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Title: The Sturdy Oak - A composite Novel of American Politics by fourteen American authors
Author: Austin, Mary Hunter, 1868-1934 [Contributor], Fisher, Dorothy Canfield, 1879-1958 [Contributor], Grant, Ethel Watts Mumford, 1878-1940 [Contributor], Cooke, Marjorie Benton, 1876-1920 [Contributor], Merwin, Samuel, 1874-1936 [Contributor], Miller, Alice Duer, 1874-1942 [Contributor], Hurst, Fannie, 1889-1968 [Contributor], Norris, Kathleen Thompson, 1880-1966 [Contributor], Webster, Henry Kitchell, 1875-1932 [Contributor], Scott, Leroy, 1875-1929 [Contributor], Vorse, Mary Heaton, 1874-1966 [Contributor], Wilson, Harry Leon, 1867-1939 [Contributor], White, William Allen, 1868-1944 [Contributor], O'Hagan, Anne, 1869-1934 [Contributor], Jordan, Elizabeth Garver, 1867-1947 [Editor]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Sturdy Oak - A composite Novel of American Politics by fourteen American authors" ***



By Samuel Merwin, et al.

[Illustration] THE STURDY OAK

Other Authors:



The chapters collected and (very cautiously) edited by ELIZABETH JORDAN

NEW YORK HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY 1917 [Blank-copyright info]


At a certain committee meeting held in the spring of 1916, it was agreed
that fourteen leading American authors, known to be extremely generous
as well as gifted, should be asked to write a composite novel.

As I was not present at this particular meeting, it was unanimously and
joyously decided by those who were present that I should attend to the
trivial details of getting this novel together.

It appeared that all I had to do was:

First, to persuade each of the busy authors on the list to write a
chapter of the novel.

Second, to keep steadily on their trails from the moment they promised
their chapters until they turned them in.

Third, to have the novel finished and published serially during the
autumn Campaign of 1917.

The carrying out of these requirements has not been the childish
diversion it may have seemed. Splendid team work, however, has made
success possible.

Every author represented, every worker on the team, has gratuitously
contributed his or her services; and every dollar realized by the serial
and book publication of "The Sturdy Oak" will be devoted to the Suffrage
Cause. But the novel itself is first of all a very human story of
American life today. It neither unduly nor unfairly emphasizes the
question of equal suffrage, and it should appeal to all lovers of good

Therefore, pausing only to wipe the beads of perspiration from our
brows, we urge every one to buy this book!



_November_, 1917. CONTENTS
















"Nobody ever means that a woman really can't get along without a man's
protection, because look at the women who do."

It was hard on the darling old boy to come home to Miss Emelene and the
cat and Eleanor and Alys every night!

"You mean because she's a suffragist? You sent her away for _that!_ Why,
really, that's _tyranny!_"

Across the way, Mrs. Herrington, the fighting blood of five generations
of patriots roused in her, had reinstated the Voiceless Speech.


_George Remington_... Aged twenty-six; newly married. Recently returned
to his home town, New York State, to take up the practice of law.
Politically ambitious, a candidate for District Attorney. Opposed to
woman suffrage.

_Genevieve_... His wife, aged twenty-three, graduate of Smith. Devoted
to George; her ideal being to share his every thought.

_Betty Sheridan_... A friend of Genevieve. Very pretty; one of the first
families, well-to-do but in search of economic independence. Working as
stenographer in George's office; an ardent Suffragist.

_Penfield Evans_... Otherwise "Penny," George's partner, in love with
Betty. Neutral on the subject of Suffrage.

_Alys Brewster-Smith_... Cousin of George, once removed; thirty-three,
a married woman by profession, but temporarily widowed. Anti-suffragist.
One Angel Child aged five.

_Martin Jaffry_... Uncle to George, bachelor of uncertain age and
certain income. The widow's destined prey.

_Cousin Emelene_.... On Genevieve's side. Between thirty-five and forty,
a born spinster but clinging to the hope of marriage as the only career
for women. Has a small and decreasing income. Affectedly feminine and
genuinely incompetent.

_Mrs. Harvey Herrington_.... President of the Woman's Club, the
Municipal League, Suffrage Society leader, wealthy, cultured and
possessing a sense of humor.

_Percival Pauncefoot Sheridan_.... Betty's brother, fifteen, commonly
called Pudge. Pink, pudgy, sensitive; always imposed upon, always
grouchy and too good-natured to assert himself.

_E. Eliot_.... Real estate agent (added in Chapter VI by Henry Kitchell

_Benjamin Doolittle_.... A leader of his party, and somewhat careless
where he leads it. (Added in Anne O'Hagan's Chapter).

_Patrick Noonan_.... A follower of Doolittle.

Time.... The Present.

Place.... Whitewater, N. Y. A manufacturing town of from ten to fifteen
thousand inhabitants.



Genevieve Remington had been called beautiful. She was tall, with brown
eyes and a fine spun mass of golden-brown hair. She had a gentle smile,
that disclosed white, even teeth. Her voice was not unmusical. She
was twenty-three years old and possessed a husband who, though only
twenty-six, had already shown such strength of character and such
aptitude at the criminal branch of the law that he was now a candidate
for the post of district attorney on the regular Republican ticket.

The popular impression was that he would be elected hands down. His
address on Alexander Hamilton at the Union League Club banquet at
Hamilton City, twenty-five miles from Whitewater (with which smaller
city we are concerned in this narrative), had been reprinted in full
in the Hamilton City _Tribune_; and Mrs. Brewster-Smith reported that
former Congressman Hancock had compared it, not unfavorably, with
certain public utterances of the Honorable Elihu Root.

George Remington was an inch more than six feet tall, with sturdy
shoulders, a chin that gave every indication of stubborn strength, a
frank smile, and a warm, strong handclasp. He was connected by blood (as
well as by marriage) with five of the eight best families in Whitewater.
Mr. Martin Jaffry, George's uncle and sole inheritor of the great Jaffry
estate (and a bachelor), was known to favor his candidacy; was supposed,
indeed, to be a large contributor to the Remington campaign fund. In
fact, George Remington was a lucky young man, a coming young man.

George and Genevieve had been married five weeks; this was their first
day as master and mistress of the old Remington place on Sheridan Road.

Genevieve, that afternoon, was in the long living-room, trying out
various arrangements of the flowers that had been sent in. There were a
great many flowers. Most of them came from admirers of George. The Young
Men's Republican Club, for one item, had sent eight dozen roses.
But Genevieve, still a-thrill with the magic of her five-weeks-long
honeymoon, tremulously happy in the cumulative proof that her husband
was the noblest, strongest, bravest man alive, felt only joy in his

As his wife she shared his triumphs. "For better or worse, for richer
or poorer, in sickness and health..." the ancient phrases repeated
themselves so many times in her softly confused thought, as she moved
about among the flowers, that they finally took on a rhythm--

  _"For better or worse,
  For richer or poorer,
  For richer or poorer,
  For better or worse--"_

       *       *       *       *       *

On this day her life was beginning. She had given herself irrevocably
into the hands of this man. She would live only in him. Her life would
find expression only through his. His strong, trained mind would be her
guide, his sturdy courage her strength. He would build for them both,
for the twain that were one.

She caught up one red rose, winked the moisture from her eyes, and
gazed--rapt, lips parted, color high--out at the close-clipped lawn
behind the privet hedge. The afternoon would soon be waning--in another
hour or so. She must not disturb him now.

In an hour, say, she would run up the stairs and tap at his door. And
he would come out, clasp her in his big arms, and she would stand on the
tips of her toes and kiss away the wrinkles between his brows, and they
would walk on the lawn and talk about themselves and the miracle of
their love.

The clock on the mantel struck three. She pouted; turned and stared at
it. "Well," she told herself, "I'll wait until half-past four."

The doorbell rang.

Genevieve's color faded. The slim hand that held the rose trembled a
very little. Her first caller! She decided that it would be best not
to talk about George. Not one word about George! Her feelings were her
secret--and his.

Marie ushered in two ladies. One, who rushed forward with outstretched
hand, was a curiously vital-appearing creature in black--plainly a
widow--hardly more than thirty-two or thirty-three, fresh of skin,
rather prominent as to eyeballs, yet, everything considered, a handsome
woman. This was Alys Brewster-Smith. The other, shorter, slighter,
several years older, a faded, smiling, tremulously hopeful spinster, was
Genevieve's own cousin, Emelene Brand.

"It's so nice of you to come--" Geneviève began timidly, only to be
swept aside by the superior aggressiveness and the stronger voice of
Mrs. Brewster-Smith.

"My _dear_! Isn't it perfectly delightful to see you actually mistress
of this wonderful old home. And"--her slightly prominent eyes swiftly
took in furniture, pictures, rugs, flowers,--"how wonderfully you
have managed to give the old place your own tone!" "Nothing has been
changed," murmured Genevieve, a thought bewildered.

"Nothing, my dear, but yourself! I am _so_ looking forward to a good
talk with you. Emelene and I were speaking of that only this noon. And
I can't tell you how sorry I am that our first call has to be on a
miserable political matter. Tell me, dear, is that wonderful husband of
yours at home?"

"Why--yes. But I am not to disturb him."

"Ah, shut away in his den?"

Genevieve nodded.

"It's a very important paper he has to write. It has to be done now,
before he is drawn into the whirl of campaign work."

"Of course! Of course! But I'm afraid the campaign is whirling already.
I will tell you what brought us, my dear. You know of course that
Mrs. Harvey Herrington has come out for suffrage--thrown in her whole
personal weight and, no doubt, her money. I can't understand it--with
her home, and her husband--going into the mire of politics. But that is
what she has done. And Grace Hatfield called up not ten minutes ago to
say that she has just led a delegation of ladies up to your husband's
office. Think of it--to his office! The first day!... Well, Emelene, it
is some consolation that they won't find him there."

"He isn't going to the office today," said Genevieve. "But what can they
want of him?"

"To get him to declare for suffrage, my dear."

"Oh--I'm sure he wouldn't do that!"

"Are you, my dear? Are you _sure_?"


"He has told you his views, of course?"

Genevieve knit her brows. "Why, yes--of course, we've talked about

"My dear, of course he is _against suffrage_."

"Oh yes, of course. I'm sure he is. Though, you see, I would no more
think of intruding in George's business affairs than he would think of
intruding in my household duties."

"Naturally, Genevieve. And very sweet and dear of you! But I'm sure you
will see how very important this is. Here we are, right at the beginning
of his campaign. Those vulgar women are going to hound him. They've
begun already. As our committee wrote him last week, it is vitally
important that he should declare himself unequivocally at once."

"Oh, yes," murmured Genevieve, "of course. I can see that."

The doors swung open. A thin little man of forty to fifty stood there,
a dry but good-humored man, with many wrinkles about his quizzical blue
eyes, and sandy hair at the sides and back of an otherwise bald head.
He was smartly dressed in a homespun Norfolk suit. He waved a cap of
homespun in greeting.

"Afternoon, ladies! Genevieve, a bachelor's admiration and respect! I
hope that boy George has got sense enough to be proud of you. But they
haven't at that age. They're all for themselves."

"Oh no, Uncle Martin," cried Genevieve, "George is the most

Mr. Martin Jaffry flicked his cap. "All right. All right! He is." And
slowly retreated.

Mrs. Brewster-Smith, an eager light in her eyes, moved part way across
the room. "But we can't let you run away like this, Mr. Jaffry. Do sit
down and tell us about the work you are doing at the Country Club. Is it
to be bowling alley _and_ swimming pool----"

"Bowling alley _and_ swimming pool, yes. Tell me, chick, might a humble
constituent speak to the great man?"

Genevieve hesitated. "I'm sure he'd love to see you, Uncle Martin. But
he _did_ say----"

"Not to be disturbed by _any_body, eh?"

"Yes, Uncle Martin. It's a very important statement he has to prepare

"Good day, then. You look fine in the old house, chick!"

Mr. Jaffry donned his cap of homespun, ran down the steps and out the
front walk, hopped into his eight-cylinder roadster, and was off down
the street in a second. There was a sharp decisiveness about his exit,
and about the sudden speed of his machine; all duly noted by Mrs.
Brewster-Smith, who had gone so far as to move down the room to the
front window and watch the performance with narrowed eyes. The Jaffry
Building stands at the southwest corner of Fountain Square. It boasts
six stories, mosaic flooring in the halls, and the only passenger
elevator in Whitewater. The ground floor was given over to Humphrey's
drug store; and most of Humphrey's drug store was given over to the
immense marble soda fountain and the dozen or more wire-legged tables
and the two or three dozen wire chairs that served to accommodate the
late afternoon and evening crowd.

At the moment the fountain had but one patron--a remarkably fat boy of,
perhaps, fifteen, with plump cheeks and drooping mouth.... The row of
windows across the second floor front of the building, above Humphrey's,
bore, each, the legend--_Remington and Evans, Attorneys at Law_.

The fat boy was Percival Sheridan, otherwise Pudge. His sister, Betty
Sheridan, worked in the law offices directly overhead and possessed a
heart of stone.

Betty was rich, at least in the eyes of Pudge. For more than a
year (Betty was twenty-two) she had enjoyed a private income. Pudge
definitely knew this. She had money to buy out the soda fountain. But
her character, thought Pudge, might be summed up in the statement that
she worked when she didn't have to (people talked about this; even to
him!) and flatly refused to give her brother money for soda.

As if a little soda ever hurt anybody. She took it herself, often
enough. Within five minutes he had laid the matter before her--up in
that solemn office, where they made you feel so uncomfortable. She had
said: "Pudge Sheridan, you're killing yourself! Not one cent more for
wrecking your stomach!"

She had called him "Pudge." For months he had been reminding her that
his name was Percival. And he wasn't wrecking his stomach. That was
silly talk. He had eaten but two nut sundaes and a chocolate frappé
since luncheon. It wasn't soda and candy that made him so fat. Some
folks just were fat, and some folks were thin. That was all there was
_to_ it!

Pudge himself would have a private income when he was twenty-one. Six
years off... and Billy Simmons in his white apron, was waiting now, on
the other side of the marble counter, for his order--and grinning as
he waited. Six years! Why, Pudge would be a man then--too old for nut
sundaes and chocolate frappés, too far gone down the sober slope of life
to enjoy anything!

Pudge wriggled nervously, locked his feet around behind the legs of
the high stool, rubbed a fat forefinger on the edge of the counter, and
watched the finger intently with gloomy eyes.

"Well, what'll it be, Pudge?" This from Billy Simmons.

"My name ain't Pudge."

"Very good, Mister Sheridan. What'll it be?"

"One of those chocolate marshmallow nut sundaes, I guess, if--if----"

"If what, Mister Sheridan?"

"--if, oh well, just charge it."

Billy Simmons paused in the act of reaching for a sundae glass. The
smile left his face.

Pudge, though he did not once look up from that absorbing little
operation with the fat forefinger, felt this pause and knew that Billy's
grin had gone; and his own mouth drooped and drooped. It was a tense

"You see, Pudge," Billy began in some embarrassment, only to conclude
rather sharply, "I'll have to ask Mr. Humphrey. Your sister said we

"Oh, well!" sighed Pudge. Getting down from the stool he waddled slowly
out of the store.

It was no use going up against old Humphrey. He had tried that. He went
as far as the fire-plug, close to the corner, and sank down upon it.
Everybody was against him. He would sit here awhile and think it over.
Perhaps he could figure out some way of breaking through the conspiracy.
Then Mr. Martin Jaffry drove up to the curb and he had to move his legs.
Mr. Jaffry said, "Hello, Pudge," too. It was all deeply annoying.

Meantime, during the past half-hour, the law offices of Remington and
Evans were not lacking in the sense of life and activity. Things began
moving when Penny Evans (christened Penfield) came back from lunch. He
wore an air--Betty Sheridan noted, from her typewriter desk within the
rail--of determination. His nod toward herself was distinctly brusque; a
new quality which gave her a moment's thought. And then when he had
hung up his hat and was walking past her to his own private office, he
indulged in a faint, fleeting grin.

Betty considered him. She had known Penny Evans as long as she could
remember knowing anybody; and she had never seen him look quite as he
looked this afternoon.

The buzzer sounded. It was absurd, of course; nobody else in the
office. He could have spoken--you could hear almost every sound over the
seven-foot partitions.

She rose, waited an instant to insure perfect composure, smoothed down
her trim shirtwaist, pushed back a straying wisp of her naturally wavy
hair, picked up her notebook and three sharp pencils, and went quietly
into his office.

He sat there at his flat desk--his blond brows knit, his mouth firm, a
light of eager good humor in his blue eyes.

"Take this," he said... Betty seated herself opposite him, and was
instantly ready for work.

"... Memorandum. From rentals--the old Evans property on Ash Street, the
two houses on Wilson Avenue South, and the factory lease in the South
Extension, a total of slightly over $3600.

"New paragraph. From investments in bonds, railway and municipal, an
average the last four years of $2800.

"New paragraph. From law practice, last year, over $4500. Will be
considerably more this year. Total----"

"New paragraph?"

"No. Continue. Total, $10,900. This year will be close to $12,000. Don't
you think that's a reasonably good showing for an unencumbered man of

"Dictation--that last?"

"No, personal query, Penny to Betty."

"Yes, then, it is very good. You want this in memorandum form. Any

"One carbon--in the form of a diamond--gift from Penny to Betty." Miss
Sheridan settled back in her chair, tapped her pretty mouth with her
pencil, and surveyed the blond young man. Her eyes were blue--frank,
capable eyes.

"Penny, I like my work here----"

"I should hope so----"

"And I don't want to give it up."

"Then don't."

"I shall have to, Penny, if you don't stop breaking your word. It was
a definite agreement, you know. You were not to propose to me, on any
working day, before seven P.M. This is a proposal of course----"

"Yes, of course, but I've just----"

"That makes twice this month, then, that you've broken the agreement.
Now I can go on and put my mind on my work, if you'll let me. Otherwise,
I shall have to get a job where they _will_ let me."

"But, Betty, I've just this noon sat down and figured up where I stand.
It has frightened me a little. I didn't realize I was taking in more
than ten thousand a year. And all of a sudden it struck me that I've
been an imbecile to wait, or make any agreement----"

"Then you broke it deliberately?"

"Absolutely. Betty--no fooling now; I'm in earnest----"

Studying him, she saw that he was intensely in earnest.

"You see, child, I've tried to be patient because I know how you were
brought up, what you're used to. Why, I wouldn't dream of asking you to
be my wife unless I could feel pretty sure of being able to give you
the comforts you've always had and ought to have. But hang it, Betty, I
_can_ do it right! I can give you a home that's worthy of you. Any time!
This year, even!"

"Penny, do you think I care what your income is--for one minute?"


"When I'm earning twenty dollars a week myself and prouder of it than--"

"But that's absurd, Betty--for you to be working--as a stenographer, of
all things! A girl with your looks and your gifts and all that's back of

"You mean that I should make marriage my profession?"


"Probably that's why we keep missing each other, Penny. I've pinned my
flag to the principle of economic independence. You're looking for
a girl who will marry for a living. There are lots of them. Pretty,
attractive girls, too. Your difficulty is, you want that sort. You
really believe all girls are that sort at heart, and you think my
independence a fad--something I shall get over. Don't you, now?"

"Well, I'll confess I can't see it as the normal thing. Yes, I
believe--I hope--you will get over it."

"Well--" Miss Sheridan slammed her book shut and stood up--"I won't."

She stepped to the door.

"And the agreement stands. I want to keep on working. And I want to keep
on being fond of you. That agreement is necessary to both desires." She
opened the door, hesitated and a hint of mischief flashed across her
face. "I'll tell you just the person for you, Penny. Really. Marriage is
her profession. She's very experienced. Temporarily out of a job--Alys

He snatched a carnation from the glass on his desk and threw it at her.
It struck a closed door.

       *       *       *       *       *

The outer door opened just then, and Mr. Martin Jaffry stepped in. He
nodded, with his little quizzical smile, to the composed young woman who
stood within the railing.

"Anybody here, Betty?"

A slight movement of her prettily poised head indicated the door marked
"Mr. Evans." And she said, "Penny's there."

"Is he shut up, too? His partner is too important to be seen today."

"Oh no," Betty replied, inscrutably sober, "he's not important."

Mr. Jaffry wrinkled up his eyes, chuckled softly, then stepped to the
door of the unimportant one. Before opening it, he turned. "Mrs. Harvey
Herrington been in?"

"Twice with a committee."

"Any idea what she wanted?"

Betty was aware that the whimsical and roundabout Mr. Jaffry knew
everything about everybody in Whitewater. She was further aware that he
had, undoubtedly, reasons of his own for questioning her. He was
always asking questions, anyway. Worse than a Chinaman. And for some
reason--perhaps because he was Martin Jaffry--you always answered his

"Yes," said Betty. "She wants to pledge him to suffrage."

"Umm! Yes, I see! You wouldn't be against that yourself, would you?"

"Naturally not. I'm secretary of the Second Ward Suffrage Club."

"Umm! Yes, yes!" With which illuminating comment, Mr. Jaffry tapped on
Penny Evans' door, opened it and entered.

"Spare a minute?" he inquired.

"Sure," said Penny; "two, ten! Take a chair."

"No," replied Mr. Jaffry, "I won't take a chair. Think better on
my feet. I'm in a bit of a quandary. Suppose you tell me what this
important paper is that George is drawing up. Do you know?"

"I do."

"Is he coming out against suffrage?"


"Umm!" Mr. Jaffry flicked his cap about. "I want to see George. He
mustn't do that."

"Say, Mr. Jaffry, you haven't swung over----"

"Not at all. It's tactics. I ought to see him."

"Why not run out to his house----"

"Just been there. Ran away. Some one there I'm afraid of."


Mr. Jaffry shook his head and lowered his voice.

"With Betty hearing it at this end, and the committee from the Antis
sitting it out down there--the telephone's on the stair landing----"

He pursed his lips, waved his cap slowly to and fro and observed it
with a whimsical expression on his sandy face, then glanced out of the
window. He stepped closer, looking sharply down. A very fat boy with
pink cheeks and a downcast expression was sitting on a fire-plug. Mr.
Jaffry leaned out.

"Pudge," he called, "come up here a minute."

On the Remington and Evans stationery he penciled a note, which he
sealed. Then he scribbled another--to Mrs. George Remington, asking her
to hand George the inclosure the moment he appeared from his work. The
two he slipped into a large envelope. The very fat boy stood before him.

"Want to make a quarter, Pudge? Take this letter, right now, to Mrs.
George Remington. Give it to her personally. It's the old Remington
place, you know."

He felt in his change pocket. It was empty. He hesitated, turned to
Evans, then, reconsidering, produced a dollar bill from another pocket
and gave it to the boy.

"Now run," he said.

The boy, speechless, turned and moved out of the office. His sister
spoke to him, but he did not turn his head. He rolled down the stairs to
the street, stood a moment in front of Humphrey's, drew a sudden breath
that was almost a gasp, waddled into the store, advanced directly on the
soda fountain, and with a blazing red face and angrily triumphant eyes
confronted Billy Simmons.

"I'll take a chocolate marshmallow nut sundae," he said. "And you
needn't be stingy with the marshmallow, either!"

       *       *       *       *       *

At ten minutes past four, the anxious Antis in the Remington living-room
heard the candidate for district attorney running down the stairs, and
even Mrs. Brewster-Smith was hushed. The candidate stopped, however,
on the landing. They heard him lift the telephone receiver. He called a
number. Then----

"_Sentinel_ office?... Mr. Ledbetter, please.... Hello, Ledbetter!
Remington speaking. I have that statement ready. Will you send a man
around?... Yes, right away. And I wish you'd put it on the wires.
Display it just as prominently as you can, won't you?... Thanks. That's
fine! Good-by."

He ran back upstairs.

But shortly he appeared, wearing the distrait, exalted expression of the
genius who has just passed through the creative act. He looked very tall
and strong as he stood before the mantel, receiving the congratulations
of Mrs. Brewster-Smith and the timid admiration of Cousin Emelene. His
few words were well chosen and were uttered with dignity.

"And now, dear Mr. Remington, I'm sure I don't need to ask you if you
are taking the right stand on suffrage." This from Mrs. Brewster-Smith.

The candidate smiled tolerantly.

"If unequivocal opposition is 'right'----"

"Oh, you dear man! I was sure we could count on you. Isn't it splendid,

The reporters came.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a busy evening for the young couple. There were relatives for
dinner. Other relatives and an old friend or two came later. Throughout,
George wore that quietly exalted expression, and carried himself with
the new dignity.

To the adoring Genevieve his chin had never appeared so long and strong,
his thought had never seemed so elevated, his quiet self-respect had
never been so commanding. He was no longer merely her George, he was now
a public figure. Soon he would be district attorney; then, very likely,
Governor; then--well, Senator; and finally--it was possible--some one
had to be--President of the United States. He had begun, this day, by
making a great decision, by stepping boldly out on principle, on moral
principle, and announcing himself a defender of the home, of the right.

At midnight, the last guest departed. George and Genevieve stepped out
into the summer moonlight and strolled arm in arm down the walk.

Waddling up the street appeared a very fat boy.

"Why, Pudge," cried Geneviève, "what on earth are you doing out at this
time of night!"

"I'm going home, I tell you!" muttered the boy, on the defensive. He
carried a large bag of what seemed to be chocolate creams, from which he
was eating.

As he passed, a twinge of memory disturbed him. He fumbled in his

"I was to give you this," he said then; and leaving a crumpled envelope
in Genevieve's hand, he walked on as rapidly as he could.

A few minutes later, standing under the light in the front hall, George
Remington read this penciled note:

"I stood ready to contribute more than I promised--any amount to put
you over. But if you give out a statement against suffrage you're a damn
fool and I withdraw every cent. A man with no more political sense and
skill than that isn't worth helping. You should have advised me.

"M. J."


It may have been surmised that our sterling young candidate for district
attorney had not yet become skilled in dalliance with the equivocal;
that he was no adept in ambiguity; that he would confront all issues
with a rugged valiance susceptible of no misconstruction; that, in
short, George Remington was no trimmer.

If he opposed an issue, one knew that he opposed it from the heart out.
He said so and he meant it. And, being opposed to the dreadful heresy
of equal suffrage, no reader of the Whitewater _Sentinel_ that morning
could say, as the shrewd so often say of our older statesmen, that
George was "side-stepping."

Not George's the mellow gift to say, in effect, that of course woman
should vote the instant she wishes to, though perhaps that day has not
yet come. Meantime the speaker boldly defies the world to show a man
holding woman in loftier regard than he does, or ready to accord her a
higher value in all true functions of the body politic. Equal suffrage,
thank God, is inevitable at some future time, but until that glorious
day when we can be assured that the sex has united in a demand for it,
it were perhaps as well not to cloud the issues of the campaign now
opening; though let it be understood, and he cannot put this too
plainly, that he reveres the memory of his gray-haired mother without
whose tender ministrations and wise guidance he could never have reached
the height from which he now speaks. And so let us pass on to the voting
on these canal bonds, the true inwardness of which, thanks to the
venal activities of a corrupt opposition, even an exclusively male
constituency has thus far failed to comprehend. And so forth.

Our hero, then, had yet to acquire this finesse. As we are now
privileged to observe him, he is as easy to understand as the
multiplication table, as little devious and, alas! as lacking in
suavity. Yet, let us be fair to George. Mere innocence of guile, of
verbal trickery, had not alone sufficed for his passionate bluntness in
the present crisis. At a later stage in his career as a husband he might
have been equally blunt; yet never again, perhaps, would he have been so
emotional in his opposition to woman polluting herself with the mire of

Be it recalled that but five weeks had elapsed since George had solemnly
promised to cherish and protect the fairest of the non-voting sex--at
least in his State--and he was still taking his mission seriously. As he
wrote the words that were now electrifying, in a manner of speaking,
the readers of the _Sentinel_, and of neighboring journals with enough
enterprise to secure them, he had beheld his own Genevieve, fine,
flawless, tenderly nourished flower that she was, being dragged from her
high place with the most distressing results.

He saw her rushed from the sacred shelter of her home and made to attend
primaries; he saw her compelled to strive tearfully with problems that
revolted all her finer instincts; he saw her insulted at polling booths;
saw her voting in company with persons of both sexes whom one could
never know.

He saw her tainted, bruised, beaten down in the struggle, losing little
by little all sense of the holy values of Wife, Mother, Home. As he
wrote he heard her weakening cries for help as she perished, and more
than once his left arm instinctively curved to shield her.

Was it not for his wife, then; nay, for wifehood itself, that he wrote?
And so, was it quite fair for unmarried Penfield Evans, burning at
his breakfast table a cynical cigarette over the printed philippic, to
murmur, "Gee! old George _has_ spilled the beans!"

Simple words enough and not devoid of friendly concern. But should he
not have divined that George had been appalled to his extremities of
speech by the horrendous vision of his fair young bride being hurled
into depths where she would be obliged, if not to have opinions of her
own, at least to vote with the rabble as he might decide they ought to

And should not other critics known to us have divined the racking
anguish under which George had labored? For one, should not Elizabeth
Sheridan, amateur spinster, have been all sympathy for one who was
palpably more an alarmed bridegroom than a mere candidate?

Should not her maiden heart have been touched by this plausible aspect
of George's dilemma, rather than her mere brain to have been steeled to
a humorous disparagement tinged with bitterness?

And yet, "What rot!" muttered Miss Sheridan,--"silly rot, bally rot,
tommy rot, and all the other kinds!"

Hereupon she creased a brow not meant for creases and defaced an
admirable nose with grievous wrinkles of disdain. "Sacred names of wife
and mother!" This seemed regrettably like swearing as she delivered
it, though she quoted verbatim. "Sacred names of petted imbeciles!" she

Then, with berserker fury, crumpling her _Sentinel_ into a ball, she
venomously hurled it to the depths of a waste basket and religiously
rubbed the feel of it from her fingers. As she had not even glanced at
the column headed "Births, Deaths, Marriages," it will be seen that her
agitation was real. And surely a more discerning sympathy might have
been looked for from the seasoned Martin Jaffry. A bachelor full of
years and therefore with illusions not only unimpaired but ripened, who
more quickly than he should have divined that his nephew for the moment
viewed all womankind as but one multiplied Genevieve, upon whom it would
be heinous to place the shackles of suffrage?

Perhaps Uncle Martin did divine this. Perhaps he was a mere trimmer,
a rank side-stepper, steeped in deceit and ever ready to mouth the
abominable phrase "political expediency." It were rash to affirm this,
for no analyst has ever fathomed the heart of a man who has come to his
late forties a bachelor by choice. One may but guess from the ensuing
meager data.

Uncle Martin at a certain corner of Maple Avenue that morning, fell
in with Penfield Evans, who, clad as the lilies of a florist's window,
strode buoyantly toward his office, the vision of his day's toil pinkly
suffused by an overlaying vision of a Betty or Sheridan character. Mr.
Evans bubbled his greeting. "Morning! Have you seen it? Oh, _say_, have
you seen it?"

The immediate manner of Uncle Martin not less than his subdued garb
of gray, his dark gloves and his somber stick, intimated that he saw
nothing to bubble about.

"He has burned his bridges behind him." The speaker looked as grim as
any bachelor-by-choice ever may.

"Regular little fire-bug," blithely responded Mr. Evans, moderating his
stride to that of the other.

"Can't understand it," resumed the gloomy uncle. "I sent him word in
time; sent it from your office by messenger. It was plain enough. I told
him no money of mine would go into his campaign if he made a fool of
himself--or words to that effect."

"Phew! Cast you off, did he? Just like that?"

"Just like that! Went out of his way to overdo it, too. Needn't have
come out half so strong. No chance now to backwater--not a chance
on earth to explain what he really did mean--and make it something
different." "Quixotic! That's how it reads to me."

Uncle Martin here became oracular, his somber stick gesturing to point
his words.

"Trouble with poor George, he's been silly enough to blurt out the
truth, what every man of us thinks in his heart--"

"Eh?" said Mr. Evans quickly, as one who has been jolted.

"No more sense than to come right out and say what every one of us
thinks in his secret heart about women. I think it and you think it--"

"Oh, well, if you put it _that_ way," admitted young Mr. Evans
gracefully. "But of course--"

"Certainly, of _course!_ We all think it--sacred names of home and
mother and all the rest of it; but a man running for office these days
is a chump to say so, isn't he? Of course he is! What chance does it
leave him? Answer me that."

"Darned little, if you ask me," said Mr. Evans judicially. "Poor old

"Talks as if he were going to be married tomorrow instead of its having
come off five weeks ago," pursued Uncle Martin bitterly. Plainly there
were depths of understanding in the man, trimmer though he might be.

Mr. Evans made no reply. Irrationally he was considering the terms "five
weeks" and "married" in relation to a spinster who would have professed
to be indignant had she known it.

"Got to pull the poor devil out," said Uncle Martin, when in silence
they had traversed fifty feet more of the shaded side of Maple Avenue.

"How?" demanded the again practical Mr. Evans.

"Make him take it back; make him recant; swing him over the last week
before election. Make him eat his words with every sign of exquisite
relish. Simple enough!"

"How?" persisted Mr. Evans.

"Wiles, tricks, subterfuges, chicanery--understand what I mean?"

"Sure! I understand what you mean as well as you do, but--come down to
brass tacks."

"That's an entirely different matter," conceded Uncle Martin gruffly.
"It may take thought."

"Oh, is that all? Very well then; we'll think. I, myself, will think.
First, I'll have a talk with the sodden amorist. I'll grill him. I'll
find the weak spot in his armor. There must be something we can put over
on him."

"By fair means or foul," insisted Uncle Martin as they paused at the
parting of their ways. "Low-down, underhanded work--do you get what I

"I do, I do!" declared young Mr. Evans and broke once more into the
buoyant stride of an earlier moment. This buoyance was interrupted but
once, and briefly, ere he gained the haven of his office.

As he stepped quite too buoyantly into Fountain Square, he was all but
run down by the new six-cylinder roadster of Mrs. Harvey Herrington,
driven by the enthusiastic owner. He regained the curb in time, with a
ready and heartfelt utterance nicely befitting the emergency.

The president of the Whitewater Women's Club, the Municipal League and
the Suffrage Society, brought her toy to a stop fifteen feet beyond her
too agile quarry, with a fine disregard for brakes and tire surfaces.
She beckoned eagerly to him she might have slain. She was a large woman
with an air of graceful but resolute authority; a woman good to look
upon, attired with all deference to the modes of the moment, and
exhaling an agreeable sense of good-will to all.

"Be careful always to look before you start across and you'll never have
to say such things," was her greeting to Mr. Evans, as he halted beside
this minor juggernaut.

"Sorry you heard it," lied the young man readily.

"Such a flexible little car--picks up before one realizes," conceded
Whitewater's acknowledged social dictator. "But what I wanted to say is
this: that poor daft partner of yours has mortally offended every woman
in town except three, with that silly screed of his. I've seen nearly
all of them that count this morning, or they've called me by telephone.
Now, why couldn't he have had the advice of some good, capable woman
before committing himself so rabidly?"

"Who were the three?" queried Mr. Evans.

"Oh, poor Genevieve, of course; she goes without saying. And you'd guess
the other two if you knew them better--his cousin, Alys Brewster-Smith,
and poor Genevieve's Cousin Emelene. They both have his horrible
school-boy composition committed to memory, I do believe.

"Cousin Emelene recited most of it to me with tears in her weak eyes,
and Alys tells me his noble words have made the world seem like a
different place to her. She said she had been coming to believe that
chivalry of the old true brand was dying out, but that dear Cousin
George has renewed her faith in it.

"Think of poor Genevieve when they both fall on his neck. They're going
up for that particular purpose this afternoon. The only two in town,
mind you, except poor Genevieve. Oh, it's too awfully bad, because aside
from this medieval view of his, George was probably as acceptable for
this office as any man could be."

The lady burdened the word "man" with a tiny but distinguishable
emphasis. Mr. Evans chose to ignore this.

"George's friends are going to take him in hand," said he. "Of course
he was foolish to come out the way he has, even if he did say only what
every man believes in his secret heart."

The president of the Whitewater Woman's Club fixed him with a glittering
and suddenly hostile eye.

"What! you too?" she flung at him. He caught himself. He essayed
explanations, modifications, a better lighting of the thing. But at the
expiration of his first blundering sentence Mrs. Herrington, with
her flexible little car, was narrowly missing an aged and careless
pedestrian fifty yards down the street.

       *       *       *       *       *

"George come in yet?"

For the second time Mr. Evans was demanding this of Miss Elizabeth
Sheridan who had also ignored his preliminary "Good morning!"

Now for a moment more she typed viciously. One would have said that the
thriving legal business of Remington and Evans required the very swift
completion of the document upon which she wrought. And one would have
been grossly deceived. The sheet had been drawn into the machine at the
moment Mr. Evans' buoyant step had been heard in the outer hall, and
upon it was merely written a dozen times the bald assertion, "Now is the
time for all good men to come to the aid of the party."

Actually it was but the mechanical explosion of the performer's mood,
rather than the wording of a sentiment now or at any happier time
entertained by her.

At last she paused; she sullenly permitted herself to be interrupted.
Her hands still hovered above the already well-punished keys of the
typewriter. She glanced over a shoulder at Mr. Evans and allowed him to
observe her annoyance at the interruption.

"George has not come in yet," she said coldly. "I don't think he will
ever come in again. I don't see how he can have the face to. I shouldn't
think he could ever show himself on the street again after that--that--"

The young woman's emotion overcame her at this point. Again her
relentless fingers stung the blameless mechanism--"to come to the aid of
the party. Now is the time for all good--" She here controlled herself
to further speech. "And _you!_ Of course you applaud him for it. Oh, I
knew you were all alike!"

"Now look here, Betty, this thing has gone far enough----"

"Far enough, indeed!"

"But you won't give me a chance!"

Mr. Evans here bent above his employee in a threatening manner.

"You don't even ask what I think about it. You say I'm guilty and ought
to be shot without a trial--not even waiting till sunrise. If you had
the least bit of fairness in your heart you'd have asked me what I
really thought about this outbreak of George's, and I'd have told you in
so many words that I think he's made all kinds of a fool of himself."

"No! Do you really, Pen?"

Miss Sheridan had swiftly become human. She allowed her eyes to meet
those of Mr. Evans' with an easy gladness but little known to him of
late. "Of course I do, Betty. The idea of a candidate for office in this
enlightened age breaking loose in that manner! It's suicide. He could be
arrested for the attempt in this State. Is that strong enough for you?
You surely know how I feel now, don't you? Come on, Betty dear! Let's
not spar in that foolish way any longer. Remember all I said yesterday.
It goes double today--really, I see things more clearly."

Plainly Miss Sheridan was disarmed.

"And I thought you'd approve every word of his silly tirade," she
murmured. Mr. Evans, still above her, was perilously shaken by the
softer note in her voice, but he controlled himself in time and sat
in one of the chairs reserved for waiting clients. It was near Miss
Sheridan, yet beyond reaching distance. He felt that he must be cool in
this moment of impending triumph.

"Wasn't it the awfullest rot?" demanded the spinster, pounding out a row
of periods for emphasis.

"And he's got to be made to eat his words," said Mr. Evans, wisely
taking the same by-path away from the one subject in all the world that
really mattered.

"Who could make him?"

"I could, if I tried." It came in quiet, masterful tones that almost
convinced the speaker himself.

"Oh, Pen, if you could! Wouldn't that be a victory, though? If you only

"Well, if I only could--and if I do?" His intention was too pointed to
be ignored.

"Oh, _that_!" He winced at the belittling "that." "Of course I couldn't
promise--anyway I don't believe you could ever do it, so what's the use
of being silly?"

"But you will--will you promise, if I _do_ convert George? Answer the
question, please!" Mr. Evans glared as only actual district attorneys
have the right to.

"Oh, what nonsense--but, well, I'll promise--I'll promise to promise to
think very seriously about it indeed, if you bring George around."

"Betty!" It was the voice of an able pleader and he half arose from his
chair, his arms eloquent of purpose. "'Now is the time for all good
men to come to the aid of the party. Now is the time for'--" wrote Miss
Sheridan with dazzling fingers, and the pleader resumed his seat.

"How will you bring him 'round," she then demanded.

"Wiles, tricks, stratagems," replied the rising young diplomat moodily,
smarting under the moment's defeat.

"Serve him right for pulling all that old-fashioned nonsense," said Miss
Sheridan, and accorded her employer a glance in which admiration for his
prowess was not half concealed.

"The words of a fool wise in his own folly," went on the encouraged Mr.
Evans, and then, alas! a victim to the slight oratorical thrill these
words brought him,--"honestly uttering what every last man believes
and feels about woman in his heart and yet what no sane man running for
office can say in public--here, what's the matter?"

The latter clause had been evoked by the sight of a blazing Miss
Sheridan, who now stood over him with fists tightly clenched. "Oh, oh,
oh!" This was low, tense, thrilling. It expressed horror. "So that's
what your convictions amount to! Then you do applaud him, every word
of him, and you were deceiving me. Every man in his own heart, indeed.
Thank heaven I found you out in time!"

It may be said that Mr. Evans now cowered in his chair. The term is not
too violent. He ventured to lift a hand in weak protest.

"No, no, Betty, you are being unjust to me again. I meant that that was
what Martin Jaffry told me this morning. It isn't what I believe at all.
I tell you my own deepest sentiments are exactly what yours are in this
great cause which--which--"

Painfully he became aware of his own futility. Miss Sheridan had ceased
to blaze. Seated again before the typewriter she grinned at him with
amused incredulity.

"You nearly had me going, Pen."

Mr. Evans summoned the deeper resources of his manhood and achieved an
easier manner. He brazenly returned her grin. "I'll have you going again
before I'm through--remember that."

"By wiles, tricks and stratagems, I suppose."

"The same. By those I shall make poor George recant, and by those,
assuming you to be a woman with a fine sense of honor who will hold a
promise sacred, I shall have you going. And, mark my words, you'll be
going good, too!"


She drew from the waste basket the maltreated _Sentinel_, unfurled it to
expose the offending matter, and smote the column with the backs of four
accusing fingers.

"There, my dear, is your answer. Now run along like a good boy."

"Silly!" said Mr. Evans, striving for a masterly finish to the unequal
combat. He arose, dissembling cheerful confidence, straightened the
frame of a steel-engraved Daniel Webster on the wall, and thrice paced
the length of the room, falsely appearing to be engaged in deep thought.

Miss Sheridan, apparently for mere exclamatory purposes, now reread the
fulmination of the absent partner. She scoffed, she sneered, flouted,
derided, and one understood that she was including both members of the
firm. Then her listener became aware that she had achieved coherence.

"Indeed, yes! Do you know what ought to happen to him? Every unprotected
female in this county ought to pack her trunk and trudge right up to
the Remington place and say, 'Here we are, noble man! We have read your
burning words in which you offer to protect us. Save us from the vote!
Let your home be our sanctuary. That's what you mean if you meant
anything but tommy-rot. Here and now we throw ourselves upon your
boasted chivalry. Where are our rooms, and what time is luncheon

"Here! Just say that again," called Mr. Evans from across the room. Miss
Sheridan obliged. She elaborated her theme. George should be taken at
his word by every weak flower of womanhood. If women were nothing
but ministering angels, it was "up to" George to give 'em a chance to

So went Miss Sheridan's improvisation and Mr. Evans, suffering the
throes of a mighty inspiration, suddenly found it sweetest music.

When Miss Sheridan subsided, Mr. Evans appeared to have forgotten the
cause of their late encounter. Whistling cheerily he bustled into his
own office, mumbling of matters that had to be "gotten off." For some
moments he busied himself at his desk, then emerged to dictate three
business letters to his late antagonist.

He dictated in a formal and distant manner, pausing in the midst of the
last letter to spell out the word "analysis," which he must have known
would enrage her further. Then, quite casually, he wished to be told
if she might know the local habitat of Mrs. Alys Brewster-Smith and a
certain Cousin Emelene. His manner was arid.

Miss Sheridan chanced to know that the ladies were sheltered in the
exclusive boarding-house of one Mrs. Gallup, out on Erie Street, and
informed him to this effect in the fewest possible words. Mr. Evans
whistled absently a moment, then formally announced that he should be
absent from the office for perhaps an hour. Hat, gloves and stick in
hand, he was about to nod punctiliously to the back of Miss Sheridan's
head when the door opened to admit none other than our hero, George
Remington. George wore the look of one who is uplifted and who yet has
found occasion to be thoughtful about it. Penfield Evans grasped his
hand and shook it warmly.

"Fine, George, old boy--simply corking! Honestly, I didn't believe you
had it in you. You covered the ground and you did it in a big way. It
took nerve, all right! Of course you probably know that every woman in
town is speaking of your young wife as 'poor Genevieve,' but you've had
the courage of your convictions. It's great!"

"Thanks, old man! I've spoken for the right as I saw it, let come what
may. By the way, has Uncle Martin been in this morning, or telephoned,
or sent any word?"

Miss Sheridan coldly signified that none of these things had occurred,
whereupon George sighed in an interesting manner and entered his own

Mr. Evans had uttered his congratulations in clear, ringing tones and
Miss Sheridan, even as she wrote, contrived with her trained shoulders
to exhibit to his lingering eye an overwhelming contempt for his
opinions and his double-dealing.

In spite of which he went out whistling, and dosed the door in a defiant


Destiny, busybody that she is, has her thousand irons in her perpetual
fires, turning, testing and wielding them.

While Miss Betty Sheridan, for another scornful time, was rereading the
well-thumbed copy of the _Sentinel_, her fine back arched like a prize
cat's, George Remington in his small mahogany office adjoining, neck low
and heels high, was codifying, over and over again, the small planks
of his platform, stuffing the knot holes which afforded peeps to the
opposite side of the issue with anti-putty, and planning a bombardment
of his pattest phrases for the complete capitulation of his Uncle

While Genevieve Remington in her snug library, so eager in her
wifeliness to clamber up to her husband's small planks, and if need
be, spread her prettily flounced skirts over the rotting places, was
memorizing, with more pride than understanding, extracts from the
controversial article for quotation at the Woman's Club meeting, Mr.
Penfield Evans, with a determination which considerably expanded his
considerable chest measurement, ran two at a bound up the white stone
steps of Mrs. Gallup's private boarding-house and pulled out the white
china knob of a bell that gave no evidence of having sounded within, and
left him uncertain to ring again.

A cast-iron deer, with lichen growing along its antlers, stood poised
for instant flight in Mrs. Gallup's front yard.

While Mr. Evans waited he regarded its cast-iron flanks, but not
seeingly. His rather the expression of one who stares into the future
and smiles at what he sees.

Erie Street, shaded by a double row of showy chestnuts, lay in summer
calm. A garden hose with a patent attachment spun spray over an
adjoining lawn and sent up a greeny smell. Out from under the striped
awning of Hassebrock's Ice Cream Parlor, cat-a-corner, Percival
Pauncefort Sheridan, in rubber-heeled canvas shoes and white trousers,
cuffed high, emerged and turned down Huron Street, making frequent
forays into a bulging rear pocket.

Miss Lydia Chipley, vice-president of the Busy Bee Sewing and Civic
Club, cool, starchy and unhatted, clicked past on slim, trim heels,
all radiated by the reflection from a pink parasol, gay embroidery bag

"Hello, Lyd!"

"Hello, Pen!"

"What's your hurry?"

"It's my middle name."

"Why hurry, when the future is always waiting?"

"Why aren't you holding your partner's head since he committed political
suicide in the _Sentinel_?"

"I'd rather hold your head, Lyd, any day in the week."

"Gaul," said Miss Chipley, passing on, her sharply etched little face
glowing in the pink reflection of the parasol, "is bounded on the north
by Mrs. Gallup's boarding-house, and on the south by----"

"By the Frigid Zone!"

Then the door from behind swung open. Mr. Penfield Evans stepped into
Mrs. Gallup's cool, exclusive parlor of better days, and delivering his
card to a moist-fingered maid, sat himself among the shrouded furniture
to await Mrs. Alys Brewster-Smith and Miss Emelene Brand.

Mrs. Gallup's boarding-house was finishing its noonday meal. Boiled
odors lay upon a parlor that was otherwise redolent of the more opulent
days of the Gallups. A not too ostentatious clatter of dishes came
through the closed folding-doors.

Almost immediately Mrs. Alys Brewster-Smith, her favorite Concentrated
Breath of the Lily always in advance, rustled into the darkened parlor,
her stride hitting vigorously into her black taffeta skirts. Even as she
shook hands with Mr. Evans, she jerked the window shade to its height,
so that her smoothness and coloring shone out above her weeds.

In the shadow of her and at her life job of bringing up the rear, with
a large Maltese cat padding beside her, entered Miss Brand on rubber
heels. She was the color of long twilight.

Mr. Evans rose to his six-feet-in-his-stockings and extended them each a
hand, Miss Emelene drawing the left.

Mrs. Smith threw up a dainty gesture, black lace ruffles falling back
from arms all the whiter because of them.

"Well, Penny Evans!"

"None other, Mrs. Smith, than the villain himself."

"Be seated, Penfield."

"Thanks, Miss Emelene."

They drew up in a triangle beside the window overlooking the cast-iron
deer. The cat sprang up, curling in the crotch of Miss Emelene's arm.

"Nice ittie kittie, say how-do to big Penny-field-Evans. Say how-do to
big man. Say how-do, muvver's ittie kittie." Miss Emelene extended
the somewhat reluctant Maltese paw, five hook-shaped claws slightly in

"Say how-do to Hanna, Penfield. Hanna, say how-do to big man." "How-do,
Hanna," said Mr. Evans, reddening slightly beneath his tan. Then hitched
his chair closer.

"To what," he began, flashing his white smile from one to the other of
them, and with a strong veer to the facetious, "are we indebted for the
honor of this visit? Are those the unspoken words, ladies?"

"Nothing wrong at home, Penfield? Nobody ailing or--"

"No, no, Miss Emelene, never better. As a matter of fact, it's a piece
of political business that has prompted me to--"

At that Mrs. Smith jangled her bracelets, leaning forward on her knees.

"If it's got anything to do with your partner and my cousin George
Remington having the courage to go in for the district attorneyship
without the support of the vote-hunting, vote-eating women of this town,
I'm here to tell you that I'm with him heart and soul. He can have my
support and--"

"Mine too. And if I've got anything to say my two nephews will vote for
him; and I think I have, with my two heirs."

"Ladies, it fills my heart with joy to--"

"Votes! Why what would the powder-puffing, short-skirted, bridge-playing
women of this town do with the vote if they had it? Wear it around their
necks on a gold chain?"

"Well spoken, Mrs. Smith, if--"

"I know the direction you lean, Penfield Evans, letting--"

"But, Miss Emelene, I--"

"Letting that shameless Betty Sheridan, a girl that had as sweet and
womanly a mother as Whitewater ever boasted, lead you around by the
nose on her suffrage string. A girl with her raising and both of her
grandmothers women that lived and died genteel, to go traipsing around
in her low heels in men's offices and addressing hoi polloi from soap
boxes! Why, between her and that female chauffeur, Mrs. Herrington,
another woman whose mother was of too fine feelings even to join the
Delsarte class, the women of this town are being influenced to making
disgraceful--dis--oh, what shall I say, Alys?"

Here Mrs. Smith broke in, thumping a soft fist into a soft palm.

"It's the most pernicious movement, Mr. Evans, that has ever got hold of
this community and we need a man like my cousin George Remington to--"

"But, Mrs. Smith, that's just what I--"

"To stamp it out! Stamp it out! It's eating into the homes of
Whitewater, trying to make breadwinners out of the creatures God
intended for the bread-eaters--I mean bread-bakers."

"But, Mrs. Smith, I--"

"Woman's place has been the home since home was a cave, and it will
be the home so long as women will remember that womanliness is their
greatest asset. As poor dear Mr. Smith was so fond of saying, he--I
can't bring myself to talk of him, Mr. Evans, but--but as he used to
say, I--I--"

"Yes, yes, Mrs. Smith, I understa--"

"But as my cousin says in his article, which in my mind should be spread
broadcast, what higher mission for woman than--than--just what are his
words, Emelene?"

Miss Brand leaned forward, her gaze boring into space.

"What higher mission," she quoted, as if talking in a chapel, "for woman
than that she sit enthroned in the home, wielding her invisible but
mighty scepter from that throne, while man, kissing the hand that so
lovingly commands him, shall bear her gifts and do her bidding. That is
the strongest vote in the world. That is the universal suffrage which
chivalry grants to woman. The unpolled vote! Long may it reign!"

Round spots of color had come out on Miss Emelene's long cheeks.

"A man who can think like that has the true--the true--what shall I say,

"But, ladies, I protest that I'm not--"

"Has the true chivalry of spirit, Emelene, that the women are too stark
raving mad to appreciate. You can't come here, Mr. Evans, to two women
to whom womanliness and love of home, thank God, are still uppermost and
try to convert us to--"

Here Mr. Evans executed a triple gyration, to the annoyance of Hanna,
who withdrew from the gesture, and raised his voice to a shout that was
not without a note of command.

"Convert you! Why women alive, what I've been bursting a blood vessel
trying to say during the length of this interview is that I'd as soon
dip my soul in boiling oil as try to convert you away from the cause.
_My_ cause! _Our_ cause!"


"I'm here to tell you that I'm with my partner head-over-heels on the
plank he has taken."

"But we thought--"

"We thought you and Betty Sheridan--why, my cousin Genevieve Remington
told me that--"

"Yes, yes, Miss Emelene. But not even the wiles of a pretty woman can
hold out indefinitely against Truth! A broad-minded man has got to
keep the door of his mind open to conviction, or it decays of mildew. I
confess that finally I am convinced that if there is one platform more
than another upon which George Remington deserves his election it is on
the brave and chivalrous principles he has so courageously come out with
in the current _Sentinel_. Whatever may have been between Betty Sheridan

"Mr. Evans, you don't mean to tell me that you and Betty Sheridan have
quarreled! Such a desirable match from every point of view, family and
all! It goes to show what a rattle-pated bunch of women they are! Any
really clever girl with an eye to her future, anti or pro, could shift
her politics when it came to a question of matri--"

"Mrs. Smith, there comes a time in every modern man's life when he's got
to keep his politics and his pretty girls separate, or suffrage will get
him if he don't watch out!"

"Yes, and Mr. Evans, if what I hear is true, a good-looking woman can
talk you out of your safety deposit key!"

"That's where you're wrong, Mrs. Smith, and I'll prove it to you.
Despite any wavering I may have exhibited, I now stand, as George puts
it in his article, 'ready to conserve the threatened flower of womanhood
by also endeavoring to conserve her unpolled vote!' If you women want
prohibition, it is in your power to sway man's vote to prohibition.
If you women want the moon, let man cast your proxy vote for it! In my
mind, that is the true chivalry. To quote again, 'Woman is man's
rarest heritage, his beautiful responsibility, and at all times his
co-operation, support and protection are due her. His support and

Miss Emelene closed her eyes. The red had spread in her cheeks and she
laid her head back against the chair, rocking softly and stroking the
thick-napped cat.

"The flower of womanhood," she repeated. "'His support and his
protection.' If ever a man deserved high office because of high
principles, it's my cousin George Remington! My cousin Genevieve
Livingston Remington is the luckiest girl in the world, and not one of
us Brands but what is willing to admit it. My two nephews, too, if their
Aunt Emelene has anything to say, and I think she has--"

"Why, there isn't a stone in the world I wouldn't turn to see that boy
in office," Mrs. Smith interrupted.

At that Mr. Evans rose.

"You mean that, Mrs. Smith?"

Miss Emelene rose with him, the cat pouring from her lap.

"Of course she means it, Penfield. What self-respecting woman wouldn't!"

Mr. Evans sat down again suddenly, Miss Emelene with him, and leaning
violently forward, thrust his eager, sun-tanned face between the two

"Well, then, ladies, here's your chance to prove it! That's what brings
me today. As two of the self-respecting, idealistic and womanly women of
this community, I have come to urge you both to--"

"Oh, Mr. Evans!"

"Penfield, you are the flatterer!"

"To induce two such representative women as yourselves to help my
partner to the election he so well deserves."

"Us?" "It is in your power, ladies, to demonstrate to Whitewater that
George Remington's chivalry is not only on paper, but in his soul."


"By throwing yourselves upon his generosity and hospitality, at least
during the campaign. You have it in your power, ladies, to strengthen
the only uncertain plank upon which George Remington stands today."

A clock ticked roundly into a silence tinged with eloquence. The Maltese
leaped back into Miss Emelene's lap, purring there.

"You mean, Penfield, for us to go visit George--er--er--"

"Just that! Bag and baggage. As two relatives and two unattached women,
it is your privilege, nay, your right."


"He hasn't come out in words with it, but he has intimated that such an
act from the representative antis of this town would more than anything
strengthen his theories into facts. As unattached women, particularly as
women of his own family, his support and protection, as he puts it, are
due you, _due_ you!"

Mrs. Smith clasped her plentifully ringed fingers, and regarded him with
her prominent eyes widening.

"Why, I--unprotected widow that I am, Mr. Evans, am not the one to force
myself even upon my cousin if--"

"Nor I, Penfield. It would be a pleasant enough change, heaven knows,
from the boarding-house. But you can ask your mother, Penfield, if there
ever was a prouder girl in all Whitewater than Emmy Brand. I--"

"But I tell you, ladies, the obligation is all on George's part. It's
just as if you were polling votes for him. What is probably the oldest
adage in the language, states that actions speak louder than words.
Give him his chance to spread broadcast to your sex his protection, his
support. That, ladies, is all I--we--ask."

"But I--Genevieve--the housekeeping, Penfield. Genevieve isn't much on
management when it comes to--" "Housekeeping! Why, I have it from your
fair cousin herself, Miss Emelene, that her idea of their new little
home is the Open House."

"Yes, but--as Emelene says, Mr. Evans, it's an imposition to--"

"Why do you think, Mrs. Smith, Martin Jaffry spends all his evenings
up at Remingtons' since they're back from their honeymoon? Why, he was
telling me only last night it's for the joy of seeing that new little
niece of his lording it over her well-oiled little household, where a
few extra dropping in makes not one whit of difference."

At this remark, embedded like a diamond in a rock, a shade of faintest
color swam across Mrs. Smith's face and she swung him her profile and
twirled at her rings.

"And where Genevieve Remington's husband's interests are involved,
ladies, need I go further in emphasizing your welcome into that little

"Heaven knows it would be a change from the boarding-house, Alys. The
lunches here are beginning to go right against me! That sago pudding
today--and Gallup knowing how I hate starchy desserts!"

"For the sake of the cause, Miss Emelene, too!"

"Gallup would have to hold our rooms at half rate."

"Of course, Mrs. Smith. I'll arrange all that."

"I--I can't go over until evening, with three trunks to pack."

"Just fine, Mrs. Smith. You'll be there just in time to greet George at

Miss Emelene fell to stroking the cat, again curled like a sardelle in
her lap.

"Kitti-kitti-kitti--, does muvver's ittsie Hanna want to go on visit to
Tousin George in fine new ittie house? To fine Tousin Georgie what give
ittsie Hanna big saucer milk evvy day? Big fine George what like ladies
and lady kitties!"

"Emelene, it's out of the question to take Hanna. You know how George
Remington hates cats! You remember at the Sunday School Bazaar when--"
A grimness descended like a mask over Miss Brand's features. Her mouth

"Very well, then. Without Hanna you can count me out, Penfield. If--"

"No, no! Why nonsense, Miss Emelene! George doesn't--"

"This cat has the feelings and sensibilities of a human being."

"Why of course," cried Penfield Evans, reaching for his hat. "Just
you bring Hanna right along, Miss Emelene. That's only a pet pose of
George's when he wants to tease his relatives, Mrs. Smith. I remember
from college--why I've seen George _kiss_ a cat!"

Miss Emelene huddled the object of controversy up in her chin, talking
down into the warm gray fur.

"Was 'em tryin' to 'buse muvver's ittsie bittsie kittsie? Muvver's
ittsie bittsie kittsie!"

They were in the front hall now, Mr. Evans tugging at the door.

"I'll run around now and arrange to have your trunks called for at five.
My congratulations and thanks, ladies, for helping the right man toward
the right cause."

"You're _sure_, Penfield, we'll be welcome?"

"Welcome as the sun that shines!"

"If I thought, Penfield, that Hanna wouldn't be welcome I wouldn't budge
a step."

"Of course she's welcome, Miss Emelene. Isn't she of the gentler sex?
There'll be a cab around for you and Mrs. Smith and Hanna about five. So
long, Mrs. Smith, and many thanks. Miss Emelene, Hanna."

On the outer steps they stood for a moment in a dapple of sunshine and
shadow from chestnut trees.

"Good-by, Mr. Evans, until evening."

"Good-by, Mrs. Smith." He paused on the walk, lifting his hat and
flashing his smile a third time.

"Good-by, Miss Emelene."

From the steps Miss Brand executed a rotary motion with the left paw of
the dangling Maltese.

"Tell nice gentleman by-by. Tum now, Hanna, get washed and new ribbon to
go by-by. Her go to big Cousin George and piddy Cousin Genevieve. By-by!

The door swung shut, enclosing them. Down the quiet, tree-shaped
sidewalk, Mr. Penfield Evans strode into the somnolent afternoon,
turning down Huron Street. At the remote end of the block and before
her large frame mansion of a thousand angles and wooden lace work, Mrs.
Harvey Herrington's low car sidled to her curb-stone, racy-looking as a
hound. That lady herself, large and modish, was in the act of stepping
up and in.

"Well, Pen Evans! 'Tis writ in the book our paths should cross."

"Who more pleased than I?"

"Which way are you bound?"

"Jenkins' Transfer and Cab Service."

"Jump in."

"No sooner said than done."

Mrs. Herrington threw her clutch and let out a cough of steam. They
jerked and leaped forward. From the rear of the car an orange and black
pennant--_Votes for Women_--stiffened out like a semaphore against the


Genevieve Remington sat in her pretty drawing-room and watched the hour
hand of the clock slowly approach five. Five was a sacred hour in her
day. At five George left his office, turned off the business-current
with a click and turned on, full-voltage, the domestic-affectionate.

Genevieve often told her girl friends that she only began really to
live after five, when George was restored to her. She assured them
the psychical connection between George and herself was so close that,
sitting alone in her drawing-room, she could feel a tingling thrill
all over when the clock struck five and George emerged from his office

On the afternoon in question she received her five o'clock electric
thrill promptly on time, although history does not record whether or not
George walked out from his office at that moment. With all due respect
for the world-shaking importance of Mr. Remington's movements, it must
be stated that history had, on that afternoon, other more important
events to chronicle.

As the clock struck five, the front doorbell rang. Marie, the maid, went
to open the door. Genevieve adjusted the down-sweeping, golden-brown
tress over her right eye, brushed an invisible speck from the piano,
straightened a rose in a vase, and after these traditionally bridal
preparations, waited with a bride's optimistic smile the advent of a
caller. But it was Marie who appeared at the door, with a stricken face
of horror.

"Mrs. Remington! Mrs. Remington!" she whispered loudly. "They've come to
stay. The men are getting their trunks down from the wagon."

"_Who_ has come to stay? _Where?_" queried the startled bride.

"The two ladies who came to call yesterday!"

"_Oh!_" said the relieved Genevieve. "There's some mistake, of course.
If it's Cousin Emelene and Mrs.----"

She advanced into the hall and was confronted by two burly men with a
very large trunk between them.

"Which room?" said one of them in a bored and insolent voice.

"Oh, you must have come to the wrong house," Genevieve assured them with
her pretty, friendly smile.

She was so happy and so convinced of the essential rightness of a world
which had produced George Remington that she had a friendly smile for
every one, even for unshaven men who kept their battered derby hats
on their heads, had viciously smelling cigars in their mouths, and
penetrated to her sacred front hall with trunks which belonged somewhere

"Isn't this G. L. Remington's house?" inquired one of the men, dropping
his end of the trunk and consulting a dirty slip of paper.

"Yes, it is," admitted Genevieve, thrilling at the thought that it was
also hers. "This is the place all right, then," said the man. He heaved
up his end of the trunk again, and said once more, "Which room?"

The repetition fell a little ominously on Genevieve's ear. What on earth
could be the matter?

She heard voices outside and craning her soft white neck, she saw Cousin
Emelene, with her gray kitten under one arm and a large suitcase in her
other hand, coming up the steps. There was a beatific expression in her
gentle, faded eyes, and her lips were quivering uncertainly. When she
caught sight of Genevieve's sweet face back of the bored expressmen, she
gave a little cry, ran forward, set down her suitcase and clasped her
young cousin in her arms.

"Oh Genevieve dear, that noble wonderful husband of yours! What have you
done to deserve such a man... out of this Age of Gold!"

This was a sentiment after Genevieve's own heart, but she found it
rather too vague to meet the present somewhat tense situation.

Cousin Emelene went on, clasping her at intervals, and talking very
fast. "I can hardly believe it! Now that my time of trial is all over
I don't mind telling you that I was growing embittered and cynical. All
those phrases my dear mother had brought me to believe, the sanctity of
the home, the chivalrous protection of men, the wicked folly of women
who leave the home to engage in fierce industrial struggle."... At about
this point the expressmen set the trunk down, put their hands on their
hips, cocked their hats at a new angle and waited in gloomy ennui for
the conversation to stop. Cousin Emelene flowed on, her voice unsteady
with a very real emotion.

"See, dear, you must not blame me for my lack of faith... but see how it
looked to me. There I was, as womanly a woman as ever breathed, and yet
_I_ had no home to be sanctified, _I_ had never had a bit of chivalrous
protection from any man. And with the New Haven stocks shrinking from
one day to the next, the way they do, it looked as though I would either
have to starve or engage in the wicked, unwomanly folly of earning
my own living. Do you know, dear Genevieve, I had almost come to the
point--you know how the suffragists do keep banging away at their
points--I almost wondered if perhaps they were right and if men really
mean those things about protection and support in place of the vote....
And then George's splendid, noble-spirited article appeared, and a kind
friend interpreted it for me and told what it really meant, for _me_!
Oh, Genevieve."... The tears rose to her mild eyes, her gentle, flat
voice faltered, she took out a handkerchief hastily. "It seemed too good
to be true," she said brokenly into its folds. "I've longed all my life
to be protected, and now I'm going to be!"

"Which room, please?" said the expressman. "We gotta be goin' on."

Genevieve pinched herself hard, jumped and said "_ouch_." Yes, she was
awake, all right!

"Oh, Marie, will you please get Hanna a saucer of milk?" said Cousin
Emelene now, seeing the maid's round eyes glaring startled from the
dining-room door. "And just warm it a little bit, don't scald it. She
won't touch it if there's the least bit of a scum on it. Just take that
ice-box chill off. Here, I'll go with you this time. Since we're going
to live here now, you'll have to do it a good many times, and I'd better
show you just how to do it right."

She disappeared, leaving a trail of caressing baby-talk to the effect
that she would take good care of muvver's ittie bittie kittie.

She left Genevieve for all practical purposes turned to stone. She felt
as though she were stone, from head to foot, and she could open her
mouth no more than any statue when, in answer to the next repetition,
very peremptory now, of "Which room?" a voice as peremptory called from
the open front door, "Straight upstairs; turn to your right, first door
on the left."

As the men started forward, banging the mahogany banisters with the
corners of the trunk at every step, Mrs. Brewster-Smith stepped in,
immaculate as to sheer collar and cuffs, crisp and tailored as to suit,
waved and netted as to hair, and chilled steel and diamond point as to

"Oh, Genevieve, I didn't see _you_ there! I didn't know why they stood
there waiting so long. I know the house so well I knew of course which
room you'll have for guests. _Dear_ old house! It will be like returning
to my childhood to live here again!" She cocked an ear toward the upper
regions and frowned, but went on smoothly.

"Such happy girlhood hours as I have passed here! After all there is
nothing like the home feeling, is there, for us women at any rate!
We're the natural conservatives, who cling to the simple, elemental
satisfactions, and there's a heart-hunger that can only be satisfied
by a home and a man's protection! I thought George's description too
beautiful ... in his article you know... of the ideal home with the
women of the family safe within its walls, protected from the savagery
of the economic struggle which only men in their strength can bear
without being crushed."

She turned quickly and terribly to the expressmen coming down the stairs
and said in so fierce a voice that they shrank back visibly, "There's
another trunk to take up to the room next to that. And if you let it
down with the bang you did this one, you'll get something that will
surprise you! Do you hear me!"

They shrank out, cowed and tiptoeing. Mrs. Brewster-Smith turned back
to her young cousin-by-marriage and murmured, "That was such a true
and deep saying of George's... wherever does such a young man get his
wisdom!... that women are not fitted by nature to cope with hostile

Cousin Emelene approached from behind the statue of Genevieve, still
frozen in place with an expression of stupefaction on her white face.
The older woman put her arms around the bride's neck and gave her an
affectionate hug.

"Oh, dearest Jinny, doesn't it seem like a dream that we're all going to
be together, all we women, in a real home, with a real man at the head
of it to direct us and give us of his strength! It does seem just like
that beautiful old-fashioned home that George drew such an exquisite
picture of, in his article, where the home was the center of the world
to the women in it. It will be to me, I assure you, dear. I feel as
though I had come to a haven, and as though I _never_ would want to
leave it!"

The expressmen were carrying up another trunk now, and so conscious of
the glittering eyes of mastery upon them that they carried it as though
it were the Ark of the Covenant and they its chosen priests. Mrs.
Brewster-Smith followed them with a firm tread, throwing over her
shoulder to the stone Genevieve below, "Oh, my dear, little Eleanor
and her nurse will be in soon. Frieda was taking Eleanor for her usual
afternoon walk. Will you just send them upstairs when they come! I
suppose Frieda will have the room in the third story, that extra room
that was finished off when Uncle Henry lived here. Emelene, you'd better
come right up, too, if you expect to get unpacked before dinner."

She disappeared, and Emelene fluttered up after her, drawn along by
suction, apparently, like a sheet of paper in the wake of a train.
The expressmen came downstairs, still treading softly, and went out.
Genevieve was alone again in her front hall. To her came tiptoeing
Marie, with wide eyes of query and alarm. And from Marie's questioning
face, Genevieve fled away like one fleeing from the plague.

"Don't ask me, Marie! Don't _speak_ to me. Don't you dare ask me what...
or I'll..." She was at the front door as she spoke, poised for flight
like a terrified doe. "I must see Mr. Remington! I don't know _what_ to
tell you, Marie, till I have seen Mr. Remington! I must see my husband!
I don't know what to say, I don't know what to _think_, until I have
seen my husband."

Calling this eminently wifely sentiment over her shoulder she ran
down the front walk, hatless, wrapless, just as she was in her pretty
flowered and looped-up bride's house dress. She couldn't have run faster
if the house had been on fire.

The clicking of her high heels on the concrete sidewalk was a rattling
tattoo so eloquent of disorganized panic that more than one head was
thrust from a neighboring window to investigate, and more than one head
was pulled back, nodding to the well-worn and charitable hypothesis,
"Their first quarrel." The hypothesis would instantly have been
withdrawn if any one had continued looking after the fleeing bride long
enough to see her, regardless of passers-by, fling herself wildly into
her husband's arms as he descended from the trolley-car at the corner.

Betty Sheridan was sitting in the drawing-room of her parents' house,
rather moodily reading a book on the _Balance of Trade_.

She had an unconfessed weakness of mind on the subject of tariffs and
international trade. Although when in college she had written a paper
on it which had been read aloud in the Economics Seminar and favorably
commented upon, she knew, in her heart of hearts, that she understood
less than nothing about the underlying principles of the subject. This
nettled her and gave her occasional nightmare moments of doubt as to the
real fitness of women for public affairs. She read feverishly all she
could find on the subject, ending by addling her brains to the point of

She was almost in that condition now although she did not look it in
the least as, dressed for dinner in the evening gown which replaced
the stark linens and tailored seams of her office-costume, she bent her
shining head and earnest face over the pages of the book.

Penfield Evans took a long look at her, as one looks at a rose-bush in
bloom, before he spoke through the open door and broke the spell.

"Oh, Betty," he called in a low tone, beckoning her with a gesture
redolent of mystery.

Betty laid down her book and stared. "What you want?" she challenged
him, reverting to the phrase she had used when they were children

"Come on out here a minute!" he said, jerking his head over his
shoulder. "I want to show you something."

"Oh, I can't fuss around with you," said Betty, turning to her book
again. "I've got Roberts' _Balance of Trade_ out of the library and I
must finish it by tomorrow." She began to read again.

The young man stood silent for a moment. "Great Scott!" he was saying to
himself with a sinking heart. "So _that's_ what they pick up for light
reading, when they're waiting for dinner!"

He had a particularly gone feeling because, although he had made
several successful political speeches on international trade and foreign
tariffs, he was intelligent enough to know in his heart of hearts that
he had no real understanding of the principles involved. He had come,
indeed, to doubt if any one had!

Now, as he watched the pretty sleek head bent over the book he had
supposed of course was a novel, he felt a qualm of real apprehension.
Maybe there was something in what that guy said, the one who wrote
a book to prove (bringing Queen Elizabeth and Catherine the Great as
examples) that the real genius of women is for political life. Maybe
they _have_ a special gift for it! Maybe, a generation or so from now,
it'll be the _men_ who are disfranchised for incompetence.... He put
away as fantastic such horrifying ideas, and with a quick action of his
resolute will applied himself to the present situation. "Oh Betty, you
don't know what you're missing! It's a sight you'll never forget as long
as you live... oh, come on! Be a sport. Take a chance!"

Betty was still suspicious of frivolity, but she rose, looked at her
wrist-watch and guessed she'd have a few minutes before dinner, to fool
away in light-minded society.

"There's nothing light-minded about this!" Penny assured her gravely,
leading her swiftly down the street, around the corner, up another
street and finally, motioning her to silence, up on the well-clipped
lawn of a handsome, dignified residence, set around with old trees.

"Look!" he whispered in her ear, dramatically pointing in through the
lighted window. "Look! What do you see?"

Betty looked, and looked again and turned on him petulantly:

"What foolishness are you up to now, Penfield Evans!" she whispered
energetically. "Why under the sun did you drag me out to see Emelene
and Alys Brewster-Smith dining with the Remingtons? Isn't it just
the combination of reactionary old fogies you might expect to get
together... though I didn't know Alys ever took her little girl out to
dinner-parties, and Emelene must be perfectly crazy over that cat to
take her here. Cats make George's flesh creep. Don't you remember, at
the Sunday School Bazaar."

He cut her short with a gesture of command, and applying his lips to her
ear so that he would not be heard inside the house, he said, "You think
all you see is Emelene and Alys taking dinner _en famille_ with
the Remingtons. Eyes that see not! What you are gazing upon is a
reconstruction of the blessed family life that existed in the good
old days, before the industrial period and the abominable practice
of economic independence for women began! You are seeing Woman in
her proper place, the Home,... if not her own Home, somebody's Home,
anybody's Home... the Home of the man nearest to her, who owes her
protection because she can't vote. You are gazing upon..."

His rounded periods were silenced by a tight clutch on his wrist.
"Penfield Evans. Don't you dare exaggerate to me! Have they come there
to stay! _To take him at his word!_"

He nodded solemnly.

"Their trunks are upstairs in the only two spare-rooms in the house,
and Frieda is installed in the only extra room in the attic. Marie gave
notice that she was going to quit, just before dinner. George has been
telephoning to my Aunt Harriet to see if she knows of another maid...."

"Whatever... whatever could have made them _think_ of such a thing!"
gasped Betty, almost beyond words.

"I did!" said Penfield Evans, tapping himself on the chest. "It was _my_
giant intelligence that propelled them here."

He was conscious of a lacy rush upon him, and of a couple of soft arms
which gave him an impassioned embrace none the less vigorous because
the arms were more used to tennis-racquets and canoe-paddles than
impassioned embraces. Then he was thrust back... and there was Betty,
collapsed against a lilac bush, shaking and convulsed, one hand
pressed hard on her mouth to keep back the shrieks of merriment which
continually escaped in suppressed squeals, the other hand outstretched
to ward him off....

"No, don't you touch me, I didn't mean a thing by it! I just couldn't
help it! It's too, _too_ rich! Oh Penny, you duck! Oh, I shall die! I
shall die! I never saw anything so funny in my life! Oh, Penny, take me
away or I shall perish here and now!"

On the whole, in spite of the repulsing hand, he took it that he had
advanced his cause. He broke into a laugh, more light-hearted than he
had uttered for a long time. They stood for a moment more in the soft
darkness, gazing in with rapt eyes at the family scene. Then they
reeled away up the street, gasping and choking with mirth, festooning
themselves about trees for support when their legs gave way under them.

"_Did_ you see George's face when Emelene let the cat eat out of her
plate!" cried Betty.

"And did you see Genevieve's when Mrs. Brewster-Smith had the dessert
set down in front of her to serve!"

"How about little Eleanor upsetting the glass of milk on George's

"Oh _poor_ old George! Did you ever see such gloom!"

Thus bubbling, they came again to Betty's home with the door still open
from which she had lately emerged. There Betty fell suddenly silent,
all the laughter gone from her face. The man peered in the dusk,
apprehensive. What had gone wrong, now, after all?

"Do you know, Penny, we're pigs!" she said suddenly, with energy. "We're
hateful, abominable pigs!"

He glared at her and clutched his hair.

"Didn't you see Emelene Brand's face? I can't get it out of my mind! It
makes me sick, it was so happy and peaceful and befooled! Poor old
dear! She _believes_ all that! And she's the only one who does! And its
beastly in us to make a joke of it! She has wanted a home all her life,
and she'd have made a lovely one, too, for children! And she's been kept
from it by all this fool's talk about womanliness."

"Help! What under the sun are you..." began Penfield.

"Why, look here, she's not and never was, the kind any man wants to
marry. She wouldn't have liked a real husband, either... poor, dear,
thin-blooded old child! But she wanted a _home_ just the same. Everybody
does! And if she had been taught how to earn a decent living, if she
hadn't been fooled out of her five senses by that idiotic cant about a
man's doing everything for you, or else going without... why she'd be
working now, a happy, useful woman, bringing up two or three adopted
children in a decent home she'd made for them with her own efforts...
instead of making her loving heart ridiculous over a cat...."

She dashed her hand over her eyes angrily, and stood silent for a
moment, trying to control her quivering chin before she went into the

The young man touched her shoulder with reverent fingers. "Betty," he
said in a rather unsteady voice, "its _true_, all that bally-rot about
women being better than men. You _are_!"

With which very modern compliment, he turned and left her.


Her first evening with her augmented family Genevieve Remington never
forgot. It is not at all likely that George ever forgot it, either;
but to George it was only one in the series of disturbing events that
followed his unqualified repudiation of the suffrage cause.

To Genevieve's tender heart it meant the wreckage, not the preservation
of the home; that lovely home to whose occupancy she had so hopefully
looked. She was too young a wife to recognize in herself the evanescent
emotions of the bride. The blight had fallen upon her for all time. What
had been fire was ashes; it was all over. The roseate dream had been
followed by a cruel, and a lasting, awakening.

Some day Genevieve would laugh at the memory of this tragic evening, as
she laughed at George's stern ultimatums, and at Junior's decision to
be an engineer, and at Jinny's tiny cut thumb. But she had no sense of
humor now. As she ran to the corner, and poured the whole distressful
story into her husband's ears, she felt the walls of her castle in Spain
crashing about her ears.

George, of course, was wonderful; he had been that all his life. He only
smiled, at first, at her news.

"You poor little sweetheart!" he said to his wife, as she clung to his
arm, and they entered the house together. "It's a shame to distress you
so, just as we are getting settled, and Marie and Lottie are working
in! But it's too absurd, and to have you worry your little head is
ridiculous, of course! Let them stay here to dinner, and then I'll just
quietly take it for granted that they are going home--"

"But--but their trunks are here, dearest!"

Husband and wife were in their own room now, and Genevieve was rapidly
recovering her calm. George turned from his mirror to frown at her in
surprise. "Their trunks! They didn't lose any time, did they? But do you
mean to say there was no telephoning--no notice at all?"

"They may have telephoned, George, love. But I was over at Grace
Hatfield's for a while, and I got back just before they came in!"

George went on with his dressing, a thoughtful expression on his face.
Genevieve thought he looked stunning in the loose Oriental robe he wore
while he shaved.

"Well, whatever they think, we can't have this, you know," he said
presently. "I'll have to be quite frank with Alys,--of course Emelene
has no sense!"

"Yes, be quite frank!" Genevieve urged eagerly. "Tell them that of
course you were only speaking figuratively. Nobody ever means that a
woman really can't get along without a man's protection, because look at
the women who _do_--"

She stopped, a little troubled by the expression on his face.

"I said what I truly believe, dear," he said kindly. "You know that!"
Genevieve was silent. Her heart beat furiously, and she felt that she
was going to cry. He was angry with her--he was angry with her! Oh, what
had she said, what _had_ she said!

"But for all that," George continued, after a moment, "nobody but two
women could have put such an idiotic construction upon my words. I
am certainly going to make that point with Alys. A sex that can jump
headlong to such a perfectly untenable conclusion is very far from ready
to assume the responsibilities of citizenship--"

"George, dearest!" faltered Genevieve. She did not want to make him
cross again, but she could not in all loyalty leave him under this
misunderstanding, to approach the always articulate Alys.

"George, it was Penny, I'm sure!" she said. "From what they said,--they
talked all the time!--I think Penny went to see them, and sort of--sort
of--suggested this! I'm so sorry, George--"

George was sulphurously silent.

"And Penny will make the most of it, you know!"

Genevieve went on quickly and nervously. "If you should send them back,
tonight, I know he'd tell Betty! And Betty says she is coming to see you
because she has been asked to read an answer to your paper, at the Club,
and she might--she has such a queer sense of humor--"

Silence. Genevieve wished that she was dead, and that every one was

"I don't want to criticize you, dear," George said presently, in his
kindest tone. "But the time to _act_, of course, was when they first
arrived. I can't do anything now. We'll just have to face it through,
for a few days."

It was not much of a cloud, but it was their first. Genevieve went
downstairs with tears in her eyes.

She had wanted their home to be so cozy, so dainty, so intimate! And now
to have two grown women and a child thrust into her Paradise! Marie was
sulky, rattling the silver-drawer viciously while her mistress talked
to her, and Lottie had an ugly smile as she submitted respectfully that
there wasn't enough asparagus.

Then George's remoteness was terrifying. He carved with appalling
courtesy. "Is there another chicken, Genevieve?" he asked, as if he had
only an impersonal interest in her kitchen. No, there was only the one.
And plenty, too, said the guests pleasantly. Genevieve hoped there were
eggs and bacon for Marie and Lottie and Frieda.

"I'm going to ask you for just a mouthful more, it tastes so delicious
and homy!" said Alys. "And then I want to talk a little business,
George. It's about those houses of mine, out in Kentwood...."

George looked at her blankly, over his drumstick.

"Darling Tom left them," said Tom's widow, "and they really have rented
well. They're right near the factory, you know. But now, just lately,
some man from the agents has been writing and writing me; he says that
one of them has been condemned, and that unless I do something or other
they'll all be condemned. It's a horrid neighborhood, and I don't like
the idea, anyway, of a woman poking about among drains and cellars. Yet,
if I send the agent, he'll run me into fearful expense; they always do.
So I'm going to take them out of his hands tomorrow, and turn it all
over to you, and whatever you decide will be best!"

"My dear girl, I'm the busiest man in the world!" George said. "Leave
all that to Allen. He's the best agent in town!"

"Oh, I took them away from Allen months ago, George. Sampson has them

"Sampson? What the deuce did you change for? I don't know that Sampson
is solvent. I certainly would go back to Allen--"

"George, I can't!"

The widow looked at her plate, swept him a coquettish glance, and
dropped her eyes again.

"Mr. Allen is a dear fellow," she elucidated, "but his wife is dreadful!
There's nothing she won't suspect, and nothing she won't say!"

"My dear cousin, this isn't a question of social values! It's business!"
George said impatiently. "But I'll tell you what to do," he added, after
scowling thought. "You put it in Miss Eliot's hands; she was with Allen
for some years. Now she's gone in for herself, and she's doing well.
We've given her several things--" "Take it out of a man's hands to put
it into a woman's!" Alys exclaimed. And Emelene added softly:

"What can a woman be thinking of, to go into a dreadful business like
selling real estate and collecting rents!"

"Of course, she was trained by men!" Genevieve threw in, a little
anxiously. Alys was so tactless, when George was tired and hungry. She
cast about desperately for some neutral topic, but before she could find
one the widow spoke again.

"I'll tell you what I'll do, George. I'll bring the books and papers
to your office tomorrow morning, and then you can do whatever you think
best! Just send me a check every month, and it will be all right!"

"Just gather me up what's there, on the plate," Emelene said, with her
nervous little laugh in the silence. "I declare I don't know when I've
eaten such a dinner! But that reminds me that you could help me
out wonderfully, too, Cousin George--I can't quite call you Mr.
Remington!--with those wretched stocks of mine. I'm sure I don't know
what they've been doing, but I know I get less money all the time!
It's the New Haven, George, that P'pa left me two years ago. I can't
understand anything about it, but yesterday I was talking to a young man
who advised me to put all my money into some tonic stock. It's a tonic
made just of plain earth--he says it makes everything grow. Doesn't
it sound reasonable? But if I should lose all I have, I'm afraid I'd
_really_ wear my welcome out, Genevieve, dear. So perhaps you'll advise

"I'll do what I can!" George smiled, and Genevieve's heart rose. "But
upon my word, what you both tell me isn't a strong argument for Betty's
cause!" he added good-naturedly.

"P'pa always said," Emelene quoted, "that if a woman looked about for a
man to advise her, she'd find him! And as I sit here now, in this lovely
home, I think--isn't it sweeter and wiser and better this way? For a
while,--because I was a hot-headed, rebellious girl!--I couldn't see
that he was right. I had had a disappointment, you know," she went on,
her kind, mild eyes watering. Genevieve, who had been gazing in
some astonishment at the once hot-headed, rebellious girl, sighed
sympathetically. Every one knew about the Reverend Mr. Totter's death.

"And after that I just wanted to be busy," continued Emelene. "I wanted
to be a trained nurse, or a matron, or something! I look back at it now,
and wonder what I was thinking about! And then dear Mama went, and I
stepped into her place with P'pa. He wasn't exactly an invalid, but he
did like to be fussed over, to have his meals cooked by my own hands,
even if we were in a hotel. And whist--dear me, how I used to dread
those three rubbers every evening! I was only a young woman then, and
I suppose I was attractive to other men, but I never forgot Mr. Totter.
And Cousin George," she turned to him submissively, "when you were
talking about a woman's real sphere, I felt--well, almost guilty.
Because only that one man ever asked me. Do you think, feeling as I did,
that I should have deliberately made myself attractive to men?"

George cleared his throat. "All women can't marry, I suppose. It's in
England, I believe, that there are a million unmarried women. But you
have made a contented and a womanly life for yourself, and, as a matter
of fact, there always _has_ been a man to stand between you and the
struggle!" he said.

"I know. First P'pa, and now you!" Emelene mused happily.

"I wasn't thinking of myself. I was thinking that your father left you a
comfortable income!" he said quickly.

"And now you have asked me here; one of the dearest old places in town!"
Emelene added innocently.

Genevieve listened in a stupefaction. This was married life, then? Not
since her childhood had Genevieve so longed to stamp, to scream, to
protest, to tear this twisted scheme apart and start anew!

She was not a crying woman, but she wanted to cry now. She was not--she
told herself indignantly--quite a fool. But she felt that if George went
on being martyred, and mechanically polite, and grim, she would go into
hysterics. She had been married less than six weeks; that night she
cried herself to sleep.

Her guests were as agreeable as their natures permitted; but Genevieve
was reduced, before the third day of their visit, to a condition of
continual tears.

This was her home, this was the place sacred to George and herself, and
their love. Nobody in the world,--not his mother, not hers, had their
mothers been living!--was welcome here. She had planned to be such a
good wife to him, so thoughtful, so helpful, so brave when he must be
away. But she could not rise to the height of sharing him with other
women, and saying whatever she said to him in the hearing of witnesses.
And then she dared not complain too openly! That was an additional
hardship, for if George insulted his guests, then that horrid Penny--

Genevieve had always liked Penny, and had danced and flirted with him
aeons ago. She had actually told Betty that she hoped Betty would marry
Penny. But now she felt that she loathed him. He was secretly laughing
at George, at George who had dared to take a stand for old-fashioned
virtue and the purity of the home!

It was all so unexpected, so hard. Women everywhere were talking about
George's article, and expected her to defend it! George, she could have
defended. But how could she talk about a subject upon which she was not
informed, in which, indeed, as she was rather fond of saying, she was
absolutely uninterested?

George was changed, too. Something was worrying him; and it was hard on
the darling old boy to come home to Miss Emelene and the cat and Eleanor
and Alys, every night! Emelene adored him, of course, and Alys was
always interesting and vivacious, but--but it wasn't like coming home to
his own little Genevieve!

The bride wept in secret, and grew nervous and timid in manner. Mrs.
Brewster-Smith, however, found this comprehensible enough, and one hot
summer afternoon Genevieve went into George's office with her lovely
head held high, her color quite gone, and her breath coming quickly with
indignation. [Illustration: It was hard on the darling old boy to come
home to Miss Emelene and the cat and Eleanor and Alys every night!]
"George--I don't care what we do, or where we go! But I can't stand it!
She said--she said--she told me--"

Her husband was alone in his office, and Genevieve was now crying in his
arms. He patted her shoulder tenderly.

"I'm so worried all the time about dinners, and Lottie's going, and that
child getting downstairs and letting in flies and licking the frosting
off the maple cake," sobbed Genevieve, "that of _course_ I show it! And
if I _have_ given up my gym work, it's just because I was so busy trying
to get some one in Lottie's place! And now they say--they say--that
_they_ know what the matter is, and that I mustn't dance or play
golf--the horrible, spying cats! I won't go back, George, I will not!

Again George was wonderful. He put his arm about her, and she sat
down on the edge of his desk, and leaned against that dear protective
shoulder and dried her eyes on one of his monogrammed handkerchiefs. He
reminded her of a long-standing engagement for this evening with Betty
and Penny, to go out to Sea Light and have dinner and a swim, and drive
home in the moonlight. And when she was quiet again, he said tenderly:

"You mustn't let the 'cats' worry you, Pussy. What they think isn't
true, and I don't blame you for getting cross! But in one way, dear,
aren't they right? Hasn't my little girl been riding and driving and
dancing a little too hard? Is it the wisest thing, just now? You have
been nervous lately, dear, and excitable. Mightn't there be a reason?
Because I don't have to tell you, sweetheart, nothing would make me
prouder, and Uncle Martin, of course, has made no secret of how _he_
feels! You wouldn't be sorry, dear?"

Genevieve had always loved children deeply. Long before this her
happy dreams had peopled the old house in Sheridan Road with handsome,
dark-eyed girls, and bright-eyed boys like their father.

But, to her own intense astonishment, she found this speech from her
husband distasteful. George would be "proud," and Uncle Martin pleased.
But it suddenly occurred to Genevieve that neither George nor Uncle
Martin would be tearful and nervous. Neither George nor Uncle Martin
need eschew golf and riding and dancing. To be sick, when she had always
been so well! To face death, for which she had always had so healthy a
horror! Cousin Alex had died when her baby came, and Lois Farwell had
never been well after the fourth Farwell baby made his appearance.

Genevieve's tears died as if from flame. She gently put aside the
sustaining arm, and went to the little mirror on the wall, to straighten
her hat. She remembered buying this hat, a few weeks ago, in the
ecstatic last days of the old life.

"We needn't talk of that yet, George," she said quietly.

She could see George's grieved look, in the mirror. There was a short
silence in the office.

Then Betty Sheridan, cool in pongee, came briskly in.

"Hello, Jinny!" said she. "Had you forgotten our plan tonight?
You're chaperoning me, I hope you realize! I'm rather difficile, too.
Genevieve, Pudge is outside; he'll take you out and buy you something
cold. I took him to lunch today. It was disgraceful! Except for a
frightful-looking mess called German Pot Roast With Carrots and Noodles
Sixty, he ate nothing but melon, lemon-meringue pie, and pineapple
special. I was absolutely ashamed! George, I would have speech with

"Private business, Betty?" he asked pleasantly. "My wife may not have
the vote, but I trust her with all my affairs!"

"Indeed, I'm not in the least interested!" Genevieve said saucily.

She knew George was pleased with her as she went happily away.

"It's just as well Jinny went," said Betty, when she and the
district-attorney-elect were alone. "Because it's that old bore Colonel
Jaynes! He's come again, and he says he _will_ see you!"

Deep red rose in George's handsome face.

"He came here last week, and he came yesterday," Betty said, sitting
down, "and really I think you should see him! You see, George, in that
far-famed article of yours, you remarked that 'a veteran of the civil
as well as the Spanish war' had told you that it was the restless
outbreaking of a few northern women that helped to precipitate the
national catastrophe, and he wants to know if you meant him!"

"I named no names!" George said, with dignity, yet uneasily, too.

"I know you didn't. But you see we haven't many veterans of _both_
wars," Betty went on, pleasantly. "And of course old Mrs. Jaynes is a
rabid suffragist, and she is simply hopping. He's a mild old man,
you know, and evidently he wants to square things with 'Mother.' Now,
George, who _did_ you mean?"

"A statement like that may be made in a general sense," George remarked,
after scowling thought.

"You might have made the statement on your own hook," Betty conceded,
"but when you mention an anonymous Colonel, of course they all sit up!
He says that he's going to get a signed statement from you that _he_
never said that, and publish it!"

"Ridiculous!" said George.

"Then here are two letters," Betty pursued. "One is from the
corresponding secretary of the Women's Non-partisan Pacific Coast
Association. She says that they would be glad to hear from you regarding
your statement that equal suffrage, in the western states, is an
acknowledged failure."

"She'll wait!" George predicted grimly.

"Yes, I suppose so. But she's written to our Mrs. Herrington here,
asking her to follow up the matter. George, dear," asked Betty
maternally, "_why_ did you do it? Why couldn't you let well enough

"What's your other letter?" asked George.

"It's just from Mr. Riker, of the _Sentinel_, George. He wants you to
drop in. It seems that they want a correction on one of your statistics
about the number of workingwomen in the United States who don't want
the vote. He says it only wants a signed line from you that you were

Refusing to see Colonel Jaynes, or to answer the Colonel's letter,
George curtly telephoned the editor of the _Sentinel_, and walked home
at four o'clock, his cheeks still burning, his mind in a whirl. Big
issues should have been absorbing him: and his mind was pestered instead
with these midges of the despised cause. Well, it was all in the day's

And here was his sweet, devoted wife, fluttering across the hall, as
cool as a rose, in her pink and white. And she had packed his things,
in case they wanted to spend the night at Sea Light, and the "cats" had
gone off for library books, and he must have some ginger-ale, before it
was time to go for Betty and Penny.

The day was perfection. The motor-car purred like a racing tiger under
George's gloved hand. Betty and Penny were waiting, and the three young
persons forgot all differences, and laughed and chatted in the old happy
way, as they prepared for the start. But Betty was carrying a book:
_Catherine of Russia_.

"Do you know why suffragists should make an especial study of queens,
George?" she asked, as she and Penny settled themselves on the back

"Well, I'll be interlocutor," George smiled, glancing up at the house,
from which his wife might issue at any moment. "Why should suffragists
read the lives of queens, Miss Bones?"

"Because queens are absolutely the only women in all history who had
equal rights!" Betty answered impassively. "Do you realize that? The
only women whose moral and social and political instincts had full

"And a sweet use they made of them, sometimes!" said George.

"And who were the great rulers," pursued Betty. "Whose name in English
history is like the names of Elizabeth and Victoria, or Matilda or Mary,
for the matter of that? Who mended and conserved and built up what the
kings tore down and wasted? Who made Russia an intellectual power--"

Again Penny had an odd sense of fear. Were women perhaps superior to
men, after all!

"I don't think Catherine of Russia is a woman to whom a lady can point
with pride," George said conclusively. Genevieve, who had appeared, shot
Betty a triumphant glance as they started. Pudge waved to them from the
candy store at the corner.

"There's a new candy store every week!" said Penny, shuddering. "Heaven
help that poor boy; it must be in the blood!"

"Women must always have something sweet to nibble," George said, leaning
back. "The United States took in two millions last year in gum alone!"

"Men chew gum!" suggested Betty.

"But come now, Betty, be fair!" George said. "Which sex eats more

"Well, I suppose women do," she admitted.

"You count the candy stores, down Main Street," George went on, "and ask
yourself how it is that these people can pay rents and salaries just on
candy,--nothing else. Did you ever think of that?"

"Well, I could vote with a chocolate in my mouth!" Betty muttered
mutinously, as the car turned into the afternoon peace of the main

"You count them on your side, Penny, and I will on mine!" Genevieve
suggested. "All down the street." "Well, wait--we've passed two!" Penny
said excitedly.

"Go on; there's three. That grocery store with candy in the window!"

"Groceries don't count!" objected Betty.

"Oh, they do, too! And drug stores.... Every place that sells candy!"

"Drug stores and groceries and fruit stores only count half a point,"
Betty stipulated. "Because they sell other things!"

"That's fair enough," George conceded here, with a nod.

Genevieve and Penny almost fell out of the car in their anxiety not
to miss a point, and George quite deliberately lingered on the
cross-streets, so that the damning total might be increased.

Laughing and breathless, they came to the bridge that led from the town
to the open fields, and took the count.

"One hundred and two and a half!" shouted Penny and Geneviève
triumphantly. George smiled over his wheel.

"Oh, women, women!" he said. "One hundred and sixty-one!" said Betty.
There was a shout of protest.

"Oh, Betty Sheridan! You didn't! Why, we didn't miss _one_!"

"I wasn't counting candy stores," smiled Betty. "Just to be different,
I counted cigar stores and saloons. But it doesn't signify much either
way, does it, George?"


Of the quartette who, an hour later, emerged from the bath-houses
and scampered across the satiny beech into a discreetly playful surf,
Genevieve was the one real swimmer. She was better even than Penny, and
she left Betty and George nowhere.

She had an endless repertory of amphibious stunts which she performed
with gusto, and in the intervals she took an equal satisfaction in
watching Penny's heroic but generally disastrous attempts to imitate

The other two splashed around aimlessly and now and then remonstrated.

Now, it's all very well to talk about two hearts beating as one, and
in the accepted poetical sense of the words, of course Genevieve's and
George's did. But as a matter of physiological fact, they didn't. At the
end of twenty minutes or so George began turning a delicate blue and a
clatter as of distant castanets provided an obligato when he spoke, the
same being performed by George's teeth.

The person who made these observations was Betty.

"You'd better go out," she said. "You're freezing."

It ought to have been Genevieve who said it, of course, though the fact
that she was under water more than half the time might be advanced as
her excuse for failing to say it. But who could venture to excuse the
downright callous way in which she exclaimed, "Already? Why we've just
got in! Come along and dive through that wave. That'll warm you up!"

It was plain to George that she didn't care whether he was cold or not.
And, though the idea wouldn't quite go into words, it was also clear to
him that an ideal wife--a really womanly wife--would have turned blue
just a little before he began to.

"Thanks," he said, in a cold blue voice that matched the color of his
finger nails. "I think I've had enough."

Betty came splashing along beside him.

"I'm going out, too," she said. "We'll leave these porpoises to their
innocent play."

This was almost pure amiability, because she wasn't cold, and she'd been
having a pretty good time. Her other (practically negligible) motive
was that Penny might be reminded, by her withdrawal, of his forgotten
promise to teach her to float--and be sorry. Altogether, George would
have been showing only a natural and reasonable sense of his obligations
if he'd brightened up and flirted with her a little, instead of glooming
out to sea the way he did, paying simply no attention to her at all. So
at last she pricked him.

"Isn't it funny," she said, "the really blighting contempt that swimmers
feel for people who can't feel at home in the water--people who gasp and
shiver and keep their heads dry?"

She could see that, in one way, this remark had done George good. It
helped warm him up. Leaning back on her hands, as she did, she could see
the red come up the back of his neck and spread into his ears. But it
didn't make him conversationally any more exciting. He merely grunted.
So she tried again.

"I suppose," she said dreamily, "that the myth about mermaids must
be founded in fact. Or is it sirens I'm thinking about? Perfectly
fascinating, irresistible women, who lure men farther and farther out,
in the hope of a kiss or something, until they get exhausted and drown.
I'll really be glad when Penny gets back alive."

"And I shall be very glad," said George, trying hard for a tone of
condescending indifference appropriate for use with one who has played
dolls with one's little sister, "I shall really be very glad when you
make up your mind what you are going to do with Penny. He's just about
a total loss down at the office as it is, and he's getting a worse idiot
from day to day. And the worst of it is, I imagine you know all the
while what you're going to do about it--whether you're going to take him
or not."

The girl flushed at that. He was being almost too outrageously rude,
even for George. But before she said anything to that effect, she
thought of something better.

"I shall never marry any man," she said very intensely, "whose heart
is not with the Cause. You know what Cause I mean, George--the Suffrage
Cause. When I see thoughtless girls handing over their whole lives to
men who..."

It sounded like the beginning of an oration.

"Good Lord!" her victim cried. "Isn't there anything else than that to
talk about--_ever_?"

"But just think how lucky you are, George," she said, "that at home they
all think exactly as you do!"

He jumped up. Evidently this reminder of the purring acquiescences of
Cousin Emelene and Mrs. Brewster-Smith laid no balm upon his harassed

"You may leave my home alone, if you please."

He was frightfully annoyed, of course, or he wouldn't have said anything
as crude as that. In a last attempt to recover his scattered dignity,
he caught at his office manner. "By the way," he said, "you forgot
to remind me today to write a letter to that Eliot woman about Mrs.
Brewster-Smith's cottages."

With that he stalked away to dress. Genevieve and Penny, now shoreward
bound, hailed him. But it wasn't quite impossible to pretend he didn't
hear, and he did it.

The dinner afterward at the Sea Light Inn was a rather gloomy affair.
George's lonely grandeur was only made the worse, it seemed, by
Genevieve's belated concern lest he might have taken cold through not
having gone and dressed directly he came out of the water. Genevieve
then turned very frosty to Penny, having decided suddenly that it was
all his fault.

As for Betty, though she was as amiable a little soul as breathed, she
didn't see why she should make any particular effort to console Penny,
just because his little flirtation with Genevieve had stopped with a

Even the ride home in the moonlight didn't help much. Genevieve sat
beside George on the front seat, and between them there stretched a
tense, tragic silence. In the back seat with Penfield Evans, and in the
intervals of frustrating his attempts to hold her hand, Betty considered
how frightfully silly young married couples could be over microscopic

But Betty was wrong here and the married pair on the front seat were

Just reflect for a minute what Genevieve's George was. He was her
knight, her Bayard, her thoroughly Tennysonian King Arthur. The basis of
her adoration was that he should remain like that. You can see then
what a staggering experience it was to have caught herself, even for a
minute, in the act of smiling over him as sulky and absurd.

And think of George's Genevieve! A saint enshrined, that his soul could
profitably bow down before whenever it had leisure to escape from the
activities of a wicked world. Fancy his horror over the mere suspicion
that she could be indifferent to his wishes--his comfort--even his
health, because of a mere tomboy flirtation with a man who could swim
better than he could! Most women were like that, he knew--vain, shallow,
inconstant creatures! But was not his pearl an exception? It was
horrible to have to doubt it.

By three o'clock the next morning, after many tears and much grave
discourse, they succeeded in getting these doubts to sleep--killing
them, they'd have said, beyond the possibility of resurrection. It was
the others who had made all the trouble. If only they could have the
world to themselves--no Cousin Emelene, no Alys Brewster-Smith, no
Penfield Evans and Betty Sheridan, with their frivolity and low ideals,
to complicate things! An Arcadian Island in some Aeonian Sea.

"Well," he said hopefully, "our home can be like that. It shall be like
that, when we get rid of Alys and her horrible little girl, and Cousin
Emelene and her unspeakable cat. It shall be our world; and no troubles
or cares or worries shall ever get in there!"

She acquiesced in this prophecy, but even as she did so, cuddling her
face against his own, a low-down, unworthy spook, whose existence in
her he must never suspect, said audibly in her inner ear, "Much he knows
about it!" Betty did not forget to remind George of the letter he was
to write to Miss Eliot about taking over the agency of Mrs.
Brewster-Smith's cottages. In the composition of this letter George
washed his hands of responsibility with, you might say, antiseptic care.

He had taken pleasure in recommending Miss Eliot, he explained, and Mrs.
Brewster-Smith was acting on his recommendation. Any questions arising
out of the management of the property should be taken up directly with
her client. Miss Eliot would have no difficulty in understanding that
the enormous pressure of work which now beset him precluded him from
having anything more to do with the matter.

The letter was typed and inclosed in a big linen envelope, with the mess
of papers Alys had dumped upon his desk a few days previously, and it
was despatched forthwith by the office boy.

"There," said George on a note of grim satisfaction, "that's done!"

The grimness lasted, but the satisfaction did not. Or only until
the return of the office boy, half an hour later, with the identical
envelope and a three-line typewritten note from Miss Eliot. She was
sorry to say, she wrote, that she did not consider it advisable to
undertake the agency for the property in question. Thanking him,
nevertheless, for his courtesy, she was his very truly, E. Eliot.

George summoned Betty by means of the buzzer, and asked her, with icy
indignation, what she thought of that. But, as he was visibly bursting
with impatience to say what _he_ thought of it, she gave him the

"I thought you advanced women," he said, "were supposed to stand by each
other--stand by all women--try to make things better for them. One for
all--all for one. That sort of thing. But it really works the other way.
It's just because a woman owns those cottages that Miss Eliot won't have
anything to do with them. She knows that women are unreasonable and hard
to get on with in business matters, so she passes the buck! Back to a
man, if you please, who hasn't any more real responsibility for it than
she has."

There was, of course, an obvious retort to this; namely, that business
was business, and that a business woman had the same privilege a
business man had, of declining a job that looked as if it would entail
more bother than it was worth. But Betty couldn't quite bring herself
to take this line. Women, if they could ever get the chance (through
the vote and in other ways), were going to make the world a better
place--run it on a better lot of ideals. It wouldn't do to begin
justifying women on the ground that they were only doing what men did.
As well abandon the whole crusade right at the beginning.

George saw her looking rather thoughtful, and pressed his advantage.
Suppose Betty went and saw Miss Eliot personally, sometime today, and
urged her to reconsider. The business didn't amount to much, it was
true, and it no doubt involved the adjustment of some troublesome
details. But unless Miss Eliot would undertake it, he wouldn't know just
where to turn. Alys had quarreled with Allen, and Sampson was a skate.
And perhaps a little plain talk to Alys about the condition of the
cottages--"from one of her own sex," George said this darkly and looked
away out of the window at the time--might be productive of good.

"All right," Betty agreed, "I'll see what I can do. It's kind of hard to
go to a woman you barely know by sight, and talk to her about her duty,
but I guess I'm game. If you can spare me, I'll go now and get it over

There were no frills about Edith Eliot's real estate office, though the
air of it was comfortably busy and prosperous.

The place had once been a store. An architect's presentation of an
apartment building, now rather dusty, occupied the show-window. There
was desk accommodation for two or three of those bright young men who
make a selection of keys and take people about to look at houses; there
was a stenographer's desk with a stenographer sitting at it; and back
of a table in the corner, in the attitude of one making herself as
comfortable as the heat of the day would permit, while she scowled over
a voluminous typewritten document, was E. Eliot herself. It was almost
superfluous to mention that her name was Edith. She never signed it, and
there was no one, in Whitewater anyway, who called her by it.

She was a big-boned young woman (that is, if you call the middle
thirties young), with an intelligent, homely face, which probably got
the attraction some people surprisingly found in it from the fact that
she thought nothing about its looks one way or the other. It was rather
red when Betty came in, and she was making it rapidly redder with the
vigorous ministrations of a man's-size handkerchief.

She greeted Betty with a cordial "how-de-doo," motioned her to the other
chair at the table (Betty had a fleeting wish that she might have dusted
it before she sat down), and asked what she could do for her.

"I'm from Mr. Remington's office," Betty said, "Remington and Evans.
He wrote you a note this morning about some cottages that belong to a
cousin of his, Mrs. Brewster-Smith."

"I answered that note by his own messenger," said E. Eliot. "He should
have got the reply before this." "Oh, he got it," said Betty, "and
was rather upset about it. What I've come for, is to urge you to

E. Eliot smiled rather grimly at her blotting-pad, looked up at Betty,
and allowed her smile to change its quality. What she said was not
what she had meant to say before she looked up. E. Eliot was always
upbraiding herself for being sentimental about youth and beauty in her
own sex. She'd never been beautiful, and she'd never been young--not
young like Betty. But the upbraidings never did any good.

She said: "I thought I had considered sufficiently when I answered Mr.
Remington's note. But it's possible I hadn't. What is it you think I may
have overlooked?"

"Why," said Betty, "George thought the reason you wouldn't take the
cottages was because a woman owned them. He used it as a sort of example
of how women wouldn't stick together. He said that you probably knew
that women were unreasonable and hard to deal with and didn't want the

It disconcerted Betty a little that E. Eliot interposed no denial at
this point, though she'd paused to give her the opportunity.

"You see," she went on a little breathlessly, "I'm for women suffrage
and economic independence and all that. I think it's perfectly wonderful
that you should be doing what you are--showing that women can be just
as successful in business as men can. Of course I know that you've got
a perfect _right_ to do just what a man would do--refuse to take a piece
of business that wasn't worth while. But--but what we hope is, and what
we want to show men is, that when women get into politics and business
they'll be better and less selfish."

"Which do you mean will be better?" E. Eliot inquired. "The politics and
the business, or the women?"

"I mean the politics and the business," Betty told her rather frostily.
Was the woman merely making fun of her?

E. Eliot caught the note. "I meant my question seriously," she said. "It
has a certain importance. But I didn't mean to interrupt you. Go ahead."
"Well," Betty said, "that's about all. George--Mr. Remington--that
is--is running for district attorney, and he has come out against
suffrage as you know. I thought perhaps this was a chance to convert
him a little. It would be a great favor to him, anyway, if you took
the cottages; because he doesn't know whom to turn to, if you won't. I
didn't come to try to tell you what your duty is, but I thought perhaps
you hadn't just looked at it that way."

"All right," said E. Eliot. "Now I'll tell you how I do look at it. In
the first place, about doing business for women. It all depends on the
woman you're doing business with. If she's had the business training
of a man, she's as easy to deal with as a man. If she's never had any
business training at all, if business doesn't mean anything to her
except some vague hocus-pocus that produces her income, then she's seven
kinds of a Tartar.

"She has no more notion about what she has a right to expect from other
people, or what they've a right to expect from her, than a white Angora
cat. Of course, the majority of women who have property to attend to
have had it dumped on their hands in middle life, or after, by the wills
of loving husbands. Those women, I'll say frankly, are the devil and all
to deal with. But it's their husbands' and fathers' fault, and not their
own. Anyhow, that isn't the reason I wouldn't take those cottages.

"It was the cottages themselves, and not the woman who owned them, that
decided me. That whole Kentwood district is a disgrace to civilization.
The sanitary conditions are filthy; have been for years. The owners have
been resisting condemnation proceedings right along, on the ground
that the houses brought in so little rental that it would be practical
confiscation to compel them to make any improvements. Now, since the
war boon struck the mills, and every place with four walls and a roof is
full, they're saying they can't afford to make any change because of the
frightful loss they'd suffer in potential profits.

"Well, when you agree to act as a person's agent, you've got to act in
that person's interest; and when it's a question of the interest of the
owners of those Kentwood cottages, whether they're men or women, my idea
was that I didn't care for the job."

"I think you're perfectly right about it," Betty said. "I wouldn't
have come to urge you to change your mind, if I had understood what the
situation was. But," here she held out her hand, "I'm glad I did come,
and I wish we might meet again sometime and get acquainted and talk
about things."

"No time like the present," said E. Eliot. "Sit down again, if you've
got a minute." She added, as Betty dropped back into her chair, "You're
Elizabeth Sheridan, aren't you?--Judge Sheridan's daughter? And you're
working as a stenographer for Remington and Evans?"

Betty nodded and stammered out the beginning of an apology for not
having introduced herself earlier. But the older woman waved this aside.

"What I really want to know," she went on, "if it isn't too outrageous
a question, is what on earth you're doing it for--working in that law
office, I mean?"

It was a question Betty was well accustomed to answering. But coming
from this source, it surprised her into a speechless stare.

"Why," she said at last, "I do it because I believe in economic
independence for women. Don't you? But of course you do."

"I don't know," said E. Eliot. "I believe in food and clothes, and money
to pay the rent, and the only way I have ever found of having those
things was to get out and earn them. But if ever I make money enough to
give me an independent income half the size of what yours must be, I'll
retire from business in short order."

"Do you know," said Betty, "I don't believe you would. I think you're
mistaken. I don't believe a woman like you could live without working."

"I didn't say I'd quit working," said E. Eliot. "I said I'd quit
business. That's another thing. There's plenty of real work in the world
that won't earn you a living. Lord! Don't I see it going by right here
in this office! There are things I just itch to get my hands into, and
I have to wait and tell myself 'some day, perhaps!' There's a thing I'd
like to do now, and that's to take a hand in this political campaign for
district attorney. It would kill my business deader than Pharaoh's aunt,
so I've got to let it go. But it would certainly put your friend George
Remington up a tall tree."

"Oh, you're a suffragist, then?" Betty exclaimed eagerly. "I was
wondering about that. I've never seen you at any of our meetings."

"I'm a suffragist, all right," said E. Eliot, "but as your meetings are
mostly held in the afternoons, when I'm pretty busy, I haven't been able
to get 'round.

"I'm curious about Remington," she went on. "I've known him a little,
for years. When I worked for Allen, I used to see him quite often in the
office. And I'd always rather liked him. So that I was surprised, clear
down to the ground, when I read that statement of his in the _Sentinel_.
I'd never thought he was _that_ sort. And from the fact that you work in
his office and like him well enough to call him George one might almost
suppose he wasn't."

Clearly Betty was puzzled. "Of course," she said, "I think his views
about women are obsolete and ridiculous. But I don't see what they've
got to do with liking him or not, personally."

E. Eliot's smile became grim again, but she said nothing, so Betty asked
a direct question.

"That was what you meant, wasn't it?"

"Yes," the other woman said, "that was what I meant. Why, if you don't
mind plain speaking, it's been my observation that the sort of men
who think the world is too indecent for decent women to go out into,
generally have their own reasons for knowing how indecent it is; and
that when they spring a line of talk like that, they're being sickening
hypocrites into the bargain."

Betty's face had gone flame color.

"George isn't like that at all," she said. "He's--he's really fine. He's
old-fashioned and sentimental about women, but he isn't a hypocrite. He
really means those things he says. Why..."

And then Betty went on to tell her new friend about Cousin Emelene and
Alys Brewster-Smith, and how George, though he writhed, had stood the

"A grown-up man," E. Eliot summed up, "who honestly believes that women
are made of something fine and fragile, and that they ought to be kept
where even the wind can't blow upon them! But good heavens, child, if
he really means that, it makes it all the better for what I was thinking
of. You don't understand, of course. I hadn't meant to tell you, but
I've changed my mind.

"Listen now. That statement in the _Sentinel_ has set the town talking,
of course, and stirred up a lot of feeling, for and against suffrage.
But what it would be worth as an issue to go to the mat with on election
day, is exactly nothing at all. You go out and ask a voter to
vote against a candidate for district attorney because he's an
anti-suffragist, and he'll say, 'What difference does it make? It isn't
up to him to give women the vote. It doesn't matter to me what his
private opinions are, as long as he makes a good district attorney!' But
there is an issue that we _can_ go to the mat with, and so far it hasn't
been raised at all. There hasn't been a peep." She reached over and laid
a hand on Betty's arm.

"Do you know what the fire protection laws for factories are? And do you
know that it's against the law for women to work in factories at night?
Well, and do you know what the conditions are in every big mill in this
town? With this boom in war orders, they've simply taken off the lid.
Anything goes. The fire and building ordinances are disregarded, and for
six months the mills have been running a night shift as well as a day
shift, on Sundays and week-days, and three-quarters of their operatives
are women. Those women go to work at seven o'clock at night, and quit at
six in the morning; and they have an hour off from twelve to one in the
middle of the night.

"Now do you see? It's up to the district attorney to enforce the law.
Isn't it fair to ask this defender of the home whether he believes that
women should be home at night or not, and if he does, what he's going
to do about it? Talk about slogans! The situation bristles with them!
We could placard this town with a lot of big black-faced questions that
would make it the hottest place for George Remington that he ever found
himself in.

"Well, it would be pretty good campaign work if he was the hypocrite
I took him to be, from his stuff in the _Sentinel_. But if he's on the
level, as you think he is, there's a chance--don't you see there's a
chance that he'd come out flat-footed for the enforcement of the law?
And if he did!... Child, can you see what would happen if he _did_?"

Betty's eyes were shining like a pair of big sapphires. When she spoke,
it was in a whisper like an excited child.

"I can see a little," she said. "I think I can see. But tell me."

"In the first place," said E. Eliot, "see whom he'd have against him.
There'd be the best people, to start with. Most of them are stockholders
in the mills. Why, you must be, yourself, in the Jaffry-Bradshaw
Company! Your father was, anyway."

Betty nodded.

"You want to be sure you know what it means," the older woman went on.
"This thing might cut into your dividends, if it went through."

"I hope it will," said Betty fiercely. "I never realized before that my
money was earned like that--by women, girls of my age, standing over a
machine all night." She shivered. "And there are some of us, I'm sure,"
she went on, "who would feel the way I do about it."

"Well,--some," E. Eliot admitted. "Not many, though. And then there are
the merchants. These are great times for them--town crammed with people,
all making money, and buying right and left. And then there's the labor
vote itself! A lot of laboring men would be against him. Their women
just now are earning as much as they are. There are a lot of these
men--whatever they might say--who'd take good care not to vote for a man
who would prevent their daughters from bringing in the fifteen, twenty,
or twenty-five dollars a week they get for that night work.

"Well, and who would be with him? Why, the women themselves. The one
chance on earth he'd have for election would be to have the women
organized and working for him, bringing every ounce of influence they
had to bear on their men--on all the men they knew.

"Mind you, I don't believe he could win at that. But, win or lose, he'd
have done something. He'd have shown the women that they needed the
vote, and he'd have found out for himself--he and the other men who
believe in fair human treatment for everybody--that they can't secure
that treatment without women's votes. That's the real issue. It isn't
that women are better than men, or that they could run the world
better if they got the chance. It's that men and women have got to work
together to do the things that need doing."

"You're perfectly wonderful," said Betty, and sat thereafter, for
perhaps a minute and a half, in an entranced silence.

Then, with a shake of the head, a straightening of the spine, and a
good, deep, business-like preliminary breath, she turned to her new
friend and said, "Well, shall we do it?"

This time it was E. Eliot's turn to gasp.

She hadn't expected to have a course of action put up to her in that
instantaneous and almost casual manner. She wasn't young like Betty.
She'd been working hard ever since she was seventeen years old. She'd
succeeded, in a way, to be sure. But her success had taught her how hard
success is to obtain. She saw much farther into the consequences of
the proposed campaign than Betty could see. She realized the bitter
animosity that it would provoke. She knew it was well within the
probabilities that her business would be ruined by it.

She sat there silent for a while, her face getting grimmer and grimmer
all the time. But she turned at last and looked into the eager face of
the girl beside her, and she smiled,--though even the smile was grim.

"All right," she said, holding out her hand to bind the bargain. "We'll
start and we'll stick. And here's hoping! We'd better lunch together,
hadn't we?"


Mr. Benjamin Doolittle, by profession White-water's leading furniture
dealer and funeral director, and by the accident of political fortune
the manager of Mr. George Remington's campaign, sat in his candidate's
private office, and from time to time restrained himself from hasty
speech by the diplomatic and dexterous use of a quid of tobacco.

He found it difficult to preserve his philosophy in the face of George
Remington's agitation over the woman's suffrage issue.

"It's the last time," he had frequently informed his political cronies
since the opening of the campaign, "that I'll wet-nurse a new-fledged
candidate. They've got at least to have their milk teeth through if they
want Benjamin Doolittle after this." To George, itchingly aware through
all his rasped nerves of Mrs. Herrington's letter in that morning's
_Sentinel_ asking him to refute, if he could, an abominable half column
of statistics in regard to legislation in the Woman Suffrage States, the
furniture dealer was drawling pacifically:

"Now, George, you made a mistake in letting the women get your goat.
Don't pay no attention to them. Of course their game's fair enough. I
will say that you gave them their opening; stood yourself for a target
with that statement of yours. Howsomever, you ain't obligated to keep on
acting as the nigger head in the shooting gallery.

"Let 'em write; let 'em ask questions in the papers; let 'em heckle you
on the stump. All that you've got to say is that you've expressed your
personal convictions already, and that you've stood by those convictions
in your private life, and that as you ain't up for legislator, the
question don't really concern your candidacy. And that, as you're
running for district attorney, you will, with their kind permission,
proceed to the subjects that do concern you there--the condition of the
court calendar of Whitewater County, the prosecution of the racetrack
gamblers out at Erie Oval, and so forth, and so forth.

"You laid yourself open, George, but you ain't obligated in law or
equity to keep on presenting yourself bare chest for their outrageous
slings and arrows."

"Of course, what you say about their total irrelevancy is quite true,"
said George, making the concession so that it had all the belligerency
of a challenge. "But of course I would never have consented to run for
office at the price of muzzling my convictions."

Mr. Doolittle wearily agreed that that was more than could be expected
from any candidate of the high moral worth of George Remington. Then
he went over a list of places throughout the county where George was to
speak during the next week, and intimated dolefully that the committee
could use a little more money, if it had it.

He expressed it thus: "A few more contributions wouldn't put any strain
to speak of on our pants' pockets. Anything more to be got out of Old
Martin Jaffry? Don't he realize that blood's thicker than water?"

"I'll speak to him," growled George.

He hated Mr. Benjamin Doolittle's colloquialisms, though once he had
declared them amusing, racy, of the soil, and had rebuked Genevieve's
fastidious criticisms of them on an occasion when she had interpreted
her rôle of helpmeet to include that of hostess to Mr. and Mrs.
Doolittle--oh, not in her own home, of course!--at luncheon, at the
Country Club!

"Well, I guess that's about all for today."

Mr. Doolittle brought the conference to a close, hoisting himself by
links from his chair.

"It takes $3000 every time you circularize the constituency, you

He lounged toward the window and looked out again upon the pleasant,
mellow scene around Fountain Square. And with the look his affectation
of bucolic calm dropped from him. He turned abruptly.

"What's that going on at McMonigal's corner?" he demanded sharply. "I
don't know, I am sure," said George, with indifference, still bent upon
teaching his manager that he was a free and independent citizen, in
leading strings to no man. "It's been vacant since the fire in March,
when Petrosini's fish market and Miss Letterblair's hat st----"

He had reached the window himself by this time, and the sentence was
destined to remain forever unfinished.

From the low, old-fashioned brick building on the northeast corner of
Fountain Square, whose boarded eyes had stared blindly across toward the
glittering orbs of its towering neighbor, the Jaffry Building, for six
months, a series of great placards flared.

Planks had been removed from the windows, plate glass restored, and
behind it he read in damnable irritation:


A foot high, an inch broad, black as Erebus, the letters shouted at him
against an orange background. Every window of the second story contained
a placard. On the first story, in the show window where Petrosini had
been wont to ravish epicurean eyes by shad and red snapper, perch and
trout, cunningly imbedded in ice blocks upon a marble slab--in that
window, framed now in the hated orange and black, stood a woman.

She was turning backward, for the benefit of onlookers who pressed close
to the glass, the leaves of a mammoth pad resting upon an easel.

From their point of vantage in the second story of the Jaffry Building,
the candidate and his manager could see that each sheet bore that horrid


The whole population of White water, it seemed to George, was crowded
about that corner.

"I'll be back in a minute," said Benjie Doolittle, disappearing through
the private office door with the black tails of his coat achieving
a true horizontal behind him. As statesman and as undertaker, Mr.
Doolittle never swerved from the garment which keeps green the memory of
the late Prince Consort.

As the door opened, the much-tried George Remington had a glimpse of
that pleasing industrial unit, Betty Sheridan, searching through the
file for the copy of the letter to the Cummunipaw Steel Works, which
he had recently demanded to see. He pressed the buzzer imperiously, and
Betty responded with duteous haste. He pointed through the window to the
crowd in front of McMonigal's block.

"Perhaps," he said, with what seemed to him Spartan self-restraint,
"_you_ can explain the meaning of that scene."

Betty looked out with an air of intelligent interest.

"Oh yes!" she said vivaciously. "I think I can. It's a Voiceless

"A voice l--" George's own face was a voiceless speech as he repeated
two syllables of his stenographer's explanation.

"Yes. Don't you know about voiceless speeches? It's antiquated to try to
run any sort of a campaign without them nowadays."

"Perhaps you also know who that--female--" again George's power of
utterance failed him. Betty came closer to the window and peered out.

"It's Frances Herrington who is turning the leaves now," she said
amiably. "I know her by that ducky toque."

"Frances Herrington! What Harvey Herrington is thinking of to allow----"
George's emotion constrained him to broken utterance. "And we're
dining there tonight! She has no sense of the decencies--the--the--the
hospitality of existence. We won't go--I'll telephone Genevieve----"

"Fie, fie Georgie!" observed Betty. "Why be personal over a mere detail
of a political campaign?"

But before George could tell her why his indignation against his
prospective hostess was impersonal and unemotional, the long figure of
Mr. Doolittle again projected itself upon the scene.

Betty effaced herself, gliding from the inner office, and George turned
a look of inquiry upon his manager.

"Well?" the monosyllable had all the force of profanity.

"Well, the women, durn them, have brought suffrage into your campaign."


"How? They've got a list of every blamed law on the statute books
relating to women and children, and they're asking on that sheet of
leaves over there, if you mean to proceed against all who are breaking
those laws here in Whitewater County. And right opposite your own
office! It's--it's damn smart. You ought to have got that Herrington
woman on your committee."

"It's indelicate, unwomanly, indecent. It shows into what unsexed
degradation politics will drag woman. But I'm relieved that that's all
they're asking. Of course, I shall enforce the law for the protection of
every class in our community with all the power of the----"

"Oh, shucks! There's nobody here but me--you needn't unfurl Old Glory,"
counseled Mr. Doolittle, a trifle impatiently. "They're asking real
questions, not blowing off hot-air. Oh, I say, who owns McMonigal's
block since the old man died? We'll have the owner stop this circus.
That's the first thing to do."

"I'll telephone Allen. He'll know."

Allen's office was very obliging and would report on the ownership on
McMonigal's block in ten minutes.

Mr. Doolittle employed the interval in repeating to George some of the
"Questions for Candidate Remington," illegible from George's desk.

"You believe that 'WOMAN'S PLACE IS IN THE HOME.' Will you enforce the
law against woman's night work in the factories? Over nine hundred women
of Whitewater County are doing night work in the munition plants of
Airport, Whitewater and Ondegonk. What do you mean to do about it?"


A critical listener would have caught a note of ribald scorn in Mr.
Doolittle's drawl, as he quoted from his candidate's statement, via the
voiceless speech placards.

"To conserve the threatened flower of womanhood, the grape canneries of
Omega and Onicrom Townships are employing children of five and six
years in defiance of the Child Labor Law of this State. Are you going to
proceed against them?"

"'WOMAN IS MAN'S RAREST HERITAGE.' Do you think man ought to burn her
alive? Remember the Livingston Loomis-Ladd collar factory fire--fourteen
women killed, forty-eight maimed. In how many of the factories in
Whitewater, in which women work, are the fire laws obeyed? Do you mean
to enforce them?"

The telephone interrupted Mr. Doolittle's hateful litany.

Alien's bright young man begged to report that McMonigal's block was
held in fee simple by the widow of the late Michael McMonigal.

Mr. Doolittle juggled the leaves of the telephone directory with the
dazzling swiftness of a Japanese ball thrower, and in a few seconds he
was speaking to the relict of the late Michael.

George watched him with fevered eyes, listened with fevered ears. The
conversation, it was easy to gather, did not proceed as Mr. Doolittle

"Oh! in entire charge--E. Eliot. Oh! In sympathy yourself. Oh, come now,
Mrs. McMonigal----"

But Mrs. McMonigal did not come now. The campaign manager frowned as he
replaced the receiver.

"Widow owns the place. That Eliot woman is the agent. The suffrage gang
has the owner's permission to use the building from now on to election.
She says she's in sympathy. Well, we'll have to think of something----"

"It's easy enough," declared George. "I'll simply have a set of posters
printed answering their questions. And we'll engage sandwich men to
carry them in front of McMonigal's windows. Certainly I mean to enforce
the law. I'll give the order to the _Sentinel_ press now for the
answers--definite, dignified answers." "See here, George." Mr. Doolittle
interrupted him with unusual weightiness of manner. "It's too far along
in the campaign for you to go flying off on your own. You've got
to consult your managers. This is your first campaign; it's my
thirty-first. You've got to take advice----"

"I will not be muzzled."

"Shucks! Who wants to muzzle, anybody! But you can't say everything
that's inside of you, can you? There's got to be some choosing. We've
got to help you choose.

"The silly questions the women are displaying over there--you can't
answer 'em in a word or in two words. This city is having a boom; every
valve factory in the valley, every needle and pin factory, is makin'
munitions today--valves and needles and pins all gone by the board for
the time being. Money's never been so plenty in Whitewater County
and this city is feelin' the benefits of it. People are buying
things--clothes, flour, furniture, victrolas, automobiles, rum.

"There ain't a merchant of any description in this county but his
business is booming on account of the work in the factories. You can't
antagonize the whole population of the place. Why, I dare say, some of
your own money and Mrs. Remington's is earning three times what it was
two years ago. The First National Bank has just declared a fifteen
per cent. dividend, and Martin Jaffry owns fifty-four per cent. of the

"You don't want to put brakes on prosperity. It ain't decent citizenship
to try it. It ain't neighborly. Think of the lean years we've known. You
can't do it. This war won't last forever--" Mr. Doolittle's voice was
tinged with regret--"and it will be time enough to go in for playing the
deuce with business when business gets slack again. That's the time for
reforms, George,--when things are dull."

George was silent, the very presentment of a sorely harassed young man.
He had not, even in a year when blamelessness rather than experience
was his party's supreme need in a candidate, become its banner bearer
without possessing certain political apperceptions. He knew, as Benjie
Doolittle spoke, that Benjie spoke the truth--White-water city and
county would never elect a man who had too convincingly promised to
interfere with the prosperity of the city and county.

"Better stick to the gambling out at Erie Oval, George," counseled the
campaign manager. "They're mostly New Yorkers that are interested in
that, anyway."

"I'll not reply without due consideration and--er--notice," George
sullenly acceded to his manager and to necessity. But he hated both
Doolittle and necessity at the moment.

That sun-bright vision of himself which so splendidly and sustainingly
companioned him, which spoke in his most sonorous periods, which so
completely and satisfyingly commanded the reverence of Genevieve--that
George Remington of his brave imaginings would not thus have answered
Benjamin Doolittle.

Through the silence following the furniture man's departure, Betty, at
the typewriter, clicked upon Georgie's ears. An evil impulse assailed
him--impolitic, too, as he realized--impolitic but irresistible. It was
the easiest way in which candidate Remington, heckled by suffragists,
overridden by his campaign committee, mortifyingly tormented by a
feeling of inadequacy, could re-establish himself in his own esteem as a
man of prompt and righteous decisions.

He might not be able to run his campaign to suit himself, but, by Jove,
his office was his own!

He went into Betty's quarters and suggested to her that a due sense
of the eternal fitness of things would cause her to offer him her
resignation, which his own sense of the eternal fitness of things would
lead him at once to accept.

It seemed, he said, highly indecorous of her to remain in the employ of
Remington and Evans the while she was busily engaged in trying to thwart
the ambitions of the senior partner. He marveled that woman's boasted
sensitiveness had not already led her to perceive this for herself.

For a second, Betty seemed startled, even hurt. She colored deeply and
her eyes darkened. Then the flush of surprise and the wounded feeling
died. She looked at him blankly and asked how soon it would be possible
for him to replace her. She would leave as soon as he desired.

In her bearing, so much quieter than usual, in the look in her face,
George read a whole volume. He read that up to this time, Betty had
regarded her presence in the ranks of his political enemies as she would
have regarded being opposed to him in a tennis match. He read that he,
with that biting little speech which he already wished unspoken, had
given her a sudden, sinister illumination upon the relations of working
women to their employers.

He read the question in the back of her mind. Suppose (so it ran in his
constructive fancy) that instead of being a prosperous, protected young
woman playing the wage-earner more or less as Marie Antoinette had
played the milkmaid, she had been Mamie Riley across the hall, whose
work was bitter earnest, whose earnings were not pin-money, but bread
and meat and brother's schooling and mother's health--would George still
have made the stifling of her views the price of her position?

And if George--George, the kind, friendly, clean-minded man would drive
that bargain, what bargain might not other men, less gentle, less noble,

All this George's unhappily sensitized conscience read into Betty
Sheridan's look, even as the imp who urged him on bade him tell her that
she could leave at her own convenience; at once, if she pleased; the
supply of stenographers in Whitewater was adequately at demand.

He rather wished that Penny Evans would come in; Penny would doubtless
take a high hand with him concerning the episode, and there was nothing
which George Remington would have welcomed like an antagonist of his own
size and sex.

But Penny did not appear, and the afternoon passed draggingly for the
candidate for the district attorneyship. He tried to busy himself with
the affairs of his clients, but even when he could keep away from his
windows he was aware of the crowds in front of McMonigal's block, of
Frances Herrington, her "ducky" toque and her infernal voiceless speech.

And when, for a second, he was able to forget these, he heard from the
outer office the unmistakable sounds of a desk being permanently cleared
of its present incumbent's belongings.

After a while, Betty bade him a too courteous good-by, still with that
abominable new air of gravely readjusting her old impressions of him.
And then there was nothing to do but to go home and make ready for
dinner at the Herrington's, unless he could induce Genevieve to have an
opportune headache.

Of course Betty had been right. Not upon his masculine shoulders should
there be laid the absurd burden of political chagrin strong enough to
break a social engagement.

Genevieve was in her room. The library was given over to Alys
Brewster-Smith, Cousin Emelene Brand, two rusty callers and the
tea things. Before the drawing-room fire, Hanna slept in Maltese
proprietorship. George longed with passion to kick the cat.

Genevieve, as he saw through the open door, sat by the window. She had,
it appeared, but recently come in. She still wore her hat and coat; she
had not even drawn off her gloves. And seeing her thus, absorbed in some
problem, George's sense of his wrongs grew greater.

He had, he told himself, hurried home out of the jar and fret of a man's
day to find balm, to feel the cool fingers of peace pressed upon hot
eyelids, to drink strengthening draughts of refreshment from his wife's
unquestioning belief, from the completeness of her absorption in him.
And here she sat thinking of something else!

Genevieve arose, a little startled as he snapped on the lights
and grunted out something which optimism might translate into an
affectionate husbandly greeting. She came dutifully forward and raised
her face, still exquisite and cool from the outer air, for her lord's
home-coming kiss. That resolved itself into a slovenly peck.

"Been out?" asked George unnecessarily. He tried to quell the
unreasonable inclination to find her lacking in wifely devotion because
she had been out.

"Yes. There was a meeting at the Woman's Forum this afternoon," she
answered. She was unpinning her hat before the pier glass, and in it
he could see the reflection of her eyes turned upon his image with a
questioning look.

"The ladies seem to be having a busy day of it."

He struggled not quite successfully to be facetious over the pretty,
negligible activities of his wife's sex. "What mighty theme engaged your

"That Miss Eliot--the real estate woman, you know--" George stiffened
into an attitude of close attention--"spoke about the conditions under
which women are working in the mills in this city and in the rest of the
county--" Genevieve averted her mirrored eyes from his mirrored face.
She moved toward her dressing-table.

"Oh, she did! and is the Woman's Forum going to come to grips with
the industrial monster and bring in the millennium by the first of the

But George was painfully aware that light banter which fails to be
convincingly light is but a snarl.

Genevieve colored slightly as she studied the condition of a pair of
long white gloves which she had taken from a drawer.

"Of course the Woman's Forum is only for discussion," she said mildly.
"It doesn't initiate any action." Then she raised her eyes to his face
and George felt his universe reel about him.

For his wife's beautiful eyes were turned upon him, not in limpid
adoration, not in perfect acceptance of all his views, unheard,
unweighed; but with a question in their blue depths.

The horrid clairvoyance which harassment and self-distrust had given
him that afternoon enabled him, he thought, to translate that look.
The Eliot woman, in her speech before the Woman's Forum, had doubtless
placed the responsibility for the continuation of those factory
conditions upon the district attorney's office, had doubtless repeated
those damn fool, impractical questions which the suffragists were
displaying in McMonigal's windows.

And Genevieve was asking them in her mind! Genevieve was questioning
him, his motives, his standards, his intentions! Genevieve was not
intellectually a charming mechanical doll who would always answer "yes"
and "no" as he pressed the strings, and maintain a comfortable vacuity
when he was not at hand to perform the kindly act. Genevieve was
thinking on her own account. What, he wondered angrily, as he
dressed--for he could not bring himself to ask her aid in escaping
the Herringtons and, indeed, was suddenly balky at the thought of the
intimacies of a domestic evening--_what_ was she thinking? She was not
such an imbecile as to be unaware how large a share of her comfortable
fortune was invested in the local industry. Why, her father had been
head of the Livingston Loomis-Ladd Collar Company, when that dreadful
fire--! And she certainly knew that his uncle, Martin Jaffry, was the
chief stockholder in the Jaffry-Bradshaw Company.

What was the question in Genevieve's eyes? Was she asking if he were the
knight of those women who worked and sweated and burned, or of her and
the comfortable women of her class, of Alys Brewster-Smith with
her little cottages, of Cousin Emelene with her little stocks, of
masquerading Betty Sheridan whose sortie of independence was from the
safe vantage-grounds of entrenched privilege?

And all that evening as he watched his wife across the crystal and the
roses of the Herrington table, trying to interpret the question that had
been in her eyes, trying to interpret her careful silence, he realized
what every husband sooner or later awakes to realize--that he had
married a stranger.

He did not know her. He did not know what ambitions, what aspirations
apart from him, ruled the spirit behind that charming surface of flesh.

Of course she was good, of course she was tender, of course she was
high-minded! But how wide-enveloping was the cloak of her goodness?
How far did her tenderness reach out? Was her high-mindedness of the
practical or impractical variety?

From time to time, he caught her eyes in turn upon him, with that
curious little look of re-examination in their depths. She could look at
him like that! She could look at him as though appraisals were possible
from a wife to a husband!

They avoided industrial Whitewater County as a topic when they left
the Herrington's. They talked with great animation and interest of the
people at the party. Arrived at home, George, pleading press of work,
went down into the library while Genevieve went to bed. Carefully they
postponed the moment of making articulate all that, remaining unspoken,
might be ignored.

It was one o'clock and he had not moved a paper for an hour, when the
library door opened.

Genevieve stood there. She had sometimes come before when he had worked
at night, to chide him for neglecting sleep, to bring bouillon or
chocolate. But tonight she did neither.

She did not come far into the room, but standing near the door and
looking at him with a new expression--patient, tender, the everlasting
eternal look--she said: "I couldn't sleep, either. I came down to say
something, George. Don't interrupt me----" for he was coming toward
her with sounds of affectionate protest at her being out of bed.
"Don't speak! I want to say--whatever you do, whatever you
decide--now--always--I love you. Even if I don't agree, I love you."

She turned and went swiftly away.

George stood looking at the place where she had stood,--this strange,
new Genevieve, who, promising to love, reserved the right to judge.


The high moods of night do not always survive the clear, cold light of
day. Indeed it requires the contribution of both man and wife to keep a
high mood in married life.

Genevieve had gone in to make her profession of faith to her husband
in a mood which touched the high altitudes. She had gone without any
conscious expectation of anything from him in the way of response. She
had vaguely but confidingly expected him to live up to the moment.

She had expected something beautiful, a lovely flower of the
spirit--comprehension, generosity. Living up to the demand of the moment
was George's forte. Indeed, there were those among his friends who felt
that there were moments when George lived up to things too brightly
and too beautifully. His Uncle Jaffry, for instance, had his openly
skeptical moments. But George even lived up to his uncle's skepticism.
He accepted his remarks with charming good humor. It was his pride that
he could laugh at himself.

At the moment of Genevieve's touching speech he lived up to exactly
nothing. He didn't even smile. He only stared at her--a stare which

"Now what the devil do you mean by that?"

Genevieve had a flicker of bitter humor when she compared her moment of
sentiment to a toy balloon pulled down from the blue by an unsympathetic

The next morning, while George was still shaving, the telephone rang. It
was Betty.

"Can you have lunch with me at Thorne's, where we can talk?" she asked
Genevieve. "And give me a little time tomorrow afternoon?"

"Why," Geneviève responded, "I thought you were a working girl."

There was a perceptible pause before Betty replied.

"Hasn't George told you?" "Told what?" Genevieve inquired. "George
hasn't told me anything."

"I've left the office."

"Left! For heaven's sake, why?"

Betty's mind worked swiftly.

"Better treat it as a joke," was her decision. There was no pause before
she answered.

"Oh, trouble with the boss."

"You'll get over it. You're always having trouble with Penny.

"Oh," said Betty, "it's not with Penny this time."

"Not with George?"

"Yes, with George," Betty answered. "Did you think one couldn't quarrel
with the noblest of his sex? Well, one can."

"Oh, Betty, I'm sorry." Genevieve's tone was slightly reproachful.

"Well, I'm not," said Betty. "I like my present job better. It was a
good thing he fired me."

"_Fired_ you! George fired _you_?"

"Sure thing," responded Betty blithely. "I can't stand here talking all
day. What I want to know is, can I see you at lunch?"

"Yes--why, yes, of course," said Genevieve, dazedly. Then she hung up
the receiver and stared into space.

George, beautifully dressed, tall and handsome, now emerged from his
room. For once his adoring wife failed to notice that in appearance
he rivaled the sun god. She had one thing she wanted to know, and she
wanted to know it badly. It was,

"Why did you fire Betty Sheridan?"

She asked this in the insulting "point of the bayonet" tone which angry
equals use to one another the world over.

Either question or tone would have been enough to have put George's
already sensitive nerves on edge. Both together were unbearable. It was,
when you came down to it, the most awkward question in the world.

Why, indeed, had he fired Betty Sheridan? He hadn't really given
himself an account of the inward reasons yet. The episode had been too
disturbing; and it was George's characteristic to put off looking on
unpleasant facts as long as possible. Had he been really hard up, which
he never had been, he would undoubtedly have put away, unopened, the
bills he couldn't pay. Life was already presenting him with the bill of
yesterday's ill humor, and he was not yet ready to add up the amount. He
hid himself now behind the austerity of the offended husband.

"My dear," he inquired in his turn, "don't you think that you had best
leave the details of my office to me?"

He knew how lame this was, and how inadequate, before Genevieve replied.

"Betty Sheridan is not a detail of your office. She's one of my best
friends, and I want to know why you fired her. I dare say she was
exasperating; but I can't see any reason why you should have done it.
You should have let her leave."

It was Betty, with that lamentable lack of delicacy which George had
pointed out to her, who had not been ready to leave.

"You will have to let me be the judge of what I should or should not
have done," said George. This piece of advice Genevieve ignored.

"Why did you send her away?" she demanded.

"I sent her away, if you want to know, for her insolence and her damned
bad taste. If you think--working in my office as she was--it's decent or
proper on her part to be active in a campaign that is against me----"

"You mean because she's a suffragist? You sent her away for _that_! Why,
really, that's _tyranny_! It's like my sending away some one working for
me for her beliefs----"

They stood staring at each other, not questioningly as they had
yesterday, but as enemies,--the greater enemies that they so loved each

Because of that each word of unkindness was a doubled-edged sword. They
quarreled. It was the first time that they had seen each other without
illusion. They had been to each other the ideal, the lover, husband,

Now, in the dismay of his amazement in finding himself quarreling with
the perfect wife, a vagrant memory came to George that he had heard
that Genevieve had a hot temper. She certainly had. He didn't notice
how handsome she looked kindled with anger. He only knew that the rose
garden in which they lived was being destroyed by their angry hands;
that the very foundation of the life they had been leading was being

The time of mirage and glamour was over. He had ceased being a hero and
an ideal, and why? Because, forgetting his past life, his record, his
achievement, Genevieve obstinately insisted on identifying him with one
single mistake. He was willing to concede it was a mistake. She had not
only identified him with it, but she had called him a number of wounding

"Tyrant" was the least of them, and, worse than that, she had, in a
very fury of temper, told him that he "needn't take that pompous"--yes,
"pompous" had been her unpleasant word--"tone" with her, when he
had inquired, more in sorrow than in anger, if this were really his
Genevieve speaking.

There was a pause in their hostilities. They looked at each other
aghast. Aghast, they had perceived the same awful truth. Each saw that
love [Illustration: "You mean because she's a suffragist? You sent her
away for _that_? Why, really, that's _tyranny_!"] in the other's heart
was dead, and that things never could be the same again. So they stood
looking down this dark gulf, and the light of anger died.

In a toneless voice: "We mustn't let Cousin Emelene and Alys hear us
quarreling," said George. And Genevieve answered, "They've gone down to

The two ladies were seated at table.

"We heard you two love birds cooing and billing, and thought we might
as well begin," said Alys Brewster-Smith. "Regularity is of the highest
importance in bringing up a child."

Cousin Emelene was reading the _Sentinel._ George's quick eye glanced at
the headlines:

_Candidate Remington Heckled by Suffragists. Ask Him Leading Questions._

"Why, dear me," she remarked, her kind eyes on George, "it's perfectly
awful, isn't it, that they break the laws that way just for a little
more money. But I don't see why they want to annoy dear George. They
ought to be glad they are going to get a district attorney who'll put
all those things straight. I think it's very silly of them to ask him,
don't you, Genevieve?"

"Let me see," said Genevieve, taking the paper.

"All he's got to do, anyway, is to answer," pursued Cousin Emelene.

"Yes, that's all," replied Genevieve, her melancholy gaze on George.
Yesterday she would have had Emelene's childlike faith. But this
stranger, who, for a trivial and tyrannical reason, had sent away
Betty--how would _he_ act?

"They showed these right opposite your windows?" she questioned.

"Yes," he returned. "Our friend Mrs. Herrington did it herself. It was
the first course of our dinner. If you think that's good taste--"

"I would expect it of her," said Alys Brewster-Smith.

"But it makes it so easy for George," Emelene repeated. "They'll know
now what sort of a man he is. Little children at work, just to make a
little more money--it's awful!"

"Talking about money, George," said Alys, "have you seen to my houses
yet?" "Not yet," replied the harassed George. "You'll have to excuse my
going into the reasons now. I'm late as it is."

His voice had not the calm he would have wished for. As he took his
departure, he heard Alys saying,

"If you'll let me, my dear, I'd adore helping you about the
housekeeping. I don't want to stay here and be a burden. If you'll just
turn it over to me, I could cut your housekeeping expenses in half."

"Damn the women," was the unchivalrous thought that rose to George's

One would have supposed that trouble had followed closely enough on
George Remington's trail, but now he found it awaiting him in his

Usually, Penny was the late one. It was this light-hearted young man's
custom to blow in with so engaging an expression and so cheerful a
manner that any comment on his unpunctuality was impossible. Today,
instead of a gay-hearted young man, he looked more like a sentencing

What he wanted to know was,

"What have you done to Betty Sheridan? Do you mean to say that you had
the nerve to send her away, send her out of my office without consulting
me--and for a reason like that? How did you think I was going to feel
about it?"

"I didn't think about you," said George.

"You bet you didn't. You thought about number one and your precious
vanity. Why, if one were to separate you from your vanity, one couldn't
see you when you were going down the street. Go on, make a frock coat
gesture! Play the brilliant but outraged young district attorney. Do you
know what it was to do a thing of that kind--to fire a girl because she
didn't agree with you?"

"It wasn't because she didn't agree with me," George interrupted, with

"It was the act of a cad," Penny finished. "Look here, young man, I'm
going to tell you a few plain truths about yourself. You're not the sort
of person that you think you are. You've deceived yourself the way other
people are deceived about you--by your exterior. But inside of that
good-looking carcass of yours there's a brain composed of cheese. You
weren't only a cad to do it--you were a fool!" "You can't use that tone
to me!" cried George.

"Oh, can't I just? By Jove, it's things like that that make one wake up.
Now I know why women have a passion for suffrage. I never knew before,"
Penny went on, with more passion than logic. "You had a nerve to make
that statement of yours. You're a fine example of chivalry. You let
loose a few things when you wrote that fool statement, but you did a
worse trick when you fired Betty Sheridan. God, you're a pinhead--from
the point of view of mere tactics. Sometimes I wonder whether you've
_any_ brain."

George had turned white with anger.

"That'll just about do," he remarked.

"Oh, no, it won't," said Penny. "It won't do at all. I'm not going to
remain in a firm where things like this can happen. I wouldn't risk my
reputation and my future. You're going to do the decent thing. You're
going to Betty Sheridan and tell her what you think of yourself. She
won't come back, I suppose, but you might ask her to do that, too. And
now I'm going out, to give you time to think this over. And tonight
you can tell me what you've decided. And then I'll tell you whether I'm
going to dissolve our partnership. Your temper's too bad to decide
now. Maybe when you've done that she won't treat me like an unsavory

He left, and George sat down to gloomy reflection.

To do him justice, the idea of apologizing to Betty had already occurred
to him. If he put off the day of reckoning, when the time came he would
pay handsomely. He realized that there was no use in wasting energy and
being angry with Penny. He looked over the happenings of the last few
hours and the part he had played in them, and what he saw failed to
please him. He saw himself being advised by Doolittle to concentrate on
the Erie Oval. He heard him urging him not to be what Doolittle called
unneighborly. The confiding words of Cousin Emelene rang in his ears.

He saw himself, in a fit of ill-temper, discharging Betty. He saw
Genevieve, lovely and scornful, urging him to be less pompous. All this,
he had to admit, he had brought on himself. Why should he have been so
angry at these questions? Again Emelene's remark echoed in his ear. He
had only to answer them--and he was going to concentrate on the Erie

There came a knock on the door, and a breezy young woman demanded,

"D'you want a stenographer?"

George wanted a stenographer, and wanted one badly. He put from him the
whole vexed question in the press of work, and by lunch time he made up
his mind to have it out with Betty. There was no use putting it off, and
he knew that he could have no peace with himself until he did. He felt
very tired--as though he had been doing actual physical work. He thought
of yesterday as a land of lost content. But he couldn't find Betty.

He bent his steps toward home, and as he did so affection for Genevieve
flooded his heart. He so wanted yesterday back--things as they had been.
He so wanted her love and her admiration. He wanted to put his tired
head on her shoulder. He couldn't bear, not for another moment, to be at
odds with her.

He wondered what she had been doing, and how she had spent the morning.
He imagined her crying her heart out. He leaped up the steps and ran up
to his room. In it was Alys Brewster-Smith. She started slightly.

"I was just looking for some cold cream," she explained.

"Where's Genevieve?" George asked.

"Oh, she's out," Alys replied casually. "She left a note for you."

The note was a polite and noncommittal line informing George that
Genevieve would not be back for lunch. He felt as though a lump of ice
replaced his heart. His disappointment was the desperate disappointment
of a small boy.

He went back to the gloomy office and worked through the interminable
day. Late in the afternoon Mr. Doolittle lounged heavily in.

"Have some gum, George?" he inquired, inserting a large piece in his own

He chewed rhythmically for a space. George waited. He knew that chewing
gum was not the ultimate object of Mr. Doolittle's visit.

"Don't women beat the Dutch?" he inquired at last. "Yes sir, mister;
they do!"

"What's up now?" George inquired. "The suffragists again?"

"Nope; not on the face of it they ain't. It's the Woman's Forum that's
doin' this. They've got a sweet little idea. 'Seein' Whitewater Sweat'
they call it.

"They're goin' around in bunches of twos, or mebbe blocks o' five,
seein' all the sights; an' you know women ain't reasonable, an' you
can't reason with them. They're goin' to find a pile o' things they
won't like in this little burg o' ours, all right, all right. An'
they'll want to have things changed right off. I want to see things
changed m'self. I'd like to, but them things take time, an' that's what
women won't understand.

"Jimminee, I've heard of towns all messed up and candidates ruined just
because the women got wrought up over tenement-house an' fire laws an'
truck like that. Yes sir, they're out seein' Whitewater this minut, or
will be if you can't divert their minds. Call 'em off, George, if you
can. Get 'em fussy about sumpen else."

"Why, what have I to do with it?" George inquired.

"Well, I didn't know but what you might have sumpen," said Mr. Doolittle
mildly. "It's that young lady that works here, Miss Sheridan, an' your
wife what's organizin' it. Planning it all out to Thorne's at lunch they
was, an' Heally was sittin' at the next table and beats it to me. You
can see for yerself what a hell of a mess they'll make!"


It was a relief to both men when at this point the door of the office
opened and Martin Jaffry entered.

Not since the unfortunate anti-suffrage statement of George's had Uncle
Martin dropped in like this. George, looking at him with that first
swift glance that often predetermines a whole interview, made up his
mind that bygones were to be bygones. He greeted his uncle with the
warmest cordiality.

"Well, George," said Uncle Martin, "how are things going?"

"I'm going to be elected, if that's what you mean," answered George.

Doolittle gave a snort. "Indeed, are ye?" said he. "As a friend and
well-wisher, I'm sure I'm delighted to hear the news." "Do I understand
that you have your doubts, Mr. Doolittle?" Jaffry inquired mildly.

"There's two things we need and need badly, Mr. Jaffry," said Doolittle.
"One's money--"

"A small campaign contribution would not be rejected?"

"But there's something we need more than money--and God knows I never
expected to say them words--and that's common sense."

"Good," said Uncle Martin, "I have plenty of that, too!"

"Then for the love of Mike pass some of it on to this precious nephew of

"What seems to be the matter?"

"It's them women," said Doolittle.

Uncle Martin turned inquiringly to George: "The tender flowers?" he

"Look here, Uncle Martin," said George, who had had a good deal of this
sort of thing to bear, "I don't understand you. Do you believe in woman

Uncle Martin contemplated a new crumpling of his long-suffering cap
before he answered. "Yes and no, George. I believe in it in the same way
that I believe in old age and death. I can't avoid them by denying their

"But you fight against them, and put them off as long as you can."

"But I yield a little to them, too, George. What is it? Has Genevieve
become a convert to suffrage?"

"Has Genevieve--has my wife----"

Then George remembered that his uncle was an older man and that chivalry
is not limited to the treatment of the weaker sex.

"No," he said with a calm hardly less magnificent than the tempest would
have been, "no, Uncle Martin, Genevieve has not become a suffragist."

"Well," said Doolittle rising, as if such things were hardly worth his
valuable time, "I fail to see the difference between a suffragette an' a
woman who goes pokin' her nose into what----"

"You're speaking of my wife, Mr. Doolittle," said George, with a
significant lighting of the eye.

"Speakin' in general," said Doolittle.

Uncle Martin was interested. "Has Genevieve been--well, we won't say
poking the nose--but taking a responsible civic interest where it would
be better if she didn't?"

"It seems," answered George, casting an angry glance at his campaign
manager, "that Mr. Doolittle has heard from a friend of his who
overheard a conversation between Betty Sheridan and my wife at luncheon.
From this he inferred that the two were planning an investigation of
some of the city's problems."

Uncle Martin looked relieved.

"Oh, your wife and your stenographer. That can be stopped, I suppose,
without undue exertion."

"Betty is no longer my stenographer."

"Left, has she?" said Jaffry. "I had an idea she would not stay with you

This intimation was not agreeable to George. He would have liked to
explain that Miss Sheridan's departure had been dictated by the will
of the head of the firm; in fact he opened his mouth to do so. But the
remembrance that this would entail a long and wearisome exposition of
his reasons caused him to remain silent, and his uncle went on: "Well,
anyhow, you can get Geneviève to drop it."

If Doolittle had not been there, George would have been glad to discuss
with his uncle, who had, after all, a sort of worldly shrewdness, how
far a man is justified in controlling his wife's opinions. But before an
audience now a trifle unsympathetic, he could not resist the temptation
of making the gesture of a man magnificently master in his own house.

He smiled quite grandly. "I think I can promise that," he said.

Doolittle got up slowly, bringing his jaws together in a relentless bite
on the unresisting gum.

"Well," he said, "that's all there is to it." And he added significantly
as he reached the door, "If you kin _do_ it!"

When the campaign manager had gone, Uncle Martin asked very, very
gently: "You don't feel any doubt of being able to do it, do you,

"About my ability to control--I mean influence, my wife? I feel no doubt
at all."

"And Penfield, I suppose, can tackle Betty? You won't mind my saying
that of the two I think your partner has the harder job."

A slight cloud appeared upon the brow of the candidate.

"I don't feel inclined to ask any favor of Penny just at present," he
said haughtily. "Has it ever struck you, Uncle Martin, that Penny has an
unduly emotional, an almost feminine type of mind?"

"No," said the other, "it hasn't, but that is perhaps because I have
never been sure just what the feminine type of mind is."

"You know what I mean," answered George, trying to conceal his
annoyance at this sort of petty quibbling. "I mean he is too personal,
over-excitable, irrational and very hard to deal with."

"Dear me," said Jaffry. "Is Geneviève like that?"

"Geneviève," replied her husband loyally, "is much better poised than
most women, but--yes,--even she--all women are more or less like that."

"All women and Penny. Well, George, you have my sympathy. An excitable
partner, an irrational stenographer, and a wife that's very hard to deal

"I never said Geneviève was hard to deal with," George almost shouted.

"My mistake--thought you did," answered his uncle, now moving rapidly
away. "Let me know the result of the interview, and we'll talk over ways
and means." And he shut the door briskly behind him.

George walked to the window, with his hands in his pockets. He always
liked to look out while he turned over grave questions in his mind;
but this comfort was now denied to him, for he could not help being
distracted by the voiceless speech still relentlessly turning its pages
in the opposite window.

The heading now was:


He flung himself down on his chair with an exclamation. He knew he had
to think carefully about something which he had never considered before,
and that was his wife's character.

Of course he liked to think about Geneviève--; of her beauty, her
abilities, her charms; and particularly he liked to think about her love
for him.

A week ago he would have met the present situation very simply. He would
have put his arm about her and said: "My darling, I think I'd a little
rather you dropped this sort of thing for the present." And that would
have been enough.

But he knew it would not be enough now. He would have to have a reason,
a case.

"Heavens," he thought, "imagine having to talk to one's wife as if she
were the lawyer for the other side."

He did not notice that he was reproaching Geneviève for being too
impersonal, too unemotional and not irrational enough.

When he went home at five, he had thought it out. He put his head into
the sitting-room, where Alys was ensconced behind the tea-kettle.

"Come in, George dear," she called graciously, "and let me give you a
really good cup of tea. It's some I've just ordered for you, and I think
you'll find it an improvement on what you've been accustomed to." George
shut the door again, pretending he had not heard; but he had had time
enough to note that dear little Eleanor was building houses out of his
most treasured books.

The memory of his quarrel with his wife had been partly obliterated by
memories of so many other quarrels during the day that it was only when
he was actually standing in her room that he remembered how very bitter
their parting had been.

He stood looking at her doubtfully, and it was she who came forward and
put her arms about him. They clung to each other like two children who
have been frightened by a nightmare.

"We mustn't quarrel again, George," she said. "I've had a real, true,
old-fashioned pain in my heart all day. But I think I understand better
now than I did. I lunched with Betty and she made me see."

"What did Betty make you see?" asked George nervously, for he had not
perfect confidence in Miss Sheridan's visions.

"That it was all a question of efficiency. She said that in business a
man's stenographer is just an instrument to make his work easier, and if
for any reason at all that instrument does not suit him he is justified
in getting rid of it, and in finding one that does."

"Betty is very generous," he said coldly. He wanted to hear his wife say
that she had not thought him pompous; it was very hard to be thankful
for a mere ethical rehabilitation.

Part of his thought-out plan was that Geneviève must herself tell him
of the Woman's Forum's investigation; it would not do for him to let
her know he had heard of it through a political eavesdropper. So after a
moment he added casually:

"And what else did Betty have to say?"

"Nothing much."

His heart sank. Was Geneviève becoming uncandid?

"Nothing else," he said. "Just to justify me in your eyes?"

She hesitated, "No, that was not quite all, but it is too early to talk
about it yet."

"Anything that interests you, my dear, I should like to hear about from
the beginning." Perhaps Geneviève was not so unemotional after all, for
at this expression of his affection, her eyes filled with tears.

"I long to tell you," she said. "I only hesitated on your account, but
of course I want all your help and advice. It's this: There seems to
be no doubt that the conditions under which women are working in
our factories are hideous--dangerous--the law is broken with perfect
impunity. I know you can't act on rumors and hearsay. Even the
inspectors don't give out the truth. And so we are going to persuade the
Woman's Forum to abandon its old policy of mere discussion.

"We--Betty and I--are going to get the members for once to act--to make
an investigation; so that the instant you come into the office you will
have complete information at your disposal--facts, and facts and facts
on which you can act."

She paused and looked eagerly at her husband, who remained silent.
Seeing this she went on:

"I know what you're thinking. I thought of it myself. Am I justified in
using my position in the Woman's Forum to further your political career?
Well, my answer is, it isn't your political career, only; it's truth and
justice that will be furthered."

Here in the home there was no voiceless speech to make the view
intolerable, and George moved away from his wife and walked to the
window. He looked out on his own peaceful trees and lawn, and on Hanna,
like a tiger in the jungle, stalking a competent little sparrow.

A temptation was assailing George. Suppose he did put his opposition to
this investigation on a high and mighty ground? Suppose he announced a
moral scruple? But no, he cast Satan behind him.

"Geneviève," he said, turning sharply toward her, "this question puts
our whole attitude to a test. If you and I are two separate individuals,
with different responsibilities, different interests, different
opinions, then we ought to be consistent; that ought to mean economic
independence of each other, and equal suffrage; it means that husband
and wife may become business competitors and political opponents.

"But if, as you know I believe, a man and woman who love each other are
one, are a unit as far as society is concerned, why then our interests
are identical, and it is simply a question of which of us two is better
able to deal with any particular situation."

"But that is what I believe, too, George."

"I hoped it was, dear; I know it used to be. Then you must let me act
for you in this matter."

"Yes, in the end; but an investigation--"

"My darling, politics is not an ideal; it is a practical human
institution. Just at present, from the political point of view, such an
investigation would do me incalculable harm."


He nodded. "It would probably lose me the election."

"But why?"

"Geneviève, am I your political representative or not?"

"You are," she smiled at him, "and my dear love as well; but may I not
even know why?"

"If you dismissed the cook, and I summoned you before me and bade you
give me your reasons for such an action, would you not feel in your
heart that I was disputing your judgment?"

She looked at him honestly. "Yes, I should."

"And I would not do such a discourteous thing to you. In the home you
are absolute. Whatever you do, whatever you decide, is right. I would
not dream of questioning. Will you not give me the same confidence in my
special department?"

There was a short pause; then Geneviève held out her hand.

"Yes, George," she said, "I will, but on one condition----"

"_I_ did not make conditions, Geneviève."

"You do not have to, my dear. You know that I am really your
representative in the house; that I am really always thinking of your
wishes. You must do the same as my political representative. I mean, if
I am not to do this work myself, you must do it for me."

"Even if I consider it unwise?"

"Unwise to protect women and children?"

"Geneviève," he said seriously, as one who confides something not always
confided to women, "enforcing law sometimes does harm."

"But an investigation----"

"That's where you are ignorant, my dear. If an investigation is made,
especially if the women mix themselves up in it, then we shall have no
choice but enforcement."

She had sunk down on her sofa, but now she sprang up. "And you don't
mean to enforce the law in respect of women? Is that why you don't want
the investigation?"

"Not at all. You are most unjust. You are most illogical, Geneviève. All
I am asking is that the whole question should not be taken up at this
moment--just before election."

"But this is the only moment when we can find out whether or not you are
a candidate who will do what we want."

"_We_, Geneviève! Who do you mean by 'we'?"

She stared for a second at him, her eyes growing large and dark with

"Oh, George," she gasped finally, "I think I meant women when I said
'we.' George, I'm afraid I'm a _suffragist_. And oh," she added, with a
sort of wail, "I don't want to be, I don't want to be!"

"Damn Betty Sheridan," exclaimed George. "This is all her doing."

His wife shook her head. "No," she said, "it wasn't Betty who made me

"Who was it?"

"It was you, George."

"I don't understand you."

"You made me see why women want to vote for themselves. How can you
represent me, when we disagree fundamentally?"

"How can we disagree fundamentally when we love each other?"

"You mean that because we love each other, I must think as you do?"

"What else could I mean, darling?"

"You might have meant that you would think as I do."

George glanced at her in deep offense.

"We have indeed drifted far apart," he said.

At this moment there was a knock at the door, and the news was conveyed
to George that Mr. Evans was downstairs asking to see him.

"Oh dear," said Geneviève, "it seems as if we never could get a moment
by ourselves nowadays. What does Penny want?"

"He wants to tell me whether he intends to dissolve partnership or not."

Any fear that his wife had disassociated herself from his interests
should have been dispelled by the tone in which she exclaimed: "Dissolve
partnership! Penny? Well, I never in my life! Where would Penny be
without you, I should like to know! He must be crazy."

These words made George feel happier than anything that had happened to
him throughout this day. His self-esteem began to revive.

"I think Penny has been a little hasty," he said, judicially but not
unkindly. "He lost all self-control when he heard I had let Betty go."

"Isn't that like a man," said Geneviève, "to throw away his whole future
just because he loses his temper?"

George did not directly answer this question, and his wife went on.
"However, it will be all right. He has seen Betty this afternoon, and
she won't let him do anything foolish."

George glanced at her. "You mean that Betty will prevent his leaving the

"Of course she will."

George walked to the door.

"I seem to owe a good deal to my former stenographer," he said, "my
wife, my partner; next, perhaps it will be my election."


Penny, pacing the drawing-room with pantheresque strides, came to a
tense halt as Remington entered.

"Well?" he said, his eyes hard, his unwelcoming hands thrust deep into
his pockets.

That identical "well" with its uptilt of question had been on George's
tongue. It was a monosyllable that demanded an answer. Penny had got
ahead of him, forced him, as it were, into the witness chair, and he
resented it.

"Seems to me," he began hotly, "that you were the one who was going to
make the statements--' whether or no,' I believe, we were to continue in

"Perhaps," retorted Penny, with the air of allowing no great importance
to that angle of the argument, "but what I want to know is, _are_
you going to be a square man, and own up you were peeved into being
a tyrant? And when you've done that, are you going to tell Betty, and

George hesitated, trapped between his irritation and the still small

"Look here," he said, with that amiable suavity that had won him many a
concession, "you know well enough I don't want to hurt Betty's feelings.
If she feels that way about it, of course I'll apologize."

His partner looked at him in blank amazement.

"Gad!" he exclaimed as if examining a particularly fine specimen of some
rare beetle, "what a bounder."

"Meaning me?" snapped George.

"Don't dare to quibble. Look me in the eye."

There was a third degree fatality about the usually debonair Penny that
exacted obedience. George unwillingly looked him in the eye, and had a
ghastly feeling of having his suddenly realized smallness X-rayed.

"You know damned well you acted like a cad," Penny continued, "and I
want to know, for all our sakes, if you're man enough to own it?"

George's fundamental honesty mastered him. Anger died from his eyes. His
clenched hands relaxed and began an unconscious and nervous exploration
for a cigarette.

"Since you put it that way," he said, "and it happens that my conscience
agrees with you--I'll go you. I _was_ a cad, and I'll tell Betty so.
Confound it!" he growled, "I don't know _what's_ come over me these
days. I've got to get a grip on myself."

"You _bet_ you have," said Penny, hauling his fists from his trousers as
if with an effort. Then he grinned. "Betty said you would."

George's eyes darkened.

"And I'll tell you now," Penny went on, "since you've turned out at
least half-decent, Betty'll let you off that apology thing. _She_
wasn't the one who was exacting it--not she. _I_ couldn't stand for
your highfalutin excuses for being--well, never mind--we all get our off
days. But don't you get off again like that if----" Penny hesitated.
"If you want me for a partner," which seemed the obvious conclusion, was
tame. "If you want to hang on to any one's respect," he finished.

"Say, though," he murmured, "Betty'll give me 'what for' for drubbing
you. She actually took your side--said--oh, never mind--tried to make
me think of her just as if she was any old Mamie--the stenog--tried to
prune out personal feeling."

"By Jove," he ruminated, "that girl's a corker!"

He raised forgiving eyes from his contemplation of the rug.

"Well, old man, blow me to a Scotch and soda, and I'll be going. Dinged
if it wouldn't have broken me all up to have busted with you, even if
you are a box of prunes. Shake."

George shook, but he was far from happy. What he had gained in peace of
mind he had lost in self-conceit. His resentment against the pinch of
circumstance was deepening to cancerous vindictiveness.

As Pennington left with a cheery good-by and a final half-cynical word
of advice "to get onto himself" George mounted the stairs slowly and
came face to face with Geneviève, obviously in wait for him.

"What happened?" she inquired, with an anxious glance at his corrugated

George did not feel in a mood to describe his retreat, if not defeat.

"Oh, nothing. We had a highball. I think I made him--well--it's all

"There, I knew Betty'd make him see reason," she smiled. "I'm awfully
glad. I've a real respect for Penny's judgment after all, you know."

"Meaning, you have your doubts about mine."

"No, meaning only just what I said--_just_ that. By the way, George, I
wish you'd take time to look into Alys' real estate. Somebody ought to,
and if you're really representing her----"

"Oh, good heavens!" he exclaimed impatiently, angered by her swift
transition from his own to another's affairs. "I can't! I simply can't!
Haven't you any conception of how busy I am?"

"I know, dear; I _do_ know. But something must be done. The Health
Department," she explained, "has sent in complaint after complaint,
and Miss Eliot simply won't handle the property unless she's allowed to
spend a lot setting things to rights. Alys says it's absurd; none of the
other property owners out there are doing anything, and _she_ won't. So,
nobody's looking after it, and somebody should."

"Who told you all this?" he demanded. "Miss E. Eliot, I suppose."

His wife nodded. "And she's right," she added.

"Well, perhaps she is," he allowed. "I'll get Alien to act as her agent
again. He's in with all the politicians; he ought to be able to stall
off the department."

The words slipped out before he realized their import, but at
Genevieve's wide stare of amazement he flushed crimson. "I mean--lots of
these complaints are really mere red tape; some self-important employee
is trying to look busy. A little investigation usually puts that

"Of course," she acquiesced, and he breathed a sigh of relief. "That
happens, too, but Miss Eliot says that the conditions out there are
really dreadful."

"I'll talk to Allen," said George with an affectation of easy dismissal
of the subject.

But Genevieve's mind appeared to have grown suddenly persistent.
At dinner she again brought up the subject, this time directing her
troubled gaze and troubling words at her guest.

"Alys," she said abruptly, "I really think you ought to go out to
Kentwood--to see about your property out there, I mean."

Mrs. Brewster-Smith looked up, rolling her large eyes in frank

"Go out there? What for? It isn't the sort of a district a lady cares to
be seen in, I'm told; and, besides, George is looking after that for
me. _He_ understands such matters, and I frankly own _I_ don't. Business
makes me quite dizzy," she added with a flash of very white teeth.

Geneviève hesitated, then went to the point.

"But you must advise with your agent, Alys. The property is _yours_."

Alys raised sharply penciled brows. "I have utter confidence in George,"
she answered in a tone of finality that brought an adoring look from
Emelene, and her usual Boswellian echo: "Of _course_."

George squirmed uneasily. Such a vote of confidence implied accepted
responsibility, and he acknowledged to himself that he wanted to and
would dodge the unwelcome burden. He turned a benign Jovian expression
on Mrs. Brewster-Smith and condescended to explain.

"I have considered what is best for you, and I will myself see Allen and
request him to take your real-estate affairs in charge again. Neither
Sampson nor--er--Eliot is, I think, advisable for your best interests."

At the mention of the last name Genevieve's expressive face stretched to
speak; then she closed her lips with self-controlled determination. Mrs.
Brewster-Smith looked at her host in scandalized amazement.

"But I _told_ you," she almost whimpered, "that his wife is simply

George smiled tolerantly. "But his wife isn't doing the business. It's
the business, not the social interests, we have to consider.

"Oh, but she is in the business," Alys explained. "I think it's because
she's jealous of him; she wants to be around the office and watch him."

Geneviève interposed. "Mrs. Allen owns a lot of land herself, and she
looks after it. It seems quite natural to me."

"But she _has_ a husband," Alys rebuked.

"Yes," agreed Geneviève, "but she probably married him for a husband,
not a business agent."

George felt the reins of the situation slipping from him, so he jerked
the curb of conversation.

"We are beside the issue," he said in his most legal manner. "The fact
is that Allen knows more about the Kentwood district and the factory
values than any one else, and I feel it my duty to advise Alys to leave
her affairs in his hands. I'll see him for you in the morning."

He turned to Alys with a return of tolerantly protective inflection in
his voice.

Geneviève shrugged, a faint ghost of a shrug. Had George been less
absorbed in his own mental discomforts, he would have discovered there
and then that the matter of his speech, not the manner of his delivery,
was what held his wife's attention. No longer could rounded periods and
eloquent sophistry hide from her his thoughts and intentions.

A telephone call interrupted the meal. He answered it with relief,
bowing a hurried, self-important excuse to the ladies. But the voice
that came over the wire was not modulated in tones of flattery.

"Say," drawled the campaign manager, "you'd better get a hump on, and
come over here to headquarters. There's a couple of gents here who want
a word with you."

The tone was ominous, and George stiffened. "Very well, I'll be right
over. But you can pretty well tell them where I stand on the main
issues. Who's at headquarters?"

A snort of disgust greeted the inquiry. The snort told George that
seasoned campaigners did not use the telephone with such casual lack of
circumspection. The words were in like manner enlightening. "Well, there
might be Mr. Julius Caesar, and then again Mr. George Washington might
drop in. What I'm putting you wise to," he added sharply, "is that you'd
better get on to your job."

There was a click as of a receiver hung up with a jerk, and a subdued
giggle that testified to the innocent attention of the telephone

With but a pale reflection of his usual courtesy the harassed candidate
left the bosom of his family. No sooner had he taken his departure than
the bosom heaved.

"My dear girl," said Alys, "if you take that tone with your husband
you'll never hold him--never. Men won't stand for it. You're only
hurting yourself."

"What tone?" Genevieve inquired as she rose calmly and led the way to
the drawing-room.

"I mean"--Mrs. Brewster-Smith slipped a firm, white hand across
Genevieve's shoulders--"you shouldn't try to force issues. It looks as
if you didn't have confidence in your husband, and men, to _do_ and _be_
their best, must feel perfect trust from the woman they love. You don't
mind my being so frank, dear, but we women must help one another--by our
experience and our intuitions."

Geneviève looked at her. Oblique angles had become irritatingly
fascinating. "I'm beginning to think so more and more," she replied.

"It's for your own good, dear," Alys smiled.

"Yes," Geneviève agreed. "I understand. Things that hurt are often for
our good, aren't they? We have to be _made_ to realize facts really to
know them."

"Coffee, dear?" inquired Alys, assuming the duties of hostess.

Geneviève shook her head. "No. I find I've been rather wakeful of late:
perhaps it's coffee. Excuse me. I must telephone."

A moment later she returned beaming.

"I have borrowed a car for tomorrow, and I want you and Emelene to come
with me for a little spin. We ought to have a bright day; the night is
wonderful. Poor George," she sighed, "I wish he didn't have to be away
so much."

"His career is yours, you know," kittenishly bromidic, Emelene comforted
her. The following day fulfilled the promise of its predecessor. Clear
and balmy, it invited to the outer, world, and it was with pleased
anticipation that Genevieve's guests prepared for the promised outing.
Geneviève glanced anxiously into her gold mesh bag. The motor was hired,
not borrowed.

She had permitted herself this one white lie.

She ushered her guests into the tonneau and took her place beside the
chauffeur. Their first few stops were for such prosaic purchases as the
household made necessary; there was a pause at the post office, another
at the Forum, where Geneviève left two highly disgruntled women waiting
for her while with a guilty sense of teasing her prey she prolonged her
business. The sight of their stiffened figures and averted faces when
she returned to them kindled a new amusement.

At last they were settled comfortably, and the car turned toward the

The town streets were passed and lines of villa homes thinned. The
ornate colonial gates of the Country Club flashed by. Now the sky to
the right was dark with the smoke of the belching chimneys of many
factories. For a block or two cottages of the better sort flanked the
road; then, grim, ugly and dilapidated, stretched the twin "improved"
sections of Kentwood and Powderville. In the air was an acrid odor. Soot
begrimed everything. The sodden ground was littered with refuse between
the shacks, which were dignified by the title of "Workmen's Cottages."

Amid the confusion, irregular trodden paths led, short-cutting, toward
the clattering, grinding munition plants. For a space of at least half
an acre around the huge iron buildings the ground, with sinister import,
was kept clear of dwellings, but in all directions outside of the
inclosure thousands of new yellow-pine shacks testified to the sudden
demand for labor. A large weather-beaten signboard at a wired cross-road
bore the name of "Kentwood," plus the advice that the office was
adjacent for the purchase or lease of the highly desirable villa sites.

The motor drew up and Genevieve alighted. For the first time since their
course had been turned toward the unlovely but productive outskirts,
Geneviève faced her passengers. Alys' face was pale. Emelene's
expression was puzzled and worried, as a child's is worried when the
child is suddenly confronted by strange and gloomy surroundings.

"There is some one in the renting office," said Geneviève with quiet
determination. "I'll find out. We shall need a guide to go around with
us. Emelene, you needn't get out unless you wish to."

Emelene shuffled uneasily, half rose, and collapsed helplessly back
on the cushions, like a baby who has encountered the resistance of his
buggy strap.

"I--if you'll excuse me, Geneviève, dear, I won't get out. I've only
got on my thin kid slippers. I didn't expect to put foot on the pavement
this morning, you know."

"Very well, then, Alys!" Genevieve's voice assumed a note of command her
mild accents had never before known.

Alys' brilliant eyes snapped. "I have no desire," she said firmly, with
all the dignity of an affronted lady, "to go into this matter." "I know
you haven't. But I'm going to walk through. _I_ am making a report for
the Woman's Forum."

Alys' face crimsoned with anger.

"You have no right to do such a thing," she exclaimed. "I shall refuse
you permission. You will have to obtain a permit."

"I have one," Geneviève retorted, "from the Health Department. And--I am
to meet one of the officers here."

Mrs. Brewster-Smith's descent from the tonneau was more rapid than

"What are you trying to do?" she demanded. "Geneviève, I don't
understand you."

"Don't you?"

The diffident girl had suddenly assumed the incisive strength of
observant womanhood.

"I think you _do_. I am going to show you your own responsibilities, if
that's a possible thing. I'm not going to let you throw them on George
because he's a man and your kin; and I shan't let him throw them on an
irresponsible agent because he has neither the time nor the inclination
to do justice to himself, to you, nor to these people to whom he is

She waved a hand down the muddy, jumbled street.

The advent of an automobile had had its effect. Eager faces appeared
at windows and doors. Children frankly curious and as frankly neglected
climbed over each other, hanging on the ragged fences. Two mongrel dogs
strained at their chains, yelping furiously. Geneviève crossed to
the little square building bearing a gilt "office" sign. There was no
response to her imperative knock, but a middle-aged man appeared on the
porch of the adjoining shack and observed her curiously.

"Wanta rent?" he called jëeringly.

"Are you in charge here?" Geneviève inquired.

"Sorter," he temporized. "Watcha want?"

"I want some one who knows something about it to go around Kentwood with

"What for?" he snarled. "I got my orders."

"From whom?" countered Geneviève.

"None of your business, as I can see." He eyed her narrowly. "But my
orders is to keep every one nosin' around here without no good raison
_out_ of the place--and I don't think _you're_ here to rent, nor your
friend, neither. Besides, there ain't nothin' to rent."

Mrs. Brewster-Smith colored. The insult to her ownership of the premises
stung her to resentment.

"My good man," she said sharply. "I happen to be the proprietor of North
Kent wood."

"Then you'd better beat it." The guardian grinned. "There's a dame been
here with one of them fellers from the town office."

"Where are they now?" questioned Genevieve sharply.

"Went up factory way. But if you _ain't_ one of them lady nosies, you'd
better beat it, I tell you."

Genevieve looked up the street. "Very well, we'll walk on up. This is
North Kentwood, isn't it?"

"Ain't much choice," he shrugged, "but it is. You can smell it a mile.
Say, you lady owner there"--he laughed at his own astuteness in not
being taken in--"you know the monikers, don't you? South Kentwood,
'Stinktown'; North Kentwood, 'Swilltown'?" He grinned, pulled at his
hip pocket and, extracting a flat glass flask, took a prolonged swig and
replaced the bottle with a leer.

The two incongruous visitors were already negotiating the muddy
thoroughfare between the dilapidated dwellings. Presently these gave
place to roughly knocked together structures for two and three families.

The number of children was surprising. Now and again a shrill-voiced
woman, who seemed the prototype of her who lived in the shoe, came to
admonish her young and stare with hostile eyes at the invaders. Refuse,
barrels, cans, pigs, dogs, chickens, were on all sides, with here and
there a street watering trough, fed, apparently, by an occasional tap
at the wide-apart hydrants, installed by the factories for protection in
case of fire, as evidenced by the signs staked by the apparatus.

"What do they pay you for these cottages?" Geneviève inquired suddenly.

Mrs. Brewster-Smith, whose curiosity concerning her possessions had
been aroused by the physical evidence of the same, balanced on a rut and
surveyed her tormentor angrily.

"I'm sure I don't know. I've told you before I don't understand such
matters, and I see nothing to be gained by coming here."

Geneviève pushed open a battered gate, walked up to the door and

"What are you doing?" her companion called, querulously.

A noise of many pattering feet on bare floors, a strident order for
silence, and the door swung open. A young girl stood in the doorway.
Behind her were a dozen or more children, varying from toddlers to gawky
girls and boys of school age.

Genevieve's eyes widened. "Dear me," she exclaimed, "they aren't all

The young woman grinned mirthlessly. "I should say not!" she snapped.
"They pays me to look out for 'em--their fathers and mothers in the
factory. Watcha want?"

"What do you pay for a house like this?"

The hired mother's brow wrinkled, and her lips drew back in an ugly
snarl. "They robs us, these landlords does. We gotter be 'longside the
works, so they robs us. What do I pay for this? Thirty a month, and at
that 'tain't fit for no dawg to live in. I could knock up a shack like
this with tar paper, I could.

"And what do we get? I gotter haul the water in a bucket, and cook on an
oil stove, and they hists the price of the ile, 'cause he comes by in
a wagon with it. The landlords is squeezing the life out of us, I tell

She paused in her tirade to yell at her charges. Then she turned again
to the story of her wrongs.

"And of all the pest holes I ever seen, this is the plum worst. There's
chills an' fever an' typhoid till you can't rest, an' them kids is
abustin' with measles an' mumps an' scarlet fever. That I ain't got 'em
all myself's a miracle."

"You ought to have a district nurse and inspector/' said Geneviève,
amused, in spite of her indignation, at the dark picture presented.

"Distric' nothin'," the other sneered. "There ain't nothin' here but
rent an' taxes--doggone if I don't quit. There's plenty to do this here
mindin' work, an' I bet I could make more at the factory. They're payin'
grand for overtime."

Geneviève looked at the thin shoulders and narrow chest of the girl,
noted her growing pallor and wondered how long such a physique could
withstand the strain of hard work and overtime. She sighed. Something of
her thoughts must have shown in her face, for the girl reddened and
her lips tightened. Without another word she slammed the door in her
visitor's face.

Mrs. Brewster-Smith cackled thin laughter.

"That's what you get for interfering," she jeered, so angry with her
hostess for this forced inspection of her source of income that she
was ready to sacrifice the comforts of her extended visit to have the
satisfaction of airing her resentment.

"Poor soul!" said Geneviève. "Thirty a month!" Her eyes ran over the
rows of crowded shacks. "The owners must get together and do something
here," she said. "These conditions are simply vile."

"It's probably all these people are used to," Alys snapped, "And,
besides, if they went further into town it'd cost them the trolley both
ways, and all the time lost. It's the location they pay for. Mr. Alien
told me not two months ago he thought rents could be raised."

"If you all co-operate," Genevieve continued her own line of thought,
"you could at least clean the place and make it _safe_ to live in, even
if they haven't any comforts."

Her face brightened. Around the corner came the strong, solid figure of
Miss Eliot; behind her trotted a bespectacled young man who carried a
pigskin envelope under his arm and whose expression was far from happy.

"Hello!" called Miss Eliot. "So you did come. I'm glad of it. Let me
present Mr. Glass to you. The department lent him to me for the day. And
what do you think of it, now that you can see it?"

"Glad to meet you," said Genevieve, nodding to the health officer. "What
do I think of it? What does Mr. Glass think? That's more important. Oh,
let me present you--this is Mrs. Brewster-Smith."

Miss Eliot's face showed no surprise, though her eyes twinkled, but Mr.
Glass was frankly taken aback.

"Mrs. Brewster--Smith----Brewster--Smith," he stammered. "Oh--er--" he
gripped his pigskin folio as if about to search its contents to verify
the name. "The--er--the owner?" he inquired.

Alys stiffened. "My dear husband left me this property. I have never
before seen it."

"I'm very glad," beamed Mr. Glass, "to see that we shall have
your co-operation in our efforts to do something definite for this
section--and measures must be taken quickly. As you see, there is no
sanitation, no trenching, no mosquito-extermination plant. Malaria and
typhoid are prevalent; it's all very bad, very bad, indeed. And you'd
hardly believe, Mrs. Brewster-Smith, what difficulties we are having
with the owners as a class. The five biggest have formed an association.
I suppose you've heard about it. They must have made an effort to
interest you "--he stopped short, remembering that her name appeared on
the lists of the "Protective League."

"Really"--Alys had recovered her hauteur and the aloofness becoming the
situation--"I know nothing whatever about what measures my agents have
thought it advisable to take."

Mr. Glass choked and glanced uneasily at Miss Eliot.

That lady grinned, almost the grin of a gamin. "You needn't look at
_me_, Mr. Glass. I don't represent Mrs. Brewster-Smith."

"Oh, I know, I know," Mr. Glass hastened to exonerate his companion.

"I believe Miss Eliot declined the honor," Genevieve's voice was heard.

"I did," the agent affirmed. She laughed shortly. "Otherwise you would
hardly find me here in my present capacity. One does not 'run with the
hare and hunt with the hounds,' you know."

Alys lost her temper. It seemed to her she was ruthlessly being forced
to shoulder responsibilities she had been taught to shirk as a sacred
feminine right. Therefore, feeling injured, she voiced her innocence.

"Your husband, my dear Geneviève, has been good enough to administer my
little estate. Whatever he has done, or now plans to do, meets with _my_
entire approval."

The thrust went home in more directions than one. Miss Eliot turned
her frank gaze upon the speaker, while she slowly nodded her head as
if studying a perfect specimen of a noxious species. Mr. Glass gasped.
There was political material in the statement. He looked anxiously at
the wife of the gentleman implicated, but in her was no fear and no
manner of trembling. Instead, the light of battle shone in her eyes.

"My dear Alys," she said, "my husband has told you that he is too busy a
man to give your affairs his personal attention. He can only advise you
and turn the executive side over to another. His experience does not
extend to the stock market or to real estate. It is an imposition to
throw your burdens upon him. If you derive benefits from ownership, you
must educate yourself to accept your duty to society."

"Indeed!" flared Alys, furious at this public arraignment. "May I ask
if you intend to continue this insulting attitude?" "If you mean, do I
expect hereafter to be a live woman and not a parasite--I do."

Mrs. Brewster-Smith turned on her heel and walked away, teetering over
the ruts and holes of the path.

Genevieve looked distressed. "I'm sorry," she breathed, "I'm ashamed,
but it _had_ to come out. I--I couldn't stand it any longer. I--beg
everybody's pardon. I'm sure, it was awfully bad manners of me. Oh,
dear--" she faltered, half turned, and, with a gesture of appeal toward
Mrs. Brewster-Smith's slowly retreating back, moved as if to follow.

"I wouldn't go after her," said E. Eliot. "Of course, you haven't had
experience. You don't know how much self-restraint you've got to build
up, but you're here now, and I'm sure Mr. Glass understands. _He's_
got to come up against all sorts of exasperations on _his_ job, too. He
won't take any stock in Mrs. Brewster-Smith's trying to tie your husband
up to these wretched conditions.

"He's looking forward to seeing an honest, public-spirited district
attorney get into office--even if your husband doesn't yet see that
women have anything to say about it. They may heckle him in order
to force him to come out on his intentions about the graft, and the
eight-hour day, and the enforcement of the law, but they don't doubt his
honesty. When he know's what's what, I guess the public can trust him to
do the right thing. Only he's got to be shown."

As she talked, giving Geneviève time to recover from her upheaval, the
three investigators were plowing their way up and down byways equally
depressing and insanitary. Silence ensued. Occasionally an expression of
commiseration or condemnation escaped one or another of the party.

Suddenly a raucous whistle tore the air, followed by another and
another, declaring the armistice of the noon hour. Iron gates in the
surrounding wall were opened, a stream of men and women poured out,
grimed, sweat-streaked and voluble. The two women and their escort
paused and watched the oncoming swarm of humanity.

Around the corner, just ahead, strode a giant of a man, followed by a
red-faced, unkempt, familiar figure--the man in charge of the renting
office. The giant came forward threateningly.

"What youse doing?" he growled. He jerked his jersey, displaying a brass
badge, P. A. Guard.

"Git outer here--git," he called.

Mr. Glass stepped forward, displaying his Health Department permit. The
giant laughed.

"Say, sonny," he sneered, "that don't go--see. Them tin fakes don't git
by. If you're one of them guys, you come here wit' McLaughlin, and youse
can rubber. But we've had enough of this stuff. Them dames is no blind,
neither. I'm guard for the owners here, and we ain't takin' no chances
wit' trouble makers--git. Git a move on!"

"The department," spluttered Glass, "shall hear of this."

"That's all right. McLaughlin's the boss. Tell 'em not to send a kid to
do a man's job."

Geneviève was too amazed to protest. It was her first experience of
defiance of Law and Order by Law and Order.

Meanwhile, the first stragglers of the released army of toilers were
nearly upon them. The giant observed their approach, and the look of
menace deepened on his huge, congested face.

"Move on, now--move on," he snarled, and herded them forward in advance
of the workers.

Sheepishly the three obeyed, but Miss Eliot was not silent.

"Your name?" she demanded in judicial command.

The very terseness of her question seemed to jerk an unwilling answer
from the guard.

"Michael Mehan."

"And you're employed by the Owners' Protective League?"


"Have they given you orders to keep strangers out of the district?"

"I have me orders, and I know what they be. I'm duly sworn in as extra
guard--and I'm not the only one, neither."

"Did _he_ come after you?" Miss Eliot indicated the ruffian at his side.

"I seen the lady owner blew the bunch," that worthy remarked with a
hoarse chuckle. "I wised Mike, all right. Whatcha goin' to do about it?"

"Mrs. Brewster-Smith, the owner," Miss Eliot observed, "didn't seem to
know that she had employed you. How about that?"

"I'm put here by the O.P.L. That's good enough fer yer lady
owner--now--ain't it? The things them nosey dames thinks they can git by
wit'!" he observed to the guard, and swore an oath that made Mr. Glass
turn to him with unexpected fury.

"You may pretend to think that I'm not what I represent myself to be,
but let me tell you, McLaughlin is going to hear of this. One more
insult to these ladies and I'll make it my business to go personally to
your employers. Get me?"

"Shut your trap, Jim," snarled Mehan. "Yer ain't got no orders fer no
fancy language." He leered at Geneviève. "Now we've shooed the chickens
out, we're tru'." With a wave of his huge paw he indicated the highway
the turn of the path revealed.

Geneviève looked to the right, where the car should be waiting her. It
was gone. Evidently the indignant Mrs. Brewster-Smith had expedited the
departure. Miss Eliot read her discomfiture.

"My car is right down here behind that palatial mansion with the hole
in the roof and the tin-can extension. Thank you very much for your
escort," she added, turning to the two representatives of the Protective
League. "My name, by the way, is E. Eliot. I am a real-estate agent and
my office is at 22 Braston Street. You might mention it in your report."

The little car stood waiting, surrounded by a group of admiring
children. Its owner stepped in briskly, backed around and received her

"Well," she smiled as they drew out on the traveled highway, "how do you
like the purlieus of our noble little city?"

Genevieve was silent. Then she spoke with conviction.

"When George is in power--and he's _got_ to be--the Law will be the Law.
I know him."


George Remington walked toward headquarters with more assurance than
he felt. He resented Doolittle's command that he appear at once. He was
beginning to realize the pressure which these campaign managers were
bringing to bear upon him. He was not sure yet how far he could go, in
out-and-out defiance of them and their dictates.

He knew that he had absolutely no ambitions, no interests in common with
these schemers, whose sole idea lay in party patronage, in manipulating
every political opportunity--in short, in reaping where they had sown.
The question now confronting him was this: was he prepared to sell his
political birthright for the mess of pottage they offered him?

He stood a second at the door of the office, peering through the
reeking, smoke-filled atmosphere, to get a bird's-eye view of the
situation before he entered.

Mr. Doolittle sat on the edge of a table monologuing to Wes' Norton and
Pat Noonan. Mr.

Norton was the president of the Whitewater Commercial Club, composed of
the leading merchants of the town, and Mr. Noonan was the apostle of the
liquor interests. Remington felt his back stiffen as he stepped among

"Good-evening, gentlemen," he said briskly.

"H'are ye, George?" drawled Doolittle.

"There was something you wanted to discuss with me?"

"I dunno as there's anything to discuss, but there's a few things Wes'
an' Pat an' me'd like to say to ye. There ain't no two ways of thinkin'
about the prosperity of Whitewater, ye know, George. The merchants
in this town is satisfied with the way things is boomin'. The
factory workers is gittin' theirs, with high wages an' overtime. The
stockholders is makin' no kick on the dividends--as ye know, George,
being one of them.

"Now, we don't want nuthin' to disturb all this If the fact'ries is
crackin' the law a bit, why, it ain't the first time such things has
got by the inspector. The fact'ry managers'd like some assurance from ye
that ye're goin' to keep yer hands off before they line up the fact'ry
hands to vote for ye."

Doolittle paused here. George nodded.

"When are ye comin' out with a plain statement of yer intentions,
George?" inquired Mr. Norton in a conciliatory tone.

"The voters in this town will get a clear statement of my stand on all
the issues of this campaign in plenty of time, gentlemen."

"That's all right fer the voter, but ye can't stall _us_ wit' that kind
of talk--" began Noonan.

"Wait a minute, Pat," counseled Doolittle. "George means all right. He's
new to this game, but he means to stand fer the intrusts of his party,
don't ye, George?"

"I should scarcely be the candidate of that party if I did not."

"I ain't interested in no oratory. Are ye or are ye not goin' to keep
yer hands off the prosperity of Whitewater?" demanded Noonan angrily.

"Look here, Noonan, I am the candidate for this office--you're not. I
intend to do as my conscience dictates. I will not be hampered at every
turn, nor told what to say and what to think. I must get to these things
in my own way."

"Don't ye fergit that ye're _our_ candidate, that ye are to express the
opinion of the people who will elect ye, and not any dam' theories of
yer own----"

"I think I get your meaning, Noonan."

George spoke with a smile which for some reason disconcerted Noonan. He
sensed with considerable irritation the social and class breach between
himself and Remington, and while he did not understand it he resented
it. He called him "slick" to Wes' and Doolittle and loudly bewailed
their choice of him as candidate.

"Then there's that P.L. bizness, Pat--don't fergit that," urged Wes'.

"I ain't fergittin' it. There's too much nosin' round Kentwood district
by the women, George. Too much talkin'. Ye'd better call that off right
now. Property owners down there is satisfied, an' they got _their_
rights, ye know." "I suppose you know what the conditions down there

"Sure we know, George, and we want to clean it up down there just as
much as you do," said the pacific Doolittle; "but what we're sayin' is,
this ain't the time to do it. Later, mebbe, when the conditions is jest

"Somebody has got the women stirred up fer fair. It's up to you to call
'em off, George," said Mr. Norton.

"How can I call them off?"--tartly.

"Ye can put the brakes on Mrs. Remington and that there Sheridan girl,
can't ye?"

"Miss Sheridan is no longer in my employ. As for Mrs. Remington, if
she is not one in spirit with me, I cannot force her to be. Every human
being has a right to----"

"Some change sence ye last expressed yerself, George. Seems like I
recall ye sayin', 'I'll settle that!'" remarked Doolittle coldly.

"We will leave my wife's name out of the discussion, please," said
George with tardy but noble loyalty. "Well, them two I mentioned can
stir up some trouble; but they ain't the brains of their gang, by a
long shot. It's this E. Eliot we gotta deal with. She's as smart, if not
smarter, than any man in this town. She's smarter than you, George--or
me, either," he added consolingly.

"I've seen her about, but I've never talked to her. What sort of woman
is she?"

"Quiet, sensible kind. Ye keep thinking, 'How reasonable that woman is,'
till ye wake up and find she's got ye hooked on one of the horns of
yer own damfoolishness! Slick as they make 'em and straight as a
string--that's E. Eliot."

"What do you want me to do about it?"--impatiently.

"Are ye aimin' to answer them voiceless questions?" Pat inquired.


"Plannin' to tear down Kentwood and enforce them factory laws?" demanded
Wes' Norton.

Still no answer.

"I'm jest callin' yer attention to the fact that this election is
gittin' nearer every day." "What am I to do with her? I can't afford to
show we're afraid of her."


"I can't bribe her to stop."

"I'd like to see the fella that would try to bribe E. Eliot," Doolittle
chuckled. "Wouldn't be enough of him left to put in a teacup."

"Then we've got to ignore her."

"_We_ can ignore her, all right, George; but the women an' some of the
voters ain't ignoring her. It's my idea she's got a last card up her
sleeve to play the day before we go to the polls that'll fix us."

"Have you any plan in your mind?"

Doolittle scratched his head, wrestling with thought.

"We was thinking that if she could be called away suddenly, and detained
till after election--" he began meaningly.

"You mean----"

"Something like that."

"I won't have it, not if I lose the election. I won't stoop to
kidnapping a woman like a highwayman. What do you take me for,
Doolittle?" "Georgie, politics ain't no kid-glove bizness. It ain't
what _you_ want; you're jest a small part of this affair. You're _our_
candidate, and we _got_ to win this here election. Do you get me?"

He shot out his underjaw, and there was no sign of his usual good humor.

"Well, but----"

"You don't have to know anything about this. We'll handle it. You'll be
pertected to the limit; don't you worry," sneered Noonan.

"But you can't get away with this old-fashioned stuff nowadays,
Doolittle," protested Remington.

"Can't we? You jest leave it to your Uncle Benjamin. You don't know
nothing about this. See?"

"I know it's a dirty, low, underhanded----"

"George," remarked Mr. Doolittle, slowly hoisting his big body on to its
short legs, "in politics we don't call a spade a spade. We call it 'a
agricultural implument.'"

With this sage remark Mr. Doolittle took his departure, followed by the
other prominent citizens.

George sat where they left him, head in hands, for several moments. Then
he sprang up and rushed to the door to call them back.

He would not stand it--he would not win at that price. He had conceded
everything they had demanded of him up to this point, but here he drew
the line. Ever since that one independent fling of his about suffrage
they had treated him like a naughty child. What did they think he was--a
rubber doll? He would telephone Doolittle that he would rather give up
his candidacy. Here he paused.

Suppose he did withdraw, nobody would understand. The town would think
the women had frightened him off. He couldn't come out now and denounce
the machine methods of his party. Every eye in Whitewater was focused on
him; his friends were working for him; the district attorneyship was the
next step in his career; Geneviève expected him to win--no, he must go
through with it! But after he got into office, then he would show them!
He would take orders from no one. He sat down again and moodily surveyed
the future.

In the days which followed, another mental struggle was taking place
in the Remington family. Poor Genevieve was like a woman struck by
lightning. She felt that her whole structure of life had crashed about
her ears. In one blinding flash she had seen and condemned George
because he considered political expediency. She realized that she must
think for herself now and not rely on him for the family celebration.
She had conceived her whole duty in life to consist in being George's
wife; but now, by a series of accidents, she had become aware of the
great social responsibilities, the larger human issues, which men and
women must meet together.

Betty and E. Eliot had pointed out to her that she knew nothing of the
conditions in her own town. They assured her that it was as much her
duty to know about such things as to know the condition of her own back

Then came the awful revelations of Kentwood--human beings huddled
like rats; children swarming, dirty and hungry! She could not bear to
remember the scenes she had witnessed in Kentwood.

She recalled the shock of Alys Brewster-Smith's indifference to all that
misery! The widow's one instinct had seemed to be to fight E. Eliot and
the health officer for their interference. Stranger still, the tenants
did not want to be moved out, driven on. The whole situation was
confused, but in it at least one thing stood out clearly: Geneviève
realized, during the sleepless night after her visit to Kentwood, that
she hated Cousin Alys!

The following Sunday, when she put on her coat, she found a souvenir
of that visit in her pocket, a soiled reminder of poverty and toil. She
remembered picking it up and noting that it was the factory pass of
one Marya Slavonsky. She had intended to leave it with some one in the
district, but evidently in the excitement of her enforced exit she had
thrust it into her pocket.

This Marya worked in the factories. She was one of that grimy army
Geneviève had seen coming out of the factory gate, and she went home to
that pen which Cousin Alys provided. Marya was a girl of Genevieve's
own age, perhaps, while she, Geneviève, had this comfortable home, and
George! She had been blind, selfish, but she would make up for it, she
_would_! She would make a study of the needs of such people; she would
go among them like St. Agatha, scattering alms and wisdom. George might
have his work; she had found hers! She would begin with the factory
girls. She would waken them to what had so lately dawned on her. How
could she manage it? The rules of admission in the munition factories
were very strict.

Then again her eye fell upon the soiled card and a great idea was born
in her brain. Dressed as a factory girl, she would use Marya's card to
get her into the circle of these new-found sisters. She would see how
and where they worked. She would report it all to the Forum and to
George. She could be of use to George at last.

She remembered Betty's statement that at midnight in the factories the
women and girls had an hour off. That was the time she chose, with true
dramatic instinct.

She rummaged in the attic for an hour, getting her costume ready. She
decided on an old black suit and a shawl which had belonged to her
mother. She carried these garments to her bedroom and hid them there.
Then, with Machiavellian finesse, she laid her plans.

She would slip out of bed at half-past eleven o'clock, taking care not
to waken George, and she would dress and leave the house by the side
door. By walking fast she could reach by midnight the factory to which
she had admission.

It annoyed her considerably to have George announce at luncheon that he
had a political dinner on for the evening and probably would not be home
before midnight. He grumbled a little over the dinner. "The campaign,"
he said, "really ended yesterday. But Doolittle thought it was wise to
have a last round-up of the business men, and give them a final speech."

Geneviève acquiesced with a sympathetic murmur, but she was
disappointed. Merely to walk calmly out of the house at eleven o'clock
lessened the excitement. However, she decided upon leaving George a note
explaining that she had gone to spend the night with Betty Sheridan.

She looked forward to the long afternoon with impatience. Cousin Emelene
was taking her nap. Mrs. Brewster-Smith left immediately after lunch
to make a call on one of her few women friends. Genevieve tried to get
Betty on the telephone, but she was not at home.

It was with a thrill of pleasure that she saw E. Eliot coming up the
walk to the door. She hurried downstairs just as the maid explained that
Mrs. Brewster-Smith was not at home.

"Oh, won't you come in and see me for a moment, Miss Eliot?" Genevieve
begged. "I do so want to talk to you."

E. Eliot hesitated. "The truth is, I am fearfully busy today,
even though it's Sunday. I wanted to get five minutes with Mrs.
Brewster-Smith about those cottages--" she began.

Genevieve laid a detaining hand on her arm and led her into the

"She's hopeless! I can hardly bear to have her in my house after the way
she acted about those fearful places."

"Well, all that district is the limit, of course. She isn't the only

"But she didn't _see_ those people." "She's human, I guess--didn't want
to see disturbing things."

"I would have torn down those cottages with my own hands!" burst forth

E. Eliot stared. "No one likes her income cut down, you know," she

"Income! What is that to human decencies?" cried the newly awakened

"Your husband doesn't entirely agree with you in some of these matters,
I suppose."

"Oh, yes he does, in his heart! But there's something about politics
that won't let you come right out and say what you think."

"Not after you've come right out once and said the wrong thing," laughed
E. Eliot. "I'm afraid you will have to use your indirect influence on
him, Mrs. Remington."

Geneviève threw her cards on the table.

"Miss Eliot, I am just beginning to see how much there is for women to
do in the world. I want to do something big--the sort of thing you
and Betty Sheridan are doing--to rouse women. What can I do?" E. Eliot
scrutinized the ardent young face with amiable amusement.

"You can't very well help us just now without hurting your husband's
chances and embarrassing him in the bargain. You see, we're trying to
embarrass him. We want him to kick over the traces and tell what he's
going to do as district attorney of this town."

"But can't I do something that won't interfere with George? Couldn't I
investigate the factories, or organize the working girls?"

"My child, have you ever organized anything?" exclaimed E. Eliot.


"Well, don't begin on the noble working girl. She doesn't organize
easily. Wait until the election is over. Then you come in on our schemes
and we'll teach you how to do things. But don't butt in now, I beg of
you. Misguided, well-meaning enthusiasts like you can do more harm to
our cause than all the anti-suffragists in this world!"

With her genial, disarming smile, E. Eliot rose and departed. She
chuckled all the way back to her rooms over the idea of Remington's
bride wanting to take the field with the enemies of her wedded lord.

"Women, women! God bless us, but we're funny!" mused E. Eliot.

Genevieve liked her caller immensely, and she thought over her advice,
but she determined to let it make no difference in her plans.

She saw her work cut out for her. She would not flinch!

She would do her bit in the great cause of women--no, of humanity. The
flame of her purpose burned steadily and high.

At a quarter-past eleven that night a slight, black-clad figure, with a
shawl over its head, softly closed the side door of the Remington house
and hurried down the street. Never before had Genevieve been alone on
the streets after dark. She had not foreseen how frightened she would be
at the long, dark stretches, nor how much more frightened when any one
passed her. Two men spoke to her. She sped on, turning now this way, now
that, without regard to direction--her eyes over her shoulder, in terror
lest she be followed.

So it was that she plunged around a corner and into the very arms of E.
Eliot, who was sauntering home from a political meeting, where she had
been a much-advertised speaker. She was in the habit of prowling about
by herself. Tonight she was, as usual, unattended--unless one observed
two burly workingmen who walked slowly in her wake.

"Oh, I beg your pardon," came a gently modulated voice from behind the
shawl. E. Eliot stared.

"No harm done here. Did I hurt you?" she replied.

She thought she heard an involuntary "Oh!" from beneath the shawl.

"No, thanks. Could you tell me how to get to the Whitewater Arms and
Munitions Factory? I'm all turned around."

"Certainly. Two blocks that way to the State Road, and half a mile north
on that. Shall I walk to the road with you?"

"Oh, no, thank you," the girl answered and hurried on. E. Eliot stood
and watched her. Where had she heard that voice? She knew a good many
girls who worked at the factories, but none of them spoke like that.
All at once a memory came to her: "Couldn't I investigate something, or
organize the working girls?" Mrs. George Remington!

"The little fool," ejaculated the other woman, and turned promptly to
follow the flying figure.

The two burly gentlemen in the rear also turned and followed, but E.
Eliot was too busy planning how to manage Mrs. Remington to notice them.
She had to walk rapidly to keep her quarry in sight. As she came
within some thirty yards of the gate she saw Genevieve challenge the
gatekeeper, present her card and slip inside, the gate clanging to
behind her.

E. Eliot broke into a jog trot, rounded the corner of the wall, pulled
herself up quickly, using the stones of the wall as footholds. She hung
from the top and let herself drop softly inside, standing perfectly
still in the shadow. At the same moment the two burly gentlemen ran
round the corner and saw nothing. "I told ye to run--" began one of them

"Aw, shut up. If she went over here, she'll come out here. We'll wait."

The midnight gong and the noise of the women shuffling out into the
courtyard drowned that conversation for E. Eliot. She stood and watched
the gatekeeper saunter indoors, not waiting for the man who relieved him
on duty. She watched Genevieve go forward and meet the factory hands.

The newcomer shyly spoke to the first group. The eavesdropper could not
hear what she said. But the crowd gathered about the speaker, shuffling,
chaffing, finally listening. Somebody captured the gatekeeper's stool
and Geneviève stood on it.

"What I want to tell you is how beautiful it is for women to stand
together and work together to make the world better," she began.

"Say, what is your job?" demanded a girl, suspicious of the soft voice
and modulated speech.

"Well, I--I only keep house now. But I intend to begin to do a great
deal for the community, for all of you----" "She keeps house--poor
little overworked thing!"

"But the point is, not what you do, but the spirit you do it in----"

"What is this, a revival meetin'?"

"So I want to tell you what the women of this town mean to do."

"Hear! Hear! Listen at the suffragette!"

"First, we mean to clean up the Kentwood district. You all know how
awful those cottages are."

"Sure; we live in 'em!"

"We intend to force the landlords to tear them down and improve all that

"Much obliged, lady, and where do we go?" demanded one of her listeners.

"You must have better living conditions."

"But where? Rents in this town has boomed since the war began. Ain't
that got to you yet? There ain't no place left fer the poor."

"Then we must find places and make them healthy and beautiful."

"For the love of Mike! She's talkin' about heaven, ain't she?" "She's
talkin' through her hat!" cried another.

"Then, we mean to make the factories obey the laws. They have no right
to make you girls work here at night."

"Who's makin' us?"

"We are going to force the factories to obey the letter of the law on
our statute books."

A thin, flushed girl stepped out of the crowd and faced her.

"Say, who is 'we'?"

"Why, all of us, the women of Whitewater."

"How are we goin' to repay the women of Whitewater fer tearin' down our
homes an' takin' away our jobs? Ain't there somethin' we can do to show
our gratitood?" the new speaker asked earnestly.

"Go to it--let her have it, Mamie Flynn!" cried the crowd.

"Oh, but you mustn't look at it that way! We must all make some

"Cut that slush! What do you know about sacrifices? I'm on to you.
You're one of them uptown reformers. What do you know about sacrifices?
Ye got a sure place to sleep, ain't ye? Ye've got a full belly an' a
husband to give ye spendin' money, ain't ye? Don't ye come down here
gittin' our jobs away an' then fergettin' all about us!"

There was a buzz of agreement and an undertone of anger which to an
experienced speaker would have been ominous. But Geneviève blundered on:
"We only want to help you----"

"We don't want yer help ner yer advice. You keep yer hands off our
business! Do yer preachin' uptown--that's where they need it. Ask the
landlords of Kentwood and the stockholders in the munition factories to
make some sacrifices, an' see where that gits ye! But don't ye come down
here, a-spyin' on us, ye dirty----"

The last words were happily lost as the crowd of girls closed in on
Geneviève with cries of "Spy!" "Scab!" "Throw her out!"

They had nearly torn her clothes off before E. Eliot was among them. She
sprang up on the chair and shouted:

"Girls--here, hold on a minute."

There was a hush. Some one called out: "It's Miss E. Eliot." "Listen a
minute. Don't waste your time getting mad at this girl. She's a friend
of mine. And you may not believe me, but she means all right."

"What's she pussyfootin' in here for?"

"Don't you know the story of the man from Pittsburgh who died and went
on?" cried E. Eliot. "Some kindly spirit showed him round the place,
and the newcomer said: 'Well, I don't think heaven's got anything on
Pittsburgh.' 'This isn't heaven!' said the spirit."

There was a second's pause, and then the laugh came.

"Now, this girl has just waked up to the fact that Whitewater isn't
heaven, and she thought you'd like to hear the news! I'll take the poor
lamb home, put cracked ice on her head and let her sleep it off."

They laughed again.

"Go to it," said the erstwhile spokeswoman for the working girls.

E. Eliot called them a cheery good-night. The factory girls drifted
away, in little groups, leaving Geneviève, bedraggled and hysterical,
clinging to her rescuer.

"They would have killed me if you hadn't come!" she gasped.

E. Eliot thought quickly.

"Stand here in the shadow of the fence till I come back," she said. "It
will be all right. I've got to run into the office and send a telephone
message. I have a pal there who will let me do it."

"You--you won't be long?"

It was clear that the nerve of Mrs. Remington was quite gone.

"I won't be gone five minutes."

E. Eliot was as good as her word.

When she returned she seized the stool on which her companion had made
her maiden speech--ran to the wall, placed it at the spot where she had
made her entrance and urged Geneviève to climb up and drop over; as she
obeyed, E. Eliot mounted beside her. They dropped off, almost at the
same moment--into arms upheld to catch them.

Geneviève screamed, and was promptly choked. "What'll we do with this
extra one?" asked a hoarse voice.

"Bring her. There's no time to waste now. If ye yell again, ye'll both
be strangled," the second speaker added as he led the way toward the
road, where the dimmed lights of a motor car shone.

He was carrying E. Eliot as if she were a doll. Behind him his assistant
stumbled along, bearing, less easily but no less firmly, the, wife of
the candidate for district attorney!


As the two gagged women--one comfortably gagged with more or less
pleasant bandages made and provided, the other gagged by the large,
smelly hand of an entire stranger to Mrs. George Remington--whom she was
trying impolitely to bite, by way of introduction--were speeding through
the night, Mr. George Remington, ending a long and late speech before
the Whitewater Business Men's Club, was saying these things:

"I especially deplore this modern tendency to talk as though there
were two kinds of people in this country--those interested in good
government, and those interested in bad government. We are all good
Americans. We are all interested in good government. Some of us believe
good government may be achieved through a protective tariff and a proper
consideration for prosperity [cheers], and others, in their blindness,
bow down to wood and stone!"

He smiled amiably at the laughter, and continued:

"But while some of us see things differently as to means, our aims are
essentially the same. You don't divide people according to trades and
callings. I deplore this attempt to set the patriotic merchant against
the patriotic saloonkeeper; the patriotic follower of the race track
against the patriotic manufacturer.

"Here is my good friend, Benjie Doolittle. When he played the ponies
in the old days, before he went into the undertaking and furniture
business, was he less patriotic than now? Was he less patriotic then
than my Uncle Martin Jaffry is now, with all his manufacturer's interest
in a stable government? And is my Uncle Martin Jaffry more patriotic
than Pat Noonan? Or is Pat less patriotic than our substantial merchant,
Wesley Norton?

"Down with this talk that would make lines of moral and patriotic
cleavage along lines of vocation or calling. I want no votes of those
who pretend that the good Americans should vote in one box and the bad
Americans in another box. I want the votes of those of all castes and
cults who believe in prosperity [loud cheers], and I want the votes
of those who believe in the glorious traditions of our party, its
magnificent principles, its martyred heroes, its deathless name in our

It was, of course, an after-dinner speech. Being the last speech of the
campaign it was also a highly important one. But George Remington felt,
as he sat listening to the din of the applause, that he had answered
rather neatly those who said he was wabbling on the local economic issue
and was swaying in the wind of socialist agitation which the women had
started in Whitewater.

As he left the hotel where the dinner had been given, he met his partner
on the sidewalk.

"Get in, Penny," he urged, jumping into his car. "Come out to the house
for the night, and we'll have Betty over to breakfast. Then she and
Geneviève and you and I will see if we can't restore the _ante-bellum
modus vivendi_! Come on! Emelene and Alys always breakfast in bed,
anyway, and it will be no trouble to get Betty over." The two men rode
home in complacent silence. It was long past midnight. They sat on the
veranda to finish their cigars before going into the house.

"Penny," asked George suddenly, "what has Pat Noonan got in this game--I
mean against the agitation by the women and this investigation of
conditions in Kentwood? Why should he agonize over it?"

"Is he fussing about it?"

"Is he? Do you think I'd tie his name up in a public speech with Martin
Jaffry if Pat wasn't off the reservation? You could see him swell
up like a pizened pup when I did it! I hope Uncle Martin will not be

"He's a good sport, George. But say--what did Pat do to give you this

Remington smoked in meditative silence, then answered:

"Well, Penny, I had to raise the devil of a row the other day to keep
Pat from ribbing up Benjie Doolittle and the organization to a frame-up
to kidnap this Eliot person."

"Kidnap E. Eliot!" gasped the amazed Evans. "Kidnap that very pest. And
I tell you, man, if I hadn't roared like a stuck ox they would have done
it! Fancy introducing 'Prisoner of Zenda' stuff into the campaign in
Whitewater! Though I will say this, Penny, as between old army friends
and college chums," continued Mr. Remington earnestly, "if a warrior
bold with spurs of gold, who was slightly near-sighted and not
particular about his love being so damned young and fair, would swoop
down and carry this E. Eliot off to his princely donjon, and would let
down the portcullis for two days, until the election is over, it would
help some! Though otherwise I don't wish her any bad luck!"

The old army friend and college chum laughed.

"Well, that's your end of the story! I'm mighty glad you stopped it.
Here's my end. You remember two-fingered Moll, who was our first client?
The one who insisted on being referred to as a lady? The one who got
converted and quit the game and who thought she was being pursued by the
racetrack gang because she was trying to live decent?"

George smiled in remembrance. "Well, she called me up to know if there
was any penalty for renting a house to Mike the Goat and his wife and
old Salubrious the Armenian, who had a lady friend they were keeping
from the cops against her will. She said they weren't going to hurt the
lady, and I could see her every day to prove it. I advised her to keep
out of it, of course; but she was strong for it, because of what she
called the big money. I explained carefully that if anything should
happen, her past reputation would go against her. But she kept saying it
was straight, until I absolutely forbade her to do it, and she promised
not to."

"Mike and his woman, and Old Salubrious!" echoed Remington. "And E.
Eliot locked up with them for two days!"

He shivered, partly at the memory of his own mealy-mouthed protest.

"Well," he said, and there was an air of finality in his tone, "I'm glad
I stopped the whole infamous business."

Mentally he decided to get Noonan on the telephone the first thing in
the morning and make certain that the plan was abandoned. He continued
his chat with Evans.

"But, Penny, why this agonizing of Noonan? What has he to lose by the
better conditions in Kentwood? Why should he----"

Outside of a neat white dwelling in the suburbs of Whitewater, four
figures were struggling in the night toward a vine-covered door--that
door which appeared so attractively in the _Welfare Bulletin_ of the
Toledo Blade Steel Company's publicity program as the "prize garden home
of J. Agricola, roller."

A woman stood in the doorway, holding the door open. Two women, who had
been carried by two men, from an automobile at the gate, were forced
through. There the men left them with their hostess.

"I was only looking for one of yez," she said, hospitably, "but you're
bote welcome. Now, ladies, I'm goin' to make you comfortable. It won't
do no good to scream, so I'm goin' to take your gags off. And I hope
you, lady, haven't been inconvenienced by a handkerchief. We could just
as well have arranged for your comfort, too."

"Madam," gasped E. Eliot, who was the first to be released to speech,
"it is unimportant who I am. But do you know that this woman with me
is Mrs. George Remington, the wife of the candidate for district
attorney--Mr. George Remington of Whitewater? There has been a mistake."

The hostess looked at Genevieve, who nodded a tearful confirmation. But
the woman only smiled.

"My man don't make mistakes," she said laconically. "And, what's more to
the point, miss, he's a friend of George Remington, and why should he
be giving his lady a vacation? You are E. Eliot, and your friends think
you're workin' too hard, so they're goin' to give you a nice rest.
Nothin' will happen to you if you are a lady, as I think you are. And
when I find out who this other lady is, we'll make her as welcome as

She went out of the room, locking the door behind her as the two women
struggled vainly with their bonds. In an instant she returned.

"My man says to tell the one who thinks she's Mrs. George Remington that
she's spendin' the week-end with Mrs. Napoleon Boneypart." My man
says he's a good friend of George Remington and is supportin' him for
district attorney, and that's how he can make it so pleasant here.

"And I'll tell you something else," she continued proudly. "When George
got married, it was my man that went up and down Smoky Row and seen
all the girls and got 'em to give a dollar apiece for them lovely roses
labeled 'The Young Men's Republican Club.' Mr. Doolittle he seen to
that. My man really collected fifty dollars more'n he turned in, and I
got a diamond-set wrist watch with it! So, you see, we're real friendly
with them Remingtons, and we're glad to see you, Mrs. Remington!"

"Oh, how horrible!" cried Geneviève. "There were eight dozen of those
roses from the Young Men's Republican Club, and to think---Oh, to

"Well, now, George," cried Mr. Penfield Evans, "just stop and think. Use
your bean, my boy! What is the one thing on earth that puts the fear of
God into Pat Noonan? It's prohibition. Look at the prohibition map out
West and at the suffrage map out West. They fit each other like the
paper on the wall. Whatever women may lack in intelligence about some
things, there is one thing woman knows--high and low, rich and poor!
She knows that the saloon is her enemy, and she hits it; and Pat Noonan,
seeing this rise of women investigating industry, makes common cause
with Martin Jaffry and the whole employing class of Whitewater against
the nosey interference of women.

"And Pat Noonan is depending on you," continued Evans. "He expects you
to rise. He expects you to go to Congress--possibly to the Senate, and
he figures that he wants to be dead sure you'll not get to truckling to
decency on the liquor question. So he ties you up--or tries you out for
a tie-up or a kidnapping; and Benjie Doolittle, who likes a sporting
event, takes a chance that you'll stand hitched in a plan to rid the
community of a political pest without seriously hurting the pest--a
friendless old maid who won't be missed for a day or two, and whose
disappearance can be hushed up one way or another after she appears too
late for the election.

"Just figure things out, George. Do you think Noonan got Mike the Goat
to assess the girls on the row a dollar apiece for your flowers from the
Young Men's Republican Club, for his health! You had the grace to thank
Pat, but if you didn't know where they came from," explained Mr. Evans
cynically, "it was because you have forgotten where all Pat's floral
offerings from the Y.M.R.C. come from at weddings and funerals! And Pat
feels that you're his kind of people.

"Politics, George, is not the chocolate éclair that you might think it,
if you didn't know it! Use your bean, my boy! Use your bean! And you'll
see why Pat Noonan lines up with the rugged captains of industry who are
the bulwarks of our American liberty. Pat uses his head for something
more than a hatrack."

The two puffed for a time in silence. Finally the host said: "Well,
let's turn in." Three minutes later George called across the upper hall
to Penfield.

"The joke's on us, Penny. Here's a note saying that Geneviève is over
with Betty for the night. We'll call her up after breakfast and have
them both over to a surprise party."

Penny strolled across to his friend's door. He was disappointed, and he
showed it. He found George sitting on the side of his bed.

"Penny," mused the Young Man in Politics, in his finest mood, "you know
I sometimes think that, perhaps, way down deep, there is something wrong
with our politics. I don't like to be hooked up with Noonan and his
gang. And I don't like the way Noonan and his gang are hooked up with
Wesley Norton and the silk stockings and Uncle Martin and the big
fellows. Why can't we get rid of the Noonan influence? They aren't after
the things we're after! They only furnish the unthinking votes that make
majorities that elect the fellows the big crooks handle. Lord, man, it's
a dirty mess! And why women want to get into the dirty mess is more than
I can see." "What a sweet valedictory address you are making for a young
ladies' school!" scoffed Penny. "The hills are green far off! Aren't you
the Sweet Young Thing. But I'll tell you why the women want to get in,
George. They think they want to clean up the mess."

"But would they clean it? Wouldn't they vote about as we vote?"

"Well," answered Mr. Evans with the cynicism of the judicial mind,
"let's see. You know now, if you didn't know at the time, that Noonan
got Mike the Goat to assess the disorderly houses for the money to buy
your wedding roses from the Y.M.R.C. All right. Noonan's bartender is
on the ticket with you as assemblyman. Are you going to vote for him or

"But, Penny, I've just about got to vote for him."

"All right, then. I'll tell Geneviève the truth about Noonan and the
flowers, and I'll ask her if she would feel that she had to vote for
Noonan's bartender!" retorted Mr. Evans. "Giving women the ballot will
help at least that much. If the Noonans stay in politics, they'll get no
help from the women when they vote!"

"But aren't we protecting the women?"

       *       *       *       *       *

"Anyway, Mrs. Remington," said E. Eliot comfortably, "I'm glad it
happened just this way. Without you, they would hold me until after the
election on Tuesday. With you, about tomorrow at ten o'clock we shall
be released. E. Eliot alone they have made every provision for holding.
They have started a scandal, I don't doubt, necessary to explain my
absence, and pulled the political wires to keep me from making a fuss
about it afterward. They know their man in the district attorney's
office, and----"

"Do you mean George Remington?" This from his wife, with flashing eyes.

"I mean," explained E. Eliot unabashed, "that for some reason they feel
safe with George Remington in the district attorney's office, or they
would not kidnap me to prevent his defeat! That is the cold-blooded

"This party," E. Eliot smiled, "is given at the country home of Mike
the Goat, as nearly as I can figure it out. Mike is a right-hand man
of Noonan. Noonan is a right-hand man of Benjie Doolittle and Wesley
Norton, and they are all a part of the system that holds Martin Jaffry's
industries under the amiable beneficence of our sacred protective
tariff! Hail, hail, the gang's all here--what do we care now, my dear?
And because you are here and are part of the heaven-born combination
for the public good, I am content to go through the rigors of one night
without a nightie for the sake of the cause!"

"But they don't know who I am!" protested Mrs. Remington. "And----"

"Exactly, and for that reason they don't know who you are not. Tomorrow
the whole town will be looking for you, and Noonan will hear who you are
and where you are. Then! Say, girl--_say, girl,_ it _will_ be grist for
our mill! Fancy the headlines all over the United States:


"But he won't be silent," protested the indignant Geneviève.

"I tell you, he'll denounce it from the platform. He'll never let this

"Well, my dear," said the imperturbable E. Eliot, "when he denounces
this plot he'll have to denounce Doolittle and Noonan, and probably
Norton, and maybe his Uncle Martin Jaffry. Somebody is paying big money
for this job! I said the headlines will declare:

'CANDIDATE REMINGTON is SILENT But Still Maintains That Women Are
Protected from Rigors of Cruel World by Man's Chivalry.'"

"Oh, Miss Eliot, don't! How can you? Oh, I know George will not let this

"Of course not," hooted E. Eliot. "The sturdy oak will support the
clinging vine! But while he is doing it he will be defeated. And if he
doesn't protest he will be defeated, for I shall talk!"

"George Remington will face defeat like a gentleman, Miss Eliot; have no
fear of that. He will speak out, no matter what happens." "And when he
speaks, when he tells the truth about this whole alliance between
the greedy, ruthless rich and the brutal, vicious dregs of this
community--our cause is won!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The next morning George Remington reached from his bed for his telephone
and called up the Sheridan residence. Two minutes later Penfield Evans
heard a shout. At his door stood the unclad and pallid candidate for
district attorney.

"Penny," he gasped, "Genevieve's not there! She has not been with Betty
all night. And Betty has gone out to find E. Eliot, who is missing from
her boarding-house!"

"Are you sure----"

"God--Penny--I thought I had stopped it!"

George was back in his room, flying into his clothes. The two men were
talking loudly. From down the hall a sleepy voice--unmistakably Mrs.
Brewster-Smith's--was drawling:

"George--George--are you awake? I didn't hear you come in. Dear
Geneviève went over to stay all night with Cousin Betty, and the oddest
thing happened. About midnight the telephone bell rang, and that odious
Eliot person called you up!"

George was in the hall in an instant and before Mrs. Brewster-Smith's

"Well, well, for God's sake, what did she say!" he cried.

"Oh, yes, I was coming to that. She said to send your chauffeur with
the car down to the--oh, I forget, some nasty factory or something,
for Genevieve. She said Genevieve was down there talking to the factory
girls. Fancy that, George! So I just put up the receiver. I knew
Genevieve was with Betty Sheridan and not with that odious person at
all--it was some ruse to get your car and compromise you. Fancy dear
Genevieve talking to the factory girls at midnight!"

Penfield Evans and George Remington, standing in the hall, listened to
these words with terror in their hearts.

"Get Noonan first," said George. "I'll talk to him."

In five seconds Evans had Noonan's residence. Remington listened to
Penny's voice. "Gone," he was saying. "Gone where?" And then: "Why, he
was at the dinner last---What's Doolittle's number?" ("Noonan went to
New York on the midnight train," he threw at George.) A moment later
Remington heard his partner cry, "Doolittle's gone to New York? On the
midnight train?"

"Try Norton," snapped George. Soon he heard Penny exclaim. "Albany?"
said Penny. "Mr. Norton is in Albany? Thank you!"

"Their alibis!" said Evans calmly, as he hung up the receiver and stared
at his partner.

"Well, it--it----Why, Penny, they've stolen Geneviève! That damned
Mike and the Armenian! They've got Geneviève with that Eliot woman!
God----Why, Penny, for God's sake, what----"

"Slowly, George--slowly. Let's move carefully."

The voice of Penfield Evans was cool and steady,

"First of all, we need not worry about any harm coming to Geneviève. She
is with Miss Eliot, and that woman has more sense than a man. She may be
depended upon. Now, then," Evans waved his partner to silence and went
on: "the next thing to consider is how much publicity we shall give this
episode." He paused.

"It's not a matter of publicity; it's a matter of getting Geneviève

"An hour or so of publicity of the screaming, hysterical kind will not
help us to find Geneviève. But when we do find her, our publicity will
have defeated you!"

The two men stared at each other. Remington said: "You mean I must
shield the organization!"

"If you are to be elected--yes!"

"Do you think Geneviève and Miss Eliot would consent to shield the
organization when we find them? Why, Penny, you're mad! We must call up
the chief of police! We must scour the country! I propose to go right
to the newspapers! The more people who know of this dastardly thing the
sooner we shall recover the victims!"

"And the sooner Noonan, when he comes home tonight, will denounce you as
an accessory before the fact, with Norton and Doolittle as corroborating
witnesses for him! Oh, you're learning politics fast, George!"

The thought of what Genevieve would say when she knew, through Noonan
and Doolittle, that he had heard of the plot to kidnap Miss Eliot,
and within an hour had talked to his wife casually at luncheon without
saying anything about it, made George's heart stop. He realized that he
was learning something more than politics. He walked the floor of the

"Well," he said at last, "let's call in Uncle Martin Jaffry. He----"

"Yes; he is probably paying for the job. He might know something! I'll
get him."

"Paying for the job! Do you think he knew of this plot?" cried George as
Evans stood at the telephone.

"Oh, no. He just knew, in a leer from Doolittle, that they had
extraordinary need for Eve thousand dollars or so in your behalf--that
they had consulted you. And then Doolittle winked and Noonan cocked his
head rakishly, and Uncle Martin put--Hello, Mr. Jaffry. This is Penny.
Dress and come down to the office quickly. We are in serious trouble."

Twenty minutes later Uncle Martin was sitting with the two young men in
the office of Remington and Evans. When they explained the situation to
him his dry little face screwed up.

"Well, at least Geneviève will be all right," he muttered. "E. Eliot
will take care of her. But, boys--boys," he squeezed his hands and
rocked in misery, "the devil of it is that I gave Doolittle the money in
a check and then went and got another check from the Owners' Protective
Association and took the peak load off myself, and Doolittle was with
me when I got the P. A. check. We've simply got to protect him. And, of
course, what he knows, Noonan knows. We can't go tearing up Jack here,
calling police and raising the town!"

George Remington rose.

"Then I've got to let my wife lie in some dive with that unspeakable
Turk and that Mike the Goat while you men dicker with the scoundrels who
committed this crime!" he said. "My God, every minute is precious! We
must act. Let me call the chief of police and the sheriff----"

"All dear friends of Noonan's," Penny quietly reminded him. "They
probably have the same tip about what is on as you and Uncle Martin
have! Calm down, George! First, let me go out and learn when Noonan and
Doolittle are coming home! When we know that, we can----"

"Penny, I can't wait. I must act now. I must denounce the whole damnable
plot to the people of this country. I must not rest one second longer in
silence as an accessory. I shall denounce----"

"Yes, George, you shall denounce," exclaimed his partner. "But just
whom--yourself, that you did not warn Miss Eliot all day yesterday!"

"Yes," cried Remington, "first of all, myself as a coward!"

"All right. Next, then, your Uncle Martin Jaffry, who was earnestly
trying to help you in the only way he knew how to help! Why, George,
that would be----" "That would be the least I could do to let the people

"To let the people see that Mrs. Brewster-Smith and all your social
friends in this town are associated with Mike the Goat and his gang----"

Before Evans could finish, his partner stopped him.

"Yes, yes--the whole damned system of greed! The rich greed and the poor
greed--our criminal classes plotting to keep justice from the decent
law-abiding people of the place, who are led like sheep to the
slaughter. What did the owners pay that money for? Not for the dirty job
that was turned--not primarily. But to elect me, because they thought
I would not enforce the factory laws and the housing laws and would
protect them in their larceny! That money Uncle Martin collected was my
price--my price!"

He was standing before his friends, rigid and white in rage. Neither man
answered him.

"And because the moral sense of the community was in the hearts and
heads of the women of the community," he went on, "those who are
upholding the immoral compact between business and politics had to
attack the womanhood of the town--and Genevieve's peril is my share in
the shame. By God, I'm through!"


Close on Young Remington's groan of utter disillusionment came a sound
from the street, formless and clumsy, but brought to a sharp climax with
the crash of breaking glass.

Even through the closed window which Penfield Evans hastily threw up,
there was an obvious quality to the disturbance which revealed its
character even before they had grasped its import.

The street was still full of morning shadows, with here and there
a dancing glimmer on the cobbles of the still level sun, caught on
swinging dinner pails as the loosely assorted crowd drifted toward shop
and factory.

In many of the windows half-drawn blinds marked where spruce window
trimmers added last touches to masterpieces created overnight, but
directly opposite nothing screened the offense of the Voiceless Speech,
which continued to display its accusing questions to the passer-by.

Clean through the plate-glass front a stone had crashed, leaving a heap
of shining splinters, on either side of which a score of men and boys
loosely clustered, while further down a ripple of disturbance marked
where the thrower of the stone had just vanished into some recognized
port of safety.

It was a clumsy crowd, half-hearted, moved chiefly by a cruel delight
in destruction for its own sake, and giving voice at intervals to
coarse comment of which the wittiest penetrated through a stream
of profanity, like one of those same splinters of glass, to the
consciousness of at least two of the three men who hung listening in the
window above:

"To hell with the----suffragists!"

At the same moment another stone hurled through the break sent the
Voiceless Speech toppling; it lay crumpled in a pathetic feminine sort
of heap, subject to ribald laughter, but Penny Evans' involuntary cry
of protest was cut off by his partner's hand on his shoulder. "They're
Noonan's men, Penny; it's a put-up job."

George had marked some of the crowd at the meetings Noonan had arranged
for him, and the last touch to the perfunctory character of the
disturbance was added by the leisurely stroll of the policeman turning
in at the head of the street. Before he reached the crowd it had
redissolved into the rapidly filling thoroughfare.

"It's no use, Penny. Our women have seen the light and beaten us to it;
we've got to go with them or with Noonan and his--Mike the Goat!"

Recollection of his wife's plight cut him like a knife. "The
Brewster-Smith women have got to choose for themselves!" He felt about
for his hat like a man blind with purpose.

The street sweeper was taking up the fragments of the shattered windows
half an hour later, when Martin Jaffry found himself going rather
aimlessly along Main Street with a feeling that the bottom had recently
dropped out of things--a sensation which, if the truth must be told,
was greatly augmented by the fact that he hadn't yet breakfasted. He had
remained behind the two younger men to get into communication with Betty
Sheridan and ask her to stay close to the telephone in case Miss Eliot
should again attempt to get into touch with her. He lingered still,
dreading to go into any of the places where he was known lest he should
somehow be led to commit himself embarrassingly on the subject of his
nephew's candidacy.

His middle-aged jauntiness considerably awry, he moved slowly down the
heedless street, subject to the most gloomy reflections. Like most men,
Martin Jaffry had always been dimly aware that the fabric of society is
held together by a system of mutual weaknesses and condonings, but he
had always thought of himself and his own family as moving freely in the
interstices, peculiarly exempt, under Providence, from strain. Now
here they were, in such a position that the first stumbling foot might
tighten them all into inextricable scandal.

It is true that Penny, at the last moment, had prevailed on George
to put off the relief of his feelings by public repudiation of his
political connections, at least until after a conference with the
police. And to George's fear that the newspapers would get the news from
the police before he had had a chance to repudiate, he had countered
with a suggestion, drawn from an item in the private history of the
chief--known to him through his father's business--which he felt certain
would quicken the chief's sense of the propriety of keeping George's
predicament from the press.

"My God!" said George in amazement, and Martin Jaffry had responded
fervently with "O Lord!"

Not because it shocked him to think that there might be indiscretions
known to the lawyer of a chief of police which the chief might not wish
known to the world, but because, with the addition of this new coil to
his nephew's affairs, he was suddenly struck with the possibility of
still other coils in any one of which the saving element of indiscretion
might be wanting.

Suppose they should come upon one, just one impregnable honesty, one
soul whom the fear of exposure left unshaken. On such a possibility
rested the exemption of the Jaffry-Remingtons. It was the reference to
E. Eliot in his instructions to Betty which had awakened in Jaffry's
mind the disquieting reflection that just here might prove such an
impregnability. They probably wouldn't be able to "do anything" with E.
Eliot simply because she herself had never done anything she was afraid
to go to the public about. To do him justice, it never occurred to him
that in the case of a lady it was easily possible to invent something
which would be made to answer in place of an indiscretion.

Probably that was Martin Jaffry's own impregnability--that he wouldn't
have lied about a lady to save himself. What he did conclude was that
it was just this unbending quality of women, this failure to provide the
saving weakness, which unfitted them for political life.

He shuddered, seeing the whole fabric of politics fall in ruins around
an electorate composed largely of E. Eliots, feeling himself stripped
of everything that had so far distinguished him from the Noonans and the

Out of his sudden need for reinstatement with himself, he raised in his
mind the vision of woman as the men of Martin Jaffry's world conceived
her--a tender, enveloping medium in which male complacency, unchecked
by any breath of criticism, reaches its perfect flower--the flower whose
fruit, eaten in secret and afar from the soil which nourishes it, is
graft, corruption and civic incompetence.

Instinctively his need directed him toward the Remington place.

Mrs. Brewster-Smith was glad to see him. Between George's hurried
departure and Jaffry's return several of the specters that haunt such
women's lives looked boldly in at the window.

There was the specter of scandal, as it touched the Remingtons, touching
that dearest purchase of femininity, social standing; there was the
specter of poverty, which threatened from the exposure of the source of
her income and the enforcement of the law; nearer and quite as poignant,
was the specter of an ignominious retreat from the comfort of George
Remington's house to her former lodging, which she was shrewd enough to
realize would follow close on the return of her cousin's wife.

All morning she had beaten off the invisible host with that
courage--worthy of a better cause--with which women of her class
confront the assaults of reality; and the sight of Martin Jaffry coming
up the broad front walk met her like a warm waft of security. She flung
open the door and met him with just that mixture of deference and relief
which the situation demanded.

She was terribly anxious about poor Geneviève, of course, but not
so anxious that she couldn't perceive how Genevieve's poor uncle had

"What, no breakfast! Oh, you poor man! Come right out into the

Mrs. Brewster-Smith might have her limitations, but she was entirely
aware of the appeasing effect of an open fire and a spread cloth
even when no meal is in sight; she was adept in the art of enveloping
tenderness and the extent to which it may be augmented by the pleasing
aroma of ham and eggs and the coffee which she made herself. And oh,
those _poor_ women, what _disaster_ they were bringing on themselves by
their prying into things that were better left to more competent minds,
and what pain to _other_ minds! So _selfish_, but of course they didn't
realize. Really she hoped it would be a lesson to Geneviève. The dear
girl was so changed that she didn't see how she was going to go on
living with her; though, of course, she would like to stand by dear
George--and a woman did so appreciate a home!

At this point the enveloping tenderness of Mrs. Brewster-Smith
concentrated in her fine eyes, just brushed the heart of her listener
as with a passing wing, hovered a moment, and dropped demurely to the

In the meantime two sorely perplexed citizens were grappling with the
problem of the disappearance of two highly respectable women from their
homes under circumstances calculated to give the greatest anxiety to
faithful "party" men. It hadn't needed Penny's professional acquaintance
with Chief Buckley to impress the need of secrecy on that official's
soul. "Squeal" on Noonan or Mike the Goat? Not if he knew himself.
Naturally Mr. Remington must have his wife, but at the same time it was
important to proceed regularly.

"And the day before election, too!" mourned the chief. "Lord, what a
mess! But keep cool, Mr. Remington; this will come out all right!"

After half an hour of such ineptitudes, Penfield Evans found it
necessary to withdraw his partner from the vicinity of the police before
his impatience reached the homicidal pitch.

"Buckley's no such fool as he sounds," Penny advised. "He probably has a
pretty good idea where the women are hidden, but you must give him time
to tip off Mike for a getaway."

But the suggestion proved ill chosen, at least so far as it involved a
hope of keeping George from the newspapers. Shocked to the core of his
young egotism as he had been, Remington was yet not so shocked that
the need of expression was not stronger in him than any more distant

"Getaway!" he frothed. "Getaway! While a woman like my wife--" But the
bare idea was too much for him.

"They may get away, but they'll not get off--not a damned one of
them--of _us_," he corrected himself, and with face working the popular
young candidate for district attorney set off almost on a run for the
office of the Sentinel.

Reflecting that if his friend was bent upon official suicide, there was
still no reason for his being, a witness to it, Penny turned aside into
a telephone booth and called up Betty Sheridan. He heard her jump at
the sound of his voice, and the rising breath of relief running into his

"O-o-oh, Penny! Yes, about twenty minutes ago. Geneviève is with her....
Oh, yes, I'm sure."

Her voice sounded strong and confident.

"They're in a house about an hour from the factory," she went on, "among
some trees. I'm sure she said trees. We were cut off. No, I couldn't get
her again.... Yes... it's a party line. In the Redfield district. Oh,
Penny, do you think they'll do her any harm?"

It was, no doubt, the length of time it took to assure Miss Sheridan on
this point that prevented Evans from getting around to the _Sentinel_,
whose editor was at that moment giving an excellent exhibition of
indecision between his obligation as a journalist and his rôle of
leading citizen in a town where he met his subscribers at dinner.

It was good stuff--oh, it was good! What headlines!



It was good for a double evening edition. On the other hand, there was
Norton, one of his largest advertisers. There was also the rival city
of Hamilton, which was even now basely attempting to win away from
Whitewater a recently offered Carnegie library on the ground of its
superior fitness.

Finally there was the party.

The _Sentinel_ had always been a sound party organ. But _what_ a scoop!
And suppose it were possible to save the party at the expense of
its worst element? Suppose they raised the cry of reform and brought
Remington in on a full tide of public indignation?

Would Mike stand the gaff? If it were made worth his while. But what
about Noonan and Doolittle? So the editorial mind shuttled to and fro
amid the confused outpourings of the amazed young candidate, while with
eyes bright and considering as a rat's the editor followed Remington in
his pacings up and down the dusty, littered room.

Completely occupied with his own reactions, George's repudiation swept
on in an angry, rapid stream which, as it spent itself, began to give
place to the benumbing consciousness of a divided hearing.

Until this moment Remington had had a pleasant sense of the press as
a fine instrument upon which he had played with increasing mastery, a
trumpet upon which, as his mind filled with commendable purposes,
he could blow a very pretty tune,--a noble tune with now and then a
graceful flourish acceptable to the public ear. Now as he talked he
began to be aware of flatness, of squeaking keys....

"Naturally, Mr. Remington, I'll have to take this up with the business
management..." dry-lipped, the tune sputtered out. At this juncture the
born journalist awaked again in the editorial breast at the entrance of
Penfield Evans with his new item of Betty's interrupted message.

Two women shut up in a mysterious house among the trees! Oh, hot stuff,

Under it George rallied, recovered a little of the candidate's manner.

"Understand," he insisted. "This goes in even if I have to pay for it at
advertising rates."

A swift pencil raced across the paper as Remington's partner swept him
off again to the police.

Betty's call had come a few minutes before ten. What had happened was
very simple.

The two women had been given breakfast, for which their hands had been
momentarily freed. When the bonds had been tied again it had been easy
for E. Eliot to hold her hands in such a position that she was left,
when their keeper withdrew, with a little freedom of movement.

By backing up to the knob she had been able to open a door into an
adjoining room, in which she had been able to make out a telephone on a
stand against the wall.

This room also had locked windows and closed shutters, but her quick wit
had enabled her to make use of that telephone.

Shouldering the receiver out of the hook, she had called Betty's number,
and, with Geneviève stooping to listen at the dangling receiver, had
called out two or three broken sentences.

Guarded as their voices had been, however, some one in the house had
been attracted by them, and the wire had been cut at some point outside
the room. E. Eliot and Geneviève came to this conclusion after having
lost Betty and failed to raise any answer to their repeated calls.
Somebody came and looked in at them through the half-open door, and,
seeing them still bound, had gone away again with a short, contemptuous

"No matter," said E. Eliot. "Betty heard us, and the central office will
be able to trace the call."

It was because she could depend on Betty's intelligence, she went on to
say, that she had called her instead of the Remington house--for suppose
that fool Brewster-Smith woman had come to the telephone!

She and Geneviève occupied themselves with their bonds, fumbling back
to back for a while, until Geneviève had a brilliant idea. Kneeling,
she bit at the cords which held Miss Eliot's wrists until they began to

       *       *       *       *       *

What Betty had done intelligently was nothing to what she had done
without meaning it. She had been unkind to Pudge. Young Sheridan was in
a condition which, according to his own way of looking at it, demanded
the utmost kindness.

Following a too free indulgence in _marrons glacés_ he had been
relegated to a diet that reduced him to the extremity of desperation.

Not only had he been forbidden to eat sweets, but while his soul still
longed for its accustomed solace, his stomach refused it, and he was
unable to eat a box of candied fruit which he had with the greatest
ingenuity secured.

And that was the occasion Betty took--herself full of nervous starts and
mysterious recourse to the telephone behind locked doors--to remind him
cruelly that he was getting flabby from staying too much in the house
and to recommend a long walk for his good.

It was plain that she would stick at nothing to get her brother out of
the way, and Pudge was cut to the heart.

Oh, well, he would go for a walk, from which he would probably be
brought home a limp and helpless cripple. Come to think of it, if he
once got started to walk he was not sure he would ever turn back; he
would just walk on and on into a kinder environment than this.

After all, it is impossible to walk in that fateful way in a crowded
city thoroughfare. Besides, one passes so many confectioners with their
mingled temptation and disgust. Pudge rode on the trolley as far as
the city limits. Here there was softer ground underfoot and a hint
of melancholy in the fields. A flock of crows going over gave the
appropriate note.

Off there to the left, set back from the road among dark, crowding
trees, stood a mysterious house. Pudge always insisted that he had
known it for mysterious at the first glance. It had a mansard roof and
shutters of a sickly green, all closed; there was not a sign of life
about, but smoke issued from one of the chimneys.

Here was an item potent to raise the sleuth that slumbers in every boy,
even in such well-cushioned bosoms as Pudge Sheridan's.

He paused in his walk, fell into an elaborately careless slouch, and
tacked across the open country toward the back of the house. Here he
discovered a considerable yard fenced with high boards that had once
been painted the same sickly green as the shutters, and a great buckeye
tree just outside, spreading its branches over the corner furthest from
the house.

Toward this post of observation he was drifting with that fine
assumption of aimlessness which can be managed on occasion by almost any
boy, when he was arrested by a slight but unmistakable shaking of one of
the shutters, as though some one from within were trying the fastenings.

The shaking stopped after a moment, and then, one after another, the
slats of the double leaves were seen to turn and close as though for a
secret survey of the field. After a moment or two this performance was
repeated at the next window on the left, and finally at a third.

Here the shaking was resumed after the survey, and ended with the
shutter opening with a snap and being caught back from within and
held cautiously on the crack. Pudge kicked clods in his path and was
pretentiously occupied with a dead beetle which he had picked up.

All at once something flickered across the ground at his feet, swung two
or three times, touched his shoe, traveled up the length of his trousers
and rested on his breast. How that bosom leaped to the adventure!

He fished hurriedly in his pocket and brought up a small round mirror.
It had still attached to its rim a bit of the ribbon by which it had
been fastened to his sister's shopping bag, from which, if the truth
must be told, he had surreptitiously detached it.

Pretending to consult it, as though it were some sort of pocket oracle,
Pudge flashed back, and presently had the satisfaction of seeing a
bright fleck of light travel across the shutter. Immediately there was
a responsive flicker from the window: one, two, three, he counted, and
flashed back: one, two, three.

Pudge's whole being was suffused with delicious thrills. He wished now
he had obeyed that oft-experienced presentiment and learned the Morse
code; it was a thing no man destined for adventure should be without.
This wordless interchange went on for a few moments, and then a hand,
a woman's hand--O fair, imprisoned ladies of all time!--appeared
cautiously at the open shutter, waved and pointed.

It pointed toward the buckeye tree. Pudge threw a stone in that
direction and sauntered after it, pitching and throwing. Once at the
corner, after a suitable exhibition of casualness, he climbed until he
found himself higher than the fence, facing the house.

While he was thus occupied, things had been happening there. The shutter
had been thrown back and a woman was climbing down by the help of a
window ledge below and a pair of knotted window curtains.

Another woman prepared to follow her, gesticulating forcibly to the
other not to wait, but to run. Run she did, but it was not until Pudge,
lying full length on the buckeye bough, reached her a hand that he
discovered her to be his sister's friend, Geneviève Remington.

In the interval of her scrambling up by the aid of the bent bough and
such help as he could give her, they had neglected to observe the other
woman. Now, as Mrs. Remington's heels drummed on the outside of the
fence, Pudge was aware of some commotion in the direction of the house,
and saw Miss Eliot running toward him, crying: "Run, run!" while two
men pursued her. She made a desperate jump toward the tree, caught
the branch, hung for a moment, lost her hold, and brought Pudge
ignominiously down in a heap beside her.

If Miss Eliot had not contradicted it, Pudge would have believed to his
dying day that bullets hurtled through the air; it was so necessary to
the dramatic character of the adventure that there should be bullets.
He recovered from the shock of his fall in time to hear Miss Eliot
say: "Better not touch me, Mike; if there's so much as a bruise when my
friends find me, you'll get sent up for it."

Her cool, even tones cut the man's stream of profanity like a knife.
He came threateningly close to her, but refrained from laying hands on
either of them.

Meantime his companion drew himself up to the top of the fence for a
look over, and dropped back with a gesture intended to be reassuring.
Pudge rose gloriously to the occasion.

"The others have gone back to call the police," he announced. Mike spat
out an oath at him, but it was easy to see that he was not at all sure
that this might not be the case. The possibility that it might be,
checked a movement to pursue the fleeing Geneviève. Miss Eliot caught
their indecision with a flying shaft.

"Mrs. George Remington," she said, "will probably be in communication
with her friends very shortly. And between his wife and his old and dear
friend Mike it won't take George Remington long to choose."

This was so obvious that it left the men nothing to say. They fell in
surlily on either side of her, and without any show of resistance she
walked calmly back toward the house. Pudge lingered, uncertain of his

"Beat it, you putty-face!" Mike snarled at him, showing a yellow fang.
"If you ain't off the premises in about two shakes, you'll get what's
comin' to you. See?"

Pudge walked with as much dignity as he could muster in the direction
of the public road. He could see nothing of Mrs. Remington in either
direction; now and then a private motor whizzed by, but there was no
other house near enough to suggest a possibility of calling for help.

He concealed himself in a group of black locusts and waited. In about
half an hour he heard a car coming from the house with the mansard roof,
and saw that it held three occupants, two men and a woman. The men
he recognized, and he was certain that the woman, though she was well
bundled up, was not E. Eliot.

The motor turned away from the town and disappeared in the opposite
direction. Pudge surmised that Mike was making his getaway. He waited
another half hour and began to be assailed by the pangs of hunger. The
house gave no sign; even the smoke from the chimney stopped.

He was sure Miss Eliot was still there; imagination pictured her
weltering in her own gore. Between fear and curiosity and the saving
hope that there might be food of some sort in the house, Pudge left his
hiding place and began a stealthy approach.

He came to the low stoop and crept up to the closed front door. Hovering
between fear and courage, he knocked. But there was no response. With
growing boldness he tried the door. It was locked.

The rear door also was bolted; but, creeping on, he found a high
side window that the keepers of this prison in their hasty flight had
forgotten to close. With the aid of an empty rain barrel, which he
overturned and rolled into position, Pudge scrambled with much hard
breathing through the window and dropped into the kitchen. Here he
listened; his ears could discern no sound. On tiptoe he crept through
the rooms of the first floor--but came upon neither furtive enemy nor
imprisoned friend. Up the narrow stairway he crept--peeped into
three bedrooms--and finally opening the door of what was evidently a
storeroom, he found the object of his search.

E. Eliot sat in an old splint-bottomed chair--gagged, arms tied behind
her and to the chair's back, and her ankles tied to the chair's legs. In
a moment Pudge had the knotted towel out of her mouth, and had cut her
bonds. But quick though Pudge was, to her he seemed intolerably slow;
just then E. Eliot was thinking of only one thing.

This was the final afternoon of the campaign and she was away out here,
far from all the great things that might be going on.

She gave a single stretch of her cramped muscles as she rose. "I know
you--you're Betty Sheridan's brother--thanks," she said briskly. "What
time is it?"

Pudge drew out his most esteemed possession, a watch which kept perfect
time--except when it refused to keep any time at all.

"Three o'clock," he announced.

"Then our last demonstration is under way, and when I tell my story--"
E. Eliot interrupted herself. "Come on--let's catch the trolley!"

With Pudge panting after her, she hurried downstairs, unbolted the door,
and, running lightly on the balls of her feet, sped in the direction of
the street car line.


In the meantime, concern and suspense and irruptive wrath had their
chief abode in the inner room of Remington and Evans. George had
received a request, through Penny Evans, from the chief of police to
remain in his office, where he could be reached instantly if information
concerning Geneviève were received, and where his help could instantly
be secured were it required; and Penny had enlarged that request to the
magnitude of a command and had stood by to see that it was obeyed, and
himself to give assistance.

George had recognized the sense of the order, but he rebelled at the
enforced inactivity. Where was Geneviève?--why wasn't he out doing
something for her? He strode about the office, fuming, sick with the
suspense and inaction of his rôle.

But Geneviève was not his unbroken concern. He was still afire with the
high resentment which a few hours earlier had made him go striding into
the office of the _Sentinel_. Fragments of his statement to the editor
leaped into his mind; and as he strode up and down he repeated phrases
silently, but with fierce emphasis of the soul.

Now and again he paused at his window and looked down into Main Street.
Below him was a crowd that was growing in size and disorder: the last
afternoon of any campaign in Whitewater was exciting enough; much more
so were the final hours of this campaign that marked the first entrance
of women into politics in Whitewater on a scale and with an organized
energy that might affect the outcome of the morrow's voting.

Across the way, Mrs. Herrington, the fighting blood of five generations
of patriots roused in her, had reinstated the Voiceless Speech within
the plate-glass window broken by the stones of that morning and was
herself operating it; and, armed with banners, groups of women from
the Woman's Club, the Municipal League and the Suffrage Society
were marching up and down the street sidewalks. It was their final
demonstration, their last chance to assert the demands of good
citizenship--and it had attracted hundreds of curious men, vote-owners,
belonging to what, in such periods of political struggle, are referred
to on platforms as "our better element."

Also drifting into Main Street were groups of voters of less
prepossessing aspect--Noonan's men, George recognized them to be. These
jeered and jostled the marching women and hooted the remarks of the
Voiceless Speech--but the women, disregarding insults and attacks, went
on with their silent campaigning. The feeling was high--and George could
see, as Noonan's men kept drifting into Main Street, that feeling was
growing higher.

Looking down, George felt an angered exultation. Well, his statement in
the _Sentinel_, due upon the street almost any moment, would answer all
these and give them something to think about!--a statement which would
make an even greater stir than the declaration which he had issued
those many weeks ago, when, fresh from his honeymoon, he had begun his
campaign for the district attorneyship.--[Illustration: Across the way,
Mrs. Herrington, the fighting blood of five generations of patriots
roused in her, had reinstated the Voiceless Speech.] These people below
certainly had a jolt coming to them!

George's impatient and glowering meditations--the hour was then near
four--were broken in upon by several interruptions, which came on him in
quick succession, as though detonated by brief-interval time-fuses. The
first was the entrance of that straw-haired misspeller of his letters
who had succeeded Betty Sheridan as guardian of the outer office.

"Mr. Doolittle is here," she announced. "He says he wants to see you."

"You tell Mr. Doolittle _I_ don't want to see _him_!" commanded the
irritated George.

But Mr. Benjamin Doolittle was already seeing his candidate. As
political boss of his party, he had little regard for such a formality
as being announced to any person on whom he might call--so he had walked
through the open door.

"Well, what d'you want, Doolittle?" George demanded aggressively.

Mr. Doolittle's face wore that look of bland solicitude, that
unobtrusive partnership in the misfortune of others, which had made
him such an admirable and prosperous officiant at the last rites of
residents of Whitewater.

"I just wanted to ask you, George--" he was beginning in his soft,
lily-of-the-valley voice, when the telephone on George's desk started
ringing. George turned and reached for it, to find that Penny had
already picked up the instrument.

"I'll answer it, George.... Hello... Mr. Remington is here, but is busy;
I'll speak for him--I'm Mr. Evans.... What--it's you! Where are you?...
Stay where you are; I'll come right over for you in my car."

"Who was that?" demanded George.

"Geneviève," Penny said rapidly, seizing his hat, "and I'm going----"

"So am I!" exclaimed George.

"Not till we've had a little understanding," sharply put in Doolittle,
blocking his way.

"Stay here, George," his partner snapped out--"she's perfectly
safe--just a little out of breath--telephoned from a drug store over in
the Red-field district. I'll have her back here in fifteen minutes." And
out Penny dashed, slamming the door.

But perhaps it was the straw-haired successor of Betty Sheridan who
really prevented George from plunging after his partner.

"You ordered the _Sentinel_ sent up as soon as it was out," she said.
"Here are six copies."

George seized the ink-damp papers, and as the straw-haired one walked
out in rubber-heeled silence he turned savagely upon his campaign

"Well, Doolittle?" he demanded.

"I just want to ask you, George----"

George exploded. "Oh, you just want to ask me! Well, everything you want
to ask me is answered in that paper. Read it!"

Doolittle took the copy of the _Sentinel_ which was thrust into his
hands. George watched him with triumphant grimness, awaiting the effect
of the bomb about to explode in the other's face. Mr. Doolittle unfolded
the _Sentinel_--looked it slowly through--then raised his eyes
to George. His face seemed somewhat puzzled, but otherwise it was
overspread with that sympathetic concern which, as much as his hearse
and his folding-chairs, was a part of his professional equipment.

"Why, George. I don't just get what you're driving at."

Forgetting that he was holding several copies of the Sentinel, George
dropped them all upon the floor and seized the paper from Mr. Doolittle.
He glanced swiftly over the first page--and experienced the highest
voltage shock of his young public career. Feverishly he skimmed the
remaining pages. But of all that he had poured out in the office of the
_Sentinel_, not one word was in print.

Automatically clutching the paper in a hand that fell to his side, he
stared blankly at his campaign manager. Mr. Doolittle gazed back with
his air of sympathetic concern, bewildered questioning in his eyes. And
for a space, despite the increasing uproar down in the street, there was
a most perfect silence in the inner office of Remington and Evans.

Before either of the two men could speak, the door was violently flung
open and Martin Jaffry appeared. His clothing was disarranged, his
manner agitated--in striking contrast to the dapper and composed
appearance usual to that middle-aged little gentleman.

"George," he panted, "heard anything about Geneviève?"

"She's safe. Penny's got charge of her by this time."

His answer was almost mechanical.

"Thank God!" Uncle Martin collapsed in one of the office chairs.
"Mind--if sit here minute--get my breath."

George did not reply, for he had not heard. He was gazing steadily at
Mr. Doolittle; some great, but as yet shapeless, force was surging up
dazingly within him. But he somehow held himself in control.

"Well, Doolittle," he demanded, "you said you came to ask something."

Mr. Doolittle's manner was still propitiatingly bland. "I'll mention
something else first, George, if you don't mind. You just remarked I'd
find your answer in the _Sentinel_. There must 'a' been some little
slip-up somewhere. So I guess I better mention first that the _Sentinel_
has arranged to stand ready to get out an extra."

"An extra! What for?"

"Principally, George, I reckon to print those answers you just spoke

George still kept that mounting something under his control. "Answers to

"Why, George," the other replied softly, persuasively. "I guess we'd
better have a little chat--as man to man--about politics. Meaning no
offense, George, stalling is all right in politics--but this time
you've carried this stalling act a little too far. As the result of your
tactics, George, why here's all this disorder in our streets--and the
afternoon before election. If you'd only really tried to stop these
messing women----"

"I didn't try to stop them by kidnapping them!" burst from George--and
Uncle Martin, his breath recovered, now sat up, clutching his homespun

"Kidnapping women?" queried the bland, bewildered voice of the party
boss. "I say, George, I don't know what you're talking about." "Why,
you--" But George caught himself. "Speak it out, Doolittle--what do you

"Since you ask it so frankly, George, I'll try to put it plain: You
been going along handing out high-sounding generalities. There's nothing
better and safer than generalities--usually. But this ain't no usual
case, George. These women, stirring everything up, have got the solid
interests so unsettled that they don't know where they're at--or where
you're at. And a lot of boys in the organization feel the same way. What
the crisis needs, George, is a plain statement of your intentions as
district attorney, which we can get into that _Sentinel_ extra and which
will reassure the public--and the organization."

"A plain statement?" There was a grim set to George's jaw.

"Oh, it needn't go into too many details. Just what you might call a
ringing declaration about this being the greatest era of prosperity
Whitewater has ever known, and that you conceive it to be the duty of
your administration to protect and stimulate this prosperity. The people
will understand, and the organization will understand. I guess you get
what I mean, George."

"Yes, I get what you mean!" exploded George, his fist crashing upon the
table. "You mean you want me to be a complacent accessory to all the
legal evasions that you and your political gang and the rich bunch
behind you may want to get away with! You want me to be a crook in
office! By God, Doolittle----"

"Shut up, Remington," snapped the political boss, his soft manner now
vanished, his whole aspect now grimly menacing. "I know the rest of what
you're going to say. I was pretty certain what it 'ud be before I came
here, but I had to know for sure. Well, I know now, all right!"

His lank jaws snapped again.

"Since you are not going to represent the people that put you up, I
demand your written withdrawal as candidate for the district attorney's

"And I refuse to give it!" cried George. "I was nominated by a
convention, not by you. And I don't believe the party is as crooked as
you--anyhow I'm going to give the decent members of the party a chance
to vote decently! And you can't remove me from the ballot, either, for
the ballot is already printed and----"

"That'll do you no----"

"I thought some time ago I was through with this political mess," George
drove on. "But, Doolittle, damn you, I've just begun to get in it! And
I'm going to see it through to the finish!"

Suddenly a thin little figure thrust itself between the bellicose pair
and began shaking George's hand. It was Martin Jaffry.

"George--I guess I'm my share of an old scoundrel--and a trimmer--but
hearing some one stand up and talk man's talk--" He broke off to shake
George's hand again. "I thought you were the king of boobs--but, boy,
I'm with you to wherever you want to go--if my money will last that

"Keep out of this, Jaffry," roughly growled Doolittle. "It's too late
for your dough to help this young pup. Remington, we may not take you
off the ballot, but the organization kin send out word to the boys----"

"To knife me! Of course, I expect that! All right--go to it! But I'm on
the ballot--you can't deprive people of the chance of voting for me. And
I shall announce myself an independent and shall run as one!"

"We may not be able to elect our own nominee," harshly continued
Doolittle, "but we kin send out word to back the Democratic candidate.
Miller ain't much, but, at least, he's a soft man. And that _Sentinel_
extra is going to say that a feeling has spread among the respectable
element that it has lost confidence in you, and is going to say that
prominent party members feel the party has made a mistake in ever
putting you up. So run, damn you--run as a Democrat, a Republican, an
Independent--but how are you going to git it across to the public in a
way to do yourself any good--without backing? How are you going to git
it across to the public?"

His last words, flung out with overmastering fury, brought George up
short, and he saw this. Doolittle's wrath had mounted to that pitch
which should never be reached by the resentment of a practical
politician; it had attained such force that it drove him on to taunt his
man. "How are you going to git it before the public?" he again demanded,
eyes agleam with triumphant rancor--"with us shutting you off and
hammering you on one side?--and them damned messy women across the
street hammering you from the other side? Oh, it's a grand chance you
have--one little old grand chance! Especially with those dear damned
females loving you like they do! Jest take a look at what the bunch over
there are doing to you!"

Doolittle followed his own taunting suggestion; and George, too, glanced
through his window across the crowded street into the shattered window
whence issued the Voiceless Speech. In that jagged frame in the raw
November air still stood Mrs. Harvey Herrington, turning the giant
leaves of her soundless oratory. The heckling request which then struck
George's eyes began: "_Will Candidate Remington answer_----"

George Remington read no more. His already tense figure suddenly
stiffened; he caught a sharp breath. Then, without a word to the two men
with him, he seized his hat and dashed from his office. The street was
even more a turbulent human sea, with violently twisting eddies, than
had appeared from George's windows. It seemed that every member of the
organizations whom Mrs. Herrington (and also Betty Sheridan, and later
E. Eliot, and, at the last, Geneviève) had brought into this fight, were
now downtown for the supreme effort. And it seemed that there were now
more of the so-called "better citizens." Certainly there were more of
Noonan's men, and these were still elbowing and jostling, and making
little mass rushes--yet otherwise holding themselves ominously in

Into this milling assemblage George flung himself, so dominated by the
fiery urge within him that he did not hear Geneviève call to him from
Penny's car, which just then swung around the corner and came to a sharp
stop on the skirts of the crowd. George shouldered his way irresistibly
through this mass; the methods of his football days when he had been
famed as a line-plunging back instinctively returned--and, all the
fine chivalry forgotten which had given to his initial statement to the
voters of Whitewater so noble a sound, he battered aside many of those
"fairest flowers of our civilization, to protect whom it is man's duty
and inspiration."

His lunging progress followed by curses and startled cries of feminine
indignation, he at length emerged upon the opposite sidewalk, and,
breathless and disheveled, he burst into the headquarters of the
Voiceless Speech.

Some half-dozen of Mrs. Herrington's assistants cried out at his abrupt
entrance. Mrs. Herrington, forward beside the speech, turned quickly

"Mr. Remington, you here!" she cried in amazement as he strode toward
her. "What--what do you want?"

"I want--I want--" gasped George. But instead of finishing his sentence
he elbowed Mrs. Herrington out of the way, shoved past her, and stepped
forth in front of the Voiceless Speech. There, standing in the frame of
jagged plate-glass, upon what was equivalent to a platform raised
above the crowd, he sent forth a speech which had a voice. "Ladies and
gentlemen!" he called, raising an imperative hand. The uproar subsided
to numerous exclamations, then to surprised silence; even Noonan's men
checked their disorder at this appearance of their party's candidate.

"Ladies and gentlemen," and this Voiceful Speech was loud,--"I'm here
to answer the questions of this contrivance behind me. But first let
me tell you that though I'm on the ballot as the candidate of the
Republican party, I do not want the backing of the Republican machine.
I'm running as an Independent, and I shall act as an Independent.

"Here are my answers:

"I want to tell you that I shall enforce all the factory laws.

"I want to tell you that I shall enforce the laws governing housing
conditions--particularly housing conditions in the factory district.

"I want to tell you that I shall enforce the laws governing child labor
and the laws governing the labor of women.

"And I want to tell you that I shall enforce every other law, and shall
try to secure the passage of further laws, which will make Whitewater
a clean, forward-looking city, whose first consideration shall be the
welfare of all.

"And, ladies and gentlemen--" he shouted, for the hushed voices had
begun to rise--"I wish I could address you all as fellow-voters!--I
want to tell you that I take back that foolish statement I made at the
opening of the campaign.

"I want to tell you that I stand for, and shall fight for, equal

"And I want to tell you that what has brought this change is what some
of the women of White-water have shown me--and also some of the things
our men politicians have done--our Doolittles, our Noonans----"

But George's speech terminated right there. Noise there had been before;
now there burst out an uproar, and there came an artillery attack of
eggs, vegetables, stones and bricks. One of the bricks struck George on
the shoulder and drove him staggering back against the Voiceless Speech,
sending that instrument of silent argument crashing to the floor.
Regaining his balance, George started furiously back for the window; but
Mrs. Herrington caught his arm.

"Let me go!" he called, trying to shake her off.

But she held on. "Don't--you've said enough!" she cried, and pulled him
toward the rear of the room. "Look!"

Through the window was coming a heavier fire of impromptu grenades that
rolled, spent, at their feet. But what they saw without was far more
stirring and important. Noonan's men in the crowd, their hoodlumism now
unleashed, were bowling over the people about them; but these really
constituted Noonan's outposts and advance guards.

From out of two side streets, though George and Mrs. Herrington could
not see their first appearance upon the scene, Noonan's real army
now came charging into Main Street, as per that gentleman's grim
instructions to "show them messin' women what it means to mess in
politics." Hundreds of Whitewater's women were flung about, many
sent sprawling to the pavement, and some hundreds of the city's most
respectable voters, caught unawares, were hustled about and knocked down
by the same ruthless drive.

"My God!" cried George, impulsively starting forward. "The damned

But Mrs. Herrington still held his arm. "Come on--they're making a drive
for this office!" breathlessly cried the quick-minded lady. "You can do
no good here. Out the rear way--my car's waiting in the back street."

Still clutching his sleeve, Mrs. Herrington opened a door and ran across
the back yard of McMonigal's building in a manner which indicated that
that lady had not spent her college years (and similarly spent the years
since then propped among embroidered cushions consuming marshmallows and

The lot crossed, she hurried through a little grocery and thence into
the street. Here they ran into a party that, seeing the riot on Main
Street and the drive upon the window from which George had spoken, had
rushed up reinforcements from the rear--a party consisting of Penny,
E. Eliot, Betty Sheridan and Geneviève. "Geneviève!" cried George, and
caught her into his arms.

"Oh, George," she choked. "I--I heard it all--and it--it was simply

"George," cried Betty Sheridan, "I always knew, if you got the right
kind of a jolt, you'd be--you'd be what you are!"

E. Eliot gripped his hand in a clasp almost as strong as George's arm.
"Mr. Remington, if I were a man, I'd like to have the same sort of stuff
in me."

"George, you old roughneck--" began Penny.

"George," interrupted Geneviève, still chokingly, her protective, wifely
instinct now at the fore, "I saw you hit, and we're going to take you
straight home----"

"Cut it all out," interrupted the cultured Mrs. Herrington. "This isn't
Mr. Remington's honeymoon--nor his college reunion--nor the annual
convention of his maiden aunts. This is Mr. Remington's campaign, and
I'm his new campaign manager. And his campaign manager says he's not
going away out to his home on Sheridan Road. His campaign headquarters
are going to be in the center of town, at the Commercial Hotel, where he
can be reached--for there's quick work ahead of us. Come on."

Five minutes later they were all in the Commercial Hotel's best suite.

"Now, to business, Mr. Remington," briskly began Mrs. Herrington. "Of
course, that was a good speech. But why, in heaven's name, didn't you
come out with it before?"

"I guess I really didn't know where I stood until today," confessed
George, "and today I tried to come out with it."

And George went on to recount his experience with the _Sentinel_--his
scene with Doolittle--and Doolittle's plan for an extra of the Sentinel,
which was doubtless then in preparation.

"So they've got the _Sentinel_ muzzled, have they--and are going to get
out an extra repudiating you," Mrs. Herrington repeated. There came a
flash into her quick, dark eyes. "I want our candidate to stay right
here--rest up--get his thoughts in order. There are a lot of things to
be done. I'll be back in an hour, Mr. Remington. The rest of you come
along--you, too, Mrs. Remington."

Mrs. Herrington did not altogether keep her word in the matter of time.
It was two hours before she was back. To George she handed a bundle of
papers, remarking: "Thought you'd like to see that _Sentinel_ extra."

"I suppose Doolittle has done his worst," he remarked grimly. He
glanced at the paper. His face went loose with bewilderment at what he
saw--headlines, big black headlines, bigger and blacker than he had
ever before seen in the politically and typographically conservative
_Sentinel_. He read through a few lines of print, then looked up.

"Why, it's all here!" he gasped. "The kidnapping of Miss Eliot and
Geneviève by Noonan's men--my break with Doolittle, my denunciation of
the party's methods, my coming out as an independent candidate--that
riot on Main Street! How on earth did that ever get into the

"Some straight talk, and quick talk, and the exercise of a little of
the art of pressure they say you men exercise," was the prompt reply.
"I telephoned Mr. Ledbetter of the _Sentinel_ advising him to hold
the extra Mr. Doolittle had threatened until he heard from Mr. Wesley
Norton, proprietor of the Norton Dry Goods Store. You know, Mr. Norton
is the _Sentinel_'s largest single advertiser and president of the
Whitewater Business Men's Club.

"Then a committee of us women called on Mr. Norton and told him that
we'd organize the women of the city and would carry on a boycott
campaign against his store--we didn't really put it quite as crudely
as that--unless he'd force the _Sentinel_ to stop Mr. Doolittle's lying
extra and print your statement.

"Mr. Norton gave in, and telephoned the _Sentinel_ that if it didn't do
as he said he'd cancel his advertising contract. Then, to make sure,
we got hold of Mr. Jaffry, called on Mr. Ledbetter, who called in the
business manager--and your Uncle Martin told them that unless they
printed the truth, and every bit of it, and printed it at once, he was
going to put up the money to start an opposition paper that _would print
the truth_. That explains the extra 'Well'," ejaculated George, still
staring, "you certainly are a wonder as a campaign manager!"

"Oh, I only did my fraction. That Miss Eliot did as much as I--she's a
find--she's going to be one of Whitewater's really big women. And
Betty Sheridan, you can't guess how Betty's worked--and your wife, Mr.
Remington, she's turning out to be a marvel!

"But that's not all," Mrs. Herrington continued rapidly. "We bought
ten thousand copies of that extra for ourselves--your uncle paid for
them--and we're going to distribute them in every home in town. When
the best element in Whitewater read how the women were trampled down
by Noonan's mob--well, they'll know how to vote! Mr. Noonan will never
guess how much he has helped us."

"You seem to have left nothing for me to do," said George.

"You'll find out there'll be all you'll want," replied the brisk Mrs.
Herrington. "We're organizing meetings--one in every hall in the city,
one on almost every other street corner, and we're going to rush you
from one to the next--most of the night--and there'll be no letup for
you tomorrow, even if it is election day. Yes, you'll find there'll be
plenty to do!"

The next twenty-four hours were the busiest that George Remington had
ever known in his twenty-six years.

But at nine o'clock the next evening it was over--the tumult and the
shouting and the congratulations--and all were gone save only Martin
Jaffry; and District-Attorney-Elect Remington sat in his hotel suite
alone in the bosom of his family.

He was still dazed by what had happened to him--at the part he had
unexpectedly played--dazed by the intense but well-ordered activity of
the women: their management of his whirlwind tour of the city; their
organization of parades with amazing swiftness; their rapid and complete
house-to-house canvass--the work of Mrs. Herrington, of Betty, of
that Miss Eliot, of hundreds of women--and especially of Geneviève.
He marveled especially at Geneviève because he had never thought of
Geneviève as doing such things. But she _had_ done them--he felt
that somehow she was a different Geneviève: he didn't know what the
difference was--he was in too much of a whirl for analysis--but he had
an undefined sense of _aliveness_, of a spirited, joyous initiative in

She and all the rest seemed so strange as to be unbelievable. And yet,
she--and all of it--true!...

From dramatic events and intangible qualities of the spirit, his
consciousness shifted to material things--his immediate surroundings.
Not till this blessed moment of relaxation did he become aware of
the discomforts of this suite--nor did Geneviève fully appreciate the
flamboyantly flowered maroon wall-paper and the jig-saw furniture.

"George,"' she sighed, "now that you're not needed down here, can't we
go home?"

"Home!" The word came out half snort, half growl--hardly the tone
becoming one whose triumph was so exultingly fresh. With a jar he had
come back to a present which he fully understood. "Damn home! I haven't
any home!"

Geneviève stared. Uncle Martin snickered, for Uncle Martin had the gift
of understanding.

"You mean those flowers of womanhood whom chivalrous man----"

"Shut up," commanded George. He thought for a brief space; then his jaw
set. "Excuse me a moment."

Drawing hotel stationery toward him, he scribbled rapidly and then
sealed and addressed what he had written.

"Uncle Martin, your car's outside doing nothing; would you mind going
on ahead and giving this little note to Cousin Alys Brewster-Smith, and
then staying around and having a little supper with Geneviève and me?
We'll be out soon, but there are a few things I want to talk over with
Geneviève alone before we come."

Uncle Martin would oblige. But when he had gone, there seemed to
be nothing of pressing importance that George had to communicate to
Geneviève. Nor half an hour later, when he led his bride of four months
up to their home, had he delivered himself of anything which seemed to
require privacy.

As they stepped up on the porch, softly lighted by a frosted bulb in its
ceiling, Cousin Emelene, her cat under her arm, came out of the front
door and hurried past them, without speech.

"Why, Cousin Emelene!" George called after her.

She paused and half turned.

"You--you--" she half choked upon expletives that would not come
forth. "The man will come for my trunks in the morning." Thrusting a
handkerchief to her face, she hurried away.

"George, what can have happened to her?" cried the amazed Geneviève.

But George was saved answering her just then. Another figure had emerged
from the front door--a rather largish figure, all in black--her left
hand clutching the right hand of a child, aged, possibly, five. And this
figure did not cower and hurry away. This figure halted, and glowered.

"George Remington," exclaimed Cousin Alys, "after your
invitation--you--you apostate to chivalry! That outrageous letter! But
if I am leaving your home, thank God I'm leaving it for a home of my
own! Come on, Martin!"

With that she stalked away, dragging the sleepy Eleanor.

Not till then did George and Geneviève become aware that Uncle Martin
was before them, having until now been obscured by Mrs. Brewster-Smith's
outraged amplitude. His arms were loaded with coats, obviously feminine.

"Uncle Martin!" exclaimed George.

"George," gulped his uncle--"George--" And then he gained control of a
dazed sort of speech. "When I gave her that letter I didn't know it was
a letter of eviction. And the way she broke down before me--a woman, you
know--I--I--well, George, it's my home she's going to."

"You don't mean----"

"Yes, George, that's just what I mean. Though, of course, I'm taking
her back now to Mrs. Gallup's boarding-house until--until--good-night,
George; good-night, Geneviève." The little man went staggering down the
walk with his burden of wraps; and after a minute there came the sound
of his six-cylinder roadster buzzing away into the darkness.

"I didn't tell 'em they had to go tonight," said George doggedly. "But
I did remark that even if every woman had a right to a home, every
woman didn't have the right to make my home her home. Anyhow," his
tone becoming softer, "I've at last got a home of my own. Our own," he

He took her in his arms. "And, sweetheart--it's a better home than when
we first came to it, for now I've got more sense. Now it is a home in
which each of us has the right to think and be what we please."

       *       *       *       *       *

At just about this same hour just about this same scene was being
enacted upon another front porch in Whitewater--there being the slight
difference that this second porch was not softly illuminated by any
frosted globule of incandescence. Up the three steps leading to this
second porch Mr. Penfield Evans had that moment escorted Miss Elizabeth

"Good-night, Penny," she said.

He caught her by her two shoulders.

"See here, Betty--the last twenty-four hours have been mighty busy
hours--too busy even to talk about ourselves. But now--see here, you're
not going to get away with any rough work like that. Come across, now.
Will you?"

"Will I what?"

"Say, how long do you think you're a paid-up subscriber to this little
daily speech of mine?... Well, if I've got to hand you another copy,
here goes. You promised me, on your word of honor, if George swung
around for suffrage, you'd swing around for me. Well, George has come
around. Not that I had much to do with it--but he surely did come
around! Now, the point is, Miss Betty Sheridan, are you a woman of your
promise--are you going to marry me?"

"Well, if you try to put it that way, demanding your pound of flesh----"
"One hundred and twenty pounds," corrected Penny.

"I'll say that, of course, I don't love you, but I guess a promise is a
promise--and--and--" And suddenly a pair of strong young arms were flung
about the neck of Mr. Penfield Evans. "Oh, I'm so happy, Penny dear!"


After that there was a long silence... silence broken only by that
softly sibilant detonation which belongs most properly to the month of
June, but confines itself to no season... to a long, long silence
born of and blessed by the gods... until one Percival Sheridan, coming
stealthily home from a late debauch at Humphrey's drug store, and
mounting the steps in the tennis sneakers which were his invariable wear
on dry and non-state occasions, bumped into the invisible and unhearing

"Say, there--" gasped the startled youth, backing away.

Betty gave an affrighted cry--it was a long swift journey down from
where she had just been. Her right hand, reaching drowningly out, fell
upon a familiar shoulder.

"It's Pudge!" she cried. "Pudge"--shaking him--"snooping around,
listening and trying to spy----"

"You stop that--it ain't so!" protested the outraged Pudge, his
utterance throttled down somewhat by the chocolate cream in his mouth.

"Spying on people! And, besides, you've been stuffing yourself with
candy again! You're ruining your stomach with that sticky sweet
stuff--you're headed straight for a candy-fiend's grave. Now, you go
upstairs and to bed!"

She jerked him toward the door, opened it, and as he was thrust through
the door Pudge felt something, something warm, press impulsively against
a cheek. Not until the door had closed upon him did he realize what
Betty had done to him. He stood dazed for a moment--unbalanced between
impulses. Then the sturdy maleness of fourteen rewon its dominance.

"Guess I know what they was doing, all right--aw, wouldn't it make you
sick!" And, in disgust which another chocolate cream alleviated hardly
at all, he mounted to his bed.

Outside there was again silence... faintly disturbed only by that softly
sibilant, almost muted percussion which recalls inevitably the month of


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The Sturdy Oak - A composite Novel of American Politics by fourteen American authors" ***

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