember him. He was an easy talker,
witty, quick to make himself at home and perfectly natural. He tried to
be accurate in his judgments of things, and fair, but he was young and
subject to strong prejudices. He appreciated her friendship, and did not
seek to make their relationship more intimate. He knew that only a
sincere proposal of marriage could have won her, and he did not care
enough for her for that. He felt himself bound to Angela and, curiously,
he felt Miriam's age as a bar between them. He admired her tremendously
and was learning in part through her what his ideal ought to be, but he
was not drawn sufficiently to want to make love to her.

But in Christina Channing, whom he met shortly afterward, he found a
woman of a more sensuous and lovable type, though hardly less artistic.
Christina Channing was a singer by profession, living also in New York
with her mother, but not, as Miss Finch had been, dominated by her so
thoroughly, although she was still at the age when her mother could and
did have considerable influence with her. She was twenty-seven years of
age and so far, had not yet attained the eminence which subsequently was
hers, though she was full of that buoyant self-confidence which makes
for eventual triumph. So far she had studied ardently under various
teachers, had had several love affairs, none serious enough to win her
away from her chosen profession, and had gone through the various
experiences of those who begin ignorantly to do something in art and
eventually reach experience and understanding of how the world is
organized and what they will have to do to succeed.

Although Miss Channing's artistic sense did not rise to that definite
artistic expression in her material surroundings which characterized
Miss Finch's studio atmosphere, it went much farther in its expression
of her joy in life. Her voice, a rich contralto, deep, full, colorful,
had a note of pathos and poignancy which gave a touch of emotion to her
gayest songs. She could play well enough to accompany herself with
delicacy and emphasis. She was at present one of the soloists with the
New York Symphony Orchestra, with the privilege of accepting occasional
outside engagements. The following Fall she was preparing to make a
final dash to Germany to see if she could not get an engagement with a
notable court opera company and so pave the way for a New York success.
She was already quite well known in musical circles as a promising
operatic candidate and her eventual arrival would be not so much a
question of talent as of luck.

While these two women fascinated Eugene for the time being, his feeling
for Angela continued unchanged; for though she suffered in an
intellectual or artistic comparison, he felt that she was richer
emotionally. There was a poignancy in her love letters, an intensity
about her personal feelings when in his presence which moved him in
spite of himself--an ache went with her which brought a memory of the
tales of Sappho and Marguerite Gautier. It occurred to him now that if
he flung her aside it might go seriously with her. He did not actually
think of doing anything of the sort, but he was realizing that there was
a difference between her and intellectual women like Miriam Finch.
Besides that, there was a whole constellation of society women swimming
into his ken--women whom he only knew, as yet, through the newspapers
and the smart weeklies like Town Topics and Vogue, who were presenting
still a third order of perfection. Vaguely he was beginning to see that
the world was immense and subtle, and that there were many things to
learn about women that he had never dreamed of.

Christina Channing was a rival of Angela's in one sense, that of bodily
beauty. She had a tall perfectly rounded form, a lovely oval face, a nut
brown complexion with the rosy glow of health showing in cheeks and
lips, and a mass of blue black hair. Her great brown eyes were lustrous
and sympathetic.

Eugene met her through the good offices of Shotmeyer, who had been given
by some common friend in Boston a letter of introduction to her. He had
spoken of Eugene as being a very brilliant young artist and his friend,
and remarked that he would like to bring him up some evening to hear her
sing. Miss Channing acquiesced, for she had seen some of his drawings
and was struck by the poetic note in them. Shotmeyer, vain of his
notable acquaintances--who in fact tolerated him for his amusing
gossip--described Miss Channing's voice to Eugene and asked him if he
did not want to call on her some evening. "Delighted," said Eugene.

The appointment was made and together they went to Miss Channing's suite
in a superior Nineteenth Street boarding house. Miss Channing received
them, arrayed in a smooth, close fitting dress of black velvet, touched
with red. Eugene was reminded of the first costume in which he had seen
Ruby. He was dazzled. As for her, as she told him afterward, she was
conscious of a peculiar illogical perturbation.

"When I put on my ribbon that night," she told him, "I was going to put
on a dark blue silk one I had just bought and then I thought 'No, he'll
like me better in a red one.' Isn't that curious? I just felt as though
you were going to like me--as though we might know each other better.
That young man--what's his name--described you so accurately." It was
months afterward when she confessed that.

When Eugene entered it was with the grand air he had acquired since his
life had begun to broaden in the East. He took his relationship with
talent, particularly female talent, seriously. He stood up very
straight, walked with a noticeable stride, drove an examining glance
into the very soul of the person he was looking at. He was quick to get
impressions, especially of talent. He could feel ability in another.
When he looked at Miss Channing he felt it like a strong wave--the
vibrating wave of an intense consciousness.

She greeted him, extending a soft white hand. They spoke of how they had
heard of each other. Eugene somehow made her feel his enthusiasm for her
art. "Music is the finer thing," he said, when she spoke of his own

Christina's dark brown eyes swept him from head to foot. He was like his
pictures, she thought--and as good to look at.

He was introduced to her mother. They sat down, talking, and presently
Miss Channing sang--"Che faro senza Euridice." Eugene felt as if she
were singing to him. Her cheeks were flushed and her lips red.

Her mother remarked after she had finished, "You're in splendid voice
this evening, Christina."

"I feel particularly fit," she replied.

"A wonderful voice--it's like a big red poppy or a great yellow orchid!"
cried Eugene.

Christina thrilled. The description caught her fancy. It seemed true.
She felt something of that in the sounds to which she gave utterance.

"Please sing 'Who is Sylvia,'" he begged a little later. She complied

"That was written for you," he said softly as she ceased, for he had
come close to the piano. "You image Sylvia for me." Her cheeks colored

"Thanks," she nodded, and her eyes spoke too. She welcomed his daring
and she was glad to let him know it.


The chief trouble with his present situation, and with the entrance of
these two women into his life, and it had begun to be a serious one to
him, was that he was not making money. He had been able to earn about
$1200 the first year; the second he made a little over two thousand, and
this third year he was possibly doing a little better. But in view of
what he saw around him and what he now knew of life, it was nothing. New
York presented a spectacle of material display such as he had never
known existed. The carriages on Fifth Avenue, the dinners at the great
hotels, the constant talk of society functions in the newspapers, made
his brain dizzy. He was inclined to idle about the streets, to watch the
handsomely dressed crowds, to consider the evidences of show and
refinement everywhere, and he came to the conclusion that he was not
living at all, but existing. Art as he had first dreamed of it, art had
seemed not only a road to distinction but also to affluence. Now, as he
studied those about him, he found that it was not so. Artists were never
tremendously rich, he learned. He remembered reading in Balzac's story
"Cousin Betty," of a certain artist of great distinction who had been
allowed condescendingly by one of the rich families of Paris to marry a
daughter, but it was considered a great come down for her. He had hardly
been able to credit the idea at the time, so exalted was his notion of
the artist. But now he was beginning to see that it represented the
world's treatment of artists. There were in America a few who were very
popular--meretriciously so he thought in certain cases--who were said to
be earning from ten to fifteen thousand a year. How high would that
place them, he asked himself, in that world of real luxury which was
made up of the so-called _four hundred_--the people of immense wealth
and social position. He had read in the papers that it took from fifteen
to twenty-five thousand dollars a year to clothe a débutante. It was
nothing uncommon, he heard, for a man to spend from fifteen to twenty
dollars on his dinner at the restaurant. The prices he heard that
tailors demanded--that dressmakers commanded, the display of jewels and
expensive garments at the opera, made the poor little income of an
artist look like nothing at all. Miss Finch was constantly telling him
of the show and swagger she met with in her circle of acquaintances, for
her tact and adaptability had gained her the friendship of a number of
society people. Miss Channing, when he came to know her better, made
constant references to things she came in contact with--great singers or
violinists paid $1000 a night, or the tremendous salaries commanded by
the successful opera stars. He began, as he looked at his own meagre
little income, to feel shabby again, and run down, much as he had during
those first days in Chicago. Why, art, outside the fame, was nothing. It
did not make for real living. It made for a kind of mental blooming,
which everybody recognized, but you could be a poor, sick, hungry,
shabby genius--you actually could. Look at Verlaine, who had recently
died in Paris.

A part of this feeling was due to the opening of a golden age of luxury
in New York, and the effect the reiterated sight of it was having on
Eugene. Huge fortunes had been amassed in the preceding fifty years and
now there were thousands of residents in the great new city who were
worth anything from one to fifty and in some instances a hundred million
dollars. The metropolitan area, particularly Manhattan Island above
Fifty-ninth Street, was growing like a weed. Great hotels were being
erected in various parts of the so-called "white light" district. There
was beginning, just then, the first organized attempt of capital to
supply a new need--the modern sumptuous, eight, ten and twelve story
apartment house, which was to house the world of newly rich middle class
folk who were pouring into New York from every direction. Money was
being made in the West, the South and the North, and as soon as those
who were making it had sufficient to permit them to live in luxury for
the rest of their days they were moving East, occupying these expensive
apartments, crowding the great hotels, patronizing the sumptuous
restaurants, giving the city its air of spendthrift luxury. All the
things which catered to showy material living were beginning to flourish
tremendously, art and curio shops, rug shops, decorative companies
dealing with the old and the new in hangings, furniture, objects of art;
dealers in paintings, jewelry stores, china and glassware
houses--anything and everything which goes to make life comfortable and
brilliant. Eugene, as he strolled about the city, saw this, felt the
change, realized that the drift was toward greater population, greater
luxury, greater beauty. His mind was full of the necessity of living
_now_. He was young _now_; he was vigorous _now_; he was keen _now_; in
a few years he might not be--seventy years was the allotted span and
twenty-five of his had already gone. How would it be if he never came
into this luxury, was never allowed to enter society, was never
permitted to live as wealth was now living! The thought hurt him. He
felt an eager desire to tear wealth and fame from the bosom of the
world. Life must give him his share. If it did not he would curse it to
his dying day. So he felt when he was approaching twenty-six.

The effect of Christina Channing's friendship for him was particularly
to emphasize this. She was not so much older than he, was possessed of
very much the same temperament, the same hopes and aspirations, and she
discerned almost as clearly as he did the current of events. New York
was to witness a golden age of luxury. It was already passing into it.
Those who rose to distinction in any field, particularly music or the
stage, were likely to share in a most notable spectacle of luxury.
Christina hoped to. She was sure she would. After a few conversations
with Eugene she was inclined to feel that he would. He was so brilliant,
so incisive.

"You have such a way with you," she said the second time he came. "You
are so commanding. You make me think you can do almost anything you want

"Oh, no," he deprecated. "Not as bad as that. I have just as much
trouble as anyone getting what I want."

"Oh, but you will though. You have ideas."

It did not take these two long to reach an understanding. They confided
to each other their individual histories, with reservations, of course,
at first. Christina told him of her musical history, beginning at
Hagerstown, Maryland, and he went back to his earliest days in
Alexandria. They discussed the differences in parental control to which
they had been subject. He learned of her father's business, which was
that of oyster farming, and confessed on his part to being the son of a
sewing machine agent. They talked of small town influences, early
illusions, the different things they had tried to do. She had sung in
the local Methodist church, had once thought she would like to be a
milliner, had fallen in the hands of a teacher who tried to get her to
marry him and she had been on the verge of consenting. Something
happened--she went away for the summer, or something of that sort, and
changed her mind.

After an evening at the theatre with her, a late supper one night and a
third call, to spend a quiet evening in her room, he took her by the
hand. She was standing by the piano and he was looking at her cheeks,
her large inquiring eyes, her smooth rounded neck and chin.

"You like me," he said suddenly à propos of nothing save the mutual
attraction that was always running strong between them.

Without hesitation she nodded her head, though the bright blood mounted
to her neck and cheeks.

"You are so lovely to me," he went on, "that words are of no value. I
can paint you. Or you can sing me what you are, but mere words won't
show it. I have been in love before, but never with anyone like you."

"Are you in love?" she asked naïvely.

"What is this?" he asked and slipped his arms about her, drawing her

She turned her head away, leaving her rosy cheek near his lips. He
kissed that, then her mouth and her neck. He held her chin and looked
into her eyes.

"Be careful," she said, "mamma may come in."

"Hang mamma!" he laughed.

"She'll hang you if she sees you. Mamma would never suspect me of
anything like this."

"That shows how little mamma knows of her Christina," he answered.

"She knows enough at that," she confessed gaily. "Oh, if we were only up
in the mountains now," she added.

"What mountains," he inquired curiously.

"The Blue Ridge. We have a bungalow up at Florizel. You must come up
when we go there next summer."

"Will mamma be there?" he asked.

"And papa," she laughed.

"And I suppose Cousin Annie."

"No, brother George will be."

"Nix for the bungalow," he replied, using a slang word that had become
immensely popular.

"Oh, but I know all the country round there. There are some lovely walks
and drives." She said this archly, naïvely, suggestively, her bright
face lit with an intelligence that seemed perfection.

"Well--such being the case!" he smiled, "and meanwhile--"

"Oh, meanwhile you just have to wait. You see how things are." She
nodded her head towards an inside room where Mrs. Channing was lying
down with a slight headache. "Mamma doesn't leave me very often."

Eugene did not know exactly how to take Christina. He had never
encountered this attitude before. Her directness, in connection with so
much talent, such real ability, rather took him by surprise. He did not
expect it--did not think she would confess affection for him; did not
know just what she meant by speaking in the way she did of the bungalow
and Florizel. He was flattered, raised in his own self-esteem. If such a
beautiful, talented creature as this could confess her love for him,
what a personage he must be. And she was thinking of freer
conditions--just what?

He did not want to press the matter too closely then and she was not
anxious to have him do so--she preferred to be enigmatic. But there was
a light of affection and admiration in her eye which made him very proud
and happy with things just as they were.

As she said, there was little chance for love-making under conditions
then existing. Her mother was with her most of the time. Christina
invited Eugene to come and hear her sing at the Philharmonic Concerts;
so once in a great ball-room at the Waldorf-Astoria and again in the
imposing auditorium of Carnegie Hall and a third time in the splendid
auditorium of the Arion Society, he had the pleasure of seeing her walk
briskly to the footlights, the great orchestra waiting, the audience
expectant, herself arch, assured--almost defiant, he thought, and so
beautiful. When the great house thundered its applause he was basking in
one delicious memory of her.

"Last night she had her arms about my neck. Tonight when I call and we
are alone she will kiss me. That beautiful, distinguished creature
standing there bowing and smiling loves me and no one else. If I were to
ask her she would marry me--if I were in a position and had the means."

"If I were in a position--" that thought cut him, for he knew that he
was not. He could not marry her. In reality she would not have him
knowing how little he made--or would she? He wondered.


Towards the end of spring Eugene concluded he would rather go up in the
mountains near Christina's bungalow this summer, than back to see
Angela. The memory of that precious creature was, under the stress and
excitement of metropolitan life, becoming a little tarnished. His
recollections of her were as delightful as ever, as redolent of beauty,
but he was beginning to wonder. The smart crowd in New York was composed
of a different type. Angela was sweet and lovely, but would she fit in?

Meanwhile Miriam Finch with her subtle eclecticism continued her
education of Eugene. She was as good as a school. He would sit and
listen to her descriptions of plays, her appreciation of books, her
summing up of current philosophies, and he would almost feel himself
growing. She knew so many people, could tell him where to go to see just
such and such an important thing. All the startling personalities, the
worth while preachers, the new actors, somehow she knew all about them.

"Now, Eugene," she would exclaim on seeing him, "you positively must go
and see Haydon Boyd in 'The Signet,'" or--"see Elmina Deming in her new
dances," or--"look at the pictures of Winslow Homer that are being shown
at Knoedler's."

She would explain with exactness why she wanted him to see them, what
she thought they would do for him. She frankly confessed to him that she
considered him a genius and always insisted on knowing what new thing he
was doing. When any work of his appeared and she liked it she was swift
to tell him. He almost felt as if he owned her room and herself, as if
all that she was--her ideas, her friends, her experiences--belonged to
him. He could go and draw on them by sitting at her feet or going with
her somewhere. When spring came she liked to walk with him, to listen to
his comments on nature and life.

"That's splendid!" she would exclaim. "Now, why don't you write that?"
or "why don't you paint that?"

He showed her some of his poems once and she had made copies of them and
pasted them in a book of what she called exceptional things. So he was
coddled by her.

In another way Christina was equally nice. She was fond of telling
Eugene how much she thought of him, how nice she thought he was. "You're
so big and smarty," she said to him once, affectionately, pinioning his
arms and looking into his eyes. "I like the way you part your hair, too!
You're kind o' like an artist ought to be!"

"That's the way to spoil me," he replied. "Let me tell you how nice you
are. Want to know how nice you are?"

"Uh-uh," she smiled, shaking her head to mean "no."

"Wait till we get to the mountains. I'll tell you." He sealed her lips
with his, holding her until her breath was almost gone.

"Oh," she exclaimed; "you're terrible. You're like steel."

"And you're like a big red rose. Kiss me!"

From Christina he learned all about the musical world and musical
personalities. He gained an insight into the different forms of music,
operatic, symphonic, instrumental. He learned of the different forms of
composition, the terminology, the mystery of the vocal cords, the
methods of training. He learned of the jealousies within the profession,
and what the best musical authorities thought of such and such
composers, or singers. He learned how difficult it was to gain a place
in the operatic world, how bitterly singers fought each other, how quick
the public was to desert a fading star. Christina took it all so
unconcernedly that he almost loved her for her courage. She was so wise
and so good natured.

"You have to give up a lot of things to be a good artist," she said to
Eugene one day. "You can't have the ordinary life, and art too."

"Just what do you mean, Chrissy?" he asked, petting her hand, for they
were alone together.

"Why, you can't get married very well and have children, and you can't
do much in a social way. Oh, I know they do get married, but sometimes I
think it is a mistake. Most of the singers I know don't do so very well
tied down by marriage."

"Don't you intend to get married?" asked Eugene curiously.

"I don't know," she replied, realizing what he was driving at. "I'd want
to think about that. A woman artist is in a d---- of a position anyway,"
using the letter d only to indicate the word "devil." "She has so many
things to think about."

"For instance?"

"Oh, what people think and her family think, and I don't know what all.
They ought to get a new sex for artists--like they have for worker

Eugene smiled. He knew what she was driving at. But he did not know how
long she had been debating the problem of her virginity as conflicting
with her love of distinction in art. She was nearly sure she did not
want to complicate her art life with marriage. She was almost positive
that success on the operatic stage--particularly the great opportunity
for the beginner abroad--was complicated with some liaison. Some
escaped, but it was not many. She was wondering in her own mind whether
she owed it to current morality to remain absolutely pure. It was
assumed generally that girls should remain virtuous and marry, but this
did not necessarily apply to her--should it apply to the artistic
temperament? Her mother and her family troubled her. She was virtuous,
but youth and desire had given her some bitter moments. And here was
Eugene to emphasize it.

"It is a difficult problem," he said sympathetically, wondering what she
would eventually do. He felt keenly that her attitude in regard to
marriage affected his relationship to her. Was she wedded to her art at
the expense of love?

"It's a big problem," she said and went to the piano to sing.

He half suspected for a little while after this that she might be
contemplating some radical step--what, he did not care to say to
himself, but he was intensely interested in her problem. This peculiar
freedom of thought astonished him--broadened his horizon. He wondered
what his sister Myrtle would think of a girl discussing marriage in this
way--the to be or not to be of it--what Sylvia? He wondered if many
girls did that. Most of the women he had known seemed to think more
logically along these lines than he did. He remembered asking Ruby once
whether she didn't think illicit love was wrong and hearing her reply,
"No. Some people thought it was wrong, but that didn't make it so to
her." Here was another girl with another theory.

They talked more of love, and he wondered why she wanted him to come up
to Florizel in the summer. She could not be thinking--no, she was too
conservative. He began to suspect, though, that she would not marry
him--would not marry anyone at present. She merely wanted to be loved
for awhile, no doubt.

May came and with it the end of Christina's concert work and voice study
so far as New York was concerned. She had been in and out of the city
all the winter--to Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Chicago, St. Paul and now after
a winter's hard work retired to Hagerstown with her mother for a few
weeks prior to leaving for Florizel.

"You ought to come down here," she wrote to Eugene early in June. "There
is a sickle moon that shines in my garden and the roses are in bloom.
Oh, the odors are so sweet, and the dew! Some of our windows open out
level with the grass and I sing! I sing!! I sing!!!"

He had a notion to run down but restrained himself, for she told him
that they were leaving in two weeks for the mountains. He had a set of
drawings to complete for a magazine for which they were in a hurry. So
he decided to wait till that was done.

In late June he went up to the Blue Ridge, in Southern Pennsylvania,
where Florizel was situated. He thought at first he would be invited to
stay at the Channing bungalow, but Christina warned him that it would be
safer and better for him to stay at one of the adjoining hotels. There
were several on the slope of adjacent hills at prices ranging from five
to ten dollars a day. Though this was high for Eugene he decided to go.
He wanted to be with this marvellous creature--to see just what she did
mean by wishing they were in the mountains together.

He had saved some eight hundred dollars, which was in a savings bank and
he withdrew three hundred for his little outing. He took Christina a
very handsomely bound copy of Villon, of whom she was fond, and several
volumes of new verse. Most of these, chosen according to his most recent
mood, were sad in their poetic texture; they all preached the
nothingness of life, its sadness, albeit the perfection of its beauty.

At this time Eugene had quite reached the conclusion that there was no
hereafter--there was nothing save blind, dark force moving
aimlessly--where formerly he had believed vaguely in a heaven and had
speculated as to a possible hell. His reading had led him through some
main roads and some odd by-paths of logic and philosophy. He was an
omnivorous reader now and a fairly logical thinker. He had already
tackled Spencer's "First Principles," which had literally torn him up by
the roots and set him adrift and from that had gone back to Marcus
Aurelius, Epictetus, Spinoza and Schopenhauer--men who ripped out all
his private theories and made him wonder what life really was. He had
walked the streets for a long time after reading some of these things,
speculating on the play of forces, the decay of matter, the fact that
thought-forms had no more stability than cloud-forms. Philosophies came
and went, governments came and went, races arose and disappeared. He
walked into the great natural history museum of New York once to
discover enormous skeletons of prehistoric animals--things said to have
lived two, three, five millions of years before his day and he marvelled
at the forces which produced them, the indifference, apparently, with
which they had been allowed to die. Nature seemed lavish of its types
and utterly indifferent to the persistence of anything. He came to the
conclusion that he was nothing, a mere shell, a sound, a leaf which had
no general significance, and for the time being it almost broke his
heart. It tended to smash his egotism, to tear away his intellectual
pride. He wandered about dazed, hurt, moody, like a lost child. But he
was thinking persistently.

Then came Darwin, Huxley, Tyndall, Lubbock--a whole string of British
thinkers who fortified the original conclusions of the others, but
showed him a beauty, a formality, a lavishness of form and idea in
nature's methods which fairly transfixed him. He was still
reading--poets, naturalists, essayists, but he was still gloomy. Life
was nothing save dark forces moving aimlessly.

The manner in which he applied this thinking to his life was
characteristic and individual. To think that beauty should blossom for a
little while and disappear for ever seemed sad. To think that his life
should endure but for seventy years and then be no more was terrible. He
and Angela were chance acquaintances--chemical affinities--never to meet
again in all time. He and Christina, he and Ruby--he and anyone--a few
bright hours were all they could have together, and then would come the
great silence, dissolution, and he would never be anymore. It hurt him
to think of this, but it made him all the more eager to live, to be
loved while he was here. If he could only have a lovely girl's arms to
shut him in safely always!

It was while he was in this mood that he reached Florizel after a long
night's ride, and Christina who was a good deal of a philosopher and
thinker herself at times was quick to notice it. She was waiting at the
depot with a dainty little trap of her own to take him for a drive.

The trap rolled out along the soft, yellow, dusty roads. The mountain
dew was still in the earth though and the dust was heavy with damp and
not flying. Green branches of trees hung low over them, charming vistas
came into view at every turn. Eugene kissed her, for there was no one to
see, twisting her head to kiss her lips at leisure.

"It's a blessed thing this horse is tame or we'd be in for some
accident. What makes you so moody?" she said.

"I'm not moody--or am I? I've been thinking a lot of things of late--of
you principally."

"Do I make you sad?"

"From one point of view, yes."

"And what is that, sir?" she asked with an assumption of severity.

"You are so beautiful, so wonderful, and life is so short."

"You have only fifty years to love me in," she laughed, calculating his
age. "Oh, Eugene, what a boy you are!--Wait a minute," she added after a
pause, drawing the horse to a stop under some trees. "Hold these," she
said, offering him the reins. He took them and she put her arms about
his neck. "Now, you silly," she exclaimed, "I love you, love you, love
you! There was never anyone quite like you. Will that help you?" she
smiled into his eyes.

"Yes," he answered, "but it isn't enough. Seventy years isn't enough.
Eternity isn't enough of life as it is now."

"As it is now," she echoed and then took the reins, for she felt what he
felt, the need of persistent youth and persistent beauty to keep it as
it should be, and these things would not stay.


The days spent in the mountains were seventeen exactly, and during that
time with Christina, Eugene reached a curious exaltation of spirit
different from anything he had experienced before. In the first place he
had never known a girl like Christina, so beautiful, so perfect
physically, so incisive mentally, so full of a fine artistic perception.
She was so quick to perceive exactly what he meant. She was so
suggestive to him in her own thoughts and feelings. The mysteries of
life employed her mind quite as fully as they did his. She thought much
of the subtlety of the human body, of its mysterious emotions, of its
conscious and subconscious activities and relationships. The passions,
the desires, the necessities of life, were as a fine tapestry for her
mind to contemplate. She had no time to sit down and formulate her
thoughts; she did not want to write--but she worked out through her
emotions and through her singing the beautiful and pathetic things she
felt. And she could talk in a fine, poetic melancholy vein on occasion,
though there was so much courage and strength in her young blood that
she was not afraid of any phase of life or what nature might do with the
little substance which she called herself, when it should dissolve.
"Time and change happeneth to us all," she would quote to Eugene and he
would gravely nod his head.

The hotel where he stopped was more pretentious than any he had been
previously acquainted with. He had never had so much money in his life
before, nor had he ever felt called upon to spend it lavishly. The room
he took was--because of what Christina might think--one of the best. He
took Christina's suggestion and invited her, her mother and her brother
to dinner on several occasions; the remainder of the family had not
arrived yet. In return he was invited to breakfast, to lunch and dinner
at the bungalow.

Christina showed on his arrival that she had planned to be with him
alone as much as possible, for she suggested that they make expeditions
to High Hill, to Bold Face, and The Chimney--three surrounding
mountains. She knew of good hotels at seven, ten, fifteen miles distance
to which they could go by train, or else they drive and return by
moonlight. She had selected two or three secluded spots in thickets and
groves where the trees gave way to little open spaces of grass, and in
these they would string a hammock, scatter their books of verse about
and sit down to enjoy the delights of talk and love-making.

Under the influence of this companionship, under cloudless skies and in
the heart of the June weather, Christina finally yielded to an
arrangement which brought Eugene into a relationship which he had never
dreamed possible with her. They had progressed by degrees through all
the subtleties of courtship. They had come to discuss the nature of
passion and emotion, and had swept aside as negligible the conviction
that there was any inherent evil in the most intimate relationship. At
last Christina said frankly:

"I don't want to be married. It isn't for me--not until I've thoroughly
succeeded, anyhow. I'd rather wait--If I could just have you and
singleness too."

"Why do you want to yield yourself to me?" Eugene asked curiously.

"I don't know that I exactly want to. I could do with just your love--if
you were satisfied. It's you that I want to make happy. I want to give
you anything you want."

"Curious girl," observed her lover, smoothing her high forehead with his
hand. "I don't understand you, Christina. I don't know how your mind
works. Why should you? You have everything to lose if worst came to

"Oh, no," she smiled. "I'd marry you then."

"But to do this out of hand, because you love me, because you want me to
be happy!" he paused.

"I don't understand it either, honey boy," she offered, "I just do."

"But why, if you are willing to do this, you wouldn't prefer to live
with me, is what I don't understand."

She took his face between her hands. "I think I understand you better
than you do yourself. I don't think you'd be happy married. You might
not always love me. I might not always love you. You might come to
regret. If we could be happy now you might reach the point where you
wouldn't care any more. Then you see I wouldn't be remorseful thinking
that we had never known happiness."

"What logic!" he exclaimed. "Do you mean to say you wouldn't care any

"Oh, I'd care, but not in the same way. Don't you see, Eugene, I would
have the satisfaction of knowing that even if we did separate you had
had the best of me."

It seemed astounding to Eugene that she should talk in this way--reason
this way. What a curious, sacrificial, fatalistic turn of mind. Could a
young, beautiful, talented girl really be like this? Would anybody on
earth really believe it if they knew? He looked at her and shook his
head sorrowfully.

"To think that the quintessence of life should not stay with us always."
He sighed.

"No, honey boy," she replied, "you want too much. You think you want it
to stay, but you don't. You want it to go. You wouldn't be satisfied to
live with me always, I know it. Take what the gods provide and have no
regrets. Refuse to think; you can, you know."

Eugene gathered her up in his arms. He kissed her over and over,
forgetting in her embrace all the loves he had ever known. She yielded
herself to him gladly, joyously, telling him over and over that it made
her happy.

"If you could only see how nice you are to me you wouldn't wonder," she

He concluded she was the most wonderful being he had ever known. No
woman had ever revealed herself to him so unselfishly in love. No woman
he had ever known appeared to have the courage and the insight to go
thus simply and directly to what she desired. To hear an artist of her
power, a girl of her beauty, discussing calmly whether she should
sacrifice her virtue to love; whether marriage in the customary form was
good for her art; whether she should take him now when they were young
or bow to the conventions and let youth pass, was enough to shock his
still trammelled soul. For after all, and despite his desire for
personal freedom, his intellectual doubts and mental exceptions, he
still had a profound reverence for a home such as that maintained by
Jotham Blue and his wife, and for its results in the form of normal,
healthy, dutiful children. Nature had no doubt attained to this standard
through a long series of difficulties and experiments, and she would not
readily relinquish it. Was it really necessary to abandon it entirely?
Did he want to see a world in which a woman would take him for a little
while as Christina was doing now, and then leave him? His experience
here was making him think, throwing his theories and ideas up in the
air, making a mess of all the notions he had ever formed about things.
He racked his brain over the intricacies of sex and life, sitting on the
great verandas of the hotel and wondering over and over just what the
answer was, and why he could not like other men be faithful to one woman
and be happy. He wondered whether this was really so, and whether he
could not. It seemed to him then that he might. He knew that he did not
understand himself very clearly; that he had no grasp on himself at all
as yet--his tendencies, his possibilities.

These days, under such halcyon conditions, made a profound impression on
him. He was struck with the perfection life could reach at odd moments.
These great quiet hills, so uniform in their roundness, so green, so
peaceful, rested his soul. He and Christina climbed, one day, two
thousand feet to a ledge which jutted out over a valley and commanded
what seemed to him the kingdoms and the powers of the earth--vast
stretches of green land and subdivided fields, little cottage
settlements and towns, great hills that stood up like friendly brothers
to this one in the distance.

"See that man down in that yard," said Christina, pointing to a speck of
a being chopping wood in a front space serving as a garden to a country
cottage fully a mile distant.

"Where?" asked Eugene.

"See where that red barn is, just this side of that clump of
trees?--don't you see? there, where the cows are in that field."

"I don't see any cows."

"Oh, Eugene, what's the matter with your eyes?"

"Oh, now I see," he replied, squeezing her fingers. "He looks like a
cockroach, doesn't he?"

"Yes," she laughed.

"How wide the earth is and how small we are. Now think of that speck
with all his hopes and ambitions--all the machinery of his brain and
nerves and tell me whether any God can care. How can He, Christina?"

"He can't care for any one particular speck much, sweet. He might care
for the idea of man or a race of men as a whole. Still, I'm not sure,
honey. All I know is that I'm happy now."

"And I," he echoed.

Still they dug at this problem, the question of the origin of life--its
why. The tremendous and wearisome age of the earth; the veritable storms
of birth and death that seemed to have raged at different periods, held
them in discussion.

"We can't solve it, Eugenio mio," she laughed. "We might as well go
home. Poor, dear mamma will be wondering where her Christina is. You
know I think she suspects that I'm falling in love with you. She doesn't
care how many men fall in love with me, but if I show the least sign of
a strong preference she begins to worry."

"Have there been many preferences?" he inquired.

"No, but don't ask. What difference does it make? Oh, Eugene, what
difference does it make? I love you now."

"I don't know what difference it makes," he replied, "only there is an
ache that goes with the thought of previous experience. I can't tell you
why it is. It just is."

She looked thoughtfully away.

"Anyhow, no man ever was to me before what you have been. Isn't that
enough? Doesn't that speak?"

"Yes, yes, sweet, it does. Oh, yes it does. Forgive me. I won't grieve
any more."

"Don't, please," she said, "you hurt me as much as you hurt yourself."

There were evenings when he sat on some one of the great verandas and
watched them trim and string the interspaces between the columns with
soft, glowing, Chinese lanterns, preparatory to the evening's dancing.
He loved to see the girls and men of the summer colony arrive, the
former treading the soft grass in filmy white gowns and white slippers,
the latter in white ducks and flannels, gaily chatting as they came.
Christina would come to these affairs with her mother and brother,
beautifully clad in white linen or lawns and laces, and he would be
beside himself with chagrin that he had not practised dancing to the
perfection of the art. He could dance now, but not like her brother or
scores of men he saw upon the waxen floor. It hurt him. At times he
would sit all alone after his splendid evenings with his love, dreaming
of the beauty of it all. The stars would be as a great wealth of diamond
seed flung from the lavish hand of an aimless sower. The hills would
loom dark and tall. There was peace and quiet everywhere.

"Why may not life be always like this?" he would ask, and then he would
answer himself out of his philosophy that it would become deadly after
awhile, as does all unchanging beauty. The call of the soul is for
motion, not peace. Peace after activity for a little while, then
activity again. So must it be. He understood that.

Just before he left for New York, Christina said to him:

"Now, when you see me again I will be Miss Channing of New York. You
will be Mr. Witla. We will almost forget that we were ever here
together. We will scarcely believe that we have seen what we have seen
and done what we have done."

"But, Christina, you talk as though everything were over. It isn't, is

"We can't do anything like this in New York," she sighed. "I haven't
time and you must work."

There was a shade of finality in her tone.

"Oh, Christina, don't talk so. I can't think that way. Please don't."

"I won't," she said. "We'll see. Wait till I get back."

He kissed her a dozen farewells and at the door held her close once

"Will you forsake me?" he asked.

"No, you will forsake me. But remember, dear! Don't you see? You've had
all. Let me be your wood nymph. The rest is commonplace."

He went back to his hotel with an ache in his heart, for he knew they
had gone through all they ever would. She had had her summer with him.
She had given him of herself fully. She wanted to be free to work now.
He could not understand it, but he knew it to be so.


It is a rather dreary thing to come back into the hot city in the summer
after a period of beauty in the mountains. The quiet of the hills was in
Eugene's mind, the glisten and babble of mountain streams, the soar and
poise of hawks and buzzards and eagles sailing the crystal blue. He felt
lonely and sick for awhile, out of touch with work and with practical
life generally. There were little souvenirs of his recent happiness in
the shape of letters and notes from Christina, but he was full of the
premonition of the end which had troubled him on leaving.

He must write to Angela. He had not thought of her all the time he had
been gone. He had been in the habit of writing to her every third or
fourth day at least; while of late his letters had been less passionate
they had remained fairly regular. But now this sudden break coming--it
was fully three weeks--made her think he must be ill, although she had
begun to feel also that he might be changing. His letters had grown
steadily less reminiscent of the joys they had experienced together and
of the happiness they were anticipating, and more inclined to deal with
the color and character of city life and of what he hoped to achieve.
Angela was inclined to excuse much of this on the grounds of the special
effort he was making to achieve distinction and a living income for
themselves. But it was hard to explain three weeks of silence without
something quite serious having happened.

Eugene understood this. He tried to explain it on the grounds of
illness, stating that he was now up and feeling much better. But when
his explanation came, it had the hollow ring of insincerity. Angela
wondered what the truth could be. Was he yielding to the temptation of
that looser life that all artists were supposed to lead? She wondered
and worried, for time was slipping away and he was setting no definite
date for their much discussed nuptials.

The trouble with Angela's position was that the delay involved
practically everything which was important in her life. She was five
years older than Eugene. She had long since lost that atmosphere of
youth and buoyancy which is so characteristic of a girl between eighteen
and twenty-two. Those few short years following, when the body of
maidenhood blooms like a rose and there is about it the freshness and
color of all rich, new, lush life, were behind her. Ahead was that
persistent decline towards something harder, shrewder and less
beautiful. In the case of some persons the decline is slow and the
fragrance of youth lingers for years, the artifices of the dressmaker,
the chemist, and the jeweller being but little needed. In others it is
fast and no contrivance will stay the ravages of a restless, eager,
dissatisfied soul. Sometimes art combines with slowness of decay to make
a woman of almost perennial charm, loveliness of mind matching
loveliness of body, and taste and tact supplementing both. Angela was
fortunate in being slow to fade and she had a loveliness of imagination
and emotion to sustain her; but she had also a restless, anxious
disposition of mind which, if it had not been stayed by the kindly color
of her home life and by the fortunate or unfortunate intervention of
Eugene at a time when she considered her ideal of love to have fairly
passed out of the range of possibility, would already have set on her
face the signs of old maidenhood. She was not of the newer order of
femininity, eager to get out in the world and follow some individual
line of self-development and interest. Rather was she a home woman
wanting some one man to look after and love. The wonder and beauty of
her dream of happiness with Eugene now made the danger of its loss and
the possible compulsory continuance of a humdrum, underpaid, backwoods
existence, heart-sickening.

Meanwhile, as the summer passed, Eugene was casually enlarging his
acquaintance with women. MacHugh and Smite had gone back home for the
summer, and it was a relief from his loneliness to encounter one day in
an editorial office, Norma Whitmore, a dark, keen, temperamental and
moody but brilliant writer and editor who, like others before her, took
a fancy to Eugene. She was introduced to him by Jans Jansen, Art
Director of the paper, and after some light banter she offered to show
him her office.

She led the way to a little room no larger than six by eight where she
had her desk. Eugene noticed that she was lean and sallow, about his own
age or older, and brilliant and vivacious. Her hands took his attention
for they were thin, shapely and artistic. Her eyes burned with a
peculiar lustre and her loose-fitting clothes were draped artistically
about her. A conversation sprang up as to his work, which she knew and
admired, and he was invited to her apartment. He looked at Norma with an
unconsciously speculative eye.

Christina was out of the city, but the memory of her made it impossible
for him to write to Angela in his old vein of devotion. Nevertheless he
still thought of her as charming. He thought that he ought to write more
regularly. He thought that he ought pretty soon to go back and marry
her. He was approaching the point where he could support her in a studio
if they lived economically. But he did not want to exactly.

He had known her now for three years. It was fully a year and a half
since he had seen her last. In the last year his letters had been less
and less about themselves and more and more about everything else. He
was finding the conventional love letters difficult. But he did not
permit himself to realize just what that meant--to take careful stock of
his emotions. That would have compelled him to the painful course of
deciding that he could not marry her, and asking her to be released from
his promise. He did not want to do that. Instead he parleyed, held by
pity for her passing youth and her undeniable affection for him, by his
sense of the unfairness of having taken up so much of her time to the
exclusion of every other person who might have proposed to her, by
sorrow for the cruelty of her position in being left to explain to her
family that she had been jilted. He hated to hurt any person's feelings.
He did not want to be conscious of the grief of any person who had come
to suffering through him and he could not make them suffer very well and
not be conscious. He was too tender hearted. He had pledged himself to
Angela, giving her a ring, begging her to wait, writing her fulsome
letters of protest and desire. Now, after three years, to shame her
before her charming family--old Jotham, her mother, her sisters and
brothers--it seemed a cruel thing to do, and he did not care to
contemplate it.

Angela, with her morbid, passionate, apprehensive nature, did not fail
to see disaster looming in the distance. She loved Eugene passionately
and the pent-up fires of her nature had been waiting all these years the
warrant to express their ardor which marriage alone could confer.
Eugene, by the charm of his manner and person, no less than by the
sensuous character of some of his moods and the subtleties and
refinements of his references to the ties of sex, had stirred her to
anticipate a perfect fruition of her dreams, and she was now eager for
that fruition almost to the point of being willing to sacrifice
virginity itself. The remembrance of the one significant scene between
her and Eugene tormented her. She felt that if his love was to terminate
in indifference now it would have been better to have yielded then. She
wished that she had not tried to save herself. Perhaps there would have
been a child, and he would have been true to her out of a sense of
sympathy and duty. At least she would have had that crowning glory of
womanhood, ardent union with her lover, and if worst had come to worst
she could have died.

She thought of the quiet little lake near her home, its glassy bosom a
mirror to the sky, and how, in case of failure, she would have looked
lying on its sandy bottom, her pale hair diffused by some aimless motion
of the water, her eyes sealed by the end of consciousness, her hands
folded. Her fancy outran her daring. She would not have done this, but
she could dream about it, and it made her distress all the more intense.

As time went by and Eugene's ardor did not revive, this problem of her
love became more harrassing and she began to wonder seriously what she
could do to win him back to her. He had expressed such a violent desire
for her on his last visit, had painted his love in such glowing terms
that she felt convinced he must love her still, though absence and the
excitements of city life had dimmed the memory of her temporarily. She
remembered a line in a comic opera which she and Eugene had seen
together: "Absence is the dark room in which lovers develop negatives"
and this seemed a case in point. If she could get him back, if he could
be near her again, his old fever would develop and she would then find
some way of making him take her, perhaps. It did not occur to her quite
clearly just how this could be done at this time but some vague notion
of self-immolation was already stirring vaguely and disturbingly in her

The trying and in a way disheartening conditions of her home went some
way to sustain this notion. Her sister Marietta was surrounded by a
score of suitors who were as eager for her love as a bee is for the
honey of a flower, and Angela could see that they were already looking
upon herself as an elderly chaperon. Her mother and father watched her
going about her work and grieved because so good a girl should be made
to suffer for want of a proper understanding. She could not conceal her
feelings entirely and they could see at times that she was unhappy. She
could see that they saw it. It was hard to have to explain to her
sisters and brothers, who occasionally asked after Eugene, that he was
doing all right, and never be able to say that he was coming for her
some day soon.

At first Marietta had been envious of her. She thought she would like to
win Eugene for herself, and only consideration for Angela's age and the
fact that she had not been so much sought after had deterred her. Now
that Eugene was obviously neglecting her, or at least delaying beyond
any reasonable period, she was deeply sorry. Once, before she had grown
into the age of courtship, she had said to Angela: "I'm going to be nice
to the men. You're too cold. You'll never get married." And Angela had
realized that it was not a matter of "too cold," but an innate prejudice
against most of the types she met. And then the average man did not take
to her. She could not spur herself to pleasure in their company. It took
a fire like Eugene's to stir her mightily, and once having known that
she could brook no other. Marietta realized this too. Now because of
these three years she had cut herself off from other men, particularly
the one who had been most attentive to her--faithful Victor Dean. The
one thing that might save Angela from being completely ignored was a
spirit of romance which kept her young in looks as in feelings.

With the fear of desertion in her mind Angela began to hint in her
letters to Eugene that he should come back to see her, to express the
hope in her letters that their marriage need not--because of any
difficulty of establishing himself--be postponed much longer. She said
to him over and over that she could be happy with him in a cottage and
that she so longed to see him again. Eugene began to ask himself what he
wanted to do.

The fact that on the passional side Angela appealed to him more than any
woman he had ever known was a saving point in her favor at this
juncture. There was a note in her make-up which was stronger, deeper,
more suggestive of joy to come than anything he had found elsewhere. He
remembered keenly the wonderful days he had spent with her--the one
significant night when she begged him to save her against herself. All
the beauty of the season with which she was surrounded at that time; the
charm of her family, the odor of flowers and the shade of trees served
to make a setting for her delightfulness which still endured with him as
fresh as yesterday. Now, without having completed that romance--a very
perfect flower--could he cast it aside?

At this time he was not entangled with any woman. Miriam Finch was too
conservative and intellectual; Norma Whitmore not attractive enough. As
for some other charming examples of femininity whom he had met here and
there, he had not been drawn to them or they to him. Emotionally he was
lonely and this for him was always a very susceptible mood. He could not
make up his mind that the end had come with Angela.

It so happened that Marietta, after watching her sister's love affair
some time, reached the conclusion that she ought to try to help her.
Angela was obviously concealing a weariness of heart which was telling
on her peace of mind and her sweetness of disposition. She was unhappy
and it grieved her sister greatly. The latter loved her in a
whole-hearted way, in spite of the fact that their affections might
possibly have clashed over Eugene, and she thought once of writing in a
sweet way and telling him how things were. She thought he was good and
kind, that he loved Angela, that perhaps he was delaying as her sister
said until he should have sufficient means to marry well, and that if
the right word were said now he would cease chasing a phantom fortune
long enough to realize that it were better to take Angela while they
were still young, than to wait until they were so old that the romance
of marriage would for them be over. She revolved this in her mind a long
time, picturing to herself how sweet Angela really was, and finally
nerved herself to pen the following letter, which she sent.

Dear Eugene:

You will be surprised to get a letter from me and I want you to promise
me that you will never say anything about it to anyone--above all never
to Angela. Eugene, I have been watching her for a long time now and I
know she is not happy. She is so desperately in love with you. I notice
when a letter does not come promptly she is downcast and I can't help
seeing that she is longing to have you here with her. Eugene, why don't
you marry Angela? She is lovely and attractive now and she is as good as
she is beautiful. She doesn't want to wait for a fine house and
luxuries--no girl wants to do that, Eugene, when she loves as I know
Angela does you. She would rather have you now when you are both young
and can enjoy life than any fine house or nice things you might give her
later. Now, I haven't talked to her at all, Eugene--never one word--and
I know it would hurt her terribly if she thought I had written to you.
She would never forgive me. But I can't help it. I can't bear to see her
grieving and longing, and I know that when you know you will come and
get her. Don't ever indicate in any way, please, that I wrote to you.
Don't write to me unless you want to very much. I would rather you
didn't. And tear up this letter. But do come for her soon, Eugene,
please do. She wants you. And she will make you a perfectly wonderful
wife for she is a wonderful girl. We all love her so--papa and mamma and
all. I hope you will forgive me. I can't help it.

   "With love I am yours,


When Eugene received this letter he was surprised and astonished, but
also distressed for himself and Angela and Marietta and the whole
situation. The tragedy of this situation appealed to him perhaps as much
from the dramatic as from the personal point of view. Little Angela,
with her yellow hair and classic face. What a shame that they could not
be together as she wished; as really, in a way, he wished. She was
beautiful--no doubt of that. And there was a charm about her which was
as alluring as that of any girl barring the intellectually exceptional.
Her emotions in a way were deeper than those of Miriam Finch and
Christina Channing. She could not reason about them--that was all. She
just felt them. He saw all the phases of her anguish--the probable
attitude of her parents, her own feelings at being looked at by them,
the way her friends wondered. It was a shame, no doubt of that--a cruel
situation. Perhaps he had better go back. He could be happy with her.
They could live in a studio and no doubt things would work out all
right. Had he better be cruel and not go? He hated to think of it.

Anyhow he did not answer Marietta's letter, and he did tear it up into a
thousand bits, as she requested. "If Angela knew no doubt she would feel
wretched," he thought.

In the meanwhile Angela was thinking, and her brooding led her to the
conclusion that it might be advisable, if ever her lover came back, to
yield herself in order that he might feel compelled to take her. She was
no reasoner about life in any big sense. Her judgment of affairs was
more confused at this time than at a later period. She had no clear
conception of how foolish any trickery of this sort would be. She loved
Eugene, felt that she must have him, felt that she would be willing to
die rather than lose him and the thought of trickery came only as a last
resource. If he refused her she was determined on one thing--the lake.
She would quit this dreary world where love was crossed with despair in
its finest moments; she would forget it all. If only there were rest and
silence on the other side that would be enough.

The year moved on toward spring and because of some note of this,
reiterated in pathetic phrases, he came to feel that he must go back.
Marietta's letter preyed on his mind. The intensity of Angela's attitude
made him feel that something desperate would happen. He could not, in
cold blood, sit down and write her that he would not see her any more.
The impressions of Blackwood were too fresh in his mind--the summer
incense and green beauty of the world in which she lived. He wrote in
April that he would come again in June, and Angela was beside herself
with joy.

One of the things which helped Eugene to this conclusion was the fact
that Christina Channing was not coming back from Europe that year. She
had written a few times during the winter, but very guardedly. A casual
reader could not have drawn from what she said that there had ever been
anything between them. He had written much more ardently, of course, but
she had chosen to ignore his eager references, making him feel by
degrees that he was not to know much of her in the future. They were
going to be good friends, but not necessarily lovers nor eventually
husband and wife. It irritated him to think she could be so calm about a
thing which to him seemed so important. It hurt his pride to think she
could so deliberately throw him over. Finally he began to be incensed,
and then Angela's fidelity appeared in a much finer light. There was a
girl who would not treat him so. She really loved him. She was faithful
and true. So his promised trip began to look much more attractive, and
by June he was in a fever to see her.


The beautiful June weather arrived and with it Eugene took his departure
once more for Blackwood. He was in a peculiar mood, for while he was
anxious to see Angela again it was with the thought that perhaps he was
making a mistake. A notion of fatality was beginning to run through his
mind. Perhaps he was destined to take her! and yet, could anything be
more ridiculous? He could decide. He had deliberately decided to go back
there--or had he? He admitted to himself that his passion was drawing
him--in fact he could not see that there was anything much in love
outside of passion. Desire! Wasn't that all that pulled two people
together? There was some little charm of personality above that, but
desire was the keynote. And if the physical attraction were strong
enough, wasn't that sufficient to hold two people together? Did you
really need so much more? It was logic based on youth, enthusiasm and
inexperience, but it was enough to hold him for the time being--to
soothe him. To Angela he was not drawn by any of the things which drew
him to Miriam Finch and Norma Whitmore, nor was there the wonderful art
of Christina Channing. Still he was going.

His interest in Norma Whitmore had increased greatly as the winter
passed. In this woman he had found an intellect as broadening and
refining as any he had encountered. Her taste for the exceptional in
literature and art was as great as that of anyone he had ever known and
it was just as individual. She ran to impressive realistic fiction in
literature and to the kind of fresh-from-the-soil art which Eugene
represented. Her sense of just how big and fresh was the thing he was
trying to do was very encouraging, and she was carrying the word about
town to all her friends that he was doing it. She had even gone so far
as to speak to two different art dealers asking them why they had not
looked into what seemed to her his perfectly wonderful drawings.

"Why, they're astonishing in their newness," she told Eberhard Zang, one
of the important picture dealers on Fifth Avenue. She knew him from
having gone there to borrow pictures for reproduction.

"Witla! Witla!" he commented in his conservative German way, rubbing his
chin, "I doand remember seeing anything by him."

"Of course you don't," replied Norma persistently. "He's new, I tell
you. He hasn't been here so very long. You get _Truth_ for some week in
last month--I forget which one--and see that picture of Greeley Square.
It will show you what I mean."

"Witla! Witla!" repeated Zang, much as a parrot might fix a sound in its
memory. "Tell him to come in here and see me some day. I should like to
see some of his things."

"I will," said Norma, genially. She was anxious to have Eugene go, but
he was more anxious to get a lot of things done before he had an
exhibition. He did not want to risk an impression with anything short of
a rather extensive series. And his collection of views was not complete
at that time. Besides he had a much more significant art dealer in mind.

He and Norma had reached the point by this time where they were like
brother and sister, or better yet, two good men friends. He would slip
his arm about her waist when entering her rooms and was free to hold her
hands or pat her on the arm or shoulder. There was nothing more than
strong good feeling on his part, while on hers a burning affection might
have been inspired, but his genial, brotherly attitude convinced her
that it was useless. He had never told her of any of his other women
friends and he was wondering as he rode west how she and Miriam Finch
would take his marriage with Angela, supposing that he ever did marry
her. As for Christina Channing, he did not want to think--really did not
dare to think of her very much. Some sense of lost beauty came to him
out of that experience--a touch of memory that had a pang in it.

Chicago in June was just a little dreary to him with its hurry of life,
its breath of past experience, the Art Institute, the _Daily Globe_
building, the street and house in which Ruby had lived. He wondered
about her (as he had before) the moment he neared the city, and had a
strong desire to go and look her up. Then he visited the _Globe_
offices, but Mathews had gone. Genial, cheerful Jerry had moved to
Philadelphia recently, taking a position on the Philadelphia _North
American_, leaving Howe alone, more finicky and picayune than ever.
Goldfarb, of course, was gone and Eugene felt out of it. He was glad to
take the train for Blackwood, for he felt lonesome. He left the city
with quite an ache for old times in his heart and the feeling that life
was a jumble of meaningless, strange and pathetic things.

"To think that we should grow old," he pondered, "that things that were
as real as these things were to me, should become mere memories."

The time just before he reached Blackwood was one of great emotional
stress for Angela. Now she was to learn whether he really loved her as
much as he had. She was to feel the joy of his presence, the subtle
influence of his attitude. She was to find whether she could hold him or
not. Marietta, who on hearing that he was coming, had rather plumed
herself that her letter had had something to do with it, was afraid that
her sister would not make good use of this opportune occasion. She was
anxious that Angela should look her best, and made suggestions as to
things she might wear, games she might play (they had installed tennis
and croquet as part of the home pleasures since he had been there last)
and places they might go to. Marietta was convinced that Angela was not
artful enough--not sufficiently subtle in her presentation of her
charms. He could be made to feel very keen about her if she dressed
right and showed herself to the best advantage. Marietta herself
intended to keep out of the way as much as possible when Eugene arrived,
and to appear at great disadvantage in the matter of dress and
appearance when seen; for she had become a perfect beauty and was a
breaker of hearts without conscious effort.

"You know that string of coral beads I have, Angel Face," she asked
Angela one morning some ten days before Eugene arrived. "Wear them with
that tan linen dress of mine and your tan shoes some day for Eugene.
You'll look stunning in those things and he'll like you. Why don't you
take the new buggy and drive over to Blackwood to meet him? That's it.
You must meet him."

"Oh, I don't think I want to, Babyette," she replied. She was afraid of
this first impression. She did not want to appear to run after him.
Babyette was a nickname which had been applied to Marietta in childhood
and had never been dropped.

"Oh, pshaw, Angel Face, don't be so backward! You're the shyest thing I
know. Why that's nothing. He'll like you all the better for treating him
just a little smartly. You do that now, will you?"

"I can't," replied Angela. "I can't do it that way. Let him come over
here first; then I'll drive him over some afternoon."

"Oh, Angel Face! Well, anyhow, when he comes you must wear that little
rose flowered house dress and put a wreath of green leaves in your

"Oh, I won't do anything of the sort, Babyette," exclaimed Angela.

"Yes, you will," replied her sister. "Now you just have to do what I
tell you for once. That dress looks beautiful on you and the wreath will
make it perfect."

"It isn't the dress. I know that's nice. It's the wreath."

Marietta was incensed by this bit of pointless reserve.

"Oh, Angela," she exclaimed, "don't be so silly. You're older than I am,
but I know more about men in a minute than you'll ever know. Don't you
want him to like you? You'll have to be more daring--goodness! Lots of
girls would go a lot farther than that."

She caught her sister about the waist and looked into her eyes. "Now
you've got to wear it," she added finally, and Angela understood that
Marietta wanted her to entice Eugene by any means in her power to make
him declare himself finally and set a definite date or take her back to
New York with him.

There were other conversations in which a trip to the lake was
suggested, games of tennis, with Angela wearing her white tennis suit
and shoes, a country dance which might be got up--there were rumors of
one to be given in the new barn of a farmer some seven miles away.
Marietta was determined that Angela should appear youthful, gay, active,
just the things which she knew instinctively would fascinate Eugene.

Finally Eugene came. He arrived at Blackwood at noon. Despite her
objections Angela met him, dressed smartly and, as urged by Marietta,
carrying herself with an air. She hoped to impress Eugene with a sense
of independence, but when she saw him stepping down from the train in
belted corduroy travelling suit with a grey English travelling cap,
carrying a green leather bag of the latest design, her heart misgave
her. He was so worldly now, so experienced. You could see by his manner
that this country place meant little or nothing to him. He had tasted of
the world at large.

Angela had stayed in her buggy at the end of the depot platform and she
soon caught Eugene's eye and waved to him. He came briskly forward.

"Why, sweet," he exclaimed, "here you are. How nice you look!" He jumped
up beside her, surveying her critically and she could feel his examining
glance. After the first pleasant impression he sensed the difference
between his new world and hers and was a little depressed by it. She was
a little older, no doubt of that. You cannot hope and yearn and worry
for three years and not show it. And yet she was fine and tender and
sympathetic and emotional. He felt all this. It hurt him a little for
her sake and his too.

"Well, how have you been?" he asked. They were in the confines of the
village and no demonstration could be made. Until the quiet of a country
road could be reached all had to be formal.

"Oh, just the same, Eugene, longing to see you."

She looked into his eyes and he felt the impact of that emotional force
which governed her when she was near him. There was something in the
chemistry of her being which roused to blazing the ordinarily dormant
forces of his sympathies. She tried to conceal her real feeling--to
pretend gaiety and enthusiasm, but her eyes betrayed her. Something
roused in him now at her look--a combined sense of emotion and desire.

"It's so fine to be out in the country again," he said, pressing her
hand, for he was letting her drive. "After the city, to see you and the
green fields!" He looked about at the little one-storey cottages, each
with a small plot of grass, a few trees, a neat confining fence. After
New York and Chicago, a village like this was quaint.

"Do you love me just as much as ever?"

She nodded her head. They reached a strip of yellow road, he asking
after her father, her mother, her brothers and sisters, and when he saw
that they were unobserved he slipped his arm about her and drew her head
to him.

"Now we can," he said.

She felt the force of his desire but she missed that note of adoration
which had seemed to characterize his first lovemaking. How true it was
he had changed! He must have. The city had made her seem less
significant. It hurt her to think that life should treat her so. But
perhaps she could win him back--could hold him anyhow.

They drove over toward Okoonee, a little crossroads settlement, near a
small lake of the same name, a place which was close to the Blue house,
and which the Blue's were wont to speak of as "home." On the way Eugene
learned that her youngest brother David was a cadet at West Point now
and doing splendidly. Samuel had become western freight agent of the
Great Northern and was on the way to desirable promotion. Benjamin had
completed his law studies and was practising in Racine. He was
interested in politics and was going to run for the state legislature.
Marietta was still the gay carefree girl she had always been, not at all
inclined to choose yet among her many anxious suitors. Eugene thought of
her letter to him--wondered if she would look her thoughts into his eyes
when he saw her.

"Oh, Marietta," Angela replied when Eugene asked after her, "she's just
as dangerous as ever. She makes all the men make love to her."

Eugene smiled. Marietta was always a pleasing thought to him. He wished
for the moment that it was Marietta instead of Angela that he was coming
to see.

She was as shrewd as she was kind in this instance. Her appearance on
meeting Eugene was purposely indifferent and her attitude anything but
coaxing and gay. At the same time she suffered a genuine pang of
feeling, for Eugene appealed to her. If it were anybody but Angela, she
thought, how she would dress and how quickly she would be coquetting
with him. Then his love would be won by her and she felt that she could
hold it. She had great confidence in her ability to keep any man, and
Eugene was a man she would have delighted to hold. As it was she kept
out of his way, took sly glances at him here and there, wondered if
Angela would truly win him. She was so anxious for Angela's sake. Never,
never, she told herself, would she cross her sister's path.

At the Blue homestead he was received as cordially as before. After an
hour it quite brought back the feeling of three years before. These open
fields, this old house and its lovely lawn, all served to awaken the
most poignant sensations. One of Marietta's beaux, over from Waukesha,
appeared after Eugene had greeted Mrs. Blue and Marietta, and the latter
persuaded him to play a game of tennis with Angela. She invited Eugene
to make it a four with her, but not knowing how he refused.

Angela changed to her tennis suit and Eugene opened his eyes to her
charms. She was very attractive on the court, quick, flushed, laughing.
And when she laughed she had a charming way of showing her even, small,
white teeth. She quite awakened a feeling of interest--she looked so
dainty and frail. When he saw her afterward in the dark, quiet parlor,
he gathered her to his heart with much of the old ardour. She felt the
quick change of feeling. Marietta was right. Eugene loved gaiety and
color. Although on the way home she had despaired this was much more

Eugene rarely entered on anything half heartedly. If interested at all
he was greatly interested. He could so yield himself to the glamour of a
situation as to come finally to believe that he was something which he
was not. Thus, now he was beginning to accept this situation as Angela
and Marietta wished he should, and to see her in somewhat the old light.
He overlooked things which in his New York studio, surrounded by the
influences which there modified his judgment, he would have seen. Angela
was not young enough for him. She was not liberal in her views. She was
charming, no doubt of that, but he could not bring her to an
understanding of his casual acceptance of life. She knew nothing of his
real disposition and he did not tell her. He played the part of a
seemingly single-minded Romeo, and as such he was from a woman's point
of view beautiful to contemplate. In his own mind he was coming to see
that he was fickle but he still did not want to admit it to himself.

There was a night of stars after an evening of June perfection. At five
old Jotham came in from the fields, as dignified and patriarchal as
ever. He greeted Eugene with a hearty handshake, for he admired him. "I
see some of your work now and then," he said, "in these monthly
magazines. It's fine. There's a young minister down here near the lake
that's very anxious to meet you. He likes to get hold of anything you
do, and I always send the books down as soon as Angela gets through with

He used the words books and magazines interchangeably, and spoke as
though they were not much more important to him than the leaves of the
trees, as indeed, they were not. To a mind used to contemplating the
succession of crops and seasons, all life with its multitudinous
interplay of shapes and forms seemed passing shadows. Even men were like
leaves that fall.

Eugene was drawn to old Jotham as a filing to a magnet. His was just the
type of mind that appealed to him, and Angela gained by the radiated
glory of her father. If he was so wonderful she must be something above
the average of womanhood. Such a man could not help but produce
exceptional children.

Left alone together it was hardly possible for Angela and Eugene not to
renew the old relationship on the old basis. Having gone as far as he
had the first time it was natural that he should wish to go as far again
and further. After dinner, when she turned to him from her room, arrayed
in a soft evening dress of clinging texture--somewhat low in the neck by
request of Marietta, who had helped her to dress--Eugene was conscious
of her emotional perturbation. He himself was distraught, for he did not
know what he would do--how far he would dare to trust himself. He was
always troubled when dealing with his physical passion, for it was a
raging lion at times. It seemed to overcome him quite as a drug might or
a soporific fume. He would mentally resolve to control himself, but
unless he instantly fled there was no hope, and he did not seem able to
run away. He would linger and parley, and in a few moments it was master
and he was following its behest blindly, desperately, to the point
almost of exposure and destruction.

Tonight when Angela came back he was cogitating, wondering what it might
mean. Should he? Would he marry her? Could he escape? They sat down to
talk, but presently he drew her to him. It was the old story--moment
after moment of increasing feeling. Presently she, from the excess of
longing and waiting was lost to all sense of consideration. And he--

"I shall have to go away, Eugene," she pleaded, when he carried her
recklessly into his room, "if anything happens. I cannot stay here."

"Don't talk," he said. "You can come to me."

"You mean it, Eugene, surely?" she begged.

"As sure as I'm holding you here," he replied.

At midnight Angela lifted frightened, wondering, doubting eyes, feeling
herself the most depraved creature. Two pictures were in her mind
alternately and with pendulum-like reiteration. One was a composite of a
marriage altar and a charming New York studio with friends coming in to
see them much as he had often described to her. The other was of the
still blue waters of Okoonee with herself lying there pale and still.
Yes, she would die if he did not marry her now. Life would not be worth
while. She would not force him. She would slip out some night when it
was too late and all hope had been abandoned--when exposure was
near--and the next day they would find her.

Little Marietta how she would cry. And old Jotham--she could see him,
but he would never be really sure of the truth. And her mother. "Oh God
in heaven," she thought, "how hard life is! How terrible it can be."


The atmosphere of the house after this night seemed charged with
reproach to Eugene, although it took on no semblance of reality in
either look or word. When he awoke in the morning and looked through the
half closed shutters to the green world outside he felt a sense of
freshness and of shame. It was cruel to come into such a home as this
and do a thing as mean as he had done. After all, philosophy or no
philosophy, didn't a fine old citizen like Jotham, honest, upright,
genuine in his moral point of view and his observance of the golden
rule, didn't he deserve better from a man whom he so sincerely admired?
Jotham had been so nice to him. Their conversations together were so
kindly and sympathetic. Eugene felt that Jotham believed him to be an
honest man. He knew he had that appearance. He was frank, genial,
considerate, not willing to condemn anyone--but this sex question--that
was where he was weak. And was not the whole world keyed to that? Did
not the decencies and the sanities of life depend on right moral
conduct? Was not the world dependent on how the homes were run? How
could anyone be good if his mother and father had not been good before
him? How could the children of the world expect to be anything if people
rushed here and there holding illicit relations? Take his sister Myrtle,
now--would he have wanted her rifled in this manner? In the face of this
question he was not ready to say exactly what he wanted or was willing
to countenance. Myrtle was a free agent, as was every other girl. She
could do as she pleased. It might not please him exactly but--he went
round and round from one problem to another, trying to untie this
Gordian knot. One thing, this home had appeared sweet and clean when he
came into it; now it was just a little tarnished, and by him! Or was it?
His mind was always asking this question. There was nothing that he was
actually accepting as true any more. He was going round in a ring asking
questions of this proposition and that. Are you true? And are you true?
And are you true? And all the while he was apparently not getting
anywhere. It puzzled him, this life. Sometimes it shamed him. This deed
shamed him. And he asked himself whether he was wrong to be ashamed or
not. Perhaps he was just foolish. Was not life made for living, not
worrying? He had not created his passions and desires.

He threw open the shutters and there was the bright day. Everything was
so green outside, the flowers in bloom, the trees casting a cool, lovely
shade, the birds twittering. Bees were humming. He could smell the
lilacs. "Dear God," he exclaimed, throwing his arms above his head, "How
lovely life is! How beautiful! Oh!" He drew in a deep breath of the
flower and privet laden air. If only he could live always like this--for
ever and ever.

When he had sponged himself with cold water and dressed, putting on a
soft negligée shirt with turn-down collar and dark flowing tie, he
issued forth clean and fresh. Angela was there to greet him. Her face
was pale but she looked intensely sweet because of her sadness.

"There, there," he said, touching her chin, "less of that now!"

"I told them that I had a headache," she said. "So I have. Do you

"I understand your headache," he laughed. "But everything is all
right--very much all right. Isn't this a lovely day!"

"Beautiful," replied Angela sadly.

"Cheer up," he insisted. "Don't worry. Everything is coming out fine."
He walked to the window and stared out.

"I'll have your breakfast ready in a minute," she said, and, pressing
his hand, left him.

Eugene went out to the hammock. He was so deliciously contented and
joyous now that he saw the green world about him, that he felt that
everything was all right again. The vigorous blooming forces of nature
everywhere present belied the sense of evil and decay to which mortality
is so readily subject. He felt that everything was justified in youth
and love, particularly where mutual affection reigned. Why should he not
take Angela? Why should they not be together? He went in to breakfast at
her call, eating comfortably of the things she provided. He felt the
easy familiarity and graciousness of the conqueror. Angela on her part
felt the fear and uncertainty of one who has embarked upon a dangerous
voyage. She had set sail--whither? At what port would she land? Was it
the lake or his studio? Would she live and be happy or would she die to
face a black uncertainty? Was there a hell as some preachers insisted?
Was there a gloomy place of lost souls such as the poets described? She
looked into the face of this same world which Eugene found so beautiful
and its very beauty trembled with forebodings of danger.

And there were days and days yet to be lived of this. For all her fear,
once having tasted of the forbidden fruit, it was sweet and inviting.
She could not go near Eugene, nor he near her but this flush of emotion
would return.

In the daylight she was too fearful, but when the night came with its
stars, its fresh winds, its urge to desire, her fears could not stand in
their way. Eugene was insatiable and she was yearning. The slightest
touch was as fire to tow. She yielded saying she would not yield.

The Blue family were of course blissfully ignorant of what was
happening. It seemed so astonishing to Angela at first that the very air
did not register her actions in some visible way. That they should be
able thus to be alone was not so remarkable, seeing that Eugene's
courtship was being aided and abetted, for her sake, but that her lapse
should not be exposed by some sinister influence seemed
strange--accidental and subtly ominous. Something would happen--that was
her fear. She had not the courage of her desire or need.

By the end of the week, though Eugene was less ardent and more or less
oppressed by the seeming completeness with which he had conquered, he
was not ready to leave. He was sorry to go, for it ended a honeymoon of
sweetness and beauty--all the more wonderful and enchanting because so
clandestine--yet he was beginning to be aware that he had bound himself
in chains of duty and responsibility. Angela had thrown herself on his
mercy and his sense of honor to begin with. She had exacted a promise of
marriage--not urgently, and as one who sought to entrap him, but with
the explanation that otherwise life must end in disaster for her. Eugene
could look in her face and see that it would. And now that he had had
his way and plumbed the depths of her emotions and desires he had a
higher estimate of her personality. Despite the fact that she was older
than he, there was a breath of youth and beauty here that held him. Her
body was exquisite. Her feeling about life and love was tender and
beautiful. He wished he could make true her dreams of bliss without
injury to himself.

It so turned out that as his visit was drawing to a close Angela decided
that she ought to go to Chicago, for there were purchases which must be
made. Her mother wanted her to go and she decided that she would go with
Eugene. This made the separation easier, gave them more time to talk.
Her usual plan was to stay with her aunt and she was going there now.

On the way she asked over and over what he would think of her in the
future; whether what had passed would not lower her in his eyes. He did
not feel that it would. Once she said to him sadly--"only death or
marriage can help me now."

"What do you mean?" he asked, her yellow head pillowed on his shoulder,
her dark blue eyes looking sadly into his.

"That if you don't marry me I'll have to kill myself. I can't stay at

He thought of her with her beautiful body, her mass of soft hair all
tarnished in death.

"You wouldn't do that?" he asked unbelievingly.

"Yes, I would," she said sadly. "I must, I will."

"Hush, Angel Face," he pleaded. "You won't do anything like that. You
won't have to. I'll marry you--How would you do it?"

"Oh, I've thought it all out," she continued gloomily. "You know that
little lake. I'd drown myself."

"Don't, sweetheart," he pleaded. "Don't talk that way. It's terrible.
You won't have to do anything like that."

To think of her under the waters of little Okoonee, with its green
banks, and yellow sandy shores. All her love come to this! All her
passion! Her death would be upon his head and he could not stand the
thought of that. It frightened him. Such tragedies occasionally appeared
in the papers with all the pathetic details convincingly set forth, but
this should not enter his life. He would marry her. She was lovely after
all. He would have to. He might as well make up his mind to that now. He
began to speculate how soon it might be. For the sake of her family she
wanted no secret marriage but one which, if they could not be present at
it, they could at least know was taking place. She was willing to come
East--that could be arranged. But they must be married. Eugene realized
the depth of her conventional feeling so keenly that it never occurred
to him to suggest an alternative. She would not consent, would scorn him
for it. The only alternative, she appeared to believe, was death.

One evening--the last--when it was necessary for her to return to
Blackwood, and he had seen her off on the train, her face a study in
sadness, he rode out gloomily to Jackson Park where he had once seen a
beautiful lake in the moonlight. When he reached there the waters of the
lake were still suffused and tinged with lovely suggestions of lavender,
pink and silver, for this was near the twenty-first of June. The trees
to the east and west were dark. The sky showed a last blush of orange.
Odours were about--warm June fragrance. He thought now, as he walked
about the quiet paths where the sand and pebbles crunched lightly
beneath his feet, of all the glory of this wonderful week. How dramatic
was life; how full of romance. This love of Angela's, how beautiful.
Youth was with him--love. Would he go on to greater days of beauty or
would he stumble, idling his time, wasting his substance in riotous
living? Was this riotous living? Would there be evil fruition of his
deeds? Would he really love Angela after he married her? Would they be

Thus he stood by the bank of this still lake, studying the water,
marvelling at the subtleties of reflected radiance, feeling the artist's
joy in perfect natural beauty, twining and intertwining it all with
love, death, failure, fame. It was romantic to think that in such a
lake, if he were unkind, would Angela be found. By such a dark as was
now descending would all her bright dreams be submerged. It would be
beautiful as romance. He could imagine a great artist like Daudet or
Balzac making a great story out of it. It was even a subject for some
form of romantic expression in art. Poor Angela! If he were a great
portrait painter he would paint her. He thought of some treatment of her
in the nude with that mass of hair of hers falling about her neck and
breasts. It would be beautiful. Should he marry her? Yes, though he was
not sure of the outcome, he must. It might be a mistake but--

He stared at the fading surface of the lake, silver, lavender, leaden
gray. Overhead a vivid star was already shining. How would it be with
her if she were really below those still waters? How would it be with
him? It would be too desperate, too regretful. No, he must marry her. It
was in this mood that he returned to the city, the ache of life in his
heart. It was in this mood that he secured his grip from the hotel and
sought the midnight train for New York. For once Ruby, Miriam,
Christina, were forgotten. He was involved in a love drama which meant
life or death to Angela, peace or reproach of conscience to himself in
the future. He could not guess what the outcome would be, but he felt
that he must marry her--how soon he could not say. Circumstances would
dictate that. From present appearances it must be immediately. He must
see about a studio, announce the news of his departure to Smite and
MacHugh; make a special effort to further his art ambitions so that he
and Angela would have enough to live on. He had talked so glowingly of
his art life that now, when the necessity for demonstrating it was at
hand, he was troubled as to what the showing might be. The studio had to
be attractive. He would need to introduce his friends. All the way back
to New York he turned this over in his mind--Smite, MacHugh, Miriam,
Norma, Wheeler, Christina--what would Christina think if she ever
returned to New York and found him married? There was no question but
that there was a difference between Angela and these. It was
something--a matter of courage--more soul, more daring, more awareness,
perhaps--something. When they saw her would they think he had made a
mistake, would they put him down as a fool? MacHugh was going with a
girl, but she was a different type--intellectual, smart. He thought and
thought, but he came back to the same conclusion always. He would have
to marry her. There was no way out. He would have to.


The studio of Messrs. Smite, MacHugh and Witla in Waverley Place was
concerned the following October with a rather picturesque event. Even in
the city the time when the leaves begin to yellow and fall brings a
sense of melancholy, augmented by those preliminaries of winter, gray,
lowery days, with scraps of paper, straws, bits of wood blown about by
gusty currents of air through the streets, making it almost disagreeable
to be abroad. The fear of cold and storm and suffering among those who
have little was already apparent. Apparent too was the air of renewed
vitality common to those who have spent an idle summer and are anxious
to work again. Shopping and marketing and barter and sale were at high
key. The art world, the social world, the manufacturing world, the
professional worlds of law, medicine, finance, literature, were bubbling
with a feeling of the necessity to do and achieve. The whole city, stung
by the apprehension of winter, had an atmosphere of emprise and energy.

In this atmosphere, with a fairly clear comprehension of the elements
which were at work making the colour of the life about him, was Eugene,
digging away at the task he had set himself. Since leaving Angela he had
come to the conclusion that he must complete the jointings for the
exhibition which had been running in his mind during the last two years.
There was no other way for him to make a notable impression--he saw
that. Since he had returned he had gone through various experiences: the
experience of having Angela tell him that she was sure there was
something wrong with her; an impression sincere enough, but based on an
excited and overwrought imagination of evil to follow, and having no
foundation in fact. Eugene was as yet, despite his several experiences,
not sufficiently informed in such affairs to know. His lack of courage
would have delayed him from asking if he had known. In the next place,
facing this crisis, he had declared that he would marry her, and because
of her distressed condition he thought he might as well do it now. He
had wanted time to do some of the pictures he was working on, to take in
a little money for drawing, to find a suitable place to live in. He had
looked at various studios in various sections of the city and had found
nothing, as yet, which answered to his taste or his purse. Anything with
a proper light, a bath, a suitable sleeping room, and an inconspicuous
chamber which might be turned into a kitchen, was difficult to find.
Prices were high, ranging from fifty to one hundred and twenty-five and
one hundred and fifty a month. There were some new studios being erected
for the rich loungers and idlers which commanded, so he understood,
three or four thousand dollars a year. He wondered if he should ever
attain to any such magnificence through his art.

Again, in taking a studio for Angela and himself there was the matter of
furniture. The studio he had with Smite and MacHugh was more or less of
a camp. The work room was bare of carpets or rugs. The two folding beds
and the cot which graced their individual chambers were heirlooms from
ancient predecessors--substantial but shabby. Beyond various drawings,
three easels, and a chest of drawers for each, there was no suitable
household equipment. A woman came twice a week to clean, send out the
linen, and make up the beds.

To live with Angela required, in his judgment, many and much more
significant things. His idea of a studio was some such one as that now
occupied by Miriam Finch or Norma Whitmore. There ought to be furniture
of a period--old Flemish or Colonial, Heppelwhite or Chippendale or
Sheraton, such as he saw occasionally knocking about in curio shops and
second hand stores. It could be picked up if he had time. He was
satisfied that Angela knew nothing of these things. There ought to be
rugs, hangings of tapestry, bits of brass, pewter, copper, old silver,
if he could afford it. He had an idea of some day obtaining a figure of
the Christ in brass or plaster, hung upon a rough cross of walnut or
teak, which he could hang or stand in some corner as one might a shrine
and place before it two great candlesticks with immense candles smoked
and dripping with wax. These lighted in a dark studio, with the outlines
of the Christ flickering in the shadows behind would give the desired
atmosphere to his studio. Such an equipment as he dreamed of would have
cost in the neighborhood of two thousand dollars.

Of course this was not to be thought of at this period. He had no more
than that in ready cash. He was writing to Angela about his difficulties
in finding a suitable place, when he heard of a studio in Washington
Square South, which its literary possessor was going to quit for the
winter. It was, so he understood, handsomely furnished, and was to be
let for the rent of the studio. The owner wanted someone who would take
care of it by occupying it for him until he should return the following
fall. Eugene hurried round to look at it and, taken with the location,
the appearance of the square from the windows, the beauty of the
furnishings, felt that he would like to live here. This would be the way
to introduce Angela to New York. This would be the first and proper
impression to give her. Here, as in every well arranged studio he had
yet seen were books, pictures, bits of statuary, implements of copper
and some few of silver. There was a great fish net dyed green and
spangled with small bits of mirror to look like scales which hung as a
veil between the studio proper and an alcove. There was a piano done in
black walnut, and odd pieces of furniture, Mission, Flemish, Venetian of
the sixteenth century and English of the seventeenth, which, despite
that diversity offered a unity of appearance and a harmony of
usefulness. There was one bed room, a bath, and a small partitioned
section which could be used as a kitchen. With a few of his pictures
judiciously substituted he could see a perfect abode here for himself
and his wife. The rent was fifty dollars. He decided that he would risk

Having gone so far as to indicate that he would take it--he was made to
feel partially resigned to marriage by the very appearance of this
place--he decided that he would marry in October. Angela could come to
New York or Buffalo--she had never seen Niagara Falls--and they could be
married there. She had spoken recently of visiting her brother at West
Point. Then they could come here and settle down. He decided that this
must be so, wrote to her to that effect, and vaguely hinted to Smite and
MacHugh that he might get married shortly.

This was a great blow to his partners in art, for Eugene was very
popular with them. He had the habit, with those he liked, of jesting
constantly. "Look at the look of noble determination on Smite's brow
this morning," he would comment cheerfully on getting up; or "MacHugh,
you lazy lout, crawl out and earn your living."

MacHugh's nose, eyes and ears would be comfortably buried in the folds
of a blanket.

"These hack artists," Eugene would sigh disconsolately. "There's not
much to be made out of them. A pile of straw and a couple of boiled
potatoes a day is all they need."

"Aw, cut it out," MacHugh would grunt.

"To hell, to hell, I yell, I yell," would come from somewhere in the
voice of Smite.

"If it weren't for me," Eugene would go on, "God knows what would become
of this place. A lot of farmers and fishermen trying to be artists."

"And laundry wagon drivers, don't forget that," MacHugh would add,
sitting up and rubbing his tousled head, for Eugene had related some of
his experiences. "Don't forget the contribution made by the American
Steam Laundry Company to the world of true art."

"Collars and cuffs I would have you know is artistic," Eugene at once
declared with mock dignity, "whereas plows and fish is trash."

Sometimes this "kidding" would continue for a quarter of an hour at a
stretch, when some one remark really brighter than any other would
dissolve the whole in laughter. Work began after breakfast, to which
they usually sallied forth together, and would continue unbroken save
for necessary engagements or periods of entertainment, lunch and so on,
until five in the afternoon.

They had worked together now for a couple of years. They had, by
experience, learned of each other's reliability, courtesy, kindness and
liberality. Criticism was free, generous, and sincerely intended to be
helpful. Pleasure trips, such as walks on grey, lowery days, or in rain
or brilliant sunshine, or trips to Coney Island, Far Rockaway, the
theatres, the art exhibitions, the odd and peculiar restaurants of
different nationalities, were always undertaken in a spirit of joyous
camaraderie. Jesting as to morality, their respective abilities, their
tendencies and characteristics were all taken and given in good part. At
one time it would be Joseph Smite who would come in for a united
drubbing and excoriation on the part of Eugene and MacHugh. At another
time Eugene or MacHugh would be the victim, the other two joining forces
vigorously. Art, literature, personalities, phases of life, philosophy,
were discussed by turn. As with Jerry Mathews, Eugene had learned of new
things from these men--the life of fisher-folk, and the characteristics
of the ocean from Joseph Smite; the nature and spirit of the great West
from MacHugh. Each appeared to have an inexhaustible fund of experiences
and reminiscences which refreshed and entertained the trio day by day
year in and year out. They were at their best strolling through some
exhibit or preliminary view of an art collection offered for sale, when
all their inmost convictions of what was valuable and enduring in art
would come to the surface. All three were intolerant of reputations as
such, but were strong for individual merit whether it carried a great
name or not. They were constantly becoming acquainted with the work of
some genius little known here, and celebrating his talents, each to the
others. Thus Monet, Degas, Manet, Ribera, Monticelli, by turns came up
for examination and praise.

When Eugene then, toward the end of September, announced that he might
be leaving them shortly, there was a united wail of opposition. Joseph
Smite was working on a sea scene at the time, doing his best to get the
proper colour harmony between the worm-eaten deck of a Gold Coast
trading ship, a half naked West Coast negro handling a broken wheel, and
a mass of blue black undulations in the distance which represented the
boundless sea.

"G'wan!" said Smite, incredulously, for he assumed that Eugene was
jesting. There had been a steady stream of letters issuing from
somewhere in the West and delivered here week after week, as there had
been for MacHugh, but this by now was a commonplace, and apparently
meant nothing. "You marry? What the hell do you want to get married for?
A fine specimen you will make! I'll come around and tell your wife."

"Sure," returned Eugene. "It's true, I may get married." He was amused
at Smite's natural assumption that it was a jest.

"Stow that," called MacHugh, from his easel. He was working on a country
corner picture, a group of farmers before a country post office. "You
don't want to break up this shack, do you?" Both of these men were fond
of Eugene. They found him inspiring, helpful, always intensely vigorous
and apparently optimistic.

"I don't want to break up any shack. But haven't I a right to get

"I vote no, by God!" said Smite emphatically. "You'll never go out of
here with my consent. Peter, are we going to stand for anything like

"We are not," replied MacHugh. "We'll call out the reserves if he tries
any game like that on us. I'll prefer charges against him. Who's the
lady, Eugene?"

"I bet I know," suggested Smite. "He's been running up to Twenty-sixth
Street pretty regularly." Joseph was thinking of Miriam Finch, to whom
Eugene had introduced both him and MacHugh.

"Nothing like that, surely," inquired MacHugh, looking over at Eugene to
see if it possibly could be so.

"It's all true, fellers," replied Eugene, "--as God is my judge. I'm
going to leave you soon."

"You're not really talking seriously, are you, Witla?" inquired Joseph

"I am, Joe," said Eugene quietly. He was studying the perspective of his
sixteenth New York view,--three engines coming abreast into a great yard
of cars. The smoke, the haze, the dingy reds and blues and yellows and
greens of kicked about box cars were showing with beauty--the vigor and
beauty of raw reality.

"Soon?" asked MacHugh, equally quietly. He was feeling that touch of
pensiveness which comes with a sense of vanishing pleasures.

"I think some time in October, very likely," replied Eugene.

"Jesus Christ, I'm sorry to hear that," put in Smite.

He laid down his brush and strolled over to the window. MacHugh, less
expressive in extremes, worked on medatively.

"When'd you reach that conclusion, Witla?" he asked after a time.

"Oh, I've been thinking it over for a long time, Peter," he returned. "I
should really have married before if I could have afforded it. I know
how things are here or I wouldn't have sprung this so suddenly. I'll
hold up my end on the rent here until you get someone else."

"To hell with the rent," said Smite. "We don't want anyone else, do we,
Peter? We didn't have anyone else before."

Smite was rubbing his square chin and contemplating his partner as if
they were facing a catastrophe.

"There's no use talking about that," said Peter. "You know we don't care
about the rent. Do you mind telling us who you're going to marry? Do we
know her?"

"You don't," returned Eugene. "She's out in Wisconsin. It's the one who
writes the letters. Angela Blue is her name."

"Well, here's to Angela Blue, by God, say I," said Smite, recovering his
spirits and picking up his paint brush from his board to hold aloft.
"Here's to Mrs. Eugene Witla, and may she never reef a sail to a storm
or foul an anchor, as they say up Nova Scotia way."

"Right oh," added MacHugh, catching the spirit of Smite's generous
attitude. "Them's my sentiments. When d'you expect to get married
really, Eugene?"

"Oh I haven't fixed the time exactly. About November first, I should
say. I hope you won't say anything about it though, either of you. I
don't want to go through any explanations."

"We won't, but it's tough, you old walrus. Why the hell didn't you give
us time to think it over? You're a fine jellyfish, you are."

He poked him reprimandingly in the ribs.

"There isn't anyone any more sorry than I am," said Eugene. "I hate to
leave here, I do. But we won't lose track of each other. I'll still be
around here."

"Where do you expect to live? Here in the city?" asked MacHugh, still a
little gloomy.

"Sure. Right here in Washington Square. Remember that Dexter studio
Weaver was telling about? The one in the third floor at sixty-one?
That's it."

"You don't say!" exclaimed Smite. "You're in right. How'd you get that?"

Eugene explained.

"Well, you sure are a lucky man," observed MacHugh. "Your wife ought to
like that. I suppose there'll be a cozy corner for an occasional
strolling artist?"

"No farmers, no sea-faring men, no artistic hacks--nothing!" declared
Eugene dramatically.

"You to Hell," said Smite. "When Mrs. Witla sees us--"

"She'll wish she'd never come to New York," put in Eugene.

"She'll wish she'd seen us first," said MacHugh.




The marriage ceremony between Eugene and Angela was solemnized at
Buffalo on November second. As planned, Marietta was with them. They
would go, the three of them, to the Falls, and to West Point, where the
girls would see their brother David, and then Marietta would return to
tell the family about it. Naturally, under the circumstances, it was a
very simple affair, for there were no congratulations to go through with
and no gifts--at least immediately--to consider and acknowledge. Angela
had explained to her parents and friends that it was quite impossible
for Eugene to come West at this time. She knew that he objected to a
public ceremony where he would have to run the gauntlet of all her
relatives, and so she was quite willing to meet him in the East and be
married there. Eugene had not troubled to take his family into his
confidence as yet. He had indicated on his last visit home that he might
get married, and that Angela was the girl in question, but since Myrtle
was the only one of his family who had seen her and she was now in
Ottumwa, Iowa, they could not recall anything about her. Eugene's father
was a little disappointed, for he expected to hear some day that Eugene
had made a brilliant match. His boy, whose pictures were in the
magazines so frequently and whose appearance was so generally
distinguished, ought in New York, where opportunities abounded, to marry
an heiress at least. It was all right of course if Eugene wanted to
marry a girl from the country, but it robbed the family of a possible

The spirit of this marriage celebration, so far as Eugene was concerned,
was hardly right. There was the consciousness, always with him, of his
possibly making a mistake; the feeling that he was being compelled by
circumstances and his own weakness to fulfil an agreement which might
better remain unfulfilled. His only urge was his desire, in the
gratification of which he might find compensation, for saving Angela
from an unhappy spinsterhood. It was a thin reed to lean on; there could
be no honest satisfaction in it. Angela was sweet, devoted, painstaking
in her attitude toward life, toward him, toward everything with which
she came in contact, but she was not what he had always fancied his true
mate would be--the be all and the end all of his existence. Where was
the divine fire which on this occasion should have animated him; the
lofty thoughts of future companionship; that intense feeling he had
first felt about her when he had called on her at her aunt's house in
Chicago? Something had happened. Was it that he had cheapened his ideal
by too close contact with it? Had he taken a beautiful flower and
trailed it in the dust? Was passion all there was to marriage? Or was it
that true marriage was something higher--a union of fine thoughts and
feelings? Did Angela share his with him? Angela did have exalted
feelings and moods at times. They were not sensibly intellectual--but
she seemed to respond to the better things in music and to some extent
in literature. She knew nothing about art, but she was emotionally
responsive to many fine things. Why was not this enough to make life
durable and comfortable between them? Was it not really enough? After he
had gone over all these points, there was still the thought that there
was something wrong in this union. Despite his supposedly laudable
conduct in fulfilling an obligation which, in a way, he had helped
create or created, he was not happy. He went to his marriage as a man
goes to fulfil an uncomfortable social obligation. It might turn out
that he would have an enjoyable and happy life and it might turn out
very much otherwise. He could not face the weight and significance of
the social theory that this was for life--that if he married her today
he would have to live with her all the rest of his days. He knew that
was the generally accepted interpretation of marriage, but it did not
appeal to him. Union ought in his estimation to be based on a keen
desire to live together and on nothing else. He did not feel the
obligation which attaches to children, for he had never had any and did
not feel the desire for any. A child was a kind of a nuisance. Marriage
was a trick of Nature's by which you were compelled to carry out her
scheme of race continuance. Love was a lure; desire a scheme of
propagation devised by the way. Nature, the race spirit, used you as you
would use a work-horse to pull a load. The load in this case was race
progress and man was the victim. He did not think he owed anything to
nature, or to this race spirit. He had not asked to come here. He had
not been treated as generously as he might have been since he arrived.
Why should he do what nature bid?

When he met Angela he kissed her fondly, for of course the sight of her
aroused the feeling of desire which had been running in his mind so
keenly for some time. Since last seeing Angela he had touched no woman,
principally because the right one had not presented herself and because
the memories and the anticipations in connection with Angela were so
close. Now that he was with her again the old fire came over him and he
was eager for the completion of the ceremony. He had seen to the
marriage license in the morning,--and from the train on which Angela and
Marietta arrived they proceeded in a carriage direct to the Methodist
preacher. The ceremony which meant so much to Angela meant practically
nothing to him. It seemed a silly formula--this piece of paper from the
marriage clerk's office and this instructed phraseology concerning
"love, honor and cherish." Certainly he would love, honor and cherish if
it were possible--if not, then not. Angela, with the marriage ring on
her finger and the words "with this ring I thee wed" echoing in her
ears, felt that all her dreams had come true. Now she was, really,
truly, Mrs. Eugene Witla. She did not need to worry about drowning
herself, or being disgraced, or enduring a lonely, commiserated old age.
She was the wife of an artist--a rising one, and she was going to live
in New York. What a future stretched before her! Eugene loved her after
all. She imagined she could see that. His slowness in marrying her was
due to the difficulty of establishing himself properly. Otherwise he
would have done it before. They drove to the Iroquois hotel and
registered as man and wife, securing a separate room for Marietta. The
latter pretending an urgent desire to bathe after her railroad journey,
left them, promising to be ready in time for dinner. Eugene and Angela
were finally alone.

He now saw how, in spite of his fine theories, his previous experiences
with Angela had deadened to an extent his joy in this occasion. He had
her again it was true. His desire that he had thought of so keenly was
to be gratified, but there was no mystery connected with it. His real
nuptials had been celebrated at Blackwood months before. This was the
commonplace of any marriage relation. It was intense and gratifying, but
the original, wonderful mystery of unexplored character was absent. He
eagerly took her in his arms, but there was more of crude desire than of
awed delight in the whole proceeding.

Nevertheless Angela was sweet to him. Hers was a loving disposition and
Eugene was the be all and end all of her love. His figure was of heroic
proportions to her. His talent was divine fire. No one could know as
much as Eugene, of course! No one could be as artistic. True, he was not
as practical as some men--her brothers and brothers-in-law, for
instance--but he was a man of genius. Why should he be practical? She
was beginning to think already of how thoroughly she would help him
shape his life toward success--what a good wife she would be to him. Her
training as a teacher, her experience as a buyer, her practical
judgment, would help him so much. They spent the two hours before dinner
in renewed transports and then dressed and made their public appearance.
Angela had had designed a number of dresses for this occasion,
representing the saving of years, and tonight at dinner she looked
exceptionally pretty in a dress of black silk with neck piece and half
sleeves of mother-of-pearl silk, set off with a decoration of seed
pearls and black beads in set designs. Marietta, in a pale pink silk of
peachblow softness of hue with short sleeves and a low cut bodice was,
with all her youth and natural plumpness and gaiety of soul, ravishing.
Now that she had Angela safely married, she was under no obligations to
keep out of Eugene's way nor to modify her charms in order that her
sister's might shine. She was particularly ebullient in her mood and
Eugene could not help contrasting, even in this hour, the qualities of
the two sisters. Marietta's smile, her humor, her unconscious courage,
contrasted so markedly with Angela's quietness.

The luxuries of the modern hotel have become the commonplaces of
ordinary existence, but to the girls they were still strange enough to
be impressive. To Angela they were a foretaste of what was to be an
enduring higher life. These carpets, hangings, elevators, waiters,
seemed in their shabby materialism to speak of superior things.

One day in Buffalo, with a view of the magnificent falls at Niagara, and
then came West Point with a dress parade accidentally provided for a
visiting general and a ball for the cadets. Marietta, because of her
charm and her brother's popularity, found herself so much in demand at
West Point that she extended her stay to a week, leaving Eugene and
Angela free to come to New York together and have a little time to
themselves. They only stayed long enough to see Marietta safely housed
and then came to the city and the apartment in Washington Square.

It was dark when they arrived and Angela was impressed with the
glittering galaxy of lights the city presented across the North River
from Forty-second Street. She had no idea of the nature of the city, but
as the cab at Eugene's request turned into Broadway at Forty-second
Street and clattered with interrupted progress south to Fifth Avenue she
had her first glimpse of that tawdry world which subsequently became
known as the "Great White Way." Already its make-believe and inherent
cheapness had come to seem to Eugene largely characteristic of the city
and of life, but it still retained enough of the lure of the flesh and
of clothes and of rush-light reputations to hold his attention. Here
were dramatic critics and noted actors and actresses and chorus girls,
the gods and toys of avid, inexperienced, unsatisfied wealth. He showed
Angela the different theatres, called her attention to distinguished
names; made much of restaurants and hotels and shops and stores that
sell trifles and trash, and finally turned into lower Fifth Avenue,
where the dignity of great houses and great conservative wealth still
lingered. At Fourteenth Street Angela could already see Washington Arch
glowing cream white in the glare of electric lights.

"What is that?" she asked interestedly.

"It's Washington Arch," he replied. "We live in sight of that on the
south side of the Square."

"Oh! but it is beautiful!" she exclaimed.

It seemed very wonderful to her, and as they passed under it, and the
whole Square spread out before her, it seemed a perfect world in which
to live.

"Is this where it is?" she asked, as they stopped in front of the studio

"Yes, this is it. How do you like it?"

"I think it's beautiful," she said.

They went up the white stone steps of the old Bride house in which was
Eugene's leased studio, up two flights of red-carpeted stairs and
finally into the dark studio where he struck a match and lit, for the
art of it, candles. A soft waxen glow irradiated the place as he
proceeded and then Angela saw old Chippendale chairs, a Heppelwhite
writing-table, a Flemish strong box containing used and unused drawings,
the green stained fish-net studded with bits of looking glass in
imitation of scales, a square, gold-framed mirror over the mantel, and
one of Eugene's drawings--the three engines in the gray, lowering
weather, standing large and impressive upon an easel. It seemed to
Angela the perfection of beauty. She saw the difference now between the
tawdry gorgeousness of a commonplace hotel and this selection and
arrangement of individual taste. The glowing candelabrum of seven
candles on either side of the square mirror surprised her deeply. The
black walnut piano in the alcove behind the half draped net drew forth
an exclamation of delight. "Oh, how lovely it all is!" she exclaimed and
ran to Eugene to be kissed. He fondled her for a few minutes and then
she left again to examine in detail pictures, pieces of furniture,
ornaments of brass and copper.

"When did you get all this?" she asked, for Eugene had not told her of
his luck in finding the departing Dexter and leasing it for the rent of
the studio and its care. He was lighting the fire in the grate which had
been prepared by the house attendant.

"Oh, it isn't mine," he replied easily. "I leased this from Russell
Dexter. He's going to be in Europe until next winter. I thought that
would be easier than waiting around to fix up a place after you came. We
can get our things together next fall."

He was thinking he would be able to have his exhibition in the spring,
and perhaps that would bring some notable sales. Anyhow it might bring a
few, increase his repute and give him a greater earning power.

Angela's heart sank just a little but she recovered in a moment, for
after all it was very exceptional even to be able to lease a place of
this character. She went to the window and looked out. There was the
great square with its four walls of houses, the spread of trees, still
decorated with a few dusty leaves, and the dozens of arc lights
sputtering their white radiance in between, the graceful arch, cream
white over at the entrance of Fifth Avenue.

"It's so beautiful," she exclaimed again, coming back to Eugene and
putting her arms about him. "I didn't think it would be anything as fine
as this. You're so good to me." She put up her lips and he kissed her,
pinching her cheeks. Together they walked to the kitchen, the bedroom,
the bathroom. Then after a time they blew out the candles and retired
for the night.


After the quiet of a small town, the monotony and simplicity of country
life, the dreary, reiterated weariness of teaching a country school,
this new world into which Angela was plunged seemed to her astonished
eyes to be compounded of little save beauties, curiosities and delights.
The human senses, which weary so quickly of reiterated sensory
impressions, exaggerate with equal readiness the beauty and charm of the
unaccustomed. If it is new, therefore it must be better than that which
we have had of old. The material details with which we are able to
surround ourselves seem at times to remake our point of view. If we have
been poor, wealth will seem temporarily to make us happy; when we have
been amid elements and personages discordant to our thoughts, to be put
among harmonious conditions seems, for the time being, to solve all our
woes. So little do we have that interior peace which no material
conditions can truly affect or disturb.

When Angela awoke the next morning, this studio in which she was now to
live seemed the most perfect habitation which could be devised by man.
The artistry of the arrangement of the rooms, the charm of the
conveniences--a bathroom with hot and cold water next to the bedroom; a
kitchen with an array of necessary utensils. In the rear portion of the
studio used as a dining-room a glimpse of the main studio gave her the
sense of art which dealt with nature, the beauty of the human form,
colors, tones--how different from teaching school. To her the difference
between the long, low rambling house at Blackwood with its vine
ornamented windows, its somewhat haphazard arrangement of flowers and
its great lawn, and this peculiarly compact and ornate studio apartment
looking out upon Washington Square, was all in favor of the latter. In
Angela's judgment there was no comparison. She could not have understood
if she could have seen into Eugene's mind at this time how her home
town, her father's single farm, the blue waters of the little lake near
her door, the shadows of the tall trees on her lawn were somehow,
compounded for him not only with classic beauty itself, but with her own
charm. When she was among these things she partook of their beauty and
was made more beautiful thereby. She did not know how much she had lost
in leaving them behind. To her all these older elements of her life were
shabby and unimportant, pointless and to be neglected.

This new world was in its way for her an Aladdin's cave of delight. When
she looked out on the great square for the first time the next morning,
seeing it bathed in sunlight, a dignified line of red brick dwellings to
the north, a towering office building to the east, trucks, carts, cars
and vehicles clattering over the pavement below, it all seemed gay with
youth and energy.

"We'll have to dress and go out to breakfast," said Eugene. "I didn't
think to lay anything in. As a matter of fact I wouldn't have known what
to buy if I had wanted to. I never tried housekeeping for myself."

"Oh, that's all right," said Angela, fondling his hands, "only let's not
go out to breakfast unless we have to. Let's see what's here," and she
went back to the very small room devoted to cooking purposes to see what
cooking utensils had been provided. She had been dreaming of
housekeeping and cooking for Eugene, of petting and spoiling him, and
now the opportunity had arrived. She found that Mr. Dexter, their
generous lessor, had provided himself with many conveniences--breakfast
and dinner sets of brown and blue porcelain, a coffee percolator, a
charming dull blue teapot with cups to match, a chafing dish, a set of
waffle irons, griddles, spiders, skillets, stew and roasting pans and
knives and forks of steel and silver in abundance. Obviously he had
entertained from time to time, for there were bread, cake, sugar, flour
and salt boxes and a little chest containing, in small drawers, various

"Oh, it will be easy to get something here," said Angela, lighting the
burners of the gas stove to see whether it was in good working order.
"We can just go out to market if you'll come and show me once and get
what we want. It won't take a minute. I'll know after that." Eugene
consented gladly.

She had always fancied she would be an ideal housekeeper and now that
she had her Eugene she was anxious to begin. It would be such a pleasure
to show him what a manager she was, how everything would go smoothly in
her hands, how careful she would be of his earnings--their joint

She was sorry, now that she saw that art was no great producer of
wealth, that she had no money to bring him, but she knew that Eugene in
the depth of his heart thought nothing of that. He was too impractical.
He was a great artist, but when it came to practical affairs she felt
instinctively that she was much the wiser. She had bought so long,
calculated so well for her sisters and brothers.

Out of her bag (for her trunks had not yet arrived) she extracted a neat
house dress of pale green linen which she put on after she had done up
her hair in a cosy coil, and together with Eugene for a temporary guide,
they set forth to find the stores. He had told her, looking out the
windows, that there were lines of Italian grocers, butchers and
vegetable men in the side streets, leading south from the square, and
into one of these they now ventured. The swarming, impressive life of
the street almost took her breath away, it was so crowded. Potatoes,
tomatoes, eggs, flour, butter, lamb chops, salt--a dozen little
accessories were all purchased in small quantities, and then they
eagerly returned to the studio. Angela was a little disgusted with the
appearance of some of the stores, but some of them were clean enough. It
seemed so strange to her to be buying in an Italian street, with Italian
women and children about, their swarthy leathern faces set with bright,
almost feverish eyes. Eugene in his brown corduroy suit and soft green
hat, watching and commenting at her side, presented such a contrast. He
was so tall, so exceptional, so laconic.

"I like them when they wear rings in their ears," he said at one time.

"Get the coal man who looks like a bandit," he observed at another.

"This old woman here might do for the witch of Endor."

Angela attended strictly to her marketing. She was gay and smiling, but
practical. She was busy wondering in what quantities she should buy
things, how she would keep fresh vegetables, whether the ice box was
really clean; how much delicate dusting the various objects in the
studio would require. The raw brick walls of the street, the dirt and
slops in the gutter, the stray cats and dogs hungry and lean, the
swarming stream of people, did not appeal to her as picturesque at all.
Only when she heard Eugene expatiating gravely did she begin to realize
that all this must have artistic significance. If Eugene said so it did.
But it was a fascinating world whatever it was, and it was obvious that
she was going to be very, very happy.

There was a breakfast in the studio then of hot biscuit with fresh
butter, an omelette with tomatoes, potatoes stewed in cream, and coffee.
After the long period of commonplace restaurant dining which Eugene had
endured, this seemed ideal. To sit in your own private apartment with a
charming wife opposite you ready to render you any service, and with an
array of food before you which revived the finest memories in your
gustatory experience, seemed perfect. Nothing could be better. He saw
visions of a happy future if he could finance this sort of thing. It
would require a lot of money, more than he had been making, but he
thought he could make out. After breakfast Angela played on the piano,
and then, Eugene wanting to work, she started housekeeping in earnest.
The trunks arriving gave her the task of unpacking and with that and
lunch and dinner to say nothing of love she had sufficient to do.

It was a charming existence for a little while. Eugene suggested that
they should have Smite and MacHugh to dinner first of all, these being
his closest friends. Angela agreed heartily for she was only too anxious
to meet the people he knew. She wanted to show him she knew how to
receive and entertain as well as anyone. She made great preparations for
the Wednesday evening following--the night fixed for the dinner--and
when it came was on the qui vive to see what his friends were like and
what they would think of her.

The occasion passed off smoothly enough and was the occasion of
considerable jollity. These two cheerful worthies were greatly impressed
with the studio. They were quick to praise it before Angela, and to
congratulate him on his good fortune in having married her. Angela, in
the same dress in which she had appeared at dinner in Buffalo, was
impressive. Her mass of yellow hair fascinated the gaze of both Smite
and MacHugh.

"Gee, what hair!" Smite observed secretly to MacHugh when neither Angela
nor Eugene were within hearing distance.

"You're right," returned MacHugh. "She's not at all bad looking, is

"I should say not," returned Smite who admired Angela's simple,
good-natured western manners. A little later, more subtly, they
expressed their admiration to her, and she was greatly pleased.

Marietta, who had arrived late that afternoon, had not made her
appearance yet. She was in the one available studio bedroom making her
toilet. Angela, in spite of her fine raiment, was busy superintending
the cooking, for although through the janitor she had managed to
negotiate the loan of a girl to serve, she could not get anyone to cook.
A soup, a fish, a chicken and a salad, were the order of procedure.
Marietta finally appeared, ravishing in pink silk. Both Smite and
MacHugh sat up and Marietta proceeded to bewitch them. Marietta knew no
order or distinctions in men. They were all slaves to her--victims to be
stuck on the spit of her beauty and broiled in their amorous
uncertainties at her leisure. In after years Eugene learned to speak of
Marietta's smile as "the dagger." The moment she appeared smiling he
would say, "Ah, we have it out again, have we? Who gets the blade this
evening? Poor victim!"

Being her brother-in-law now, he was free to slip his arm about her
waist and she took this family connection as license to kiss him. There
was something about Eugene which held her always. During these very
first days she gratified her desire to be in his arms, but always with a
sense of reserve which kept him in check. She wondered secretly how much
he liked her.

Smite and MacHugh, when she appeared, both rose to do her service.
MacHugh offered her his chair by the fire. Smite bestirred himself in an
aimless fashion.

"I've just had such a dandy week up at West Point," began Marietta
cheerfully, "dancing, seeing dress parades, walking with the soldier

"I warn you two, here and now," began Eugene, who had already learned to
tease Marietta, "that you're not safe. This woman here is dangerous. As
artists in good standing you had better look out for yourselves."

"Oh, Eugene, how you talk," laughed Marietta, her teeth showing
effectively. "Mr. Smite, I leave it to you. Isn't that a mean way to
introduce a sister-in-law? I'm here for just a few days too, and have so
little time. I think it cruel!"

"It's a shame!" said Smite, who was plainly a willing victim. "You ought
to have another kind of brother-in-law. If you had some people I know

"It's an outrage," commented MacHugh. "There's one thing though. You may
not require so very much time."

"Now I think that's ungallant," Marietta laughed. "I see I'm all alone
here except for Mr. Smite. Never mind. You all will be sorry when I'm

"I believe that," replied MacHugh, feelingly.

Smite simply stared. He was lost in admiration of her cream and peach
complexion, her fluffy, silky brown hair, her bright blue eyes and plump
rounded arms. Such radiant good nature would be heavenly to live with.
He wondered what sort of a family this was that Eugene had become
connected with. Angela, Marietta, a brother at West Point. They must be
nice, conservative, well-to-do western people. Marietta went to help her
sister, and Smite, in the absence of Eugene, said: "Say, he's in right,
isn't he? She's a peach. She's got it a little on her sister."

MacHugh merely stared at the room. He was taken with the complexion and
arrangement of things generally. The old furniture, the rugs, the
hangings, the pictures, Eugene's borrowed maid servant in a white apron
and cap, Angela, Marietta, the bright table set with colored china and
an arrangement of silver candlesticks--Eugene had certainly changed the
tenor of his life radically within the last ten days. Why he was
marvellously fortunate. This studio was a wonderful piece of luck. Some
people--and he shook his head meditatively.

"Well," said Eugene, coming back after some final touches to his
appearance, "what do you think of it, Peter?"

"You're certainly moving along, Eugene. I never expected to see it. You
ought to praise God. You're plain lucky."

Eugene smiled enigmatically. He was wondering whether he was. Neither
Smite nor MacHugh nor anyone could dream of the conditions under which
this came about. What a sham the world was anyhow. It's surface
appearances so ridiculously deceptive! If anyone had known of the
apparent necessity when he first started to look for an apartment, of
his own mood toward it!

Marietta came back, and Angela. The latter had taken kindly to both
these men, or boys as she already considered them. Eugene had a talent
for reducing everybody to "simply folks," as he called them. So these
two capable and talented men were mere country boys like himself--and
Angela caught his attitude.

"I'd like to have you let me make a sketch of you some day, Mrs. Witla,"
MacHugh said to Angela when she came back to the fire. He was essaying
portraiture as a side line and he was anxious for good opportunities to

Angela thrilled at the invitation, and the use of her new name,
Mrs. Witla, by Eugene's old friends.

"I'd be delighted," she replied, flushing.

"My word, you look nice, Angel-Face," exclaimed Marietta, catching her
about the waist. "You paint her with her hair down in braids,
Mr. MacHugh. She makes a stunning Gretchen."

Angela flushed anew.

"I've been reserving that for myself, Peter," said Eugene, "but you try
your hand at it. I'm not much in portraiture anyhow."

Smite smiled at Marietta. He wished he could paint her, but he was poor
at figure work except as incidental characters in sea scenes. He could
do men better than he could women.

"If you were an old sea captain now, Miss Blue," he said to Marietta
gallantly, "I could make a striking thing out of you."

"I'll try to be, if you want to paint me," she replied gaily. "I'd look
fine in a big pair of boots and a raincoat, wouldn't I, Eugene?"

"You certainly would, if I'm any judge," replied Smite. "Come over to
the studio and I'll rig you out. I have all those things on hand."

"I will," she replied, laughing. "You just say the word."

MacHugh felt as if Smite were stealing a march on him. He wanted to be
nice to Marietta, to have her take an interest in him.

"Now, looky, Joseph," he protested. "I was going to suggest making a
study of Miss Blue myself."

"Well, you're too late," replied Smite. "You didn't speak quick enough."

Marietta was greatly impressed with this atmosphere in which Angela and
Eugene were living. She expected to see something artistic, but nothing
so nice as this particular studio. Angela explained to her that Eugene
did not own it, but that made small difference in Marietta's estimate of
its significance. Eugene had it. His art and social connections brought
it about. They were beginning excellently well. If she could have as
nice a home when she started on her married career she would be

They sat down about the round teak table which was one of Dexter's
prized possessions, and were served by Angela's borrowed maid. The
conversation was light and for the most part pointless, serving only to
familiarize these people with each other. Both Angela and Marietta were
taken with the two artists because they felt in them a note of homely
conservatism. These men spoke easily and naturally of the trials and
triumphs of art life, and the difficulty of making a good living, and
seemed to be at home with personages of repute in one world and another,
its greatest reward.

During the dinner Smite narrated experiences in his sea-faring life, and
MacHugh of his mountain camping experiences in the West. Marietta
described experiences with her beaux in Wisconsin and characteristics of
her yokel neighbors at Blackwood, Angela joining in. Finally MacHugh
drew a pencil sketch of Marietta followed by a long train of admiring
yokels, her eyes turned up in a very shy, deceptive manner.

"Now I think that's cruel," she declared, when Eugene laughed heartily.
"I never look like that."

"That's just the way you look and do," he declared. "You're the broad
and flowery path that leadeth to destruction."

"Never mind, Babyette," put in Angela, "I'll take your part if no one
else will. You're a nice, demure, shrinking girl and you wouldn't look
at anyone, would you?"

Angela got up and was holding Marietta's head mock sympathetically in
her arms.

"Say, that's a dandy pet name," called Smite, moved by Marietta's

"Poor Marietta," observed Eugene. "Come over here to me and I'll
sympathize with you."

"You don't take my drawing in the right spirit, Miss Blue," put in
MacHugh cheerfully. "It's simply to show how popular you are."

Angela stood beside Eugene as her guests departed, her slender arm about
his waist. Marietta was coquetting finally with MacHugh. These two
friends of his, thought Eugene, had the privilege of singleness to be
gay and alluring to her. With him that was over now. He could not be
that way to any girl any more. He had to behave--be calm and
circumspect. It cut him, this thought. He saw at once it was not in
accord with his nature. He wanted to do just as he had always done--make
love to Marietta if she would let him, but he could not. He walked to
the fire when the studio door was closed.

"They're such nice boys," exclaimed Marietta. "I think Mr. MacHugh is as
funny as he can be. He has such droll wit."

"Smite is nice too," replied Eugene defensively.

"They're both lovely--just lovely," returned Marietta.

"I like Mr. MacHugh a little the best--he's quainter," said Angela, "but
I think Mr. Smite is just as nice as he can be. He's so old fashioned.
There's not anyone as nice as my Eugene, though," she said
affectionately, putting her arm about him.

"Oh, dear, you two!" exclaimed Marietta. "Well, I'm going to bed."

Eugene sighed.

They had arranged a couch for her which could be put behind the
silver-spangled fish net in the alcove when company was gone.

Eugene thought what a pity that already this affection of Angela's was
old to him. It was not as it would be if he had taken Marietta or
Christina. They went to their bed room to retire and then he saw that
all he had was passion. Must he be satisfied with that? Could he be? It
started a chain of thought which, while persistently interrupted or
befogged, was really never broken. Momentary sympathy, desire,
admiration, might obscure it, but always fundamentally it was there. He
had made a mistake. He had put his head in a noose. He had subjected
himself to conditions which he did not sincerely approve of. How was he
going to remedy this--or could it ever be remedied?


Whatever were Eugene's secret thoughts, he began his married life with
the outward air of one who takes it seriously enough. Now that he was
married, was actually bound by legal ties, he felt that he might as well
make the best of it. He had once had the notion that it might be
possible to say nothing of his marriage, and keep Angela in the
background, but this notion had been dispelled by the attitude of
MacHugh and Smite, to say nothing of Angela. So he began to consider the
necessity of notifying his friends--Miriam Finch and Norma Whitmore and
possibly Christina Channing, when she should return. These three women
offered the largest difficulty to his mind. He felt the commentary which
their personalities represented. What would they think of him? What of
Angela? Now that she was right here in the city he could see that she
represented a different order of thought. He had opened the campaign by
suggesting that they invite Smite and MacHugh. The thing to do now was
to go further in this matter.

The one thing that troubled him was the thought of breaking the news to
Miriam Finch, for Christina Channing was away, and Norma Whitmore was
not of sufficient importance. He argued now that he should have done
this beforehand, but having neglected that it behoved him to act at
once. He did so, finally, writing to Norma Whitmore and saying, for he
had no long explanation to make--"Yours truly is married. May I bring my
wife up to see you?" Miss Whitmore was truly taken by surprise. She was
sorry at first--very--because Eugene interested her greatly and she was
afraid he would make a mistake in his marriage; but she hastened to make
the best of a bad turn on the part of fate and wrote a note which ran as

"Dear Eugene and Eugene's Wife:

"This is news as is news. Congratulations. And I am coming right down as
soon as I get my breath. And then you two must come to see me.

   "Norma Whitmore."

Eugene was pleased and grateful that she took it so nicely, but Angela
was the least big chagrined secretly that he had not told her before.
Why hadn't he? Was this someone that he was interested in? Those three
years in which she had doubtingly waited for Eugene had whetted her
suspicions and nurtured her fears. Still she tried to make little of it
and to put on an air of joyousness. She would be so glad to meet Miss
Whitmore. Eugene told her how kind she had been to him, how much she
admired his art, how helpful she was in bringing together young literary
and artistic people and how influential with those who counted. She
could do him many a good turn. Angela listened patiently, but she was
just the least bit resentful that he should think so much of any one
woman outside of herself. Why should he, Eugene Witla, be dependent on
the favor of any woman? Of course she must be very nice and they would
be good friends, but--

Norma came one afternoon two days later with the atmosphere of
enthusiasm trailing, as it seemed to Eugene, like a cloud of glory about
her. She was both fire and strength to him in her regard and sympathy,
even though she resented, ever so slightly, his affectional desertion.

"You piggy-wiggy Eugene Witla," she exclaimed. "What do you mean by
running off and getting married and never saying a word. I never even
had a chance to get you a present and now I have to bring it. Isn't this
a charming place--why it's perfectly delightful," and as she laid her
present down unopened she looked about to see where Mrs. Eugene Witla
might be.

Angela was in the bedroom finishing her toilet. She was expecting this
descent and so was prepared, being suitably dressed in the light green
house gown. When she heard Miss Whitmore's familiar mode of address she
winced, for this spoke volumes for a boon companionship of long
endurance. Eugene hadn't said so much of Miss Whitmore in the past as he
had recently, but she could see that they were very intimate. She looked
out and saw her--this tall, not very shapely, but graceful woman, whose
whole being represented dynamic energy, awareness, subtlety of
perception. Eugene was shaking her hand and looking genially into her

"Why should Eugene like her so much?" she asked herself instantly. "Why
did his face shine with that light of intense enthusiasm?" The
"piggy-wiggy Eugene Witla" expression irritated her. It sounded as
though she might be in love with him. She came out after a moment with a
glad smile on her face and approached with every show of good feeling,
but Miss Whitmore could sense opposition.

"So this is Mrs. Witla," she exclaimed, kissing her. "I'm delighted to
know you. I have always wondered what sort of a girl Mr. Witla would
marry. You'll just have to pardon my calling him Eugene. I'll get over
it after a bit, I suppose, now that he's married. But we've been such
good friends and I admire his work so much. How do you like studio
life--or are you used to it?"

Angela, who was taking in every detail of Eugene's old friend, replied
in what seemed an affected tone that no, she wasn't used to studio life:
she was just from the country, you know--a regular farmer
girl--Blackwood, Wisconsin, no less! She stopped to let Norma express
friendly surprise, and then went on to say that she supposed Eugene had
not said very much about her, but he wrote her often enough. She was
rejoicing in the fact that whatever slight Eugene's previous silence
seemed to put upon her, she had the satisfaction that she had won him
after all and Miss Whitmore had not. She fancied from Miss Whitmore's
enthusiastic attitude that she must like Eugene very much, and she could
see now what sort of women might have made him wish to delay. Who were
the others, she wondered?

They talked of metropolitan experiences generally. Marietta came in from
a shopping expedition with a Mrs. Link, wife of an army captain acting
as an instructor at West Point, and tea was served immediately
afterward. Miss Whitmore was insistent that they should come and take
dinner with her some evening. Eugene confided that he was sending a
painting to the Academy.

"They'll hang it, of course," assured Norma, "but you ought to have an
exhibition of your own."

Marietta gushed about the wonder of the big stores and so it finally
came time for Miss Whitmore to go.

"Now you will come up, won't you?" she said to Angela, for in spite of a
certain feeling of incompatibility and difference she was determined to
like her. She thought Angela a little inexperienced and presumptuous in
marrying Eugene. She was afraid she was not up to his standard. Still
she was quaint, piquant. Perhaps she would do very well. Angela was
thinking all the while that Miss Whitmore was presuming on her old
acquaintance with Eugene--that she was too affected and enthusiastic.

There was another day on which Miriam Finch called. Richard Wheeler,
having learned at Smite's and MacHugh's studio of Eugene's marriage and
present whereabouts, had hurried over, and then immediately afterwards
off to Miriam Finch's studio. Surprised himself, he knew that she would
be more so.

"Witla's married!" he exclaimed, bursting into her room, and for the
moment Miriam lost her self-possession sufficiently to reply almost
dramatically: "Richard Wheeler, what are you talking about! You don't
mean that, do you?"

"He's married," insisted Wheeler, "and he's living down in Washington
Square, 61 is the number. He has the cutest yellow-haired wife you ever

Angela had been nice to Wheeler and he liked her. He liked the air of
this domicile and thought it was going to be a good thing for Eugene. He
needed to settle down and work hard.

Miriam winced mentally at the picture. She was hurt by this deception of
Eugene's, chagrined because he had not thought enough of her even to
indicate that he was going to get married.

"He's been married ten days," communicated Wheeler, and this added force
to her temporary chagrin. The fact that Angela was yellow-haired and
cute was also disturbing.

"Well," she finally exclaimed cheerfully, "he might have said something
to us, mightn't he?" and she covered her own original confusion by a gay
nonchalance which showed nothing of what she was really thinking. This
was certainly indifference on Eugene's part, and yet, why shouldn't he?
He had never proposed to her. Still they had been so intimate mentally.

She was interested to see Angela. She wondered what sort of a woman she
really was. "Yellow-haired! Cute!" Of course, like all men, Eugene had
sacrificed intellect and mental charm for a dainty form and a pretty
face. It seemed queer, but she had fancied that he would not do
that--that his wife, if he ever took one, would be tall perhaps, and
gracious, and of a beautiful mind--someone distinguished. Why would men,
intellectual men, artistic men, any kind of men, invariably make fools
of themselves! Well, she would go and see her.

Because Wheeler informed him that he had told Miriam, Eugene wrote,
saying as briefly as possible that he was married and that he wanted to
bring Angela to her studio. For reply she came herself, gay, smiling,
immaculately dressed, anxious to hurt Angela because she had proved the
victor. She also wanted to show Eugene how little difference it all made
to her.

"You certainly are a secretive young man, Mr. Eugene Witla," she
exclaimed, when she saw him. "Why didn't you make him tell us,
Mrs. Witla?" she demanded archly of Angela, but with a secret dagger
thrust in her eyes. "You'd think he didn't want us to know."

Angela cowered beneath the sting of this whip cord. Miriam made her feel
as though Eugene had attempted to conceal his relationship to her--as
though he was ashamed of her. How many more women were there like Miriam
and Norma Whitmore?

Eugene was gaily unconscious of the real animus in Miriam's
conversation, and now that the first cruel moment was over, was talking
glibly of things in general, anxious to make everything seem as simple
and natural as possible. He was working at one of his pictures when
Miriam came in and was eager to obtain her critical opinion, since it
was nearly done. She squinted at it narrowly but said nothing when he
asked. Ordinarily she would have applauded it vigorously. She did think
it exceptional, but was determined to say nothing. She walked
indifferently about, examining this and that object in a superior way,
asking how he came to obtain the studio, congratulating him upon his
good luck. Angela, she decided, was interesting, but not in Eugene's
class mentally, and should be ignored. He had made a mistake, that was

"Now you must bring Mrs. Witla up to see me," she said on leaving. "I'll
play and sing all my latest songs for you. I have made some of the
daintest discoveries in old Italian and Spanish pieces."

Angela, who had posed to Eugene as knowing something about music,
resented this superior invitation, without inquiry as to her own
possible ability or taste, as she did Miriam's entire attitude. Why was
she so haughty--so superior? What was it to her whether Eugene had said
anything about her or not?

She said nothing to show that she herself played, but she wondered that
Eugene said nothing. It seemed neglectful and inconsiderate of him. He
was busy wondering what Miriam thought of his picture. Miriam took his
hand warmly at parting, looked cheerfully into his eyes, and said, "I
know you two are going to be irrationally happy," and went out.

Eugene felt the irritation at last. He knew Angela felt something.
Miriam was resentful, that was it. She was angry at him for his seeming
indifference. She had commented to herself on Angela's appearance and to
her disadvantage. In her manner had been the statement that his wife was
not very important after all, not of the artistic and superior world to
which she and he belonged.

"How do you like her?" he asked tentatively after she had gone, feeling
a strong current of opposition, but not knowing on what it might be
based exactly.

"I don't like her," returned Angela petulantly. "She thinks she's sweet.
She treats you as though she thought you were her personal property. She
openly insulted me about your not telling her. Miss Whitmore did the
same thing--they all do! They all will! Oh!!"

She suddenly burst into tears and ran crying toward their bedroom.

Eugene followed, astonished, ashamed, rebuked, guilty minded, almost
terror-stricken--he hardly knew what.

"Why, Angela," he urged pleadingly, leaning over her and attempting to
raise her. "You know that isn't true."

"It is! It is!!" she insisted. "Don't touch me! Don't come near me! You
know it is true! You don't love me. You haven't treated me right at all
since I've been here. You haven't done anything that you should have
done. She insulted me openly to my face."

She was speaking with sobs, and Eugene was at once pained and terrorized
by the persistent and unexpected display of emotion. He had never seen
Angela like this before. He had never seen any woman so.

"Why, Angelface," he urged, "how can you go on like this? You know what
you say isn't true. What have I done?"

"You haven't told your friends--that's what you haven't done," she
exclaimed between gasps. "They still think you're single. You keep me
here hidden in the background as though I were a--were a--I don't know
what! Your friends come and insult me openly to my face. They do! They
do! Oh!" and she sobbed anew.

She knew very well what she was doing in her anger and rage. She felt
that she was acting in the right way. Eugene needed a severe reproof; he
had acted very badly, and this was the way to administer it to him now
in the beginning. His conduct was indefensible, and only the fact that
he was an artist, immersed in cloudy artistic thoughts and not really
subject to the ordinary conventions of life, saved him in her
estimation. It didn't matter that she had urged him to marry her. It
didn't absolve him that he had done so. She thought he owed her that.
Anyhow they were married now, and he should do the proper thing.

Eugene stood there cut as with a knife by this terrific charge. He had
not meant anything by concealing her presence, he thought. He had only
endeavored to protect himself very slightly, temporarily.

"You oughtn't to say that, Angela," he pleaded. "There aren't any more
that don't know--at least any more that I care anything about. I didn't
think. I didn't mean to conceal anything. I'll write to everybody that
might be interested."

He still felt hurt that she should brutally attack him this way even in
her sorrow. He was wrong, no doubt, but she? Was this a way to act, this
the nature of true love? He mentally writhed and twisted.

Taking her up in his arms, smoothing her hair, he asked her to forgive
him. Finally, when she thought she had punished him enough, and that he
was truly sorry and would make amends in the future, she pretended to
listen and then of a sudden threw her arms about his neck and began to
hug and kiss him. Passion, of course, was the end of this, but the whole
thing left a disagreeable taste in Eugene's mouth. He did not like
scenes. He preferred the lofty indifference of Miriam, the gay
subterfuge of Norma, the supreme stoicism of Christina Channing. This
noisy, tempestuous, angry emotion was not quite the thing to have
introduced into his life. He did not see how that would make for love
between them.

Still Angela was sweet, he thought. She was a little girl--not as wise
as Norma Whitmore, not as self-protective as Miriam Finch or Christina
Channing. Perhaps after all she needed his care and affection. Maybe it
was best for her and for him that he had married her.

So thinking he rocked her in his arms, and Angela, lying there, was
satisfied. She had won a most important victory. She was starting right.
She was starting Eugene right. She would get the moral, mental and
emotional upper hand of him and keep it. Then these women, who thought
themselves so superior, could go their way. She would have Eugene and he
would be a great man and she would be his wife. That was all she wanted.


The result of Angela's outburst was that Eugene hastened to notify those
whom he had not already informed--Shotmeyer, his father and mother,
Sylvia, Myrtle, Hudson Dula--and received in return cards and letters of
congratulation expressing surprise and interest, which he presented to
Angela in a conciliatory spirit. She realized, after it was all over,
that she had given him an unpleasant shock, and was anxious to make up
to him in personal affection what she had apparently compelled him to
suffer for policy's sake. Eugene did not know that in Angela, despite
her smallness of body and what seemed to him her babyishness of spirit,
he had to deal with a thinking woman who was quite wise as to ways and
means of handling her personal affairs. She was, of course, whirled in
the maelstrom of her affection for Eugene and this was confusing, and
she did not understand the emotional and philosophic reaches of his
mind; but she did understand instinctively what made for a stable
relationship between husband and wife and between any married couple and
the world. To her the utterance of the marriage vow meant just what it
said, that they would cleave each to the other; there should be
henceforth no thoughts, feelings, or emotions, and decidedly no actions
which would not conform with the letter and the spirit of the marriage

Eugene had sensed something of this, but not accurately or completely.
He did not correctly estimate either the courage or the rigidity of her
beliefs and convictions. He thought that her character might possibly
partake of some of his own easy tolerance and good nature. She must know
that people--men particularly--were more or less unstable in their
make-up. Life could not be governed by hard and fast rules. Why,
everybody knew that. You might try, and should hold yourself in check as
much as possible for the sake of self-preservation and social
appearances, but if you erred--and you might easily--it was no crime.
Certainly it was no crime to look at another woman longingly. If you
went astray, overbalanced by your desires, wasn't it after all in the
scheme of things? Did we make our desires? Certainly we did not, and if
we did not succeed completely in controlling them--well--

The drift of life into which they now settled was interesting enough,
though for Eugene it was complicated with the thought of possible
failure, for he was, as might well be expected of such a temperament, of
a worrying nature, and inclined, in his hours of ordinary effort, to
look on the dark side of things. The fact that he had married Angela
against his will, the fact that he had no definite art connections which
produced him as yet anything more than two thousand dollars a year, the
fact that he had assumed financial obligations which doubled the cost of
food, clothing, entertainment, and rent--for their studio was costing
him thirty dollars more than had his share of the Smite-MacHugh
chambers--weighed on him. The dinner which he had given to Smite and
MacHugh had cost about eight dollars over and above the ordinary
expenses of the week. Others of a similar character would cost as much
and more. He would have to take Angela to the theatre occasionally.
There would be the need of furnishing a new studio the following fall,
unless another such windfall as this manifested itself. Although Angela
had equipped herself with a varied and serviceable trousseau, her
clothes would not last forever. Odd necessities began to crop up not
long after they were married, and he began to see that if they lived
with anything like the freedom and care with which he had before he was
married, his income would have to be larger and surer.

The energy which these thoughts provoked was not without result. For one
thing he sent the original of the East Side picture, "Six O'clock" to
the American Academy of Design exhibition--a thing which he might have
done long before but failed to do.

Angela had heard from Eugene that the National Academy of Design was a
forum for the display of art to which the public was invited or admitted
for a charge. To have a picture accepted by this society and hung on the
line was in its way a mark of merit and approval, though Eugene did not
think very highly of it. All the pictures were judged by a jury of
artists which decided whether they should be admitted or rejected, and
if admitted whether they should be given a place of honor or hung in
some inconspicuous position. To be hung "on the line" was to have your
picture placed in the lower tier where the light was excellent and the
public could get a good view of it. Eugene had thought the first two
years he was in New York that he was really not sufficiently experienced
or meritorious, and the previous year he had thought that he would hoard
all that he was doing for his first appearance in some exhibition of his
own, thinking the National Academy commonplace and retrogressive. The
exhibitions he had seen thus far had been full of commonplace,
dead-and-alive stuff, he thought. It was no great honor to be admitted
to such a collection. Now, because MacHugh was trying, and because he
had accumulated nearly enough pictures for exhibition at a private
gallery which he hoped to interest, he was anxious to see what the
standard body of American artists thought of his work. They might reject
him. If so that would merely prove that they did not recognize a radical
departure from accepted methods and subject matter as art. The
impressionists, he understood, were being so ignored. Later they would
accept him. If he were admitted it would simply mean that they knew
better than he believed they did.

"I believe I will do it," he said; "I'd like to know what they think of
my stuff anyhow."

The picture was sent as he had planned, and to his immense satisfaction
it was accepted and hung. It did not, for some reason, attract as much
attention as it might, but it was not without its modicum of praise.
Owen Overman, the poet, met him in the general reception entrance of the
Academy on the opening night, and congratulated him sincerely. "I
remember seeing that in _Truth_," he said, "but it's much better in the
original. It's fine. You ought to do a lot of those things."

"I am," replied Eugene. "I expect to have a show of my own one of these

He called Angela, who had wandered away to look at a piece of statuary,
and introduced her.

"I was just telling your husband how much I like his picture," Overman
informed her.

Angela was flattered that her husband was so much of a personage that he
could have his picture hung in a great exhibition such as this, with its
walls crowded with what seemed to her magnificent canvases, and its
rooms filled with important and distinguished people. As they strolled
about Eugene pointed out to her this well known artist and that writer,
saying almost always that they were very able. He knew three or four of
the celebrated collectors, prize givers, and art patrons by sight, and
told Angela who they were. There were a number of striking looking
models present whom Eugene knew either by reputation, whispered comment
of friends, or personally--Zelma Desmond, who had posed for Eugene,
Hedda Anderson, Anna Magruder and Laura Matthewson among others. Angela
was struck and in a way taken by the dash and beauty of these girls.
They carried themselves with an air of personal freedom and courage
which surprised her. Hedda Anderson was bold in her appearance but
immensely smart. Her manner seemed to comment on the ordinary woman as
being indifferent and not worth while. She looked at Angela walking with
Eugene and wondered who she was.

"Isn't she striking," observed Angela, not knowing she was anyone whom
Eugene knew.

"I know her well," he replied; "she's a model."

Just then Miss Anderson in return for his nod gave him a fetching smile.
Angela chilled.

Elizabeth Stein passed by and he nodded to her.

"Who is she?" asked Angela.

"She's a socialist agitator and radical. She sometimes speaks from a
soap-box on the East Side."

Angela studied her carefully. Her waxen complexion, smooth black hair
laid in even plaits over her forehead, her straight, thin, chiseled
nose, even red lips and low forehead indicated a daring and subtle soul.
Angela did not understand her. She could not understand a girl as good
looking as that doing any such thing as Eugene said, and yet she had a
bold, rather free and easy air. She thought Eugene certainly knew
strange people. He introduced to her William McConnell, Hudson Dula, who
had not yet been to see them, Jan Jansen, Louis Deesa, Leonard Baker and
Paynter Stone.

In regard to Eugene's picture the papers, with one exception, had
nothing to say, but this one in both Eugene's and Angela's minds made up
for all the others. It was the _Evening Sun_, a most excellent medium
for art opinion, and it was very definite in its conclusions in regard
to this particular work. The statement was:

"A new painter, Eugene Witla, has an oil entitled 'Six O'clock' which
for directness, virility, sympathy, faithfulness to detail and what for
want of a better term we may call totality of spirit, is quite the best
thing in the exhibition. It looks rather out of place surrounded by the
weak and spindling interpretations of scenery and water which so readily
find a place in the exhibition of the Academy, but it is none the weaker
for that. The artist has a new, crude, raw and almost rough method, but
his picture seems to say quite clearly what he sees and feels. He may
have to wait--if this is not a single burst of ability--but he will have
a hearing. There is no question of that. Eugene Witla is an artist."

Eugene thrilled when he read this commentary. It was quite what he would
have said himself if he had dared. Angela was beside herself with joy.
Who was the critic who had said this, they wondered? What was he like?
He must be truly an intellectual personage. Eugene wanted to go and look
him up. If one saw his talent now, others would see it later. It was for
this reason--though the picture subsequently came back to him unsold,
and unmentioned so far as merit or prizes were concerned--that he
decided to try for an exhibition of his own.


The hope of fame--what hours of speculation, what pulses of enthusiasm,
what fevers of effort, are based on that peculiarly subtle illusion! It
is yet the lure, the ignis fatuus of almost every breathing heart. In
the young particularly it burns with the sweetness and perfume of spring
fires. Then most of all does there seem substantial reality in the
shadow of fame--those deep, beautiful illusions which tremendous figures
throw over the world. Attainable, it seems, must be the peace and plenty
and sweet content of fame--that glamour of achievement that never was on
sea or land. Fame partakes of the beauty and freshness of the morning.
It has in it the odour of the rose, the feel of rich satin, the color of
the cheeks of youth. If we could but be famous when we dream of fame,
and not when locks are tinged with grey, faces seamed with the lines
that speak of past struggles, and eyes wearied with the tensity, the
longings and the despairs of years! To bestride the world in the morning
of life, to walk amid the plaudits and the huzzahs when love and faith
are young; to feel youth and the world's affection when youth and health
are sweet--what dream is that, of pure sunlight and moonlight
compounded. A sun-kissed breath of mist in the sky; the reflection of
moonlight upon water; the remembrance of dreams to the waking mind--of
such is fame in our youth, and never afterward.

By such an illusion was Eugene's mind possessed. He had no conception of
what life would bring him for his efforts. He thought if he could have
his pictures hung in a Fifth Avenue gallery much as he had seen
Bouguereau's "Venus" in Chicago, with people coming as he had come on
that occasion--it would be of great comfort and satisfaction to him. If
he could paint something which would be purchased by the Metropolitan
Museum in New York he would then be somewhat of a classic figure,
ranking with Corot and Daubigny and Rousseau of the French or with
Turner and Watts and Millais of the English, the leading artistic
figures of his pantheon. These men seemed to have something which he did
not have, he thought, a greater breadth of technique, a finer
comprehension of color and character, a feeling for the subtleties at
the back of life which somehow showed through what they did. Larger
experience, larger vision, larger feeling--these things seemed to be
imminent in the great pictures exhibited here, and it made him a little
uncertain of himself. Only the criticism in the _Evening Sun_ fortified
him against all thought of failure. _He was an artist._

He gathered up the various oils he had done--there were some twenty-six
all told now, scenes of the rivers, the streets, the night life, and so
forth--and went over them carefully, touching up details which in the
beginning he had merely sketched or indicated, adding to the force of a
spot of color here, modifying a tone or shade there, and finally, after
much brooding over the possible result, set forth to find a gallery
which would give them place and commercial approval.

Eugene's feeling was that they were a little raw and sketchy--that they
might not have sufficient human appeal, seeing that they dealt with
factory architecture at times, scows, tugs, engines, the elevated roads
in raw reds, yellows and blacks; but MacHugh, Dula, Smite, Miss Finch,
Christina, the _Evening Sun_, Norma Whitmore, all had praised them, or
some of them. Was not the world much more interested in the form and
spirit of classic beauty such as that represented by Sir John Millais?
Would it not prefer Rossetti's "Blessed Damozel" to any street scene
ever painted? He could never be sure. In the very hour of his triumph
when the _Sun_ had just praised his picture, there lurked the spectre of
possible intrinsic weakness. Did the world wish this sort of thing?
Would it ever buy of him? Was he of any real value?

"No, artist heart!" one might have answered, "of no more value than any
other worker of existence and no less. The sunlight on the corn, the
color of dawn in the maid's cheek, the moonlight on the water--these are
of value and of no value according to the soul to whom is the appeal.
Fear not. Of dreams and the beauty of dreams is the world compounded."

Kellner and Son, purveyors of artistic treasures by both past and
present masters, with offices in Fifth Avenue near Twenty-eighth Street,
was the one truly significant firm of art-dealers in the city. The
pictures in the windows of Kellner and Son, the exhibitions in their
very exclusive show rooms, the general approval which their
discriminating taste evoked, had attracted the attention of artists and
the lay public for fully thirty years. Eugene had followed their shows
with interest ever since he had been in New York. He had seen, every now
and then, a most astonishing picture of one school or another displayed
in their imposing shop window, and had heard artists comment from time
to time on other things there with considerable enthusiasm. The first
important picture of the impressionistic school--a heavy spring rain in
a grove of silver poplars by Winthrop--had been shown in the window of
this firm, fascinating Eugene with its technique. He had encountered
here collections of Aubrey Beardsley's decadent drawings, of Helleu's
silverpoints, of Rodin's astonishing sculptures and Thaulow's solid
Scandinavian eclecticism. This house appeared to have capable artistic
connections all over the world, for the latest art force in Italy,
Spain, Switzerland, or Sweden, was quite as likely to find its timely
expression here as the more accredited work of England, Germany or
France. Kellner and Son were art connoisseurs in the best sense of the
word, and although the German founder of the house had died many years
before, its management and taste had never deteriorated.

Eugene did not know at this time how very difficult it was to obtain an
exhibition under Kellner's auspices, they being over-crowded with offers
of art material and appeals for display from celebrated artists who were
quite willing and able to pay for the space and time they occupied. A
fixed charge was made, never deviated from except in rare instances
where the talent of the artist, his poverty, and the advisability of the
exhibition were extreme. Two hundred dollars was considered little
enough for the use of one of their show rooms for ten days.

Eugene had no such sum to spare, but one day in January, without any
real knowledge as to what the conditions were, he carried four of the
reproductions which had been made from time to time in _Truth_ to the
office of Mr. Kellner, certain that he had something to show. Miss
Whitmore had indicated to him that Eberhard Zang wanted him to come and
see him, but he thought if he was going anywhere he would prefer to go
to Kellner and Son. He wanted to explain to Mr. Kellner, if there were
such a person, that he had many more paintings which he considered even
better--more expressive of his growing understanding of American life
and of himself and his technique. He went in timidly, albeit with quite
an air, for this adventure disturbed him much.

The American manager of Kellner and Son, M. Anatole Charles, was a
Frenchman by birth and training, familiar with the spirit and history of
French art, and with the drift and tendency of art in various other
sections of the world. He had been sent here by the home office in
Berlin not only because of his very thorough training in English art
ways, and because of his ability to select that type of picture which
would attract attention and bring credit and prosperity to the house
here and abroad; but also because of his ability to make friends among
the rich and powerful wherever he was, and to sell one type of important
picture after another--having some knack or magnetic capacity for
attracting to him those who cared for good art and were willing to pay
for it. His specialties, of course, were the canvases of the eminently
successful artists in various parts of the world--the living successful.
He knew by experience what sold--here, in France, in England, in
Germany. He was convinced that there was practically nothing of value in
American art as yet--certainly not from the commercial point of view,
and very little from the artistic. Beyond a few canvases by Inness,
Homer, Sargent, Abbey, Whistler, men who were more foreign, or rather
universal, than American in their attitude, he considered that the
American art spirit was as yet young and raw and crude. "They do not
seem to be grown up as yet over here," he said to his intimate friends.
"They paint little things in a forceful way, but they do not seem as yet
to see things as a whole. I miss that sense of the universe in miniature
which we find in the canvases of so many of the great Europeans. They
are better illustrators than artists over here--why I don't know."

M. Anatole Charles spoke English almost more than perfectly. He was an
example of your true man of the world--polished, dignified, immaculately
dressed, conservative in thought and of few words in expression. Critics
and art enthusiasts were constantly running to him with this and that
suggestion in regard to this and that artist, but he only lifted his
sophisticated eyebrows, curled his superior mustachios, pulled at his
highly artistic goatee, and exclaimed: "Ah!" or "So?" He asserted always
that he was most anxious to find talent--profitable talent--though on
occasion (and he would demonstrate that by an outward wave of his hands
and a shrug of his shoulders), the house of Kellner and Son was not
averse to doing what it could for art--and that for art's sake without
any thought of profit whatsoever. "Where are your artists?" he would
ask. "I look and look. Whistler, Abbey, Inness, Sargent--ah--they are
old, where are the new ones?"

"Well, this one"--the critic would probably persist.

"Well, well, I go. I shall look. But I have little hope--very, very
little hope."

He was constantly appearing under such pressure, at this studio and
that--examining, criticising. Alas, he selected the work of but few
artists for purposes of public exhibition and usually charged them well
for it.

It was this man, polished, artistically superb in his way, whom Eugene
was destined to meet this morning. When he entered the sumptuously
furnished office of M. Charles the latter arose. He was seated at a
little rosewood desk lighted by a lamp with green silk shade. One glance
told him that Eugene was an artist--very likely of ability, more than
likely of a sensitive, high-strung nature. He had long since learned
that politeness and savoir faire cost nothing. It was the first
essential so far as the good will of an artist was concerned. Eugene's
card and message brought by a uniformed attendant had indicated the
nature of his business. As he approached, M. Charles' raised eyebrows
indicated that he would be very pleased to know what he could do for
Mr. Witla.

"I should like to show you several reproductions of pictures of mine,"
began Eugene in his most courageous manner. "I have been working on a
number with a view to making a show and I thought that possibly you
might be interested in looking at them with a view to displaying them
for me. I have twenty-six all told and--"

"Ah! that is a difficult thing to suggest," replied M. Charles
cautiously. "We have a great many exhibitions scheduled now--enough to
carry us through two years if we considered nothing more. Obligations to
artists with whom we have dealt in the past take up a great deal of our
time. Contracts, which our Berlin and Paris branches enter into,
sometimes crowd out our local shows entirely. Of course, we are always
anxious to make interesting exhibitions if opportunity should permit.
You know our charges?"

"No," said Eugene, surprised that there should be any.

"Two hundred dollars for two weeks. We do not take exhibitions for less
than that time."

Eugene's countenance fell. He had expected quite a different reception.
Nevertheless, since he had brought them, he untied the tape of the
portfolio in which the prints were laid.

M. Charles looked at them curiously. He was much impressed with the
picture of the East Side Crowd at first, but looking at one of Fifth
Avenue in a snow storm, the battered, shabby bus pulled by a team of
lean, unkempt, bony horses, he paused, struck by its force. He liked the
delineation of swirling, wind-driven snow. The emptiness of this
thoroughfare, usually so crowded, the buttoned, huddled, hunched,
withdrawn look of those who traveled it, the exceptional details of
piles of snow sifted on to window sills and ledges and into doorways and
on to the windows of the bus itself, attracted his attention.

"An effective detail," he said to Eugene, as one critic might say to
another, pointing to a line of white snow on the window of one side of
the bus. Another dash of snow on a man's hat rim took his eye also. "I
can feel the wind," he added.

Eugene smiled.

M. Charles passed on in silence to the steaming tug coming up the East
River in the dark hauling two great freight barges. He was saying to
himself that after all Eugene's art was that of merely seizing upon the
obviously dramatic. It wasn't so much the art of color composition and
life analysis as it was stage craft. The man before him had the ability
to see the dramatic side of life. Still--

He turned to the last reproduction which was that of Greeley Square in a
drizzling rain. Eugene by some mystery of his art had caught the exact
texture of seeping water on gray stones in the glare of various electric
lights. He had caught the values of various kinds of lights, those in
cabs, those in cable cars, those in shop windows, those in the street
lamp--relieving by them the black shadows of the crowds and of the sky.
The color work here was unmistakably good.

"How large are the originals of these?" he asked thoughtfully.

"Nearly all of them thirty by forty."

Eugene could not tell by his manner whether he were merely curious or

"All of them done in oil, I fancy."

"Yes, all."

"They are not bad, I must say," he observed cautiously. "A little
persistently dramatic but--"

"These reproductions--" began Eugene, hoping by criticising the press
work to interest him in the superior quality of the originals.

"Yes, I see," M. Charles interrupted, knowing full well what was coming.
"They are very bad. Still they show well enough what the originals are
like. Where is your studio?"

"61 Washington Square."

"As I say," went on M. Charles, noting the address on Eugene's card,
"the opportunity for exhibition purposes is very limited and our charge
is rather high. We have so many things we would like to exhibit--so many
things we must exhibit. It is hard to say when the situation would
permit--If you are interested I might come and see them sometime."

Eugene looked perturbed. Two hundred dollars! Two hundred dollars! Could
he afford it? It would mean so much to him. And yet the man was not at
all anxious to rent him the show room even at this price.

"I will come," said M. Charles, seeing his mood, "if you wish. That is
what you want me to do. We have to be careful of what we exhibit here.
It isn't as if it were an ordinary show room. I will drop you a card
some day when occasion offers, if you wish, and you can let me know
whether the time I suggest is all right. I am rather anxious to see
these scenes of yours. They are very good of their kind. It may be--one
never can tell--an opportunity might offer--a week or ten days,
somewhere in between other things."

Eugene sighed inwardly. So this was how these things were done. It
wasn't very flattering. Still, he must have an exhibition. He could
afford two hundred if he had to. An exhibition elsewhere would not be so
valuable. He had expected to make a better impression than this.

"I wish you would come," he said at last meditatively. "I think I should
like the space if I can get it. I would like to know what you think."

M. Charles raised his eyebrows.

"Very well," he said, "I will communicate with you."

Eugene went out.

What a poor thing this exhibiting business was, he thought. Here he had
been dreaming of an exhibition at Kellners which should be brought about
without charge to him because they were tremendously impressed with his
work. Now they did not even want his pictures--would charge him two
hundred dollars to show them. It was a great come down--very

Still he went home thinking it would do him some good. The critics would
discuss his work just as they did that of other artists. They would have
to see what he could do should it be that at last this thing which he
had dreamed of and so deliberately planned had come true. He had thought
of an exhibition at Kellner's as the last joyous thing to be attained in
the world of rising art and now it looked as though he was near it. It
might actually be coming to pass. This man wanted to see the rest of his
work. He was not opposed to looking at them. What a triumph even that


It was some little time before M. Charles condescended to write saying
that if it was agreeable he would call Wednesday morning, January 16th,
at 10 A. M., but the letter finally did come and this dispelled all his
intermediary doubts and fears. At last he was to have a hearing! This
man might see something in his work, possibly take a fancy to it. Who
could tell? He showed the letter to Angela with an easy air as though it
were quite a matter of course, but he felt intensely hopeful.

Angela put the studio in perfect order for she knew what this visit
meant to Eugene, and in her eager, faithful way was anxious to help him
as much as possible. She bought flowers from the Italian florist at the
corner and put them in vases here and there. She swept and dusted,
dressed herself immaculately in her most becoming house dress and waited
with nerves at high tension for the fateful ring of the door bell.
Eugene pretended to work at one of his pictures which he had done long
before--the raw jangling wall of an East Side street with its swarms of
children, its shabby push-carts, its mass of eager, shuffling, pushing
mortals, the sense of rugged ground life running all through it, but he
had no heart for the work. He was asking himself over and over what M.
Charles would think. Thank heaven this studio looked so charming! Thank
heaven Angela was so dainty in her pale green gown with a single red
coral pin at her throat. He walked to the window and stared out at
Washington Square, with its bare, wind-shaken branches of trees, its
snow, its ant-like pedestrians hurrying here and there. If he were only
rich--how peacefully he would paint! M. Charles could go to the devil.

The door bell rang.

Angela clicked a button and up came M. Charles quietly. They could hear
his steps in the hall. He knocked and Eugene answered, decidedly nervous
in his mind, but outwardly calm and dignified. M. Charles entered, clad
in a fur-lined overcoat, fur cap and yellow chamois gloves.

"Ah, good morning!" said M. Charles in greeting. "A fine bracing day,
isn't it? What a charming view you have here. Mrs. Witla! I'm delighted
to meet you. I am a little late but I was unavoidably detained. One of
our German associates is in the city."

He divested himself of his great coat and rubbed his hands before the
fire. He tried, now that he had unbent so far, to be genial and
considerate. If he and Eugene were to do any business in the future it
must be so. Besides the picture on the easel before him, near the
window, which for the time being he pretended not to see, was an
astonishingly virile thing. Of whose work did it remind him--anybody's?
He confessed to himself as he stirred around among his numerous art
memories that he recalled nothing exactly like it. Raw reds, raw greens,
dirty grey paving stones--such faces! Why this thing fairly shouted its
facts. It seemed to say: "I'm dirty, I am commonplace, I am grim, I am
shabby, but I am life." And there was no apologizing for anything in it,
no glossing anything over. Bang! Smash! Crack! came the facts one after
another, with a bitter, brutal insistence on their so-ness. Why, on
moody days when he had felt sour and depressed he had seen somewhere a
street that looked like this, and there it was--dirty, sad, slovenly,
immoral, drunken--anything, everything, but here it was. "Thank God for
a realist," he said to himself as he looked, for he knew life, this cold
connoisseur; but he made no sign. He looked at the tall, slim frame of
Eugene, his cheeks slightly sunken, his eyes bright--an artist every
inch of him, and then at Angela, small, eager, a sweet, loving, little
woman, and he was glad that he was going to be able to say that he would
exhibit these things.

"Well," he said, pretending to look at the picture on the easel for the
first time, "we might as well begin to look at these things. I see you
have one here. Very good, I think, quite forceful. What others have

Eugene was afraid this one hadn't appealed to him as much as he hoped it
would, and set it aside quickly, picking up the second in the stock
which stood against the wall, covered by a green curtain. It was the
three engines entering the great freight yard abreast, the smoke of the
engines towering straight up like tall whitish-grey plumes, in the damp,
cold air, the sky lowering with blackish-grey clouds, the red and yellow
and blue cars standing out in the sodden darkness because of the water.
You could feel the cold, wet drizzle, the soppy tracks, the weariness of
"throwing switches." There was a lone brakeman in the foreground,
"throwing" a red brake signal. He was quite black and evidently wet.

"A symphony in grey," said M. Charles succinctly.

They came swiftly after this, without much comment from either, Eugene
putting one canvas after another before him, leaving it for a few
moments and replacing it with another. His estimate of his own work did
not rise very rapidly, for M. Charles was persistently distant,
but the latter could not help voicing approval of "After The Theatre,"
a painting full of the wonder and bustle of a night crowd under
sputtering electric lamps. He saw that Eugene had covered almost
every phase of what might be called the dramatic spectacle in the
public life of the city and much that did not appear dramatic until
he touched it--the empty canyon of Broadway at three o'clock in the
morning; a long line of giant milk wagons, swinging curious lanterns,
coming up from the docks at four o'clock in the morning; a plunging
parade of fire vehicles, the engines steaming smoke, the people running
or staring open-mouthed; a crowd of polite society figures emerging
from the opera; the bread line; an Italian boy throwing pigeons in
the air from a basket on his arm in a crowded lower West-side
street. Everything he touched seemed to have romance and beauty, and yet
it was real and mostly grim and shabby.

"I congratulate you, Mr. Witla," finally exclaimed M. Charles, moved by
the ability of the man and feeling that caution was no longer necessary.
"To me this is wonderful material, much more effective than the
reproductions show, dramatic and true. I question whether you will make
any money out of it. There is very little sale for American art in this
country. It might almost do better in Europe. It _ought_ to sell, but
that is another matter. The best things do not always sell readily. It
takes time. Still I will do what I can. I will give these pictures a two
weeks' display early in April without any charge to you whatever."
(Eugene started.) "I will call them to the attention of those who know.
I will speak to those who buy. It is an honor, I assure you, to do this.
I consider you an artist in every sense of the word--I might say a great
artist. You ought, if you preserve yourself sanely and with caution, to
go far, very far. I shall be glad to send for these when the time

Eugene did not know how to reply to this. He did not quite understand
the European seriousness of method, its appreciation of genius, which
was thus so easily and sincerely expressed in a formal way. M. Charles
meant every word he said. This was one of those rare and gratifying
moments of his life when he was permitted to extend to waiting and
unrecognized genius the assurance of the consideration and approval of
the world. He stood there waiting to hear what Eugene would say, but the
latter only flushed under his pale skin.

"I'm very glad," he said at last, in his rather commonplace, off-hand,
American way. "I thought they were pretty good but I wasn't sure. I'm
very grateful to you."

"You need not feel gratitude toward me," returned M. Charles, now
modifying his formal manner. "You can congratulate yourself--your art. I
am honored, as I tell you. We will make a fine display of them. You have
no frames for these? Well, never mind, I will lend you frames."

He smiled and shook Eugene's hand and congratulated Angela. She had
listened to this address with astonishment and swelling pride. She had
perceived, despite Eugene's manner, the anxiety he was feeling, the
intense hopes he was building on the outcome of this meeting. M.
Charles' opening manner had deceived her. She had felt that he did not
care so much after all, and that Eugene was going to be disappointed.
Now, when this burst of approval came, she hardly knew what to make of
it. She looked at Eugene and saw that he was intensely moved by not only
a sense of relief, but pride and joy. His pale, dark face showed it. To
see this load of care taken off him whom she loved so deeply was enough
to unsettle Angela. She found herself stirred in a pathetic way and now,
when M. Charles turned to her, tears welled to her eyes.

"Don't cry, Mrs. Witla," he said grandly on seeing this. "You have a
right to be proud of your husband. He is a great artist. You should take
care of him."

"Oh, I'm so happy," half-laughed and half-sobbed Angela, "I can't help

She went over to where Eugene was and put her face against his coat.
Eugene slipped his arm about her and smiled sympathetically.
M. Charles smiled also, proud of the effect of his words. "You both have
a right to feel very happy," he said.

"Little Angela!" thought Eugene. This was your true wife for you, your
good woman. Her husband's success meant all to her. She had no life of
her own--nothing outside of him and his good fortune.

M. Charles smiled. "Well, I will be going now," he said finally. "I will
send for the pictures when the time comes. And meanwhile you two must
come with me to dinner. I will let you know."

He bowed himself out with many assurances of good will, and then Angela
and Eugene looked at each other.

"Oh, isn't it lovely, Honeybun," she cried, half giggling, half crying.
(She had begun to call him Honeybun the first day they were married.)
"My Eugene a great artist. He said it was a great honor! Isn't that
lovely? And all the world is going to know it soon, now. Isn't that
fine! Oh dear, I'm so proud." And she threw her arms ecstatically about
his neck.

Eugene kissed her affectionately. He was not thinking so much of her
though as he was of Kellner and Son--their great exhibit room, the
appearance of these twenty-seven or thirty great pictures in gold
frames; the spectators who might come to see; the newspaper criticisms;
the voices of approval. Now all his artist friends would know that he
was considered a great artist; he was to have a chance to associate on
equal terms with men like Sargent and Whistler if he ever met them. The
world would hear of him widely. His fame might go to the uttermost parts
of the earth.

He went to the window after a time and looked out. There came back to
his mind Alexandria, the printing shop, the Peoples' Furniture Company
in Chicago, the Art Students League, the _Daily Globe_. Surely he had
come by devious paths.

"Gee!" he exclaimed at last simply. "Smite and MacHugh'll be glad to
hear this. I'll have to go over and tell them."


The exhibition which followed in April was one of those things which
happen to fortunate souls--a complete flowering out before the eyes of
the world of its feelings, emotions, perceptions, and understanding. We
all have our feelings and emotions, but lack the power of
self-expression. It is true, the work and actions of any man are to some
degree expressions of character, but this is a different thing. The
details of most lives are not held up for public examination at any
given time. We do not see succinctly in any given place just what an
individual thinks and feels. Even the artist is not always or often
given the opportunity of collected public expression under conspicuous
artistic auspices. Some are so fortunate--many are not. Eugene realized
that fortune was showering its favors upon him.

When the time came, M. Charles was so kind as to send for the pictures
and to arrange all the details. He had decided with Eugene that because
of the vigor of treatment and the prevailing color scheme black frames
would be the best. The principal exhibition room on the ground floor in
which these paintings were to be hung was heavily draped in red velvet
and against this background the different pictures stood out
effectively. Eugene visited the show room at the time the pictures were
being hung, with Angela, with Smite and MacHugh, Shotmeyer and others.
He had long since notified Norma Whitmore and Miriam Finch, but not the
latter until after Wheeler had had time to tell her. This also chagrined
her, for she felt in this as she had about his marriage, that he was
purposely neglecting her.

The dream finally materialized--a room eighteen by forty, hung with dark
red velvet, irradiated with a soft, illuminating glow from hidden lamps
in which Eugene's pictures stood forth in all their rawness and
reality--almost as vigorous as life itself. To some people, those who do
not see life clearly and directly, but only through other people's eyes,
they seemed more so.

For this reason Eugene's exhibition of pictures was an astonishing thing
to most of those who saw it. It concerned phases of life which in the
main they had but casually glanced at, things which because they were
commonplace and customary were supposedly beyond the pale of artistic
significance. One picture in particular, a great hulking, ungainly
negro, a positively animal man, his ears thick and projecting, his lips
fat, his nose flat, his cheek bones prominent, his whole body expressing
brute strength and animal indifference to dirt and cold, illustrated
this point particularly. He was standing in a cheap, commonplace East
Side street. The time evidently was a January or February morning. His
business was driving an ash cart, and his occupation at the moment
illustrated by the picture was that of lifting a great can of mixed
ashes, paper and garbage to the edge of the ungainly iron wagon. His
hands were immense and were covered with great red patched woolen and
leather gloves--dirty, bulbous, inconvenient, one would have said. His
head and ears were swaddled about by a red flannel shawl or strip of
cloth which was knotted under his pugnacious chin, and his forehead,
shawl and all, surmounted by a brown canvas cap with his badge and
number as a garbage driver on it. About his waist was tied a great piece
of rough coffee sacking and his arms and legs looked as though he might
have on two or three pairs of trousers and as many vests. He was looking
purblindly down the shabby street, its hard crisp snow littered with tin
cans, paper, bits of slop and offal. Dust--gray ash dust, was flying
from his upturned can. In the distance behind him was a milk wagon, a
few pedestrians, a little thinly clad girl coming out of a delicatessen
store. Over head were dull small-paned windows, some shutters with a few
of their slats broken out, a frowsy headed man looking out evidently to
see whether the day was cold.

Eugene was so cruel in his indictment of life. He seemed to lay on his
details with bitter lack of consideration. Like a slavedriver lashing a
slave he spared no least shade of his cutting brush. "Thus, and thus and
thus" (he seemed to say) "is it." "What do you think of this? and this?
and this?"

People came and stared. Young society matrons, art dealers, art critics,
the literary element who were interested in art, some musicians, and,
because the newspapers made especial mention of it, quite a number of
those who run wherever they imagine there is something interesting to
see. It was quite a notable two weeks' display. Miriam Finch (though she
never admitted to Eugene that she had seen it--she would not give him
that satisfaction) Norma Whitmore, William McConnell, Louis Deesa, Owen
Overman, Paynter Stone, the whole ruck and rabble of literary and
artistic life, came. There were artists of great ability there whom
Eugene had never seen before. It would have pleased him immensely if he
had chanced to see several of the city's most distinguished social
leaders looking, at one time and another, at his pictures. All his
observers were astonished at his virility, curious as to his
personality, curious as to what motive, or significance, or point of
view it might have. The more eclectically cultured turned to the
newspapers to see what the art critics would say of this--how they would
label it. Because of the force of the work, the dignity and critical
judgment of Kellner and Son, the fact that the public of its own
instinct and volition was interested, most of the criticisms were
favorable. One art publication, connected with and representative of the
conservative tendencies of a great publishing house, denied the merit of
the collection as a whole, ridiculed the artist's insistence on shabby
details as having artistic merit, denied that he could draw accurately,
denied that he was a lover of pure beauty, and accused him of having no
higher ideal than that of desire to shock the current mass by painting
brutal things brutally.

"Mr. Witla," wrote this critic, "would no doubt be flattered if he were
referred to as an American Millet. The brutal exaggeration of that
painter's art would probably testify to him of his own merit. He is
mistaken. The great Frenchman was a lover of humanity, a reformer in
spirit, a master of drawing and composition. There was nothing of this
cheap desire to startle and offend by what he did. If we are to have ash
cans and engines and broken-down bus-horses thrust down our throats as
art, Heaven preserve us. We had better turn to commonplace photography
at once and be done with it. Broken window shutters, dirty pavements,
half frozen ash cart drivers, overdrawn, heavily exaggerated figures of
policemen, tenement harridans, beggars, panhandlers, sandwich men--of
such is _Art_ according to Eugene Witla."

Eugene winced when he read this. For the time being it seemed true
enough. His art was shabby. Yet there were others like Luke Severas who
went to the other extreme.

"A true sense of the pathetic, a true sense of the dramatic, the ability
to endow color--not with its photographic value, though to the current
thought it may seem so--but with its higher spiritual significance; the
ability to indict life with its own grossness, to charge it
prophetically with its own meanness and cruelty in order that mayhap it
may heal itself; the ability to see wherein is beauty--even in shame and
pathos and degradation; of such is this man's work. He comes from the
soil apparently, fresh to a great task. There is no fear here, no bowing
to traditions, no recognition of any of the accepted methods. It is
probable that he may not know what the accepted methods are. So much the
better. We have a new method. The world is the richer for that. As we
have said before, Mr. Witla may have to wait for his recognition. It is
certain that these pictures will not be quickly purchased and hung in
parlors. The average art lover does not take to a new thing so readily.
But if he persevere, if his art does not fail him, his turn will come.
It cannot fail. He is a great artist. May he live to realize it
consciously and in his own soul."

Tears leaped to Eugene's eyes when he read this. The thought that he was
a medium for some noble and super-human purpose thickened the cords in
his throat until they felt like a lump. He wanted to be a great artist,
he wanted to be worthy of the appreciation that was thus extended to
him. He thought of all the writers and artists and musicians and
connoisseurs of pictures who would read this and remember him. It was
just possible that from now onwards some of his pictures would sell. He
would be so glad to devote himself to this sort of thing--to quit
magazine illustration entirely. How ridiculous the latter was, how
confined and unimportant. Henceforth, unless driven by sheer necessity,
he would do it no more. They should beg in vain. He was an artist in the
true sense of the word--a great painter, ranking with Whistler, Sargent,
Velasquez and Turner. Let the magazines with their little ephemeral
circulation go their way. He was for the whole world.

He stood at the window of his studio one day while the exhibition was
still in progress, Angela by his side, thinking of all the fine things
that had been said. No picture had been sold, but M. Charles had told
him that some might be taken before it was all over.

"I think if I make any money out of this," he said to Angela, "we will
go to Paris this summer. I have always wanted to see Paris. In the fall
we'll come back and take a studio up town. They are building some dandy
ones up in Sixty-fifth Street." He was thinking of the artists who could
pay three and four thousand dollars a year for a studio. He was thinking
of men who made four, five, six and even eight hundred dollars out of
every picture they painted. If he could do that! Or if he could get a
contract for a mural decoration for next winter. He had very little
money laid by. He had spent most of his time this winter working with
these pictures.

"Oh, Eugene," exclaimed Angela, "it seems so wonderful. I can hardly
believe it. You a really, truly, great artist! And us going to Paris!
Oh, isn't that beautiful. It seems like a dream. I think and think, but
it's hard to believe that I am here sometimes, and that your pictures
are up at Kellner's and oh!--" she clung to him in an ecstasy of

Out in the park the leaves were just budding. It looked as though the
whole square were hung with a transparent green net, spangled, as was
the net in his room, with tiny green leaves. Songsters were idling in
the sun. Sparrows were flying noisily about in small clouds. Pigeons
were picking lazily between the car tracks of the street below.

"I might get a group of pictures illustrative of Paris. You can't tell
what we'll find. Charles says he will have another exhibition for me
next spring, if I'll get the material ready." He pushed his arms above
his head and yawned deliciously.

He wondered what Miss Finch thought now. He wondered where Christina
Channing was. There was never a word in the papers yet as to what had
become of her. He knew what Norma Whitmore thought. She was apparently
as happy as though the exhibition had been her own.

"Well, I must go and get your lunch, Honeybun!" exclaimed Angela. "I
have to go to Mr. Gioletti, the grocer, and to Mr. Ruggiere, the
vegetable man." She laughed, for the Italian names amused her.

Eugene went back to his easel. He was thinking of Christina--where was
she? At that moment, if he had known, she was looking at his pictures,
only newly returned from Europe. She had seen a notice in the _Evening

"Such work!" Christina thought, "such force! Oh, what a delightful
artist. And he was with me."

Her mind went back to Florizel and the amphitheatre among the trees. "He
called me 'Diana of the Mountains,'" she thought, "his 'hamadryad,' his
'huntress of the morn.'" She knew he was married. An acquaintance of
hers had written in December. The past was past with her--she wanted no
more of it. But it was beautiful to think upon--a delicious memory.

"What a queer girl I am," she thought.

Still she wished she could see him again--not face to face, but
somewhere where he could not see her. She wondered if he was
changing--if he would ever change. He was so beautiful then--to her.


Paris now loomed bright in Eugene's imagination, the prospect mingling
with a thousand other delightful thoughts. Now that he had attained to
the dignity of a public exhibition, which had been notably commented
upon by the newspapers and art journals and had been so generally
attended by the elect, artists, critics, writers generally, seemed to
know of him. There were many who were anxious to meet and greet him, to
speak approvingly of his work. It was generally understood, apparently,
that he was a great artist, not exactly arrived to the fullness of his
stature as yet, being so new, but on his way. Among those who knew him
he was, by this one exhibition, lifted almost in a day to a lonely
height, far above the puny efforts of such men as Smite and MacHugh,
McConnell and Deesa, the whole world of small artists whose canvases
packed the semi-annual exhibition of the National Academy of Design and
the Water color society, and with whom in a way, he had been associated.
He was a great artist now--recognized as such by the eminent critics who
knew; and as such, from now on, would be expected to do the work of a
great artist. One phrase in the criticisms of Luke Severas in the
_Evening Sun_ as it appeared during the run of his exhibition remained
in his memory clearly--"If he perseveres, if his art does not fail him."
Why should his art fail him?--he asked himself. He was immensely pleased
to hear from M. Charles at the close of the exhibition that three of his
pictures had been sold--one for three hundred dollars to Henry McKenna,
a banker; another, the East Side street scene which M. Charles so
greatly admired, to Isaac Wertheim, for five hundred dollars; a third,
the one of the three engines and the railroad yard, to Robert C.
Winchon, a railroad man, first vice-president of one of the great
railroads entering New York, also for five hundred dollars. Eugene had
never heard of either Mr. McKenna or Mr. Winchon, but he was assured
that they were men of wealth and refinement. At Angela's suggestion he
asked M. Charles if he would not accept one of his pictures as a slight
testimony of his appreciation for all he had done for him. Eugene would
not have thought to do this, he was so careless and unpractical. But
Angela thought of it, and saw that he did it. M. Charles was greatly
pleased, and took the picture of Greeley Square, which he considered a
masterpiece of color interpretation. This somehow sealed the friendship
between these two, and M. Charles was anxious to see Eugene's interests
properly forwarded. He asked him to leave three of his scenes on sale
for a time and he would see what he could do. Meanwhile, Eugene, with
thirteen hundred added to the thousand and some odd dollars he had left
in his bank from previous earnings, was convinced that his career was
made, and decided, as he had planned to go to Paris, for the summer at

This trip, so exceptional to him, so epoch-making, was easily arranged.
All the time he had been in New York he had heard more in his circle of
Paris than of any other city. Its streets, its quarters, its museums,
its theatres and opera were already almost a commonplace to him. The
cost of living, the ideal methods of living, the way to travel, what to
see--how often he had sat and listened to descriptions of these things.
Now he was going. Angela took the initiative in arranging all the
practical details--such as looking up the steamship routes, deciding on
the size of trunks required, what to take, buying the tickets, looking
up the rates of the different hotels and pensions at which they might
possibly stay. She was so dazed by the glory that had burst upon her
husband's life that she scarcely knew what to do or what to make of it.

"That Mr. Bierdat," she said to Eugene, referring to one of the
assistant steam-ship agents with whom she had taken counsel, "tells me
that if we are just going for the summer it's foolish to take anything
but absolute necessaries. He says we can buy so many nice little things
to wear over there if we need them, and then I can bring them back duty
free in the fall."

Eugene approved of this. He thought Angela would like to see the shops.
They finally decided to go via London, returning direct from Havre, and
on the tenth of May they departed, arriving in London a week later and
in Paris on the first of June. Eugene was greatly impressed with London.
He had arrived in time to miss the British damp and cold and to see
London through a golden haze which was entrancing. Angela objected to
the shops, which she described as "punk," and to the condition of the
lower classes, who were so poor and wretchedly dressed. She and Eugene
discussed the interesting fact that all Englishmen looked exactly alike,
dressed, walked, and wore their hats and carried their canes exactly
alike. Eugene was impressed with the apparent "go" of the men--their
smartness and dapperness. The women he objected to in the main as being
dowdy and homely and awkward.

But when he reached Paris, what a difference! In London, because of the
lack of sufficient means (he did not feel that as yet he had sufficient
to permit him to indulge in the more expensive comforts and pleasures of
the city) and for the want of someone to provide him with proper social
introductions, he was compelled to content himself with that
superficial, exterior aspect of things which only the casual traveler
sees--the winding streets, the crush of traffic, London Tower, Windsor
Castle, the Inns of court, the Strand, Piccadilly, St. Paul's and, of
course, the National Gallery and the British Museum. South Kensington
and all those various endowed palaces where objects of art are displayed
pleased him greatly. In the main he was struck with the conservatism of
London, its atmosphere of Empire, its soldiery and the like, though he
considered it drab, dull, less strident than New York, and really less
picturesque. When he came to Paris, however, all this was changed. Paris
is of itself a holiday city--one whose dress is always gay, inviting,
fresh, like one who sets forth to spend a day in the country. As Eugene
stepped onto the dock at Calais and later as he journeyed across and
into the city, he could feel the vast difference between France and
England. The one country seemed young, hopeful, American, even foolishly
gay, the other serious, speculative, dour.

Eugene had taken a number of letters from M. Charles, Hudson Dula, Louis
Deesa, Leonard Baker and others, who, on hearing that he was going, had
volunteered to send him to friends in Paris who might help him. The
principal thing, if he did not wish to maintain a studio of his own, and
did wish to learn, was to live with some pleasant French family where he
could hear French and pick it up quickly. If he did not wish to do this,
the next best thing was to settle in the Montmartre district in some
section or court where he could obtain a nice studio, and where there
were a number of American or English students. Some of the Americans to
whom he had letters were already domiciled here. With a small calling
list of friends who spoke English he would do very well.

"You will be surprised, Witla," said Deesa to him one day, "how much
English you can get understood by making intelligent signs."

Eugene had laughed at Deesa's descriptions of his own difficulties and
successes, but he found that Deesa was right. Signs went very far and
they were, as a rule, thoroughly intelligible.

The studio which he and Angela eventually took after a few days spent at
an hotel, was a comfortable one on the third floor of a house which
Eugene found ready to his hand, recommended by M. Arkquin, of the Paris
branch of Kellner and Son. Another artist, Finley Wood, whom afterwards
Eugene recalled as having been mentioned to him by Ruby Kenny, in
Chicago, was leaving Paris for the summer. Because of M. Charles'
impressive letter, M. Arkquin was most anxious that Eugene should be
comfortably installed and suggested that he take this, the charge being
anything he cared to pay--forty francs the month. Eugene looked at it
and was delighted. It was in the back of the house, looking out on a
little garden, and because of a westward slope of the ground from this
direction and an accidental breach in the building line, commanded a
wide sweep of the city of Paris, the twin towers of Notre Dame, the
sheer rise of the Eiffel tower. It was fascinating to see the lights of
the city blinking of an evening. Eugene would invariably draw his chair
close to his favorite window when he came in, while Angela made lemonade
or iced tea or practised her culinary art on a chafing dish. In
presenting to him an almost standard American menu she exhibited the
executive ability and natural industry which was her chief
characteristic. She would go to the neighboring groceries, rotisseries,
patisseries, green vegetable stands, and get the few things she needed
in the smallest quantities, always selecting the best and preparing them
with the greatest care. She was an excellent cook and loved to set a
dainty and shining table. She saw no need of company, for she was
perfectly happy alone with Eugene and felt that he must be with her. She
had no desire to go anywhere by herself--only with him; and she would
hang on every thought and motion waiting for him to say what his
pleasure would be.

The wonder of Paris to Eugene was its freshness and the richness of its
art spirit as expressed on every hand. He was never weary of looking at
the undersized French soldiery with their wide red trousers, blue coats
and red caps, or the police with their capes and swords and the cab
drivers with their air of leisurely superiority. The Seine, brisk with
boats at this season of the year, the garden of the Tuileries, with its
white marble nudes and formal paths and stone benches, the Bois, the
Champ de Mars, the Trocadero Museum, the Louvre--all the wonder streets
and museums held him as in a dream.

"Gee," he exclaimed to Angela one afternoon as he followed the banks of
the Seine toward Issy, "this is certainly the home of the blessed for
all good artists. Smell that perfume. (It was from a perfume factory in
the distance.) See that barge!" He leaned on the river wall. "Ah," he
sighed, "this is perfect."

They went back in the dusk on the roof of an open car. "When I die," he
sighed, "I hope I come to Paris. It is all the heaven I want."

Yet like all perfect delights, it lost some of its savour after a time,
though not much. Eugene felt that he could live in Paris if his art
would permit him--though he must go back, he knew, for the present

Angela, he noticed after a time, was growing in confidence, if not in
mentality. From a certain dazed uncertainty which had characterized her
the preceding fall when she had first come to New York, heightened and
increased for the time being by the rush of art life and strange
personalities she had encountered there and here she was blossoming into
a kind of assurance born of experience. Finding that Eugene's ideas,
feelings and interests were of the upper world of thought
entirely--concerned with types, crowds, the aspect of buildings,
streets, skylines, the humors and pathetic aspects of living, she
concerned herself solely with the managerial details. It did not take
her long to discover that if anyone would relieve Eugene of all care for
himself he would let him do it. It was no satisfaction to him to buy
himself anything. He objected to executive and commercial details. If
tickets had to be bought, time tables consulted, inquiries made, any
labor of argument or dispute engaged in, he was loath to enter on it.
"You get these, will you, Angela?" he would plead, or "you see him about
that. I can't now. Will you?"

Angela would hurry to the task, whatever it was, anxious to show that
she was of real use and necessity. On the busses of London or Paris, as
in New York, he was sketching, sketching, sketching--cabs, little
passenger boats of the Seine, characters in the cafes, parks, gardens,
music halls, anywhere, anything, for he was practically tireless. All
that he wanted was not to be bothered very much, to be left to his own
devices. Sometimes Angela would pay all the bills for him for a day. She
carried his purse, took charge of all the express orders into which
their cash had been transferred, kept a list of all their expenditures,
did the shopping, buying, paying. Eugene was left to see the thing that
he wanted to see, to think the things that he wanted to think. During
all those early days Angela made a god of him and he was very willing to
cross his legs, Buddha fashion, and act as one.

Only at night when there were no alien sights or sounds to engage his
attention, when not even his art could come between them, and she could
draw him into her arms and submerge his restless spirit in the tides of
her love did she feel his equal--really worthy of him. These transports
which came with the darkness, or with the mellow light of the little oil
lamp that hung in chains from the ceiling near their wide bed, or in the
faint freshness of dawn with the birds cheeping in the one tree of the
little garden below--were to her at once utterly generous and profoundly
selfish. She had eagerly absorbed Eugene's philosophy of self-indulgent
joy where it concerned themselves--all the more readily as it coincided
with her own vague ideas and her own hot impulses.

Angela had come to marriage through years of self-denial, years of
bitter longing for the marriage that perhaps would never be, and out of
those years she had come to the marriage bed with a cumulative and
intense passion. Without any knowledge either of the ethics or
physiology of sex, except as pertained to her state as a virgin, she was
vastly ignorant of marriage itself; the hearsay of girls, the equivocal
confessions of newly married women, and the advice of her elder sister
(conveyed by Heaven only knows what process of conversation) had left
her almost as ignorant as before, and now she explored its mysteries
with abandon, convinced that the unrestrained gratification of passion
was normal and excellent--in addition to being, as she came to find, a
universal solvent for all differences of opinion or temperament that
threatened their peace of mind. Beginning with their life in the studio
on Washington Square, and continuing with even greater fervor now in
Paris, there was what might be described as a prolonged riot of
indulgence between them, bearing no relation to any necessity in their
natures, and certainly none to the demands which Eugene's intellectual
and artistic tasks laid upon him. She was to Eugene astonishing and
delightful; and yet perhaps not so much delightful as astonishing.
Angela was in a sense elemental, but Eugene was not: he was the artist,
in this as in other things, rousing himself to a pitch of appreciation
which no strength so undermined by intellectual subtleties could
continuously sustain. The excitement of adventure, of intrigue in a
sense, of discovering the secrets of feminine personality--these were
really what had constituted the charm, if not the compelling urge, of
his romances. To conquer was beautiful: but it was in essence an
intellectual enterprise. To see his rash dreams come true in the
yielding of the last sweetness possessed by the desired woman, had been
to him imaginatively as well as physically an irresistible thing. But
these enterprises were like thin silver strands spun out across an
abyss, whose beauty but not whose dangers were known to him. Still, he
rejoiced in this magnificent creature-joy which Angela supplied; it was,
so far as it was concerned, what he thought he wanted. And Angela
interpreted her power to respond to what seemed his inexhaustible desire
as not only a kindness but a duty.

Eugene set up his easel here, painted from nine to noon some days, and
on others from two to five in the afternoon. If it were dark, he would
walk or ride with Angela or visit the museums, the galleries and the
public buildings or stroll in the factory or railroad quarters of the
city. Eugene sympathized most with sombre types and was constantly
drawing something which represented grim care. Aside from the dancers in
the music halls, the toughs, in what later became known as the Apache
district, the summer picnicking parties at Versailles and St. Cloud, the
boat crowds on the Seine, he drew factory throngs, watchmen and railroad
crossings, market people, market in the dark, street sweepers, newspaper
vendors, flower merchants, always with a memorable street scene in the
background. Some of the most interesting bits of Paris, its towers,
bridges, river views, façades, appeared in backgrounds to the grim or
picturesque or pathetic character studies. It was his hope that he could
interest America in these things--that his next exhibition would not
only illustrate his versatility and persistence of talent, but show an
improvement in his art, a surer sense of color values, a greater
analytical power in the matter of character, a surer selective taste in
the matter of composition and arrangement. He did not realize that all
this might be useless--that he was, aside from his art, living a life
which might rob talent of its finest flavor, discolor the aspect of the
world for himself, take scope from imagination and hamper effort with
nervous irritation, and make accomplishment impossible. He had no
knowledge of the effect of one's sexual life upon one's work, nor what
such a life when badly arranged can do to a perfect art--how it can
distort the sense of color, weaken that balanced judgment of character
which is so essential to a normal interpretation of life, make all
striving hopeless, take from art its most joyous conception, make life
itself seem unimportant and death a relief.


The summer passed, and with it the freshness and novelty of Paris,
though Eugene never really wearied of it. The peculiarities of a
different national life, the variations between this and his own country
in national ideals, an obviously much more complaisant and human
attitude toward morals, a matter-of-fact acceptance of the ills,
weaknesses and class differences, to say nothing of the general physical
appearance, the dress, habitations and amusements of the people,
astonished as much as they entertained him. He was never weary of
studying the differences between American and European architecture,
noting the pacific manner in which the Frenchman appeared to take life,
listening to Angela's unwearied comments on the cleanliness, economy,
thoroughness with which the French women kept house, rejoicing in the
absence of the American leaning to incessant activity. Angela was struck
by the very moderate prices for laundry, the skill with which their
concierge--who governed this quarter and who knew sufficient English to
talk to her--did her marketing, cooking, sewing and entertaining. The
richness of supply and aimless waste of Americans was alike unknown.
Because she was naturally of a domestic turn Angela became very intimate
with Madame Bourgoche and learned of her a hundred and one little tricks
of domestic economy and arrangement.

"You're a peculiar girl, Angela," Eugene once said to her. "I believe
you would rather sit down stairs and talk to that French-woman than meet
the most interesting literary or artistic personage that ever was. What
do you find that's so interesting to talk about?"

"Oh, nothing much," replied Angela, who was not unconscious of the
implied hint of her artistic deficiencies. "She's such a smart woman.
She's so practical. She knows more in a minute about saving and buying
and making a little go a long way than any American woman I ever saw.
I'm not interested in her any more than I am in anyone else. All the
artistic people do, that I can see, is to run around and pretend that
they're a whole lot when they're not."

Eugene saw that he had made an irritating reference, not wholly intended
in the way it was being taken.

"I'm not saying she isn't able," he went on. "One talent is as good as
another, I suppose. She certainly looks clever enough to me. Where is
her husband?"

"He was killed in the army," returned Angela dolefully.

"Well I suppose you'll learn enough from her to run a hotel when you get
back to New York. You don't know enough about housekeeping now, do you?"

Eugene smiled with his implied compliment. He was anxious to get
Angela's mind off the art question. He hoped she would feel or see that
he meant nothing, but she was not so easily pacified.

"You don't think I'm so bad, Eugene, do you?" she asked after a moment.
"You don't think it makes so much difference whether I talk to Madame
Bourgoche? She isn't so dull. She's awfully smart. You just haven't
talked to her. She says she can tell by looking at you that you're a
great artist. You're different. You remind her of a Mr. Degas that once
lived here. Was he a great artist?"

"Was he!" said Eugene. "Well I guess yes. Did he have this studio?"

"Oh, a long time ago--fifteen years ago."

Eugene smiled beatifically. This was a great compliment. He could not
help liking Madame Bourgoche for it. She was bright, no doubt of that,
or she would not be able to make such a comparison. Angela drew from
him, as before, that her domesticity and housekeeping skill was as
important as anything else in the world, and having done this was
satisfied and cheerful once more. Eugene thought how little art or
conditions or climate or country altered the fundamental characteristics
of human nature. Here he was in Paris, comparatively well supplied with
money, famous, or in process of becoming so, and quarreling with Angela
over little domestic idiosyncrasies, just as in Washington Square.

By late September Eugene had most of his Paris sketches so well laid in
that he could finish them anywhere. Some fifteen were as complete as
they could be made. A number of others were nearly so. He decided that
he had had a profitable summer. He had worked hard and here was the work
to show for it--twenty-six canvases which were as good, in his judgment,
as those he had painted in New York. They had not taken so long, but he
was surer of himself--surer of his method. He parted reluctantly with
all the lovely things he had seen, believing that this collection of
Parisian views would be as impressive to Americans as had been his New
York views. M. Arkquin for one, and many others, including the friends
of Deesa and Dula were delighted with them. The former expressed the
belief that some of them might be sold in France.

Eugene returned to America with Angela, and learning that he might stay
in the old studio until December first, settled down to finish the work
for his exhibition there.

The first suggestion that Eugene had that anything was wrong with him,
aside from a growing apprehensiveness as to what the American people
would think of his French work, was in the fall, when he began to
imagine--or perhaps it was really true--that coffee did not agree with
him. He had for several years now been free of his old-time
complaint,--stomach trouble; but gradually it was beginning to reappear
and he began to complain to Angela that he was feeling an irritation
after his meals, that coffee came up in his throat. "I think I'll have
to try tea or something else if this doesn't stop," he observed. She
suggested chocolate and he changed to that, but this merely resulted in
shifting the ill to another quarter. He now began to quarrel with his
work--not being able to get a certain effect, and having sometimes
altered and re-altered and re-re-altered a canvas until it bore little
resemblance to the original arrangement, he would grow terribly
discouraged; or believe that he had attained perfection at last, only to
change his mind the following morning.

"Now," he would say, "I think I have that thing right at last, thank

Angela would heave a sigh of relief, for she could feel instantly any
distress or inability that he felt, but her joy was of short duration.
In a few hours she would find him working at the same canvas changing
something. He grew thinner and paler at this time and his apprehensions
as to his future rapidly became morbid.

"By George! Angela," he said to her one day, "it would be a bad thing
for me if I were to become sick now. It's just the time that I don't
want to. I want to finish this exhibition up right and then go to
London. If I could do London and Chicago as I did New York I would be
just about made, but if I'm going to get sick--"

"Oh, you're not going to get sick, Eugene," replied Angela, "you just
think you are. You want to remember that you've worked very hard this
summer. And think how hard you worked last winter! You need a good rest,
that's what you need. Why don't you stop after you get this exhibition
ready and rest awhile? You have enough to live on for a little bit. M.
Charles will probably sell a few more of those pictures, or some of
those will sell and then you can wait. Don't try to go to London in the
spring. Go on a walking tour or go down South or just rest awhile,
anywhere,--that's what you need."

Eugene realized vaguely that it wasn't rest that he needed so much as
peace of mind. He was not tired. He was merely nervously excited and
apprehensive. He began to sleep badly, to have terrifying dreams, to
feel that his heart was failing him. At two o'clock in the morning, the
hour when for some reason human vitality appears to undergo a peculiar
disturbance, he would wake with a sense of sinking physically. His pulse
would appear to be very low, and he would feel his wrists nervously. Not
infrequently he would break out in a cold perspiration and would get up
and walk about to restore himself. Angela would rise and walk with him.
One day at his easel he was seized with a peculiar nervous
disturbance--a sudden glittering light before his eyes, a rumbling in
his ears, and a sensation which was as if his body were being pricked
with ten million needles. It was as though his whole nervous system had
given way at every minute point and division. For the time being he was
intensely frightened, believing that he was going crazy, but he said
nothing. It came to him as a staggering truth that the trouble with him
was over-indulgence physically; that the remedy was abstinence, complete
or at least partial; that he was probably so far weakened mentally and
physically that it would be very difficult for him to recover; that his
ability to paint might be seriously affected--his life blighted.

He stood before his canvas holding his brush, wondering. When the shock
had completely gone he laid the brush down with a trembling hand. He
walked to the window, wiped his cold, damp forehead with his hand and
then turned to get his coat from the closet.

"Where are you going?" asked Angela.

"For a little walk. I'll be back soon. I don't feel just as fresh as I

She kissed him good-bye at the door and let him go, but her heart
troubled her.

"I'm afraid Eugene is going to get sick," she thought. "He ought to stop


It was the beginning of a period destined to last five or six years, in
which, to say the least, Eugene was not himself. He was not in any sense
out of his mind, if power to reason clearly, jest sagely, argue and read
intelligently are any evidences of sanity; but privately his mind was a
maelstrom of contradictory doubts, feelings and emotions. Always of a
philosophic and introspective turn, this peculiar faculty of reasoning
deeply and feeling emotionally were now turned upon himself and his own
condition and, as in all such cases where we peer too closely into the
subtleties of creation, confusion was the result. Previously he had been
well satisfied that the world knew nothing. Neither in religion,
philosophy nor science was there any answer to the riddle of existence.
Above and below the little scintillating plane of man's thought
was--what? Beyond the optic strength of the greatest telescope,--far out
upon the dim horizon of space--were clouds of stars. What were they
doing out there? Who governed them? When were their sidereal motions
calculated? He figured life as a grim dark mystery, a sad semiconscious
activity turning aimlessly in the dark. No one knew anything. God knew
nothing--himself least of all. Malevolence, life living on death, plain
violence--these were the chief characteristics of existence. If one
failed of strength in any way, if life were not kind in its bestowal of
gifts, if one were not born to fortune's pampering care--the rest was
misery. In the days of his strength and prosperity the spectacle of
existence had been sad enough: in the hours of threatened delay and
defeat it seemed terrible. Why, if his art failed him now, what had he?
Nothing. A little puny reputation which he could not sustain, no money,
a wife to take care of, years of possible suffering and death. The abyss
of death! When he looked into that after all of life and hope, how it
shocked him, how it hurt! Here was life and happiness and love in
health--there was death and nothingness--æons and æons of nothingness.

He did not immediately give up hope--immediately succumb to the
evidences of a crumbling reality. For months and months he fancied each
day that this was a temporary condition; that drugs and doctors could
heal him. There were various remedies that were advertised in the
papers, blood purifiers, nerve restorers, brain foods, which were
announced at once as specifics and cures, and while he did not think
that the ordinary patent medicine had anything of value in it, he did
imagine that some good could be had from tonics, or _the_ tonic. A
physician whom he consulted recommended rest and an excellent tonic
which he knew of. He asked whether he was subject to any wasting
disease. Eugene told him no. He confessed to an over-indulgence in the
sex-relationship, but the doctor did not believe that ordinarily this
should bring about a nervous decline. Hard work must have something to
do with it, over-anxiety. Some temperaments such as his were predisposed
at birth to nervous breakdowns; they had to guard themselves. Eugene
would have to be very careful. He should eat regularly, sleep as long as
possible, observe regular hours. A system of exercise might not be a bad
thing for him. He could get him a pair of Indian clubs or dumb-bells or
an exerciser and bring himself back to health that way.

Eugene told Angela that he believed he would try exercising and joined a
gymnasium. He took a tonic, walked with her a great deal, sought to
ignore the fact that he was nervously depressed. These things were of
practically no value, for the body had apparently been drawn a great
distance below normal and all the hell of a subnormal state had to be
endured before it could gradually come into its own again.

In the meantime he was continuing his passional relations with Angela,
in spite of a growing judgment that they were in some way harmful to
him. But it was not easy to refrain, and each failure to do so made it
harder. It was a customary remark of his that "he must quit this," but
it was like the self-apologetic assurance of the drunkard that he must

Now that he had stepped out into the limelight of public
observation--now that artists and critics and writers somewhat knew of
him, and in their occasional way were wondering what he was doing, it
was necessary that he should bestir himself to especial effort in order
to satisfy the public as to the enduring quality of his art. He was
glad, once he realized that he was in for a siege of bad weather, that
his Paris drawings had been so nearly completed before the break came.
By the day he suffered the peculiar nervousness which seemed to mark the
opening of his real decline, he had completed twenty-two paintings,
which Angela begged him not to touch; and by sheer strength of will,
though he misdoubted gravely, he managed to complete five more. All of
these M. Charles came to see on occasion, and he approved of them
highly. He was not so sure that they would have the appeal of the
American pictures, for after all the city of Paris had been pretty well
done over and over in illustration and genré work. It was not so new as
New York; the things Eugene chose were not as unconventional. Still, he
could say truly they were exceptional. They might try an exhibition of
them later in Paris if they did not take here. He was very sorry to see
that Eugene was in poor health and urged him to take care of himself.

It seemed as if some malign planetary influence were affecting him.
Eugene knew of astrology and palmistry and one day, in a spirit of
curiosity and vague apprehensiveness, consulted a practitioner of the
former, receiving for his dollar the statement that he was destined to
great fame in either art or literature but that he was entering a period
of stress which would endure for a number of years. Eugene's spirits
sank perceptibly. The musty old gentleman who essayed his books of
astrological lore shook his head. He had a rather noble growth of white
hair and a white beard, but his coffee-stained vest was covered with
tobacco ash and his collar and cuffs were dirty.

"It looks pretty bad between your twenty-eighth and your thirty-second
years, but after that there is a notable period of prosperity. Somewhere
around your thirty-eighth or thirty-ninth year there is some more
trouble--a little--but you will come out of that--that is, it looks as
though you would. Your stars show you to be of a nervous, imaginative
character, inclined to worry; and I see that your kidneys are weak. You
ought never to take much medicine. Your sign is inclined to that but it
is without benefit to you. You will be married twice, but I don't see
any children."

He rambled on dolefully and Eugene left in great gloom. So it was
written in the stars that he was to suffer a period of decline and there
was to be more trouble for him in the future. But he did see a period of
great success for him between his thirty-second and his thirty-eighth
years. That was some comfort. Who was the second woman he was to marry?
Was Angela going to die? He walked the streets this early December
afternoon, thinking, thinking.

The Blue family had heard a great deal of Eugene's success since Angela
had come to New York. There had never been a week but at least one
letter, and sometimes two, had gone the rounds of the various members of
the family. It was written to Marietta primarily, but Mrs. Blue, Jotham,
the boys and the several sisters all received it by turns. Thus the
whole regiment of Blue connections knew exactly how it was with Angela
and even better than it was; for although things had looked prosperous
enough, Angela had not stayed within the limits of bare fact in
describing her husband's success. She added atmosphere, not fictitious,
but the seeming glory which dwelt in her mind, until the various
connections of the Blue family, Marietta in particular, were convinced
that there was nothing but dignity and bliss in store for the wife of so
talented a man. The studio life which Angela had seen, here and in
Paris, the picturesque descriptions which came home from London and
Paris, the personalities of M. Charles, M. Arkquin, Isaac Wertheim,
Henry L. Tomlins, Luke Severas--all the celebrities whom they met, both
in New York and abroad, had been described at length. There was not a
dinner, a luncheon, a reception, a tea party, which was not pictured in
all its native colors and more. Eugene had become somewhat of a demi-god
to his Western connections. The quality of his art was never questioned.
It was only a little time now before he would be rich or at least

All the relatives hoped that he would bring Angela home some day on a
visit. To think that she should have married such a distinguished man!

In the Witla family it was quite the same. Eugene had not been home to
see his parents since his last visit to Blackwood, but they had not been
without news. For one thing, Eugene had been neglectful, and somewhat
because of this Angela had taken it upon herself to open up a
correspondence with his mother. She wrote that of course she didn't know
her but that she was terribly fond of Eugene, that she hoped to make him
a good wife and that she hoped to make her a satisfactory
daughter-in-law. Eugene was so dilatory about writing. She would write
for him now and his mother should hear every week. She asked if she and
her husband couldn't manage to come and see them sometime. She would be
so glad and it would do Eugene so much good. She asked if she couldn't
have Myrtle's address--they had moved from Ottumwa--and if Sylvia
wouldn't write occasionally. She sent a picture of herself and Eugene, a
sketch of the studio which Eugene had made one day, a sketch of herself
looking pensively out of the window into Washington Square. Pictures
from his first show published in the newspapers, accounts of his work,
criticisms,--all reached the members of both families impartially and
they were kept well aware of how things were going.

During the time that Eugene was feeling so badly and because, if he were
going to lose his health, it might be necessary to economize greatly, it
occurred to Angela that it might be advisable for them to go home for a
visit. While her family were not rich, they had sufficient means to live
on. Eugene's mother also was constantly writing, wanting to know why
they didn't come out there for a while. She could not see why Eugene
could not paint his pictures as well in Alexandria as in New York or
Paris. Eugene listened to this willingly, for it occurred to him that
instead of going to London he might do Chicago next, and he and Angela
could stay awhile at Blackwood and another while at his own home. They
would be welcome guests.

The condition of his finances at this time was not exactly bad, but it
was not very good. Of the thirteen hundred dollars he had received for
the first three pictures sold, eleven hundred had been used on the
foreign trip. He had since used three hundred dollars of his remaining
capital of twelve hundred, but M. Charles' sale of two pictures at four
hundred each had swelled his bank balance to seventeen hundred dollars;
however, on this he had to live now until additional pictures were
disposed of. He daily hoped to hear of additional sales, but none

Moreover, his exhibition in January did not produce quite the impression
he thought it would. It was fascinating to look at; the critics and the
public imagined that by now he must have created a following for
himself, else why should M. Charles make a feature of his work. But
Charles pointed out that these foreign studies could not hope to appeal
to Americans as did the American things. He indicated that they might
take better in France. Eugene was depressed by the general tone of the
opinions, but this was due more to his unhealthy state of mind than to
any inherent reason for feeling so. There was still Paris to try and
there might be some sales of his work here. The latter were slow in
materializing, however, and because by February he had not been able to
work and because it was necessary that he should husband his resources
as carefully as possible, he decided to accept Angela's family's
invitation as well as that of his own parents and spend some time in
Illinois and Wisconsin. Perhaps his health would become better. He
decided also that, if his health permitted, he would work in Chicago.


It was in packing the trunks and leaving the studio in Washington Square
(owing to the continued absence of Mr. Dexter they had never been
compelled to vacate it) that Angela came across the first evidence of
Eugene's duplicity. Because of his peculiar indifference to everything
except matters which related to his art, he had put the letters which he
had received in times past from Christina Channing, as well as the one
and only one from Ruby Kenny, in a box which had formerly contained
writing paper and which he threw carelessly in a corner of his trunk. He
had by this time forgotten all about them, though his impression was
that he had placed them somewhere where they would not be found. When
Angela started to lay out the various things which occupied it she came
across this box and opening it took out the letters.

Curiosity as to things relative to Eugene was at this time the dominant
characteristic of her life. She could neither think nor reason outside
of this relationship which bound her to him. He and his affairs were
truly the sum and substance of her existence. She looked at the letters
oddly and then opened one--the first from Christina. It was dated
Florizel, the summer of three years before when she was waiting so
patiently for him at Blackwood. It began conservatively enough--"Dear
E--," but it concerned itself immediately with references to an
apparently affectionate relationship. "I went this morning to see if by
chance there were any tell-tale evidences of either Diana or Adonis in
Arcady. There were none of importance. A hairpin or two, a broken
mother-of-pearl button from a summer waist, the stub of a lead-pencil
wherewith a certain genius sketched. The trees seemed just as
unconscious of any nymphs or hamadryads as they could be. The smooth
grass was quite unruffled of any feet. It is strange how much the trees
and forest know and keep their counsel.

"And how is the hot city by now? Do you miss a certain evenly-swung
hammock? Oh, the odor of leaves and the dew! Don't work too hard. You
have an easy future and almost too much vitality. More repose for you,
sir, and considerably more optimism of thought. I send you good

Angela wondered at once who Diana was, for before she had begun
the letter she had looked for the signature on the succeeding page.
Then after reading this she hurried feverishly from letter to letter,
seeking a name. There was none. "Diana of the Mountains," "The
Hamadryad," "The Wood-Nymph," "C," "C C"--so they ran, confusing,
badgering, enraging her until all at once it came to light--her
first name at least. It was on the letter from Baltimore suggesting
that he come to Florizel--"Christina."

"Ah," she thought, "Christina! That is her name." Then she hurried back
to read the remaining epistles, hoping to find some clue to her surname.
They were all of the same character, in the manner of writing she
despised,--top-lofty, make-believe, the nasty, hypocritical, cant and
make-believe superiority of the studios. How Angela hated her from that
moment. How she could have taken her by the throat and beaten her head
against the trees she described. Oh, the horrid creature! How dare she!
And Eugene--how could he! What a way to reward her love! What an answer
to make to all her devotion! At the very time when she was waiting so
patiently, he was in the mountains with this Diana. And here she was
packing his trunk for him like the little slave that she was when he
cared so little, had apparently cared so little all this time. How could
he ever have cared for her and done anything like this! He didn't! He
never had! Dear Heaven!

She began clenching and unclenching her hands dramatically, working
herself into that frenzy of emotion and regret which was her most
notable characteristic. All at once she stopped. There was another
letter in another handwriting on cheaper paper. "Ruby" was the

"Dear Eugene:"--she read--"I got your note several weeks ago, but I
couldn't bring myself to answer it before this. I know everything is
over between us and that is all right I suppose. It has to be. You
couldn't love any woman long, I think. I know what you say about having
to go to New York to broaden your field is true. You ought to, but I'm
sorry you didn't come out. You might have. Still I don't blame you,
Eugene. It isn't much different from what has been going on for some
time. I have cared, but I'll get over that, I know, and I won't ever
think hard of you. Won't you return me the notes I have sent you from
time to time, and my picture? You won't want them now.--Ruby."

"I stood by the window last night and looked out on the street. The moon
was shining and those dead trees were waving in the wind. I saw the moon
on that pool of water over in the field. It looked like silver. Oh,
Eugene, I wish that I were dead."

Angela got up (as Eugene had) when she read this. The pathos struck
home, for somehow it matched her own. Ruby! Who was she? Where had she
been concealed while she, Angela, was coming to Chicago? Was this the
fall and winter of their engagement? It certainly was. Look at the date.
He had given her the diamond ring on her finger that fall! He had sworn
eternal affection! He had sworn there was never another girl like her in
all the world and yet, at that very time, he was apparently paying
_court_ to this woman if nothing worse. Heaven! Could anything like this
really be? He was telling her that he loved her and making love to this
Ruby at the same time. He was kissing and fondling her and Ruby too!!
Was there ever such a situation? He, Eugene Witla, to deceive her this
way. No wonder he wanted to get rid of her when he came to New York. He
would have treated her as he had this Ruby. And Christina! This
Christina!! Where was she? Who was she? What was she doing now? She
jumped up prepared to go to Eugene and charge him with his iniquities,
but remembered that he was out of the studio--that he had gone for a
walk. He was sick now, very sick. Would she dare to reproach him with
these reprehensible episodes?

She came back to the trunk where she was working and sat down. Her eyes
were hard and cold for the time, but at the same time there was a touch
of terror and of agonized affection. A face that, in the ordinary lines
of its repose, was very much like that of a madonna, was now drawn and
peaked and gray. Apparently Christina had forsaken him, or it might be
that they still corresponded secretly. She got up again at that thought.
Still the letters were old. It looked as though all communication had
ceased two years ago. What had he written to her?--love notes. Letters
full of wooing phrases such as he had written to her. Oh, the
instability of men, the insincerity, the lack of responsibility and
sense of duty. Her father,--what a different man he was; her
brothers,--their word was their bond. And here was she married to a man
who, even in the days of his most ardent wooing, had been deceiving her.
She had let him lead her astray, too,--disgrace her own home. Tears came
after a while, hot, scalding tears that seared her cheeks. And now she
was married to him and he was sick and she would have to make the best
of it. She wanted to make the best of it, for after all she loved him.

But oh, the cruelty, the insincerity, the unkindness, the brutality of
it all.

The fact that Eugene was out for several hours following her discovery
gave her ample time to reflect as to a suitable course of action. Being
so impressed by the genius of the man, as imposed upon her by the
opinion of others and her own affection, she could not readily think of
anything save some method of ridding her soul of this misery and him of
his evil tendencies, of making him ashamed of his wretched career, of
making him see how badly he had treated her and how sorry he ought to
be. She wanted him to feel sorry, very sorry, so that he would be a long
time repenting in suffering, but she feared at the same time that she
could not make him do that. He was so ethereal, so indifferent, so lost
in the contemplation of life that he could not be made to think of her.
That was her one complaint. He had other gods before her--the god of his
art, the god of nature, the god of people as a spectacle. Frequently she
had complained to him in this last year--"you don't love me! you don't
love me!" but he would answer, "oh, yes I do. I can't be talking to you
all the time, Angel-face. I have work to do. My art has to be
cultivated. I can't be making love all the time."

"Oh, it isn't that, it isn't that!" she would exclaim passionately. "You
just don't love me, like you ought to. You just don't care. If you did
I'd feel it."

"Oh, Angela," he answered, "why do you talk so? Why do you carry on so?
You're the funniest girl I ever knew. Now be reasonable. Why don't you
bring a little philosophy to bear? We can't be billing and cooing all
the time!"

"Billing and cooing! That's the way you think of it. That's the way you
talk of it! As though it were something you had to do. Oh, I hate love!
I hate life! I hate philosophy! I wish I could die."

"Now, Angela, for Heaven's sake, why will you take on so? I can't stand
this. I can't stand these tantrums of yours. They're not reasonable. You
know I love you. Why, haven't I shown it? Why should I have married you
if I didn't? I wasn't obliged to marry you!"

"Oh, dear! oh, dear!" Angela would sob on, wringing her hands. "Oh, you
really don't love me! You don't care! And it will go on this way,
getting worse and worse, with less and less of love and feeling until
after awhile you won't even want to see me any more--you'll hate me! Oh,
dear! oh, dear!"

Eugene felt keenly the pathos involved in this picture of decaying love.
In fact, her fear of the disaster which might overtake her little bark
of happiness was sufficiently well founded. It might be that his
affection would cease--it wasn't even affection now in the true sense of
the word,--a passionate intellectual desire for her companionship. He
never had really loved her for her mind, the beauty of her thoughts. As
he meditated he realized that he had never reached an understanding with
her by an intellectual process at all. It was emotional, subconscious, a
natural drawing together which was not based on reason and spirituality
of contemplation apparently, but on grosser emotions and desires.
Physical desire had been involved--strong, raging, uncontrollable. And
for some reason he had always felt sorry for her--he always had. She was
so little, so conscious of disaster, so afraid of life and what it might
do to her. It was a shame to wreck her hopes and desires. At the same
time he was sorry now for this bondage he had let himself into--this
yoke which he had put about his neck. He could have done so much better.
He might have married a woman of wealth or a woman with artistic
perceptions and philosophic insight like Christina Channing, who would
be peaceful and happy with him. Angela couldn't be. He really didn't
admire her enough, couldn't fuss over her enough. Even while he was
soothing her in these moments, trying to make her believe that there was
no basis for her fears, sympathizing with her subconscious intuitions
that all was not well, he was thinking of how different his life might
have been.

"It won't end that way," he would soothe. "Don't cry. Come now, don't
cry. We're going to be very happy. I'm going to love you always, just as
I'm loving you now, and you're going to love me. Won't that be all
right? Come on, now. Cheer up. Don't be so pessimistic. Come on, Angela.
Please do. Please!"

Angela would brighten after a time, but there were spells of
apprehension and gloom; they were common, apt to burst forth like a
summer storm when neither of them was really expecting it.

The discovery of these letters now checked the feeling, with which she
tried to delude herself at times, that there might be anything more than
kindness here. They confirmed her suspicions that there was not and
brought on that sense of defeat and despair which so often and so
tragically overcame her. It did it at a time, too, when Eugene needed
her undivided consideration and feeling, for he was in a wretched state
of mind. To have her quarrel with him now, lose her temper, fly into
rages and compel him to console her, was very trying. He was in no mood
for it; could not very well endure it without injury to himself. He was
seeking for an atmosphere of joyousness, wishing to find a cheerful
optimism somewhere which would pull him out of himself and make him
whole. Not infrequently he dropped in to see Norma Whitmore, Isadora
Crane, who was getting along very well on the stage, Hedda Andersen, who
had a natural charm of intellect with much vivacity, even though she was
a model, and now and then Miriam Finch. The latter was glad to see him
alone, almost as a testimony against Angela, though she would not go out
of her way to conceal from Angela the fact that he had been there. The
others, though he said nothing, assumed that since Angela did not come
with him he wanted nothing said and observed his wish. They were
inclined to think that he had made a matrimonial mistake and was
possibly artistically or intellectually lonely. All of them noted his
decline in health with considerate apprehension and sorrow. It was too
bad, they thought, if his health was going to fail him just at this
time. Eugene lived in fear lest Angela should become aware of any of
these visits. He thought he could not tell her because in the first
place she would resent his not having taken her with him; and in the
next, if he had proposed it first, she would have objected, or set
another date, or asked pointless questions. He liked the liberty of
going where he pleased, saying nothing, not feeling it necessary to say
anything. He longed for the freedom of his old pre-matrimonial days.
Just at this time, because he could not work artistically and because he
was in need of diversion and of joyous artistic palaver, he was
especially miserable. Life seemed very dark and ugly.

Eugene, returning and feeling, as usual, depressed about his state,
sought to find consolation in her company. He came in at one o'clock,
their usual lunch hour, and finding Angela still working, said, "George!
but you like to keep at things when you get started, don't you? You're a
regular little work-horse. Having much trouble?"

"No-o," replied Angela, dubiously.

Eugene noted the tone of her voice. He thought she was not very strong
and this packing was getting on her nerves. Fortunately there were only
some trunks to look after, for the vast mass of their housekeeping
materials belonged to the studio. Still no doubt she was weary.

"Are you very tired?" he asked.

"No-o," she replied.

"You look it," he said, slipping his arm about her. Her face, which he
turned up with his hand, was pale and drawn.

"It isn't anything physical," she replied, looking away from him in a
tragic way. "It's just my heart. It's here!" and she laid her hand over
her heart.

"What's the matter now?" he asked, suspecting something emotional,
though for the life of him he could not imagine what. "Does your heart
hurt you?"

"It isn't my real heart," she returned, "it's just my mind, my feelings;
though I don't suppose they ought to matter."

"What's the matter now, Angel-face," he persisted, for he was sorry for
her. This emotional ability of hers had the power to move him. It might
have been acting, or it might not have been. It might be either a real
or a fancied woe;--in either case it was real to her. "What's come up?"
he continued. "Aren't you just tired? Suppose we quit this and go out
somewhere and get something to eat. You'll feel better."

"No, I couldn't eat," she replied. "I'll stop now and get your lunch,
but I don't want anything."

"Oh, what's the matter, Angela?" he begged. "I know there's something.
Now what is it? You're tired, or you're sick, or something has happened.
Is it anything that I have done? Look at me! Is it?"

Angela held away from him, looking down. She did not know how to begin
this but she wanted to make him terribly sorry if she could, as sorry as
she was for herself. She thought he ought to be; that if he had any true
feeling of shame and sympathy in him he would be. Her own condition in
the face of his shameless past was terrible. She had no one to love her.
She had no one to turn to. Her own family did not understand her life
any more--it had changed so. She was a different woman now, greater,
more important, more distinguished. Her experiences with Eugene here in
New York, in Paris, in London and even before her marriage, in Chicago
and Blackwood, had changed her point of view. She was no longer the same
in her ideas, she thought, and to find herself deserted in this way
emotionally--not really loved, not ever having been really loved but
just toyed with, made a doll and a plaything, was terrible.

"Oh, dear!" she exclaimed in a shrill staccato, "I don't know what to
do! I don't know what to say! I don't know what to think! If I only knew
how to think or what to do!"

"What's the matter?" begged Eugene, releasing his hold and turning his
thoughts partially to himself and his own condition as well as to hers.
His nerves were put on edge by these emotional tantrums--his brain
fairly ached. It made his hands tremble. In his days of physical and
nervous soundness it did not matter, but now, when he was sick, when his
own heart was weak, as he fancied, and his nerves set to jangling by the
least discord, it was almost more than he could bear. "Why don't you
speak?" he insisted. "You know I can't stand this. I'm in no condition.
What's the trouble? What's the use of carrying on this way? Are you
going to tell me?"

"There!" Angela said, pointing her finger at the box of letters she had
laid aside on the window-sill. She knew he would see them, would
remember instantly what they were about.

Eugene looked. The box came to his memory instantly. He picked it up
nervously, sheepishly, for this was like a blow in the face which he had
no power to resist. The whole peculiar nature of his transactions with
Ruby and with Christina came back to him, not as they had looked to him
at the time, but as they were appearing to Angela now. What must she
think of him? Here he was protesting right along that he loved her, that
he was happy and satisfied to live with her, that he was not interested
in any of these other women whom she knew to be interested in him and of
whom she was inordinately jealous, that he had always loved her and her
only, and yet here were these letters suddenly come to light, giving the
lie to all these protestations and asseverations--making him look like
the coward, the blackguard, the moral thief that he knew himself to be.
To be dragged out of the friendly darkness of lack of knowledge and
understanding on her part and set forth under the clear white light of
positive proof--he stared helplessly, his nerves trembling, his brain
aching, for truly he was in no condition for an emotional argument.

And yet Angela was crying now. She had walked away from him and was
leaning against the mantel-piece sobbing as if her heart would break.
There was a real convincing ache in the sound--the vibration expressing
the sense of loss and defeat and despair which she felt. He was staring
at the box wondering why he had been such an idiot as to leave them in
his trunk, to have saved them at all.

"Well, I don't know that there is anything to say to that," he observed
finally, strolling over to where she was. There wasn't anything that he
could say--that he knew. He was terribly sorry--sorry for her, sorry for
himself. "Did you read them all?" he asked, curiously.

She nodded her head in the affirmative.

"Well, I didn't care so much for Christina Channing," he observed,
deprecatingly. He wanted to say something, anything which would relieve
her depressed mood. He knew it couldn't be much. If he could only make
her believe that there wasn't anything vital in either of these affairs,
that his interests and protestations had been of a light, philandering
character. Still the Ruby Kenny letter showed that she cared for him
desperately. He could not say anything against Ruby.

Angela caught the name of Christina Channing clearly. It seared itself
in her brain. She recalled now that it was she of whom she had heard him
speak in a complimentary way from time to time. He had told in studios
of what a lovely voice she had, what a charming platform presence she
had, how she could sing so feelingly, how intelligently she looked upon
life, how good looking she was, how she was coming back to grand opera
some day. And he had been in the mountains with her--had made love to
her while she, Angela, was out in Blackwood waiting for him patiently.
It aroused on the instant all the fighting jealousy that was in her
breast; it was the same jealousy that had determined her once before to
hold him in spite of the plotting and scheming that appeared to her to
be going on about her. They should not have him--these nasty studio
superiorities--not any one of them, nor all of them combined, if they
were to unite and try to get him. They had treated her shamefully since
she had been in the East. They had almost uniformly ignored her. They
would come to see Eugene, of course, and now that he was famous they
could not be too nice to him, but as for her--well, they had no
particular use for her. Hadn't she seen it! Hadn't she watched the
critical, hypocritical, examining expressions in their eyes! She wasn't
smart enough! She wasn't literary enough or artistic enough. She knew as
much about life as they did and more--ten times as much; and yet because
she couldn't strut and pose and stare and talk in an affected voice they
thought themselves superior. And so did Eugene, the wretched creature!
Superior! The cheap, mean, nasty, selfish upstarts! Why, the majority of
them had nothing. Their clothes were mere rags and tags, when you came
to examine them closely--badly sewed, of poor material, merely slung
together, and yet they wore them with such a grand air! She would show
them. She would dress herself too, one of these days, when Eugene had
the means. She was doing it now--a great deal more than when she first
came, and she would do it a great deal more before long. The nasty,
mean, cheap, selfish, make-belief things. She would show them! O-oh! how
she hated them.

Now as she cried she also thought of the fact that Eugene could write
love letters to this horrible Christina Channing--one of the same kind,
no doubt; her letters showed it. O-oh! how she hated her! If she could
only get at her to poison her. And her sobs sounded much more of the
sorrow she felt than of the rage. She was helpless in a way and she knew
it. She did not dare to show him exactly what she felt. She was afraid
of him. He might possibly leave her. He really did not care for her
enough to stand everything from her--or did he? This doubt was the one
terrible, discouraging, annihilating feature of the whole thing--if he
only cared.

"I wish you wouldn't cry, Angela," said Eugene appealingly, after a
time. "It isn't as bad as you think. It looks pretty bad, but I wasn't
married then, and I didn't care so very much for these people--not as
much as you think; really I didn't. It may look that way to you, but I

"Didn't care!" sneered Angela, all at once, flaring up. "Didn't care! It
looks as though you didn't care, with one of them calling you Honey Boy
and Adonis, and the other saying she wishes she were dead. A fine time
you'd have convincing anyone that you didn't care. And I out in
Blackwood at that very time, longing and waiting for you to come, and
you up in the mountains making love to another woman. Oh, I know how
much you cared. You showed how much you cared when you could leave me
out there to wait for you eating my heart out while you were off in the
mountains having a good time with another woman. 'Dear E--,' and
'Precious Honey Boy,' and 'Adonis'! That shows how much you cared,
doesn't it!"

Eugene stared before him helplessly. Her bitterness and wrath surprised
and irritated him. He did not know that she was capable of such an awful
rage as showed itself in her face and words at this moment, and yet he
did not know but that she was well justified. Why so bitter though--so
almost brutal? He was sick. Had she no consideration for him?

"I tell you it wasn't as bad as you think," he said stolidly, showing
for the first time a trace of temper and opposition. "I wasn't married
then. I did like Christina Channing; I did like Ruby Kenny. What of it?
I can't help it now. What am I going to say about it? What do you want
me to say? What do you want me to do?"

"Oh," whimpered Angela, changing her tone at once from helpless accusing
rage to pleading, self-commiserating misery. "And you can stand there
and say to me 'what of it'? What of it! What of it! What shall you say?
What do you think you ought to say? And me believing that you were so
honorable and faithful! Oh, if I had only known! If I had only known! I
had better have drowned myself a hundred times over than have waked and
found that I wasn't loved. Oh, dear, oh, dear! I don't know what I ought
to do! I don't know what I can do!"

"But I do love you," protested Eugene soothingly, anxious to say or do
anything which would quiet this terrific storm. He could not imagine how
he could have been so foolish as to leave these letters lying around.
Dear Heaven! What a mess he had made of this! If only he had put them
safely outside the home or destroyed them. Still he had wanted to keep
Christina's letters; they were so charming.

"Yes, you love me!" flared Angela. "I see how you love me. Those letters
show it! Oh, dear! oh, dear! I wish I were dead."

"Listen to me, Angela," replied Eugene desperately, "I know this
correspondence looks bad. I did make love to Miss Kenny and to Christina
Channing, but you see I didn't care enough to marry either of them. If I
had I would have. I cared for you. Believe it or not. I married you. Why
did I marry you? Answer me that? I needn't have married you. Why did I?
Because I loved you, of course. What other reason could I have?"

"Because you couldn't get Christina Channing," snapped Angela, angrily,
with the intuitive sense of one who reasons from one material fact to
another, "that's why. If you could have, you would have. I know it. Her
letters show it."

"Her letters don't show anything of the sort," returned Eugene angrily.
"I couldn't get her? I could have had her, easily enough. I didn't want
her. If I had wanted her, I would have married her--you can bet on

He hated himself for lying in this way, but he felt for the time being
that he had to do it. He did not care to stand in the rôle of a jilted
lover. He half-fancied that he could have married Christina if he had
really tried.

"Anyhow," he said, "I'm not going to argue that point with you. I didn't
marry her, so there you are; and I didn't marry Ruby Kenny either. Well
you can think all you want; but I know. I cared for them, but I didn't
marry them. I married you instead. I ought to get credit for something
on that score. I married you because I loved you, I suppose. That's
perfectly plain, isn't it?" He was half convincing himself that he had
loved her--in some degree.

"Yes, I see how you love me," persisted Angela, cogitating this very
peculiar fact which he was insisting on and which it was very hard
intellectually to overcome. "You married me because you couldn't very
well get out of it, that's why. Oh, I know. You didn't want to marry me.
That's very plain. You wanted to marry someone else. Oh, dear! oh,

"Oh, how you talk!" replied Eugene defiantly. "Marry someone else! Who
did I want to marry? I could have married often enough if I had wanted
to. I didn't want to marry, that's all. Believe it or not. I wanted to
marry you and I did. I don't think you have any right to stand there and
argue so. What you say isn't so, and you know it."

Angela cogitated this argument further. He had married her! Why had he?
He might have cared for Christina and Ruby, but he must have cared for
her too. Why hadn't she thought of that? There was something in
it--something besides a mere desire to deceive her. Perhaps he did care
for her a little. Anyway it was plain that she could not get very far by
arguing with him--he was getting stubborn, argumentative, contentious.
She had not seen him that way before.

"Oh!" she sobbed, taking refuge from this very difficult realm of logic
in the safer and more comfortable one of illogical tears. "I don't know
what to do! I don't know what to think!"

She was badly treated, no doubt of that. Her life was a failure, but
even so there was some charm about him. As he stood there, looking
aimlessly around, defiant at one moment, appealing at another, she could
not help seeing that he was not wholly bad. He was just weak on this one
point. He loved pretty women. They were always trying to win him to
them. He was probably not wholly to blame. If he would only be repentant
enough, this thing might be allowed to blow over. It couldn't be
forgiven. She never could forgive him for the way he had deceived her.
Her ideal of him had been pretty hopelessly shattered--but she might
live with him on probation.

"Angela!" he said, while she was still sobbing, and feeling that he
ought to apologize to her. "Won't you believe me? Won't you forgive me?
I don't like to hear you cry this way. There's no use saying that I
didn't do anything. There's no use my saying anything at all, really.
You won't believe me. I don't want you to; but I'm sorry. Won't you
believe that? Won't you forgive me?"

Angela listened to this curiously, her thoughts going around in a ring
for she was at once despairing, regretful, revengeful, critical,
sympathetic toward him, desirous of retaining her state, desirous of
obtaining and retaining his love, desirous of punishing him, desirous of
doing any one of a hundred things. Oh, if he had only never done this!
And he was sickly, too. He needed her sympathy.

"Won't you forgive me, Angela?" he pleaded softly, laying his hand on
her arm. "I'm not going to do anything like that any more. Won't you
believe me? Come on now. Quit crying, won't you?"

Angela hesitated for a while, lingering dolefully. She did not know what
to do, what to say. It might be that he would not sin against her any
more. He had not thus far, in so far as she knew. Still this was a
terrible revelation. All at once, because he manoeuvred himself
into a suitable position and because she herself was weary of fighting
and crying, and because she was longing for sympathy, she allowed
herself to be pulled into his arms, her head to his shoulder, and there
she cried more copiously than ever. Eugene for the moment felt terribly
grieved. He was really sorry for her. It wasn't right. He ought to be
ashamed of himself. He should never have done anything like that.

"I'm sorry," he whispered, "really I am. Won't you forgive me?"

"Oh, I don't know what to do! what to think!" moaned Angela after a

"Please do, Angela," he urged, holding her questioningly.

There was more of this pleading and emotional badgering until finally
out of sheer exhaustion Angela said yes. Eugene's nerves were worn to a
thread by the encounter. He was pale, exhausted, distraught. Many scenes
like this, he thought, would set him crazy; and still he had to go
through a world of petting and love-making even now. It was not easy to
bring her back to her normal self. It was bad business, this
philandering, he thought. It seemed to lead to all sorts of misery for
him, and Angela was jealous. Dear Heaven! what a wrathful, vicious,
contentious nature she had when she was aroused. He had never suspected
that. How could he truly love her when she acted like that? How could he
sympathize with her? He recalled how she sneered at him--how she taunted
him with Christina's having discarded him. He was weary, excited,
desirous of rest and sleep, but now he must make more love. He fondled
her, and by degrees she came out of her blackest mood; but he was not
really forgiven even then. He was just understood better. And she was
not truly happy again but only hopeful--and watchful.


Spring, summer and fall came and went with Eugene and Angela first in
Alexandria and then in Blackwood. In suffering this nervous breakdown
and being compelled to leave New York, Eugene missed some of the finest
fruits of his artistic efforts, for M. Charles, as well as a number of
other people, were interested in him and were prepared to entertain him
in an interesting and conspicuous way. He could have gone out a great
deal, but his mental state was such that he was poor company for anyone.
He was exceedingly morbid, inclined to discuss gloomy subjects, to look
on life as exceedingly sad and to believe that people generally were
evil. Lust, dishonesty, selfishness, envy, hypocrisy, slander, hate,
theft, adultery, murder, dementia, insanity, inanity--these and death
and decay occupied his thoughts. There was no light anywhere. Only a
storm of evil and death. These ideas coupled with his troubles with
Angela, the fact that he could not work, the fact that he felt he had
made a matrimonial mistake, the fact that he feared he might die or go
crazy, made a terrible and agonizing winter for him.

Angela's attitude, while sympathetic enough, once the first storm of
feeling was over, was nevertheless involved with a substratum of
criticism. While she said nothing, agreed that she would forget, Eugene
had the consciousness all the while that she wasn't forgetting, that she
was secretly reproaching him and that she was looking for new
manifestations of weakness in this direction, expecting them and on the
alert to prevent them.

The spring-time in Alexandria, opening as it did shortly after they
reached there, was in a way a source of relief to Eugene. He had decided
for the time being to give up trying to work, to give up his idea of
going either to London or Chicago, and merely rest. Perhaps it was true
that he was tired. He didn't feel that way. He couldn't sleep and he
couldn't work, but he felt brisk enough. It was only because he couldn't
work that he was miserable. Still he decided to try sheer idleness.
Perhaps that would revive his wonderful art for him. Meantime he
speculated ceaselessly on the time he was losing, the celebrities he was
missing, the places he was not seeing. Oh, London, London! If he could
only do that.

Mr. and Mrs. Witla were immensely pleased to have their boy back with
them again. Being in their way simple, unsophisticated people, they
could not understand how their son's health could have undergone such a
sudden reverse.

"I never saw Gene looking so bad in all his life," observed Witla pére
to his wife the day Eugene arrived. "His eyes are so sunken. What in the
world do you suppose is ailing him?"

"How should I know?" replied his wife, who was greatly distressed over
her boy. "I suppose he's just tired out, that's all. He'll probably be
all right after he rests awhile. Don't let on that you think he's
looking out of sorts. Just pretend that he's all right. What do you
think of his wife?"

"She appears to be a very nice little woman," replied Witla. "She's
certainly devoted to him. I never thought Eugene would marry just that
type, but he's the judge. I suppose people thought that I would never
marry anybody like you, either," he added jokingly.

"Yes, you did make a terrible mistake," jested his wife in return. "You
worked awfully hard to make it."

"I was young! I was young! You want to remember that," retorted Witla.
"I didn't know much in those days."

"You don't appear to know much better yet," she replied, "do you?"

He smiled and patted her on the back. "Well, anyhow I'll have to make
the best of it, won't I? It's too late now."

"It certainly is," replied his wife.

Eugene and Angela were given his old room on the second floor,
commanding a nice view of the yard and the street corner, and they
settled down to spend what the Witla parents hoped would be months of
peaceful days. It was a curious sensation to Eugene to find himself back
here in Alexandria looking out upon the peaceful neighborhood in which
he had been raised, the trees, the lawn, the hammock replaced several
times since he had left, but still in its accustomed place. The thought
of the little lakes and the small creek winding about the town were a
comfort to him. He could go fishing now and boating, and there were some
interesting walks here and there. He began to amuse himself by going
fishing the first week, but it was still a little cold, and he decided,
for the time being, to confine himself to walking.

Days of this kind grow as a rule quickly monotonous. To a man of
Eugene's turn of mind there was so little in Alexandria to entertain
him. After London and Paris, Chicago and New York, the quiet streets of
his old home town were a joke. He visited the office of the _Appeal_ but
both Jonas Lyle and Caleb Williams had gone, the former to St. Louis,
the latter to Bloomington. Old Benjamin Burgess, his sister's husband's
father, was unchanged except in the matter of years. He told Eugene that
he was thinking of running for Congress in the next campaign--the
Republican organization owed it to him. His son Henry, Sylvia's husband,
had become a treasurer of the local bank. He was working as patiently
and quietly as ever, going to church Sundays, going to Chicago
occasionally on business, consulting with farmers and business men about
small loans. He was a close student of the several banking journals of
the country, and seemed to be doing very well financially. Sylvia had
little to say of how he was getting along. Having lived with him for
eleven years, she had become somewhat close-mouthed like himself. Eugene
could not help smiling at the lean, slippered subtlety of the man, young
as he was. He was so quiet, so conservative, so intent on all the little
things which make a conventionally successful life. Like a cabinet
maker, he was busy inlaying the little pieces which would eventually
make the perfect whole.

Angela took up the household work, which Mrs. Witla grudgingly consented
to share with her, with a will. She liked to work and would put the
house in order while Mrs. Witla was washing the dishes after breakfast.
She would make special pies and cakes for Eugene when she could without
giving offense, and she tried to conduct herself so that Mrs. Witla
would like her. She did not think so much of the Witla household. It
wasn't so much better than her own--hardly as good. Still it was
Eugene's birthplace and for that reason important. There was a slight
divergence of view-point though, between his mother and herself, over
the nature of life and how to live it. Mrs. Witla was of an easier, more
friendly outlook on life than Angela. She liked to take things as they
came without much worry, while Angela was of a naturally worrying
disposition. The two had one very human failing in common--they could
not work with anyone else at anything. Each preferred to do all that was
to be done rather than share it at all. Both being so anxious to be
conciliatory for Eugene's sake and for permanent peace in the family,
there was small chance for any disagreement, for neither was without
tact. But there was just a vague hint of something in the air--that
Angela was a little hard and selfish, on Mrs. Witla's part; that
Mrs. Witla was just the least bit secretive, or shy or distant--from
Angela's point of view. All was serene and lovely on the surface,
however, with many won't-you-let-me's and please-do-now's on both sides.
Mrs. Witla, being so much older, was, of course, calmer and in the
family seat of dignity and peace.

To be able to sit about in a chair, lie in a hammock, stroll in the
woods and country fields and be perfectly happy in idle contemplation
and loneliness, requires an exceptional talent for just that sort of
thing. Eugene once fancied he had it, as did his parents, but since he
had heard the call of fame he could never be still any more. And just at
this time he was not in need of solitude and idle contemplation but of
diversion and entertainment. He needed companionship of the right sort,
gayety, sympathy, enthusiasm. Angela had some of this, when she was not
troubled about anything, his parents, his sister, his old acquaintances
had a little more to offer. They could not, however, be forever talking
to him or paying him attention, and beyond them there was nothing. The
town had no resources. Eugene would walk the long country roads with
Angela or go boating or fishing sometimes, but still he was lonely. He
would sit on the porch or in the hammock and think of what he had seen
in London and Paris--how he might be at work. St. Paul's in a mist, the
Thames Embankment, Piccadilly, Blackfriars Bridge, the muck of
Whitechapel and the East End--how he wished he was out of all this and
painting them. If he could only paint. He rigged up a studio in his
father's barn, using a north loft door for light and essayed certain
things from memory, but there was no making anything come out right. He
had this fixed belief, which was a notion purely, that there was always
something wrong. Angela, his mother, his father, whom he occasionally
asked for an opinion, might protest that it was beautiful or wonderful,
but he did not believe it. After a few altering ideas of this kind,
under the influences of which he would change and change and change
things, he would find himself becoming wild in his feelings, enraged at
his condition, intensely despondent and sorry for himself.

"Well," he would say, throwing down his brush, "I shall simply have to
wait until I come out of this. I can't do anything this way." Then he
would walk or read or row on the lakes or play solitaire, or listen to
Angela playing on the piano that his father had installed for Myrtle
long since. All the time though he was thinking of his condition, what
he was missing, how the gay world was surging on rapidly elsewhere, how
long it would be before he got well, if ever. He talked of going to
Chicago and trying his hand at scenes there, but Angela persuaded him to
rest for a while longer. In June she promised him they would go to
Blackwood for the summer, coming back here in the fall if he wished, or
going on to New York or staying in Chicago, just as he felt about it.
Now he needed rest.

"Eugene will probably be all right by then," Angela volunteered to his
mother, "and he can make up his mind whether he wants to go to Chicago
or London."

She was very proud of her ability to talk of where they would go and
what they would do.


If it had not been for the lurking hope of some fresh exciting
experience with a woman, he would have been unconscionably lonely. As it
was, this thought with him--quite as the confirmed drunkard's thought of
whiskey--buoyed him up, kept him from despairing utterly, gave his mind
the only diversion it had from the ever present thought of failure. If
by chance he should meet some truly beautiful girl, gay, enticing, who
would fall in love with him! that would be happiness. Only, Angela was
constantly watching him these days and, besides, more girls would simply
mean that his condition would be aggravated. Yet so powerful was the
illusion of desire, the sheer animal magnetism of beauty, that when it
came near him in the form of a lovely girl of his own temperamental
inclinations he could not resist it. One look into an inviting eye, one
glance at a face whose outlines were soft and delicate--full of that
subtle suggestion of youth and health which is so characteristic of
girlhood--and the spell was cast. It was as though the very form of the
face, without will or intention on the part of the possessor, acted
hypnotically upon its beholder. The Arabians believed in the magic power
of the word Abracadabra to cast a spell. For Eugene the form of a
woman's face and body was quite as powerful.

While he and Angela were in Alexandria from February to May, he met one
night at his sister's house a girl who, from the point of view of the
beauty which he admired and to which he was so susceptible, was
extremely hypnotic, and who for the ease and convenience of a flirtation
was very favorably situated. She was the daughter of a traveling man,
George Roth by name, whose wife, the child's mother, was dead, but who
lived with his sister in an old tree-shaded house on the edge of Green
Lake not far from the spot where Eugene had once attempted to caress his
first love, Stella Appleton. Frieda was the girl's name. She was
extremely attractive, not more than eighteen years of age, with large,
clear, blue eyes, a wealth of yellowish-brown hair and a plump but
shapely figure. She was a graduate of the local high school, well
developed for her years, bright, rosy-cheeked, vivacious and with a
great deal of natural intelligence which attracted the attention of
Eugene at once. Normally he was extremely fond of a natural, cheerful,
laughing disposition. In his present state he was abnormally so. This
girl and her foster mother had heard of him a long time since through
his parents and his sister, whom they knew well and whom they visited
frequently. George Roth had moved here since Eugene had first left for
Chicago, and because he was so much on the road he had not seen him
since. Frieda, on all his previous visits, had been too young to take an
interest in men, but now at this age, when she was just blossoming into
womanhood, her mind was fixed on them. She did not expect to be
interested in Eugene because she knew he was married, but because of his
reputation as an artist she was curious about him. Everybody knew who he
was. The local papers had written up his success and published his
portrait. Frieda expected to see a man of about forty, stern and sober.
Instead she met a smiling youth of twenty-nine, rather gaunt and
hollow-eyed, but none the less attractive for that. Eugene, with
Angela's approval, still affected a loose, flowing tie, a soft turn-down
collar, brown corduroy suits as a rule, the coat cut with a belt,
shooting jacket fashion, a black iron ring of very curious design upon
one of his fingers, and a soft hat. His hands were very thin and white,
his skin pale. Frieda, rosy, as thoughtless as a butterfly, charmingly
clothed in a dress of blue linen, laughing, afraid of him because of his
reputation, attracted his attention at once. She was like all the young,
healthy, laughing girls he had ever known, delightful. He wished he were
single again that he might fall into a jesting conversation with her.
She seemed inclined to be friendly from the first.

Angela being present, however, and Frieda's foster mother, it was
necessary for him to be circumspect and distant. The latter, Sylvia and
Angela, talked of art and listened to Angela's descriptions of Eugene's
eccentricities, idiosyncrasies and experiences, which were a
never-failing source of interest to the common run of mortals whom they
met. Eugene would sit by in a comfortable chair with a weary, genial or
indifferent look on his face as his mood happened to be. To-night he was
bored and a little indifferent in his manner. No one here interested him
save this girl, the beauty of whose face nourished his secret dreams. He
longed to have some such spirit of youth near him always. Why could not
women remain young?

While they were laughing and talking, Eugene picked up a copy of Howard
Pyle's "Knights of the Round Table" with its warm heavy illustrations of
the Arthurian heroes and heroines, and began to study the stately and
exaggerated characteristics of the various characters. Sylvia had
purchased it for her seven-year old boy Jack, asleep upstairs, but
Frieda had read it in her girlhood a few years before. She had been
moving restlessly about, conscious of an interest in Eugene but not
knowing how to find an opportunity for conversation. His smile, which he
sometimes directed toward her, was to her entrancing.

"Oh, I read that," she said, when she saw him looking at it. She had
drifted to a position not far behind his chair and near one of the
windows. She pretended to be looking out at first, but now began to talk
to him. "I used to be crazy about every one of the Knights and
Ladies--Sir Launcelot, Sir Galahad, Sir Tristram, Sir Gawaine, Queen

"Did you ever hear of Sir Bluff?" he asked teasingly, "or Sir Stuff? or
Sir Dub?" He looked at her with a mocking light of humor in his eyes.

"Oh, there aren't such people," laughed Frieda, surprised at the titles
but tickled at the thought of them.

"Don't you let him mock you, Frieda," put in Angela, who was pleased at
the girl's gayety and glad that Eugene had found someone in whom he
could take an interest. She did not fear the simple Western type of girl
like Frieda and her own sister Marietta. They were franker, more kindly,
better intentioned than the Eastern studio type, and besides they did
not consider themselves superior. She was playing the rôle of the
condescending leader here.

"Certainly there are," replied Eugene solemnly, addressing Frieda. "They
are the new Knights of the Round Table. Haven't you ever heard of that

"No, I haven't," answered Frieda gaily, "and there isn't any such.
You're just teasing me."

"Teasing you? Why I wouldn't think of such a thing. And there is such a
book. It's published by Harper and Brothers and is called 'The New
Knights of the Round Table.' You simply haven't heard of it, that's

Frieda was impressed. She didn't know whether to believe him or not. She
opened her eyes in a curiously inquiring girlish way which appealed to
Eugene strongly. He wished he were free to kiss her pretty, red,
thoughtlessly-parted lips. Angela herself was faintly doubtful as to
whether he was speaking of a real book or not.

"Sir Stuff is a very famous Knight," he went on, "and so is Sir Bluff.
They're inseparable companions in the book. As for Sir Dub and Sir Hack,
and the Lady Dope--"

"Oh, hush, Eugene," called Angela gaily. "Just listen to what he's
telling Frieda," she remarked to Miss Roth. "You mustn't mind him
though. He's always teasing someone. Why didn't you raise him better,
Sylvia?" she asked of Eugene's sister.

"Oh, don't ask me. We never could do anything with Gene. I never knew he
had much jesting in him until he came back this time."

"They're very wonderful," they heard him telling Frieda, "all fine rosy
gentlemen and ladies."

Frieda was impressed by this charming, good-natured man. His spirit was
evidently as youthful and gay as her own. She sat before him looking
into his smiling eyes while he teased her about this, that and the other
foible of youth. Who were her sweethearts? How did she make love? How
many boys lined up to see her come out of church on Sunday? He knew.
"I'll bet they look like a line of soldiers on dress parade," he
volunteered, "all with nice new ties and clean pocket handkerchiefs and
their shoes polished and--"

"Oh, ha! ha!" laughed Frieda. The idea appealed to her immensely. She
started giggling and bantering with him and their friendship was
definitely sealed. She thought he was delightful.


The opportunity for further meetings seemed to come about quite
naturally. The Witla boathouse, where the family kept one small boat,
was at the foot of the Roth lawn, reached by a slightly used lane which
came down that side of the house; and also by a grape-arbor which
concealed the lake from the lower end of the house and made a sheltered
walk to the waterside, at the end of which was a weather-beaten wooden
bench. Eugene came here sometimes to get the boat to row or to fish. On
several occasions Angela had accompanied him, but she did not care much
for rowing or fishing and was perfectly willing that he should go alone
if he wanted to. There was also the friendship of Miss Roth for Mr. and
Mrs. Witla, which occasionally brought her and Frieda to the house. And
Frieda came from time to time to his studio in the barn, to see him
paint. Because of her youth and innocence Angela thought very little of
her presence there, which struck Eugene as extremely fortunate. He was
interested in her charms, anxious to make love to her in a philandering
sort of way, without intending to do her any harm. It struck him as a
little curious that he should find her living so near the spot where
once upon a winter's night he had made love to Stella. There was
something not unlike Stella about her, though she was softer, more whole
souledly genial and pliable to his moods.

He saw her one day, when he went for his boat, standing out in the yard,
and she came down to the waterside to greet him.

"Well," he said, smiling at her fresh morning appearance, and addressing
her with that easy familiarity with which he knew how to take youth and
life generally, "we're looking as bright as a butterfly. I don't suppose
we butterflies have to work very hard, do we?"

"Oh, don't we," replied Frieda. "That's all you know."

"Well, I don't know, that's true, but perhaps one of these butterflies
will tell me. Now you, for instance."

Frieda smiled. She scarcely knew how to take him, but she thought he was
delightful. She hadn't the faintest conception either of the depth and
subtlety of his nature or of the genial, kindly inconstancy of it. She
only saw him as a handsome, smiling man, not at all too old, witty,
good-natured, here by the bright green waters of this lake, pulling out
his boat. He looked so cheerful to her, so care free. She had him
indissolubly mixed in her impressions with the freshness of the ground,
the newness of the grass, the brightness of the sky, the chirping of the
birds and even the little scintillating ripples on the water.

"Butterflies never work, that I know," he said, refusing to take her
seriously. "They just dance around in the sunlight and have a good time.
Did you ever talk to a butterfly about that?"

Frieda merely smiled at him.

He pushed his boat into the water, holding it lightly by a rope, got
down a pair of oars from a rack and stepped into it. Then he stood there
looking at her.

"Have you lived in Alexandria long?" he asked.

"About eight years now."

"Do you like it?"

"Sometimes, not always. I wish we lived in Chicago. O-oh!" she sniffed,
turning up her pretty nose, "isn't that lovely!" She was smelling some
odor of flowers blown from a garden.

"Yes, I get it too. Geraniums, isn't it? They're blooming here, I see. A
day like this sets me crazy." He sat down in his boat and put his oars
in place.

"Well, I have to go and try my luck for whales. Wouldn't you like to go

"I would, all right," said Frieda, "only aunt wouldn't let me, I think.
I'd just love to go. It's lots of fun, catching fish."

"Yes, _catching_ fish," laughed Eugene. "Well, I'll bring you a nice
little shark--one that bites. Would you like that? Down in the Atlantic
Ocean they have sharks that bite and bark. They come up out of the water
at night and bark like a dog."

"O-o-oh, dear! how funny!" giggled Frieda, and Eugene began slowly
rowing his boat lakeward.

"Be sure you bring me a nice fish," she called.

"Be sure you're here to get it when I come back," he answered.

He saw her with the lattice of spring leaves behind her, the old house
showing pleasantly on its rise of ground, some house-martens turning in
the morning sky.

"What a lovely girl," he thought. "She's beautiful--as fresh as a
flower. That is the one great thing in the world--the beauty of

He came back after a time expecting to find her, but her foster-mother
had sent her on an errand. He felt a keen sense of disappointment.

There were other meetings after this, once on a day when he came back
practically fishless and she laughed at him; once when he saw her
sunning her hair on the back porch after she had washed it and she came
down to stand under the trees near the water, looking like a naiad. He
wished then he could take her in his arms, but he was a little uncertain
of her and of himself. Once she came to his studio in the barn to bring
him a piece of left-over dough which his mother had "turned" on the top
of the stove.

"Eugene used to be crazy about that when he was a boy," his mother had

"Oh, let me take it to him," said Frieda gaily, gleeful over the idea of
the adventure.

"That's a good idea," said Angela innocently. "Wait, I'll put it on this

Frieda took it and ran. She found Eugene staring oddly at his canvas,
his face curiously dark. When her head came above the loft floor his
expression changed immediately. His guileless, kindly smile returned.

"Guess what," she said, pulling a little white apron she had on over the

"Strawberries." They were in season.

"Oh, no."

"Peaches and cream."

"Where would we get peaches now?"

"At the grocery store."

"I'll give you one more guess."

"Angel cake!" He was fond of that, and Angela occasionally made it.

"Your guesses are all gone. You can't have any."

He reached out his hand, but she drew back. He followed and she laughed.
"No, no, you can't have any now."

He caught her soft arm and drew her close to him. "Sure I can't?"

Their faces were close together.

She looked into his eyes for a moment, then dropped her lashes. Eugene's
brain swirled with the sense of her beauty. It was the old talisman. He
covered her sweet lips with his own and she yielded feverishly.

"There now, eat your dough," she exclaimed when he let her go, pushing
it shamefacedly toward him. She was flustered--so much so that she
failed to jest about it. "What would Mrs. Witla think," she added, "if
she could see us?"

Eugene paused solemnly and listened. He was afraid of Angela.

"I've always liked this stuff, ever since I was a boy," he said in an
offhand way.

"So your mother said," replied Frieda, somewhat recovered. "Let me see
what you're painting." She came round to his side and he took her hand.
"I'll have to go now," she said wisely. "They'll be expecting me back."

Eugene speculated on the intelligence of girls--at least on
that of those he liked. Somehow they were all wise under these
circumstances--cautious. He could see that instinctively Frieda was
prepared to protect him and herself. She did not appear to be suffering
from any shock from this revelation. Rather she was inclined to make the
best of it.

He folded her in his arms again.

"You're the angel cake and the strawberries and the peaches and cream,"
he said.

"Don't!" she pleaded. "Don't! I have to go now."

And when he released her she ran quickly down the stairs, giving him a
swift, parting smile.

So Frieda was added to the list of his conquests and he pondered over it
gravely. If Angela could have seen this scene, what a storm there would
have been! If she ever became conscious of what was going on, what a
period of wrath there would be! It would be terrible. After her recent
discovery of his letters he hated to think of that. Still this bliss of
caressing youth--was it not worth any price? To have a bright, joyous
girl of eighteen put her arms about you--could you risk too much for it?
The world said one life, one love. Could he accede to that? Could any
one woman satisfy him? Could Frieda if he had her? He did not know. He
did not care to think about it. Only this walking in a garden of
flowers--how delicious it was. This having a rose to your lips!

Angela saw nothing of this attraction for some time. She was not
prepared yet to believe, poor little depender on the conventions as she
understood them, that the world was full of plots and counter-plots,
snares, pitfalls and gins. The way of the faithful and well-meaning
woman in marriage should be simple and easy. She should not be harassed
by uncertainty of affection, infelicities of temper, indifference or
infidelity. If she worked hard, as Angela was trying to do, trying to be
a good wife, saving, serving, making a sacrifice of her time and
services and moods and wishes for her husband's sake, why shouldn't he
do the same for her? She knew of no double standard of virtue. If she
had she would not have believed in it. Her parents had raised her to see
marriage in a different light. Her father was faithful to her mother.
Eugene's father was faithful to his wife--that was perfectly plain. Her
brothers-in-law were faithful to her sisters, Eugene's brothers-in-law
were faithful to his sisters. Why should not Eugene be faithful to her?

So far, of course, she had no evidence to the contrary. He probably was
faithful and would remain so. He had said so, but this pre-matrimonial
philandering of his looked very curious. It was an astonishing thing
that he could have deceived her so. She would never forget it. He was a
genius to be sure. The world was waiting to hear what he had to say. He
was a great man and should associate with great men, or, failing that,
should not want to associate with anyone at all. It was ridiculous for
him to be running around after silly women. She thought of this and
decided to do her best to prevent it. The seat of the mighty was in her
estimation the place for Eugene, with her in the foreground as a
faithful and conspicuous acolyte, swinging the censer of praise and

The days went on and various little meetings--some accidental, some
premeditated--took place between Eugene and Frieda. There was one
afternoon when he was at his sister's and she came there to get a
pattern for her foster-mother from Sylvia. She lingered for over an
hour, during which time Eugene had opportunities to kiss her a dozen
times. The beauty of her eyes and her smile haunted him after she was
gone. There was another time when he saw her at dusk near his boathouse,
and kissed her in the shadow of the sheltering grape-arbor. In his own
home there were clandestine moments and in his studio, the barn loft,
for Frieda made occasion a few times to come to him--a promise to make a
sketch of her being the excuse. Angela resented this, but she could not
prevent it. In the main Frieda exhibited that curious patience in love
which women so customarily exhibit and which a man can never understand.
She could wait for her own to come to her--for him to find her; while
he, with that curious avidness of the male in love, burned as a fed fire
to see her. He was jealous of the little innocent walks she took with
boys she knew. The fact that it was necessary for her to be away from
him was a great deprivation. The fact that he was married to Angela was
a horrible disaster. He would look at Angela, when she was with him,
preventing him from his freedom in love, with almost calculated hate in
his eyes. Why had he married her? As for Frieda, when she was near, and
he could not draw near her, his eyes followed her movements with a
yearning, devouring glance. He was fairly beside himself with anguish
under the spell of her beauty. Frieda had no notion of the consuming
flame she had engendered.

It was a simple thing to walk home with her from the post-office--quite
accidentally on several occasions. It was a fortuitous thing that Anna
Roth should invite Angela and himself, as well as his father and mother,
to her house to dinner. On one occasion when Frieda was visiting at the
Witla homestead, Angela thought Frieda stepped away from Eugene in a
curiously disturbed manner when she came into the parlor. She was not
sure. Frieda hung round him in a good-natured way most of the time when
various members of the family were present. She wondered if by any
chance he was making love to her, but she could not prove it. She tried
to watch them from then on, but Eugene was so subtle, Frieda so
circumspect, that she never did obtain any direct testimony.
Nevertheless, before they left Alexandria there was a weeping scene over
this, hysterical, tempestuous, in which she accused him of making love
to Frieda, he denying it stoutly.

"If it wasn't for your relatives' sake," she declared, "I would accuse
her to her face, here before your eyes. She couldn't dare deny it."

"Oh, you're crazy," said Eugene. "You're the most suspicious woman I
ever knew. Good Lord! Can't I look at a woman any more? This little
girl! Can't I even be nice to her?"

"Nice to her? Nice to her? I know how you're nice to her. I can see! I
can feel! Oh, God! Why can't you give me a faithful husband!"

"Oh, cut it out!" demanded Eugene defiantly. "You're always watching. I
can't turn around but you have your eye on me. I can tell. Well, you go
ahead and watch. That's all the good it will do you. I'll give you some
real reason for watching one of these days. You make me tired!"

"Oh, hear how he talks to me," moaned Angela, "and we're only married
one year! Oh, Eugene, how can you? Have you no pity, no shame? Here in
your own home, too! Oh! oh! oh!"

To Eugene such hysterics were maddening. He could not understand how
anyone should want or find it possible to carry on in this fashion. He
was lying "out of the whole cloth" about Frieda, but Angela didn't know
and he knew she didn't know. All these tantrums were based on suspicion.
If she would do this on a mere suspicion, what would she not do when she
had a proved cause?

Still by her tears she as yet had the power of rousing his sympathies
and awakening his sense of shame. Her sorrow made him slightly ashamed
of his conduct or rather sorry, for the tougher nature was constantly
presenting itself. Her suspicions made the further pursuit of this love
quest practically impossible. Secretly he already cursed the day he had
married her, for Frieda's face was ever before him, a haunting lure to
love and desire. In this hour life looked terribly sad to him. He
couldn't help feeling that all the perfect things one might seek or find
were doomed to the searing breath of an inimical fate. Ashes of
roses--that was all life had to offer. Dead sea fruit, turning to ashes
upon the lips. Oh, Frieda! Frieda! Oh, youth, youth! That there should
dance before him for evermore an unattainable desire--the holy grail of
beauty. Oh life, oh death! Which was really better, waking or sleeping?
If he could only have Frieda now it would be worth living, but without


The weakness of Eugene was that he was prone in each of these new
conquests to see for the time being the sum and substance of bliss, to
rise rapidly in the scale of uncontrollable, exaggerated affection,
until he felt that here and nowhere else, now and in this particular
form was ideal happiness. He had been in love with Stella, with
Margaret, with Ruby, with Angela, with Christina, and now with Frieda,
quite in this way, and it had taught him nothing as yet concerning love
except that it was utterly delightful. He wondered at times how it was
that the formation of a particular face could work this spell. There was
plain magic in the curl of a lock of hair, the whiteness or roundness of
a forehead, the shapeliness of a nose or ear, the arched redness of
full-blown petal lips. The cheek, the chin, the eye--in combination with
these things--how did they work this witchery? The tragedies to which he
laid himself open by yielding to these spells--he never stopped to think
of them.

It is a question whether the human will, of itself alone, ever has cured
or ever can cure any human weakness. Tendencies are subtle things. They
are involved in the chemistry of one's being, and those who delve in the
mysteries of biology frequently find that curious anomaly, a form of
minute animal life born to be the prey of another form of animal
life--chemically and physically attracted to its own disaster. Thus, to
quote Calkins, "some protozoa are apparently limited to special kinds of
food. The 'slipper-animal' (Paramecium) and the 'bell-animal'
(Vorticella) live on certain kinds of bacteria, and many others, which
live upon smaller protozoa, seem to have a marked affinity for certain
kinds. I have watched one of these creatures (Actinobolus) lie perfectly
quiet while hundreds of bacteria and smaller kinds of protozoa bumped
against it, until a certain variety (Halteria grandinella) came near,
when a minute dart, or 'trochocyst,' attached to a relatively long
thread, was launched. The victim was invariably hit, and after a short
struggle was drawn in and devoured. The results of many experiments
indicate that the apparently _willful_ selection in these cases is the
inevitable action of definite chemical and physical laws which the
individual organism can no more change than it can change the course of
gravitation. The killing dart mentioned above is called out by the
particular kind of prey with the irresistible attraction of an iron
filing for a magnet."

Eugene did not know of these curious biologic experiments at this time,
but he suspected that these attractions were deeper than human will. He
thought at times that he ought to resist his impulses. At other times he
asked himself why. If his treasure was in this and he lost it by
resistance, what had he? A sense of personal purity? It did not appeal
to him. The respect of his fellow-citizens? He believed that most of his
fellow-citizens were whited sepulchres. What good did their hypocritical
respect do him? Justice to others? Others were not concerned, or should
not be in the natural affinity which might manifest itself between two
people. That was for them to settle. Besides, there was very little
justice in the world. As for his wife--well, he had given her his word,
but he had not done so willingly. Might one swear eternal fealty and
abide by it when the very essence of nature was lack of fealty,
inconsiderateness, destruction, change? A gloomy Hamlet to be sure,
asking "can honor set a leg?"--a subtle Machiavelli believing that might
made right, sure that it was a matter of careful planning, not ethics
which brought success in this world, and yet one of the poorest planners
in it. An anarchistic manifestation of selfishness surely; but his
additional plea was that he did not make his own mind, nor his emotions,
nor anything else. And worst of all, he counselled himself that he was
not seizing anything ruthlessly. He was merely accepting that which was
thrust temptingly before him by fate.

Hypnotic spells of this character like contagion and fever have their
period of duration, their beginning, climax and end. It is written that
love is deathless, but this was not written of the body nor does it
concern the fevers of desire. The marriage of true minds to which
Shakespeare would admit no impediment is of a different texture and has
little sex in it. The friendship of Damon and Pythias was a marriage in
the best sense, though it concerned two men. The possibilities of
intellectual union between a man and a woman are quite the same. This is
deathless in so far as it reflects the spiritual ideals of the
universe--not more so. All else is illusion of short duration and
vanishes in thin air.

When the time came for Eugene to leave Alexandria as he had originally
wanted to do, he was not at all anxious to depart; rather it was an
occasion of great suffering for him. He could not see any solution to
the problem which confronted him in connection with Frieda's love for
him. As a matter of fact, when he thought about it at all he was quite
sure that she did not understand or appreciate the nature of her
affection for him or his for her. It had no basis in responsibility. It
was one of those things born of thin air--sunlight, bright waters, the
reflection of a bright room--things which are intangible and
insubstantial. Eugene was not one who, if he thought anything at all
about it, would persuade a girl to immorality for the mere sake of
indulgence. His feelings were invariably compounded of finer things,
love of companionship, love of beauty, a variable sense of the
consequences which must ensue, not so much to him as to her, though he
took himself into consideration. If she were not already experienced and
he had no method of protecting her, if he could not take her as his wife
or give her the advantages of his presence and financial support,
secretly or openly, if he could not keep all their transactions a secret
from the world, he was inclined to hesitate. He did not want to do
anything rash--as much for her sake as for his. In this case, the fact
that he could not marry her, that he could not reasonably run away with
her, seeing that he was mentally sick and of uncertain financial
condition, the fact that he was surrounded by home conditions which made
it of the greatest importance that he should conduct himself
circumspectly, weighed greatly with him. Nevertheless a tragedy could
easily have resulted here. If Frieda had been of a headstrong,
unthinking nature; if Angela had been less watchful, morbid, appealing
in her mood; if the family and town conditions had been less weighty; if
Eugene had had health and ample means, he would probably have deserted
Angela, taken Frieda to some European city--he dreamed of Paris in this
connection--and found himself confronted later by an angry father or a
growing realization that Frieda's personal charms were not the sum and
substance of his existence, or both. George Roth, for all he was a
traveling salesman, was a man of considerable determination. He might
readily have ended the life of his daughter's betrayer--art reputation
or no. He worshiped Frieda as the living image of his dead wife, and at
best he would have been heartbroken.

As it was, there was not much chance of this, for Eugene was not rash.
He was too philosophic. Conditions might have arisen in which he would
have shown the most foolhardy bravado, but not in his present state.
There was not sufficient anguish in his own existence to drive him to
action. He saw no clear way. So, in June, with Angela he took his
departure for Blackwood, pretending, to her, outward indifference as to
his departure, but inwardly feeling as though his whole life were coming
to nothing.

When he reached Blackwood he was now, naturally, disgusted with the
whole atmosphere of it. Frieda was not there. Alexandria, from having
been the most wearisome sidepool of aimless inactivity, had suddenly
taken on all the characteristics of paradise. The little lakes, the
quiet streets, the court house square, his sister's home, Frieda's home,
his own home, had been once more invested for him with the radiance of
romance--that intangible glory of feeling which can have no existence
outside the illusion of love. Frieda's face was everywhere in it, her
form, the look of her eyes. He could see nothing there now save the
glory of Frieda. It was as though the hard, weary face of a barren
landscape were suddenly bathed in the soft effulgence of a midnight

As for Blackwood, it was as lovely as ever but he could not see it. The
fact that his attitude had changed toward Angela for the time being made
all the difference. He did not really hate her--he told himself that.
She was not any different from that she had been, that was perfectly
plain. The difference was in him. He really could not be madly in love
with two people at once. He had entertained joint affections for Angela
and Ruby, and Angela and Christina, but those were not the dominating
fevers which this seemed to be. He could not for the time get the face
of this girl out of his mind. He was sorry for Angela at moments. Then,
because of her insistence on his presence with her--on her being in his
company, "following him around" as he put it, he hated her. Dear Heaven!
if he could only be free without injuring her. If he could only get
loose. Think, at this moment he might be with Frieda walking in the sun
somewhere, rowing on the lake at Alexandria, holding her in his arms. He
would never forget how she looked the first morning she came into his
barn studio at home--how enticing she was the first night he saw her at
Sylvia's. What a rotten mess living was, anyhow. And so he sat about in
the hammock at the Blue homestead, or swung in a swing that old Jotham
had since put up for Marietta's beaux, or dreamed in a chair in the
shade of the house, reading. He was dreary and lonely with just one
ambition in the world--Frieda.

Meanwhile, as might be expected, his health was not getting any better.
Instead of curing himself of those purely carnal expressions of passion
which characterized his life with Angela, the latter went on unbroken.
One would have thought that his passion for Frieda would have
interrupted this, but the presence of Angela, the comparatively enforced
contact, her insistence on his attentions, broke down again and again
the protecting barrier of distaste. Had he been alone, he would have led
a chaste life until some new and available infatuation seized him. As it
was there was no refuge either from himself or Angela, and the at times
almost nauseating relationship went on and on.

Those of the Blue family, who were in the home or near it, were
delighted to see him. The fact that he had achieved such a great
success, as the papers had reported, with his first exhibition and had
not lost ground with the second--a very interesting letter had come from
M. Charles saying that the Paris pictures would be shown in Paris in
July--gave them a great estimate of him. Angela was a veritable queen in
this home atmosphere; and as for Eugene, he was given the privilege of
all geniuses to do as he pleased. On this occasion Eugene was the centre
of interest, though he appeared not to be, for his four solid Western
brothers-in-law gave no indication that they thought he was unusual. He
was not their type--banker, lawyer, grain merchant and real estate
dealer--but they felt proud of him just the same. He was different, and
at the same time natural, genial, modest, inclined to appear far more
interested in their affairs than he really was. He would listen by the
hour to the details of their affairs, political, financial,
agricultural, social. The world was a curious compost to Eugene and he
was always anxious to find out how other people lived. He loved a good
story, and while he rarely told one he made a splendid audience for
those who did. His eyes would sparkle and his whole face light with the
joy of the humor he felt.

Through all this--the attention he was receiving, the welcome he was
made to feel, the fact that his art interests were not yet dead (the
Paris exhibition being the expiring breath of his original burst of
force), he was nevertheless feeling the downward trend of his affairs
most keenly. His mind was not right. That was surely true. His money
affairs were getting worse, not better, for while he could hope for a
few sales yet (the Paris pictures did not sell in New York) he was not
certain that this would be the case. This homeward trip had cost him two
hundred of his seventeen hundred dollars and there would be additional
expenses if he went to Chicago, as he planned in the fall. He could not
live a single year on fifteen hundred dollars--scarcely more than six
months, and he could not paint or illustrate anything new in his present
state. Additional sales of the pictures of the two original exhibitions
must be effected in a reasonable length of time or he would find himself
in hard straits.

Meanwhile, Angela, who had obtained such a high estimate of his future
by her experience in New York and Paris, was beginning to enjoy herself
again, for after all, in her judgment, she seemed to be able to manage
Eugene very well. He might have had some slight understanding with
Frieda Roth--it couldn't have been much or she would have seen it, she
thought--but she had managed to break it up. Eugene was cross,
naturally, but that was due more to her quarreling than anything else.
These storms of feeling on her part--not always premeditated--seemed
very essential. Eugene must be made to understand that he was married
now; that he could not look upon or run after girls as he had in the old
days. She was well aware that he was considerably younger than she was
in temperament, inclined to be exceedingly boyish, and this was apt to
cause trouble anywhere. But if she watched over him, kept his attention
fixed on her, everything would come out all right. And then there were
all these other delightful qualities--his looks, his genial manner, his
reputation, his talent. What a delightful thing it had become to
announce herself as Mrs. Eugene Witla and how those who knew about him
sat up. Big people were his friends, artists admired him, common,
homely, everyday people thought he was nice and considerate and able and
very worth while. He was generally liked everywhere. What more could one

Angela knew nothing of his real thoughts, for because of sympathy, a
secret sense of injustice toward her on his part, a vigorous, morbid
impression of the injustice of life as a whole, a desire to do things in
a kindly or at least a secret and not brutal way, he was led to pretend
at all times that he really cared for her; to pose as being comfortable
and happy; to lay all his moods to his inability to work. Angela, who
could not read him clearly, saw nothing of this. He was too subtle for
her understanding at times. She was living in a fool's paradise; playing
over a sleeping volcano.

He grew no better and by fall began to get the notion that he could do
better by living in Chicago. His health would come back to him there
perhaps. He was terribly tired of Blackwood. The long tree-shaded lawn
was nothing to him now. The little lake, the stream, the fields that he
had rejoiced in at first were to a great extent a commonplace. Old
Jotham was a perpetual source of delight to him with his kindly, stable,
enduring attitude toward things and his interesting comment on life, and
Marietta entertained him with her wit, her good nature, her intuitive
understanding; but he could not be happy just talking to everyday,
normal, stable people, interesting and worthwhile as they might be. The
doing of simple things, living a simple life, was just now becoming
irritating. He must go to London, Paris--do things. He couldn't loaf
this way. It mattered little that he could not work. He must try. This
isolation was terrible.

There followed six months spent in Chicago in which he painted not one
picture that was satisfactory to him, that was not messed into
nothingness by changes and changes and changes. There were then three
months in the mountains of Tennessee because someone told him of a
wonderfully curative spring in a delightful valley where the spring came
as a dream of color and the expense of living was next to nothing. There
were four months of summer in southern Kentucky on a ridge where the air
was cool, and after that five months on the Gulf of Mexico, at Biloxi,
in Mississippi, because some comfortable people in Kentucky and
Tennessee told Angela of this delightful winter resort farther South.
All this time Eugene's money, the fifteen hundred dollars he had when he
left Blackwood, several sums of two hundred, one hundred and fifty and
two hundred and fifty, realized from pictures sold in New York and Paris
during the fall and winter following his Paris exhibition, and two
hundred which had come some months afterward from a fortuitous sale by
M. Charles of one of his old New York views, had been largely
dissipated. He still had five hundred dollars, but with no pictures
being sold and none painted he was in a bad way financially in so far as
the future was concerned. He could possibly return to Alexandria with
Angela and live cheaply there for another six months, but because of the
Frieda incident both he and she objected to it. Angela was afraid of
Frieda and was resolved that she would not go there so long as Frieda
was in the town, and Eugene was ashamed because of the light a return
would throw on his fading art prospects. Blackwood was out of the
question to him. They had lived on her parents long enough. If he did
not get better he must soon give up this art idea entirely, for he could
not live on trying to paint.

He began to think that he was possessed--obsessed of a devil--and that
some people were pursued by evil spirits, fated by stars, doomed from
their birth to failure or accident. How did the astrologer in New York
know that he was to have four years of bad luck? He had seen three of
them already. Why did a man who read his palm in Chicago once say that
his hand showed two periods of disaster, just as the New York astrologer
had and that he was likely to alter the course of his life radically in
the middle portion of it? Were there any fixed laws of being? Did any of
the so-called naturalistic school of philosophers and scientists whom he
had read know anything at all? They were always talking about the fixed
laws of the universe--the unalterable laws of chemistry and physics. Why
didn't chemistry or physics throw some light on his peculiar physical
condition, on the truthful prediction of the astrologer, on the signs
and portents which he had come to observe for himself as foretelling
trouble or good fortune for himself. If his left eye twitched he had
observed of late he was going to have a quarrel with someone--invariably
Angela. If he found a penny or any money, he was going to get money; for
every notification of a sale of a picture with the accompanying check
had been preceded by the discovery of a coin somewhere: once a penny in
State Street, Chicago, on a rainy day--M. Charles wrote that a picture
had been sold in Paris for two hundred; once a three-cent piece of the
old American issue in the dust of a road in Tennessee--M. Charles wrote
that one of his old American views had brought one hundred and fifty;
once a penny in sands by the Gulf in Biloxi--another notification of a
sale. So it went. He found that when doors squeaked, people were apt to
get sick in the houses where they were; and a black dog howling in front
of a house was a sure sign of death. He had seen this with his own eyes,
this sign which his mother had once told him of as having been verified
in her experience, in connection with the case of a man who was sick in
Biloxi. He was sick, and a dog came running along the street and stopped
in front of this place--a black dog--and the man died. Eugene saw this
with his own eyes,--that is, the dog and the sick man's death notice.
The dog howled at four o'clock in the afternoon and the next morning the
man was dead. He saw the crape on the door. Angela mocked at his
superstition, but he was convinced. "There are more things in heaven and
earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."


Eugene was reaching the point where he had no more money and was
compelled to think by what process he would continue to make a living in
the future. Worry and a hypochondriacal despair had reduced his body to
a comparatively gaunt condition. His eyes had a nervous, apprehensive
look. He would walk about speculating upon the mysteries of nature,
wondering how he was to get out of this, what was to become of him, how
soon, if ever, another picture would be sold, when? Angela, from having
fancied that his illness was a mere temporary indisposition, had come to
feel that he might be seriously affected for some time. He was not sick
physically: he could walk and eat and talk vigorously enough, but he
could not work and he was worrying, worrying, worrying.

Angela was quite as well aware as Eugene that their finances were in a
bad way or threatening to become so, though he said nothing at all about
them. He was ashamed to confess at this day, after their very
conspicuous beginning in New York, that he was in fear of not doing
well. How silly--he with all his ability! Surely he would get over this,
and soon.

Angela's economical upbringing and naturally saving instinct stood her
in good stead now, for she could market with the greatest care, purchase
to the best advantage, make every scrap and penny count. She knew how to
make her own clothes, as Eugene had found out when he first visited
Blackwood, and was good at designing hats. Although she had thought in
New York, when Eugene first began to make money, that now she would
indulge in tailor-made garments and the art of an excellent dressmaker,
she had never done so. With true frugality she had decided to wait a
little while, and then Eugene's health having failed she had not the
chance any more. Fearing the possible long duration of this storm she
had begun to mend and clean and press and make over whatever seemed to
require it. Even when Eugene suggested that she get something new she
would not do it. Her consideration for their future--the difficulty he
might have in making a living, deterred her.

Eugene noted this, though he said nothing. He was not unaware of the
fear that she felt, the patience she exhibited, the sacrifice she made
of her own whims and desires to his, and he was not entirely
unappreciative. It was becoming very apparent to him that she had no
life outside his own--no interests. She was his shadow, his alter ego,
his servant, his anything he wanted her to be. "Little Pigtail" was one
of his jesting pet names for her because in the West as a boy they had
always called anyone who ran errands for others a pigtailer. In playing
"one old cat," if one wanted another to chase the struck balls he would
say: "You pig-tail for me, Willie, will you?" And Angela was his "little

There were no further grounds for jealousy during the time, almost two
years, in which they were wandering around together, for the reason that
she was always with him, almost his sole companion, and that they did
not stay long enough in any one place and under sufficiently free social
conditions to permit him to form those intimacies which might have
resulted disastrously. Some girls did take his eye--the exceptional in
youth and physical perfection were always doing that, but he had no
chance or very little of meeting them socially. They were not living
with people they knew, were not introduced in the local social worlds,
which they visited. Eugene could only look at these maidens whom he
chanced to spy from time to time, and wish that he might know them
better. It was hard to be tied down to a conventional acceptance of
matrimony--to pretend that he was interested in beauty only in a
sociological way. He had to do it before Angela though (and all
conventional people for that matter), for she objected strenuously to
the least interest he might manifest in any particular woman. All his
remarks had to be general and guarded in their character. At the least
show of feeling or admiration Angela would begin to criticize his choice
and to show him wherein his admiration was ill-founded. If he were
especially interested she would attempt to tear his latest ideal to
pieces. She had no mercy, and he could see plainly enough on what her
criticism was based. It made him smile but he said nothing. He even
admired her for her heroic efforts to hold her own, though every victory
she seemed to win served only to strengthen the bars of his own cage.

It was during this time that he could not help learning and appreciating
just how eager, patient and genuine was her regard for his material
welfare. To her he was obviously the greatest man in the world, a great
painter, a great thinker, a great lover, a great personality every way.
It didn't make so much difference to her at this time that he wasn't
making any money. He would sometime, surely, and wasn't she getting it
all in fame anyhow, now? Why, to be Mrs. Eugene Witla, after what she
had seen of him in New York and Paris, what more could she want? Wasn't
it all right for her to rake and scrape now, to make her own clothes and
hats, save, mend, press and patch? He would come out of all this silly
feeling about other women once he became a little older, and then he
would be all right. Anyhow he appeared to love her now; and that was
something. Because he was lonely, fearsome, uncertain of himself,
uncertain of the future, he welcomed these unsparing attentions on her
part, and this deceived her. Who else would give them to him, he
thought; who else would be so faithful in times like these? He almost
came to believe that he could love her again, be faithful to her, if he
could keep out of the range of these other enticing personalities. If
only he could stamp out this eager desire for other women, their praise
and their beauty!

But this was more because he was sick and lonely than anything else. If
he had been restored to health then and there, if prosperity had
descended on him as he so eagerly dreamed, it would have been the same
as ever. He was as subtle as nature itself; as changeable as a
chameleon. But two things were significant and real--two things to which
he was as true and unvarying as the needle to the pole--his love of the
beauty of life which was coupled with his desire to express it in color,
and his love of beauty in the form of the face of a woman, or rather
that of a girl of eighteen. That blossoming of life in womanhood at
eighteen!--there was no other thing under the sun like it to him. It was
like the budding of the trees in spring; the blossoming of flowers in
the early morning; the odor of roses and dew, the color of bright waters
and clear jewels. He could not be faithless to that. He could not get
away from it. It haunted him like a joyous vision, and the fact that the
charms of Stella and Ruby and Angela and Christina and Frieda in whom it
had been partially or wholly shadowed forth at one time or another had
come and gone, made little difference. It remained clear and demanding.
He could not escape it--the thought; he could not deny it. He was
haunted by this, day after day, and hour after hour; and when he said to
himself that he was a fool, and that it would lure him as a
will-o'-the-wisp to his destruction and that he could find no profit in
it ultimately, still it would not down. The beauty of youth; the beauty
of eighteen! To him life without it was a joke, a shabby scramble, a
work-horse job, with only silly material details like furniture and
houses and steel cars and stores all involved in a struggle for what? To
make a habitation for more shabby humanity? Never! To make a habitation
for beauty? Certainly! What beauty? The beauty of old age?--How silly!
The beauty of middle age? Nonsense! The beauty of maturity? No! The
beauty of youth? Yes. The beauty of eighteen. No more and no less. That
was the standard, and the history of the world proved it. Art,
literature, romance, history, poetry--if they did not turn on this and
the lure of this and the wars and sins because of this, what did they
turn on? He was for beauty. The history of the world justified him. Who
could deny it?


From Biloxi, because of the approach of summer when it would be
unbearably warm there, and because his funds were so low that it was
necessary to make a decisive move of some kind whether it led to
complete disaster or not, he decided to return to New York. In storage
with Kellners (M. Charles had kindly volunteered to take care of them
for him) were a number of the pictures left over from the original show,
and nearly all the paintings of the Paris exhibition. The latter had not
sold well. Eugene's idea was that he could slip into New York quietly,
take a room in some side street or in Jersey City or Brooklyn where he
would not be seen, have the pictures in the possession of M. Charles
returned to him, and see if he could not get some of the minor art
dealers or speculators of whom he had heard to come and look at them and
buy them outright. Failing that, he might take them himself, one by one,
to different dealers here and there and dispose of them. He remembered
now that Eberhard Zang had, through Norma Whitmore, asked him to come
and see him. He fancied that, as Kellners had been so interested, and
the newspaper critics had spoken of him so kindly the smaller dealers
would be eager to take up with him. Surely they would buy this material.
It was exceptional--very. Why not?

Eugene forgot or did not know the metaphysical side of prosperity and
failure. He did not realize that "as a man thinketh so is he," and so
also is the estimate of the whole world at the time he is thinking of
himself thus--not as he is but as he thinks he is. The sense of it is
abroad--by what processes we know not, but so it is.

Eugene's mental state, so depressed, so helpless, so fearsome--a
rudderless boat in the dark, transmitted itself as an impression, a
wireless message to all those who knew him or knew of him. His
breakdown, which had first astonished M. Charles, depressed and then
weakened the latter's interest in him. Like all other capable,
successful men in the commercial world M. Charles was for strong
men--men in the heyday of their success, the zenith of their ability.
The least variation from this standard of force and interest was
noticeable to him. If a man was going to fail--going to get sick and
lose his interest in life or have his viewpoint affected, it might be
very sad, but there was just one thing to do under such
circumstances--get away from him. Failures of any kind were dangerous
things to countenance. One must not have anything to do with them. They
were very unprofitable. Such people as Temple Boyle and Vincent Beers,
who had been his instructors in the past and who had heard of him in
Chicago at the time of his success, Luke Severas, William McConnell,
Oren Benedict, Hudson Dula, and others wondered what had become of him.
Why did he not paint any more? He was never seen in the New York haunts
of art! It was rumored at the time of the Paris exhibition that he was
going to London to do a similar group of views, but the London
exhibition never came off. He had told Smite and MacHugh the spring he
left that he might do Chicago next, but that came to nothing. There was
no evidence of it. There were rumors that he was very rich, that his art
had failed him, that he had lost his mind even, and so the art world
that knew him and was so interested in him no longer cared very much. It
was too bad but--so thought the rival artists--there was one less
difficult star to contend with. As for his friends, they were sorry, but
such was life. He might recover. If not,--well--.

As time went on, one year, another year, another year, the strangeness
of his suddenly brilliant burst and disappearance became to the talented
in this field a form of classic memory. He was a man of such promise!
Why did he not go on painting? There was an occasional mention in
conversation or in print, but Eugene to all intents and purposes was

When he came to New York it was after his capital had been reduced to
three hundred dollars and he had given Angela one hundred and
twenty-five of this to take her back to Blackwood and keep her there
until he could make such arrangements as would permit her to join him.
After a long discussion they had finally agreed that this would be best,
for, seeing that he could neither paint nor illustrate, there was no
certainty as to what he would do. To come here on so little money with
her was not advisable. She had her home where she was welcome to stay
for a while anyhow. Meanwhile he figured he could weather any storm

The appearance of the metropolis, after somewhat over two years of
absence during which he had wandered everywhere, was most impressive to
Eugene. It was a relief after the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee
and the loneliness of the Biloxi coast, to get back to this swarming
city where millions were hurrying to and fro, and where one's misery as
well as one's prosperity was apparently swallowed up in an inconceivable
mass of life. A subway was being built. The automobile, which only a few
years before was having a vague, uncertain beginning, was now attaining
a tremendous vogue. Magnificent cars of new design were everywhere. From
the ferry-house in Jersey City he could see notable changes in the
skyline, and a single walk across Twenty-third Street and up Seventh
Avenue showed him a changing world--great hotels, great apartment
houses, a tremendous crush of vainglorious life which was moulding the
city to its desires. It depressed him greatly, for he had always hoped
to be an integral part of this magnificence and display and now he was
not--might never be again.

It was still raw and cold, for the spring was just beginning to break,
and Eugene was compelled to buy a light overcoat, his own imperishable
great coat having been left behind, and he had no other fit to wear.
Appearances, he thought, demanded this. He had spent forty of his
closely-guarded one hundred and seventy-five dollars coming from Biloxi
to New York, and now an additional fifteen was required for this coat,
leaving him one hundred and twenty-five dollars with which to begin his
career anew. He was greatly worried as to the outcome, but curiously
also he had an abiding subconscious feeling that it could not be utterly
destructive to him.

He rented a cheap room in a semi-respectable neighborhood in West
Twenty-fourth Street near Eleventh Avenue solely because he wanted to
keep out of the run of intellectual life and hide until he could get on
his feet. It was an old and shabby residence in an old and shabby red
brick neighborhood such as he had drawn in one of his views, but it was
not utterly bad. The people were poor but fairly intellectual. He chose
this particular neighborhood with all its poverty because it was near
the North River where the great river traffic could be seen, and where,
because of some open lots in which were stored wagons, his one single
west window gave him a view of all this life. About the corner in
Twenty-third Street, in another somewhat decayed residence, was a
moderate priced restaurant and boarding house. Here he could get a meal
for twenty-five cents. He cared nothing for the life that was about him.
It was cheap, poor, from a money point of view, dingy, but he would not
be here forever he hoped. These people did not know him. Besides the
number 552 West 24th Street did not sound bad. It might be one of the
old neighborhoods with which New York was dotted, and which artists were
inclined to find and occupy.

After he had secured this room from a semi-respectable Irish landlady, a
dock weigher's wife, he decided to call upon M. Charles. He knew that he
looked quite respectable as yet, despite his poverty and decline. His
clothes were good, his overcoat new, his manner brisk and determined.
But what he could not see was that his face in its thin sallowness, and
his eyes with their semi-feverish lustre bespoke a mind that was
harassed by trouble of some kind. He stood outside the office of Kellner
and Son in Fifth Avenue--a half block from the door, wondering whether
he should go in, and just what he should say. He had written to M.
Charles from time to time that his health was bad and that he couldn't
work--always that he hoped to be better soon. He had always hoped that a
reply would come that another of his pictures had been sold. One year
had gone and then two, and now a third was under way and still he was
not any better. M. Charles would look at him searchingly. He would have
to bear his gaze unflinchingly. In his present nervous state this was
difficult and yet he was not without a kind of defiance even now. He
would force himself back into favor with life sometime.

He finally mustered up his courage and entered and M. Charles greeted
him warmly.

"This certainly is good,--to see you again. I had almost given up hope
that you would ever come back to New York. How is your health now? And
how is Mrs. Witla? It doesn't seem as though it had been three years.
You're looking excellent. And how is painting going now? Getting to the
point where you can do something again?"

Eugene felt for the moment as though M. Charles believed him to be in
excellent condition, whereas that shrewd observer of men was wondering
what could have worked so great a change. Eugene appeared to be eight
years older. There were marked wrinkles between his eyes and an air of
lassitude and weariness. He thought to himself, "Why, this man may
possibly be done for artistically. Something has gone from him which I
noted the first time I met him: that fire and intense enthusiasm which
radiated force after the fashion of an arclight. Now he seems to be
seeking to draw something in,--to save himself from drowning as it were.
He is making a voiceless appeal for consideration. What a pity!"

The worst of it all was that in his estimation nothing could be done in
such a case. You couldn't do anything for an artist who could do nothing
for himself. His art was gone. The sanest thing for him to do would be
to quit trying, go at some other form of labor and forget all about it.
It might be that he would recover, but it was a question. Nervous
breakdowns were not infrequently permanent.

Eugene noticed something of this in his manner. He couldn't tell exactly
what it was, but M. Charles seemed more than ordinarily preoccupied,
careful and distant. He wasn't exactly chilly in his manner, but
reserved, as though he were afraid he might be asked to do something
which he could not very well do.

"I noticed that the Paris scenes did not do very well either here or in
Paris," observed Eugene with an air of nonchalance, as though it were a
matter of small importance, at the same time hoping that he would have
some favorable word. "I had the idea that they would take better than
they did. Still I don't suppose I ought to expect everything to sell.
The New York ones did all right."

"They did very well indeed, much better than I expected. I didn't think
as many would be sold as were. They were very new and considerably
outside the lines of current interest. The Paris pictures, on the other
hand, were foreign to Americans in the wrong sense. By that I mean they
weren't to be included in that genre art which comes from abroad, but is
not based on any locality and is universal in its appeal--thematically
speaking. Your Paris pictures were, of course, pictures in the best
sense to those who see art as color and composition and idea, but to the
ordinary lay mind they were, I take it, merely Paris scenes. You get
what I mean. In that sense they were foreign, and Paris has been done
illustratively anyhow. You might have done better with London or
Chicago. Still you have every reason to congratulate yourself. Your work
made a distinct impression both here and in France. When you feel able
to return to it I have no doubt you will find that time has done you no

He tried to be polite and entertaining, but he was glad when Eugene went
away again.

The latter turned out into the street disconsolate. He could see how
things were. He was down and out for the present and would have to wait.


The next thing was to see what could be done with the other art dealers
and the paintings that were left. There were quite a number of them. If
he could get any reasonable price at all he ought to be able to live
quite awhile--long enough anyhow to get on his feet again. When they
came to his quiet room and were unpacked by him in a rather shamefaced
and disturbed manner and distributed about, they seemed wonderful
things. Why, if the critics had raved over them and M. Charles had
thought they were so fine, could they not be sold? Art dealers would
surely buy them! Still, now that he was on the ground again and could
see the distinctive art shops from the sidewalks his courage failed him.
They were not running after pictures. Exceptional as he might be, there
were artists in plenty--good ones. He could not run to other well known
art dealers very well for his work had become identified with the house
of Kellner and Son. Some of the small dealers might buy them but they
would not buy them all--probably one or two at the most, and that at a
sacrifice. What a pass to come to!--he, Eugene Witla, who three years
before had been in the heyday of his approaching prosperity, wondering
as he stood in the room of a gloomy side-street house how he was going
to raise money to live through the summer, and how he was going to sell
the paintings which had seemed the substance of his fortune but two
years before. He decided that he would ask several of the middle class
dealers whether they would not come and look at what he had to show. To
a number of the smaller dealers in Fourth, Sixth, Eighth Avenues and
elsewhere he would offer to sell several outright when necessity
pinched. Still he had to raise money soon. Angela could not be left at
Blackwood indefinitely.

He went to Jacob Bergman, Henry LaRue, Pottle Frères and asked if they
would be interested to see what he had. Henry Bergman, who was his own
manager, recalled his name at once. He had seen the exhibition but was
not eager. He asked curiously how the pictures of the first and second
exhibitions had sold, how many there were of them, what prices they
brought. Eugene told him.

"You might bring one or two here and leave them on sale. You know how
that is. Someone might take a fancy to them. You never can tell."

He explained that his commission was twenty-five per cent, and that he
would report when a sale was made. He was not interested to come and see
them. Eugene could select any two pictures he pleased. It was the same
with Henry LaRue and Pottle Frères, though the latter had never heard of
him. They asked him to show them one of his pictures. Eugene's pride was
touched the least bit by this lack of knowledge on their part, though
seeing how things were going with him he felt as though he might expect
as much and more.

Other art dealers he did not care to trust with his paintings on sale,
and he was now ashamed to start carrying them about to the magazines,
where at least one hundred and twenty-five to one hundred and fifty per
picture might be expected for them, if they were sold at all. He did not
want the magazine art world to think that he had come to this. His best
friend was Hudson Dula, and he might no longer be Art Director of
_Truth_. As a matter of fact Dula was no longer there. Then there were
Jan Jansen and several others, but they were no doubt thinking of him
now as a successful painter. It seemed as though his natural pride were
building insurmountable barriers for him. How was he to live if he could
not do this and could not paint? He decided on trying the small art
dealers with a single picture, offering to sell it outright. They might
not recognize him and so might buy it direct. He could accept, in such
cases, without much shock to his pride, anything which they might offer,
if it were not too little.

He tried this one bright morning in May, and though it was not without
result it spoiled the beautiful day for him. He took one picture, a New
York scene, and carried it to a third rate art dealer whose place he had
seen in upper Sixth Avenue, and without saying anything about himself
asked if he would like to buy it. The proprietor, a small, dark
individual of Semitic extraction, looked at him curiously and at his
picture. He could tell from a single look that Eugene was in trouble,
that he needed money and that he was anxious to sell his picture. He
thought of course that he would take anything for it and he was not sure
that he wanted the picture at that. It was not very popular in theme, a
view of a famous Sixth Avenue restaurant showing behind the track of the
L road, with a driving rain pouring in between the interstices of light.
Years after this picture was picked up by a collector from Kansas City
at an old furniture sale and hung among his gems, but this morning its
merits were not very much in evidence.

"I see that you occasionally exhibit a painting in your window for sale.
Do you buy originals?"

"Now and again," said the man indifferently--"not often. What have you?"

"I have an oil here that I painted not so long ago. I occasionally do
these things. I thought maybe you would like to buy it."

The proprietor stood by indifferently while Eugene untied the string,
took off the paper and stood the picture up for inspection. It was
striking enough in its way but it did not appeal to him as being
popular. "I don't think it's anything that I could sell here," he
remarked, shrugging his shoulders. "It's good, but we don't have much
call for pictures of any kind. If it were a straight landscape or a
marine or a figure of some kind--. Figures sell best. But this--I doubt
if I could get rid of it. You might leave it on sale if you want to.
Somebody might like it. I don't think I'd care to buy it."

"I don't care to leave it on sale," replied Eugene irritably. Leave one
of his pictures in a cheap side-street art store--and that on sale! He
would not. He wanted to say something cutting in reply but he curbed his
welling wrath to ask,

"How much do you think it would be worth if you did want it?"

"Oh," replied the proprietor, pursing his lips reflectively, "not more
than ten dollars. We can't ask much for anything we have on view here.
The Fifth Avenue stores take all the good trade."

Eugene winced. Ten dollars! Why, what a ridiculous sum! What was the use
of coming to a place like this anyhow? He could do better dealing with
the art directors or the better stores. But where were they? Whom could
he deal with? Where were there any stores much better than this outside
the large ones which he had already canvassed. He had better keep his
pictures and go to work now at something else. He only had thirty-five
of them all told and at this rate he would have just three hundred and
fifty dollars when they were all gone. What good would that do him? His
mood and this preliminary experience convinced him that they could not
be sold for any much greater sum. Fifteen dollars or less would probably
be offered and he would be no better off at the end. His pictures would
be gone and he would have nothing. He ought to get something to do and
save his pictures. But what?

To a man in Eugene's position--he was now thirty-one years of age, with
no training outside what he had acquired in developing his artistic
judgment and ability--this proposition of finding something else which
he could do was very difficult. His mental sickness was, of course, the
first great bar. It made him appear nervous and discouraged and so more
or less objectionable to anyone who was looking for vigorous healthy
manhood in the shape of an employee. In the next place, his look and
manner had become decidedly that of the artist--refined, retiring,
subtle. He also had an air at times of finicky standoffishness,
particularly in the presence of those who appeared to him commonplace or
who by their look or manner appeared to be attempting to set themselves
over him. In the last place, he could think of nothing that he really
wanted to do--the idea that his art ability would come back to him or
that it ought to serve him in this crisis, haunting him all the time.
Once he had thought he might like to be an art director; he was
convinced that he would be a good one. And another time he had thought
he would like to write, but that was long ago. He had never written
anything since the Chicago newspaper specials, and several efforts at
concentrating his mind for this quickly proved to him that writing was
not for him now. It was hard for him to formulate an intelligent
consecutive-idea'd letter to Angela. He harked back to his old Chicago
days and remembering that he had been a collector and a driver of a
laundry wagon, he decided that he might do something of that sort.
Getting a position as a street-car conductor or a drygoods clerk
appealed to him as possibilities. The necessity of doing something
within regular hours and in a routine way appealed to him as having
curative properties. How should he get such a thing?

If it had not been for the bedeviled state of his mind this would not
have been such a difficult matter, for he was physically active enough
to hold any ordinary position. He might have appealed frankly and simply
to M. Charles or Isaac Wertheim and through influence obtained something
which would have tided him over, but he was too sensitive to begin with
and his present weakness made him all the more fearful and retiring. He
had but one desire when he thought of doing anything outside his
creative gift, and that was to slink away from the gaze of men. How
could he, with his appearance, his reputation, his tastes and
refinement, hobnob with conductors, drygoods clerks, railroad hands or
drivers? It wasn't possible--he hadn't the strength. Besides all that
was a thing of the past, or he thought it was. He had put it behind him
in his art student days. Now to have to get out and look for a job! How
could he? He walked the streets for days and days, coming back to his
room to see if by any chance he could paint yet, writing long, rambling,
emotional letters to Angela. It was pitiful. In fits of gloom he would
take out an occasional picture and sell it, parting with it for ten or
fifteen dollars after he had carried it sometimes for miles. His one
refuge was in walking, for somehow he could not walk and feel very, very
bad. The beauty of nature, the activity of people entertained and
diverted his mind. He would come back to his room some evenings feeling
as though a great change had come over him, as though he were going to
do better now; but this did not last long. A little while and he would
be back in his old mood again. He spent three months this way, drifting,
before he realized that he must do something--that fall and winter would
be coming on again in a little while and he would have nothing at all.

In his desperation he first attempted to get an art directorship, but
two or three interviews with publishers of magazines proved to him
pretty quickly that positions of this character were not handed out to
the inexperienced. It required an apprenticeship, just as anything else
did, and those who had positions in this field elsewhere had the first
call. His name or appearance did not appear to strike any of these
gentlemen as either familiar or important in any way. They had heard of
him as an illustrator and a painter, but his present appearance
indicated that this was a refuge in ill health which he was seeking, not
a vigorous, constructive position, and so they would have none of him.
He next tried at three of the principal publishing houses, but they did
not require anyone in that capacity. Truth to tell he knew very little
of the details and responsibilities of the position, though he thought
he did. After that there was nothing save drygoods stores, street-car
registration offices, the employment offices of the great railroads and
factories. He looked at sugar refineries, tobacco factories, express
offices, railroad freight offices, wondering whether in any of these it
would be possible for him to obtain a position which would give him a
salary of ten dollars a week. If he could get that, and any of the
pictures now on show with Jacob Bergman, Henry LaRue and Pottle Frères
should be sold, he could get along. He might even live on this with
Angela if he could sell an occasional picture for ten or fifteen
dollars. But he was paying seven dollars a week for nothing save food
and room, and scarcely managing to cling to the one hundred dollars
which had remained of his original traveling fund after he had paid all
his opening expenses here in New York. He was afraid to part with all
his pictures in this way for fear he would be sorry for it after a

Work is hard to get under the most favorable conditions of health and
youth and ambition, and the difficulties of obtaining it under
unfavorable ones need not be insisted on. Imagine if you can the crowds
of men, forty, fifty, one hundred strong, that wait at the door of every
drygoods employment office, every street-car registration bureau, on the
special days set aside for considering applications, at every factory,
shop or office where an advertisement calling for a certain type of man
or woman was inserted in the newspapers. On a few occasions that Eugene
tried or attempted to try, he found himself preceded by peculiar groups
of individuals who eyed him curiously as he approached, wondering, as he
thought, whether a man of his type could be coming to apply for a job.
They seemed radically different from himself to his mind, men with
little education and a grim consciousness of the difficulties of life;
young men, vapid looking men, shabby, stale, discouraged types--men who,
like himself, looked as though they had seen something very much better,
and men who looked as though they had seen things a great deal worse.
The evidence which frightened him was the presence of a group of bright,
healthy, eager looking boys of nineteen, twenty, twenty-one and
twenty-two who, like himself when he first went to Chicago years before,
were everywhere he went. When he drew near he invariably found it
impossible to indicate in any way that he was looking for anything. He
couldn't. His courage failed him; he felt that he looked too superior;
self-consciousness and shame overcame him.

He learned now that men rose as early as four o'clock in the morning to
buy a newspaper and ran quickly to the address mentioned in order to get
the place at the head of the line, thus getting the first consideration
as an applicant. He learned that some other men, such as waiters, cooks,
hotel employees and so on, frequently stayed up all night in order to
buy a paper at two in the morning, winter or summer, rain or snow, heat
or cold, and hurry to the promising addresses they might find. He
learned that the crowds of applicants were apt to become surly or
sarcastic or contentious as their individual chances were jeopardized by
ever-increasing numbers. And all this was going on all the time, in
winter or summer, heat or cold, rain or snow. Pretending interest as a
spectator, he would sometimes stand and watch, hearing the ribald jests,
the slurs cast upon life, fortune, individuals in particular and in
general by those who were wearily or hopelessly waiting. It was a
horrible picture to him in his present condition. It was like the
grinding of the millstones, upper and nether. These were the chaff. He
was a part of the chaff at present, or in danger of becoming so. Life
was winnowing him out. He might go down, down, and there might never be
an opportunity for him to rise any more.

Few, if any of us, understand thoroughly the nature of the unconscious
stratification which takes place in life, the layers and types and
classes into which it assorts itself and the barriers which these offer
to a free migration of individuals from one class to another. We take on
so naturally the material habiliments of our temperaments, necessities
and opportunities. Priests, doctors, lawyers, merchants, appear to be
born with their particular mental attitude and likewise the clerk, the
ditch-digger, the janitor. They have their codes, their guilds and their
class feelings. And while they may be spiritually closely related, they
are physically far apart. Eugene, after hunting for a place for a month,
knew a great deal more about this stratification than he had ever
dreamed of knowing. He found that he was naturally barred by temperament
from some things, from others by strength and weight, or rather the lack
of them; from others, by inexperience; from others, by age; and so on.
And those who were different from him in any or all of these respects
were inclined to look at him askance. "You are not as we are," their
eyes seemed to say; "why do you come here?"

One day he approached a gang of men who were waiting outside a car barn
and sought to find out where the registration office was. He did not lay
off his natural manner of superiority--could not, but asked a man near
him if he knew. It had taken all his courage to do this.

"He wouldn't be after lookin' fer a place as a conductor now, would he?"
he heard someone say within his hearing. For some reason this remark
took all his courage away. He went up the wooden stairs to the little
office where the application blanks were handed out, but did not even
have the courage to apply for one. He pretended to be looking for
someone and went out again. Later, before a drygoods superintendent's
office, he heard a youth remark, "Look what wants to be a clerk." It
froze him.

It is a question how long this aimless, nervous wandering would have
continued if it had not been for the accidental recollection of an
experience which a fellow artist once related to him of a writer who had
found himself nervously depressed and who, by application to the
president of a railroad, had secured as a courtesy to the profession
which he represented so ably a position as an apprentice in a surveying
corps, being given transportation to a distant section of the country
and employed at a laborer's wages until he was well. Eugene now thought
of this as quite an idea for himself. Why it had not occurred to him
before he did not know. He could apply as an artist--his appearance
would bear him out, and being able to speak from the vantage point of
personal ability temporarily embarrassed by ill health, his chances of
getting something would be so much better. It would not be the same as a
position which he had secured for himself without fear or favor, but it
would be a position, different from farming with Angela's father because
it would command a salary.


This idea of appealing to the president of one of the great railroads
that entered New York was not so difficult to execute. Eugene dressed
himself very carefully the next morning, and going to the office of the
company in Forty-second Street, consulted the list of officers posted in
one of the halls, and finding the president to be on the third floor,
ascended. He discovered, after compelling himself by sheer will power to
enter, that this so-called office was a mere anteroom to a force of
assistants serving the president, and that no one could see him except
by appointment.

"You might see his secretary if he isn't busy," suggested the clerk who
handled his card gingerly.

Eugene was for the moment undetermined what to do but decided that maybe
the secretary could help him. He asked that his card might be taken to
him and that no explanation be demanded of him except by the secretary
in person. The latter came out after a while, an under secretary of
perhaps twenty-eight years of age, short and stout. He was bland and
apparently good natured.

"What is it I can do for you?" he asked.

Eugene had been formulating his request in his mind--some method of
putting it briefly and simply.

"I came up to see Mr. Wilson," he said, "to see if he would not send me
out as a day-laborer of some kind in connection with some department of
the road. I am an artist by profession and I am suffering from
neurasthenia. All the doctors I have consulted have recommended that I
get a simple, manual position of some kind and work at it until I am
well. I know of an instance in which Mr. Wilson, assisted, in this way,
Mr. Savin the author, and I thought he might be willing to interest
himself in my case."

At the sound of Henry Savin's name the under-secretary pricked up his
ears. He had, fortunately, read one of his books, and this together with
Eugene's knowledge of the case, his personal appearance, a certain ring
of sincerity in what he was saying, caused him to be momentarily

"There is no position in connection with any clerical work which the
president could give you, I am sure," he replied. "All of these things
are subject to a system of promotion. It might be that he could place
you with one of the construction gangs in one of the departments under a
foreman. I don't know. It's very hard work, though. He might consider
your case." He smiled commiseratingly. "I question whether you're strong
enough to do anything of that sort. It takes a pretty good man to wield
a pick or a shovel."

"I don't think I had better worry about that now," replied Eugene in
return, smiling wearily. "I'll take the work and see if it won't help
me. I think I need it badly enough."

He was afraid the under-secretary would repent of his suggestion and
refuse him entirely.

"Can you wait a little while?" asked the latter curiously. He had the
idea that Eugene was someone of importance, for he had suggested as a
parting argument that he could give a number of exceptional references.

"Certainly," said Eugene, and the secretary went his way, coming back in
half an hour to hand him an enveloped letter.

"We have the idea," he said quite frankly waiving any suggestion of the
president's influence in the matter and speaking for himself and the
secretary-in-chief, with whom he had agreed that Eugene ought to be
assisted, "that you had best apply to the engineering department.
Mr. Hobsen, the chief-engineer, can arrange for you. This letter I think
will get you what you want."

Eugene's heart bounded. He looked at the superscription and saw it
addressed to Mr. Woodruff Hobsen, Chief Engineer, and putting it in his
pocket without stopping to read it, but thanking the under-secretary
profusely, went out. In the hall at a safe distance he stopped and
opened it, finding that it spoke of him familiarly as "Mr. Eugene Witla,
an artist, temporarily incapacitated by neurasthenia," and went on to
say that he was "desirous of being appointed to some manual toil in some
construction corps. The president's office recommends this request to
your favor."

When he read this he knew it meant a position. It roused curious
feelings as to the nature and value of stratification. As a laborer he
was nothing: as an artist he could get a position as a laborer. After
all, his ability as an artist was worth something. It obtained him this
refuge. He hugged it joyously, and a few moments later handed it to an
under-secretary in the Chief-Engineer's office. Without being seen by
anyone in authority he was in return given a letter to Mr. William
Haverford, "Engineer of Maintenance of Way," a pale, anæmic gentleman of
perhaps forty years of age, who, as Eugene learned from him when he was
eventually ushered into his presence a half hour later, was a captain of
thirteen thousand men. The latter read the letter from the Engineer's
office curiously. He was struck by Eugene's odd mission and his
appearance as a man. Artists were queer. This was like one. Eugene
reminded him of himself a little in his appearance.

"An artist," he said interestedly. "So you want to work as a day
laborer?" He fixed Eugene with clear, coal-black eyes looking out of a
long, pear-shaped face. Eugene noticed that his hands were long and thin
and white and that his high, pale forehead was crowned by a mop of black

"Neurasthenia. I've heard a great deal about that of late, but have
never been troubled that way myself. I find that I derive considerable
benefit when I am nervous from the use of a rubber exerciser. You have
seen them perhaps?"

"Yes," Eugene replied, "I have. My case is much too grave for that, I
think. I have traveled a great deal. But it doesn't seem to do me any
good. I want work at something manual, I fancy--something at which I
have to work. Exercise in a room would not help me. I think I need a
complete change of environment. I will be much obliged if you will place
me in some capacity."

"Well, this will very likely be it," suggested Mr. Haverford blandly.
"Working as a day-laborer will certainly not strike you as play. To tell
you the truth, I don't think you can stand it." He reached for a
glass-framed map showing the various divisions of the railroad
stretching from New England to Chicago and St. Louis, and observed
quietly. "I could send you to a great many places, Pennsylvania, New
York, Ohio, Michigan, Canada." His finger roved idly about. "I have
thirteen thousand men in my department and they are scattered far and

Eugene marveled. Such a position! Such authority! This pale, dark man
sitting as an engineer at a switch board directing so large a machine.

"You have a large force," he said simply. Mr. Haverford smiled wanly.

"I think, if you will take my advice, you will not go in a construction
corps right away. You can hardly do manual labor. There is a little
carpenter shop which we have at Speonk, not very far outside the city,
which I should think would answer your needs admirably. A little creek
joins the Hudson there and it's out on a point of land, the shop is.
It's summer now, and to put you in a broiling sun with a gang of
Italians would be a little rough. Take my advice and go here. It will be
hard enough. After you are broken in and you think you want a change I
can easily arrange it for you. The money may not make so much difference
to you but you may as well have it. It will be fifteen cents an hour. I
will give you a letter to Mr. Litlebrown, our division engineer, and he
will see that you are properly provided for."

Eugene bowed. Inwardly he smiled at the thought that the money would not
be acceptable to him. Anything would be acceptable. Perhaps this would
be best. It was near the city. The description of the little carpenter
shop out on the neck of land appealed to him. It was, as he found when
he looked at the map of the immediate division to which this belonged,
almost within the city limits. He could live in New York--the upper
portion of it anyhow.

Again there was a letter, this time to Mr. Henry C. Litlebrown, a tall,
meditative, philosophic man whom Eugene found two days later in the
division offices at Yonkers, who in turn wrote a letter to Mr. Joseph
Brooks, Superintendent of Buildings, at Mott Haven, whose secretary
finally gave Eugene a letter to Mr. Jack Stix, foreman carpenter at
Speonk. This letter, when presented on a bright Friday afternoon,
brought him the advice to come Monday at seven A. M., and so Eugene saw
a career as a day laborer stretching very conspicuously before him.

The "little shop" in question was located in the most charming manner
possible. If it had been set as a stage scene for his especial artistic
benefit it could not have been better. On a point of land between the
river and the main line of the railroad and a little creek, which was
east of the railroad and which the latter crossed on a trestle to get
back to the mainland again, it stood, a long, low two-storey structure,
green as to its roof, red as to its body, full of windows which
commanded picturesque views of passing yachts and steamers and little
launches and row-boats anchored safely in the waters of the cove which
the creek formed. There was a veritable song of labor which arose from
this shop, for it was filled with planes, lathes and wood-turning
instruments of various kinds, to say nothing of a great group of
carpenters who could make desks, chairs, tables, in short, office
furniture of various kinds, and who kept the company's needs of these
fittings for its depots and offices well supplied. Each carpenter had a
bench before a window on the second floor, and in the centre were the
few necessary machines they were always using, small jig, cross cut,
band and rip saws, a plane, and four or five lathes. On the ground floor
was the engine room, the blacksmith's shop, the giant plane, the great
jig and cross cut saws, and the store room and supply closets. Out in
the yard were piles of lumber, with tracks in between, and twice every
day a local freight called "The Dinky" stopped to switch in or take out
loaded cars of lumber or finished furniture and supplies. Eugene, as he
approached on the day he presented his letter, stopped to admire the
neatness of the low board fence which surrounded it all, the beauty of
the water, the droning sweetness of the saws.

"Why, the work here couldn't be very hard," he thought. He saw
carpenters looking out of the upper windows, and a couple of men in
brown overalls and jumpers unloading a car. They were carrying great
three-by-six joists on their shoulders. Would he be asked to do anything
like that. He scarcely thought so. Mr. Haverford had distinctly
indicated in his letter to Mr. Litlebrown that he was to be built up by
degrees. Carrying great joists did not appeal to him as the right way,
but he presented his letter. He had previously looked about on the high
ground which lay to the back of the river and which commanded this point
of land, to see if he could find a place to board and lodge, but had
seen nothing. The section was very exclusive, occupied by suburban New
Yorkers of wealth, and they were not interested in the proposition which
he had formulated in his own mind, namely his temporary reception
somewhere as a paying guest. He had visions of a comfortable home
somewhere now with nice people, for strangely enough the securing of
this very minor position had impressed him as the beginning of the end
of his bad luck. He was probably going to get well now, in the course of
time. If he could only live with some nice family for the summer. In the
fall if he were improving, and he thought he might be, Angela could come
on. It might be that one of the dealers, Pottle Frères or Jacob Bergman
or Henry LaRue would have sold a picture. One hundred and fifty or two
hundred dollars joined to his salary would go a long way towards making
their living moderately comfortable. Besides Angela's taste and economy,
coupled with his own art judgment, could make any little place look
respectable and attractive.

The problem of finding a room was not so easy. He followed the track
south to a settlement which was visible from the shop windows a quarter
of a mile away, and finding nothing which suited his taste as to
location, returned to Speonk proper and followed the little creek inland
half a mile. This adventure delighted him for it revealed a semi-circle
of charming cottages ranged upon a hill slope which had for its
footstool the little silvery-bosomed stream. Between the stream and the
hill slope ran a semi-circular road and above that another road. Eugene
could see at a glance that here was middle class prosperity, smooth
lawns, bright awnings, flower pots of blue and yellow and green upon the
porches, doorsteps and verandas. An auto standing in front of one house
indicated a certain familiarity with the ways of the rich, and a summer
road house, situated at the intersection of a road leading out from New
York and the little stream where it was crossed by a bridge, indicated
that the charms of this village were not unknown to those who came
touring and seeking for pleasure. The road house itself was hung with
awnings and one dining balcony out over the water. Eugene's desire was
fixed on this village at once. He wanted to live here--anywhere in it.
He walked about under the cool shade of the trees looking at first one
door yard and then another wishing that he might introduce himself by
letter and be received. They ought to welcome an artist of his ability
and refinement and would, he thought, if they knew. His working in a
furniture factory or for the railroad as a day laborer for his health
simply added to his picturesque character. In his wanderings he finally
came upon a Methodist church quaintly built of red brick and grey stone
trimmings, and the sight of its tall, stained glass windows and square
fortress-like bell-tower gave him an idea. Why not appeal to the
minister? He could explain to him what he wanted, show him his
credentials--for he had with him old letters from editors, publishers
and art houses--and give him a clear understanding as to why he wanted
to come here at all. His ill health and distinction ought to appeal to
this man, and he would probably direct him to some one who would gladly
have him. At five in the afternoon he knocked at the door and was
received in the pastor's study--a large still room in which a few flies
were buzzing in the shaded light. In a few moments the minister himself
came in--a tall, grey-headed man, severely simple in his attire and with
the easy air of one who is used to public address. He was about to ask
what he could do for him when Eugene began with his explanation.

"You don't know me at all. I am a stranger in this section. I am an
artist by profession and I am coming to Speonk on Monday to work in the
railroad shop there for my health. I have been suffering from a nervous
breakdown and am going to try day labor for awhile. I want to find a
convenient, pleasant place to live, and I thought you might know of
someone here, or near here, who might be willing to take me in for a
little while. I can give excellent references. There doesn't appear to
be anything in the immediate neighborhood of the shop."

"It is rather isolated there," replied the old minister, studying Eugene
carefully. "I have often wondered how all those men like it, traveling
so far. None of them live about here." He looked at Eugene solemnly,
taking in his various characteristics. He was not badly impressed. He
seemed to be a reserved, thoughtful, dignified young man and decidedly
artistic. It struck him as very interesting that he should be trying so
radical a thing as day labor for his nerves.

"Let me see," he said thoughtfully. He sat down in his chair near his
table and put his hand over his eyes. "I don't think of anyone just at
the moment. There are plenty of families who have room to take you if
they would, but I question very much whether they would. In fact I'm
rather sure they wouldn't. Let me see now."

He thought again.

Eugene studied his big aquiline nose, his shaggy grey eyebrows, his
thick, crisp, grey hair. Already his mind was sketching him, the desk,
the dim walls, the whole atmosphere of the room.

"No, no," he said slowly. "I don't think of anyone. There is one
family--Mrs. Hibberdell. She lives in the--let me see--first, second,
third, tenth house above here. She has one nephew with her at present, a
young man of about your age, and I don't think anyone else. I don't know
that she would consider taking you in, but she might. Her house is quite
large. She did have her daughter with her at one time, but I'm not sure
that she's there now. I think not."

He talked as though he were reporting his own thoughts to himself

Eugene pricked up his ears at the mention of a daughter. During all the
time he had been out of New York he had not, with the exception of
Frieda, had a single opportunity to talk intimately with any girl.
Angela had been with him all the time. Here in New York since he had
been back he had been living under such distressing conditions that he
had not thought of either youth or love. He had no business to be
thinking of it now, but this summer air, this tree-shaded village, the
fact that he had a position, small as it was, on which he could depend
and which would no doubt benefit him mentally, and that he was somehow
feeling better about himself because he was going to work, made him feel
that he might look more interestedly on life again. He was not going to
die; he was going to get well. Finding this position proved it. And he
might go to the house now and find some charming girl who would like him
very much. Angela was away. He was alone. He had again the freedom of
his youth. If he were only well and working!

He thanked the old minister very politely and went his way, recognizing
the house by certain details given him by the minister, a double
balconied veranda, some red rockers, two yellow jardinières at the
doorstep, a greyish white picket fence and gate. He walked up smartly
and rang the bell. A very intelligent woman of perhaps fifty-five or
sixty with bright grey hair and clear light blue eyes was coming out
with a book in her hand. Eugene stated his case. She listened with keen
interest, looking him over the while. His appearance took her fancy, for
she was of a strong intellectual and literary turn of mind.

"I wouldn't ordinarily consider anything of the kind, but I am alone
here with my nephew and the house could easily accommodate a dozen. I
don't want to do anything which will irritate him, but if you will come
back in the morning I will let you know. It would not disturb me to have
you about. Do you happen to know of an artist by the name of Deesa?"

"I know him well," replied Eugene. "He's an old friend of mine."

"He is a friend of my daughter's, I think. Have you enquired anywhere
else here in the village?"

"No," said Eugene.

"That is just as well," she replied.

He took the hint.

So there was no daughter here. Well, what matter? The view was
beautiful. Of an evening he could sit out here in one of the rocking
chairs and look at the water. The evening sun, already low in the west
was burnishing it a bright gold. The outline of the hill on the other
side was dignified and peaceful. He could sleep and work as a day
laborer and take life easy for a while. He could get well now and this
was the way to do it. Day laborer! How fine, how original, how
interesting. He felt somewhat like a knight-errant reconnoitring a new
and very strange world.


The matter of securing admission to this house was quickly settled. The
nephew, a genial, intelligent man of thirty-four, as Eugene discovered
later, had no objection. It appeared to Eugene that in some way he
contributed to the support of this house, though Mrs. Hibberdell
obviously had some money of her own. A charmingly furnished room on the
second floor adjoining one of the several baths was assigned him, and he
was at once admitted to the freedom of the house. There were books, a
piano (but no one to play it), a hammock, a maid-of-all-work, and an
atmosphere of content and peace. Mrs. Hibberdell, a widow, presumably of
some years of widowhood, was of that experience and judgment in life
which gave her intellectual poise. She was not particularly inquisitive
about anything in connection with him, and so far as he could see from
surface indications was refined, silent, conservative. She could jest,
and did, in a subtle understanding way. He told her quite frankly at the
time he applied that he was married, that his wife was in the West and
that he expected her to return after his health was somewhat improved.
She talked with him about art and books and life in general. Music
appeared to be to her a thing apart. She did not care much for it. The
nephew, Davis Simpson, was neither literary nor artistic, and apparently
cared little for music. He was a buyer for one of the larger department
stores, a slight, dapper, rather dandified type of man, with a lean, not
thin but tight-muscled face, and a short black mustache, and he appeared
to be interested only in the humors of character, trade, baseball and
methods of entertaining himself. The things that pleased Eugene about
him were that he was clean, simple, direct, good-natured and courteous.
He had apparently no desire to infringe on anybody's privacy, but was
fond of stirring up light discussions and interpolating witty remarks.
He liked also to grow flowers and to fish. The care of a border of
flowers which glorified a short gravel path in the back yard received
his especial attention evenings and mornings.

It was a great pleasure for Eugene to come into this atmosphere after
the storm which had been assailing him for the past three years, and
particularly for the past ninety days. He was only asked to pay eight
dollars a week by Mrs. Hibberdell, though he realized that what he was
obtaining in home atmosphere here was not ordinarily purchasable at any
price in the public market. The maid saw to it that a little bouquet of
flowers was put on his dressing table daily. He was given fresh towels
and linen in ample quantities. The bath was his own. He could sit out on
the porch of an evening and look at the water uninterrupted or he could
stay in the library and read. Breakfast and dinner were invariably
delightful occasions, for though he rose at five-forty-five in order to
have his bath, breakfast, and be able to walk to the factory and reach
it by seven, Mrs. Hibberdell was invariably up, as it was her habit to
rise thus early, had been so for years. She liked it. Eugene in his
weary mood could scarcely understand this. Davis came to the table some
few moments before he would be leaving. He invariably had some cheery
remark to offer, for he was never sullen or gloomy. His affairs,
whatever they were, did not appear to oppress him. Mrs. Hibberdell would
talk to Eugene genially about his work, this small, social centre of
which they were a part and which was called Riverwood, the current
movements in politics, religion, science and so forth. There were
references sometimes to her one daughter, who was married and living in
New York. It appeared that she occasionally visited her mother here.
Eugene was delighted to think he had been so fortunate as to find this
place. He hoped to make himself so agreeable that there would be no
question as to his welcome, and he was not disappointed.

Between themselves Mrs. Hibberdell and Davis discussed him, agreeing
that he was entirely charming, a good fellow, and well worth having
about. At the factory where Eugene worked and where the conditions were
radically different, he made for himself an atmosphere which was almost
entirely agreeable to him, though he quarreled at times with specific
details. On the first morning, for instance, he was put to work with two
men, heavy clods of souls he thought at first, familiarly known about
the yard as John and Bill. These two, to his artistic eye, appeared
machines, more mechanical than humanly self-directive. They were of
medium height, not more than five feet, nine inches tall and weighed
about one hundred and eighty pounds each. One had a round, poorly
modeled face very much the shape of an egg, to which was attached a
heavy yellowish mustache. He had a glass eye, complicated in addition by
a pair of spectacles which were fastened over his large, protruding red
ears with steel hooks. He wore a battered brown hat, now a limp
shapeless mass. His name was Bill Jeffords and he responded sometimes to
the sobriquet of "One Eye."

The other man was John alias "Jack" Duncan, an individual of the same
height and build with but slightly more modeling to his face and with
little if any greater intelligence. He looked somewhat the
shrewder--Eugene fancied there might be lurking in him somewhere a spark
of humor, but he was mistaken. Unquestionably in Jeffords there was
none. Jack Stix, the foreman-carpenter, a tall, angular, ambling man
with red hair, a red mustache, shifty, uncertain blue eyes and
noticeably big hands and feet, had suggested to Eugene that he work with
these men for a little while. It was his idea to "try him out," as he
told one of the associate foremen who was in charge of a gang of
Italians working in the yard for the morning, and he was quite equal to
doing it. He thought Eugene had no business here and might possibly be
scared off by a little rough work.

"He's up here for his health," he told him. "I don't know where he comes
from. Mr. Brooks sent him up here with orders to put him on. I want to
see how he takes to real work for awhile."

"Look out you don't hurt him," suggested the other. "He don't look very
strong to me."

"He's strong enough to carry a few spiles, I guess. If Jimmy can carry
'em, he can. I don't intend to keep him at it long."

Eugene knew nothing of this, but when he was told to "come along, new
man" and shown a pile of round, rough ash trunk cutting six inches in
diameter and eight feet long, his courage failed him. He was suffered to
carry some of these to the second floor, how many he did not know.

"Take 'em to Thompson up there in the corner," said Jeffords dully.

Eugene grasped one uncertainly in the middle with his thin, artistic
hands. He did not know that there were ways of handling lumber just as
there were ways of handling a brush. He tried to lift it but could not.
The rough bark scratched his fingers cruelly.

"Yah gotta learn somepin about that before yuh begin, I guess," said
Jack Duncan, who had been standing by eyeing him narrowly.

Jeffords had gone about some other work.

"I suppose I don't know very much about it," replied Eugene shamefacedly
stopping and waiting for further instructions.

"Lemme show you a trick," said his associate. "There's tricks in all
these here trades. Take it by the end this-a-way, and push it along
until you can stand it up. Stoop down now and put your shoulder right
next the middle. Gotta pad under your shirt? You oughtta have one. Now
put your right arm out ahead o'yuh, on the spile. Now you're all right."

Eugene straightened up and the rough post balanced itself evenly but
crushingly on his shoulder. It appeared to grind his muscles and his
back and legs ached instantly. He started bravely forward straining to
appear at ease but within fifty feet he was suffering agony. He walked
the length of the shop, however, up the stairs and back again to the
window where Thompson was, his forehead bursting with perspiration and
his ears red with blood. He fairly staggered as he neared the machine
and dropped the post heavily.

"Look what you're doin'," said a voice behind him. It was Thompson, the
lathe worker. "Can't you put that down easy?"

"No, I can't," replied Eugene angrily, his face tinged with a faint
blush from his extreme exertion. He was astonished and enraged to think
they should put him to doing work like this, especially since
Mr. Haverford had told him it would be easy. He suspected at once a plot
to drive him away. He would have added "these are too damn heavy for
me," but he restrained himself. He went down stairs wondering how he was
to get up the others. He fingered about the pole gingerly hoping that
the time taken this way would ease his pain and give him strength for
the next one. Finally he picked up another and staggered painfully to
the loft again. The foreman had his eye on him but said nothing. It
amused him a little to think Eugene was having such a hard time. It
wouldn't hurt him for a change, would do him good. "When he gets four
carried up let him go," he said to Thompson, however, feeling that he
had best lighten the situation a little. The latter watched Eugene out
of the tail of his eye noting the grimaces he made and the strain he was
undergoing, but he merely smiled. When four had been dropped on the
floor he said: "That'll do for the present," and Eugene, heaving a groan
of relief, went angrily away. In his nervous, fantastic, imaginative and
apprehensive frame of mind, he imagined he had been injured for life. He
feared he had strained a muscle or broken a blood vessel somewhere.

"Good heavens, I can't stand anything like this," he thought. "If the
work is going to be this hard I'll have to quit. I wonder what they mean
by treating me this way. I didn't come here to do this."

Visions of days and weeks of back-breaking toil stretched before him. It
would never do. He couldn't stand it. He saw his old search for work
coming back, and this frightened him in another direction. "I mustn't
give up so easily," he counseled himself in spite of his distress. "I
have to stick this out a little while anyhow." It seemed in this first
trying hour as though he were between the devil and the deep sea. He
went slowly down into the yard to find Jeffords and Duncan. They were
working at a car, one inside receiving lumber to be piled, the other
bringing it to him.

"Get down, Bill," said John, who was on the ground looking up at his
partner indifferently. "You get up there, new man. What's your name?"

"Witla," said Eugene.

"Well, my name's Duncan. We'll bring this stuff to you and you pile it."

It was more heavy lumber, as Eugene apprehensively observed, quarter cut
joists for some building--"four by fours" they called them--but after he
was shown the art of handling them they were not unmanageable. There
were methods of sliding and balancing them which relieved him of a great
quantity of labor. Eugene had not thought to provide himself with gloves
though, and his hands were being cruelly torn. He stopped once to pick a
splinter out of his thumb and Jeffords, who was coming up, asked, "Ain't
cha got no gloves?"

"No," said Eugene, "I didn't think to get any."

"Your hands'll get pretty well bunged up, I'm afraid. Maybe Joseph'll
let you have his for to-day, you might go in and ask him."

"Where's Joseph?" asked Eugene.

"He's inside there. He's taking from the plane."

Eugene did not understand this quite. He knew what a plane was, had been
listening to it sing mightily all the morning, the shavings flying as it
smoothed the boards, but _taking_?

"Where's Joseph?" he asked of the plane driver.

He nodded his head to a tall hump-shouldered boy of perhaps twenty-two.
He was a big, simple, innocent looking fellow. His face was long and
narrow, his mouth wide, his eyes a watery blue, his hair a shock of
brown, loose and wavy, with a good sprinkling of sawdust in it. About
his waist was a big piece of hemp bagging tied by a grass rope. He wore
an old faded wool cap with a long visor in order to shield his eyes from
the flying chips and dust, and when Eugene came in one hand was lifted
protectingly to shield his eyes. Eugene approached him deprecatingly.

"One of the men out in the yard said that you might have a pair of
gloves you would lend me for to-day. I'm piling lumber and it's tearing
my hands. I forgot to get a pair."

"Sure," said Joseph genially waving his hand to the driver to stop.
"They're over here in my locker. I know what that is. I been there. When
I come here they rubbed it into me jist as they're doin' to you. Doncher
mind. You'll come out all right. Up here for your health, are you? It
ain't always like that. Somedays there ain't most nothin' to do here.
Then somedays ag'in there's a whole lot. Well, it's good healthy work, I
can say that. I ain't most never sick. Nice fresh air we git here and
all that."

He rambled on, fumbling under his bagging apron for his keys, unlocking
his locker and producing a great pair of old yellow lumber gloves. He
gave them to Eugene cheerfully and the latter thanked him. He liked
Eugene at once and Eugene liked him. "A nice fellow that," he said, as
he went back to his car. "Think of how genially he gave me these.
Lovely! If only all men were as genial and kindly disposed as this boy,
how nice the world would be." He put on the gloves and found his work
instantly easier for he could grasp the joists firmly and without pain.
He worked on until noon when the whistle blew and he ate a dreary lunch
sitting by himself on one side, pondering. After one he was called to
carry shavings, one basket after another back through the blacksmith
shop to the engine room in the rear where was a big shaving bin. By four
o'clock he had seen almost all the characters he was going to associate
with for the time that he stayed there. Harry Fornes, the blacksmith or
"the village smith," as Eugene came to call him later on, Jimmy Sudds,
the blacksmith's helper or "maid-of-all-work" as he promptly named him;
John Peters, the engineer, Malachi Dempsey, the driver of the great
plane, Joseph Mews and, in addition, carpenters, tin-smiths, plumbers,
painters, and those few exceptional cabinet makers who passed through
the lower floor now and then, men who were about the place from time to
time and away from it at others all of whom took note of Eugene at first
as a curiosity.

Eugene was himself intensely interested in the men. Harry Fornes and
Jimmy Sudds attracted him especially. The former was an undersized
American of distant Irish extraction who was so broad chested, swollen
armed, square-jawed and generally self-reliant and forceful as to seem a
minor Titan. He was remarkably industrious, turning out a great deal of
work and beating a piece of iron with a resounding lick which could be
heard all about the hills and hollows outside. Jimmy Sudds, his
assistant, was like his master equally undersized, dirty, gnarled,
twisted, his teeth showing like a row of yellow snags, his ears standing
out like small fans, his eye askew, but nevertheless with so genial a
look in his face as to disarm criticism at once. Every body liked Jimmy
Sudds because he was honest, single-minded and free of malicious intent.
His coat was three and his trousers two times too large for him, and his
shoes were obviously bought at a second-hand store, but he had the vast
merit of being a picture. Eugene was fascinated with him. He learned
shortly that Jimmy Sudds truly believed that buffaloes were to be shot
around Buffalo, New York.

John Peters, the engineer, was another character who fixed his
attention. John was almost helplessly fat and was known for this reason
as "Big John." He was a veritable whale of a man. Six feet tall,
weighing over three hundred pounds and standing these summer days in his
hot engine room, his shirt off, his suspenders down, his great welts of
fat showing through his thin cotton undershirt, he looked as though he
might be suffering, but he was not. John, as Eugene soon found out, did
not take life emotionally. He stood mostly in his engine room door when
the shade was there staring out on the glistening water of the river,
occasionally wishing that he didn't need to work but could lie and sleep
indefinitely instead.

"Wouldja think them fellers would feel purty good sittin' out there on
the poop deck of them there yachts smokin' their perfectos?" he once
asked Eugene, apropos of the magnificent private vessels that passed up
and down the river.

"I certainly would," laughed Eugene.

"Aw! Haw! That's the life fer yer uncle Dudley. I could do that there
with any of 'em. Aw! Haw!"

Eugene laughed joyously.

"Yes, that's the life," he said. "We all could stand our share."

Malachi Dempsey, the driver of the great plane, was dull, tight-mouthed,
silent, more from lack of ideas than anything else, though oyster-wise
he had learned to recede from all manner of harm by closing his shell
tightly. He knew no way to avoid earthly harm save by being
preternaturally silent, and Eugene saw this quickly. He used to stare at
him for long periods at a time, marvelling at the curiosity his attitude
presented. Eugene himself, though, was a curiosity to the others, even
more so than they to him. He did not look like a workingman and could
not be made to do so. His spirit was too high, his eye too flashing and
incisive. He smiled at himself carrying basketful after basketful of
shavings from the planing room, where it rained shavings and from which,
because of the lack of a shaving blower, they had to be removed back to
the hot engine room where Big John presided. The latter took a great
fancy to Eugene, but something after the fashion of a dog for a master.
He did not have a single idea above his engine, his garden at home, his
wife, his children and his pipe. These and sleep--lots of it--were his
joys, his recreations, the totality of his world.


There were many days now, three months all told, in which Eugene
obtained insight into the workaday world such as he had not previously
had. It is true he had worked before in somewhat this fashion, but his
Chicago experience was without the broad philosophic insight which had
come to him since. Formerly the hierarchies of power in the universe and
on earth were inexplicable to him--all out of order; but here, where he
saw by degrees ignorant, almost animal intelligence, being directed by
greater, shrewder, and at times it seemed to him possibly malicious
intelligences--he was not quite sure about that--who were so strong that
the weaker ones must obey them, he began to imagine that in a rough way
life might possibly be ordered to the best advantage even under this
system. It was true that men quarreled here with each other as to who
should be allowed to lead. There was here as elsewhere great seeking for
the privileges and honors of direction and leadership in such petty
things as the proper piling of lumber, the planing of boards, the making
of desks and chairs, and men were grimly jealous of their talents and
abilities in these respects, but in the main it was the jealousy that
makes for ordered, intelligent control. All were striving to do the work
of intelligence, not of unintelligence. Their pride, however ignorant it
might be, was in the superior, not the inferior. They might complain of
their work, snarl at each other, snarl at their bosses, but after all it
was because they were not able or permitted to do the higher work and
carry out the orders of the higher mind. All were striving to do
something in a better way, a superior way, and to obtain the honors and
emoluments that come from doing anything in a superior way. If they were
not rewarded according to their estimate of their work there was wrath
and opposition and complaint and self-pity, but the work of the superior
intelligence was the thing which each in his blind, self-seeking way was
apparently trying to do.

Because he was not so far out of his troubles that he could be forgetful
of them, and because he was not at all certain that his talent to paint
was ever coming back to him, he was not as cheerful at times as he might
have been; but he managed to conceal it pretty well. This one thought
with its attendant ills of probable poverty and obscurity were terrible
to him. Time was slipping away and youth. But when he was not thinking
of this he was cheerful enough. Besides he had the ability to simulate
cheerfulness even when he did not feel it. Because he did not
permanently belong to this world of day labor and because his position
which had been given him as a favor was moderately secure, he felt
superior to everything about him. He did not wish to show this feeling
in any way--was very anxious as a matter of fact to conceal it, but his
sense of superiority and ultimate indifference to all these petty
details was an abiding thought with him. He went to and fro carrying a
basket of shavings, jesting with "the village smith," making friends
with "Big John," the engineer, with Joseph, Malachi Dempsey, little
Jimmy Sudds, in fact anyone and everyone who came near him who would be
friends. He took a pencil one day at the noon hour and made a sketch of
Harry Fornes, the blacksmith, his arm upraised at the anvil, his helper,
Jimmy Sudds, standing behind him, the fire glowing in the forge. Fornes,
who was standing beside him, looking over his shoulder, could scarcely
believe his eyes.

"Wotcha doin'?" he asked Eugene curiously, looking over his shoulder,
for it was at the blacksmith's table, in the sun of his window that he
was sitting, looking out at the water. Eugene had bought a lunch box and
was carrying with him daily a delectable lunch put up under
Mrs. Hibberdell's direction. He had eaten his noonday meal and was
idling, thinking over the beauty of the scene, his peculiar position,
the curiosities of this shop--anything and everything that came into his

"Wait a minute," he said genially, for he and the smith were already as
thick as thieves.

The latter gazed interestedly and finally exclaimed:

"W'y that's me, ain't it?"

"Yep!" said Eugene.

"Wat are you goin' to do with that wen you get through with it?" asked
the latter avariciously.

"I'm going to give it to you, of course."

"Say, I'm much obliged fer that," replied the smith delightedly. "Gee,
the wife'll be tickled to see that. You're a artist, ain't cher? I
hearda them fellers. I never saw one. Gee, that's good, that looks just
like me, don't it?"

"Something," said Eugene quietly, still working.

The helper came in.

"Watcha' doin'?" he asked.

"He's drawin' a pitcher, ya rube, watchye suppose he's doin'," informed
the blacksmith authoritatively. "Don't git too close. He's gotta have

"Aw, whose crowdin'?" asked the helper irritably. He realized at once
that his superior was trying to shove him in the background, this being
a momentous occasion. He did not propose that any such thing should
happen. The blacksmith glared at him irritably but the progress of the
art work was too exciting to permit of any immediate opportunities for
hostilities, so Jimmy was allowed to crowd close and see.

"Ho, ho! that's you, ain't it," he asked the smith curiously, indicating
with a grimy thumb the exact position of that dignitary on the drawing.

"Don't," said the latter, loftily--"sure! He's gotta have room."

"An' there's me. Ho! Ho! Gee, I look swell, don't I? Ho! ho!"

The little helper's tushes were showing joyously--a smile that extended
far about either side of his face. He was entirely unconscious of the
rebuke administered by the smith.

"If you're perfectly good, Jimmy," observed Eugene cheerfully still
working, "I may make a sketch of you, sometime!"

"Na! Will you? Go on! Say, hully chee. Dat'll be fine, won't it? Say,
ho! ho! De folks at home won't know me. I'd like to have a ting like
dat, say!"

Eugene smiled. The smith was regretful. This dividing of honors was not
quite all that it might be. Still his own picture was delightful. It
looked exactly like the shop. Eugene worked until the whistle blew and
the belts began to slap and the wheels to whirr. Then he got up.

"There you are, Fornes," he said. "Like it?"

"Gee, it's swell," said the latter and carried it to the locker. He took
it out after a bit though and hung it up over his bench on the wall
opposite his forge, for he wanted everyone to see. It was one of the
most significant events in his life. This sketch was the subject
immediately of a perfect storm of discussion. Eugene was an
artist--could draw pictures--that was a revelation in itself. Then this
picture was so life-like. It looked like Fornes and Sudds and the shop.
Everyone was interested. Everyone jealous. They could not understand how
God had favored the smith in this manner. Why hadn't Eugene sketched
them before he did him? Why didn't he immediately offer to sketch them
now? Big John came first, tipped off and piloted by Jimmy Sudds.

"Say!" he said his big round eyes popping with surprise. "There's some
class to that, what? That looks like you, Fornes. Jinged if it don't!
An' Suddsy! Bless me if there ain't Suddsy. Say, there you are, kid,
natural as life, damned if you ain't. That's fine. You oughta keep that,

"I intend to," said the latter proudly.

Big John went back to his engine room regretfully. Next came Joseph
Mews, his shoulders humped, his head bobbing like a duck, for he had
this habit of nodding when he walked.

"Say, wot d'ye thinka that?" he asked. "Ain't that fine. He kin drawr
jist as good as they do in them there magazines. I see them there things
in them, now an' then. Ain't that swell? Lookit Suddsy back in there.
Eh, Suddsy, you're in right, all right. I wisht he'd make a picture o'
us out there. We're just as good as you people. Wats the matter with us,

"Oh, he ain't goin' to be bothered makin' pitchers of you mokes,"
replied the smith jestingly. "He only draws real ones. You want to
remember that, Mews. He's gotta have good people to make sketches of.
None o' your half-class plane-drivers and jig-saw operators."

"Is that so? Is that so?" replied Joseph contemptuously, his love of
humor spurred by the slight cast upon his ability. "Well if he was
lookin' for real ones he made a mistake wen he come here. They're all up
front. You don't want to forget that, smith. They don't live in no
blacksmith's shop as I ever seen it."

"Cut it out! Cut it out!" called little Sudds from a position of vantage
near the door. "Here comes the boss," and Joseph immediately pretended
to be going to the engine room for a drink. The smith blew up his fire
as though it were necessary to heat the iron he had laid in the coals.
Jack Stix came ambling by.

"Who did that?" he asked, stopping after a single general, glance and
looking at the sketch on the wall.

"Mr. Witla, the new man," replied the smith, reverently.

"Say, that's pretty good, ain't it?" the foreman replied pleasantly. "He
did that well. He must be an artist."

"I think he is," replied the smith, cautiously. He was always eager to
curry favor with the boss. He came near to his side and looked over his
arm. "He done it here today at noon in about a half an hour."

"Say, that's pretty good now," and the foreman went on his way,

If Eugene could do that, why was he here? It must be his run down
condition, sure enough. And he must be the friend of someone high in
authority. He had better be civil. Hitherto he had stood in suspicious
awe of Eugene, not knowing what to make of him. He could not figure out
just why he was here--a spy possibly. Now he thought that he might be

"Don't let him work too hard," he told Bill and John. "He ain't any too
strong yet. He came up here for his health."

He was obeyed in this respect, for there was no gain-saying the wishes
of a foreman, but this open plea for consideration was the one thing if
any which could have weakened Eugene's popularity. The men did not like
the foreman. He would have been stronger at any time in the affections
of the men if the foreman had been less markedly considerate or against
him entirely.


The days which followed were restful enough though hard, for Eugene
found that the constant whirl of work which went on here, and of which
he had naturally to do his share, was beneficial to him. For the first
time in several years he slept soundly. He would don his suit of blue
overalls and jumper in the morning a few minutes before the whistle blew
at seven and from then on until noon, and from one o'clock until six he
would carry shavings, pile lumber for one or several of the men in the
yard, load or unload cars, help Big John stoke his boilers, or carry
chips and shavings from the second floor. He wore an old hat which he
had found in a closet at Mrs. Hibberdell's, a faded, crumpled memory of
a soft tan-colored sombrero which he punched jauntily to a peak and wore
over one ear. He had big new yellow gloves which he kept on his hands
all day, which were creased and frayed, but plenty good enough for this
shop and yard. He learned to handle lumber nicely, to pile with skill,
to "take" for Malachi Dempsey from the plane, to drive the jig-saw, and
other curious bits. He was tireless in his energy because he was weary
of thinking and hoped by sheer activity to beat down and overcome his
notion of artistic inability--to forget that he believed that he
couldn't paint and so be able to paint again. He had surprised himself
in these sketches he had made, for his first feeling under the old
régime would have been that he could not make them. Here, because the
men were so eager and he was so much applauded, he found it rather easy
and, strange to say, he thought they were good.

At the home of Mrs. Hibberdell at night he would lay off all his working
clothes before dinner, take a cold bath and don a new brown suit, which
because of the assurance of this position he had bought for eighteen
dollars, ready made. He found it hard to get off to buy anything, for
his pay ceased (fifteen cents an hour) the moment he left the shop. He
had put his pictures in storage in New York and could not get off (or at
least did not want to take the time off) to go and sell any. He found
that he could leave without question if he wanted no pay, but if he
wanted pay and had a good reason he could sometimes be excused. His
appearance about the house and yard after six-thirty in the evening and
on Sundays was attractive enough. He looked delicate, refined,
conservative, and, when not talking to someone, rather wistful. He was
lonely and restless, for he felt terribly out of it. This house was
lonely. As at Alexandria, before he met Frieda, he was wishing there
were some girls about. He wondered where Frieda was, what she was doing,
whether she had married. He hoped not. If life had only given him a girl
like Frieda--so young, so beautiful! He would sit and gaze at the water
after dark in the moonlight, for this was his one consolation--the
beauty of nature--thinking. How lovely it all was! How lovely life
was,--this village, the summer trees, the shop where he worked, the
water, Joseph, little Jimmy, Big John, the stars. If he could paint
again, if he could be in love again. In love! In love! Was there any
other sensation in the world like that of being in love?

A spring evening, say, some soft sweet odours blowing as they were
tonight, the dark trees bending down, or the twilight angelically
silver, hyacinth, orange, some soothing murmurs of the wind; some faint
chirping of the tree-toads or frogs and then your girl. Dear God! Could
anything be finer than that? Was anything else in life worth while? Your
girl, her soft young arms about your neck, her lips to yours in pure
love, her eyes speaking like twin pools of color here in the night.

So had it been only a little while ago with Frieda. So had it been once
with Angela. So long ago with Stella! Dear, sweet Stella, how nice she
was. And now here he was sick and lonely and married and Angela would be
coming back soon--and--He would get up frequently to shut out these
thoughts, and either read or walk or go to bed. But he was lonely,
almost irritably so. There was only one true place of comfort for Eugene
anywhere and that was in the spring time in love.


It was while he was mooning along in this mood, working, dreaming,
wishing, that there came, one day to her mother's house at Riverwood,
Carlotta Wilson--Mrs. Norman Wilson, in the world in which she moved--a
tall brunette of thirty-two, handsome after the English fashion,
shapely, graceful, with a knowledge of the world which was not only
compounded of natural intelligence and a sense of humor, but experiences
fortunate and unfortunate which had shown her both the showy and the
seamy sides of life. To begin with she was the wife of a gambler--a
professional gambler--of that peculiar order which essays the rôle of a
gentleman, looks the part, and fleeces unmercifully the unwary partakers
of their companionship. Carlotta Hibberdell, living with her mother at
that time in Springfield, Massachusetts, had met him at a local series
of races, which she was attending with her father and mother, where
Wilson happened to be accidentally upon another mission. Her father, a
real estate dealer, and fairly successful at one time, was very much
interested in racing horses, and owned several of worthy records though
of no great fame. Norman Wilson had posed as a real estate speculator
himself, and had handled several fairly successful deals in land, but
his principal skill and reliance was in gambling. He was familiar with
all the gambling opportunities of the city, knew a large circle of those
who liked to gamble, men and women in New York and elsewhere, and his
luck or skill at times was phenomenal. At other times it was very bad.
There were periods when he could afford to live in the most expensive
apartment houses, dine at the best restaurants, visit the most expensive
country pleasure resorts and otherwise disport himself in the
companionship of friends. At other times, because of bad luck, he could
not afford any of these things and though he held to his estate grimly
had to borrow money to do it. He was somewhat of a fatalist in his
interpretation of affairs and would hang on with the faith that his luck
would turn. It did turn invariably, of course, for when difficulties
began to swarm thick and fast he would think vigorously and would
usually evolve some idea which served to help him out. His plan was
always to spin a web like a spider and await the blundering flight of
some unwary fly.

At the time she married him Carlotta Hibberdell did not know of the
peculiar tendencies and subtle obsession of her ardent lover. Like all
men of his type he was suave, persuasive, passionate, eager. There was a
certain cat-like magnetism about him also which fascinated her. She
could not understand him at that time and she never did afterwards. The
license which he subsequently manifested not only with her but with
others astonished and disgusted her. She found him selfish, domineering,
outside his own particular field shallow, not at all artistic,
emotional, or poetic. He was inclined to insist on the last touch of
material refinement in surroundings (so far as he understood them) when
he had money, but she found to her regret that he did not understand
them. In his manner with her and everyone else he was top-lofty,
superior, condescending. His stilted language at times enraged and at
other times amused her, and when her original passion passed and she
began to see through his pretence to his motives and actions she became
indifferent and then weary. She was too big a woman mentally to quarrel
with him much. She was too indifferent to life in its totality to really
care. Her one passion was for an ideal lover of some type, and having
been thoroughly mistaken in him she looked abroad wondering whether
there were any ideal men.

Various individuals came to their apartments. There were gamblers, blasé
society men, mining experts, speculators, sometimes with, sometimes
without a wife. From these and from her husband and her own observation
she learned of all sorts of scoundrels, mes-alliances, [sic] queer
manifestations of incompatibility of temper, queer freaks of sex desire.
Because she was good looking, graceful, easy in her manners, there were
no end of proposals, overtures, hints and luring innuendos cast in her
direction. She had long been accustomed to them. Because her husband
deserted her openly for other women and confessed it in a blasé way she
saw no valid reason for keeping herself from other men. She chose her
lovers guardedly and with subtle taste, beginning after mature
deliberation with one who pleased her greatly. She was seeking
refinement, emotion, understanding coupled with some ability and they
were not so easy to find. The long record of her liaisons is not for
this story, but their impress on her character was important.

She was indifferent in her manner at most times and to most people. A
good jest or story drew from her a hearty laugh. She was not interested
in books except those of a very exceptional character--the realistic
school--and these she thought ought not to be permitted except to
private subscribers, nevertheless she cared for no others. Art was
fascinating--really great art. She loved the pictures of Rembrandt,
Frans Hals, Correggio, Titian. And with less discrimination, and more
from a sensual point of view the nudes of Cabanel, Bouguereau and
Gerome. To her there was reality in the works of these men, lightened by
great imagination. Mostly people interested her, the vagaries of their
minds, the idiosyncrasies of their characters, their lies, their
subterfuges, their pretences, their fears. She knew that she was a
dangerous woman and went softly, like a cat, wearing a half-smile not
unlike that seen on the lips of Monna Lisa, but she did not worry about
herself. She had too much courage. At the same time she was tolerant,
generous to a fault, charitable. When someone suggested that she overdid
the tolerance, she replied, "Why shouldn't I? I live in such a
magnificent glass house."

The reason for her visit home on this occasion was that her husband had
practically deserted her for the time being. He was in Chicago for some
reason principally because the atmosphere in New York was getting too
hot for him, as she suspected. Because she hated Chicago and was weary
of his company she refused to go with him. He was furious for he
suspected her of liaisons, but he could not help himself. She was
indifferent. Besides she had other resources than those he represented,
or could get them.

A certain wealthy Jew had been importuning her for years to get a
divorce in order that he might marry her. His car and his resources were
at her command but she condescended only the vaguest courtesies. It was
within the ordinary possibilities of the day for him to call her up and
ask if he could not come with his car. He had three. She waved most of
this aside indifferently. "What's the use?" was her pet inquiry. Her
husband was not without his car at times. She had means to drive when
she pleased, dress as she liked, and was invited to many interesting
outings. Her mother knew well of her peculiar attitude, her marital
troubles, her quarrels and her tendency to flirt. She did her best to
keep her in check, for she wanted to retain for her the privilege of
obtaining a divorce and marrying again, the next time successfully.
Norman Wilson, however, would not readily give her a legal separation
even though the preponderance of evidence was against him and, if she
compromised herself, there would be no hope. She half suspected that her
daughter might already have compromised herself, but she could not be
sure. Carlotta was too subtle. Norman made open charges in their family
quarrels, but they were based largely on jealousy. He did not know for

Carlotta Wilson had heard of Eugene. She did not know of him by
reputation, but her mother's guarded remarks in regard to him and his
presence, the fact that he was an artist, that he was sick and working
as a laborer for his health aroused her interest. She had intended to
spend the period of her husband's absence at Narragansett with some
friends, but before doing so she decided to come home for a few days
just to see for herself. Instinctively her mother suspected curiosity on
her part in regard to Eugene. She threw out the remark that he might not
stay long, in the hope that her daughter might lose interest. His wife
was coming back. Carlotta discerned this opposition--this desire to keep
her away. She decided that she would come.

"I don't know that I want to go to Narragansett just now," she told her
mother. "I'm tired. Norman has just worn my nerves to a frazzle. I think
I'll come up home for a week or so."

"All right," said her mother, "but do be careful how you act now. This
Mr. Witla appears to be a very nice man and he's happily married. Don't
you go casting any looks in his direction. If you do I won't let him
stay here at all."

"Oh, how you talk," replied Carlotta irritably. "Do give me a little
credit for something. I'm not going up there to see him. I'm tired, I
tell you. If you don't want me to come I won't."

"It isn't that, I do want you. But you know how you are. How do you ever
expect to get free if you don't conduct yourself circumspectly? You know
that you--"

"Oh, for heaven's sake, I hope you're not going to start that old
argument again," exclaimed Carlotta defensively. "What's the use
beginning on that? We've been all over it a thousand times. I can't go
anywhere or do anything but what you want to fuss. Now I'm not coming up
there to do anything but rest. Why will you always start in to spoil

"Well now, you know well enough, Carlotta--" reiterated her mother.

"Oh, chuck it. I'll not come. To hell with the house. I'll go to
Narragansett. You make me tired!"

Her mother looked at her tall daughter, graceful, handsome, her black
hair parted in rich folds, irritated and yet pleased with her force and
ability. If she would only be prudent and careful, what a figure she
might yet become! Her complexion was like old rose-tinted ivory, her
lips the color of dark raspberries, her eyes bluish grey, wide set,
large, sympathetic, kindly. What a pity she had not married some big,
worthy man to begin with. To be tied up to this gambler, even though
they did live in Central Park West and had a comparatively sumptuous
apartment, was a wretched thing. Still it was better than poverty or
scandal, though if she did not take care of herself both might ensue.
She wanted her to come to Riverwood for she liked her company, but she
wanted her to behave herself. Perhaps Eugene would save the day. He was
certainly restrained enough in his manner and remarks. She went back to
Riverwood, and Carlotta, the quarrel smoothed over, followed her.

Eugene did not see her during the day she arrived, for he was at work;
and she did not see him as he came in at night. He had on his old peaked
hat and carried his handsome leather lunch box jauntily in one hand. He
went to his room, bathed, dressed and then out on the porch to await the
call of the dinner gong. Mrs. Hibberdell was in her room on the second
floor and "Cousin Dave," as Carlotta called Simpson, was in the back
yard. It was a lovely twilight. He was in the midst of deep thoughts
about the beauty of the scene, his own loneliness, the characters at the
shop-work, Angela and what not, when the screen door opened and she
stepped out. She had on a short-sleeved house dress of spotted blue silk
with yellow lace set about the neck and the ends of the sleeves. Her
shapely figure, beautifully proportioned to her height, was set in a
smooth, close fitting corset. Her hair, laid in great braids at the
back, was caught in a brown spangled net. She carried herself with
thoughtfulness and simplicity, seeming naturally indifferent.

Eugene rose. "I'm in your way, I think. Won't you have this chair?"

"No, thanks. The one in the corner will do. But I might as well
introduce myself, since there isn't anyone here to do it. I'm
Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Hibberdell's daughter. You're Mr. Witla?"

"Yes, I answer to that," said Eugene, smiling. He was not very much
impressed at first. She seemed nice and he fancied intelligent--a little
older than he would have preferred any woman to be who was to interest
him. She sat down and looked at the water. He took his chair and held
his peace. He was not even interested to talk to her. She was nice to
look at, however. Her presence lightened the scene for him.

"I always like to come up here," she volunteered finally. "It's so warm
in the city these days. I don't think many people know of this place.
It's out of the beaten track."

"I enjoy it," said Eugene. "It's such a rest for me. I don't know what I
would have done if your mother hadn't taken me in. It's rather hard to
find any place, doing what I am."

"You've taken a pretty strenuous way to get health, I should say," she
observed. "Day labor sounds rough to me. Do you mind it?"

"Not at all. I like it. The work is interesting and not so very hard.
It's all so new to me, that's what makes it easy. I like the idea of
being a day laborer and associating with laborers. It's only because I'm
run down in health that I worry. I don't like to be sick."

"It is bad," she replied, "but this will probably put you on your feet.
I think we're always inclined to look on our present troubles as the
worst. I know I am."

"Thanks for the consolation," he said.

She did not look at him and he rocked to and fro silently. Finally the
dinner gong struck. Mrs. Hibberdell came down stairs and they went in.

The conversation at dinner turned on his work for a few moments and he
described accurately the personalities of John and Bill and Big John the
engineer, and little Suddsy and Harry Fornes, the blacksmith. Carlotta
listened attentively without appearing to, for everything about Eugene
seemed singular and exceptional to her. She liked his tall, spare body,
his lean hands, his dark hair and eyes. She liked the idea of his
dressing as a laboring man in the morning, working all day in the shop,
and yet appearing so neat and trim at dinner. He was easy in his manner,
apparently lethargic in his movements and yet she could feel a certain
swift force that filled the room. It was richer for his presence. She
understood at a glance that he was an artist, in all probability a good
one. He said nothing of that, avoided carefully all reference to his
art, and listened attentively. She felt though as if he were studying
her and everyone else, and it made her gayer. At the same time she had a
strong leaning toward him. "What an ideal man to be associated with,"
was one of her repeated thoughts.

Although she was about the house for ten days and he met her after the
third morning not only at dinner, which was natural enough, but at
breakfast (which surprised him a little), he paid not so very much
attention to her. She was nice, very, but Eugene was thinking of another
type. He thought she was uncommonly pleasant and considerate and he
admired her style of dressing and her beauty, studying her with
interest, wondering what sort of a life she led, for from various bits
of conversation he overheard not only at table but at other times he
judged she was fairly well to do. There was an apartment in Central Park
West, card parties, automobile parties, theatre parties and a general
sense of people--acquaintances anyhow, who were making money. He heard
her tell of a mining engineer, Dr. Rowland; of a successful coal-mining
speculator, Gerald Woods; of a Mrs. Hale who was heavily interested in
copper mines and apparently very wealthy. "It's a pity Norman couldn't
connect with something like that and make some real money," he heard her
say to her mother one evening. He understood that Norman was her husband
and that he probably would be back soon. So he kept his
distance--interested and curious but hardly more.

Mrs. Wilson was not so easily baffled, however. A car appeared one
evening at the door immediately after dinner, a great red touring car,
and Mrs. Wilson announced easily, "We're going for a little spin after
dinner, Mr. Witla. Don't you want to come along?"

Eugene had never ridden in an automobile at that time. "I'd be very
pleased," he said, for the thought of a lonely evening in an empty house
had sprung up when he saw it appear.

There was a chauffeur in charge--a gallant figure in a brown straw cap
and tan duster, but Mrs. Wilson manoeuvred for place.

"You sit with the driver, coz," she said to Simpson, and when her mother
stepped in she followed after, leaving Eugene the place to the right of

"There must be a coat and cap in the locker," she said to the chauffeur;
"let Mr. Witla have it."

The latter extracted a spare linen coat and straw cap which Eugene put

"I like automobiling, don't you?" she said to Eugene good-naturedly.
"It's so refreshing. If there is any rest from care on this earth it's
in traveling fast."

"I've never ridden before," replied Eugene simply. Something about the
way he said it touched her. She felt sorry for him because he appeared
lonely and gloomy. His indifference to her piqued her curiosity and
irritated her pride. Why shouldn't he take an interest in her? As they
sped under leafy lanes, up hill and down dale, she made out his face in
the starlight. It was pale, reflective, indifferent. "These deep
thinkers!" she chided him. "It's terrible to be a philosopher." Eugene

When they reached home he went to his room as did all the others to
theirs. He stepped out into the hall a few minutes later to go to the
library for a book, and found that her door which he had to pass was
wide open. She was sitting back in a Morris chair, her feet upon another
chair, her skirts slightly drawn up revealing a trim foot and ankle. She
did not stir but looked up and smiled winningly.

"Aren't you tired enough to sleep?" he asked.

"Not quite yet," she smiled.

He went down stairs and turning on a light in the library stood looking
at a row of books reading the titles. He heard a step and there she was
looking at the books also.

"Don't you want a bottle of beer?" she asked. "I think there is some in
the ice box. I forgot that you might be thirsty."

"I really don't care," he said. "I'm not much for drinks of any kind."

"That's not very sociable," she laughed.

"Let's have the beer then," he said.

She threw herself back languidly in one of the big dining room chairs
when she had brought the drinks and some Swiss cheese and crackers, and
said: "I think you'll find some cigarettes on the table in the corner if
you like."

He struck her a match and she puffed her cigarette comfortably. "I
suppose you find it lonely up here away from all your friends and
companions," she volunteered.

"Oh, I've been sick so long I scarcely know whether I have any."

He described some of his imaginary ailments and experiences and she
listened to him attentively. When the beer was gone she asked him if he
would have more but he said no. After a time because he stirred wearily,
she got up.

"Your mother will think we're running some sort of a midnight game down
here," he volunteered.

"Mother can't hear," she said. "Her room is on the third floor and
besides she doesn't hear very well. Dave don't mind. He knows me well
enough by now to know that I do as I please."

She stood closer to Eugene but still he did not see. When he moved away
she put out the lights and followed him to the stairs.

"He's either the most bashful or the most indifferent of men," she
thought, but she said softly, "Good-night. Pleasant dreams to you," and
went her way.

Eugene thought of her now as a good fellow, a little gay for a married
woman, but probably circumspect withal. She was simply being nice to
him. All this was simply because, as yet, he was not very much

There were other incidents. One morning he passed her door. Her mother
had already gone down to breakfast and there was the spectacle of a
smooth, shapely arm and shoulder quite bare to his gaze as she lay on
her pillow apparently unconscious that her door was open. It thrilled
him as something sensuously beautiful for it was a perfect arm. Another
time he saw her of an evening just before dinner buttoning her shoes.
Her dress was pulled three-quarters of the way to her knees and her
shoulders and arms were bare, for she was still in her corset and short
skirts. She seemed not to know that he was near. One night after dinner
he started to whistle something and she went to the piano to keep him
company. Another time he hummed on the porch and she started the same
song, singing with him. He drew his chair near the window where there
was a couch after her mother had retired for the night, and she came and
threw herself on it. "You don't mind if I lie here?" she said, "I'm
tired tonight."

"Not at all. I'm glad of your company. I'm lonely."

She lay and stared at him, smiling. He hummed and she sang. "Let me see
your palm," she said, "I want to learn something." He held it out. She
fingered it temptingly. Even this did not wake him.

She left for five days because of some necessity in connection with her
engagements and when she returned he was glad to see her. He had been
lonesome, and he knew now that she made the house gayer. He greeted her

"I'm glad to see you back," he said.

"Are you really?" she replied. "I don't believe it."

"Why not?" he asked.

"Oh, signs, omens and portents. You don't like women very well I fancy."

"Don't I!"

"No, I think not," she replied.

She was charming in a soft grayish green satin. He noticed that her neck
was beautiful and that her hair looped itself gracefully upon the back
of it. Her nose was straight and fine, sensitive because of its thin
partitioning walls. He followed her into the library and they went out
on the porch. Presently he returned--it was ten o'clock--and she came
also. Davis had gone to his room, Mrs. Hibberdell to hers.

"I think I'll read," he said, aimlessly.

"Why anything like that?" she jested. "Never read when you can do
anything else."

"What else can I do?"

"Oh, lots of things. Play cards, tell fortunes, read palms, drink
beer--" She looked at him wilfully.

He went to his favorite chair near the window, side by side with the
window-seat couch. She came and threw herself on it.

"Be gallant and fix my pillows for me, will you?" she asked.

"Of course I will," he said.

He took a pillow and raised her head, for she did not deign to move.

"Is that enough?" he inquired.

"One more."

He put his hand under the first pillow and lifted it up. She took hold
of his free hand to raise herself. When she had it she held it and
laughed a curious excited laugh. It came over him all at once, the full
meaning of all the things she had been doing. He dropped the pillow he
was holding and looked at her steadfastly. She relaxed her hold and
leaned back, languorous, smiling. He took her left hand, then her right
and sat down beside her. In a moment he slipped one arm under her waist
and bending over put his lips to hers. She twined her arms about his
neck tightly and hugged him close; then looking in his eyes she heaved a
great sigh.

"You love me, don't you?" he asked.

"I thought you never would," she sighed, and clasped him to her again.


The form of Carlotta Wilson was perfect, her passion eager, her subtlety
a match for almost any situation. She had deliberately set out to win
Eugene because he was attractive to her and because, by his early
indifference, he had piqued her vanity and self-love. She liked him
though, liked every one of his characteristics, and was as proud of her
triumph as a child with a new toy. When he had finally slipped his arm
under her waist she had thrilled with a burning, vibrating thrill
throughout her frame and when she came to him it was with the eagerness
of one wild for his caresses. She threw herself on him, kissed him
sensuously scores of times, whispered her desire and her affection.
Eugene thought, now that he saw her through the medium of an awakened
passion, that he had never seen anything more lovely. For the time being
he forgot Frieda, Angela, his loneliness, the fact that he was working
in supposed prudent self-restraint to effect his recovery, and gave
himself up to the full enjoyment of this situation.

Carlotta was tireless in her attentions. Once she saw that he really
cared, or imagined he did, she dwelt in the atmosphere of her passion
and affection. There was not a moment that she was not with or thinking
of Eugene when either was possible. She lay in wait for him at every
turn, gave him every opportunity which her skill could command. She knew
the movements of her mother and cousin to the least fraction--could tell
exactly where they were, how long they were likely to remain, how long
it would take them to reach a certain door or spot from where they were
standing. Her step was noiseless, her motions and glances significant
and interpretative. For a month or thereabouts she guided Eugene through
the most perilous situations, keeping her arms about him to the last
possible moment, kissing him silently and swiftly at the most unexpected
times and in the most unexpected surroundings. Her weary languor, her
seeming indifference, disappeared, and she was very much alive--except
in the presence of others. There her old manner remained, intensified
even, for she was determined to throw a veil of darkness over her mother
and her cousin's eyes. She succeeded admirably for the time being, for
she lied to her mother out of the whole cloth, pretending that Eugene
was nice but a little slow so far as the ways of the world were
concerned. "He may be a good artist," she volunteered, "but he isn't
very much of a ladies' man. He hasn't the first trace of gallantry."

Mrs. Hibberdell was glad. At least there would be no disturbance here.
She feared Carlotta, feared Eugene, but she saw no reason for complaint.
In her presence all was seemingly formal and at times almost distant.
She did not like to say to her daughter that she should not come to her
own home now that Eugene was here, and she did not like to tell him to
leave. Carlotta said she liked him fairly well, but that was nothing.
Any married woman might do that. Yet under her very eyes was going
forward the most disconcerting license. She would have been astounded if
she had known the manner in which the bath, Carlotta's chamber and
Eugene's room were being used. The hour never struck when they were
beyond surveillance but what they were together.

Eugene grew very indifferent in the matter of his work. From getting to
the point where he was enjoying it because he looked upon it as a form
of exercise which was benefiting him, and feeling that he might not have
to work indefinitely if he kept up physical rehabilitation at this pace,
he grew languid about it and moody over the time he had to give to it.
Carlotta had the privilege of a certain automobile and besides she could
afford to hire one of her own. She began by suggesting that he meet her
at certain places and times for a little spin and this took him away
from his work a good portion of the time.

"You don't have to work every day, do you?" she asked him one Sunday
afternoon when they were alone. Simpson and Mrs. Hibberdell had gone out
for a walk and they were in her room on the second floor. Her mother's
was on the third.

"I don't have to," he said, "if I don't mind losing the money they pay.
It's fifteen cents an hour and I need that. I'm not working at my
regular profession, you must remember."

"Oh, chuck that," she said. "What's fifteen cents an hour? I'll give you
ten times that to come and be with me."

"No, you won't," he said. "You won't give me anything. We won't go
anywhere on that basis."

"Oh, Eugene, how you talk. Why won't you?" she asked. "I have lots of
it--at least lots more than you have just now. And it might as well be
spent this way as some other. It won't be spent right anyhow--that is
not for any exceptional purpose. Why shouldn't you have some of it? You
can pay it back to me."

"I won't do it," said Eugene. "We won't go anywhere on that basis. I'd
rather go and work. It's all right, though. I can sell a picture maybe.
I expect to hear any day of something being sold. What is it you want to

"I want you to come automobiling with me tomorrow. Ma is going over to
her sister Ella's in Brooklyn. Has that shop of yours a phone?"

"Sure it has. I don't think you'd better call me up there though."

"Once wouldn't hurt."

"Well, perhaps not. But we'd better not begin that, or at least not make
a practice of it. These people are very strict. They have to be."

"I know," said Carlotta. "I won't. I was just thinking. I'll let you
know. You know that river road that runs on the top of the hill over


"You be walking along there tomorrow at one o'clock and I'll pick you
up. You can come this once, can't you?"

"Sure," said Eugene. "I can come. I was just joking. I can get some
money." He had still his hundred dollars which he had not used when he
first started looking for work. He had been clinging to it grimly, but
now in this lightened atmosphere he thought he might spend some of it.
He was going to get well. Everything was pointing that way. His luck was
with him.

"Well, I'll get the car. You don't mind riding in that, do you?"

"No," he said. "I'll wear a good suit to the shop and change over

She laughed gaily, for his scruples and simplicity amused her.

"You're a prince--my Prince Charming," she said and she flung herself in
his lap. "Oh, you angel man, heaven-born! I've been waiting for you I
don't know how long. Wise man! Prince Charming! I love you! I love you!
I think you're the nicest thing that ever was."

Eugene caressed her gently.

"And you're my wise girl. But we are no good, neither you nor I. You're
a wastrel and a stray. And I--I hesitate to think what I am."

"What is a wastrel?" she asked. "That's a new one on me. I don't

"Something or someone that can be thrown away as useless. A stray is a
pigeon that won't stay with the flock."

"That's me," said Carlotta, holding out her firm, smooth arms before her
and grinning mischievously. "I won't stay with any flock. Nix for the
flocks. I'd rather be off with my wise man. He is nice enough for me.
He's better nor nine or ten flocks." She was using corrupt English for
the joy of it. "Just me and you, Prince Charming. Am I your lovely
wastrel? Do you like strays? Say you do. Listen! Do you like strays?"

Eugene had been turning his head away, saying "scandalous! terrible,
you're the worst ever," but she stopped his mouth with her lips.

"Do you?"

"This wastrel, yes. This stray," he replied, smoothing her cheek. "Ah,
you're lovely, Carlotta, you're beautiful. What a wonderful woman you

She gave herself to him completely.

"Whatever I am, I'm yours, wise man," she went on. "You can have
anything you want of me, do anything you please with me. You're like an
opiate to me, Eugene, sweet! You stop my mouth and close my eyes and
seal my ears. You make me forget everything I suppose I might think now
and then but I don't want to. I don't want to! And I don't care. I wish
you were single. I wish I were free. I wish we had an island somewhere
together. Oh, hell! Life is a wearisome tangle, isn't it? 'Take the cash
and let the credit go.'"

By this time Carlotta had heard enough of Eugene's life to understand
what his present condition was. She knew he was sick though not exactly
why. She thought it was due to overwork. She knew he was out of funds
except for certain pictures he had on sale, but that he would regain his
art ability and re-establish himself she did not doubt. She knew
something of Angela and thought it was all right that she should be away
from him, but now she wished the separation might be permanent. She went
into the city and asking about at various art stores learned something
of Eugene's art history and his great promise. It made him all the more
fascinating in her eyes. One of his pictures on exhibition at Pottle
Frères was bought by her after a little while and the money sent to
Eugene, for she had learned from him how these pictures, any pictures,
were exhibited on sale and the painter paid, minus the commission, when
the sale was made. She took good care to make it clear to the manager at
Pottle Frères that she was doing this so that Eugene could have the
money and saw to it that the check reached him promptly. If Eugene had
been alone this check of three hundred dollars would have served to
bring Angela to him. As it was it gave him funds to disport himself with
in her company. He did not know that she had been the means of his
getting it, or to whom the picture had been sold. A fictitious name was
given. This sale somewhat restored Eugene's faith in his future, for if
one of his pictures would sell so late in the day for this price, others

There were days thereafter of the most curious composition. In the
morning he would leave dressed in his old working suit and carrying his
lunch box, Carlotta waving him a farewell from her window, or, if he had
an engagement outside with Carlotta, wearing a good suit, and trusting
to his overalls and jumper to protect it, working all day with John and
Bill, or Malachi Dempsey and Joseph--for there was rivalry between these
two groups as to which should have his company--or leaving the shop
early and riding with her a part of the time, coming home at night to be
greeted by Carlotta as though she had not seen him at all. She watched
for his coming as patiently as a wife and was as eager to see if there
was anything she could do for him. In the shop Malachi and Joseph or
John and Bill and sometimes some of the carpenters up stairs would
complain of a rush of work in order that they might have his assistance
or presence. Malachi and Joseph could always enter the complaint that
they were in danger of being hampered by shavings, for the latter were
constantly piling up in great heaps, beautiful shavings of ash and
yellow pine and walnut which smelled like resin and frankincense and had
the shape of girl's curls or dry breakfast food, or rich damp sawdust.
Or John and Bill would complain that they were being overworked and
needed someone in the car to receive. Even Big John, the engineer, tried
to figure out some scheme by which he could utilize Eugene as a fireman,
but that was impossible; there was no call for any such person. The
foreman understood well enough what the point was but said nothing,
placing Eugene with the particular group which seemed to need him most.
Eugene was genial enough about the matter. Wherever he was was right. He
liked to be in the cars or on a lumber pile or in the plane room. He
also liked to stand and talk to Big John or Harry Fornes, his basket
under his arm--"kidding," as he called it. His progress to and fro was
marked by endless quips and jests and he was never weary.

When his work was done at night he would hurry home, following the right
bank of the little stream until he reached a path which led up to the
street whereon was the Hibberdell house. On his way he would sometimes
stop and study the water, its peaceful current bearing an occasional
stick or straw upon its bosom, and contrasting the seeming peace of its
movement with his own troubled life. The subtlety of nature as expressed
in water appealed to him. The difference between this idyllic stream
bank and his shop and all who were of it, struck him forcefully. Malachi
Dempsey had only the vaguest conception of the beauty of nature. Jack
Stix was scarcely more artistic than the raw piles of lumber with which
he dealt. Big John had no knowledge of the rich emotions of love or of
beauty which troubled Eugene's brain. They lived on another plane,

And at the other end of the stream awaiting him was Carlotta, graceful,
sophisticated, eager in her regard for him, lukewarm in her interest in
morals, sybaritic in her moods, representing in a way a world which
lived upon the fruits of this exploited toil and caring nothing about
it. If he said anything to Carlotta about the condition of Joseph Mews,
who carried bundles of wood home to his sister of an evening to help
save the expense of fuel, she merely smiled. If he talked of the poverty
of the masses she said, "Don't be doleful, Eugene." She wanted to talk
of art and luxury and love, or think of them at least. Her love of the
beauty of nature was keen. There were certain inns they could reach by
automobile where they could sit and dine and drink a bottle of wine or a
pitcher of claret cup, and here she would muse on what they would do if
they were only free. Angela was frequently in Carlotta's thoughts,
persistently in Eugene's, for he could not help feeling that he was
doing her a rank injustice.

She had been so patient and affectionate all this long time past, had
tended him as a mother, waited on him as a servant. Only recently he had
been writing in most affectionate terms, wishing she were with him. Now
all that was dead again. It was hard work to write. Everything he said
seemed a lie and he did not want to say it. He hated to pretend. Still,
if he did not write Angela would be in a state of mortal agony, he
thought, and would shortly come to look him up. It was only by writing,
protesting his affection, explaining why in his judgment it was
unadvisable for her to come at present, that she could be made to stay
where she was. And now that he was so infatuated with Carlotta this
seemed very desirable. He did not delude himself that he would ever be
able to marry her. He knew that he could not get a divorce, there being
no grounds, and the injustice to Angela being such a bar to his
conscience; and as for Carlotta, her future was very uncertain. Norman
Wilson, for all that he disregarded her at times, did not want to give
her up. He was writing, threatening to come back to New York if she did
not come to him, though the fact that she was in her mother's home,
where he considered her safe, was some consolation to him. Angela was
begging Eugene to let her come. They would get along, she argued, on
whatever he got and he would be better off with her than alone. She
pictured him living in some uncomfortable boarding house where he was
not half attended to and intensely lonely. Her return meant the leaving
of this lovely home--for Mrs. Hibberdell had indicated that she would
not like to keep him and his wife--and so the end of this perfect
romance with Carlotta. An end to lovely country inns and summer
balconies where they were dining together! An end to swift tours in her
automobile, which she guided skilfully herself, avoiding the presence of
a chauffeur. An end to lovely trysts under trees and by pretty streams
where he kissed and fondled her and where she lingered joyously in his

"If ma could only see us now," she would jest; or,

"Do you suppose Bill and John would recognize you here if they saw you?"

Once she said: "This is better than the engine room, isn't it?"

"You're a bad lot, Carlotta," he would declare, and then would come to
her lips the enigmatic smile of Monna Lisa.

"You like bad lots, don't you? Strays make fine hunting."

In her own philosophy she was taking the cash and letting the credit go.


Days like this could not go on forever. The seed of their destruction
was in their beginning. Eugene was sad. He used to show his mood at
times and if she asked him what was the matter, would say: "We can't
keep this thing up much longer. It must come to an end soon."

"You're certainly a gloomy philosopher, Genie," she would say,
reproachfully, for she had hopes that it could be made to last a long
while under any circumstances. Eugene had the feeling that no pretence
would escape Angela's psychology. She was too sensitive to his unspoken
moods and feelings. She would come soon, willynilly, and then all this
would be ended. As a matter of fact several things combined to bring
about change and conclusion.

For one thing Mrs. Hibberdell had been more and more impressed with the
fact that Carlotta was not merely content to stay but that once having
come she was fairly determined to remain. She had her own apartment in
the city, ostensibly closed for the summer, for she had protested that
it was too hot to live in town when she first proposed going to
Narragansett. After seeing Eugene she figured out a possible use for it,
though that use was dangerous, for Norman Wilson might return at any
time. Nevertheless, they had been there on occasions--this with the
double effect of deceiving her mother and entertaining Eugene. If she
could remain away from Riverwood a percentage of the time, she argued
with Eugene, it would make her stay less suspicious and would not
jeopardize their joy in companionship. So she did this. At the same time
she could not stay away from Riverwood entirely, for Eugene was there
necessarily morning and evening.

Nevertheless, toward the end of August Mrs. Hibberdell was growing
suspicious. She had seen an automobile entering Central Park once when
Carlotta had phoned her that she had a sick headache and could not come
up. It looked to Mrs. Hibberdell, who had gone down town shopping on the
strength of this ailment and who had phoned Carlotta that she was going
to call at her apartment in the evening, as though Eugene and Carlotta
were in it. Eugene had gone to work that morning, which made it seem
doubtful, but it certainly looked very much like him. Still she did not
feel sure it was he or Carlotta either. When she came to the latter's
apartment Carlotta was there, feeling better, but stating that she had
not been out. Mrs. Hibberdell concluded thoughtfully that she must have
been mistaken.

Her own room was on the third floor, and several times after all had
retired and she had come down to the kitchen or dining room or library
for something, she had heard a peculiar noise as of someone walking
lightly. She thought it was fancy on her part, for invariably when she
reached the second floor all was dark and still. Nevertheless she
wondered whether Eugene and Carlotta could be visiting. Twice, between
breakfast and the time Eugene departed, she thought she heard Eugene and
Carlotta whispering on the second floor, but there was no proof.
Carlotta's readiness to rise for breakfast at six-thirty in order to be
at the same table with Eugene was peculiar, and her giving up
Narragansett for Riverwood was most significant. It remained for one
real discovery to resolve all her suspicions into the substance of fact
and convict Carlotta of being the most conscienceless of deceivers.

It came about in this fashion. One Sunday morning Davis and
Mrs. Hibberdell had decided to go automobiling. Eugene and Carlotta were
invited but had refused, for Carlotta on hearing the discussion several
days before had warned Eugene and planned to have the day for herself
and her lover. She cautioned him to pretend the need of making visits
down town. As for herself she had said she would go, but on the day in
question did not feel well enough. Davis and Mrs. Hibberdell departed,
their destination being Long Island. It was an all day tour. After an
hour their machine broke, however, and after sitting in it two hours
waiting for repairs--long enough to spoil their plans--they came back by
trolley. Eugene had not gone down town. He was not even dressed when the
door opened on the ground floor and Mrs. Hibberdell came in.

"Oh, Carlotta," she called, standing at the foot of the stairs and
expecting Carlotta to appear from her own room or a sort of lounging and
sewing room which occupied the front of the house on the second floor
and where she frequently stayed. Carlotta unfortunately was with Eugene
and the door to this room was commanded from where Mrs. Hibberdell was
standing. She did not dare to answer.

"Oh, Carlotta," called her mother again.

The latter's first thought was to go back in the kitchen and look there,
but on second thoughts she ascended the steps and started for the sewing
room. Carlotta thought she had entered. In an instant she had seized the
opportunity to step into the bath which was next to Eugene's room but
she was scarcely quick enough. Her mother had not gone into the
room--only opened the door and looked in. She did not see Carlotta step
out of Eugene's room, but she did see her entering the bath, in
negligee, and she could scarcely have come from anywhere else. Her own
door which was between Eugene's room and the sewing room was ten feet
away. It did not seem possible that she could have come from there: she
had not had time enough, and anyhow why had she not answered?

The first impulse of Mrs. Hibberdell was to call to her. Her second
thought was to let the ruse seem successful. She was convinced that
Eugene was in his room, and a few moments later a monitory cough on his
part--coughed for a purpose--convinced her.

"Are you in the bath, Carlotta?" she called quietly, after looking into
Carlotta's room.

"Yes," came the reply, easily enough now. "Did your machine break down?"

A few remarks were exchanged through the door and then Mrs. Hibberdell
went to her room. She thought over the situation steadily for it greatly
irritated her. It was not the same as the discovered irregularity of a
trusted and virtuous daughter. Carlotta had not been led astray. She was
a grown woman, married, experienced. In every way she knew as much about
life as her mother--in some respects more. The difference between them
was in ethical standards and the policy that aligns itself with common
sense, decency, self preservation, as against its opposite. Carlotta had
so much to look out for. Her future was in her own hands. Besides,
Eugene's future, his wife's rights and interests, her mother's home, her
mother's standards, were things which she ought to respect--ought to
want to respect. To find her lying as she had been this long time,
pretending indifference, pretending absence, and no doubt associating
with Eugene all the while, was disgusting. She was very angry, not so
much at Eugene, though her respect for him was greatly lowered, artist
though he was, as at Carlotta. She ought to do better. She ought to be
ashamed not to guard herself against a man like Eugene, instead of
luring him on. It was Carlotta's fault, and she determined to reproach
her bitterly and to break up this wretched alliance at once.

There was an intense and bitter quarrel the next morning, for
Mrs. Hibberdell decided to hold her peace until Eugene and Davis should
be out of the house. She wanted to have this out with Carlotta alone,
and the clash came shortly after breakfast when both the others had
left. Carlotta had already warned Eugene that something might happen on
account of this, but under no circumstances was he to admit anything
unless she told him to. The maid was in the kitchen out of ear shot, and
Mrs. Hibberdell and Carlotta were in the library when the opening gun
was fired. In a way Carlotta was prepared, for she fancied her mother
might have seen other things--what or how much she could not guess. She
was not without the dignity of a Circe, for she had been through scenes
like this before. Her own husband had charged her with infidelity more
than once, and she had been threatened with physical violence by him.
Her face was pale but calm.

"Now, Carlotta," observed her mother vigorously, "I saw what was going
on yesterday morning when I came home. You were in Mr. Witla's room with
your clothes off. I saw you come out. Please don't deny it. I saw you
come out. Aren't you ashamed of yourself? How can you treat me that way
after your promise not to do anything out of the way here?"

"You didn't see me come out of his room and I wasn't in there," said
Carlotta brazenly. Her face was pale, but she was giving a fair
imitation of righteous surprise. "Why do you make any such statement as

"Why, Carlotta Hibberdell, how dare you contradict me; how dare you lie!
You came out of that room. You know you did. You know that you were in
there. You know that I saw you. I should think you would be ashamed of
yourself, slipping about this house like a street girl and your own
mother in it. Aren't you ashamed of yourself? Have you no sense of
decency left? Oh, Carlotta, I know you are bad, but why will you come
here to be so? Why couldn't you let this man alone? He was doing well
enough. It's a shame, the thing you have done. It's an outrage.
Mrs. Witla ought to come here and whip you within an inch of your life."

"Oh, how you talk," said Carlotta, irritably. "You make me tired. You
didn't see me. It's the old story--suspicion. You're always full of
suspicion. You didn't see me and I wasn't in there. Why do you start a
fuss for nothing!"

"A fuss! A fuss for nothing--the idea, you evil woman. A fuss for
nothing. How can you talk that way! I can hardly believe my senses. I
can hardly believe you would dare to brazenly face me in this way. I saw
you and now you deny it."

Mrs. Hibberdell had not seen her, but she was convinced that what she
said was true.

Carlotta brazened it out. "You didn't," she insisted.

Mrs. Hibberdell stared. The effrontery of it took her breath away.

"Carlotta," she exclaimed, "I honestly think you are the worst woman in
the world. I can't think of you as my daughter--you are too brazen.
You're the worst because you're calculating. You know what you're doing,
and you are deliberate in your method of doing it. You're evil-minded.
You know exactly what you want and you set out deliberately to get it.
You have done it in this case. You started out to get this man and you
have succeeded in doing it. You have no sense of shame, no pride, no
honesty, no honor, no respect for me or anyone else. You do not love
this man. You know you don't. If you did you would never degrade him and
yourself and me as you have done. You've simply indulged in another vile
relationship because you wanted to, and now when you're caught you
brazen it out. You're evil, Carlotta. You're as low as a woman can be,
even if you are my daughter."

"It isn't true," said Carlotta. "You're just talking to hear yourself

"It is true and you know it," reproved her mother. "You talk about
Norman. He never did a thing worse in his life than you have done. He
may be a gambler and immoral and inconsiderate and selfish. What are
you? Can you stand there and tell me you're any better? Pah! If you only
had a sense of shame something could be done for you, but you haven't
any. You're just vile, that's all."

"How you talk, ma," she observed, calmly; "how you carry on, and that on
a mere suspicion. You didn't see me. I might have been in there but you
didn't see me and I wasn't. You're making a storm just because you want
to. I like Mr. Witla. I think he's very nice, but I'm not interested in
him and I haven't done anything to harm him. You can turn him out if you
want to. That's none of my affairs. You're simply raging about as usual
without any facts to go upon."

Carlotta stared at her mother, thinking. She was not greatly disturbed.
It was pretty bad, no doubt of that, but she was not thinking so much of
that as of the folly of being found out. Her mother knew for certain,
though she would not admit to her that she knew. Now all this fine
summer romance would end--the pleasant convenience of it, anyhow. Eugene
would be put to the trouble of moving. Her mother might say something
disagreeable to him. Besides, she knew she was better than Norman
because she did not associate with the same evil type of people. She was
not coarse, she was not thick-witted, she was not cruel, she was not a
user of vile language or an expresser of vile ideas, and Norman was at
times. She might lie and she might be calculating, but not to anyone's
disadvantage--she was simply passion driven--boldly so and only toward
love or romance. "Am I evil?" she often asked herself. Her mother said
she was evil. Well, she was in one way; but her mother was angry, that
was all. She did not mean all she said. She would come round. Still
Carlotta did not propose to admit the truth of her mother's charges or
to go through this situation without some argument. There were charges
which her mother was making which were untenable--points which were

"Carlotta Hibberdell, you're the most brazen creature I ever knew!
You're a terrible liar. How can you stand there and look me in the eye
and say that, when you know that I know? Why lie in addition to
everything else? Oh! Carlotta, the shame of it. If you only had some
sense of honor! How can you lie like that? How can you?"

"I'm not lying," declared Carlotta, "and I wish you would quit fussing.
You didn't see me. You know you didn't. I came out of my room and you
were in the front room. Why do you say you weren't. You didn't see me.
Supposing I am a liar. I'm your daughter. I may be vile. I didn't make
myself so. Certainly I'm not in this instance. Whatever I am I come by
it honestly. My life hasn't been a bed of roses. Why do you start a
silly fight? You haven't a thing to go on except suspicion and now you
want to raise a row. I don't care what you think of me. I'm not guilty
in this case and you can think what you please. You ought to be ashamed
to charge me with something of which you are not sure."

She walked to the window and stared out. Her mother shook her head. Such
effrontery was beyond her. It was like her daughter, though. She took
after her father and herself. Both were self-willed and determined when
aroused. At the same time she was sorry for her girl, for Carlotta was a
capable woman in her way and very much dissatisfied with life.

"I should think you would be ashamed of yourself, Carlotta, whether you
admit it to me or not," she went on. "The truth is the truth and it must
hurt you a little. You were in that room. We won't argue that, though.
You set out deliberately to do this and you have done it. Now what I
have to say is this: You are going back to your apartment today, and
Mr. Witla is going to leave here as quick as he can get a room somewhere
else. You're not going to continue this wretched relationship any longer
if I can help it. I'm going to write to his wife and to Norman too, if I
can't do anything else to break this up. You're going to let this man
alone. You have no right to come between him and Mrs. Witla. It's an
outrage, and no one but a vile, conscienceless woman would do it. I'm
not going to say anything to him now, but he's going to leave here and
so are you. When it's all over you can come back if you want to. I'm
ashamed for you. I'm ashamed for myself. If it hadn't been for my own
feelings and those of Davis, I would have ordered you both out of the
house yesterday and you know it. It's consideration for myself that's
made me smooth it over as much as I have. He, the vile thing, after all
the courtesy I have shown him. Still I don't blame him as much as I do
you, for he would never have looked at you if you hadn't made him. My
own daughter! My own house! Tch! Tch! Tch!"

There was more conversation--that fulgurous, coruscating reiteration of
charges. Eugene was no good. Carlotta was vile. Mrs. Hibberdell wouldn't
have believed it possible if she hadn't seen it with her own eyes. She
was going to tell Norman if Carlotta didn't reform--over and over, one
threat after another.

"Well," she said, finally, "you're going to get your things ready and go
into the city this afternoon. I'm not going to have you here another

"No I'm not," said Carlotta boldly, pondering over all that had been
said. It was a terrible ordeal, but she would not go today. "I'm going
in the morning. I'm not going to pack that fast. It's too late. I'm not
going to be ordered out of here like a servant."

Her mother groaned, but she gave in. Carlotta could not be made to do
anything she did not want to do. She went to her room, and presently
Mrs. Hibberdell heard her singing. She shook her head. Such a
personality. No wonder Eugene succumbed to her blandishments. What man


The sequel of this scene was not to be waited for. At dinner time
Mrs. Hibberdell announced in the presence of Carlotta and Davis that the
house was going to be closed up for the present, and very quickly. She
and Carlotta were going to Narragansett for the month of September and a
part of October. Eugene, having been forewarned by Carlotta, took it
with a show of polite surprise. He was sorry. He had spent such a
pleasant time here. Mrs. Hibberdell could not be sure whether Carlotta
had told him or not, he seemed so innocent, but she assumed that she had
and that he like Carlotta was "putting on." She had informed Davis that
for reasons of her own she wanted to do this. He suspected what they
were, for he had seen signs and slight demonstrations which convinced
him that Carlotta and Eugene had reached an understanding. He did not
consider it anything very much amiss, for Carlotta was a woman of the
world, her own boss and a "good fellow." She had always been nice to
him. He did not want to put any obstacles in her way. In addition, he
liked Eugene. Once he had said to Carlotta jestingly, "Well, his arms
are almost as long as Norman's--not quite maybe."

"You go to the devil," was her polite reply.

Tonight a storm came up, a brilliant, flashing summer storm. Eugene went
out on the porch to watch it. Carlotta came also.

"Well, wise man," she said, as the thunder rolled. "It's all over up
here. Don't let on. I'll see you wherever you go, but this was so nice.
It was fine to have you near me. Don't get blue, will you? She says she
may write your wife, but I don't think she will. If she thinks I'm
behaving, she won't. I'll try and fool her. It's too bad, though. I'm
crazy about you, Genie."

Now that he was in danger of losing Carlotta, her beauty took on a
special significance for Eugene. He had come into such close contact
with her, had seen her under such varied conditions, that he had come to
feel a profound admiration for not only her beauty but her intellect and
ability as well. One of his weaknesses was that he was inclined to see
much more in those he admired than was really there. He endowed them
with the romance of his own moods--saw in them the ability to do things
which he only could do. In doing this of course he flattered their
vanity, aroused their self-confidence, made them feel themselves the
possessors of latent powers and forces which before him they had only
dreamed of. Margaret, Ruby, Angela, Christina and Carlotta had all
gained this feeling from him. They had a better opinion of themselves
for having known him. Now as he looked at Carlotta he was intensely
sorry, for she was so calm, so affable, so seemingly efficient and self
reliant, and such a comfort to him in these days.

"Circe!" he said, "this is too bad. I'm sorry. I'm going to hate to lose

"You won't lose me," she replied. "You can't. I won't let you. I've
found you now and I'm going to keep you. This don't mean anything. We
can find places to meet. Get a place where they have a phone if you can.
When do you think you'll go?"

"Right away," said Eugene. "I'll take tomorrow morning off and look."

"Poor Eugene," she said sympathetically. "It's too bad. Never mind
though. Everything will come out right."

She was still not counting on Angela. She thought that even if Angela
came back, as Eugene told her she would soon, a joint arrangement might
possibly be made. Angela could be here, but she, Carlotta, could share
Eugene in some way. She thought she would rather live with him than any
other man on earth.

It was only about noon the next morning when Eugene had found another
room, for, in living here so long, he had thought of several methods by
which he might have obtained a room in the first place. There was
another church, a library, the postmaster and the ticket agent at Speonk
who lived in the village. He went first to the postmaster and learned of
two families, one the home of a civil engineer, where he might be
welcome, and it was here that he eventually settled. The view was not
quite so attractive, but it was charming, and he had a good room and
good meals. He told them that he might not stay long, for his wife was
coming back soon. The letters from Angela were becoming most

He gathered up his belongings at Mrs. Hibberdell's and took a polite
departure. After he was gone Mrs. Hibberdell of course changed her mind,
and Carlotta returned to her apartment in New York. She communicated
with Eugene not only by phone but by special delivery, and had him meet
her at a convenient inn the second evening of his departure. She was
planning some sort of a separate apartment for them, when Eugene
informed her that Angela was already on her way to New York and that
nothing could be done at present.

Since Eugene had left her at Biloxi, Angela had spent a most miserable
period of seven months. She had been grieving her heart out, for she
imagined him to be most lonely, and at the same time she was regretful
that she had ever left him. She might as well have been with him. She
figured afterward that she might have borrowed several hundred dollars
from one of her brothers, and carried out the fight for his mental
recovery by his side. Once he had gone she fancied she might have made a
mistake matrimonially, for he was so impressionable--but his condition
was such that she did not deem him to be interested in anything save his
recovery. Besides, his attitude toward her of late had been so
affectionate and in a way dependent. All her letters since he had left
had been most tender, speaking of his sorrow at this necessary absence
and hoping that the time would soon come when they could be together.
The fact that he was lonely finally decided her and she wrote that she
was coming whether he wanted her to or not.

Her arrival would have made little difference except that by now he was
thoroughly weaned away from her again, had obtained a new ideal and was
interested only to see and be with Carlotta. The latter's easy financial
state, her nice clothes, her familiarity with comfortable and luxurious
things--better things than Eugene had ever dreamed of enjoying--her use
of the automobile, her freedom in the matter of expenditures--taking the
purchase of champagne and expensive meals as a matter of course--dazzled
and fascinated him. It was rather an astonishing thing, he thought, to
have so fine a woman fall in love with him. Besides, her tolerance, her
indifference to petty conventions, her knowledge of life and literature
and art--set her in marked contrast to Angela, and in all ways she
seemed rare and forceful to him. He wished from his heart that he could
be free and could have her.

Into this peculiar situation Angela precipitated herself one bright
Saturday afternoon in September. She was dying to see Eugene again. Full
of grave thoughts for his future, she had come to share it whatever it
might be. Her one idea was that he was sick and depressed and lonely.
None of his letters had been cheerful or optimistic, for of course he
did not dare to confess the pleasure he was having in Carlotta's
company. In order to keep her away he had to pretend that lack of funds
made it inadmissible for her to be here. The fact that he was spending,
and by the time she arrived had spent, nearly the whole of the three
hundred dollars his picture sold to Carlotta had brought him, had
troubled him--not unduly, of course, or he would not have done it. He
had qualms of conscience, severe ones, but they passed with the presence
of Carlotta or the reading of his letters from Angela.

"I don't know what's the matter with me," he said to himself from time
to time. "I guess I'm no good." He thought it was a blessing that the
world could not see him as he was.

One of the particular weaknesses of Eugene's which should be set forth
here and which will help to illuminate the bases of his conduct was that
he was troubled with a dual point of view--a condition based upon a
peculiar power of analysis--self-analysis in particular, which was
constantly permitting him to tear himself up by the roots in order to
see how he was getting along. He would daily and hourly when not
otherwise employed lift the veil from his inner mental processes as he
might lift the covering from a well, and peer into its depths. What he
saw was not very inviting and vastly disconcerting, a piece of machinery
that was not going as a true man should, clock fashion, and
corresponding in none of its moral characteristics to the recognized
standard of a man. He had concluded by now, from watching various
specimens, that sane men were honest, some inherently moral, some
regulated by a keen sense of duty, and occasionally all of these virtues
and others were bound up in one man. Angela's father was such an one. M.
Charles appeared to be another. He had concluded from his association
with Jerry Mathews, Philip Shotmeyer, Peter MacHugh and Joseph Smite
that they were all rather decent in respect to morals. He had never seen
them under temptation but he imagined they were. Such a man as William
Haverford, the Engineer of Maintenance of Way, and Henry C. Litlebrown,
the Division Engineer of this immense road, struck him as men who must
have stuck close to a sense of duty and the conventions of the life they
represented, working hard all the time, to have attained the positions
they had. All this whole railroad system which he was watching closely
from day to day from his little vantage point of connection with it,
seemed a clear illustration of the need of a sense of duty and
reliability. All of these men who worked for this company had to be in
good health, all had to appear at their posts on the tick of the clock,
all had to perform faithfully the duties assigned them, or there would
be disasters. Most of them had climbed by long, arduous years of work to
very modest positions of prominence, as conductors, engineers, foremen,
division superintendents. Others more gifted or more blessed by fortune
became division engineers, superintendents, vice-presidents and
presidents. They were all slow climbers, rigid in their sense of duty,
tireless in their energy, exact, thoughtful. What was he?

He looked into the well of his being and there he saw nothing but shifty
and uncertain currents. It was very dark down there. He was not honest,
he said to himself, except in money matters--he often wondered why. He
was not truthful. He was not moral. This love of beauty which haunted
him seemed much more important than anything else in the world, and his
pursuit of that seemed to fly in the face of everything else which was
established and important. He found that men everywhere did not think
much of a man who was crazy after women. They might joke about an
occasional lapse as an amiable vice or one which could be condoned, but
they wanted little to do with a man who was overpowered by it. There was
a case over in the railroad yard at Speonk recently which he had noted,
of a foreman who had left his wife and gone after some hoyden in White
Plains, and because of this offense he was promptly discharged. It
appeared, though, that before this he had occasionally had such lapses
and that each time he had been discharged, but had been subsequently
forgiven. This one weakness, and no other, had given him a bad
reputation among his fellow railroad men--much as that a drunkard might
have. Big John Peters, the engineer, had expressed it aptly to Eugene
one day when he told him in confidence that "Ed Bowers would go to hell
for his hide," the latter being the local expression for women.
Everybody seemed to pity him, and the man seemed in a way to pity
himself. He had a hang-dog look when he was re-instated, and yet
everybody knew that apart from this he was a fairly competent foreman.
Still it was generally understood that he would never get anywhere.

From that Eugene argued to himself that a man who was cursed with this
peculiar vice could not get anywhere; that he, if he kept it up, would
not. It was like drinking and stealing, and the face of the world was
against it. Very frequently it went hand in hand with those
things--"birds of a feather" he thought. Still he was cursed with it,
and he no more than Ed Bowers appeared to be able to conquer it. At
least he was yielding to it now as he had before. It mattered not that
the women he chose were exceptionally beautiful and fascinating. They
were women, and ought he to want them? He had one. He had taken a solemn
vow to love and cherish her, or at least had gone through the formality
of such a vow, and here he was running about with Carlotta, as he had
with Christina and Ruby before her. Was he not always looking for some
such woman as this? Certainly he was. Had he not far better be seeking
for wealth, distinction, a reputation for probity, chastity, impeccable
moral honor? Certainly he had. It was the way to distinction apparently,
assuming the talent, and here he was doing anything but take that way.
Conscience was his barrier, a conscience unmodified by cold
self-interest. Shame upon himself! Shame upon his weak-kneed
disposition, not to be able to recover from this illusion of beauty.
Such were some of the thoughts which his moments of introspection
brought him.

On the other hand, there came over him that other phase of his
duality--the ability to turn his terrible searchlight of intelligence
which swept the heavens and the deep as with a great white ray--upon the
other side of the question. It revealed constantly the inexplicable
subtleties and seeming injustices of nature. He could not help seeing
how the big fish fed upon the little ones, the strong were constantly
using the weak as pawns; the thieves, the grafters, the murderers were
sometimes allowed to prey on society without let or hindrance. Good was
not always rewarded--frequently terribly ill-rewarded. Evil was seen to
flourish beautifully at times. It was all right to say that it would be
punished, but would it? Carlotta did not think so. She did not think the
thing she was doing with him was very evil. She had said to him over and
over that it was an open question, that he was troubled with an
ingrowing conscience. "I don't think it's so bad," she once told him.
"It depends somewhat on how you were raised." There was a system
apparently in society, but also apparently it did not work very well.
Only fools were held by religion, which in the main was an imposition, a
graft and a lie. The honest man might be very fine but he wasn't very
successful. There was a great to-do about morals, but most people were
immoral or unmoral. Why worry? Look to your health! Don't let a morbid
conscience get the better of you. Thus she counselled, and he agreed
with her. For the rest the survival of the fittest was the best. Why
should he worry? He had talent.

It was thus that Eugene floundered to and fro, and it was in this state,
brooding and melancholy, that Angela found him on her arrival. He was as
gay as ever at times, when he was not thinking, but he was very thin and
hollow-eyed, and Angela fancied that it was overwork and worry which
kept him in this state. Why had she left him? Poor Eugene! She had clung
desperately to the money he had given her, and had most of it with her
ready to be expended now for his care. She was so anxious for his
recovery and his peace of mind that she was ready to go to work herself
at anything she could find, in order to make his path more easy. She was
thinking that fate was terribly unjust to him, and when he had gone to
sleep beside her the first night she lay awake and cried. Poor Eugene!
To think he should be tried so by fate. Nevertheless, he should not be
tortured by anything which she could prevent. She was going to make him
as comfortable and happy as she could. She set about to find some nice
little apartment or rooms where they could live in peace and where she
could cook Eugene's meals for him. She fancied that maybe his food had
not been exactly right, and when she got him where she could manifest a
pretence of self-confidence and courage that he would take courage from
her and grow better. So she set briskly about her task, honeying Eugene
the while, for she was confident that this above all things was the
thing he needed. She little suspected what a farce it all appeared to
him, how mean and contemptible he appeared to himself. He did not care
to be mean--to rapidly disillusion her and go his way; and yet this dual
existence sickened him. He could not help but feel that from a great
many points of view Angela was better than Carlotta. Yet the other woman
was wider in her outlook, more gracious in her appearance, more
commanding, more subtle. She was a princess of the world, subtle, deadly
Machiavellian, but a princess nevertheless. Angela was better described
by the current and acceptable phrase of the time--a "thoroughly good
woman," honest, energetic, resourceful, in all things obedient to the
race spirit and the conventional feelings of the time. He knew that
society would support her thoroughly and condemn Carlotta, and yet
Carlotta interested him more. He wished that he might have both and no
fussing. Then all would be beautiful. So he thought.


The situation which here presented itself was subject to no such
gracious and generous development. Angela was the soul of watchfulness,
insistence on duty, consideration for right conduct and for the
privileges, opportunities and emoluments which belonged to her as the
wife of a talented artist, temporarily disabled, it is true, but certain
to be distinguished in the future. She was deluding herself that this
recent experience of reverses had probably hardened and sharpened
Eugene's practical instincts, made him less indifferent to the necessity
of looking out for himself, given him keener instincts of
self-protection and economy. He had done very well to live on so little
she thought, but they were going to do better--they were going to save.
She was going to give up those silly dreams she had entertained of a
magnificent studio and hosts of friends, and she was going to start now
saving a fraction of whatever they made, however small it might be, if
it were only ten cents a week. If Eugene could only make nine dollars a
week by working every day, they were going to live on that. He still had
ninety-seven of the hundred dollars he had brought with him, he told
her, and this was going in the bank. He did not tell her of the sale of
one of his pictures and of the subsequent dissipation of the proceeds.
In the bank, too, they were going to put any money from subsequent sales
until he was on his feet again. One of these days if they ever made any
money, they were going to buy a house somewhere in which they could live
without paying rent. Some of the money in the bank, a very little of it,
might go for clothes if worst came to worst, but it would not be touched
unless it was absolutely necessary. She needed clothes now, but that did
not matter. To Eugene's ninety-seven was added Angela's two hundred and
twenty-eight which she brought with her, and this total sum of three
hundred and twenty-five dollars was promptly deposited in the Bank of

Angela by personal energy and explanation found four rooms in the house
of a furniture manufacturer; it had been vacated by a daughter who had
married, and they were glad to let it to an artist and his wife for
practically nothing so far as real worth was concerned, for this was a
private house in a lovely lawn. Twelve dollars per month was the charge.
Mrs. Witla seemed very charming to Mrs. Desenas, who was the wife of the
manufacturer, and for her especial benefit a little bedroom on the
second floor adjoining a bath was turned into a kitchen, with a small
gas stove, and Angela at once began housekeeping operations on the tiny
basis necessitated by their income. Some furniture had to be secured,
for the room was not completely furnished, but Angela by haunting the
second-hand stores in New York, looking through all the department
stores, and visiting certain private sales, managed to find a few things
which she could buy cheaply and which would fit in with the dressing
table, library table, dining table and one bed which were already
provided. The necessary curtains for the bath and kitchen windows she
cut, decorated and hung for herself. She went down to the storage
company where the unsold and undisplayed portion of Eugene's pictures
were and brought back seven, which she placed in the general living-room
and dining-room. All Eugene's clothes, his underwear and socks
particularly, received her immediate attention, and she soon had his
rather attenuated wardrobe in good condition. From the local market she
bought good vegetables and a little meat and made delightful stews,
ragouts, combinations of eggs and tasty meat juices after the French
fashion. All her housekeeping art was employed to the utmost to make
everything look clean and neat, to maintain a bountiful supply of varied
food on the table and yet to keep the cost down, so that they could not
only live on nine dollars a week, but set aside a dollar or more of that
for what Angela called their private bank account. She had a little
hollow brown jug, calculated to hold fifteen dollars in change, which
could be opened when full, which she conscientiously endeavored to fill
and refill. Her one desire was to rehabilitate her husband in the eyes
of the world--this time to stay--and she was determined to do it.

For another thing, reflection and conversation with one person and
another had taught her that it was not well for herself or for Eugene
for her to encourage him in his animal passions. Some woman in Blackwood
had pointed out a local case of locomotor-ataxia which had resulted from
lack of self-control, and she had learned that it was believed that many
other nervous troubles sprang from the same source. Perhaps Eugene's
had. She had resolved to protect him from himself. She did not believe
she could be injured, but Eugene was so sensitive, so emotional.

The trouble with the situation was that it was such a sharp change from
his recent free and to him delightful mode of existence that it was
almost painful. He could see that everything appeared to be satisfactory
to her, that she thought all his days had been moral and full of hard
work. Carlotta's presence in the background was not suspected. Her idea
was that they would work hard together now along simple, idealistic
lines to the one end--success for him, and of course, by reflection, for

Eugene saw the charm of it well enough, but it was only as something
quite suitable for others. He was an artist. The common laws of
existence could not reasonably apply to an artist. The latter should
have intellectual freedom, the privilege of going where he pleased,
associating with whom he chose. This marriage business was a galling
yoke, cutting off all rational opportunity for enjoyment, and he was now
after a brief period of freedom having that yoke heavily adjusted to his
neck again. Gone were all the fine dreams of pleasure and happiness
which so recently had been so real--the hope of living with
Carlotta--the hope of associating with her on easy and natural terms in
that superior world which she represented. Angela's insistence on the
thought that he should work every day and bring home nine dollars a
week, or rather its monthly equivalent, made it necessary for him to
take sharp care of the little money he had kept out of the remainder of
the three hundred in order to supply any deficiency which might occur
from his taking time off. For there was no opportunity now of seeing
Carlotta of an evening, and it was necessary to take a regular number of
afternoons or mornings off each week, in order to meet her. He would
leave the little apartment as usual at a quarter to seven in the
morning, dressed suitably for possible out-door expeditions, for in
anticipation of difficulty he had told Angela that it was his custom to
do this, and sometimes he would go to the factory and sometimes he would
not. There was a car line which carried him rapidly cityward to a
rendezvous, and he would either ride or walk with her as the case might
be. There was constant thought on his and her part of the risk involved,
but still they persisted. By some stroke of ill or good fortune Norman
Wilson returned from Chicago, so that Carlotta's movements had to be
calculated to a nicety, but she did not care. She trusted most to the
automobiles which she could hire at convenient garages and which would
carry them rapidly away from the vicinity where they might be seen and

It was a tangled life, difficult and dangerous. There was no peace in
it, for there is neither peace nor happiness in deception. A burning joy
at one time was invariably followed by a disturbing remorse afterward.
There was Carlotta's mother, Norman Wilson, and Angela, to guard
against, to say nothing of the constant pricking of his own conscience.

It is almost a foregone conclusion in any situation of this kind that it
cannot endure. The seed of its undoing is in itself. We think that our
actions when unseen of mortal eyes resolve themselves into nothingness,
but this is not true. They are woven indefinably into our being, and
shine forth ultimately as the real self, in spite of all our pretences.
One could almost accept the Brahmanistic dogma of a psychic body which
sees and is seen where we dream all to be darkness. There is no other
supposition on which to explain the facts of intuition. So many
individuals have it. They know so well without knowing why they know.

Angela had this intuitive power in connection with Eugene. Because of
her great affection for him she divined or apprehended many things in
connection with him long before they occurred. Throughout her absence
from him she had been haunted by the idea that she ought to be with him,
and now that she was here and the first excitement of contact and
adjustment was over, she was beginning to be aware of something. Eugene
was not the same as he had been a little while before he had left her.
His attitude, in spite of a kindly show of affection, was distant and
preoccupied. He had no real power of concealing anything. He appeared at
times--at most times when he was with her--to be lost in a mist of
speculation. He was lonely and a little love-sick, because under the
pressure of home affairs Carlotta was not able to see him quite so much.
At the same time, now that the fall was coming on, he was growing weary
of the shop at Speonk, for the gray days and slight chill which settled
upon the earth at times caused the shop windows to be closed and robbed
the yard of that air of romance which had characterized it when he first
came there. He could not take his way of an evening along the banks of
the stream to the arms of Carlotta. The novelty of Big John and Joseph
Mews and Malachi Dempsey and Little Suddsy had worn off. He was
beginning now to see also that they were nothing but plain workingmen
after all, worrying over the fact that they were not getting more than
fifteen or seventeen and a half cents an hour; jealous of each other and
their superiors, full of all the frailties and weaknesses to which the
flesh is heir.

His coming had created a slight diversion for them, for he was very
strange, but his strangeness was no longer a novelty. They were
beginning to see him also as a relatively commonplace human being. He
was an artist, to be sure, but his actions and intentions were not so
vastly different from those of other men.

A shop of this kind, like any other institution where people are
compelled by force of circumstances to work together whether the weather
be fair or foul, or the mood grave or gay, can readily become and
frequently does become a veritable hell. Human nature is a subtle,
irritable, irrational thing. It is not so much governed by rules of
ethics and conditions of understanding as a thing of moods and
temperament. Eugene could easily see, philosopher that he was, that
these people would come here enveloped in some mist of home trouble or
secret illness or grief and would conceive that somehow it was not their
state of mind but the things around them which were the cause of all
their woe. Sour looks would breed sour looks in return; a gruff question
would beget a gruff answer; there were long-standing grudges between one
man and another, based on nothing more than a grouchy observation at one
time in the past. He thought by introducing gaiety and persistent, if
make-believe, geniality that he was tending to obviate and overcome the
general condition, but this was only relatively true. His own gaiety was
capable of becoming as much of a weariness to those who were out of the
spirit of it, as was the sour brutality with which at times he was
compelled to contend. So he wished that he might arrange to get well and
get out of here, or at least change his form of work, for it was plain
to be seen that this condition would not readily improve. His presence
was a commonplace. His power to entertain and charm was practically

This situation, coupled with Angela's spirit of honest conservatism was
bad, but it was destined to be much worse. From watching him and
endeavoring to decipher his moods, Angela came to suspect something--she
could not say what. He did not love her as much as he had. There was a
coolness in his caresses which was not there when he left her. What
could have happened, she asked herself. Was it just absence, or what?
One day when he had returned from an afternoon's outing with Carlotta
and was holding her in his arms in greeting, she asked him solemnly:

"Do you love me, Honeybun?"

"You know I do," he asseverated, but without any energy, for he could
not regain his old original feeling for her. There was no trace of it,
only sympathy, pity, and a kind of sorrow that she was being so badly
treated after all her efforts.

"No, you don't," she replied, detecting the hollow ring in what he said.
Her voice was sad, and her eyes showed traces of that wistful despair
into which she could so readily sink at times.

"Why, yes I do, Angelface," he insisted. "What makes you ask? What's
come over you?" He was wondering whether she had heard anything or seen
anything and was concealing her knowledge behind this preliminary

"Nothing," she replied. "Only you don't love me. I don't know what it
is. I don't know why. But I can feel it right here," and she laid her
hand on her heart.

The action was sincere, unstudied. It hurt him, for it was like that of
a little child.

"Oh, hush! Don't say that," he pleaded. "You know I do. Don't look so
gloomy. I love you--don't you know I do?" and he kissed her.

"No, no!" said Angela. "I know! You don't. Oh, dear; oh, dear; I feel so

Eugene was dreading another display of the hysteria with which he was
familiar, but it did not come. She conquered her mood, inasmuch as she
had no real basis for suspicion, and went about the work of getting him
his dinner. She was depressed, though, and he was fearful. What if she
should ever find out!

More days passed. Carlotta called him up at the shop occasionally, for
there was no phone where he lived, and she would not have risked it if
there had been. She sent him registered notes to be signed for,
addressed to Henry Kingsland and directed to the post office at Speonk.
Eugene was not known there as Witla and easily secured these missives,
which were usually very guarded in their expressions and concerned
appointments--the vaguest, most mysterious directions, which he
understood. They made arrangements largely from meeting to meeting,
saying, "If I can't keep it Thursday at two it will be Friday at the
same time; and if not then, Saturday. If anything happens I'll send you
a registered special." So it went on.

One noontime Eugene walked down to the little post office at Speonk to
look for a letter, for Carlotta had not been able to meet him the
previous day and had phoned instead that she would write the following
day. He found it safely enough, and after glancing at it--it contained
but few words--decided to tear it up as usual and throw the pieces away.
A mere expression, "Ashes of Roses," which she sometimes used to
designate herself, and the superscription, "Oh, Genie!" made it,
however, inexpressibly dear to him. He thought he would hold it in his
possession just a little while--a few hours longer. It was enigmatic
enough to anyone but himself, he thought, even if found. "The bridge,
two, Wednesday." The bridge referred to was one over the Harlem at
Morris Heights. He kept the appointment that day as requested, but by
some necromancy of fate he forgot the letter until he was within his own
door. Then he took it out, tore it up into four or five pieces quickly,
put it in his vest pocket, and went upstairs intending at the first
opportunity to dispose of it.

Meanwhile, Angela, for the first time since they had been living at
Riverwood, had decided to walk over toward the factory about six o'clock
and meet Eugene on his way home. She heard him discourse on the
loveliness of this stream and what a pleasure it was to stroll along its
banks morning and evening. He was so fond of the smooth water and the
overhanging leaves! She had walked with him there already on several
Sundays. When she went this evening she thought what a pleasant surprise
it would be for him, for she had prepared everything on leaving so that
his supper would not be delayed when they reached home. She heard the
whistle blow as she neared the shop, and, standing behind a clump of
bushes on the thither side of the stream, she waited, expecting to
pounce out on Eugene with a loving "Boo!" He did not come.

The forty or fifty men who worked here trickled out like a little stream
of black ants, and then, Eugene not appearing, Angela went over to the
gate which Joseph Mews in the official capacity of gateman, after the
whistle blew, was closing.

"Is Mr. Witla here?" asked Angela, peering through the bars at him.
Eugene had described Joseph so accurately to her that she recognized him
at sight.

"No, ma'am," replied Joseph, quite taken back by this attractive
arrival, for good-looking women were not common at the shop gate of the
factory. "He left four or five hours ago. I think he left at one
o'clock, if I remember right. He wasn't working with us today. He was
working out in the yard."

"You don't know where he went, do you?" asked Angela, who was surprised
at this novel information. Eugene had not said anything about going
anywhere. Where could he have gone?

"No'm, I don't," replied Joseph volubly. "He sometimes goes off this
way--quite frequent, ma'am. His wife calls him up--er--now, maybe you're
his wife."

"I am," said Angela; but she was no longer thinking of what she was
saying, her words on the instant were becoming mechanical. Eugene going
away frequently? He had never said anything to her! His wife calling him
up! Could there be another woman! Instantly all her old suspicions,
jealousies, fears, awoke, and she was wondering why she had not fixed on
this fact before. That explained Eugene's indifference, of course. That
explained his air of abstraction. He wasn't thinking of her, the
miserable creature! He was thinking of someone else. Still she could not
be sure, for she had no proof. Two adroit questions elicited the fact
that no one in the shop had ever seen his wife. He had just gone out. A
woman had called up.

Angela took her way home amid a whirling fire of conjecture. When she
reached it Eugene was not there yet, for he sometimes delayed his
coming, lingering, as he said, to look at the water. It was natural
enough in an artist. She went upstairs and hung the broad-brimmed straw
she had worn in the closet, and went into the kitchen to await his
coming. Experience with him and the nature of her own temperament
determined her to enact a rôle of subtlety. She would wait until he
spoke, pretending that she had not been out. She would ask whether he
had had a hard day, and see whether he disclosed the fact that he had
been away from the factory. That would show her positively what he was
doing and whether he was deliberately deceiving her.

Eugene came up the stairs, gay enough but anxious to deposit the scraps
of paper where they would not be seen. No opportunity came for Angela
was there to greet him.

"Did you have a hard job today?" she asked, noting that he made no
preliminary announcement of any absence.

"Not very," he replied; "no. I don't look tired?"

"No," she said bitterly, but concealing her feelings; she wanted to see
how thoroughly and deliberately he would lie. "But I thought maybe you
might have. Did you stop to look at the water tonight?"

"Yes," he replied smoothly. "It's very lovely over there. I never get
tired of it. The sun on the leaves these days now that they are turning
yellow is so beautiful. They look a little like stained glass at certain

Her first impulse after hearing this was to exclaim, "Why do you lie to
me, Eugene?" for her temper was fiery, almost uncontrollable at times;
but she restrained herself. She wanted to find out more--how she did not
know, but time, if she could only wait a little, would help her. Eugene
went to the bath, congratulating himself on the ease of his escape--the
comfortable fact that he was not catechised very much; but in this
temporary feeling of satisfaction he forgot the scraps of paper in his
vest pocket--though not for long. He hung his coat and vest on a hook
and started into the bedroom to get himself a fresh collar and tie.
While he was in there Angela passed the bathroom door. She was always
interested in Eugene's clothes, how they were wearing, but tonight there
were other thoughts in her mind. Hastily and by intuition she went
through his pockets, finding the torn scraps, then for excuse took his
coat and vest down to clean certain spots. At the same moment Eugene
thought of his letter. He came hurrying out to get it, or the pieces,
rather, but Angela already had them and was looking at them curiously.

"What was that?" she asked, all her suspicious nature on the _qui vive_
for additional proof. Why should he keep the torn fragments of a letter
in his pocket? For days she had had a psychic sense of something
impending. Everything about him seemed strangely to call for
investigation. Now it was all coming out.

"Nothing," he said nervously. "A memorandum. Throw it in the paper box."

Angela noted the peculiarity of his voice and manner. She was taken by
the guilty expression of his eyes. Something was wrong. It concerned
these scraps of paper. Maybe it was in these she would be able to read
the riddle of his conduct. The woman's name might be in here. Like a
flash it came to her that she might piece these scraps together, but
there was another thought equally swift which urged her to pretend
indifference. That might help her. Pretend now and she would know more
later. She threw them in the paper box, thinking to piece them together
at her leisure. Eugene noted her hesitation, her suspicion. He was
afraid she would do something, what he could not guess. He breathed more
easily when the papers fluttered into the practically empty box, but he
was nervous. If they were only burned! He did not think she would
attempt to put them together, but he was afraid. He would have given
anything if his sense of romance had not led him into this trap.


Angela was quick to act upon her thought. No sooner had Eugene entered
the bath than she gathered up the pieces, threw other bits of paper like
them in their place and tried quickly to piece them together on the
ironing board where she was. It was not difficult; the scraps were not
small. On one triangular bit were the words, "Oh, Genie!" with a colon
after it; on another the words, "The bridge," and on another "Roses."
There was no doubt in her mind from this preliminary survey that this
was a love note, and every nerve in her body tingled to the terrible
import of it. Could it really be true? Could Eugene have found someone
else? Was this the cause of his coolness and his hypocritical pretence
of affection? and of his not wanting her to come to him? Oh, God! Would
her sufferings never cease! She hurried into the front room, her face
white, her hand clenching the tell-tale bits, and there set to work to
complete her task. It did not take her long. In four minutes it was all
together, and then she saw it all. A love note! From some demon of a
woman. No doubt of it! Some mysterious woman in the background. "Ashes
of Roses!" Now God curse her for a siren, a love thief, a hypnotizing
snake, fascinating men with her evil eyes. And Eugene! The dog! The
scoundrel! The vile coward! The traitor! Was there no decency, no
morality, no kindness, no gratitude in his soul? After all her patience,
all her suffering, all her loneliness, her poverty. To treat her like
this! Writing that he was sick and lonely and unable to have her with
him, and at the same time running around with a strange woman. "Ashes of
Roses!" Oh, curses, curses, curses on her harlot's heart and brain!
Might God strike her dead for her cynical, brutal seizing upon that
sacred possession which belonged to another. She wrung her hands

Angela was fairly beside herself. Through her dainty little head ran a
foaming torrent of rage, hate, envy, sorrow, self-commiseration, brutal
desire for revenge. If she could only get at this woman! If she could
only denounce Eugene now to his face! If she could only find them
together and kill them! How she would like to strike her on the mouth!
How tear her hair and her eyes out! Something of the forest cat's cruel
rage shone in her gleaming eyes as she thought of her, for if she could
have had Carlotta there alone she would have tortured her with hot
irons, torn her tongue and teeth from their roots, beaten her into
insensibility and an unrecognizable mass. She was a real tigress now,
her eyes gleaming, her red lips wet. She would kill her! kill her!! kill
her!!! As God was judge, she would kill her if she could find her, and
Eugene and herself. Yes, yes, she would. Better death than this agony of
suffering. Better a thousand times to be dead with this beast of a woman
dead beside her and Eugene than to suffer this way. She didn't deserve
it. Why did God torture her so? Why was she made to bleed at every step
by this her sacrificial love? Had she not been a good wife? Had she not
laid every tribute of tenderness, patience, self-abnegation,
self-sacrifice and virtue on the altar of love? What more could God ask?
What more could man want? Had she not waited on Eugene in sickness and
health? She had gone without clothes, gone without friends, hidden
herself away in Blackwood the seven months while he was here frittering
away his health and time in love and immorality, and what was her
reward? In Chicago, in Tennessee, in Mississippi, had she not waited on
him, sat up with him of nights, walked the floor with him when he was
nervous, consoled him in his fear of poverty and failure, and here she
was now, after seven long months of patient waiting and watching--eating
her lonely heart out--forsaken. Oh, the inconceivable inhumanity of the
human heart! To think anybody could be so vile, so low, so unkind, so
cruel! To think that Eugene with his black eyes, his soft hair, his
smiling face, could be so treacherous, so subtle, so dastardly! Could he
really be as mean as this note proved him to be? Could he be as brutal,
as selfish? Was she awake or asleep? Was this a dream? Ah, God! no, no
it was not a dream. It was a cold, bitter, agonizing reality. And the
cause of all her suffering was there in the bathroom now shaving

For one moment she thought she would go in and strike him where he
stood. She thought she could tear his heart out, cut him up, but then
suddenly the picture of him bleeding and dead came to her and she
recoiled. No, no, she could not do that! Oh, no, not Eugene--and yet and

"Oh, God, let me get my hands on that woman!" she said to herself. "Let
me get my hands on her. I'll kill her, I'll kill her! I'll kill her!"

This torrent of fury and self-pity was still raging in her heart when
the bathroom knob clicked and Eugene came out. He was in his undershirt,
trousers and shoes, looking for a clean white shirt. He was very nervous
over the note which had been thrown in scraps into the box, but looking
in the kitchen and seeing the pieces still there he was slightly
reassured. Angela was not there; he could come back and get them when he
found out where she was. He went on into the bedroom, looking into the
front room as he did so. She appeared to be at the window waiting for
him. After all, she was probably not as suspicious as he thought. It was
his own imagination. He was too nervous and sensitive. Well, he would
get those pieces now if he could and throw them out of the window.
Angela should not have a chance to examine them if she wanted to. He
slipped out into the kitchen, made a quick grab for the little heap, and
sent the pieces flying. Then he felt much better. He would never bring
another letter home from anybody, that was a certainty. Fate was too
much against him.

Angela came out after a bit, for the click of the bathroom knob had
sobered her a little. Her rage was high, her pulse abnormal, her whole
being shaken to its roots, but still she realized that she must have
time to think. She must see who this woman was first. She must have time
to find her. Eugene mustn't know. Where was she now? Where was this
bridge? Where did they meet? Where did she live? She wondered for the
moment why she couldn't think it all out, why it didn't come to her in a
flash, a revelation. If she could only know!

In a few minutes Eugene came in, clean-shaven, smiling, his equanimity
and peace of mind fairly well restored. The letter was gone. Angela
could never know. She might suspect, but this possible burst of jealousy
had been nipped in the bud. He came over toward her to put his arm round
her, but she slipped away from him, pretending to need the sugar. He let
this effort at love making go--the will for the deed, and sat down at
the snow-white little table, set with tempting dishes and waited to be
served. The day had been very pleasant, being early in October, and he
was pleased to see a last lingering ray of light falling on some red and
yellow leaves. This yard was very beautiful. This little flat, for all
their poverty, very charming. Angela was neat and trim in a dainty house
dress of mingled brown and green. A dark blue studio apron shielded her
bosom and skirt. She was very pale and distraught-looking, but Eugene
for the time was almost unconscious of it--he was so relieved.

"Are you very tired, Angela?" he finally asked sympathetically.

"Yes, I'm not feeling so well today," she replied.

"What have you been doing, ironing?"

"Oh, yes, and cleaning. I worked on the cupboard."

"You oughtn't to try to do so much," he said cheerfully. "You're not
strong enough. You think you're a little horse, but you are only a colt.
Better go slow, hadn't you?"

"I will after I get everything straightened out to suit me," she

She was having the struggle of her life to conceal her real feelings.
Never at any time had she undergone such an ordeal as this. Once in the
studio, when she discovered those two letters, she thought she was
suffering--but that, what was that to this? What were her suspicions
concerning Frieda? What were the lonely longings at home, her grieving
and worrying over his illness? Nothing, nothing! Now he was actually
faithless to her. Now she had the evidence. This woman was here. She was
somewhere in the immediate background. After these years of marriage and
close companionship he was deceiving her. It was possible that he had
been with this woman today, yesterday, the day before. The letter was
not dated. Could it be that she was related to Mrs. Hibberdell? Eugene
had said that there was a married daughter, but never that she was
there. If she was there, why should he have moved? He wouldn't have. Was
it the wife of the man he was last living with? No; she was too homely.
Angela had seen her. Eugene would never associate with her. If she could
only know! "Ashes of Roses!" The world went red before her eyes. There
was no use bursting into a storm now, though. If she could only be calm
it would be better. If she only had someone to talk to--if there were a
minister or a bosom friend! She might go to a detective agency. They
might help her. A detective could trace this woman and Eugene. Did she
want to do this? It cost money. They were very poor now. Paugh! Why
should she worry about their poverty, mending her dresses, going without
hats, going without decent shoes, and he wasting his time and being upon
some shameless strumpet! If he had money, he would spend it on her.
Still, he had handed her almost all the money he had brought East with
him intact. How was that?

All the time Eugene was sitting opposite her eating with fair
heartiness. If the trouble about the letter had not come out so
favorably he would have been without appetite, but now he felt at ease.
Angela said she was not hungry and could not eat. She passed him the
bread, the butter, the hashed brown potatoes, the tea, and he ate

"I think I am going to try and get out of that shop over there," he
volunteered affably.

"Why?" asked Angela mechanically.

"I'm tired of it. The men are not so interesting to me now. I'm tired of
them. I think Mr. Haverford will transfer me if I write to him. He said
he would. I'd rather be outside with some section gang if I could. It's
going to be very dreary in the shop when they close it up."

"Well, if you're tired you'd better," replied Angela. "Your mind needs
diversion, I know that. Why don't you write to Mr. Haverford?"

"I will," he said, but he did not immediately. He went into the front
room and lit the gas eventually, reading a paper, then a book, then
yawning wearily. Angela came in after a time and sat down pale and
tired. She went and secured a little workbasket in which were socks
undarned and other odds and ends and began on those, but she revolted at
the thought of doing anything for him and put them up. She got out a
skirt of hers which she was making. Eugene watched her a little while
lazily, his artistic eye measuring the various dimensions of her
features. She had a well-balanced face, he finally concluded. He noted
the effect of the light on her hair--the peculiar hue it gave it--and
wondered if he could get that in oil. Night scenes were harder than
those of full daylight. Shadows were so very treacherous. He got up

"Well, I'm going to turn in," he said. "I'm tired. I have to get up at
six. Oh, dear, this darn day labor business gives me a pain. I wish it
were over."

Angela did not trust herself to speak. She was so full of pain and
despair that she thought if she spoke she would cry. He went out,
saying: "Coming soon?" She nodded her head. When he was gone the storm
burst and she broke into a blinding flood of tears. They were not only
tears of sorrow, but of rage and helplessness. She went out on a little
balcony which was there and cried alone, the night lights shining
wistfully about. After the first storm she began to harden and dry up
again, for helpless tears were foreign to her in a rage. She dried her
eyes and became white-faced and desperate as before.

The dog, the scoundrel, the brute, the hound! she thought. How could she
ever have loved him? How could she love him now? Oh, the horror of life,
its injustice, its cruelty, its shame! That she should be dragged
through the mire with a man like this. The pity of it! The shame! If
this was art, death take it! And yet hate him as she might--hate this
hellish man-trap who signed herself "Ashes of Roses"--she loved him,
too. She could not help it. She knew she loved him. Oh, to be crossed by
two fevers like this! Why might she not die? Why not die, right now?


The hells of love are bitter and complete. There were days after that
when she watched him, followed him down the pleasant lane from the house
to the water's edge, slipping out unceremoniously after he had gone not
more than eight hundred feet. She watched the bridge at Riverwood at one
and six, expecting that Eugene and his paramour might meet there. It
just happened that Carlotta was compelled to leave town for ten days
with her husband, and so Eugene was safe. On two occasions he went
downtown--into the heart of the great city, anxious to get a breath of
the old life that so fascinated him, and Angela followed him only to
lose track of him quickly. He did nothing evil, however, merely walked,
wondering what Miriam Finch and Christina Channing and Norma Whitmore
were doing these days and what they were thinking of him in his long
absence. Of all the people he had known, he had only seen Norma Whitmore
once and that was not long after he returned to New York. He had given
her a garbled explanation of his illness, stated that he was going to
work now and proposed to come and see her. He did his best to avoid
observation, however, for he dreaded explaining the reason of his
non-productive condition. Miriam Finch was almost glad that he had
failed, since he had treated her so badly. Christina Channing was in
opera, as he quickly discovered, for he saw her name blazoned one day
the following November in the newspapers. She was a star of whose talent
great hopes were entertained, and was interested almost exclusively in
her career. She was to sing in "Bohème" and "Rigoletto."

Another thing, fortunate for Eugene at this time, was that he changed
his work. There came to the shop one day an Irish foreman, Timothy
Deegan, master of a score of "guineas," as he called the Italian day
laborers who worked for him, who took Eugene's fancy greatly. He was of
medium height, thick of body and neck, with a cheerful, healthy red
face, a keen, twinkling gray eye, and stiff, closely cropped gray hair
and mustache. He had come to lay the foundation for a small dynamo in
the engine room at Speonk, which was to supply the plant with light in
case of night work, and a car of his had been backed in, a tool car,
full of boards, barrows, mortar boards, picks and shovels. Eugene was
amused and astonished at his insistent, defiant attitude and the brisk
manner in which he was handing out orders to his men.

"Come, Matt! Come, Jimmie! Get the shovels now! Get the picks!" he heard
him shout. "Bring some sand here! Bring some stone! Where's the cement
now? Where's the cement? Jasus Christ! I must have some cement. What
arre ye all doing? Hurry now, hurry! Bring the cement."

"Well, he knows how to give orders," commented Eugene to Big John, who
was standing near. "He certainly does," replied the latter.

To himself Eugene observed, hearing only the calls at first, "the Irish
brute." Later he discovered a subtle twinkle in Deegan's eyes as he
stood brazenly in the door, looking defiantly about. There was no
brutality in it, only self-confidence and a hearty Irish insistence on
the necessity of the hour.

"Well, you're a dandy!" commented Eugene boldly after a time, and

"Ha! ha! ha!" mocked Deegan in return. "If you had to work as harred as
these men you wouldn't laugh."

"I'm not laughing at them. I'm laughing at you," explained Eugene.

"Laugh," said Deegan. "Shure you're as funny to me as I am to you."

Eugene laughed again. The Irishman agreed with himself that there was
humor in it. He laughed too. Eugene patted his big rough shoulder with
his hands and they were friends immediately. It did not take Deegan long
to find out from Big John why he was there and what he was doing.

"An arrtist!" he commented. "Shewer he'd better be outside than in. The
loikes of him packin' shavin's and him laughin' at me."

Big John smiled.

"I believe he wants to get outside," he said.

"Why don't he come with me, then? He'd have a foine time workin' with
the guineas. Shewer 'twould make a man av him--a few months of
that"--and he pointed to Angelo Esposito shoveling clay.

Big John thought this worth reporting to Eugene. He did not think that
he wanted to work with the guineas, but he might like to be with Deegan.
Eugene saw his opportunity. He liked Deegan.

"Would you like to have an artist who's looking for health come and work
for you, Deegan?" Eugene asked genially. He thought Deegan might refuse,
but it didn't matter. It was worth the trial.

"Shewer!" replied the latter.

"Will I have to work with the Italians?"

"There'll be plenty av work for ye to do without ever layin' yer hand to
pick or shovel unless ye want to. Shewer that's no work fer a white man
to do."

"And what do you call them, Deegan? Aren't they white?"

"Shewer they're naat."

"What are they, then? They're not black."

"Nagurs, of coorse."

"But they're not negroes."

"Will, begad, they're naat white. Any man kin tell that be lookin' at

Eugene smiled. He understood at once the solid Irish temperament which
could draw this hearty conclusion. There was no malice in it. Deegan did
not underestimate these Italians. He liked his men, but they weren't
white. He didn't know what they were exactly, but they weren't white. He
was standing over them a moment later shouting, "Up with it! Up with it!
Down with it! Down with it!" as though his whole soul were intent on
driving the last scrap of strength out of these poor underlings, when as
a matter of fact they were not working very hard at all. His glance was
roving about in a general way as he yelled and they paid little
attention to him. Once in a while he would interpolate a "Come, Matt!"
in a softer key--a key so soft that it was entirely out of keeping with
his other voice. Eugene saw it all clearly. He understood Deegan.

"I think I'll get Mr. Haverford to transfer me to you, if you'll let me
come," he said at the close of the day when Deegan was taking off his
overalls and the "Eyetalians," as he called them, were putting the
things back in the car.

"Shewer!" said Deegan, impressed by the great name of Haverford. If
Eugene could accomplish that through such a far-off, wondrous
personality, he must be a remarkable man himself. "Come along. I'll be
glad to have ye. Ye can just make out the O. K. blanks and the repoarts
and watch over the min sich times as I'll naat be there and--well--all
told, ye'll have enough to keep ye busy."

Eugene smiled. This was a pleasant prospect. Big John had told him
during the morning that Deegan went up and down the road from Peekskill
on the main line, Chatham on the Midland Division, and Mt. Kisco on a
third branch to New York City. He built wells, culverts, coal bins,
building piers--small brick buildings--anything and everything, in
short, which a capable foreman-mason ought to be able to build, and in
addition he was fairly content and happy in his task. Eugene could see
it. The atmosphere of the man was wholesome. He was like a tonic--a
revivifying dynamo to this sickly overwrought sentimentalist.

That night he went home to Angela full of the humor and romance of his
new situation. He liked the idea of it. He wanted to tell her about
Deegan--to make her laugh. He was destined unfortunately to another kind
of reception.

For Angela, by this time, had endured the agony of her discovery to the
breaking point. She had listened to his pretences, knowing them to be
lies, until she could endure it no longer. In following him she had
discovered nothing, and the change in his work would make the chase more
difficult. It was scarcely possible for anyone to follow him, for he
himself did not know where he would be from day to day. He would be
here, there, and everywhere. His sense of security as well as of his
unfairness made him sensitive about being nice in the unimportant
things. When he thought at all he was ashamed of what he was
doing--thoroughly ashamed. Like the drunkard he appeared to be mastered
by his weakness, and the psychology of his attitude is so best
interpreted. He caressed her sympathetically, for he thought from her
drawn, weary look that she was verging on some illness. She appeared to
him to be suffering from worry for him, overwork, or approaching malady.

But Eugene in spite of his unfaithfulness did sympathize with Angela
greatly. He appreciated her good qualities--her truthfulness, economy,
devotion and self-sacrifice in all things which related to him. He was
sorry that his own yearning for freedom crossed with her desire for
simple-minded devotion on his part. He could not love her as she wanted
him to, that he knew, and yet he was at times sorry for it, very. He
would look at her when she was not looking at him, admiring her
industry, her patience, her pretty figure, her geniality in the face of
many difficulties, and wish that she could have had a better fate than
to have met and married him.

Because of these feelings on his part for her he could not bear to see
her suffer. When she appeared to be ill he could not help drawing near
to her, wanting to know how she was, endeavoring to make her feel better
by those sympathetic, emotional demonstrations which he knew meant so
much to her. On this particular evening, noting the still drawn agony of
her face, he was moved to insist. "What's the matter with you,
Angelface, these days? You look so tired. You're not right. What's
troubling you?"

"Oh, nothing," replied Angela wearily.

"But I know there is," he replied. "You can't be feeling well. What's
ailing you? You're not like yourself at all. Won't you tell me, sweet?
What's the trouble?"

He was thinking because Angela said nothing that it must be a real
physical illness. Any emotional complaint vented itself quickly.

"Why should you care?" she asked cautiously, breaking her self-imposed
vow of silence. She was thinking that Eugene and this woman, whoever she
was, were conspiring to defeat her and that they were succeeding. Her
voice had changed from one of weary resignation to subtle semi-concealed
complaint and offense, and Eugene noted it. Before she could add any
more, he had observed, "Why shouldn't I? Why, how you talk! What's the
matter now?"

Angela really did not intend to go on. Her query was dragged out of her
by his obvious sympathy. He was sorry for her in some general way. It
made her pain and wrath all the greater. And his additional inquiry
irritated her the more.

"Why should you?" she asked weepingly. "You don't want me. You don't
like me. You pretend sympathy when I look a little bad, but that's all.
But you don't care for me. If you could get rid of me, you would. That
is so plain."

"Why, what are you talking about?" he asked, astonished. Had she found
out anything? Was the incident of the scraps of paper really closed? Had
anybody been telling her anything about Carlotta? Instantly he was all
at sea. Still he had to pretend.

"You know I care," he said. "How can you say that?"

"You don't. You know you don't!" she flared up suddenly. "Why do you
lie? You don't care. Don't touch me. Don't come near me. I'm sick of
your hypocritical pretences! Oh!" And she straightened up with her
finger nails cutting into her palms.

Eugene at the first expression of disbelief on her part had laid his
hand soothingly on her arm. That was why she had jumped away from him.
Now he drew back, nonplussed, nervous, a little defiant. It was easier
to combat rage than sorrow; but he did not want to do either.

"What's the matter with you?" he asked, assuming a look of bewildered
innocence. "What have I done now?"

"What haven't you done, you'd better ask. You dog! You coward!" flared
Angela. "Leaving me to stay out in Wisconsin while you go running around
with a shameless woman. Don't deny it! Don't dare to deny it!"--this
apropos of a protesting movement on the part of Eugene's head--"I know
all! I know more than I want to know. I know how you've been acting. I
know what you've been doing. I know how you've been lying to me. You've
been running around with a low, vile wretch of a woman while I have been
staying out in Blackwood eating my heart out, that's what you've been
doing. Dear Angela! Dear Angelface! Dear Madonna Doloroso! Ha! What have
you been calling her, you lying, hypocritical coward! What names have
you for her, Hypocrite! Brute! Liar! I know what you've been doing. Oh,
how well I know! Why was I ever born?--oh, why, why?"

Her voice trailed off in a wail of agony. Eugene stood there astonished
to the point of inefficiency. He could not think of a single thing to do
or say. He had no idea upon what evidence she based her complaint. He
fancied that it must be much more than had been contained in that little
note which he had torn up. She had not seen that--of that he was
reasonably sure--or was he? Could she have taken it out of the box while
he was in the bath and then put it back again? This sounded like it. She
had looked very bad that night. How much did she know? Where had she
secured this information? Mrs. Hibberdell? Carlotta? No! Had she seen
her? Where? When?

"You're talking through your hat," he said aimlessly and largely in
order to get time. "You're crazy! What's got into you, anyhow? I haven't
been doing anything of the sort."

"Oh, haven't you!" she sneered. "You haven't been meeting her at bridges
and road houses and street cars, have you? You liar! You haven't been
calling her 'Ashes of Roses' and 'River Nymph' and 'Angel Girl.'" Angela
was making up names and places out of her own mind. "I suppose you used
some of the pet names on her that you gave to Christina Channing, didn't
you? She'd like those, the vile strumpet! And you, you dog, pretending
to me--pretending sympathy, pretending loneliness, pretending sorrow
that I couldn't be here! A lot you cared what I was doing or thinking or
suffering. Oh, I hate you, you horrible coward! I hate her! I hope
something terrible happens to you. If I could get at her now I would
kill her and you both--and myself. I would! I wish I could die! I wish I
could die!"

Eugene was beginning to get the measure of his iniquity as Angela
interpreted it. He could see now how cruelly he had hurt her. He could
see now how vile what he was doing looked in her eyes. It was bad
business--running with other women--no doubt of it. It always ended in
something like this--a terrible storm in which he had to sit by and hear
himself called brutal names to which there was no legitimate answer. He
had heard of this in connection with other people, but he had never
thought it would come to him. And the worst of it was that he was guilty
and deserving of it. No doubt of that. It lowered him in his own
estimation. It lowered her in his and her own because she had to fight
this way. Why did he do it? Why did he drag her into such a situation?
It was breaking down that sense of pride in himself which was the only
sustaining power a man had before the gaze of the world. Why did he let
himself into these situations? Did he really love Carlotta? Did he want
pleasure enough to endure such abuse as this? This was a terrible scene.
And where would it end? His nerves were tingling, his brain fairly
aching. If he could only conquer this desire for another type and be
faithful, and yet how dreadful that seemed! To confine himself in all
his thoughts to just Angela! It was not possible. He thought of these
things, standing there enduring the brunt of this storm. It was a
terrible ordeal, but it was not wholly reformatory even at that.

"What's the use of your carrying on like that, Angela?" he said grimly,
after he had listened to all this. "It isn't as bad as you think. I'm
not a liar, and I'm not a dog! You must have pieced that note I threw in
the paper box together and read it. When did you do it?"

He was curious about that and about how much she knew. What were her
intentions in regard to him? What in regard to Carlotta? What would she
do next?

"When did I do it?" she replied. "When did I do it? What has that to do
with it? What right have you to ask? Where is this woman, that's what I
want to know? I want to find her. I want to face her. I want to tell her
what a wretched beast she is. I'll show her how to come and steal
another woman's husband. I'll kill her. I'll kill her and I'll kill you,
too. Do you hear? I'll kill you!" And she advanced on him defiantly,

Eugene was astounded. He had never seen such rage in any woman. It was
wonderful, fascinating, something like a great lightning-riven storm.
Angela was capable of hurling thunderbolts of wrath. He had not known
that. It raised her in his estimation--made her really more attractive
than she would otherwise have been, for power, however displayed, is
fascinating. She was so little, so grim, so determined! It was in its
way a test of great capability. And he liked her for it even though he
resented her abuse.

"No, no, Angela," he said sympathetically and with a keen wish to
alleviate her sorrow. "You would not do anything like that. You

"I will! I will!" she declared. "I'll kill her and you, too!"

And then having reached this tremendous height she suddenly broke.
Eugene's big, sympathetic understanding was after all too much for her.
His brooding patience in the midst of her wrath, his innate sorrow for
what he could not or would not help (it was written all over his face),
his very obvious presentation of the fact by his attitude that he knew
that she loved him in spite of this, was too much for her. It was like
beating her hands against a stone. She might kill him and this woman,
whoever she was, but she would not have changed his attitude toward her,
and that was what she wanted. A great torrent of heart-breaking sobs
broke from her, shaking her frame like a reed. She threw her arms and
head upon the kitchen table, falling to her knees, and cried and cried.
Eugene stood there contemplating the wreck he had made of her dreams.
Certainly it was hell, he said to himself; certainly it was. He was a
liar, as she said, a dog, a scoundrel. Poor little Angela! Well, the
damage had been done. What could he do now? Anything? Certainly not. Not
a thing. She was broken--heart-broken. There was no earthly remedy for
that. Priests might shrive for broken laws, but for a broken heart what
remedy was there?

"Angela!" he called gently. "Angela! I'm sorry! Don't cry! Angela!!
Don't cry!"

But she did not hear him. She did not hear anything. Lost in the agony
of her situation, she could only sob convulsively until it seemed that
her pretty little frame would break to pieces.


Eugene's feelings on this occasion were of reasonable duration. It is
always possible under such circumstances to take the victim of our
brutalities in our arms and utter a few sympathetic or repentant words.
The real kindness and repentance which consists in reformation is quite
another matter. One must see with eyes too pure to behold evil to do
that. Eugene was not to be reformed by an hour or many hours of agony on
anyone's part. Angela was well within the range of his sympathetic
interests. He suffered with her keenly, but not enough to outrun or
offset his own keen desire for what he considered his spiritual right to
enjoy beauty. What harm did it do, he would have asked himself, if he
secretly exchanged affectionate looks and feelings with Carlotta or any
other woman who fascinated him and in turn was fascinated by him? Could
an affinity of this character really be called evil? He was not giving
her any money which Angela ought to have, or very little. He did not
want to marry her--and she really did not want to marry him, he
thought--there was no chance of that, anyhow. He wanted to associate
with her. And what harm did that do Angela? None, if she did not know.
Of course, if she knew, it was very sad for her and for him. But, if the
shoe were on the other foot, and Angela was the one who was acting as he
was acting now he would not care, he thought. He forgot to add that if
he did not care it would be because he was not in love, and Angela was
in love. Such reasoning runs in circles. Only it is not reasoning. It is
sentimental and emotional anarchy. There is no will toward progress in

When Angela recovered from her first burst of rage and grief it was only
to continue it further, though not in quite the same vein. There can
only be one superlative in any field of endeavor. Beyond that may be
mutterings and thunderings or a shining after-glow, but no second
superlative. Angela charged him with every weakness and evil tendency,
only to have him look at her in a solemn way, occasionally saying: "Oh,
no! You know I'm not as bad as that," or "Why do you abuse me in that
way? That isn't true," or "Why do you say that?"

"Because it is so, and you know it's so," Angela would declare.

"Listen, Angela," he replied once, with a certain amount of logic,
"there is no use in brow-beating me in this way. It doesn't do any good
to call me names. You want me to love you, don't you? That's all that
you want. You don't want anything else. Will calling me names make me do
it? If I can't I can't, and if I can I can. How will fighting help

She listened to him pitifully, for she knew that her rage was useless,
or practically so. He was in the position of power. She loved him. That
was the sad part of it. To think that tears and pleadings and wrath
might not really avail, after all! He could only love her out of a
desire that was not self-generated. That was something she was beginning
to see in a dim way as a grim truth.

Once she folded her hands and sat white and drawn, staring at the floor.
"Well, I don't know what to do," she declared. "I suppose I ought to
leave you. If it just weren't for my family! They all think so highly of
the marriage state. They are so naturally faithful and decent. I suppose
these qualities have to be born in people. They can't be acquired. You
would have to be made over."

Eugene knew she would not leave him. He smiled at the superior
condescension of the last remark, though it was not intended as such by
her. To think of his being made over after the model Angela and her
relatives would lay down!

"I don't know where I'd go or what I'd do," she observed. "I can't go
back to my family. I don't want to go there. I haven't been trained in
anything except school teaching, and I hate to think of that again. If I
could only study stenography or book-keeping!" She was talking as much
to clear her own mind as his. She really did not know what to do.

Eugene listened to this self-demonstrated situation with a shamed face.
It was hard for him to think of Angela being thrown out on the world as
a book-keeper or a stenographer. He did not want to see her doing
anything like that. In a way, he wanted to live with her, if it could be
done in his way--much as the Mormons might, perhaps. What a lonely life
hers would be if she were away from him! And she was not suited to it.
She was not suited to the commercial world--she was too homey, too
housewifely. He wished he could assure her now that she would not have
further cause for grief and mean it, but he was like a sick man wishing
he could do the things a hale man might. There was no self-conviction in
his thoughts, only the idea that if he tried to do right in this matter
he might succeed, but he would be unhappy. So he drifted.

In the meanwhile Eugene had taken up his work with Deegan and was going
through a very curious experience. At the time Deegan had stated that he
would take him he had written to Haverford, making a polite request for
transfer, and was immediately informed that his wishes would be granted.
Haverford remembered Eugene kindly. He hoped he was improving. He
understood from inquiry of the Superintendent of Buildings that Deegan
was in need of a capable assistant, anyhow, and that Eugene could well
serve in that capacity. The foreman was always in trouble about his
reports. An order was issued to Deegan commanding him to receive Eugene,
and another to Eugene from the office of the Superintendent of Buildings
ordering him to report to Deegan. Eugene went, finding him working on
the problem of constructing a coal bin under the depot at Fords Centre,
and raising as much storm as ever. He was received with a grin of

"So here ye arre. Will, ye're just in time. I want ye to go down to the

Eugene laughed. "Sure," he said. Deegan was down in a freshly excavated
hole and his clothes were redolent of the freshly turned earth which
surrounded him. He had a plumb bob in his hand and a spirit level, but
he laid them down. Under the neat train shed to which he crawled when
Eugene appeared and where they stood, he fished from a pocket of his old
gray coat a soiled and crumpled letter which he carefully unfolded with
his thick and clumsy fingers. Then he held it up and looked at it

"I want ye to go to Woodlawn," he continued, "and look after some bolts
that arre theyer--there's a keg av thim--an' sign the bill fer thim, an'
ship thim down to me. They're not miny. An' thin I waant ye to go down
to the ahffice an' take thim this O. K." And here he fished around and
produced another crumpled slip. "It's nonsinse!" he exclaimed, when he
saw it. "It's onraisonable! They're aalways yillen fer thim
O. K. blanks. Ye'd think, begad, I was goin' to steal thim from thim.
Ye'd think I lived on thim things. O. K. blanks, O. K. blanks. From
mornin' 'til night O. K. blanks. It's nonsinse! It's onraisonable!"
And his face flushed a defiant red.

Eugene could see that some infraction of the railroad's rules had
occurred and that Deegan had been "called down," or "jacked up" about
it, as the railroad men expressed it. He was in a high state of
dudgeon--as defiant and pugnacious as his royal Irish temper would

"I'll fix it," said Eugene. "That's all right. Leave it to me."

Deegan showed some signs of approaching relief. At last he had a man of
"intilligence," as he would have expressed it. He flung a parting shot
though at his superior as Eugene departed.

"Tell thim I'll sign fer thim when I git thim and naat before!" he

Eugene laughed. He knew no such message would be accepted, but he was
glad to give Deegan an opportunity to blow off steam. He entered upon
his new tasks with vim, pleased with the out-of-doors, the sunshine, the
opportunity for brief trips up and down the road like this. It was
delightful. He would soon be all right now, that he knew.

He went to Woodlawn and signed for the bolts; went to the office and met
the chief clerk (delivering the desired O. K. blanks in person) who
informed him of the chief difficulty in Deegan's life. It appeared that
there were some twenty-five of these reports to be made out monthly, to
say nothing of endless O. K. blanks to be filled in with acknowledgments
of material received. Everything had to be signed for in this way,
it mattered not whether it was a section of a bridge or a single bolt
or a pound of putty. If a man could sit down and reel off a graphic report
of what he was doing, he was the pride of the chief clerk's heart. His
doing the work properly was taken as a matter of course. Deegan was not
efficient at this, though he was assisted at times by his wife and all
three of his children, a boy and two girls. He was constantly in hot

"My God!" exclaimed the chief clerk, when Eugene explained that Deegan
had thought that he might leave the bolts at the station where they
would be safe until he needed them and then sign for them when he took
them out. He ran his hands distractedly through his hair. "What do you
think of that?" he exclaimed. "He'll leave them there until he needs
them, will he? What becomes of my reports? I've got to have those
O. K.'s. You tell Deegan he ought to know better than that; he's been
long enough on the road. You tell him that I said that I want a signed
form for everything consigned to him the moment he learns that it's
waiting for him. And I want it without fail. Let him go and get it. The
gall! He's got to come to time about this, or something's going to drop.
I'm not going to stand it any longer. You'd better help him in this.
I've got to make out my reports on time."

Eugene agreed that he would. This was his field. He could help Deegan.
He could be really useful.

Time passed. The weather grew colder, and while the work was interesting
at first, like all other things it began after a time to grow
monotonous. It was nice enough when the weather was fine to stand out
under the trees, where some culvert was being built to bridge a small
rivulet or some well to supply the freight engines with water, and
survey the surrounding landscape; but when the weather grew colder it
was not so nice. Deegan was always interesting. He was forever raising a
ruction. He lived a life of hard, narrow activity laid among boards,
wheelbarrows, cement, stone, a life which concerned construction and had
no particular joy in fruition. The moment a thing was nicely finished
they had to leave it and go where everything would be torn up again.
Eugene used to look at the wounded ground, the piles of yellow mud, the
dirty Italians, clean enough in their spirit, but soiled and gnarled by
their labor, and wonder how much longer he could stand it. To think that
he, of all men, should be here working with Deegan and the _guineas_! He
became lonesome at times--terribly, and sad. He longed for Carlotta,
longed for a beautiful studio, longed for a luxurious, artistic life. It
seemed that life had wronged him terribly, and yet he could do nothing
about it. He had no money-making capacity.

About this time the construction of a rather pretentious machine shop,
two hundred by two hundred feet and four storeys high was assigned to
Deegan, largely because of the efficiency which Eugene contributed to
Deegan's work. Eugene handled his reports and accounts with rapidity and
precision, and this so soothed the division management that they had an
opportunity to see Deegan's real worth. The latter was beside himself
with excitement, anticipating great credit and distinction for the work
he was now to be permitted to do.

"'Tis the foine time we'll have, Eugene, me bye," he exclaimed, "puttin'
up that buildin'. 'Tis no culvert we'll be afther buildin' now. Nor no
coal bin. Wait till the masons come. Then ye'll see somethin'."

Eugene was pleased that their work was progressing so successfully, but
of course there was no future in it for him. He was lonely and

Besides, Angela was complaining, and rightfully enough, that they were
leading a difficult life--and to what end, so far as she was concerned?
He might recover his health and his art (by reason of his dramatic
shake-up and changes he appeared to be doing so), but what would that
avail her? He did not love her. If he became prosperous again it might
be to forsake her, and at best he could only give her money and position
if he ever attained these, and how would that help? It was love that she
wanted--his love. And she did not have that, or only a mere shadow of
it. He had made up his mind after this last fatal argument that he would
not pretend to anything he did not feel in regard to her, and this made
it even harder. She did believe that he sympathized with her in his way,
but it was an intellectual sympathy and had very little to do with the
heart. He was sorry for her. Sorry! Sorry! How she hated the thought of
that! If he could not do any better than that, what was there in all the
years to come but misery?

A curious fact to be noted about this period was that suspicion had so
keyed up Angela's perceptions that she could almost tell, and that
without knowing, when Eugene was with Carlotta or had been. There was
something about his manner when he came in of an evening, to say nothing
of those subtler thought waves which passed from him to her when he was
with Carlotta, which told her instantly where he had been and what he
had been doing. She would ask him where he had been and he would say:
"Oh, up to White Plains" or "out to Scarborough," but nearly always when
he had been with Carlotta she would flare up with, "Yes, I know where
you've been. You've been out again with that miserable beast of a woman.
Oh, God will punish her yet! You will be punished! Wait and see."

Tears would flood her eyes and she would berate him roundly.

Eugene stood in profound awe before these subtle outbreaks. He could not
understand how it was that Angela came to know or suspect so accurately.
To a certain extent he was a believer in spiritualism and the mysteries
of a subconscious mind or self. He fancied that there must be some way
of this subconscious self seeing or apprehending what was going on and
of communicating its knowledge in the form of fear and suspicion to
Angela's mind. If the very subtleties of nature were in league against
him, how was he to continue or profit in this career? Obviously it could
not be done. He would probably be severely punished for it. He was half
terrified by the vague suspicion that there might be some laws which
tended to correct in this way all the abuses in nature. There might be
much vice and crime going seemingly unpunished, but there might also be
much correction going on, as the suicides and deaths and cases of
insanity seemed to attest. Was this true? Was there no escape from the
results of evil except by abandoning it entirely? He pondered over this

Getting on his feet again financially was not such an easy thing. He had
been out of touch now so long with things artistic--the magazine world
and the art agencies--that he felt as if he might not readily be able to
get in touch again. Besides he was not at all sure of himself. He had
made sketches of men and things at Speonk, and of Deegan and his gang on
the road, and of Carlotta and Angela, but he felt that they were weak in
their import--lacking in the force and feeling which had once
characterized his work. He thought of trying his hand at newspaper work
if he could make any sort of a connection--working in some obscure
newspaper art department until he should feel himself able to do better;
but he did not feel at all confident that he could get that. His severe
breakdown had made him afraid of life--made him yearn for the sympathy
of a woman like Carlotta, or of a larger more hopeful, more tender
attitude, and he dreaded looking for anything anywhere. Besides he hated
to spare the time unless he were going to get somewhere. His work was so
pressing. But he knew he must quit it. He thought about it wearily,
wishing he were better placed in this world; and finally screwed up his
courage to leave this work, though it was not until something else was
quite safely in his hands.


It was only after a considerable lapse of time, when trying to live on
nine dollars a week and seeing Angela struggle almost hopelessly in her
determination to live on what he earned and put a little aside, that he
came to his senses and made a sincere effort to find something better.
During all this time he had been watching her narrowly, seeing how
systematically she did all her own house work, even under these adverse
and trying circumstances, cooking, cleaning, marketing. She made over
her old clothes, reshaping them so that they would last longer and still
look stylish. She made her own hats, doing everything in short that she
could to make the money in the bank hold out until Eugene should be on
his feet. She was willing that he should take money and buy himself
clothes when she was not willing to spend it on herself. She was living
in the hope that somehow he would reform. Consciousness of what she was
worth to him might some day strike him. Still she did not feel that
things could ever be quite the same again. She could never forget, and
neither could he.

The affair between Eugene and Carlotta, because of the various forces
that were militating against it, was now slowly drawing to a close. It
had not been able to endure all the storm and stress which followed its
discovery. For one thing, Carlotta's mother, without telling her
husband, made him feel that he had good cause to stay about, which made
it difficult for Carlotta to act. Besides she charged her daughter
constantly, much as Angela was charging Eugene, with the utmost
dissoluteness of character and was as constantly putting her on the
defensive. She was too hedged about to risk a separate apartment, and
Eugene would not accept money from her to pay for expensive indoor
entertainment. She wanted to see him but she kept hoping he would get to
the point where he would have a studio again and she could see him as a
star in his own field. That would be so much nicer.

By degrees their once exciting engagements began to lapse, and despite
his grief Eugene was not altogether sorry. To tell the truth, great
physical discomfort recently had painted his romantic tendencies in a
very sorry light for him. He thought he saw in a way where they were
leading him. That there was no money in them was obvious. That the
affairs of the world were put in the hands of those who were content to
get their life's happiness out of their management, seemed quite plain.
Idlers had nothing as a rule, not even the respect of their fellow men.
The licentious were worn threadbare and disgraced by their ridiculous
and psychologically diseased propensities. Women and men who indulged in
these unbridled relations were sickly sentimentalists, as a rule, and
were thrown out or ignored by all forceful society. One had to be
strong, eager, determined and abstemious if wealth was to come, and then
it had to be held by the same qualities. One could not relax. Otherwise
one became much what he was now, a brooding sentimentalist--diseased in
mind and body.

So out of love-excitement and poverty and ill health and abuse he was
coming to see or thought he was this one fact clearly,--namely that he
must behave himself if he truly wished to succeed. Did he want to? He
could not say that. But he had to--that was the sad part of it--and
since apparently he had to, he would do the best he could. It was grim
but it was essential.

At this time Eugene still retained that rather ultra artistic appearance
which had characterized his earlier years, but he began to suspect that
on this score he was a little bizarre and out of keeping with the spirit
of the times. Certain artists whom he met in times past and recently,
were quite commercial in their appearance--the very successful ones--and
he decided that it was because they put the emphasis upon the hard facts
of life and not upon the romance connected with their work. It impressed
him and he decided to do likewise, abandoning the flowing tie and the
rather indiscriminate manner he had of combing his hair, and thereafter
affected severe simplicity. He still wore a soft hat because he thought
it became him best, but otherwise he toned himself down greatly. His
work with Deegan had given him a sharp impression of what hard, earnest
labor meant. Deegan was nothing but a worker. There was no romance in
him. He knew nothing about romance. Picks and shovels and mortar boards
and concrete forms--such was his life, and he never complained. Eugene
remembered commiserating him once on having to get up at four A. M. in
order to take a train which would get to work by seven. Darkness and
cold made no difference to him, however.

"Shewer, I have to be theyre," he had replied with his quizzical Irish
grin. "They're not payin' me me wages fer lyin' in bed. If ye were to
get up that way every day fer a year it would make a man of ye!"

"Oh, no," said Eugene teasingly.

"Oh, yes," said Deegan, "it would. An' yere the wan that's needin' it. I
can tell that by the cut av ye."

Eugene resented this but it stayed by him. Deegan had the habit of
driving home salutary lessons in regard to work and abstemiousness
without really meaning to. The two were wholly representative of
him--just those two things and nothing more.

One day he went down into Printing House Square to see if he could not
make up his mind to apply at one of the newspaper art departments, when
he ran into Hudson Dula whom he had not seen for a long while. The
latter was delighted to see him.

"Why, hello, Witla!" he exclaimed, shocked to see that he was
exceptionally thin and pale. "Where have you been all these years? I'm
delighted to see you. What have you been doing? Let's go over here to
Hahn's and you tell me all about yourself."

"I've been sick, Dula," said Eugene frankly. "I had a severe case of
nervous breakdown and I've been working on the railroad for a change. I
tried all sorts of specialists, but they couldn't help me. So I decided
to go to work by the day and see what that would do. I got all out of
sorts with myself and I've been pretty near four years getting back. I
think I am getting better, though. I'm going to knock off on the road
one of these days and try my hand at painting again. I think I can do

"Isn't that curious," replied Dula reminiscently, "I was just thinking
of you the other day and wondering where you were. You know I've quit
the art director game. _Truth_ failed and I went into the lithographic
business. I have a small interest in a plant that I'm managing down in
Bond Street. I wish you'd come in and see me some day."

"I certainly will," said Eugene.

"Now this nervousness of yours," said Dula, as they strolled into the
restaurant where they were dining. "I have a brother-in-law that was hit
that way. He's still doctoring around. I'm going to tell him about your
case. You don't look so bad."

"I'm feeling much better," said Eugene. "I really am but I've had a bad
spell of it. I'm going to come back in the game, though, I feel sure of
it. When I do I'll know better how to take care of myself. I over-worked
on that first burst of pictures."

"I must say that was the best stuff of that kind I ever saw done in this
country," said Dula. "I saw both your shows, as you remember. They were
splendid. What became of all those pictures?"

"Oh, some were sold and the rest are in storage," replied Eugene.

"Curious, isn't it," said Dula. "I should have thought all those things
would have been purchased. They were so new and forceful in treatment.
You want to pull yourself together and stay pulled. You're going to have
a great future in that field."

"Oh, I don't know," replied Eugene pessimistically. "It's all right to
obtain a big reputation, but you can't live on that, you know. Pictures
don't sell very well over here. I have most of mine left. A grocer with
one delivery wagon has the best artist that ever lived backed right off
the board for financial results."

"Not quite as bad as that," said Dula smilingly. "An artist has
something which a tradesman can never have--you want to remember that.
His point of view is worth something. He lives in a different world
spiritually. And then financially you can do well enough--you can live,
and what more do you want? You're received everywhere. You have what the
tradesman cannot possibly attain--distinction; and you give the world a
standard of merit--you will, at least. If I had your ability I would
never sit about envying any butcher or baker. Why, all the artists know
you now--the good ones, anyhow. It only remains for you to do more, to
obtain more. There are lots of things you can do."

"What, for instance?" asked Eugene.

"Why, ceilings, mural decorations. I was saying to someone the other day
what a mistake it was the Boston Library did not assign some of their
panels to you. You would make splendid things of them."

"You certainly have a world of faith in me," replied Eugene, tingling
warmly. It was like a glowing fire to hear this after all the dreary
days. Then the world still remembered him. He was worth while.

"Do you remember Oren Benedict--you used to know him out in Chicago,
didn't you?"

"I certainly did," replied Eugene. "I worked with him."

"He's down on the _World_ now, in charge of the art department there.
He's just gone there." Then as Eugene exclaimed over the curious shifts
of time, he suddenly added, "Why wouldn't that be a good idea for you?
You say you're just about to knock off. Why don't you go down and do
some pen work to get your hand in? It would be a good experience for
you. Benedict would be glad to put you on, I'm sure."

Dula suspected that Eugene might be out of funds, and this would be an
easy way for him to slip into something which would lead back to studio
work. He liked Eugene. He was anxious to see him get along. It flattered
him to think he had been the first to publish his work in color.

"That isn't a bad idea," said Eugene. "I was really thinking of doing
something like that if I could. I'll go up and see him maybe today. It
would be just the thing I need now,--a little preliminary practise. I
feel rather rusty and uncertain."

"I'll call him up, if you want," said Dula generously. "I know him well.
He was asking me the other day if I knew one or two exceptional men. You
wait here a minute."

Eugene leaned back in his chair as Dula left. Could it be that he was
going to be restored thus easily to something better? He had thought it
would be so hard. Now this chance was coming to lift him out of his
sufferings at the right time.

Dula came back. "He says 'Sure,'" he exclaimed. "'Come right down!'
You'd better go down there this afternoon. That'll be just the thing for
you. And when you are placed again, come around and see me. Where are
you living?"

Eugene gave him his address.

"That's right, you're married," he added, when Eugene spoke of himself
and Angela having a small place. "How is Mrs. Witla? I remember her as a
very charming woman. Mrs. Dula and I have an apartment in Gramercy
Place. You didn't know I had tied up, did you? Well, I have. Bring your
wife and come to see us. We'll be delighted. I'll make a dinner date for
you two."

Eugene was greatly pleased and elated. He knew Angela would be. They had
seen nothing of artistic life lately. He hurried down to see Benedict
and was greeted as an old acquaintance. They had never been very chummy
but always friendly. Benedict had heard of Eugene's nervous breakdown.

"Well, I'll tell you," he said, after greeting and reminiscences were
over, "I can't pay very much--fifty dollars is high here just at
present, and I have just one vacancy now at twenty-five which you can
have if you want to try your hand. There's a good deal of hurry up about
at times, but you don't mind that. When I get things straightened out
here I may have something better."

"Oh, that's all right," replied Eugene cheerfully. "I'm glad to get
that." (He was very glad indeed.) "And I don't mind the hurry. It will
be good for a change."

Benedict gave him a friendly handshake in farewell. He was glad to have
him, for he knew what he could do.

"I don't think I can come before Monday. I have to give a few days'
notice. Is that all right?"

"I could use you earlier, but Monday will do," said Benedict, and they
parted genially.

Eugene hurried back home. He was delighted to tell Angela, for this
would rob their condition of part of its gloom. It was no great comfort
to him to be starting in as a newspaper artist again at twenty-five
dollars a week, but it couldn't be helped, and it was better than
nothing. At least it was putting him back on the track again. He was
sure to do still better after this. He could hold this newspaper job, he
felt, and outside that he didn't care very much for the time being; his
pride had received some severe jolts. It was vastly better than day
labor, anyway. He hurried up the four flights of stairs to the cheap
little quarters they occupied, saying when he saw Angela at the gas
range: "Well, I guess our railroad days are over."

"What's the trouble?" asked Angela apprehensively.

"No trouble," he replied. "I have a better job."

"What is it?"

"I'm going to be a newspaper artist for a while on the _World_."

"When did you find that out?" she asked, brightening, for she had been
terribly depressed over their state.

"This afternoon. I'm going to work Monday. Twenty-five dollars will be
some better than nine, won't it?"

Angela smiled. "It certainly will," she said, and tears of thanksgiving
filled her eyes.

Eugene knew what those tears stood for. He was anxious to avoid painful

"Don't cry," he said. "Things are going to be much better from now on."

"Oh, I hope so, I hope so," she murmured, and he patted her head
affectionately as it rested on his shoulder.

"There now. Cheer up, girlie, will you! We're going to be all right from
now on."

Angela smiled through her tears. She set the table, exceedingly

"That certainly is good news," she laughed afterward. "But we're not
going to spend any more money for a long while, anyhow. We're going to
save something. We don't want to get in this hole again."

"No more for mine," replied Eugene gaily, "not if I know my business,"
and he went into the one little combination parlor, sitting room,
reception room and general room of all work, to open his evening
newspaper and whistle. In his excitement he almost forgot his woes over
Carlotta and the love question in general. He was going to climb again
in the world and be happy with Angela. He was going to be an artist or a
business man or something. Look at Hudson Dula. Owning a lithographic
business and living in Gramercy Place. Could any artist he knew do that?
Scarcely. He would see about this. He would think this art business
over. Maybe he could be an art director or a lithographer or something.
He had often thought while he was with the road that he could be a good
superintendent of buildings if he could only give it time enough.

Angela, for her part, was wondering what this change really spelled for
her. Would he behave now? Would he set himself to the task of climbing
slowly and surely? He was getting along in life. He ought to begin to
place himself securely in the world if he ever was going to. Her love
was not the same as it had formerly been. It was crossed with dislike
and opposition at times, but still she felt that he needed her to help
him. Poor Eugene--if he only were not cursed with this weakness. Perhaps
he would overcome it? So she mused.


The work which Eugene undertook in connection with the art department of
the _World_ was not different from that which he had done ten years
before in Chicago. It seemed no less difficult for all his
experience--more so if anything, for he felt above it these days and
consequently out of place. He wished at once that he could get something
which would pay him commensurately with his ability. To sit down among
mere boys--there were men there as old as himself and older, though, of
course, he did not pay so much attention to them--was galling. He
thought Benedict should have had more respect for his talent than to
have offered him so little, though at the same time he was grateful for
what he had received. He undertook energetically to carry out all the
suggestions given him, and surprised his superior with the speed and
imagination with which he developed everything. He surprised Benedict
the second day with a splendid imaginative interpretation of "the Black
Death," which was to accompany a Sunday newspaper article upon the
modern possibilities of plagues. The latter saw at once that Eugene
could probably only be retained a very little while at the figure he had
given him. He had made the mistake of starting him low, thinking that
Eugene's talent after so severe an illness might be at a very low ebb.
He did not know, being new to the art directorship of a newspaper, how
very difficult it was to get increases for those under him. An advance
of ten dollars to anyone meant earnest representation and an argument
with the business manager, and to double and treble the salary, which
should have been done in this case, was out of the question. Six months
was a reasonable length of time for anyone to wait for an increase--such
was the dictate of the business management--and in Eugene's case it was
ridiculous and unfair. However, being still sick and apprehensive, he
was content to abide by the situation, hoping with returning strength
and the saving of a little money to put himself right eventually.

Angela, of course, was pleased with the turn of affairs. Having suffered
so long with only prospects of something worse in store, it was a great
relief to go to the bank every Tuesday--Eugene was paid on Monday--and
deposit ten dollars against a rainy day. It was agreed between them that
they might use six for clothing, which Angela and Eugene very much
needed, and some slight entertainment. It was not long before Eugene
began to bring an occasional newspaper artist friend up to dinner, and
they were invited out. They had gone without much clothing, with
scarcely a single visit to the theatre, without friends--everything. Now
the tide began slowly to change; in a little while, because they were
more free to go to places, they began to encounter people whom they

There was six months of the drifting journalistic work, in which as in
his railroad work he grew more and more restless, and then there came a
time when he felt as if he could not stand that for another minute. He
had been raised to thirty-five dollars and then fifty, but it was a
terrific grind of exaggerated and to him thoroughly meretricious art.
The only valuable results in connection with it were that for the first
time in his life he was drawing a moderately secure living salary, and
that his mind was fully occupied with details which gave him no time to
think about himself. He was in a large room surrounded by other men who
were as sharp as knives in their thrusts of wit, and restless and greedy
in their attitude toward the world. They wanted to live brilliantly,
just as he did, only they had more self-confidence and in many cases
that extreme poise which comes of rare good health. They were inclined
to think he was somewhat of a poseur at first, but later they came to
like him--all of them. He had a winning smile and his love of a joke, so
keen, so body-shaking, drew to him all those who had a good story to

"Tell that to Witla," was a common phrase about the office and Eugene
was always listening to someone. He came to lunching with first one and
then another, then three or four at a time; and by degrees Angela was
compelled to entertain Eugene and two or three of his friends twice and
sometimes three times a week. She objected greatly, and there was some
feeling over that, for she had no maid and she did not think that Eugene
ought to begin so soon to put the burden of entertainment upon their
slender income. She wanted him to make these things very formal and by
appointment, but Eugene would stroll in genially, explaining that he had
Irving Nelson with him, or Henry Hare, or George Beers, and asking
nervously at the last minute whether it was all right. Angela would say,
"Certainly, to be sure," in front of the guests, but when they were
alone there would be tears and reproaches and firm declarations that she
would not stand it.

"Well, I won't do it any more," Eugene would apologize. "I forgot, you

Still he wanted Angela to get a maid and let him bring all who would
come. It was a great relief to get back into the swing of things and see
life broadening out once more.

It was not so long after he had grown exceedingly weary of his underpaid
relationship to the _World_ that he heard of something which promised a
much better avenue of advancement. Eugene had been hearing for some time
from one source and another of the development of art in advertising. He
had read one or two articles on the subject in the smaller magazines,
had seen from time to time curious and sometimes beautiful series of ads
run by first one corporation and then another, advertising some product.
He had always fancied in looking at these things that he could get up a
notable series on almost any subject, and he wondered who handled these
things. He asked Benedict one night, going up on the car with him, what
he knew about it.

"Why so far as I know," said Benedict, "that is coming to be quite a
business. There is a man out in Chicago, Saljerian, an American
Syrian--his father was a Syrian, but he was born over here--who has
built up a tremendous business out of designing series of ads like that
for big corporations. He got up that Molly Maguire series for the new
cleaning fluid. I don't think he does any of the work himself. He hires
artists to do it. Some of the best men, I understand, have done work for
him. He gets splendid prices. Then some of the big advertising agencies
are taking up that work. One of them I know. The Summerville Company has
a big art department in connection with it. They employ fifteen to
eighteen men all the time, sometimes more. They turn out some
fine ads, too, to my way of thinking. Do you remember that Korno
series?"--Benedict was referring to a breakfast food which had been
advertised by a succession of ten very beautiful and very clever

"Yes," replied Eugene.

"Well, they did that."

Eugene thought of this as a most interesting development. Since the days
in which he worked on the Alexandria _Appeal_ he had been interested in
ads. The thought of ad creation took his fancy. It was newer than
anything else he had encountered recently. He wondered if there would
not be some chance in that field for him. His paintings were not
selling. He had not the courage to start a new series. If he could make
some money first, say ten thousand dollars, so that he could get an
interest income of say six or seven hundred dollars a year, he might be
willing to risk art for art's sake. He had suffered too much--poverty
had scared him so that he was very anxious to lean on a salary or a
business income for the time being.

It was while he was speculating over this almost daily that there came
to him one day a young artist who had formerly worked on the _World_--a
youth by the name of Morgenbau--Adolph Morgenbau--who admired Eugene and
his work greatly and who had since gone to another paper. He was very
anxious to tell Eugene something, for he had heard of a change coming in
the art directorship of the Summerville Company and he fancied for one
reason and another that Eugene might be glad to know of it. Eugene had
never looked to Morgenbau like a man who ought to be working in a
newspaper art department. He was too self-poised, too superior, too
wise. Morgenbau had conceived the idea that Eugene was destined to make
a great hit of some kind and with that kindling intuition that sometimes
saves us whole he was anxious to help Eugene in some way and so gain his

"I have something I'd like to tell you, Mr. Witla," he observed.

"Well, what is it?" smiled Eugene.

"Are you going out to lunch?"

"Certainly, come along."

They went out together and Morgenbau communicated to Eugene what he had
heard--that the Summerfield Company had just dismissed, or parted
company with, or lost, a very capable director by the name of Freeman,
and that they were looking for a new man.

"Why don't you apply for that?" asked Morgenbau. "You could hold it.
You're doing just the sort of work that would make great ads. You know
how to handle men, too. They like you. All the young fellows around here
do. Why don't you go and see Mr. Summerfield? He's up in Thirty-fourth
Street. You might be just the man he's looking for, and then you'd have
a department of your own."

Eugene looked at this boy, wondering what had put this idea in his head.
He decided to call up Dula and did so at once, asking him what he
thought would be the best move to make. The latter did not know
Summerville [sic], but he knew someone who did.

"I'll tell you what you do, Eugene," he said. "You go and see Baker
Bates of the Satina Company. That's at the corner of Broadway and Fourth
Street. We do a big business with the Satina Company, and they do a big
business with Summerfield. I'll send a letter over to you by a boy and
you take that. Then I'll call Bates up on the phone, and if he's
favorable he can speak to Summerfield. He'll want to see you, though."

Eugene was very grateful and eagerly awaited the arrival of the letter.
He asked Benedict for a little time off and went to Mr. Baker Bates. The
latter had heard enough from Dula to be friendly. He had been told by
the latter that Eugene was potentially a great artist, slightly down on
his luck, but that he was doing exceedingly well where he was and would
do better in the new place. He was impressed by Eugene's appearance, for
the latter had changed his style from the semi-artistic to the
practical. He thought Eugene looked capable. He was certainly pleasant.

"I'll talk to Mr. Summerfield for you," he said, "though I wouldn't put
much hope in what will come of it if I were you. He's a difficult man
and it's best not to appear too eager in this matter. If he can be
induced to send for you it will be much better. You let this rest until
tomorrow. I'll call him up on another matter and take him out to lunch,
and then I'll see how he stands and who he has in mind, if he has
anyone. He may have, you know. If there is a real opening I'll speak of
you. We'll see."

Eugene went away once more, very grateful. He was thinking that Dula had
always meant good luck to him. He had taken his first important drawing.
The pictures he had published for him had brought him the favor of M.
Charles. Dula had secured him the position that he now had. Would he be
the cause of his getting this one?

On the way down town on the car he encountered a cross-eyed boy. He had
understood from someone recently that cross-eyed boys were good
luck--cross-eyed women bad luck. A thrill of hopeful prognostication
passed over him. In all likelihood he was going to get this place. If
this sign came true this time, he would believe in signs. They had come
true before, but this would be a real test. He stared cheerfully at the
boy and the latter looked him full in the eyes and grinned.

"That settles it!" said Eugene. "I'm going to get it."

Still he was far from being absolutely sure.


The Summerfield Advertising Agency, of which Mr. Daniel
C. Summerfield was president, was one of those curious exfoliations or
efflorescences of the personality of a single individual which is so
often met with in the business world, and which always means a
remarkable individual behind them. The ideas, the enthusiasm, the
strength of Mr. Daniel C. Summerfield was all there was to the
Summerfield Advertising Agency. It was true there was a large force of
men working for him, advertising canvassers, advertising writers,
financial accountants, artists, stenographers, book-keepers and the
like, but they were all as it were an emanation or irradiation of the
personality of Mr. Daniel C. Summerfield. He was small, wiry,
black-haired, black-eyed, black-mustached, with an olive complexion and
even, pleasing, albeit at times wolfish, white teeth which indicated a
disposition as avid and hungry as a disposition well might be.

Mr. Summerfield had come up into his present state of affluence or
comparative affluence from the direst poverty and by the directest
route--his personal efforts. In the State in which he had originated,
Alabama, his family had been known, in the small circle to which they
were known at all, as poor white trash. His father had been a rather
lackadaisical, half-starved cotton planter who had been satisfied with a
single bale or less of cotton to the acre on the ground which he leased,
and who drove a lean mule very much the worse for age and wear, up and
down the furrows of his leaner fields the while he complained of "the
misery" in his breast. He was afflicted with slow consumption or thought
he was, which was just as effective, and in addition had hook-worm,
though that parasitic producer of hopeless tiredness was not yet
discovered and named.

Daniel Christopher, his eldest son, had been raised with scarcely any
education, having been put in a cotton mill at the age of seven, but
nevertheless he soon manifested himself as the brain of the family. For
four years he worked in the cotton mill, and then, because of his
unusual brightness, he had been given a place in the printing shop of
the Wickham Union, where he was so attractive to the slow-going
proprietor that he soon became foreman of the printing department and
then manager. He knew nothing of printing or newspapers at the time, but
the little contact he obtained here soon cleared his vision. He saw
instantly what the newspaper business was, and decided to enter it.
Later, as he grew older, he suspected that no one knew very much about
advertising as yet, or very little, and that he was called by God to
revise it. With this vision of a still wider field of usefulness in his
mind, he began at once to prepare himself for it, reading all manner of
advertising literature and practicing the art of display and effective
statement. He had been through such bitter things as personal fights
with those who worked under him, knocking one man down with a heavy iron
form key; personal altercation with his own father and mother in which
he frankly told them that they were failures, and that they had better
let him show them something about regulating their hopeless lives. He
had quarreled with his younger brothers, trying to dominate them, and
had succeeded in controlling the youngest, principally for the very good
reason that he had become foolishly fond of him; this younger brother he
later introduced into his advertising business. He had religiously saved
the little he had earned thus far, invested a part of it in the further
development of the Wickham _Union_, bought his father an eight acre
farm, which he showed him how to work, and finally decided to come to
New York to see if he could not connect himself with some important
advertising concern where he could learn something more about the one
thing that interested him. He was already married, and he brought his
young wife with him from the South.

He soon connected himself as a canvasser with one of the great agencies
and advanced rapidly. He was so smiling, so bland, so insistent, so
magnetic, that business came to him rapidly. He became the star man in
this New York concern and Alfred Cookman, who was its owner and manager,
was soon pondering what he could do to retain him. No individual or
concern could long retain Daniel C. Summerfield, however, once he
understood his personal capabilities. In two years he had learned all
that Alfred Cookman had to teach him and more than he could teach him.
He knew his customers and what their needs were, and where the lack was
in the service which Mr. Cookman rendered them. He foresaw the drift
toward artistic representation of saleable products, and decided to go
into that side of it. He would start an agency which would render a
service so complete and dramatic that anyone who could afford to use his
service would make money.

When Eugene first heard of this agency, the Summerfield concern was six
years old and rapidly growing. It was already very large and profitable
and as hard and forceful as its owner. Daniel C. Summerfield, sitting in
his private office, was absolutely ruthless in his calculations as to
men. He had studied the life of Napoleon and had come to the conclusion
that no individual life was important. Mercy was a joke to be eliminated
from business. Sentiment was silly twaddle. The thing to do was to hire
men as cheaply as possible, to drive them as vigorously as possible, and
to dispose of them quickly when they showed signs of weakening under the
strain. He had already had five art directors in as many years, had
"hired and fired," as he termed it, innumerable canvassers, ad writers,
book-keepers, stenographers, artists--getting rid of anyone and everyone
who showed the least sign of incapacity or inefficiency. The great
office floor which he maintained was a model of cleanliness, order--one
might almost say beauty of a commercial sort, but it was the
cleanliness, order and beauty of a hard, polished and well-oiled
machine. Daniel C. Summerfield was not much more than that, but he had
long ago decided that was what he must be in order not to be a failure,
a fool, and as he called it, "a mark," and he admired himself for being

When Mr. Baker Bates at Hudson Dula's request went to Mr. Summerfield in
regard to the rumored vacancy which really existed, the latter was in a
most receptive frame of mind. He had just come into two very important
advertising contracts which required a lot of imagination and artistic
skill to execute, and he had lost his art director because of a row over
a former contract. It was true that in very many cases--in most cases,
in fact--his customers had very definite ideas as to what they wanted to
say and how they wanted to say it, but not always. They were almost
always open to suggestions as to modifications and improvements, and in
a number of very important cases they were willing to leave the entire
theory of procedure to the Summerfield Advertising Company. This called
for rare good judgment not only in the preparation, but in the placing
of these ads, and it was in the matter of their preparation--the many
striking ideas which they should embody--that the judgment and
assistance of a capable art director of real imagination was most

As has already been said, Mr. Summerfield had had five art directors in
almost as many years. In each case he had used the Napoleonic method of
throwing a fresh, unwearied mind into the breach of difficulty, and when
it wearied or broke under the strain, tossing it briskly out. There was
no compunction or pity connected with any detail of this method. "I hire
good men and I pay them good wages," was his favorite comment. "Why
shouldn't I expect good results?" If he was wearied or angered by
failure he was prone to exclaim--"These Goddamned cattle of artists!
What can you expect of them? They don't know anything outside their
little theory of how things ought to look. They don't know anything
about life. Why, God damn it, they're like a lot of children. Why should
anybody pay any attention to what they think? Who cares what they think?
They give me a pain in the neck." Mr. Daniel C. Summerfield was very
much given to swearing, more as a matter of habit than of foul
intention, and no picture of him would be complete without the
interpolation of his favorite expressions.

When Eugene appeared on the horizon as a possible applicant for this
delightful position, Mr. Daniel C. Summerfield was debating with himself
just what he should do in connection with the two new contracts in
question. The advertisers were awaiting his suggestions eagerly. One was
for the nation-wide advertising of a new brand of sugar, the second for
the international display of ideas in connection with a series of French
perfumes, the sale of which depended largely upon the beauty with which
they could be interpreted to the lay mind. The latter were not only to
be advertised in the United States and Canada, but in Mexico also, and
the fulfilment of the contracts in either case was dependent upon the
approval given by the advertisers to the designs for newspaper, car and
billboard advertising which he should submit. It was a ticklish
business, worth two hundred thousand dollars in ultimate profits, and
naturally he was anxious that the man who should sit in the seat of
authority in his art department should be one of real force and
talent--a genius if possible, who should, through his ideas, help him
win his golden harvest.

The right man naturally was hard to find. The last man had been only
fairly capable. He was dignified, meditative, thoughtful, with
considerable taste and apprehension as to what the material situation
required in driving home simple ideas, but he had no great imaginative
grasp of life. In fact no man who had ever sat in the director's chair
had ever really suited Mr. Summerfield. According to him they had all
been weaklings. "Dubs; fakes; hot air artists," were some of his
descriptions of them. Their problem, however, was a hard one, for they
had to think very vigorously in connection with any product which he
might be trying to market, and to offer him endless suggestions as to
what would be the next best thing for a manufacturer to say or do to
attract attention to what he had to sell. It might be a catch phrase
such as "Have You Seen This New Soap?" or "Do You Know Soresda?--It's
Red." It might be that a novelty in the way of hand or finger, eye or
mouth was all that was required, carrying some appropriate explanation
in type. Sometimes, as in the case of very practical products, their
very practical display in some clear, interesting, attractive way was
all that was needed. In most cases, though, something radically new was
required, for it was the theory of Mr. Summerfield that his ads must not
only arrest the eye, but fix themselves in the memory, and convey a fact
which was or at least could be made to seem important to the reader. It
was a struggling with one of the deepest and most interesting phases of
human psychology.

The last man, Older Freeman, had been of considerable use to him in his
way. He had collected about him a number of fairly capable artists--men
temporarily down on their luck--who like Eugene were willing to take a
working position of this character, and from them he had extracted by
dint of pleading, cajoling, demonstrating and the like a number of
interesting ideas. Their working hours were from nine to five-thirty,
their pay meagre--eighteen to thirty-five, with experts drawing in
several instances fifty and sixty dollars, and their tasks innumerable
and really never-ending. Their output was regulated by a tabulated
record system which kept account of just how much they succeeded in
accomplishing in a week, and how much it was worth to the concern. The
ideas on which they worked were more or less products of the brains of
the art director and his superior, though they occasionally themselves
made important suggestions, but for their proper execution, the amount
of time spent on them, the failures sustained, the art director was more
or less responsible. He could not carry to his employer a poor drawing
of a good idea, or a poor idea for something which required a superior
thought, and long hope to retain his position. Mr. Daniel C. Summerfield
was too shrewd and too exacting. He was really tireless in his energy.
It was his art director's business, he thought, to get him good ideas
for good drawings and then to see that they were properly and speedily

Anything less than this was sickening failure in the eyes of
Mr. Summerfield, and he was not at all bashful in expressing himself. As
a matter of fact, he was at times terribly brutal. "Why the hell do you
show me a thing like that?" he once exclaimed to Freeman. "Jesus Christ;
I could hire an ashman and get better results. Why, God damn it, look at
the drawing of the arm of that woman. Look at her ear. Whose going to
take a thing like that? It's tame! It's punk! It's a joke! What sort of
cattle have you got out there working for you, anyhow? Why, if the
Summerfield Advertising Company can't do better than that I might as
well shut up the place and go fishing. We'll be a joke in six weeks.
Don't try to hand me any such God damned tripe as that, Freeman. You
know better. You ought to know our advertisers wouldn't stand for
anything like that. Wake up! I'm paying you five thousand a year. How do
you expect I'm going to get my money back out of any such arrangement as
that? You're simply wasting my money and your time letting a man draw a
thing like that. Hell!!"

The art director, whoever he was, having been by degrees initiated into
the brutalities of the situation, and having--by reason of the time he
had been employed and the privileges he had permitted himself on account
of his comfortable and probably never before experienced salary--sold
himself into bondage to his now fancied necessities, was usually humble
and tractable under the most galling fire. Where could he go and get
five thousand dollars a year for his services? How could he live at the
rate he was living if he lost this place? Art directorships were not
numerous. Men who could fill them fairly acceptably were not impossible
to find. If he thought at all and was not a heaven-born genius serene in
the knowledge of his God-given powers, he was very apt to hesitate, to
worry, to be humble and to endure a good deal. Most men under similar
circumstances do the same thing. They think before they fling back into
the teeth of their oppressors some of the slurs and brutal
characterizations which so frequently issue therefrom. Most men do.
Besides there is almost always a high percentage of truth in the charges
made. Usually the storm is for the betterment of mankind.
Mr. Summerfield knew this. He knew also the yoke of poverty and the
bondage of fear which most if not all his men were under. He had no
compunctions about using these weapons, much as a strong man might use a
club. He had had a hard life himself. No one had sympathized with him
very much. Besides you couldn't sympathize and succeed. Better look the
facts in the face, deal only with infinite capacity, roughly weed out
the incompetents and proceed along the line of least resistance, in so
far as your powerful enemies were concerned. Men might theorize and
theorize until the crack of doom, but this was the way the thing had to
be done and this was the way he preferred to do it.

Eugene had never heard of any of these facts in connection with the
Summerfield Company. The idea had been flung at him so quickly he had no
time to think, and besides if he had had time it would have made no
difference. A little experience of life had taught him as it teaches
everyone else to mistrust rumor. He had applied for the place on hearing
and he was hoping to get it. At noon the day following his visit to
Mr. Baker Bates, the latter was speaking for him to Mr. Summerfield, but
only very casually.

"Say," he asked, quite apropos of nothing apparently, for they were
discussing the chances of his introducing his product into South
America, "do you ever have need of an art director over in your place?"

"Occasionally," replied Summerfield guardedly, for his impression was
that Mr. Baker Bates knew very little of art directors or anything else
in connection with the art side of advertising life. He might have heard
of his present need and be trying to palm off some friend of his, an
incompetent, of course, on him. "What makes you ask?"

"Why, Hudson Dula, the manager of the Triple Lithographic Company, was
telling me of a man who is connected with the _World_ who might make a
good one for you. I know something of him. He painted some rather
remarkable views of New York and Paris here a few years ago. Dula tells
me they were very good."

"Is he young?" interrupted Summerfield, calculating.

"Yes, comparatively. Thirty-one or two, I should say."

"And he wants to be an art director, does he. Where is he?"

"He's down on the _World_, and I understand he wants to get out of
there. I heard you say last year that you were looking for a man, and I
thought this might interest you."

"What's he doing down on the _World_?"

"He's been sick, I understand, and is just getting on his feet again."

The explanation sounded sincere enough to Summerfield.

"What's his name?" he asked.

"Witla, Eugene Witla. He had an exhibition at one of the galleries here
a few years ago."

"I'm afraid of these regular high-brow artists," observed Summerfield
suspiciously. "They're usually so set up about their art that there's no
living with them. I have to have someone with hard, practical sense in
my work. Someone that isn't a plain damn fool. He has to be a good
manager--a good administrator, mere talent for drawing won't do--though
he has to have that, or know it when he sees it. You might send this
fellow around sometime if you know him. I wouldn't mind looking at him.
I may need a man pretty soon. I'm thinking of making certain changes."

"If I see him I will," said Baker indifferently and dropped the matter.
Summerfield, however, for some psychological reason was impressed with
the name. Where had he heard it? Somewhere apparently. Perhaps he had
better find out something about him.

"If you send him you'd better give him a letter of introduction," he
added thoughtfully, before Bates should have forgotten the matter. "So
many people try to get in to see me, and I may forget."

Baker knew at once that Summerfield wished to look at Witla. He dictated
a letter of introduction that afternoon to his stenographer and mailed
it to Eugene.

"I find Mr. Summerfield apparently disposed to see you," he wrote. "You
had better go and see him if you are interested. Present this letter.
Very truly yours."

Eugene looked at it with astonishment and a sense of foregoneness so far
as what was to follow. Fate was fixing this for him. He was going to get
it. How strange life was! Here he was down on the _World_ working for
fifty dollars a week, and suddenly an art directorship, a thing he had
thought of for years, was coming to him out of nowhere! Then he decided
to telephone Mr. Daniel Summerfield, saying that he had a letter from
Mr. Baker Bates and asking when he could see him. Later he decided to
waste no time, but to present the letter direct without phoning. At
three in the afternoon he received permission from Benedict to be away
from the office between three and five, and at three-thirty he was in
the anteroom of the general offices of the Summerfield Advertising
Company, waiting for a much desired permission to enter.


When Eugene called, Mr. Daniel C. Summerfield was in no great rush about
any particular matter, but he had decided in this case as he had in many
others that it was very important that anyone who wanted anything from
him should be made to wait. Eugene was made to wait a solid hour before
he was informed by an underling that he was very sorry but that other
matters had so detained Mr. Summerfield that it was now impossible for
him to see him at all this day, but that tomorrow at twelve he would be
glad to see him. Eugene was finally admitted on the morrow, however, and
then, at the first glance, Mr. Summerfield liked him. "A man of
intelligence," he thought, as he leaned back in his chair and stared at
him. "A man of force. Young still, wide-eyed, quick, clean looking.
Perhaps I have found someone in this man who will make a good art
director." He smiled, for Summerfield was always good-natured in his
opening relationships--usually so in all of them, and took most people
(his employees and prospective employees particularly) with an air of
superior but genial condescension.

"Sit down! Sit down!" he exclaimed cheerfully and Eugene did so, looking
about at the handsomely decorated walls, the floor which was laid with a
wide, soft, light brown rug, and the mahogany desk, flat-topped, glass
covered, on which lay handsome ornaments of silver, ivory and bronze.
This man looked so keen, so dynamic, like a polished Japanese carving,
hard and smooth.

"Now tell me all about yourself," began Summerfield. "Where do you come
from? Who are you? What have you done?"

"Hold! Hold!" said Eugene easily and tolerantly. "Not so fast. My
history isn't so much. The short and simple annals of the poor. I'll
tell you in two or three sentences."

Summerfield was a little taken back at this abruptness which was
generated by his own attitude; still he liked it. This was something new
to him. His applicant wasn't frightened or apparently even nervous so
far as he could judge. "He is droll," he thought, "sufficiently so--a
man who has seen a number of things evidently. He is easy in manner,
too, and kindly."

"Well," he said smilingly, for Eugene's slowness appealed to him. His
humor was something new in art directors. So far as he could recall, his
predecessors had never had any to speak of.

"Well, I'm an artist," said Eugene, "working on the _World_. Let's hope
that don't militate against me very much."

"It don't," said Summerfield.

"And I want to become an art director because I think I'd make a good

"Why?" asked Summerfield, his even teeth showing amiably.

"Well, because I like to manage men, or I think I do. And they take to

"You know that?"

"I do. In the next place I know too much about art to want to do the
little things that I'm doing. I can do bigger things."

"I like that also," applauded Summerfield. He was thinking that Eugene
was nice and good looking, a little pale and thin to be wholly forceful,
perhaps, he wasn't sure. His hair a little too long. His manner,
perhaps, a bit too deliberate. Still he was nice. Why did he wear a soft
hat? Why did artists always insist on wearing soft hats, most of them?
It was so ridiculous, so unbusinesslike.

"How much do you get?" he added, "if it's a fair question."

"Less than I'm worth," said Eugene. "Only fifty dollars. But I took it
as a sort of health cure. I had a nervous breakdown several years
ago--better now, as Mulvaney used to say--and I don't want to stay at
that. I'm an art director by temperament, or I think I am. Anyhow, here
I am."

"You mean," said Summerfield, "you never ran an art department before?"


"Know anything about advertising?"

"I used to think so."

"How long ago was that?"

"When I worked on the Alexandria, Illinois, _Daily Appeal_."

Summerfield smiled. He couldn't help it.

"That's almost as important as the Wickham _Union_, I fancy. It sounds
as if it might have the same wide influence."

"Oh, much more, much more," returned Eugene quietly. "The Alexandria
_Appeal_ had the largest exclusively country circulation of any county
south of the Sangamon."

"I see! I see!" replied Summerfield good-humoredly. "It's all day with
the Wickham _Union_. Well, how was it you came to change your mind?"

"Well, I got a few years older for one thing," said Eugene. "And then I
decided that I was cut out to be the greatest living artist, and then I
came to New York, and in the excitement I almost lost the idea."

"I see."

"But I have it again, thank heaven, tied up back of the house, and here
I am."

"Well, Witla, to tell you the truth you don't look like a real live,
every day, sure-enough art director, but you might make good. You're not
quite art-y enough according to the standards that prevail around this
office. Still I might be willing to take one gosh-awful chance. I
suppose if I do I'll get stung as usual, but I've been stung so often
that I ought to be used to it by now. I feel sort of spotted at times
from the hornets I've hired in the past. But, be that as it may, what do
you think you could do with a real live art directorship if you had it?"

Eugene mused. This persiflage entertained him. He thought Summerfield
would hire him now that they were together.

"Oh, I'd draw my salary first and then I'd see that I had the proper
system of approach so that any one who came to see me would think I was
the King of England, and then I'd----"

"I was really busy yesterday," interpolated Summerfield apologetically.

"I'm satisfied of that," replied Eugene gaily. "And finally I might
condescend, if I were coaxed enough, to do a little work."

This speech at once irritated and amused Mr. Summerfield. He liked a man
of spirit. You could do something with someone who wasn't afraid, even
if he didn't know so much to begin with. And Eugene knew a good deal, he
fancied. Besides, his talk was precisely in his own sarcastic,
semi-humorous vein. Coming from Eugene it did not sound so hard as it
would have coming from himself, but it had his own gay, bantering
attitude of mind in it. He believed Eugene could make good. He wanted to
try him, instanter, anyhow.

"Well, I'll tell you what, Witla," he finally observed. "I don't know
whether you can run this thing or not--the probabilities are all against
you as I have said, but you seem to have some ideas or what might be
made some under my direction, and I think I'll give you a chance. Mind
you, I haven't much confidence. My personal likes usually prove very
fatal to me. Still, you're here, and I like your looks and I haven't
seen anyone else, and so----"

"Thanks," said Eugene.

"Don't thank me. You have a hard job ahead of you if I take you. It's no
child's play. You'd better come with me first and look over the place,"
and he led the way out into the great central room where, because it was
still noon time, there were few people working, but where one could see
just how imposing this business really was.

"Seventy-two stenographers, book-keepers, canvassers and writers and
trade-aid people at their desks," he observed with an easy wave of his
hand, and moved on into the art department, which was in another wing of
the building where a north and east light could be secured. "Here's
where you come in," he observed, throwing open the door where thirty-two
artists' desks and easels were ranged. Eugene was astonished.

"You don't employ that many, do you?" he asked interestedly. Most of the
men were out to lunch.

"From twenty to twenty-five all the time, sometimes more," he said.
"Some on the outside. It depends on the condition of business."

"And how much do you pay them, as a rule?"

"Well, that depends. I think I'll give you seventy-five dollars a week
to begin with, if we come to an understanding. If you make good I'll
make it a hundred dollars a week inside of three months. It all depends.
The others we don't pay so much. The business manager can tell you."

Eugene noticed the evasion. His eyes narrowed. Still there was a good
chance here. Seventy-five dollars was considerably better than fifty and
it might lead to more. He would be his own boss--a man of some
consequence. He could not help stiffening with pride a little as he
looked at the room which Summerfield pointed out to him as his own if he
came--a room where a large, highly polished oak desk was placed and
where some of the Summerfield Advertising Company's art products were
hung on the walls. There was a nice rug on the floor and some
leather-backed chairs.

"Here's where you will be if you come here," said Summerfield.

Eugene gazed round. Certainly life was looking up. How was he to get
this place? On what did it depend? His mind was running forward to
various improvements in his affairs, a better apartment for Angela,
better clothes for her, more entertainment for both of them, freedom
from worry over the future; for a little bank account would soon result
from a place like this.

"Do you do much business a year?" Eugene asked curiously.

"Oh, about two million dollars' worth."

"And you have to make drawings for every ad?"

"Exactly, not one but six or eight sometimes. It depends upon the
ability of the art director. If he does his work right I save money."

Eugene saw the point.

"What became of the other man?" he asked, noting the name of Older
Freeman on the door.

"Oh, he quit," said Summerville, "or rather he saw what was coming and
got out of the way. He was no good. He was too weak. He was turning out
work here which was a joke--some things had to be done over eight and
nine times."

Eugene discovered the wrath and difficulties and opposition which went
with this. Summerfield was a hard man, plainly. He might smile and joke
now, but anyone who took that chair would hear from him constantly. For
a moment Eugene felt as though he could not do it, as though he had
better not try it, and then he thought, "Why shouldn't I? It can't hurt
me. If worst comes to worst, I have my art to fall back on."

"Well, so it goes," he said. "If I don't make good, the door for mine, I

"No, no, nothing so easy," chuckled Summerfield; "the coal chute."

Eugene noticed that he champed his teeth like a nervous horse, and that
he seemed fairly to radiate waves of energy. For himself he winced the
least bit. This was a grim, fighting atmosphere he was coming into. He
would have to fight for his life here--no doubt of that.

"Now," said Summerfield, when they were strolling back to his own
office. "I'll tell you what you might do. I have two propositions, one
from the Sand Perfume Company and another from the American Crystal
Sugar Refining Company which may mean big contracts for me if I can
present them the right line of ideas for advertising. They want to
advertise. The Sand Company wants suggestions for bottles, labels, car
ads, newspaper ads, posters, and so on. The American Crystal Company
wants to sell its sugar in small packages, powdered, grained, cubed,
hexagoned. We want package forms, labels, posters ads, and so on for
that. It's a question of how much novelty, simplicity and force we can
put in the smallest possible space. Now I depend upon my art director to
tell me something about these things. I don't expect him to do
everything. I'm here and I'll help him. I have men in the trade aid
department out there who are wonders at making suggestions along this
line, but the art director is supposed to help. He's the man who is
supposed to have the taste and can execute the proposition in its last
form. Now suppose you take these two ideas and see what you can do with
them. Bring me some suggestions. If they suit me and I think you have
the right note, I'll hire you. If not, well then I won't, and no harm
done. Is that all right?"

"That's all right," said Eugene.

Mr. Summerfield handed him a bundle of papers, catalogues, prospectuses,
communications. "You can look these over if you want to. Take them along
and then bring them back."

Eugene rose.

"I'd like to have two or three days for this," he said. "It's a new
proposition to me. I think I can give you some ideas--I'm not sure.
Anyhow, I'd like to try."

"Go ahead! Go ahead!" said Summerfield, "the more the merrier. And I'll
see you any time you're ready. I have a man out there--Freeman's
assistant--who's running things for me temporarily. Here's luck," and he
waved his hand indifferently.

Eugene went out. Was there ever such a man, so hard, so cold, so
practical! It was a new note to him. He was simply astonished, largely
because he was inexperienced. He had not yet gone up against the
business world as those who try to do anything in a big way commercially
must. This man was getting on his nerves already, making him feel that
he had a tremendous problem before him, making him think that the quiet
realms of art were merely the backwaters of oblivion. Those who did
anything, who were out in the front row of effort, were fighters such as
this man was, raw products of the soil, ruthless, superior, indifferent.
If only he could be that way, he thought. If he could be strong,
defiant, commanding, what a thing it would be. Not to wince, not to
quail, but to stand up firm, square to the world and make people obey.
Oh, what a splendid vision of empire was here before him.


The designs or suggestions which Eugene offered his prospective employer
for the advertising of the products of M. Sand et Cie and the American
Crystal Sugar Refining Company, were peculiar. As has been indicated,
Eugene had one of those large, effervescent intelligences which when he
was in good physical condition fairly bubbled ideas. His imaginings,
without any effort on his part, naturally took all forms and shapes. The
call of Mr. Summerfield was for street car cards, posters and newspaper
ads of various sizes, and what he wanted Eugene specifically to supply
was not so much the lettering or rather wording of the ads as it was
their artistic form and illustrative point: what one particular
suggestion in the form of a drawing or design could be made in each case
which would arrest public attention. Eugene went home and took the sugar
proposition under consideration first. He did not say anything of what
he was really doing to Angela, because he did not want to disappoint
her. He pretended that he was making sketches which he might offer to
some company for a little money and because it amused him. By the light
of his green shaded working lamp at home he sketched designs of hands
holding squares of sugar, either in the fingers or by silver and gold
sugar tongs, urns piled high with crystalline concoctions, a blue and
gold after-dinner cup with one lump of the new form on the side against
a section of snow white table cloth, and things of that character. He
worked rapidly and with ease until he had some thirty-five suggestions
on this one proposition alone, and then he turned his attention to the
matter of the perfumery.

His first thought was that he did not know all the designs of the
company's bottles, but he originated peculiar and delightful shapes of
his own, some of which were afterwards adopted by the company. He
designed boxes and labels to amuse himself and then made various
still-life compositions such as a box, a bottle, a dainty handkerchief
and a small white hand all showing in a row. His mind slipped to the
manufacture of perfume, the growing of flowers, the gathering of
blossoms, the type of girls and men that might possibly be employed, and
then he hurried to the great public library the next day to see if he
could find a book or magazine article which would tell him something
about it. He found this and several articles on sugar growing and
refining which gave him new ideas in that direction. He decided that in
each case he would put a beautifully designed bottle of perfume or a
handsome package of sugar, say, in the upper right or lower left-hand
corner of the design, and then for the rest show some scene in the
process of its manufacture. He began to think of men who could carry out
his ideas brilliantly if they were not already on his staff, letterers,
character artists, men with a keen sense of color combination whom he
might possibly hire cheaply. He thought of Jerry Mathews of the old
Chicago _Globe_ days--where was he now?--and Philip Shotmeyer, who would
be almost ideal to work under his direction, for he was a splendid
letterer, and Henry Hare, still of the _World_, with whom he had
frequently talked on the subject of ads and posters. Then there was
young Morgenbau, who was a most excellent character man, looking to him
for some opportunity, and eight or ten men whose work he had admired in
the magazines--the best known ones. He decided first to see what could
be done with the staff that he had, and then to eliminate and fill in as
rapidly as possible until he had a capable working group. He had already
caught by contact with Summerfield some of that eager personage's
ruthlessness and began to manifest it in his own attitude. He was most
impressionable to things advantageous to himself, and this chance to
rise to a higher level out of the slough of poverty in which he had so
greatly suffered nerved him to the utmost effort. In two days he had a
most impressive mass of material to show his prospective employer, and
he returned to his presence with considerable confidence. The latter
looked over his ideas carefully and then began to warm to his attitude
of mind.

"I should say!" he said generously, "there's some life to this stuff. I
can see you getting the five thousand a year all right if you keep on.
You're a little new, but you've caught the drift." And he sat down to
show him where some improvements from a practical point of view could be

"Now, professor," he said finally when he was satisfied that Eugene was
the man he wanted, "you and I might as well call this a deal. It's
pretty plain to me that you've got something that I want. Some of these
things are fine. I don't know how you're going to make out as a master
of men, but you might as well take that desk out there and we'll begin
right now. I wish you luck. I really do. You're a live wire, I think."

Eugene thrilled with satisfaction. This was the result he wanted. No
half-hearted commendation, but enthusiastic praise. He must have it. He
always felt that he could command it. People naturally ran after him. He
was getting used to it by now--taking it as a matter of course. If he
hadn't broken down, curse the luck, think where he could have been
today. He had lost five years and he was not quite well yet, but thank
God he was getting steadily better, and he would try and hold himself in
check from now on. The world demanded it.

He went out with Summerfield into the art room and was there introduced
by him to the various men employed. "Mr. Davis, Mr. Witla; Mr. Hart,
Mr. Witla; Mr. Clemens, Mr. Witla," so it went, and the staff was soon
aware of who he was. Summerfield then took him into the next room and
introduced him to the various heads of departments, the business manager
who fixed his and his artists' salaries, the cashier who paid him, the
manager of the ad writing department, the manager of the trade aid
department, and the head of the stenographic department, a woman. Eugene
was a little disgusted with what he considered the crassness of these
people. After the quality of the art atmosphere in which he had moved
these people seemed to him somewhat raw and voracious, like fish. They
had no refinement. Their looks and manners were unduly aggressive. He
resented particularly the fact that one canvasser with whom he shook
hands wore a bright red tie and had on yellow shoes. The insistence on
department store models for suits and floor-walker manners pained him.

"To hell with such cattle," he thought, but on the surface he smiled and
shook hands and said how glad he would be to work with them. Finally
when all the introductions were over he went back to his own department,
to take up the work which rushed through here like a living stream,
pellmell. His own staff was, of course, much more agreeable to him.
These artists who worked for him interested him, for they were as he
suspected men very much like himself, in poor health probably, or down
on their luck and compelled to do this. He called for his assistant,
Mr. Davis, whom Summerfield had introduced to him as such, and asked him
to let him see how the work stood.

"Have you a schedule of the work in hand?" he asked easily.

"Yes, sir," said his new attendant.

"Let me see it."

The latter brought what he called his order book and showed him just how
things worked. Each particular piece of work, or order as it was called,
was given a number when it came in, the time of its entry marked on the
slip, the name of the artist to whom it was assigned, the time taken to
execute it, and so forth. If one artist only put two hours on it and
another took it and put four, this was noted. If the first drawing was a
failure and a second begun, the records would show all, the slips and
errors of the office as well as its speed and capacity. Eugene perceived
that he must see to it that his men did not make many mistakes.

After this order book had been carefully inspected by him, he rose and
strolled about among the men to see how they were getting on. He wanted
to familiarize himself at once with the styles and methods of his men.
Some were working on clothing ads, some on designs illustrative of the
beef industry, some on a railroad travel series for the street cars, and
so forth. Eugene bent over each one graciously, for he wanted to make
friends with these people and win their confidence. He knew from
experience how sensitive artists were--how they could be bound by
feelings of good fellowship. He had a soft, easy, smiling manner which
he hoped would smooth his way for him. He leaned over this man's
shoulder and that asking what the point was, how long a piece of work of
that character ought to take, suggesting where a man appeared to be in
doubt what he thought would be advisable. He was not at all certain of
himself--this line of work being so new--but he was hopeful and eager.
It was a fine sensation, this being a boss, if one could only triumph at
it. He hoped to help these men to help themselves; to make them make
good in ways which would bring them and him more money. He wanted more
money--that five thousand, no less.

"I think you have the right idea there," he said to one pale, anæmic
worker who looked as though he might have a lot of talent.

The man, whose name was Dillon, responded to the soothing, caressing
tone of his voice. He liked Eugene's appearance, though he was not at
all disposed to pass favorable judgment as yet. It was already rumored
that he had had an exceptional career as an artist. Summerfield had
attended to that. He looked up and smiled and said, "Do you think so?"

"I certainly do," said Eugene cheerfully. "Try a touch of yellow next to
that blue. See if you don't like that."

The artist did as requested and squinted at it narrowly. "It helps it a
lot, don't it," he observed, as though it were his own.

"It certainly does," said Eugene, "that's a good idea," and somehow
Dillon felt as though he had thought of it. Inside of twenty minutes the
whole staff was agreeing with itself that he was a nice man to all
outward appearances and that he might make good. He appeared to be so
sure. They little knew how perturbed he was inwardly, how anxious he was
to get all the threads of this in his hand and to see that everything
came to an ideal fruition. He dreaded the hour when he might have
something to contend with which was not quite right.

Days passed at this new work and then weeks, and by degrees he grew
moderately sure of himself and comparatively easy in his seat, though he
realized that he had not stepped into a bed of roses. He found this a
most tempestuous office to work in, for Summerfield was, as he expressed
it, "on the job" early and late, and tireless in his insistence and
enthusiasm. He came down from his residence in the upper portion of the
city at eight-fifty in the morning and remained almost invariably until
six-thirty and seven and not infrequently until eight and nine in the
evening. He had the inconsiderate habit of keeping such of his staff as
happened to be working upon the thing in which he was interested until
all hours of the night; sometimes transferring his deliberations to his
own home and that without dinner or the proffer of it to those whom he
made to work. He would talk advertising with one big merchant or another
until it was time to go home, and would then call in the weary members
of his staff before they had time to escape and begin a long and
important discussion of something he wanted done. At times, when
anything went wrong, he would fly into an insane fury, rave and curse
and finally, perhaps, discharge the one who was really not to blame.
There were no end of labored and irritating conferences in which hard
words and sarcastic references would fly about, for he had no respect
for the ability or personality of anyone who worked for him. They were
all more or less machines in his estimation and rather poorly
constructed ones at that. Their ideas were not good enough unless for
the time being they happened to be new, or as in Eugene's case
displaying pronounced talent.

He could not fathom Eugene so readily, for he had never met anyone of
his kind. He was looking closely in his case, as he was in that of all
the others, to see if he could not find some weakness in his ideas. He
had a gleaming, insistent, almost demoniac eye, a habit of chewing
incessantly and even violently the stub end of a cigar, the habit of
twitching, getting up and walking about, stirring things on his desk,
doing anything and everything to give his restless, generative energy a
chance to escape.

"Now, professor," he would say when Eugene came in and seated himself
quietly and unobtrusively in some corner, "we have a very difficult
thing here to solve today. I want to know what you think could be done
in such and such a case," describing a particular condition.

Eugene would brace himself up and begin to consider, but rumination was
not what Summerfield wanted from anyone.

"Well, professor! well! well!" he would exclaim.

Eugene would stir irritably. This was so embarrassing--in a way so
degrading to him.

"Come to life, professor," Summerfield would go on. He seemed to have
concluded long before that the gad was the most effective commercial

Eugene would then make some polite suggestion, wishing instead that he
could tell him to go to the devil, but that was not the end of it.
Before all the old writers, canvassers, trade aid men--sometimes one or
two of his own artists who might be working upon the particular task in
question, he would exclaim: "Lord! what a poor suggestion!" or "can't
you do any better than that, professor?" or "good heavens, I have three
or four ideas better than that myself." The best he would ever say in
conference was, "Well, there may be something in that," though
privately, afterwards, he might possibly express great pleasure. Past
achievements counted for nothing; that was so plain. One might bring in
gold and silver all day long; the next day there must be more gold and
silver and in larger quantities. There was no end to the man's appetite.
There was no limit to the speed at which he wished to drive his men.
There was no limit to the venomous commercial idea as an idea.
Summerfield set an example of nagging and irritating insistence, and he
urged all his employees to the same policy. The result was a
bear-garden, a den of prize-fighters, liars, cutthroats and thieves in
which every man was for himself openly and avowedly and the devil take
the hindmost.


Still time went by, and although things did not improve very much in his
office over the standards which he saw prevailing when he came there, he
was obviously getting things much better arranged in his private life.
In the first place Angela's attitude was getting much better. The old
agony which had possessed her in the days when he was acting so badly
had modified as day by day she saw him working and conducting himself
with reasonable circumspection. She did not trust him as yet. She was
not sure that he had utterly broken with Carlotta Wilson (she had never
found out who his paramour was), but all the evidence seemed to attest
it. There was a telephone down stairs in a drug store by which, during
his days on the _World_, Angela would call him up at any time, and
whenever she had called him up he was always in the office. He seemed to
have plenty of time to take her to the theatre if she wished to go, and
to have no especial desire to avoid her company. He had once told her
frankly that he did not propose to pretend to love her any more, though
he did care for her, and this frightened her. In spite of her wrath and
suffering she cared for him, and she believed that he still sympathized
with her and might come to care for her again--that he ought to.

She decided to play the rôle of the affectionate wife whether it was
true or not, and to hug and kiss him and fuss over him if he would let
her, just as though nothing had happened. Eugene did not understand
this. He did not see how Angela could still love him. He thought she
must hate him, having such just grounds, for having by dint of hard work
and absence come out of his vast excitement about Carlotta he was
beginning to feel that he had done her a terrific injustice and to wish
to make amends. He did not want to love her, he did not feel that he
could, but he was perfectly willing to behave himself, to try to earn a
good living, to take her to theatre and opera as opportunity permitted,
and to build up and renew a social relationship with others which should
act as a substitute for love. He was beginning to think that there was
no honest or happy solution to any affair of the heart in the world.
Most people so far as he could see were unhappily married. It seemed to
be the lot of mankind to make mistakes in its matrimonial selections. He
was probably no more unhappy than many others. Let the world wag as it
would for a time. He would try to make some money now, and restore
himself in the eyes of the world. Later, life might bring him
something--who could tell?

In the next place their financial condition, even before he left the
_World_, was so much better than it had been. By dint of saving and
scraping, refusing to increase their expenses more than was absolutely
necessary, Angela had succeeded by the time he left the _World_ in
laying by over one thousand dollars, and since then it had gone up to
three thousand. They had relaxed sufficiently so that now they were
wearing reasonably good clothes, were going out and receiving company
regularly. It was not possible in their little apartment which they
still occupied to entertain more than three or four at the outside, and
two was all that Angela ever cared to consider as either pleasurable or
comfortable; but they entertained this number frequently. There were
some slight recoveries of friendship and of the old life--Hudson Dula,
Jerry Mathews, who had moved to Newark; William McConnell, Philip
Shotmeyer. MacHugh and Smite were away, one painting in Nova Scotia, the
other working in Chicago. As for the old art crowd, socialists and
radicals included, Eugene attempted to avoid them as much as possible.
He knew nothing of the present whereabouts of Miriam Finch and Norma
Whitmore. Of Christina Channing he heard much, for she was singing in
Grand Opera, her pictures displayed in the paper and upon the
billboards. There were many new friends, principally young newspaper
artists like Adolph Morgenbau, who took to Eugene and were in a sense
his disciples.

Angela's relations showed up from time to time, among them David Blue,
now a sub-lieutenant in the army, with all the army officer's pride of
place and station. There were women friends of Angela's for whom Eugene
cared little--Mrs. Desmas, the wife of the furniture manufacturer at
Riverwood, from whom they had rented their four rooms there;
Mrs. Wertheim, the wife of the multimillionaire, to whom M. Charles had
introduced them; Mrs. Link, the wife of the West Point army captain who
had come to the old Washington Square studio with Marietta and who was
now stationed at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn; and a Mrs. Juergens, living
in a neighboring apartment. As long as they were very poor, Angela was
very careful how she revived acquaintances; but when they began to have
a little money she decided that she might indulge her predilection and
so make life less lonesome for herself. She had always been anxious to
build up solid social connections for Eugene, but as yet she did not see
how it was to be done.

When Eugene's new connection with the Summerfield company was
consummated, Angela was greatly astonished and rather delighted to think
that if he had to work in this practical field for long it was to be
under such comforting auspices--that is, as a superior and not as an
underling. Long ago she had come to feel that Eugene would never make
any money in a commercial way. To see him mounting in this manner was
curious, but not wholly reassuring. They must save money; that was her
one cry. They had to move soon, that was very plain, but they mustn't
spend any more than they had to. She delayed until the attitude of
Summerfield, upon an accidental visit to their flat, made it
commercially advisable.

Summerfield was a great admirer of Eugene's artistic ability. He had
never seen any of his pictures, but he was rather keen to, and once when
Eugene told him that they were still on display, one or two of them at
Pottle Frères, Jacob Bergman's and Henry LaRue's, he decided to visit
these places, but put it off. One night when he was riding uptown on the
L road with Eugene he decided because he was in a vagrom mood to
accompany him home and see his pictures there. Eugene did not want this.
He was chagrined to be compelled to take him into their very little
apartment, but there was apparently no way of escaping it. He tried to
persuade him to visit Pottle Frères instead, where one picture was still
on view, but Summerfield would none of that.

"I don't like you to see this place," finally he said apologetically, as
they were going up the steps of the five-story apartment house. "We are
going to get out of here pretty soon. I came here when I worked on the

Summerfield looked about at the poor neighborhood, the inlet of a canal
some two blocks east where a series of black coal pockets were and to
the north where there was flat open country and a railroad yard.

"Why, that's all right," he said, in his direct, practical way. "It
doesn't make any difference to me. It does to you, though, Witla. You
know, I believe in spending money, everybody spending money. Nobody gets
anywhere by saving anything. Pay out! Pay out--that's the idea. I found
that out for myself long ago. You'd better move when you get a chance
soon and surround yourself with clever people."

Eugene considered this the easy talk of a man who was successful and
lucky, but he still thought there was much in it. Summerfield came in
and viewed the pictures. He liked them, and he liked Angela, though he
wondered how Eugene ever came to marry her. She was such a quiet little
home body. Eugene looked more like a Bohemian or a club man now that he
had been worked upon by Summerfield. The soft hat had long since been
discarded for a stiff derby, and Eugene's clothes were of the most
practical business type he could find. He looked more like a young
merchant than an artist. Summerfield invited them over to dinner at his
house, refusing to stay to dinner here, and went his way.

Before long, because of his advice they moved. They had practically four
thousand by now, and because of his salary Angela figured that they
could increase their living expenses to say two thousand five hundred or
even three thousand dollars. She wanted Eugene to save two thousand each
year against the day when he should decide to return to art. They sought
about together Saturday afternoons and Sundays and finally found a
charming apartment in Central Park West overlooking the park, where they
thought they could live and entertain beautifully. It had a large
dining-room and living-room which when the table was cleared away formed
one great room. There was a handsomely equipped bathroom, a nice kitchen
with ample pantry, three bedrooms, one of which Angela turned into a
sewing room, and a square hall or entry which answered as a temporary
reception room. There were plenty of closets, gas and electricity,
elevator service with nicely uniformed elevator men, and a house
telephone. It was very different from their last place, where they only
had a long dark hall, stairways to climb, gas only, and no phone. The
neighborhood, too, was so much better. Here were automobiles and people
walking in the park or promenading on a Sunday afternoon, and obsequious
consideration or polite indifference to your affairs from everyone who
had anything to do with you.

"Well, the tide is certainly turning," said Eugene, as they entered it
the first day.

He had the apartment redecorated in white and delft-blue and dark blue,
getting a set of library and dining-room furniture in imitation
rosewood. He bought a few choice pictures which he had seen at various
exhibitions to mix with his own, and set a cut-glass bowl in the ceiling
where formerly the commonplace chandelier had been. There were books
enough, accumulated during a period of years, to fill the attractive
white bookcase with its lead-paned doors. Attractive sets of bedroom
furniture in bird's-eye maple and white enamel were secured, and the
whole apartment given a very cosy and tasteful appearance. A piano was
purchased outright and dinner and breakfast sets of Haviland china.
There were many other dainty accessories, such as rugs, curtains,
portières, and so forth, the hanging of which Angela supervised. Here
they settled down to a comparatively new and attractive life.

Angela had never really forgiven him his indiscretions of the past, his
radical brutality in the last instance, but she was not holding them up
insistently against him. There were occasional scenes even yet, the
echoes of a far-off storm; but as long as they were making money and
friends were beginning to come back she did not propose to quarrel.
Eugene was very considerate. He was very, very hard-working. Why should
she nag him? He would sit by a window overlooking the park at night and
toil over his sketches and ideas until midnight. He was up and dressed
by seven, down to his office by eight-thirty, out to lunch at one or
later, and only back home at eight or nine o'clock at night. Sometimes
Angela would be cross with him for this, sometimes rail at
Mr. Summerfield for an inhuman brute, but seeing that the apartment was
so lovely and that Eugene was getting along so well, how could she
quarrel? It was for her benefit as much as for his that he appeared to
be working. He did not think about spending money. He did not seem to
care. He would work, work, work, until she actually felt sorry for him.

"Certainly Mr. Summerfield ought to like you," she said to him one day,
half in compliment, half in a rage at a man who would exact so much from
him. "You're valuable enough to him. I never saw a man who could work
like you can. Don't you ever want to stop?"

"Don't bother about me, Angelface," he said. "I have to do it. I don't
mind. It's better than walking the streets and wondering how I'm going
to get along"--and he fell to his ideas again.

Angela shook her head. Poor Eugene! If ever a man deserved success for
working, he certainly did. And he was really getting nice again--getting
conventional. Perhaps it was because he was getting a little older. It
might turn out that he would become a splendid man, after all.


There came a time, however, when all this excitement and wrath and
quarreling began to unnerve Eugene and to make him feel that he could
not indefinitely stand the strain. After all, his was the artistic
temperament, not that of a commercial or financial genius. He was too
nervous and restless. For one thing he was first astonished, then
amused, then embittered by the continual travesty on justice, truth,
beauty, sympathy, which he saw enacted before his eyes. Life stripped of
its illusion and its seeming becomes a rather deadly thing to
contemplate. Because of the ruthless, insistent, inconsiderate attitude
of this employer, all the employees of this place followed his example,
and there was neither kindness nor courtesy--nor even raw justice
anywhere. Eugene was compelled to see himself looked upon from the
beginning, not so much by his own staff as by the other employees of the
company, as a man who could not last long. He was disliked forsooth
because Summerfield displayed some liking for him, and because his
manners did not coincide exactly with the prevailing standard of the
office. Summerfield did not intend to allow his interest in Eugene to
infringe in any way upon his commercial exactions, but this was not
enough to save or aid Eugene in any way. The others disliked him, some
because he was a true artist to begin with, because of his rather
distant air, and because in spite of himself he could not take them all
as seriously as he should.

Most of them seemed little mannikins to him--little second, third, and
fourth editions or copies of Summerfield. They all copied that worthy's
insistent air. They all attempted to imitate his briskness. Like
children, they were inclined to try to imitate his bitter persiflage and
be smart; and they demanded, as he said they should, the last ounce of
consideration and duty from their neighbors. Eugene was too much of a
philosopher not to take much of this with a grain of salt, but after all
his position depended on his activity and his ability to get results,
and it was a pity, he thought, that he could expect neither courtesy nor
favor from anyone. Departmental chiefs stormed his room daily, demanding
this, that, and the other work immediately. Artists complained that they
were not getting enough pay, the business manager railed because
expenses were not kept low, saying that Eugene might be an improvement
in the matter of the quality of the results obtained and the speed of
execution, but that he was lavish in his expenditure. Others cursed
openly in his presence at times, and about him to his employer, alleging
that the execution of certain ideas was rotten, or that certain work was
delayed, or that he was slow or discourteous. There was little in these
things, as Summerfield well knew from watching Eugene, but he was too
much a lover of quarrels and excitement as being productive of the best
results in the long run to wish to interfere. Eugene was soon accused of
delaying work generally, of having incompetent men (which was true), of
being slow, of being an artistic snob. He stood it all calmly because of
his recent experience with poverty, but he was determined to fight
ultimately. He was no longer, or at least not going to be, he thought,
the ambling, cowardly, dreaming Witla he had been. He was going to stand
up, and he did begin to.

"Remember, you are the last word here, Witla," Summerfield had told him
on one occasion. "If anything goes wrong here, you're to blame. Don't
make any mistakes. Don't let anyone accuse you falsely. Don't run to me.
I won't help you."

It was such a ruthless attitude that it shocked Eugene into an attitude
of defiance. In time he thought he had become a hardened and a changed
man--aggressive, contentious, bitter.

"They can all go to hell!" he said one day to Summerfield, after a
terrific row about some delayed pictures, in which one man who was
animated by personal animosity more than anything else had said hard
things about him. "The thing that's been stated here isn't so. My work
is up to and beyond the mark. This individual here"--pointing to the man
in question--"simply doesn't like me. The next time he comes into my
room nosing about I'll throw him out. He's a damned fakir, and you know
it. He lied here today, and you know that."

"Good for you, Witla!" exclaimed Summerfield joyously. The idea of a
fighting attitude on Eugene's part pleased him. "You're coming to life.
You'll get somewhere now. You've got the ideas, but if you let these
wolves run over you they'll do it, and they'll eat you. I can't help it.
They're all no good. I wouldn't trust a single God-damned man in the

So it went. Eugene smiled. Could he ever get used to such a life? Could
he ever learn to live with such cheap, inconsiderate, indecent little
pups? Summerfield might like them, but he didn't. This might be a
marvellous business policy, but he couldn't see it. Somehow it seemed to
reflect the mental attitude and temperament of Mr. Daniel C. Summerfield
and nothing more. Human nature ought to be better than that.

It is curious how fortune sometimes binds up the wounds of the past,
covers over the broken places as with clinging vines, gives to the
miseries and mental wearinesses of life a look of sweetness and comfort.
An illusion of perfect joy is sometimes created where still, underneath,
are cracks and scars. Here were Angela and Eugene living together now,
beginning to be visited by first one and then the other of those they
had known in the past, seemingly as happy as though no storm had ever
beset the calm of their present sailing. Eugene, despite all his woes,
was interested in this work. He liked to think of himself as the captain
of a score of men, having a handsome office desk, being hailed as chief
by obsequious subordinates and invited here and there by Summerfield,
who still liked him. The work was hard, but it was so much more
profitable than anything he had ever had before. Angela was happier,
too, he thought, than she had been in a long time, for she did not need
to worry about money and his prospects were broadening. Friends were
coming back to them in a steady stream, and they were creating new ones.
It was possible to go to a seaside resort occasionally, winter or
summer, or to entertain three or four friends at dinner. Angela had a
maid. The meals were served with considerable distinction under her
supervision. She was flattered to hear nice things said about her
husband in her presence, for it was whispered abroad in art circles with
which they were now slightly in touch again that half the effectiveness
of the Summerfield ads was due to Eugene's talent. It was no shame for
him to come out now and say where he was, for he was getting a good
salary and was a department chief. He, or rather the house through him,
had made several great hits, issuing series of ads which attracted the
attention of the public generally to the products which they advertised.
Experts in the advertising world first, and then later the public
generally, were beginning to wonder who it was that was primarily
responsible for the hits.

The Summerfield company had not had them during the previous six years
of its history. There were too many of them coming close together not to
make a new era in the history of the house. Summerfield, it was
understood about the office, was becoming a little jealous of Eugene,
for he could not brook the presence of a man with a reputation; and
Eugene, with his five thousand dollars in cash in two savings banks,
with practically two thousand five hundred dollars' worth of tasteful
furniture in his apartment and with a ten-thousand life-insurance policy
in favor of Angela, was carrying himself with quite an air. He was not
feeling so anxious about his future.

Angela noted it. Summerfield also. The latter felt that Eugene was
beginning to show his artistic superiority in a way which was not
entirely pleasant. He was coming to have a direct, insistent, sometimes
dictatorial manner. All the driving Summerfield had done had not
succeeded in breaking his spirit. Instead, it had developed him. From a
lean, pale, artistic soul, wearing a soft hat, he had straightened up
and filled out until now he looked more like a business man than an
artist, with a derby hat, clothes of the latest cut, a ring of oriental
design on his middle finger, and pins and ties which reflected the
prevailing modes.

Eugene's attitude had not as yet changed completely, but it was
changing. He was not nearly so fearsome as he had been. He was beginning
to see that he had talents in more directions than one, and to have the
confidence of this fact. Five thousand dollars in cash, with two or
three hundred dollars being added monthly, and interest at four per
cent, being paid upon it, gave him a reserve of self-confidence. He
began to joke Summerfield himself, for he began to realize that other
advertising concerns might be glad to have him. Word had been brought to
him once that the Alfred Cookman Company, of which Summerfield was a
graduate, was considering making him an offer, and the Twine-Campbell
Company, the largest in the field, was also interested in what he was
doing. His own artists, mostly faithful because he had sought to pay
them well and to help them succeed, had spread his fame greatly.
According to them, he was the sole cause of all the recent successes
which had come to the house, which was not true at all.

A number, perhaps the majority, of things recently had started with him;
but they had been amplified by Summerfield, worked over by the
ad-writing department, revised by the advertisers themselves, and so on
and so forth, until notable changes had been effected and success
achieved. There was no doubt that Eugene was directly responsible for a
share of this. His presence was inspiring, constructive. He keyed up the
whole tone of the Summerfield Company merely by being there; but he was
not all there was to it by many a long step. He realized this himself.

He was not at all offensively egotistic--simply surer, calmer, more
genial, less easily ruffled; but even this was too much. Summerfield
wanted a frightened man, and seeing that Eugene might be getting strong
enough to slip away from him, he began to think how he should either
circumvent his possible sudden flight, or discredit his fame, so that if
he did leave he would gain nothing by it. Neither of them was directly
manifesting any ill-will or indicating his true feelings, but such was
the situation just the same. The things which Summerfield thought he
might do were not easy to do under any circumstances. It was
particularly hard in Eugene's case. The man was beginning to have an
air. People liked him. Advertisers who met him, the big manufacturers,
took note of him. They did not understand him as a trade figure, but
thought he must have real force. One man--a great real estate plunger in
New York, who saw him once in Summerfield's office--spoke to the latter
about him.

"That's a most interesting man you have there, that man Witla," he said,
when they were out to lunch together. "Where does he come from?"

"Oh, the West somewhere!" replied Summerfield evasively. "I don't know.
I've had so many art directors I don't pay much attention to them."

Winfield (ex-Senator Kenyon C. Winfield, of Brooklyn) perceived a slight
undercurrent of opposition and belittling. "He looks like a bright
fellow," he said, intending to drop the subject.

"He is, he is," returned Summerfield; "but like all artists, he's
flighty. They're the most unstable people in the world. You can't depend
upon them. Good for one idea today--worth nothing tomorrow--I have to
handle them like a lot of children. The weather sometimes makes all the
difference in the world."

Winfield fancied this was true. Artists generally were worth nothing in
business. Still, he remembered Eugene pleasantly.

As Summerfield talked here, so was it in the office and elsewhere. He
began to say in the office and out that Eugene was really not doing as
well as he might, and that in all likelihood he would have to drop him.
It was sad; but all directors, even the best of them, had their little
day of ability and usefulness, and then ran to seed. He did not see why
it was that all these directors failed so, but they did. They never
really made good in the company. By this method, his own undiminished
ability was made to stand out free and clear, and Eugene was not able to
appear as important. No one who knew anything about Eugene, however, at
this time believed this; but they did believe--in the office--that he
might lose his position. He was too bright--too much of a leader. They
felt that this condition could not continue in a one-man concern; and
this made the work harder, for it bred disloyalty in certain quarters.
Some of his men were disposed to counsel with the enemy.

But as time passed and in spite of the change of attitude which was
coming over Summerfield, Eugene became even stronger in his own
self-esteem. He was not getting vainglorious as yet--merely sure.
Because of his art work his art connections had revived considerably,
and he had heard again from such men as Louis Deesa, M. Charles, Luke
Severas, and others who now knew where he was and wondered why he did
not come back to painting proper. M. Charles was disgusted. "A great
error," he said. He always spoke of him to others as a great loss to
art. Strange to relate, one of his pictures was sold the spring
following his entry into the Summerfield Company, and another the
following winter. Each netted him two hundred and fifty dollars, Pottle
Frères being the agents in one case, Jacob Bergman in the other. These
sales with their consequent calls for additional canvases to show,
cheered him greatly. He felt satisfied now that if anything happened to
him he could go back to his art and that he could make a living, anyhow.

There came a time when he was sent for by Mr. Alfred Cookman, the
advertising agent for whom Summerfield had worked; but nothing came of
that, for the latter did not care to pay more than six thousand a year
and Summerfield had once told Eugene that he would eventually pay him
ten thousand if he stayed with him. He did not think it was fair to
leave him just then, and, besides, Cookman's firm had not the force and
go and prestige which Summerfield had at this time. His real chance came
some six months later, when one of the publishing houses of Philadelphia
having an important weekly to market, began looking for an advertising

It was the policy of this house to select young men and to select from
among all the available candidates just the one particular one to suit
the fancy of the owner and who had a record of successful effort behind
him. Now Eugene was not any more an advertising manager by experience
than he was an art director, but having worked for Summerfield for
nearly two years he had come to know a great deal about advertising, and
the public thought he knew a great deal more. He knew by now just how
Summerfield had his business organized. He knew how he specialized his
forces, giving this line to one and that line to another. He had been
able to learn by sitting in conferences and consultations what it was
that advertisers wanted, how they wanted their goods displayed, what
they wanted said. He had learned that novelty, force and beauty were the
keynotes and he had to work these elements out under the most galling
fire so often that he knew how it ought to be done. He knew also about
commissions, rebates, long-time contracts, and so forth. He had fancied
more than once that he might run a little advertising business of his
own to great profit if he only could find an honest and capable business
manager or partner. Since this person was not forthcoming, he was
content to bide his time.

But the Kalvin Publishing Company of Philadelphia had heard of him. In
his search for a man, Obadiah Kalvin, the founder of the company, had
examined many individuals through agents in Chicago, in St. Louis, in
Baltimore, Boston, and New York, but he had not yet made up his mind. He
was slow in his decisions, and always flattered himself that once he
made a selection he was sure of a good result. He had not heard of
Eugene until toward the end of his search, but one day in the Union Club
in Philadelphia, when he was talking to a big advertising agent with
whom he did considerable business, the latter said:

"I hear you are looking for an advertising manager for your weekly."

"I am," he said.

"I heard of a man the other day who might suit you. He's with the
Summerfield Company in New York. They've been getting up some very
striking ads of late, as you may have noticed."

"I think I have seen some of them," replied Kalvin.

"I'm not sure of the man's name--Witla, or Gitla, or some such thing as
that; but, anyhow, he's over there, and they say he's pretty good. Just
what he is in the house I don't know. You might look him up."

"Thanks; I will," replied Kalvin. He was really quite grateful, for he
was not quite satisfied with any of those he had seen or heard of. He
was an old man, extremely sensitive to ability, wanting to combine force
with refinement if he could; he was a good Christian, and was running
Christian, or rather their happy correlatives, decidedly conservative
publications. When he went back to his office he consulted with his
business partner, a man named Fredericks, who held but a minor share in
the company, and asked him if he couldn't find out something about this
promising individual. Fredericks did so. He called up Cookman, in New
York, who was delighted to injure his old employee, Summerfield, to the
extent of taking away his best man if he could. He told Fredericks that
he thought Eugene was very capable, probably the most capable young man
in the field, and in all likelihood the man he was looking for--a

"I thought once of hiring him myself here not long ago," he told
Fredericks. "He has ideas, you can see that."

The next thing was a private letter from Mr. Fredericks to Mr. Witla
asking if by any chance he could come over to Philadelphia the following
Saturday afternoon, indicating that there was a business proposition of
considerable importance which he wished to lay before him.

From the paper on which it was written Eugene could see that there was
something important in the wind, and laid the matter before Angela. The
latter's eyes glistened.

"I'd certainly go if I were you," she advised. "He might want to make
you business manager or art director or something. You can be sure they
don't intend to offer you less than you're getting now, and
Mr. Summerfield certainly has not treated you very well, anyhow. You've
worked like a slave for him, and he's never kept his agreement to raise
your salary as much as he said he would. It may mean our having to leave
New York; but that doesn't make any difference for a while. You don't
intend to stay in this field, anyhow. You only want to stay long enough
to get a good sound income of your own."

Angela's longing for Eugene's art career was nevertheless being slightly
stilled these days by the presence and dangled lure of money. It was a
great thing to be able to go downtown and buy dresses and hats to suit
the seasons. It was a fine thing to be taken by Eugene Saturday
afternoons and Sundays in season to Atlantic City, to Spring Lake, and
Shelter Island.

"I think I will go over," he said; and he wrote Mr. Fredericks a
favorable reply.

The latter met him at the central station in Philadelphia with his auto
and took him out to his country place in the Haverford district. On the
way he talked of everything but business--the state of the weather, the
condition of the territory through which they were traveling, the day's
news, the nature and interest of Eugene's present work. When they were
in the Fredericks house, where they arrived in time for dinner, and
while they were getting ready for it, Mr. Obadiah Kalvin dropped
in--ostensibly to see his partner, but really to look at Eugene without
committing himself. He was introduced to Eugene, and shook hands with
him cordially. During the meal he talked with Eugene a little, though
not on business, and Eugene wondered why he had been called. He
suspected, knowing as he did that Kalvin was the president of the
company, that the latter was there to look at him. After dinner
Mr. Kalvin left, and Eugene noted that Mr. Fredericks was then quite
ready to talk with him.

"The thing that I wanted you to come over and see me about is in regard
to our weekly and the advertising department. We have a great paper over
here, as you know," he said. "We are intending to do much more with it
in the future than we have in the past even. Mr. Kalvin is anxious to
get just the man to take charge of the advertising department. We have
been looking for someone for quite a little while. Several people have
suggested your name, and I'm rather inclined to think that Mr. Kalvin
would be pleased to see you take it. His visit here today was purely
accidental, but it was fortunate. He had a chance to look at you, so
that if I should propose your name he will know just who you are. I
think you would find this company a fine background for your efforts. We
have no penny-wise-and-pound-foolish policy over here. We know that any
successful thing is made by the men behind it, and we are willing to pay
good money for good men. I don't know what you are getting where you
are, and I don't care very much. If you are interested I should like to
talk to Mr. Kalvin about you, and if he is interested I should like to
bring you two together for a final conference. The salary will be made
right, you needn't worry about that. Mr. Kalvin isn't a small man. If he
likes a man--and I think he might like you--he'll offer you what he
thinks you're worth and you can take it or leave it. I never heard
anyone complain about the salary he offered."

Eugene listened with extreme self-gratulation. He was thrilling from
head to toe. This was the message he had been expecting to hear for so
long. He was getting five thousand now, he had been offered six
thousand. Mr. Kalvin could do no less than offer him seven or
eight--possibly ten. He could easily ask seven thousand five hundred.

"I must say," he said innocently, "the proposition sounds attractive to
me. It's a different kind of thing--somewhat--from what I have been
doing, but I think I could handle it successfully. Of course, the salary
will determine the whole thing. I'm not at all badly placed where I am.
I've just got comfortably settled in New York, and I'm not anxious to
move. But I would not be opposed to coming. I have no contract with
Mr. Summerfield. He has never been willing to give me one."

"Well, we are not keen upon contracts ourselves," said Mr. Fredericks.
"It's not a very strong reed to lean upon, anyhow, as you know. Still a
contract might be arranged if you wish it. Supposing we talk a little
further to Mr. Kalvin today. He doesn't live so far from here," and with
Eugene's consent he went to the phone.

The latter had supposed that the conversation with Mr. Kalvin was
something which would necessarily have to take place at some future
date; but from the conversation then and there held over the phone it
appeared not. Mr. Fredericks explained elaborately over the phone--as
though it was necessary--that he had been about the work of finding an
advertising manager for some time, as Mr. Kalvin knew, and that he had
some difficulty in finding the right man.

"I have been talking to Mr. Witla, whom you met here today, and he is
interested in what I have been telling him about the _Weekly_. He
strikes me from my talk with him here as being possibly the man you are
looking for. I thought that you might like to talk with him further."

Mr. Kalvin evidently signified his assent, for the machine was called
out and they traveled to his house, perhaps a mile away. On the way
Eugene's mind was busy with the possibilities of the future. It was all
so nebulous, this talk of a connection with the famous Kalvin Publishing
Company; but at the same time it was so significant, so potential. Could
it be possible that he was going to leave Summerfield, after all, and
under such advantageous circumstances? It seemed like a dream.

Mr. Kalvin met them in the library of his house, which stood in a
spacious lawn and which save for the lights in the library was quite
dark and apparently lonely. And here their conversation was continued.
He was a quiet man--small, gray-haired, searching in his gaze. He had,
as Eugene noted, little hands and feet, and appeared as still and
composed as a pool in dull weather. He said slowly and quietly that he
was glad that Eugene and Mr. Fredericks had had a talk. He had heard a
little something of Eugene in the past; not much. He wanted to know what
Eugene thought of current advertising policies, what he thought of
certain new developments in advertising method, and so on, at some

"So you think you might like to come with us," he observed drily toward
the end, as though Eugene had proposed coming.

"I don't think I would object to coming under certain conditions," he

"And what are those conditions?"

"Well, I would rather hear what you have to suggest, Mr. Kalvin. I
really am not sure that I want to leave where I am. I'm doing pretty
well as it is."

"Well, you seem a rather likely young man to me," said Mr. Kalvin. "You
have certain qualities which I think I need. I'll say eight thousand for
this year, and if everything is satisfactory one year from this time
I'll make it ten. After that we'll let the future take care of itself."

"Eight thousand! Ten next year!" thought Eugene. The title of
advertising manager of a great publication! This was certainly a step

"Well, that isn't so bad," he said, after a moment's apparent
reflection. "I'd be willing to take that, I think."

"I thought you would," said Mr. Kalvin, with a dry smile. "Well, you and
Mr. Fredericks can arrange the rest of the details. Let me wish you good
luck," and he extended his hand cordially.

Eugene took it.

It did not seem as he rode back in the machine with Mr. Fredericks to
the latter's house--for he was invited to stay for the night--that it
could really be true. Eight thousand a year! Was he eventually going to
become a great business man instead of an artist? He could scarcely
flatter himself that this was true, but the drift was strange. Eight
thousand this year! Ten the next if he made good; twelve, fifteen,
eighteen---- He had heard of such salaries in the advertising field
alone, and how much more would his investments bring him. He foresaw an
apartment on Riverside Drive in New York, a house in the country
perhaps, for he fancied he would not always want to live in the city. An
automobile of his own, perhaps; a grand piano for Angela; Sheraton or
Chippendale furniture; friends, fame--what artist's career could compare
to this? Did any artist he knew enjoy what he was enjoying now, even?
Why should he worry about being an artist? Did they ever get anywhere?
Would the approval of posterity let him ride in an automobile now? He
smiled as he recalled Dula's talk about class superiority--the
distinction of being an artist, even though poor. Poverty be hanged!
Posterity could go to the devil! He wanted to live now--not in the
approval of posterity.


The best positions are not always free from the most disturbing
difficulties, for great responsibility goes with great opportunity; but
Eugene went gaily to this new task, for he knew that it could not
possibly be much more difficult than the one he was leaving. Truly,
Summerfield had been a terrible man to work for. He had done his best by
petty nagging, insisting on endless variations, the most frank and
brutal criticism, to break down Eugene's imperturbable good nature and
make him feel that he could not reasonably hope to handle the situation
without Summerfield's co-operation and assistance. But he had only been
able, by so doing, to bring out Eugene's better resources. His
self-reliance, coolness under fire, ability to work long and ardently
even when his heart was scarcely in it, were all strengthened and

"Well, luck to you, Witla," he said, when Eugene informed him one
morning that he was going to leave and wished to give him notice.

"You needn't take me into consideration. I don't want you to stay if
you're going to go. The quicker the better. These long drawn-out agonies
over leaving don't interest me. There's nothing in that. Clinch the job
today if you want it. I'll find someone."

Eugene resented his indifference, but he only smiled a cordial smile in
reply. "I'll stay a little while if you want me to--one or two weeks--I
don't want to tie up your work in any way."

"Oh, no, no! You won't tie up my work. On your way, and good luck!"

"The little devil!" thought Eugene; but he shook hands and said he was
sorry. Summerfield grinned imperturbably. He wound up his affairs
quickly and got out. "Thank God," he said the day he left, "I'm out of
that hell hole!" But he came to realize afterward that Summerfield had
rendered him a great service. He had forced him to do his best and
utmost, which no one had ever done before. It had told in his character,
his spiritual make-up, his very appearance. He was no longer timid and
nervous, but rather bold and determined-looking. He had lost that fear
of very little things, for he had been sailing through stormy seas.
Little storms did not--could never again--really frighten him. He had
learned to fight. That was the one great thing Summerfield had done for

In the offices of the Kalvin Company it was radically different. Here
was comparative peace and quiet. Kalvin had not fought his way up by
clubbing little people through little difficulties, but had devoted
himself to thinking out a few big things, and letting them because of
their very bigness and newness make their own way and his. He believed
in big men, honest men--the biggest and most honest he could find. He
saw something in Eugene, a tendency toward perfection perhaps which
attracted him.

The formalities of this new arrangement were soon concluded, and Eugene
came into his new and beautiful offices, heralded by the word recently
passed about that he was a most charming man. He was greeted by the
editor, Townsend Miller, in the most cordial manner. He was met by his
assembled staff in the most friendly spirit. It quite took Eugene's
breath away to realize that he was the responsible head of some fifteen
capable advertising men here in Philadelphia alone, to say nothing of
eight more in a branch office in Chicago and traveling canvassers in the
different parts of the country--the far West, the South, the Southwest,
the Canadian Northwest. His material surroundings were much more
imposing than they had been with the Summerfield Company. The idea of
all these men was to follow up business, to lay interesting propositions
before successful merchants and manufacturers who had not yet tried the
columns of the _North American Weekly_, to make contracts which should
be mutually advantageous to the advertiser and the _Weekly_, and to gain
and retain good-will according to the results rendered. It was no very
difficult task in connection with the _North American Weekly_ to do
this, because owing to a novel and appealing editorial policy it was
already in possession of a circulation of five hundred thousand a week,
and was rapidly gaining more. It was not difficult, as Eugene soon
found, to show advertisers in most cases that this was a proposition in
which worth-while results could be obtained. What with Eugene's
fertility in suggesting new methods of advertising, his suaveness of
approach and geniality in laying before the most recalcitrant his very
desirable schemes, his ability to get ideas and suggestions out of his
men in conference, he was really in no danger of not being able to hold
his own, and indeed was destined to make a rather remarkable showing.

Eugene and Angela settled into what might have been deemed a fixed
attitude of comfort and refinement. Without much inconvenience to
himself and with little friction among those about, he had succeeded in
reorganizing his staff along lines which were eminently satisfactory to
himself. Some men who were formerly with the Summerfield Company were
now with him. He had brought them because he found he could inculcate in
them the spirit of sympathetic relationship and good understanding such
as Kalvin desired. He was not making the progress which Summerfield was
making with really less means at his command, but then, on the other
hand, this was a rich company which did not ask or expect any such
struggle as that which Summerfield had been and was still compelled to
make for himself. The business ethics of this company were high. It
believed in clean methods, good salaries, honest service. Kalvin liked
him, and he had one memorable conversation with Eugene some time after
he came there--almost a year--which stuck in his memory and did him much
good. Kalvin saw clearly wherein both his strength and his weakness lay,
and once said to Fredericks, his business manager: "The one thing I like
about that man is his readiness with ideas. He always has one, and he's
the most willing man to try I ever knew. He has imagination. He needs to
be steadied in the direction of sober thought, so that he doesn't
promise more than he can fulfil. Outside this I see nothing the matter
with him."

Fredericks agreed. He liked Eugene also. He did as much as he could to
make things smooth, but of course Eugene's task was personal and to be
worked out by him solely. Kalvin said to him when it became necessary to
raise his salary:

"I've watched your work for a year now and I'm going to keep my word and
raise your salary. You're a good man. You have many excellent qualities
which I want and need in the man who sits at that desk; but you have
also some failings. I don't want you to get offended. A man in my
position is always like a father who sits at the head of a family, and
my lieutenants are like my sons. I have to take an interest in them
because they take an interest in me. Now you've done your work
well--very well, but you are subject to one fault which may sometime
lead into trouble. You're a little too enthusiastic. I don't think you
stop to think enough. You have a lot of ideas. They swarm in your head
like bees, and sometimes you let them all out at once and they buzz
around you and confuse you and everyone else connected with you. You
would really be a better man if you had, not less ideas--I wouldn't say
that--but better control of them. You want to do too many things at
once. Go slow. Take your time. You have lots of time. You're young yet.
Think! If you're in doubt, come down and consult with me. I'm older in
this business than you are, and I'll help you all I can."

Eugene smiled and said: "I think that's true."

"It is true," said Kalvin; "and now I want to speak of another thing
which is a little more of a personal matter, and I don't want you to
take offence, for I'm saying it for your benefit. If I'm any judge of
men, and I flatter myself sometimes that I am, you're a man whose
greatest weakness lies--and, mind you, I have no actual evidence to go
upon, not one scrap--your greatest weakness lies perhaps not so much in
the direction of women as in a love of luxury generally, of which women
might become, and usually are, a very conspicuous part."

Eugene flushed the least bit nervously and resentfully, for he thought
he had conducted himself in the most circumspect manner here--in fact,
everywhere since the days he had begun to put the Riverwood incident
behind him.

"Now I suppose you wonder why I say that. Well, I raised two boys, both
dead now, and one was just a little like you. You have so much
imagination that it runs not only to ideas in business, but ideas in
dress and comfort and friends and entertainment. Be careful of the kind
of people you get in with. Stick to the conservative element. It may be
hard for you, but it's best for you, materially speaking. You're the
kind of man, if my observations and intuitions are correct, who is apt
to be carried away by his ideals of anything--beauty, women, show. Now I
have no ascetic objections to women, but to you they are dangerous, as
yet. At bottom, I don't think you have the making of a real cold
business man in you, but you're a splendid lieutenant. I'll tell you
frankly I don't think a better man than you has ever sat, or could sit,
in that chair. You are very exceptional, but your very ability makes you
an uncertain quantity. You're just on the threshold of your career. This
additional two thousand dollars is going to open up new opportunities to
you. Keep cool. Keep out of the hands of clever people. Don't let subtle
women come near. You're married, and for your sake I hope you love your
wife. If you don't, pretend to, and stay within the bounds of
convention. Don't let any scandal ever attach to you. If you do it will
be absolutely fatal so far as I am concerned. I have had to part with a
number of excellent men in my time because a little money turned their
heads and they went wild over some one woman, or many women. Don't you
be that way. I like you. I'd like to see you get along. Be cold if you
can. Be careful. Think. That's the best advice I can give you, and I
wish you luck."

He waved him a dismissal, and Eugene rose. He wondered how this man had
seen so clearly into his character. It was the truth, and he knew it
was. His inmost thoughts and feelings were evidently written where this
man could see them. Fittingly was he president of a great company. He
could read men.

He went back into his office and decided to take this lesson to heart.
He must keep cool and sane always. "I guess I've had enough experience
to know that, though, by now," he said and dismissed the idea from his

For this year and the year following, when his salary was raised to
twelve thousand, Eugene flourished prodigiously. He and Miller became
better friends than ever. Miller had advertising ideas which were of
value to Eugene. Eugene had art and editorial ideas which were of value
to Miller. They were together a great deal at social functions, and were
sometimes hailed by their companions as the "Kalvin Kids," and the
"Limelight Twins." Eugene learned to play golf with Miller, though he
was a slow student and never good, and also tennis. He and Mrs. Miller,
Angela and Townsend, frequently made a set on their own court or over at
Miller's. They automobiled and rode a great deal. Eugene met some
charming women, particularly young ones, at dances, of which he had
become very fond, and at dinners and receptions. They and the Millers
were invited to a great many affairs, but by degrees it became apparent
to him, as it did to Miller and Mrs. Miller, that his presence was much
more desired by a certain type of smart woman than was that of his wife.

"Oh, he is so clever!" was an observation which might have been heard in
various quarters. Frequently the compliment stopped there and nothing
was said of Angela, or later on it would come up that she was not quite
so nice. Not that she was not charming and worthy and all that, "But you
know, my dear, she isn't quite so available. You can't use her as you
can some women."

It was at this time that Angela first conceived the notion seriously
that a child might have a sobering effect on Eugene. She had, in spite
of the fact that for some time now they had been well able to support
one or more, and in spite also of the fact that Eugene's various
emotional lapses indicated that he needed a sobering weight of some
kind, steadily objected in her mind to the idea of subjecting herself to
this ordeal. To tell the truth, aside from the care and worry which
always, owing to her early experience with her sister's children, had
been associated in her mind with the presence of them, she was decidedly
afraid of the result. She had heard her mother say that most girls in
their infancy showed very clearly whether they were to be good healthy
mothers or not--whether they were to have children--and her recollection
was that her mother had once said that she would not have any children.
She half believed it to be impossible in her case, though she had never
told this to Eugene, and she had guarded herself jealously against the
chance of having any.

Now, however, after watching Eugene all these years, seeing the drift of
his present mood, feeling the influence of prosperity on him, she wished
sincerely that she might have one, without great danger or discomfort to
herself, in order that she might influence and control him. He might
learn to love it. The sense of responsibility involved would have its
effect. People would look to him to conduct himself soberly under these
circumstances, and he probably would--he was so subject to public
opinion now. She thought of this a long time, wondering, for fear and
annoyance were quite strong influences with her, and she did nothing
immediately. She listened to various women who talked with her from time
to time about the child question, and decided that perhaps it was very
wrong not to have children--at least one or two; that it was very likely
possible that she could have one, if she wanted to. A Mrs. Sanifore who
called on her quite frequently in Philadelphia--she met her at the
Millers'--told her that she was sure she could have one even if she was
past the usual age for first babies; for she had known so many women who

"If I were you, Mrs. Witla, I would see a doctor," she suggested one
day. "He can tell you. I'm sure you can if you want to. They have so
many ways of dieting and exercising you which make all the difference in
the world. I'd like to have you come some day and see my doctor, if you

Angela decided that she would, for curiosity's sake, and in case she
wished to act in the matter some time; and was informed by the wiseacre
who examined her that in his opinion there was no doubt that she could.
She would have to subject herself to a strict regimen. Her muscles would
have to be softened by some form of manipulation. Otherwise, she was
apparently in a healthy, normal condition and would suffer no
intolerable hardship. This pleased and soothed Angela greatly. It gave
her a club wherewith to strike her lord--a chain wherewith to bind him.
She did not want to act at once. It was too serious a matter. She wanted
time to think. But it was pleasant to know that she could do this.
Unless Eugene sobered down now----

During the time in which he had been working for the Summerfield Company
and since then for the Kalvin Company here in Philadelphia, Eugene, in
spite of the large salary he was receiving--more each year--really had
not saved so much money. Angela had seen to it that some of his earnings
were invested in Pennsylvania Railroad stock, which seemed to her safe
enough, and in a plot of ground two hundred by two hundred feet at Upper
Montclair, New Jersey, near New York, where she and Eugene might some
day want to live. His business engagements had necessitated considerable
personal expenditures, his opportunity to enter the Baltusrol Golf Club,
the Yere Tennis Club, the Philadelphia Country Club, and similar
organizations had taken annual sums not previously contemplated, and the
need of having a modest automobile, not a touring car, was obvious. His
short experience with that served as a lesson, however, for it was found
to be a terrific expense, entirely disproportionate to his income. After
paying for endless repairs, salarying a chauffeur wearisomely, and
meeting with an accident which permanently damaged the looks of his
machine, he decided to give it up. They could rent autos for all the
uses they would have. And so that luxury ended there.

It was curious, too, how during this time their Western home relations
fell rather shadowily into the background. Eugene had not been home now
for nearly two years, and Angela had seen only David of all her family
since she had been in Philadelphia. In the fall of their third year
there Angela's mother died and she returned to Blackwood for a short
time. The following spring Eugene's father died. Myrtle moved to New
York; her husband, Frank Bangs, was connected with a western furniture
company which was maintaining important show rooms in New York. Myrtle
had broken down nervously and taken up Christian Science, Eugene heard.
Henry Burgess, Sylvia's husband, had become president of the bank with
which he had been so long connected, and had sold his father's paper,
the Alexandria _Appeal_, when the latter suddenly died. Marietta was
promising to come to Philadelphia next year, in order, as she said, that
Eugene might get her a rich husband; but Angela informed him privately
that Marietta was now irrevocably engaged and would, the next year,
marry a wealthy Wisconsin lumber man. Everyone was delighted to hear
that Eugene was doing so well, though all regretted the lapse of his
career as an artist. His fame as an advertising man was growing, and he
was thought to have considerable weight in the editorial direction of
the _North American Weekly_. So he flourished.


It was in the fall of the third year that the most flattering offer of
any was made him, and that without any seeking on his part, for he was
convinced that he had found a fairly permanent berth and was happy among
his associates. Publishing and other trade conditions were at this time
in a peculiar condition, in which lieutenants of any importance in any
field might well be called to positions of apparently extraordinary
prominence and trust. Most of the great organizations of Eugene's day
were already reaching a point where they were no longer controlled by
the individuals who had founded and constructed them, but had passed
into the hands of sons or holding companies, or groups of stockholders,
few of whom knew much, if anything, of the businesses which they were
called to engineer and protect.

Hiram C. Colfax was not a publisher at all at heart. He had come into
control of the Swinton-Scudder-Davis Company by one of those curious
manipulations of finance which sometimes give the care of sheep into the
hands of anything but competent or interested shepherds. Colfax was
sufficiently alert to handle anything in such a way that it would
eventually make money for him, even if that result were finally attained
by parting with it. In other words, he was a financier. His father had
been a New England soap manufacturer, and having accumulated more or
less radical ideas along with his wealth, had decided to propagandize in
favor of various causes, the Single Tax theory of Henry George for one,
Socialism for another, the promotion of reform ideas in politics
generally. He had tried in various ways to get his ideas before the
public, but had not succeeded very well. He was not a good speaker, not
a good writer, simply a good money maker and fairly capable thinker, and
this irritated him. He thought once of buying or starting a newspaper in
Boston, but investigation soon showed him that this was a rather
hazardous undertaking. He next began subsidizing small weeklies which
should advocate his reforms, but this resulted in little. His interest
in pamphleteering did bring his name to the attention of Martin W. Davis
of the Swinton-Scudder-Davis Company, whose imprint on books, magazines
and weeklies was as common throughout the length and breadth of the land
as that of Oxford is upon the English bible.

The Swinton-Scudder-Davis Company was in sad financial straits.
Intellectually, for various reasons, it had run to seed. John Jacob
Swinton and Owen V. Scudder, the men with book, magazine and true
literary instincts, were long since dead. Mr. Davis had tried for the
various heirs and assigns involved to run it intelligently and honestly,
but intelligence and honesty were of little value in this instance
without great critical judgment. This he had not. The house had become
filled with editors, readers, critics, foremen of manufacturing and
printing departments, business managers, art directors, traveling
salesmen and so on without end, each of whom might be reasonably
efficient if left alone, but none of whom worked well together and all
of whom used up a great deal of money.

The principal literary publication, a magazine of great prestige, was in
the hands of an old man who had been editor for nearly forty years. A
weekly was being run by a boy, comparatively, a youth of twenty-nine. A
second magazine, devoted to adventure fiction, was in the hands of
another young man of twenty-six, a national critical monthly was in the
hands of salaried critics of great repute and uncompromising attitude.
The book department was divided into the hands of a juvenile editor, a
fiction editor, a scientific and educational editor and so on. It was
Mr. Davis' task to see that competent overseers were in charge of all
departments so that they might flourish and work harmoniously under him,
but he was neither sufficiently wise or forceful to fill the rôle. He
was old and was veered about first by one theory and then by another,
and within the house were rings and cliques. One of the most influential
of these--the most influential, in fact--was one which was captained and
led by Florence J. White, an Irish-American, who as business manager
(and really more than that, general manager under Davis) was in charge
of the manufacturing and printing departments, and who because of his
immense budgets for paper, ink, printing, mailing and distribution
generally, was in practical control of the business.

He it was who with Davis' approval said how much was to be paid for
paper, ink, composition, press work, and salaries generally. He it was
who through his henchman, the head of the printing department, arranged
the working schedules by which the magazines and books were to reach the
presses, with the practical power to say whether they were to be on time
or not. He it was who through another superintendent supervised the
mailing and the stock room, and by reason of his great executive ability
was coming to have a threatening control over the advertising and
circulation departments.

The one trouble with White, and this was something which would affect
any man who should come in through Davis' auspices, was that he knew
nothing of art, literature, or science, and cared less, his only
interest being in manufacture. He had risen so rapidly on the executive
side that his power had outrun his financial means. Davis, the present
head above him, had no means beyond his own depreciated share. Because
of poor editorial judgment, the books and magazines were tottering
through a serious loss of prestige to eventual failure. Something had to
be done, for at that time the expenditure for three years past had been
much greater than the receipts.

So Marshall P. Colfax, the father of Hiram Colfax, had been appealed to,
because of his interest in reform ideas which might be to a certain
extent looked upon as related to literature, and because he was reported
to be a man of great wealth. Rumor reported his fortune as being
anywhere between six and eight millions. The proposition which Davis had
to put before him was this: that he buy from the various heirs and
assigns the whole of the stock outside his (Davis') own, which amounted
to somewhere about sixty-five per cent, and then come in as managing
director and reorganize the company to suit himself. Davis was old. He
did not want to trouble himself about the future of this company or risk
his own independent property. He realized as well as anyone that what
the company needed was new blood. A receivership at this juncture would
injure the value of the house imprint very much indeed. White had no
money, and besides he was so new and different that Davis scarcely
understood what his ambitions or his true importance might be. There was
no real intellectual sympathy between them. In the main, he did not like
White's temperament, and so in considering what might be done for the
company he passed him by.

Various consultations were held. Colfax was greatly flattered to think
that this proposition should be brought to his attention at all. He had
three sons, only one of whom was interested in the soap business. Edward
and Hiram, the two youngest, wanted nothing to do with it. He thought
this might be an outlet for the energies of one or both of them,
preferably Hiram, who was more of an intellectual and scientific turn
than the others, though his chief interests were financial; and besides
these books and publications would give him the opportunity which he had
long been seeking. His personal prestige might be immensely heightened
thereby. He examined carefully into the financial phases of the
situation, using his son Hiram, whose financial judgment he had faith
in, as an accountant and mouthpiece, and finally, after seeing that he
could secure the stock on a long-time consideration for a very moderate
valuation--$1,500,000, while it was worth $3,000,000--he had his son
Hiram elected director and president and proceeded to see what could be
done with the company.

In this approaching transaction Florence J. White had seen his
opportunity and seized it. He had realized on sight that Hiram would
need and possibly appreciate all the information and assistance he could
get, and being in a position to know he had laid all the facts in
connection with the house plainly before him. He saw clearly where the
trouble lay, the warring factions, the lack of editorial judgment, the
poor financial manipulations. He knew exactly where the stock was and by
what representations it could be best frightened and made to release
itself cheaply. He worked vigorously for Hiram because he liked him and
the latter reciprocated his regard.

"You've been a prince in this transaction, White," he said to that
individual one day. "You