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Title: Seductio Ad Absurdum - The Principles & Practices of Seduction, A Beginner's Handbook
Author: Hahn, Emily, 1905-1997
Language: English
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                          SEDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM

                        (“Now I lay me—”
                                    OLD PRAYER)

                  In preparation
                     THE SEDUCER’S _VENI MECUM_
                        A COURSE FOR ADVANCED STUDENTS

                          SEDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM

                       The Principles & Practices
                              of Seduction

                         A Beginner’s Handbook

                            _by Emily Hahn_


                                New York
                         BREWER AND WARREN INC.
                          PAYSON & CLARKE LTD.

                     COPYRIGHT, 1930, BY EMILY HAHN

              First Printing before Publication March 1930
             Second Printing before Publication March 1930

                  BY H. WOLFF ESTATE, NEW YORK, N. Y.

                              DEDICATED TO
                             HERBERT ASBURY
                      WHO TOLD ME TO WRITE IT DOWN


Although seduction as an applied art has been slowly developing over a
period of several generations, the science of seduction has so far been
largely neglected. While the value of the empirical knowledge acquired
by early practitioners and transmitted to us by a great body of
folk-lore should not be minimized, the trial and error methods of these
precursors, both amateur and professional, are to be deplored as crude;
for however refined they may have been in application, there is evidence
that they were lacking in that exactness in observation which could make
them valuable to science.

Only a very few though hardy pioneers have in the past, recognized the
necessity for organizing man’s empirical knowledge of this vast subject
on a rational basis, and it is due to their unselfish labours alone that
we now have a sufficient body of observed phenomena, a sufficient
accumulation of data, to make possible the beginnings of a true science
of seduction. It is the purpose of this book, to co-ordinate the efforts
of these for the most part anonymous and forgotten contributors, these
modest, silent benefactors, and to attempt a proper classification
within the subject: to adumbrate such practical methods of procedure as
may in the, let us hope, near future develop into a sure technique.
Owing to the limitations of space and the present confused state of the
subject, it is of necessity only possible here to indicate the lines
which such a development must follow. It is my desire to confine this
work to a purely practical consideration of the subject, and to make it
a handbook in the hope that my students and those who come after me will
be the better able to add to the body of our observed knowledge of
seduction and to indicate the more clearly for my shortcomings along
what lines improvement is required.

                           WHAT IS SEDUCTION?

In the first place, the word itself is unfortunately obscure, possessing
an ambiguity which we must resolve before we can proceed. I have
assembled an assortment of representative definitions, which follows:

    Se-duce (se-dus) _v.t._; SE-DUCED (se-dust); SE-DUCING
    (-dusing). [L. _seducere, seductum; se-aside_—_ducere_ to lead.
    See DUKE.] I. To lead aside or astray, esp. from the path of
    rectitude or duty; to entice to evil; to corrupt.

“For me, the gold of France did not _seduce_.”
—_Webster’s New International Dictionary_

    Seduce, _v.t._ Lead astray, tempt into sin or crime, corrupt;
    persuade (woman) into surrender of chastity, debauch.

                                        —_Concise Oxford Dictionary_

    Seduire: _v.a._ (du lat. _seducere_, conduire à l’écart. Se
    conj. comme _conduire_). Faire tomber en erreur ou en faute par
    ses insinuations, ses exemples.


Seduccion: Acciôn y effecto de seducir.
Seducfr: Engañar con are y maña, persuadir suavemente al mal.

—_Enciclopedia Universal Illustrada_.

    Sedurre (Seduzione, n) Ridurre con vane o false apparenze al
    nostre valere e al male.

           —_Dizionario Universale delta Lingua Italiana. Petrocchi_

    Verfiihrung; in geschlechtlicher Beziehung ein Mädchen

                                  —_Deutsches Wörterbuch ... Heynes_

It is obvious that these interpretations all suffer from a common fault:
they fail to reflect the modern ramifications of the word. As a matter
of fact, seduction is undergoing a great change.

The rudiments of the custom may be observed in the remnants of primitive
society that we are able to study. Certain aboriginal tribes practise
polyandry as an economic adjustment to the surplus of males.[1] With the
development of civilization we find that adaptation tends to take the
form of matriarchy, as in the United States.[2]

In the early days of our culture, seduction was practised upon certain
species of recognized placer in the social system, and thus attained a
certain grade of standardization. There were the seduced (always the
feminine sex) and the seducers (masculine). It would appear that with
the aforementioned rise of matriarchy this state of affairs is changing.
The predatory instinct of humanity is not confined to the male. However,
the line of reasoning suggested is too vast to follow in the limits of a
small volume, and I mention it merely that the student may think about
it at his leisure as he peruses the forthcoming chapters.

The extraordinary development of prostitution in the nineteenth century
prefaced the present phase with a last manifestation of the old social
attitude. Relying upon the assumption that the male seduces the female,
we are faced in this modern world with the undeniable fact that the
ranks of the seduced—i.e., the unprotected young women of society—are
also shifting and changing. The orderly arrangement which we have been
led to expect is breaking up. In former times our women were divided
into two main classes, or groups:

    (a) Professionals (those who made a vocation of being

    (b) Amateurs (those to whom the process of being seduced was a
    side line).[4]

However in late years there has grown up among us a third class,
designated as (c), The only familiar term which has yet been applied was
coined by Doctor Ethel Waters, who invented for them the descriptive
appellation “freebies” in recognition of their independent stand in the
matter of economics and convention. These revolutionists have formulated
a philosophy which draws upon those of both older classes for its
sources. To be freebie, seduction is neither a means of livelihood, as
in the case of class (a), nor inevitable disgrace, as it is with class

It is undoubtedly this school of thought that influenced the Missouri
jurist who, after a long and tiresome case of seduction, in which he
found for the defendant, made a pronouncement from the bench to the
effect that “There is no such thing as seduction.”[6] Although in my
opinion this statement is somewhat extreme for our purposes, it serves
to demonstrate the modern trend of sentiment.[7]

The modern social attitude had its prototype in the days of Cleopatra,
where, as every classical scholar knows, the women of the upper classes
exhibited an amazing independence. In Rome and Alexandria “the
professional courtesans were gloomily complaining that their business
had been hard hit by the fact that the ladies of fashion asked no
payment for exertions of a similar nature.”[8]

Taking these facts into consideration, we must admit that in the light
of modern improvement a new definition is required: one more in line
with present day practice. For the purpose of this treatise let it be
understood therefore that _seduction is the process of persuading
someone to do that which he or she has wanted to do all the time_.


Footnote 1:

The Sexual Life of Savages. B. Malinowski.

Footnote 2:

Domestic Manners of the Americans. By Frances Trollope. New York; Dodd,
Mead and Company, 1927.

Footnote 3:

Recreations of a Merchant, or the Christian Sketch Book. By William A.
Brewer. Boston. See also Hatrack by Herbert Asbury, The American
Mercury, April, 1926; and The Brass Check. By Upton Sinclair. Pasadena.

Footnote 4:

The Beautiful Victim: Being a Full Account of the Seduction and Sorrows
of Miss Mary Kirkpatrick (National Police Gazette: 1862).

Footnote 5:

The Green Hat. By Michael Arlen.

Footnote 6:

Eddinger versus Thompson: Harris j.

Footnote 7:

For further exposition of juridical aspects of the subject see Die
Zivilrechtlichen Ansprüche von Frauenspersonen aus aus-serehelichem
Beischlafe: Hans Hochstein.

Footnote 8:

Personalities of Antiquity ... Arthur Weigall.

                          SEDUCTION IN HISTORY

The records preserved from older civilizations are (as has been said
before) too fundamental in treatment to be of much value to us in the
matter of details. We know, however, that the mythology and folklore of
any race presents a more or less accurate idea of the customs of the
time. Granting an amount of exaggeration in the fables, we have still
the proof that seduction has always been a recognized practice in
Heaven. Scarcely a god has not dabbled in the art at one time or
another. In the first place they start off with the advantages of
divinity and a working knowledge of black magic.[9] They could be called
seducers in the true sense of the word only by courtesy. Jupiter, to
take an example, used methods of archaic and brutal simplicity. To be
sure, he would sometimes take the trouble to turn himself into a swan or
a bull or a shower of gold, but such exercises are second nature to a
deity and cause no delay or exhaustion. Ammon, the Egyptian god,
associated exclusively with royalty, and no one thought of calling him
to task for such moral irregularities. On the contrary, the kingly
family was proud of him.[10]

A close study of the ancient Indians reveals the fact that they deemed
seduction one of the most important of the arts, rivalling philosophy in
popularity as a study.[11] The Chinese with their customary reserve,
make no mention of such matters in official papers, but a quantity of
poetry and maxims discloses a keen Oriental interest in the topic.[12]
The Old Testament abounds in stories of seduction by means of trickery,
bribery and simple persuasion. It is safe to assume from the records
that seduction in all parts of the civilized world was at about the same
stage of primary development.

The Middle Ages show some progress. Literature was growing into an
important culture, and we have much more source material. There are
manifestations of refinement in the ancient game, but at the same time
the world was not as light-hearted about these matters as it had been in
the past. The growth of the Church, with its set ideas of these subjects
and its zeal to catalogue the sins of mankind and to deal out punishment
accordingly, gave to seduction its greatest impetus. At no other time in
history has such a vast amount of time and thought been expended on one
idea. It became a sin, and therefore a necessity.

Added to the stimulation of the churchly attitude was that of the caste
system, which made seduction the only means of communication between the
classes. The Renaissance introduced a new fashion, persuasion by means
of bribery. Kings and their courtiers led the movement by elevating
their mistresses to dizzy heights of power and wealth. The sixteenth,
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries witnessed an influx of new families
and the ascent of many a lowly maiden. Several of the noblest families
of England trace their origin to such glittering seductions.[13] Indeed
this process became at one time so notorious that it crept into folklore
and has been preserved for us in many a ballad, of which the following
is representative:

    “She was poor but she was honest,
    Victim of the Squire’s whim.”

Even before this period, England had introduced a variation of the art
in the form of Chivalry. This school of behaviour, while professing an
ignorance of the very rudiments of seduction, nevertheless played an
important part in its development, as is convincingly illustrated by the
old song:

    “In days of old, when knights were bold
    And barons held their sway,
    A warrior bold, with spurs of gold,
    Sang merrily his lay.”

But aside from the royal habits, there was no imagination, no finesse to
seduction. It was a stereotyped affair, a furtive irregularity, a silly
little sin. The seduction of the middle classes was a monotonous
business, popular only by reason of the danger it entailed. It has
remained for our modern world to raise it to a place of dignity among
the leading interests of all society.


Footnote 9:

Bulfinch’s Mythology.

Footnote 10:

The Golden Bough. Sir J. Frazer.

Footnote 11:

The Kama Sutra.

Footnote 12:

Colored Stars. E. Powys Mathers. Houghton Mifflin.

Footnote 13:

Cf. The Complete Peerage.

                           THIS MODERN WORLD

What are the reasons for this recent tendency? There are many answers.
In the first place, mankind need no longer turn the whole of its energy
to defence and sustenance. The life of the average man is not completely
devoted to his business. He is a rarely active person if one-third of
his day is given over to actual work.

    “I work eight hours, I sleep eight hours,
    That leaves eight hours for love.”
                            —_Popular ballad_

Otherwise what does he do with his time?

    “What makes the business man tired?
    What does the business man do?”
                        —_Popular song_

He reads, he plays, sometimes he wages war, and for the rest of the time
he sleeps, eats and makes love. We find ourselves in a restless age, a
time of experiment; when almost everyone is urged by the same desire to
revise and improve.

It is the Golden Age of good living, consequently it is the age of
impending boredom. In such an atmosphere we would expect to find a
development of parlour pastimes. These conditions, this pleasant
leisure, this much vaunted, generally diffused prosperity, this
impatience for hallowed tradition and the time-honoured devices for
improving one’s time, have given rise to crossword puzzles,
introspection, and modern seduction.

                        DIFFICULTIES OF RESEARCH

Since the connotation of the word has been altered, I venture to assert
that there have been converted to the practices of seduction at least
twice as many devotees as had flourished before. This statement will
undoubtedly be challenged: once more, I make no doubt, the skeptical
will object to my conclusions on the grounds that a scientific recluse
is of necessity withdrawn from the world and its customs and is thus
automatically excluded as a responsible judge of sociological problems.
It might be appropriate in this preface to enter a plea for our great
body of research workers who are submitted to this sort of amateur
criticism. The path of the scientist is beset with difficulties of every
nature; not only those in the natural line of his work, but the
wholesale hostility of the uninformed layman who does not understand the
hardships and delays of laboratory procedure. In this case I hope to
forestall criticism by claiming to have followed a conscientious program
of newspaper reading. My statement is based on the knowledge common to
the layman. I cite as proof the columns of the newspapers, both the
items of fact and the syndicated columns which, it would appear, devote
seventy-five per cent of their space to discussion of the present
generation and what to do about it.

Indeed other students of society have gone farther, much farther. Dr.
Henry W. Gardner, eminent social psychologist, seven years ago devoted
his doctor’s thesis to the so-called conditions of morality then
prevailing on the “campus.” With highly commendable enthusiasm, this
scholar spent almost the entire school year in an alder bush that grew
on the edge of a secluded path known to irreverent minds as Lover’s
Lane, where the youths of the university were wont to take their evening
strolls. He adduced the following significant statistics:

Of the 3,061 automobiles that drove through the lane in one week, 2,009
stopped, and 2,005 turned off the motors. Of these, 154 drove on again
after periods of time varying to an upper limit of five minutes. Of the
remainder, 1,788 parked for periods of not less than one hour and not
more than two hours and three-quarters. Dr. Gardner ascribed the
fixation of these limits to the period between the beginning of darkness
(which of course varied with the season) and the “coeds’” curfew.

Of the remaining sixty-three, forty-nine of the automobiles spent the
entire night in the lane. The fate of the other fourteen will never be
known: they were all still there on the historic night when a watchman
stumbled over Dr. Gardner’s feet and took him to jail before he could
explain. The vicissitudes and obstacles that stand in the scientist’s
way cannot be overestimated. This deplorable incident is merely one
example of the prevalent attitude.

Another of his experiments was to fix a dictaphone beneath the old oak
bench at the far end of Lover’s Lane. He did this shortly after the
unfortunate episode of the jail, and for eleven nights he was thus
enabled to sit at his ease in the laboratory, taking notes. (I myself
have much reason to thank and commend Dr. Gardner’s foresight: these
notes, while they have not been used as source material, have
nevertheless allowed me to corroborate many of my own conclusions.)

                          METHOD OF TREATMENT

The method used in this treatise is the result of much thought. After
attempting several other outlines, I have come to the conclusion that
the most graphic representation is that of hypothetical cases for each
lesson—i.e., each chapter represents a typical case, or synthetic
experience. The student may at first glance object to this treatment,
but a short survey will, I hope, convince him that the system is the
only adequate one possible. Note that each experiment is couched in
colloquial terms, the better to carry the atmosphere of the lesson. Of
course the student is expected to vary the program according to his own
requirements: these experiments are to serve merely as outlines. I have
attempted to avoid as far as possible that wealth of technical
terminology so dear to the heart of the average scientific author and so
trying to the beginner: I have dared to hope that my compilation would
be an aid not only to that small band who have dedicated their lives
exclusively to research, but also to the great masses, the dilettantes
and amateurs who might be able to find some inspiration in these pages.

The preparation, both research and field work, has been arduous, but
what accomplishment was ever valuable without some labour and pains? If
my contribution to scientific literature has in some small measure
advanced the penetration of my fellow man and eased his path of loving,
I am amply repaid.

In conclusion, I wish to thank those who have worked with me. Without
their unfailing patience, sympathy and assiduity this little book could
never have been written.

_New York_.
_Thanksgiving, 1929._
E. H.









5. I’M BAD


















    Well-to-do man with slightly artistic tendencies; the sort that
    believes first in money, then in full enjoyment of it. His
    philosophy is practical but not too limited to material
    considerations; in other words, he talks well on almost any


    Slightly younger, but of the same breed. The families of the two
    protagonists have probably been friendly for two generations.


    A restaurant: one of the more leisurely ones where the dishes do
    not rattle but an orchestra makes conversation just as


    The keynote of the approach is a tacit appreciation of
    intelligence on the part of the subject. This sympathetic
    attitude is very important. Think it all over carefully, put a
    flower in your buttonhole and go ahead.


You have reached the coffee and are putting up a brave fight against the
orchestra before going out into the privacy of the street.

_She:_ And we didn’t get home, after all, until two o’clock. I was so
angry: it spoiled the evening.

_You:_ Angry! I don’t think that you could ever be angry.

_She:_ Oh, yes, you don’t know me at all. I have a _dreadful_ temper.

_You:_ Well, it doesn’t somehow fit in with my idea of you, you see. No,
I must disagree with you. You haven’t a temper. It’s impossible for you
to have a really earthly emotion.

_She (somewhat irritated):_ Why, how can you say such a thing?

_You:_ You’re a strangely aloof child, you know.

_She (after a pleased little silence):_ That’s not nice of you.

_You:_ Why not? It’s so nice of you, you know.

_She:_ Oh, do you really think so? I’m sure I don’t try to be. No....
(_with a charming smile_)—you’re quite wrong. It’s the rest of them
that are different. I’m really very normal.

_You:_ Normal? Oh, my dear! And yet, after all, it’s not very funny.
Perhaps it’s a tragedy.

_She:_ What is?

_You:_ Your attitude toward life.

_She:_ Why, I have no attitude!

_You:_ There you are; that’s just it. Someone of us mortals tries to
tell you how we—how flesh-and-blood beings react to you, and you simply
open those clear eyes of yours, and—well, how can I go on talking in
the face of such bland ignorance?

_She:_ Ignorance! Why I don’t....

_You:_ Oh, surely you know how ignorant you are? You must remain
ignorant with deliberation. It’s part of your charm, of course, but ...
oh, how charming you could be, in another way!

_She:_ Really.... (_suddenly her voice warms and she leans a little over
the table, talking eagerly_) No, you’re perfectly right. I mean from
your viewpoint, of course. One thing that you forget, though, is that I
don’t feel the way that you and the rest of them do. I can’t really
understand it myself, and yet ... oh, all that sort of thing; emotion
and all that; seems so ... so messy.

_You:_ Messy? My dear child, what sort of people can you have known?

_She:_ Perfectly normal people, I assure you. No, it’s my own fault.
It’s me, and I can’t help it. Emotion to me has always seemed—no thank
you, just demi-tasse—seemed common. Not aristocratic. That’s rather a
snide thing to say, isn’t it? I don’t mean to sound that way.

_You:_ I know you don’t. (_The music plays without competition for a
moment_). But how sad!

_She:_ Sad? Oh no. I get along quite well. I’m really very happy, except
once in a while. I’m as happy, that is, as you can possibly be for all
your—your normality.

_You:_ But what a strange way for an intelligent person like yourself to
think! Have you no curiosity?

_She:_ Oh, certainly. To an extent. But when curiosity conflicts with
one’s disgusts....

_You:_ Disgusts? Now you are certainly wrong. It gives you away.

_She:_ Yes, that was a silly thing to say.

_You:_ Don’t you think that you allow your mind to rule you too much?
It’s really dangerous. I mean it. Surely your intelligence tells you
that a well-rounded personality....

_She:_ But I told you; I don’t want to experiment!

_You:_ I can’t believe that you are in a position to judge. You don’t
really know what you want; you don’t know what to want. I don’t believe
you for a minute when you say you are happy. Lovely, yes; but lovely in
a melancholy way. How can you know about yourself, you wise child? Tell
me, are you always so serene?

_She:_ You’re getting much too serious. Let’s dance.

_You:_ I don’t want to dance with you just now. I think you’re trying to
run away from me as you have always run away from questions. Do you
know, you’re a most deceptive person. When I met you, I said to myself,
“She is sensitive,” but I never thought of you as being beautiful. I’m
being frank, do you mind? But I see now that you are. I see that you are
rarely beautiful, but that you do not wish to be. Isn’t that true?

_She:_ Why no, of course not. I don’t understand it all.

_You:_ It’s just this, and I don’t care whether or not I offend you. In
fact, I hope I do. Someone ought to offend you now and then. You’re
committing a crime, not only against us but against yourself. If I had
my way—and I’m not being selfish, either—

_She (blazing):_ As though any of you weren’t selfish!

_You:_ What?

_She:_ I’m so tired of it all. Don’t you think I hear something like
this every day of my life? All of you working for yourselves, arguing
for yourselves, talking eternally about the same thing. I can’t stand
any more of it. I’m sick of it.

_You (gravely):_ I beg your pardon, but you’re not being quite polite,
are you? You’re a bit unjust.

_She:_ Perhaps I’m rather excited. Sorry.

_You:_ Perhaps not. This is the result of a long silence, isn’t it? You
have never spoken like this before?

_She:_ Yes, that’s it.

_You (leaning forward):_ My dear, if I’ve said anything....

_She (faintly):_ No, it’s nothing. Tell me, how can you—all of you—be
so cold blooded and unfastidious at the same time?

_You:_ Oh, but you are wrong. I’m sure that as a rule we are more
fastidious than you could possibly know. I’m sorry that I’ve disturbed
you—Check, please! I’m going to take you home.

_She:_ No, I was foolish. You’re right. I’m sure you’re right. But I
couldn’t help it. Have I hurt you?

_You:_ Let’s forget it all. Let’s go somewhere and talk about other
things. (_You rise and start to the door._) I didn’t want to spoil the
evening, much as you seemed to think so. Should we go to my place and
look at the print I just bought? It’s so early to take you home.

_She:_ Yes, that would be nice.

_You:_ There, you see; I’ve done you an injustice. You’re quite human
underneath it all. Probably someone has hurt you, and you won’t tell me
about it. I think, my dear, that you have a very great capacity for
living. Let’s take one with the top down. TAXI!!

                       2. JUST ANOTHER LITTLE ONE


    Virile, young, simple. A man who does not waste time on
    philosophical reflections; who knows what he wants and stops at
    nothing but sacrifice to get it.


    Very young, semi-sophisticated. That is, she has been warned but
    not insulated.


    1 Victrola
    1 Radio
    1 Bottle Scotch
    1 Automobile
    1 House—Anybody’s
    1 Party


    The inclusion in the collection of this lesson is accompanied by
    some misgivings on my part. It is a method of which we do not
    approve. The true seduction does not depend upon mechanical
    devices such as alcohol. I counsel my students to save this
    method until all else fails, for it leads to a slackness and a
    lazy attitude toward the work. Moreover, it is against the law
    in this country to buy liquor or to carry it around.

                        JUST ANOTHER LITTLE ONE

1. The introduction. Give everyone full notice, but when her name is
mentioned, employ the personal touch in your bow—the lingering glance
shading off in friendly admiration.

2. Wait half an hour, perhaps employing the time with a drink. Dance
with everyone else and be looking at her twice when she glances your

3. Suddenly walking over to her, you should look accusingly at the
half-full glass in her hand.

“You don’t mean to tell me that’s your first?”


“Say, who are you anyway? Have I ever seen you around?”

“No, Joe and Edna brought me. I don’t know anyone here very well.”

“Who’s Joe?”

“The little fellow over there.”

“Your heavy?”

“Silly! No, of course not. He and Edna just got married. That’s why
they’re having this party, isn’t it?”

“I don’t know. I was invited, that’s all I know. Well, see you later.”

Get up and go away at this point; too much at first is too much.

4. Soon after this it is likely that the lady will finish her glass
mechanically; and the next one will go down with more alacrity. Keep an
eye on her, and when she has finished the second one come back and ask
her to dance. If you are a good dancer the whole thing is easier, but so
few of you are.

Put her down when it is over, smile at her politely and go away again.
This mystifies her.

5. Two drinks later. Don’t drink too much; this requires as much
concentration as any other business. It’s time now to focus the attack.

After two or three dances the room seems uncomfortably warm, and now
that she is accustomed to being monopolized she won’t be averse to
stepping outdoors with you to get cool. Any car will do if it is

There will be a slightly awkward pause; breathless and afraid on her
part. Then she realizes that your intentions are all right and she is
ashamed of her own suspicions.

“My, but it must have been warm in there,” she says. “I didn’t realize
it. What a lovely night!”

“Yeah, the gang’s crazy to stay indoors in this weather.... Say, what do
you do all the time? I haven’t seen you around.”

“Well, I haven’t been in town very long. I’m visiting Edna.”

“Having a good time?”

“Oh, yes. Everyone’s been so nice to me.”

“Naturally they would be, to you. I guess you have a pretty good time
wherever you go.”

“Aw, that’s an old one!”

“You don’t swallow everything you hear, do you? Well, that’s right.” ...
a burst of music comes through the window ... “Say, I’ve got a drink or
two here. Want one?”

“Oh no—I’ve had enough. But you go right ahead.”

“Nope, I don’t drink without company.”

“Well—just a little one.”

6. After the bottle has been tucked away again, settle down with a deep
sigh and put your arm around her. While she’s wondering if she ought to
let it stay there, turn around and pull her head over to yours, very
lazily and comfortably.

“No! Please.”

“All right.”

Release her, avoiding all trace of petulance. She can think that over
for a while.

7. After a long time, reach for the bottle again.

“Just another little one?”

Of course she doesn’t want to be a complete prig—

“All right. But aren’t you drinking a lot?”

“No. I never take too much.”

There really isn’t much to say. You don’t want conversation; she knows
you don’t. She does—or does she? She doesn’t know what she wants, just
now. You’ve flustered her and upset her and started her thinking and you
aren’t doing anything to help her out. She wonders why you don’t say
something. She can’t think of anything to say. She’s thinking too hard
of something which you have evidently forgotten. It is almost a relief
when you put your arm around her again. Something definite, anyway. Even
when you kiss her she doesn’t protest. She thinks that it wasn’t bad
anyway; in fact it was a nice kiss—not too long nor too enthusiastic.

And as a matter of fact, this particular subject should not be a
connoisseur of kisses. She would like to discuss it. Whenever she has
been kissed before, the occasion seemed more momentous, with prelude of
conversation and aftermath of protestation. Your absolute indifference
intrigues her. You’ve evidently forgotten all about it already.

8. And then you yawn. Yawn and burrow your head in her breast in an
affectionate, friendly manner; dropping off to sleep immediately. She
sits very still and straight, hoping that you’ll wake up, hoping you
won’t, hoping no one is watching you from the porch, wondering why she
isn’t objecting, wondering why she should, wondering about life in
general.... It’s all because she drank so much of that whiskey. She
really doesn’t feel so well. Sort of mixed up. Why don’t you wake up?
She wants to go in and dance; it must be late. How did this get started

9. She stirs a little at last, for her arm is going to sleep, and this
wakes you. Open your eyes and pull her face down to yours—it’s the most
natural thing to do under the circumstances. “Sweet thing.”

She is reassured. You are thinking of her, then. You’ve become once more
a person, a man, instead of an abstract problem. And she knows how to
deal with people, even with men. It’s this other thing that worries her;
this horrible impersonal wondering; this feeling of enmity that lurks in
the air when people forget you and go to sleep. Although she couldn’t
put it into words....

10. “Another drink, sweet thing?”

“I guess so.”

“Sure, just another little one now.”

She isn’t thinking at all now. If she were she’d probably suggest going
in, for it is late and she wants to dance. But it doesn’t seem late; it
doesn’t seem as though time is going on at all. She isn’t thinking. She
doesn’t start to think even when you kiss her more enthusiastically and
not so lazily. This must be the way a plant feels on a hot summer day
when it hasn’t anything to do but grow. Not happy; not sad.

It is only when she realized at last that you are growing importunate
that she stirs herself and protests. She isn’t sure what to say; the
protest is more a matter of habit than anything else.... Everything is a
habit.... And once more, for the last time, you say “Yes. One more. Just
another little one.”

                           3. FEEL MY MUSCLE


    The man of action, of firm convictions and a limited sympathy
    for anyone who does not agree with him. Timid or sickly persons
    are advised to avoid this method.


    An old-fashioned girl, apt to get a thrill when forcibly
    reminded of her comparative weakness.


    1 Bathing Beach
    1 Life-saving Uniform
    2 Hot Dogs


    We all have some primitive instincts, even now. A crude
    exhibition of brute strength is fascinating to most of us, deny
    it as we will. The psychological basis for the reaction of the
    subject is probably a feeling that she will not have to bear the
    responsibility for whatever may happen.

                             FEEL MY MUSCLE

The holiday crowd is thinning out. Dusk shrouds the less decorative
elements of the beach—the ragged holes left by children and the empty,
soiled paper lunch boxes. Those revelers who are left see only the long
curving line of the shore and a mysterious intermittent foaming as the
lazy waves crash slowly against the sand.

Eloise lounges on the beach, watching the slow ebb of the Sunday gaiety.
She thinks vaguely of going in for one more dip before she gets dressed;
thinks of the shock of cold water on her already-dry bathing suit;
thinks of the damp, dank-smelling dressing-room, and decides to postpone
the whole thing for a few minutes. There is no hurry and she isn’t cold.
She runs her hand through her fuzzy hair and yawns. She is a slim girl
with a slightly bored expression, and she is younger than she looks.

It has been a pleasant Sunday, withal rather dull. She hasn’t come to
the beach alone; she and the other file-clerk in the office have
ventured out together. But Bessie has met up with a boy-friend and
disappeared. Eloise does not hold a grudge against her for her
desertion; it is understood that such accidents are likely to happen on
Sunday afternoon. But she surveys the long lonely ride home with
distaste. She chews her wad of Juicy Fruit dreamily and gives to the
ukelele clutched to her diaphragm a pensive plunk.

It is at this moment that you sight her. You are strolling along the
beach on your way in, after an arduous day of life-saving. Not that
anyone has needed his life saved, but three blondes and two brunettes
have required swimming lessons and all of them have been plump. By this
time you prefer them slender; all the ladies tattooed on your arms are
very slender indeed; and two of them wear red bathing-suits of the same
shade as Eloise’s. You stop short when you see her and wonder if you
haven’t seen her before somewhere. You decide that you haven’t; and
regret the fact. You wonder if she has noticed you. If she has, she
doesn’t show it. Not a missed beat has interrupted the mastication of
her chewing-gum.

True to your vocation, adopt a nautical method of approach. In other
words, tack. First walk along a line inclined at forty-five degrees to
the most direct approach to Eloise. Somewhere at her right pause
suddenly and examine a sand-crab. Then look up quickly, obviously under
the impression that someone is calling you. After carefully looking at
everything else on the beach, drop your eyes to Eloise, who blinks and
turns away.

Sigh loudly and drop heavily and prone on the sand near her feet.
Startled, she looks at you again. Grin and flip a pebble at her.

“Say!” says Eloise, indignantly.

“What do you say, girlie?” you counter. Then raise yourself in sections
and redrape your lean length on the log next to her. “Ain’t you
lonesome?” you add.

It is a rhetorical question purely, but she does not want to play. She
chooses to take you literally.

“Not much,” she retorts. “I’m waiting for a guy.”

Answer promptly, “Not any more, you ain’t.”

She compresses her lips and ignores you, fingering the strings of the
ukelele in an abstracted way. It has no effect. Pat her arm and say:

“Give us a tune, kid?”

“Fresh!” she says scornfully. “Who you crowding?”

“Aw, don’t be mean,” you plead. “Give us a tune.”

Eloise shakes her head quickly and decisively. “I didn’t ask you over!”
she reminds you. It is a warning that she is on her guard; that she is a
difficult proposition; that she is a Nice Girl.

“Well, gee, can’t a guy try to be human?” Your voice should be petulant
and youthful. “I was just trying to be human. I was lonesome.” It is a
plaintive speech, and you look plaintive. But nevertheless you are a
masculine being, strong and undefeated. Probably it is the bathing suit,
or perhaps the air with which you light your cigarette. Eloise gazes at
your profile in uncertainty. End the pause by casting away the match and
turning to her.

“So when I seen you I couldn’t help talking. If you don’t like it I’ll
go away. I got my pride, too.”

This is a little better. “Oh, well, if you didn’t mean to be fresh. You
know a girl has got to be careful.”

“Sure,” you say, nodding. “I bet _you_ do, all right.”

“What do you mean?”

“Aw, you know what I mean!” say to her ardently. “Anybody ever tell you
your eyes are pretty?”

“Fresh!” She starts picking at the ukelele again, slightly confused.

“Come on now, babe,” you plead again. “Give us a tune.”

“I don’t know anything new,” she apologizes in advance. “Do you know
that one ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love’?”

“Go ahead,” you murmur.

She plays the song, and then another, and another. The sun approaches
the horizon and the ocean turns dark and green.

“Gee,” says Eloise in low tones, “I got to go.”

“Wait a minute, babe.” Stand up and rumple her hair affectionately
before leaving. Eloise shrouds herself in her bathrobe and waits.
Presently you come back through the night, carrying two hot-dogs
dripping mustard.

“Surround that,” you order, proffering one. “It’s a swell night. Anybody
worrying about you? You cold?”

She shakes her head hesitantly. “N-no. But I’ll have to go soon; it’s
awfully late.”

You munch hungrily while the breeze dies down over the water. Then
shift, disposing yourself more comfortably, and grunt contentedly.
Eloise gives the head in her lap a little push, but it rolls back. She
decides to ignore it.

“Gosh,” you say at last, “a night like this is enough to make anybody
feel soft. Even a guy like me.”

“Yeah, I bet you’re a hard guy!” she cries.

Lift your head and prop it on your hand. “Say, listen, babe! Anybody who
says I ain’t, don’t know me! Does anybody ever bother you? Some of these
drugstore sheiks ever get fresh?”

She hangs her head. “Well....”

“Well,” cut her short, “if they do, send ’em around!” Make your voice
ominous. “Don’t let anybody tell you different. Look here.” Raise your
arm and clench your fist. “Feel that. There.”

Eloise puts out a tentative and timid finger. “Ooo!” she cries. “Yes, I
guess you _could_ hit. I guess I wouldn’t ever try to get _you_ sore!”

“Baby,” murmur tenderly, “you couldn’t get me sore if you tried. I knew
the minute I seen you you was a sweet kid. If anybody ever bothers you
again, tell me. A nice kid like you hadn’t ought to go around without
somebody taking care of you. I remember once....” Here you stop.
Somewhere down the beach another ukelele plays softly. You sigh and
grope through the dark. She tries futilely to dislodge you.

“I really got to be going,” she protests, somewhat frightened. She is
always somewhat frightened when the fellows get too fresh.

“Now listen, babe. You ain’t afraid of me, You needn’t be. Don’t go away
yet; you’re all right. Just a little longer.” And yet, as before, for
all your pleading tones there should be a hint of strength in your
speech. Eloise yields, but whether to your imploring or your strength
she does not know.

“Well,” she says, “if you’re nice.”

Silence lives on the beach, except for the tiny wailing of the ukelele.
Silently the water undulates and the moon creeps over the edge of it.

“Quit it!” says Eloise, giggling nervously. Do not answer. “Aw, quit!”
Still you do not answer. “Please! You’re too strong. Oh, quit!”

The other ukelele still plays, spreading over the night a sweet layer of
romance; singing of exotic love on a whiter, warmer beach in a more
delicate world; singing of love, as though love were a thing to be sung.

                    4. YOU’RE NOT THE DOMESTIC TYPE


    The sensitive young man with a predilection for virtuous married
    women. Charmingly impetuous.


    A virtuous married woman.


    1 Living room
    1 Chaise-longue


    Love, maternal instinct and pity are all emotions that should be
    employed in this lesson, but the most important factor of all is
    spirituality. Never for one moment allow her to doubt your
    spiritual sincerity.

                      YOU’RE NOT THE DOMESTIC TYPE

The doorbell rings just as she is settling down to a nap, and there is
no one else in the house to answer it. She opens the door a little

“Oh, it’s you, Arthur,” she says in relief. “Come in. I thought it might
be someone special.”

“I’m not interrupting anything, am I?” say, smiling as you enter the
living room. Smile nicely; youthfully. “I won’t go away, at any rate.
Not unless you’re very hard and cruel. I worked too hard to get here.”

“It’s all right,” she says, sitting down and patting her hair in back.
“I was going to lie down and try to sleep, out of sheer boredom. There’s
nothing I really have to do. But you should be at work. Why aren’t you?”

“I didn’t feel like working.” Frown and look at her defiantly. “Good
Lord, why should a man work all the time? I hate the bloody office
anyway, and you know it.”

She shakes her head at you, but smiles. “I ought to scold you. But I
know too well how you feel.”

“Why don’t you lie down even if I am here? Go on over to the
chaise-longue; I’ll tuck your feet up.”

“Gracious!” she cries. “You’ll have me spoiled if you’re too attentive.
Bob hasn’t your touching respect for my age.”

Thump the chair as you bend over to arrange the quilt. “Alice, that
isn’t funny. It never was funny. At any rate, you mustn’t tell Bob how
nice I am to you, or his dislike of me will overflow all bounds. That
would be a nuisance. I’d have to visit you in the afternoons all the
time, and they wouldn’t like that at the damned office.”

“No, and you wouldn’t ever get to see my new dinner dress.”

Sit down on the edge of the chair. “And I’d have to stay away on
week-ends; I’d have to start playing golf, and I hate it. It’s much
nicer to come here and talk.”

She laughs. “Yes, I know you think so. You’d rather talk than do
anything else, wouldn’t you?”

“Wouldn’t you?” you counter. “But this sub rosa arrangement might have
its advantages. If I had to be furtive you might be forced to take me

“You’re a silly little boy,” she says, looking worried.

“Of course I am. I only wish you said it oftener. If you would only
promise me to say every morning and every evening ‘What a silly boy
Arthur is,’ I’d feel better about going home so often.”

“It wouldn’t be a difficult promise to make,” she says thoughtfully.
“Perhaps I do it anyway. You’re awfully silly sometimes.”

“Good! At any rate, that would mean that you would say my name twice a


“It did sound sentimental, didn’t it? Well, forget it. You know, I am
serious about Bob: I wish he’d dislike me a little more actively.”

She sits up and speaks with decision. “Arthur! You know well enough that
Bob doesn’t dislike you at all.”

“Is that it?” you ask, sorrowfully. “Then it’s his maddening
indifference that I can’t forgive him. I won’t forgive him, anyway, so
you might as well give up.”

“If it would make you feel any better, he said just the other evening,
‘Why doesn’t that kid get to work? He’s been hanging around here a lot
longer than he would if I were his father.’”

“Yes,” you answer, “that helps. That helps. I feel almost kindly toward
him now. I’m glad you told me.”

“You know well enough you like Bob!”

Shake your head. “It’s just another of my worries. I do like Bob. I love
Bob. He’s such a child.”

She giggles. “Well, I wish he could hear you.”

“Yes, isn’t it funny? We go around feeling paternal about each other and
you lie there and laugh at both of us. Let’s not talk about him any
more. I’m not a sub rosa visitor yet; I haven’t any right to talk.
Where’s Betty?”

“I sent her out to the Park for the afternoon.” She looks out of the
window. “We’ve had such wretched weather until today. She’ll be
heartbroken when she finds out you were here. Now that the family’s all
discussed and taken care of, tell me how you are. Have you been doing
anything wicked lately? Tell me some gossip about the younger

“What do I know about the younger generation? I haven’t been playing
around. It’s queer restless weather. I’ve been trying to write. I’m
surprised you haven’t noticed this air. There’s something in it. Even
you must have noticed. It isn’t exactly wild. Spiritually provocative, I
think—whatever that means.”

“Why shouldn’t I have noticed it?” she asks.

“You!” you cry bitterly. “A sublimely wise person like you? Alice
dearest, why should you have noticed it? Or if you did, why should you
admit it?”

She raised her eyebrows, somewhat surprised. “You sound angry,” is all
she says. “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. I’m in a bad temper.”

“You really are,” she says wonderingly. “I’ve never seen you like this.
Won’t you tell me what’s the matter?”

“Oh, for God’s sake! Why won’t you get angry? Why won’t you tell me to
get out?”

“Arthur, what is the matter?” She speaks gently.

“I wish you’d get angry, just once. I’d like to fight and fight with
you. I’d like to make you cry. I could, too, if I only knew how to

She looks at you in silence. Then go on—“Sit up, Alice! Sit up and slap
me. Stop looking so damned comfortable. You don’t really feel

“But I do,” she protests. “I’m sorry, but I do.” It is funny, but she
doesn’t laugh.

“No you aren’t. You’re sure enough of yourself; you’re secure, but you
don’t like all this any more than I do.”

“All what?”

“All—all that you don’t like. Why can’t you tell me? I keep hoping you
will, but you never do. Why can’t you tell me? I tell you everything.
You have every bit of me. You make me tell you everything and then you
never give anything back.”

“Arthur!” she cries, hurt.

“I can’t help it.” Lean closer to her startled face. “There’s just one
thing I really want. Just one. The one thing I’ll never get from you.”

“What is it, dear?”

“I want you to tell me the truth. To look at me and say, ‘Arthur, I
don’t really like this at all. I hate this house. I hate being smooth
and perfect. I hate my mother for what she did to me, making me like

“Don’t!” she cries.

“‘And I hate my daughter for what I am making of her. I hate her when
she looks like her father—’”

“No! No!”

“‘And I want to die when I realize that I am getting more and more like
all of them, all the time.’ Go on, Alice. Say it.”

She shakes her head slowly, and weeps. “I can’t.”

“Say it!” you repeat. “I—Alice, I made you cry, didn’t I? Never mind.
Say it.”

“No. The one thing you can never——” she cries convulsively.

“What is it, dearest?”

“You said it yourself,” she sobs. “The one thing you can never have. I
won’t. I can’t.”

“Stop crying, dearest. Please. I can’t hear you when you talk like that.
Darling, darling, I’m so sorry I made you cry. I’m so glad. Kiss me. You
must, darling. It’s the only other thing to do. Alice, you know it is.
Kiss me. If you won’t talk.... We must, dear.”

“Yes,” she says.

Take her in your arms.

                               5. I’M BAD


    The very young man with all distinguishing characteristics still
    in extremely early stages.


    Any nice girl under fifteen years.


    1 Porch swing.


    This lesson is relegated to the use of the kiddies; it is good
    for very little else. In this day of experience and the single
    standard it is passé, and I include it more as a curiosity than
    anything else. The beginner should know the fundamental
    principles, at any rate. For older participants in the game who
    wish to try their luck along these lines, I suggest more
    restraint. A few dark hints will go farther than any amount of
    explicit description. The imagination of an innocent girl can
    work wonders with a very slight encouragement.

                                I’M BAD

“But it _is_ different,” says the little girl, with an eager note in her
voice. You give up the argument for a time and sit in silence, hearing
only the creaking of the porch swing’s chain above the noises of the
summer night.

She takes up the conversation again.

“I mean that supposing I should want to do all those things—some girls
do, you know—well, I couldn’t. Of course it isn’t likely I should want
to. I don’t see any fun in hanging on to the under part of a train——”

“Riding the blinds,” you say, patiently.

“All right; riding the blinds. But there might be something. Like—like
staying up all night, perhaps, when it isn’t New Year’s. Bob used to do
that. Mother didn’t think it was particularly terrible if he just said
he was studying, but I can’t even do that. It isn’t fair. Here I am a
senior in high school and practically grown up and they’ll always treat
me like a baby just because I’m a girl.”

“Yeah,” say, as she stops for breath, “it’s a shame.” And this is as far
as your sympathy goes. After all there isn’t much else to say.
Nevertheless she feels slightly resentful.

“You don’t have to be so satisfied about it,” she says.

“I’m not satisfied. Only I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about it.
I think myself you girls are pretty darned lucky. A man has to look out
for himself, and believe me sometimes it isn’t so much fun as you

“Well, even if——”

“No, you can say things like that for hours, but you can’t really tell
until you have to try it. Why, I’d just like to see you in some of those

She is really impressed.

“What situations?”

“Aw, I couldn’t tell you. A fellow couldn’t really talk about some of

“Oh, go on! I wouldn’t tell anyone!”

“You bet you wouldn’t! What if I told you that I was caught in a Raid?”

“Really? You’re not kidding? What kind of a raid?”

“Why, a—a Raid. There’s just one kind. The cops come in and pretty soon
the music stops and——”


“’Xpect me to tell? Oh, well, then—Place called the Yellow Mill.”

“Oo, gee! Were you alone?”

“Was I alone! Don’t be such a dumb-bell. Of course I wasn’t alone. Do
you suppose a fellow goes to those cabarets alone? Why, they wouldn’t
let him in!”

“Then who was with you?”

“Never you mind. Some other men and some girls.”

“What girls? Anyone in school?”

“Maybe and maybe not.”

“Honest? Then it was. I’ll bet it was Eleanor.”

“Well, it just wasn’t. What do you think Eleanor is? A man wouldn’t take
a NICE girl to the Yellow Mill.”

“Why—why Walter, you don’t know any other kind, do you?”

“Say, don’t judge everybody by yourself.”

“Well—what happened?”

“I told you what happened. The cops came in and the music stopped and
some of the girls sort of screamed and then the cops started looking for

“Did you have any?”

“Well of course we _had_ had some, but by the time——”

“Oh, Walter!”

“Gosh, don’t you think a fellow has to have a drink sometimes? By the
time they came we had finished it.”

“What was it?”

“You wouldn’t know the difference if I told you. It was wine. Elmer got
it from his old man.”

“Elmer Busby?”

“Nevermind. Well——”

“It was!”

“Well, what if it was? Do you want to hear about this?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Well, keep quiet. Well, there wasn’t any left when the cop came over to
us, so he couldn’t prove anything. He just looked at us and said ‘All
right. Outside!’”

“Then what?”

“Why—then we went home.”

“Gee, I’d have been scared to death.”

“Sure you would. Any girl would have been.”

She sighs and looks out over the front lawn.

“Maybe I wouldn’t have been scared, though. Maybe——”

“Sure you would have!”

“No, wait a minute. Maybe it would be fun to be scared sometimes.”

“Well, I’d think so, myself, but a girl wouldn’t. A nice girl.”

“Why, Walter! What a thing to say!”

“Well, I mean it. Look at the way all of you act—‘Oh, no, it wouldn’t
be right—do you think we ought to?’”

“What are you talking about?”

“You. That’s just what you said the other night after the party when I

“Well, really, Walter, I don’t see what that has to do with raids.”

“Well, it’s the same thing.”

“Just because I didn’t let you kiss me?”

“Well, why didn’t you?”

“I don’t like kissing.”

“You just don’t care. You never do let me kiss you. You don’t know
anything about it. That’s the way girls are. No wonder you never have
any fun.”

“Walter, I think you’re really bad.”

“Sure I’m bad! I have a good time. You don’t.”

“No, I don’t. But I didn’t mean that.”

“You’re afraid. That’s all.”

“Walter, I guess——” she stops.


“I guess you can kiss me once. Don’t tell anybody.”


“There now. What did you think?”

“I didn’t like it. It was horrid. If you tell anybody I’ll never speak
to you again.”

“Well, then, try it again. I won’t tell anybody. Come on! What do you
think I am? Sure I won’t tell anybody.”

“Oh, Walter, I bet you think I’m terrible.” “Of course I don’t. Don’t be
a dumb-bell.” A sudden voice calls from the house.

“Willa! Willa, it’s ten-thirty!”

“Oh, Walter, I have to go.”

“Good night. Whatcha crying about? What is it, Willa?”

“Oh, you just think I’m terrible!”

“Honest I don’t. Can I come over tomorrow night?”

“You know you don’t want to. Oh, Mother’s calling again.”

“Sure I want to.”

“All right.”

“Good night. Listen, Willa. Honest I think it’s all right. I think
you’re a good sport. Honest. Good night.”

                      6. AN UGLY OLD THING LIKE ME


    The unscrupulous man without too much pride when it comes to
    women. Seemingly frank and open; the rough diamond with a soft
    heart; Punch wanting to be Hamlet.


    Tender-hearted and impulsive. A very sweet character.


    1 Automobile
    1 Package cigarettes.


    Scarcely a girl in the world is trained to be on her guard
    against pity. As a rule a young woman is sure that she is a
    difficult proposition because of her knowledge of the world and
    its wicked ways. She is looking, not for weakness, but for
    strength to combat; for presumption so that she may step on it.
    It does not occur to any normal girl that she might be taken
    unawares as an angel of consolation.

                       AN UGLY OLD THING LIKE ME

It is evening, and you are driving home from dinner in the country. It
is a warm summer night and too early to be going back; you have already
made a remark to that effect. Suddenly you turn the car into a
private-looking road that leads away from the stream of home-going cars.

“Now what?” she asks.

“I want to show you a place I found once. Are you in any particular

“No. What is this place?”

“You’ll find out in a minute.... Here we are.” The car comes to a stop
in a natural sort of amphitheater, banked by high walls of rock on one
side and well enclosed by shrubbery that is just becoming impassable
with the full foliage of midsummer.

“It’s an old quarry,” explain to her. “Nice, isn’t it? I suppose in the
daytime it’s full of picnic people, but I like it.”

“So do I,” she answers. There is a silence, and you both light

“Quiet,” you mutter. In the deep stillness the air seems full of life.
Some animal crashes through the bushes, but the moonlight is not so
bright as it seemed and you cannot see him. You sigh, throw your
cigarette out onto the ground, and take the girl into your arms. She
does not resist at first, except to say “Quit! You’ll burn yourself.”
Then she too casts aside her cigarette and settles down comfortably. But
you are too urgent for her.

“Wait a minute,” she gasps, sitting up with some difficulty and putting
a careful hand to her hair. “What’s the matter with you?”

“Nothing. I’m only human, that’s all.”

“Well, you weren’t acting human.”

“Sorry. Will you forgive me?”


There is another silence, until she has to object again.

“Really,” she protests, “I don’t know what’s the matter with you
tonight. You’ve never acted like this before.”

“I’m terribly sorry, really. I couldn’t stand it if I thought I’d
offended you. We’ve been good friends; I don’t see why I have to spoil
it like this.”

“Oh, it’s all right. I understand.”

“You’re awfully sweet, do you know it?”

“Am I really?”

“Much sweeter than anybody else.”


“Ann, I do love you.”

“Well then, give me another cigarette.”

“No, not just now. Please!”

But after a little interlude of quiet, she protests.

“Arthur, listen. You simply must behave. I don’t feel that way; can’t
you see? I like you a lot, but I just don’t feel that way. You can’t
make me feel that way, either. I’m sorry. I’ll have to get mad in a

Don’t answer, but stare gloomily at the steering-wheel. She is a little

“Arthur, what’s the matter? I wish you wouldn’t act that way. It makes
me feel so mean. I don’t want to be mean. I just thought it would be
better to tell the truth.”

Sigh and pat her hand.

“You’re perfectly right, dear. It’s just like you—honest even if you’re

“Don’t be so silly. It isn’t cruel. I can’t help it if I can’t feel that
way. I never feel that way.”


“Arthur, you know I like you better than anybody.”

“No, you don’t.”

“How can you tell? I don’t usually lie.”

“Nobody likes me.”

“Why, Arthur!” She pulls your head over to hers and kisses you. “There,

“Never mind, Ann,” say sadly. “Never mind. You don’t have to. You can
always be perfectly honest with me. I understand.”

“Oh, you do not either!” She is impatient. “You don’t understand me at
all, if you’re going to sulk like that. Here, kiss me.”

Then bury your face in her neck.

“Oh, Ann, you’re so sweet and I’m such a mess. I’m going to take you
home. I’ll just make a fool of myself.”

“Why, Arthur?” she says, gently. “Don’t feel so badly. I understand.”

“You always understand, dear.”

“I can’t go home while you feel so badly. I want to be a friend of
yours, Arthur.”

“Never mind. It’s all right. I know all about it. I don’t blame you.”

“Blame me? For what?”

“For not liking me Like That.”

“Like what?”

“Never mind. I should have thought of it before. You’re too sweet; you
should have told me. Then I wouldn’t have bothered you.”

“But Arthur, you don’t bother me! What do you mean?”

“Please, Ann, I don’t want to talk about it.”

“You have to, now. You’ve started. I’ve got to know. What is it?”

“Never mind. I’m going to take you home.”

“You are not! I won’t go home. You sit right there and explain

“Oh, darling, please let me take you home! Of course I understand. I
should have thought of it right away. An ugly old thing like me....”

“Oh, Arthur!” She cries out in pain. “Arthur, how could you think of
such a thing! Look at me!”

But don’t. She turns your face toward hers by gripping your ears. You
are crying, and looking at you she begins to cry too, in pity.

“Arthur, how could you? How could you hurt me so?”

Put your arm around her and pat her on the shoulder.

“Never mind, Ann. Never mind, old girl, it’s all right.”

“Kiss me,” she murmurs, from the depths of your coat-collar.


“Yes. Please, Arthur.”

“You don’t want to. You don’t feel that way. You’re just sorry for me.”

“No, no, no! Kiss me!”

Kiss her. She clings to your lips in an ecstasy of renunciation.

“Oh, Ann!” cry, with a break in your voice.

“What, darling? Never mind. Kiss me again.”

“Ann, you’d better be careful. Really, you’d better be careful.”

“Never mind, darling.”

“Ann, are you sure you won’t be sorry?”

She doesn’t answer.

“An ugly old thing like me, Ann....” But as might be expected, she
clings to your coat lapel even harder.

“Ah, Ann, loveliest ... you’re not just sorry for me?”

Perhaps she shakes her head. You aren’t sure.

“Because, Ann,” you add, in an uncertain voice from which you try to
keep the triumph, “I’m only human.”

There is no objection.

                           7. BE INDEPENDENT!


    The young man who can be sincere in declaration of his radical
    sympathies. Any one who does not really believe in his expressed
    opinions will probably fail.


    Passionately impersonal; burning with zeal to destroy the wrongs
    of the world. Not much given to paying attention to her own
    emotions, preferring rather to settle universal problems in the


    1 City
    1 Brief case


    Most of ardent advocates of social improvement are the products
    of conventional environment. They are inclined to class together
    all of the rules of conduct which they have denounced as part of
    a deliberate scheme to slow up the progress of humanity’s
    freedom. If you can associate in their minds the conventional
    concept of morality with the mossgrown ideas of property and
    government so horrible to the advanced thinker, you are well on
    the road to success.

                            BE INDEPENDENT!

Walking home from the meeting of the Social Science Club, you are more
quiet than usual. It is strange that you should be quiet at all; you
aren’t that type. Both of you love to talk; your intimacy has grown up
in spite of, rather than because of this tendency. You became acquainted
two or three months before, across the crowded room of the Communist
Club when you both leaped to your feet to refute some heretical
statement by the speaker of the evening, who had expressed an unsound
and intolerant view concerning Union rule. You had cried out together in
protest, turned and looked at each other, faltered, and sat down. Then
you both had risen again, even more precipitately, looked at each other
again in a less amiable manner, and started to speak again. The crowd
laughed. At last she had bowed to you jerkily and sat down again,
leaving the field to you.

But when she heard what you had to say she did not dislike you so much.
You expressed her views exactly. To be sure, you did not say all there
was to be said, and when you finished she had to make several additions.
But after the meeting you waited for each other and took up the thread
of the argument again. You walked five miles that night and didn’t
notice. Ever since then you have been seeing a good deal of each other,
at little Russian restaurants where each pays his own check, at concerts
where you each firmly buy your own tickets, and even at her home, where
her family gazes upon you with disfavor and tries to persuade her to
wear a hat when she goes out with you.

Tonight there is a tension in the air between you, and you do not know
what to do about it. She has been quarreling with her family and you
have discussed it backwards and forwards and all around; there was no
more to say.

“I don’t understand you at all,” repeat for the twentieth time. “You’re
so intelligent about everything but your own affairs. Can’t you see that
you must attack your own problem with an impersonal sort of attitude?
It’s the only sensible way to do anything.”

“Yes, I know,” she answers, gloomily, “but you don’t understand,
exactly. I have to battle against all the fifteen years that I was under
their influence, besides fighting _them_. There’s an element within
myself that I can’t manage. All sorts of feelings——”

“I know,” sympathetically, “anachronistic ideas of duty, and filial
fondness, and so forth. They work on all that. Thank God my mother
deserted me when I was a baby. Father’s different.”

“You’re lucky,” she says. “It makes me furious. After all, I’m of age,
and a lot more intelligent than they’ll ever be.... Well, we’ve said all
that. I’ll just have to let it work itself out.”

“It won’t,” you assure her. “The only way to settle a thing of this sort
is to cut it all off. Why don’t you go away?”

“How can I?” she says. “I haven’t the moral courage to hold out against
them. I could go down and live with Marya for a week or so, but you know
what would happen. First Ellen would walk in and talk to me, pretending
to admire me but holding her skirts away from the furniture all the
time. She’d tell me that Mother hasn’t been well lately, and then they’d
invite me to the house for dinner and they’d act simply angelic and
rather pitiful, and then I’d come back. I always do; it’s happened
before. I know I’m weak, but it’s stronger than my intelligence.”

“Of course that’s one thing I’ll never be able to understand. How anyone
could stand that house for two hours passes my comprehension, and you’ve
been living there all your life. How do you do any work?”

“I don’t,” she says, simply. “I haven’t really done anything definite
since the last election. You can’t work any conviction into your
speeches if there are a lot of materialists around all the time. Oh, I
ought to starve! How can I go on pretending like this?”

“Never mind. You’re getting there. There’s nothing wrong with a person
that could get away from her environment as completely as you have. But
I can see that it’s a struggle.”

“Thank you,” she says, gratefully. You walk on in silence.

“Martha,” you say at last, “I know one way out.”

“What is it?”

“Come with me.”

“With you? But where?”

“Come on home with me. I’ll tell Father that you’re going to stay there,
and that’ll be all there is to it. He won’t object; he knows better.”

“Oh, I couldn’t,” she says, hastily.

“Why not? It would settle things with your family. I know that type.
They’d never bother you again; they would cut you off completely.”

She is staggered, and obviously does not know how to answer.

“You’re a real friend,” she says, at last. “It’s good of you to offer.

“Not so generous, after all. Certainly I don’t have to tell you that I
love you and all that, do I? We know better than to waste our time with
such sentimental stuff. But you know that I’d be only too glad....”

“I don’t know,” she says, thoughtfully. “Honestly, I never thought about
it. It’s part of my training, I suppose, but it’s hard to decide to do a
thing like that, right away.”

“Think of it in a sensible way,” you urge. “Try to throw away those
inhibitions. You know well enough that in the course of time we would be
lovers. Isn’t this better than slinking and being furtive about it, and
fooling your family? I’d hate it. As a matter of fact, I _have_ been
worrying about it. This would be such a fine, brave thing for you to do.
Come on, Martha, be independent. Prove to yourself that you’re something
more than an average female who wants nothing but security.”

“But it’s so difficult,” she says. “You don’t understand. It would kill

“You know it wouldn’t. She might think that she’s going to die, but she
won’t. People don’t die over such things. And if she did,” you add,
superbly, “she wouldn’t have any right to. No one has any right to die
because someone else lives up to her convictions.”

“That doesn’t help it, somehow,” she says.

“Martha, admit to yourself that it’s the only thing to do. You can’t go
on like this. If you do, they’ll sell you to some capitalist for a
marriage license and a promise that he’ll leave you money when he dies.
You’ll be part of the same vicious circle. You can’t play at both of the
games, Martha. If you don’t take your freedom when you have the chance
I’ll have to decide that you’re insincere.”

She looks very undecided and unhappy. “I don’t know what’s the matter,”
she confesses, “but I can’t.”

Stop and take her arm. She turns around and faces you in the dark
street. It is very late and quiet.

“Listen, Martha,” you say gravely, “it’s up to you. I don’t want to
persuade you to do anything that you don’t really feel you want to do.
But I think that I understand you. You have a beautiful nature, Martha.
You have a splendid mind that your family weren’t able to spoil. As soon
as you are strong enough to cast off all the deadly conventions that
they’ve tied you with, you’ll be able to do real things for the world.
And yet that isn’t what I want to say to you now. I respect and admire
you, Martha, and I want you. You want me. What else is there to this
business? Come with me, Martha, and we’ll work together. Throw away that
background of yours. Step out into the light.”

“Oh, Michael!” she cries. Your face relaxes, and you smile.

Say, “There now, let’s do it all, right now. Go home and get your
things. I’ll go with you, if you like. Then they can do what they want
to; I know you won’t back out.”

Arm in arm, you walk down the street.



    The man who likes to use an appeal to reason to gain his ends.
    He is untrained, but possesses a certain native subtlety.


    Small and thirty, overworked, with a face that has been
    prettier, but which could be much less pretty.


    Excursion boat.


    This is a system which is based on the simplest and most
    atavistic of human emotions—jealousy. Reflection upon this fact
    may deter from its use a number of my students who would regard
    such an easy and impersonal victory as an affront to their pride
    and self-confidence as first-rate seducers. It is true that the
    success of the method is much more the result of the subject’s
    internal conflict than of any remarkable attributes on the part
    of the student. But it is up to the seducer to be there at the
    psychological moment to suggest action. It takes a large amount
    of tact and self-control to bring the situation to the point of
    this suggestion without arousing the suspicions of the subject.
    It is not too easy. Do not treat it with contempt.


It is night on the boat; the last evening of the
See-America-First-Cruise; Excursion tickets good until August
thirty-first; Send the wife and kiddies if you can’t go yourself. It is
night and all the children have gone to bed, allowing a blessed quiet to
creep from the darkness and shroud the boat in wistful romance. Two
figures stand in the bow.

_She:_ Well, home tomorrow.

_You:_ Yes. (_Sigh_) Back to work.

_She:_ I do hope it’ll be cooler. But there, it never does get any
cooler until the middle of September or after, so what’s the use of
hoping? I didn’t have any right running away from the house this time of
the year.

_You:_ Sure you did. When you first came on the boat I said to myself,
“There’s a little woman that sure needs a rest.”

_She:_ You did! I didn’t know I looked that bad. The doctor told me to
take a rest, but land, he’s always telling me that.

_You:_ No, I don’t mean you looked exactly bad; only sort of thin and

_She: (Pleased):_ Thin! Heavens, I didn’t know that I ever looked thin.
But it isn’t any wonder I’m pale. Goodness knows I never get out of the

_You:_ You know, that’s one thing I just can’t understand about men. The
way they let their wives stay at home. Believe me, if I ever get married
my wife is going to have the best of everything. And plenty of time to
enjoy it, too.

_She:_ Well, I certainly think your wife’ll be lucky. But you’ll
probably have to wait a long time to be earning enough. I guess HE
doesn’t have it any too easy himself, working all day in an office.
Sometimes he comes home mighty tired.

_You:_ Maybe, but don’t you believe he has it any near as bad as you do.
I’ll never forget my poor old mother slaving day in and day out. You
know what they say—“Man’s work is from sun to sun; it’s woman’s whole
existence” or something like that. I tell you, I grew up to respect
women, I did.

(There is a pause while you think about it.)

_She (sighing):_ Well, I certainly like to hear a man talk like that
sometimes. I just wish Joe could hear you.

_You:_ Oh, he’d say I didn’t know anything about it, seeing as I’m not

_She:_ I don’t know. Joe’s awful reasonable. It was because of him I
took this trip. He saw the ad in the paper and he says “Mary, that’d be
mighty good for you,” he says. And I says, “Yes, but how would you get
along?” He says, “Oh, I’ll manage.” And now I know that when I look at
that kitchen I’ll just sit down and cry. I do like a nice clean kitchen.
He didn’t even want me to take the children.

_You:_ Oh well, it’s no more than he ought to do. You’re a mighty nice
little woman; I bet he ought to know it.

_She:_ Aw!

_You:_ I bet he don’t know how lucky he is. Married fellows never do.
How long have you been married anyway?

_She:_ That’s a personal question.

_You:_ Is it? I’m sorry.

_She:_ Don’t be silly. I’ve been married six years.

_You:_ Gee, he must’ve married you out of high school.

_She:_ Kidder! (She is pleased.) Well, I guess I did get married kind of

_You:_ I’ll say you did.

_She:_ I think it’s better that way, don’t you? Keeps kids out of

_You:_ I don’t know. I almost got married, but—I always thought maybe
I’d better see the world first.

_She:_ Maybe the Right One didn’t come along for you.

_You:_ I guess that was it. Just my luck to find her when—oh, well.

_She:_ What were you going to say?

_You:_ Wouldn’t it be too bad if she did come along and I was too late?

_She:_ That’s always the way, I guess.

_You:_ Yes, that’s always the way.

(Another silence.)

_She:_ You’re awful romantic, aren’t you? I’d know right away you wasn’t
a married man.

_You:_ That’s funny. It’s just what I would have said about you.

_She:_ You could tell right away I was married?

_You:_ No, just the other way around. I said, “Well, here she is!”

_She:_ Here who is?

_You:_ And then I saw your wedding-ring.

_She:_ You know I have a girl friend who always takes off her ring when
she goes to a matinee. Joe says to me, “Mary if ever a wife of mine did
that I’d give her a good hiding.”

_You:_ Yeah? Honest, you’d be surprised at the number of married women
there are that lead a fellow on.

_She:_ Really?

_You:_ You bet. You wouldn’t know any like that, of course; but the way
they act there ought to be a law against it.

_She:_ I always say if a woman isn’t happy with her husband she ought to
come right out and say so and get divorced or else not show anybody the
way she feels.

_You:_ That’s the right way to look at it. Of course I guess men don’t
make it too easy for you either. Now me, whenever I’m tempted I just
think of my old mother.

_She:_ It depends on the mother too.

_You:_ Sure.

(A comfortable and agreeing silence, while the boat glides on through
the darkness.)

_You:_ It sure is nice to meet a woman who can talk about these things
without any—any foolishness. Oh well. Tomorrow it’ll all be over.

_She:_ Tomorrow.

(Sigh again and pat her hand on the rail, leaving your hand over hers
when the patting is finished.)

_You:_ Don’t you think people ought to be broadminded about some things?

_She:_ I guess so. What things?

_You:_ Oh, different things.

_She:_ Sure.

(Emboldened, you put your arm around her. She starts away.)

_She:_ No, don’t.

_You:_ Why?

_She:_ It’s wrong. You ought to be ashamed.

_You:_ What’s wrong about it? We want to, don’t we?

_She:_ Say, Joe would kill you if he could hear you.

_You:_ He can’t hear me. Aw, be sensible.

_She:_ I’m being sensible. You’re a nice fellow; now quit. I’m going in.

_You:_ No, wait a minute. Just a minute. You’ve got me all wrong. We’ve
been good friends, haven’t we?

_She:_ Yes, we have. I didn’t know you were going to be like this.

_You:_ Didn’t you?

_She (blazing):_ No, I didn’t! And what’s more——

_You:_ Now, don’t get mad. Don’t get mad.

_She:_ What’s more, Joe would kill you! I told you he’d kill you.

_You:_ There can’t be any harm in me putting my arm around you.

_She:_ Sh-h-h!

(The captain passes them in the darkness, muttering “Nice evening,
folks.” She is frightened, and as you put your arm around her again she
does not object.)

_You:_ What harm could there be in it?

_She:_ I wish you’d——

_You:_ Come on, put your face up.

(Kiss her.)

_She (bursting into tears):_ I tell you Joe would kill you.

_You:_ Say, kid, what makes you so sure?

_She:_ What do you mean?

_You:_ What do you think he’s doing while you’re away?

_She:_ Joe? Why—why——

_You:_ Oh, be sensible. What did he send you away for? What do you think
men are anyway?

_She (frightened):_ You’re wrong; you don’t know Joe.

_You:_ Now listen. You know how easy it is to act this way.

_She:_ No—I won’t listen to you.

_You:_ I don’t guess he’s any different from the rest of us. You been
married six years? Say! Don’t be dumb. Listen; didn’t that schoolmarm in
your cabin get off today?

_She:_ No, no.

_You:_ Yes she did. I’m coming around to say good night.

_She:_ But I don’t want you to.

_You:_ I don’t think you know what you do want.

_She:_ No, I’m going in.

_You:_ We’ve got a lot to talk about.

_She (uncertainly):_ I oughtn’t.

_You:_ What’s wrong with it? Don’t be dumb.

_She:_ Goodnight. I guess we better say goodbye too.

_You:_ Not yet. Oh, have a little sense, will you? He don’t know any
more about you than you know about him.

_She:_ Stop talking like that.

_You:_ Well, how about it?

_She:_ Well——

_You:_ Aw, go on.

_She:_ Well——

_You:_ This door locks, don’t it?

                            9. MUSIC GETS ME


    The young man with some understanding of music and its effect on
    the untrained ear.


    A home girl with no particular leaning toward anything but


1 Victrola
Records as follows:
Venetian Moon
Tea for Two
Merry Widow Waltz
Livery Stable Blues
Peggy O’Neill
Floradora Medley
Valse Bluette
At Dawning
L’Apres-Midi D’un Faun
Fire Song
Song of India


    The selection of music to be used for seduction is not an
    arbitrary matter. A different combination is necessary for every
    variation in temperament. Some day it is to be hoped that the
    difficulty will be overcome; perhaps someone will be able to
    compile a catalogue of effective combinations. Until then the
    student can do no better than his unassisted best.

                             MUSIC GETS ME

“Wouldn’t you think,” she says, “we’d have something from last year,
anyway? There isn’t anything as dead as an old dance record. We used to
have parties and break the old ones, I remember. And I made up my mind
not to buy any more except Red Seals, because the other ones were out of
date in a week. I believe that for a while I spent my whole allowance on
records, every month.”

“Yes, it’s funny how fast they change,” you say, balancing a
particularly warped disk on your forefinger. “Remember when jazz first
came in—all horns and those sweet-potato things? They were awfully
loud. Dad said the world was going crazy. And then the toddle.”

“Oh yes!” she cries, standing on one foot and bobbing up and down. “It
was hard to break the habit when it went out. What are you going to

You wind up the handle, and it squeaks in protest. “Never mind. See if
you recognize it.”

“Oh, Venetian Moon! That reminds me of something. Do songs mean things
to you? Do certain tunes bring back certain thoughts and feelings to

“Sure, whenever I hear Poor Butterfly I think of Lorna Doone. I can’t
trace the connection exactly, but I always do.”

“It must have been played somewhere when you read it,” she says. The
record is finished, and the needle scrapes with a harsh sound. “It’s all
rusty,” she adds. “I’m going to have it fixed up. I’m tired of the radio
anyway. I’d rather choose what I want to hear.”

“Here’s Tea for Two. That was a pretty good one.”

“Yes,” she sighs. “I was kissed for the first time when that was being
played. What a fearfully old record!”

Wind up the machine again and put it on, then hold out your arms. “Let’s

She glides to you. After the first few bars kiss her lightly. She stops,
pushing you away. “What’s the idea?” she demands.

“I was just trying to revive old memories,” you explain. “Come on and
finish; I’ll be good. Say, you’re a peach of a dancer.”

“Thanks,” she says, going back to the Victrola. “Whose old memories were
you reviving then?”

“Oh, don’t be funny,” you grumble. “Here’s a real old-timer.” Hold it up
for her to read; it is the Merry Widow Waltz.

“Mother used to dance to that,” she says. “Let’s try to dance in the way
they did in the play last year.” But you can not imitate the graceful
swooping circles of the Viennese. “It’s not so good,” she decides. “What
else is here?”

“Here’s something called the Livery Stable Blues. Do you know it? I
don’t.” You put it on, and a dreadful yowling fills the air. She covers
her ears.

“Stop it!” she cries. “Take it off! Imagine dancing to that.”

“Oh gosh! Here’s Peggy O’Neill! That has plenty of memories for me, all
right. She turned me down the same evening.”

“I’m so sorry, but you were too young to be getting married anyway. Look
at this? I wonder why no one ever broke it. I think they played it at my
first Prom. It’s queer, but the only people I remember at parties are
perfectly irrelevant ones; people I just have one dance with, or
something. This is having a very bad effect on me. I feel so old and
regretful.” She sighs and looks in the mirror hanging on the wall.

“Well then,” say, winding up the machine again, “Listen to this and have
a real good cry. You weren’t born yet when they were playing it.” Start
to sing with the music. “Oh, tell me, pretty maiden, are there any more
at home like you? There are a few—kind sir——”

“I never even heard it,” she says. “It’s quite catchy, too. They had a
lot of good songs, in their way. What are you doing? You’ll get all

You are struggling with a large pile of Red Seals. “Sometimes they have
a waltz or something that you can use in these highbrow things,”
shuffling them. “Here’s something; Valse Bluette. It might be good;
let’s try to dance to it.”

But the rhythm is too varied for you. You struggle for a while, and then
she breaks away, laughing and breathless.

“No good,” she says. “But here’s one of my favorites. Do you mind? Wait
a minute.”

John McCormick’s voice rings out richly, marred only by a periodic

    “When-n-n the dawwwn
    Flames innnn the skyeeeeee
    I—uh—love—uh youuuuuu:
    Whennnn the birrrrdlings wake and cryeeeee
    I—uh—love—uh yououuuuooooo.”

“Isn’t that lovely?” she says, raptly. “I always loved that song. Music
always GETS me somehow. Let’s play it again.”

“Wait a minute,” you say. “I have something else.” The sweet strains of
Liebestraum make the air sticky, and her ready laughter is stilled in

Say, “I don’t know if you’ll like this one or not. It’s a long one.”

She sits down on the divan. “Sure. Go ahead. What is it? I don’t
remember any of them.”

“L’Apres-Midi D’Un Faun.”


“L’Apres-Midi D’Un Faun. It’s French. Listen!”

She shakes her head briskly as you turn the record over, and starts to
talk. Motion to her to be quiet, and play the second part. She speaks

“It’s very queer. It’s made me sleepy. Are you playing it again? For
heaven’s sake, why?”

“Well,” you explain, “it always sounds better the second time.”

Listen to it again, with your hands clasped together. Lean over to her.
“It’s a funny thing about that music. It gets me.” Kiss her.

“I know,” she says. “If I listened to it very long I wouldn’t be

“Responsible for what?”

“Oh, just responsible.” Kiss her again. She stands up. “Let’s play
something loud and get waked up.”

“This ought to be loud. The Fire Song.”

“No,” she decides, after a few bars, “it isn’t loud enough. I can’t wake
up. Play the Hymn to the Sun.”

“It scratches,” you object. “Here’s one something like it.”

Play the Song of India. She sighs and relaxes.

“I love that,” she says, dreamily. “What’s that you’re going to play?”

Without answering her, put on L’Apres-Midi D’Un Faun.

                           10. EVERYBODY DOES


    Unscrupulous and determined, but subtle.


    One who is not sure of herself; who hides an inner shrinking by
    a brave show of sophistication. In her heart is a horrible doubt
    bred by the reticence of her elders. She is beginning to feel
    that there are ancient, eternal fibs rife in the cosmos. She is
    convinced that everyone is in a conspiracy to keep her in


    1 Living room with sofa.


    The young man in our illustration has compunctions about taking
    advantage of sentiments so like his own, but sheer inertia
    carries him along. So it will probably be in your case.

                             EVERYBODY DOES

“I think you’re perfectly TERRIBLE,” says the girl, smiling as if she
doesn’t expect to be believed. “Whoever told you all about everything? I
wouldn’t want to live if I felt that way. Why, what would we be here

“I don’t see why we have to be here for anything, particularly,” you
answer. “What are mosquitoes for?”

She hesitates for only a second.

“So we won’t get too lazy. They probably wonder why we’re here, slapping
them just when they want to eat.”

Look through the window to the lawn outside, covered with snow.

“That’s an unusual remark for a girl of your sort to make,” you muse.
“Well, you probably talk that way because this is winter. Now, if I had
asked you in July, when there would be plenty of mosquitoes——”

“What ARE you talking about?” she asks. “What do you mean, a girl of my

Laugh and glance at her obliquely. She is very pretty, you think, with
that maddeningly serene face of hers. Just now, though she is
interested, her expression isn’t really with you. You want to do
something about it.

“I mean a girl of your type,” repeat firmly. “A girl who believes
everything she’s taught.”

She frowns a little.

“Wouldn’t it be silly to go to school for as long as I have if I didn’t
use what they told me?”

“That isn’t what school is for,” you answer hastily. Lord, what a
dumbbell! Why am I here, anyway? But she _is_ pretty.

“You’re pretty, anyway,” you say aloud.

“But that’s awfully mean! Pretty anyway! What do you mean? Don’t you
think a girl can be pretty and have brains too?”

“Well—brains of a sort.” Now what am I in for? “Sure I guess you have
brains. I bet you’re practical in business things.”

“Heavens, no!” she protests. “I can’t do a thing. But I was good at
school. I was terribly good in Latin.”

Turn a little on the sofa and smile at her, leaning back. “Ever have any
philosophy courses?”

“Of course,” she says promptly. “Three hours a week.”

“And Chapel every morning?”

“Every morning.”

“What did you do in Philosophy? I know about the Chapel.”

“Oh, we studied what all those old birds thought about the world and the
mind and reality and those things. And at examinations they asked us to
summarize the different points of view.”

“And you had Chapel every day?” you persist. This is something.

“I told you. It was compulsory.”

“They told you what to think, in Chapel?”

“Oh, no!” she cries. “No. Sometimes the Doctor would talk about smoking
for girls, and sometimes about movies. And there is a beautiful sermon
that he always gives at Easter, about bread and hyacinths. That’s about
Art, you know.”

Nod thoughtfully. “Yes. He likes Art, doesn’t he?”

“You’re teasing me,” she says, sadly. “Whenever I talk about religion
you get that way. I don’t see why we’re always fighting.”

“We’re not always fighting, are we? All right, let’s stop talking about
school. But I did want to ask you something. Why do you think it’s so
shocking when I say that God isn’t watching everything you do?” And you
think with some anger at yourself that here you are again.

“I didn’t think it was shocking,” she says eagerly. “I’m never shocked.
I was just surprised when you told Lilian you didn’t think He was
personal enough to have opinions on Prohibition.”

“What makes you think He is?” you ask. Put your arm around her
shoulders; she snuggles down comfortably.

“Well,” she begins reasonably, “how would we all be here? Don’t you
think we must have come from—I mean, don’t you see that we _must_ be
something like Him? Not so perfect or so big and powerful, but—why
everybody knows that!”

“So that makes it all right,” you tease her. “If everybody thinks so.”

“Well, I guess they’ve always thought so, for years. And it seems to
work. Here we are, aren’t we? Don’t you think we’re improving? It must
be right.”

“How did we get started on all this, anyway?” You are bored. “It was
talking about Prohibition. It always happens.”

“Yes, that’s how it happened. You fired up when Lilian said it was a
success. I’m glad Mother wasn’t there to hear you. She’s a little afraid
of you anyway.”

“Is she? Why? I’m safe enough. We just talk—and talk—and talk!”
Confound old women!

“I know,” she says happily. “I love to talk seriously. We used to have
lots of arguments in my room at school, after hours.... No, I think
you’re right; I don’t think Prohibition’s a success at all. I think
anybody with sense would know it. Look at the way perfectly nice boys
get drunk at every party. I almost died the first time my escort did.
Dad said he’d shoot the young puppy. Mother says that _never_ used to
happen. I think Prohibition is terrible.”

“You are pretty,” say irrelevantly, and kiss her. She returns the kiss

“You shouldn’t,” she says, lazily.

“Why? Don’t you like it?”

“Of course not. What made you think I did?”

“Well, most girls do. In fact, I might say that everybody does.”

“Not girls!” she protests, shocked.

“For Pete’s sake!” you cry, exasperated. “Who on earth told you that?
You don’t really think so, do you?”

“Why not? Don’t you take a lot for granted?”

“I never take anything for granted. Why do you wear blue? Because it’s
becoming. Well, why do you want to look pretty? So that I’ll kiss you.
Of course!”

“Don’t do that. I don’t want you to.”

“If I thought you meant it I’d stop. Look here——” Oh Lord, can’t I
quit it? “Listen. You’re not consistent.”


“You say that whatever people do must be all right, don’t you?”

“If everybody does it and it works out.”

“Well, doesn’t everybody do this?”

“Oh, no!”

“Don’t be an idiot! How do you suppose you were born?”

“But my parents were married.”

You tear your hair. How can one be reasonable with such stupidity?

“That hasn’t any physiological significance!”

“I don’t——”

“You COULD have been born without their being married, couldn’t you?”

She considers, then smiles triumphantly. “Not with my parents!”

“But what the hell did you and your friends talk about at school?”

“Well, some of the girls might have been fast. They wouldn’t say, of

“A lot more than you suspected were probably ‘fast.’”

She resents this. “I’m not so dumb as you think.”

You feel guilty, and at the same time stubborn. You know this feeling:
you have had it before and it always gets you into trouble.

“All right. Suppose I talked a little about your friend Lilian? How long
have you known her?”

“All my life. Why——” in quick alarm—“do you mean to say that you know
anything about Lilian that I don’t?”

“I don’t want to talk about Lilian. But you’re very trusting for your
age. Everyone lies to everybody; didn’t you know that? Kiss me and
forget about it.”

“I can’t. You have to tell me. Tell me!”

For a moment you feel sorry. You shouldn’t have done it; you know it.
Your arm tightens about her. You have to stop her somehow; she is going
to cry.

“Please don’t worry so. Everybody does. Please don’t cry, baby. You are
a baby. It really doesn’t matter, I tell you. Not if everybody does.”


“All right! I didn’t mean it!”

She wipes her eyes and sits up, looking at you curiously.

“Really? Did you mean it? Everybody? Lilian? You?”

“I don’t want to talk.” You feel miserable. You feel like worrying her
some more. Put your arms around her, give her a little shake.

“Stop talking about it!” Kiss her hard; she kisses you with a new
quality in her response. There is something defiant in her kiss.

Later, going home, you begin to feel badly again.

“I wish I could control myself. I always get into trouble. That was
queer, though. Oh, well.”

Pause at the edge of the pavement, watching the sweep of the traffic,
“She _is_ pretty.”

                           11. THIS BUSINESS


    Any working man who does not have to work too hard to keep his
    mind on more important matters. An opportunist.


    A girl of corresponding economic position, preferably a


    1 Barber Chair with Accessories.


    The directness of this method calls for a good deal of
    self-confidence. Delicate or timid personalities should avoid

                             THIS BUSINESS

It is peaceful everywhere in town, but the barber shop is the most
peaceful place of all. Two of the boys are working; talking in low tones
to their customers; and the third is drowsing in the corner, behind the
two-foot square bootblacking establishment. He has long since read all
the ancient Libertys and Colliers and newspapers that are lying on the
chairs. The air is full of gentle boredom.

Then through the door comes a stranger. She looks about the shop
hesitantly; the two men that are sprawled out having haircuts glance at
her apathetically through the mirror. Not you, however. You leap to
position behind your chair and wave your towel encouragingly, almost
lovingly. You feel actually affectionate; it has been a very dull
afternoon. She isn’t bad either; clean and pink-looking.

“Yes ma’am,” you murmur, as you tuck the fragrant towel into the collar
of her dress. “Shingle?”

“Not too short, please,” she answers. “Just a trim.”

Set to work with a flourish. The barber on the end winks at you, but
pretend not to see it. All is quiet for a few minutes except for the
snipping of the scissors, and then the coon who belongs to the
bootblacking establishment shuffles through the door and puts a record
on the Victrola in the corner.

Hum the tune and step lively as you reach for the clippers. Catch the
customer’s eye in the mirror and smile. She responds slightly.

“It may be old,” say jovially, “but it’s still good.”

“I always did like it,” she admits.

Bend over and snip critically at a tuft of hair just behind her ear.

“What I say is,” murmur confidingly, “I’d rather have a good old tune if
it’s really good than a lot of new junk. It’s funny about songs. I play
the clarinet myself. Sometimes you’ll have a lot of swell ones and then
a year’ll go by and you won’t have anything worth playing.”

“Yes, that’s true,” says the lady.

“Weren’t you in here about a month back?” Pause with upraised scissors
to regard your work in the mirror.

“No,” she says, “I’m new in town. I was through here once when I was a
baby, that’s all.”

“That’s funny. I thought sure I cut your hair once before.”

“No, you couldn’t have.”

“Who did cut it last time?”

“I don’t know. A fellow in Dodge City.”

“It looks like a Dodge City haircut. They must learn how to cut hair by
correspondence in that town.” Chuckle at the joke. She is annoyed.

“It looked all right to me,” she says promptly.

“Sure,” answer her, “it looks all right. I’m not saying it didn’t look
all right. It’s when it gets long the unevenness shows up, but you don’t
need to worry. It looks all right now.”

Work industriously for a minute, then step back again to survey the
effect. “Do you want it any shorter on the side there?”

“Whatever you think looks best. I guess you know more about how it ought
to look.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” you protest.

“Sure you do,” she says.

“You going to stay in town long?” Select a pair of clippers.

“Yes, I’m here for good, I guess. I’ve got a job here.”

“That’s swell,” heartily. “We need new people here. Don’t we, Jim?”

The second barber jumps and looks up. “Eh?” he says.

“I was just telling the little lady we need new people here.”

“Oh, uh, yes. Sure.”

“Yes,” you resume, “it’s a good town, but sometimes you get to wishing
there were more people. You know, young people.”

“Yes, I must say it doesn’t look very lively to me,” she says. “Of
course I’m used to Dodge City; that’s pretty lively.”

“Well now, I don’t know. You have to make your own excitement, of
course. But it ain’t so bad. If you get in with the right kind, of
course. A place like this, it’s pretty important what kind you get in

One by one, the other customers leave and their barbers drift outside to
loaf in the sun. Tiny grains of powder dance in the beams that slant to
the floor of the shop.

“Do you mind the clippers?”

“No, go ahead.”

Work a minute in silence.

“Say,” you begin, “would you mind my asking you a personal question?”

“It depends on what it is.” She lowers her eyes to her lap.

“Are you married?”

She smiles. “You’ve got a nerve. No, I ain’t.”

“That’s good.”

“Why? It’s none of your business, is it?”

“You don’t act very friendly, do you?”

“Well, I don’t believe in acting as friendly as some people do.”

Laugh heartily and start to comb her hair tightly over her forehead.

“You know, you got pretty hair,” you say. She glances at it rather
complacently in the mirror, and tips her head. Resume impulsively, “You
know, this business is awfully hard on a man of my calibre.”

She is unsympathetic. “What do you want me to do about it?”

“Nothing. I was just wondering if you were busy tonight.”

She giggles. “Who wants to know?”

“Ah, cut that out!” you cry, flicking the big duster on her neck. “I
want to know. Who did you think?”

“I don’t know about tonight,” she muses.

“I’ve got a flivver. There ought to be a dance somewhere. I bet you’re a
mighty good little dancer.”

“I’d like to,” she admits, “but I don’t think I’d better.”

“Why not?”

“Well, I’m just starting out in this place. You know how it is.”

“What’s the harm? A ride and a little drink won’t hurt you. If you like
I’ll ask a couple of friends. Listen....”

One of the other barbers comes in again, and you stop abruptly. The
haircut is obviously finished. Untuck the towel with lingering fingers
and step to the door with her as she fumbles in her purse.

“Fifty cents, ma’am,” you say loudly, and add in a low voice, “Listen.
Eight o’clock, see? What address?”

“Four eighty-three Garden. But I don’t know....”

“Oh, who’ll ever know about it? Eight o’clock, O.K. Fifty cents,
seventy-five, one dollar. Thank you ma’am.”

“Say Jim, did you see that!”

                          12. GAME LITTLE KID


    The out-of-door man who smokes a pipe and can hit twice in the
    same place when chopping wood. One who believes in Pure
    Womanhood; who would die for his country and kill any man with
    designs on his wife.


    Rather young, wistful and easy to flatter. Does not know what
    she believes, but reflects the philosophy of any companion.


    1 Picnic Spot
    1 Fire
    1 Pipe


    They make very attractive flannel shirts nowadays.

                            GAME LITTLE KID

She watches you lazily while you souse the dishes in the lake and wipe
them clumsily. She feels rather guilty about it, but at the beginning of
the hike you have insisted on taking care of everything. It is your
party. And it is a nice party, too. The moon is there, and the air is
warm, and somewhere there is a flower that smells very sweet. She closes
her eyes and leans against the rock and feels happy.

Knock the ashes out of your pipe and sit down by her, taking her hand in
yours. “Swell night,” you say.

“Oh, yes! I’m having a good time.”

“So am I. I’ve had a better time today than I can remember since I don’t
know when.”

“Really?” she protests smiling. “How about that race at Mackinac?”

“That was pretty good too. Only you weren’t along. It could have been

She laughs easily. “I’d have been in the way. You’ve never tried telling
me anything else before. What’s the matter with you tonight? Getting

“Not much use of that, is there?” You both chuckle. “You’re too cagey. I
couldn’t say anything nice to you even if I meant it. You’d bite my head


Push her in mock exasperation, then take her hand again. She is a little
uneasy about it, and leans over to tie her boot-lace more securely.

“Well, it’s all right with me,” say suddenly. “You know, you’re a pretty
game kid.”

“Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think so.”

“You sure are. Lots of people must have told you so before. I like you.
Do you know it?”

“Glad you do,” she says. “I like you.”

“There, that’s just what I mean.” Fill your pipe again. “Saying it out,
frankly, like that.”

“Why shouldn’t I, if it’s true?”

“Well, I don’t really know why you shouldn’t. But most girls wouldn’t.
You know how women are.”

“Sure,” she says, largely.

“Gee,” you cry. “The way you say that! Funny kid.”

“Now, what sounded funny about that?”

“Oh, I don’t know. It sounded so boyish. You’re just like a boy, now
that I think of it.” Turn and smile at her.

“Thanks! I always wanted to be a boy.”

“I’ll bet you did. Gosh, though, I wouldn’t if I were you.”

“Why not?”

“Girls have a much better time. I wouldn’t mind if someone had to buy my
tickets and take me out to dinner once in a while.”

She thinks about it for a minute, poking the fire with the toe of her
heavy boot. “I’m not sure,” she says slowly. “We pay for it, in a way.
Suppose you had to see as much of some of the idiots that we do? You can
just ask anyone you want; we have to wait till we’re asked.”

“Yes, that’s so. Some of them are pretty bad, I guess.” You laugh.
“Anyway, I always thought some of your friends were, but I never dared
to say so. What’s the matter with ’em, exactly?”

“They’re so stupid!” she cries. “They think all a girl is good for is to
paw. They haven’t any idea of real fun at all.”

“I know.” Pat her arm comfortingly. “Just grab you as soon they look at
you, don’t they? Most men are like that, I guess. I don’t understand it
myself. I’m no saint, but I couldn’t have anything to do with a girl
unless I liked her. Do you understand?”

“Of course,” she says, flushing a little in excitement. “I feel that way
exactly. I’m so glad you do too. I was beginning to think that men were
just different. Most of them——”

“Sure. Honestly, do they bother you so much?” You frown.

“Yes, even me. Can you imagine? Me!”

“That just shows you. If you’ll pardon my being frank....”

“Of course.”

“I can’t imagine anything like that, with you.”

“Certainly. I know. That’s why we get along so well, isn’t it?”

“We are—friends, aren’t we?”


Squeeze her hand and puff at your pipe, thinking deeply. Then sigh, and
say, “Funny thing, sex.”

“Isn’t it!”

“You know, it’s wonderful to be able to talk like this to a girl. I
couldn’t if you were really a—a woman in my mind. But I don’t feel that
way about you at all. You’re my friend. You don’t appeal to me that

She wonders vaguely if she likes that. But she answers quickly. “Thank
you. I know you mean it. You know, a friendship like that is valuable to
me, too. I need it. I used to think that no matter how much I tried, it
was just impossible to have a man for a real friend.”

“Really? Then we’re square, because you mean a lot to me.”

Put your arm around her and look into the fire.

“That’s another thing,” she says, thoughtfully. “That’s another reason I
wish I could be a man. You have an awfully easy time with that sort of
thing, don’t you?”

“What? Gosh, no. I don’t see how anybody could think so.”

“Really? I always thought you did. I don’t know very much about it,

“I’m glad you don’t!” you growl with such fervor that she is surprised.

“What’s the matter? You shouldn’t care anything about what I do—like
that. Not if we’re friends the way you say.”

“Well, I’ll tell you.” Pull her closer to your shoulder. “I can’t break
away from a funny idea I have about you. I want you to stay just as
straight as you are. It’s a queer thing, sex. I don’t want you spoiled.
That fine straightness of yours is so rare. I guess I’m selfish to want
anyone to live up to my ideals, but I do want you to keep it.” Give her
a little hug.

She answers gravely. “Yes, I know. I want to stay the way I am, too. I
don’t know how I really feel about it, I guess, but I do—I mean, I like
myself now, do you see? It’s awfully hard to express.”

“I know. Gee, you’re a peach, kid. I do like you.”

“Thanks....” Kiss her softly on the cheek. “Look!” she cries, sitting up
a little straighter. “There’s a shooting star.”

“It’s awfully nice. Come back here. Afraid of me?”

“Of course not!” But she sits up.

“You don’t trust me?”

“Don’t! Of course I do.”

“Then why act like that? You’ll hurt my feelings.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean to!” She settles back against your shoulder. Kiss her
on the mouth; she struggles away.

“What’s the matter, dear?” you murmur. “I thought you trusted me. What’s
the matter?”

“Why, I didn’t mean—I do trust you. Only....” She stops and looks away
from you.

“Then what is it? I don’t understand. Do you mean you—you can’t trust
yourself? I thought you were so sensible about these things.”

“Of course I can. I’m not a man!”

“No, dear. But you’re a woman, aren’t you? Are you afraid, really?”

“I’m not afraid. I just didn’t want to.”

“Oh, I’m sorry....”

“I didn’t mean I didn’t want to.”

“Just don’t care?”

“Not exactly that....”

Laugh. “You’re a darling. I’m going to kiss you again. That’ll be all

“Sure, I guess so.”

“You really liked it.”

“A little.”

“Don’t keep moving away like that! I’ll think you hate me. You just said
we were friends.”

“Yes, but....”


“Yes, but....”

“There now, I won’t bother you any more if you’ll only show that you
trust me. Darling!”

The fire smolders, unnoticed.

                        13. PROMISE ME YOU WON’T


    Large, clumsy, good-hearted. A shrewd business man, whatever
    that means. Usually married.


    Intelligent, pretty little specimen of Independent Womanhood,
    just beginning to question the desirability of a lifetime among
    the file cases.


    1 Small Apartment
    2 Chairs
    1 Batik Drapery
    2 Bed-Sofas
    1 Japanese Print
    1 Indifferently Good Caricature in Crayon.


    Somehow the sight of a man being paternal arouses in woman a
    protective instinct on her own part; an indulgent affection
    compounded of amusement and gratitude.

                          PROMISE ME YOU WON’T

You are uncomfortable. You are both sitting on one of the sofas, but
with a great difference of mien. She is curled up among the
cushions—she is a supple little thing, and seems to be comfortable, but
you are leaning forward with your hands clasped between your knees,
which are rather ludicrously raised from the floor because the couch
sags. Anyway, it is never becoming to you to argue; your face grows red
and you look more clumsy than ever. She is enjoying the new sensation of
seeing you ill at ease, and because of her. In the office it is so often
the other way around.

“But I don’t think it is good for you,” you are saying.

“I don’t see why.”

“It isn’t good for anyone to be too much alone.” Speak doggedly in the
tone of one who has made the same remark at intervals all his life.

“Oh no,” she protests. “I think it depends a lot on the person. I think
everybody ought to have privacy. I don’t see how the people here do
without it, I really don’t. I have to keep my shades down all the time,
living in the basement like this. Even at that the girls are always
coming in—a couple of people have keys.”

“What?” you cry. She laughs.

“Just the girls, silly.” You are somewhat confused and she feels abashed
at having called you silly. It sounds too intimate, somehow. Move your
feet uneasily and knit your brows in an effort to say tactfully just
what you think.

“I don’t like it. You need your rest. It’s all right for a while but
pretty soon it’ll react on you. I don’t understand you girls. You don’t
use one of these studios for anything, you’re at the office all day
anyway. You don’t even save so much money.” She laughs and then looks at
you inquisitively.

“Really, you’re taking it awfully hard. What’s the matter? What’s
worrying you?”

“I don’t know.... I just don’t like it all.”

“I know,” she says, teasingly. “You didn’t like the dinner. I know you
didn’t. Confess you didn’t!”

“I’m not worrying about the dinner,” you say hastily. “I don’t care much
about what I eat; it was only that the place didn’t look clean. You
never eat their stew or anything like that, do you?”

She answers sarcastically, “It’s terribly nice of you to worry so much
about me....” and you flush.

“Now, don’t talk like that. Please don’t.”

“No, honestly, I mean it. I wrote Mother that she certainly wouldn’t
worry so much about me if she could hear how you’re always lecturing me.
I’m so afraid you’ll walk into the office some day when it’s raining and
bellow, ‘Miss Merrill, where are your rubbers?’”

This is better. Relax and laugh loudly. “Better look out, or I will!”

In the relaxed atmosphere of the joke you suddenly find enough courage
to lean over the necessary few inches and put a hand on her shoulder,
rubbing your cheek against hers for a second.

She is discomposed, although it is not very surprising after all.

“Here!” she protests, breathlessly. “Stop that! Why did you do that?”

“Sorry. But I wanted to.”

“Well....” She is at a loss. She giggles and says, “And besides, you
need a shave.”

“Yeah. Sorry.... Another thing, I think probably you don’t have very
good people hanging around here.”

“How can you tell? You haven’t met anyone but Mary. You said she has
nice ankles.”

“Did I?” you ask, surprised. “Maybe I did. But I don’t like women to cut
their hair so short. That’s one of the things I like about you, by the
way. You may be in business and all that, but you haven’t lost your
femininity.” Close your hand over hers where it lies on the cushion.

“That’s not a compliment these days.”

Shake your head violently. “Don’t kid yourself. We really like the same
type all the time, we men. You know, you worry me a lot in the office.”

“Really? How?”

“Well, because——” Stop and knit your brows. You are trying very hard
to express yourself sincerely. “In the office you treat everybody so
darned nice.... I mean you’re a great little mixer and it’s fine for
business, but doesn’t anyone ever misunderstand? You know what I mean,
don’t you?”

She looks at you with a startled expression which changes to a hurt one.
She falters. “You mean I don’t act—do I act too fast? I’m awfully
sorry. I thought that——”

Pat her hand furiously. “No, no! You act fine! I didn’t mean to
criticize you at all, but you know how men are. Listen here.” You raise
her chin and look at her eyes searchingly. “If anybody tries to put
anything over on you I want you to come and tell me about it. I want to
be a friend of yours.”

“Thank you,” she says softly, “I consider you a friend now.”

“That’s mighty nice of you. It makes me feel fine. You’re such a decent
kid, and I don’t think you know a thing about life.”

“Oh,” she cries pettishly, “there you go again! I guess I can take care
of myself!”

“Yes, but this is what worries me. I don’t like the idea of these
long-haired kids filling your mind up with free love theories and all
that. You’re an intelligent kid too, and youngsters like you are sort of


“Wait a minute. You don’t know; you can’t tell now how you might feel
one of these days. It’s dangerous, this stuff. You may not know it, but
we’re a pretty rotten lot. Most men are out for what they can get.”

“I think that’s horrid; to be worrying like that all the time. I don’t
want to have to be on my guard all the time.”

“Of course you don’t. Of course you don’t.”

“And as for my being silly, I think you ought to realize that I have a
little common sense. Or even if you don’t think so, don’t you think that
I have some ideals?”

“That’s the way I like to hear you talk. Maybe you think I’m being sort
of nosey, but I can’t help worrying about you. You’re awfully sweet.”

She has a fleeting moment of misgiving. This isn’t the way a boss ought
to be talking. But you are very kind to be so worried.... “Yes,” she
says, flippantly, “If I were Miss Moser you wouldn’t take so much
trouble, I guess.”

“Well, nobody’s likely to bother her, at her age. I do want to keep an
eye on you. You don’t look so efficient as you are; a man’s likely to
forget what a swell little secretary you are when he looks at you. Here,
isn’t this more comfortable?” Put your arm under her head. The room is
very still and cozy. “Listen.”

“What?” she says, comfortably.

“I want to ask you something.”


“I want to ask you to promise me something.”


“Promise me that—that you won’t let anyone....” Silence. “Hm-m-m?”

“If you think that I need to promise——”

Kiss her (to silence her). Then—“You know I don’t mistrust you,” you
say, gruffly, “but I get worried. Won’t you promise?”

“Sure,” she answers. The silence of the room flows over you again, and
it too holds a promise.

                         14. AH, WHAT IS LIFE?


    Middle-aged, plump, precious. The kind of man who goes to teas
    and avoids unpleasant situations, but does nothing else. Small
    white hands and shiny lips.


    Ardent adolescent, seventeen or so. Quick to find Beauty in a
    poem or an automobile, an eclair or a man.


    1 Long low living room
    4 Bookcases
    20 Ashtrays, all different
    1 Tea set


    Before attempting this experiment, read Freud on the connection
    between artistic appreciation and the reproductive instinct.
    This is an indirect method and calls for careful handling.

                           AH, WHAT IS LIFE?

“But don’t you think,” says Cynthia, “that as a rule we lose sight of
that quality? It’s no use trying to _cultivate_ a soul.”

“No,” you answer lazily, wisely, “I should be distinctly annoyed with
anyone who plucked my sleeve when I was busy, no matter how many
hyacinths he might wish to call to my attention. No, the true sense of
beauty thrives only where it is not watched. Unfortunately it becomes
self-conscious far too easily. And then, of course, one becomes
articulate ... after he has lost his reason for speech.... Ah,” with a
wistful little smile, “I’m mawkish today. You mustn’t start me off, my
dear. Look at the tender color on the sky and stop thinking. I’ll read
to you. Something decadent. Here.

    White clouds are in the sky.
    Blue shadows of the hills
    Between us two must lie.
    The road is rough and far.
    Deep fords between us are.
    I pray you not to die.”

She says nothing; she does not even sigh. She looks at you and waits.

“Ah, youth, youth! The beautiful simplicity, the terrible complexity of
inexperience. Straight, clean.... I have lost the gift. I cannot read
that poetry. Give me the sophisticated; the keen irony of Eliot; the
ponderous exaltation of the negroes....”

“Of course,” she says, in a rather chastened tone. “But I still like
music in my poetry. Don’t you still like the Hymn to Proserpine—or
don’t you remember? ‘From too much love of living——’”

Take it up and finish it smoothly, with an indulgent smile but giving it
full value and a dying fall.

“I’ll wager,” you say, smiling, “that you know every word of Rupert

She blushes. “That isn’t fair! You know all about me!”

“It isn’t hard,” you say. “I was so much like you at your age, you see.
There, I’ll stop teasing. Let’s talk about something else. Look at my
greatest treasure, down there in the corner of the bookshelf. No, not
that. That’s a Blake. It’s a nice little thing, but you’ll get yourself
dusty. There it is. First edition. Did you ever see one before?”

She is not sure which of the two volumes you are speaking of; the
Beardsley Salome or the new Contes Drolatique. She is exquisitely
careful and reverent with both of them; opening one on her lap and
looking at it for a minute. She doesn’t stay interested very long,
however. She wants to listen.

“Just toys, of course,” you say. “I’m ridiculously dependent on material
things like that. The more delicate the edifice the more firm the
foundation, I’ve decided. No——” as she starts to speak, with an ardent
gasp—“I know you don’t agree with me. The tree of Job and a savorless
crust in the desert for you; with a voluptuous purple sunset in piquant

“That’s cruel of you!” she cries.

“Yes, it is. You mustn’t be so sensitive. I like to tease you; then I’m
always sorry. I don’t know why I do it. Yes I do. It’s really that I
envy—bitterly—your ideal asceticism. So you mustn’t pay any attention
to me. I’m pink and old and plump and I don’t know what I’m talking
about. Go on home and call up your—Boy Friend, isn’t that what you call
him? Go on out and dance, little pagan. Dance and stop worrying. I’ll
worry for you. I’ll burn incense and think of you, and pray for myself.”

She ignores this nobly. “Incense? Where do you burn it? In front of that
gold thing there?”

“Thing? My dear!” Speak gravely. “Tread softly: he hates you enough
already. He is old and you are young: he is only half divine, and

“I do believe,” she giggles, “that you’re really afraid of him!”

“Of course I am. But I shall overthrow him soon, out of my own strength.
I’m going to be a Papist.”


“Yes, it has the true aestheticism of aristocracy.”

She sighs. “You say things so wonderfully. You’re absolutely

“Dear child! You shall have some tea for that. My very special flower
tea. Sit there so I can see you while I fix it. No, don’t read that
book. It isn’t for little girls.”

She promptly begins to read it. Bring out the table and connect the
little electric range for hot water. The long shadowy room grows darker
and outside the automobiles begin to turn on their lights.

“There now,” you say. “Take this, if you like the cup.”

“Oh, isn’t it lovely! I think it’s so nice that your cups are all
different. Mother simply insists on having everything in sets, even our

Groan in agony, and you smile at each other, feeling cozy and superior.
She eats one piece of cinnamon toast and glances wistfully at another,
but decides against it.

“We’ll leave the things for Maria in the morning,” you explain. “Then
it’s perfect. Now where is that poem you were going to show me?”

“Oh, I can’t,” she cries. “It’s dreadful!”

“Don’t be silly, please,” you beg.

“All right. I think you’d better read it yourself. Don’t you hate to
have people read your things?” Miserably, she pretends to look at a book
while you read.

“But this is lovely!” you cry. “Here, I’ll read it aloud.

    At night I close my window
    And through the glass I see
    Dancing in the moonlight
    A silver tree.

    I dream about it all night long,
    But in the early dawn
    With dream and sleep and part of youth
    The tree is gone.

Lovely! It has a freshness, a sincerity....”

“Oh, honestly? You’re just saying it!”

You answer severely, “I’m not speaking now as a friend, my dear. I’m
speaking as a critic.”

“Then could you tell me how to improve it?” she begs. “It
needs—something.” You both think deeply.

“M-m-m,” say in a judicial tone. “Let’s see. One thing I’d do,
perhaps—but no. Perhaps I’d transpose the words in the penultimate line
and then it would read ‘sleep and dream’ instead of ‘dream and sleep.’
Otherwise the thing is perfect.”

She nods vigorously. “Yes, you’re very right. I see it now. Thank you so
much. It’s wonderful of you to bother.”

“Bother? It’s no bother. You don’t realize—you can’t realize what your
youth does for me. Almost, my dear, almost I forget my figure and my
horrible hair and—well, never mind. It doesn’t matter. What does
anything matter in the clearness of your voice and the gladness of your

She sits very still as you pass your hand gently over her hair. Her
shining eyes are fixed on something invisible that hovers in the room
just over your head. Mystery, or the answer to all mystery? A new
confidence, a new belief, are coming into her life. It is like being
kissed in a dream; wondering a little, but detached; peaceful in an even

                  *       *       *       *       *

The room grows darker and the swish of the motors make a faint pulsing
music from the boulevard. There comes an evening coolness. She is
thinking; her cheeks are flushed. The bright colors of the books on the
shelf are smothered in darkness, but you can see that her cheeks are
flushed. She has forgotten where she is, who she is, everything. Very
softly, taking elaborate care to avoid the tea-table, go over to the
door and lock it.

                            15. A MAN MY AGE


    Married, more than forty-five, discontented and not very
    attractive at first glance.


    Warm-hearted but somewhat slow and heavy in her
    thought-processes. Has many women friends. Various men sometimes
    wonder why they didn’t marry her when it was possible. A good
    sport, but very respectable.


    1 Chesterfield divan, very comfortable but dusty
    1 Fireplace
    1 Stack of Wood
    1 Fire, roaring


    The married man has an advantage. He has had training; he is
    actually as one might say trained, or tamed. He is forbidden by
    law and thus he acquires glamour and romance.

                              A MAN MY AGE

“I love this,” she says.

“So do I,” you answer. “I’m sorry the place is so messy. I didn’t notice
until you walked in. That nigger never cleans up unless Emma keeps after
her. I don’t know what’ll happen now.”

“Well, when Emma gets back it’ll be all right,” she says.

Glance at her in some surprise. “But I thought you knew about that,” you
protest. “Emma isn’t coming back, you know.”

“No? Oh....” She is fearfully embarrassed. She feels a little angry. “Of
course I didn’t know. You didn’t tell me. How should I know?”

“But of course I thought—— Why do you suppose she didn’t tell you? I
thought you were the first one she told. I’m so sorry. I’d better——”

“You’d better tell me about it,” says Barbara. “She didn’t really have a
chance, the last time I saw her. My sister had lunch with us and went
down to the station too.”

“Sure, that explains it. Why, it was this way. We went up to the cottage
in June, and she went to Bedford after that. We came to an agreement
after we left the city; I don’t know just when. It took a long time. We
changed our minds a lot.”

“I should think so,” she murmurs.

“Well,” you go on, “it’s been three months anyway, off and on. I guess
we’ve just been really separated for a couple of weeks. It seems longer
because of that adjustment period. She can do what she likes about the
divorce; I’ve left it up to her. I told her to do what she thought best.
Emma knows how to go about business and all that. Of course I’ll agree
to anything.”

“You mean you’ve definitely decided——” Her voice is incredulous.

“Nothing’s definite. But if you mean is it all over, yes. We agree on
that, absolutely. Are you really so surprised?”

She thinks about it for a minute. “No,” she decides, “not really. I
noticed something. That night you had the party before we all went to
the beach, I knew there was something wrong. But I had no idea.... Do
you mind talking about it? Some people might.”

Shake your head and laugh. “Certainly not. It hasn’t been particularly
painful, you see. You’re one of the family anyway. Why should I mind?”

“I’m glad you feel that way about it,” she says. “Of course I’m
frightfully interested.”

“Then it wouldn’t bore you?”

“No,” she says. She maintains a reserved attitude; politely interested.
Sit back against the cushions and draw a deep breath.

“I want to be fair to Emma. I guess the fault was on both sides. I can’t
help remembering that after all, it was my idea that we get married. I
remember it perfectly well: I had to argue with her. You mustn’t think
that I’m trying to whine about it.” Smile at her rather sadly and

“Ben, you know I don’t,” she cries.

“I don’t know. Naturally I feel a little defensive. After all, I suppose
you’re on her side. I met you through her.”

“Don’t be silly. I just want to hear the truth. You’re both my friends.”

“That’s what I wanted you to say, Barbara.” The fire crackles
comfortably. “Well, anyway, there it is. I don’t know just how it
happened. My fault, I suppose, but I refuse to feel guilty. I’m awful. I
keep wondering why in hell I wanted to get married. I remember in a very
vague and impersonal sort of way that she was pretty.”

“Oh yes,” she says eagerly. “_Wasn’t_ she pretty?”

“I don’t know when all the trouble did start. I can’t even figure it
out. I don’t know that I want to.” Kick the flaming log.

“I think I can understand,” she says slowly. “Of course I’m trying to be
impartial, and Emma’s one of my best friends, but I think that I do

“Yes, you would understand,” you answer. “There’s one thing, though,
that I’d like to tell you. I mean this: I do feel badly about it. I may
not act that way, but I do. It’s been awfully hard on her. Don’t think I
haven’t worried.”

“You know, Ben, there’s something I want to say.” She sits up and folds
her hands.

“Go ahead.”

“Well, I haven’t any right to say it, but I’m going to. I think that
your trouble is, you worry too much.”

“Me? Worry? Barbara, you’re a nut!”

“I mean it. You think too much for her and everybody else. You pretend
to be absolutely careless about everyone else, but you aren’t. You can’t
get along like that; it isn’t nature. It doesn’t work out.”

“Maybe.” Frown at the fire. “Maybe. But what about her? She can’t face
things alone, you know. I’m sorry if I’m talking too much, but this is
serious. Now we’re started on a long subject. She simply can’t do it.
She isn’t fitted for it. You must know that. You’re an old friend of

“Ben, how long have you been worrying like this about other people?”

“You’re asking me how old I am!” you cry in dismay. “It isn’t polite of
you. I’m much too old for you to be wasting your time on my domestic
troubles. You’ll have to be satisfied with that. I won’t tell you.”

“I know how old you are. Emma told me when you were married. What’s the
matter with you? You’re not old.”

Get up and fix the fire to hide your pleasure.

“You’re a sweet girl, Barbara. You’ve always been the only one of Emma’s
friends I had any use for. You’re the only mutual friend we’ve ever had,
I may say.”

“Thanks, Ben. Anyway I’m flattered that you’ve told me so much.”

“I wonder why I did. There’s something about you that makes people talk.
What is it?”

“Is there?”

“I think it must be that you’re so honest, yourself. How do you happen
to be so honest?”

“Why not? Most people are.”

“No they aren’t. Most women aren’t. Emma wasn’t. You knew that, didn’t

She considers it. “Oh, Emma didn’t lie.”

“Not directly. But Emma was essentially feminine; essentially evasive.
You aren’t.”

“No,” she admits, serenely.

The silence is becoming dangerous.

“Heavens!” she cries, suddenly. “I had no idea it was so late. I’ll have
to go.”

“Wait until this log burns down,” you suggest. “You surely aren’t in
such a hurry as all that. I’m afraid to be left alone. You’ve no idea
how lonely an old man can get in a few minutes.”

She laughs. “Well, I’ll wait for a little. I hate to leave the fire. I’m
getting old, too.”

“Besides, you’re a very busy person and I haven’t really seen you all
year. I think I’ve just realized how nice an evening like this could be.
I think I’ve been waiting for this for days, without knowing it. I feel
much better, really.”

“I’m so glad,” she says, seriously. “I’ve been a little bit blue,

“You?” Incredulous. “I didn’t know that you ever felt blue. What on
earth were you blue about?”

“Oh, I’m such a useless person. I don’t really do a damned thing. I’ve
been thinking all day about things. And then when I see people like you
and Emma having your troubles too—you were two people that I always
thought of as being fulfilled, sort of. Now it seems to take away my
last hope. Emma’s my best friend, in a way, and now I find that you’ve
both been very unhappy. It just fits in with everything else.”

“You make me feel very guilty. I didn’t want to depress you. I’ve been

“Oh, I was depressed already! No, you made me feel a little better,

“My dear,” you say softly, “I do think you’re taking it harder than I
did. You’ve been telling me that I am too sympathetic, too.”

“Well, it isn’t just sympathy, perhaps,” she says. “I was applying
everything to myself.”

“You think too much,” you advise. “Stop thinking too hard about life. It
never does any good. I know. I’ve done it too.”

She is silent, and you begin again. “Barbara,” taking her hand, “I want
to give you some advice. I’m a lot older than you are and I think we’re
something alike. Don’t you?”

“Well, yes,” she says. “I have thought so.”

“There are things a lot more important than little married relationships
such as Emma’s and mine. It’s those things that really fill our lives,
Barbara. For instance this talk I’ve had with you tonight means much
more to me than any little love-affair. Don’t you see what I mean?”,

“Yes, I think so. We are friends, aren’t we? Real friends.”

“That’s it. Here we are talking about this and that, and it’s the most
pleasant thing I’ve ever done. It’s been a quiet civilized sort of time.
Not everyone is capable of such a relationship. Don’t you think we’re a
little ahead of the rest of them?”

She watches you and nods. “Yes, you’re right.”

Pat her hand. “You’re an adorable child. The fire needs fixing. Just a

“Oh, Ben!” she cries. “I have to go. Really. Don’t fix it for me.”

“Too late,” sitting down again. “It’s caught already. You’ll have to
wait a while longer.”

She hesitates, looking at her wrist watch. “I oughtn’t.”

“Just a minute, dearest.”

“Well, all right.” She smiles at you. Catch your breath and then seize
her in your arms.

“Oh Barbara! I do love you so, much!”

                           16. GONNA BE NICE?


    City product, bad complexion but quick brain. Too impetuous for
    steady success.


    Very young, very canny. Always hunts in pairs with others of her
    kind. Fond of chewing-gum and marcel waves.


    1 automobile, touring type
    1 companion


    A very limited method. There are many girls who would refuse to
    be subjects on such short notice under any circumstances
    whatever. But for those who are at all willing to aid in the
    experiment, this lesson should do as well as any.

                             GONNA BE NICE?

The crowds walk much more slowly on the streets in the evening. They
aren’t going anywhere; they haven’t anything to do. For the same reason,
perhaps, the autos seem to loiter as they pass the people on the
pavements. They aren’t going anywhere much. They’re open to suggestion.
Two by two the people walk; sometimes there are more; hardly ever are
there less.

Large groups of young boys all too young to smoke; all smoking. Little
groups of girls looking in the shop windows. Two girls especially,
looking in the windows for lack of something better to do. Not exactly
discontented, not consciously bored. Just looking. Just walking.

Among the cars is one that goes a little more slowly even than the rest.
It is a middle-aged Dodge touring car with two boys in the front seat,
very much on the lookout. They pass the two little girls and call out
experimentally cheerful and more or less expectant of rebuff. One of the
girls looks oblivious and yet slightly more scornful, but the other
smiles a little. On the chance of success, the driver of the car goes
around the block and passes them again. As he disappears around the
corner for the second time, the scornful girl suddenly relaxes.

“If they come back again, let’s,” she says.

“Sure,” says the other, indulgently. “They look all right.”

A third time you call to them, and this time the girls stop walking and
stand waiting as the car comes to a halt. The boy who is not driving
jumps out and opens the back door. Ruthie, the scornful girl, steps in
while Rosie gets into the front seat, and the car speeds away. It has
not taken a moment.

“Well, where to?” you call from the back seat.

“I don’t care,” answers Bill. “What do you say?” he adds, turning to
Rosie. “Got any favorite drives?”

“No,” says Rosie, “I don’t know much about the roads. What do you say,

“Ruthie. It’s a nice name,” you say, and put your arm around the owner
of it. She does not cuddle down, but sits up more swiftly than before.

“Why,” she says, with a surprising decision, “the Jamestown road is
pretty good as far as the fence with the vine on it. When you get that
far you better turn back.”

Bill turns the car toward the Jamestown road and settles down to
driving, while Rosie curls up in the other corner of the seat and
watches him. They both wait for the other one to start talking. At

“Gee,” she says admiringly, “you sure go fast. You ought to be careful
in the city. I got a cousin who was pinched yesterday.”

“Yeah? Never mind; I know the cop on this road. It ain’t so much the
speed, it’s what they call reckless driving they pinch you for. If a
fellow knows his business you can be pretty sure they leave him alone.
They don’t care for no speed limits.”

“I guess you’re right,” says Rosie.

                  *       *       *       *       *

“Why not?” you ask. “You don’t have to hit me in the Adam’s apple,
neither.” Ruthie does not answer, but looks out of the car with
unmitigated scorn. Pull your arm away from her shoulder and sulk. The
car bowls merrily over the rough road until it reaches the fence with
the vines, and it shows no signs of slowing up. Rosie does not seem to
notice, but Ruthie calls promptly from the back seat:

“It’s time to turn back.”

“Oh, yeah,” says Bill over his shoulder. He stops the car, pulls on the
brake, and in a very business-like manner he puts his arm around Rosie
and slumps down in the seat to a position where he can watch the sky
without craning his neck. Ruthie waits a minute uncertainly, then turns
away from you and stares with dignity at the fence and the field beyond

In the front seat the couple manage to find a comfortable position as
close together as possible. You glance at them, then back at your own

“What you so crabby about?” you ask, aggrieved. “I ain’t pulled any
rough stuff. What do you think I am? You don’t have to be afraid.”

“Well, what do you think I am?” she demands. “You guys think that just
because a girl comes for a ride....”

“Oh, can it,” wearily. “Of course I don’t.”

“Well....” she says, as you pull her over to him, “It really is getting
sort of late.”

“It’s early,” you say. She shakes her head, looking very uncomfortable
hunched up against your shoulder. She suffers it for a while, but her
mind is elsewhere.

“We have to go back,” she suddenly announces. “Right away. Rosie, we
have to go back.”

“Yeah, that’s right,” Rosie assents, cheerfully. It all seems to be the
same to Rosie. “We gotta go, Bill.”

“Oh, wait a minute, can’t you?” you say, exasperated. “It isn’t late at

Adamant, your girl shakes her head and looks expectantly at the driver.
You and Bill glance at each other and raise your eyebrows.

“You wait a minute,” you say, meaningly, and Bill obligingly turns back
and looks at the scenery in front of the car.

“Now listen,” you say. “You’re a long ways from home.”

“Yeah?” says Ruth, calmly.

“Yep. See? Well, are you gonna be nice?”

She compresses her lips. “You bet I’m gonna be nice, big boy. Come on,
Rosie,” and she opens the door of the car and steps out to the road.
Rose hesitates, looking inquiringly at Bill. She reaches tentatively for
the door-catch.

Ruthie stamps her foot. “Come ON, Rosie. You ain’t got any sense at

Rose hesitates no longer, but steps hastily out of her seat.

“Wait a minute,” you call together, as your respective maidens start
down the road toward town.

“We were only kidding,” says Bill. “Come on back.”

“All right,” assents Rosie, joyfully and with obvious relief, and she
climbs back to her place. Ruth follows more slowly. Nor does she deign
to look at you until you are back in the city street where you met.

“Now where?” calls Bill. “Want some chop suey?”

“We want to get out just where we got in,” she answers with chilly
sweetness. As the car stops—“Come on, Rosie,” she says. And as Rose
trots faithfully after her, with only one wistful backward glance——

“Nice ride,” she adds, over her shoulder.

You and Bill look at each other.

“You weren’t so smart,” says Bill.

                           17. LIFE IS SHORT


    Philosophical and attractive. Really sincere in his ideas;
    somewhat the missionary type but better looking.


    Almost any girl without too much mentality. Pretty and rather
    spoiled because of it.


    1 Canoe


    This lesson was an old one when Herrick counseled his young
    friends to gather rosebuds while it was still possible.

                             LIFE IS SHORT

(They are in a canoe, and the sun has just set, leaving behind it
streaks of fading pink in the sky and on the water. It is spring, and
the woods in the distance are losing their starkness. There is no
breeze; the air is full of a premature languor that is not quite warmth.
She lies half-prone, with her hand trailing in the lake; and he paddles
slowly, watching her most of the time.)

_She:_ Ooh, the water’s terribly cold. Have you gone swimming this

_You:_ Went in last week. But I was sorry. It’s colder than it looks
from the diving-board. I was awfully surprised—it’s such a shock.

_She:_ I wanted to try it today, it looked so warm. But I guess I’ll
wait a while. Last year, all summer, we just lived in our suits. My suit
was never dry. Don’t you love to swim? It’s my favorite exercise.

_You:_ I think I like sailing better. It’s so fast.

_She:_ Then you ought to like ice-boating. It’s much faster.

_You:_ No. It’s too noisy. Fast things ought to be quiet. That’s the
trouble with flying in a machine. It isn’t really flying unless you have
wings. That must be the best feeling in the world. Flying in a storm....

_She:_ I wouldn’t want the storm. I haven’t that much pep. Swimming’s
nice because you can lie around so much.

_You:_ You’re a lazy little thing, aren’t you?

_She:_ That’s what they say at home.

_You:_ I like it. I hate these girls who are always trying to be better
than you are in everything. They’re usually funny-looking, too. If they
were pretty they wouldn’t worry so much about beating people.

_She:_ You have such old-fashioned ideas. Well, I guess you’re right. I
like to be waited on. People do things for me. I like it.... Oh, look at
that cloud. It’s getting rougher than it was—We must be drifting out.

_You:_ Yes, it goes faster than you’d think. There’s a little wind
blowing up. (Starts paddling fast.)

_She:_ Going anywhere?

_You:_ Well, I know a place that is pretty sheltered. Say, I’m getting
cold up here. Do you mind if I get down there with you?

_She:_ No, that’s all right.

(You start to step over the intervening bar, and the canoe sways
dangerously. She screams loudly.)

_She:_ Look OUT! You’re tipping us!

_You:_ (Laughing and settling down next to her) Gosh, what a funny
squeal! I never tip canoes: don’t you know that? Have a cigarette.

_She:_ Thanks. The lake looks pretty, doesn’t it? Just in this light.

_You:_ Did you ever notice, it’s never the same. Look at that boat way
over there.

_She:_ It looks so little.

_You:_ It’s funny. This is a little lake, but that boat looks tiny on it
just the same.

_She:_ (Uncomprehending) Yes.

_You:_ I mean we’re really awfully small when you think about things.
Stars and things. Look at that star there——

_She:_ First one! I’ll wish on it. (She closes her eyes.)

_You:_ It’s a little bit of a star, but I wonder what it thinks about
us. Probably it doesn’t even know you’re wishing on it. Just think, it
can’t even see us. Just a little spot of light.

_She:_ I don’t like to feel that way. I want to be seen.

_You:_ I think it’s a good feeling to know that I don’t matter so much.
I always remember it when I’m worried about an exam. It’s a bad habit,
though, because if you start remembering it too soon you don’t even
bother to study.

_She:_ I shouldn’t think anybody would. I never feel that way unless I
need sleep. I hate it; feeling that way.

_You:_ You’re too practical. I think I have more fun my way. (Smile at
her and flick your cigarette into the water.)

_She:_ I don’t see that. I don’t worry, anyway.

_You:_ No, but look. You take exams seriously and spend all your time
studying or fixing clothes or something. Something really important.
Don’t you?

_She:_ Yes. Only the thing I worry about most is dancing. That’s
important too.

_You:_ Well, look at it my way. Look how long the world has been going
on without me and my exams. Look how long it will go on, probably, after
I’m dead. Look how short life is anyway.

_She:_ Yes....

_You:_ Well, I just do what I like. Studying isn’t one of those things,
see? Nobody really likes to study.

_She:_ I do.

_You:_ No you don’t. You don’t really like to keep your stockings
mended, or your hair curled. You just like the feeling afterwards that
you did what you should have done. Isn’t it true? Well, then, if someone
hadn’t taught you to like that feeling you wouldn’t be doing those
things. Now, the things I like, I wasn’t taught. I like to eat. Nobody
ever had to tell me to do that. I like to sleep, and swim, and sail, and
kiss girls, just because it’s fun. Itself. No reason for it, except that
if I keep on this way I can go on doing these things and having fun
until I die. I won’t want to die, then.

_She:_ Well, I think you’re the lazy one. Where would we all be?...

_You:_ I don’t know, but wherever it was we’d probably like it just as

(Lean over suddenly and kiss her.)

_She:_ Don’t do that!

_You:_ Why not? (Kiss her again.)

_She:_ Stop. Why should I?

_You:_ There you go again, asking questions. Why? Because it’s fun.

_She:_ I don’t think it’s so much fun.

_You:_ You haven’t really tried. Give me a chance. (Kiss her again.) Now
what do you think of it?

_She:_ Not very much. Let’s go on talking instead.

_You:_ That’s queer. You always tell me I talk too much. I think you
don’t mind this so much as you say.

_She:_ You want to think so. I just don’t see why it’s so wonderful. I
couldn’t possibly rave the way you do, that’s all.

_You:_ I don’t rave. It’s because I know what I’m talking about and you

_She:_ You have a lot of nerve.

_You:_ Well, you can see for yourself that you’re no judge. You don’t
know anything about it. You said so yourself. And besides, if you’re
going to do so much talking about it you’re wasting time until you know

_She:_ It’s no use trying to argue with you, is it? I’m going home.

_You:_ Now you’re just running away because you lost the argument. It
isn’t my fault. You said you wanted me to talk. All right; I’ll stop

(Kiss her.)

_She:_ No, I didn’t mean that. Stop. Please stop.

_You:_ No, I won’t. You need convincing.

_She:_ But....

_You:_ You mustn’t talk for five minutes. That’s reasonable, isn’t it?
Five minutes!

_She:_ All right. (Seven minutes elapse.) The five minutes must be up.

_You:_ What did you say?

_She:_ The five minutes are over.

_You:_ What of it? What’s five minutes when the whole evening will be
over in a short time? All of the evenings will be over some day. And
you’re quarreling about five minutes. Oh, stop talking!

_She:_ But.... Oh, all right.

                18. I’D HAVE SAID YOU WERE FROM NEW YORK


    Traveling salesman, always just a little lonely and overjoyed at
    a chance to talk or make any human contact whatever.


    Inexperienced traveller in a state of high excitement and
    anticipation. At a rare stage of impressionability.


    1 Pullman car


    This method is extremely specialized, suited only to travelers.
    On terra firma both protagonists are different people entirely,
    who would be scandalized at actions which seem perfectly
    plausible on the train.


There’s really nothing else to do on train journeys. Reading on the
train gives you a headache; after three hours scenery should never have
been invented. And as for that green plush.... If you have an
acquaintance on the train and talk yourself out with him you will never
want to see him again.... Bridge? But that is our story.

Sometimes on trains or boats there are signs like this: “Beware the
Professional Gambler; He is Smarter Than You.” This is romantic. But it
is not the type of romance which appeals to most young women, and as a
rule they ignore the signs and play bridge. On the chance that you do
not know your Dreiser, I shall attempt to describe the requisite

Carrie is sitting forlornly in her chair in the Pullman, with a closed
Red Book in her lap. Sunk in the crack of the chair is a discarded
College Comics. She doesn’t want to buy another magazine; she wishes the
man with the cap would stop bothering her with Eskimo Pies and perfume,
and bananas and paper-backed novels. The train smells sooty. Large hard
balls of soot keep falling into her lap. Outside the window is the same
yellowed field that she has been watching all day. It twists and
presents various corners to the passing train, but it’s the same field
just the same, with the same wheat lining up into orderly ranks that
fall apart into chaos as the train passes on. Twenty more hours and
nothing left to think about....

You walk down the aisle, staggering as the train sways. She looks at you
idly. You are tall and skinny, and when she sees that you are beginning
to get bald, she loses interest. At the same time you see her. You have
been looking for her ever since she passed through the club car on her
way from lunch: you like them small and blonde and young when there are
no tall and blonde and snappy ones. Stop by her chair and smile at her.

“Would you like to join a party at bridge, if I can start a game?” you
ask. Her first impulse is to refuse; not from caution, but from inertia.
It’s the same feeling that made her turn down the man with the cap on
his last journey when she really wanted a bar of Hershey’s. But as she
shakes her head she changes her mind. Bridge! Something to do!

“Why—yes, I guess so.” And she giggles a little, from shyness.

“Good! I’ll get someone else and be back in a minute.” But you return
with bad tidings. Everyone else is already playing.

“I guess we got the idea too late,” you announce, sitting down in the
next seat. “I wish I’d thought of it before. There was an old fellow in
the back that asked me this morning, but he was getting off at Chicago.
Isn’t that where you got on? How far are you going?”

“Colorado. I’m going to get off this train at La Junta.” Whistle.

“You have pretty near as long a ride as I have. I go clear across.
Tiresome, isn’t it? I ought to be used to it, but I never am, somehow.”

“What do you do?”

“Furniture. Wholesale furniture. I’m traveling for a firm in Tucson;
Robinson and Company. Have you ever been there?”

“Oh, no; this is my first trip West.”

“It’s a nice town, but hot right now. I’m lucky to be away. Just had a
letter from my—my sister and she says the heat is unbearable.

She murmurs sympathetically and looks back at the wheat, while you
remember that at times you talk too much about yourself. Ah, well

“If it isn’t too personal—what part of the country do you hail from?”

“Illinois. Darien. It’s just a little town. I’m going out to Colorado to
visit and maybe I’m going to stay. If I can get a job teaching and if I
like the country, I mean.”

“Really? Now, I’d have said you were from New York.”

There is a pleased little silence.

“Why, what a funny idea. Why should you think I’m from New York?”

“Oh, I don’t know. A man in my business gets so he can spot people
pretty quickly, and he can’t exactly tell how, nine times out of ten.”

“Kind of second nature?”

“Yes, second nature. I don’t know just why I did think you were from New
York. Your clothes, or perhaps the way you talk. Or the way you know how
to take care of yourself.”

“How can you tell anything about that?”

“Oh, that’s easy. A man can always tell. You can take care of yourself.”

She blushes and remembers that she is all alone on this train.

“Well,” slightly raising your voice, “I do like New York. It looks
pretty good when you’ve been out in the sticks for a couple of months.”

“I’ll bet it does.”

“Yes, there’s no place like New York for shows. I wouldn’t like to live
there, but it’s a good place to visit. My—my mother used to live there,
and I never could see how she stood it as long as she did.”

She answers with animation. “Oh, but the little towns get so dull! There
just isn’t anything to do out in the country.”

“Nothing to do? Why, gee, what’s the matter with fishing? Two weeks a
year isn’t enough fishing for me!”

“But of course you’re a man.”

“Sure, that’s right. A man feels different. I admit I don’t understand
women, and I bet I’m as bright as the next one. There’s not a man alive
can understand a woman.”

“Well, maybe you’re right.”

“Isn’t it time to eat? Let’s go on in and see. Will you have dinner with

“Why—I don’t know——”

“What’s the harm?”

No nice girl will admit the possibility of harm. She ignores your
remark, therefore, by rising and starting for the dining car. It is
seven cars away, and some of the long passages are difficult to manage
without staggering from side to side. Hold her elbow in a firm grasp,
squeezing it as she stumbles against you, and laugh a good deal. You are
much better friends when you reach the diner.

She looks out of the window at the sweeping darkness and you watch her
and she knows it. The speed of the train and the feeling of not
belonging anywhere are very exciting. What will Colorado be like? What
is it all about anyway? No one in the train is a real person; they are
all simply part of an adventure, like the armies and mobs in the
background of a moving picture. Even the man across the table—isn’t he
simply part of it too? The most exciting part? A personification of the
whole thing, the whole waiting world.... I’d have said you were from New
York.... You can take care of yourself.... I certainly can.... She
smiles at you suddenly, defiantly, gayly. “What were you thinking

“Oh, I don’t know. The future, I guess.”

“I thought so. Let’s drink to it.” Hold up your water glass. “To your
future, and may it include me.”

She laughs again, recklessly. Lean over the table.

“Will it, kid? Will it?”

“Oh——how do I know? I’m no fortune teller.” Again she turns to the
window. There are no fields to be seen now, but the stars look very
large. Stars and darkness and the train going
somewhere—somewhere—somewhere. And that man looking at her and
appreciating all her expressions and knowing that he doesn’t understand
her; wondering about her....

“Now what are you thinking about?”

But she’ll never tell you. You’ll always wonder about the girl you met
on the train for a few minutes. Ships that pass in the night. It’s
exciting to be going somewhere.

She doesn’t want any more ice cream. Go back to her chair and when
someone asks you to play bridge refuse without even consulting her. No
matter. Stare out of the window.

“You know, it’s a funny thing. This has been a much better day than I

“How do you mean?”

“Oh, you know. I thought it would be just the same. You can imagine,
riding on trains day in, day out.”

“Yes, I can imagine.”

“I’m glad you got on at Chicago, that’s all. You won’t be sore at me for
saying so? I’ve got to say what I think, to you.”

She can feel just how it must be. Your profile looks so tired.

Turn to her suddenly. “I’m talking like a crazy person. Do you think I’m

“Of course I don’t.”

Settle back again. “Good. I’m not really, but I guess most people would
think so.”

“Why should they?”

“Talking like this to a girl I just met on the train.”

“Talking like what? You haven’t said anything.” She is really

“Haven’t I?” Look at her again, quickly. “You know, that’s a queer
thing. I thought I had. I thought I’d said lots of things. Do you ever
have that feeling?”

“Oh—that. Yes.”

“Well, I know what I’m going to say, right now. You’ll probably be mad
at me.”

“What is it?”

“I think you’re a darned good sport.”

“Why? You don’t know. You don’t know anything about me at all.”

“Sure I do. I’m not dumb. I’ve been watching you all day and I guess I
can tell as well as the next one. Do you know what I think about you?”

“How should I?”

“I think probably you’re awfully nice.” Put your hand over hers. “I know
you are. You’re all excited, aren’t you?”

“What makes you say that?”

“You’re shaking. What’s the matter? Scared of me?” Your hand tightens.

“Oh, no.” She is annoyed with herself. It’s hard on the nerves, sitting
in a train all day. Almost time to go to bed, she thinks—the porter has
started at the other end of the car; his head is immersed in the upper
berth in the corner.

“It’s getting late,” you say, understanding her. She nods and thinks
with a new terror of arriving in a strange town. Nervous.

“I’m sorry,” you add. There is another silence. Some perverse shyness
keeps her from saying anything. It is almost as if, against her own
will, she waits for something fateful. But say no more. Pat her hand and
settle back, looking up at the top of the car.

Slowly, followed by a mysterious growth of little green cabins, the
porter approaches you, slamming down chair-covers, manipulating linen.

Sit up with a new briskness.

“I’m going to the smoker,” you announce. “But listen, I’m not going to
say good-bye.” She looks at you and waits. Her tongue won’t move; is it
curiosity? Nervous....

“I’m coming in to say good-night,” say, your eyes fixed on hers. “I have
a book to lend you. So long.” Rise, and then put your hand over hers
again. She simply stares at you.

“You’re a nice kid,” you observe, and walk away.

Slowly she stands and picks up her suitcase as the porter reaches her
chair in his constructive progress. Slowly she walks down the aisle to
the Ladies’ Room. A sudden flush of thought as she gets there—she drops
the bag and looks into the mirror, horror-stricken. Why didn’t she say
something? What should she do now? Then as she thinks, she feels better.
He’s simply coming to say good-night. Sure, he’ll probably try to kiss
her, but—oh, well, stop thinking. Just the same she’ll wear her
dressing gown to bed; no use giving him ideas. Everything seems so
different on a train; if it would stop making a noise and let you think
straight.... Ships that pass in the night. What’s the difference?

                    19. SHE LOVED ME FOR THE DANGERS


    Restless wanderer, appearing at intervals of four or six years
    to sit on the hearthstones of his old college friends and look
    wistful. At the slightest chance of attaining a hearthstone of
    his own he dives back into the wilderness.


    Any co-ed


    1 Automobile
    1 Head of gray hair, above one of these
      never fading bronzed faces.
    1 Precise accent.


    The advanced student will favor this method, since it transcends
    the makeshifts and awkwardness of all other human experiments
    and utilizes a policy which has heretofore been monopolized by
    divinity (see Introduction). Here the student seduces by means
    of imagination. It is the culmination of our efforts; the
    ultimate degree of subtlety.

                      SHE LOVED ME FOR THE DANGERS

It is a dull afternoon in the sorority house and Dorothy is trying to
make up her mind to study; but she isn’t having much success. In fact,
the idea is so unattractive that she doesn’t waste more than half a
minute trying. Everybody has gone to the last game of the season across
the river, and Dot didn’t go because she has used up all her week-ends.
Oh, well ... Sunday afternoon and five hours before her date. Nothing
left to read. Washed her hair yesterday—you mustn’t do that more than
once a week. Manicured her nails before lunch. Plucked her eyebrows,
darned her stockings—oh, bother Sunday afternoon. And there is a theme
due on Tuesday, but that’s a long time and anyway you write better
themes at the last minute. Oh, glory, there’s the phone. What if just
once it could be someone unexpected?

“Miss Dormer? This is Donald Banks, from Los Angeles. I have a letter
for you from Genevieve Reed. When I left I mentioned that I might be
coming through here and she thought——”

“Why, any friend of Jen’s—why, of course. Can’t you come over?”

“I’d very much like to. When would it be convenient?”

“Any time this afternoon. I think I’m busy tonight, but if you’d like to
come over now or pretty soon it would be all right.”

Well! Oh, well, he’ll probably be a mess. Jen never mentioned him.
Haven’t heard from Jen lately, though. It wouldn’t be like her to send
up a wet smack.

No, you aren’t a wet smack at first glance, anyway. Interesting looking.
Lean and distinguished; something like Lewis Stone, if not quite so
tall. How funny of you to think that the sitting-room is really a place
to sit—surely no one else spent all afternoon on that horse-hair sofa
since the Dean of Women was a pup. If you were one of the boys you’d
know enough to suggest going out. But it is rather fun at that.

“Oh, you mustn’t think,” she protests, “that you have to go just because
it’s so quiet. We’re allowed to have visitors indefinitely on Sunday.”

Laugh. “You’re tired, though. I remember Sunday afternoon at school from
my own experience. Thank you, and—I may see you quite soon again? Not
only, I assure you, because my time in your city is so limited.”

Ooo, what a funny way to talk! “Certainly.” It is queer, how hard it is
to keep from getting an accent like that too, while she talks to him.
“Yes, I’d like to see you again before you leave. It doesn’t happen to
be a very—busy time for me just now.”

“How fortunate! I don’t want to interfere with your studies. Can’t we
have dinner this evening?”

“Oh—why—yes, thank you, I’d like to. At six-thirty? Good-bye.”

Oh, well, Tom ought to excuse her for an out-of-town friend. That is
perfectly legitimate.

“Hello. Alpha Belt house? Is that Tom? Well, listen, Tom? I hope you
won’t be perfectly furious because I really can’t help it, but it’s this

                  *       *       *       *       *

A co-ed is a well-protected person, in spite of what may be read in the
newspapers about her freedom. She is so hemmed in by public opinion—not
the opinion of the outside world, but that of her own public, the
campus—that it is with a distinct sense of guilt that she associates
with anyone so foreign as an out-of-town visitor, be his appearance ever
so distinguished. Not that Dorothy isn’t thrilled as well as
apprehensive. If she dared, she would even have dined in the roseate and
familiar publicity of Ye Kandy Shoppe, stared at by her friends and
causing a poorly concealed flurry of gossip. But you would be puzzled by
Ye Kandy Shoppe, and perhaps dissatisfied with the food. That is why you
proceed solemnly through the menu of the Imperial Hotel Dining-room,
sherbet-on-the-side and all, surrounded by the younger married set of
the town, with an occasional drummer or a professor’s party.

“Well, yes, I see that you know Genevieve quite well,” you are saying.
“Much better than I do. It’s perhaps the only fault that I can find with
my work—the lack of real social contact. Going and coming as I do, I
must resign myself to being the picturesque figure; oft forgotten.
Interesting, perhaps, but so occasionally!” Smile.

“But doesn’t your work keep you in one place at a time pretty much?”
asks Dorothy. “I thought it took at least six years at a time to build
bridges. Surely there are people there—in Abyssinia, or wherever you’re
going next?”

“People? My dear child, you’ve been going to the movies. The natives are
really dark—much more so than you seem to suspect. Of course once in a
while you do find people, and if they are people at all, you understand,
they mean much more to you than they would here, at home. That mode of
life has given me a distressingly intense way of taking my friends, I
find. You children with your great circles of acquaintances wouldn’t
understand my attitude.”

“I might,” she says, eagerly. “Once I spent a summer camping—in
Maine—with just three other people, and I certainly was glad to get
back to town. I was so sick of them!”

“Yes, that might give you some idea of it. But don’t misunderstand me. I
wouldn’t give it up for anything. After all in the face of certain
things, what do people matter? I give you my word—” here your face
grows intent as you finger a fork; you seem to have forgotten Dorothy
and the dining-room “—a man gets pretty close to the fundamental reason
for things, out there. So close that he is perilously near to discovery.
What keeps him from going farther? Sometimes he goes too far. Sometimes
a boy is sent back home just for going too far—for discovering, or
thinking he has discovered.... Fever? Insanity? Truth?”

Dorothy shivers. The tawdry dining-room is forgotten in dark imaginings.
Slimy twisted vegetation, slow streams of oily water, houses built on
stilts, lifted from the swamp.... Or the monotonous sun of the desert;
the undulating, glaring floor of sand with one heroic little clump of

“Would you care to dance?” You have come out of it. She smiles, rather
late, and nods. You dance the way they do in those places in Europe, she
thinks—slow and romantic, not hopping all over, like Tom.

“When do you start back again?”

“Well, I’m not sure. I won’t know until I get back to New York. They
keep these things quiet, of course—international policy, I might say.”
For the first time, your smile is for her; a personal thing. “I have a
very definite regret that my visit is so short. It’s an unaccustomed
feeling. The last time I saw civilization—let’s see, it must have been
four years ago—I was positively glad to go back. Where do they keep you
young girls? Are you always at school? Ah, well—thank education for our

It is difficult to imagine you at a movie, she thinks. You go, however,
and sit through a news weekly, a very old domestic comedy, at which you
laugh quite surprisingly hard, and half a problem picture before you
give it up.

“I say,” you suddenly announce, “stupid of me not to have thought of it
before. Simply driving somewhere would be better than this. Or have you
a rule about cars and that sort of thing?”

“I suppose we must have, but no one ever pays any attention to it.”

You must drive a good way before the Sunday traffic is at last left

“You drive well for not being used to the city,” she ventures.

“It’s good fun,” you explain. “Much more dangerous than the life out
there. And you mean to say that you do a lot of driving? In streets like
those in town? Brave girl!”

Safe from the eyes of any university official, she takes a cigarette.
Your silence and proximity are very thrilling; there will be a lot to
tell the room mate when she gets back. Or perhaps it would be better not
to say too much—to act as if this sort of out-of-town friend is to be
expected from a background like Dorothy’s. She is rather different than
the usual co-ed, anyway, she thinks comfortably. More interesting
friends, on the whole. Of course these little boys are all right when
you have nothing else....

Stop the car on the edge of the Hawk Bluff, which in the sober light of
common day looks out over a not-very-far-down golf course, but which now
hangs over mysterious abysses.

“Dorothy,” you say.

It has come at last; she knows it and turns to you with the fatal
feeling of one for whom circumstance has been too strong. And then
nothing happens for a minute.

“You are a lovely child,” you say. Then, very quickly, draw her to you
and kiss her on the brow. And then drive home through the quiet night.
Anyway, it is quiet until you reach town and the boisterous returning

Home again, an hour before she has to be. Stand in the light-speckled
gloom of the verandah and say farewell.

“So very, very nice of Jen. I’ll never forget it. Something to remember
when I go back.... Lovely child.”

And without even another kiss on the brow you are gone.

Does Dorothy call up the Alpha Delt house to arrange for a malted before
she goes to bed? Or does she go to her room and sit there in the dark,

She goes to her room quite thoroughly, as it were, seduced. After all,
this is the most subtle method of them all.


Mrs. D. M. Craik, _John Halifax Gentleman_. (Everyman).
Russell, _A Year in a Yawl_. (Doubleday Doran).
Malinowski, _Sex and Repression in Savage Society_. (Harcourt Brace).
E. Osgood, _Cupid Scores a Touchdown_. (French).
MacCuaig and Clark, _Games Worth Playing_. (Longmans).
W. J. D. Mead, _The Energies of Men_. (Dutton).
Collinson, _Life and Laughter ’Midst the Cannibals._ (Button).
Hamlin Garland, _Back Trailers from the Middle Borders._ (Macmillan).
R. J. T. Bell, _An Elementary Treatise on Curve Tracing._ (Macmillan).
M. E. Bottomley, _The Design of Small Properties._ (Macmillan).
Louisa May Alcott, _Little Women_. (Macmillan).
Leonard Merrick, _One Man’s View_. (Dutton).
Mary B. Grubb, _When Mother Lets Us Make Gifts._ (Dodd Mead).
Anon, _Mother Goose_. (Macauley).
Elinor Glyn, _Three Weeks_. (Macaulay).
Margaret Kennedy, _A Long Week-End_. (Doubleday Doran).
Lina and A. B. Beard, _American Girl’s Handbook. How to Amuse Yourself and
  Others_. (Gregg Pub. Co.).
Hord and Ely, _How to Get a Good Position_. (Gregg Pub. Co.).
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