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Title: The Call of the South
Author: Durham, Robert Lee
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Call of the South" ***

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[Illustration: Cover art]



[Illustration: "HAYWARD ... SENT PRINCE WILLIAM AFTER THE MARE UNDER
PRESSURE OF THE SPUR."  (See page 114)]



                            *The Call of the
                                 South*

                                   By

                           Robert Lee Durham



                             Illustrated by
                               Henry Roth



               "_When your Fear Cometh as Desolation and
                Your Destruction Cometh as a Whirlwind_"



                                 Boston
                          L. C. Page & Company
                               MDCCCCVIII



                            Copyright, 1908
                        BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
                             (INCORPORATED)

                  Entered at Stationers’ Hall, London

                          All rights reserved



                     First Impression, March, 1908
                     Second Impression, April, 1908



                             COLONIAL PRESS
            Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
                             Boston, U.S.A.



                                 TO THE
                           LION OF HIS TRIBE
                        Stonewall Jackson Durham



                        *List of Illustrations*


"HAYWARD ... SENT PRINCE WILLIAM AFTER THE MARE UNDER PRESSURE OF THE
SPUR" (See page 114) . . . _Frontispiece_

"CARRIED HIM FOR FORTY YARDS OR MORE THROUGH THE HURRICANE OF LEAD"

"HIS WHIP WAS DESCENDING AGAIN WHEN JOHN’S PISTOL FLASHED"

"ELISE ... STOPPED SHORT IN THE DOORWAY—AND TURNED QUICKLY BACK"

"’I AM HIS WIFE,’ SHE SAID"

"HIS ARMS UPON HIS DESK AND HIS FACE UPON HIS ARM—DEAD"



                        *The Call of the South*



                              *CHAPTER I*


The President had called upon the Governors for troops; and the
brilliantly lighted armory was crowded with the citizen-soldiers who
followed the standards of the 71st Ohio, waiting for the bugle to call
them to order for the simple and formal ceremony of declaring their
desire to answer the President’s call.

A formal and useless ceremony surely: for it was a foregone conclusion
that this gallant old regiment, with its heroic record in two wars,
would volunteer to a man.  It was no less certain that, presenting
unbroken ranks of willing soldiers, it would be the first selected by
the Governor to assist Uncle Sam’s regulars in impressing upon the
Kaiser the length and breadth and thickness of the Monroe Doctrine.

For many bothersome years the claimant nations had abided by the Hague
Tribunal’s award, though with evidently decreasing patience because of
Venezuela’s lame compliance with it.  Three changes of government and
dwindling revenues had made the collection of the indebtedness by the
agent of the claimants more and more difficult.  Finally on the 6th of
January, 191-, Señor Emilio Mañana executed his coup d’état, overthrew
the existing government, declared himself Protector of Venezuela, and
"for the people of Venezuela repudiated every act and agreement of the
spurious governments of the last decade," seized the customs, and gave
the agent of the creditor allies his passports in a manner more
effective than ceremonious: all of this with his weather eye upon the
Monroe Doctrine and a Washington administration in some need of a
rallying cry and a diverting issue.

The Kaiser’s patience was exhausted, and his army and navy were in the
pink of condition.  On the 10th of January his ministers informed the
allies that their most august sovereign would deal henceforth with
Venezuela as might seem to him best to protect Germany’s interests and
salve the Empire’s honour.

In less than a week the President sent to Congress a crisp message,
saying that the Kaiser and the great doctrine were in collision.  The
Senate resolution declaring war was adopted after being held up long
enough to permit fifty-one Senators to embalm their patriotism in the
_Congressional Record_, and, being sent to the House, was concurred in
in ten minutes after the clerk began to read the preamble.

The country was a-tremble with the thrill and excitement of a man who is
preparing to go against an antagonist worthy of his mettle, and in the
71st’s armory a crowd of people jammed the balconies to the last inch.
The richly varicoloured apparel of the women, in vivid contrast to the
sombre walls of the armory, the kaleidoscopic jumble and whirl of
soldiers in dress uniforms on the floor, the frequent outbursts of
hand-clapping and applause as favourite officers of the regiment were
recognized by the galleries, the surging and unceasing din and hubbub of
the shouting and gesticulating mass of people on floor and balcony, gave
the scene a holiday air which really belied the feelings of the greater
number both of soldiers and onlookers.  There was a serious thought in
almost every mind: but serious thoughts are not welcome at such times to
a man who has already decided to tender his life to his country, nor to
the woman who knows that she must say good-bye to him on the morrow.  So
they both try to overwhelm unwelcome reflections by excited chatter and
patriotic enthusiasm.  They will think of to-morrow when it comes: let
the clamour go on.

On the very front seat and leaning over the balcony rail are seated
three women who receive more than the ordinary number of salutes and
greetings from the officers and men on the floor.  Two young women and
their mother they are, and any one of the three is worthy of a second
glance by right of her looks. The mother, who, were it not for the
becoming fulness of her matronly figure, might be mistaken for an elder
sister of the older daughter, has a face in which strength and dignity
and gentleness and kindliness and a certain air of distinction proclaim
her a gentlewoman of that fineness which is Nature’s patent of nobility.
The older daughter is a young woman of eighteen years perhaps,
inheriting her mother’s distinction of manner and dignity of carriage,
and showing a trace of hauteur, attributable to her youth, which is
continually striving with a spirit of mischief for possession of her
gray eyes and her now solemn, now laughing mouth.  The younger daughter,
hardly more than a child, has an undeveloped but fast ripening beauty
which her sister cannot be said to possess.  They have gray eyes and
erect figures in common; but there the likeness ceases. The younger
girl’s mass of hair, impatient of its braids, looks black in the
artificial light; but three hours ago, with the setting sun upon it, a
stranger had thought it was red.  Her skin indeed, where it is not
tinted with rose, is of that rare whiteness which sometimes goes with
red hair, but never unaccompanied by perfect health.  She has been
straining her eyes in search of some one since the moment she entered
the gallery, and finally asks impatiently, "Why doesn’t papa come out
where we can see him? The people would shout for him, I know."

"Don’t be a fidget," answers her sister in a low voice, "he will come
presently;" and continues, "I declare, mamma, I believe Helen thinks all
these soldiers are just for papa’s glorification, and that if papa
failed to volunteer the country would be lost."

"Well, there isn’t any one to take his place in the regiment, for I
heard Captain Elkhard say so."

"Captain Elkhard would except himself, I suppose, even though he thought
like you that papa is perfection."

"Yes, and I suppose that you would except Mr. Second Lieutenant Morgan,
wouldn’t you?  Humph! he is too young sort, too much like a lady-killer
to be a soldier.  I don’t care if I do think papa is perfection.  He is
most—isn’t he, mamma?"

A roar of applause drowns the mother’s amused assent; and they look up
to see this father, the colonel of the 71st, uncover for a moment to the
noisy greeting whose vigour seems to stamp with approval his younger
daughter’s good opinion of him.  In a moment a trumpet-call breaks
through and strikes down and overwhelms all this clamour of applause,
and there is no sound save the hurrying into ranks of the men on the
floor.  Then comes the confused shouting of a dozen roll-calls at once,
the cracking of the rifle-butts on the floor, the boisterous counting of
fours, a succession of sharp commands and trumpet-calls,—and the noise
and confusion grow rapidly less until only is heard the voice of the
adjutant as he salutes and presents the regiment in line of masses to
the colonel, saying, "Sir, the regiment is formed."

A short command brings the rifles to the floor, and there is absolute
quiet as every one waits to catch each word that its commander will say
in asking the regiment to volunteer.  But Colonel Phillips knows the
value of the psychological moment and the part that emotion plays in
patriotism, and he does not intend to lose a feather-weight of force in
his appeal to the loyal spirits of his men.  So he brings the guns again
quickly to salute as the colour-guard emerge from an office door behind
him, bearing "Old Glory" and the 71st’s regimental colours; and,
turning, he presents his sword as the field music sounds _To the Colour_
and the bullet-torn standards sweep proud and stately to their posts in
the centre battalion. This sudden and unexpected adaptation of the
ceremony for _The Escort of the Colour_, which for lack of space is
never attempted in the armory, is not without effect.  The men in the
ranks, being restrained, are bursting to yell.  The onlookers, free to
cheer, cannot express by cheap hand-clapping what wells up in them at
sight of the flags, and they, too, are silent.  When the rifle-butts
again rest on the floor the Colonel begins his soldierly brief address:

"The President has asked the Governor for six regiments.  While under
the terms of their enlistment he could name any he might choose, he
prefers volunteer soldiers as far as may be.  So you are here this
evening to indicate the extent of your willingness and wishfulness to
answer the President’s call.  I need make no appeal to you.  The 71st is
a representative regiment in its personnel.  Its men are of all sections
and classes and parties.  My mother was a South Carolinian, my father
from Massachusetts.  Your colour-sergeant is a Texan, and your
regimental colours are borne by a native of Ohio, grandson of him who
placed those colours on the Confederate earthworks at Petersburg.  You
in the aggregate most fitly represent the sentiment of the whole people
of this union of states. This sentiment is a loyalty that has never to
this moment failed to answer a call to arms.  It is not to be supposed
that the present generation is degenerate either in courage or
patriotism.  When the trumpet sounds _forward_ the ranks will stand
fast, and such as for any reason may not volunteer will fall out to the
rear and retire."

At the lilting call there was silence for ten seconds, in which not a
breath was taken by man or woman in the house: then the galleries broke
out to cheer.  Not a man had moved; though not a few felt as did
Corporal Billie Catling, who remarked to his chum when the ranks were
dismissed, "It’s going to be devilish hard for my folks to get along
without my salary; but to fall out to the rear when that bugle said
’forward’—damned if I could do it."

One of the most deeply interested spectators of the scene in the armory
had stood back against the wall in the gallery during the whole time,
and had apparently not wished to be brought into notice of the crowd,
mostly women, packed in the limited gallery space. His goodly length
enabled him to see over the heads of the other spectators everything of
interest happening on the floor.  A long overcoat could not conceal his
perfectly developed outlines; and many heads were turned to look a
second time at him, attracted both by his appearance and by the fact
that he seemed to be an utter stranger to every one around him, not
having changed his position nor spoken to a soul since coming up into
the gallery.  He was broad of shoulder, full-chested, straight-backed,
with a head magnificently set on; and had closely cropped black hair
showing a decided tendency to curl, dark eyes, evenly set teeth as white
as a fox-hound’s, a clean-shaved face neither full nor lean, and
pleasing to look upon, a complexion of noticeable darkness, yet all but
white and without a trace of colour.  While nine-tenths of the people
who saw him that evening had no impression at all as to his race or
nationality, an observant eye would have noted that he was unobtrusively
but unmistakably a negro.

He had been quite unconscious of anything around him in his absorbed
interest in the ceremony below him.  This manifest interest was
evidenced by his nervous hands which he clinched and opened and shut as
varying expressions of enthusiasm, resentment and disappointment,
humiliation, disdain and determination came and went over his face.  He,
Hayward Graham, had applied to enlist in this regiment a month before,
and had been refused admission because of the small portion of negro
blood in his veins,—and that in a manner, too, that added unnecessary
painfulness to the refusal.  He rather despised himself for coming to
witness the regiment’s response to the call for troops, but his
patriotic interest and his love for his friend Hal Lodge, who had
loyally assisted his effort to enlist in the 71st, overcame his pride,
and he had come to see the decision of Hal’s enthusiastic wager that
nine-tenths of the regiment would volunteer.

The first trumpet-call had stirred his enthusiasm, only to have it
turned to chagrin and resentfulness when the roll-calls brought to him
the realization that his name was not among the elect, and the black
humiliation of the thought that he might not even offer to die for his
country in this select company because he was part—so small a
part—negro; and he gnawed his lips in irritation.  But when the flags
had come in so suddenly—he involuntarily straightened up and took in his
breath quickly to relieve the smothering sensation in his throat, and
forgot his wrongs in an exaltation of patriotic fervour.

He stood abstracted for some time after the outflow from the galleries
began, and came down just behind the three women of the Colonel’s
family.  At the foot of the stairs Lieutenant Morgan met the party and
said, "Mrs. Phillips, the Colonel told me to bring you ladies over to
his office."

"So that’s the Colonel’s wife and daughters," thought Graham, as he
passed out into the street. "Where have I seen that little one?"



                              *CHAPTER II*


After lingering at the entrance of the armory for a few minutes to see
Hal Lodge, and failing to find him, Graham, still gloomily and
resentfully meditating upon his rejection by the regiment, started
briskly toward the temporary lodgings of his mother and himself as if he
had some purpose in mind.  Arrived there, he began catechizing her even
while removing his overcoat.

"Look here, mother, put down that work for awhile, and tell me all about
my people."

"What is it, Hayward?  What do you want to know?" his mother asked.

"I want you to tell me all about my father and grandfathers and
grandmothers, everything you know—who they were, and what they were, and
what they did, and where they lived—the whole thing."

"And what is the matter that you want to know all that at once?  Are you
still worrying about not getting into that regiment?"

"Yes; I want to know why I am not good enough to go to war along with
respectable people—if there is any reason."

"Honey, you are just as good as any of them, and better than most.  I
wouldn’t think about it any more if I were you."

"Well, I’m not going to think about it any more—after to-night; but I
want to know all about it right now.  Where was father from?  You have
never told me that."

"Well, honey, I don’t know myself; for he never told me nor any one else
that.  All I know is that something—he never would say what—made him
leave his father and mother when he was not twenty years old and he
never saw them afterwards,—didn’t let them know where he was or even
that he was alive.  Your pa was mighty high-spirited, and he never
seemed to forget whatever it was that came between him and his father;
though he would talk about him some too, and appeared to worship his
mother’s memory.  They must have been very prominent people from what he
said of them.  His mother died very soon after he left home, he told me;
and your grandfather was killed not long after that in a battle right at
the beginning of the war, I’ve heard him say; but he didn’t seem to like
to talk of them."

"Didn’t father say which side my grandfather was on?"

"On our side—the Union side."

"And father was in the war?"

"Yes, but I forget what he did.  He had some sort of a badge or medal
tied up with a red, white and blue ribbon that I found in his trunk
after he died; but I gave it to you to play with when you were little
and you lost it.  That had something to do with the war, but I didn’t
understand exactly what.  He didn’t like to talk about the war.  When we
were first married he used to say that the war was the first battle and
the easiest, and that he was enlisted for the second and intended to see
it through.  But before he died I often heard him say that the war was
only clearing away the brush, and what the crop would be depended on
what was planted and how it was tended, and that his great-grandchildren
might see the harvest."

"Where did you first meet him?"

"Down in Alabama.  He went down there soon after the war to teach
school, just as I did.  I had been to college and got my diploma and I
wanted to teach; but it seemed I could not get a position in the whole
State of New Hampshire.  So when some of the people offered to send me
down to Alabama to teach the negroes, I went.  Your father had a school
for negroes not very far from mine, and he had had a hard time from the
very first.  None of the respectable white people would have anything to
do with him, and he could not get board from any one but negroes.  But
the worse the people treated him the harder he worked, and his school
grew.  Finally it became so large that he could not do the work alone.
He tried every way to get another teacher, but could not.  As a last
resort he asked me to combine my school with his and see if we could not
manage in that way to teach all the children who came.  I never saw
anybody with a heart so set as his was on giving every little negro a
chance to learn.

"So we combined the schools and were getting along very well when one
day as your father was coming out of the post-office in the little town
near which we taught, a young man named Bush stepped up in front of him
and cursed him and said something about me that your father never would
tell me.  Your father knocked him down and he was nearly killed by
striking his head against a hitching-post as he fell. The next morning a
committee of some of the citizens came to the schoolhouse, and Colonel
Allen, who was one of them, told your father that the community was
greatly aroused by the condition of affairs, and that the injury done to
young Bush, while they didn’t approve of Bush’s conduct, had brought the
trouble to a head.  He said that sober-minded citizens didn’t want any
outbreak, but that the peculiar relation existing between your father
and me outraged the sentiments of every respectable man and woman in the
county."

"Did father hit him?"

"No, honey; but he rose right up without waiting to hear any more and
told Colonel Allen that as for the injury to young Bush he had done
nothing more than defend the good name of a woman and had no apologies
or explanations to offer.  He talked quite a long time to them, and I
could see that they didn’t like some of the things he said.  As he
finished he told them that he could see that our condition, cut off as
we were from association with respectable people by prejudice and from
the lower classes because of their dense ignorance, and thrown into
intimacy by our work, was somewhat unusual, but that was because of
conditions we could not control and be true to our work.  He would try
to arrange, he told them, if they would give him a week, so that there
would be no grounds for these criticisms.  They asked him what he
proposed to do, but he said he couldn’t answer them then.

"They gave him the week he asked for, and left us.  He dismissed the
school when the committee was gone, and when all the children had
scampered out of the schoolhouse he told me that while we could not be
blamed for the way things had come about, it was true that our being so
much together and cut off from everybody else gave our critics a chance
to talk, and his solution of the difficulty was for us to be married—at
once.  He went on to say a whole lot of things, honey, that I never
imagined he thought of, and wound up by declaring that I owed it to the
work we had begun to make any sacrifices to carry it on. Now, honey,
there was never a better, braver man than your father, nor a better
looking one, I think, and there was no reason why I should not love him.
I was younger then than I am now and I was not a bad-looking girl
myself, and I did not think till long afterwards that when he spoke of
my sacrifices he was thinking of his own.

"Well, he made what arrangements were necessary that evening, and we
were married by a Bureau officer of some kind or other next morning
before time for school.  When school assembled he sent a note by one of
the boys to Colonel Allen, saying that we had arranged the matter so
that there could be no further objection to our running the school in
together, and informed him that we were married."

"And what reply did Colonel Allen send to that note?" Hayward asked his
mother with great interest.

"He didn’t send any," she replied; "but came along with some others of
the committee in about half an hour to bring his answer himself."

"What did he say?"

"Well, he started off by saying to your father that there could be no
doubt that what we had done would make the people forget their former
objections, but he thought it would be because the former offence
against their notions of propriety would be lost sight of in their
unspeakable indignation at this method we had adopted, which, he said,
struck at the very foundation of their civilization.  He talked very
high and mighty, I thought, and though he pretended to try to hold
himself down and not get mad, he ripped and charged a long time right
there before the whole school, and finally told us he would do all he
could to keep the people from doing us harm, but he advised us to leave
the community just as soon as we could, as he wouldn’t be responsible
for the result of our act."

"What did father say to that?" Hayward asked eagerly.

"Well, he waited until Colonel Allen got through and then said very
quietly that he had done what he had because he had appreciated the
force of the objections that had been raised to our intimate association
and was always willing to be governed by the proprieties, but that he
did not agree with Colonel Allen about uprooting any principle of
civilization, that times and conditions had changed, and, while he knew
the sentiment of the people would be against our marriage, he thought
that sentiment was wrong and would have to give way before the pressure
of the new order of things, that the law had married us and we would
look to the law to protect us.  He said that the work we were doing was
worthy of any man’s effort, that he had consecrated himself to it and
was not going to be driven from it by any predictions of danger, that I
was his wife and he would protect me."

"What did the honourable committee think of that?"

"I don’t know.  Colonel Allen and the other men just turned around
without saying another word and left the schoolhouse."

"Did you run the school on after that?"

"Yes, honey, but not for long.  One night when those awful people came
to destroy things at the schoolhouse as they had done several times
before, your father was there to meet them and identify them. Instead of
running away as he thought they would, they crowded around him, and
after a struggle in the dark they left him lying just outside the door
with a broken arm, a pistol-ball through his side, and unconscious from
a lick on the head.  Some of the coloured people who lived near there
heard the row, and after it was all over and all those folks were gone,
they slipped up there and found your father and brought him home.

"It was hard for us to get a doctor at first.  A young one who lived
nearest to us wouldn’t come, though we sent for him, and we were all
frightened nearly to death.  We could hear those awful people yell every
once and awhile away off on all sides of the house, then they would fire
off guns and pistols—it was an awful night, Hayward.  At last old Doctor
Wright came about three o’clock in the morning.  He lived ten miles or
more from us, and we thought that your father, who was raving and
moaning, would surely die before he got there.  But the old doctor told
us as soon as he examined him that he would pull through all right.  He
said that he had been a surgeon in Stonewall Jackson’s corps and that he
had seen men forty times worse hurt back in the army in two months.
That made us feel a great deal better, I tell you.  Your father came to
his senses before the old man quit working with him, and when he heard
that the young doctor had refused to come to see him (because he was
scared, the negro who went for him said), and that the old man had
ridden so far through a very cold and wet night to help him, I never
heard any one say more to express his thanks than your father did.  The
old doctor listened to it all without making any answer except an
occasional grunt.  When he got ready to go home I asked him if he would
not prefer to wait till daylight, for fear those awful men would hurt
him."

"And did he wait?" interrupted Graham.

"No.  He stiffened up as straight as his rheumatism would let him and
stumped indignantly out of the house with his pill-bags in one hand and
in the other an old pair of home-knit woollen gloves he wouldn’t stop to
put on—I can see him now."

"Did he ever come back?" asked Graham.

"Oh, yes.  The sight of him on his tall pacing bay mare made us glad
every two or three days till your father got well."

"The old doctor evidently didn’t agree with his neighbours about you and
father, then."

"I don’t know about that.  He never would discuss our troubles or speak
any words of sympathy; and on the last day he came, when your father was
thanking him as he had done so often for his kindness to him, the old
man asked him in his rather curt manner, ’Don’t they need
school-teachers up north?’"

"Did you and father leave that place as soon as he got well?"

"No.  Your father said that we would stick to it to the end; and as soon
as he was able to teach we opened the school again, but in less than a
week the schoolhouse was burned down.  We rented another after some
trouble, but that was burned promptly also.  Then it became impossible
to get one.

"We decided it would be best for us to go away to some place where the
people were not prejudiced against us.  We moved more than a dozen
times, but were never able to stay longer than a few months at most, and
often had to pack up almost before we finished unpacking.  Finally we
lost all hope of being able to teach the negroes in the South, and
decided to go home.  Your father did go so far as to suggest that if I
would go back North and leave him down there alone the people might not
molest him.  He certainly did have his heart in the work.  As I did not
like the idea, however, he dropped it."

"And that’s when father got the professorship at Oberlin?"

"Yes; and kept it till his death."

"I can hardly recollect father at all," said the son, "though it seems
sometimes I remember how he looked.  I wish I could have been older
before he died."

"Well, you were not two years old at your father’s death, Hayward, and
really saw very little of him.  He never seemed to care for children.
Your two sisters that died before you were born—it seemed that sometimes
a week would pass without his being conscious that they were in the
house.  He was so absorbed in his work that he didn’t have time for
anything else.  His hard work and disappointment over the failure that
he had made down South was what killed him, I have always thought.
Though he lingered for many years, he was so broken-spirited after we
went to Ohio that his health gave way, and he was not more than a shadow
when he died.  I am not sorry that you do not remember how he looked at
the last.

"But, honey," the mother continued after some moments of silence, "you
ought to be proud of your father.  I wish you could have heard the
funeral sermon Doctor Johnson preached.  He did not say anything about
your father’s being in the war of the rebellion, but he told about his
trials and struggles to teach the negroes in the South, and said that in
that work John Graham was as much a soldier and was as brave and
faithful as any man who ever fought for the flag.  If these folks here
could have heard that sermon they never would have voted to keep you
from joining the regiment."

"Oh, it’s not because of what my father did or did not do," said Graham
impatiently; "nor is it because of what I’ve done or left undone, nor of
what they think I would do or would not do if they kindly permitted me
to enlist.  No, no.  It’s because I’m part negro—though I’m quite as
white as a number I saw there to-night.  Now, mother, exactly how much
negro am I?  You’ve told me your father was a white man; but who was
your mother, and what do you know about her?"

"Yes, my father was a white man.  He was a German just come over to this
country.  He had a beer saloon in a New Hampshire town—at least he
bought it afterwards.  He worked in the saloon when my mother, who had
run away from Kentucky, was hired to work in his employer’s house.  He
boarded there and she was treated something like a member of the family,
although she was a servant, and they were married after awhile.  Some
few of the people didn’t like it, I’ve heard mammy say, but they got
along without any trouble; and when my father saved up some money he
bought the little saloon from his employer and made some little money
before he died.  We had a hard enough time getting it, though, goodness
knows.  I moved back to New Hampshire from Ohio after your father’s
death in order to push the case through the—"

"Yes, yes, I’ve heard that before," said Hayward; "but tell me about
your mother’s running away from her master.  You have never told me
anything about her, except that her name was Cindy or Lucinda, and that
she belonged to General Young."

"Well, honey, she was just a slave girl that belonged to General Young
over in Kentucky.  She ran away and got across the river without being
caught, and some of the white people helped her to get on as far as New
Hampshire and got her that place to work where my father boarded.  She
and my father were—"

"Yes, yes, I know," the son interrupted again, "but what made her run
away and leave her father and mother—did she know her father and
mother?"

"I don’t know that I remember it all," said the mother evasively, "and
it doesn’t make any difference anyway."

"Oh, well, go on and tell what you know or have heard.  Let’s get at the
bottom of it.  I declare I believe you don’t like my being a negro any
better than those dudes in the 71st."

The mother laughed at his statement; and seemed pleased at the
interruption, for she made no move to proceed with the narrative.
Graham looked at her quietly a few moments, and, ascribing her reticence
to unwillingness to descant upon the negro element in her ancestry,
which was indeed a part but a very small part of her motive, repeated
his demand for information sharply.

"Oh, honey," cried his mother, "don’t ask me any more about it.  I just
made mammy tell me all about her father and mother and her running away
from Kentucky, and I wish to the Lord I never had!  It was just awful."

"So!  Well, now I must know.  Go on and tell it. The quicker you do the
sooner it will be over.  Go on, I say.  What was your mother’s father
named?"

"Gumbo—Guinea Gumbo."

"Poetic name that!  And her mother’s name, what was it?"

"Big Lize."

"Not so poetic, though it sounds like some poetry I’ve read, too.  And
now what did this pair do or suffer that was so terrible?  It’s no use
dodging any longer."

"Well, child, if I must, I suppose I must.  My mother’s mother didn’t do
anything that was awful; but Guinea Gumbo—I wish I knew I was no kin to
him.  Mammy said he was brought right from Africa and was as wild as a
wolf.  Nobody could understand much that he said, and General Young had
a time keeping him from tearing things up.  He used to run away and stay
in the swamp for weeks at a time.  The children on the place, black and
white, were as scared of him as death, and none of the slave women would
ever go about him if they could help it.  Not long after General Young
bought him, Gumbo and his first wife, who was brought over from Africa
with him, had the plans all fixed to steal one of the General’s little
boys, five or six years old, and carry him off to the river-swamp and
have a regular cannibal feast of him.  General Young found it out in
time; and mammy said the old negroes on the plantation said that was
what killed the woman, the whipping she and Gumbo got for it.  It laid
Gumbo up for a long time, but he got over it.  It seemed that nothing
but shooting could kill him."

"Did they shoot him to kill him?  What was that for?" asked Graham.

"Honey, that is the awful part of it.  Mammy said that one day her young
mistis, the General’s oldest daughter, didn’t come home from a ride she
had taken, and the whole plantation was turned out to find her. But some
one came along and told the General that she had eloped across the river
with a young man he had forbidden to come on the place, and all the
people on the plantation went back to their quarters.  As the young man
could not be found, everybody thought that he and Miss Lily had run away
and married and were too much afraid of her father to come back home.
The next day, however, the young man turned up, and swore he had not
seen Miss Lily in a week.  Then the plantation was in terror.—Honey, I
can’t tell you the rest.—They found her.—When they were calling out all
the people from the quarters, the General learned that Gumbo had not
been seen since Miss Lily was lost.  He had run away so often that no
attention was paid to it, for he always came back after a time.—They got
the bloodhounds, mammy said, and went to the swamp.  After a long time
the dogs struck Gumbo’s trail, and—yes, they found her,—tied hands and
feet and her clothing torn to strings, in a kind of hut made of bark and
brush way back in the swamp.  She was dead, but she had not been dead an
hour, from a gash in her head made by an axe. The dogs followed a hot
scent from the hut for another hour, and led the men to where they had
run Gumbo down.  That was where they shot him—and left him.  He still
had the axe, and had killed one of the dogs, and nobody could get to
him.  They didn’t want to, I suppose."

Graham had listened to his mother’s last words without breathing, and
when she stopped he dropped his face in his hands with a groan....  She
began again in a few moments:

"Mammy said that when they brought her young mistis back home the
General went off in a fit, and raved and cursed till the doctors and the
rest of ’em had to hold him to keep him from killing somebody. Mammy was
one of her old mistis’s house-girls, and she heard all the General’s
ravings and screams that he would kill every nigger on the place; and he
kept it up so long and kept breaking out again so after they thought
they had him pacified that mammy said she was scared so bad she just
couldn’t stay there any longer: and that’s what made her run away the
very next night.  She had a hard time getting across the river, but
after she got over safe she didn’t have much trouble, for some of the
white people took charge of her and helped her to get further on north.
Pappy always said—"

"Oh, Lord, that’s enough!" the son broke in, raising his head out of his
hands, and interrupting his mother’s flow of words, of which he had
noted little since hearing the tragic story of his savage
great-grandfather.  He rose from his chair impatiently.

"So I am Hayward Graham, son of Patricia Schmidt, daughter of
Cindy—nothing, daughter of Gumbo—nothing."

"Guinea Gumbo," corrected his mother.

"Oh, I beg my distinguished ancestor’s pardon for presuming to credit
him with only one name.  A gentleman with his record ought to have as
many as Kaiser Bill," drawled Graham sarcastically.  Then with better
humour he said to his mother, "And will you please to inform me from
which of your ancestors you inherited that name of Patricia?"

"Mammy named me that for her old mistis."

                     *      *      *      *      *

Graham stood for awhile looking at the blank wall. Then he spoke as if
he had settled his problem.

"Yes I’m a negro—no doubt about that; and a negro I’ll be from to-morrow
morning."

"Why, honey, you are not going to lower yourself to—"

"No, no.  I’m not going to lower myself to anything; but I’m going to go
with my own crowd, where I’ll not be insulted by people who are no
better than I am.  I got along very well at college, but these people
here are different.  I’ll show ’em.  I’ll go to the war, and I’ll get as
much glory out of it as any of ’em.  My father was a soldier, and his
father died in battle: I rather guess I can’t stay out of it.  Good
night, mummer."

And he took himself off to bed.



                             *CHAPTER III*


Hayward Graham was twenty-three years old. He had half finished his
senior year at Harvard—with credit, it must be said—when the imminence
of war drove all desire for study from his mind.  He wrote to Harry
Lodge a former college chum who had graduated in the class ahead of him
and gone to Ohio to make a name for himself—fortune he had already—and
asked that his name be proposed for membership in Lodge’s company of the
71st, as a regiment most likely to get in the scrimmage when it came.
Lodge had done this and had written to Graham that doubtless he would be
received on the next meeting night as war was at that time a certainty.
Whereupon Graham had bundled up his traps and come without delay.

Graham’s mother also had travelled to Ohio, for the double purpose of
telling her soldier good-bye and making a passing, and what promised to
be a last visit to some, of her old Oberlin friends, drawing for
expenses upon limited funds she had religiously hoarded and applied to
her son’s tuition.

Her husband had always impressed upon her, and in his last moment
enjoined, that the boy should be educated; and she had obeyed his wishes
to the limit of her power and as a command from heaven.  She had
husbanded her small patrimony, recovered after a costly suit at law,
slow-dragging through the New Hampshire courts, and had allowed it to
accumulate while her son was in the graded schools against the time when
it would be needed to send him to college. When that time had come it
required no little faith to see how the small bank account would be
sufficient to meet the expenses of four years at Harvard.  She would
better have sent the boy to a less expensive school, but no: John Graham
had gone to Harvard, and nothing less than Harvard for his son would
satisfy her idea of loyalty to his father’s memory and admonitions.  So
to Harvard she sent him, while she planned and worked to stretch and
patch out the limited purse; and—miracle of financiering—she had fetched
him to the half of his last year, and could have carried him to his
graduation and still had enough dollars left to attend that momentous
ceremony in a new frock.

Hayward Graham had repaid his mother’s sacrifices by diligence in his
studies.  He had been a close second to the leader of his class at the
graded school, an exemplary and hard-working pupil in the grammar
school, and at college his literary labours were diminished only by his
efforts in athletics, which, indeed, did his work as a student little
serious damage.  He was quick to learn everything that his college
career offered, not only the lore of books, but good-fellowship, easy
manners and how to get on.  His naturally friendly disposition did him
little service at first in finding or making friends at Harvard, where
there seemed to him to be so many desirable circles that he would be
glad to enter, and he had thought for awhile his colour would bar him
from any close friendships there.  However, near the end of his freshman
year he had occasion by personal combat to demonstrate his willingness
to fight for the honour of his class and to show that his pugilistic
powers were of no mean calibre, by thoroughly dressing down a couple of
sophomores who had held him up to tell him what they thought of the
whole tribe of freshmen, and who, upon his being so bold as to take
issue with them, had attempted to "regulate" him. Kind-hearted Harry
Lodge, himself a sophomore, had witnessed the trial of Graham’s courage,
class loyalty and fistic abilities, and being struck with admiration had
shaken hands with him and congratulated him on his prowess.  From that
moment Graham was by every token a member of the small coterie known as
"Lodge’s Gang," to whom Lodge had introduced him as "the only freshman I
know that’s worth a damn."

From the time of his admission into this set of good fellows Graham’s
social side was provided with all it desired.  Lodge and his friends
seemed to think nothing at all of Graham’s colour; or, if they did, made
the more of him in their enthusiastic support of the idea that "a man’s
a man for a’ that."  They had enough rollicking fun to keep their spare
hours filled to the brim and sought the society of women very seldom;
but when they did go to pay their vows at the shrine of the feminine,
Graham was as often of the party as any other of "the gang."

The young women they visited seemed to find no fault with his coming;
for he could do his share of stunts, had a good voice and a musical ear,
and was never at a loss for something to say, while his colour meant no
more to them than that of a Chinaman or a Jap.  He was promptly and
effectually smitten with each new pretty face that he saw on these
occasional forays, just as were Hal and Jim Aldrich; but his
ever-changing devotions showed plainly that it was as yet to no one
woman, but to women, that his soul paid homage.  As for the young women,
any of them as soon would have thought of marrying one of the Chinese
students in the University as him.  In fact they did not associate him
with the matrimonial idea, but were interested in him as in an unusual
species of that ever-interesting genus, man.  They made quite a lion of
him for a time after his performance in the Harvard-Yale football game
of 19—; so much so that he had become just a mite vain, which condition
of mind precluded his falling in love with anybody for several weeks.

It was right at the height of his popularity that he had left Harvard to
join the ranks of the 71st.  But Corporal Lodge had written with too
much assurance. Lieutenant Morgan of Lodge’s company caught the sound of
that name, Hayward Graham, and remarked casually, "He has the same name
as that Harvard nigger who was smashed up in the Yale game."

Some of the men thought the lieutenant said the applicant was a negro,
and began to question Lodge. When that gentleman stood up to speak for
his friend he quite captured them with his description of Graham’s
courage and other excellences, but when he answered "yes" to a direct
question whether his candidate was a negro, the enthusiasm and Graham’s
chance of enlistment in the 71st died together, and suddenly.
Lieutenant Morgan, who was presiding at the company meeting, sneered,
"This is not a negro regiment," and the ballot was overwhelmingly
adverse.

Lodge was offended deeply at Graham’s rejection, and said hotly that if
the regiment was too good for Graham it was too good for him, and he
would apply for his discharge at once.  Lieutenant Morgan replied drily
that "one pretext is as good as another if a man really doesn’t want to
get into the fighting."  This angered Harry to the point of profanity,
but he thought no more of a discharge.

This blackballing of his name was Graham’s first rebuff, and it bore
hard upon his spirits.  He had never had an occasion to take an
inventory of the elements in his blood, and this sudden jolt to his
pride and eager patriotic impulses made him first angry, then
heart-sick, then cynically scornful.

The morning after his mother had gone into the history of his ancestry,
as far as she knew it, he sought an army recruiting station without
delay.  The gray-headed captain in charge did not betray the surprise he
felt when Graham told him he desired to enlist,—his recruits, especially
negroes, did not often come from the class to which Graham evidently
belonged.

"May I join any branch of the service I prefer?" Hayward asked.

"Yes," said the officer; and added, as a fleeting suspicion entered his
mind that this negro might intend passing himself off for a white man if
possible, "that is, of course, infantry or cavalry.  There are no
negroes in the artillery."

Graham winced in spite of himself at this blunt reminder of his
compromising blood, and mentally resented the statement as an
unnecessary taunt.  But he had determined to fight for the flag if he
had to swallow his pride, and he was quickly put through all the
necessary formalities of enlistment.  His physical qualifications
aroused the unbounded admiration of the examining surgeon, who called
the old captain back into the room where Graham stood stripped for the
examination, to look upon his perfect physique.

"I don’t know about that broken leg, though," the surgeon said.  "How
long has it been well?"

"I’ve had the full use of it for more than a month now," Graham
answered.  "It’s as good as the other, I think.  It wasn’t such a bad
break anyway."

"How did you break it?"

"In the Yale game at Cambridge last November."

"Say," the surgeon broke out, "were you the Harvard man that was laid
out in that last rush?"

"Yes."

"Well, I saw that game," the surgeon went on; "and I say, Captain, be
sure to assign this young fellow to a regiment that will get into the
scrimmage. Nothing but the firing-line will suit his style."

"Which do you prefer, infantry or cavalry?" questioned the Captain
briefly.

"As I’ve walked all my life, I think that I’ll ride now that I have the
chance," Graham answered.

"Very well.  You are over regulation weight and length for a trooper,
but special orders will let you in for the war only."

"The fighting is all I want," said Graham

"All right," replied the officer.  "I’ll send you to the 10th.  They
have always gotten into it so far, and likely nobody will miss seeing
service in this affair."

Graham was given a suit of uniform and ordered to report morning and
afternoon each day till his squad would be sent to join the regiment.
He carried the uniform to a tailor to have it fitted to his figure, in
which he took some little pride; and lost no time in getting into it
when the tailor had finished with it, and hurrying to parade himself
before his mother’s admiring eyes.  That worthy woman was as proud of
him as only a combination of mother love, womanly admiration for a
soldier, and a negro’s surpassing delight in brass buttons, could make
her.

Graham busied himself with the study of a book on cavalry tactics
borrowed from the old sergeant at the recruiting station, and with that
experienced soldier’s help he picked up in the ten days that elapsed
before he was sent away no little knowledge of the business before him.
He was an enthusiastic student, took great pains to perfect himself in
the ceremonious side of soldiering, and delighted in the punctilios
which the regulations prescribed.  He went at every opportunity to
witness the drills of the national guard troops who were preparing to
leave for the front; and began to acquire the feeling of superiority
which the regular has for the volunteer, and to sniff at the little
laxities of the guardsmen, and with the air of a veteran comment
sarcastically upon them to the old sergeant: till he finally persuaded
himself that his good angel had saved him from these amateurs to make a
real soldier of him.

Two days before Graham was sent away the 71st gave its farewell parade.
Graham was there, of course.  It was near sunset.  The wide street was
lined with spectators.  The ranks were standing at rest, and the
soldiers and their friends were saying all manner of good-byes.  The
band was blowing itself breathless in patriotic selections, and as it
crashed into one after another soldiers and people cheered and shouted
with gathering enthusiasm.  Colonel Phillips, sitting on his horse by
his wife’s carriage, said, "Orderly, tell Brandt to play ’Dixie,’" and,
addressing the crowd of friends about him, "My mother was a South
Carolinian," he added jocularly. When the band burst in on that
unaccountably inspiring air the assemblage stood on its toes to yell and
scream, and the tall Texas colour-sergeant came near letting "Old Glory"
fall in the dust in his conscientious effort to split his lungs.

Graham stood quite near the Colonel and his party, and was much
interested in watching both this man of whom he had heard Harry Lodge
speak so enthusiastically, and his daughters, Miss Elise and Miss Helen,
who were abundantly attractive on their own account without the added
distinction of being children of their father.  It was interesting to
him to note the differing expressions of patriotic enthusiasm as it
forced itself through the well-bred restraint of the elder sister or
bubbled up unrestrainedly in the unaffected girlish spirits of Helen.
Her spontaneous outbursts were irresistibly fascinating to him, and he
could hardly avoid staring at her.

When the parade was formed, however, he was true to his new learning;
and after the bugle had sounded _retreat_, and while the band was
swinging slow and stately through that grandest and most uplifting of
military airs, "The Star-Spangled Banner," he for the first time had
uncovered and stood at _attention_, erect and steady as a young ash, his
heart thumping like that of a young devotee at his first orison.

As he looked up when the band had ceased, he met the full gaze of Helen
Phillips.  She was looking straight at him, with a rapt smile upon her
fresh young face.  Then he remembered where he had seen that face
before.

It was at that Yale game at Cambridge.  Harvard was due to win; but Yale
had scored once in the first half, and all but scored again before the
Harvard men pulled themselves together.  During the intermission Captain
"Monk" Eliot had corralled his crimson warriors in the dressing-room and
addressed to them a few disjointed remarks that made history.

He began moderately; but as he talked his choler rose, and he took off
the limit: "You lobsters are the blankety-blankedest crowd of wooden
Indians that ever advertised a dope-house.  You seem to think you are
out here for your health.  What in the blank is the matter with you?  Do
you think Soldiers Field is a Chinese opium joint where you can go to
sleep and forget your troubles?  Maybe you don’t want to get your
clothes dirty, or you are afraid some big, bad, blue Yale man will eat
you up without salt.  Now look here!  I want you to understand that
we’ve got to win this game if it breaks every damn one of our infernal
necks, and if any of you overgrown babies doesn’t like what I say or
hasn’t the nerve to go into the second half on that basis, just say so
right now, damn you, and I’ll give you the job of holding some _man’s_
sweater for the rest of this game—and we’ll settle it when it’s over."

It was a desperate crowd of men in crimson who went into that second
half; and their collision with the Yale line was terrific.  But Eli
didn’t seem to change his mind about winning the game—for he hadn’t
heard the crimson captain’s crimson speech.

For twenty minutes the giants reeled and staggered in an equal struggle.
Yale then saw that she must win by holding the score as it was, and
began all manner of dilatory tactics.  This drove Captain Eliot frantic.
He must score in five minutes—or lose. Fifty-five yards in five minutes
against that wall of blue fiends!—nothing but desperation could
accomplish it.  He glanced at his squad of reserves on the side-lines;
and with spendthrift recklessness that counted not the cost he began to
burn men up.  He sent his best and strongest in merciless repetition
against the weakest—no, not that—against the least strong man in the
Yale line.

Harvard began to creep forward slowly, so slowly; and the five minutes
were no longer five, but four—three—two and a half—hurry!  Still forward
the crimson surged with every hammering shock.  But flesh and blood
could not stand it!  Out went Field, the pick of the Harvard flock,
carried off mumbling like a crazy man, with a bleeding cut across his
forehead.  Next went Lee, then Carmichael, then Eliot himself, after a
desperately reckless dash, with a turned ankle.

Can Harvard score?  Perhaps,—if the time and the men last long
enough....  Graham was a substitute.  Eliot, supported between two of
his men and breathing threatenings and slaughter against those who would
carry him off, called Graham’s name; and with a nervous shiver the negro
was out of his sweater in a jiffy.  Eliot whispered to the crimson
quarter, "Graham’s fresh; send him against that tackle till he faints."

_Bang—Smash_.  _Bang—Smash_.  Yes, he’s making it every time, but hurry!
_hurry_!

"Kill that nigger," growls Chreitsberg, the Kentucky Captain of the
Blue, between his set teeth: and now "that nigger" comes up with his
nose dripping blood, next with his ear ground half off.  But he will
score this time!  No, the Yale eleven are on him like a herd of
buffaloes.  He stands up and draws his sleeve across his nose with a
determined swipe.  Eliot screams from the side-lines, "You _must_ make
it this trip—time’s up,"—but he can’t hear his own voice in the
pandemonium.

A last crunching, grinding crash,—and the twenty-two maniacs heave, and
reel, and topple, and stagger, and slowly wring and twist themselves
into a writhing mass of bone and muscle which becomes motionless and
quiet at the bottom while still struggling and tearing without let-up on
the outside.  They refuse to desist even when the referee’s whistle
sounds the end of the game, for no man knows just where under that mass
of players which is lying above the goal-line is the man with the ball.
The referee and the umpire begin to pull them off one by one in the
midst of an indescribable tumult: and at the bottom, with a broken leg,
but with the ball hugged tight against his breast and a saving foot and
a half beyond the line, they find Graham.

He is picked up by the roughly tender hands of his steaming, breathless
fellows, who are ready to cry with exultation, and hurried to a
carriage.  It was while they were carrying him off the field he had
redeemed that he first saw Helen Phillips.  She was standing on the rear
seat of a big red touring-car, waving a crimson pennant and excited
beyond measure.  As she looked down on him as they carried him past,
there came into her face a look of childish admiration and pity
commingled; and she hesitated a moment, then impulsively pitched out the
pennant she held, and it fell across his chest like a decoration and was
carried with him thus to his room across the Charles.

When he had surprised her gaze at him as he turned from the parade of
the 71st, and saw her smile upon him, he thought she had recognized him
as the line-smashing half-back,—and he very properly drew in his middle
and shoved out his chest another notch. But not so!  She did not
recognize him nor remember him.  In her overflowing patriotism she saw
only a soldier of the Republic; and her smiling face had but
unconsciously paid tribute to an ideal.



                              *CHAPTER IV*


On the first day of April, 191-, Hayward Graham, wearing the
single-barred yellow chevrons of a lance-corporal in Troop M of the 10th
Cavalry, was sitting flat on the ground, perspiring and inwardly
grumbling as he rubbed away at his sawed-off rifle, and mentally
moralizing on his inglorious condition. There was he, almost a graduate
of Harvard, a gentleman, accustomed to a bath-tub and a toothbrush,
bound up hard and fast for three years’ association with a crowd of
illiterate, roistering, unwashed, and in the present situation
unwashable, negroes of every shade from pale yellow to ebony.  Why,
thought he, should negroes always be dumped all into one heap as if they
were all of one grade?  Didn’t the government know there were negroes
and negroes? Whimsically he wondered why the officers didn’t sort them
out among the troops like they did the horses, according to
colour,—blacks, browns, yellows, ash-coloured, snuff-coloured.  Then
what possibilities in matching or contrasting the shades of the troopers
with those of their mounts: black horse, yellow rider,—bay horse, black
rider,—sorrel horse, gingersnap rider—no, that wouldn’t do, inartistic
combination! And what colour of steed would tastily trim off that
freckled abomination of a sergeant yonder?  Can’t be done,—scheme’s a
failure!—damn that sergeant anyhow, he had confiscated Graham’s only
toothbrush to clean his gun with.  Graham again records his oath to
thrash him when his three years is up.

But three years is an age.  It will never roll round. Only two months
has he been a soldier, and yet everything that happened before that is
becoming vague—even the smile on Helen Phillips’ face.  He cannot close
his eyes and conjure up the picture as he did at first.

Graham was out of temper.  Cavalry wasn’t what it is cracked up to be,
and a horse was of more trouble than convenience anyway, he was
convinced.  In the battle-drills the men had been put through so
repeatedly day after day the horse played no part, and what riding
Graham had done so far had served only to make him so sore and stiff
that he could neither ride nor walk in comfort.  He heartily repented
his choice and wished he had taken the infantry, where a man has to look
out only for himself and his gun.  Oh, the troubles, the numberless
troubles, of a green soldier!

All of Corporal Graham’s military notions were affronted, and his
right-dress, upstanding ideas of soldiering were shattered.  The reality
is a matter of pushing a curry-comb, getting your nose and mouth and
eyes filled with horse-hairs, which get down your neck and up your
sleeves, and stick in the sweat and won’t come off and there’s no water
to wash them off.  Then the drills—save the mark!—not as much precision
in them as in a football manoeuvre,—just a spreading out into a thin
line and running forward for five seconds perhaps, falling on your belly
and pretending to fire three rounds at an imaginary foe, then jumping up
and doing it all over again till you feel faint and foolish,—every man
for himself, no order, no alignment, one man crouching behind a shrub,
another falling prone on the ground, another hiding behind a
tree,—surely no pomp or circumstance or glory in that business.
Graham’s study of punctilios did him no service there.  Not a parade had
the regiment had.  Mobilized at a Southern port only three days before
the sailing of the transport, it had taken every hour of the time to
load the horses and equipment and supplies.  Graham had found that
fighting is a very small part of soldiering, which is mostly drudgery,
and he had revised his idea of war several times since his enlistment.

He thought as he sat cleaning his rifle that surely the preliminaries
were about over, and, if camp rumour counted for anything, that the day
of battle could not be more than one or two suns away.  He would have
his gun in fine working order, for good luck might bring some shooting
on the morrow.  At any rate his carbine must glisten when he becomes
part of to-morrow’s guard, and he hoped that he would be put right on
the point of the advance picket. He hadn’t had a shave in three weeks,
and his uniform was sweat-stained and dusty, and he could not hope to
look spick and span; but his gun could be shiny, and he knew Lieutenant
Wagner well enough by that time to have learned that a clean gun counted
for more with him than a clean shirt.  So he hoped and prayed that he
would be selected for some duty that was worth while.

The brigades under General Bell, which had been landed at Alta Gracia
with difficulty, were pressing forward with all haste to cut off a
garrison of Germans that had been thrown into Puerto Cabello from the
German cruisers, and to prevent the arrival of reinforcements which were
being rushed to their aid from Caracas.  Reports from native scouts and
communications from General Mañana himself placed the number of these
reinforcements at from five to seven thousand.  General Bell doubted
that this force was so large, but was anxious to meet it, whatever its
size.

Despite the vigilance of the all too meagre patrol of warships for
Venezuelan waters which the United States had been able to spare from
the necessary guard for her Atlantic and Gulf ports, the forehanded and
ever-ready Kaiser had landed seven or eight thousand troops from a fleet
of transports at Cumana, and with characteristic German promptness had
occupied Caracas and Barcelona before Uncle Sam had been able to put any
troops on Venezuelan soil.  It seemed nonsense for either Germany or the
United States to care to fight any battles down in that little
out-of-the-way place.  They could find other more accessible and far
more important battle-grounds: but no, as the Monroe Doctrine forbade
Germany to make a foothold in Venezuela and her doing so was the casus
belli, the ethics of the affair demanded that there should be a bona
fide forcible ejectment of the Kaiser’s troops from Venezuelan territory
by the United States.  The battles there might be only a side issue, and
the real test of strength might come at any or all of a dozen places on
land and sea, but there must be some fighting done in Venezuela just to
prove that the cause of war was not fanciful.

General Bell’s brigades were one under General Earnhardt, consisting of
the 5th, 7th, 10th and 15th Cavalry, and a second, including the 4th and
11th regular infantry, the 71st Ohio, and the 1st X——, under General
Cowles, with a battalion of engineers and four batteries of field
artillery.  General Earnhardt’s cavalry brigade was striving to reach
the Valencia road, the only passable route from Caracas to Puerto
Cabello, before the German force should pass. General Mañana had sent a
courier to say that he would hold the Germans in check till Earnhardt’s
arrival.

On the morning of April 2d Graham was among the advance pickets and
almost forgot his saddle pains and creaking joints in the excitement of
expected battle.  For half a day Earnhardt pushed forward as fast as the
trail would permit.  He had halted his troops for five minutes’ rest
about noon, when a native on a wiry pony, riding like one possessed,
dashed into the picket and came near getting his head punched off before
he could make Graham understand that he was a friend with a message for
the _Americano capitan_.  Graham carried him before General Earnhardt,
who at the head of his column was reclining on a bank beside the trail,
perspiring and dusty and brushing viciously at the flies and mosquitoes
that swarmed around him.  The general did not change his position when
the native, who was clad in a nondescript but much-beribboned uniform,
slid from his horse and with a ceremonious bow and salute informed him
that he was Captain Miguel of General Mañana’s staff, and had the honour
to report that he was despatched by General Mañana to say that, despite
that gentleman’s earnest and desperate resistance, a large and
outnumbering force of German cavalry had forced a passage of the road to
Puerto Cabello about eleven o’clock that morning.  While Captain Miguel
was delivering his elaborate message to the disgusted cavalryman, the
picket passed in an old soldier of the 10th who had been detailed as a
scout at the beginning of the campaign; and this scout rode up to report
just as the native captain finished speaking. Earnhardt turned
impatiently from Mañana’s aide to his own trusted man and said:

"Well, Morris, what is it?"

"Small force of German cavalry, sir, had a scrimmage with General
Mañana’s troops this morning on the Valencia road, and rode on in the
direction of Puerto Cabello."

"How many Germans got through?" asked the general.

"All of them, sir; about two troops, as near as I could count."

"And how many men did Mañana have?" the question came sharply.

"Something like fifteen hundred I should judge, sir, from the sound of
the firing and what I could see," answered the scout.

General Earnhardt, without rising, turned with unconcealed contempt to
Captain Miguel and said:

"My compliments to General Mañana, and he’s a —— old fraud and I don’t
want to have anything more to do with him;" and while the red-splashed
aide was trying to solve the curt message which he but half understood,
the trumpeter at a word from the angry cavalryman sounded _mount_ and
_forward_ and the brigade was again off at top speed, hoping still to
cut off the main relief force sent out from Caracas.  General Earnhardt
considered himself a lucky soldier to find that this force had not
passed when at last he reached the road (which was hardly worthy of the
name highway, though one of the thoroughfares of Venezuela); and he
hastily disposed his forces to meet the German advance.

It was not long in coming.  The crack of a rifle was the first notice
Corporal Graham had that he was about to be under fire.  He felt a cold
breeze blow upon his back for a moment, and then as the popping began to
approach a rattle the joy of contest entered his soul and sent his blood
bounding.

But the joy was short-lived.  When the Germans came near enough to see
that they were opposed by men in Uncle Sam’s uniform, and not by the
nagging natives who had been popping harmlessly away at them from the
roadside, they decided it was best not to be too precipitate.  They
stopped and began to feel for the American line.  After some desultory
sharpshooting they finally located it, and quieted down to wait till the
German commander could get his little army up and into line of battle.

Then Hayward Graham had to sit still and hold his gun while the
exhilaration and enthusiasm died down in him like the fiz in a glass of
soda-water.  He had worked his nerves up to such a tension that the
reaction was nothing less than painful, and he was full of impatience
and profanity.  He could hardly wait for to-morrow, when Germany and
Uncle Sam would get up after a good night’s rest and lay on like men.

Again what was his unspeakable disgust and almost unbearable
disappointment when the next morning came and he was detailed as stable
guard, and given charge of the 10th’s corral, quite a distance in rear
of the line of battle and absolutely out of all danger. Profanity was a
lame and feeble remedy for that situation.  He sat down and growled.

"Oh, for an assorted supply of languages in which to separately and
collectively and properly consign this whole bloody system of details to
the cellar of Hades!"

A veteran sergeant of Graham’s troop, who on occasions wore a medal of
honour on his blouse, and at all times bore an unsightly scar on his
cheek as a souvenir of Wounded Knee, sought to soothe the young man’s
feelings.

"It all comes along in the run of the business, corporal," he said.
"Soldiering is not all fighting. A man earns his money by doing whatever
duty is assigned to him."

Graham answered with heat: "I didn’t come into this nasty, sweaty,
horse-smelly business for any such consideration as fifteen dollars a
month and feed, and if I am to miss the scrapping and the glory I prefer
to cut the whole affair."

His temper improved, however, as the day began to drag itself away with
no sound of conflict from the battle-line save the occasional pop of a
pot-shot by the pickets, and as the rumour began to leak back to the
corral that both sides must be waiting for their guns to come up.  This
was doubtless true: for the four batteries of American artillery arrived
late in the afternoon, and the infantry brigade was all up by nightfall.



                              *CHAPTER V*


The two small armies were separated by the valley of a small stream
which ran in a broad circle around the low wooded hills or range of
hills upon which the Germans were entrenched.  This valley was from a
mile to a mile and a half wide, and the water-course was much nearer the
outer or American side.  The bed of this stream would furnish an
excellent breastwork or entrenchment for the American troops if they
should see fit to use it, but it was not tenable by the Germans because
it was at most all points subject to an enfilading fire from the
American position.  The surface of the valley was slightly broken and
undulating on the German side, but clear of timber and covered only with
grass, while on the American side the rise was more precipitous and
covered with a scattering growth of trees and bush.

On arriving and looking over the ground General Bell ordered that during
the night his artillery should be placed and concealed on the commanding
heights which his position afforded; and that his fighting-line,
composed of the 5th and 15th Cavalry as his left wing, the 1st X—— as
his centre, and the 4th and 11th Infantry as his right wing, be moved
forward down the slope and into the bed of the stream, leaving as a
reserve the 71st Ohio and the 10th Cavalry located approximately in rear
of the centre of his line of battle.  The 7th Cavalry he had sent out
toward Puerto Cabello to hold in check any possible German troops that
might appear from that quarter.

Corporal Hayward Graham, back at the 10th’s corral, had recovered his
spirits as the day dragged along without any sound of battle, and he
began to congratulate himself that he would finish up in good time all
details that would keep him out of the fighting. When he walked over to
the line late in the afternoon, however, and learned that the whole
regiment was to be held out of the fight as a reserve, he immediately
surmised that the 10th was kept out of it because they were negroes, and
that the others from the general down wanted to scoop all the glory for
the white soldiery,—and again he sat down and cursed the negro blood in
his veins.  The only salve to his outraged spirit was the information
that those high and mighty prigs of the 71st were also to miss the
glory.  He even chuckled when he thought of the chagrin of Lieutenant
Morgan and pictured to himself the scene of the lieutenant’s meeting
with Miss Elise Phillips if he should have to go back and explain to her
how he came not to be under fire.  Then he remembered Helen Phillips and
the crimson pennant locked up in his trunk, and he felt that the whole
war would count for naught if he had no chance to do something worthy of
that pennant and of her.  He wandered listlessly along the lines and
tried to forget his troubles in listening to the talk of the fortunates
who were going in.

He came to where a crowd of 1st X—— men were chaffing a squad of the
71st for "taking a gallery-seat at the show."  Corporal Billie Catling
of the 71st replied that they took the "gallery-seat" under orders and
were put behind the 1st X—— to see that they didn’t dodge a fight again
like they did in Cuba.

"That’s a damn lie!" came the 1st X——’s rejoinder in chorus; to which
one of them added, "The 1st X—— never ran out of any fight in Cuba, and
you gallery-gods can go to sleep or go to the devil, for we’ll stay here
till hell freezes over so thick you can skate on the ice."

"Well, you may not have run _out_ of any fight in Cuba, but it’s blamed
certain you didn’t _run in_to one," retorted the 71st’s spokesman.

"Now, sonny," yelled the X—— man, "don’t get sassy because you’re not
permitted to sit down along with your betters.  Run along and wait for
the second table with the niggers!"

The 71st’s contingent could not find a suitable retort to this sally,
and, as fighting was out of the question, they walked away muttering
imprecations amid the jeers of the men from X——.

Graham enjoyed the discomfiture of the 71st; but he was more than ever
convinced that the colour of the 10th accounted for its being robbed of
a chance for fame in this campaign: and he went back to his duty in a
mutinous mood.  He could not know that General Bell had held this
veteran negro regiment in reserve because of its proved steadiness and
valour; nor that he had placed the untried 1st X—— in his centre because
it would thus be in the easiest supporting distance of his reserves.

The battle opened on April 3d the moment it became light enough for the
gunners to locate the half-hidden German lines and artillery.  For
awhile the cannoneers had it all between themselves; and in this duel
the advantage was with the Americans, for their position gave them
better protection—the fighting-line being sheltered by the stream-bed
and the guns and reserves by the hill.  The Germans were entrenched on a
hill as high as the Americans, but it was much flatter and afforded less
natural cover.

After two or three hours of pounding the Germans with his artillery,
which was evidently inflicting great damage, General Bell ordered his
line forward to carry the German position by assault.  Then the battle
began in earnest.  The German machine-guns opened on the American line
as it rose out of the stream-bed and began its slow and terrible journey
across the open valley by short rushes.  The first breath of lead and
iron that dashed in the faces of the American troops as they stood up
began the work of death; and it came so promptly and so viciously that
it overwhelmed the raw discipline and untempered metal of the 1st X——;
for before advancing thirty paces the line wavered and broke and
retreated ignobly to the sheltering bank of the stream.  Not all the
regiment broke at once; but the break and stampede of one company
quickly spread along the entire regimental front, and back into the
ditch they dived.  Some of the officers cursed and commanded and
entreated; but to no purpose.  The wings of the American line were
advancing steadily but slowly, standing up for a few moments to dash
forward a dozen yards, and then lying as close to the ground as possible
while returning the terrible fire from the hills in front of them.

General Bell from his position of vantage saw the failure of the 1st X——
to advance, and waited a few moments in hope that a half-dozen officers
who were recklessly exposing themselves in their attempts to urge the
men forward might succeed in their efforts.  As it became evident that
the regiment would not face the deadly fire of the Germans, however, and
as the wings of the battle-line were diverging as they advanced because
of the formation of the ground in their front, General Bell waited no
longer, but ordered forward both the 10th Cavalry and the 71st Ohio.
These came over the hill on the run and dropped down the slope into the
water-course, where the heroic handful of officers were still making
frantic efforts to have the 1st X—— go forward.  A captain was violently
berating his men for their cowardice and imploring them to advance,
while his first lieutenant squeezed down behind the bank was yelling at
them not to move.  A major of one battalion was standing up straight and
fully exposed, waving his sword and appealing to his men by every token
of courage, while another major was lying as close to the bottom of the
ditch as a spreading-adder.  At places the men seemed to want to move,
while the officers crouched in fear; while at others officers by no
amount of commands or entreaties could get a man out of the ditch. A
panic of terror seemed to be upon the regiment which the few untouched
spirits were not able to overcome by any power of sharp commands, or
violent pleading, or reckless examples of courage.

The boys of the 71st and the negro troopers of the 10th did not treat
the X—— men tenderly as they passed over them.  They jumped down upon
them as they lay in the ditch and tramped upon them or kicked them out
of the way contemptuously, while the fear-smitten creatures were as
unresentful as hounds. Corporal Graham, near the left flank of the 10th,
heard an officer of the 71st yell as they passed over the ditch, "Why
don’t you go forward?  What the devil are you waiting for?" to which
Billie Catling, as he knocked a cowering X—— man from his path, cried
out in answer, "It’s too hot for ’em, captain. They are going to stay
here till this hell freezes over!"

As many perhaps as a fourth of the 1st X——, officers and men, fell in
with the 71st and the 10th and bravely charged with them up the long
slope. The remainder waited till the battle was so far ahead of them
that their belated advance could not wipe out the black shame of
cowardice.

In the hurry of their rush into the breach the adjoining flanks of the
10th and the 71st overlapped and were confused; but it was well that the
two regiments were sent to replace the one, for the loss was appalling
as they surged forward toward the German lines, and they were not long
in being thinned out to an uncrowded basis.

The first sight of a man struck and falling to the ground shook Corporal
Graham’s nerves, and he had to pull himself together sharply to save
himself from the weakening horror death always had for him.  He turned
his eyes resolutely away from the first half-dozen, that were knocked
down, and applied himself religiously and consciously to the prescribed
method of advancing by rushes; but all his faculties were alert to the
dangers of the situation, and he could not shake off his keen sense of
peril and of the tragedies around him.  Not for long did he suffer thus,
however, for as he rose up from the grass for one rush forward a bullet
grazed his shin—and changed his whole nature in a twinkling.  It did him
no real damage and little blood came from the wound, but the pain was
intense.  He dropped on the earth and grabbed his leg to see what the
harm was, and was surprised to find himself uninjured save for the
burning, stinging sensation.  Then he forgot everything but his pain,
and became as pettishly angry in a moment as if he had collided with a
rocking-chair in the dark.  In that moment he conceived a personal
enmity and grudge against the whole German army, and proceeded to avenge
his injury on a personal basis.  He became as cool and collected as if
he were playing a game of checkers, and went in a business-like way
about reducing the distance between himself and the gentlemen who had
hurt his shin.  His anger had dissolved his confusion and neutralized
the horrors that were at first upon him.  He was more than ever
conscious of the falling men about him; but he had his debt to pay,—let
them look after their own scores. He saw Lieutenant Wagner stagger and
fall and raise up and drag himself into a protecting depression in the
ground; he saw the colonel of the 1st X——, fighting with a carbine in
his hand right alongside the black troopers of the 10th, drop in a heap
and lie so still he knew he was dead; he saw Corporal Billie Catling
straighten up and pitch his gun from him as a bullet hit him in the face
and carried away the whole back of his head;—yet Graham stopped not to
help or to think.  He had only one purpose—to reach the man who hit his
shin.  He saw man after man, many of his own troop, drop in death or
blood or agony—and his purpose did not change.  Then, a little distance
to his left and somewhat to his rear, he saw Colonel Phillips of the
71st go down in the grass; he saw him try to gain his feet, and fail;
and then try to drag himself from his very exposed position, and fail.
Then Corporal Graham forgot his personal grievance, and thought of the
girl and the pennant. He ran across to Colonel Phillips and, finding him
shot through both legs, picked him up and carried him for forty yards or
more through the hurricane of lead to where the Valencia road made a cut
in the long slope; and in this cut, down behind a sheltering curve, he
placed him.  Not a moment too promptly had the trooper acted, for of all
the unfortunates who had fallen anywhere near Colonel Phillips not one
but was found riddled with the bullets of the machine-guns when the
battle was ended.  Graham’s own hat was shot away from his head and the
officer in his arms received another wound as he bore him out of harm’s
way....  At the Colonel’s request the negro tried to remove the boot
from the bleeding right leg, which was broken below the knee.  As this
was so painful Colonel Phillips handed him a pearl-handled pocket-knife
and asked him to cut the boot-top away. Graham did so, and bound a
handkerchief around the leg to stop the flow of blood.  Having made
every other disposition for the officer’s comfort which his situation
permitted, he looked out in the direction of the battle so wistfully
that the Colonel told him he might return to the fight.  He did so with
a rush, absent-mindedly pocketing the pearl-handled knife as he ran.

[Illustration: "CARRIED HIM FOR FORTY YARDS OR MORE THROUGH THE
HURRICANE OF LEAD."]

The firing-line had advanced quite a distance while Graham was rescuing
Colonel Phillips and ministering to him; and in his overweening desire
to be right at the front of the battle he ran forward without the
customary stops for lying down and firing.  That they should carry him
safe through that driving rain of bullets, despite his indifference to
the ordinary rules of the desperate game, was more than reasonably could
have been expected of the Fates which had protected him up to that
moment from serious harm; and—down he crashed in the grass and lay still
without design, while the battle passed farther and farther up the long
slope, away from him.  In dim half-consciousness he realized what had
befallen him; and the only two ideas which found place in his mind were
the uncomfortable thought that he would be buried without a bath, and a
feeling of satisfaction that the god of battle at least had dignified
him with a more respectable wound than a bruised shin-bone.



                              *CHAPTER VI*


When two strong, alert men, disputing, come to the final appeal to
battle, the decision is usually made quickly.  It is only the weak or
the unprepared who prolong a fight.

So was it that late summer in 191- saw an end of war between Germany and
the United States—thanks partially to the intervention of the Powers.
And with what result?  The result does appear so inadequate!  The Monroe
Doctrine was still unshaken—and that was worth much perhaps; but ten
thousand sailors and the flower of two navies were under the tide, and
half as many soldiers dead of fever or fighting in Venezuela; small
armies of newly made orphans and widows in Germany and America; mourning
and despair in the houses of the desolate,—some hope in the heart of the
pension attorney; a new set of heroes on land and sea,—at the top.
Long, who at the battle of the Bermudas, finding his own small craft and
a wounded German cruiser left afloat of twenty-odd vessels that had
begun the fight, in answer to her demand for his surrender, had
torpedoed and sunk the German promptly, and to his own everlasting
astonishment had managed to save his neck and prevent the battle’s
becoming a Kilkenny affair by beaching his riddled boat and keeping her
flag above water: from Long an endless list of real and fictitious
heroes, dwindling by nice gradations in importance as they increased in
numbers, till they touched bottom in the raw volunteer infantryman whose
wildest tale of adventure was of his exemplary courage in a great storm
that swept the God-forsaken sand-bar on which his company had been
stationed,—to prevent the German navy’s purloining the new-laid
foundations of a fort to guard Catfish River.

In the long list of heroes Colonel Hayne Phillips was not without
prominence.  The sailormen were first for their deeds were more numerous
and spectacular; but among the soldiers who were in the popular eye he
was easily the most lauded.  He was a volunteer; and that was everything
in his favour, for it put him on a par with members of the regular
establishment of ten times his merit.  He was nothing more than a brave
and patriotic man with a taste for the military and with but little of a
professional soldier’s knowledge or training; and yet his demonstrated
possession of those two qualities alone, patriotism and personal courage
(which most men indeed possess, and which are so inseparably associated
with one’s thought of a regular army officer as to add nothing to his
fame or popularity),—the possession of these two simple American virtues
had brought to Colonel Phillips the enthusiastic admiration of a
hero-loving people, and—what was of more personal advantage to him—the
consequent consideration and favour of party-managers in need of a
popular idol.

These political prestidigitators, mindful of the political successes of
the soldiers, Taylor, Grant and Roosevelt, took him and his war record
in hand and proceeded to work a few easy miracles.  The love and
plaudits of a great State and a great nation for a favourite regiment
coming home with honour and with the glory of hard-won battle upon its
standards were skilfully turned to account for partisan political uses.
The deeds and virtues of a thousand men were deftly placed to the credit
of one, and before the very eyes of the people was the legerdemain
wrought by which one political party and one Colonel Phillips drew all
the dividends from the investment of treasure and of blood and of
patriotic energy and devotion which that thousand men had made without a
thought of politics or pay.

The partisan press, as always advertent to the peculiar penchant
hero-worship has for ignoring patent absurdities, overdrew the
picture—but no harm was done: for while truth of fact was disregarded
and abused, essential truth suffered no hurt.  Although enterprising
newspapers did furnish for the political campaign one photogravure of
Colonel Phillips leading the 71st regiment over the German earthworks at
the battle of Valencia, and another of him in the act of receiving the
German commander’s sword on that occasion—these things did the gallant
Colonel no injustice.  He gladly would have attended to those little
matters of the surrender in place of the veteran officer of regulars who
officiated.  It was through no fault of the 71st’s commander that
shortness of breath made it impossible for him to keep pace with his men
up that long slope; nor in the least to his discredit that he was shot
down in the rear of the regiment and his life saved through the bravery
of a negro trooper.

The Colonel’s courage was indeed of the genuine metal and he willingly
would have met all the dangers and performed all the mighty deeds
accredited to him if opportunity had come to him.  Being conscious of
this willingness in his own soul, he took no measures to correct
impressions of his prowess made upon the minds of misinformed thousands
of voters.  The error was not in a mistaken public opinion as to his
valour, for that was all that was claimed for it, but in the people’s
belief in certain spectacular exhibitions of that valour which were
really totally imaginary.  He knew that he was as brave a man as the
people thought: why then quibble over facts that were entirely
incidental?  The hero-idolaters swallowed in faith and ecstasy all the
details which an inventive and energetic press bureau could turn out,
and cried for more: and the nomination for the presidency practically
had been tendered to him by acclamation almost a year before the
convention assembled which officially commissioned him its
standard-bearer.

Colonel Phillips’ campaign was attended by one wild hurrah from start to
finish.  It was pyrotechnic. Other candidates for this office of all
dignity have awaited calmly at home the authoritative call of the
people; but the materia medica of politics teaches that to quicken a
sluggish pulse in the electorate a hero must be administered directly
and vigorously into the system.  So the Colonel was sent upon his mighty
"swing around the circle."

In that sweeping vote-drive many weapons were displayed, but only one
saw any real service.  That was the Colonel’s gray and battered campaign
hat. He wore it for the sake of comfort, to be sure; but, like the log
cabin and grandfather’s hat of the Harrisons, the rails of Lincoln, and
the Rough Riders uniform of Roosevelt, it was the tumult-raising and
final answer to every argument and appeal of the opposition. It uprooted
party loyalties, silenced partisan prejudices, overrode eloquence and
oratory, beat back and battered down the shrewd attacks and defences of
political manipulation, and contemptuously kicked aside anything
savouring of serious political reasoning.  The convention which
nominated him had indeed formulated and declared an admirable platform
upon which he should go before the people, and he placed himself
squarely on that platform; but the gaze of the people never got far
enough below that campaign hat to notice what its wearer was standing
on.

Colonel Phillips was a sincere, honest, candid, plain-spoken
politician—for politician he was if he was anything, while yet so
fearless of party whips and mandates that his name was synonymous with
honesty and lofty civic purpose.  So, feeling his own purposes ringing
true to the declarations of his party’s platform he did not deem it
necessary to direct the distracted attention of the people to these
prosy matters of statecraft when they were taking such a friendly
interest in his headgear.  If they were willing to blindly follow the
hat, he knew in his honest heart that the man under it would carry that
hat along paths of political righteousness.

He was indeed playing upon every chord of popular feeling and seeking
the favour of every man with a ballot.  He had always fought to win in
every contest he had entered, from single-stick to war, and he made no
exception of this race for the chieftaincy of the Republic.  It was to
be expected, therefore, that the large negro vote in pivotal States, as
well as his natural love of justice and his admiration for a brave
soldiery, would lead him to pay enthusiastic and deserved tribute to the
negro troops who had served in the Venezuelan campaign.  He paid these
tributes religiously and brilliantly in every speech he made, but always
in general and impersonal terms and without a hint of his own debt to a
corporal of the 10th Cavalry.  There was no need for such minutiæ of
course, for that was a purely personal affair between him and an unknown
negro who might be dead and buried for all he knew; while, besides, a
recital of these unimportant details would necessitate a fruitless
revision of other incidental ideas now pleasantly fixed in the public
mind.  He sometimes entertained his wife and daughters with the story of
how a trooper of the 10th had saved his life, but never did he sound the
personal note in public.

Colonel Phillips made votes with every speech and it looked as if he
would win.  He deserved to win, for he was honest, capable, clean.  As
election day drew near the opposing candidate received a confidential
letter from his campaign manager in which that veteran politician said:

"I have lost and won many hats in my political career, but this is the
first time I have ever been called upon to fight a hat—just a hat—to
settle a Presidency.  This is a hat campaign; and you have evidently
made the mistake of going bareheaded all your life.  You seem, too, to
have limited yourself to a home-grown ancestry.  The Colonel is simply
wearing a hat and claiming kin with everything from a Plymouth Rock
rooster to a palmetto-tree.  The newspapers are getting on my nerves
with their unending references to that campaign-hat and Phillips’
ding-dong about the unity and virility of American blood and his
mother’s being a South Carolinian."

                     *      *      *      *      *

"The cards are running against us."



                             *CHAPTER VII*


Colonel Phillips’ daughters were enjoying life to the full in their long
summer outing on the St. Lawrence.  The older, Elise, had just finished
with the schools and was free from many of the restraints which the
strict and old-fashioned ideas of her mother had put upon her during her
girlhood, and was filled with a lively enjoyment of her first
untrammelled association with the males of her kind.  Helen was still a
girl, and her mother yet threw about her all the guards and fences that
properly hedge about the days of maidenhood.  But this did not in the
slightest check the flow of Helen’s joy in life, for the matter of sex
in her associates was not an element in her happiness. Boy or girl, it
mattered not to her, if her fellow in the hour’s sport was quick-witted,
quick-moving and mischief-loving.  The extent of her thoughts of love
was that it and its victims were most excellent objects of banter and
ridicule; and she found the incipient affair between Elise and Evans
Rutledge a source of much fun.

"Are you a hero?" she once asked Mr. Rutledge solemnly.

"Not to my own knowledge," Rutledge answered.  "Why?"

"Because if you are you may be my brother sometime. Elise likes you a
little, I think, and she thinks your hair would curl beautifully if you
didn’t crop it so close—but you will have to be a hero.  You needn’t
fear Mr. Morgan.  He failed to be a hero when he had the chance, and now
his chance is gone. Nobody but a hero can interest Elise for keeps."

"When did Morgan have his chance?" asked Rutledge, amused at the
mischief-maker’s plain speaking.

"He went to Venezuela in papa’s regiment, but never had a shot fired at
him the whole time he was gone.  That’s what he did.  Elise cannot love
a man like that."

"Perhaps it was not his fault.  He may have been detailed to such duties
as kept him away from the shots."

"Yes, I think he says he was; but what of that? He wasn’t in the
fighting, and that’s what it takes to make a hero.  Oh, I wish I were a
man.  I would ride a horse and hunt lions and tigers, and I would have
gone to the war in Venezuela and nobody’s orders would have kept me from
the firing-line—I believe that’s what papa calls it—the place where all
the fun and danger is.  When papa talks about it I can hear my heart
beat.  Elise says she wouldn’t be a man for anything; but I’ve heard her
say that she could love a man if he was a _man_—brave and strong—you
know—a man who did things.  I would prefer to do the things myself.  I
wouldn’t love any man I ever saw—unless he was just like papa.  What
regiment were you in, Mr. Rutledge?"

"I wasn’t in any regiment," said Rutledge meekly.

"What!  Didn’t you volunteer?" asked Helen in surprise.

"I did not volunteer"—a trifle defiantly.

"Why?" Helen demanded scornfully.  "If I had a brother and he had failed
to volunteer I would never have spoken to him again!  I thought all
South Carolinians were fighters."

"I had other things to attend to," said Rutledge shortly.  "Where is
Miss Phillips this afternoon?"

"She’s out on the river with Mr. Morgan.  They will not be back till
dinner, so you would just as well sit down here and talk to me....  But
I’m sorry you didn’t volunteer—you will never be my brother now.... And
I was beginning to like you so much."

"I thank you, little girl, for your attempt to think well of me.  I see
that I have sinned past your forgiveness in not being a hero.  Remember
that it is only because ninety and nine men are commonplace that the
hundredth may be a hero.  I am one of the ninety and nine that make the
hero possible—a modest king-maker, in a way.  A hero must have some one
else to fight for, or die for, or live for.  He cannot do these things
for himself, for that would make him anything but a hero.  So you see
that the second person is as necessary to the process of hero-making as
the hero himself.  It’s all in the process and not in the product,
anyway.  It’s the hero in act and not in fact, in the making and not in
the taking, that enjoys his own heroism and is worth our interest. While
he is making himself he thrills with the effort and with the uncertainty
as to whether he will get a commission, a lathe-and-plaster arch, or a
court of inquiry; and we the ninety and nine, we thrill with the
gambling fever and make wagers that his trolley will get off the wire.
But when he gets himself done—clean done, so to speak, wrapped in
tinfoil and ready for use—then there is nothing left for the hero to do
but to pose and await our applause—which is most unheroic; and we, after
one whoop, forget him in the excitement of watching the next candidate
risk his neck.  Besides, the hero’s work in hero-making is temporary and
limited, for he stops with making one; but we, when we have finished
with one, turn to the making of another, and our work is never done.
While I am not even one hero, I have helped to make a hundred.  Come
now—you are generous and unselfish—which would you most admire, one
finished hero listening for applause, or a hero-maker, who, without
reward or the hope of reward, modestly and continuously assists in thus
bringing glory to an endless procession of his fellows?"

"You think you are brilliant, Mr. Rutledge," answered Helen with an
impatient toss of her head, "but you can’t confuse me by any such talk
as that.  You needn’t think you will be able to persuade Elise by any
long jumble of words that you are greater than a hero.  A king-maker!"
She laughed mockingly at him.

"Don’t fear that I will use any sophistry or doubtful method to become
your brother," Rutledge rejoined amusedly.  "I have only one thing to
tell Miss Phillips."

"And what is that?" asked Helen with interest.

"I am inexpressibly pained to refuse your lightest wish," said Rutledge
grandiloquently, "but to grant your request would be—telling; and I
may—not tell,—perhaps,—even Miss Phillips."

"Do not suffer so," said Helen with an assumption of great indifference.
"I don’t care to hear it."

"Yes, I predict that you will be delighted to listen to it when it is
told to you," said Rutledge confidently. "And it will be beyond doubt.
But you are too young to hear such things yet.  Be patient.  You’ll get
older if you live long enough."

It fretted Helen to be told that she was young, as she was told a dozen
times a day—not that she disliked her youth, but because of the
suggestion that she was not free to do as she pleased; and her eyes
began to flash at Rutledge’s taunt and her mind to form a suitable
expression of resentment—when that gentleman walked away from her
smiling at her petulant anger.

Evans Rutledge had more interest in Helen’s words about her sister than
he showed in his manner or conversation.  He had not told Elise what his
heart had told him for many days past, though she did not need spoken
words to know.  He, manlike, thought that he was keeping this knowledge
of his supreme affection for her a secret in his own soul, to be
delivered as a startling and effective surprise when an impressive and
strategic opportunity should come to tell her of it.  She, womanlike,
read him as easily as a college professor is supposed to read Greek, and
concerned herself chiefly with feigning ignorance of his interest in
her.

Elise’s true attitude toward Rutledge was a sort of neutrality.  She was
neither for him nor against him.  She was attracted by everything she
saw or knew of him, and looked upon him with that more than passing
interest which every woman has for a man who has asked or will ask her
to be his wife.

On the other hand she was decided she could not accept Rutledge.  She
had but crossed the threshold of her unfettered young womanhood, and her
natural and healthy zest in its pleasures overcame any natural impulse
to choose a mate.  Added to this were the possibilities held out in her
romantic imagination as the increasing newspaper prophecies concerning
her father induced day-dreams of court-like scenes and princely suitors
when she should be the young lady of the White House, the most exalted
maiden in great America, with the prerogative of a crown princess. A
temporary prerogative surely, but well-nigh irresistible when combined
with the compelling charm of American womanhood, that by right of genius
assumes the high positions for which nature has endowed the gentlewomen
of this republic, and by right of fine adaptability and inborn
queenliness establishes and fortifies them, as if born to the purple, in
the social high places of older civilizations.

Elise Phillips, with all her democratic training, with her admirable
good common sense, with her adorable kindliness of heart and
friendliness of spirit for every man and woman of high or low degree,
with her sincere admiration for true manliness and pure womanliness
unadorned by any tinsel of arbitrary rank, with all her contempt for the
shams and pretences of decayed nobilities parading dishonoured titles,
was yet too much a woman and too full of the romantic optimism of life’s
spring-time not to dream of princely youths wearing the white flower of
blameless lives who would come in long procession to attend her
temporary court.

And in that procession as it even now passed before her imagination, she
kept watch for _him_,—the ideal of her maiden soul, the master of her
virgin heart;—_him_, with the blue eyes and flaxen hair and the
commanding figure that looked down upon all other men;—_him_, with the
look and gesture of power that men obeyed and women adored, and that
became tender and adoring only for her;—_him_, with a rank that made him
to stand before kings with confidence, and a clean life that might stand
before her white soul and feel no shame;—_him_, with a strength and
courage that failed not nor faltered along the rocky paths by which the
laurel and Victoria Crosses grow, and that yet would falter and tremble
with love in her presence.  Oh, the wonderful dreams of Youth! How real
they are, and how powerful in changing the issues of life and of death.

Had Rutledge taken counsel of his mother or heeded her disapprobation of
Miss Elise Phillips, he would have saved himself at least from the pain
of a flouted love; and if he could have made his heart obey his mother’s
wish he would have avoided the stress of many heartaches and jealousies,
and of slow-dying hope.

Mrs. Rutledge had her young womanhood in the heart-burning days of the
Great War, and the partisan impress then seared into her young soul was
ineradicable.  She had a youth that knew fully the passions and the
sorrows of that awful four years of blood and strife: for every man of
her house, father and five brothers, had she seen dead and cold in their
uniforms of gray; and her antipathy for "those people" who had sent
anguish and never-ending desolation into her life might lie dormant if
memory was unprovoked, but it could never change nor lose its sharp
vehemence.

She had objected to Elise from the moment her son showed a fancy for
her, and began quietly to sow in his mind the seeds she hoped would grow
into dislike and aversion.  She told him that "those people," as she
invariably called persons who came from that indefinite stretch of
country which her mind comprehended in the term "the North," were "not
of our sort,"—that they were intelligent and interesting in a way;—that
Elise Phillips was unquestionably fascinating to a young man, that her
money had given her a polish of mind and manner that was admittedly
attractive; but that she was not fitted to be the life companion of a
man whose culture and gentlemanliness was not a product of schools and
of dollars but a heritage from long generations of gentle ancestors who
had bequeathed to him converging legacies of fine and gentle breeding.

Evans Rutledge, however, was of a new day; and his mother’s theory that
good blood was a Southern and sectional product found no place in his
thought. He was tender, however, and considerate of his mother’s
prejudices, and was never so rude as to brush them aside contemptuously.
He always treated them with deference and tried always to meet them with
some show of reason.  In the case of Elise Phillips he sought to placate
his mother’s whim and capture her prejudice by tacitly agreeing to the
general proposition while excepting Elise from it by the use of Colonel
Phillips’ well-worn statement that his mother was a South Carolinian.

"That makes Miss Phillips a granddaughter of South Carolina," said
Rutledge to his mother; "and surely there cannot be much degeneracy in
two generations,—especially when the Southern blood was of the finest
strain."

Mrs. Rutledge admitted that the argument was not without force, but
solemnly warned her son there was no telling when the common strain
might crop out.

"What’s bred in the bone will come out in the blood," she said, "and bad
blood is more assertive than good."

Evans loved his mother better than any other soul except Elise, and he
would go far and deny himself much to obey even her most unreasonable
whim, but his love for Elise was too fervid a passion to be stifled for
the sake of a war-born prejudice.  He would win her; yes, he must win
her; and he waited only the winning moment to plead openly for his
happiness.



                             *CHAPTER VIII*


It was a morning in late September that Elise and Rutledge went for
their last canoe ride on the mighty river.  Mrs. Phillips and her
daughters were to leave for home on an early afternoon train, and Mrs.
Rutledge and Evans for Montreal an hour later.

It was a day to live.  By an occasional splash of yellow or red among
the green that lined the riverside and clothed the diminutive island in
the stream, Summer gave notice that in thirty days Nature must find
another tenant; and a taste of chill in the air was Winter’s advance
agent looking over the premises and arranging to decorate them in the
soberer grays and browns for the coming of his serious and mighty
master.

The lassitude of the hot days was gone, and life and impulse were in the
autumn breeze.  There was not a suggestion of melancholy or decay or
death in earth, air or sky.  It was more as if a strong man was risen
from drowsy sleep and stretching his muscles and breathing a fresh air
into his lungs for a day of vigorous doing.  Not exhaustion but
strength, not languor but briskness, not the end but the beginning, was
indicated in every breath and aspect of Nature.

It was a morning not to doubt but to believe: and Rutledge felt the
tightening spring in mind and body and heart, and the bracing influence
made his love and his hopes to vibrate and thrill.  As with easy strokes
he sent the canoe through the water he drank in the fresh beauty of
Elise as an invigorating draught.  She was so _en rapport_ with the
morning and the sunlight and the life as she sat facing and smiling upon
him, her cheeks aglow with health and her face alight with the exquisite
keenness of joy in living, that she seemed to him the incarnate spirit
of the day.

The crisp tingle in the air was not without its spell upon Elise.  No
blood could respond more quickly than hers to Nature’s quickening
heart-beats, and it sang in her pulses with unaccustomed sensations that
morning.  She looked upon Rutledge as he smartly swung the paddle, and
was struck with the strength he seemed to possess without the coarse
obtrusion of muscle.  She accredited the easiness of his movements to
the smooth water, in which he had kept the canoe because of his desire
to be as little distracted as possible from contemplation of Elise’s
charms and graces. The swing of his body and arms was as graceful as if
he had learned it from a dancing-master, and there was a touch of
daintiness about it which was his only personal trait that Elise had
positively designated in her mind as not belonging to her ideal man.
She did not object to it on its own account, but surmised it might have
its origin in some vague unmanly weakness—and weakness in a man she
despised.

She had talked to him of a score of things since they had embarked,
passing rapidly from one to another in order to keep him away from the
one subject he seemed attracted to from any point of the conversational
compass.  At the moment she had been so clearly impressed with his
almost feminine gracefulness the conversation was taking a dangerous
swerve, she thought; and for a minute she was at a loss how to divert
the course of language from the matter nearest his heart.  In a blind
effort to do so she unthinkingly challenged him to prove his sterner
strength which she had never seen put to the test.

"It’s easy going here, isn’t it?" she said.  "What a pity we couldn’t
have one visit to the island before we go away."

"Do you wish to go there?" asked Rutledge.

"I would like to," she replied, "but of course we cannot attempt it
without an experienced canoe-man. It is about time for us to return;
don’t you think so?"

"That depends on whether you really want to go to the island," returned
Rutledge, who was quick to see and resent the intimation that he was not
equal to the business of putting her across the racing water between
them and the small cluster of trees and shrubs growing among a misshapen
pile of rocks nearly across the river.

"I am told no one but these half-breed guides have ever tried the
passage," he continued.  "Not because it is so very dangerous, I
suppose, but because it is too small to attract visitors to try the
rough water."

"They can get to it easily from the other side, can’t they?  It seems so
near to that," said Elise.

"No.  Jacques tells me that the narrow water on the other side runs like
a race-horse, and has many rocks to smash the canoe.  Even going from
this side I would prefer to leave you here, Miss Phillips, and of course
that would make the visit without inducement to me."

"You allow your carefulness of me and your politeness to me to reason
you out of the danger," said Elise, without any sinister purpose; but
Rutledge recalled Helen Phillips’ words about Elise and heroes, and
became uncomfortable.

"I used them to reason you out of the danger," he replied.  "If the
argument does not appeal to you I am ready for your orders."

"Then let’s go over," said Elise, prompted half by the challenge in his
eyes and half by her subconscious desire to see him vindicate his
feminine grace.

"I admit I am a coward," Rutledge remarked as he turned the canoe toward
the island.

"Oh, if you confess to being afraid!" said Elise in mingled surprise and
pity.  "I certainly cannot insist.  Let’s return to the hotel."

"You mistake me," Rutledge replied as he sent the light craft on toward
the rapids.  "My cowardice is in permitting you to bully me into
carrying you into some danger.  I should have the courage to refuse."

"You would have me believe in your courage, then, whether you choose
danger or avoid it.  That is artful," Elise rejoined.

The word "artful" nettled Rutledge, and he put his resentment into the
strokes which sent the canoe forward.  If Elise Phillips could believe
of him that he would attempt to establish a reputation for courage by a
trick of words, words would be inadequate, of course, to defend him from
the imputation.  There was no chance now to convince her, he thought,
save to try the passage.  So, despising the weakness which would not let
him point the canoe homeward, he set his strength against the increasing
current, and soon lost thought of the argument in the zest of sparring
with the river.

Elise became absorbedly interested in the contest and in his handling of
the boat.  The interest of both became more and more intense as the
water began to slap the canoe viciously and toss them with careless
strength.  A wave rolling over a sunken rock rushed upon them with a
gurgle and swash and passed under the canoe with a heave and splash that
tilted them uncomfortably and threw a hatful of water over the side.
Another came with a more impatient toss, and Elise crouched upon the
seat to preserve her equilibrium.  Rutledge looked round at her face,
which was unsmiling but without fear, and asked:

"Shall we go back?"

"No," the girl answered.

They soon found that the water was swifter than they had judged it from
the shore, and that they had not put across far enough up-stream to make
the island easily.  They were nearing it, but the current was becoming
boisterous and they were drifting faster and faster down-stream.
Swifter water and rougher met the canoe at every paddle-stroke.
Rutledge with his back to Elise dropped on one knee in the water in the
canoe bottom and gave every energy to his work.  If Elise had not been
with him he would have liked nothing better.

As for the girl, she would not insist on this wild ride again, but,
being in, she was having many thrills of pleasure.  Rutledge’s manner
gave her confidence that they would reach the island, but with how much
discomfiture she was as yet uncertain.  She was drenched with water from
the slapping waves and the swiftly flying paddle, which was Rutledge’s
only weapon against the wrath of the river.  She saw in his resolute
efforts that their situation was at least serious if not dangerous, and
she hardly took her eyes from him; but with her closest scrutiny she did
not detect the slightest indecision or apprehension.

Only once did fear come to her, and that but for a moment.  The struggle
was now quick and furious. They were in the mad whirl of crushing water
that tore alongside the island and was ripped and ground among the
bullying rocks.  She heard Rutledge stifle a cry as he sent the canoe
out with a back-stroke that almost threw her overboard, and the rioting
current slammed them past a jagged vicious-looking rock just under the
river’s surface which would have smashed their cockle-shell to
splinters.  When she looked down upon it as they were shot past she
thought for an instant of death and dead men’s bones.  Then—

"Out!  Quick—now!" yelled Rutledge, as with a strength that seemed as
much of will as of muscle, he shoved the canoe’s nose up against the
island and held it for a moment against the fury of the water.

Elise rose at his sharp command and leaped lightly out upon a bare rock,
giving the canoe a back kick which sent it swinging around broad across
the current.  As it swung off Rutledge, seeing no favourable place below
him to make another landing, quickly gave his end of the boat a cant
toward the island, dropped the paddle in the canoe, grabbed the mooring
chain and jumped for the land.  He jumped and alighted unsteadily but
without further mishap than so far capsizing the canoe that it shipped
enough water to more than half submerge it and threaten to sink it. With
his effort to draw it up on the rock and save it from sinking entirely,
the water in the canoe rushed to the outer end, sending that completely
under and floating the paddle out and away.  He yanked the canoe up on
the island and, turning, looked straight into Elise’s eyes for ten
seconds without speaking.

"Why don’t you say it?" the young woman asked with amused defiance.

"Say what?" inquired Rutledge.

"What you are dying to tell me."

"I love you," answered Rutledge simply.

"Oh!  You—you—impudent—you horrible!" cried Elise with a gasp.  "To
presume I would invite you to tell me—that!  How dare you!"

"I dare anything for you," said Rutledge.  "I love you and—"

"Stop!  Not another word on that subject—lest your presumption become
unbearable!  You know very well, Mr. Stupidity, that I expected you to
say ’I told you so.’"

"I have told you—so—your—exp—"

"Stop, I say!  I will not listen to another word. Your persistence is
almost—insulting!"

"Insulting!" said Rutledge in amazement.  "Then pardon me and I’ll not
offend again;" and he turned to take a look at the fast-riding paddle as
it turned and flashed far down the river.

Elise was glad of the chance to gather her wits together and prepare a
defence against this abrupt method of wooing.  Indeed she was on the
defensive against her own heart.  One fact alone, however, would justify
her deliberation: that she was not certain of her own mind.  Friendship
may halt and consider, admiration may sit in judgment; but love that
questions, or is of two minds, or hesitates, is not love.

She turned away from him and the river to give attention to this new
problem which was of more immediate interest to her than the question of
how they were to get away from the island.  Rutledge came to her after
awhile.

"Miss Phillips," he said, "I have the honour to report that, while we
are prisoners on this island now, our imprisonment will not be lengthy.
Fortunately I saw Jacques on the other side of the river and made him
understand, I think, that we have lost our paddle. At any rate he put
off toward the hotel at great speed, and will be down with another canoe
I hope before you become tired of your island."  And he added, as if to
relieve the tense situation: "While we wait I shall be glad to show you
over the premises and to talk about anything that you may prefer to
discuss."

Elise could not tell from the formal manner of Rutledge’s words whether
he was really offended or humourously stilted in his speech.  She could
be as coldly polite as any occasion demanded; but, believing that she
had effectually put an end to his love-making for the day, she met his
formality of manner in her naturally charming and friendly spirit.

"Sit down here then, and tell me where you learned to handle a canoe.  I
did not know canoeing was a Southern sport."

"It is not," Rutledge said, taking the place she gave him at her feet.
"I was never in a canoe till I came here this summer."

"Now, Mr. Rutledge, don’t ask too much of credulity.  One surely cannot
become skilful without practice."

"I did not mean that I have never been on the water before," said
Rutledge; "but in my country we do not have these curved and graceful
canoes. We navigate our rivers with the primitive dugout or pirogue.  I
have used one of those on my father’s Pacolet plantation since I was a
boy.  The dugout is made by hollowing out a section of a tree.  That
makes the strongest and best boat, for it never leaks or gets smashed
up.  It is very narrow and shallow, however, and it takes some skill to
handle it in a flood."

"Were you ever in a flood?—a worse flood than this?" asked Elise.

"Yes.  When our little rivers get up they are as bad as this or worse.
I have seen them worse. During the great flood on the Pacolet some years
ago, when railroad bridges, mill dams, saw-mills, cotton mills, houses,
barns, cotton bales, lumber, cattle, men, women and children were all
engulfed in one watery burial, the little river was for six hours a
monster—a demon."

"Tell me about that," Elise said; and to entertain her Rutledge told her
at length the story of that cataclysm of piedmont South Carolina.  He
went into the details without which such description is only awful, not
interesting.  Many were the incidents of heroism and hairbreadth escapes
and unspeakable calamity which he related; and he told the stories with
such vividness of portraiture, dramatic fire and touches of pathos that,
with the roar of many waters actually pounding upon her ear-drums, Elise
could close her eyes and see the scenes he depicted.

In looking upon the pictures he drew with such living interest she found
herself straining her tight-shut eyes in search of his figure among the
throng that lined the river-bank or fought the awful flood. Time after
time as he described an act of heroic courage in words that burned and
glowed and crackled with the fire that could stir only an eye-witness or
an actor in the unstudied drama he was reproducing, she would clothe the
hero with Rutledge’s form, identify his distinctive gestures and
movement and catch even the tones of his voice as it shouted against the
booming of the waters: but with studied regularity and distinctness
Rutledge at some point in every story, incidentally and apparently
unconsciously, would make it plain that the hero of that incident was a
person other than himself.

He might have told her, indeed, many things to his own credit:
especially of a desperate ride and struggle in one of those dugouts
which he had volunteered to make in order to prevent an old negro man
adrift on a cabin-top from going over Pacolet Dam Number 3, where so
many unfortunates went down and came not up again; but at no time could
Elise infer from his speech that he was the hero of his own story.  Her
word "artful" still rankled in his memory, and he swore to his own soul
that she should never, never hear him utter a word that might show he
possessed or claimed to possess courage.

The only method by which Elise could deduce from his words the
conclusion that Rutledge was of courageous heart was that courage seemed
such a commonplace virtue among the people of his section that he
probably possessed his share of it.  Her curiosity was finally aroused
to know whether by any artifice she might induce him to tell of his own
exploits, which his very reticence persuaded her must be many and
interesting, and she brought all her powers into play to draw him out:
but to no purpose.  She refrained from any direct appeal to him in fear
that a personal touch might turn the conversation along dangerous lines;
and Rutledge, having been properly rebuked, waited for some intimation
of permission before presuming to discuss other than impersonal themes.

While indeed it only confirmed her woman’s intuition, Elise was
unconsciously happier because of Rutledge’s blunt statement of his love,
for it made certain a fact that was not displeasing to her.  Yet she
would hold him at arm’s length, for she could with sincerity bid him
neither hope nor despair.  The glamour of her day-dreams made the
reading of her heart’s message uncertain.  Rutledge had not the
glittering accessories that attended the wooer of her visions; and yet
as he talked to her she was mentally placing him in every picture her
mind drew of the future, and was impressed that whether in the soft
scenes where knightly gallantry and grace wait upon fair women, or in
the stern dramas where bitter strength of mind and heart and body is
poured out in libation to the god of grinding conflict, he, in every
scene, looked all that became a man.

Rutledge’s flow of narrative and Elise’s absent-minded reverie were
broken in upon by the hail of Jacques, who was approaching them from
almost directly up-stream.  His canoe was doing a grapevine dance as he
pushed it yet farther across the river and dropped rapidly down to a
landing on the far side of the island.

"Sacre!  Wrong side!" he exclaimed when he came across and saw where
Rutledge had pulled his canoe out of the water.  "Here I lose two canoe
sometime.  How you mek him land?"

Rutledge did not answer the question but set about getting his canoe
across the island to the point designated by Jacques as the place for
leaving it.  He had no desire to stay longer since all hope of further
_tête-à-tête_ with Elise was gone; and in a few minutes they were ready
to embark.

"No hard pull, but kvick paddle lak feesh-tail," said Jacques in
explaining the course by which they were to return, the which was
plainly beset with numberless rocks and shoals.

"Sweem out seex times befor I lairn road," he added as a comforting
proof of the thoroughness of his knowledge.  The return was a simple
matter of dropping off from the far side of the island, floating down a
few rods, and then picking along through the rocks across the river as
the canoe gathered speed down-stream.

"Miss Phillips," Rutledge said when they were ready, "perhaps you had
better take ship with Jacques.  He knows the road."

Their rescuer looked pleased at the honour, and turned to pull his canoe
within easier reach.

"No, thank you," she said to Rutledge.  "I prefer to go with you."

Rutledge caught his breath at the loyalty and the caress in her voice,
and ungratefully wished Jacques at the bottom of the river.  He handed
her into his canoe with a tenderness that was eloquent; and Jacques,
seeing through the game which robbed him of the graceful young woman for
a passenger, put off just ahead of them, saying:

"I go fairst.  Follow me shairp."

It was no easy task to follow that canoe; and Elise, as she watched the
precision with which Rutledge used the "kvick paddle lak feesh-tail,"
was convinced that such skill had not gone to waste at the Pacolet
flood.  As she looked at him when the rough water was past and he was
sending the canoe up the river with even swing again, graceful as
before, her eyes had a light in them that would have gladdened his heart
to see.

They landed near the hotel and hurried straight to it upon Elise’s plea
that she was late and must hurry to dress for her train.  Rutledge
walked beside her down the long hall of the hotel, and at the foot of
the stairway, feeling that opportunity was slipping past him, he stopped
her short with—

"Your answer, Elise!  In heaven’s name, your answer!"

Elise was again startled by his abruptness, and her unrestrained heart’s
impulse sent a look of tenderness to her eyes that would have crowned
Rutledge’s life with all happiness, had not that glamour of her
daydreams, fateful, insistent, overclouded and banished it in a moment.
She looked at him confusedly a moment more, then took a quick step away
from him, hesitated, and, turning quickly, said:

"There is no answer,"—and fled up the stairs.

Rutledge turned away dazed by the reply to his heart’s question.  "There
is no answer!"—as if he were a "Buttons" who had carried to her ladyship
an inconsequential message which deserved no reply. He could not get his
mind to comprehend the import of it; and he was walking back down the
hallway with a vexed frown upon his face trying to untangle his
thoughts, when Helen Phillips passed him and, seeing him in such a mood
after his parting ride with Elise, prodded him with—

"None but heroes need apply, Mr. Rutledge.  I warned you."

Rutledge passed on with an irritated shrug of the shoulders; and Helen,
laughing, ran to tease Elise for a history of the morning’s ride and the
reason "why Mr. Rutledge is so grumpy."  Little satisfaction did she get
from Elise, however, for that young woman evinced as much of reticence
as Rutledge had shown of irritation.

"I told him none but heroes need apply," laughed Helen.

"What do you know of heroes?" asked Elise with a snap.



                              *CHAPTER IX*


Within a week after Evans Rutledge and Elise Phillips parted at the St.
Lawrence resort, the newspapers told the people that at a Saratoga
restaurant Colonel Phillips and his wife and daughter, and Doctor
Martin, a negro of national reputation, had sat down to dine together.
It was soon after this that one evening, at his home in Cleveland, Ohio,
Colonel Phillips happened upon a mixed quartette (all negroes) who had
been brought over from New York to sing at a sacred concert in one of
the fashionable churches, but who could not obtain what they considered
a respectable lodging-place.  With characteristic impulsiveness the
Colonel, who heard of it, invited the two men and two women up to his
house and entertained them overnight.

On those occasions Mrs. Phillips had shown unmistakable opposition to
the acts of her liege lord.  Elise had more than seconded her mother in
haughty indignation; though with her superb training in obedience she
could not be openly rebellious.  When he had brought the quartette into
his home Mr. Phillips could not fail to see the pain in his wife’s eyes
as she asked:

"Was that necessary?"

"Why, can you not see," he replied with some hot feeling in his tones,
"that it was the only thing to be done?  They are very respectable
people, all of them. They are intelligent and well-bred, as you can see.
Why should the simple matter of colour alone keep me from doing what I
just as quickly might have done for a white man?"

The unconscious humour of this way of putting it did not reach Mrs.
Phillips, and the Colonel’s tone and manner, not his words, kept her
silent when he had finished.  She could not quarrel with him; and he
thought he had answered her reason, though he admitted inwardly that her
prejudices were unconverted. Nevertheless he did not open the discussion
again.

Helen, however, naturally siding with her father, did not hesitate to
bring it up repeatedly, and youthfully to descant at length and with
some elaboration of ideas on the propriety and admirableness of her
father’s act.  Mrs. Phillips, with the sole purpose of preserving
parental discipline and not wishing even slightly to encourage
insubordination, had very little to say to Helen about it; while Elise
answered all the younger girl’s effusions with sniffs of disdain.

                     *      *      *      *      *

These incidents and Elise’s womanly perversity and curiosity really gave
Evans Rutledge a great opportunity if he only could have read the
portents of circumstance and calculated to a nicety the eccentricity of
a woman’s heart.  The entertainment of negro guests at the mansion of an
aspirant for the presidency was given wide publicity by the press and
was the subject of universal though temporary notice by newspapers and
editorial writers of every class.  Rutledge, in his capacity as
Washington representative of a half-dozen newspapers over the country,
contributed his share to the general chorus of comment.

When Elise read in a Cleveland paper a clipping accredited to "Evans
Rutledge in Chicago American," she suddenly became desirous of seeing
that young man again.  The sentiments, stripped of the tartness in their
expression and a seeming lack of appreciation of her distinguished
father’s dignity, were so in accord with hers that she was startled at
the exact coincidence of thought—while still resentful of the free and
fierce criticism.

Resentment and thoughts of coincidences were pushed out of her mind,
however, by the question, "Would he tell me again he loves me?"  This
was both a personal and a sentimental question and was therefore of
chief interest to her woman’s mind.  Not that she had a whit more of
love for him than upon that last day upon the St. Lawrence—oh, no; but
his love for her? his willingness to avow it? was it still hers? was it
ever hers really?—for not a word or a line had he addressed to her since
the day they fought the river.  She would confess to a slight curiosity
and desire to meet him when she should go to Washington on that promised
visit to Lola DeVale.

Rutledge assuredly had escaped none of the untoward influences which the
Phillips-negro incidents might have had upon his love for Elise.  His
good mother religiously attended to the duty of impressing upon him the
disgraceful horrors of those affairs. She found no words forceful enough
properly to characterize them, though she applied herself with each new
day to the task.  What might have been the result if her son’s heart had
been inclined to fight for the love of Elise of course cannot be known.
His mother’s philippics effected nothing, for the good reason that he
had lost hope of winning Elise before the negro incidents occurred, and
the personal turn his mother gave them was only tiresome to him.
Elise’s last words to him, "There is no answer," had put their affair
beyond the effect of anything of that sort. She had not only refused
him, but had flouted him, treated him with contempt: yes, had said to
him in effect that his proffer of love was not worth even a negative
answer.  He had gone over every incident of their association, and, with
a lover’s carefulness of detail, had considered and weighed her every
word and look and gesture; and, with a lover’s proverbial blundering,
had found as a fact the only thing that was not true.

                     *      *      *      *      *

When Elise came to Washington on her visit Rutledge knew of course that
she was in town, and he kept his eyes open for her.  His pride would not
let him call upon her, for he had meditated upon her treatment of him
till his grievance had been magnified many fold and his view had become
so distorted that in all her acts he saw only a purpose to play with his
heart.  Yet, he wished to see her, wished very much to see her—doubtless
for the same reason that a bankrupt will look in upon "the pit" that has
gulfed his fortune.

They met unexpectedly at Senator Ruffin’s, where only time was given
them to shake hands in a non-committal manner before Mrs. Ruffin sent
them in to dinner together.  If each had spoken the thoughts in the
heart a perfect understanding would have brought peace and friendship at
least, but no words were spoken from the heart.  All of their
conversational sparring was of the brain purely.  They fenced with
commonplaces for some little time, each on guard. Rutledge, without a
thought of Doctor Martin or the negro quartette, formed all of his
speeches for the ear of a woman who had mocked his love; while Elise
talked only for the man who had written the article in the _Chicago
American_.  She saw the change in his manner, in his polite aloofness,
his insincere, careless pleasantries.

"It is delightfully kind of you, Miss Phillips, to come over and give
Washington some of those thrills with which you have favoured
Cleveland."

"What is the answer?" asked Elise blankly.

"My meaning is no riddle surely," said Rutledge. "The Cleveland
newspaper reporters have taught us to believe that you are the centre of
interest in that city and that, as one signing himself ’Q’ wrote in
yesterday’s _Journal_,—something to the effect that you radiate a sort
of three-syllable waves which make the younger men to thrill and the old
beaux to take a new lease on life.  When I read that, I could see a lot
of small boys crowding around an electric machine, all wanting to get a
touch of the current but fearful of being knocked endways."

"Now diagnose the form of your dementia," said the girl.  "You not only
read but you _believe_ the statements of the penny-a-liners.  Your case
is hopeless."

"I must read somewhat of such things—to know my craft.  I must believe
somewhat of them—to respect my craft."

"Is either knowledge or respect necessary, Mr. Rutledge?  The craft is
admitted; but I had thought the purpose of all this craft was the
penny-a-line,—not knowledge or truth—which are not only incidental but
often unwelcome.  Why read or believe the line after the cent has been
paid?"

"You are unmerciful to us, Miss Phillips.  It is true every news item of
interest has its money value for a newspaper man, but you must
understand that we try to use them honestly and say no more than we
feel—often far less than we feel."

Rutledge’s manner was serious when he had finished; and Elise, feeling
sure that the same incident was in his mind as in hers, had it on her
tongue’s end to reply with spirit and point, when he continued lightly:

"But that is shop.  It is good of you to come over now and gradually
accustom us to those Q-waves instead of giving us the sudden full
current when Colonel Phillips rents the White House.  You will not care
if some few become immune before that time, for there will be no end of
rash youths to get tangled up with the wires."

Elise had not been a woman if Rutledge’s impersonal "we" and "us" and
suggestion of persons immune to her charms had not piqued her.  He need
not put his change of heart so bluntly, she thought. Yet what incensed
her was not the loss of his love, but that that love had been so poor
and frail a thing.

"I am glad you guarantee a full supply of the raw material, Mr.
Rutledge.  It is a very interesting study, I think, to watch the effect
of the—current—on youths of different temperaments: on the black-haired,
black-eyed one who raves and swears his love—to two women in the same
month; or the light-haired, blue-eyed one who laughs both while the
current is on and when it is off; or the red-headed lover who will not
take ’no’ for an answer; or the gray-eyed, brown-haired man who would
appear indifferent while his heart is consuming with a passion that
changes not even when hope is gone.  I will depend on you to see that
they all come along, Mr. Rutledge—even to that young Congressman over
there who is so devoted to Lola," she added in an undertone, "if he can
be persuaded to change his court."

"Oh, he will come.  His present devotion does not signify.  There is
nothing true but Heaven," Rutledge replied, not to be outdone in
cynicism by this young woman who had quite taken his breath away with
her impromptu classification of lovers.  His own hair was black and his
eyes, like hers, were gray; and he saw she was making sport of him under
both categories and yet betraying not her real thought in the slightest
degree.

"Beware, Mr. Rutledge.  Only woman may change her mind.  Men must not
usurp our prerogative."

"True," said Rutledge; "but a man does not know his mind or his heart
either till he’s forty.  He is not responsible for the guesses he makes
before that time.  After that, he knows only what he does _not_ want
which is much; and, if undisturbed, can enjoy a negative consistency and
content."

"I may not defend the sex against such an able and typical
representative," said Elise as the diners arose.

Neither of these wholesome-minded young people had any taste for such a
fictitious basis of conversation; but each was on the defensive against
the supposed attitude of the other, and the moment their thoughts went
outside conventional platitudes they were given an unnatural and cynical
twist.  Both felt a sense of relief when the evening was past.  But
despite this condition, which prevailed during Elise’s visit, Rutledge
could not put away the desire to see as much of her as an assumption of
indifference would permit, if only with the unformulated hope that he
might catch unawares if but for a moment the unstudied good camaraderie
and congenial spirit which had won his heart on the St. Lawrence.  But
the sensitive consciousness of one or the other ever had been present to
exorcise the natural spirit from their conversations.

Rutledge lived bravely up to his ideas of what a proper pride demanded
of him, but his assumption of indifference was sorely tried from their
first meeting at Senator Ruffin’s.  The mischief began with Elise’s
offhand little discourse on the colour of eyes and hair as indicia of
the traits and fates of lovers—particularly with her statement that a
red-headed man will not take a woman’s "no" for an answer. The point in
that which irritated the cuticle of Mr. Rutledge’s indifference was that
Mr. Second Lieutenant Morgan had a head of flame.

Now man—natural man—usually has the intelligence to know when a thing is
beyond his reach, and the philosophy to content himself without it.  He
rejoices also in his neighbour’s successes.  But natural man, with all
his intelligence and all his philosophy and all his brotherly love,
cannot look with patience or self-deceit upon another’s success or
probable success where he himself, striving, has failed.  In the whole
realm of human experience there are exceptions to this rule perhaps; but
in the tropical province of Love there is none.  There a man may
conclude that the woman he wants would not be good for him, even
perforce may decide he loves her not: but the merest suggestion of
another man as a probable winner will surely bring his decision up for
review—and always to overrule it.  So with Rutledge: from the moment of
Elise’s unstudied remark he conceded to his own heart that his
indifference was the veriest sham and pretence—while still a pretence
necessary to his self-respect.



                              *CHAPTER X*


Hayward Graham, with an honourable discharge from the service of the
United States buttoned up in his blouse, was taking a look at Washington
before going back to re-enlist.  He liked the army life, with all its
restrictions; and having by his intelligence and aptitude attained the
highest non-commissioned rank, he was optimistic enough to believe he
could win a commission before another term of enlistment expired.  In
this hope he was not without a fair idea of the obstacle which his
colour placed in the path of his ambition; but in weighing his chances
he counted much on the friendliness of the newly inaugurated executive
for the negro race generally, and most of all on the President’s
according his deserts to a man who had saved his life.  He would keep
his identity in that respect a secret till the time was ripe, so that
the President’s sense of obligation, if it existed, might not be dulled
by the granting of any premature favours—and then he would see whether
gratitude would make a man do justice.

He had more than a month yet in which to re-enlist without loss of rank
or pay, and his visit to Washington was intended to be short, as he had
several other little picnics planned with which to fill out his
vacation.  He had been there ten days or more and he had walked and
looked and lounged till he was thoroughly tired of the city and was
decided to leave on the morrow.

But that last afternoon he saw Helen Phillips. Her carriage was driven
slowly across the sidewalk in front of him to enter the White House
grounds. The sudden quickening of his pulses at sight of her was
unaccountable to him.  His gaze followed her as she went away from him,
and for the first time in months he remembered in dumb pain he was a
negro. He tried to separate the thought of his blood from his thought of
the young woman, and to put the first and its unpleasantness out of his
mind while he enjoyed the latter and its association with his college
victory and his patriotic enthusiasms: but he could not think of her
without that indefinable and subconscious heartache.

When he came to his lodgings and opened up the afternoon paper, the only
item among all the notes of interest that had the power to catch or hold
his thought for a moment was a brief statement to the effect that the
veteran White House coachman was dead.  Hayward sat and turned this over
in his mind a few minutes and then asked himself "Why not?"

Next morning he applied for the vacant position of coachman to the
President.  With the purpose to conceal his identity during his little
adventure, as he thought of it, he gave only his Christian names: John
Hayward.  With similar purpose he had dressed himself in civilian
clothes; but these could not conceal his magnificent lines, and, though
another employee had been given the dead coachman’s place, Hayward’s
fine appearance was so much in his favour that he was engaged as footman
on trial.  This was really better suited to his wishes than the other.
He had not foregone his army ambition in a night, but neither had he
been able to resist the temptation to spend a short time—the remainder
of his furlough at least—where he could see something of the young woman
who was so closely associated in his mind with the events in his life
that were worth while.

Hayward was not in love with Helen Phillips in any sense—at least not in
the ordinary sense; for that undefined pain, a dumb monitor of the
impossible, kept him hedged away from that.  On the other hand, to his
mite of natural feeling of inferiority was added the respect for rank
and dignity which his army life had hammered into him; and his attitude
toward her was the devotion which a loyalist peasant soldier might have
for the daughter of his king.  He wished to be near her, to serve her;
and he counted himself fortunate that this opportunity had come to him.

—And a superb footman he made, having every aptitude and manner both of
mind and body for form and show; and being relieved of any humiliation
of spirit by his secret feeling that he had set himself to guard and
serve a crown princess.

A superb footman he made—and a new-rich Pittsburger offered him double
wages to enter his service. The sneer with which Hayward told him that
he was not working for money ever will be a riddle to that Pittsburg
brain.

A superb footman he made; and with the added distinction of the
President’s livery he always drew attention and comment.  The veteran
Senator Ruffin was entertaining a few friends with reminiscences once
when Hayward passed.  One of the party said: "Look at that footman.
Phillips has a fine eye for form, hasn’t he?"

"Yes," Senator Ruffin answered, "if he saw him before he employed him,
which he very likely did not.

"But do you know," he went on, "I never see that nigger but I think of
John Hayward of whose last speech in Congress I was telling some of you
yesterday. The nigger has his figure and carriage, even the set and toss
of his head, about everything save his colour.  The first time I saw him
get down from the Phillips’ carriage I thought of John Hayward, who is
dead these fifty years.

"There was a man for you, gentlemen.  No more knightly spirit was ever
carried in a kinglier figure of a man.  He was just out of college when
I was a boy, but I can remember that even then John Hayward was a toast
and a young man of mark down in Carolina.  Our fathers’ plantations
adjoined, and he was the first man that ever stirred in my boyish heart
the sentiment of hero-worship.  The Haywards were men of note in my
State in that day as in this, and young John Hayward’s future was as
brilliant and well-assured as wealth, fine family, abounding talent,
high purpose and personal force of character could make it."

—"But we lost him.  A former half-Spanish, half-devil overseer on his
father’s plantation, who had been discharged because of his cruelty and
general wickedness, had bought a small farm near the elder Hayward’s
place, and was trying to establish himself as a land and slave holder.
This overseer came back from one of his periodical trips bringing with
him one of the likeliest mulatto girls, as I remember it now, that I
ever saw.  All the neighbours knew he could have no good purpose in
buying her, for he needed no house-girl to keep dressed up in calico as
he began to keep her.  It was but a few days before reports of his
terrible cruelty to her began to be circulated by both negroes and white
people, who heard her screams as he whipped her day and night.

"Late one afternoon, a week perhaps after he had brought her home, John
Hayward and Dick Whitaker were riding through the overseer’s farm and
heard the girl scream.  John, who was acquainted with the situation,
said, ’Come on, Dick, let’s go up and stop that;’ and put his horse at
the little gate and was pounding on the overseer’s door before Dick
could reply.

"The sound of blows ceased and the overseer came and opened the door,
revealing the girl crouched down on the floor moaning and sobbing.  When
the slave-driver saw it was John his eyes snapped in wrath.

"’What do you want?’ he demanded.

"’I want you to quit whipping that nigger,’ said John.

"’You go to hell,’ retorted the overseer.  ’I’ll whip my slaves whenever
they won’t work like I—’

"’Oh, master, I work, I work,’ protested the girl to John.

"’Shut up! you—’ began the overseer.

"’Yes, I know you work,’ said John to the girl; and he turned to the
man, ’and I know—everybody knows—what your purpose is, you fiend!  My
God, it is crime enough for such as you to own the bodies of women
without your tearing their souls!’

"’Get off my land, damn you!’ ordered the overseer; and then, as if to
show his contempt for Hayward and Whitaker, he turned again to begin
flogging the cowering girl, saying: ’She’s my property, and the law
gives me the right to make her obey!’

"’Stop!’ thundered John, laying his hand on his pistol as the
slave-driver raised his arm to strike. ’You son of hell!  The man who
puts the weight of his hand on a woman, even his wife, to make her obey
his passions, deserves to die!’

"Whitaker said it was all over before he could slide from his horse.
The overseer struck the girl a vicious cut as John was speaking, and his
whip was descending again when John’s pistol flashed and the brute
dropped to the floor with a ball through his brain...."

[Illustration: "HIS WHIP WAS DESCENDING AGAIN WHEN JOHN’S PISTOL
FLASHED."]

"That was why my State lost John Hayward," the Senator continued after a
pause.  "It was seen at once that he must not come to trial.  While the
plea of self-defence can always be set up, the fact that John had killed
the overseer in his own house and after being ordered out, would have
made the law quite too risky.  But beyond that it would have been
necessary, in order that the jury’s sympathy might override the law, to
make such a presentation of the proper limitations, and the abuses and
horrors, of slave management as would be clearly inimical, if not
actually dangerous, to public order and safety.

"So the State lost John Hayward," the Senator rambled on.  "He exiled
himself less for his own safety than for the sake of a system for which
he had no sympathy, but in which seemed to be bound up the peace and
happiness, the very existence, of his people....  He went away, but the
shadow of the Black Peril was upon his life to the end....  He went to
Massachusetts, located in Boston, and began to practise law.  He was
successful from the beginning, though he always spent everything he
made. He married a most lovable and beautiful woman of the finest
family, and life again promised all he had once seemingly lost....  He
had been in Congress two terms when I was first elected to the House.
Mrs. Hayward was the most gracious lady I ever knew, and they made my
first years here at Washington altogether enjoyable, for they knew
everybody that was worth knowing and were great entertainers. I remember
that as a young bachelor Congressman I used to think that if I only had
John Hayward’s constituency and a wife the equal of his in beauty,
intelligence and diplomacy, I could be President without trouble....  We
served together in Congress till the beginning of the Great War.  It was
just before the outbreak that that fateful shadow fell again upon him.
His son—named for him: John Graham Hayward—a boy that I had watched grow
up from a lad and loved as my own, was a student at Harvard and had
acquired many ideas of which his father had no knowledge, and which
would have startled him—with all his well-known anti-slavery sentiments.
The boy’s mother looked on the negro race purely from a missionary
standpoint, and had never given a serious thought, I am sure, to the
negro’s social status.

"You perhaps may imagine the shock that came to John Hayward on going
home late one afternoon to dinner to find already seated at his table
his wife, his son, and a young negro about his son’s age whom the boy
had brought in to dine with him....  John told me about it a few months
afterward, and even then, with all his heart-break, his eyes would blaze
with an insane anger as he thought of that nigger at his table.... He
looked at the three for a moment; and then he said things that blasted
his home.  He kicked the nigger incontinently out of his house, and was
beside himself in the furious wrath he hurled upon his wife and son.
The boy resented his outburst, especially because of its cruel effect
upon the mother.  The father in uncontrollable anger at his son’s
resentful opposition ordered him to leave his roof, and told him that he
was unworthy of the name of Hayward and had disgraced it beyond repair.
The boy replied with spirit that he would not carry the name of Hayward
away from the house, but would renounce both the house and it then,
there and for ever, and walked out of the door....  On his knees did
John implore his wife’s forgiveness, and receive it; but neither father
nor mother ever saw the boy again....  John tried, I think, to learn his
whereabouts, and was driven to desperation as he met failure at every
point. The moment the call came for troops, he resigned his seat in
Congress, volunteered in a Massachusetts regiment and was killed at Bull
Run....

"As he was lost to his native State, so he was lost to the
nation—because the baleful shadow of the Black Peril seemed to be upon
his life....  Heaven save my people—nine-tenths of whom, like him, would
deal with the negro in justice and righteousness and helpfulness—from
the stress and the blood of an open conflict against social equality
with the negro race, and from the further unspeakable, unthinkable
horror of defeat in such a conflict if it shall come upon them."



                              *CHAPTER XI*


There can be no doubt Hayward found scant recompense for his first
month’s service as part of the White House _ménage_.  The money
consideration of that service, as he told the gentleman from Pittsburg,
he valued as nothing; and yet it was the money that held him over beyond
the time limit he had set for his little adventure and his return to the
army.  He put his eyes on Helen but twice during the month, and that
only for a moment, and he had taken his leave of Washington in less than
a fortnight if his training in the service had not accustomed him to
bear monotony with patience.

Before his time was up, however, a letter from his mother told him that
she was hardly able longer to bear the burden of her own support or even
to supplement his contributions by any appreciable efforts of her own.
Too long and too closely indeed had she striven in his behalf, and the
overwork was demanding its pound of flesh in severe and relentless
compensation.  Hayward thought he saw the hand of a kindly Providence in
having already provided him with a wage sufficient to keep both his
mother and himself from want—which his soldier’s pay would not have
accomplished; and he postponed his military ambition and brought her to
Washington, where he might look after her comfort more carefully and
less expensively.  Very grateful was he for an opportunity to care and
provide for her whose devotion he had always known, but the heroism and
stress of whose struggles and the wonders of whose money-working he was
beginning to appreciate only since leaving the all-providing care with
which she and the quartermaster had hedged him about from the morning of
his birth till ninety days ago.

While his intelligence, his spirit, his cultivated ideals would not let
him rest in entire content as a menial—a footman to however high a
personage—Hayward yet found his first real basis of self-respect in the
consciousness of his responsibility for his mother’s support and
happiness, and in the feeling that he was equal to the duty so plainly
laid upon him. However he had no thought but that his present work was
temporary; and, to satisfy his taste for mental recreation and
improvement as well as to have a definite purpose in his mental
pursuits, he began in his spare hours to study the books that pertained
to his proposed life-work as an officer of the army.

His first summer in Washington added no little to his stock of that
knowledge which men acquire not out of books but at first hand.  He had
seen as an onlooker something of life on both sides of the earth, and
had acquired more of the spirit of a cosmopolite than nine-tenths of the
statesmen who foregathered in the nation’s capital to formulate
world-policies: and yet of the actual conditions of life, of living,
which affected him as a bread-winner, as a social unit, as one having a
part in the Kingdom of the Spirit, he was at the very beginning of
knowledge when he donned the White House livery.  His effervescence of
interest in Helen Phillips in great measure subsided, naturally, among
the many new problems that came to meet him, and with his frequent
commonplace beholding of her.

He soon was brought to realize that rigid limitations were upon him not
only by the colour-line which was drawn straight as a knife’s edge from
top to bottom of Washington, but by fences and barriers inside the
confines of his own race against which he stumbled repeatedly and
blindly before he dreamed they existed.  On several occasions he had met
with slight rebuffs in his friendly advances to persons of his own
colour, and ascribed them to ill-temper or uncouth manners; but he
finally received a jolt which waked him up—in this fashion:

He dropped in at the most imposing negro church in the city one Sunday
evening, and heard a young woman of comely face and person, dressed in
perfect taste, sing a solo which, in the sentiment and the purity and
pathos of the singer’s voice, met his idea of all that is exquisite in
song.  When the service was finished he spoke to a well-groomed man past
middle age who had sat beside him.

"The young lady who sang did it with marvellous taste and beauty.  She
knows both how to sing and what to sing; and since I’m at it I may as
well say that she’s no-end good-looking."

The older man could not conceal his satisfaction and interest, for he
had expended many dollars on the singer.

"I’m delighted you think so," he returned.  "My daughter has had great
advantages and she ought to sing well."

"Your daughter?" said Hayward.  "You should be very proud of her.  Will
you not introduce me to her?  I’d like to thank her for my share.  I am
John Hayward"—and feeling some identification was necessary—"footman at
the White House."

"Excuse me, suh," said the other, with but a very slightly overdone
manner; "we don’t introduce strangers to our families—specially
footmen."

The father’s manner was not intended to be offensive, but his answer
verily exploded in Hayward’s face.  Thanks to the younger man’s training
he did not wince or change countenance, but he was so bursting full of
wrath that he never knew whether any further word was spoken between
them.  He moved with the throng toward the door, but stepped into a
vacant pew for fear he would run over some one in furious impatience.
True it was that in his attempt to volunteer three years before, he had
been roughly impressed with the idea that there was some recognized
difference between a white man and a negro, and in his association with
the rough troopers of the 10th Cavalry he had become in a measure
converted to the correctness of the proposition generally: "but," he
thought in infuriated scorn, "I’m as good as any _nigger_ that ever drew
breath!  A footman, am I?"—and he threw back his head with pride as he
recalled his answer to the man from Pittsburg—but dropped it again with
some humility at the thought that he was now a footman for the money it
brought. At the door he spoke to an usher.

"Who was the young woman who sang?"

"Miss Porter—old Henry Porter’s daughter."

"So the old scoundrel is Washington’s richest negro," he thought.
"Well, his manners and his money are not well matched.  I’ll even the
score with him yet."

After the first heat of his resentment was off he admitted that his
request to be presented to the negro magnate’s daughter was abrupt,
informal and unwarranted, perhaps, but he argued and insisted that old
Porter ought to have seen that his unconventional request was an
impulsive outcome of his admiration for the girl’s singing, and at least
have been a little more gracious in his refusal.  No, he would not
forgive the manner of it; and when he remembered the song and its
delight to his senses he found it about as hard to forgive the refusal
itself.

Not in three years, except for an occasional moment of patriotic uplift,
had his soul had a taste of something to drink—till he heard that song.
His spiritual sense had virtually lain dormant those three years in the
monotonous round of his world-circling outpost duty.  In successive
enlistments he might indeed altogether have stifled it, while perfecting
his intelligence, courage, strength and skill as a soldier: for the only
possibility—and there is only possibility, no certainty or even
probability—of spiritual uplift incident to the profession of arms, is
that of developing a surpassing, unselfish love of the flag.  This
sentiment in its pure fulness of bloom is of the spirit, and is an
exalted virtue; but not all even of the heroes whose ashes the nations
keep have appropriated to their souls, untainted with selfish or fleshly
impulse, this the very flowering recompense of their travail and
heroism.

Hayward had enlisted at the bidding of the most admirable impulses and
had made an excellent soldier; but the monotonous round of garrison duty
after the brief war was ended had benumbed his purely patriotic motive,
and left only a great desire for personal advancement.  In the dull
grind his very highest nature had become stagnated; and it was with the
joy of one first awakened to unforeseen possibilities that he felt
reawakened within him by that one song desires not of the flesh but of
the spirit so long stupefied and unfed.

As he became acutely conscious of his need in this behalf, he was more
seriously regretful than before that an acquaintance with the singer who
had revivified his finer sensibilities might not be had to satisfy in a
measure the need which her singing had recreated.  Under the impulse of
such desires he set about seeking associates, friendships, wherefrom he
might appropriate to himself his God-given share in the kingdom of the
Mind.  In his quiet and unobtrusive search for friends among his race
who would be congenial and satisfy the craving of his higher nature for
companionship, success came with starving sloth.  Most of the negroes
with whom he came at first in contact were of an order of intelligence
so far below his own that they met not in any degree the demand from
within him, and the few that possessed the intelligence were so
unbearable in manner that he found little pleasure in them.

He had held aloof from the troopers of the 10th with the certain feeling
that they were below his type and below the type of the best negroes he
knew must exist somewhere: but he came to doubt the correctness of his
own estimate in his search for congenial spirits in Washington.
Educated negroes?  Yes, there were many that had seen as much of the
schools as he, and more.  Men of money?  Yes, scores of negroes who
could buy him ten times over with a month’s income.  And yet it seemed
that he could not happen upon any in his limited and slowly growing
acquaintance who did not in some way offend his tastes.



                             *CHAPTER XII*


When the heat of summer came down upon Washington, President Phillips’
wife and daughters fled to the shades of the family summer home,
"Hill-Top," at Stag Inlet on Lake Ontario.  There, in a roomy, rambling
old house set back on the low wooded bluffs which enclose in more than
half-circle the peaceful little bay, he and his wife and daughters, with
a few congenial but not too closely situated neighbours, passed the hot
days of summer, and stayed on usually into the red-splashed autumn, when
the little cove put on its most inviting dress and brewed its most
exhilarating air.

It was Hayward’s fortune to be carried to the Inlet with the family
carriage and horses for the summer outing.  He was happy enough to be
quit of brick walls and asphalt pavements for a time, and to get into
God’s out-of-doors, for whose open air he had become so hungry in a few
short months.  His duties were not very onerous, and he had much time to
employ himself with his own pleasures.  One form which this took was in
learning to handle the various kinds of diminutive water-craft with
which his master’s family and their neighbours helped to while away
their summer vacations.  Before the summer was over he was a fairly good
fisherman, a safe skipper on any small sail-craft used in the inlet, and
a devoted and skilful driver of the gasoline, naphtha and electric
launches of which the cottagers had quite a number. He was quick and
adept at any and everything that came to his hand, and so careful and
entertaining of the children of the near-by families whom he met and
amused when they came down to play by the water’s edge, that he came to
be quite in demand as one servant who "knew how" and could be depended
upon in any circumstances.

Helen Phillips was still a girl, natural, ingenuous, untouched by pride
or affectation.  She looked forward with some zest of anticipation to
the time of her début two winters to come; but was well content to have
that time approach without haste.  She evinced much interest in the
plans that her mother and Elise made and re-made, discarded and revised
for the social campaign of the next winter, and many lively and original
suggestions did she make offhand and unasked.  But as for her own
personal plans she gave them no thought a day’s time ahead.  She was
quite willing to receive her pleasures in the order chance ordained.

"I am so glad to get away from Washington and back to Hill-Top," she
wrote to her Cleveland chum. "It was awful dull down there.  Five whole
days in the week I had to spend trying to catch the style dispensed at a
Finishing School for Young Ladies there, where it is possible to take
lady-like sips and nibbles at literature and music and art and things
like that, but where the real purpose seems to be to teach young women
to descend from a carriage gracefully.  Just think!  Another whole year
of finishing touches will have to be applied to me before Miss Eugenia
can in good conscience certify that I may be depended upon properly to
arrange myself upon a chair in case it ever becomes necessary for me to
sit down."

Helen’s tastes were along lines widely different from the Finishing
School’s curriculum.  She preferred above all things else a talk or a
walk, a ride or a romp with her father.  She had no brother to share her
pranks and enthusiasms, her little sister Katherine was much too young
to be companionable, and her father was her necessary and natural ally.
Him did she not only love, but him did she glorify. Tall and straight,
seemingly lacking in flesh but tough as whip-cord, with a patrician
face, prematurely gray hair and moustache, Helen thought he was the
model of all manly beauty.  None in life or in fiction was to her
thinking so brave or strong or good as he. Being in her esteem strong in
body, unerring in wisdom, pure in purpose, fearless in spirit, he
touched the periphery of her ideal of manhood at every point. Her mother
and Elise often were amused at her headlong championship of him upon the
slightest intimation of criticism, and rightfully were astonished at her
information upon public questions as they affected or were connected
with his political fortunes or good name.  Helen devoured the newspapers
(a limited number it is true) with no other purpose, seemingly, than to
know what people said of him.  Of those that favoured him and his
policies she thought well, and mentally commended their good taste and
excellent sense: but those that criticized!  Woe to them had she had
power to utter condemnation!

                     *      *      *      *      *

One morning in midsummer Hayward brought the saddle-horses to the door
for the father and daughter to take a canter and prove Helen’s new mount
before the mother and Elise were up.  They were about ready to be off
when a telegram was brought out to Mr. Phillips by the operator who had
an office in the house.

"I was ordered not to wake you, sir, but to give it to you at once when
you were up."

Mr. Phillips read it over slowly.  Then he turned to Helen.

"Well, little girl, you must miss your ride again. I’m sorry, but it
can’t be helped."

"Oh, no, papa!  Let the country go play till we come back.  You promised
me this ride sure when we missed the last one."

"Can’t do it, little woman.  Take the horses back, Hayward," he said,
and turned to follow the telegraph man.  But seeing the great
disappointment in Helen’s face, he called to the man.

"Here, Hayward.  Get into a proper coat and on my horse and see that
Miss Helen has her gallop round the Inlet and back without damage.  Can
you ride?"

"Yes, sir," answered Hayward.

"I thought so.  You seem to be able to do everything else.  Now you are
fixed up, old girl," he said as he chucked Helen under the chin.  "Don’t
let the mare all the way out.  You don’t know her yet,"—and he was gone.

Most of Helen’s pleasure in the ride was lost with her father’s absence,
and yet there was much enjoyment in it for her.  She felt the liberty to
choose her own road, and decided to do a little exploring.  She set out
at a good canter, with Hayward swinging along a protective distance in
the rear; and with the exercise her spirits rose and she gave herself up
to the full joy of it.  She forgot her father’s injunction and sent the
mare along several stretches of road with little restraint.

Hayward, on Mr. Phillips’ favourite saddler, was having the time of his
life, and for himself wished nothing better than that his young mistress
would keep up the pace; though he did not altogether approve of her
speeding down-hill.  He did not like the way the mare managed her feet
on the down grades.  When Helen pulled up to ask him where a certain
road led, he spoke, unconsciously with decision, out of his experience,
but with all deference, and said:

"Pardon me, Miss Helen, but it is a little dangerous the speed with
which you ride down-hill.  I’m afraid your mount is not so sure-footed
as she might be....  This road you speak of leads out by Mr. Radwine’s
cottage into the Lake Drive.  It is worse riding than those you have
tried."

Helen thought Hayward’s apprehensions were creatures of his discomfort
in keeping pace with her, and she was nothing more than amused at his
attempts to limit the speed to his abilities under pretence of care for
her safety.  She thought she would give him one more shaking-up to tell
her father about—and plunged off down the Radwine road, leaving him to
follow as best he might.

Hayward had passed over that cross-road but a few days earlier and he
knew its present condition. Helen heard him call to her, but her spirit
of mischief was fully aroused at the thought of his bumping along after
her, and she gave the mare free rein.

They were going down a longer and steeper hill than any they had passed,
near the foot of which the summer rains had washed out the roadway.
Hayward, knowing of this dangerous place ahead, and seeing that it was
impossible to stop the young woman in his front before she reached it,
sent Prince William after the mare under pressure of the spur and with
the hope to come up with her in time.  He arrived on the very moment of
fate.  The thundering horse tore alongside the flying mare just as she
reached the washed-out road.  Either through feminine excitability at
being overtaken or because of the defective foot action Hayward had
noted, the mare, when she struck the rough road, stumbled and went down.
In that instant the open-eyed Prince William cleared the washout with a
magnificent stride, and the ex-cavalryman swept his right arm about
Helen and lifted her out of the saddle.

Slowly reining in his horse, Hayward brought him to a standstill and
gently lowered his astonished young mistress to the ground.  She was
almost too overcome to stand, and walked unsteadily a few steps before
she recovered herself.  Hayward had thrown himself off Prince William
and was leading him back down the road to where the mare had fallen.
She had already picked herself up, minus a saddle and plus a few
bruises, and was standing in the road comparatively unhurt but shaking
as with an ague.

Hayward approached her quietly and she came eagerly up to him as if to
escape from her fears.  He looked her over carefully, and finding no
serious damage done, set himself about brushing the dust from her with
wisps of weeds and grass.  Helen came down while he worked with the
mare, and watched him some minutes without speaking.  She hardly could
think of anything civil to say.  She knew that she had disobeyed orders
and that he had warned her—and that made her angry.  The very silence of
the man became irritating to her.

When he had done all he could to put the mare in order he picked up
Helen’s saddle and started to put it on, but stopped to ask whether he
should exchange mounts with her.

"No," his young mistress replied.  "I’ve ridden her here and I will ride
her home."

The negro put her saddle on the mare while the girl looked on.  When he
came to buckle the girth he found that the leather tongue was torn off.
He lengthened the girth on the other side and proceeded to bore with his
pocket-knife a new hole in the short broken tab.  Helen’s eyes fell at
length on the knife. She looked at it uncertainly a few moments, and
then lost interest in everything else.  Finally she could keep quiet no
longer.

"Where did you get that knife, Hayward?" she asked with something like
accusation in her voice.

"Miss Helen, I got this knife in—that is, this knife belongs to—"

"Wait a moment," interrupted Helen.  "Let me see it....  Yes, it’s the
same.  I gave my father this knife on his birthday four years ago.  I
had the carving done at Vantine’s.  How long have you had it?"

"Miss Helen, I have had it long before I entered your father’s service.
I—"

"Yes, I know; but just how long have you had it, Hayward?"

"Well, Miss Helen, to be accurate, I’ve had it three years and—four
months."

"Hayward, were you ever in the army—the cavalry—the 10th Cavalry?"

"Yes, Miss Helen."

"You were in the battle of Valencia?"

"Yes, Miss Helen."

"You took this knife from an officer whose life you had saved, didn’t
you?"

"Yes, Miss Helen."

"Papa says the negro trooper saved his life and stole his knife."

"But I did not steal the knife, Miss Helen—I did not know I had it till
two months after the battle, when they gave me back my clothes in the
hospital. There was—"

"That stealing part is one of papa’s jokes, Hayward.  But you didn’t
know it was papa, did you?"

"Yes, Miss Helen.  I knew him when I saw him fall."

"What?  And you’ve never let him know?  Why have you kept it secret?"

Hayward did not answer.  She continued.

"He would be very grateful.  He does not know who it was, for I’ve heard
him say so.  All that he knows is that it was a trooper of the 10th."

She stopped and waited for an answer, but he stood in silent indecision
as to what he should say to her. If he should now disclose himself the
President would doubtless weaken the force of his obligation by giving
him in token of his gratitude some appointment which not only would fall
far short of the lieutenant’s commission to which he aspired, but also
would remove him from the young woman who in the last minute had become
so simply and earnestly sympathetic in her manner.  He weighed the pros
and cons quickly.

"Why haven’t you told him?" persisted Helen.

"I have preferred not, Miss Helen.  In fact there are reasons why I
cannot—must not—now."

"What reasons?" demanded Helen.

"Please, Miss Helen, I cannot tell you—nor him."

"You are not ashamed of it, surely?"

"No, Miss Helen.  I would do it again this morning—willingly—at any cost
to myself.  But do not ask me to tell of it."

Helen regarded him narrowly for a minute in silence.

"And you kept me from—death—also.  Am I not to tell him of that either?"

"Please no, Miss Helen.  If I have done you a service and you think it
worth reward, I ask that you repay me by telling no one that I am either
your father’s rescuer or your own."

Mystery always annoyed Helen unbearably, and she looked at Hayward as if
uncertain whether to peremptorily demand his secret or to inform him she
herself would acquaint her father with the facts he sought to conceal.
Hayward saw something of her purpose in her eyes, and pleaded with her.

"Miss Helen, I beg you.  My reasons are imperative—and honourable.  When
the time comes that I may I will gladly tell your father, but if now you
would do me the greatest favour you will say nothing of it."

While Hayward was speaking it occurred to Helen that she willingly would
have her father remain in ignorance of her disobedience and reckless
riding and its consequent narrowly averted disaster.  This
consideration, together with Hayward’s earnestness in his mystifying
request, finally prevailed upon her.

"Very well, Hayward, if you insist.  You only will be the loser.  It is
puzzling to me....  But tell me about your rescue of papa."

Hayward, glad to buy her silence, gave her a modest account of his very
creditable bit of heroism, and in response to Helen’s interested
questioning he was still recounting incidents of the battle and his
hospital experiences when they reached the Lake Drive and quickened
their pace into a fast canter for home. They arrived and alighted and
Hayward got the horses away to the stable without any one’s seeing the
dust-splashed mare.

Helen could hardly contain herself with her knowledge, but she was as
scrupulously honest as she was impulsive, and stood by her promise not
to divulge the footman’s secret.  She vainly tried to imagine some
satisfactory explanation of his strange request, but could conceive none
that seemed plausible.  She finally came to believe that he was a heroic
soul whom some implacable misfortune had denied the right to the fruits
of his heroism, and in her heart she pitied him.

Hayward was not certain just how far his young mistress credited him
with good and honest reasons for wishing his identity to remain
undisclosed to her father.  He feared that she must think any reason
inadequate.  He was very much afraid that in all her interested
inquiries she would discover that he was not using his real name.  If
she became possessed of that knowledge she doubtless would think the
circumstance sufficiently suspicious to warrant her laying all the facts
before her father.  This matter of his name perplexed him no little.  He
gladly would have Helen acquainted with the facts relating to the
crimson pennant, and yet he must guard against it.  That would reveal
his masquerade, as she certainly would remember the name of the Harvard
man who had saved his college from defeat.  He heartily regretted the
excess of caution which had made him place himself in this dilemma.

                     *      *      *      *      *

In the long and lazy summer days that came after that morning’s ride
Helen was given without seeking it some little opportunity to question
the footman about the ever interesting matter of her father’s rescue and
allied incidents of battle and campaign.  Her father insisted, on a few
occasions when he could not accompany her, on her riding alone, with
Hayward as a guard.  In her sailing parties, also, in which Hayward was
usually skipper of sailboat or launch, she was thrown occasionally with
him alone before she had picked up, or after she had dropped off, her
guests at the several landings around the Inlet.

She had a child’s interest in listening to the ex-trooper’s
reminiscences of the battle of Valencia, the Venezuelan campaign, and of
his world’s-end following of the flag.  The footman, never for a moment
lacking in deference or presuming upon the liberty of speech allowed
him, was an entertaining talker.  He had used his eyes and his ears in
his journeyings through the earth, and the lively imagination
characteristic of his race and his negro knack of mimicry, together with
his intelligence and his ability to use the English language with
precision and skill, made him a raconteur of fascinating charm.  Helen
quite often wished to acquaint her father and mother and Elise with some
of the things he recounted to her, but the tales were always so mixed in
with his experiences as a soldier that she could not re-relate them
without breaking her promise to respect his secret....

And thus the summer days dragged slowly to an end, with Helen and her
footman becoming at odd times better acquainted with the thoughts and
personal views each of the other on a wider and ever wider range of
subjects.  Helen was too unsophisticated in her thought to notice
anything unusual in a lackey’s being possessed of Hayward’s intelligence
and ease of manner.  The ever present mystery of his refusal to exploit
his heroic deeds dwarfed or overshadowed all other questions that might
have arisen in her mind as to anything out of the ordinary in him.  She
did believe that he was suffering some sort of martyrdom in silence, and
her womanly sympathy grew stronger as she knew more of him.  Not for a
moment was the relation of mistress and man lost sight of by either; but
the revelation of the real woman and man, each to other, went steadily
on.



                             *CHAPTER XIII*


The era of good feeling seemed to have been ushered in along with Mr.
Phillips’ inauguration.  The country was prosperous to a degree.  Labour
was receiving steady employment and a fair wage and uttered no
complaint.  Capital was adding surplus to per cent., and was content.
The Cuban skirmish with Spain and the trial-by-battle with Germany had
cemented again in blood the sections divided by the Great War—so closely
indeed that nobody, not even Presidents on hand-shaking junkets, thought
to mention it.  Any sporadic "waver of the bloody shirt" was considered
an anachronism and laughed at as a harmless idiot.  It was true that the
negro question, being present in the flesh and incapable of banishment,
was yet a momentous problem: but it was considered in cooler temper as
being either a national or a local question—not sectional in any sense.

President Phillips in his first message to Congress, as in his inaugural
address, felicitated his countrymen upon the unity of the American
people and the American spirit, and on both occasions gave a new
rhetorical turn and oratorical flourish to the statement that his father
was from Massachusetts and his mother a South Carolinian.  In sections
of the South where his party was admittedly effete or undoubtedly
odorous he hesitated not to appoint to office men of political faith
radically differing from his own—and all good citizens applauded.
Partisanry was settling itself down for a good long sleep, and strife
had ceased. The lion and the lamb were lain down together, and there was
none that made afraid in all the holy mountain of American good-will and
fair prospect.

Into this sectionally serene and peaceful situation, which Mr. Phillips
deemed largely the result of his personal effort as a non-sectional
American executive, he deliberately or impulsively pitched an issue
which set one-third of his admiring countrymen by the ears.

The good commonwealth of Mississippi was in a state of upheaval.  A
peaceable revolution was being attempted there which would have changed
the essential nature and purpose of the State government. Incited by the
wordy eloquence of a provincial governor, with a few scraps of
statistics gone mad, good men, honest men, men of intelligence were
seriously considering the proposition to so amend the State constitution
as to put upon the negro in his ignorance and poverty the whole burden
of his own education—by a division of the school fund between the races
in proportion to the taxes each paid to the State.

This reactionary and truly astonishing proposition of Governor
Wordyfellow was commonly known as the Wordyfellow Idea.  It was giving
great concern to the sober statesmanship of the entire nation, North and
South—indeed greater concern to the thoughtful men of the South who
realized its momentous import, its far-reaching effect upon Southern
white people, than to the thoughtful outsiders who viewed it
philosophically as having a speculative interest but no actual part in
its settlement or effects.

The proposition to so divide the school funds indeed found its most
violent and active opposition, as it found its strongest advocates, not
only among the men of the South but even in the very State of
Mississippi itself.  The fact soon developed that this was to be the
greatest political battle that was to be fought concerning the negro.
All prior conflicts had been white man against negro.  This was white
man against white man, with the negro as an interested onlooker.

The lines were drawn roughly with the church, the schools and the
independent press allied against the politicians, the political press
and the less intelligent citizenship.  Notable individual exceptions
there were to this alignment—which all men remember—but the line of
cleavage, taking it by and large, was as stated.  Though the matter of
an actual constitutional revision was presented as yet only to the
people of Mississippi, the battle was being waged in serious purpose to
a no less actual finish in every State from the Potomac to the Rio
Grande.

It was into this situation, fraught with dire possibilities of course,
but full of promise to the negro’s friends, that the new President
projected his impulsive and forceful personality.  Anxious as always to
be in the fight and leader in the fight, he set about to devise some
plan for helping along the black man’s cause.  That he might do this
more intelligently he conferred often with his most trusted advisers.

It was on the occasion of the memorable Home-Coming Week at Cleveland in
191- that he held the famous conference which gave that great civic
celebration a fixed place in history.  He stood loyally by his home city
in its effort to enjoy and advertise itself, for he betook himself and
family and several friends, including two members of his cabinet, away
from busiest Washington for two days, and opened up his Cleveland home
at great expense for that brief stay.

Doctor Woods, a negro of national reputation, also claimed Cleveland as
his birthplace, and he had journeyed thither from afar to swell the
throng of loyal sons of the city, and had brought with him Doctor
Martin, now a bishop of the A.M.E. Zion Church, to add dignity and
strength to the negro end of the programme.  Meeting officially with
these two dignitaries of colour suggested to Mr. Phillips a discussion
of the Wordyfellow disturbance, and he called an impromptu consultation.

In between the review of a morning parade and luncheon, therefore, on
the second day of his stay, he sandwiched this hurried conference.  At
it, beside Martin and Woods, were Secretary of the Navy Mackenzie, whose
wisdom seemed to cover all politics and statecraft, and the Secretary of
Agriculture, Baxter—himself a Mississippian, but thoroughly opposed to
the Mississippi governor’s policy.

The conference, which was held at Mr. Phillips’ home, rejoiced his
heart.  He was pleased at the favourable reports which Bishop Martin and
Doctor Woods gave of the situation in the several Southern States.  He
accepted with approval the suggestions of the sapient Mackenzie; and
when he saw with what earnestness and vigour and assured personal
knowledge of the situation Baxter was putting his energies into the
fight and predicting victory even in Mississippi, his enthusiasm knew no
bounds.  The conference was of such interest that luncheon was announced
before a definite plan of action was threshed out.

"By George, I’m hungry as a wolf!" exclaimed Mr. Phillips.  "Come along
to the dining-room, gentlemen, and we’ll wind this thing up while we
replenish our stores."

While this invitation was quite unexpected by the bishop and Doctor
Woods, it completely confounded Secretary Baxter who was right in the
middle of a little speech when the interruption and invitation came.  He
looked confused for a moment, and began mumbling some excuse as Mr.
Phillips held open the door and his other guests passed out into the
hall.

"Oh, you don’t have to go," said Mr. Phillips. "Come on and finish up
your idea.  I know you have no other engagement, for you were to lunch
with me to-day to discuss that Williams matter."

The Secretary of Agriculture saw he was caught, and his manner changed
in a moment as he decided to meet the issue squarely.

"You will please excuse me, Mr. President," he said formally and
finally.

"Why, Baxter, surely I do not have to explain to you that—"

"You certainly do not, Mr. President," interrupted the Secretary.  "Good
morning, gentlemen,"—and he bowed himself out.

President Phillips turned in ill-restrained anger and followed his
guests to the dining-room.  They found Mrs. Phillips and Helen awaiting
them.  With these Mr. Mackenzie shook hands, and to them the President
introduced Doctor Woods.  The bishop was already acquainted, and spoke
of the dinner at the Saratoga restaurant.

Mrs. Phillips had long been accustomed to the surprises her husband made
for her, and had too good control of her faculties to show any annoyance
on beholding her unexpected and unwelcome guests.

Any possible shade of restraint in her manner would not have been
noticed, however, in the general feeling of constraint which Mr.
Baxter’s abrupt departure had left on Mr. Phillips and his other guests.
The host set himself to the task of throwing off this feeling by
plunging volubly into a résumé of the discussion they had been having.
His vigour and enthusiasm were such that by their very physical force he
was bringing a wholesome situation to pass, when Elise came humming down
the hall with Lola DeVale, stopped short in the doorway—and turned
quickly back.

[Illustration: "ELISE ... STOPPED SHORT IN THE DOORWAY—AND TURNED
QUICKLY BACK."]

While there was nothing unusual or pointed in Elise’s manoeuvre her
father felt and resented her protest.  He talked away for a few minutes
in nervous hope that his supposition was wrong and that she would come
and bring Lola in to lunch.  When she did not his choler rose at this
open mutiny in his own household, and he awkwardly tossed the ball of
conversation to Mackenzie and busied himself keeping his indignation
within bounds.

From this point the meal progressed uncertainly. In the midst of the
embarrassment of it all there was brought to the President a note, upon
opening which he read:


"SIR:—I have the honour to present my resignation as Secretary of
Agriculture, to take effect at the earliest moment you may be able to
relieve me of the duties of the office.

"With assurances of my highest consideration and sincerest good wishes
for yourself and the success of your administration, I am

"Your obedient servant,
       "W. E. BAXTER."


At the bottom of the page there was added:


"P.S.—I am willing to assign any plausible reason for this resignation
that you may desire, or that may suggest itself to you as likely to
relieve you of any embarrassment as a result of it.  W.E.B."


Mr. Phillips punctuated his first hasty perusal of the note with a snort
of contempt, and checked an outburst of sarcastic, wrathful comment to
read it over a second time.  Fortunately at this moment Bishop Martin
and Doctor Woods rose and apologized for having to withdraw in order to
catch a train.

Their host was loth to have them go, and expressed regret that they had
not been able to arrive at some definite plan of campaign.  He asked
that they inform him if they should come to Washington, so that he might
discuss the subject further with them.  Expressing their great pleasure
that the chief executive took such a lively and intelligent interest in
the weal and progress of their race, the two negro worthies withdrew,
Mrs. Phillips dismissing them with a formal bow and smile and Helen,
following her father, giving them a cordial hand-shake as they retired.

When they had gone Mr. Phillips thrust the letter of resignation at
Mackenzie, and exploded:

"Mac, just read that!  The provincial, patronizing, postscript-writing
popinjay!  Could you have imagined the impudence of it!  Does not wish
me to be embarrassed as a result of his quitting us—the conceited ass!
I wonder if he thinks I care a rap, or that the people care, for his
cheap little melodramatics. I might have known that it was too much to
have expected a sensible secretary from that cursed negro-phobia State!
But he was so strongly pressed for a cabinet appointment, and really did
appear to be such a strong fellow.  I might have guessed his apparent
excellences were too good to be true!  Oh, but the patronizing insolence
of his offer to hush it up for us! I swear it’s unbearable.  Damn the
superior high-and-mighty airs these Southerners assume!  My mother was a
South Carolinian, but I can’t feel a sympathetic tremor in my blood for
any such damnable bigotry.  I’ll give Mr. Baxter and all his hide-bound,
moss-backed, supercilious gang to know that this is one administration
that proposes to make a democratic government a reality in this
democratic country.  A man shall be measured by the essential qualities
of manhood he possesses, and dealt with accordingly, whatever his
position, pull, size, sentiments, claims or colour!  What do you think
of that infernal note?"

"He does show great consideration for us—distinguished consideration, I
may say.  He will not tell it on us," sarcastically commented Mackenzie.

"The devil take his distinguished consideration!" snapped Mr. Phillips.
"I’ll accept his little resignation before he can wink, and give the
papers a full statement of the circumstances just as they occurred. I’ll
show the upstart what a small potato he is—damn his impudence!  And then
just to think, Mac, of the inexpressible insult in refusing to lunch
with persons that I deem worthy to dine with my wife and daughters!  It
really makes it almost too damnably personal to be overlooked.  He must
understand that respectability, presentability, acceptability, in my
home is a matter that is as sacred to me as such things are to him with
all his Bourbon notions!—but thank God he may understand also that such
acceptability is based on true merit, and that a man’s colour has
absolutely nothing to do with it.... Come along with me to the library
and we will accept this little resignation before it gets cold, and have
it at his hotel before he gets cold!"



                             *CHAPTER XIV*


Mrs. Phillips, ill at ease during the luncheon, had taken the
opportunity to retire offered by the departure of the negro guests, and
had taken Helen with her; but that young lady, feeling the electric
condition of the atmosphere and full of lively curiosity, had returned
to hover around the dining-room door and learn what all the row was
about.  She heard her father’s outburst with great interest—being no
little shocked at his sulphurous words, but no less deeply concerned at
the suggestion of embarrassment to him politically, and forcibly and
enthusiastically impressed with his fine scorn of subterfuge and manly
decision to fight out his battles in the open.

When President Phillips came in to dinner and asked for his daughters,
their mother told him Helen was in her room and Elise had gone driving
with Lola. "I did not like Elise’s conduct at lunch.  It was too
pointed, entirely too pointed.  I shall talk to the young lady very
plainly."

"Now, Hayne, don’t worry the child with this affair.  It is bad enough
as it is.  I hope—"

"Bad enough as it is!  Why, one would think you wished to resign also.
Were you insulted, too?"

"Not insulted, Hayne; but ever since you sent me to the pinelands of
North Carolina that winter for Elise’s throat I have not been able to
think of a negro as I did before—and Elise feels the same way, I know.
It is so plain down there: the negroes are so many and so—different.  I
can’t receive them with any sort of pleasure.  Just think of what the
Southern papers will have to say.  The awful things they said about your
negro quartette were almost unbearable, and I know that was mild to what
this will be.  I do wish you had not brought them in to lunch, Hayne."

"Why, May, you are surely not going over against me with those
supercilious Southern fanatics?"

"Hayne!  That is almost insulting.  You know that I am for you against
the world, whatever comes.  No one, not even Elise or Helen, has ever
heard me offer the least criticism of anything you have done—and no one
ever will, my dearest"—she spoke simply and earnestly as she held her
hands up toward him in a gesture eloquent of abiding love—"but I cannot
have pleasure in receiving negroes.  I have seen the negro as he really
is, and I cannot feel that some soap and water and a silk hat make a—"

"Stop, May, right there"—Mr. Phillips’ arms went about his wife in
tenderness as he placed a hand upon her lips.  "Listen to me.  You dear
women are creatures of impulse and sentiment—and thank Heaven for that,
too: for when the time ever comes that you shall judge men from your
heads instead of your hearts, woe to us!"—and he kissed her hair in
reverent gentleness—-"but—"

"Well, this is an idyllic scene!" exclaimed Elise, coming into the room
with Helen.  "It is better than a play.  Daddy dear, you do it
beautifully.  You should have gone on the stage."

Mr. Phillips’ state of mind, his bottled-up vexation because of Elise’s
behaviour at luncheon, his impatience at the interruption of his
conversation with his wife at the point where she seemed to have made
out her case against him and before he had opportunity to demolish her
sentiment with masculine logic, added to Elise’s lightness of manner and
speech, which nettled him in his serious concern over Baxter’s
resignation, were, all together, too much for moderation.

"Now look here, young lady," he growled out ungraciously, "you have
presumed entirely too much upon your privileges to-day.  When did you
become too good to dine with people your mother and sister were
entertaining?"

"Why, papa!" the girl exclaimed in amazement at the roughness of his
manner;—but the sternness of his face did not relax, and she stumbled
along seeking some excuse.  "Lola and I did not want any lunch, and all
those men—"

"Stop!  Don’t be a dodger!  You know very well, miss, that you declined
to lunch because Bishop Martin and Doctor Woods were there.  Now you
must understand that I am as regardful of your honour as you are, that
my life is at your service to protect it against the slightest affront,
but that I will not be sponsor for any silliness, and will certainly not
overlook or permit any high-flown impertinence that affronts me in the
presence of guests of my choosing. What do you suppose Mr. Mackenzie
thinks of your high-and-mighty rebuke to him for sitting at my table in
that company?  He must feel very properly subdued, I suppose you think.
And the bishop and Doctor Woods—they are doubtless overcome with
humiliation because of your refusal to meet them."

He dropped his overbearing manner as Elise’s face turned from crimson to
white and her lips began to tremble—for he was a tender-hearted and
gallant gentleman.

"Now let me say once for all, my daughter, that I must be the judge of
who is a proper person to be entertained in this household, and I want
no more such exhibitions of filial disrespect as you made to-day.  I
think no explanation is due: but I will tell you that one of the
gentlemen who lunched with us to-day is a bishop in his church and a
leader of ten million citizens of this country, while Doctor Woods is a
graduate of Harvard and Heidelberg, a man whose learning is surpassed by
that of very few men in America, and is the very best type of his own
race and a creditable product of any race.  Both these gentlemen are
entirely worthy of your highest respect."

"But, papa, they are negroes!" said Elise, emboldened to attempt a
defence when her father dropped his browbeating tone and assumed to
address her reason.

"Negroes?—and what of that?  It is not the first time a negro has
lunched with a President of the United States.  Calm your misgivings by
remembering that it is assuredly safe, either socially or politically,
to follow any precedent set by Mr. Roosevelt. But further, my daughter,
what does the term ’negro’ impute to these men more than a colour of
skin? Nothing.  My child, ’the man’s the thing,’—his colour is
absolutely nothing.  A negro must be judged individually, by his own
character and ability—you judge white men so.  He is not responsible for
the whole race, but for himself, and must stand or fall upon his
individual merit and not upon his colour or caste.  It is the glory of
our America that it has but one order of nobility—a man; and when that
order is abolished or others established our democratic institutions
will be a hollow pretence and our decadence have set in.  Heaven defend
a daughter of mine should be either dazzled by a tinselled rank or class
pretension, or fail to appreciate simple, genuine, personal excellence."

Elise was glad enough her father had calmed down and branched off into
generalities.  She was discreetly, not impudently, silent, and took the
first opportunity to retire.

                     *      *      *      *      *

On that afternoon Elise had met Evans Rutledge and had really found
pleasure in his friendliness. She speculated whether his manner would
have been quite so cordial if he had known of the luncheon then but two
hours past.  She had seen no little of him in a casual way since living
in Washington, for he was an acceptable visitor at most of the desirable
places.  With repeated meetings they had come to an unspoken truce,
Elise being impelled to friendly simplicity by her very nature, and
Rutledge by the love which would not permit him to deny himself any
opportunity to be near her despite some rebellious notions of
self-respect.

Rutledge’s vacillation of mind concerning Elise was evidenced by his
presence in Cleveland.  It comported very well with his former status as
a freelance correspondent that in search of "copy" he should have
followed the President out to Ohio, but he confessed to himself that it
was somewhat below the dignity of his present position and standing as
an editorial writer that he should have asked for the assignment as news
representative allotted to his paper on the Presidential special.  He
called himself a fool, and—thought of many situations that might happen
to evolve themselves on the train....  They didn’t evolve.

Only one paltry three minutes’ talk with Elise did he win for all his
journeying.  He had stood by her carriage that afternoon as she waited
for Lola DeVale in front of Vantine’s, and they had talked in the
unaffected manner of the first days of their acquaintance until Lola
came out and invited him to join them on an evening at the end of the
week at an informal gathering of young people at her home in Washington.
He had accepted with what he afterward thought was childish and
compromising eagerness.

"I like that Mr. Rutledge so much.  I invited him for you, Elise," Lola
said as they drove homeward.

"Why for me?" asked Elise.

"Perhaps I should say because of you.  Can’t you see the reason in his
eyes every time he looks at you? I can."

"You are mistaken there, my dear.  I happen to know that Mr. Rutledge
loves, or once loved, a young woman who has greatly disappointed him."

"How?"

"He has learned that her family—and perhaps she—is impossible."

"How did you know of his love for the girl?"

"He told me himself," Elise answered with a nonchalant air that proved
her an actress of the finest art.

"He did!  You were playing with fire, Elise.  The sympathetic ’other
girl’ is always in a dangerous role.  Did he tell you of his
disappointment also?"

"Oh, no.  But that was—and is—evident."

"But the girl?  Was she really—nice—better than her people?"

"Yes.  No—yes—that is, nice.  Of course you know Mr. Rutledge would not
love a woman who was not—nice."

"Oh, certainly; but if he was really disappointed in her, all the more
reason he might find a solace in your smiles."

"It was her family rather than herself, I think. He is uncertain about
her—is afraid to love her."

"He does seem to have an uncertain look at times that has puzzled me.  I
think you are responsible for some of his uncertainty, however; or
perhaps the other girl makes him uncertain about you.  If it were not
for her you would have to look to your defences.... He must have loved
her very much or he could not stand the temptation you are to him....
I’m glad you’ve solved the riddle, but very sorry you told me.  I have
liked Mr. Rutledge; but I despise any man who would not brush aside all
obstacles to marry the woman he loves and who loves him.  Don’t you?"

"Oh," said Elise uncertainly, "but, really, it was—it may have
been—because she did not love him. I do not think he lacks
courage—exactly.  He simply would not—pursue—the young woman because her
father’s—because the—the obstacle was—seemed—insurmountable,—but really
I must not be violating confidences.  There is no reason why you should
not at least respect him, Lola.  His course is not without some
justification, for the objection, from his point of view, is—vital."

"But what if the girl loves him?  Does she love him?"

"Really, Lola, he—he did not inform me—whether she does or not.  He has
not made the slightest reference to the subject, nor spoken the smallest
of confidences to me since that summer on the St. Lawrence....  I think
he regrets ever having told me anything about his—heart’s affairs.  I
suppose I should not repeat them—they were spoken under peculiar
circumstances."

"There is nothing peculiar, my dear.  It is easy to see why a man who is
not free to make love to you will choose the next best thing and talk of
love with you....  You would better be careful of Mr. Rutledge, however,
for I fear his loyalty to that first love totters on its throne every
time he looks into your gray eyes.  You must not shatter his faith in
his own faithfulness."



                              *CHAPTER XV*


The second morning’s papers were aflame with the news of it!  President
Phillips, true to his outspoken character, himself had called in the
Associated Press representative immediately on his return to Washington
and dictated a concise statement of all the circumstances leading to Mr.
Baxter’s resignation.  The Secretary’s house was besieged by reporters,
but all were referred to the White House for information. The daily
newspapers featured the item in every conceivable style of display
head-lines, and the affair was a nine-day sensation in Washington and a
reverberating tempest throughout the South.

Evans Rutledge by the force of his genius, his wide knowledge of men and
affairs and the accuracy of his political information had gone rapidly
toward the front rank in his profession.  He was now the leading
editorial writer on the _Washington Mail_, an anti-administration organ.

Of that paper Elise sought the first issue with surreptitious eagerness.
She picked it up fully expecting to read quite the most scathing
philippic she had ever seen in print.  She was surprised to find that
the former correspondent had put off his extravagances for a more
judicial editorial manner.  She recognized his work by several phrases
that had been in the _Chicago American_ article.

The editorial was severe, but dignified and fairly respectful.  Rutledge
commended Secretary Baxter for his prompt and emphatic refusal to lunch
with a negro even though at the table of a President of the United
States and at the President’s personal invitation or "command."  He said
the fact that Mr. Phillips had intended no insult made the insult no
less real; and that Baxter had done the only possible thing—the duel
being no longer in vogue—declined and resigned.

He went on to say that there was an irreconcilable difference between
the Northern and the Southern ideas of the social equality of the races;
that the Southern man’s idea was bred in the bone, and no amount of
argument or abuse or lofty advice from the Northern press, or boyish
impulsiveness in the President’s chair, could change that idea one iota;
that while their fears sometimes might be lulled to sleep, might be
forgotten like other ills in the interest or excitement of other
concerns, the black peril was their great Terror in both their waking
and sleeping hours, and even when asleep they slept upon their arms.

Elise read that in face of this Terror all other questions were
insignificant, and all arguments, prejudices, passions, _loves and
hates_ (she put her fingertip on the words) among Southern gentlemen
melted away or were fused into a mighty and unalterable sentiment to go
down to death rather than to permit social intermingling with the negro
race.

The editorial concluded that the Southern feeling on this subject was
ineradicable, and was so deep-seated and universal that it became a
great Fact which any man of fair discretion and sensible purpose would
have recognized and reckoned with; that no President with an abiding
sense of the proprieties would have proposed the luncheon to Baxter, and
no gentleman of the South would have hesitated for a moment in declining
the insulting invitation.  The subject was dismissed with the prediction
that the cause of the negro immediate and remote would be damaged
immeasurably by this act of the impulsive gentleman in the White House
who would take the Southern situation by the seat of the trousers as
though it were a self-willed small boy pouting in a cellar and yank it
incontinently up the Phillips stairs of progress.

There was no other subject discussed in hotel lobbies, committee-rooms
or wherever else two or more men were gathered together on the day after
the facts were known.  In the afternoon in one of the committee-rooms of
the Senate, Senators Ruffin and Killam, Representatives Smith and
Calhoun of Killam’s State, and Representative Hazard of a New York City
district, were ventilating their views on the matter when Rutledge
joined them, on the hunt for Calhoun.

The comments on the President’s negro luncheon were all adverse, though
expressed in terms of varying elegance and force from the keen and
polished irony of Mr. Ruffin to Mr. Killam’s brutal outbursts and
picturesque profanity.  Mr. Hazard, not having the same sectional
view-point as the others, though of the same political creed, was an
interested listener. Senator Ruffin referred to the editorial in _The
Mail_ and drew Evans into the discussion.

The young man, glad to be untrammelled by editorial discretion, gave
free rein to his indignation, but in deference to Mr. Hazard’s presence
was careful to make some allowance and excuses for the opinion of
Northern people on the matter of social amenities to negroes.  However,
to compensate for this concession and leave no doubt of his opinion, he
was even more picturesque than Mr. Killam, if not so profane—and
consequently more forcible, Hazard thought—in paying his respects to Mr.
Phillips’ negro policy.

But Senator Killam resented even the suggestion of excuse for Northern
opinion, and opened up an even more choice and outrageous assortment of
profanity and invective.  Rutledge, Calhoun and Senator Ruffin were
ashamed at his disregard of ordinary decencies, while Hazard assumed a
look of polite amusement.  Mr. Killam’s satellite, Smith, however, was
vastly tickled at his master’s performance, and took pains to show his
surpassing admiration.  Smith was a raw-boned, half-washed giant with
long hair that never knew a shampoo, who owed his election to Congress
to a gift of stump-speaking and a consistent devotion to Senator
Killam’s political fortunes.  He usually kept quiet when his chief was
there to speak. He did so on that afternoon till, carried away by Mr.
Killam’s extravagances about niggers in white dining-rooms, he blurted
out:

"Yes; I suppose now Miss Elise Phillips will be getting sweet on Doctor
Woods.  The nig—"

Smash!

Rutledge struck him on the point of the jaw and he fell in an awkward
heap between a chair and the wall.  He was up in a moment growling like
a mastiff, but was restrained by Calhoun and Hazard. Rutledge was
standing perfectly still, his thumbs in his trousers pockets, showing no
excitement save in the glint of his eye.  Smith was muttering his desire
to fight it out.  He could not talk plainly, for the blow had unhinged
his loosely clacking jaw.  Hazard, Killam and Calhoun held him by force
till he was quiet. It would have been impossible to prevent his forcing
a further clash perhaps if Senator Ruffin had not insisted on ending the
matter just there.

"Gentlemen!" he said, "this must stop right here. None of us can afford
to pursue the miserable affair further.  We should all be ashamed that a
young lady’s name has been used in this discussion at all, and
especially in such a manner was it unpardonable! Mr. Smith certainly
forgot himself; and while Mr. Rutledge acted from a chivalrous impulse
he will learn when he is older that a blow usually advertises rather
than suppresses an insult to a woman."

It began to dawn upon Mr. Smith by this time that he had committed a
woeful breach of good manners, and with a parvenu’s awe of "propriety"
he was more than anxious to have the affair hushed up. None the less did
he wish to keep secret his knockdown.  He got out as quietly as possible
in search of a surgeon.  Rutledge retired with Calhoun, who slapped him
on the back as they went down the corridor and whispered, "Good old boy!
Served him right, the damn dog."

Senator Ruffin sent for the attendant who had left the committee-room as
soon as quiet was restored, and bought his silence with a five-dollar
bill.  This honest man was true to his promise to keep his mouth shut,
but he overlooked informing the Senator that he had already given the
first of his co-labourers he met in the hall a fragmentary account of
the mix-up. He had given the names only of Senators Ruffin and Killam,
as he did not know the others, all of whom he thought were members of
the Lower House.

The reporters were on the trail in an hour.  They interviewed the
Senators, but these were dumb.  They found that the Senate attendant who
had his information second-hand was the only source of news supply. What
this fellow lacked in knowledge, however, he supplied out of his
imagination; and the details grew and multiplied as different reporters
interviewed him. At best there was much to be supplied by the young
gentlemen of the press, and the result was as many different stories as
there were men on the job.  The nearest any of them got to the truth was
to say that two Congressmen had been discussing the negro question and
had come to blows because some woman’s name had been dragged in, and
that one had broken the other’s jaw.  This much in the evening papers.

By the next morning the newspaper ferrets had located all the actors and
eye-witnesses and gave their names to the public.  Fortunately the
attendant had not caught Smith’s remark but only his rebuke by Senator
Ruffin.  So that the public knew only that Evans Rutledge had unset or
broken the jaw of Congressman Smith because of some improper use of a
young lady’s name.  Whose, none of the gentlemen would say.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Evans Rutledge was in a fever of anxiety lest that name should get to
the public.  He was sure that he could not face Elise again if it did.
Senator Ruffin’s rebuke had sunk deep into his heart and he felt more
guilty than Smith.  He looked over the morning and evening papers very
carefully to see whether they had discovered the young woman, before he
finally decided to go to Senator DeVale’s as he had promised Lola.  When
he arrived he found, beside Elise, only Alice Mackenzie, Hazard and
young MacLane, an under-secretary of the British embassy.  Others who
were to come failed to appear.

Elise was not pleased with the situation.  She was quite willing to be
ordinarily civil to Mr. Rutledge, but she knew that nothing could
separate MacLane and Alice Mackenzie, and that Hazard had known Lola so
long and had proposed to her so regularly and insistently that he was
for her or for nobody. It looked a little too much, therefore, as if she
had chosen Evans for her very own for the evening.  She did not want him
to think such a thing possible.  She remembered his point-blank
editorial utterance that those small sentiments—loves and hates—melted
away before exhibitions of social equality with negroes—so at least she
construed it—and she could not but resent it, though she would not admit
she troubled herself to do that.

"Now, young people," said Lola, "as the programme has been spoiled we
will make this an evening of do-as-you-please."

"Good, very good," commented Hazard.  "In that case you will please to
come over here and take this chair and let’s finish that conversation we
were having last night when the unpronounceable Russian took you away
from me."

"I am afraid that conversation is a serial story," she laughed, taking
the chair he placed for her.

MacLane asked Alice Mackenzie some vague question about a song, which
only she could interpret, and they by common impulse went through the
wide door to the piano in the back parlour, where after she had hummed a
short love ballad for him to piano accompaniment they dropped into a
pianissimo duet of love without accompaniment.

Elise, feeling that she was being thus thrown at Mr. Rutledge’s head,
came to the mark with spirit and kept him guessing for an hour.  She
resented his possible inference that she had chosen him for an evening’s
_tête-à-tête_, and set about to show him that such was not the fact by a
display of perversity and brilliance which dazzled while it irritated
him.  She would assume for a moment an intimately friendly, even
confiding, manner that like the breath of the honeysuckle at his Pacolet
plantation home would set his senses a-swim,—and in the next moment
chill his glowing heart with the iciest of conventional reserve or
answer his sincerest speeches with the light disdain and indifference of
a mocking spirit.  At one time she would kindle his admiration for her
quickness of thought and keenness of repartee; and again appear so dull
and careless that he must needs explain his own essays at wit.

Her caprices, so plainly intentional yet inexplicable, exasperated him
almost to the point of open rebellion, and the more evident his
perturbation became, the more spirit she put into the game.  She won him
back from a half-dozen fits of resentful impatience to the very edge of
intoxication,—only to bait him again more outrageously.

Lola DeVale, perfectly familiar with the theme of Oliver Hazard’s
serial, found time even while admiring Hazard’s ability to decorate his
story in ever-changing and ever pleasing colours, to note that Elise was
giving Rutledge a tempestuous hour.

"It’s a shame for her to treat him so," she said to Hazard, interpreting
her meaning by a nod toward Elise and Evans.

"I hadn’t noticed.  What’s she doing to him?"

"I believe he loves her, and she has been treating him shamefully all
evening."

"So that was it," murmured Hazard.  "She certainly ought to be good to
him."

"Beg pardon, I didn’t understand you," said Lola.

"I said she ought to be good to him."

"I heard that.  But the other remark you made?"

Hazard caught himself, and looked at Lola steadily. "I was so bold as to
express an opinion—which had not been requested—and to aver
that—she—er—ought to be good to him," he repeated with an over-done
blankness of countenance.

"You come on," said Lola as she rose.  "We are going to scare up
something for you people to eat," she remarked to the others.

"Now, sir," she said when she had gotten him into the dining-room, "I’ll
see what sort of a reporter I could be.  Stand right there, and look at
me. Now.—why did Mr. Rutledge knock Congressman Smith down?  No, no,
stand perfectly still—and no evasion."

"What are you talking about?" asked Hazard.

"Don’t be silly," the girl said impatiently.  "I read something more
than the society and fashion columns in the newspapers.  Tell me.  Why
did he break Mr. Smith’s jaw?—who was the young lady?—and what did Mr.
Smith say of her?  I know it was Elise; but tell me about it—and hurry,
for those people are getting hungry."

"I must not tell that, Lola," Hazard answered her seriously.

"A man should have no secrets from his—proposed—wife."

"Make it _promised_ wife and I’ll agree," Hazard replied eagerly, taking
her hand.

"No; we’ll leave it _proposed_ awhile longer," she answered him archly.
"I’ve become so accustomed to it that way that I’d hate to change it."
The smile she gave him as she slowly drew away her hand would have
bribed any man to treason.

"But we will compromise it," Lola continued.  "I will be real careful of
your honour.  I’ll ask you a question, and if the answer is _yes_ you
needn’t answer it.  Now—was it not an insult to Elise that Mr. Rutledge
resented?"

"Lola, when you said that word _wife_ a moment since you were—heavenly."

"Hush your nonsense, Ollie....  I knew it was Elise when you said that
thing in the parlour.... Did Mr. Rutledge really break his jaw?"

"Oh, it was beautiful, beautiful," said Hazard with enthusiasm.  "Such a
clean left-hander!  Dropped him like a beef—he’s big as two of
Rutledge—in a wink—before he could finish his sentence,—the low-bred
dog!  Yes, beautifully done, beaut—"

"Here they come," said Lola.  She was busily breaking out the stores
from the sideboard when Elise and Rutledge appeared.

"Here, Mr. Hazard, take this dish in to that mooning young couple in the
back parlour.  And you, Mr. Rutledge, just force them to eat enough of
these pickles to keep their tempers in equilibrium."

                     *      *      *      *      *

"Oh, my dear," she exclaimed when the two men were gone, "I’ve
discovered the name of the young woman Mr. Rutledge fought for.  Ollie
let it get away from him—not the name, but I figured it out. And for
whom do you suppose it was?"

"I haven’t the slightest idea," answered Elise in all truthfulness.

"Of all women you should.  I told you I could see it in his eyes,"’
laughed Lola.

"Not for me?" Elise cried in genuine surprise.

"For you."

"What did the man say?" she asked quickly.

"Some caddish thing, of course.  Men are so nasty. I didn’t have time to
get the particulars before you and Mr. Rutledge followed us in here.
But Ollie says it was just b-e-a-u-t-iful the way Mr. Rutledge dropped
him—and he’s three times as big as Mr. Rutledge, too—"

"We’ve tried moral suasion, strategy, force, every expedient,"
interrupted Hazard as he and Rutledge came back into the dining-room,
"but the Scotch lass and her laddie positively decline to be fed by us.
They are fully supplied by their own ravings—ho! don’t throw that salad
at me!"

"Here, take a dose of celery quick—a biblical pun like that is a too
serious tax upon the simple Congressional brain," said Lola.

Hazard looked foolish, and he felt like a fool; but what real manly
lover outside the story-books was ever else than foolish when love’s fit
was upon him?

None of the quartette in the dining-room was the least bit hungry, and
it was but a very few moments till the young hostess led the way back to
the parlour, Elise and Rutledge following slowly.  When they reached the
stairway Elise seated herself on the third step and by the gesture with
which she arranged her skirts invited Evans to a seat below her.

"Look at that," said Lola to Hazard, glancing over her shoulder as they
passed into the parlour. "Now she’s going to be good to him."

"In the name of heavens, woman, you didn’t tell her!"

"Why not?  She’s the very one that ought to know.  She will not inform
the reporters."

"But what will she think of me?" asked Hazard in some concern.

"You?  Why, you don’t count!  You are only a pawn in their game."  As
his eyes flashed she added, with a bewildering tilt of her chin: "I
promise to make good all your losses."

"May my losses prosper!" prayed Hazard audibly.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Elise used a makeshift conversation with Rutledge till she heard the
humming accents of the others well going, and then—

"Mr. Rutledge," she said.  "I wish to speak to you of your defence of my
name when that Mr. Smith—"

The suddenness of it routed all Rutledge’s cool senses.

"Oh, Miss Phillips," he broke in, "I am so sorry that I should have done
anything to accentuate that abominable fellow’s remark.  I am so
heartily ashamed of my unpardonable boyish thoughtlessness and lack of
consideration that I cannot find words to express my contempt for
myself," etc., to the same effect, without giving Elise a chance to
speak, till she was surprised in turn, then amused, then annoyed.
Finally, in order to bring him to a reasonable coherency, she
interrupted his self-denunciations.

"What did Mr. Smith say of me, Mr. Rutledge?"

"I can’t repeat that to you, Miss Phillips."

"You must if the words are decent.  Tell me at once.  I must know."

"He simply coupled your name with that of—Doctor Woods—the negro
who—lunched at your home in Cleveland."

Evans forced out the last half-dozen words with a visible effort—which
the girl may have misinterpreted.

"Oh!"  She dropped her face in her hands.  She had not dreamed of that
explanation.  But she gathered herself in a moment.  Every pennyweight
of her admirable pride came to her support.  At the mention of "negro
luncheon" she was on guard against Rutledge, her kindly purpose
forgotten.  She sat straight up and with a perfect dignity said:

"I thank you, Mr. Rutledge, for your well-meant efforts in my behalf,
but my father is abundantly able both to choose the guests who shall
dine at his table, and to protect my name, whenever indeed it shall need
a champion."  She closed the discussion by rising.

Evans did not tarry long.  He was too badly scattered. The other guests
soon followed, except Elise, who remained overnight at Lola’s
insistence.

"Come right up to my room and tell me all about it....  What _did_ you
do to that miserable man? You ought to be spanked, Elise."

"I did nothing to him."

"And why didn’t you?  I said to Ollie when you sat down on the stairs,
’Now she’s going to be good to him.’  Did you tell him you knew?"

"Yes."

"What did he say?"

"He—apologized," said Elise with a nervous laugh.

"_Apologized_!  For mercy’s sake!—and what else?"

"I accepted his apology—on condition he would not do it again;" and she
broke out into real mirth at sight of Lola’s scandalized face.



                             *CHAPTER XVI*


If _The Mail’s_ editorial was conservative, other papers were not so
respectful.  It was worse even than Mrs. Phillips had predicted.  All
over the South the papers ran the whole gamut of indignation and abuse
from lofty scorn all the way down to plain editorial fits.  The entire
Southern press, Democratic, Republican, and Independent, except a few
sheets edited by negroes, were of one mind on the subject of negroes
dining with white men.  Papers that had supported Mr. Phillips heartily
were all severe, some of them bitter, in their denunciations.

The Wordyfellow element in the school-fund fight welcomed the
President’s act as a boon from heaven. They raised a howl that was heard
in every nook and corner of the Southland, and that by the very
thundering shock of its roar broke through and drove back the forces of
the negro’s friends.  The weak-willed were borne down and the timid and
the doubting were carried away by the purely physical force of noise or
by having lashed to fury their sometimes latent but ever-present terror
of the Black Peril.  And not only the weak, indeed, and the timid and
the doubting went in crowds to the Wordyfellow camp, but strong men,
fearless men, men of the most philanthropic impulses toward the negro
race, men who had fought openly and ably the Wordyfellow propaganda,
became silent and began to waver, or deserted the negro’s cause and
unhesitatingly espoused the other side.

In vain did the negro’s staunchest friends proclaim their indignation at
the President’s lunching with Bishop Martin and Doctor Woods, and try to
convince their people that the South should be true to its own interests
and do simple justice to the negro despite any act of his fool friends.
It was useless. The Southern people—the floating vote, the balance of
power—were in no mood to draw fine distinctions, nor to listen to
theories in face of facts.  A careless hand had struck the wavering
balance, and the beam went steadily down.

Reports of defections began to come rapidly to Mr. Phillips.  Those from
the negroes in the South told of the losses faithfully, but gave any
other than the true reason for the change of sentiment; while letters
from his white advisers told him more or less plainly that his negro
luncheon had done the damage and that the cause was as good as lost.

These reports roused the President’s fighting blood. He sent for
Mackenzie.

"Read that stack of letters, Mac, and you will see that the negroes in
the South are in a fair way to be trampled to death.  Now I must head
this thing off, and I want your help.  I am determined to defeat that
Wordyfellow movement if there is power in the Federal government.  I’ll
not be content to have the laws annulled by the Federal Supreme Court
after they are passed, even if that can be done.  We must find some way
to win this fight _in the elections_ and thus give the lie to these
prophecies that that luncheon has lost the battle."

So he and the astute Mackenzie rubbed their heads together for a week:
and finally came to a remedy so simple that they were ashamed not to
have thought of it at once.  Simple indeed—if they could apply it. In
less than another week, Mr. Hare, the recognized administration
mouthpiece in the House, introduced a bill appropriating moneys from the
national treasury to the States in proportion to population for purposes
of public education.  The milk in this legislative cocoanut was a
provision that the money apportioned to each State should be so
distributed among the individual public schools of the State that, when
taken together with the State’s own appropriation, all the schools in
the State should be open for terms of equal length.

From statistics carefully compiled in the office of the Commissioner of
Education Mr. Phillips and Mr. Mackenzie had calculated the amount of
the appropriation so that if the Southern States adopted the Wordyfellow
plan the negro race would get virtually the whole of the appropriation
from the national government.

Elise Phillips, persuading herself that she was on the lookout for
reasons to despise Mr. Rutledge, regularly read the editorial column of
_The Mail_.

There one morning she learned that "the immediate effect of the
introduction of the Hare Bill in the House has been to transfer the
fight from the South to Washington.  True, the Wordyfellow speakers and
press have raised a more ear-splitting howl, and opened up with every
gun of argument, appeal, abuse, expletive and rant; but they see clearly
that this bill if passed will bring all their schemes to naught, and
that the issue has been taken out of their hands.  It is tantalizingly
uncertain to them whether the bill will become a law; for there are many
incidental questions and considerations which complicate the issue here
at Washington.  But all men know that when Mr. Phillips sets his head
for anything he will move heaven and earth to attain it.  Few doubt his
power to whip many Representatives and Senators into line or his
readiness to wield the whip if the fate of any pet measure demands it.
There is much of the Jesuit in Mr. Phillips’ philosophy of life and
action.  When he believes a thing is right he believes that no squeamish
notion should prevent his bringing it to pass. Keep your eyes on him!
It is always interesting to see how he does it."

"Pity he is not a Senator!" Elise commented with scornful impatience as
she threw the paper down, "that papa might whip him into becoming
modesty!"

                     *      *      *      *      *

At the moment Elise was so delivering her mind, a telegraph boy was
handing Rutledge a message. He tore it open and read:

"COLUMBIA, S.C, Jan. 9th, 191-.

"EVANS RUTLEDGE,
       "Washington, D.C.

"Exactly how old are you and where do you vote?

"W. D. ROBERTSON."

Evans looked around behind the telegraph-sheet as if seeking an
explanation.  He gazed quizzically at the messenger-boy, but that young
gentleman only grinned and then looked solemn.

"Well," Evans muttered, "what the devil’s up Robbie’s back now?"

He sat down and thought the thing over awhile. Then he constructed a
reply.


"WASHINGTON, Jan. 9th, 191-.

"W. D. ROBERTSON, Atty.-General,
       "Columbia, S.C.

"Your telegram received.  If it is official I decline to answer.  _Entre
nous_ I will be thirty-one on the 29th of February at something like
twenty minutes past three in the morning—they didn’t have a stopwatch in
the house.  I vote in Cherokee County, Pacolet precinct, generally of
late in a cigar-box in the shed-room of Jake Sims’s store where Gus
Herndon used to run a barber-shop when you and I were young, Maggie.
Why?  EVANS RUTLEDGE."


"Send that _collect_, youngster.  We’ll make old Robbie pay for his
impertinence."

"Look here, sonny," he called to the boy who had gotten out the door,
"bring any answer to that down to the Capitol.  I am going to have a
look at the Senate."

He was sitting beside Lola DeVale in the members’ gallery when the
answer came.


"COLUMBIA, S.C, Jan. 9th, 191-.

HON. EVANS RUTLEDGE,
       "Washington, D.C.

"Nothing much.  The governor of South Carolina simply did not feel like
giving a United States Senatorship either to a boy or to a man from
another State.  He is just mailing your commission as Jones’s successor.
Don’t decline it before you hear the whole story.  Congratulations to
you.

"W. D. ROBERTSON."


"This has ’an ancient and fish-like smell.’  Read it," Rutledge said to
Lola when he had recovered from his astonishment sufficiently to speak.

She took the telegram and while she was trying to interpret its import
Senator Killam came hurriedly into the gallery and seized upon Rutledge.

"I got a telegram from the governor half an hour ago and have been
trying to find you ever since," he exclaimed.  "He has appointed you—oh,
you have heard, I see.  Well, come right down with me.  I want to
present you to your colleagues."

Evans could doubt no longer, and Lola DeVale had grasped the meaning of
it.

"I am so glad to be the first to congratulate you," she said, and he
felt the sincerity of her good wishes in her warm hand-grasp.  Then
Senator Killam carried him off.

                     *      *      *      *      *

"I know it came ’like a bolt from the blue’ to you," Robertson wrote to
him; "but the whys and wherefores need not mystify you.  There cannot be
the slightest doubt of your ability to fill the office—full to the brim;
and the rest is easy.  You know the old man fully intended all along to
contest for the place with Jones, whose term would have expired with the
old man’s term as governor.  Jones’s demise, however, presented a
problem to him that has driven him to the verge of lunacy for a week.
He couldn’t give himself the commission, of course.  He couldn’t resign
and get it, for the lieutenant-governor has been the avowed supporter of
LaRoque for the Senatorship. He couldn’t give it to LaRoque or Pressley,
for the three of them are too evenly matched.... When he finally came to
the idea of appointing some one to fill the vacancy who was clearly not
in the running so that the primaries might settle it among the three of
them, I suggested you.  He jumped at the idea....  The old man has every
reason to feel kindly toward you both for your father’s sake and for
your own excellent work’s sake, and he does not doubt your friendliness
to himself....  You will have less than six months in which to make a
name for yourself, but—perhaps—who can tell? ... I wish I had such an
opportunity.  I am heartily glad you have it."

                     *      *      *      *      *

Senator Rutledge was pitched right into the middle of the fight on the
Hare Bill—and fight it was for him.  Senator Killam essayed to take the
young man under his wing and chaperone his conduct according to his
ideas of the political proprieties, but he found that the junior Senator
had a mind of his own, and could not be managed, overawed or bullied.
This roused Mr. Killam’s ire at once.  He wasn’t accustomed to it.  The
dead Senator Jones had never had the effrontery to think for himself;
and for this youngster to presume to walk alone was more than Mr. Killam
could forgive.

Solely because of Mr. Killam’s personal attitude and treatment of him,
Rutledge wished it were over and done with long before the finish; but
he never lost his nerve.

                     *      *      *      *      *

It seemed that the suspense would be ended quickly when the House under
pressure of the rules passed the Hare Bill almost without debate: but
when it came before the Senate it was evident at once that those
dignitaries would take abundance of time to consider it,—if for no other
reason than to prove to themselves they were the greatest deliberative
body on earth.

However, with all the Senate’s deliberation the very frenzy of the
Wordyfellow crowd’s screams evidenced their realization that their game
was balked—and that, too, in a manner that was maddening: for it left
them not the frenzied pleasure of fighting their precious battle against
the negro out to the end and going down to harmless defeat in
pyrotechnic glory. No; it placed them in a dilemma where they must
humiliate themselves by a surrender before the battle, or fight it to a
barren victory at the polls, which would not only bring actual benefit
to the negro in the South but also give to the Northern States the
lion’s share of a large appropriation.

Facing this dilemma, they lost heart if they lost nothing of noise.  In
all of the interested States except Mississippi serious discussion of
the question grew less and less rapidly, and was postponed until after
the Senate should vote.  In Mississippi, however, the tension was
increased by the Senate’s deliberation because the date set for the
election on the proposed Wordyfellow amendment to the State constitution
was some time before the Senate would be forced to vote.  The
Mississippians could not decide for their lives whether they preferred
to vote on their amendment first or have the Senate vote first on the
bill.  With a faint hope that the bill might not pass, they were in
obvious difficulties in either case.

Southern Senators were overwhelmed with all manner of conflicting and
confusing petitions, and as a result about one half of them favoured the
bill for one reason or another, while the other half more or less
bitterly opposed it.  The discussion, when the bill finally came out of
committee, took the widest range,—from the constitutional objections
raised by the Texas Senator (whose State, having a large school-fund
income, did not need the appropriation) and the savage attacks upon the
negro race generally by Senator Killam, to the purely pro-educational
reasoning of most of the supporting Senators from the South—among whom
was Senator Ruffin—and the pro-negro speech of the young Senator
Rutledge.

The adjective _pro-negro_ may give an erroneous impression of Senator
Rutledge’s ideas.  The term is the Senator’s own.  From his speech in
full in the _Congressional Record_ the reader may determine for himself
whether the term is apt.



                             *CHAPTER XVII*


Senator Rutledge gave notice that on February 23d he would address the
Senate on the Hare Bill. On that day the galleries were crowded to hear
him, his State’s delegation in the House was present in a body,
accompanied by many other representatives from North and South.  No one
knew how he would vote, for he had listened much and talked little.  He
said:

"Mr. President: There have been many terms used on this floor and in the
public prints since this bill was introduced, by which to distinguish
and define and lay open to public view the motives which are supposed to
lie behind the votes that will be cast for and against it.

"We have heard ’unconstitutional,’ ’anti-negro,’ ’pro-educational,’
’watch-dog of the treasury,’ and others equally descriptive if less
parliamentary.  I have not heard ’pro-negro.’

"So, to save my friends—and enemies, if I have any—the trouble of search
and imaginings, I adopt that term, ’_pro-negro_,’ as descriptive of my
attitude toward the matters affected by this bill.

"It is an open secret, Mr. President, that this measure, which bears the
non-committal title of ’an act to promote education’ is a White House
production designed and introduced for the single purpose of defeating
what is known as the Wordyfellow school-fund movement in the South
generally, more specifically now in the State of Mississippi.  Because I
think it will accomplish that purpose, both general and special,—because
I am ’for the negro,’—for him on his own account,—for his elevation as a
race to the highest level which his essential nature in the purposes of
God will permit him to attain,—because I believe the success of the
Wordyfellow movement would mean his degradation, his hopeless
continuance in his present low estate,—because, in a word, I am
_pro-negro_; I shall vote for this bill.

"I should despise myself, sir, if I had within me other sentiments
toward any man or race of men, and I feel, therefore, that it is not
unbecoming in me to arrogate to myself the pure unselfishness of this
motive.  And yet, sir, if the love of one’s race may be called a selfish
passion, I must confess that right alongside of this unselfish desire
for the negro’s welfare, there lies in my heart a selfish passion for
the progress, the multiplying prosperity and more abounding happiness of
my own people, the white men and women of the South, which desire also
with no less power but indeed with compelling forcefulness bids me to
oppose the Wordyfellow idea with every faculty and expedient, and
therefore to vote for this measure.

"I wish to make it clear at the outset that, while I shall heartily
support this White House bill, I give not the slightest credit to the
President for having prepared it and sent it here.  He deserves none.
The bill is a necessity, and as such I vote for it: but the President is
the one man who has made it a necessity.

"If he had not injected into the situation his negro luncheon (and to
that I will pay my respects before I have finished), my people would
have defeated the Wordyfellow movement; for the battle was going our
way.  It is as little as President Phillips can do now to suggest this
method, expensive though it is, to repair the damage he has done the
negro’s cause in the South.  He comes praying us to pay the negro out of
the difficulty in which he has involved him, and _as friends of the
negro_ there is nothing for us to do but furnish the money, however much
we may deplore the Executive folly that makes the outlay imperative.

"Now, Mr. President, let us inquire directly into the merits of the
Wordyfellow plan.  The proposed amendment to the constitution of
Mississippi provides that the school fund shall be divided between the
white and negro schools in proportion to the taxes paid to the State by
each of the two races for school purposes. As there are six negroes to
four whites in the State, and as the negroes pay less than ten per cent
of the school taxes, such a division of the school fund will give the
white children thirteen days’ schooling to the negro’s one.

"Such a proposition is illogical, pernicious, insane.

"Look at the logic of it.  Governor Wordyfellow defends the general
proposition by some scattering statistics which prove to his mind that
education generally is not good for the negro; but he justifies the
division of the school fund on the basis of contribution upon the
supposed principle that the negro will get back all that he pays in and
therefore cannot rightly demand more.

"That so-called principle will not hold water a moment.  I would say to
the gentlemen from the South, Mr. President,—to those who are supporting
the Wordyfellow propaganda—that if they proceed on that theory they must
give to _every_ man what he pays into the treasury: which means that the
State must expend more for the tuition of the sons of the rich than the
sons of the poor.  If every man has a right to demand for his own
children the taxes he pays for school purposes, then the State has no
right to tax one man to educate another’s child—and the promoters of
this idea have pulled down the whole public school system about their
ears.

"If such a division is proposed on the ground that no sort of education
is good for the negro, and we believe that, then let us take away from
the negro by constitutional amendment _all_ the money collected from him
by the State for school purposes and give it to the white children.
That would be logical, that would be sensible, that would be Scriptural.
Let us be logical and sensible and fearless about this matter.

"But I cannot think these leaders of the Wordyfellow forces believe
that, Mr. President, though I fear that they have persuaded thousands of
their less intelligent following to believe it thoroughly.  No, you do
not believe it; but you do believe that some particular kinds of
education—literary education, for example—is positively harmful to the
negro, while some other particular sort—industrial education, perhaps—is
beneficial and would uplift the negro race.

"If you admit that,—and it has been conceded on this floor by some of
the leaders of the Wordyfellow movement that industrial education is
good for the negro and will make a better man and a better citizen of
him; then in face of the appalling menace of his ignorance and depravity
which have been painted in such lurid colours here, _let us by
constitutional amendment give him more than his per capita share of the
school tax_.  Yes, let us give to him proportionately in keeping with
our keenest fears, our wildest terror, of the Black Peril—all if need
be—to educate him _in that particular line that will uplift him_ and
make a safe citizen of him, in order that we may save ourselves alive
and escape the woes of that peril.  All education administered by the
State is given in the exercise of a sort of quasi police power—to
protect itself from the violence of ignorance: and we would be well
within an ancient principle if we should lay out extraordinary funds to
police the black cesspools that threaten our civic life.

"It is clearly demonstrable, therefore, that upon any theory of the
negro’s inability or limited ability to be benefited by education, or
upon the assumption of its positive hurtfulness to him, the Wordyfellow
amendment is absolutely illogical.  The whole Wordyfellow proposition is
based upon a false assumption in the first place, and the Wordyfellow
remedy does not have the merit of being true even to the fictitious
Wordyfellow premises.  For all this agitation against the education of
the negro race proceeds upon the theory that the negro is not altogether
a man, that he is without the one aptitude common to all other peoples,
white, yellow or red—the disposition to be uplifted in civilization by
the spread of a higher intelligence among his race.

"That theory, Mr. President, is false!  And while I believe the great
majority of my people reject it despite the insistence with which it has
been in small measure openly, in large measure indirectly, presented to
them for acceptance, I have thought it worth while to inquire closely
and specifically into the effect of the _higher literary_ education upon
the black men and women who have been so fortunate as to acquire it. I
give to the Senators not only as the result of my investigation but as
the result of my personal observation as a man brought up in the South,
my sincere opinion that education of the negro in the usual literary
studies from the kindergarten to the college, as well as along
industrial lines, is as a rule beneficial and uplifting to him.

"It is true that a smattering of education in some instances gives a
negro the idea that he is to get a living without work, and that such
notions would not be wholesome if prevailing among a population which
must do manual labour.  This need not alarm us, however; for it is not
an unusual thing for a college education to give a white boy the same
notion.  We do not limit his education on that account.  In the
post-graduate school of Hard Knocks he always finds out—and no less
surely will the negro boy of similar delusion learn—especially as
education becomes more and more a possession of the masses and not a
privilege of the few—that the great majority of men, whether black or
white, lettered or unlettered, must work, and work with their hands.

"Let me add, lest I be misunderstood, that while I believe the negro
race as a race will be hewers of wood and drawers of water for
generations to come, and that education will be beneficial to them as a
toiling class, I am not of those who believe that when by education you
spoil a negro field-hand you have committed a crime.  I have no sympathy
with a sentiment that would confine any man to a limited though
respectable and honourable work when he has within him the aspiration
and the ability to serve his race and his time in broader fields.

"Those, in a nutshell, Mr. President, are the primary reasons why I am
opposed to the Wordyfellow movement, and shall vote for this bill.  The
secondary reasons are hardly less forceful.

"I want this bill passed and passed quickly in order to avoid the
pernicious incidental effects of the agitation of this question among my
people.  It has bred and is breeding antagonisms between the white and
black races in the South such as did not result from the horrors of
reconstruction or the excitement of negro disfranchisement.  In those
issues the negro truthfully was told and well may have believed that the
white man was driven to protect himself against the ignorance and
depravity of the black.  In this case, however, the negro feels, and
rightly, that the white man would condemn him perpetually to that
ignorance and depravity.  From the negro’s view-point the white man’s
motive is now what it never was before: base, worse than selfish,
wantonly, vindictively cruel.

"Again the propagation of the Wordyfellow idea teaches incidentally that
in this democratic country, where by the very nature of our institutions
the welfare of each is the welfare of all, where forsooth a Christian
civilization has reached its highest development, even here, the strong
may desert the weak and leave them to their own pitiful devices and
defences.

"It teaches also the doctrine—more potent for evil—that the government
may take note of racial classes for the purpose of dealing out its
favours and benefits with uneven hands, preferring one to the other.  If
it may do this when the class differences are racial, it is but half a
step to the proposition that it may do so when the differences exist
whether they be racial or other.  It takes no seer to see that after
that proposition—no, _with_ that proposition—comes the deluge.

"Such, Mr. President, are some, not all, of the incidental effects of
the propagation of the Wordyfellow idea which clearly and with vast
conservatism may be called pernicious.  But there is yet another effect
which will be inevitable upon the adoption of the Wordyfellow plan, and
which has been in large measure produced already by the discussion of
it, in the light of which deliberate advocacy of the Wordyfellow idea
fairly may be called insane; and that is the severing of all bonds of
sympathy and good-will between the races when the negro is told by white
men, ’Here, take the pitiful portion that is yours, and go work out your
own bitter, black salvation, alone—if you can.’

"All this agitation, all our concern, is predicated upon the deadly
menace which this people, numbering one-third of the population of the
South and gathered in many sections in overwhelming majorities, is to
our civic and industrial happiness and progress: and it does seem the
sheerest insanity to sever the bonds of sympathy and helpfulness which
now bind the races together, surrender all our interest and right to
control in the method of the negro’s uplifting, and leave him to develop
along any haphazard or dangerous lines without sympathy, respect, or
regard for us, our ideas, or our ideals.

"The negro has been enough of a problem and a terror to my people with
all our ability to control him through his ignorance, his fears, his
affection and his respect for us.  We have been careless at times
perhaps as to how we made use of these instruments for his management.
The more fools we if we now throw away his affection and his respect,
cut loose from him entirely, and leave him to develop under teachers of
his own race who with distorted vision or prejudiced heart will replace
his ignorance with a knowledge at least of his brute strength, and
cancel his fears with hate.

"My people give freely hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly to the
degraded of other lands in whom they have only the interest which
Christians have in universal humanity, and they place in the calendar of
the saints the names of the godly men and women who go to work
personally to uplift the heathen.  I do not think that in their cool
senses their Christian impulses, to which is added the motive of
self-interest, will permit them to cut off their contributions to and
support of any instrumentality which will elevate the degraded in their
own land whose depravity is so pregnant with dire possibilities to them.
I pray the day to come when, among my people, it shall be thought just
as praiseworthy, as noble, as saintly for a Southern white man to give
his life and energies to the personal instruction, uplifting and
redemption of the negroes in America as of the negroes in Africa or the
heathen in any land.

"That prayer, Mr. President, which is sincerely from my heart, brings me
to the discussion of President Phillips’ negro policy.  I shall not
expect to see the prayer answered so long as the Chief Executive of this
nation shows a disposition to deal so carelessly, so arbitrarily, with
such cock-sure flippancy, with the convictions, prejudices if you will,
of the brave and generous people who are face to face in their race
problem not with a far-away academic question about which they may
safely speculate and theorize, but face to face with a present,
tangible, appalling issue in whose solution is life or death to them.

"To my people the consequences are so vital that they sometimes are led
perhaps beyond what is really necessary in the way of defence,—for any
sane man prefers to be doubly guarded against death.  So it has been
that while they are not favourable to the Wordyfellow plan they have
been stampeded to it by the Phillips negro luncheon.

"Let me explain that when I speak of the President’s negro policy I do
not mean to include his appointments of negroes to office.  I think we
of the South have in these matters to some extent confused the issues,
and proportionately weakened our position before the outside public.
Not that I approve of appointing negroes to office in the South, for I
do not. I think the weight of all considerations is against it. But the
considerations either for or against it are considerations of
expediency.  They are not vital.  If the President wishes to vindicate
his negro appointments on the ground that his appointees are of his
party, the best men of his party, and fairly efficient,—let him.  Such
reasons have been given for political appointments time out of mind,
although they are not conclusive in any case and especially not in the
matter of negro office-holding in the South.  _But let him not_ go into
cheap heroics such as were indulged in by a recent negro appointee, who
tragically exclaimed that if his appointment was not confirmed his race
would be set back thirty years!

"Such rant is only ridiculous.  Office-holding is not a recognized or an
actual instrumentality for uplifting or civilizing a people; and it is
not a theory of this or any other form of government that its mission or
method is to uplift its citizenship, white or black, by making
place-holders of them.  It is not closing any legitimate door of hope to
negro or white man to refuse him a Presidential appointment.  The ’door
of hope,’ whatever else it may be to white or black, is not the door to
a government office.

"The real basis of the race issue, Mr. President, has nothing to do with
politics or political appointments, with office-getting or
office-holding.  If by some trick of chance a negro—some prodigy lofty
in character and in the science and wisdom of statecraft—were President
of this nation to-day, and were by unanimous consent a model Executive,
the real race problem would not be affected a feather’s weight.  The
world must understand that the Southern white people in the measures
they have taken and will take to protect themselves against the negro
are impelled by weightier considerations than the pre-emption of the
dignities or emoluments of politics. It is true that they have taken the
governments of the Southern States into their own hands, away from negro
majorities in many sections.  It may be true that in order to do this
they have nullified provisions of the Federal constitution.  But they
have done so from no such small motive as a desire to hold public
office.

"My people have all respect for the wisdom of the makers of the
constitution, who framed an instrument perfectly suited to the
conditions as they existed at the time and continued to exist for eighty
years, prescribing the method of majority rule for a people who were of
an approximately equal civic intelligence and virtue.  But when the
conditions were changed and a vast horde of illiterate and—in the hands
of unscrupulous leaders—vicious voters were added to the electorate,
stern necessity forbade them longer to give a sentimental support to
so-called fundamental principles in the constitution and permit
ignorance to rule intelligence and vice to rule virtue.

"The ’fundamental principles’ in that constitution, Mr. President, are
nothing more or less than wisely conceived _policies_ which were tried,
proved, and found good under the conditions for which they were devised.
The ’fundamental principle’ upon which the race problem of the South may
be solved will have been discovered with certainty only _after_ a
solution has been accomplished by the conscientious effort and best
thought of Southern white men.

"And they will solve this problem.  It can never be settled, of course,
till Southern white men acquiesce in its settlement.  They will settle
it in righteousness and will accept with gratefulness any suggestion
which their fellow countrymen have to offer in a spirit of sympathy and
helpfulness.  But it may as well be understood that any such exhibition
as the President’s negro luncheon, which affronts the universal
sentiment of the final arbiters of this question, must necessarily put
further away the day of settlement.  The negro problem cannot be worked
out by any simple little rule o’ thumb, and the negro will always be the
loser by any such melodramatic display of super-assertive backbone and
misinformed conscience.

"The President would settle this matter upon a purely theoretical
academic basis, this matter that in its practical effects will not touch
him nor his family nor his section, but will affect vitally the
happiness, the lives, the destiny of a chivalrous people whose ideas,
traditions, sentiments and convictions he carelessly ignores or
impetuously insults.  Such exhibitions do not become a brave man.  They
betoken, rather, a headstrong man, an inconsiderate man, a thoughtless
man, a fanatical man.  It does seem that President Phillips would have
learned wisdom from the experience of his illustrious predecessor,
President Roosevelt, who did somewhat less of this sort of thing
once—and only once.

"Mr. President, it has been repeatedly said that the hostility of the
white people of the South to social intermingling with the negro race is
an instinct—a race instinct.  I do not so consider it,—and for two
reasons: first, because many men of Anglo-Saxon blood—and of these
President Phillips is the most conspicuous example—do not have such an
instinct; second, because instinct is not the result of reason, while
the Southern white man’s opposition to social recognition of the negro
is defensible by the purest, most dispassionate reason.  These
convictions are so well fixed in the Southern mind that they may appear
to be instinctive and measurably serve the purpose of instinct; but the
vital objections of my people to intermingling socially with the negro
are not founded in any race antipathy, whim, pretence, or prejudice.
They are grounded in the clearest common sense, and as such only do I
care to present or defend them.

"In face of the disaster to be averted, I could wish that it were an
instinct; for instinct does not fail in a crisis.  But men are more than
beasts: the power to rise is given to them conditioned upon the chance
to fall.  So in this race matter: instinct does not forbid a white man
to marry a black woman; instinct—more’s the horror!—does not forbid a
white woman to wed a negro man.  For this reason it is—for the very lack
of a race instinct is it—that the social intermingling of the white and
black races, as advocated and practised by President Phillips, would
inevitably bring to pass an amalgamation of the races with all its foul
brood of evils.

"President Phillips, living in a section of the country where negroes
are few—especially such as are of sufficient intelligence to be
interesting to a man of his attainments—does not dream of amalgamation.
I would not insult him by assuming such a thing. And yet upon a
superficial estimate of conditions in the South he gives us this
impulsive exhibition of what in one of his high official position is
criminal carelessness.

"The positive element of crime in it is not in the affront which a
Presidential negro luncheon puts upon Southern sentiment, but in the
suggestion to Southern and Northern people alike that a social
intermingling of the races—which means amalgamation, however blind he
may be to the fact—is the solution of the race problem.  The crime would
be complete in all its horror if the South, if the nation, should follow
his lead and achieve the logical result of his teaching.

"From long and intimate acquaintance with the negro’s character, my
people know that the Phillips negro luncheon stimulates not the negro’s
ambition and endeavour to improve himself as it tickles and arouses his
vanity.  When the ordinary darkey hears of it he thinks it not a
recognition of the superior abilities of Bishop Martin and Doctor Woods,
but a social recognition of the negro race; and forthwith deems himself
the equal of the white man and desires unutterable things.  And not
without reason.

"The black people appreciate what the President’s act means for them.
They do not misinterpret its tendency.  A prominent negro said in a
recent mass meeting in Richmond: ’No two peoples having the same
religion and speaking the same tongue, living together, have ever been
kept apart.  This is well known and is one of the reasons why the
dominant race is crushing out the strength of the negro in the South.  I
am afraid we are anarchistic and I give warning that if this oppression
in the South continues the negro must resort to the torch and the sword,
and that the Southland will become a land of blood and desolation.’

"This inflammatory utterance indicates the interpretation put by negroes
upon President Phillips’ open-dining-room-door policy, and the nature of
the hopes and aspirations it arouses in the black man’s heart.  And the
serious thing is the element of truth in the negro’s erroneous
statement.  It is true as gospel that no two races of people, living
together, have ever _intermingled socially_ without amalgamating. It is
hardly necessary to cite evidence of that fact or to give the reasons
underlying it.  It might be taken as axiomatic that social intermingling
means amalgamation.

"If men and women were attracted to each other and loved and mated
because of equal endowments of virtue, or intelligence, or beauty, or
upon any basis of similar accomplishments, tastes, or mental, moral or
physical excellences, then a gulf-stream of Anglo-Saxon blood might flow
unmixed and pure through a sea of social contact with the negro race;
but until love and marriage are placed among the exact sciences, social
intermingling of races will ever result as it ever has resulted: in the
general admixture of racial bloods.

"When racial barriers are broken down and it is proper for negroes and
whites to associate freely and intimately, when you—white men—receive
negroes on a plane of social equality, your women will marry them, your
sons will take them to wife.  Shall you say to your daughter of the
negro whom you receive in your home: ’He is an excellent man but—do not
marry him’?  Shall you say to your son enamoured of a quadroon: ’She is
a very worthy young woman and an ornament to our circle of friends,
but—I have chosen another wife for you’?  When did such considerations
ever guide or curb the fancy of the youthful heart or diminish the
travel to Gretna Green?  No, the line never has been drawn between free
social intercourse and intermarriage; and while the Southern people
believe they could draw that line if any people could, they do not
propose to make any reckless experiments where all is to be lost and
nothing gained.

"A president of one of our great universities is quoted as saying: ’The
Southern white sees a race danger in eating at the same table with a
negro; he sees in being the host or the guest of a negro an act of race
infidelity.  The Northern white sees nothing of the kind.  The race
danger does not enter into his thoughts at all.  To be the host or the
guest of a negro, a Mexican or a Japanese would be for him simply a
matter of present pleasure, convenience or courtesy.  It would never
occur to him that such an act could possibly harm his own race.  His
pride of race does not permit him to entertain such an idea. This is a
significant difference between Northern white and Southern white.’

"In noting significant differences between Northern white and Southern
white this authority must have been advertent to the fact that the pride
of race of his ’Northern white’ does not prevent them from furnishing
the overwhelming majority of interracial marriages with negroes, as well
as with Chinese, Japanese and every other alien race—this, too, with a
very small negro population.  If the negroes were proportionately as
numerous in the North as in the South and such sentiments prevailed, how
long, with interracial marriages increased in numbers in proportion to
opportunity, would there be an Anglo-Saxon ’Northern white’ to have a
pride of race?  If with these facts before his eyes the distinguished
educator sees no race danger in the social mingling of white and black
people, it easily may be inferred that he sees no objection to
amalgamation.

"The Southern white man does see a race danger in these social
amenities, Mr. President; for he cannot view amalgamation or the
faintest prospect of it with any sentiment save horror: and he fortifies
himself against that danger not only with the peculiar pride of race—of
which he has a comfortable supply—but with every expedient suggested by
his common sense, his experience, and by the horrible example which that
distinguished educator’s ’Northern white’ has furnished him.

"In providing against this danger my people are moved from without by
the sight of no occasional negro such as at odd times crosses this New
Englander’s vision, nor from within by any unreasonable or jealous
hatred of the negro such as has characterized certain ’Northern whites’
from the time they burned negro orphan asylums in resentment at being
drafted to fight their country’s battles down to this good day when they
mob a negro for trying to do an honest day’s work.  No! the Southern
white man is driven to his defences by a sentiment void of offence
toward the negro, and by the daily impending spectacle of black,
half-barbarous hosts who menace the Anglo-Saxon civilization of the
South and of the nation.

"President Phillips has modestly borrowed from one of his predecessors
words with which to defend his social amenities to negroes.  He quotes
and says he would ’bow his head in shame’ were he ’by word or deed to
add anything to the misery of the awful isolation of the negroes who
have risen above their race.’  Two things may be said of that, Mr.
President: first, isolation has been the price of leadership in all
ages, and the negroes who are the pioneers of their race in their long
and painful journey upward may not hope to escape it: second, the
President’s borrowed sentimental reason cuts the ground from under his
feet, for that forcible Rooseveltian phrase, ’the misery of the awful
isolation of black men who have risen above their race,’ concedes the
premises on which the South’s contention is based, since it admits there
is such a great gulf between the negro _race_ and the _risen_ negro that
his isolation fitly may be described in the words ’misery,’ ’awful.’  It
is a peculiar order of Executive intellect and sensibility that can have
such a keen sense of the misery which association with the lowly of his
own race brings to an educated negro—who cannot in the very nature of
things have put off all his hereditary deficiencies and tastes in a
generation; and that yet seems not to be touched with any sense of the
unspeakable misery such association and its inevitable consequences
would have for my people—his Anglo-Saxon brethren—who, if there be any
virtue in the refining processes of civilization, any redemptive power
in the Christian religion, any progression in the purposes of God in the
earth, are a thousand years ahead of the negro—any negro—in every racial
excellence.

"Oh, but, you say, President Phillips means for us to associate only
with those who are worthy, those who have ’risen.’  Even that would be
fatal, Mr. President.  Beyond the truth already stated that
considerations of merit will be forgotten and brushed aside if the
social racial barrier is broken down at any point, and that social
intermingling inevitably leads to intermarriage, there is a greater
fact, a deeper truth, underlying this question.  That fact, that truth,
is that in estimating the result of mixing racial bloods not the man
only and his personal accomplishments or individual culture must be
considered, but his heredity, his race peculiarities and proclivities,
every element that has gone into his blood.

"An occasional isolated negro may have broken the shackles of ignorance,
measurably and admirably brought under control the half-savage passions
of his nature, acquired palpable elegances of person and manner, and
taken on largely the indefinable graces of culture: yet beneath all this
creditable but thin veneer of civilization there slumber in his blood
the primitive passions and propensities of his immediate ancestors,
which are transmitted through him as latent forces of evil to burst out
in his children and grandchildren in answer to the call of the wild.  A
man is not made in one generation or two.  Every man gets the few ruling
passions of his life from the numberless endowments of a hundred
progenitors, and these few show out, while scores of others run so deep
in his blood that they never crop out in his deeds but pass quietly on
as static forces of good or evil to his children and their children
before rising to the surface as dynamics in life and character.

"A Northern gentlewoman in a recent magazine article, defending her
willingness to offer social courtesies to a prominent negro, speaks of
him as one ’of whom an exquisite woman once said he has the soul of a
Christian, the heart of a gentleman, and the eyes of the jungle.’  That
illustrates the idea perfectly, Mr. President,—_the eyes of the jungle_.
Despite the fact that it is easier to breed up physical than
temperamental qualities in man or beast, easier to breed out physical
than mental or moral or spiritual blood-traits, this negro, with all his
culture, with a large mixture of white blood in his veins, has yet in
his very face that sinister mark—the eyes of the jungle: and in his
blood who shall say what jungle passions, predilections and impulses,
nobly and hardly held in check, that hark back to the African wilds from
which they are so lately transplanted.

"A negro—any primitive being—may be developed mentally in one or two
generations to the point where a certain polish has been put upon his
mind and upon his manners; his purposes may be gathered and set toward
the goal of final good; the whole trend of his life may be set upward:
but there is yet between his new purposes and the savagery of the
primitive man in him a far thinner bulwark of heredity than protects a
white man from the elemental brute and animal forces of his nature.  A
number of educated negroes in this country to-day are superior in
culture of mind and in personal morals to many white men, but even these
individual shining lights of the negro race do not possess the power to
endow their offspring so favourably as white men of less polish but
longer seasoned hereditary strength of mental and moral fibre.

"It always offends a proper sense of decency to hear the suggestion that
the negro may be bred up by crossing his blood with that of white
men,—for the obvious reason that with our ideas of morals the most
common principles of the breeder’s art cannot be applied to the problem:
but one single fact which eliminates such cold-blooded animal methods
from our consideration is that when animals are cross-bred it is in the
hope and for the purpose of combining mutually supplementary elements of
strength and of eliminating supplementary weaknesses; while in this race
matter the Anglo-Saxon is the superior of the negro in every racial
characteristic—in physical strength and grace, in mental gifts and
forces, and in spiritual excellence.  Even if amalgamation did the very
best that could be expected of it, it offers to the world nothing and to
the white man less than nothing: for it would be a compromise, a
striking of an average, by which naught is added to the total: it would
pull down the strong to upraise the weak, degrade the superior to uplift
the inferior: it would be a levelling process, not a method of progress.
_And yet amalgamation does not even that much_, for it does not make an
average-thick, even-thick retaining wall of culture between the hybrid
product and the weaknesses of his mottled ancestry.  There are always
blow-holes in this mongrel culture, for heredity does not work by
averages.  It is an elusive combination of forces whose eccentricities
and resultants cannot be formulated, calculated, or fore-determined.  It
is certain only that by no mere manipulation of it can the slightest
_addition_ be made to the stock of ancestral virtues.  Only slow
processes working in each individual through generation after generation
can add increments of strength to racial fibre.

"Therefore, if the negro will insist upon some _race manipulation_ in
order to raise the average of intelligence, thrift and morality in our
national citizenship, the only safe and sane method is to take measures
to restrict the increase of the negro race and let it die out like the
Indian.  But, you scream, that would be to suggest the annihilation of a
race God has put here for some wise purpose!  Even so: but amalgamation
would no less surely annihilate _the race_—two races—and fly in the face
of a Providence that has segregated all races with no less distinctness
of purpose, and so far has visited with disaster all attempts to violate
that segregation.

"Now, Mr. President, what is the immediate past history, status and
condition in Africa and America of this race with which Southern white
men are asked to mingle socially?  What are the racial endowments of
these _risen_ negroes whom we are urged by lofty example to invite into
our drawing-rooms upon terms of broadest equality—for upon other terms
would be a mockery—as eligible associates, companions, suitors, husbands
for our sisters and daughters?—for a sensible father or brother does not
admit white men to his home on any other basis.  Of what essential
racial elements and sources is the negro, risen and unrisen alike?

"Let answer the scientists and explorers, missionaries and travellers,—a
long list of them, English, French, German, stretching all the way back
a hundred years before there was a negro problem in the South.  I quote
verbatim, as nearly as the form will permit, their very words and
phrases.  Listen.

"The negro in Africa was, and is yet, in largest measure ’Without law
except in its very crudest form’—’no law at all as we conceive it’—’in
densest savage ignorance’—’no writing, no literature, no arts, no
sciences’—’some development of perceptive and imitative faculties and of
memory, but little of the higher faculties of abstract reasoning’—’in
temperament intensely emotional, fitful, passionate, cruel’—’without
self-control in emotional crises, callously indifferent to suffering in
others, easily aroused to ferocity by sight of blood or under great
fear’—’particularly deficient in strength of will, stability of purpose
and staying power’—’dominated by impulse, void of foresight, unable to
realize the future or restrain present desire’—’indolent, lazy,
improvident, neglectful, happy-go-lucky, innately averse to labour or to
care’—’given to uncleanness’—’an eater of snakes and snails, cannibal,
eating his own dead’—’vilely superstitious, a maker of human sacrifices,
charm-wearing, fetich-worshipping’—’of a religion grossly
anthropomorphic, explaining all natural phenomena by a reference to evil
spirits’—’his religion has no connection with morality, nothing to do
with man’s relation to man’—’thieving his beloved pastime, deception
more common than theft’—’national character strongly marked by
duplicity’—’lying habitually and thinking lying an enviable
accomplishment’—’a more thorough and unhesitating liar than one of these
negroes is not to be found anywhere’—’cruelly obliges his women to
work’—’sensual, polygamous, unchaste’—’buying and selling his
women’—’valuing his daughter’s virginity solely as a marketable
commodity’—’accounting adultery simply as a trespass upon a husband’s
property rights, and seduction and rape as a violence only to parent’s
property in daughters as destroying their marketable value’—’wifehood is
but an enslavement to the husband’s will’—’no conception of chastity as
a virtue’—’of strong sexual passions’—’a devoted worshipper at the
shrine of his phallic gods’—’sexual instincts dominate even the most
public festivals, and public dances exhibit all degrees of sex
suggestion.’

"Those in short, Mr. President, are some of the horrible details of the
bestial degradation of the west-coast Africans, from whom our
slave-marts were recruited almost to the time of the Civil War, and who,
says Keane, are ’the very worst sweepings of the Sudanese plateau,’ and,
Ellis says, are ’the dregs and offscourings of Africa.’

"Such was the negro in Africa.  What he is in America, only my people
know.  He has been the gainer at all points, the loser at none, because
of his enforced residence here and his bondage to Southern white men:
and yet that awful picture of the negro in Africa is so startlingly
familiar to one who has spent his life in the South that he examines it
closely with something of fear.

"He finds the colouring too vividly heavy and some details untrue for a
picture of the negro in America to-day: but the negro as the Southern
white man knows him is too alarmingly alike, too closely akin to, that
African progenitor.  He has advanced—yes! but just how much, and _just
how little_, from out the shadow of that awful category of horrors, my
people know.

"They know that he has but just emerged from those depths that those
bestial racial traits held in check by the man’s law have only well
begun to be refined by a change of environment and the slow processes of
heredity: and yet we, white men of the South, are in a way advised to
treat as our social equals certain immediate heirs to such a blood
inheritance because, forsooth, they have _risen_.

"We resent bitterly the insulting suggestion, however high or
respectable or official its source: and we call upon you, white men of
the North, to warn you against appeals for social recognition as a balm
for ’the misery of the awful isolation of black men who have risen above
their race.’  When the blood of your daughter or your son is mixed with
that of one of this race, however _risen_, redolent of newly applied
polish or bewrapped with a fresh culture, how shall sickly
sentimentalities solace your shame if in the blood of your mulatto
grandchild the vigorous red jungle corpuscles of some savage ancestor
shall overmatch your more gentle endowment, and under your name and in a
face and form perhaps where a world may see your very image in darker
hue there shall be disported primitive appetites, propensities, passions
fit only to endow an Ashanti warrior or grace the orgies of an African
bacchanalia?  In Heaven’s name think to the bottom of this question!—and
think _now_!  Await not the day ’_when your fear cometh_ as desolation,
_and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish
cometh upon you_.’  Do not be distracted by considerations that are
superficial and incidental—such for example as the negro’s record for
criminal assaults upon women.  The crime of rape will be abated by some
means, but long after that must the negro develop before he loses his
primal jungle habit of regarding woman as a personal possession.  It is
a matter of attitude and not of assault: and as in his fundamental
attitude toward women, so in every racial characteristic the superiority
of the white man is blood deep, generations old, ingrained, inherent,
essential.

"Knowing this, my people despise President Phillips’ social amenities to
negroes of high degree. They do not fear the issue; but what insults and
outrages them is that a personage in the highest official position, by
an act in itself impulsive, empty, and futile, should put desires and
hopes of miscegenation into the minds and hearts of the inflammable,
muttering, passionate black masses of the South.  Standing themselves
ever in the shadow of dire calamity which they are facing and must face
for long years to come as they painfully work out a righteous and
practical solution of their problem, my people cry out to you, oh, white
men of the North, of the insidious danger in these sentimental social
practices of an exuberant Executive; and we tell you that, however well
or ill you may guard the purity and integrity of your race, we will
stand fast.  Whatever else may or may not be true, we will never
acknowledge any equality on the negro’s side that does not _overtake_
the white race in its advancing civilization, and we will certainly not
submit to an equality produced by degrading the white race to or toward
the negro’s level.  We will not make with the negro a common treasure of
our Anglo-Saxon blood by putting it in hotch-pot with his in a mongrel
breed.

"The Anglo-Saxon has blazed the way of civilization for a world to
follow in: but if he, the torch-bearer, the pioneer, goes back to join
hands with the tribes who are following afar his torch and trail, then
the progression of civilization and of character must not only stop but
must actually recede for him to effect a juncture with the black and
backward race in the blood of a hybrid progeny.  There the fine edge
would be taken off every laudable characteristic of the white man.
There the splendid Anglo-Saxon spirit of leadership and initiative would
be neutralized by the sluggish blood of the Ethiop race.  There the
Anglo-Saxon’s fine energies and clear sensibilities would be deadened
and muddled by the infusion of this soporific into his veins.  There
vile, unknown, ancestral impulses, the untamed passions of a barbarous
blood, would be planted in the Anglo-Saxon’s very heart.

"You may believe that in the dim beginning God by imperial decree set
the dividing line between these races; or, less orthodox and more coldly
scientific, you may know that Nature, impartial mother of men, giving
her white and black sons equal endowment and an even start in body, mind
and spirit, since has stood, in unerring wisdom still impartial, to
watch the white bound away from the black in his rush toward that
perfection of mind, of heart, of character, which she has set as goal
for the striving of her children.  From whichever view-point you look
upon the age-long history of men and the age-long lead of white men over
their black brothers,—whether evolutionist or traditionist, scientist or
mystic, you offer violence to your own particular deity, be it God or
Nature, when in their present measureless inequality of development you
by amalgamation would beat back the white into the lagging footsteps and
gross animalism of the black.

"Menacing thus the effectiveness and integrity of a race which is the
pathfinder for the progress of a world of men, the danger is not only a
race danger, but a danger to universal civilization; and the
preventative is a social separation of the white and black races in
America _from the lowest to the highest_,—at least, yes in all reason,
at the dictate of the plainest common sense, _at least_, if so be, till
the black becomes approximately equal to the white in racial excellence.
After which let the ethnologists take the question and give us the
answer of science as to the advisability of mixing racial bloods.

"Naturally you ask me when the time of equality in racial excellence
will come.  I answer that I commit myself unreservedly to the support of
every means used for the negro’s uplifting; I admit—nay more, I
contend—that we white men cannot be dogs in the manger with
civilization; we cannot as a Christian people even hope that the negro
race may not come _up_ to our level, nor can there be any reason why we
should refuse to acknowledge that race as our equal if it shall indeed
become our equal.  And yet, while I would not in puny wisdom presume to
foretell the purposes of God in the earth, nor to set bounds to the
efficacy of his unspeakable redemption, nor to appoint the places of
white, black, yellow, red or brown men in the pageantry of ’that far-off
divine event toward which the whole creation moves’—yet, I say, with
carefully acquired information of the negro’s history and habits in
Africa, and with an intimate knowledge of his present status and rate of
progress toward civilization in America, I tell you frankly that the day
of his approximate equality in racial excellence with the white man is
beyond the furthest reach of my vision into the future."



                            *CHAPTER XVIII*


Senator Killam was against the bill tooth and nail,—and he was against
Rutledge.  He obtained the floor and began to speak in a desultory but
picturesque fashion in ridicule of some of the junior Senator’s
new-fangled heresies almost before Rutledge had caught his breath, and
his vitriolic opening stayed the steps of many who in courtesy would
have gone over to Rutledge’s seat to felicitate him upon his maiden
effort.  Mr. Killam presented his felicitations openly and with such a
mixture of sarcasm, irony and some seeming admiration that his colleague
was puzzled.  When Mr. Killam talked his dearest enemy would stop to
listen.  Rutledge, tired and blown, leaned back in his chair to hear him
thunder.

As he sank back into a comfortable pose he caught sight for the first
time of Lola DeVale and Elise Phillips in the gallery.  They had heard
his speech from start to finish,—and were differently affected by it.
Lola was more impressed with the Senator’s manner than by his words.

"Senator Rutledge verily believes all that he says against the negroes,"
she had commented; "but surely they are not so black as he paints them.
Papa says that it is impossible for a Southern man to judge the negro
fairly."

Elise did not reply.  She was filled with revulsion amounting almost to
nausea, and her temper was on edge.  As her father’s daughter, the
personal element was unbearably irritating to her.  She resented the
entire situation and discussion.  She had not known what was under
consideration, nor who was to speak, and she would have left the gallery
if she had not felt that it would be beating a retreat.  She also had a
desire to see whether Evans had the impudence to say what he thought
right in her face.

In her stay in the South she had seen a very disreputable class of
negroes, and under the spell of Rutledge’s words her antipathies were
over-excited to such a degree that she was faint with disgust.  On the
other hand she was full of barely suppressed anger. Rutledge smiled a
salutation to the young women; and though Elise was looking straight at
him she did not join Lola in her gracious acknowledgment.

"Don’t you see Mr. Rutledge, Elise?  He waits for your smile like a dog
for a bone."

"I wish that man were dead," Elise declared.

Lola raised her eyebrows and scanned the profile of her friend for some
moments, and there came into her mind an idea that appeared to be worth
some thinking over....

If Senator Rutledge was distasteful to her, Elise had little cause to
complain of him: for seldom had any of the scores of young fellows who
followed in her train the good fortune of a minute’s talk with her
alone; and Rutledge, oppressed by the result of their last meeting at
Senator DeVale’s, unsatisfied with the empty nothings which passed for
conversation in the brief glimpses he had of her at formal gatherings,
and chilled by the coldness of her manner which had been oh, so
different in that halcyon summer when he had lost his heart to her, was
well content to stand further and further away from her in the crowd
that was always about her, and to worship in spirit the real Elise
Phillips unfettered by convention and unaffected by untoward incident.
He took what comfort he could from the fact that as yet no favoured one
appeared among Elise’s admirers, and that among the sons of fortune,
army officers, attachés, and all that sort who aspired to make life
interesting for the President’s eldest daughter it seemed none could
flatter himself he was preferred above another.

As for those who exhibited the liveliest interest in Elise, gossip gave
that distinction to two.  One evening at a reception at Secretary
Mackenzie’s Senator Rutledge was talking to Lola DeVale when Elise
passed, accompanied by a stalwart young fellow whom Rutledge had never
seen.

"Who is Sir Monocle?" he asked.

"Where?" asked Lola.

"Miss Phillips’ escort."

"Oh.  He has no monocle."

"I know.  But he should have.  He looks it.  Who is he?"

"Captain George St. Lawrence Howard, second son of the Earl of
Duddeston.  He was taking a look at America, but an introduction to
Elise seems to have persuaded him to limit his observations to
Washington City."

"Sensible fellow," commented Rutledge.

"Yes," said Lola, "and a very likable fellow. He won his captaincy with
Younghusband in the Thibetan campaign before he was twenty; and the fact
that an invalid brother is all that stands between him and the earldom
doesn’t make him any the less interesting."

"Titles are talismanic—whether military or other. With two, he ought to
be fairly irresistible."

"Yes, and besides that he has plenty of money and leisure to make love
with a thorough care for detail."

"With all those and a manifest supremely good taste," said Rutledge, "I
would back him for a winner."

"You are forgetting Senatorial courtesy!"

"How now?"

"Senator Richland."

"What of him?"

"He also is in the running."

"Richland?  I hadn’t heard."

"Yes; and remember that his fortune is ten times that of the Earl of
Duddeston, and his brains are of the same grade as his bank account."

Rutledge was interested.  He had a thorough respect for Richland’s
ability.

"He is nearly twice Elise’s age," Lola continued, "and Senatorial
dignity will not permit a display of violent enthusiasm.  But Senator
Richland has acquired the habit of winning, and he is young enough and
abundantly able to make the game interesting both for Elise and for any
rivals.  He is young indeed for his honours, has the ear of the people,
and is a politician of rare acumen.  His followers predict for him
nothing less than the Presidency itself when his time is ripe.  What
more could a girl wish?  Don’t lay all your salary on the Englishman—you
might lose."

                     *      *      *      *      *

Lola DeVale had not misread Senator Richland’s purposes.  He was
seriously in the running.  Elise was the first woman he had ever thought
of marrying. She seemed to him to fit perfectly into all the plans which
his ambition had made for the future.  He had met her at Mr. Phillips’
inauguration, and after thinking over her charms during the summer
vacation had come back to Washington in December fully determined to
wage a vigorous campaign for her hand.

Of the other men who were rash enough to dream of Elise it is needless
and would be tiresome to go into detail.  They were more or less
interested, enamoured or devoted: but the Senator and Captain Howard
were too fast company for them, and they are of interest only as a
numerous field which made the running more or less difficult for the
leaders.

Evans Rutledge willingly would have entered the lists against Richland
or the Englishman—against anybody—if Elise had been ordinarily civil to
him; but he had been in such evident disfavour since the Smith
knock-down that he deemed himself one of "the gallery" at this game of
hearts.  Elise when indeed she had time to think of it, felt that she
had dealt with him ungenerously if not unjustly, but that only made his
presence less grateful to her.

The unreasonableness of Elise’s attitude toward Rutledge and Rutledge’s
behaviour whenever she saw him near Elise, mildly stirred the womanly
curiosity of Lola DeVale to the point of investigation.  She found Elise
averse to the slightest discussion of Senator Rutledge or of anything
connected with him. Baffled there, she turned with more determination
and softer skill to the man.  He will never know how he came upon terms
of such friendliness and sympathy with Miss DeVale.  Soon doubtless he
would have confided the story of his love to her.  But events came about
differently.

A score of young people were at Senator DeVale’s country-place one
evening in May.  Elise had met Evans with something of her old-time
friendliness and he was in an uncertain state of happiness.

"Now don’t make an ass of yourself because the Lady Beautiful is in a
mood to be gracious," he solemnly admonished his heart.  "Sir Monocle
may just have proposed and been accepted."

The thought was as bracing as a cold shower and gave him a vigorous grip
on his rebellious affections. Then he danced with her—on the wide, dimly
lighted veranda—a slow, lotus-land waltz, just coming back in vogue
after more than a decade of galloping two-steps.

He took another grip on himself.  He must not think of the woman in his
arms.  Luckily the old-fashioned dance was diverting: while the movement
was intoxicating it was reminiscent.  He remembered his first waltz—the
Carolina hill-town—the moonlight, the smell of the roses—the plump
little girl in the white dress, with the red, red sash, and the cheeks
as red, with the black eyes and the blacker hair, with the indefinable
sensuous physical perfume of Woman, and the very Spirit of the
Dance,—she who—yes, she who married the station-agent and was now such a
motherly person.  He began a speech that would have been cynical.  Elise
stopped him.

"Don’t talk," she said.  "Let’s dream."

Tumult!  Riot!  What’s the use to hold one’s pulses steady when the Lady
Beautiful herself incites revolt!

"Let’s dream."  His heart-strings were set a-tremble by the vibrant
richness of her voice, which seemed to have caught the dreaminess and
rhythm and resonance of the violins that drew them on. And—

"Don’t talk."  No: he would not profane the enchantment of that waltz
with words; and yet surely My Lady Beautiful were heartless indeed not
to catch the messages of love which, pure of the alloy of breath and
speech, his every pulse-beat sent unfettered to her heart.

He held her for a moment after the violins had ceased, and the spell of
the slow-swinging waltz was still upon them both—when a quick jerk of
the fiddles in the ever rollicking two-step brought Sir Monocle to
Elise’s side.  Evans resigned her with a bow and, without so much as a
"thank you," went out on the lawn to commune with his heart.

How long that two-step continued, he, seated in a retired nook, did not
know.  Sometime after it was finished he saw Elise and the Englishman
walk down the winding path that led from the front door to the roadside.
They stood talking together a minute perhaps till Captain Howard boarded
a passing car city-bound.  Rutledge noted with a twinge of jealousy the
cordial good-bye the girl gave the man, but even at that distance and
through the uncertain light he thought he saw—and, queer to say,
resented—a certain formality in Captain Howard’s adieus to the woman.

He watched her through the trees as she came slowly back up the hill
following the turns of the smooth hard walk as it wound through darkness
and half lights from the broad gateway to the house. She moved along, a
white shadow, slowly at first, and Evans imagined that she was in some
such mood as possessed him.  Then she started suddenly and ran at a
stone stairway which mounted a terrace.  She tripped, stumbled and fell
against the granite steps.

Rutledge was flying to her before she was fairly prone.  He spoke to her
and tried to help her up. She made no answer, and her hand and arm were
limp.

"Elise!" he said, with fear in his voice.  Still no answer.

He took her in his arms and made directly up the hill for the front
door.

"Elise," he whispered fearfully again.  "Oh, my heart, speak to me!"

Her cheek was against his shoulder.  He buried his face in her hair, as
he prayerfully kissed the snow-white part visible even in that darkness.
Her head dropped limply back, and a sigh came from her lips so close to
his.  Still she answered not his call.  He loved her very much and—he
kissed her again, softly, where the long lashes lay upon her cheek,
and—"Elise!" he murmured appealingly.  She turned her face feebly away
from him, like a child restless in sleep.

He had not delayed his climb to the house.

"Here!" he cried.  "Get Dr. Sheldon quick!  Miss Phillips is dangerously
hurt!"

There were excited screams among the women and a stir among the men as
he carried his burden across the piazza and into the wide hall.  There
in the full light he saw—Miss Elise Phillips talking quietly to Donald
MacLane.  He almost let fall the woman in his arms.  He looked again at
her face.  She was Lola DeVale.

Dr. Sheldon and Lola’s mother fortunately were at hand.  At their
direction Rutledge carried the young woman up the stairs and laid her on
a couch in her sitting-room.  She opened her eyes and smiled languidly
at him as he put her down.

Elise and all the other young people knew of Rutledge’s mistake as to
Lola’s identity, but Elise could not understand why he blushed so
furiously as he gave her an account of the mishap.

                     *      *      *      *      *

At her next _tête-à-tête_ with Rutledge Lola gave him her very sincerest
thanks and—laughed at him till he was uncomfortable.  Finally she said:
"You are a very gallant but a very mercenary knight, Mr. Rutledge."
Rutledge was hopelessly confused.

Lola continued, mischief in her eyes: "Alas! the spirit of commercialism
has pervaded even Southern Chivalry, and forlorn maidens must pay as
they go."  Rutledge was plainly resentful.

"Now I am very unselfish, Mr. Rutledge, and—I wish it _had_ been Elise."
Her mischief dissolved in a confiding smile, full of sympathy,—and
Rutledge was very humble.

Lola DeVale’s sympathy was warm and irresistible, and before he was
aware he was telling her of his love for Elise in a way to set her
interest a-tingle.

"Why don’t you tell her of it?" asked Lola.  "Tell her that it just
overwhelms all earlier loves."

"Earlier loves?  I never loved any other woman," Rutledge answered.

"Oh, of course not."  Lola could scarcely repress a smile at the thought
that a man always swears only his last passion is genuine.

"But tell her—tell her!" she repeated.

"I have told her."

"When?"

"Three years ago."

"Plainly? or with artistic indirectness?"

"Plainly."

Lola looked at him incredulously, but saw that he was telling the truth.

"The sly thing!" she exclaimed under her breath. "But tell her _again_!
I declare if I were a man and loved Elise—and I would love none else—I’d
tell her so every time I saw her."

"Oh I’ll not love another—no fear of that," Evans replied half lightly;
"but as for telling her again, self-respect will not—"

"Self-respect—fudge!  If I loved a girl I’d tell her so a hundred
times—and marry her too—in spite of everything."

"Perhaps so," Evans commented skeptically.

Lola was shooting in the dark, but her warm heart would not let her
leave the matter at rest.  Both because of her desire, being happily in
love herself, to see the love affairs of her friends go smoothly, and
because of the riddle it presented to her, she approached Elise again in
order to straighten out the tangled skein for everybody’s satisfaction.
She thought to match her wits against Elise’s and proceeded with more
caution.

"By the way, Elise," she said, apropos of nothing at all, "I think you
were right about Senator Rutledge’s being very much in love with that
young woman you told me about."

Elise exhibited a perfect indifference and said nothing.

"I asked him about her, after becoming duly confidential and
sympathetic, of course, and he confirmed your statement.  He still loves
the girl—oh, you ought to hear him tell of it.  ’He will never love
another till he’s dead, dead, dead,’—or words to that effect: but he
will not tell her—"

Elise was listening with a polite but languid interest.

"—again.  He thinks his self-respect forbids; but _I_ think—"

"Did he say that?  To you?" Elise demanded.

"Yes; when I asked h—"

"Well now, once and for all, Lola, I tell you I despise that man, and
never must you mention his name to me again!"

"But Elise, I think he—"

"Stop, Lola!  I’ll not hear another word!"

"But let me tell you, Elise.  He—"

"No!  Stop _now_!  Not another word if you care for my friendship.  I’ll
never speak to you again if you speak of him to me!"

Elise’s anger was at white heat, and she looked and spoke like her
father.  Lola was frightened at her manner, but made another brave
attempt to set matters straight, which was met by such a blaze of
personal resentment in Elise’s eyes that she gave up in abject
defeat—though she did pluck up courage to fire a parting shot.

"Very well, my dear," she said, as if dismissing the subject....  "I
have something of yours I must give you before I go.  There—take it,"
and she kissed the expectant Elise warmly on the lips as she added:
"Senator Rutledge gave it to me by mistake as he carried me up the hill
the other night."



                             *CHAPTER XIX*


Lily Porter finally became conscious that she was the special attraction
for a stranger who regularly every other Sunday evening sat in a forward
pew and listened to her singing with attentive interest, but who showed
little or no care for any of the service beside. Several months had gone
by before she noticed him and his faithful attention to herself.  When
she did realize his presence she was conscious that he had been paying
her this tribute for a long time.  She observed him quietly and
satisfied herself that he came only to see or to hear her.  He did not
force himself upon her vision, but none the less did she understand that
she was the chief object of his respectful consideration.

The preacher’s manner and style of thought did not appeal to Hayward,
while Lily Porter’s face and voice did.  He always sat where he could
look at her in the choir-loft, for he argued that as he went only to see
her he would see as much of her as possible.  His face was mobile and
easily read, and as he was good to look upon and so evidently
appreciative of her efforts the girl came ere long to sing with an eye
to his approval and admiration—to sing for him and to him. This
interested her for a time, but she was piqued at length for that he
seemed content to admire at a distance and made no effort to come nearer
to her.

One evening, unexpectedly to them both, a negro prominent among his race
because of his position as Registrar for the District, John K. Brown,
with whom Hayward had picked up a mutually agreeable though casual
acquaintance, introduced him to the singer in the aisle of the church.

"Miss Lily, I want to introduce my friend Mr. John Hayward, who goes
into extravagances about your singing—as he very properly should."

Hayward was overjoyed at his good fortune.  To be presented as John
Brown’s friend was a passport to the best negro society in Washington.
He was as much pleased to know that Brown regarded him so favourably as
he was delighted to meet the young woman.  As he walked with her to the
door she presented him to her mother, a bright mulatto woman about fifty
or more, who did the grand dame to the best of her ability: which was
indeed perfect as to manner but was betrayed the moment she tried to do
too many things with the English language.

When he had opportunity Hayward was profuse in his thanks to Brown, and
told him volubly of his love for music.  Finding a sympathetic listener,
he was led on to an impulsive story of the social longings and lackings
in his life.  Brown, more than ever impressed with the young fellow’s
intelligence and worthiness, was at some pains thereafter to look after
him and set him going in a congenial social current.

With Brown’s approval and his own gifts and graces it was not remarkable
that Hayward won his way to social popularity as fast as his confining
duties would permit.  He began to see much of Lily Porter and was
consistent in his devotion to her despite the fact that the habit of his
college days of being attracted by each new and pretty face still
measurably clung to him.  His information and accomplishments were of a
sort superior to that of any of the young women he met, and none made a
serious impression on his heart.  Lily Porter was more nearly his equal
in education and general cultivation of mind and manner, and was really
the most attractive to him; but his harmless vanity could not forego the
admiration of the others, and he gave some little time to small
conquests.  He did homage to Lily by his evident admiration of her
talents and comeliness and by his unconcealed pleasure in her
friendship.  At the same time he met her petty tyrannies and autocratic
demands with an unmoved indifference.

He had become very well acquainted with Lily and had called on her
several times before Henry Porter knew that his daughter was receiving
the footman whom he had snubbed some months before.

"Lily, who was that young man that called on you last night?"

"Mr. Hayward."

"Umhuh, I thought he was the same fellow. You’ll have to drop him.  I
don’t want you to be receivin’ no footman in this house.  We must draw
the line somewhere."

"He’s no footman, papa.  He’s one of Mr. Brown’s friends.  Mr. Brown
introduced him to me himself. I think he is connected with Mr. Brown’s
office."

"No such thing.  Hayward’s footman at the White House—told me so hisself
’bout a year ago, and I saw him on the President’s carriage no longer’n
yesterday.  Nice lie he’s told you ’bout bein’ in Brown’s office."

"Oh, he didn’t say so, papa.  I supposed so because Mr. Brown said he
was his friend and has introduced him to all the nice people.  Surely
you can’t object to one of Mr. Brown’s friends.  Everybody likes Mr.
Hayward and he is received everywhere."

"Everybody likes him, do they?  Well you see to it you don’t like him
any too much.  I can’t kick him out if Brown stands for him, but you
make it your business to let him down easy.  Have you seen Bob Shaw
lately?"

"He was here last night when Mr. Hayward came," answered Lily; and she
seemed to be amused at something.

"Well, what’s funny ’bout that?"

Lily knew that she must not tell her father what she was laughing at.
She created a diversion.

"Mr. Shaw is so backward, and so—dark."

"Dark!  He’s jus’ a good hones’ black,—so’m I—all African and proud of
it.  Mebbe I’m too dark to suit yuh.  Bob Shaw is not backward, miss.
He’s got the bes’ law practice of all the niggers in the Distric’, and
he’ll be leader of the whole crowd in a few years.  He’s the bes’ one in
the bunch of these fellers who tag after you and you better take him.
My money and his brains and pull with the party ’d make a great
combernation."

Lily did not commit herself.  She was accustomed to her father’s blunt
method of indicating his wishes. She liked Shaw well enough, but old
Henry’s awkward interference and zeal did the lawyer’s cause no good.
Shaw was below the ordinary in the matter of good looks, and in his love
for Lily was too submissive to her whims.  He had not Hayward’s easy
manner, nor his assurance—for the footman was not at all abashed by
Henry Porter’s money nor his daughter’s gentle arrogance.  It is
needless to say the girl preferred the serving-man to the lawyer.

After the first flush of interest in Lily and her songs had subsided
Hayward made love to the pampered belle warmly or indifferently as the
mood was upon him.  He noted that, taking her charms in detail, they
were alluring without exception; and such moments of reflective analysis
were always followed by a more determined pursuit of her.  Yet the
careless moods came.  However, he always delighted in and could be
extravagant in praising her singing, even when the personal attraction
was the weakest, and the general effect on the woman was a continuous
tattoo of love-taps at the door of her heart.

The negro magnate’s favourite, Shaw, clearly was being outdistanced, and
the outraged father stamped and threatened and commanded: but to no
purpose. When Hayward discovered the bitterness of the old man’s
opposition he chuckled.

"Here’s where I get even," he said; and became more assiduous in his
attentions to Lily and more aggressive in his methods.

"Your father does not appear to hold much love for me," he told Lily one
evening after she had sung him into an affectionate frame of mind and
the conversation had drifted along to the confidential and personal
stage.

"Did I ever tell you what he did with my first request for an
introduction to you?"

"No.  What?"

"He stamped the feathers off of it," said Hayward, and laughingly told
her the details.

"Papa thinks—everybody—should be a lawyer, or a politician with a pull,"
Lily commented complainingly.

The temptation to vindicate his dignity was too much for Hayward.

"I was not always a footman and do not intend always to be a footman;
and yet, footman as I am, if your father values a pull with the
President, perhaps, if he knew—oh, well, he might think better of me."

"Oh, you have a pull?  How interesting.  Do tell me about it.  I have
read so much about pulls that I am dying to know what one is like.  How
do you work it?  I believe you work a pull, don’t you?  Or do you pull
the—"

"I haven’t pulled mine yet.  I’m waiting," said Hayward.  "But it will
work when the time comes."

"And when will the time come?  Tell me.  I’m so anxious to see the
wheels go round in a genuine political machine.  How many Southern
delegates can you influence in the next national convention?  That’s the
mainspring, isn’t it?"

"I’m no politician or vote vender.  I’ve never had the pleasure of
influencing my own vote yet, and won’t as long as I live in the
District."

"What!  Without politics or votes, and yet you have a pull?"

"It is a personal matter entirely," Hayward answered carelessly, as if
personal friendships with Presidents were very ordinary affairs for him.
Lily Porter was a mite skeptical, but she hoped he spoke the truth, for
it would more than confirm her estimate of him and would be such an
effective counter to her father’s nagging opposition.

"Oh, isn’t that interesting!  Tell me all about it!"

"Really I cannot.  I have never told that, even to my mother.  There is
only one other person who knows of it.  It is my one secret, and my
life—that is, my future—depends largely upon it.  There’s too much at
stake."

"Would you fear to trust your life—your future—in my hands?" asked the
woman softly.  "I could be a very good and a very faithful friend."

The lure in her voice was irresistible.

"I would trust my soul with you," he answered, and with the spoken faith
the trust was perfected in his heart.  "Listen."

He told her all about himself, of his name and his history, of his life
and his hopes.  He was modest in his recital of the creditable things he
had done; but when he had told her of his claim upon the President’s
gratitude and the purpose toward which he would use it, and began to
talk of his ambition and his dreams, his heart was fired by its own
fervour, and before the very warmth of his own eloquence all obstacles
and difficulties faded as mists before the sun, and he felt that he
needed only to put forth his hands to grasp his heart’s desires.

The girl was touched with his fire.  She listened with ready sympathy to
the beginning of his story, heard with quickening pulses of his rescue
of Colonel Phillips, and in the telling of his hopes was caught in the
current of his transporting fervency and carried along with him to
realize the vision of his martial career.

"And that is the picture of your life!  It is—it will be—glorious!"  She
rose in her enthusiasm. "Oh, that a woman might—"

"Glorious—yes," the man said; "and till to-night it had seemed perfect
to me.  But I have been blind to its greatest lack.  You have made me
conscious of it."  Hayward stood up and moved toward the girl, who
wavered uncertainly between reserve and complaisance.

"I would paint another figure into that picture, Lily—the figure of a
woman."  He put his hands out toward her, and her coldness was melting
when—"Lily," said her father from the hall, "what did you do with the
evenin’ paper?  I want to read Mr. Shaw’s speech before the convention
this mornin’. Mr. Brown told me that it is the greates’ speech that’s
been made yet."

Henry Porter came into the parlour in time to catch a glimpse of
confusion and unusual attitude in his daughter and Hayward.  He thought
best to mount guard, and decided to talk Hayward into flight.  He began
with a panegyric on Shaw.  Hayward caught the hint and took his leave,
pulling Lily to the front door by a chain of conversation.

"Now remember," he murmured tenderly, "you hold my secret; and must keep
it sacredly."

"Have no fear of me.  Watch your other confidante," Lily whispered, her
manner full as his of tenderness.

"Oh, she is—"

"Shaw told ’em," began the persistent and suspicious parent, coming out
of the parlour;—but the footman was gone down the steps.

Hayward’s mood changed in a twinkling and with a jolt.  He walked a
hundred paces thinking confusedly.

The question slowly framed itself in his mind.... "Do I love Lily?"

But he did not answer it.



                              *CHAPTER XX*


The oncoming summer promised to be long and uneventful for Helen
Phillips.  Late in May her mother took her and her two little sisters to
Stag Inlet, leaving a perspiring father to await the perverse pleasure
of a stubborn Congress before beginning his vacation, and Elise to set
out upon a round of visiting that would permit her to see very little of
home during the hot months.  To Mrs. Phillips the restfulness of
"Hill-Top" was gratefully refreshing after her trying first winter in
Washington.  She gave herself over fully to its soothing quiet and
arranged her daily programmes on the simplest lines.

Hayward, because of his versatile abilities an indispensable part of the
simple Hill-Top outfit, did not have an opportunity before leaving for
Stag Inlet to see Lily Porter again.  Nor indeed was he regretful on
that account.  He was in a state of indecision and wanted time to think.
He heartily wished that he had not been so free with his confidences:
yet could not justify this feeling when he sought a reason for it.

After awhile he wrote Lily a letter which was a model of diplomacy—which
said much and said nothing.  It did not disappoint or displease her.
She read between the lines an admirable modesty and restraint,
complimentary to herself and true to the artistic instinct which, she
had read somewhere, always saves a full confession for a personal
interview.  She took her own good time to answer it.  She felt sure of
the man’s devotion, despite the fact that his other and unknown
confidante was a woman other than his mother.  The tenor of her reply
was reserved, though not discouraging.  Hayward’s impatience was not
excited by the delay, nor his interest quickened by the coy missive.

                     *      *      *      *      *

The first morning Helen was on the lake after coming to the Inlet her
launch passed a small catboat commanded by Jimmie Radwine and flying a
Yale pennant from her diminutive masthead.  The crew, consisting of
Captain Jimmie and another youngster, both younger than Helen, were
yelling themselves dizzy.

"What’s Jimmie Radwine saying, Helen?" asked Nell Stewart.

Jimmie had no intention of leaving them uninformed. He had put his boat
about, and come up alongside.

"Hello, Helen!" he shouted, "Harvard can’t play ball!  Quincy can’t
pitch!  Tom got a home run and two two-baggers off him in four times up!
Rah! rah! rah! YALE!"

Helen was a famous Harvard partisan, and many a verbal tilt had she had
with Jimmie, whose brother Tom was Yale’s right-fielder, as to the
comparative merits of the blue and the crimson in all things from
scholarship to shot-putting.

"What was the score, Jimmie?" she asked him.

"Wasn’t any score—for Harvard: all for Yale. Wow!  Yale—Yale—Yale!" he
yelled.

Helen looked a dignified reproof of his unmannerly enthusiasm, but
Jimmie’s youth was proof against any such mild rebuke, and her
irritation only kindled his joy.  She nodded to Hayward for more speed,
but as Jimmie was favoured by a stiff breeze they could not shake him
off.  He followed them for two miles or more up the lake, volunteering
much information sandwiched between cheers for Eli, which, when he had
delivered it fully and in detail, he began to repeat in order to impress
it upon them.  Hayward cheerfully would have bumped him with the launch.

Having so thoroughly enjoyed the morning’s sport, Captain Jimmie
regularly afterward flew the blue pennant from his mast, and was ever on
the alert to greet Helen with the Yale yell and further particulars.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Less than a month later the Harvard crew rowed rings around the Yale men
at New London.  Helen’s cup was full.  The next day she and Nell Stewart
and Nancy Chester were sitting out on the lawn reading an account of the
race when they saw Jimmie’s catboat beating about the lake.

"Come, girls," exclaimed Helen, "we must carry the news to Jimmie!"

"Hayward, come here," she called to the footman, who was tinkering at a
gasoline runabout a hundred yards from them.  "Get the launch ready,"
she added when he came nearer, "we want to overtake Mr. Radwine’s boat
out there."

"I guess Jimmie will haul down that blue flag now," said one of the
girls when they had come to the boat-house.

"Hayward," said Helen, "run up to the house and tell mamma to give you
the Harvard pennant that is in my room—and hurry!"

Hayward needed no urging.  Out of the chatter he had caught the news of
Harvard’s victory at the oars, and he was as full of excited pleasure as
Helen herself. He hurried up the hill and, not finding Mrs. Phillips,
rushed to his own quarters and turned out from his trunk the crimson
pennant.

Helen was too intent on the chase of Jimmie Radwine to notice that the
short staff of the flag Hayward brought her, and the faded and wrinkled
folds of the cloth, did not belong to the crimson emblem which was part
of the decoration of her dressing-table. Jimmie, already informed of
Yale’s bitter defeat, surmised the purpose of the Phillips launch’s
coming, and tried to sail away and away: but he was relentlessly pursued
and overtaken, and mercilessly repaid for all of his taunts of the last
fortnight.  As they came up with him Helen cried out to her friends:

"Now, everybody give the Harvard yell!"

The feminine chorus was shrill, but lacked volume.

"Again! and louder!" she commanded.  "You too, Hayward!"

That was the most grateful order Hayward had received since the 10th was
sent into the charge at Valencia.  He stood up to drive the
deep-mouthed, long-drawn rah-rah-rah’s from his lungs, and added a few
kinks and wrinkles at the end in orthodox phrasing and intonation by way
of trimming off the severely plain Harvard slogan.  Helen looked at him
in some surprise, and saw that he was oblivious to his situation and
seemed bent on "rattling" the hostile blue skipper.  He came to himself
at last, and pulled himself together in some confusion to give attention
solely to his duties in running the launch.  Helen thought his behaviour
unusual, and watched him covertly while the badgering of Jimmie Radwine
was in progress.

Jimmie was far from an easy mark, however, for by his unblushing
impudence and boyish pretension to vast knowledge of facts and figures
he time and again crowded Helen to her defences.  Hayward could hardly
keep his tongue when Jimmie presumed too much on the ignorance of the
young women as to the athletic history of the blue and the crimson, and
Helen could see that the negro was keeping quiet with difficulty.  At
one of Jimmie’s most reckless statements, which overwhelmed Helen,
Hayward, bending over the launch’s little engine, shook his head in
violent dissent.

"What is it, Hayward?" his mistress called to him.

"Beg pardon, Miss Helen, but he’s—he’s—misstating it!" Hayward answered
with vigour.

"Then tell him of it!" Helen exclaimed impulsively.

"Pardon me, but you are altogether mistaken about that, Mr. Radwine,"
the negro sang out to Jimmie, shoving the launch up a little nearer the
boat’s windward quarter.

"What do you know about it?" Jimmie demanded scornfully.

"I know all about it," retorted Hayward with rising spirit; and he went
into details in a way to take Jimmie’s breath.  Warming up, he did not
desist on finishing the matter in dispute, but challenged others of
Jimmie’s audacious inaccuracies and proceeded to straighten them out.
Jimmie demurred and replied more recklessly, and was soon in a rough and
tumble discussion covering the whole field of college excellences.  He
found he was no match for Hayward either in information and enthusiasm
or in assurance. Before the argument was half finished the footman was
talking to him in a patronizing and fatherly way that pricked him like
needles.  He did not relish the idea of a controversy with, much less
being routed by, this serving-man, especially in the presence of the
young women.  He wished the girls anywhere else so that he might smother
the lackey with a sulphurous blast.  But he had to stand to the losing
game while Helen and her friends laughed at his defeat or waved the
crimson flag and cheered the Harvard hits in a shrill treble.  Helen
indeed felt some compunctions for having brought about the situation but
was enjoying Jimmie’s discomfiture too much to end it.

Hayward had forgotten he was a lackey, had forgotten he was a negro, had
forgotten he was anything save a Harvard man proud of his college,
proclaiming her fair record with love and joy, confident in himself as
one of her sons....  "As a man thinketh. so is he." ... The occasion was
trivial, but the transforming power of thought, its triumph over
circumstance, was strikingly evidenced in the footman’s face.  Helen
noted that his bearing had lost every trace of conventional or conscious
servility, that he looked easily and confidently _a man_, calling no man
master.

After harrying Captain Jimmie enough to pay off all old scores they gave
him good-bye with a final yell for the crimson, and turned the launch
for home.  In the run back Helen had her first opportunity to notice the
pennant.  It was not hers.

"Hayward, whose flag is this?"

"Mine, Miss Helen.  I could not find your mother quickly, and I brought
that to save time."

She looked from the flag to the negro.  A nebulous idea floated through
her mind, and she tried to fix it, but it was too elusive.  She put Nell
and Nancy off at their landings, and tried to grasp the intangible
explanation that was hovering about her brain.  It was characteristic of
her to prefer working out her own answers to looking at them in the back
of the book. Finally, however, she decided she did not have a full
statement of the problem.

"When did you go to Harvard, Hayward?" she ventured.

"Class of 191-, Miss Helen."

"191-.  Then you did not finish.  The battle of Valencia was—"

"No, Miss Helen, I did not finish: but I understand two others of my
class who volunteered were passed on the spring term’s work and
graduated by a special resolution of the Overseers.  I think I will
apply for my diploma sometime—if I need it."

Hayward spoke lightly, but his last words brought to Helen the same
question which had occurred to her so often in the last year since she
had discovered in him her father’s rescuer.  They only made the question
more insistent.

He was a Harvard man,—to Helen’s mind a title of all excellence and
dignity.  That explained much. His intelligence, even his physical grace
and soldierly courage, seemed to fit naturally into that character. But
why a flunkey?—shirking higher duties and the honours that pertained to
his degree, careless of the evidence of his scholarly merit, putting
aside the rewards of his soldierly heroism.

"Do you care nothing for everything, Hayward?—except this flag?  You
seem to have valued it."

"It is the one possession dearest to my heart," he answered in simple
truth, and then showed the first faint trace of embarrassment she had
ever seen him exhibit.

"Yes, you have loved the Harvard pennant but concealed your Harvard
lineage.  You champion Harvard’s name enthusiastically against Jimmie
Radwine’s gibes, but you affect to be careless of Harvard’s diploma.
You carry the Harvard culture, and yet—you choose to be a footman."

Hayward winced.  Helen tempered the thrust by adding:

"You do a soldier’s work, but decline a soldier’s honours.  You are
_too_ modest.  You overdo the part."

"I hope yet to do something worthy of Harvard, Miss Helen.  I am not
without ambition, however much you may think it.  Indeed I fear I have
too much ambition."

A Harvard man need set no limit to his ambition. Helen spoke with the
wisdom and confidence of youth and loyalty.

The launch was at the landing.  The girl climbed out and up the steep
stairs.  At the top she bethought herself and turned about.

"Oh, here’s your ’heart’s dearest possession,’" she said with a laugh,
and she pitched the little crimson flag down upon Hayward, who was
making the boat fast.

The man looked up to catch the flag as it fell, and memory in that
instant worked the magic which brought the scene on Soldiers Field
clearly before Helen’s mind.  She knew him in that moment.  She gazed at
him without speaking.  She looked at the flag and then at him—once, and
again.  All the incidents of the driving finish of that ever memorable
football game came back to her, bringing to her pulses an echoing tremor
of its tense excitement and wild enthusiasm and her unstinted girlish
admiration for the player who had saved his college, her Harvard, from
black defeat.

At last she remembered his words about the pennant which she had quoted
to him a moment since. Her cheek flushed and she was in two minds
whether to be offended or amused.  Graham saw her look of surprised
recognition, her glances at the pennant, and read the significance of
her rising colour.  He felt the presumption of his very presence, and,
conscious and guilty, he looked abjectly out across the lake.

The man’s humility went far to mollify Helen’s anger or levity; but she
could not spare him entirely.

"So you prefer another name to your own," she said.  "Why is that?"

"Oh, no, Miss Helen.  I am not ashamed of my name.  There’s no reason
why I should be.  I—"

"Then why use another?"

"My name is John Hayward Graham.  I am using my own, but not all of my
own."

"But why the masquerade?  It doesn’t look well. What have you done to be
afraid of your full name?"

"Nothing, Miss Helen, I declare upon honour.  I’ll tell you the whole
story.  You have been kind to respect my wishes not to make known my
services to your father, and I’ll gladly tell you all about it.  But I
must go now, if you will excuse me?  Mrs. Phillips ordered the carriage
for five o’clock and it’s nearly that time now."

"I’ll excuse you, Hayward," Helen answered, intending a dismissal of the
subject as well as of the servant.



                             *CHAPTER XXI*


For a year now Helen had had an unconsciously growing regard for her
footman’s mental abilities and for his gift of entertaining her with his
tales of battle and camp and other incidental themes of conversation
which at odd times had beguiled the moments of the past summer after his
identity had been revealed to her as "the trooper of the 10th" of her
father’s most thrilling battle story.  It was but natural that
conversation with a man of his cultivation of mind and wide information
should dull the sense of caste and superiority and enhance a feeling of
genuine respect.  It was only occasionally now that she assumed an air
of command:—at best it is a difficult thing to patronize intellect.

Helen did not have an opportunity to hear Hayward’s proffered
explanation for quite a long time, and she cared little to know anything
further of it; but her attitude of mind toward him had changed. Formerly
she sometimes had wondered that a footman should be so intelligent.
Finding that he was a Harvard man, however, had reversed the problem.
It raised him to a level of respectability above his calling, and left
the fact that he was a serving-man to be accounted for as anomalous.
That he was a negro counted with her, of course, for naught one way or
the other.  He was nothing less than a footman.

However, with all her democratic ideas, she was a President’s daughter;
and that he was a footman, until it was explained, and even after it was
explained,—as long, in fact, as he remained a footman,—would cause that
vacillation between anger and amusement which came to her yet with the
remembrance of his embarrassed declaration that her pennant was his
heart’s dearest possession....  She was somewhat annoyed by her own mild
self-consciousness—an unusual mental state for her; more so than by any
forwardness on the man’s part in speaking the speech,—for there had been
nothing of that....  She would not think of it....  Why should she think
of it?  The idea was ridiculous.  She would laugh it away....  Of course
the pennant was a dear possession: the man prized it as a memento of his
college life and his daringly won victory....  Certainly, it was a very
dear possession: she had similar school-day souvenirs which were
precious to her heart though recalling moments of less energy of loyalty
and wild delirium of joy....  Besides he may have meant, he could have
meant, nothing personal to herself,—for he could not have known her—she
was nothing more than a child seeing her first great football match—and
he had caught but a glimpse of her in all that yelling throng—if he had
seen her at all.... It would be a miracle if he remembered her... And
yet he seemed to remember....  Though why should she think so?  He had
_said_ nothing to indicate it....  But he knew—she was sure that he
knew.... And what if he did know, and did value the pennant on that
account?  The personal consideration was not imperative.  Was she not
the President’s daughter, and would not any man deem it an honour to be
decorated by her hand or high privilege to carry her flag?  The lowest
menial might properly take pride in her approbation and set great store
by a token of her approval....  But—this man is neither low nor menial,
for all his servile livery.  He is a gentleman by every token: educated,
brave, strong, modest, self-sacrificing, chivalrous.  It is hard to
consider him as an underling—a footman....  And why is he a footman? ...
She does not care why he is a footman ... or that he is a footman....
He must keep his place.



                             *CHAPTER XXII*


Helen was taking her early morning ride.  She pulled her horse up
sharply and waited for her groom to overtake her.

"Why are you a footman, Hayward?"

Hayward was startled.  The girl had been uncertain in her treatment of
him for a month, and he was expecting anything that might happen, from a
plain discharge to arrest as a suspicious character.  He was confused by
the suddenness of the question, and by the peculiar mingling of sympathy
and impatience in Helen’s voice.

"Who are you, and what are you trying to do?"

"I am John Hayward Graham, Miss Helen, as I told you before.  I am a
footman now because it seems to be necessary.  I did not intend to be a
footman so long as this when I obtained the position."  Helen thought
she detected a shade of embarrassment again. "But after I was employed
at the White House my mother’s health gave way suddenly and she could no
longer support herself and I was compelled to keep the place."

The man saw that he was making an awkward mess of it, and the quick
intelligence of Helen’s eyes showed him her inferences were all adverse.

"Oh, well," he said, "I’ll begin again.  It took all the money my mother
had, Miss Helen, to pay for my education—all, and more.  That she ever
met the expense of my tuition has been a miracle to me.  But she did
it—insisted upon doing it.  My father was a Harvard man.  He died when I
was two years old, leaving as his only admonition the injunction that I
be thoroughly educated.  My mother was faithful to that exhortation.
She spent her meagre fortune and the abundant strength of her life to
the last cent and almost to the last heart-beat in a religious obedience
to it."

"Your mother is still living?"

"Yes; and please do not think I was so ungrateful and so unfilial as
purposely to wait till she was helpless before lifting the burden of
breadwinning from her shoulders.  I was in five months of graduation
when the call came for volunteers in the spring of 191-; yet I could not
resist that call, nor would my mother have me resist it."

"A Spartan mother," commented Helen.

"My grandfather died in the front of battle, Miss Helen,—to make men
free.  My father was a soldier. The first bauble that I can remember
playing with as a child was a medal of honour with its red, white and
blue ribbon which was given to him for some daring service to the flag,
I know not what.  That medal and his good name was all that he left to
me.  I lost the medal before I knew what it stood for, and I have
temporarily laid aside the name of Graham; but none the less is the
memory of that bronze eagle-and-star an inspiration to me to a life work
creditable to the name.

"When I enlisted I was really taking a large financial burden from my
mother, and if, after my first term of enlistment was up, I was
unthinking of her, it was because out of the blood of my fathers and my
army experience had been born a life ambition which filled all my
thoughts: the ambition to be a soldier.  I was off my guard, for I had
never thought of my mother as having a human frailty.  When she came to
place herself in my care I noticed, as I had not a month before, how far
spent was her strength, and I was alarmed at the sudden change in her
appearance.  This change had come to her as it comes to many—with the
moment of her surrender to the inevitable.  Men and women may stand with
determined and unshaken front against the assaults of weakness until it
wins into the very citadel of their strength and possesses everything
save the flag which flies at the tower-top.  So with my mother: she had
stood to her duty till there remained of her wonderful energies only her
unshaken resolution, and when that flag was hauled down there was
nothing left to surrender."

Everything in the man’s tribute to his mother—sentiment and
metaphor—appealed to Helen, and the tears came to her lashes.

"But she still has the strength to be vastly ambitious for her son, Miss
Helen.  Death itself will hardly weaken that.  She talks to me of little
beside the day when I shall be an officer in the army."

"You aspire to a commission, then?"

"Yes; and it is for that reason that I desire the President shall not
know now that I am the man who carried him out of danger at Valencia.  I
know that naturally he will be grateful, and I wish to make no draft
upon his gratitude till I ask for that commission. I expect much
difficulty, and I wish to marshal at one moment every circumstance in my
favour."

"As papa says, ’attack with horse, foot and guns,’" said Helen.

"Yes, that’s the idea.  I had hoped that by the end of a second term of
enlistment my preparedness together with your father’s friendliness and
a growing liberality in public sentiment toward men of my race would win
for me my heart’s desire—a lieutenancy of cavalry."

"Your race will not count against you, Hayward," said Helen.  "Papa has
no such provincial notions as that.  And I am sure he will not be
ungrateful."

"I thank you for the assurance, Miss Helen.  Your father is my ideal of
a fearless and just man.  I count more upon his fearlessness and
fairness than upon his gratitude.  But my heart is too keenly set on
realizing this ambition for me to omit to enlist any favourable
influence."

"But why are you a footman?" Helen repeated the question with which she
had first addressed him.

"I was on my furlough, Miss Helen, when I took this place temporarily,
fully intending to re-enlist when my time was up; but my mother’s
break-down just before that time compelled me to forego re-enlistment
and to hold this position which pays a wage sufficient to support the
two of us.  A soldier’s pay would not accomplish it, and my mother’s
condition would not permit me to leave her.  However, I have not thought
of foregoing my career as a soldier.  I am studying every day to prepare
myself for the duties of an officer.  My Harvard training fortunately
supplies me with all but the purely technical knowledge required, and
makes it possible for me to acquire that without assistance.  I will win
yet, Miss Helen."

"A Harvard man _must_ win."  Helen spoke with dogmatic faith.

"And _I_ must win,—not only a commission, but the ’well-done’ which is a
soldier’s real recompense for a life-time’s service.  Not only my
’Harvard lineage,’ as you once called it, but my grandfather’s death, my
father’s life, my mother’s toil and sacrifice, lay the compulsion of
endeavour and success upon me. My mother is a hopeless invalid, but I
pray she may live to read my lieutenant’s commission.  I have concealed
from her the juggling with my name.  I—"

"And why did you juggle with it?"

"Some pride in my patronymic and in that very Harvard lineage would not
permit me to degrade either by becoming a footman as John Graham."

"And again, then: why are you a footman?  You have not answered that
question yet.  Your purposes in life are admirable, your motives
are—beautiful, your success will be brilliant I earnestly hope,—even
more, I dare to prophesy; and I shall be proud to know when your name is
famous, that I gave you your first flag;"—She laughed—"but why did you
become a _footman_, Hayward?"

She pulled her horse up to wait for his answer. Hayward looked steadily
in her eyes, which were regarding him with frank enquiry, until a
quickness came to his pulses and a rashness into his heart, and by his
gaze her eyes were beaten down and the colour brought to her cheek.

"Why?"  Her voice had as much of appeal as of demand.

Hayward caught his breath quickly.

"You have read Ruy Blas, Miss Helen?"

"No," Helen answered.  "What has that to do with it?"

Hayward had the same sensation as when in the Venezuelan campaign he had
first keyed his nerves for battle at sound of the picket’s shots only to
have the danger pass.  Then the releasing tension had been painful.
Here it was grateful.  He drew a breath of relief.  He was very glad the
girl had not read of _Ruy Blas_,—of the lackey who loved a queen.

"The place of footman was the only position open to me.  I applied for
another but failed to get it."  He ignored the question and through this
lie outright, told in words of perfect truth, he made a precipitate
retreat.  "The service was to be short, and it gave me an opportunity to
see at close range something of the man upon whom my hopes so much
depend," he added as an afterthought.

"And a closer view has not dampened your hope?" asked Helen.

"No, Miss Helen.  Increased it, rather.  Your father puts heart into a
man.  His broad sympathies and firm principles of justice inspire one to
the highest and best that is in him.  The lofty example of his courage
and purity and effectiveness, personal and civic, is a living
inspiration to the nation."

"For which the nation is indebted to your heroism," added Helen.  "For
myself and all the people I thank you."

If Hayward had been white he would have blushed. The personal turn Helen
gave the matter left him with nothing to say.  He sat his horse abashed.

A stray thought of her dignity flitted across Helen’s mind.  She drew
herself up, touched her horse with the crop, and rode on.  Hayward, at
the command of her manner, stiffened into _attention_ as she drew away,
and followed—at the proper distance.



                            *CHAPTER XXIII*


Helen inherited Bobby Scott when the real men came around.

Elise had brought Lola DeVale, Dorothy Scott and Caroline Whitney with
her for a two-weeks stay at Hill-Top and they had planned for a
breathing-spell in which they hoped to be rid of men and have a restful
girlish good time.  Bobby Scott, Dorothy’s brother, had been asked to
come because he was present when the thing was first proposed, and had
accepted—much to Caroline’s disappointment.  But really he did not
disturb their plans very much. Bobby was somewhat young, and entirely
manageable: and, as said before, Helen inherited him when the real men
came along.

And they came: Hazard, the moment Congress adjourned; Tom Radwine, every
minute he was not asleep after he knew Caroline Whitney was there;
Captain Howard, after three days’ wait at Newport; and, for a day and a
half, no less a personage than Senator Richland.  The Senator had a
heart to heart talk with President Phillips about a certain matter of
politics, but he deceived no one, not even himself.

Bobby Scott felt his importance, for the reason that he and the Senator
were entertained at Hill-Top.  He felt that he was in a position of
vantage and really ought to profit by it.  But the ease and sang-froid
with which Tom Radwine always relieved him of Caroline was not only
exasperating but rather confusing to him.  Why couldn’t Tom look out for
Dorothy?  She was not his sister; and, beside, she was no end better
looking than Caroline.  Here came Tom now, straight past the other young
women, to disturb his _tête-à-tête_ with Caroline.

"Come on, Mr. Scott," called Helen, "we’ll go and have a ride."

Bobby pretended not to hear.  Helen’s assumption that he must vacate
when Radwine appeared nettled him.  He liked Helen in everything save
that she would not take him seriously.  He sat still, determined to hold
his position against all comers.

"I’ve won in a walk," said Radwine to the young woman.  "It’s ten
minutes yet to five o’clock—good afternoon, Mr. Scott—oh, I am all sorts
of a winner."

Caroline’s answer to Radwine was just as meaningless to Bobby, and in
half a minute without the slightest discourtesy on the part of the
others, he felt that he was a rank outsider.

"Are you coming, Mr. Scott?" Helen called to him again—and Bobby went.

"If you will excuse me?"—he asked Caroline’s permission.

"Certainly, if you must go.  Take good care of Helen.  She is so young
and venturesome."

This last speech in a measure placated Bobby’s offended notions of
dignity, and he and Helen went off toward the stables, where Hayward
brought the horses out and put the saddles on while Bobby looked them
over.

"That is a very handsome mount," he said to Helen, indicating Prince
William.  "He’s a dead match for the horse of Lieutenant Lavine, of the
Squadron."

"Beg pardon, sir," Hayward interrupted to ask, "what squadron?"

"Squadron A, New York," Bobby replied, and began to relate to Helen some
incident of his experience as a trooper in that organization, and
afterward to dispense general information as to horses and horsemanship.
He would not have been so garrulous about these things perhaps but for
the fact that his membership in Squadron A was a new toy from which the
gilt had not been worn off.  Hayward listened to him, first with
interest and then with wonder.  He did not know the young gentleman was
a very new and very raw recruit in the Squadron’s forces, and he came
near dropping a saddle at some of Bobby’s ebullitions of ignorance.

"This knee," said Bobby with a look of concern as he ran his hand down
Prince William’s fore-leg, "seems to be slightly swollen.  You should be
careful to guard against spavin.  It is a serious—"

The negro laughed in his face before he could check himself.

"Well, what is it?" demanded Bobby.

"Beg pardon, sir,"—Hayward pulled his face into respectful shape—"spavin
is a disease of the hock, not of the knee.  The Prince struck that knee
against a hub on the carriage this morning.  No damage done, I think,
sir....  They are ready, ma’am."

As Mr. Scott prepared to mount he noticed that Prince William’s bridle
had only one rein.

"Where is the snaffle-rein?" he asked Hayward.

"The curb rein was broken this morning, sir, and I haven’t another yet.
I changed that rein from the snaffle-rings to the curb."

"Change it back," Mr. Scott directed.  "He will not trot with the curb."

"True, sir, he’ll not; but the Prince has not been ridden in several
days, and he’ll be hard to hold.  I think you’d better use the curb,
sir."

No use to advise Mr. Scott.  He had heard that your true cavalryman
delights in a trot.

"Just change it, will you," he commanded.

The footman glanced at Helen before complying.

"Certainly," she said; "put the rein on the snaffle-rings, Hayward."

Hayward obeyed and they were off.  He watched them out of sight, and
remarked as he turned into the stable:

"What he doesn’t know is something considerable."

                     *      *      *      *      *

"If all the flunkeys were as modest and respectful as they are
timorous," Bobby said to Helen as they rode off, "the service would be
greatly improved the world over.  And if they were as full of courage as
they are of conceit, bravery would be a drug on the market.  I believe
you said Hayward is your footman?"

"Yes," Helen answered.

"That explains it.  These coachmen and footmen become so accustomed to
carriage cushions that the saddle is an uncertain and rather fearsome
seat for them.  Their personal fears would not be out of the way if they
would not impute them to men who can ride."

The sparkle of interest in Helen’s eyes encouraged Mr. Scott to proceed.

"My observation has been that the under-classes do not ride well—or
cannot ride at all.  I think that riding is naturally and really the
diversion of gentlemen, the _hoi polloi_ do not take to it."

It occurred to Helen that the _hoi polloi_ of Bobby’s town of New York
had not the money with which to "take to" saddle-horses, but she did not
raise the point.  Bobby continued to talk.

"I would not consider my education complete if I were not accustomed to
the saddle.  I think that many of our young fellows are not only
careless of a most healthful and gentlemanly sport, but are recreant to
duty as citizens, in not perfecting themselves in feats of arms and
horsemanship.  What is it that Kipling says in lamenting the degeneracy
in sterner virtues of the gentry of Britain?  Something like

    "’And ye vaunted your fathomless power, and ye flaunted your
      iron pride
    Ere—ye fawned on the Younger Nations for the men who could
      shoot and ride.’"


"Good for you, Mr. Scott.  I did not imagine you were so seriously
interested in Kipling as to memorize his lines.  He is fine, though,
isn’t he?"

"Yes, that couplet impressed itself upon me without effort on my part.
It appeals to me.  I think it is a disgrace for a young man not to know
how to shoot and ride.  Alas, there are so many who do not.  Little
wonder that I am asked to put myself within the precautionary
limitations of a timid flunkey."

Helen said nothing.  She saw Mr. Scott was deeply offended because he
had known so little about spavin. His dissertation on horsemanship
caused her to note with some interest his manner of doing the thing.  As
they rode along, her mare in a slow canter and Prince William in a trot,
the young man was giving a faithful exhibition of the method taught by
"Old Stirrups," the Squadron’s riding-master; but Helen could see that
he was keenly conscious of every detail of the process, from the tilt of
his toes to the crook of his left elbow.

Yet Mr. Scott was enjoying the ride—no doubt of that.  Never had he had
such an opportunity to parade his pet ideas and conceits, and never had
he had such a respectful hearing.  At last the younger Miss Phillips was
taking him seriously.  He plumed himself, and essayed a more elaborate
panegyric on manly preparedness.  Helen permitted him to do all the
talking.

He was at some pains to instruct her in the art of riding.  He advised
her how to hold the reins, how to make her horse change from a canter to
a trot then to a gallop, how to change the step-off in the gallop, and,
all together, passed on to her about all he could remember of the
information acquired from "Old Stirrups."  It was imparted, however,
after the manner of first hand knowledge born of large experience. He
felt that he was living up to Caroline’s admonition to look well after
Helen, and was gratified that the young lady received his coaching with
such beautiful humility and seriousness.

"This the best part of the Lake Drive," Helen suggested finally, "the
mile from here to ’The Leap.’  May we not let the horses go a little?"

"Why, certainly, if you wish," Mr. Scott consented. "Don’t be nervous.
Just keep the rein tight enough to feel her mouth firmly so she won’t
stumble, and let her go ’long."

Helen clucked to her mare and swung into a moderately fast gallop....
The exhilaration of it occupied her for a time, and then she noticed Mr.
Scott was not altogether comfortable.  The Prince was pulling against
the bit in a stiff trot that was making a monkey of the young man’s
memorized method. Helen thought that the riding would be easier for him
if Prince William would break into a gallop, and she pushed her mount to
a faster pace in order to make the horse break over.  Feeling perfectly
at ease in her saddle, she unwittingly urged the mare faster and faster
in kindly meant effort, till finally the increasing speed became so
furious that she was a bit alarmed, and pulled in on her bridle-rein.
Horror! the mare was beyond control!

The horses were about neck and neck, with Prince William a nose in the
lead and going hard against the snaffle in a trot of such driving speed
as the young Mr. Scott had never been taught to negotiate.  He was
pulling his arms stiff against the smooth bit, but that only steadied
the Prince to his work.  Helen gave a despairing pull with all her
strength, but it did not affect the mare’s seeming determination to
overcome the Prince’s lead.  She called to her escort.

"Stop her!  I can’t hold her, Mr. Scott!"

Mr. Scott tried to reply, but his effort at speech resulted in a stutter
which that merciless trot jolted from between his teeth....  He could
not help her.... His own emergency was more than he could meet.  His
right foot had been shaken from its stirrup, and could not regain it.
With his right hand he held in grim determination and desperation the
cantle of the combative saddle which was treating him so roughly.  No,
no help from him.

Helen, riding in perfect comfort, though at a frightful pace, looked
toward Mr. Scott to see why he gave no aid.  She saw his predicament was
worse than hers. He had no hand to offer her.  He needed both of his,
and more....  She remembered her footman and his lifting her from her
falling horse,—and wished heartily for him in this crisis.  She realized
that she must save herself, and with that to reinforce and stiffen her
resolution she again pitted her strength and will against those of the
headstrong mare.  Her heart sank when she thought how near they were
coming to "The Leap," and she threw every ounce of will and muscle
against the bit, and held it there.

At last, as if with a knowledge of the danger just ahead, the mare
slowed down.  But the madcap Prince William took a longer chance.

On a little promontory jutting out into the lake the roadway makes a
sharp turn at a point some seven or eight feet above the water and
almost overhanging it.  Helen and her father had facetiously named it
"Lover’s Leap."  Prince William knew as much about that turn as Helen’s
mare, but he disdained caution.  He was a bold and close calculator,—for
he made the turn by a hair’s-breadth, at top speed.

Not so Mr. Scott.  As the horse swung mightily to the left the rider’s
momentum pried him away from the saddle, and he took the water clear of
all obstacles.... Helen, close behind him, but already relieved of fear
for herself, felt her heart stop beating when the man went off his
horse, for he missed a tree by a dangerously narrow margin.  But he
picked himself up unhurt out of two feet of water, and clambered up to
the driveway, covered with humiliation and the friendly lake mud.

Helen had been too thoroughly frightened to laugh then, but she
preserved in memory the picture of "Bobby’s stunt," and many a time
afterward laughed at it till the tears came.  For many moons she could
not think of Kipling or "flaunting an iron pride" without an insane
impulse to giggle.

Prince William, having caused all the distress, afterward acted very
nicely about it.  He permitted himself to be caught, and carried Mr.
Scott back to Hill-Top in the most manageable and equable of tempers.
Mr. Scott himself, however, was in a temper entirely other. Inwardly he
was choking with stifled oaths, for in Helen’s presence he must needs be
decent in speech. He began at once to berate Hayward, but realized
before he had finished a sentence that he could not make out a case
against him, and he saw disapproval in Helen’s face.  He gave it over as
a situation to which no words were adequate, and the ride home was a
strenuous essay at lofty silence.

Helen, despite her rising mirth and her contempt for Bobby’s puerile
desire to shift the blame for his mishap, had enough pity for him in his
miserable plight to suggest that they make a detour and approach home
from the rear side and avoid the eyes of the people assembled there.
Bobby was grateful for the suggestion.  It promised success.  That
Hayward should see him, he of course expected, and he rode up to the
stable-door, dismounted and handed his bridle to the footman with an air
of unconcern and assurance befitting a man at ease with himself and in
good humour with the world.  Hayward regarded him calmly from head to
heel, but did not betray his flunkey’s role by so much as the tremble of
an eyelash. This made Mr. Scott angry.  He had expected something
different, and had prepared a very dignified reproof.

"Damn that insufferable negro.  Why didn’t he laugh outright?" he
growled as he walked around the house.  Helen had run away as soon as
she had dismounted in order to save her fast toppling dignity. Mr.
Scott’s flanking movement was successful and he was almost safe when—he
ran plump into Caroline and Tom Radwine on the side porch.  Caroline’s
outburst brought the others to see what the fun was.

"Mis-ter Scott!" she exclaimed.  "What kind of a stunt have you been
doing?  You look comical to kill.  Oo—ooh!"

Bobby took on a sickly grin when Caroline’s gaze first fell upon him;
but when she called him comical it was a serious affair at once, and his
face showed it. Dorothy rushed up at that moment.

"Oh, Robert, Robert!" she cried, putting her hand upon his shoulder,
"what have you done?  Tell me. Are you hurt?  Have you been pulling
Helen out of the lake?"  A glance at Helen answered that question.
"Well what, then, you precious boy?"

This was the first time that his older sister had ever complied with
Bobby’s insistent request that she call him Robert, and he somehow
wished she hadn’t.

"Oh, Dorothy, have some sense—let me go—I must have on some dry clothes.
I took a tumble into the lake—yes—that’s all."

"Next time you decide to do that, Mr. Scott, I’ll be glad to loan you a
bathing-suit."  This from Tom Radwine made Bobby mad as a hornet.

"Took a tumble into the lake, you say, Mr. Scott?" asked President
Phillips, pushing through the crowd. "How did that happen?"

"I was riding your horse, Prince William, sir, and he was on edge.  He
spilled me off the drive into the water at that sharp turn a couple of
miles up.  I had only a snaffle-rein and could not hold him."

"Only a snaffle-rein!  Why I would never think of riding that rascal
myself without a curb.  Hayward," he called to the footman, who was
passing, "what kind of carelessness is this?—your sending the Prince to
Mr. Scott with only a snaffle-rein?  You know very well that brute
cannot be controlled without a curb. I’m surprised at you.  Such a lack
of sense as that is almost criminal.  You ought to be ashamed of
yourself. Don’t repeat that performance—see to it you don’t!"

As Helen was standing in a yard of her father, Hayward heard this
stinging rebuke in unalloyed surprise, but as she made no demur, he
saluted when the President was done, and said only:

"Yes, sir; it shall not occur again, sir."

When her father had spoken so sharply to the footman Helen had turned to
Mr. Scott, expecting him to exonerate Hayward; but Caroline Whitney’s
look of genuine sympathy when Mr. Phillips spoke of that brute’s being
uncontrollable without the curb bribed the bedraggled young man to
silence.  Helen saw Caroline’s glance, and caught the reason for Bobby’s
lack of candour, but she was disgusted with him.

She was uncomfortable because of the injustice her silence had done, for
she was of an eminently fair mind: and she told her father the whole
truth of the affair at the first opportunity....

She could not see how Hayward bore himself so composedly under the
undeserved rebuke.  If he would abase himself thus, would barter his
self-respect, would lick the hand that smote him, in order that he might
obtain his commission—if he would sell his manhood for it—for
anything—he would be contemptible in her sight....  Again the question
came: Why was he a footman?  She could not remember that he had ever
answered it.  Oh, yes,—the idea had but just recurred to her—she would
read _Ruy Blas_.

So, on a long summer’s afternoon she read _Ruy Blas_—read the tale of
the love of a flunkey for his Queen: and while, when the idea finally
dawned upon her, and she first clearly understood the significance of it
all, she was—  But let us not detail that.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Helen and Hayward Graham were married on a day in late October.



                             *CHAPTER XXIV*


The chronicler of these events is aware that to the readers of this
history the bare statement of the fact that Helen and her footman were
wed comes as a shock.  Nevertheless, it was a plain and straightforward
path by which a careless and pitiless Fate had blindly brought Helen to
her husband.  A girl, treading by chance such a way as has been followed
since the world was young by the feet of maidens of high degree who have
loved below their station,—among the accidents and incidents of her
romance she had come, unwitting, to an open door, an ill-placed door not
designed for her passage, a "door of hope for the negro race" which her
idolized father had thought to fashion and set wide: and she had passed
it through—in reverse.

A secret marriage was not characteristic of Helen’s ideas.  She was
betrayed into that by her warm impulsiveness.  She had had a beautiful
programme arranged for the fates to follow in.  With a heart full of
love and of dreams, and with faith in a future that would order itself
at her bidding, she had planned the whole course of events that should
lead up to a resplendent army wedding after Hayward had won his
commission.  She never doubted for a moment that all her roseate
imaginings would come to pass, and railed upon him that he had not her
faith: for Hayward was a doubter.  The sheer altitude of his good
fortune made him fearful and distrustful.

For the twentieth time she told off to him on her finger-tips the order
in which his fortune should ascend.

—"And then, when you are an officer—and famous—you will marry—me."

"But that may never be," the man had answered. "Suppose the Senate
should refuse to confirm my nomination?  By your condition I should lose
the commission and—infinitely more—you.  If your love and faith are
supreme you will marry me whether I win or lose."

"You shall not doubt my love or faith," Helen exclaimed impetuously.  "I
will marry you now, and as the President’s son-in-law you can the more
surely succeed.  The Senators would not offer a personal affront to—"

"But I must bring this honour to you, not you to me," Hayward
interrupted; "and, besides that, while I willingly, gladly, here and
now, surrender all hope of this commission for ever and for ever if only
you will marry me now, it is only fair to you for me to remind you that
your father would never appoint his own son-in-law to a lieutenancy in
the army."

"Oh, bother!" Helen protested.  "I have my heart set on being a
soldier’s wife.  Of course Papa couldn’t give a commission to one of his
family—what was I thinking about....  Well, there’s nothing to do but
wait, I suppose."

"And it may be an endless wait if the commission is to come first,"
Hayward reiterated.  "It was an awful temptation to silence a moment ago
when you said you’d marry me now, but I could not trick you into it,
knowing how much you desire that commission."

Helen’s mind worked rapidly for half a minute.

"But I _will_ marry you—and _now_!" she cried. The girl’s romantic
spirit was aroused and her spontaneous, unsophisticated feminine ideal
of love was in the ascendant.  "I will _prove_ my love and faith.  I
will marry you now, and you may claim me when you have won your laurels.
Let the Senate refuse you a commission if they dare!"

"And would you be willing to trust me to keep that secret?" Hayward
asked.  "I almost would be afraid to trust myself—I would want to yell
it from the housetops!  Married to you and not tell it!  Why, it would
just tell itself to any open-eyed man who looked at me."

"No, no," Helen answered.  "I’m willing to trust you.  It’s a hardship
that cannot be avoided, and we must make the best of it."

                     *      *      *      *      *

"And now," Helen had given her husband a last laughing admonition,
"since we must be clandestine against our wills, let’s be romantic to
the last most fiercely orthodox degree.  No love-lit glances or
conscious looks.  You be a perfect footman with that indifferent and
superior and high-and-mighty air while you can, for when your bondage
actually begins you will never swagger again; and I will be so haughty
as almost to spurn your very presence.  We must make no foolish attempts
at conversation, and when we write must deliver our letters personally
into the hand, not trusting even the mails with our secret.  And then,
when you become an officer we will give the dear people the surprise of
their lives.  My! won’t it be fun to see them!  And it may be that when
the time comes we will not tell them that we are already married, but
will have another ceremony, a brilliant army affair such as I have set
my heart on.  Wouldn’t that be gorgeous!"

"I hardly would have acquaintances enough among the officers to provide
my share of the attendants," Hayward answered.

"Oh, yes, you would.  You would make then fast enough," the girl
replied.  "An American army officer has the entrée everywhere—I’ve heard
papa say so a score of times—and, besides, Mr. Humility, I suppose that
my friends among the officers would be numerous enough to fill all
vacancies."

Hayward saw clearly wherein his wife’s forecasts were faulty; but it
profited nothing to take issue with her enthusiasms and he gladly joined
in them.  She was his wife—that could not be changed; and he felt that
with that a fact accomplished he reasonably might work for, and hope
for, and expect, anything. He returned to his work in the city,
therefore, overflowing with happiness and pride.  It was not surprising
that as a White House footman he was more than ever the subject of
notice and comment, for never one carried a perfect physique with such
an air.  If his confident swing and tread had been the expression of
personal vanity, it had been insufferable; but love is not insolent nor
its struttings offensive.

Hayward was on good terms with the world.  For the first time he
accepted the overbearing manner of superiority of white men with
complacency and even with amusement.  His time was coming—he could wait.
He went so far as almost to invite affronts from several negroes of more
or less prominence, who had aforetime rebuffed his advances, in order,
as it were, to keep their offences in pickle so that their chagrin might
be more keen when the day of his elevation should come.  He was at
particular pains to keep Henry Porter’s opposition going, and smiled
when he thought how thoroughly he would pay him off in his own coin.

For a few weeks he put himself with buoyant determination to the regular
study of his text-books, which he had theretofore read with more or less
intermittent interest, and began to lay out plans for the political
campaign which would be necessary to bring about the issuing and
confirmation of his commission.  He arranged with a personal friend, a
lawyer in New Hampshire, for the transmission of all correspondence and
papers relating to the matter in the name of John H. Graham through this
lawyer’s hands,—thus to conceal from the President even after the
request for the appointment had been made the fact that his footman was
the applicant.

The thinking out and arranging of these details and the first rush of
his attack upon his military studies engrossed him for a month or more
in every moment he was off duty.  So closely did he hold himself that
Lily Porter reproved him gently for his remissness several times before
he made his first call upon her. He was really working very hard—in his
leisure hours.  He had completely reversed the order of work and
diversion.  To the one-time monotony of his daily tasks he was now held
by the fascination of chance moments of speech—most often conventional,
occasionally personal, always delightful—with the radiant young woman
his wife, upon whom even to look in silence was enough to send his blood
a-leap.  Every day from the very first he took time from his work of
preparation to write to her....  The habit grew. At first briefly,
though always with fervent protestations, and, as the days and weeks ran
on, more and more at length and with livening heat did he put his
heart-beats in his letters....  The habit grew too fast.  By the time
that Congress met and the currents of the great capital were in full
swing, the forces of Hayward’s love had eaten into his ambition’s
boundaries and the time that he gave to thoughts of Helen, and in
seeking variant and worthy phrases in which to indite his passion, more
than equalled that in which he worked to earn those things which by her
decree should precede possession of her....  It was hard not to stop and
think of her.  He wrote:

"You disturb me in my work.  You ride ruthlessly through the plans of
battle and campaign my textbooks show, and make sixes and sevens of
them.  At sight of you the heaviest lines of battle dissolve into thin
air and into mist the fastest fortress falls.  At the coming thought of
you brigades and armies melt away, and your face stands out a radiant
evangel of peace, the very thought even of wars and turbulences
dispelling....  What am I to do?  I cannot chain myself to study the
science of strife when this heavenly vision is calling me—and it is ever
calling—to love and love only....  I am fully persuaded there is only
one thing worth thinking on in all the earth—and that is you."

                     *      *      *      *      *

His wife’s letters were all that mortal man could desire, but only the
more distracting for all that. They were always short, but grew in
warmth as the sense of freedom grew upon the writer.  Hayward devoured
them with increasing hunger, and with the ever-recurring, never varying
signature, "Your wife," spark upon spark of impatience was enkindled
with his love.  Finally he must of very necessity have some vent for his
restlessness.  He sought diversion in the society of Lily Porter.  In
fact he could with difficulty avoid her: she too had set her heart on an
army wedding.

Hayward had only the very kindliest of purposes toward Lily.  He had
continued his correspondence with her during the summer.  For the sake
of his plans unfolded to her in their last meeting before his going away
he could not break abruptly away from her—though the task of remaining
on friendly terms and yet not proceeding with the suit so nearly openly
avowed was a serious tax upon his resources and ingenuity.  In his
apprehension "the fury of a woman scorned" loomed fearful and
threatening.  The object of his apprehensions, on the other hand, while
she felt rather than saw the subtle change in him, was yet flattered by
his unaccustomed submissiveness to her caprices and experienced
delightful thrills of expectancy as she waited for a trembling
confession to crown his new-found humility.

"Lily," her father had said to her on a morning after one of Hayward’s
scattered visits, "I tol’ you once to drop that feller and I hoped you’d
done it. Understan’ I don’ want any footman comin’ here. We ain’t in
that class.  You ought to have mo’ respec’ for yourse’f.  What you want
with a servant hangin’ roun’ you when you can take your pick of the
professional men in town, I can’t see."

"Don’t worry about me, papa," the girl sang as she danced over to the
piano, "I’ll wed a military-tary man."

"Well, thank Heaven you ain’t got no idee of marryin’ that Hayward.
I’ll make it wuth while for you to marry a professional or a military
man either one, but none of my money for a footman, I tell you now."

"No footman for me either, papa.  I’ll not marry a footman, I promise
you.  I tell you I’m thinking of a military man."

"Not that Ohio major who was here with the troops at the inauguration?
I’d forgot all about him," her father questioned.

"He’s not the only soldier in sight, but don’t you think he would do in
a pinch?"  Lily had forgotten about him too, till her father mentioned
him.

"I’d better look into that and see what sort of a feller he is," said
the father jokingly, greatly relieved in mind.

"Maybe you had," the daughter replied insinuatingly.

Lily had as many aristocratic notions as her father. More, in fact.  Her
promise was sincerely given.  It was only when Hayward had told her of
his purpose and prospect of becoming an officer that he had broken
through her reserve.  While she had always liked him she had never had
any idea of marrying a footman. But an officer in the army!—she would
have capitulated on that evening she heard his story but for her
father’s timely appearance.  The idea had grown upon her since, and she
loved to reflect upon it and plan for the outcome; though she had had
time to collect her thoughts and decide not to precipitate or render a
final decision till the commission was in the footman’s name.  She
really had to hold herself firmly in hand to manage it so, for she loved
the young fellow with a whole-hearted fervour, and of his love for her
she was blissfully assured.

The girl was developing quite an interest in military matters.  In one
of their not unusual discussions of Hayward’s career it was arranged
that at his first convenient opportunity he should accompany her out to
Fort Myer to see a parade.  Hayward went for her on his first half
holiday—rather, he went with her, for she drove him out in her own
stanhope.  As they were turning a corner they were halted for a moment
in a knot of vehicles.  Lily was driving and Hayward was talking to her
with so much interest in her and in what he was saying to her that he
was oblivious to the things about them....  He was accustomed to sit
quiet and indifferent while another driver solved the problems of the
streets....  The first thing that diverted his attention from the girl
beside him was the small red-white-and-blue White House cockades on the
headstalls of a pair of horses just drawing ahead of Lily’s cob.  He
glanced quickly across to the carriage—and met the full gaze of his
wife’s eyes. She was sitting on the front seat of the landau facing to
the rear, and her eyes were upon him for a half minute at very close
range.  Helen looked away several times in her effort to be unconscious
of his presence.  But she could not be perfectly oblivious or withhold
her glances altogether.  She had heard the very speech—the very gallant
speech—Hayward was making.

Lily looked about to find the cause of collapse in her escort’s talk,
and saw the man’s peculiar look at Helen, whom she knew by sight.  She
accounted for his confusion at once, but the blush that came to the
young Miss Phillips’ cheek and her evident self-consciousness were so
unaccountable as to be puzzling. She searched Hayward’s face keenly for
an explanation of his young mistress’s behaviour—and he did not bear the
scrutiny with entire nonchalance.  Lily felt insulted in a way.

"I hope she will know us next time she sees us," she said snappishly.

No answer from Hayward; though he felt like a traitor for letting the
implied criticism go unchallenged.

"You must hurry and get your commission.  It seems to disturb the fine
lady to see her footman enjoy the privileges of a gentleman.  No doubt
she thinks it impertinent for a servant to deal in gallant speeches at
all, especially such a beautiful sentiment as she must have heard you
speaking."

Lily had hit the mark in the centre—but of course she did not know it.
That finely turned sentiment which he had thrown out with such impromptu
grace and rhetorical finish was taken word for word from his last letter
to his wife, and he had puzzled his brain for an hour in the choosing
and setting of the dozen words in which it sparkled.  There was nothing
particularly personal in that dozen words, but how was Helen to know but
that they had been strung upon the same thread in the man’s conversation
with his unknown companion as they were in the letter lying at that
moment upon her own bosom.

Hayward did not enjoy the afternoon with Lily. He had hoped Helen had
not heard what he was saying, but Lily’s statement of opinion that she
had heard seemed to put the matter beyond doubt.  He came home quite
disturbed in mind.  He debated to himself whether to write to Helen or
wait for her answer to his last letter.  He decided not to plead till he
was accused.

With the next morning came—no letter.  Night—no letter.  Another
morning—no letter.  He wrote:

"Why do you not write to me—and why is your face so cold?"

The answer came: "Who is that woman?  She is not your sister—for your
sister would not look at you like that—no, nor would you look at your
sister like that—nor would you say such a speech to your sister.  Who is
she?  And what right has such a woman, what right has any woman to hear
what your letters have said to me?  That sentiment is mine—you gave it
to me.  It is mine, _mine_—do you understand?—and you take it and
fritter it away on that—who is she?  Keep away from her."

"The woman is a very good friend of mine," Hayward wrote in reply, "_and
nothing more_.  The words you overheard were spoken to her, I swear to
you, in no such connection as they were written in my letter to you.  If
I had thought that you would so value them and consider them your very
own I never would have ’frittered them away’ on any person, believe me.
Do be forgiving and remember that men are not so finely wrought as
women.  Only a woman—only you, the most finely wrought of women—ever
would have conceived such a nicety of conduct for a lover. There are
good reasons why I cannot keep away from the young lady as you request.
I wish I could, since you desire it.  She is Miss Lily Porter, and a
most estimable young woman.  I am indebted to her for very much that
goes to make life bearable.  She is a great musician and has filled with
pleasure for me many an hour that otherwise would have been monotonous
and dead.  Please do not decree that I shall not hear her sing.  To
listen to her is such a cooling, refreshing oasis in the dry-hot
barrenness of a workaday life; and I declare to you my love for you
grows warmer if possible in hearing the ballads that she sings, and to
the lullabies she hums so beautifully I dream alone of you.  Believe me
when I swear that nothing can affect the perfect singleness of my
devotion,—and let your face shine upon me.  It was so cold yesterday
that a most horrible dream came to me last night: they were hunting us
with bloodhounds to take you away from me!  Just think, I have not so
much as touched your hand since the preacher so hurriedly made us
one—only your eyes have been mine, and now you withdraw them from me!
Oh my queen, smile upon me!"



                             *CHAPTER XXV*


Helen’s reply to Hayward’s pleading letter was for the most part
reassuring and he felt that the incident of the drive with Lily Porter
was closed: but the pains of love were only beginning to be upon him.

Helen’s letters grew briefer and briefer.  There was no lack of
affection shown in them, but the expression was not so elaborate as at
first.  She was in the rush of preparation for her début, and less and
less was she free to write.  Occasionally, as if in specific answer to
his prayer and to atone for her shortcomings, she smiled upon him with
such warmth that his heart-hunger was appeased.  Only for a space,
however, did that satisfy.  The desire came back with redoubled fury the
instant the intoxication was off.

Like any other sufferer from intoxicants he had his periods of
depression.  In such moments he felt that his marriage was a mockery,
that Helen was not his, would never be his, could never be his.  Long
odds were against his getting his commission—even if the President
signed it the Senate would never confirm it.  The fight would be too
long, and the issue hopeless—he could not win—his colour was too great a
handicap—curse it!  A negro,—yes, a negro—and white men so insufferably
unjust to a negro—curse them all!—curse the whole white-faced race!—save
only her—she was his—yes, she _was_ his—his by love and law—they could
not take her from him, and he would have her yet despite the whine of
all the purblind, race-proud Senators who might oppose his
confirmation—curse them all! curse them all!!

Such moods were happily intermittent.  Again he was himself—a man among
men—already a winner—the crowned king of Helen’s heart—the President’s
son-in-law.  Away with doubt!  To whom so much had come with ease
everything would come with effort.  Confidence uplifted him.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Helen’s début was an event of note.  No need for her to be the
President’s daughter to make it so.  Her sensational beauty needed not
the stamp of official rank to give it currency, nor the sparkle of her
manner and speech any studied purpose to give them vogue.  Dominion came
to her by divine right of beauty and wit and ingenuous girlish honesty.

In the stately East Room, dressed but not over-dressed for that occasion
in palms and ferns and flowers, beside her mother for two hours she
stood, the fairest, loveliest flower that ever graced that historic
hall, and received the new world which came to take her to itself.
Gowned in simplicity and maiden white—with the flush of unaffected joy
in her cheeks and the sparkle of genuine youth in her gray eyes—with the
splash of October sunsets in her dark hair—with a skin white and clear
as purity, but shot through with the evanescent glows and tints of
health—with neck, shoulders and arms rising from her gown like a
half-opened lily from its calyx—lissome and graceful indeed as a
lily-stem—virginal freshness in mind, manner and person: she was a
May-day morning.

"My dear," said Senator Ruffin as he bowed low over her hand, "may an
old man who admired your grandmother in her youth presume to express the
extravagant wish that you may be as happy as you are beautiful!"

"And may a young man," said Senator Rutledge, close following Mr.
Ruffin, "who has the orthodox faith that _perfect_ happiness is found
only in heaven, express the hope that the full consummation of Senator
Ruffin’s wishes for you may be long delayed?"

"And may you both live to repent of trying to turn a young girl’s head,"
Helen replied, making them a curtsey.

"Once on a time I warned you against the day when such speeches would be
made to you," said Rutledge, "and you have grown even more astonishingly
into the danger than the eye of prophecy could perceive.  I warn you
again.  Senator Ruffin spoke only the words of soberness, as befits his
age and station, but wait you till ardent youth tells you what it
thinks—and you will have to hold your head on straight with your hands:
and—which dances may I have?"

"You unblushing bribe-giver!" said Helen.  "But you are just in time.
I’ve only one left if I’ve counted them right,—the very last.  Why did
you come so late?  The very last man.  Listen, the clocks are striking
eleven."

"Just couldn’t get here sooner.  But I’ll wait for that last dance if
it’s a month."

The receiving-party was broken up and proceeded to the refreshment room,
afterward to go to the ballroom, where were gathered those younger
people who were bidden to both reception and dance.

"Remember," said Evans to Helen as they left the East Room, "I shall
worry along with existence till the last number on the card.  See if you
can’t run in an extra for my long-suffering benefit.  By the way, where
is your sister?"

"In bed and cried herself to sleep two hours ago. Poor thing, she wanted
to come in and see me shine, but mamma said ’no,’ and packed her off to
bed on schedule time."

"Now look here," said Evans, "little Miss Katherine is a young lady of
vast consequence—and it’s a shame she should be treated so: but I think
you knew very well I was inquiring for your older sister."

"Oh, Elise?" she laughed.  "She had gone across the hall with Captain
Howard just before you came in."

Rutledge did not thank her for the information, and Helen regarded him
narrowly with amusement.

"Victoria Crosses are not to be resisted, Mr. Rutledge. Heroes always
have right of way."

"Do you speak from theory or experience?" asked Rutledge.

"Both," said Helen, as for the first time that night she thought of her
husband.

She thought of him quite a number of times before the evening was over.
In her thinking there was no disloyalty to her love nor to her vows: but
with all the glowing prospects for a round of gayety which the
brilliance of this evening of her début promised for her first season,
she felt a vague regret that she was not approaching the pleasures of it
in the fullest freedom.  Some quite well-defined notions of what was due
her estate as a wife threatened to put certain limitations and
restraints upon her.  She half wished that that ceremony had been
deferred—only deferred—till the time when she would be ready to enter
upon the duties of her wedded life, assume its responsibilities and be
obedient to the restrictions which very properly pertain to it.

Her husband, also, was giving some thought to the questions which the
situation presented, with the difference that he had not thought of
anything else since the evening began.  With nothing to do since eight
o’clock, and free to go home, he had stopped to see Helen in her
coming-out glory.

His livery was a passport; and he divided the time of the
reception—rather unequally, to be sure—between scraps of conversation
with coming and going coachmen he knew and long periods of gazing upon
Helen’s loveliness through a broad low window of the East Room.  He had
never seen her in the role or in the conventional evening dress of
womanhood, and the vision enchanted him.  Crowning the piquancy of youth
and freshness and _élan_ in the girl, was the unstudied dignity and
stateliness and graciousness of the woman; and the metamorphosis held
him entranced.

He looked and looked and looked at her while every variant tremor of
love and pride and impatience swept over his heart-strings.  He saw the
most notable men in America, men whose business was world-politics, bow
in evident admiration before her beauty, and linger to barter persiflage
for her smiles and airy speeches: and she was _his_ wife.

He saw her receive the magnificent Chief of Staff of the Army,
resplendent in the uniform of his exalted rank: her, the wife of
Sergeant Graham of "the 10th."  And that towering figure with the stamp
of "Briton" in every massive line?  Yes, Hayward recognized him: the
English member of the Canadian Fisheries Commission—a lawyer of
international repute, a belted earl—bending a grand head low in
obeisance to a footman’s wife—to _his_ wife.  The insolence of pride
filled his heart for a minute.  Then a twinge of doubt went through him:
she would not be a _footman’s_ wife: she had decreed _her_ husband must
be an officer—oh, the bother and the worry of it—and the uncertainty!
But she was his beyond escape, and if the worst came to—no, that would
be disloyalty....  Look, who is that shaking hands with her now?  Hal
Lodge, by all that’s Boston! Where did he come from, and what’s he doing
here? No matter, he’s here.  Look out, Hal, old boy, don’t hold my
wife’s hand so long—nor gaze into her eyes so meaningly—I know your
failing!  My what a joke it would be if you fell in love with her!—it
would be too funny.  I owe it to old friendship to warn you, but I
mustn’t."

For the greater part of two hours Hayward watched the reception.  He saw
the last man presented.

"Yes, I know you, too," he thought.  "You made that infernal speech in
the Senate last year—said some good things for us, too, but on the whole
it was damnable....  I’ll excuse you from talking to my wife, you
race-proud bigot!  You needn’t try any of your ’ardent Southerner’ on
her....  Keep off the grass.  She belongs to me.  She is mine—mine,
curse you! and all your raving speeches can’t take her away from me! ...
Oh, well, talk on—yes, talk on to her.  I wish to heaven _you would_
fall in love with her!  That would be quite the most delicious
dispensation of fate that could ever come to me—it would be too good,
too good to hope for—to have you hopelessly in love with _my wife_! ...
Oh, you beauty, how can any man resist you!"

On the other side of the house Rutledge afterward swung past the
footman’s window in several dances with Elise.

"Oh," growled Hayward at last, "it’s my brother-in-law you aspire to be!
Well, I don’t approve of that either.  I’m surprised that your
High-Mightiness condescends to my humble father-in-law’s family
anyway—and how they can suffer you to set foot in the house after your
deliverances I can’t see—I’d jump at the chance to pitch you out."

                     *      *      *      *      *

An idea akin to the footman’s had come that night to Elise.  For other
reasons she, too, wondered why she permitted Evans Rutledge to continue
his friendly attentions to herself.  She had half made several resolves
to put an end to them.  But—it is a fact noted by close observers that
even the most womanly woman has some curiosity—that she is mildly
attracted by a riddle—that she detests—that is, she thinks about—what
she can’t understand.  In the case in point Miss Elise Phillips was the
woman and Mr. Evans Rutledge was the riddle.

From the moment that Lola DeVale had told her that Rutledge had kissed
_her_ believing her to be Elise the eldest Miss Phillips had had a
growing desire to know why he should have done it.  She was properly
resentful that he had taken the liberty with her even by proxy—oh yes,
she felt sometimes she could box his ears for his impudence....  But
aside from all that, why had he kissed her?  Lola had told her plainly
long time ago that Mr. Rutledge had told her no less plainly that his
self-respect would not permit him to confess his love again.  Why then
should he kiss her? ... Oh, of course, men kissed women, she knew, or at
least had been led to believe, just for the downright fun of the thing:
but Mr. Rutledge surely was not so common—and would not deal with _her_
on _that_ basis.  No, she would not believe it of him.... If she had
only been there, she thought, and had seen the way the thing was done,
the answer doubtless would appear.  The answer to the why was evidently
locked up in the _how_.  Only Lola knew the details of _how_.  Elise had
finally decided that she might as well know them also.

Lola was no match for her friend in subtlety.  On her own initiative, as
she supposed and at the peril of severing their friendship, she gave
Elise the whole story.  When she saw that the listening Elise was only
mildly offended at the disclosure, she again rehearsed the episode for
the purpose of colouring it with the eloquence in Mr. Rutledge’s
tendernesses.

"It’s a pity I was just enough stunned to be unable to stop him.  I
heard every wasted word he spoke and was conscious of all his misplaced
kisses."

"Oh, there was no harm done," Elise replied with a contemptuous sniff.
"I guess you are not the first young woman upon whom he was thrown away
kisses. The modern young man never neglects any opportunity."

"Hear experience speak!" said Lola.

"My experience is not so far advanced as yours, apparently," rejoined
Elise; "but I’m not so uninviting that no young man has ever shown a
willingness to kiss me.  With all my inexperience I know what they would
do if I chose to bump my head against the terrace steps."

"Don’t be envious and scratchy, dear.  Remember I gave you your property
as soon as—" but she desisted as Elise angrily tossed up her head and
drew her fingers across her lips in belated protest against the
transplanted caress.

Elise was verily displeased with Mr. Rutledge, whom she saw at irregular
intervals, neither too long nor too short—for the times and seasons of
his meetings with her were entirely insignificant.  She even went to the
trouble of making a special resolve that she would not think of him; but
it died and went to the place where all good resolutions go.  Now,
Captain Howard was her devoted attendant, as far as she would permit him
to monopolize her time.  Outsiders conceded him first place and probable
success in his wooing, and Elise herself had come to feel a sort of
possessory interest in him.  He was at her beck and call, quietly but
evidently elated when at her side, and unmistakably bored when passing
time with some other young woman and awaiting Elise’s summons. But
Rutledge: he was not less elated than Howard when it was his fortune to
have Elise’s whole attention, and made no effort to conceal his love for
her;—and yet he did not attempt by word or look or gesture to add a jot
of confirmation to his one declaration of it, or even to remind Elise
that he had made it.  A score of times she had seen his love in his
eyes—plainly, so plainly, when he talked to her: but he talked always
about impersonal matters—in an abominably interesting way—and when she
dismissed him seemed to become oblivious to her existence and very
careless as to what time should elapse before he came to her again.
Indeed he showed no apparent purpose to come—or to _stay away_, which
was worse.  If it would not give the lie to her indifference she would
send him about his business for good and all.

Did he love her?  Yes, she was convinced of it—without Lola’s
assurances.  Then, why had he kissed her?  Would he kiss a woman for the
love of her and yet be unwilling to tell that love to her?  Would his
self-respect permit him to kiss her whom his self-respect would not
permit him to marry because her father received negroes at his table?
"Self-respect" would be making some peculiar distinctions in that
case,—even if everything be conceded to a Southerner’s ideas of "social
equality."  A girl to be kissed, but not to be courted!—Elise’s face
burned at the thought.  No, she would not insult herself by believing
Mr. Rutledge’s love had lost its chivalry—that he could deal with her on
any such Tim-and-Bridget basis—there must be some other explanation....
Sometimes she desired the explanation very heartily.

In their last waltz on the evening of Helen’s début, both these
wrong-headed young folks had been alive to the sensations bordering on
the delicious with which her heavenly mood, his unspoken love and the
sensuous music had quickened their pulses.  There was something,
however, in the suddenness, in the completeness, with which he turned
away from her which Elise resented, and which made her want to know who
it was that must have been in his thoughts even while he was making that
last gallant speech to her.  As she turned to see, he was being welcomed
by little Miss Margaret Preston, a one-year’s blossom, with such a
tell-tale flutter of shy admiration, that Elise chose to look that way
again after a few moments.  Then he was bent down above the little lady
in that manner full of all gentleness and deference Elise knew so well,
and was saying something to her,—as if nothing else in all the world was
worth while,—which sent a rich, red blush to over-colour the blossom’s
white and pink.

"So you keep in practice of your arts at all hazards," thought Miss
Phillips, "even at the expense of young things like that! ... I hope
that some _woman_ will teach you your lesson yet!"—and she turned to
Captain Howard with a bewildering smile, and did not look at Mr.
Rutledge again that evening.



                             *CHAPTER XXVI*


All this time the footman-husband was doing sentry. With the passing of
the receiving party into the supper-room he had changed position and
mounted guard where he could look in on the dancing.  A White House
policeman who had had an eye on him all evening thought his conduct
unusual and walked close by to give him a searching inspection.
Afterward a secret-service man thought best to look him over carefully.
None of these things moved him from his purpose, however; nor did the
cold wind nor a thirty minutes’ flurry of sleet unset his resolution. He
watched his wife’s every glide and turn in the dance till the violins
sleepily sang of _Home, Sweet Home_.

The effect of his vigil on the dancing side was disturbing to Hayward.
As Helen passed from the arms of one man to another he began to grow
nervous. His positive resentment was aroused when she was whirled past
the window in the embrace of a sprig of nobility attached to the Italian
embassy.  Her shivering husband’s blood jumped.  He had heard things
about that chap!—oh, the profanation of his even touching the hand of
Helen—thank Heaven the muse has stopped to catch its breath!  Next it
was Rutledge treading a measure with the débutante, and his anger burned
again,—flaming no doubt it would have been had he known that the number
was an extra devised by his wife in Rutledge’s special favour. Anything
was better than the Italian though!—some comfort in that....  And now
comes Hal Lodge piloting her through the swirl.  Careful, old man, don’t
hold her so close.  She is quite able to carry a part of her own weight!

There can be no doubt it takes some culture—of a sort—for a man to be
able to look with entire complacency upon his wife in another’s arms,
however fine a fellow or fast a friend that other is.  There be those
who have attained unto such culture: but Hayward had had few
opportunities in that school—he was happily—in this case
unhappily—ignorant of its refinements of learning.  He knew, of course,
as a matter of pure mentality, that it was a perfectly harmless pastime,
but his heart would not subscribe to the knowledge.  No, he thought, it
was no use to try to deceive himself: he didn’t like it and he didn’t
care to try to like it.  She was his wife, and to have other men putting
their arms about her even in the dance, when he himself did not have the
privilege and would not have it until—oh, damn that commission!

                     *      *      *      *      *

The weeks following Helen’s coming-out gave nothing to allay the tumult
rising in her husband’s heart.  The duties of his service compelled him
to look on many scenes from which he gladly would have turned his
jealous eyes.

By the grim humour of fate was it, too, that his friend Hal Lodge should
cause him the keenest heart-burnings.  Hayward wrote to Helen all about
their friendship and intimate association at Harvard, and in letter
after letter purposely related many incidents of Hal’s college loves and
flirtations so that Helen might know him as he knew him.  He was loyal
to his friendship however, and gave also a faithful account of Hal’s
excellences.  There was no stint in his praise, nor any attempt to
belittle Lodge in his wife’s esteem.  In such glowing terms did he sing
of his friend’s many virtues that he did not have the courage to unsay a
word of it when friendship was turned to gall.

Thanks to Hayward’s three years in the army he held it not a violation
of their friendship that Hal had never given him the slightest word or
nod of recognition, though the footman knew his livery had not concealed
his identity.  However, they met one evening when Hayward was off duty
and in citizen’s dress.  They were on the street, unattended, with no
other person in a block of them.

"Hello, Hal!" Hayward cried with the old-time ring in his voice, meeting
Lodge squarely in front and holding out his hand.

Lodge stopped and looked at him.

"It’s Graham.  Cut the stare, old chap.  I’d have sworn you knew me all
these weeks, but now I see you didn’t.  Have I changed so much?"

"Oh, I knew you," said Lodge impassively—and turned and left him.

Hayward stared after him in speechless amazement that fast passed into
speechless wrath.  A hot wave of blood dashed a tingle of fire against
every inch of his cuticle....  In such moments men have done murder....
He stood perfectly still till the February breeze had cooled him off....
He was again at his normal temperature, but the brief conflagration had
brought calamity—tragedy: it had burned out a part of his life.  In the
inventory of loss were comradeship and loyalty and faith and affection
and friendliness and inspirations and memories—burned to ashes, or
charred and blackened and wrecked.  Tragedy?  The elemental tragedy of
all the eternities is in the death of a friendship....  Despite the
praises he had sung, Hayward might have told Helen about it—if the iron
had not gone so deep into his soul.  Men will parade their lighter hurts
and gabble of them for pastime or to entertain their neighbours, but
death-wounds bring the silence with them.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Helen’s letters babbled on with occasional references to Mr. Lodge, in
whom from time to time she saw exemplified one and another of the graces
which Hayward had described and which she in turn recounted to him, as
she thought, for his delectation. After some months of this it is not to
be doubted or wondered at that Hayward took time to despise Lodge very
thoroughly and sincerely.

From the moment of his rebuff the footman felt that he was not in a
position to show his resentment. He wrote to Helen that his friend did
not know him and asked her to make no mention of him to Lodge even in
the most casual, inferential or roundabout fashion.  No need to warn
Helen: she had been frightened out of her wits by an incident occurring
early after their coming from Hill-Top, and the footman’s name was never
on her tongue save in connection with his duties as a servant.

                     *      *      *      *      *

As the winter wore on and melted into spring, less and less indeed was
the thought of her husband upon Helen’s mind.  Not, let it be
understood, that she loved him less than upon the day of their marriage;
but the rush of events gave her little time to think of him.  Her
letters proved that she thought of him regularly and affectionately, but
proved no less that she thought of him briefly—and yet more briefly as
time passed.

To Hayward, by nothing diverted from his hungry thoughts of her, his
wife’s slow but palpable withdrawing from him and from his life was an
increasing torment; and the daily sight of her, to which his duties held
him, as she attracted and received and appropriated and enjoyed the
homage and admiration of the men who crowded about her, among whom in
high favour was Lodge, was little less than a maddening torture.  She
seemed to be escaping him, and his heart was wrung—with
love—fear—jealousy—hate. In a nervous hurry of desperation he sent to
his lawyer-politician friend in New Hampshire all the information and
recommendations he had in hand that were to accompany his application
for appointment to a lieutenancy, and wrote to him: "Stir around and get
whatever else is necessary and fire them at Washington.  Make all haste,
as you value human life, for there is almost that dependent on this
appointment.  It is no little matter of military rank or of dollars and
cents, but of life and—love."



                            *CHAPTER XXVII*


In the months leading up to another summer Hayward was more and more
racked with impatience and with a reckless vacillation between hope and
pessimism. The one thing that made Helen’s gayeties in Washington at all
bearable to him was the promise of the coming summer days at Hill-Top
when he would get at least an occasional chance of speaking to her and
would be rid of the sight of the army of young fellows who were
besieging her.  There were heartsease and undisturbed love in the
Hill-Top prospect, and his anticipations grew apace as the time for the
migration came near....  The day was set, and arrived.  The ex-trooper’s
kit was packed.  He was ready, expectant.

He got Helen’s letter about an hour before their train was to start.  It
told him good-bye.  He looked at the word with dismay.  After a time he
read on. It had been decided she was not to go to Hill-Top with her
mother and the little girls that morning—she did not know just when she
would come—she was going to New York for a short visit to Alice
Rhinelander, then she was going to Newport, after that to Bar Harbor—she
had promised Daisy Sherrol a visit in the Catskills, and Madge Parker to
join her house-party at Lake Placid, time not yet fixed—Alice was
insisting that she come back to her for the Cup Races in
September—besides these there were a number of other things under
consideration—and taking it all together it was quite uncertain whether
she would get home at all—she was so sorry that she wouldn’t, but he
must not begrudge her the pleasures of that season—when another came she
would probably be an old married woman, steady and settled down—he would
please look carefully after mamma and Katherine and May—and with her
love she told him again good-bye.

Hayward went to Hill-Top and performed his service admirably as usual:
but all the spring and snap were taken out of him.  The days were
monotonous in their lack of diverting occupation and he had much time to
sit still and hold his hands—and think of his wife.  But that would not
do at all.  He tried not to do so much of it.  He wrote to his New
Hampshire lawyer and had forwarded to him at Hill-Top all the papers
relating to his commission, and filled out his spare time for several
days in reviewing these momentous documents.

There was indeed a large and various collection of them.  He and his
friend had pulled many wires—political, personal, military and other.
Beginning with a New Hampshire Senator and local politicians, up through
army officers and men personally notable to the President of Harvard,
from one or another he had drawn largely or moderately of the ammunition
with which to wage his battle.  Half of these did not know the use he
intended to make of their commendations, but they were all sincerely
given.

And he had made out a strong case.  Such a forcible one in truth that,
barring the handicap of his colour, he would win hands down.  A man of
his intelligence could not but know that it was a strong case, stronger
indeed than he had dared to hope for. In the contemplation of it he was
elated.  The colouring of his outlook was roseate with promise.  In that
outlook he saw Helen _coming toward him_, not going away as she had been
all these months.  With his commission was she coming, and his
commission was coming so fast, so fast.

He felt that his appeal was irresistible, and his spirit was on a high
wave of assurance.  So high, indeed, that he decided to omit the
personal claim upon the President’s gratitude.  He had felt for some
time that perhaps that would not be altogether fair.... He bundled up
the papers along with his final suggestions and sent them back to his
lawyer with orders to lick them into shape and forward them to the
President without another minute’s delay.

He wrote to Helen of the imminence of the crisis in their affairs, but
of doubt or apprehension he did not speak.  He told her of his decision
not to appeal to her father’s sense of personal obligation.  He exulted
in his approaching triumph as if he had already apprehended and went
into rhapsodies about the double prize it would bring to him: the
shoulder-straps and her: a gentleman’s work in serving the flag, and a
gentleman’s supremest guerdon—her love openly confessed and without
reserve.

Helen’s answer was brief but warmly sympathetic. She applauded his
purpose to win on merit alone. His decision only confirmed her estimate
of him. Her faith in his winning was fixed.  A tender line closed the
missive, and a laughing postscript besought him not to believe the half
he saw in the papers about her.

Ah, the postscript!  It suggested a thing which Hayward had not thought
of before.  He began to read the society notes in the metropolitan
dailies, with special reference to Newport and Bar Harbor gossip, and
with more especial reference to Miss Helen Phillips’ doings thereat.  He
bought one or another of the papers at the village every day, and
studied them religiously.  In the very first was the interesting item
that Mr. Harry Lodge was spending a time at Newport.  So was Helen, as
Hayward knew, though that paper did not say so.  But the next day’s
issue did: and he began to exercise his brain with a continuous problem
of its own devising.  The problem was to figure out in his imagination
the details of Helen’s daily life.

Some days the papers said nothing of her, and then there would be so
much that her husband resented the intrusion upon the right of privacy
which the correspondents so ruthlessly invaded,—but he welcomed the news
of her.  The President’s daughter was a public personage, and the great
newspapers did not hesitate to treat her as such.  Her comings and
goings, her graces and beauty, her dresses and dances, her thoughts and
her tastes, her wit and her charm were never-ending sources of supply
for the bright young men who were paid by the column for their "stuff."
Hayward read every word of it—though a Harvard man ought to have had
more sense: and Mr. Lodge began to figure more and more largely in "the
conditions of the problem."

Hayward made no allowance for reportorial zeal or mendacity, the first
always much, and the last, while unusual, always possible.  The young
gentlemen furnished him enough to think about, and his imagination began
to add enough, and more than enough, to worry about.  When imagination
sets out to go wrong it invariably goes badly wrong, for the reason that
it plays a game without a limit.

However, the footman’s imaginings were not entirely without provocation.
As the days passed, Helen’s letters became mere scraps, generally
tender, sometimes quite tender, but hurried, snatchy, with long silences
between.  To supply the lack of authentic information of her, her
husband studied more assiduously the newspaper columns: and the poisoned
tooth of jealousy struck deeper into his heart.  At last, between
Helen’s indifference and the nagging news-notes, he could not endure it
longer.  He wrote her a protest hot with the fever of heart-burning and
of outraged love.  He re-read that letter a dozen times in
indecision—and trembled as he dropped it in the box....  Nervously he
waited for an answer,—and yet he waited....  The silence grew
ominous.... His fears grew also.  But why, thought he, should he fear?
She was his wife, and he had the right to protest....  His anger rose at
her contemptuous disregard of him: his anger—and his fear.  He knew she
was bound to him past undoing.  Nevertheless, his fears did abide and
thicken, while the summer and the silence drew along slowly hand in
hand.

                     *      *      *      *      *

September had come, bringing yet no letter from his wife to fetch the
confusion of Hayward’s fear, his resentment, his love and his jealousy
to something of peaceful order.  His spirit was already beset with wild
imaginings and desire, when one day he opened a _Journal_ to read:


                         ROMANCE IN HIGH PLACES

                  _The President’s Daughter, Besought
                    By Eligibles of Many Lands, Will
                        Wed An American Citizen
                Superb American Beauty Follows Her Heart
            Engagement of Miss Helen Phillips and Mr. Harry
                                 Lodge_


Hayward sat down on the first thing that offered itself.  He felt just a
little uncertain about standing up.  He read the staring headlines over
again, and, hot and cold by turns, plunged into the details of this High
Romance.

Unbelievable?  Beyond doubt.  Unthinkable even—to him who knew.  But the
fabrication artist hammered his brain and heart with such a mass of
detail, with such a crushing tone of assuredness and authority, that the
footman’s thoughts and beliefs were pounded into stupefaction and he
knew neither what to think nor what to believe.  His brain jumped to
recall the details of their marriage, in fearful search of a possible
defect or omission which might vitiate it.  It had been very hurriedly
done, all superfluities were omitted, but the officer had assured him
that they were hard and fast man and wife.

Had Helen discovered a flaw in the contract?  And would she evade it
thus? ... When that last question struck his brain, a dozen passions
swarmed to fight within his heart: love, jealousy, fear, defiance.
Shaking with the tumult of them all, he wrote to Helen again.

"It has been six long weeks since you received my last letter.  Not a
word has come to me in answer till this, to-day:

(Here he pasted in the headlines clipped from the _Journal_.)

"Is this your reply?  If it is, I swear to you it shall not be.  That
insufferable cad cannot live upon the earth to take you from me.  I will
snuff his contemptible life out rather.  You know that you are
mine—wife—by every vow and promise which the law prescribes.  It is
incredible that you should ignore your troth plighted to me.  It is
impossible for you to break it in this fashion.  I would not have
believed you could be a fickle and unfaithful Helen.  I do not believe
it.  It is a lie.  Write and tell me it is a lie. Write quickly for the
love of God.  No, no, you need not write.  It is false.  I know it is
false—for you cannot be false.

"But oh my Helen, why did you not listen to me? Why did you, a wedded
wife, persist in receiving attentions from men, from this one man in
particular, the most contemptibly caddish creature among all your
admirers?  I have deplored your unrestraint but I resent it that _Lodge_
should have found such special favour at your hands as to give currency
to this report.  He is unutterably unworthy.  I beseech you by the love
I shall dare to believe is mine until you tell me I have lost it to
conduct yourself so that such lies as this shall not be printed.  Think
what will be said of your gayeties when it is announced that you have
been married a year.  I love you, wildly, madly, as this incoherent
letter shows.  You have told me that your love is mine and I believe it.
Forgive me and write to me, queen of my heart.  I am starving for lack
of the love which is already my own."

Helen’s reply to that letter came quickly enough.

"I refer you to yesterday’s papers," it said icily, "for my answer to
your ravings about that absurd newspaper story.  Your jealousy is
insulting, and your aspersions of Mr. Lodge are inexplicable.  He is
everything that is honourable, and it is only your frenzied attack upon
him that is ’unutterably unworthy.’  I sincerely regret that I was so
foolish as to marry you when I did.  You are unreasonably exacting and I
will not be bound by it.  You have no right to make demands of me."

Hayward had the sensation of being struck in the face.  If he had been
disturbed with vague doubts theretofore, he was now harassed by very
certain and lively fear.  The "yesterday’s papers" to which Helen
referred him had had a very explicit denial of the engagement, and
Helen’s sharp reply admitted her marriage to him; but the last
declarations of her letter were ambiguous and defiant, and his heart
sank when he remembered that marriages were often annulled, and that,
even though the courts might not give freedom, there was no way to
compel a wife to live with her husband.

Every manner of possibility and expedient whirled round and round in his
brain until his thoughts were an almost insane jumble of fear,
indecision and wrath. Finally out of the travail of his hopelessness and
confusion of ideas there rose his fighting spirit and was born the
mighty oath he swore, that she was his, he must have her, and in spite
of the world, flesh and the devil, by God, he would have her!

One never-to-be-forgotten night was the first he spent after receiving
Helen’s letter: a nightmare from his lying down until the dawn.  A
tumult of shifting phantasms, disordered, chaotic, terrible, assailed
him with incessant horrors the night long, while through it all there
ran as a continuing and connecting tragedy his struggle to possess
himself of Helen.  In his wild dreams she was sometimes his and again
escaping him; but always when he held her it was by right of might.  A
time he was clasping her close and warm in his arms, but fainting and
unconscious, as he ran with her down Pennsylvania Avenue, Lodge,
Rutledge, Phillips and an angry horde in hot pursuit.  Again, he was
dragging her through a never-ending swamp, limp and lifeless, one side
of her face a-drip with blood.  With a blood-stained axe he was fighting
a furious, breath-spent way through vines and tangled undergrowth, the
while there sounded in his ears the lone-drawn baying of hounds upon his
track.

From that bed of horrors he sprang with relief before the first light in
the east.  He was glad just to be awake and he felt as if he wished
never to close his eyes again.



                            *CHAPTER XXVIII*


"You will have Shortman and the landau at the door at ten o’clock," said
Mrs. Phillips to Hayward when he appeared for duty that morning.
Shortman was the coachman.

When the servants appeared at ten for orders they were told that they
should proceed to Cahudaga and bring back with them in the afternoon
Miss Helen and two friends....  Shortman, stolid and indifferent as he
usually was, was yet interested to note that he could not understand
some of the things the footman said and did on that ride to Cahudaga.

Alice Rhinelander’s sudden indisposition forbade her to attempt the long
drive to Hill-Top, and Lucile Hammersley, of course, could not leave her
guest. As Helen was to have but one day at home, however, she decided to
go alone, and leave the two others to follow her on the morrow.  As it
was, she deferred starting till the latest possible moment.  A
threatening sky, splashed with sunshine but brushed with the fleeting
clouds and winds of the close-coming equinox, was Mr. Hammersley’s
pretext for insisting that she also remain over night; but a childish
desire to go home now that she was near it impelled her to tear herself
away at the last minute for the solitary drive.

She spoke pleasantly to Shortman and Hayward when she came out to get in
the carriage, and Hayward thought that her perfect composure in what
seemed to him a tense situation was marvellous to behold.  At the first
sight of her glorious beauty he had an impulse to prostrate himself in
adoration, but that something of the grand lady which she had
unconsciously taken on held him stiffly to his character, if nothing
else had done so.  He held open the door for her, pushed her skirt
clear—his pulses gone wild at the touch of it—shut her in securely,
climbed to his seat beside Shortman and faced steadily to the front. He
was afraid to seek a personal look from Helen’s eyes.  She, looking upon
his broad back, erect and flat, strong in every line, did not guess the
storm that was shaking him within.  She was no little surprised at the
grip he had on himself, and really indulged in some admiration of his
indifferent air in what had been to her notion, also, a rather tense
situation—for him.  Her father’s daughter, she had never met or imagined
the situation to which she would not be equal...

While Hayward’s spirit was being storm-swept, a literal tempest was
driving down upon them.  They were less than half-way home and on a
lonely and unpeopled part of their road when the storm fell.  The men
and Helen, too, had ascribed the increasing darkness to the fast-coming
nightfall, for the air about them was still and warm, and the sun had
gone some time before behind a bank of low-lying clouds.  A
lightning-flash was the first herald of danger; and drive then as
Shortman might, it was a losing race.

The storm seemed disposed to play cat-and-mouse with them.  Hurrying
over them in scurrying clouds darker and blacker growing, it only
watched the hard-driven horses, nor so much as blew a breath upon
them....  Mocking them now, it blew a puff, puff—and again was silence.
As if to incite them to more amusing endeavours, along with another puff
it threw at them a capful of giant rain-drops: and again drew off from
the game to watch them run with fright.... Next came a brilliant sheet
of lightning, revealing the cavernous furrows and writhing convulsions
on the storm-god’s front—but not the _sound_ of thunder nor the jarring
shock of the riving bolt—that would be carrying the joke with these
scared and fleeing pigmies too far....  Another awful, mocking grimace
of the storm, and then another.  After each, the darkness coming like a
down-flung blanket closer and closer to envelop the earth.  And through
it all, that awful silent stillness, broken so far only by the clatter
of those sportive raindrops and the rustle of the contemptuous puffs....
But the giant hadn’t time to play with children: Crash, ROAR—the
hurricane struck the hapless carriage!

Shortman was driving wildly to reach a little farmhouse two miles yet
ahead, the first hope of shelter. In the sheets of light his eyes swept
the ill-kept road to fix his course, and in the inky blackness following
he held to it in desperate and unslacking haste till another flash
revealed it further to him.

The thundering wind mauled and pummelled them. It shook and tore them.
It shook and tore the very earth as they plunged fearfully forward
through the terrible light and the awful darkness.  In the deafening,
blinding roar and rush, sight and hearing were pounded almost into
insensibility and Helen tried to cry out to the swaying figures on the
driver’s seat—but screamed instead in terror as calamity caught them.
Crack!  _Crash_!  CRUSH!—and woman, men, horses and carriage were buried
under a down-coming treetop.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Helen felt she had not lost consciousness, but she did not know.
Hayward was struggling to release her from the wrecked landau.  He was
calling to her, screaming rather,—for the shrieking wind was raging as
if with the taste of blood.  She could see him plainly as he fought
through the threshing branches of the giant oak that had smashed them.
The light which revealed him to her was continuous, but flashing and
dancing.  She looked to see whence it came, and her blood froze as she
saw the sputtering end of an electric transmission cable which the
falling forest monarch had broken and carried down.  At the foot of
Niagara were mighty turbines a-whirl which sent the deadly current to
threaten and to slay.  Men had intended it for works of peace and
industry in lake villages, but Nature had stepped in to reclaim it as
one of her own cataclysmic forces, and Niagara’s rioting waters,
unwitting and uncaring, sent it just as merrily and as mightily to works
of death.

Hayward well knew that death was in the touch of that whipping wire,
tangled in boughs beaten and lashed by the demoniac winds: but Helen was
in danger, and he hesitated not to come to her.  After a struggle that
tested muscle as well as courage, he dragged her free and started to
carry her up the roadside bank to a small hut or shack which the light
revealed.  Helen shook herself from his arms.

"Where is Shortman?" she cried against the tempest.

Hayward pointed to the wrecked carriage.  As she looked, one of the
horses, uttering a cry and trying to rise, was flicked on the head by
the end of the hissing wire, and, in a flash of greenish-blue flame,
sank down and was still.

"Help Shortman!" Helen cried again.

At her command Hayward plunged into the tree-top and after a longer
struggle than had been necessary in rescuing Helen, he pulled the
coachman out and laid him limp at his wife’s feet.  He understood rather
than heard the question she asked.  He nodded his head in affirmative
answer, and said, as if talking to himself:

"Dead, Miss Helen."

It had not been more than two minutes since the fury of the storm broke
upon them.  The rain-drops, which had been desultory, now came down in
torrents. Hayward turned toward his wife.  She was sinking trembling to
the road.  He caught her up and hurried her to the hut.

Their refuge was quite small, but afforded shelter from the downpour of
water.  It was a little patched-up affair that had been used by the
labourers who constructed the electric transmission line, and was
without opening except the door, there being no shutter to that.  A rude
table of rough planks built against the wall was its only furnishing.
What had been a small bench was broken up and useless.

Hayward held Helen in his arms while he inventoried the contents in the
uncertain light, but at her first movement to free herself from his
embrace he gently seated her on the little table and stood beside her at
the end of it.  She was faint with horror and fright and, closing her
eyes, sank back against the wall for support: while the wind-driven
torrent howled and surged past the door and the fierce but unspeaking
lightning lit up the awful night....  Helen was getting some sort of
grip on her nerves again when, turning toward the door, in the pallid
light she had a vision of the ghastly face lying in the road below them.
She shuddered—the faintness was overmastering—and toppled unconscious
against her husband’s arm. He caught her tenderly, not knowing she had
lost consciousness, and, putting his arm around her, drew her softly and
closely to himself.

For a long time he stood thus in silence, fearing that speech might
break the spell.  At last he spoke to her, but she did not answer.  He
ascribed her silence to fright, and with gentle and reassuring words
essayed to compose her fears.  He took note of her failure to speak to
him: but she was submissive to his caresses, and he was well content
with that.  At her non-resistance he became more affectionate in his
tendernesses, and was lost in the ecstasy of holding her to his heart.

Gone—far removed—from him was the thought of the storm-riven night.  An
end, he exulted, to nightmares in which she was fleeing from him.  His
wife was in his arms at last!  The silent modesty with which she had
committed herself to him was eloquent of her heart’s love and
faithfulness:—and his pulses sang with joy despite the tragedy that had
befallen.

The wind and rain were slackening, but the lightning played on.  With a
sigh and shiver Helen stirred, and pushed feebly away.

"Where am I?  Where are we?" she asked confusedly.

"About two miles and a half from the Lake Drive," Hayward answered,
"about four miles from home."

"But what are we doing here?  How did we get here?"

Hayward started.  In heaven’s name, her mind was not unsettled!

"The wreck—I carried you in here out of the storm."

"Oh—yes,—now I remember," Helen said, leaning back against the wall and
putting her hands before her eyes as if to shut out memory.

In a flash Hayward was in the clutch of the old terror.

"She did not know, then," he thought.  "She was unconscious, and did not
give herself to me."  Again he was on the rack, all his doubts and fears
and jealousies a-surge, but maddened and fired by the memory, the
lingering perfume, of her smooth cheek and warm lips.

"How long must we stay here?" Helen asked, starting up.

"Until the storm is over, at the least.  They may send after us when we
do not arrive on time.  I cannot leave you here, or I would go after
help now."

"No! you must not leave me here!  We will wait till help comes or
until—I can go with you.  Do you think it will be long?"

Hayward went to the little door and surveyed the heavens.

"Another storm seems to be headed this way," he said.  "If that strikes
us there’s no telling when we will get away.  We are perfectly safe
here, however. This cabin is built back against the hill and there are
no trees near enough to fall on us."

"Were you hurt?" asked Helen abruptly, for the first time thinking of
the dangers they had gone through as dangers.

"Nothing worth reporting," said Hayward in order to allay her fears.  It
was a lie well told, for he had a decidedly caved-in feeling about his
ribs.

"You saved my life again—this time at risk of your own.  When the
carriage was crushed I thought that I—oh, it is too horrible!"  She
trembled violently.

Hayward saw that he must divert her thoughts from this direful night.
He was much desirous of discussing other matters anyway.  After a silent
minute he began.

"Your return was quite unexpected to—us," he said.

"Yes, and a very short visit I’m to make as it is. I leave again day
after to-morrow morning."

She stopped and apparently did not care to say more of herself—or of her
plans....  Hayward was of a different mind.

"You didn’t say anything of this visit in your last letter," he
ventured.

"No, I had not decided on it then." ... Silence again.

"Helen, why did you write me that letter?"  Hayward squared himself for
battle and fired the first shot.

"I only answered yours—your two letters, rather. You insisted on making
your—demands, and I simply told you what I thought.  You also attacked
one of my friends, and I defended him."

Helen was not versed in the art of indirection or evasion.  Hayward was
very thankful for that.  It made the issue clear, and made it quickly.

"As for your friend," said Hayward, "your defence of him is without
knowledge—"

"As your attack upon him was without justice," Helen interrupted.

"I said he was a contemptible cad, and I stand ready to prove it.  You
may be the judge of it.  He was my friend at college, and our relations
were of such intimacy as I have told you about, and yet, knowing me full
well, he refused to know me in Washington, or to shake hands with me, or
to speak to me, even."

"Perhaps he did not remember you.  Remember it has been five or six—"

"I’m telling you he did know me.  He admitted it—in order that his
affront might be unequivocal.  I tell you he’s a cad, a damnable cad,
and I want you to cut him off your list.  Promise me that you will have
nothing more to do with him."

The man in his half-demand, half-plea, put out his arm toward her to
reinforce his appeal with a caress, but his wife drew away from him and
warded off his hand as she spoke to him.

"No," she cried, "I cannot believe it.  There must be some explanation—I
cannot do it—I’m to be one of his automobile party next Thursday....
Don’t—don’t!"

"What!  May I not kiss you?"

"No, no.  Not—not now."

"But you are my wife—I have the right to kiss you."

"You have no right," said Helen.

Hayward grew suddenly cold with passion.

"I have every right—more right than that contemptible Lodge has to put
his arm around you in the dance!"

"He at least has my permission," Helen replied spiritedly.  But she
would not have provoked him perhaps if she had known of the fever rising
in his blood for all these months.

"Your permission, has he!  And I am to beg for rights that are mine—and
be refused!"  His voice rose in anger with the roar and rush of the
new-coming storm.

"You are mine!" he screamed.  "I forbid you to meet him again!  No man
shall take you from me! I love you—I love you—-and I will kill any man
who tries to rob me of you!  Helen, Helen, tell me you are mine—mine
now!  Not that you will be mine when I win my commission, but that you
are already mine—_mine now_!"

Helen turned away from him, terrified by his violence of speech.  The
man’s every passion went wild as he read refusal in her movement.  Only
for a moment does she look away, however.  In that instant she sees
again the dead coachman, prone and ghastly as before, but with the end
of that blazing wire lying against the back of his head, from which
rises the vapour of burning flesh.  Sickened with horror she turns to
Hayward and reaches out her hand for his support.  He clutches her
passionately.  His blood rushes to his heart in a flood—and then stands
still.

"This is surrender," he thinks,—and his veins are aflame.

Helen is quiescent in his arms for a short space and suffers his
caresses.  Suddenly startled, she looks at his face.  In a flash of
light she sees it—distorted! With a shriek of terror she wildly tries to
push him from her: but the demon of the blood of Guinea Gumbo is
pitiless, and against the fury of it, as of the storm, she fights and
cries—in vain.



                             *CHAPTER XXIX*


With his editorial duties and with the plans of his campaign for Mr.
Killam’s seat in the Senate, Evans Rutledge was as busy a man as
Washington knew. However, he dropped his work long enough to attend upon
Lola DeVale’s marriage.  He was no little surprised when Oliver Hazard
asked him to stand by at his wedding.  He was on friendly terms with the
bride—and with Hazard, too, for that matter; but he did not know the
strength and sincerity of Lola DeVale’s friendship for him.

"We must have Mr. Rutledge," she had said to Hazard when they were
choosing their attendants; "and he shall be paired with Elise.  I have
set my heart on that match, for if it fails I have been kissed for
nothing."

"Certainly we’ll have him if you wish.  He’s a great fellow, I think,
and he’ll be a winner all right, don’t worry yourself.  He’ll win out on
naked luck, for any man who can just stumble along and kiss you by
mistake is evidently a special protégé of the gods." ...

The score or more of young people in the bridal party met at Grace
Church on the afternoon before the event to get the details of their
marching and countermarching in order.  Lola was there to overlook
putting them through their paces, but she left the details of
straightening out the chattering, rollicking bridesmaids and groomsmen
to Elise and Hazard. Rutledge soon learned his role and stood to it like
a schoolboy when he was ordered, but he spent most of the time in
sympathetic talk with the bride-to-be.

That night when the other girls who filled the house were scattered to
their rooms and Elise and Lola were snuggled up in bed, Lola put her arm
around her friend and began to say what was on her mind.

"I think it’s very rude to refuse to answer a civil question, don’t you,
Elise?"

Elise was thinking of something else, but she heard enough of what Lola
said to answer "yes" in an absent-minded way.

"That would be so with any question.  But if it was about a matter of
importance the refusal to answer would be more than rude, it would
be—exasperating, don’t you think?"

"What are you talking about?" Elise asked.

"And if it were a matter of the very greatest importance," Lola
continued, "and by every right and custom an answer of some sort was
due, and one was flatly told there was _no answer_, then such
unpardonable rudeness should be resented, and self-respect would
_demand_ that the question be not repeated."

"Lola DeVale," said Elise, turning to face her, "in the name of sense,
have you gone daffy?"

"I agree with Mr. Rutledge," said Lola in the same monotone, as she in
turn faced away from Elise, "self-respect forbids."

"Here," exclaimed Elise, "turn back over here and say all that again."

"Haven’t time," said Lola with a yawn.  "I must be getting my
beauty-sleep.  Good night."

Elise was quiet half a minute.

"Of all the silly people!"—she stirred Lola up with a poke in the
ribs—"when did he tell you that?"

"I’m not divulging any confidences," said Lola.

"And what, pray, are you divulging?" asked Elise.

"My opinion that a civil question demands an answer of some sort—a good
round ’no,’ if nothing else—not the dismissal one gives a telegraph
messenger."

"There you go again—-and I don’t understand; but you said something of
’self-respect’?"

"I’m glad he has it.  A man’s not made for a woman to wipe her feet on,
even if he does love her."

"For goodness sake, Lola, quit making riddles. Just what do you think
you are talking about?"

"Do you mean to tell me," demanded Lola, turning toward her, "that Mr.
Rutledge did not ask you to marry him and that you didn’t tell him there
was _no answer_,—that you didn’t treat him with contempt, with
indifference, with just about as much consideration as you would a clerk
who gave you a hand-bill of a cut-price sale?  There now!"

"So that’s the cause of all this—this _self-respect_, the reason for all
this religious silence of his lips—while his eyes work overtime?  I
thought it was becau—that it—that there was really something; and is
_that_ all!"  Elise laughed merrily.

"I think it’s shameful, myself!" said Lola severely. "I glory in his
resentment."

"I have never noticed any resentment, and—_I did not treat him so_,"
replied the quick-witted Elise combatively.  Quietly her heart laughed
on.

"You deny it?" asked Lola.

"Yes, I deny it.  He did not ask me to marry him. He simply told
me—quite abruptly—that he loved me, and, after some time, asked me for
my answer. What was I to answer?  When there is no question there can be
no answer.  So I told him there was _no answer_.  If a man will insist
upon an answer he must not be so stupid as to forget to put a question."

Elise chuckled inwardly as she constructed this specious defence.  She
was in very good humour with herself,—and with Lola.

"But promise me," she hurried on to say, "that you will not intimate to
Mr. Rutledge that it is his stupidity that has swelled his bump of
self-respect for these last four years."

Lola demurred to this form of statement: bless her, she was a loyal
friend.  But Elise insisted.

"Not a word to Mr. Rutledge!  Let him discover his mistakes unaided.
Promise me.  _Promise_," she demanded.

Lola promised.

"Cross your heart and hope you may die," Elise added.

Lola laughingly went through these binding formalities.

"Now the goblins will get you if you ever tell him and besides that I
would know it at once.  If you do I’ll send him packing for good and
all."

Lola protested that she would leave Mr. Rutledge entirely to his own
devices,—and she kept her promise.

Lola had insisted on retiring early for a good night’s rest, but it was
long after midnight before she and her school-day chum grew sleepy over
their confidences.  Along at the last Elise pressed her face down in the
pillow beside Lola’s cheek and whispered:

"Honey, if it wasn’t very dark and our last night together I couldn’t
tell you; but do you know if Mr. Rutledge were to ask me to marry him
to-morrow I would have to tell him there was no answer."

Lola lay still till she caught the meaning of this confession.  Then she
softly kissed Elise good-night.

"Let your heart decide, dearest," she said.

At the wedding breakfast next morning, and at the church at noon,
Rutledge was bewildered by the softness, the gentleness of Elise’s
manner toward him. There was nothing of the cold brilliance, nor of the
warm combativeness, nor of the lukewarm indifference of her moods for
such a long time past.  Like the breath of long forgotten summers, of
one particular halcyon summer, was her simple-hearted friendliness on
that day.  He harked back by a conscious effort to keep in touch with
his grievance, but it seemed to be eluding his grasp.

For a great part of five hours on the train returning to Washington he
sat beside her and steadily forgot everything that had come to pass
since the days when he first knew and loved this adorable girl.  His
resentment and his resolutions were toppling and falling, despite his
efforts at reserve in his few scattering lucid intervals of
"self-respect."

Elise, outrageously well-informed of the reasons and resources and
weaknesses of his resistance, almost laughed outright at the ease with
which she scattered his forces and at his spasmodic attempts to regather
them.  She recalled the rigour of her treatment of him, the contempt she
had had for the quality of his love, the apparent heartless lack of
appreciation of his championship of her name in the Smith affair: and
she was of a mind to make amends.  In making amends she tore Rutledge’s
resentment and "self-respect" to tatters, and set his love a-fire.  She
really did not intend to overdo it.  She sincerely wished only to make
amends.

At last he turned to her with a look which scared her.  She saw that the
last shred of his "self-respect" was gone, and that only the crowded car
prevented a precipitate, outspoken surrender.  She felt very generous
toward that "self-respect" now that it was defeated.  She did not care
to humiliate it.  She was also in a temper to be mischievous and a mite
reckless. And, further, she was not ready to have Rutledge putting any
questions.  As the train was rolling under the shed at Washington she
said to him in the very friendliest and most serious way:

"Mr. Rutledge, it seems that you are under the delusion that once upon a
time you asked me a question which has never been answered.  In order
that I may not appear rude or unappreciative I will say that my answer
to that question would have been ’no.’"

And she left him to think over that.



                             *CHAPTER XXX*


On the day that Congress convened after the Christmas holidays President
Phillips sent to the Senate, among other nominations, that of John H.
Graham to be a second lieutenant of cavalry.

Hayward had been for a long time unhappy, depressed, apprehensive of
failure.  That his name had not been among those submitted at the
beginning of the session in December had almost assured his defeat.

All his attempts at communication with Helen since the night of the
storm had been met with an accusing silence.  Her pale face, which had
not regained its colour for weeks, was always averted, and by no trick
or chance, by no wild torrent of self-denunciation, nor heart-moving
prayer for pardon, nor protestations of love, nor dumb humility of
sorrow in his eyes or attitude, could she be brought to look upon him.
Neither had she written a line in answer to all his letters of pleading
and repentance.  True, he had his fiery moments of self-assertion and
desperate resolves, and they had fought self-revilings for possession of
his soul in many an hour since that wild night, but he crushed them
under heel within his heart, and ever wrote contritely to his wife.

For several days after his nomination went to the Senate he waited in
hope to receive Helen’s congratulations. It had meant so much to them.
With a last remnant of hope he wrote to her of it.  If that would not
break the silence he was undone.  At the end of the letter he added in
most abject contrition:

"I would joyfully die to atone.  My life awaits your command."

The silence was not broken.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Miss Lily Porter’s eyes had not fallen on Hayward since his return from
Hill-Top.  When she saw in the papers that his nomination was before the
Senate she hesitated not to write to him to come to see her.  On his
first night off, Hayward went.

If ever a man was pursued by a woman the White House footman was that
man.  He saw the game ahead of him before he had been five minutes
within the door.  A proposal was expected of him.  Clearly, it was
expected that evening.  Hayward was in a frame of mind to welcome the
diversion.  He had no idea of making the proposal, of course, but he was
careless enough of what should happen to him to be quite willing to give
Miss Porter the worth of her trouble in the way of mild excitement.

Lily opened up the subject with her congratulations: and the game was
on.  Up and down, back and forth, round and round the field of
conversation she chased the quick-tongued, nimble-witted young fellow in
her effort to coax, persuade, lead, drive, push him into the net.  The
young man was entertaining, but elusive.  He was gallant, admiring,
soft-spoken, confiding—but there was no way of bringing him to book.
The girl took another tack.  She went to the piano and sang for him.
She sang for him at first, many of the ballads and one thing and another
that he formerly had delighted in.  Then she sang to him. Hayward leaned
against the piano and listened with a very lively appreciation.  Music
had a power for him where many other things would fail, and the music in
Lily Porter’s throat was enough to enthrall even though he were deaf to
the song in her heart.

Henry Porter was caught by the real note in his daughter’s voice as he
passed the door, and, stopping where he could see as well as hear, he
was enlightened by the tale her face was telling.  He was mad all over
in a minute, and he made short work of it.

"Git out of my house," he blurted out at Hayward as he stalked angrily
into the midst of Lily’s melodious love-making.  "I tol’ you once I
didn’ want any footman callin’ on my daughter!"

"Oh, papa!  What do you mean?" Lily cried, springing up from the piano.

"I mean git out when I say git out!"

"Wait a moment, Mr. Hayward," Lily called to the footman, who, chin in
air, was leaving the room, truth to tell, no little relieved at this
complete solution of what was fast becoming an embarrassing situation
for him.

"No use to wait.  Move on!" the father growled, placing himself across
the door to prevent Lily’s following her caller.  Upon her attempt to
push by him he caught her and shoved her into a chair.  As the outer
door closed with a very modest and well-mannered snap, he released his
hold upon her arm.  He was yet in a fury.

"So you’ve lied to me!  Thought you could fool your ol’ daddy!  But I
guess not!"

"I haven’t lied to you."

"You have!  You tol’ me you were goin’ to marry a military man, and here
you are, dead gone on this footman—and no use to deny out of it!"

Lily didn’t attempt to deny it.

"Umhuh, I knew it!  Already promised him, ain’t yuh?"

No denial of that either, to her father’s consternation.

"What!  And you a-tellin’ me all the time you were goin’ to marry a
military man!  You lyin’ huzzy!"

"But he’s a military man—he’s the John H. Graham whose commission is
before the Senate—now I hope you are satisfied!"

Henry Porter stopped his stamping about and looked at his daughter
several seconds in silence.

"He’s—he’s who?" he asked in astonishment.

"He’s the same John H. Graham you were reading about in the _Post_ this
morning—the man the President has appointed a lieutenant in the
cavalry."

"But his name’s not Graham."

"His name _is_ Graham—John Hayward Graham—Lieutenant John Hayward Graham
when the Senate confirms it."

Old Henry looked a little bit nonplussed.  His daughter took courage.
She jumped up and grabbed him.

"Come on right now and write him an apology, and send it so that it will
get to his rooms by the time he does!"

Old Henry demurred.  His dignity was a very real thing—as hard and
substantial as his dollars.

"Oh, no, no.  Wait awhile.  Le’s think about it. No use to be in a
hurry.  He’ll come back agin.  What did he go sneakin’ roun’ here
without his name for if he wanted people to treat him right?  A man’s
got no business monkeyin’ with his name."

"But you _must_ write him an apology, papa.  You just must!"

"Oh, well, mebbe I will.  But I’ll wait till to-morrer. Better wait till
the Senate confirms him though, and be certain about it."

"Oh, no!  That would _never_ do.  It would be too plain,"—and Lily went
into a long disquisition to fetch her hard-headed old daddy to her way
of thinking.  He showed some signs of relenting but could not be
persuaded that night.  When the morning came it took all her powers to
push him to the point of sending a suitable note to Hayward: but she
accomplished it.  Hayward’s stinging, sarcastic, withering reply was not
written till late in the afternoon, and in the footman’s agitation over
other concerns was not mailed till his mother found it in his room on
the day after that.  By the time Mr. Henry Porter received it, other
events had come to pass that gave it some emphasis....

When Hayward Graham returned to his room after his dismissal from
Porter’s house he found a letter addressed to him in his wife’s writing.
He tore it open hungrily.


"You say you would joyfully die to atone.  That would be the very best
thing you could do—the only fitting thing you could do.—H."


A grim smile lighted the man’s face.  At the moment the blood of some
long-dead cavalier ancestor splashed through his heart, and he wrote the
brief reply.


"Your wish is law, and shall be obeyed.  Grant me one day to put my
house in order."

                     *      *      *      *      *

Her maid handed the message to Helen before she was out of bed the next
morning.  The girl read it, caught its meaning, and shook with an ague
of fear. Her love for her husband, outraged and stricken, may not have
been dead—for who shall speak the last word for a woman’s heart?—and her
tender soul recoiled at the murder so calmly forespoken: and yet neither
of these impulses was elemental in her agony of terror.  Her impetuous
letter of the day before, breaking a silence she had sworn to keep, was
not intended as a reply to anything that Hayward had written.  It was
but a wild protest against the new-born realization that her situation
was tragic, and could not be ignored nor long concealed.  She had not
meant to suggest or to counsel death, but to rail against life.  The
possibility of his taking-off had not occurred to her.  His letter
terrified her!  Death!—her husband’s death?  It was the one thing that
must _not_ be!  When she had read his words, her blood was ice.  "No!
No!" her teeth chattered as she dressed, "he must not, he must not!"  In
the nervousness, the weakness, the faintness, the sickness into which
fevered meditations upon the day-old revelation had shaken her, she did
not think to question the sincerity of Hayward’s purpose at
self-destruction.  The calamity was imminent—and trebly calamitous.  The
chill of more than death was upon her.  When she had dressed she dashed
off a hurried scrawl.


"No, no, no.  I did not mean that.  It is not my wish that you destroy
yourself.  You must not.  _You must not_!  I need you—above everything I
_need you_.  If you die I am undone!  Where is our marriage certificate?
Or was there one?  And who was that witness?  Do not die, do not die.
As you love me _do not die_!"


She carefully arranged every detail of her toilet, pinched her pale
cheeks into something of pink, put on her morning smile, and, with a
very conscious effort at lightness of manner, tripped out into the hall
and down the stairs.  She knew the very spot on which she would see her
husband standing.  With a round-about journey she approached it.  He was
not there. She laughed nervously, and with an aimless air, but a faster
thumping heart, sought him at another haunt. Failure.  And failure
again.  She went to breakfast, and displayed a lack of appetite and a
tendency to hysterics.  After breakfast she lingered down-stairs on
every conceivable pretext, and journeyed from one end of the house to
the other many times and again. At last when her nerves could not stand
the strain a second longer she asked the coachman, who had driven the
carriage to the door, where Hayward was.  She felt that there was a full
confession in the tones of her voice.

"Hayward asked for a day off this mornin’, mum. He didn’t come.  Just
telephoned."

Helen felt the tension of her nerves snap.  She hurried to her room,
suppressing fairly by force an impulse to scream, and locking the door,
threw herself across the bed.  There for three hours, pleading a
headache and denying admittance to all who knocked, she cowered before
the thoughts of her seething brain—and suffered torment.

Along about two o’clock she sprang up suddenly and turned out of her
trunk all of her husband’s letters and began feverishly to search for
one she remembered written long ago which by chance contained the street
number of his lodgings.  She was nearly an hour finding it.

Again she went through the womanly process of making herself
presentable, and sauntered freshly forth in quest of the post office and
a special delivery stamp.  With an added prayer that he relieve her
suspense quickly, she dropped her agonized note into the box under the
hurry postage.  Having thus done all that was possible to save her
husband’s life—and her own—she went back to her bed in collapse, and
waited for the night-fall as one, hoping for a reprieve, who must die at
sunset.



                             *CHAPTER XXXI*


Helen waited in vain for a word from her husband.  Her letter did not
come to his hand.  She tossed in agonized suspense through the long
hours—through the snail-paced minutes—through the dragging, tortured
moments.

Elise came in to see her.  Helen gave the first explanation of her
indisposition that came to mind, and declined all ministrations.  Her
mother came, and she would have dismissed her as briefly had not Mrs.
Phillips asserted authority and ordered her into bed and suggested
calling the family physician.  At this intimation Helen demurred.  She
felt that she would suffocate if she were to be tucked up and made to
lie quiet, with the doctor fingering her pulse and talking of sleeping
potions while her soul was throbbing in such a frenzy of horror.

To escape from them and from herself, she suddenly sat up and announced
her intention of attending the dancing party which Elise was giving for
the evening.  There was a vigorous opposition to this procedure by both
her mother and Elise, and by her father also, who had come in to have a
look at her: but she outwilled them all.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Elise’s dancing party was an affair to be remembered—an affair that is
remembered.  It deserved to be an unusual occasion, for in arranging it
Elise was conscious of being in an unusual frame of mind. She was in
some way disposed to be so perfectly even-handed in her dispensations.
She directed the three invitations to Mr. Evans Rutledge, Captain George
St. Lawrence Howard and Senator Joseph Richland with her own hand and
with almost one continuous stroke of the pen.  She took this batch of
three invitations as a separate handful and placed them together in the
basket for the mail.  She assigned to each of these gentlemen one dance
with herself, and one only, in the programme of the formal first half of
the evening.  She appointed as attendants for the eleven o’clock
collation Mr. Rutledge to Mrs. Hazard, Captain Howard to Helen, and
Senator Richland to Alice Mackenzie—the fiancée of Donald MacLane. In
everything she was judicially impartial.  She played no favourites.

Her plans carried through charmingly, and after dancing through the card
a delighted lot of guests sat down to the light luncheon, though three
men in the party, despite all their gallant attentions to the women
beside them, were using half of their brains at least in planning for
the catch-as-catch-can hour and a half that was to follow.  Elise had
smiled upon them equally and tormentingly, and not a man of them but
felt that the briefest little five minutes _tête-à-tête_ might do
magical things.

"Well," said Lola, after she and Rutledge had effervesced in a few
minutes of commonplaces and conventionalities, "is your money still on
the Englishman?"

"No," said Rutledge, "I’ve quit gambling."

"Lost your sporting nerve?"

"No, not that; but a man who bets against himself deserves to lose, and
I can’t afford to lose."

"But your self-respect?" laughed Lola.

"Now Miss—ah—Mrs. Hazard, don’t jump on a fellow when he’s down.
Self-respect is nothing less than an abomination when it comes between a
man and a girl like—that,—and besides, she didn’t mean it that way."

"Oh, didn’t she?"

"No, she didn’t, and she’s just the finest, dearest woman in the whole
wide—unmarried state!"

"Thank you," said Lola, "but you needn’t have minded.  And so I’m to
congratulate you?  I’ve been so anxious to hear, but our mail has never
caught up with us since the day we left New York."

"Oh, bless your heart, there are no congratulations—only good wishes, I
hope.  Take note of the exact mathematical equality in the distances by
which Richland and Sir Monocle and I are removed from the chair of the
Lady Beautiful.  Could anything be more beautifully impartial?"

"And who is the ancient gentleman with Elise?" Lola asked.

"Some old party from York State.  Bachelor uncle or cousin or some such
chap—quite a character too, it seems—danced with Dolly Madison or Martha
Washington or the Queen of Sheba or somebody like that in his youth.
Miss Phillips was telling me of him awhile ago."

"That was a very safe subject of discussion," said Lola.

"Yes," Rutledge replied grimly, "and do you know I tried my very hardest
to lose him out of the conversation and he just wouldn’t drop.  Miss
Phillips must be greatly interested in him."

"Anything will do in a pinch, Mr. Rutledge.  What were you trying to
talk about?"

"Oh, that’s it, you think?  Well I wish I had ten good minutes with her.
I’d make the talk—for half the time—or know the reason why."

"I think I remember that Elise told me once that you could be very
abrupt."

"Yes, and I’m going to do a few stunts in abruptness that will surprise
her the next time I have a chance.  I’ve tried the easy and graceful
approach for the last six weeks, and it’s getting on my nerves."

"I tell you what, Mr. Rutledge," Lola laughed, "Elise is to be with me
to-morrow evening.  You come around after dinner, and I promise you
shall have a square deal and ten minutes at least for your very own.
Come early and avoid the rush."

"Good.  I’ll do it.  You are a trump!"

"And you may run along now if you wish," she said as they came out of
the dining-room, "and take her away from the old party before the others
get a chance at her."

"You’ll go to heaven when you die," Rutledge whispered as he left
her....

Evans met some difficulty in cutting Elise out of the herd.  It took
time and determination and some strategy to carry the smiling young
hostess off down the hall alone; but he brought it to pass, and drew a
breath of exultation when he had shaken himself free. However, turn
where he would, every nook and corner seemed to be occupied.  He was not
openly on the hunt for a retired spot, but he was wishing for one with a
prayerful heart and wide-open eyes.

Now a man can make love to a girl right out in the open—in full view of
the multitude—in fact there is a sort of fascination in it—in telling
her what a dear she is with the careless air and gesture which, to the
onlookers, suggests a remark anent the blizzard in the west or the hot
times in South Carolina; but when it comes to putting the cap-sheaf on
the courting and running the game to earth, in pushing the inquiry to
ultimate conclusions and demanding the supreme reply,—a man who dares to
hope to win and whose blood has not been thinned by promiscuous
flirtations ever wants the girl to be in a situation grab-able.

When Evans became convinced that the fates were against him on that
evening, he set definite plans in order for the next.

"Mrs. Hazard tells me that you are to be with her to-morrow evening," he
said to Elise, with something of that abruptness.  "May I not call upon
you there? There is something I wish very much to tell you, and the
crowd here is always too great."

Elise looked up at him quickly.  The something he wished to tell her was
to be read in his face, but she could not presume to assume it had been
said.  The man waited quietly for his answer.

"Why, certainly, yes, I will be very glad to see you," she said in a
tone of conventional politeness; but assuredly, Rutledge thought, the
light in her gray eyes was not discouraging.

"But I must be going now, if you will take me back," she said; and they
turned to go up the hall.  A lumbering crash and a stifled little cry
changed their purpose.

Three minutes before, they had seen Helen and Harry Lodge turn a corner
in the hall and pass round behind some of the overflowing greenery which
almost shut off a side entrance.  Lodge was as intent upon the pursuit
of Helen as Rutledge of Elise, and was making more of his opportunities.
Helen was welcoming any excitement that carried her out of herself. With
Lodge’s pushfulness and her indifference to consequences, it did not
take long to bring the issue to a point.  From her manner Harry did not
gather the faintest idea of losing.  She listened to his speeches with a
smile which was not in the least false but none the less deceiving.  She
did not offer the slightest objection to his wooing nor put the smallest
obstruction in the way of it.  In his enthusiasm he developed an
eloquence, and, taking her unresisting hand, he rushed along to the
climax of a rapturous declaration.

"—And will you be my wife?" he asked, with his arm already half about
her.

"No," Helen answered dispassionately, drawing herself back from him as
if his meaning were but just now made clear to her: but that "no" came
too late.

A pair of eyes in which the lightnings had gathered and gone wild had
looked upon the whole of this tender scene except the last moments of
it.  Hayward Graham felt the devils in the blood of all his ancestors
white and black cry to be uncaged as he looked upon Lodge in his ecstasy
of love-making, and when Lodge took Helen’s hand and it was not
withdrawn, the devils broke the bars.

"So," cried Hayward in his soul, "it’s for you—to resign her to your
arms—that I am asked to die! No!  If I may not possess her, not you, you
hound!"

A door was wrenched open and Lodge had only time to straighten himself
before he was knocked senseless by the infuriated husband.

Hayward drew himself up, terrible, before his wife, and Helen in the
moment of recognition threw herself into his arms with a glad cry.

"Oh, you have come at last!" she moaned.  "You got my letter at last and
have come to me!"

"No.  What letter?" asked Hayward—but as he asked it Helen was pushing
herself from him as savagely as she freely had thrown herself to him.
Her ear had caught the sound of people approaching. Hayward was too
confused to notice that.  He was in consternation at the lightning
change from love to aversion, and clung to her desperately.

A second later he was lying prone upon the floor with Evans Rutledge
standing above him, murder in his eyes.  He made a wild attempt to rise,
when another terrific blow from Rutledge’s arm sent him again to the
floor.  The hall was in an uproar, and a couple of palms were knocked
aside as President Phillips burst into the midst of the mêlée in time to
restrain another smash from Rutledge’s clenched fist.

"In the name of God, what’s the row?" he asked.

"This nigger has assaulted Miss Helen," said Rutledge, gasping and
choking with fury.

Mr. Phillips trembled with a fearful passion, but, seeing Helen
apparently unhurt, pulled himself down to a terrible quiet.

"Get up," he growled to Hayward.  "Now"—when the footman was on his
feet—"what have you to say for yourself?"

Hayward looked for the hundredth part of a second in Helen’s eyes.

"I have no excuse," he answered simply.

Only silence could greet such an admission.  For five seconds the
silence and the stillness were torturing.

As Mr. Phillips moved to speak, Helen took two quick steps to the
negro’s side.  His renunciation, his silent, unhesitating committal of
the issue—of his life—to her decision, had touched her heart.

"I am his wife," she said, as she took his hand and turned to face the
circle of her friends.

[Illustration: "’I AM HIS WIFE,’ SHE SAID."]



                            *CHAPTER XXXII*


Helen’s announcement was made quietly, without any melodramatic display.

In the circle immediately surrounding her and her husband were her
father and mother, Elise and Evans Rutledge, and Hal Lodge but just now
coming to his senses and his feet.  Behind these were Mrs. Hazard,
Captain Howard, Senator Richland, and a gathering of other excited
guests.  For a space after Helen’s speech the scene was steady and fixed
as for a flashlight picture, and was photographed on Elise’s brain: the
incredulity on her father’s face—the horror on that of Evans
Rutledge—the perfectly restrained features of Howard—the quickly
suppressed smile of Richland as he glanced at Evans in lightning
comprehension of all the situation meant—the ghastly pallor of Mrs.
Phillips as she sank voiceless in a dead faint—

"No—o!"

The harshly aspirated protest of Mr. Phillips was propelled from his
lungs with a burst of indignant anger, but drawn out at the end into a
pathetic quaver—and the scene dissolved.

Rutledge caught and lifted Mrs. Phillips whose collapse was unnoticed by
her husband in his transfixed stare at Helen, and pushing back through
the crowd was about to place her upon a settle in the hall; but at
Elise’s bidding he carried her up the broad stairs and left her in the
care of her daughter and Lola Hazard.  There could be no good-bye
said—no time for it; but at the glance of dismissal Elise gave him from
her mother’s bedside—at the look of suffering in her eyes—his heart was
like to burst.

Down-stairs the confusion was painful.  The guests were hesitating
between being accounted so ill-bred as to stare at a family scene, and
running away from it as from a scourge.

To her father’s unsteady denial Helen repeated her simple statement: "I
am his wife."

"Since when?" Mr. Phillips demanded.

"A year ago last October."

The father looked about him as for help.

"Come along with me," he said.  "Both of you. Good night, ladies and
gentlemen," he added to the hesitating guests—and there was a breath of
relief and a scattering for home.

                     *      *      *      *      *

With his hand upon Helen’s arm, and Hayward following, President
Phillips led the way to his offices.

"I am not to be disturbed," he told a servant after he had stopped at
the door and waved Helen and Hayward into the room.  "Ask Mrs. Phillips
if she will please come here."

Entering, he motioned Hayward to a chair, and, taking Helen with him,
went into the inner office and closed the door behind him.

"Now, my child," he said, with a break in his voice despite every effort
to keep it steady, "tell me all about this, and we—we’ll find a way
out."

He patted her hand reassuringly.

"There’s no way out, papa.  I loved Hayward, and I married him."

"No, no, child, not love.  You were infatuated—he was a footman and you
are—"

"He was a gentleman," interrupted Helen.

"In a way, perhaps, but uncultured and common—how could—"

"He is a Harvard man," Helen cut in again, "a man of intelligence and
education.  He is—"

"But a weakling—no genuine Harvard man could be a menial—a flunkey—"

"He’s not a weakling, papa.  He stooped to the service for love of me.
He loved me long before we came here—when he was a student at Harvard.
It was so romantic, papa—he saw me first at a football game and he has
loved me from that day.  He was the hero of the game and he has yet the
Harvard pennant I gave him—and, oh, he’s a greater hero than that,
papa—he was a soldier and he was the trooper that—wait a moment."  Helen
ran to the door.

"Here, Hayward, give me the knife," she called; and she came running
back, holding it out to her father.

"The knife that the trooper stole!" she said, with a pitiful little
attempt at gayety in her voice and face.

"What’s that?" her father asked harshly.

"Why, papa, you surely don’t forget the knife I gave you on your
birthday?  The one that was taken by the trooper who rescued you at
Valencia?"

The light of understanding came to her father’s eyes.

"Well, Hayward was the man, papa!  He it was who saved your life to
us—oh, how I have loved him for that!  Just think, daddy dear, how often
you have told me what a heroic thing it was—and for such a long time I
have known it was Hayward and wanted so to tell you, but I couldn’t."

"Why couldn’t you?" demanded her father.

"Well, I found it out by accident when he caught me off my falling
horse—there it is again, papa—he saved my life as well as yours—it was
just the grandest thing the way he did it!—no wonder I have loved and
married him—he’s the sort that can take care of a woman—enough different
from Bobby Scott, who couldn’t stay in his own saddle!"

"But Mr. Scott is of an excellent family—distinguished for
generations—while Hayward is a nobody—a—a nothing—no family and no
recognized personal distinction or merit of his own—the commonest circus
clown can ride a horse, my child."

"But he is personally distinguished, papa; and you have approved his
merit by making him a lieutenant of cavalry."

"When?  How?" the father asked.

"He is John H. Graham, papa—John Hayward Graham; and there can be no
denying his fitness or ability, for you have certified to both."

Mr. Phillips saw he was estopped on that line; but it only made him
angry and stirred his fighting blood.

"That’s the reason," Helen continued, "that Hayward wouldn’t let me tell
you who he was or thing about his service to you.  He wanted to obtain
his commission absolutely on his merit and without appealing to your
gratitude—wasn’t it noble of him?"

A grunt was all the answer Helen got to her question.

"But his people, who are they?  What sort of a family have you married
into?  Do you know?" Mr. Phillips demanded sharply.

"He lives with his mother—his father is dead—oh, I wish you could hear
him tell about his father and mother, and his grandfather—it’s just
beautiful. I don’t know whether he has any other relatives,—but that
doesn’t make any difference.  I am not married to them, papa, and he’s
not responsible for his people but must be judged by his own personal
character and excellence!"

In this last speech of Helen, Mr. Phillips thought he caught an echo of
something he had heard himself say, and he winced a little: but it only
added a spark more to his anger.

"But he’s so far below you socially, Helen.  You cannot be happy with
him!  You must remember that you are the President’s daughter and—"

"And my husband," interrupted Helen, "is of the one order of American
nobility—_a man_!  I’ve thought about all that—the man’s the thing, you
said, papa—and besides, an army officer has no social superiors."

There was no mere echo in Helen’s defence now. It was plain fighting her
father with his own words: and it irritated him beyond endurance.  His
wrath burst through and threw off the shell of theories and sentiment
which he had built up around himself and the man’s real self spoke.

"But he’s a negro, Helen!  _A negro_!  How could you!"

"A _negro_, papa?" Helen questioned in unmixed surprise.  "What has that
to do with it?  He’s the finest looking man in Washington if he is—and
didn’t you tell Elise that that was nothing more than a colour of
skin?—that the man was the thing?—that a—that a—negro must stand or fall
upon his own merit and not upon his colour or caste?—and did you not say
to Mr. Mackenzie that colour has nothing to do with a man’s
acceptability in your house?—and that—"

"Oh, my God! yes, my child, but I did not mea—you are too young, too
young to be married, my child,—too young and too—yes, too young, and we
must annul this marriage—yes, we must annul it, we must annul it—we can
annul it without trouble, don’t worry about it, child, don’t worry—we
can annul it, and—for you are too young, my little girl, my little girl,
my little girl!"

At sight of her father’s tears, and the trembling that shook him as he
sank down in a chair, Helen’s combative attitude began to melt and her
eyes to fill.

"Yes, little girl, don’t worry," he said, drawing her tenderly down
within his arms, "don’t worry, and we will have it annulled in short
order."

"It’s too late, papa," she spoke against his shoulder.

"No, no, precious heart, it’s not too late—we can have it annulled—don’t
cry, and don’t worry, we can have it annulled."

"But, papa," she said again as she pushed herself back so that he looked
her full in the face, "it’s too late, I tell you!  It’s—too—late!"—and
with outburst of weeping she curled herself up against him.

With a dry sob of comprehension her father gathered her close to his
heart.

                     *      *      *      *      *

For a long time after he heard the voices cease Hayward Graham waited in
Mr. Phillips’ outer office to learn his fate.  He had caught some of the
excited discussion—enough to be convinced of his father-in-law’s
opposition; but he could not be sure of the details.  A servant had come
in to say that Mrs. Phillips could not come to the office, and had
knocked softly on the inner door several times while the discussion was
at its warmest.  Failing to get an answer, he had left his message with
Hayward and retired. When the voices were quiet and the inner room
became silent Hayward was on the _qui vive_ for developments; and stood
facing the door in a fever of expectation....  His fever, however, had
time to burn itself out....  In that long silence President Phillips
fought his greatest battle....  The issue was predestined, of course.
In his heart there was no passion at all comparable to his love for
Helen, and that love won over all obstacles....  He saw clearly in what
measure he was responsible for her undoing; and he came squarely to the
mark with a courage that would face _all_ odds for his little girl—that
would face a frowning world, a laughing, a mocking world—that would face
his own soul even to the death—that her gentle heart might not be
troubled....  He held her while her sobs shook themselves out, and then
on and on he held her, close and warm, as if he would never again let
her out of his sheltering arms,—while he gazed over her bowed head into
the dying fire, and fixed and fortified his resolution.

At last Graham summoned courage to knock upon the door.  President
Phillips started as from a reverie.

"Come in," he said, rising unsteadily and placing Helen gently on her
feet, his arm still about her.

"Why, certainly, Hayward, come in,"—and then he added after a short
pause: "Helen has told me all about it, and, while I can’t approve of
the clandestine marriage, I shall do what I can to make my little girl
happy—yes, I’ll do what I can to make her happy.... And since this has
been such an—unusual—evening I’ll ask you to go now and come back
to-morrow morning."

Hayward delivered the belated message from Mrs. Phillips, stood for a
moment uncertain whether Helen would speak to him, and then turned to
go.

"And do not wear your livery in the morning, Hayward," said Mr.
Phillips.

"Very well, sir," said Hayward, as he withdrew.



                            *CHAPTER XXXIII*


When President Phillips came out of his office after dismissing Hayward,
he found a score of reporters and newspaper correspondents fighting for
places at the great front door.  They were awaiting with what patience
they could Mr. Phillips’ pleasure in giving to the public an
authoritative statement of his daughter’s marriage.

The President, after he had obtained from Helen the details of time and
place, and other items of interest, gave the press men the story.  He
customarily had his secretary to make statements to the newspaper
people, but he chose to do this for himself: in his infinite loyalty to
his little girl he was taking the situation by the horns.  There was no
elation in his manner, but there certainly was nothing to indicate his
slightest objection to Helen’s marriage, nor to Hayward Graham as his
son-in-law.  He gave a short sketch of that young man’s life and
excellences.  He stated that he had not known Graham was either his
footman or his daughter’s husband when he had nominated him for a
lieutenancy in the cavalry.  He did not state that Graham had carried
him off the battlefield at Valencia.

When he had finished with the men of the pencil Mr. Phillips went back
to his office for Helen, and they sought the mother’s room together.
With another flood of tears Helen dropped on her knees by her mother’s
bed.

This scene was hardly less a trial for the father than had been the
travail of his own soul.  Here also must he win if he would save his
child’s happiness: and so, amid the tears and the sobs of the mother and
daughters, and with misgivings and dread in his own heart, at first
unflinchingly, then more zealously, and at last of necessity reserving
nothing, he excused, and upheld, and vindicated, Helen.

Mrs. Phillips was too heart-broken to utter a word in opposition or
condemnation, and Elise did not open her lips to speak.  It was against
accusing silence, therefore, and upbraiding tears, that the father made
his desperate defence....  Such a debate can never be brought to any
real finish; and it was at last only in exhaustion, Helen of nerves, her
father of words, and Elise and her mother of lamentation, that the
distressed family found peace—enough at least to permit of dispersal to
their rooms for the night.

Elise was bowed down in grief for Helen, and for Helen she wept upon her
pillow till the fountain of tears was dry: but even then there was no
sleep for her.  Her mind was painfully alive to her own personal
problems, and her brain was awake the night long although weariness held
her scalded eyelids down.  The incident of the evening, like an electric
storm, had clarified the haze of uncertainty for her heart—but only to
plunge it into a more intense perplexity.

No longer unchoosing, her heart had spoken its choice.  It were better
had it never spoken at all; but there could be no mistaking its
decree—she loved Evans Rutledge.  As she had looked upon the three men
who loved her in that brief time when Helen proclaimed her husband, _she
had known_: and she had known that not for her was the man who in the
fleetest moment could smile while her heart was breaking; nor for her
that other, who, with his alien point of view, was untouched with her
distress, and who with his perfect breeding—she resented it—could be so
contained, so unmoved, in a situation which brought anguish to her.  In
the throes of that anguish her soul had turned, unerring, to its
affinity in suffering, to _the heart that understood_ and wept, not in a
ready sympathy for her pain, but in the pains of a common grief.

In such manner Elise accounted for the reading of her heart’s message.
She believed that it had been undecipherable, confused, until that
evening.  Yet in all her distress then, and in the heartaches afterward
resulting from its choosing, she was strangely happy because her heart
had been true to the fancy of its earlier years, had been faithful to
its first girlish inclination to love, had not misled her, had not been
fickle in any degree, or false.  She told herself with a tremor of
rapturous, prideful humility that one man had been the master of her
love from the beginning.

Thinking on it as she lay unsleeping through the night, she more than
once forgot her tears and was lost in the transport of loving.  She
petted and caressed her heart for its constancy.  She made excuses for
its indecision in that long time when the man’s love had seemed
unworthy.  She murmured tender things to it because it had prevailed,
even though with a hesitating loyalty, against her head’s capricious
disapproval.

In her wanderings back and forth through the desert of her miseries on
that night, she straggled back many times to this oasis of her love and
stopped to soothe her troubled heart with its upspringing
freshnesses....  And yet a wildness of perplexity was set about her, and
she could not find a way out.  She knew that Rutledge loved her—had
loved her from the time he declared it on the flood-beaten rock in the
St. Lawrence till the moment of his tender unspoken good-night three
hours ago.  That his love could not be shaken by any act not her own,
she verily believed. But would he have loved her?—would he have dared to
love her?—could he, with his blood-deep, immutable ideas, _could_ he
have loved her?—if he had known that his love would bring him to this
unspeakable extremity, to this heart-breaking dilemma, where he must be
traitor to himself and to her—or become brother-in-law to a negro?

Yes, he would have _loved_ her—her of all women—despite the slings and
arrows of the most outrageous fortune, her heart told her: but, with
prescience of such calamity, would he have _spoken_ his love?—would he
have asked for that interview for to-morrow evening that he might tell
it to her again? Was he not even now regretting that appointment? Was he
not even now _pitying_ his love for her?  She must know.  But how could
she know?  By what means could she learn _the truth_? ... Way there was
none: and yet she _must know_.  Doubt, uncertainty, here would be
unendurable—and implacable for she could no longer find peace in
indifference.  She loved Evans Rutledge, and her love would fight, was
fighting, desperately for its own....  But again, her own must be
worthy, without compulsion, or she would repudiate it.  Her heart’s
tenderness, virgin, single, measureless, she held too precious to barter
for a love, withal sincere and beautiful, which were weighted with a
minim of regret or limitation.  Rather would she crush back its
fragrance eternally in her own bosom, than dishonour it by exchange for
less than the highest....  Yes, she must know....  And she could _not_
know....  And the morning came, bringing no relief for heart or
brain....

Mr. Phillips was at some pains to intimate to his wife and Elise what he
thought a proper pride demanded in the way of the "front" they should
show to the public.  Queer that he should have thought it necessary:
but, unhappy man, he spoke out of his fears for his own steadiness.
Elise, at least, had no need for his admonitions.  Her pride was the
pride of youth: the pride which finds all sufficiency in itself, and
needs not the prop of outward circumstance which age requires to hold
its chin in air.

It was this pride which gave Elise some hesitation in deciding what she
should do with her promise to see Rutledge that evening.  Pride said:
"Meet him as if nothing has happened to disturb the serenity of your
life.  Do not show—to him, of all men—chagrin at this episode _en
famille_."  But pride said: "No!  Recall that engagement.  Do not appear
to hold him by so much as a hair.  His love must be undistrained!"

She wavered between these conflicting demands of a consistent
self-respect until the middle afternoon. Then the pride of her love
overmastered the pride in her pride: and she wrote Rutledge a short
note.


"MY DEAR MR. RUTLEDGE:—I find it necessary to change my plans for this
evening.  This will prevent my seeing you at Mrs. Hazard’s as I
promised.  I am very sorry.

"Sincerely,
       "ELISE PHILLIPS."


This was her afternoon at home; and after having dispatched the message
to Rutledge Elise gave her mind over as far as might be to receiving her
callers. They were more numerous than usual, despite many notable
absences, and before they fairly well had begun to crowd in she realized
that she was on parade. Oh, the duplicity of women!  How they chirruped
and chattered about every imaginable thing under heaven, while they
listened and looked for only one thing: to find out what Helen’s family
really thought of her marriage.

This was not Mrs. Phillips’ afternoon, nor Helen’s and they did not
appear—to have done so would have been to overdo composure: and so it
was that Elise alone fenced with the dear, dear procession of sensation
hunters who passed in and out of her doors. The women came in such
flocks that she really did not have time to be embarrassed, for the
sympathetic creatures who showed a disposition to sidle up close to her
and begin with low-voiced confidences covert attacks upon her reserve
were quite regularly bowled over by their oncoming followers before they
could get their sly little schemes of investigation well going. It
became fascinating to her to watch them defeat each other’s plans, and
she was somewhat regretful when they stopped coming.  They stopped quite
suddenly, for the reason that, in eagerness to see for herself, every
daughter of Eve among them had made the White House the first
stopping-place in her round of visits for the afternoon.

When the women were all come and gone, save two who evidently were
trying to sit each other out, Captain Howard was announced.  Elise was
unfeignedly glad to see him and in a few minutes the two contesting
ladies departed and left the Englishman and the girl together.

Captain Howard’s coming was very refreshing, and Elise was grateful.  He
was the only person she had seen that day who did not seem to be
conscious of the electric condition of the atmosphere, and she sat down
to talk to him with a feeling of genuine relief and pleasure.  His
conversation began easily and unconstrainedly and ran along the usual
lines with all freedom.  As chance demanded he spoke of Helen several
times in connection with one small matter, and another, and his manner
of doing it was positively restful.

Elise felt so comfortable sitting there talking to him that for the
first time she was impressed to think that it might be a nice thing to
have him always to come and sit beside her and make her forget that
things went wrong.  The unfluttered ease and peacefulness of his manner
and his words appealed very strongly to her distressed heart, and it
warmed toward him in simple gratefulness.

Captain Howard was not without knowledge of the tense situation created
by the announcement of Helen Phillips’ marriage.  He read the newspapers
and could not but know that a tremendous sensation was a-blow.  He was
himself excited by the affair—in a steady-going fashion.  It was as if a
princess of the blood had eloped and married a—say a tradesman—or,
maybe, a gentleman—of course it was sensational.

In his amorous state of mind, however, the captain thought kindly of the
wealth of love which had inspired the young woman with such a sublime
contempt for rank—for that very real and very puissant divinity, Rank.
He also had shaken himself sufficiently free from the shackles of
provincialism to be able to recognize the effect of democratic ideas in
making possible and permissible such an event. Affairs of this sort
could not be entirely unlooked for in a genuinely democratic society;
and, since the President acquiesced in his daughter’s choice and had no
regrets, there was no more to be said.  Altogether Captain Howard viewed
the matter very calmly and philosophically.

Having this attitude, he had no hesitation after a time in speaking
directly of Helen’s marriage and its dramatic announcement.  He was a
gentleman in every instinct, was Captain Howard; and there could not be
the slightest offence taken by Elise at his natural and sympathetic
interest in what he considered a most romantic episode.  But while one
may not be offended or resentful, one may become nauseated. Captain
Howard did not know of the chill of disgust and horror that was creeping
over the girl’s heart, nor notice the silence to which she was come.
Her friendliness had been so graciously simple and so promising that his
purpose had been formed and he was moving straight toward it, not
noticing her silence further than to be glad she was saying nothing to
create a diversion....  Elise felt that if she spoke she would be very,
very rude.

                     *      *      *      *      *

"—And your America, Miss Phillips, is assuredly the natural home of
Romance.  Here every man is a peer in posse, and every woman a princess
incognita—and possibility keeps pace with imagination.  In England a
footman is a footman to the end of his life.  Here the footman of
yesterday is the President’s son-in-law to-day, and may himself be the
ruler of his people to-morrow!  Can life hold more for a man? The right
to aspire and the luck to win!—and to win not only the recognition which
his personal merits deserve, but that supreme gift which no man could
deserve: your beautiful sister’s love!  It is almost unthinkable to an
outsider like me, but it is glorious! Yes, your America is the Land of
Romance!"

This all sounded very well, but Elise’s nerves were on the ragged edge.
She knew if she spoke it would be to cry out: "Yes, a rank outsider!
Oh, why can’t you drop that subject before I scream!"

But Captain Howard had only finished the preliminaries.  He continued:

"And in this land, Miss Phillips, where a man may hope for anything, I,
too, have taken courage to aspire to the highest, and—"

"A note for you, Miss Elise; the messenger is waiting," a servant said.

Excusing herself to Howard, Elise read.


"MY DEAR MISS PHILLIPS:—If I may not see you to-night, may I not see you
to-morrow afternoon—or evening?  Or day after to-morrow?  When?

"Sincerely yours,
       "EVANS RUTLEDGE."


Elise read this over several times, and gazed idly at the paper for some
time longer.  She quite forgot the waiting messenger and Captain Howard.
At last she thought, "On his own head be the result!" and sat down at a
daintily carved desk to write.


"MY DEAR MR. RUTLEDGE:—The disturbance of my programme for the evening
seems to have been largely imaginary.  I will be very glad to see you at
Mrs. Hazard’s as at first agreed.

"Sincerely,
       "ELISE PHILLIPS."


When she had given her answer to the servant Elise came back to Captain
Howard with a commonplace question which made for naught all his words
up to that point.  He realized he must make a new beginning if he would
tell her what he wished.  Her face and mood had changed and he saw that
her thoughts were elsewhere.  After several attempts to pull the
conversation back into the old channel he gave it up and retired,
mentally cursing his luck and hoping for a more auspicious occasion.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Elise awaited Rutledge’s coming at Lola Hazard’s with some trepidation.
She was uncertain of herself. She did not know what she would do.  Being
assured of what Rutledge would say to her, under ordinary conditions she
would have been elusive for a season, and finally have surrendered when
overtaken.  But with outside circumstance warring against her love, she
felt wildly impelled to let herself go, to fling restraint to the winds
and give her heart’s impulse free rein.  Delicious were the tremors of
anticipation with which she waited to hear again words of tenderness
from him.  Overflowing was her heart with tender response.  His
insistence on the meeting when she had given him an opportunity to avoid
it, proved his faith was fast.  He had met the supreme test for a
Southern white man: he loved her more than his caste.  In her own spirit
she knew the agony of his trial.  How sweet to surrender to such a love!
How tenderly she could reward it!  She longed to meet it with a frank
and blissful confession.  So, she was in some trepidation: she was
afraid she might not be properly reserved.

Lola Hazard came into the sitting-room and found Elise sitting before
the open grate.

"Honey," she said, slipping an arm about the girl’s waist, "you look
positively glorious to-night.  I never saw you half so pretty.  What
have you done to yourself? Your eyes are brilliants, and your colour
is—delicious!"

"I have been looking at the fire," said Elise in explanation.

"The pictures you saw must be very pleasing," Lola answered.  "I hope
they’ll all come true.  But before we begin to discuss that, let me tell
you that Mr. Rutledge asked to call this evening, and he may be here any
moment."

"Yes," said Elise, "I know.  He told me last night."

"Oh, he did, did he?  Well, I promised him if he came early he might
have ten minutes for his very own to talk to you to-night.  I hope you—"

"He may have ten minutes—and as many—more—as—he—wants," said Elise
brazenly.

"Oh, you darling!" Lola gave her a squeeze. "No wonder you are
beautiful.  It will make any woman heavenly, and you are _such a help_
to it!"

"What is _it_?" asked Elise.

"Love," replied Mrs. Hazard.



                            *CHAPTER XXXIV*


"Come along back to my own little parlour, Mr. Rutledge.  Elise has been
singing for me, and we’ll not let her stop for awhile yet."

Elise was not expecting Rutledge to be brought in there, and was still
sitting at the piano idly weaving the chords into soft and improvised
harmonies when he spoke.  She slipped from the stool quickly, shook
hands with him in an embarrassed way, and crossed the room to sit down.

"Oh, no, please do not leave the piano," Rutledge pleaded, "now that I
have just discovered you are a musician."

"I am not a musician, Mr. Rutledge; certainly not for the public."

Rutledge drew himself up as if offended.

"I have been called names variously in my time, Miss Phillips, but never
till this moment ’the public.’  I resent it as an aspersion—I am not
’the public’—and demand an abject apology.  Think of all the horrible
things ’the public’ is—and are!"

"And you a politician!" exclaimed Elise.  "You would be lost for ever if
those words were quoted against you.  Senator Killam would give a
thousand dollars for them.  See—I hold your fate in my hands—"

Rutledge’s eyes leaped to hers with a quick look that confused her, and
she hurried to cut off his words.

"—But—oh, mercy, I’m—I’m sorry, and I retract if it was really as bad as
that.  The public is really awful, I suppose.  I humbly apologize for
the aspersion."

"Then bring forth fruits meet for repentance by returning at once to
that piano stool."

"But I’m such a very amateurish singer, Mr. Rutledge. I fear you will—"

"And I am an amateur listener, the most humbly appreciative, uncritical
soul on earth.  Please sing. Mrs. Hazard, if you have any influence with
this administration will you not use it here?"

"Authority is better than influence," said Lola. "Elise, march to that
piano."

Elise complied with an exaggerated air of obedience.

"Since I am singing under orders, I will sing only according to orders.
What shall it be?"

"Sing _My Rosary_," said Lola.  "That’s an old one—and the dearest."

"I commend to you Mrs. Hazard for sentiment, Mr. Rutledge.  Her
honeymoon is not yet on the wane."  Having thus made Lola responsible
for the song, Elise sang it without further delay or hesitation.

When she had well begun to sing Rutledge recalled having heard that song
a long time before.  It had not impressed him.

Elise sang simply.  The fullness of her low voice and the clearness of
her words, together with the unaffected "heart" in her singing, left her
nothing to be desired as a singer of ballads.  As Evans listened to the
song of sentiment of Mrs. Hazard’s choosing he reformed his opinion of
it.  Always hitherto he had deemed sentiment an effervescence—refreshing
at times as apollinaris, but none the less an effervescence—and the
words of _My Rosary_ a fair type of it:

    "The hours I spent with thee, dear Heart,
    Are as a string of pearls to me.
    I count them over, every one apart,
    My rosary, my rosary.

    "Each hour a pearl, each pearl a prayer
    To still a heart in absence wrung—
    I tell each bead unto the end
    And there a cross is hung.

    "Oh memories that bless and burn,
    Oh barren gain, and bitter loss.
    I kiss each bead, and strive at last to learn
    To kiss the cross, Sweetheart,
    To kiss the cross."


But with Elise sitting there before him, a vision of loveliness and
grace entirely, appealingly feminine, "the lady" all gone, and the
girl—the woman—unaffected, natural, singing of love with such an air of
truth and faith: sentiment became a very real thing to Rutledge....
When she finished he was silent. To comment would have been to comment
on Elise, and for her every drop of his blood was singing, "I love you,
I love you."  He felt that if he spoke to her he must crush her in his
arms and tell her so.

"That is a song according to my notion," said Lola. "No _mésalliance_ of
sentiment and melody there, such as you often see.  The words and the
music made a love-match—they were born for each other.  Who wrote it,
Elise?"

"I forget—if I ever knew," said Elise.

"Woman, of course," Lola continued; and Rutledge interpolated "Why?"

"Because a woman always mixes her religion with her love—if she has any
religion.  A man may have one or the other, or both, but he never
confuses them."

"Pardon me for taking issue with you, Mrs. Hazard; but with many a man
his love for a woman is his only religion."

"Which means, Mr. Rutledge, that he has love—not religion."

As Rutledge turned to Mrs. Hazard Elise had the first opportunity to
look at him unobserved.  She saw that his face had less colour than
usual, that his manner seemed to lack its accustomed spontaneity, that
there was a tired look about his eyes—which provoked in her heart a
fleeting maternal impulse to lay her hand upon them.  She watched him
furtively and became convinced that he was in some measure distressed.
At first it rather amused her and flattered her vanity to think that he
was approaching her with a becoming self-distrust.  As she studied him
longer, however, she began to doubt the reason for his constraint.

Lola Hazard turned from her discussion with Rutledge to give Elise
another song, and the young woman at the piano sang three or four while
Rutledge listened in appreciative silence.  Before the last was finished
Mrs. Hazard was gone to receive other guests.

"Now will you not sing one of your own choosing?" asked Rutledge.

"I have no choice;" said Elise, "but this occurs to me."  She sang him
Tosti’s _Good-bye_.

If she put more of the spirit in that song than into the others it was
not because she felt its pertinence to the present status of her love.
But through the wakeful night, and all the day long till Rutledge’s note
had come, the words of that _Good-bye_ had come and gone through her
brain with passionate realism:

    "Falling leaf and fading tree,
    Lines of white on a sullen sea,
    Shadows rising on you and me—"

her heart had sung its "good-bye for ever" with all the smothered
passion of renunciation.  So, in the very moment of blissful waiting for
the telling of his love, she could sing to Rutledge with all the
wildness of farewell which so short a time since had wrung her spirit.

She struck the last chord softly, and, after holding down the keys till
the strings were dumb, dropped her hands in her lap.  She did not look
up, but she knew that Rutledge’s gaze was upon her.  She waited for a
space unspeaking, without lifting her eyes—and realized that she had
waited too long....  The silence was eloquent; and with every moment
became more significant.  She tried to look up, but could not. She knew
that the situation had gotten beyond her in that careless ten seconds,
and that if she looked up now she was lost....  She sat as if under a
spell—and waited for Rutledge to move or to speak....  After an age he
was coming toward her....  And he was so very slow in coming.  Her heart
was thumping suffocatingly, her breathing in suspense....  He did not
speak as he came to her....  She felt he was very near....  Still
unspeaking—was he going to take her in his arms? ... Her head drooped
lower over the keyboard....

Oh, why did he not take her in his arms.

"Elise, I love you.  I’ve always loved you."

Elise’s eyes were upon the idle hands in her lap; and her heart had
stopped to listen.  Rutledge’s sentences were broken and jerky.  She had
never heard him speak in that fashion.

"I’ve loved you always, Elise, and once I was rash enough to think—you
loved me.  My presumption was fitly punished....  Now I have only—hope.
In the last few months you—have been so—gracious that—I have been led to
think you—wait, wait till I have done—so gracious that I have been led
to think—not that you love me, but at least that I—do not excite your
antipathy—as for a long time it seemed....  So now I have only hope—but
such a hope, Elise—a hope that is—beyond words, for my love is such.  My
love is—I love you, Elise—I love you as—as my father loved my mother."

Elise slowly raised her eyes to his.  There was no smile upon her face,
but as she turned it to him it was ineffably sweet, and a smile was in
her heart. But she was startled by his look.  His was not the face of a
lover, whether triumphant, despondent, hopeful or militant.  She did not
know that he had not been able to banish his mother from his thought for
a waking moment since he parted with her at her mother’s bed-side the
night before.

"Will you—be my wife, Elise?"

Never before in all the world was that question asked in such a voice.
Its tone like a dagger of ice touched the girl’s heart with a deadly
chill.  She looked steadily and long into his eyes.  At last with a
little shiver she murmured inaudibly "_noblesse oblige_"—and answered
his question:

"No, Mr. Rutledge, I will not be your wife."

Her words were as cold as her heart, and her self-possession as cold as
either.  She was surprised that her answer did not bring the faintest
shadow of relief to Rutledge’s drawn face—rather a greater distress. A
tingle of fire shot through her bosom.  (It was not too late—oh why did
he not take her in his arms.)

"No, I will not be your wife," she repeated slowly. (It was not yet too
late—oh why—) "I am deeply sensible of the honour you—"

"Stop!  Don’t say that!  In God’s name don’t say that!  Don’t add
mockery to—"

"Mr. Rutledge!"

For the moment Rutledge forgot that there was any person in the world
other than Elise and himself.

"You _have_ mocked me—you have _played_ with me!  And—"

"Will you please go, Mr. Rutledge!"

"Played with me—yes—as if I were the simplest—oh well, I have been—and
you—you have been—you are—an artist.  Tell me that you do not love me,
that you have only laughed at me.  Tell me!" he sneered.

"Go, I say!  Oh, _can’t_ you _go_!"

"Yes, I’ll go—when you say it.  Tell me!  Do you love me—have you ever
loved me?—the veriest little bit?"

"Never.  Not the veriest little bit," she said, looking straight at him.

"That’s it!—the truth at last—spoken like a m—like a lady!"—he bowed
mockingly at her—"and it proves you are false—false, do you
understand?—unspeakably false!  And I have loved you like m—but very
well, it’s better so—perhaps."

He turned to go; but turned quickly about.

"I’ll kiss you once if I swing for it!—for what I thought you were"—and,
for a moment robbed by anger of his sense of proprieties, with
unpardonable roughness he crushed and kissed her, flung her violently
from him, and went, without looking back at her.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Mrs. Hazard, looking across the shoulders of a knot of her guests,
caught a glimpse of Rutledge as he passed down the hall toward the outer
door.  She waited a minute or more for him to reappear, and when he had
not done so she lost interest in the people and things about her.  At
the first possible moment she sought Elise, and found her again sitting
before the grate.  Lola came into the room so quickly and quietly that
Elise had not time to dissemble, if she had wished to do so.  Her head
was thrown back against the chair and both hands covered her face.  Lola
took her wrists and against some little resistance pulled her hands
away.

"Elise?" she said.

"He does not love me," Elise replied, defensively, without opening her
eyes.

"Didn’t he tell you?"

"Oh, yes," the answer came wearily; "he told me; but he told me because
he thought he had given me to expect it.  It was _noblesse oblige_—not
love."

"Noblesse fiddlesticks!  I don’t believe a word of it."

"Oh well," said Elise, looking up, "he said it was just as well that I
refused him, there’s no mistaking that."

"Oh, certainly, _after_ you refused him.  What did you expect?"

"I expected him to—no, I didn’t.  I didn’t expect anything.  Southern
men are so—"  Elise stopped. She was about to be unjust to Rutledge.

"But come, let’s go," she said, rising from her chair.  "Are all the
people here?"

"All except Senator Richland, and he never fails _me_," Lola answered.

"I don’t want to see that man to-night," said Elise; and yet she joined
the other guests appearing nothing other than her usual self save for
the added brightness of her eyes, and when Senator Richland managed
finally to isolate her she gave him quite the most interesting twenty
minutes of his life.

When the company was broken up, Elise, who was stopping over night with
Lola, avoided the customary heart to heart talk by asking for a pen and
paper with which to write a letter.  Mrs. Hazard was consumed with
desire to hear all about it, but she deferred her inquiries with good
grace as she argued that a note written by Elise at such an unearthly
hour could be only to Rutledge, and must, therefore, be important.

Elise shut herself in her room and, pitching the paper on the
dressing-table, sat down to think.  For nearly an hour she sat without
turning a hand to undress, trying to unravel the tangled skein of her
heart’s affairs and see a way out; but she could not get her thoughts to
the main issue.  Like a fiery barrier to her thinking was the man’s
burning denunciation: "You are false—unspeakably false!"  It had rung in
her ears all the evening, and however she tried she could not get away
from it.  At last she began hurriedly to undress, but before that
process was half finished she brushed the toilet articles from a corner
of the dressing-table, drew up a chair, and began to write.

"Unspeakably false?  No, no, Evans, I am not false.  I have not been
false: for I love you.  Such a long time I have loved you.  Sometimes I
have believed you loved me, and sometimes I have doubted; but I do not
doubt since you told me to-night I was unspeakably false.  Shame on you
to swear at your sweetheart so!—and bless you for saying it, for now I
know.  O why did you not say it earlier so that I might not have misread
you?  I thought you felt yourself committed, and must go on: that your
love was dead, but honour held you.  You looked so distressed, dear
heart, that I was misled.  Forgive me. And do not think I do not know
your distress.  I, too—but no, I must not.  I love you, I cannot do
more.  In your rage were you conscious that your kiss fell upon _my
lips_, dearest?  Blind you were when you said I was unspeakably false.—"

She had written rapidly and almost breathlessly while the impulse was
warm within her heart.  She paused for a moment—held the pen poised as
if uncertain what to say next—hesitated as to how to say it—next, as to
whether to say it—laid the pen down and picked up the sheet to read what
she had written.  A blush came to her cheeks as she read, and at the end
she dropped her face upon her arm on the table and suffered a revulsion
of shame for her unmaidenliness.  She tried hard to justify her writing
and had all but succeeded when Rutledge’s words, "It is better so," put
all her love’s excuses to final rout. She took the written sheet and
went across to drop it on the smoldering fire.  But her resolution
failed her: she felt that it would be to burn her very heartbeats if she
gave these words to the flames.

Going again to the dressing-table she laid the letter upon the scattered
sheets of paper to await a more mature decision, and, hurriedly
disrobing, went to bed.

She found it very hard to go to sleep.  Even in the dark she could feel
the continuing blushes in her cheeks as she thought of what she had
written. Finally in desperation she tumbled up and in the dim glow of
the coals in the grate crossed the room to the dressing-table, snatched
up and crumpled in her hand the disturbing letter, hurriedly gathered up
the remaining sheets of paper and chucked them in the table drawer,
walked quickly over and dropped the offending tender missive upon the
coals and went to bed again in the light of its destruction.  A very
long time after its last gleam was dark and dead she found the sleep she
sought.



                             *CHAPTER XXXV*


It is not within the province of this chronicle to recall the
sensational excitement that swept the nation in those days further than
as it affected the persons mentioned in this narrative.  The details of
that sensation, the screams, the howls, the jeers, the predictions, the
warnings, the laments, the philosophizings, a newspaper-reading people
but too well remember. They have no proper place of rehearsal in this
history; and if they had, a comprehensive statement which would present
the matter fairly to those who come after would be too voluminous for
the plan upon which this book is projected.

In that time of tumult and of trial Mr. Phillips stood indeed alone.  If
he had braced himself firmly in his determination to save Helen’s
happiness at all cost, it was well: for his trial was to the uttermost.
Although it would have crushed any other than his adamantine will, the
storm-beaten father withstood, as one accustomed to do battle, the
pressure from without: but the rebellion of his own soul was an
unrelieved tragedy that shook him day and night with its terror.  If his
love for Helen had not approached the infinite, surely in the shrieking
revulsion of his spirit he would have cast her off.  There was a demand
from loud-mouthed people the nation over that he should disown her and
drive her into the outer darkness.  Some relief there was in that
demand, for it only stirred the combative in his nature.  The yells and
hoots aroused his fighting blood.  But the silence, the unspeaking
horror—as if in the presence of death—in which sober-minded friend and
foe stood aghast and looked upon Helen’s plight, made his courage faint
and tremulous.  It was so awfully akin to the sickening horror and
silence in his own heart.

He was indeed alone; and in that loneliness it was given to him to teach
to himself the far bounds of a father’s love.  If he only could have
fought something!—or somebody!  If he only openly could have snapped his
fingers in the face of public opinion, in the teeth of his own mutinous
soul—openly—and told them he cared more for Helen’s untroubled laugh
than for them all, and be damned to ’em!  If he only could have died!
But no: he must stand and be still to the most thankless task that ever
called for a hidden loyalty.  Helen must not know of the travail of his
love, lest that defeat love’s purpose.  It was too late, too late, for
knowledge to do other than tear her heart-strings out, blight her young
soul, and write _Remorse_ eternally upon her life.  She must _never_
know how much he loved her!

There was no lack of personal—and professing—-friends to stand more or
less loyally beside the father in that time, but their support was
wormwood to him. From the very few who were altogether sincere he turned
in aversion even as he suffered their commendations, while for the
insincere and sycophantic he had a doubly unspeakable contempt; and that
disgust and scorn was agony, for that he must swallow it and belie his
own spirit as he listened to these friends.

His private correspondence furnished him as little comfort.  Some
persons there were—and a few of these men and women of repute—who wrote
to him letters that should have been consoling, for they agreed very
heartily with his view, or what they thought was his view, and commended
him without stint for his attitude: but never an one spoke of the
sacrificial love of a father for his daughter—_justice to the negro_ was
their theme.  Upon such letters from men—it would have surprised the
writers much to hear it—he uttered maledictions profane; while, for the
one woman who thus approved him, he forebore profanity, but relieved his
wrath with a volcanic "Freak!"

From the time the announcement burst upon the public the President was
overwhelmed with a flood of newspaper comment, most of it harsh, the
best of it deprecatingly sympathetic, none, except that from negro
papers, uncritical.  Very shortly the clippings bureau which served him
was ordered to discontinue everything referring to Mrs. Hayward Graham’s
marriage.

Mr. Phillips did not give that order because he was too weak to stand
criticism.  Far from it.  He was schooled to conflict, and knew the
rules.  He had never asked concession from an opponent in all his life
of struggle, and he would have scorned to ask it then, even with the
uncounted odds against him.  His critics might have shrieked till the
crack o’ doom and he would have listened without a quiver of his
resolution.

But the impartial bureau had sent, among an avalanche of criticism, an
appreciation in the form of the following editorial clipped from the
columns of _The Star of Zion_:

"The dramatic culmination of the beautiful romance in which Miss Helen
Phillips, daughter of the President of the United States, proudly
proclaims herself the wife of Mr. John Hayward Graham, and the graceful
acquiescence of the bride’s distinguished father in his beautiful
daughter’s love-match, is but another proof of the rapid coming of the
negro race into its own as the recognized equal of any race of men on
earth.  Mr. Graham’s career is an inspiration to his people, for it
teaches the rising generation of negro boys and girls that they need no
longer live Within the Veil, that in the most enlightened minds there is
no longer a silly prejudice against colour, but that if the young negro
will only make the most of himself and his opportunities he will be
graciously received as an equal, as a member, in the proudest families
in this mighty nation.—"

President Phillips read just that much of that editorial.  Then went the
order to shut off the press clippings.

It required all the father’s self-control to dissemble in Helen’s
presence and he feared that he would be unable to keep the truth from
her.  It was fortunate for the girl that her condition demanded
seclusion and that her removal from Washington took her away from the
danger of enlightenment.  At her father’s instance preparations were
hurried with all speed, and she and her husband went to Hill-Top for
their belated honeymoon and a stay indefinite....

Hayward Graham would have been a paragon if he had conducted himself
with entire discretion when the limelight first was turned upon him.
The colour of his skin was not responsible for his foolish mistakes in
those first days.  Any footman so suddenly elevated to that pinnacle
likely would have made them. One of his errors of judgment was serious.
That was his continued offence against the dignity of Henry Porter.  The
withering letter he had written in answer to the old man’s apology was
of itself enough to call up the devil in old Henry’s heart; but that
doubtless would have been forgotten had Hayward remained in obscurity.

To dispute with the President the title to a son-in-law, however, was a
distinction too fascinating to the negro magnate.  He had already been
to Bob Shaw’s office for a tentative discussion of the law in his case
and was just coming away when he ran plump into Hayward on the sidewalk.
A judicious condescension on the young man’s part even then might have
placated him, but instead an evil spirit called to Hayward’s memory his
first meeting with Porter, the insufferable affront, and his own oath to
even the score. Too strong in Hayward’s heart was the temptation to
"take it out of him for keeps" then and there.  At the worst, though, he
hardly did more than any gentleman would do upon meeting another who had
driven him from his house.

"Mr. Hay— Mr. Graham!" said Porter, hardly knowing himself whether he
intended to be polite or other, but having a general purpose to fetch
the young fellow up roundly for that letter.

"I believe I don’t know you," said Hayward, stopping and observing him
coolly for two seconds, and turning away to continue his journey up the
street.

Now, to those of his race, Henry Porter was a "figure" on the streets of
Washington, and Graham was by that time almost as well known as the
President himself.  There were but four people who could have witnessed
the meeting of these celebrities.  These were three negroes of low
degree loafing along the sidewalk and a dago pushing a cart just outside
the curb.

At his rebuff Henry Porter gave a gasp, swallowed it, and looked around
to see who had seen him.  The "common niggers" at his elbow snickered,
and as they passed on burst out into loud guffaws.

"Um-huh!  Tried to butt into the White House, but _Mister_ Graham _he_
don’t know him!  Can’t interdoose ’im!  _Too_ black!  Law-dee, didn’t he
th’ow ’im down!"

Henry Porter heard enough of this.  He rapidly retraced his steps to
Shaw’s office.

"Here, Mr. Shaw, you can jist git them papers out this evenin’.  There’s
no use waitin’."

"All right, Mr. Porter," said Shaw, who didn’t favour the idea but was
too much afraid of his client to refuse.  "But wouldn’t to-morrow do as
well? We could think it over a little further."

"No, suh, Mr. Shaw.  We don’t wait till no to-morrer.  We don’t think
about that damn young nigger no mo’ till we take him with the papers and
let him think about hisself awhile.  Can’t you git ’em served on him
this evenin’?"

"If he’s to be found in the city," said Shaw.

"Oh, he’s to be found all right.  I saw him goin’ up the street jist
awhile ago.  You jist git them papers out and have ’em served on him
this evenin’ and no mistake about it."

"All right, if you say so," Shaw consented.

"Well, I say so—and I can pay the damage," said the irate client with
emphasis, and stalked out of the office, only to stick his head back
into the door with the last injunction:

"This evenin’ now, and no mistake about it!"

                     *      *      *      *      *

As chance ordained, Henry Porter did not go amiss in his haste to have
the summons served on Graham. It was late in the afternoon and less than
four hours before the former footman and his wife were scheduled to
leave the city for Stag Inlet that the officer served the paper.

A bomb exploding under Hayward’s feet could not have been so unexpected
by him.  As the officer read the summons and its import broke upon his
mind he felt, for the first time in his life, physical weakness in the
presence of danger.  It staggered him to think of possible results.  He
had no feeling of guilt: but an awful fear.

President Phillips had passed out of the White House for his regular
constitutional while the process was being served, and recognized the
officer by his badge and Graham’s excitement by the look on his face,
but had not stopped to inquire what the trouble was,—for which Graham
was profoundly thankful, as it gave him time to catch his breath.

Think as he would, no way of escape could Graham conceive.  Being
virtually without money, he could not hope in four hours to bring Henry
Porter to terms and avoid a publication of the scandal.  Exactly what
the old man had in mind, anyway, was uncertain, excruciatingly
uncertain.  The precise nature of the complaint did not appear from the
summons.  As the suit was based on a lie, it well might be any sort of a
lie. But surely, surely, he thought, no woman would _falsely_ speak
disgrace to herself.  He had had a genuine respect for Lily Porter’s
character.  She had been the best of them all, with the highest ideas
and the highest ideals.  He would have sworn that she could not have
lent herself to a thing of this sort. But since she had been willing to
do so at all, to what lengths might she not go?  What was the limit they
had set?  To what public disgrace were they trying to bring him?  To
what awful lie must he make answer?

As he thought of it the keen sense of his peril, the disgrace, the loss
of his commission, and his helplessness, became well-nigh unbearable.
If Henry Porter could only have known the extremity of torture he had
inflicted in thus making the young fellow "think about hisself awhile,"
his wrath might have been appeased.

Hayward trembled to think of the moment when the public should know of
this suit, but he quaked in absolute terror as he thought of Mr.
Phillips’ hearing it.  And Helen!—what must he do to save her from this
shame?—he gladly at the moment could have strangled Old Henry....  But
heroics would do no good.  He was helpless, bound hand and foot.  If he
could be saved, if Helen was to be saved, there was but one arm that had
the power: her father’s. Perhaps, _perhaps_, with all his attributes of
strength and force, he might be able to bring the vengeful negro
capitalist to terms.  Whatever his terror of Mr. Phillips, he must tell
him....  And what were done must be done quickly.

                     *      *      *      *      *

"I would like to speak with you a moment, sir, about a—a matter," said
Hayward to the President as soon as he returned from his walk.

Mr. Phillips could tell with half an eye that it was a matter of some
moment.  He led the way to his private office.

"Well, what is it, Hayward?  You look excited."

Mr. Phillips spoke very kindly, for he did so with studied purpose.  It
was necessary that he keep that purpose continually and consciously
before him.  For Hayward the footman he had had quite a high regard: as
he had for any man or thing that was efficient.  For the negro as his
son-in-law, he could not bring himself to consider him with any
toleration, nor did he lie to his soul by telling it he wished to.  For
the negro as a mate for Helen, every rebellious, tortured nerve and
fibre of the man was an eternal, agonized protest.  It was indeed very
necessary that he keep his kindly purpose always consciously before him.

"What is it?" he asked again.

"I had a paper—a summons, I believe they call it—served on me this
afternoon," Hayward stumbled along to say; and then stopped, uncertain
how to go at it.

"Well.  And what’s the trouble?"

"I don’t know, sir, exactly what’s the trouble; or, rather, I would say
I didn’t know there was any trouble."

"Then what’s it about?  Who is it that’s suing you?  What does the
summons say?"

"The summons doesn’t say what the trouble is about."  Graham was dodging
in spite of himself.

"But who is the person that is suing you?" Mr. Phillips questioned again
testily.

"The summons says ’_Lily Porter, by her father and next friend, Henry S.
Porter, against John Hayw—_"

"Says _what_?  A WOMAN?"

President Phillips jumped to his feet and went pale as ashes.  Graham,
dry-lipped, could only nod his head weakly in affirmation.  For five
seconds Mr. Phillips was speechless.  Then words came back, along with a
rush of blood to his face that looked to burst it.  So terrible was his
wrath, the killing look in his eyes, that Graham instinctively squared
away to defend himself from bodily injury.  Such a torrent, such a
blast, of withering, blistering profanity, wild, incoherent,
unutterable, he never had listened to in all his life.  Try as he would
to interpose a word, an explanation, a defence, his efforts only drove
the father to more abandoned fury.  After a dozen fruitless attempts he
realized there was nothing to do but wait for the furor to burn itself
out.  To the young man, conscious of the passing of precious time, it
seemed that his anger would never cool.  When the President showed the
first signs of exhaustion he took courage to speak again.

"I swear to you, sir, the young woman has no cause to complain of me.  I
have done her no—"

"Oh of course not, of course not," said Mr. Phillips in the most
bitingly sarcastic tone.  "Of course not, of course not!  But who the
devil is she?"

"Miss Lily Porter, daughter of Henry S. Porter—_Black Henry_ the
newspapers sometimes call him. Perhaps you have heard—"

"What!  That nigger?  Not a _nigger_ woman! But of cour—oh my God,
Helen, how can I pr—" but he choked for a moment in livid anger before
he writhed into another frenzy, that was as volcanic, as horrible, and
as pitiable as it is unprintable.  He cursed, he raved, he choked, he
tore wildly at his collar for breath.

It was frightful to look upon, and if Graham had feared for his own
safety in the first outburst, he feared for Mr. Phillips’ life in the
last.  It looked as if in the violence of his wrath he would burst a
blood-vessel.  Graham was in mortal fear that he would die in his
tracks, and tried desperately to reinforce his denial of guilt as the
only possible relief for his father-in-law’s dementia, but all his
attempts only inflamed Mr. Phillips the more.  The negro seemed not to
know that it was not a question of his guilt or innocence that was
tearing the father’s vitals and threatening his reason, but
shame—insufferable shame!

After an age, it seemed to Graham, Mr. Phillips became calmer.  His
son-in-law, wholly at a loss what to say or do, started out of the door
in search of a clearer atmosphere and a chance to regain his scattered
faculties.  The President looked around and saw him beating a retreat.

"Come back here!" he ordered sharply.  "We can’t leave this thing like
this!  Something must be done with it at once, or the scandal will be
all over the—"  He trembled with the passion of another outburst, but
controlled himself by a mighty effort.

"I swear to you no scandal may rightly be laid at my door," said Graham
with some dignity.  The outrageous injustice of the thing gave him a
little of the dignity of righteousness.

"Scandal doesn’t depend on truth or falsehood, so we needn’t discuss
that now."  Mr. Phillips cut him off short.  "What we must do is to stop
this scandal, for scandal it will be if it gets to the public.  Where
does this—this Porter live?  How far from here?"

"About fifteen minutes drive, sir."

"Well—er—send Mr. O’Neill here—in a hurry."

Graham, glad to get action on himself, was out of the room and back with
the secret service man in less than a minute.  In that short space the
President had taken a grip on his self-control.

"Here, O’Neill, take Hayward with you to show you the house, and go
fetch Henry Porter up here to see me.  He’s not to be arrested, mind
you, but is to come to see me at my request _at once_, and nobody is to
know.  And he is not to speak to anybody or see anybody, not even
Hayward here, before you bring him to me.  So get along and get him here
as soon as you can.  No force, remember; but he is to come along, at my
request." ...

O’Neill and Hayward hurried out, and, finding a street cab, lost no time
in getting to Henry Porter’s house.  On the way Hayward gave the officer
some idea of the man he was to deal with and, bringing him to the door,
left him to his own devices and himself took a car back home.  When Old
Henry came to the door O’Neill told him half a dozen lies in half as
many minutes, and at the end of the time he had the worthy coloured
gentleman safely in the cab and on the way to the White House.

The President was waiting for him, and when the two fathers were alone
together he went at him with a directness calculated to take the negro’s
breath. Black Henry was much awed, in fact well-nigh overcome by the
situation, and he was hardly in condition to make the most of his
opportunities; but his native shrewdness did not entirely forsake him.
In the drive to the White House he had had time to think it over, and he
had concluded that the President wanted to see him very much or he would
not have sent for him.  He tried to keep that in mind all the time the
negotiations were pending.  It helped in some degree to steady his
shaking confidence in himself.

"You are Henry S. Porter, I believe?"  There was an accusing quality in
the voice.

"Yes, suh."

"The father of Lily Porter who has instituted a suit against my—against
Hayward Graham?"  The tone was more accusing.

"Yes, suh."  Black Henry wished the suit hadn’t been instituted.  But he
remembered again he had been sent for and he braced up a little.

"Now what is the nature of that suit?"  The President was somewhat in
fear of his own question, for all his bravado of manner.

"Breach o’ promise," Henry answered shortly.

"Anything else?"

"Nothin’ but breach o’ promise to my daughter Lily.  He was engaged to
her and married your daughter, or was already married to her, I don’
know which."

For five seconds a murderous passion all but got control of Mr.
Phillips’ will.  He turned away and closed his eyes tight till he had
subdued it.

"What evidence have you that he was engaged to your daughter?"

Henry Porter knew he was a fool to give away his case to the opposition,
but the President’s eyes and manner were too compelling for him.

"My daughter says so and—and I’ve seen enough myself, and besides that
he has written letters to her. I reckon we’ve got evidence enough all
right."

"Well, I have evidence that there is not a word of it true, and I sent
for you to tell you you’d better drop it.  You’ll find it a
profitless—more than that—a _very expensive_ undertaking."

The last statement was unfortunate.  It struck fire in Old Henry’s pet
vanity.

"Oh, I guess I can stan’ the expense all right," he rejoined with the
oddest possible mixture of deference and defiance.

"You can, can you!" said Mr. Phillips sharply, his anger beginning to
redden.  "But I tell you again you can’t get a verdict from the
courts—no, sir, not for a cent—so what’s the use?"

"I don’t need the money." ... Clearly Mr. Phillips had given the
purse-proud old darkey the wrong cue.

"Then what the devil are you after?"

"That young nig—young man is mos’ too sassy. He’s got to know his
place."

"His place!"  Mr. Phillips’ face was again twisted in wrath.  But wrath
could not serve Helen’s cause. He stifled it.

"Yes; he mus’n’ come flyin’ roun’ my daughter for fun, and then go off
when he fin’s somebody mo’ to his notion, and th’ow his impidence in my
face."

Through all his blinding anger Mr. Phillips could see clearly enough to
realize that it was indeed not a matter of money, but of insult.  He was
more and more inclined to believe Hayward’s statement that there was
little or no basis for the suit.  But that didn’t help matters in the
least.

"Now look here, Porter," he said in his most vigorous and decided
manner, "I am convinced your claim has no real basis in fact, but is the
outcome of pique pure and simple.  Nevertheless, it must be settled
here, to-night; and I’m willing to see that you don’t lose any money in
the way of expenses and lawyer’s fees for the procedure so far.  To that
end I will have Hayward pay you a thousand dollars if you will withdraw
the suit to-night.  What do you say?"

"I don’ need the money," said Porter in maddening reiteration.  "Besides
that I don’ know what my lawyer will charge."  At the mention of money,
however, the sharp-dealing old negro felt a little more at ease and
interested in the discussion.

"Who is your lawyer?"

"Mistuh Shaw—Mistuh Robert Shaw."

"Robert Shaw.  Is he the Shaw that wants that special solicitorship in
the treasury department?  A negro?"

"Yes, suh, a negro; but I don’ know about the treasury department."

"Well, he’s the man, I have no doubt—Robert Shaw, a negro lawyer.  Now
let me tell you.  I had had some idea of giving him the place he asks
for, but I say right now if he’s inclined to be a fool in a matter of
this sort he’s not the man the government wants.  If he gets his fee he
will be well enough satisfied, won’t he?  He’s not the fool kind that
wants to advertise himself in a sensational suit, is he?"

"No, suh, no, _suh_!  Mistuh Shaw is a ve’y nice young man, suh.  He
ain’t no fool, suh."

"Well, he would be if he disobeyed your wishes and mine in this matter.
I think I can speak for _him_ myself.  Now what do _you_ say?  A
thousand dollars?"

Involving Shaw in the affair was most fortunate for Mr. Phillips.  With
Hayward out of the running, Henry Porter now looked with much assurance
upon Shaw as a son-in-law.  That financial-political combination between
himself and Shaw was again his pet dream as before Hayward’s
interference.  With Black Henry the controversy was really settled and
he was ready to compromise.  The smaller purpose was lost in the
presence of the master passion.  But his personal pride and cupidity
were aroused.  If his hoped-for son-in-law Shaw was going to get both
honour and revenue out of this thing, he himself ought not to fall too
far behind....  And again he remembered that he had been sent for.

"Of cou’se I don’ need the money," he said once more, "but if money is
to settle it I think five thousan’ ’d be little enough.  We was suin’
for twenty-five."

"Five thousand the devil!  I’ll not pay it.  It’s outrageous!"

"Well, suh, I don’t need the m—"

"Ah, shut that up, for heaven’s sake!  What’s the best you’ll do?  Speak
out now in a hurry."

"Well, suh, five thousan’ is mighty little considerin’ the standin’ of
the pahties.  As my lawyer, Mistuh Shaw, said, the standin’ of the
pahties calls for big damages.  My daughter and your son-in-law are up
in the pic—"

"Hold on!" said Mr. Phillips.  "You can stop that argument right there.
Will you take five thousand and shut the thing up?"

"Well, suh, as I said, I don’ need—"

"Will you take the five thousand?"  The President’s eyes had a dangerous
blaze in them.

"Yes, suh."

"That settles it.  Now get right out after that lawyer of yours at once,
to-night, and have him withdraw those papers and destroy them—or no,
better than that, you bring them here to me to-morrow—no, bring them
_to-night_—I’ll wait for you.  And hurry, will you please, for I’m quite
busy and must be rid of this as quickly as possible.  I’ll look for you
within an hour."

                     *      *      *      *      *

Mr. Phillips could not have been very busy, for he did nothing but walk
the room till Porter returned. And two hours had passed before that
time.

"I’m sorry to keep you waitin’ so long, suh," the negro apologized; "but
me and Mistuh Shaw had to hunt up the officer to git the papers.  It was
so late when he served ’em he couldn’ retu’n ’em to court to-night, and
he was holdin’ ’em over in his pocket till mornin’."

"Thank Heaven for that.  Did you tell him to keep his mouth shut?"

"Yes, suh."

"And will he do it?"

"I think he will, suh.  Mistuh Shaw fixed him. He’s a frien’ of Mistuh
Shaw."

"Well, he’d better.  I’ll hold Shaw responsible for him.  Let me see the
papers....  Yes, this is all right....  Now here’s ten dollars and a
receipt for that much in full of all claims for breach of promise and so
forth you and your daughter have against Hayward Graham.  You just sign
the receipt, and I’ll pay you the balance of the five thousand
to-morrow—there’s not a tenth of that sum in the house to-night. You’ll
take my promise for the balance, won’t you?"

"Yes, suh—oh yes, suh," said Mr. Porter, his manner showing his full
appreciation of the fact that between gentlemen of standing the ordinary
strict rules of business could be waived with perfect safety. With all
his discernment, however, he saw nothing more in this proceeding than
his trusting Mr. Phillips for $4,990 till the morning.

                     *      *      *      *      *

When he was ushered into the President’s office the next morning Henry
Porter received from Mr. Phillips’ own hands the $4,990 in currency of
the highest denominations fresh from the treasury.  He verified the
correctness of the amount almost at a glance.

"I’ll give you a receipt, suh," he said.

"Oh, no, don’t trouble; the receipt for ten dollars in Hayward Graham’s
name in settlement of the claim for breach of promise answers every
purpose legally."

As he spoke the President smiled in a satisfied way, and it occurred to
Black Henry that a ten dollar breach of promise suit would be quite a
contemptible and ridiculous affair if it got to the newspapers.

"And now, Mr. Porter," said Mr. Phillips, anxious as ever to make every
bid for silence, "you can see that, adding force to your contract, every
consideration of decency and self-respect demands that not the slightest
whisper of this matter shall reach the public. The highest consideration
I have not hitherto referred to.  That is your daughter’s good name.  It
could only do injury to her reputation—injury, and nothing but injury.
I am indeed surprised that she was so unwise, that she had the
disposition to bring this suit and bring herself into what would have
been such unfavourable public notice."

"Well, suh, _Mistuh Shaw_ said she wouldn’t like it, and I had a hard
time makin’ him bring the suit.  He said she wou—"

"Didn’t she instigate it?" asked Mr. Phillips.

"No, _suh_—that she didn’.  Fact is I’ve been fraid to tell her about
it—fraid she’d make me stop it, she thinks such a heap of Mistuh
Hayward.... But we’ve got it all settled satisfact’ry now and there
ain’t no reason why she sh’d ever know it happened, suh.  Good mornin’,
Mistuh President."

"You old scoundrel!"—when Mr. Porter had closed the door behind him.



                            *CHAPTER XXXVI*


In trying to be philosophical Rutledge took what comfort he could from
Elise’s "no" in the fact that he would be less distracted from the work
of his campaign against Senator Killam.  He gave all his energies to
that task, which promised to tax his resources to the utmost if he would
hope to win.  The owners of _The Mail_ were more than willing that he
should make the attempt.  His temporary stay in the Senate had given the
paper a very considerable shove toward the front rank in prominence and
authority in affairs political, and there was nothing to be lost by a
tilt with that most picturesque figure in national politics, Senator
Killam.

Let it be understood, however, that Rutledge did not run simply to
advertise himself or his paper.  His unfailing friend Robertson wrote to
him: "There is a very real opposition to Senator Killam growing up in
the State, although at this time its force and numbers are very
difficult to compute with accuracy. Your admirable conduct of yourself
in your short trying-out has commended you to those who are looking for
a leader of conceded ability yet not identified with any of the petty
factions in State politics nor with any of the local issues upon which
the party is divided and dissentient.  Your friends think you fill all
the requirements in the broader sense and, besides, that you are the
antipode of all things peculiarly, personally and offensively Killamic."

Although they were of the same broad political creed, the stage of
antagonism to which he and Senator Killam had come during the younger
man’s short term in the Senate bordered on the acute.  It had reached
the point where they were studiously polite to each other.  Senator
Killam did not usually trouble himself to be civil to any person who
aroused his antipathy, but he had the idea that it would be conceding
too much to young Rutledge’s importance to show any personal
unfriendliness to him.  Nevertheless, with all their outward show of
friendliness, they were both out for blood: Rutledge, because of the
many of the older man’s taunts and sarcasms which still rankled in his
memory; and Senator Killam, because, whatever the time and whoever his
opponent, he always gave a correct imitation of being out for the blood
of any man that opposed him.

Rutledge had already begun to be very busy with his campaign before his
decisive conversation with Elise.  When, some ten days later, he
received a letter from his mother in which she set out to discuss his
admiration for Elise in light of Helen’s marriage, he found himself
entirely too pressed for time to do more than read the opening
sentences, and lay it reverently away.

He tried to forget Elise,—as many another lover has done before him, and
with about the usual lack of success.  For the remainder of the
Washington season he cut all his social engagements that were not
positively compelling and fortunately did not chance to see her again
but twice before he went South to take an active hand in the primary
campaign.

On those two occasions she exhibited the perfection of impersonal
interest, but Rutledge, remorseful for his indefensible behaviour toward
her at Mrs. Hazard’s, was conscious that, curiously enough to him, her
gentle dignity had not the faintest trace of offence. It seemed rather
to hold an elusive though palpable element of friendliness.  This was
puzzling, but he did not attempt to explain it to himself.  He had
suffered enough from the riddle of her moods, and he was afraid to try
to explain it.  He was convinced that she was not for him—had she not
told him so?—and that, having lost her, it was imperative that he think
no more about her lest he lose everything else he had set to strive for.
So he strove only to lose the disquieting thought of her out of his
work.

President Phillips, also, in those days was attempting to flee his
thoughts in a wilderness of work.  Unlike Rutledge, with him there was a
tax upon heart as well as brain in the political task before him.
Rutledge could not feel aggrieved if the people of his State declined to
send him to the Senate, for by no merit or custom had he a pre-eminent
claim upon them.  Defeat, however disappointing, could bring him no
heart-burning.

Mr. Phillips, however, was asking no more than was his due: renomination
at the hands of his party. By every consideration both of merit and
custom it was his due.  His official record was _efficiency, faithful
execution, striking ability and uncompromising honesty_.  But by very
virtue of his honesty and ability he had gone up against the two powers
in this country that go furthest to make or unmake Presidents:
law-breaking corporations and machine politicians.  The Greed and The
Graft could never be at ease while a Fearless Honesty abode in the White
House.  They long had planned to displace Mr. Phillips.

The fight was not an open one, with each army aligned under its own
banners.  It was a night attack where the clash and the struggle could
be heard and felt but the assailants could not be distinguished and
called by name.  Mr. Phillips could well imagine who were the leaders of
his enemies, but they were too shrewd as yet to openly declare their
opposition.

The consummate skill with which the campaign was conducted made it
appear that there was a growing manifestation of the people’s
disapproval.  The boomlets of a dozen or more favourite sons were
assiduously cultivated each in its limited field—but all by the master
hand.  The favourite sons as a rule deprecated the mention of their
names and waived it aside as unworthy of serious thought; but it takes a
very great or a very small man to recognize his own unfitness for the
presidency of the nation,—and modesty would permit no favourite son to
say he was too big for the office.

Mr. Phillips was not of the holy sort that is above using some of the
traditional methods of the politician.  With good conscience he could
drive men to righteousness when necessity demanded it: and believing
that his own re-election would be for the country’s weal he would not
have hesitated perhaps to turn the power of the administration to that
purpose if he had not been measurably handicapped.

He was an honest man—as his predecessors in office had been.  He
desired—as they had desired before him—to give the country a clean and
honest lot of officials to administer its interests.  But, unlike some
of the Presidents gone before, he had made extraordinary personal
efforts to see and know for himself that the men of the government corps
were of honest purposes at heart and honest practices in office.
Result: many and many a cog-wheel, great and small, in the machine had
been broken and thrown into the scrap pile.

Therefore the machine silently prayed for deliverance from this Militant
Honesty in the executive office, and, with its praying, believed—first
article in the creed of Graft: Heaven helps those who help themselves—to
deliverance as well as to the public money.  So, there was no pernicious
activity in Mr. Phillips’ behalf among the office-holding class.  The
defection from his support was impalpable but none the less assured.  He
could not put his finger upon the men and say "Here are the deserters,"
for they had not as yet, at four months before the convention, declared
against him.  But they were not throwing up their hats for him.  It was
apathy that presaged disaster.

And Greed had so quietly and effectively extended its propaganda that
"vested" interests began to think they "viewed with alarm" Mr. Phillips’
activities. They were persuaded that he had already gone to the limit in
bringing to book the methods of Capital and of Business, and were asked
to note that not even yet was there the faintest hint of a promise that
he would not run amuck amongst them.  They preferred to defeat him in
the convention.  If not, they would defeat him at the polls.  With them
there was no sentiment about it.  They simply wanted no more of him.
They desired a "safe" man....  Few times in the political history of
this nation has Money failed to get what it really truly wanted.

Finished politician that he was, Mr. Phillips could read the signs
clear.  He knew that his political death was being plotted, had been
plotted for months.  In the consciousness of his official rectitude and
efficiency, and with confidence in the discernment and appreciation of
his countrymen, for a long time he had thought contemptuously of the
plotters.  At length, however, his trained eye had caught the flash of
real danger: and his heart was oppressed.  Not that overweening ambition
made him crave continuance in his exalted office and sicken at the
thought of denial.  It was not that: not the loss of a double meed of
honour in a second term.  No; it was the threatened loss of his first
term, of the four years already gone, with their unstinted expenditure
of energy and honest purpose, brain-fag and strain of heart.  To be
disapproved, discredited, by the people for whom he had given the very
essence of his life!  Keener than the sting of ingratitude, even, was
the sense of possible loss.  _Four years_ for naught! four years _for
naught_!—if the people should repudiate him.  He trembled to think it
was possible for him to fail of renomination.  He was fighting for his
life: for the life he had already given to his country in that four
years.

As the weeks and months wore on toward summer he felt that he was losing
strength with every sunset.  The Southern delegations, makers of so many
second terms, were being sent to the national convention uninstructed.
That was not conclusive; but it was ominous, for any administration
having Mr. Phillips’ political faith that cannot hold the delegations
from that section is politically in a bad way.

Plausible explanations were offered, assuredly: "Southern delegates have
so regularly worn the administration label that they have lost influence
and self-respect"—"This time it is unnecessary.  There is only one real
candidate and they must all vote for him"—"It is better not to appear to
endorse the negro luncheon too vigorously, for the negro in the South
does not count any more and some of the tenderfoot white recruits might
desert."  The explanations did appear to explain it; but Mr. Phillips
knew that Money and the Machine were taking his Southern delegates from
him.

And the Southern delegates were not the only ones that were going wrong.
The Trusts and the Grafters were throwing Northern and Western
delegations into confusion.  Beyond that, the Southern country was
somewhat surprised to hear that a negro son-in-law to the Presidency was
a little too strong even for Northern stomachs, and that some Northern
white folks were making bold to say so.

Hayward Graham’s commission?  The opposition in the Senate did not have
the slightest difficulty in holding it up.  Mr. Phillips with
unflinching courage unhesitatingly used every whit of his power and
influence to have that commission confirmed.  He had nominated Hayward
because he believed him worthy; and he said to the Senators with a touch
of humour, but with much emphasis nevertheless, that being his
son-in-law ought not to be held to the negro’s discredit.  He said many
other things, for he was really very much in earnest: but the Senate was
non-committal. It postponed consideration of Mr. Hayward Graham for
days, and weeks, and finally adjourned without a vote upon him.  That
ended it....  With a show of grim determination the President stated
that he would send the nomination to the next session, but he knew when
he said it that Helen’s husband would never be a lieutenant of cavalry
in the United States Army.

Let it not be inferred that, as the matter is thus dismissed briefly
here, there was little or no discussion of it.  This entire volume would
not compass a tenth of what was said about it, and the reader who cares
for details must seek the files of the newspapers of the period.  There
is not space here even for a digest of all that talk.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Mr. Phillips could ill brook defeat.  In his thinking there were few
things worse than failure.  So it was that, while in the desperate fight
he was making he did nothing unconscionable, he did stand for some
things nauseating to him.

It was necessary that in the North he hold the full negro vote, which
was the balance of power in several States.  It certainly looked an easy
thing to do.  And it was easy—to everybody concerned except Mr.
Phillips.  The negro race rallied to him with an enthusiasm that was
surpassing even for those emotional folk.  The overflowing, smothering
approbation which they heaped upon him was loud-mouthed, unceasing,
extravagant.  Yet it took all his self-control to receive it with any
show of satisfaction.  In fact on several occasions he was almost goaded
to break with his negro allies for good and all.  In some of those
moments he easily could have done so—as far as personal reasons held
him.  The personal pride in being decorated with a second term was not
always a match or antidote for his personal humiliation and suffering
under the mouthings and love-makings of the admiring black men.  But a
rupture, and a declaration of his real sentiments, meant not alone his
defeat: it meant the success of the enemies of honest government: it
meant that, his tongue once unloosed, Helen must know—and her heart
would break.  So he held his peace, and let the negroes say on with
their fulsome friendlinesses.

And what he bore as he kept the faith!  It tore his nerves to tatters.
One incident as an example:

He was invited to address a convention of the Afro-American Association,
which was holding its biennial meeting in Washington in May.  He
accepted the invitation with very great pleasure.  It gave him the
opportunity he desired.  The negroes had been talking to him or at him
for months: and he had somewhat to say to them.  He welcomed the chance
to say it. He was full of his speech, and was intending to be very
emphatic.  It was _his_ day to talk.

But the distinguished chairman of the convention who introduced him
thought that it was _his_ day to talk.  He presented Mr. Phillips in
fifteen minutes of perfervid oratory, sonorous, unctuous, and filled
with African imagery.  He recited a brief history of the President’s
life, lauded him as Civilian, Soldier, and Chief Executive, credited to
him about every good thing that had come to the human race since he was
inducted into office, and crowned him as the negro’s Friend, Champion
and Hope.  He detailed the evidence of Mr. Phillips’ love for the negro
race, and hailed him as the true and great Exemplar of the Genuine
Brotherhood of Man.

"Yes, my Brothers," the orator-chairman swept volubly to his conclusion,
"this great man who holds the Stars of Our Flag in his right hand and in
his left hand the Golden Sceptre of Supreme Authority and Power in this
Peerless Nation has proved himself beyond any Question or Peradventure
the very Apostle and Archetype of Equality and Fraternity in this land
of theoretical Freedom and Equal Rights. In each of the three great
departments of our life he has practised that Equality and Fraternity.
In the civil administration of this Great Government he has called to
his assistance black men of Mighty Brain-Power to advise with him about
his policies of Statecraft and they have spoken Words of Wisdom to him.
In the military department he has appointed to an officer’s commission
under the Stars and Stripes a brave young negro, a Gentleman, a Scholar,
a Soldier, who will reflect Honour upon the Star-Spangled Banner and
show the world that the Negro is a Patriot and a Fighter.  And more than
that, my Brothers! As the crowning act of his Fearless Career the
Honourable and Honoured Gentleman who will address you has openly
recognized the negro’s rightful place in the Homes of this Country, for
he has admitted the race as an Equal into the Holy of Holies of his own
domestic life, and furnished supreme and convincing proof of his love
for black men by freely giving his tender and gentle daughter, the
Fairest among Ten Thousand and the One Altogether Lovely, over into the
arms and affections of that same young Negro Soldier!  Connubial Bliss
knows no Colour Line, my Brothers!  May the union be blessed with—"

But fifteen hundred lusty black throats, not able longer to choke down
their cheers, were wildly, exultingly screaming "Phillips!  Phillips!!
Phillips!!!"  The chairman said a few more words in pantomime and gave
Mr. Phillips the right to speak.

Mr. Phillips was very slow in coming to his feet. The speech that he had
purposed to make was gone—all gone.  The chairman’s last words like a
chemical reagent, had turned his every though to vitriol, and he was all
afire with the impulse to pour it burning and blistering down their open
throats.

He stood impassive with tight-shut lips while they cheered and cheered
and cheered.  In the fires that scorched his spirit, personal and
political ambition shrivelled into a cinder and was entirely consumed. A
second term—the honour, the approval, the country’s weal—might sink into
the Pit rather than that he would blacken his soul even by tacit assent
to such a monstrous, awful lie!  Given Helen freely to a negro’s
arms!—he would blast that lie with—

But Helen! in the tumult he thought of _her_.  And the tenderness of his
love for her made him to tremble. In a moment a war was on within him,
and the struggle between his pride and his love shook him as with an
ague.

But he knew the end from the beginning.  As the cheering died away Helen
dominated his thoughts as she dominated his heart,—and he did make a
speech to the convention.  It was not a forcible speech nor a very long
speech, for a man cannot think about one thing and discourse very
effectively about another. It was on the order of a prayer-meeting talk,
consisting mainly of platitudes and good advice.  When it was finished
he went directly home and lay down on a couch to rest, for he was tired,
mortally tired.

From that day forth Mr. Phillips was in terror of his negro allies.  He
made no other addresses to them. But he could not escape them.  The
negro papers called on the race to rally to the Phillips standard. This
the joyful blacks construed to mean that they must form themselves in
squads and go over to Washington and tell Mr. Phillips about it
personally.  Many were the delegations from political clubs and orders
and associations of all black sorts that called to pay their respects
and assure the President of their loyal support and good wishes; and
despite all his forehandedness and precautions it was a very dull day
when he was not openly hailed as a brother to the race by virtue of the
affinity in Helen’s choice of a mate.  He was not permitted to forget
Helen’s plight for an hour,—if he had chosen to forget.

Indeed, however, he had lost the zest of thinking about anything else.
True, he fought his political battle with energy to the finish, and gave
it the best thought his brain could furnish—but that was because he was
a born fighter and knew not how to be a laggard: the burden of his
voluntary, uncompelled thinking was of Helen, and it grew larger and
larger upon his mind.  And the more he thought of her, the more he would
think of her: and the tragedy of her mating loomed more darkly hopeless
and appalling before his face, until his days became one long prayer for
a miracle of deliverance.

In his meditations he suffered the tortures of a lost soul.  He was too
brave a man to shirk his accountability for Helen’s undoing.  In moments
of solitude when he was most racked with remorse and wildly despairing
he would cry out against the fatal interpretation she had put upon his
words and his deeds—"I did not _mean_ that, I did not mean _that_, oh my
daughter, my little girl, my little girl!"—but these moments of
self-excusing were only the wild cries of unbearable agony.  In composed
self-confession he accused himself—with a bitterness that had in it the
bitterness of death—and in the genuineness of his penitence he might
have proclaimed his error and put his countrymen on guard: if only
_Helen must not know_!

                     *      *      *      *      *

Summer was come and the convention was less than two weeks away when Mr.
Phillips’ first political lieutenant came back from a trip to New York
with the very definite news for his chief that even if at that late day
he would promise to be more considerate of the business interests of the
country the nomination might yet be his.  Mr. Phillips promptly sent his
answer to the railroad president who had presumed to speak for Business
that he "would see the _business interests_ damned before he would make
any such promise." ...

Three days before the convention met, Mr. Phillips received a letter
written in pencil in a weak and uncertain handwriting.


"We have named the boy Hayne Phillips.  When are you coming to see us?
Daddy dear, it tires me so to write.  I love you.  HELEN."



                            *CHAPTER XXXVII*


The Mr. Phillips who on July the 3d, 191-, alighted from the car at the
little station that served the Stag Inlet folks was a very different
figure of a man from the vigorous person who on a day in the preceding
October had taken the train there to go back to his work in Washington.

There was now no spring in his step, no quickness in his movement.  He
was plainly fatigued and preoccupied, and he was alone.  There was no
member of his family with him, nor any of them, except Hayward, to meet
him at the station.  A single secretary followed him at some little
distance as he walked down the platform mechanically raising his hat and
smiling at the half score of persons who had stopped to see him take his
carriage.  He climbed up beside Hayward into the single-seated affair
the negro was driving, nodded to the secretary to follow him in the
formal and stately victoria that was waiting, and with a parting lift of
his hat left the small crowd staring at him as he drove away.

The onlookers commented, as onlookers will, upon everything that struck
their eyes in the simple proceeding.  They wondered why he appeared so
listless and careworn.  They wondered why he crowded into the narrow
buggy instead of taking the roomy carriage.  They wondered why none of
his daughters nor his wife accompanied him—why he looked just a little
bit carelessly dressed—and what had become of his swinging, buoyant
stride—and whether he was altogether in good health and—well, they left
no question unasked, no surmise unturned.

Mr. Phillips had very little to say to Hayward during the drive to
Hill-Top.  He really desired to say nothing, but it was impossible to
ignore all the demands of gentlemanly politeness and interest in his
son-in-law’s family.

"How is Helen?" he asked after a long while.

"Not so very well yet, sir," answered Hayward. "She doesn’t seem to
regain her strength very rapidly."

A very much longer silence.

"And the baby?"

"The finest boy in the world, sir—you ought to see him—strong and
healthy, with lungs like a steam piano."

Mr. Phillips made no comment.  Hayward looked round at him.

"He’s not very pretty, sir—no really young baby is, I’m told—but the
nurse says it’s unusual the way he notices things already.  I know all
new fathers are said to talk like that about the first baby, but really
I think he must be an exception, sir.  I think he’ll be a credit to his
name—which is the most I could say for him."

Mr. Phillips acknowledged the compliment by nothing further than a
lifting of his chin—-which Hayward had no means of interpreting.  Having
exhausted the subject and not being encouraged to proceed, the young
father became silent—and Mr. Phillips was glad.  He had not chosen to
ride with Hayward for the pleasure of his conversation, but for the
benefit of the onlookers at the railway station; and, having asked the
questions absolutely demanded by the occasion, he did no more.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Mr. Phillips waited in the library till he should be told that his
daughter and grandson were ready to receive him.  Not in the lull before
the battle of Valencia did he so prepare himself for a trial of his
nerves and his courage.  His courage was of the same old sort, but his
nerves were sadly shaken by the cumulative happenings of the last half
year; and with Helen’s happiness as the ruling purpose of his life he
felt almost afraid to trust himself before her eyes in the ordeal
through which he must pass.  Perhaps she might still be unable to read
his dissembling.  God save them both if she should read him truly.

The nurse came in to tell him that Mrs. Graham was waiting to see him.
Hayward had intended to witness that meeting, but there was something in
the father’s manner as he passed him in the hall which caused him to
forego his purpose.  Mr. Phillips followed the nurse into the darkened
room.  Helen half rose to a sitting posture and clasped her white arms
about his neck and sobbed in nervous joy.

"Oh, daddy, you have come!" she said brokenly—and for a long time
neither spoke....  "I thought you would never come!  I have wanted to
see you so.  I’ve been so lonely, daddy.  Where are mamma and Elise that
they have deserted me?"

Mr. Phillips as he bent down over her almost lifted her out of bed in
the force and tenderness of his embrace.  The pitiful little cry of
loneliness almost tore his heart-strings out of him.

"Your mother has not been strong enough to come, precious heart, and
Elise has to stay at her side to care for her.  When Dr. Hamilton
prescribed Virginia Springs for her in April he thought that two months
of rest would restore her to strength.  Last winter was a very trying
season, and your mother was more broken than usual by its burdens.  The
doctor tells me that she is recuperating very slowly, almost too slowly,
but that rest and absolute quiet and freedom from excitement is the only
thing that will cure her. I saw them a week ago to-day—I wrote you—and
they sent their love to you.  They hope to see you before very long."

"Elise might have come, papa.  She has written to me quite regularly—but
she might have come if only for two or three days—so that I could see
some of you"—and her mouth quivered into another muffled sob.

"No, no, child, she could not leave her mother—you cannot imagine how
near your mother has been to collapse—they would not write you for fear
that you would worry too much about it—and she is still very
weak—nothing seems to benefit her much—the doctor can hardly find the
cause of her continued weakness—and perfect rest is the only thing that
can help her back to health.  So Elise must be there to relieve her from
every exertion and effort and be a companion to her, for my visits are
necessarily brief. They love you, little girl, as always—though they
haven’t been permitted to be with you.  Katherine is too young to have
come, of course, and she would have been more of a care than a comfort,
anyway."

"Oh, yes, she’s young, but she would have been _somebody_.  The last
month has been the _longest_ month, daddy, that I ever lived in all my
life—"

"Well, well, little girl," the father said soothingly as he smoothed the
hair on her temple, "don’t cry any more.  The waiting is over now and we
won’t be away from you so long again.  I could not get away from
Washington a day earlier.  I have been very busy, you know—doubly busy
with the official work and the political campaign too."

"Oh, yes, daddy, I want to ask you.  Are you going to get the
renomination?"  There was an excitement in Helen’s question that her
father saw was unusual for her, with all her characteristic interest in
his political fortunes.

"Why child, I—I think so.  We’ll know certainly in a very short time
now.  The convention is in session and they will have the first ballot
to-morrow, I think."

"But do you really think you will win, daddy?  Is there no danger of
losing?"

"I really think I’ll win, little woman; but you know politics is a most
uncertain thing."

"Then you do think there is some danger!  Oh, daddy, is what I’ve done
going to hurt you?"  There was distress in her accents.

"What _you’ve_ done?"

"Yes, daddy.  It never occurred to me till yesterday. I’ve seen very
little of the papers since we’ve been up here, but none of them had ever
mentioned such a thing—until last night in the very first one the nurse
would let me look at even for a minute it said that ’just how many or
just how few votes the President will lose in the convention because of
his daughter’s having married a negro it is impossible at this time to
forecast.  Southern delegations this year are unusually uncertain
quantities.’  It said just that, daddy—and oh, I’m so sorry if—"

"Oh, no—no—child.  You haven’t hurt me, my chance of renomination, in
the least.  The idea is ridiculous.  Haven’t you learned by this time
that the papers will say anything?  They must say something, you know;
and when they haven’t anything sensible to say they are compelled to say
things that are absurd.  Suppose the Southern delegates are uncertain.
They always have been, except when the machine had them tied hard and
fast.  Don’t distress your heart about political rumours, little girl.
I’ll win all right.  I’ve never failed in my life."

"Oh, I’m so glad if it is false, daddy.  It would break my heart if I
thought I had done anything to defeat you.  I wish there were no
Southern delegates—and no Southern people, with their bigoted notions!"

"You are forgetting, little woman, that your grandmother was a South
Carolinian—and the dearest, gentlest soul!  If she could have lived to
know you she would have loved you more than any other girl in all the
world, I think.  And you would have loved her, Helen....  Don’t quarrel
with the Southern people.  Their ideas about the—about the negro are in
the blood, and cannot be eradicated in two or three generations."

Helen began to speak and turned her face casually toward the baby lying
tucked in on the far side of the bed—when her father snatched the
conversation suddenly from her and, taking it thoroughly in hand, gave
her little time except to listen.

The blow had fallen!  And with all his preparation he was unprepared!
Helen was confused and bewildered by the incoherency of his talk, by his
hurried, disjointed speeches, by his half-made questions. He was making
a blind effort to put off and push back the inevitable.  His eyes had
grown accustomed to the subdued light of the room and as his vision
became clear his heart almost ceased to beat.  The baby!  In that half
light was revealed the darkness of the little fellow’s face!—many, many
shades darker than the face of Hayward Graham: and the spectral fear
that had been with Mr. Phillips at noonday, at morning, at evening, at
all the midnights through the last months, was now a real, weakening,
flesh-and-blood terror.

With a hope that was faltering indeed had he prayed for the miracle that
might deliver Helen entirely from the consequences of her thoughtless
folly, but with all his faith had he besought a merciful Heaven that the
child which would come to her should not fall below a fair average of
its parental graces. Even that were a torture, that were horrible
enough: that Helen’s gentle blood should be _evenly_ mixed and tainted
with a baser sort.  But this recession below the father’s type!—this
resurgence of the negro blood, with its "vile unknown ancestral
impulses!"—there came to him an almost overpowering desire, such as had
come of late with increasing frequency but never with such physical
weakness as now: the desire to lie down at full length and to rest.

As he talked volubly and scatteringly to Helen, his shaking soul cried
against fate.  Why should Nature have chosen his Helen, the very flower
of his heart, as a subject upon which to demonstrate her eccentric laws!
Why, oh—but he must keep his tongue going to distract Helen from his
distress—why, oh, why should atavism have thought to play its tricks and
assert its prerogative here!  Were there not enough other mongrel
children in all the earth through whom heredity could establish her
heartless caprices without the sacrifice of Helen and of Helen’s baby!
Oh, the sarcasm of pitiless Chance, that the most dear, the _very_
highest, should be sacrificed to establish the law of the Persistence of
the Lowest in the blood of men!  Surely, in _this_ lesson, that law had
been taught at an awful cost: and, as if to show that it had been taught
beyond cavil, there was poked out from under the white coverlet a
tight-shut baby fist that was almost black.

                     *      *      *      *      *

All things human must have an end,—and Mr. Phillips’ subterfuge was very
human.  His expedients finally failed, he had not a word more to say:
and yet he was no nearer being prepared for the inevitable than before.
The supreme test was come, and his spirit cowered before it.  For the
first time in his life he greeted flight as a deliverer, and decided to
run away from danger.

"Well, little woman, I must go and rid myself of the dust of travel;"
and he was half way to the door when Helen’s weak voice arrested him.

"Are you not going to notice the baby, daddy?"

The pathos in that trembling question would have called him to go
against all the Furies.  Turning, he hesitated an instant, of which the
double would have been fatal: but he saved the moment from disaster.

"Dear me, I was about forgetting the youngster."

He walked quickly around the bed and sat down beside the boy.  Pulling
the covering a little away, he took the tiny hand in his, and
grandfather and grandson looked for the first time each into the face of
the other.

It was a negro baby: the colour that was of Ethiopia, the unmistakable
nose, the hair that curled so tightly, the lips that were African, the
large whites of the eyes.  Verily a negro baby: and yet in an
indefinable way a likeness to Helen, a caricature of Helen, a horrible
travesty of Helen’s features in combination with—with whose?  Not
Hayward Graham’s. But whose, then?  Helen’s and whose? ... Mr. Phillips
could not answer his own question—he had never seen Guinea Gumbo.

In a moment the smaller hand closed over the man’s finger as if in
approval; but the man straightened up as if to get a freer breath, and
glanced involuntarily at the pale mother.  Her eyes were painfully
intent upon him.  Driving himself, he turned.  Murmuring a nursery
commonplace, he leaned over and kissed the little darkey as tenderly as
he might.

There was no escape from Helen’s eyes.  He prayed that she had not seen
that his were shut when he kissed her son—it was his only concession to
himself.

With another pat or two of the small fist he stood up by the bedside,
bracing his knees against the rail that he might stand steadily.  The
fever was not yet gone from Helen’s eyes.  She had smiled when he
caressed the boy, but she was yet expectant.  On her father’s verdict
hung all her hopes, and his face for once in her life she was unable to
read.  She was vaguely uneasy.  His manner was inscrutable, and she had
never seen him look just like that.  Their eyes met, and the unconscious
pleading in hers would have wrung any verdict from him.

"He’s a fine boy, isn’t he, little woman? ... So strong and healthy
looking....  Shakes hands as if he meant it....  And he looks somewhat
like you, missy.  That will be the making of him....  But I must go
now,"—and he went rather precipitately.

"And will you hurry back to us, daddy?" Helen called to him.

"Yes, child; I’ll hurry back," he answered,—as he hurried away.

His secretary handed him a telegram.  He took the yellow envelope and,
without so much as glancing at it, went into the library and shut the
door.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Very late in the afternoon the library door was opened, without
invitation from within.  Mr. Phillips was sitting in a chair with his
arms upon his desk and his face upon his arm—dead.

[Illustration: "HIS ARMS UPON HIS DESK AND HIS FACE UPON HIS ARM—DEAD."]



                           *CHAPTER XXXVIII*


Again, and of necessity, is the reader cited to the newspapers of the
time.

It is not meet that the passing of a chief magistrate of this nation
should be passed over quickly or lightly in any history.  The people
stopped to mourn, to cast up his life in total, and pay respect to its
multiplied excellences, to study his virtues as if in hope to
reincarnate them, and to glory in his life as a common possession of his
country.  And yet this narrative may not pause to pay befitting tribute
to him, nor to detail the tides of grief that swept the hearts of his
countrymen with his outgoing, or the stateliness and grandeur of the
ceremonies with which they committed his body to the ground.  We may not
here give the comprehensive view, for our canvas is not broad enough.
Let it be said only that he died as he had lived: a gentleman brave and
tender,—honest to his undoing, but dead without having known
defeat,—faithful to his love for Helen even to the death, yet making no
plaint against love.

The physicians ascribed the President’s death to heart failure,—which
meant little more than that he was dead.  They ventured to say that the
heart failure had been superinduced by overwork.  This verdict doubtless
would have stood if a newspaper man the first at Hill-Top had not
chanced to hear of a telegram.

The telegram could not be found although the secretary searched
diligently for it.  The energetic reporter conceived that that statement
was a subterfuge which in some way betokened a lack of confidence in his
discretion, and, besides, it smacked of mystery for a telegram to
evaporate into thin air in a dead man’s hand.  Put on his mettle thus,
he made it his business to know what was in that telegram.  Being an old
telegraph man himself, he hied him down to the station and made himself
pleasant and useful to the youngish man in charge.

President Phillips had intended to await the decision of the convention
in Washington, and all telegraphic arrangements for convention bulletins
had been made accordingly.  At the last moment Helen’s trembling little
letter had changed his purpose, and he had slipped quietly off to
Hill-Top, notifying only Mr. Mackenzie how to communicate with him
directly.

The moment the President’s death had flashed upon the wires, the
capacity of the little Stag Inlet office became sadly overtaxed.  The
perspiring and flustered operator was very grateful for the assistance
of the kindly newspaper man who modestly proffered his help in getting
the deluge of messages speedily copied, enveloped, addressed and
dispatched.  Once having his hand on the copy-file it was an easy thing
for the good Samaritan to get the full text of the last message that had
gone to Hill-Top.

He could not decide whether it was so very valuable now that Mr.
Phillips was dead; but he sent it to his paper along with his other
stuff, riding a dozen miles in a midnight search for an open telegraph
key. Much pride he had in his achievement when he added to his news
report a statement to his managing editor that the text of the telegram
was a "beat" for his paper and might be displayed as "exclusive."  But
his feelings were very much hurt next day that they should have
published his find under a Chicago dateline and robbed him of his glory.

                  THE PRESIDENT DIES OF A BROKEN HEART

                  He Takes the Telegram which Tells of
                    Defeat and Is Seen No More Alive

Chicago, July 3d—After a conference of the leaders of the Phillips
cohorts this afternoon the following telegram was sent to the President
at Stag Inlet: "We are moving heaven and earth; but the forces of evil
are too many for us.  First ballot to-morrow."


The news column was after that fashion.  The leading editorial was a
scream under the caption, "The Trusts Have Murdered Him!"

Mr. Mackenzie, who had sent the telegram, was mortally angry that the
odium of actual defeat from which death had relieved his friend should
have been fixed thus upon his memory.  He was offended almost beyond
endurance with his confidential clerk despite that young man’s violent
disclaimer of responsibility for the leak; but he was most enraged at
the diabolical discretion of the managing editor of _The Yellow_ in
omitting the name of the sender of the telegram: which would necessitate
that he admit having sent it before he could demand to know whence the
paper had knowledge of it.

The convention took a recess for ten days, and, upon reassembling after
Mr. Phillips’ burial, passed by a unanimous vote a set of resolutions
that lifted him to the stars and gave him place among the gods. Then it
set out upon a long round of balloting; and without being altogether
conscious of the reasons and causes impelling, it finally nominated a
"safe" man for President.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Helen could not attend her father’s funeral. Pitifully weakened by the
awful shock of his sudden passing, she cried out with all her remaining
strength to be carried in to look upon his face in death.  Her
physician’s consent after long refusal was due to his kindliness of
heart, and the result vindicated his professional judgment, in that it
came frightfully near to taking her life.

In utter desolation of spirit was she left when they had taken the great
man out of the house upon his stately procession to Washington and the
grave.  Her husband was unfailing in devoted and anxious attendance, but
she was listless to his tenderest efforts to console her.  Elise’s
letters, coming now every day from the bedside of the prostrated mother,
Helen read faithfully to the last word, and really tried to take comfort
and courage from them, but they could not get down, it seemed, to touch
and dissolve the cold mists of desolation in the deeps of her heart.
Her father, the stay and fixative of her life, was gone: and there was
nothing now to give her footing upon the earth.  No one to interpret
life, to give meaning to life, to give purpose to life, to give value to
life. The days might as well move backward as forward. They appeared not
to be moving at all.  There was no one to give them direction.  He
toward whom or from whom or about whom the days had always turned as a
sort of first cause or incarnation of the reason and sense of things,
was gone: and she was in chaos.

With her weakness of body, her mental processes were weak, and her mind
did not take vigorous hold of things: but, confidently as it had
followed her father’s sentimental speeches about the negro race and
loyally as she would defend and abide his words and the consequences of
them, she could not control her thinking, even in its weakness, and put
down the thoughts which her every look upon her baby brought to disturb
her.  Very slowly the natural spring and rebound of youth brought her
out of her physical relapse, and yet more slowly out of her mental
depression.  But, even as strength of body and mind returned, there came
more insistently the questioning that could not be answered.

In her heart she had always glorified mother-love. In the days and weeks
before the baby’s coming she had revelled in the dreams of motherhood,
and her heart had been overcharged with love and visions of it.

But this little fellow was not the baby of her dreams.  Never in all the
hundred varied pictures her heart had painted had there been a child
like him. He was not of her mind, surely; and vaguely uneasy and
distressed was she that he was not of her kind. Nervously she swung
between the moments when pent-up mother-love swept away all questions
and poured itself out upon her little son in fullness of tenderness, and
the other moments of revulsion when she could not coerce her rebellious
spirit.

Feverishly in the doubting moments would she repeat over and over her
father’s brief words of assurance.  Hungrily had she awaited them before
he had come to look upon the boy, greedily had she seized upon them when
he had pronounced a favourable judgment, and longingly she wished now
that he could come back to reinforce them and reassure her faint
confidence that all was well.  Not finding a sufficient volume of
testimony in the few words he had spoken in that last interview, she
supplemented them with all she could recall of everything she had ever
heard him say about the excellence of the negro race, and added to that
all the nurse had to say of the proverbial uncomeliness and
possibilities of phenomenal "come out" in very young babies: and for
days her pitiful daily mental task was to lie with closed eyes and
interminably to construct and reconstruct of these things an argument to
prop up her ever-wavering faith.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Hayward Graham was a man of too much intelligence not to see the
uncertainty of his wife’s attitude toward the boy.  He was of too much
white blood in his own veins not to have suffered measurably the same
torments because of the baby’s recession in type. What Mr. Phillips had
said of it, he did not know, and dared not ask Helen.  In all kindliness
of purpose he encouraged her to believe _The Yellow’s_ theory that her
father’s heart had broken under defeat.  He did not know that she was
agonizingly fearful of having contributed to that defeat.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Helen was rummaging through her father’s desk in the library.  With the
first escape from the prison-house of her bedroom, her feet had turned
instinctively toward the workshop which had been the scene of Mr.
Phillips’ labours at Hill-Top, and the scene also of much that had been
joyous in her association with him.  But even as she idly tumbled the
odds and ends of papers about—in solemn and fascinated inspection, for
that they seemed in a way to breathe his spirit and to invoke his
presence—the undercurrent of her mind was busy as ever with its
never-ending task.

She turned up a small package of notes marked "Cincinnati speech," and
examined them absent-mindedly; but found nothing that caught her
interest. Tossing them back in the desk, she picked up a letter
addressed to her father in her own hand.  She recognized a rambling and
rollicking message she had sent to him more than a year before.  From
the appearance of the envelope she judged that he must have carried it
in his pocket awhile.  She had a little cry when she came to the
characteristic closing sentence: "Daddy, I want to see you so bad."
That had been a simple message of love.  Now it was the cry of her
heart’s loneliness and need.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Dabbing at her eyes with her handkerchief, she pulled out from the
bottom of the drawer an unbound section of the _Congressional Record_,
from which protruded a slip of paper.  Opening it at this marker, she
saw a blue pencil-mark which indicated the beginning of a speech before
the Senate by Mr. Rutledge. Half-way down the second column her father
had made the marginal comment "good."  Further along was a blue cross
without explanatory note.  Still further, "very good."  With such
commendations in her father’s own words she began to read what Mr.
Rutledge had to say....  For a short space she noticed her father’s
occasional marginal notes, favourable or critical, and the more frequent
non-committal blue cross.  It appeared that he had contemplated
preparing an answer of some sort.  Very soon Helen became so interested
that she saw only the text.

                     *      *      *      *      *

With faster beating heart and breath that came more irregularly she was
drawn irresistibly along. It was an answer to her soul’s cry for a word;
and whether true or false, welcome or unwelcome, she could not but
listen to that answer with quickening pulse as it ran hurriedly under
her eyes.  Long before she reached the end her anger was ablaze and her
fears a-tremble, but she could not throw the speech from her unfinished.
Almost in a frenzy of excitement and resentment she rushed along to the
very last word: and with a gasping cry of horror and wrath grabbed at
the desk-drawer with the intention to hurl the pamphlet viciously back
into it.  She caught the slide instead, and pulled that out with a jerk.
Lying on the slide was a telegraph envelope which her violence threw on
the floor.  With another impatient trial she slammed the pamphlet into
the drawer, and mechanically picked up the telegram.

It was addressed to "The President, Hill-Top."  Turning it over to take
out the message, she found it sealed.  Instinctively she hesitated a
moment, long enough for the question to come, "Why is it unopened?"
Then she tore the end off the envelope.

The message read, "We are moving heaven and earth but the forces of evil
are too many for us.  First ballot to-morrow," and was signed by Mr.
Mackenzie.

She read it over and over, stupidly at first, for her mind was excited
by other things.  Then the meaning of it began to be appreciated, and
her heart sank. Confirmation of the newspaper story!  The telegram _had_
been sent!  And her father _had_ been defeated, and death alone had
saved him from the damning ballot!  Defeated, yes, really defeated!—and
she had contributed, if only a mite, to that defeat which broke his
heart!  Guilty—_guilty_!  She bowed her head in grief and agonized
self-condemnation....

But no:—she started up—the telegram!  He had not read it!  Had he read
it?—she caught up the envelope and examined it feverishly....  It could
not have been opened—it had not been opened!  He had not read it—he did
not know!  He had not known of his defeat—he had not died of his
defeat—and she had not helped to send him to his death! Oh the joy of
this acquittal!—and she held the envelope as one under sentence might
clasp a reprieve, and almost caressed it as she made sure of its
testimony in her behalf.

When she had assured herself that the envelope had not been opened, the
burden upon her heart would have been lifted entirely if the telegram
had not confirmed the fact of his defeat.  He had not died because of
defeat, and she was acquitted therefore of his death, yet she was
acutely sensible of the fact that he had gone to his grave in the shadow
of defeat, and that death alone had saved him from the shameful
actuality.

This was gall and wormwood to her, for his name could never be flung
free of that shadow.  The very time and manner of his going-out had
fixed failure eternally upon him.  Oh why, her heart cried, could he not
have died before or lived beyond it?  Why had he died _then_?  Mr.
Mackenzie might have been mistaken, or the sentiment might have changed
with the balloting, victory have come out of defeat and his fame have
been without a cloud upon it.  Oh, why had he not lived?—lived to
outlive that one reverse—lived to overwhelm his enemies in another
trial, lived to put those hateful Southern delegates again under heel?
Why had he died so inopportunely? ... Why had he died at all? ... _Why
had he died_? ... How could death have taken him so quickly and so
unawares?  He had gone briskly out of her room with the promise on his
lips to hurry back.  He had kissed the baby and said it looked like
her....  Yes, said it looked like her—the baby—

Hurriedly she snatched the _Congressional Record_ out of the drawer into
which she had angrily flung it!  Breathlessly she turned the pages to
see what comment he had made upon that last part of Rutledge’s speech.

Mr. Phillips had put but one marginal note against all that fearful
presentation.  Opposite the words, "when the blood of your daughter ...
is mixed with that of one of this race, however ’risen,’ redolent of
newly applied polish," etc., Helen saw the single written word,
"unthinkable."

Unthinkable!  Quickly she searched again that portion of the speech that
had given supreme offence—and found nothing.  Nothing beside the word
"unthinkable."  No denial had her father entered that "vile unknown
ancestral impulses, the untamed passions of a barbarous blood would be
planted in the Anglo-Saxon’s very heart" by such unions as hers. No hint
of his thought as to a "mongrel progeny."  No answer to the question,
"How shall sickly sentimentalities solace your shame if in the blood of
your mulatto grandchild the vigorous red jungle corpuscles of some
savage ancestor shall overmatch your more gentle endowment...?"  A free
expression, critical or approving, of the first half of the speech; but
silence, an awful silence, when it comes to this part so pertinent to
her situation.  Silence!—_for the reason_ that her situation is
UNTHINKABLE!

In an illuminating flash she sees the Truth—sees all the minute
incidents of the past months, the looks, the gestures, the things
unsaid, which, unnoted by her at the time, were yet registered in her
subconsciousness, and which make so plain, now that she reads them
aright, all her father’s thoughts and sufferings and sacrifice from the
moment when he had cried, "But a _negro_, Helen!  How could you!" until
the time he had rushed away after kissing her negro baby—rushed away to
die! .... She knew! ... _Despoiled herself!—polluted her blood beyond
cleansing!—brought to life a mongrel fright, and brought to death her
father!_—with a scream of horror she staggered to her feet....  At the
door she met the nurse, who was hurrying to her, still holding in her
arms the baby whom she had not tarried to put down.

"Take it away!  _Take it away_!" shrieked Helen, pushing it from her so
violently as to hurl it from the nurse’s arms, and staggered on through
the hall, out the door, and down the path toward the lake.



                            *CHAPTER XXXIX*


The candidates for the Senate were come to Spartanburg in their canvass
of the State before the primary election.  The campaign was about half
finished and had already reached the very personal stage of discussion
so dear and so interesting to the South Carolina heart.  LaRoque,
Rutledge, Preston and Darlington were all out after Mr. Killam’s scalp,
and that gentleman was making it sufficiently entertaining for the four
of them and for the crowds who flocked to hear.

Major Darlington and "Judge" Preston were running each in the hope that
"something might happen:" Mr. Rutledge and Colonel LaRoque each in an
effort to poll the largest vote next to Mr. Killam and thus be left to
try conclusions alone with the old man in a second primary—provided the
four of them in an unformulated coalition could keep the old man from
winning out of hand in the first trial.

At the hotels on the Saturday morning of the Spartanburg meeting, each
of the candidates was surrounded by a coming and going crowd of his
admirers and supporters and persons curious to see what he looked like.
Senator Killam, as by right, was the centre of the largest interest.
Nearest about him were his most trusted lieutenants in the county, who
did not come and go with the changing crowd but stood by to whisper
confidences to the Senator, to receive his more intimate disclosures,
and to present formally sundry citizens who desired to shake the great
man’s hand and be called by name.

A little further removed from the Senator’s person were the inevitable
two or three of that super-admiring yokel type which, too ignorant,
unwashed and boorish to stand in the Very Presence, is yet vastly joyed
to hang about, open-mouthed and open-eared, in the immediate
neighbourhood of greatness, in the hope to be counted in among its
_entourage_.  Still further out the curious viewed "the old man" from a
respectful distance and commented upon him, freely and respectfully or
otherwise, as freeborn American citizens are wont to do.  The while the
crowd shifted and eddied, came and went.  As about Senator Killam, so in
less degree moved the tides about the other aspirants.

"Senator," asked one of the inner circle in a quiet moment, "what do you
think of our chances with the national ticket?"

"Not so good as they’d have been with Phillips against us," answered Mr.
Killam.

"Oh, of course not," said the questioner, glad to display his political
wisdom, "I’ve told the boys all along that we could have beaten Phillips
with that nigger son-in-law of his sure as shootin’."

"That’s where you are mistaken," replied the Senator oracularly.  "We
might have beaten Phillips if we had nominated a dyed-in-the-wool
corporation law-agent like they have now put up against us; but the
nigger son-in-law wouldn’t have cut any ice.  I believe at heart they
don’t like that any more than we do, but if the Trusts would have
permitted it they would have put Phillips and his nigger back there just
to show us they could do it....  They’ve got a lot of fool notions about
’justice to the nigger’ that make me sick....  Justice to the nigger is
to make him know his place and teach him to be happy in it; but the
Yankees haven’t got the sense to see it.  Rutledge, even, had a lot of
that damn nonsense in his speech on the Hare Bill.  Half of what he said
was very good, if he had only voted accordingly and left out all that
rot about educating the nigger....  How in the devil he got his ideas I
can’t see.  He didn’t inherit ’em, for his aristocratic old daddy
thought it was a dangerous thing to educate the lower classes of white
folks."

"You are not worrying yourself much about Rutledge in this race, are
you, Senator?"

"No, no, he’ll never hear the gun fire.  Why man, he’s neither one thing
nor the other.  Some of his ideas about the nigger will make any _white_
man mad, and yet nobody ever did make a more forcible protest against
Phillips’ nigger luncheon, nor paint a more horrible picture of
miscegenation....  Strange thing about that, too,"—the Senator lowered
his voice to reach only the inmost circle, and the yokels almost
dislocated their necks in attempts to burglarize his confidence—"do you
know it was whispered that Rutledge was engaged to Phillips’ oldest
daughter"—the Senator’s voice dropped still lower—"no doubt, they say,
that he is, or was, very much in love with her."

The smaller circle exchanged glances of interest, and a smile went
round.

"Gosh, isn’t that a situation!" said one of them.

"Yes, but don’t mention it," Mr. Killam requested.

"Certainly not."

                     *      *      *      *      *

"What was it he told ’em?" asked one of the unwashed of his more
fortunately placed fellow.

"I didn’t ketch it all," replied the other, proud nevertheless to
possess even a fragment of a state secret.

                     *      *      *      *      *

The crowd was far too large for the Spartanburg court-house, so the
public discussion was had under the oaks of Burnett Park.  An improvised
platform of planks laid upon empty boxes lifted the candidates high into
view of the assembled Spartans, who stood without thought of fatigue for
six hours and listened to the merry war of words, and encouraged,
interrogated, cheered and howled at the speakers in good old primary
campaign fashion.

The primary campaign is inherently prolific of heat and hate: for the
candidates, being agreed on political principles, are driven perforce to
the discussion of personal records and foibles.  This campaign had
developed the most friction between Mr. LaRoque and Mr. Killam, these
two having been long in public life and having accumulated the usual
assorted odds and ends of memories they would desire to forget.

In the very beginning of the canvass the Senator and the Colonel had
rushed through Touchstone’s category from the Retort Courteous to the
Quip Modest, the Reply Churlish, the Reproof Valiant, the Countercheck
Quarrelsome, the Lie with Circumstance, and had pulled up on the very
ragged edge of the Lie Direct.  There they had hung for days, while an
appreciative public feigned to wait in breathless suspense for the
moment when the unequivocal words "You are a liar" should precipitate a
tragedy and the coroner count one of the gentlemen out of the race. At
many of the meetings, the reports had it, were the people "standing on
the crust of a muttering volcano," or in tense situations where "a
single spark to the powder" would have—played hell; and especially at
Gaffney on the preceding day, so the newspapers said, was the feeling so
bitter and the words so caustic that partisans of Killam and LaRoque,
"desperate men who would shoot at the drop of a hat, had stood with
bated breath, hand on pistol, imminently expectant of the fatal word
that should cause rivers of blood to flow."

Non-residents who occasionally read of the South Carolina campaigns and
have formed the idea that they are things of blood, battle, murder and
sudden death, may be somewhat relieved and reassured to learn that in
the last thirty years not a single volcano has erupted, not a
powder-mine has exploded, not a teaspoonful of blood have all the
candidates together shed—notwithstanding the fact that a fiery Lie
Direct has more than once been pitched sputtering hot into the powder of
these debates.  Let timid outsiders not be too much overwrought,
therefore, because of these bated breaths and hands full of pistols,—it
is just a cute way the good South Carolinians have of manifesting an
interest in the proceedings.

The Spartanburg debate drew itself along after the usual fashion.  There
was plenty of noise, gesticulation and heat, and the usual allotment of
"critical moments" when "tragedy was miraculously averted" by the
"marvelous self-control and cool head of the Honourable" Thomas, Richard
or Henry.

Senator Killam followed Colonel LaRoque, and long before he had
finished, the crust over the volcano had been worn thinner than ever,
the crowd was in a tumult, and no man could have made an altogether
coherent speech to it.

The Senator had not referred to Rutledge in his talk, but at the end of
it, as Rutledge was to follow him, he introduced him to the people as
"my young friend who believes it is possible for a negro to become the
equal of a white man."  It had been Mr. Killam’s studied practice to
ignore Rutledge and treat his candidacy as a harmless youthful caper,
and he usually referred to his former colleague briefly in the very
words in which he then presented him to the assembled Spartans.

Mr. Killam’s shrewd but unfair characterization of him gave Rutledge a
fine opening for a speech, but it gave him no little trouble also, for
the Senator always appeared to make the statement casually with an air
that said it didn’t make the slightest difference anyway what the young
Mr. Rutledge thought; and it was a difficult thing for Rutledge to
straighten the matter out without magnifying the gravity of the charge.

Rutledge was quite able to take care of himself in any controversy where
calm and intelligent reason was the arbiter, but it requires a peculiar
order of ability to be master of such assemblies as was gathered there.
While far from being a novice or a failure at stump-speaking, Rutledge
was not in Senator Killam’s class at that business.  He had not learned
that, whatever else it may be, and however much it may be such
incidentally, a stump-speech is not primarily an appeal to reason.  He
took too much pains to be perfectly accurate, consistent and logical in
all the details of his argument.  He dealt too much in argument.  His
reasoning was excellent—as far as he was permitted to deliver it; but
many of his choicest webs of logic were demolished half-spun by the
irrelevant, irreverent, impertinent questions yelled at him by the
crowd.

It takes a shifty man to accept all these challenges and turn them to
his own account.  Rutledge was well aware of that fact, but it was not
for that reason alone that he ignored them as far as possible.  He had
started out on the campaign with the high purpose and resolve to pay his
countrymen the compliment to talk to them as to men who think, and he
had held as religiously to that ideal as his countrymen would permit.

Like the other three he was addressing himself principally to the record
and claims of Mr. Killam, and the Killam partisans, already fomented by
LaRoque’s speech, were in a ferment of disorder.  In a perfect shower of
interruptions Rutledge had held his way unturned and apparently
unnoticing when—

"You want to marry ol’ Phillips’ oldes’ daughter, don’t yuh?" split the
air like the crack of a bull-whip.

Rutledge, hand uplifted in the middle of a sentence, stopped so quickly,
so astonished, that he forgot to lower his arm.

"Um-huh!  Thought that’d fetch yuh!  When’re yuh goin’ to marry the
nigger’s sister?"

Before Rutledge could locate the disturber the crowd was in an uproar.

"Kill him!"  "Kick him out!"  "Hit him in the head with an axe!"—these
were only a few of the cries that tore themselves through the
pandemonium.

Rutledge stood, pale with passion, while the outburst spent itself.  It
seemed a very long time.

"My fellow countrymen," he said, when his voice could be heard—and at
the sound of it the assemblage became very quiet—"I will answer my
unknown and unseen questioner as though he were a man and not a dog.  I
have not the honour or the hope to be engaged to Miss Phillips; but, if
I had, I would account myself most fortunate.  So much for the
question....  As for the man who asked it, we certainly have come upon
strange times in South Carolina, my countrymen, if the names of women
are to be bandied in political debates.  It has not surprised me to see
you rebuke it.  By your quick indignation at such an outrage you have
spontaneously vindicated the good name of your State.  The dog who made
this attack cannot be of South Carolina.  If born so he is a degenerate
hound.  You have no part with him: and before you kick him out there is
only left for you to inquire whose collar he wears.  What master has fed
him and trained him and taught him this trick, and secretly has set him
on to make this attack? That is the only question, my countrymen: _Whose
hound dog is this_?"

"Rutledge!  Rutledge!  Hurrah for Rutledge!" "Kick him out!"  "Shoot the
dog!"  "Tie a can to his tail!"  "Who’s lost a dog?"  "Hurrah for
Rutledge!"  Rutledge’s supporters bestirred their lungs to make the most
of the situation.

"You go to hell!  Hurrah for Killam!"—the defiant voice was the voice of
the offender.

Senator Killam sprang to his feet with the bound of a panther.

"Say, you!"—he leaned far over the edge of the platform and shook his
fist in a towering rage at his admirer who now stood revealed—"I give
you to understand that I don’t want the support of any such damn
scoundrel as you or any of your folks, you infernal—" but bless you,
though the Senator was screaming his denunciation, the rest of it was
lost to history in the war of applause in which "Killam!" and
"Rutledge!" seemed to bear about equal weight. The deafening crash of
sound seemed to double when Mr. Killam, ceasing his screaming pantomime,
stepped quickly over to Rutledge and extended his hand, which Rutledge
took and shook with warmth as the old man spoke something that of course
the crowd could not hear.

                     *      *      *      *      *

After the speaking was finished, Rutledge went back to his hotel, and,
taking from the clerk a bundle of mail that had been forwarded to him,
climbed up to his room to look it over.

The third letter he opened was in a plain business envelope with
typewritten address.  He read:

"Unspeakably false?  No, no, Evans, I am not false.  I have not been
false: for I love you.  Such a long time I have loved you.  Sometimes I
have believed you loved me, and sometimes I have doubted; but I do not
doubt since you told me to-night I was unspeakably false.  Shame on you
to swear at your sweetheart so!—and bless you for saying it, for now I
know.  O why did you not say it earlier so that I might not have misread
you?  I thought you felt yourself committed, and must go on: that your
love was dead, but honour held you.  You looked so distressed, dear
heart, that I was misled.  Forgive me. And do not think I do not know
your distress.  I, too—but no, I must not.  I love you, I cannot do
more. In your rage were you conscious that your kiss fell upon _my
lips_, dearest?  Blind you were when you said I was unspeakably false—"



                              *CHAPTER XL*


Elise Phillips had not stirred from Virginia Springs since coming there
with her mother and two little sisters early in April.  Her father had
visited them regularly each week-end except when imperative official
duties forbade, and had suggested at his almost every coming that Elise
take some little outing from her mother’s bedside.  Elise would not go.
She was as constant in ministering to her mother as was the nurse in
charge.

Not even when her father died did she go to look upon him in farewell,
for she was momentarily fearful lest her mother go away also for ever.
It was a forced choice between the claims of the living and the dead.
Her heart was torn with a distressing sense of her father’s loneliness
in death—going to his grave in state, thousands following his
catafalque—and yet not a single member of his family beside him: her
mother and Helen prostrated, Katherine and May too very young, and she
herself drawn on the rack of a divided duty.

Her daily life had been secluded and monotonous, except in the moments
when her cumulating sorrows were so poignant that they drove out
monotony.  With religious regularity and with tenderest love—as for a
wayward unfortunate child—she had written to Helen at Hill-Top, and at
the private hospital in which she was now detained, until the physician
in charge had requested that she discontinue her letters except at such
times as he should advise.

Only in the last fortnight, since her mother was beginning slowly to
recover strength, had Elise given the slightest heed to her physician’s
orders that she herself take some appreciable outdoor exercise and care
of her health.  Few of the summer visitors stopping at the one hotel of
the quiet resort ever had a glimpse of her, for the reason that the
cottage taken by Mrs. Phillips was quite removed and secluded. The few
friends who did see her remarked upon her loss of flesh and added
beauty.

Elise was never beautiful after an assertive, flamboyant fashion, but
was of that sublimated type of loveliness that, stealing slowly and
softly in upon the senses, at last holds them rapt before the Rare
Vision: Woman in Excelsis.  Now, however, vigils and griefs had touched
her face and form with a spirituelle quality not ordinarily possessed by
them, and this ethereal effect caught the eye more quickly, and revealed
at once the fine and exquisite modelling of her beauty.

She had seen and heard very little of Rutledge for half a year.  During
the remainder of the Washington season after Helen’s marriage was
announced she had bravely kept up appearances by missing none of the
functions and gayeties that had claim upon her time and interest, and on
one or two occasions had been face to face with him and exchanged brief
but formal salutations.  Since she had been at Virginia Springs an
occasional brief press notice of the South Carolina senatorial campaign
was all the word she had of him except a couple of lines in a letter
from Lola Hazard in May.

On the Sunday morning after the Spartanburg meeting, at about the usual
hour of eleven o’clock, the boy brought the Washington papers.  As Elise
sat down in the shadow of the porch and unfolded _The Post_ she
experienced the most acute sensations of interest that had stirred her
for months.  Over and again she read that Mr. Rutledge had neither "the
honour nor the hope to be engaged to" her.

After the first surprise, came anger.  The publicity was very offensive;
and, beyond that, the denial itself was to be resented.  As she
understood it, no gentleman has the right to deny an engagement to any
_lady_—that was the woman’s privilege: and for the man’s denial to
savour of meeting an accusation—unpardonable!

But he had said "the honour:" oh, yes, of course; she admitted the word
was all right, but at best it was such a formal word: and it might have
been sarcasm—she could hardly imagine it other—for had he not told her
she was unspeakably false?  If she only could have heard how he said it!
... "Nor the hope:" worse still, he was trying to purge himself of the
very slightest mental taint of guilt.  It was an utter repudiation of
her—in the face of the mob, he had not even _the hope_—very well, let it
be so—doubtless his political career and a South Carolina mob was what
he had in mind when he had said to her, "It is better so." ... "Would
account himself most fortunate:" oh, certainly, Elise sneered, make a
brave show of gallantry, but be particular to have the mob understand
that you have _not even the hope_ (by which it will understand
_desire_)—it will be better so, for the politician....  Resentment
possessed Elise.

This state of mind did abide with her—on through luncheon, and after.
She thought of little else.

As evening approached she took Katherine and May for a stroll.
Following the roadway some little distance toward the hotel, the three
turned into a well-defined path leading up the hill that robbed the
cottagers of their sunsets.

With an open prospect toward the east, the Virginia Springs folk might
have all the glories of the morning as the free gift of God; but to
possess the sunsets they must pay tribute of breath and strength in a
climb of what the low-country visitors called "the mountain."  The long
ridge was really not of montane height, but was sufficiently uplifted to
stay the feet of all except such as "in the love of Nature hold
communion with her visible forms."

Once on top, however,—with its broad, open, wind-swept reaches rolling
down to the wide river valley on the west and southwest, with a sweep of
vision over the lower hills and lowlands to the north, east and south,
and in the west across the river to the far-lying mountains showing
under the afternoon sunlight only their smoky heads indistinct above the
white haze that veiled the foothills: one had measurably the sensation
of standing on top of the world....  The climb was a favourite diversion
of Elise, and the red-splashed and golden sunsets and the sense of
physical and spiritual uplift, a passion with her.

Before they reached the summit on this summer afternoon, the little May
was sufficiently exercised, and wished to return.  Permitting her and
Katherine to go back alone, Elise climbed on to the top of the hill. and
sitting down in her favourite seat, looked steadily into the west—into
the future—into her heart.... Pride is inherently not a bad thing.  Nor
are its works always evil.  Elise’s pride in her love finally rebelled
against her evil thinking of her lover.  It preferred to think good of
him, and it began to construct a defence of him....  First it set up
that she had refused him pointblank, had denied her own love, and that
after such a dismissal she certainly could demand from him nothing in
the way of loyalty.  Further, before dismissing him she had led him on
to hope, no doubt about that; and in the light of her conduct his
denunciation was just: she had mocked him—he was justified in thinking
she was unspeakably false. What right, then, had she now to demand of
his love that it should be loyal, that it should sacrifice his political
future, that it should confess to a hope,—or even to a desire, if he had
so meant it?  Her heart admitted she was estopped....  Yet it could not
be content and dismiss the matter from her thinking.... Had he meant to
deny desire in denying hope? She asked herself the question....  Could
one negative hope without admitting desire? ... Is there not desire in
the dead as in the living hope?  Do not hope and hopeless premise
desire? ... Elise’s mind was wandering in the maze of the psychology of
hope, when she looked about to see coming up toward her _the man_.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Rutledge caught a train Washington bound in thirty minutes after reading
Elise’s fragment of a letter.  He sent a telegram to his campaign
manager, Robertson: "I am called north on business.  Will miss
Greenville meeting.  Represent me there.  It is probable I can make
Laurens meeting Tuesday."

The hurry of his departure over, he sat in the Pullman and persuaded
himself that he was undecided as to what he should do and was giving a
judicial consideration to the advisability of marrying a woman
sister-in-law to a negro: but the while he thought he was debating the
matter Kale Lineberger was whisking the New York and New Orleans Limited
along the curves of the Big Thicketty and across the bridges of the
Broad and the Catawba—speeding him on toward the girl—as fast as an
expert handling of throttle, lever and "air" could turn the
driving-wheels of the mammoth "1231" and keep her feet on the rails....

As Rutledge in the cool of Sunday morning stepped from the rear sleeper,
Jim McQueen climbed down from the engine, oil-can in hand.

"Well," said Jim, taking a look at his watch, "here’s one Southern train
under a Washington shed on time,—if I do say it, as shouldn’t." ...
Rutledge had not lost ten seconds in his coming to Elise.

Buying a copy of _The Mail_ from a boy, he took a cab to his lodgings.
From habit he looked first at the editorials.  Turning then to the first
page he saw under a modest headline an accurate account of the
yesterday’s episode at Spartanburg, and his statement that he was not
engaged to Miss Phillips.  He read it over a second time.  Then, as if
by the recurrence of a lapsed instinct, unthinkingly he turned the
leaves and was reading an item on the "society page."

"Virginia Springs, Va.—Her physician states that Mrs. Hayne Phillips is
recovering very slowly from the effects of the terrible shock caused by
Mr. Phillips’ death, and will hardly be strong enough to be removed to
her home in Cleveland before the first of October."

Rutledge had been buried in South Carolina politics for ten weeks and in
that time had not seen the Virginia Springs date-line sometime so
familiar to him. Of course, he thought, Elise is with her mother!  and
from the dating-stamp on that letter he had carelessly assumed she was
in Washington.  He turned back a page and glanced hurriedly at a
railroad time-card, then at his watch.

"Here," he called sharply to the cabby, who jerked up his horse, "you’ve
but three minutes to get me back to the station—get a move on!" ... Out
of the cab through the waiting-room and at the gate he rushed.  The
placid keeper barred the way.

"C. & O. west!" snapped Rutledge.

"Gone."  The gateman seemed to be thinking of something else.

"How long since?"

"Half minute.  Lynchburg, yes, madam—third track."

"When’s the next?" Rutledge demanded impatiently.

"Three-eighteen.  Don’t block the way."

                     *      *      *      *      *

Desiring to avoid interviews and interviewers, Rutledge drove to his
sleeping quarters and shut himself in for the seven or eight hours wait.
His fever of impatience had time to rise and fall many times before the
hour and minute of 3:18 came slowly and grudgingly to pass.  He had so
desired to tell Elise that he had come without delay.

It was very late in the afternoon when he reached the Virginia Springs
hotel.  He was somewhat undecided how to proceed: whether to ask Elise’s
permission to call or to present himself unannounced, whether to inquire
of the clerk in the crowded lobby the way to the Phillips’ cottage or to
acquire the information more quietly.  He noted that not less than half
a dozen men within ear-shot of the clerk’s desk were at the moment
reading various papers that had Elise’s name and his own in display type
on their front pages.

As he came down from his room after hurriedly making himself presentable
he met at the foot of the stairs Mr. Sanders, the managing owner of _The
Mail_. He was surprised, but annoyed more than surprised—for he must be
deferential to his chief,—and another precious half-hour was consumed in
the effort to pull himself away without giving offence.  His only
compensation for the delay was in learning casually from Mr. Sanders
where to seek the Phillips cottage.

Finally shaking himself loose, he set out with more impatience than
haste to find Elise.  When he had gotten beyond the eyes of the people
in the hotel he put some little speed into his steps.  He was striding
along rapidly when just in front of him Katherine and May Phillips came
down out of the hill path into the road.

"Isn’t this Katherine Phillips?" he asked, overtaking them.

"Yes," said Katherine, looking doubtfully at him.

"Well," said Rutledge, hesitating a moment, "you permitted me to shake
hands with you once.  I’m Mr. Rutledge.  Do you remember?"

"Yes," said Katherine, though with a shade of uncertainty in her tone.

"That’s good.  And who is this?"

"May," said Katherine.

"Why, certainly.  I might have guessed."  Rutledge extended his hand and
the little girl took it in simple confidence.  "And where are you two
little ladies going, if I may ask?"

"Elise sent us home," said May, permitting him still to hold her
fingers.

"And where is she?"  Involuntarily Rutledge almost came to a halt as he
asked the question.

"Way up on the mountain."  May waved her small arm indefinitely back the
way they had come.... Rutledge’s steps became slower and slower.

"Well, young ladies, I’m glad to have met you.  I must be getting back.
I suppose you can get home safe."

"Oh, yes," said Katherine.  "It’s not far."

"So?  Well, good-bye."

"Good-bye," said the little girls.

Rutledge’s steps quickened as he came to the path and turned hurriedly
up the hill.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Your woman of the world is marvelous in her self-possession.  In a
moment of complete abandon to thoughts of her love and her lover, Elise
looked about and saw the man coming to her.  With her mind so intent
upon him that she wavered for a moment in doubt lest his appearing was
an hallucination, her manner of greeting him was the perfection of
indifferent politeness—neither warm nor frosty.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Rutledge.  What wind blows you across the world
to-day?"—she seemed to know that he was just passing across the hill.

With her heart-revealing letter in his pocket—nay more, committed every
word to memory in his heart—Rutledge was taken aback by the casual way
in which she spoke to him.  He knew, of course, that she had not mailed
him the letter and was not aware that he had it; yet on the basis of the
letter he had conceived words he would say to her and she to him: but
not a word he had prepared was possible at the moment.

"I am—I came—I have an appointment with Mr. Sanders, the owner of _The
Mail_—at the hotel—at half past eight."  The appointment had been made
ten minutes ago.  It was the only wind he could think of that was
blowing him across the world.

The man’s confusion and seriousness and conscientious statement of
detail ordinarily would have amused Elise; but she had not for months
been in a mood to be amused.

A moment later Rutledge was laughing inwardly at himself, his confusion
gone, his self-possession perfect.  His prosaic accounting for his
presence smothered the tiny romantic flame that had kindled in Elise’s
bosom, and she in turn was taken aback: and the man saw, and knew, and
laughed unholily.  Not even the most observing eye, fairly limited,
would have detected the effect upon her; but he had an unfair
advantage—for had he not her letter at that moment snuggled up close to
his heart?

His laugh was not out-breaking, but the girl saw embarrassment drop as a
cloak from his manner, and a flicker of amusement in his eyes; and the
quickness of the change was a bit bewildering to her.  The word upon her
lips was stayed as she looked steadily at him as if for an explanation.

Rutledge spoke first,—but he did not presume upon his unfair advantage.
All the tenderness of his soul was bowing before the clear-eyed young
woman as she stood there so adorable, swinging her black hat in her
hand, the light hill-breeze stirring the loose strands of sunlit hair
about her temples and the folds of her simple summery mourning dress.
If he had obeyed the impulse he would have knelt to kiss the hem of that
dress.  Emboldened by the words of her letter, he could not even then
with unseemly assurance come to her heart to possess it.  Confidently as
he came to claim it, he drew near to her love as one whose steps
approach a shrine.

"It is a very pleasant surprise to find you up here," he said.  "And
this view is a surprise also—a revelation.  They did not tell me at the
hotel that such an one was to be had from this hill."

Elise was deceived by his words, and convinced that the merest chance
had appointed this meeting: and yet she could not dismiss from her mind
the question, "Why did he walk so straight at me as he came up the
hill?"  His words, however, put the situation on an impersonal basis and
her reply in kind established the conventional status.

They talked of indifferent things, and she was speaking of the splendour
that was flaming in the west when the man’s impatience broke the bands
he had put upon it.

"Elise, I love you, and I want you to be my wife."  It was abrupt but it
was in tones of humble entreaty.

Taken completely unawares, Elise turned quickly about from the sunset to
look at him.  Her gray eyes weighed his truth in the balance for five
seconds.  His manner was softened and natural, his face and attitude
spoke love in every line.  Her eyes dropped before his, and a rich
colour came to her throat, cheek and temple as she turned again to the
golden west.

Rutledge made a step toward her as if to take her. Her hand went up to
stay him, though the lovelight was on her face.

"Don’t," she said gently.  She was disposed to play with her happiness,
to hold him at arm’s length. "Why do you come to me again, Mr. Rutledge?
You have had my answer once, and it must have convinced you."  Her words
and her manner were contradictory, and Rutledge was confused.  "You
plead without hope.  You told the people yesterday that you had not even
the hope to be engaged to me.  Why pursue a hopeless—no, no, don’t!" she
again commanded as, ignoring her words, he moved to answer her smile.

"And it’s better so, Mr. Rutledge.  You yourself have said it; and you
can hardly expect me to gainsay it."

Despite the smile on her face this was a shot that went home, and it put
Rutledge on the defensive.

"You could hardly expect me to say less, Elise, after your denial of
your love for me."

"My love for you?  Of all the presumption!"

Elise caught her breath at this rejoinder, but it only gave zest to the
game and she tilted her chin mockingly at him.

Rutledge, with some deliberation, took from an inside coat pocket a
letter, and handed it to her.  She glanced at it in astonished surprise,
and her face went hard.

"Where did you get this?" she cried.

"In the mail, yesterday afternoon.  Elise, I didn’t delay a moment in
coming to you.  It came—"

"So this is what brought you!"

"Yes.  I—"

"And you thought I sent it?"—her voice was as hard as her eyes were
cold.

"No.  But you wrote it, and—"

"Did I?"

"Didn’t you?"

"What a question!—and you came because you thought a lady called.
Certainly you did!  You Southerners are so abominably gallant....  You
have acquitted yourself very handsomely, Mr. Rutledge. I congratulate
you.  You have thoroughly vindicated your claim to the name of
’gentleman’—’Southern gentleman,’ if the term is of more excellence.
Assuredly nothing further is required of you. I ex—"

"Elise, you wrote that letter."

"No."

"Elise!"

"Stop.  Don’t touch me!"—but his left arm went determinedly about her,
and only with both hands could she hold his right hand away.

"You wrote that letter, Elise; and you love me."

"No—never—no!" ... Her physical resistance seemed a match for his
strength.

"It is useless, Elise," he said to her as with tense muscles he strove
to subdue her will and her wilful pride.  "I have always loved you, and
now that I know you love me nothing shall divide us.  Why should you
hold out against love?"

But Elise’s resistance was fixed and set.  Rutledge pleaded and begged
and made love to her with all the tenderness of his heart and the energy
of his passion for her, and exerted his physical strength to break down
her defence.

"Tell me that you wrote it, sweetheart," he implored and besought her
again and again: but she only shook her head in dissent.  He exhausted
every prayer and plea without avail.

Desperately resolved to win at any cost, he could only hold her fast and
swear in his heart she should not escape him.  Finally he called upon
all his muscular power to crush her into surrender, and mercilessly bore
in upon her.

Elise bore out against him with all her strength. Her face became first
crimson and then pale with the effort.  Her teeth bit into her lips.
Her breathing became fast and faster.  But her will would not bend. The
man’s brute force was almost vicious in its unrestraint.  A tear was
forced through her tight-shut lashes, but her chin was still uplifted in
defiance when—

"You hurt me, Evans," she said, as her resistance collapsed and her face
fell hidden against his breast.

"And you wrote the letter, Elise?" he contended, broken-hearted that he
had hurt her, but holding her fiercely yet.

"Yes, dear;"—and he is holding her so tenderly now.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Weakly she stood, held close within his arms, until her exhaustion
passed, while he murmured to her the gentle nothings which have been
messengers of love in all ages.  Very gently then she freed herself from
his embrace, permitting him still to hold her fingers.

"Let your own lips tell me you love me, Elise."

She looked up at him from under drooping lashes. Her mental decision
came before her actual complaisance.  She revelled for a time in the
ecstasy of her mental abandon to love, and trembled in the very joy of
it.

"Yes, yes, I love you,"—and with closing eyes she lifted her face in
surrender.  A long, long caress intoxicates them, and then, as if in
expiation for the blessed delirium of it—

"But not while Helen—not until Helen—oh, it is too horrible to wait for
your own sister to die!"—and she is crying her heart out against his
shoulder.

Rutledge waited till her tears were spent, and then tenderly he
protested.

"But Elise, you will not make any such decree as that.  There’s no need
that we should wait on Helen’s account."

"Not while she lives, not while she lives," Elise repeated, looking into
his eyes.  "I cannot permit your love to bring you to—"

"My love is all-sufficient, Elise; and all else is nothing since you
love me.  Do not let your pride defeat us of our happiness, sweetheart.
Already it—"

"Pride?  I have no pride any more for you, my dear.  I do not conceal my
heart’s love nor its woes from you.  I believe that love alone, not
_noblesse_, brings you to me now.  I love you, yes, I love you, but my
love forbids that I should marry you and destroy your career and your
mother’s happiness."

"My mother!  What do you know of that?"

"It is so, then!  I knew it, Evans;—prescience, I suppose.  I am a
granddaughter of South Carolina, you know.  I know in my own heart what
her sorrow would be."

"No, no, Elise, you misjudge my mother.  She would love you as she loves
me."

"Love me, yes—as well as even now I love—your mother.  I believe it and
am glad, Evans.  But, with all her loving, she could not put away shame
and grief.  I know, dear, I know.  She would love me and—curse me."

"No, no, you do not know.  I am willing to speak for my mother.  She
will—"

"But who can speak for the voters in the coming election?  No, Evans, I
must not!  It would defeat you.  Your sacrifice would be too great!"

"There would be no sacrifice.  You are worth it all to me, dearest
heart—and more.  And beside, I do not think the voters of my State
would—"

"Wait," said Elise.  "Answer me—and answer me truly, for remember my
pride is gone and only love is in my heart.  Will you win the
Senatorship?"

"The prospect is quite alluring," the man replied. "The betting is 2 to
1 that the first primary will not elect, and 9 to 10 that I will defeat
Mr. Killam in the second.  Robertson really seems to be convinced that I
am to succeed."

"Oh, how good that is!  I pray for you—but would it not cost you votes,
maybe the election, to marry me?—to be engaged to me, even?  Do not
deceive me.  Have you not thought of the hurt it would do your chance of
success?  Truth and honour, now,—as I love you."

In the face of that sacred obligation Rutledge hesitated an instant.

"_Thought_ of it, yes," he said at last, "but—"

"Then the danger is something considerable.  I knew it.  My letter’s
coming was untimely, thanks to the unknown person who mailed it to you.
No, my dear, I will not marry you.  I will not engage myself to you.  I
will not defeat you."

Rutledge gathered her to himself again, confident to crush her
opposition by brute mastery as before. But there was no physical
opposition to be mastered now.

"It is useless," she said wearily.  "I love you too much to marry you
now, Evans."

"Now?" repeated Rutledge.  "If not now, when?"

"Or to engage myself to you."

Her impassive manner was tantalizingly irritating to him as he laid
under tribute every resource of his mind and heart to overturn her
decision.  Her non-resisting resistance was proof against attack.  It
was like fighting a fog.  Seemingly it offered no opposition, and yet
when he had exhausted himself in attempts to brush it aside, it was
there, filling all space.

"No, no!" she cried out at last, thoroughly aroused by his passionate
plea for their happiness; "go! it is sinful even to dream of being happy
while one’s sister is so wretched—and I will not have your blood upon my
hands—nor your mother’s curse upon me!"

Rutledge gazed steadily at her a few moments,—and for an answer drew out
his watch to see what the hour was.

"Kiss me good-bye," she said, holding her lips up. to him simply as a
child.

Taking her hands and drawing them to his heart he bent his head down to
hers as reverently as if that gentle, lingering kiss were a sacrament.
Turning away, he went swiftly down the path he had come.

Elise sat down upon the boulder from which she had risen at his coming.
With her arms clasping her knees, her head was bowed above them, and her
shoulders drooped in abject hopelessness.

Looking up at the sound of his steps returning, she half turns to motion
him away.

"No, no.  It means only that I no longer dissemble before you.  Go.
There is no hope."  And as he obeys she settles back motionless again
into that living statue of Despair.

                     *      *      *      *      *

When Mrs. Hazard read in that Sunday’s paper an account of the
Spartanburg meeting she was dismayed.  She had been on the _qui vive_
for nearly a week, though not looking to the newspapers for information.
Rutledge’s repudiation of Elise angered her.

Monday’s papers, however, brought her better temper.  She laughed softly
as she read among the Virginia Springs items that Mr. Rutledge had
arrived there on Sunday afternoon.  She was somewhat mystified, though,
by the fact that Mr. Rutledge had been so hopeless on Saturday
afternoon,—and she was struck with consternation when at last she
happened upon a local item which said Mr. Rutledge had passed through
the city Sunday night on his return to South Carolina.

"I think she might have written me!" she said when Monday’s noon mail
brought no letter from her friend.

"I’m going to run over to see Elise this afternoon, if I can catch the
train," she told her husband at luncheon; and at 3:18 she was on the
way.  A wreck ahead of them put her at the Virginia Springs hotel about
bed-time.

                     *      *      *      *      *

"How did you get here?  I’m so glad to see you!" Elise exclaimed when
Lola appeared at the cottage next morning.

"Came last night," Lola said, giving her a hug, "but a miserable wreck
held us up till long after dark. I would have come directly here even
then, but I did not know how your mother was."

"She is much better," Elise said.  "Come right in to see her."

Lola loved Mrs. Phillips very heartily, but she felt that Elise was
precipitate in taking her immediately to her mother’s room.  She went
along, of course, and sat down and talked to the two of them for an hour
or more.  There seemed to be no end to the things they discussed,—the
more interminable they were because of the fact that Mrs. Hazard had not
made her journey for the pleasure of a general conversation.

She could not understand why Elise did this thing. She tried to read the
young lady’s reason in her face, but that told nothing.  It had not the
elation that bespoke a heart joyous in its love.  Neither, in the
conventional gayety of the three-cornered conversation, did it betray a
heart that was desolate.  The only thing certain was Elise’s evident
avoidance of a _tête-à-tête_ with her best friend.

It came to pass Mrs. Phillips had to dismiss them on the plea of
exhaustion.  Lola apologized profusely. Elise felt guilty, but she asked
for no pardon.

The young women went out on the broad veranda. Elise offered Lola the
hammock; but Mrs. Hazard was unconsciously too intent upon a present
purpose to assume such a purposeless attitude.  She took a
rocking-chair, but she did not rock.  As Elise arranged herself in the
hammock, her friend bethought herself as to how she should begin her
inquiries.  She thought best not to display too minute an acquaintance
with the situation.

Elise had indeed some curiosity to know how Rutledge had come into
possession of the letter, and believed that Lola could throw light on
that matter. But to ask about it was too much like opening the grave of
love: and she recoiled.  Looking at her face in repose, Lola was
convinced that things had gone wrong.  This made her take the more
thought for an opening.

In the hush before the talk would begin, the boy brought the morning’s
paper.  Lola, seated nearest the steps, took it from his hand.  She did
not have to unfold it to read what was of supreme interest.  As she
read, her eyes danced.  Half finished, she glanced from the paper to
Elise, whose face was apathy clothed in flesh.  Lola sought the paper
again, feeling that the spooks were playing a trick upon her.  It was
very plain reading, however.  She crushed the paper in her lap, and
studied the profile of the girl in the hammock.

"Elise!" she called, still feeling that the spooks had her.

Elise slowly turned toward her a listless face,—which, indeed, took on
some life at sight of Mrs. Hazard’s excitement.

"What is it?" she asked.

"Oh, full of all guile and subtlety!" Lola exclaimed with a gasp.
"Well, I have never!"

Elise looked at her inquiringly.

"Listen, miss; while I read you the news."

Lola picked up the paper and took time to smooth out its wrinkles.

"Don’t be impatient, my lady....  Now.  Here is the paragraph.  It is
part of a special despatch from Greenville, South Carolina.  You have no
idea where that is, of course; but listen:

"Ex-Senator Rutledge spoke last.  He had just arrived from Washington,
unexpectedly, on a delayed train, and had not had time to brush the
coal-dust from his clothes.  He made the usual forcible speech with
which he has dignified the campaign.  At the end of it he said: ’My
fellow countrymen, I must be honest and candid with you.  At the
Spartanburg meeting day before yesterday, in answer to the question of a
disreputable dog, I said that I had neither the honour nor the hope to
be engaged to the eldest daughter of the late President Phillips.  That
was the exact truth, my countrymen.  To-day I tell you that I do have
the happiness to be engaged to Miss Elise Phillips and that we will be
married on the last Thursday in next March.’"

There was no apathy in Elise’s profile when Lola looked up from her
reading.  The girl had covered her face with her hands, and flood upon
flood of colour was racing over it.

"Is that ’the exact truth, my countrymen?’" Lola demanded, standing over
the hammock.

"Yes," Elise said, "why not?"—and Lola grabbed her with a joyful shout.

"Don’t make such a fuss," Elise sputtered from out the smother of Mrs.
Hazard’s kisses, "for I haven’t told mamma yet."

                     *      *      *      *      *

"—And look here," a radiant Elise demanded when the two of them had
become somewhat composed, "I want to know how it came about that a
letter I wrote _and burned_ should have—"

"Stop, stop, honey; I will not answer....  But I _do_ think it is a very
bad Samaritan who will not help Dan Cupid when he’s in trouble."



                             *CHAPTER XLI*


The communications between Hayward Graham and the physician in charge of
the private hospital in which Helen was detained had become caustic.  So
much so, that the great specialist had asked Graham to remove her from
his care.  This Hayward was unable to do.  Mrs. Phillips was paying the
hospital fees and expenses, and Hayward felt that he could not keep his
wife in proper and befitting manner even if she were altogether sane and
sound in health.  He had no means with which properly to provide for her
if she was really in such a condition as the physician declared.

Not being willing or able to assume responsibility for her removal, he
was all the more angered at what he believed to be the eminent
alienist’s positive misrepresentation of the gravity of Helen’s ailment
and his unwarranted and cavalier treatment of him, her husband.
Provoked beyond endurance he went at last to the hospital.

"Mr. Hayward Graham?  Yes.  Well, come right into my office.  Now, what
may I do for you?"

"Your last letter about my wife, doctor, was very unsatisfactory," said
Hayward, "and I came to see about it.  Surely she cannot be so ill as
you report. When you admitted her you said she would recover her health
in a very short time."

"Excuse me, Mr. Graham; but if you wish to take issue with me as to your
wife’s condition, I will have to insist on the request in my letter of
yesterday—that you remove her at once," the physician said with
decision.

"I do not desire to do that," Graham replied; "but I cannot understand
what has happened here to change her prospects of recovery, of which you
were so confident when you admitted her.  Besides that I do not see why
you forbid me to communicate with her.  She is certa—"

"Wait a moment, Mr. Graham.  You must understand that in our prejudgment
of these cases we do not arrogate to ourselves infallibility; but that
in our treatment of them we do demand for ourselves absolute authority
to say what shall and what shall not be done, and the very strictest
obedience to that.  This is a very peculiar case.  It has one element
that is altogether unique.  Never before have I met it in my practice or
seen it in the books.  I am doing the best I can with it, and if you do
not de—"

"That is not it, doctor.  I have no suggestions to make to you as to the
proper treatment, nor any objection, indeed, to complying with any
reasonable restriction; but when you say that I shall not see or
communicate with my wife at any time, it seems unreasonable.  Does she
have no lucid intervals in which I might see her?  Does she never think
or speak of me—never write to me?"

"Yes, Mr. Graham, she has lucid intervals.  She speaks of you at times,
oftentimes.  And she writes to you occasionally, but I have decided that
it would not—"

"Has written to me?  And you have not sent me the letters?  Surely,
surely, doctor, I am not crazy, that you should withhold letters from
me!  Have you the letters?  Has she written often?"

"She has written often; but only on two occasions was there anything
except disjointed sentences. She—"

"And when was that?  And where are the letters?"

"I have them," replied the doctor, "but I do not think that—"

"I demand to see them, sir!  I’m not in your hospital for treatment!"

"Very well," said the doctor, "I’ll get them for you."

He went to a filing cabinet and took out a package of papers and came
back across the room with two sheets of paper which he handed to
Hayward, and watched him as he read them.

The first was as sweet and gentle and loving a letter as the heart of
man could desire.  Some of the references in it were a little bit
obscure and inaccurate, but Hayward was too much elated with the tender,
petting things it said to notice trifles so inconsequential.  He
revelled in it like a hungry man at a feast.  He gulped down its
sweetness ravenously: and took the second.  What!  The first sentence
was the jab of a misshapen barb—and every following sentence a twisting
of that barb in the flesh.

"My God, this is awful!" he groaned.  "I am sorry you gave it to me.
Have you no other like the first?"

"No," said the doctor.  "All her other writings have been mere scraps or
incoherent mixtures of such things as are in the first letter you have
there with such as are in the one you have just read.  These are the
only ones in each of which her mood was fixed and distinct."

Hayward took the first letter and read it over again as hungrily as at
first.

"In which mood does she seem most to be?" he asked.

"In the mood to write that first letter, fortunately; but the case is
peculiar in that very fact.  I have studied it with—"

"Let me see her," Hayward broke in.  "May I see her?  I must see her!"

"I would advise against it," the doctor said, in a tone and manner that
was intended to be a polite refusal of permission.

"But I _must_ see her, I tell you.  I demand to see her!  I am her
husband, and if she is quiet to-day I demand to see and speak to her."

"Mr. Graham, this case is unique, as I have told you before; and even if
she is quiet I think it best not to—"

"Now, doctor, stop right there a moment.  She is my wife, and I will not
be bound by any orders her mother may have given you!  I am going to see
her this once.  I assume all responsibility, sir!"

The physician looked at him with a sneer of contempt on his face.

"Very well, Mr. Graham," he said finally.  "You shall see her.  But
permit me to say that Mrs. Phillips has had the good sense and the good
taste to make no suggestions to me as to how I shall manage this
case....  Come right along down to the ward, sir."

He led the way down a long hall and, tapping upon a door, was admitted
into a transverse corridor by an attendant.

"How is Mrs. Graham?" he asked in an undertone.

"Quiet at the moment, sir."

Hayward heard Helen’s voice and started forward eagerly.  The physician
caught him by the arm and restrained him.

"Wait," he whispered.  "Let’s listen a minute."

It was hard for Hayward to wait.  He could hear Helen’s words coming
from the second door down the corridor, and only the doctor’s hand
stayed him from rushing into her presence.  They moved quietly nearer to
the door and stood still to hear what she was saying.  As they listened
tides of joy rolled in upon Hayward’s heart....

Helen was humming a song that her husband had heard of old.  Her voice,
though somewhat weak, had its old joyous ring.  Hayward could easily
imagine she was coming tripping down to the stable for her horse to take
a morning canter.  When she finished the song and was silent, he noted
for the first time that the grated door to her cell was locked and its
rungs and pickets were heavily padded.  He resented that, and turned
upon the physician to protest, but was held by the doctor’s signal for
silence.  He obeyed, but his resentment grew as Helen’s words came again
in gentle accents to them.

She was moving slowly about, and was evidently arranging some flowers—to
judge by the things she was saying to them.  It was very kind of the
doctor, her husband thought, to let her have her flowers—she was always
so fond of them....  In half a minute she was singing a lullaby that she
had sung to their baby.  Hayward could hardly contain himself. And when
he heard her walk across the room,—to a window, it seemed,—and say, in a
tone so expressive of longing: "If Hayward would only come and take me
out to-day!  It is such a beautiful day outside," he snatched his arm
free of the doctor’s hand and called to her as he sprang in front of the
door.

Helen turned at his call, and looked at him for a space with dilated
eyes.  In that space Hayward saw that her cell was padded throughout,
floor and walls, and that there was not a flower or a flower-pot in the
room, that her clothing was torn, her hair streaming and dishevelled.
Before he had time to make any inferences from these facts, Helen, still
gazing at him with that peculiar stare, started across the room to him,
saying gladly, "Oh, you have come to take me out driving!"

Nearly to the door she stopped.  Slowly her face changed its whole
expression.  The wide-eyed stare gave way, and the old Helen looked at
him a moment from her eyes.  In another moment her face was convulsed in
a spasm of aversion.

"Go away!  Go away!" she cried out wildly as she turned from him.
Retreating into a far corner of her cell, she called to the attendant,
"Oh, save me!—take him away!—keep him away!"

"Why, Helen, don’t you know me?" Hayward called to her.

"Yes, yes, I know you, but in God’s name leave me!  Don’t let him in!
Don’t let him in!" she pleaded with the physician, who also had come to
the door.

"I’ll not hurt you, Helen.  You know I’ll not hurt you.  Don’t run from
me.  You know I’ll not hurt you."

Hayward motioned to the physician to unlock the door.  Whereupon Helen
uttered a blood-curdling scream as she cowered back into her corner.

"Don’t!  Don’t!!  He has already hurt me, doctor! Go away!  Go _away_!
The poison of your blood is in my veins and will not come out!  It is
polluted, forever polluted!  A knife—_a knife_!  Give me a knife,
doctor, that I may let it out.  Please give me a knife.  I have prayed
you daily for one and you won’t give it to me.  Kill me—_save me_!  My
blood is _unclean_, and he did it!  My baby was black, _black_!—and its
negro blood is in my veins!  A knife, doctor! A knife!!  Oo-o-a-ugh!!
I’ll tear it out, then!"—and she clawed and tore and bit at her wrists
in an agony of endeavour to purge her veins of the tainted fluid which
had brought to life that fright, her baby.

Hayward stood helpless and terror-stricken before the door, and his
staying only drove Helen into more horrible paroxysms.

"Come away, man, come away," the doctor commanded; and he obeyed weakly.

"Great God," he said when he was back in the physician’s office, "that
is awful, awful!  How can she live, doctor, if she is shaken and torn by
such dementia as that?"

"I cannot say whether she will live, Mr. Graham," the doctor replied;
"but her periods of dementia give her the only relief that she enjoys.
As a remedy for exhaustion they are our only hope for her life so far
appearing."

"I don’t understand," said Graham, "how such suffering as that can be a
relief from exhaustion."

"I did not say that," said the doctor.  "I said her _periods of
dementia_ give her relief from exhaustion. As I said before, Mr. Graham,
this is an absolutely unique case.  It is—"

"Unique in what?" asked Graham.

"It is unique in this," said the physician: "It is in her sane
moments—in her lucid intervals, when she is fully conscious of her
condition and situation—that she raves and tears herself and cries out
against the devils that are torturing her.  It is in such moments that
her eyes have the light of reason in them. On the other hand, it is when
she is _insane_, demented—when her mind is unhinged and wandering—that
she is quiet and peaceful and happy.  The letter you enjoyed was written
when she was crazy.  The one that tortured you was written when she was
clothed and in her right mind."

"My God, doctor, that cannot be!  Do not tell me that!" cried Hayward,
shaken like a reed.  "Tell me whether there is hope for her?"

"As I said, Mr. Graham, the case is unique and therefore any opinion is
nothing more than a bare opinion, but to me her case is hopeless for the
reason that her violences are based not upon hallucinations—which might
pass—but upon _facts_ which no sane mind can deny.  At present the only
hope for her life is that her periods of dementia, with their peace and
quiet, will increase: and that her sane moments, in which she suffers
the tortures of the damned, will become briefer and fewer.  Only that
will save her from death from exhaustion."

"No, no, doctor!  Can’t you—"

                     *      *      *      *      *

A soldier in uniform stepped into the recruiting office, saluted, handed
the officer his papers, and stood at _attention_, saying simply, "I
desire to re-enlist."

The officer unfolded the "honourable discharge" and read aloud,
"Sergeant John Hayward Graham."  Looking the paper over, he turned to
Graham.

"Yes, this is all right—if you are physically fit; but you have waited
so long you have lost your rank and will have to begin at the very
bottom again."

"Yes, sir.  I understand, sir."

"Very well, the clerk can make out the new papers from these while the
surgeon looks you over.  Where do you wish to serve—in the United States
or the Philippines?"

"Anywhere my country needs a man, sir."



                                THE END.



           *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *



                                 *From*

                        *L. C. Page & Company’s
                           Announcement List
                            of New Fiction*



*The Call of the South*

BY ROBERT LEE DURHAM.  Cloth decorative, with 6 illustrations by Henry
Roth . . . $1.50

A very strong novel dealing with the race problem in this country.  The
principal theme is the _danger_ to society from the increasing
miscegenation of the black and white races, and the encouragement it
receives in the social amenities extended to negroes of distinction by
persons prominent in politics, philanthropy and educational endeavor;
and the author, a Southern lawyer, hopes to call the attention of the
whole country to the need of earnest work toward its discouragement.  He
has written an absorbing drama of life which appeals with apparent logic
and of which the inevitable denouement comes as a final and convincing
climax.

The author may be criticized by those who prefer not to face the hour
"When Your Fear Cometh As Desolation And Your Destruction Cometh As A
Whirlwind;" but his honesty of purpose in the frank expression of a
danger so well understood in the South, which, however, many in the
North refuse to recognize, while others have overlooked it, will be
upheld by the sober second thought of the majority of his readers.


                     *      *      *      *      *


*The House in the Water*

BY CHARLES G. D. ROBERTS, author of "The Haunters of the Silences," "Red
Fox," "The Heart of the Ancient Wood," etc.  With cover design, sixteen
full-page drawings, and many minor decorations by Charles Livingston
Bull. Cloth decorative, with decorated wrapper . . . $1.50

Professor Roberts’s new book of nature and animal life is one long story
in which he tells of the life of that wonderfully acute and tireless
little worker, the beaver.  "The Boy" and Jabe the Woodsman again
appear, figuring in the story even more than they did in "Red Fox;" and
the adventures of the boy and the beaver make most absorbing reading for
young and old.

The following chapter headings for "The House in the Water" will give an
idea of the fascinating reading to come:

THE SOUND IN THE NIGHT (Beavers at Work).

THE BATTLE IN THE POND (Otter and Beaver).

IN THE UNDER-WATER WORLD (Home Life of the Beaver).

NIGHT WATCHERS ("The Boy" and Jabe and a Lynx See the Beavers at Work).

DAM REPAIRING AND DAM BUILDING (A "House-raising" Bee).

THE PERIL OF THE TRAPS (Jabe Shows "The Boy").

WINTER UNDER WATER (Safe from All but Man).

THE SAVING OF BOY’S POND ("The Boy" Captures Two Outlaws).

"As a writer about animals, Mr. Roberts occupies an enviable place.  He
is the most literary, as well as the most imaginative and vivid of all
the nature writers."—_Brooklyn Eagle_.

"His animal stories are marvels of sympathetic science and literary
exactness."—_New York World_.

"Poet Laureate of the Animal World, Professor Roberts displays the
keenest powers of observation closely interwoven with a fine imaginative
discretion."—_Boston Transcript_.


                     *      *      *      *      *


*Captain Love*

THE HISTORY OF A MOST ROMANTIC EVENT IN THE LIFE OF AN ENGLISH GENTLEMAN
DURING THE REIGN OF HIS MAJESTY GEORGE THE FIRST.  CONTAINING INCIDENTS
OF COURTSHIP AND DANGER AS RELATED IN THE CHRONICLES OF THE PERIOD AND
NOW SET DOWN IN PRINT

BY THEODORE ROBERTS, author of "The Red Feathers," "Brothers of Peril,"
etc.  Cloth decorative, illustrated by Frank T. Merrill . . . $1.50

A stirring romance with its scene laid in the troublous times in England
when so many broken gentlemen foregathered with the "Knights of the
Road;" when a man might lose part of his purse to his opponent at
"White’s" over the dice, and the next day be relieved of the rest of his
money on some lonely heath at the point of a pistol in the hand of the
self-same gambler.

But, if the setting be similar to other novels of the period, the story
is not.  Mr. Roberts’s work is always original, his style is always
graceful, his imagination fine, his situations refreshingly novel.  In
his new book he has excelled himself.  It is undoubtedly the best thing
he has done.


                     *      *      *      *      *


*Bahama Bill*

BY T. JENKINS HAINS, author of "The Black Barque," "The Voyage of the
Arrow," etc.  Cloth decorative, with frontispiece in colors by H. R.
Reuterdahl . . . $1.50

The scene of Captain Hains’s new sea story is laid in the region of the
Florida Keys.  His hero, the giant mate of the wrecking sloop,
_Sea-Horse_, while not one to stir the emotions of gentle feminine
readers, will arouse interest and admiration in men who appreciate
bravery and daring.

His adventures while plying his desperate trade are full of the danger
that holds one at a sharp tension, and the reader forgets to be on the
side of law and order in his eagerness to see the "wrecker" safely
through his exciting escapades.

Captain Hains’s descriptions of life at sea are vivid, absorbingly frank
and remarkably true.  "Bahama Bill" ranks high as a stirring, realistic,
unsoftened and undiluted tale of the sea, chock full of engrossing
interest.


                     *      *      *      *      *


*Matthew Porter*

BY GAMALIEL BRADFORD, JR., author of "The Private Tutor," etc.  With a
frontispiece in colors by Griswold Tyng . . . $1.50

When a young man has birth and character and strong ambition it is safe
to predict for him a brilliant career; and, when The Girl comes into his
life, a romance out of the ordinary. Such a man is Matthew Porter, and
the author has drawn him with fine power.

Mr. Bradford has given us a charming romance with an unusual motive.
Effective glimpses of the social life of Boston form a contrast to the
more serious purpose of the story; but, in "Matthew Porter," it is the
conflict of personalities, the development of character, the human
element which grips the attention and compels admiration.


                     *      *      *      *      *


*Anne of Green Gables*

BY L. M. MONTGOMERY.  Cloth decorative, illustrated . . . $1.50

Every one, young or old, who reads the story of "Anne of Green Gables,"
will fall in love with her, and tell their friends of her irresistible
charm.  In her creation of the young heroine of this delightful tale
Miss Montgomery will receive praise for her fine sympathy with and
delicate appreciation of sensitive and imaginative girlhood.

The story would take rank for the character of Anne alone; but in the
delineation of the characters of the old farmer, and his crabbed,
dried-up spinster sister who adopt her, the author has shown an insight
and descriptive power which add much to the fascination of the book.


                     *      *      *      *      *


*Spinster Farm*

BY HELEN M. WINSLOW, author of "Literary Boston."  Illustrated from
original photographs . . . $1.50

Whatever Miss Winslow writes is good, for she is in accord with the life
worth living.  The Spinster, her niece "Peggy," the Professor, and young
Robert Graves,—not forgetting Hiram, the hired man,—are the characters
to whom we are introduced on "Spinster Farm."  Most of the incidents and
all of the characters are real, as well as the farm and farmhouse,
unchanged since Colonial days.

Light-hearted character sketches, and equally refreshing and unexpected
happenings are woven together with a thread of happy romance of which
Peggy of course is the vivacious heroine. Alluring descriptions of
nature and country life are given with fascinating bits of biography of
the farm animals and household pets.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                            *Selections from
                        L. C. Page and Company’s
                            List of Fiction*


                   *WORKS OF ROBERT NEILSON STEPHENS*

      _Each one vol., library 12mo, cloth decorative . . . $1.50_


*The Flight of Georgiana*

A ROMANCE OF THE DAYS OF THE YOUNG PRETENDER.  Illustrated by H. C.
Edwards.

"A love-story in the highest degree, a dashing story, and a remarkably
well finished piece of work."—_Chicago Record-Herald_.


*The Bright Face of Danger*

Being an account of some adventures of Henri de Launay, son of the Sieur
de la Tournoire.  Illustrated by H. C. Edwards.

"Mr. Stephens has fairly outdone himself.  We thank him heartily.  The
story is nothing if not spirited and entertaining, rational and
convincing."—_Boston Transcript_.


*The Mystery of Murray Davenport*

(40th thousand.)

"This is easily the best thing that Mr. Stephens has yet done. Those
familiar with his other novels can best judge the measure of this
praise, which is generous."—Buffalo News.


*Captain Ravenshaw*

OR, THE MAID OF CHEAPSIDE.  (52d thousand.)  A romance of Elizabethan
London.  Illustrations by Howard Pyle and other artists.

Not since the absorbing adventures of D’Artagnan have we had anything so
good in the blended vein of romance and comedy.


*The Continental Dragoon*

A ROMANCE OF PHILIPSE MANOR HOUSE IN 1778.  (53d thousand.) Illustrated
by H. C. Edwards.

A stirring romance of the Revolution, with its scene laid on neutral
territory.


*Philip Winwood*

(70th thousand.) A Sketch of the Domestic History of an American Captain
in the War of Independence, embracing events that occurred between and
during the years 1763 and 1785 in New York and London.  Illustrated by
E. W. D. Hamilton.


*An Enemy to the King*

(70th thousand.) From the "Recently Discovered Memoirs of the Sieur de
la Tournoire."  Illustrated by H. De M. Young.

An historical romance of the sixteenth century, describing the
adventures of a young French nobleman at the court of Henry III., and on
the field with Henry IV.


*The Road to Paris*

A STORY OF ADVENTURE.  (35th thousand.) Illustrated by H. C. Edwards.

An historical romance of the eighteenth century, being an account of the
life of an American gentleman adventurer of Jacobite ancestry.


*A Gentleman Player*

HIS ADVENTURES ON A SECRET MISSION FOR QUEEN ELIZABETH. (48th thousand.)
Illustrated by Frank T. Merrill.

The story of a young gentleman who joins Shakespeare’s company of
players, and becomes a friend and protégé of the great poet.


*Clementina’s Highwayman*

Cloth decorative, illustrated . . . $1.50

Mr. Stephens has put into his new book, "Clementina’s Highway man," the
finest qualities of plot, construction, and literary finish.

The story is laid in the mid-Georgian period.  It is a dashing,
sparkling, vivacious comedy, with a heroine as lovely and changeable as
an April day, and a hero all ardor and daring.

The exquisite quality of Mr. Stephens’s literary style clothes the story
in a rich but delicate word-fabric; and never before have his setting
and atmosphere been so perfect.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                               *WORKS OF
                         CHARLES G. D. ROBERTS*


*Haunters of the Silences*

Cloth, one volume, with many drawings by Charles Livingston Bull, four
of which are in full color . . . $2.00

The stories in Mr. Roberts’s new collection are the strongest and best
he has ever written.

He has largely taken for his subjects those animals rarely met with in
books, whose lives are spent "In the Silences," where they are the
supreme rulers.  Mr. Roberts has written of them sympathetically, as
always, but with fine regard for the scientific truth.

"As a writer about animals, Mr. Roberts occupies an enviable place.  He
is the most literary, as well as the most imaginative and vivid of all
the nature writers."—_Brooklyn Eagle_.

"His animal stories are marvels of sympathetic science and literary
exactness."—_New York World_.


*Red Fox*

THE STORY OF HIS ADVENTUROUS CAREER IN THE RINGWAAK WILDS, AND OF HIS
FINAL TRIUMPH OVER THE ENEMIES OF HIS KIND.  With fifty illustrations,
including frontispiece in color and cover design by Charles Livingston
Bull.

Square quarto, cloth decorative . . . $2.00

"Infinitely more wholesome reading than the average tale of sport, since
it gives a glimpse of the hunt from the point of view of the
hunted."—_Boston Transcript_.

"True in substance but fascinating as fiction.  It will interest old and
young, city-bound and free-footed, those who know animals and those who
do not."—_Chicago Record-Herald_.

"A brilliant chapter in natural history."—_Philadelphia North American_.


*The Kindred of the Wild*

A BOOK OF ANIMAL LIFE.  With fifty-one full-page plates and many
decorations from drawings by Charles Livingston Bull. Square quarto,
decorative cover . . . $2.00

"Is in many ways the most brilliant collection of animal stories that
has appeared; well named and well done."—John Burroughs.


*The Watchers of the Trails*

A companion volume to "The Kindred of the Wild."  With forty-eight
full-page plates and many decorations from drawings by Charles
Livingston Bull.

Square quarto, decorative cover . . . $2.00

"These stories are exquisite in their refinement, and yet robust in
their appreciation of some of the rougher phases of woodcraft. Among the
many writers about animals, Mr. Roberts occupies an enviable place.—_The
Outlook_.

"This is a book full of delight.  An additional charm lies in Mr. Bull’s
faithful and graphic illustrations, which in fashion all their own tell
the story of the wild life, illuminating and supplementing the pen
pictures of the author."—_Literary Digest_.


*The Heart That Knows*

Library 12mo, cloth, decorative cover . . . $1.50

"A novel of singularly effective strength, luminous in literary color,
rich in its passionate, yet tender drama."—_New York Globe_.


*Earth’s Enigmas*

A new edition of Mr. Roberts’s first volume of fiction, published 1892,
and out of print for several years, with the addition of three new
stories, and ten illustrations by Charles Livingston Bull.

Library 12mo, cloth, decorative cover . . . $1.50

"It will rank high among collections of short stories.  In ’Earth’s
Enigmas’ is a wider range of subject than in the ’Kindred of the
Wild.’"—_Review from advance sheets of the illustrated edition by
Tiffany Blake in the Chicago Evening Post_.


*Barbara Ladd*

With four illustrations by Frank Verbeck.

Library 12mo, cloth, decorative cover . . . $1.50

"From the opening chapter to the final page Mr. Roberts lures us on by
his rapt devotion to the changing aspects of Nature and by his keen and
sympathetic analysis of human character."—_Boston Transcript_.


*Cameron of Lochiel*

Translated from the French of Philippe Aubert de Gaspé, with
frontispiece in color by H. C. Edwards.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative . . . $1.50

"Professor Roberts deserves the thanks of his reader for giving a wider
audience an opportunity to enjoy this striking bit of French Canadian
literature."—_Brooklyn Eagle_.

"It is not often in these days of sensational and philosophical novels
that one picks up a book that so touches the heart."—_Boston
Transcript_.


*The Prisoner of Mademoiselle*

With frontispiece by Frank T. Merrill.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative, gilt top . . . $1.50

A tale of Acadia,—a land which is the author’s heart’s delight,—of a
valiant young lieutenant and a winsome maiden, who first captures and
then captivates.

"This is the kind of a story that makes one grow younger, more innocent,
more light-hearted.  Its literary quality is impeccable. It is not every
day that such a heroine blossoms into even temporary existence, and the
very name of the story bears a breath of charm."—_Chicago
Record-Herald_.


*The Heart of the Ancient Wood*

With six illustrations by James L. Weston.

Library 12mo, decorative cover . . . $1.50

"One of the most fascinating novels of recent days."—_Boston Journal_.

"A classic twentieth-century romance."—_New York Commercial Advertiser_.


*The Forge in the Forest*

Being the Narrative of the Acadian Ranger, Jean de Mer, Seigneur de
Briart, and how he crossed the Black Abbé, and of his adventures in a
strange fellowship.  Illustrated by Henry Sandham, R.C.A.

Library 12mo, cloth, gilt top . . . $1.50

A story of pure love and heroic adventure.


*By the Marshes of Minas*

Library 12mo, cloth, gilt top, illustrated . . . $1.50

Most of these romances are in the author’s lighter and more playful
vein; each is a unit of absorbing interest and exquisite workmanship.


*A Sister to Evangeline*

Being the Story of Yvonne de Lamourie, and how she went into exile with
the villagers of Grand Pré.

Library 12mo, cloth, gilt top, illustrated . . . $1.50

Swift action, fresh atmosphere, wholesome purity, deep passion, and
searching analysis characterize this strong novel.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                               *WORKS OF
                              LILIAN BELL*


*Carolina Lee*

With a frontispiece in color from an oil painting by Dora Wheeler Keith.
Library 12mo, cloth, decorative cover . . . $1.50

"A Christian Science novel, full of action, alive with incident and
brisk with pithy dialogue and humor."—_Boston Transcript_.

"A charming portrayal of the attractive life of the South, refreshing as
a breeze that blows through a pine forest."—_Albany Times-Union_.


*Hope Loring*

Illustrated by Frank T. Merrill.

Library 12mo, cloth, decorative cover . . . $1.50

"Tall, slender, and athletic, fragile-looking, yet with nerves and
sinews of steel under the velvet flesh, frank as a boy and tender and
beautiful as a woman, free and independent, yet not bold—such is ’Hope
Loring,’ by long odds the subtlest study that has yet been made of the
American girl."—_Dorothy Dix, in the New York American_.


*Abroad with the Jimmies*

With a portrait, in duogravure, of the author.

Library 12mo, cloth, decorative cover . . . $1.50

"Full of ozone, of snap, of ginger, of swing and momentum."—_Chicago
Evening Post_.


*At Home with the Jardines*

A companion volume to "Abroad with the Jimmies"

Library 12mo, cloth, decorative cover . . . $1.50

"Bits of gay humor, sunny, whimsical philosophy and keen indubitable
insight into the less evident aspects and workings of pure human nature,
with a slender thread of a cleverly extraneous love story, keep the
interest of the reader fresh."—_Chicago Record-Herald_.


*The Interference of Patricia*

With a frontispiece from drawing by Frank T. Merrill.

Small 12mo, cloth, decorative cover . . . $1.50

"There is life and action and brilliancy and dash and cleverness and a
keen appreciation of business ways in this story."—_Grand Rapids
Herald_.

"A story full of keen and flashing satire."—_Chicago Record-Herald_.


*A Book of Girls*

With a frontispiece.

Small 12mo, cloth, decorative cover . . . $1.25

"The stories are all eventful and have effective humor."—_New York Sun_.

"Lilian Bell surely understands girls, for she depicts all the
variations of girl nature so charmingly."—_Chicago Journal_.

_The above two volumes boxed in special holiday dress, per set, $2.50_


                     *      *      *      *      *


                               *WORKS OF
                           NATHAN GALLIZIER*


*The Sorceress of Rome*

With four drawings in color by "The Kinneys."

Cloth decorative, illustrated . . . $1.50

The love-story of Otto III., the boy emperor, and Stephania, wife of the
Senator Crescentius of Rome, has already been made the basis of various
German poems and plays.

Mr. Gallizier has used it for the main theme of "The Sorceress of Rome,"
the second book of his trilogy of romances on the mediaeval life of
Italy.  In detail and finish the book is a brilliant piece of work,
describing clearly an exciting and strenuous period.


*Castel del Monte*

With six illustrations by H. C. Edwards.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative . . . $1.50

A powerful romance of the fall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty in Italy and
the overthrow of Manfred by Charles of Anjou, the champion of Pope
Clement IV.

"There is color; there is sumptuous word painting in these pages; the
action is terrific at times; vividness and life are in every part; and
brilliant descriptions entertain the reader and give a singular
fascination to the tale."—_Chicago Record-Herald_.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                               *WORKS OF
                            MORLEY ROBERTS*


*Rachel Marr*

Library 12mo, cloth decorative . . . $1.50

"A novel of tremendous force, with a style that is sure, luxuriant,
compelling, full of color and vital force."—_Elia W. Peattie in Chicago
Tribune_.

"In atmosphere, if nothing else, the story is absolutely
perfect."—_Boston Transcript_.


*Lady Penelope*

With nine illustrations by Arthur W. Brown.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative . . . $1.50

"A fresh and original bit of comedy as amusing as it is
audacious."—_Boston Transcript_.


*The Idlers*

With frontispiece in color by John C. Frohn.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative . . . $1.50

"It is absorbing as the devil.  Mr. Roberts gives us the antithesis of
’Rachel Marr’ in an equally masterful and convincing work."—_The New
York Sun_.

"It is a work of great ethical force."—_Professor Charles G. D.
Roberts_.


*The Promotion of the Admiral*

Library 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated . . . $1.50

"If any one writes better sea stories than Mr. Roberts, we don’t know
who it is; and if there is a better sea story of its kind than this it
would be a joy to have the pleasure of reading it."—_New York Sun_.

"There is a hearty laugh in every one of these stories."—_The Reader_.


*The Flying Cloud*

Cloth decorative, with a colored frontispiece . . . $1.50


                     *      *      *      *      *


                               *WORKS OF
                ALICE MacGOWAN AND GRACE MacGOWAN COOKE*


*Return*

A STORY OF THE SEA ISLANDS IN 1739.  With six illustrations by C. D.
Williams.

Library 12mo, cloth . . . $1.50

"So rich in color is this story, so crowded with figures, it seems like
a bit of old Italian wall painting, a piece of modern tapestry, rather
than a modern fabric woven deftly from the threads of fact and fancy
gathered up in this new and essentially practical country, and therein
lies its distinctive value and excellence."—_N. Y. Sun_.


*The Grapple*

With frontispiece in color by Arthur W. Brown.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative . . . $1.50

"The movement of the tale is swift and dramatic.  The story is so
original, so strong, and so finely told that it deserves a large and
thoughtful public.  It is a book to read with both enjoyment and
enlightenment."—_N. Y. Times Saturday Review of Books_.


*The Last Word*

Illustrated with seven portraits of the heroine.

Library 12mo, cloth, decorative cover . . . $1.50

"When one receives full measure to overflowing of delight in a tender,
charming, and wholly fascinating new piece of fiction, the enthusiasm is
apt to come uppermost."—_Louisville Post_.


*Huldah*

With illustrations by Fanny Y. Cory.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative . . . $1.50

Here we have the great-hearted, capable woman of the Texas plains
dispensing food and genial philosophy to rough-and-ready cowboys.  Her
sympathy takes the form of happy laughter, and her delightfully funny
phrases amuse the fancy and stick in one’s memory.


                     *      *      *      *      *


*Richard Elliott, Financier*

By GEORGE CARLING.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative, illustrated . . . $1.50

"Clever in plot and effective in style.  The author has seized on some
of the most sensational features of modern finance and uses them pretty
much as Alexandre Dumas did."—_N. Y. Post_.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                               *WORKS OF
                         G. SIDNEY PATERNOSTER*


*The Motor Pirate*

Library 12mo, cloth decorative, with frontispiece . . . $1.50

"Its originality, exciting adventures, into which is woven a charming
love theme, and its undercurrent of fun furnish a dashing detective
story which a motor-mad world will thoroughly enjoy reading."—_Boston
Herald_.


*The Cruise of the Motor-Boat Conqueror*

Being the Further Adventures of the Motor Pirate.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative, with a frontispiece by Frank T. Merrill
. . . $1.50

"As a land pirate Mannering was a marvel of resource, but as a sea-going
buccaneer he is almost a miracle of devilish ingenuity. His exploits are
wonderful and plausible, for he avails himself of every modern device
and applies recent inventions to the accomplishment of all his pet
schemes."—_Chicago Evening Post_.


*The Lady of the Blue Motor*

Cloth decorative, with a colored frontispiece by John C. Frohn . . .
$1.50

The Lady of the Blue Motor is an audacious heroine who drove her
mysterious car at breakneck speed.  Her plea for assistance in an
adventure promising more than a spice of danger could not of course be
disregarded by any gallant fellow motorist.  Across France they tore and
across the English Channel.  There, the escapade past, he lost her.  Mr.
Paternoster, however, allows the reader to follow their separate
adventures until the Lady of the Blue Motor is found again and properly
vindicated of all save womanly courage and affection.  A unique romance,
one continuous exciting series of adventure.


                     *      *      *      *      *


*The Treasure Trail.  By FRANK L. POLLOCK.*

Library 12mo, cloth decorative, with a frontispiece by Louis D. Cowing .
. . $1.25

A clever story, which describes a series of highly exciting adventures
of a bold lot of rascals."—_Boston Transcript_.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                               *WORKS OF
                           T. JENKINS HAINS*


*The Black Barque*

With five illustrations by W. Herbert Dunton.

Library 12mo, cloth . . . $1.50

According to a high naval authority, whose name must be withheld, this
is one of the best sea stories ever offered to the public. "The Black
Barque" is a story of slavery and piracy upon the high seas about 1815,
and is written with a thorough knowledge of deep-water sailing.


*The Windjammers*

Library 12mo, cloth . . . $1.50

"A collection of short sea stories unmatched for interest."—_New York
Sun_.


*The Voyage of the Arrow*

With six illustrations by H. C. Edwards.

Library 12mo, cloth . . . $1.50

"A capital story, full of sensation and excitement, and a rollicking sea
story of the good old-fashioned sort.  The reader who begins this
exciting voyage will sail on at the rate of twelve knots an hour until
it is finished."—_Boston Transcript_.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                               *WORKS OF
                       REGINALD WRIGHT KAUFFMAN*


*Miss Frances Baird, Detective*

A PASSAGE FROM HER MEMOIRS.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative, with a frontispiece by W. F. Kirkpatrick
. . . $1.25

"Miss Baird ravels and unravels circumstantial evidence in her search
for the murderer in a most bewildering and thoroughly feminine
fashion....  The story is brimful of excitement, and no little ingenuity
is displayed in its construction."—_Boston Herald_.


*Jarvis of Harvard*

Illustrated by Robert Edwards.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative . . . $1.50

A strong and well written novel, dealing with the life of a young man in
a modern college.  Studies, athletics, social life, and the outside
influences surrounding the youth of a college town are clearly depicted.

"Mr. Kauffman’s treatment of his subject is dignified, restrained,
sincere, and in admirable good taste throughout."—_New York Mail and
Express_.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                               *WORKS OF
                            ARTHUR MORRISON*


*The Green Diamond*

Library 12mo, cloth decorative, with six illustrations . . . $1.50

"A detective story of unusual ingenuity and intrigue."—_Brooklyn Eagle_.


*The Red Triangle*

Being some further chronicles of Martin Hewitt, investigator.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative . . . $1.50

"Better than Sherlock Holmes."—_New York Tribune_.

"The reader who has a grain of fancy or imagination may be defied to lay
this book down, once he has begun it, until the last word has been
reached."—_Philadelphia North American_.


*The Chronicles of Martin Hewitt*

Library 12mo, cloth decorative, with six illustrations by W. Kirkpatrick
. . . $1.50

"Will appeal strongly to every lover of the best detective fiction."—_N.
Y. Sun_.


                     *      *      *      *      *


                               *WORKS OF
                            STEPHEN CONRAD*


*The Second Mrs. Jim*

With a frontispiece by Ernest Fosbery.

Large l6mo, cloth decorative  . . . $1.00

"Here is a character as original and witty as ’Mr. Dooley’ or ’the
self-made merchant.’  The realm of humorous fiction is now invaded by
the stepmother.  It is an exceptionally clever piece of work."—_Boston
Transcript_.


*Mrs. Jim and Mrs. Jimmie*

With a frontispiece in colors by Arthur W. Brown.

Library 12mo, cloth decorative . . . $1.50

This book is in a sense a sequel to "The Second Mrs. Jim," since it
gives further glimpses of that delightful stepmother and her philosophy.

"Plenty of fun and humor in this book.  Plenty of simple pathos and
quietly keen depiction of human nature afford contrast, and every
chapter is worth reading."—_Chicago Record-Herald_.





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